There comes a time in every epoch when pragmatism simply evolves into extreme acquiescence and surrender to the forces of apathy and do-nothingness, a guarantor of the status quo in all of its easy, democratic criminality--its fortress of greed.
You could line up all the pols in the U.S. in a straight row and examine them head to toe and not find a single man or woman capable of admitting, never mind ending, the corruption of their vocation--Buddy Dooley
Shepard arrived in New York in 1963 with no connections, little money and vague aspirations to act, write or make music. "I just dropped in out of nowhere," he told the New Yorker in 2010. But Shepard quickly became part of the off-off-Broadway movement at downtown hangouts like Caffe Cino and La MaMa. "As far as I'm concerned, Broadway just does not exist," Shepard told Playboy in 1970 -- though many of his later plays would end up there.--AP
I was dishonorably discharged from the Cub Scouts for conduct unbecoming a scout. I was stripped of my merit badges, my sash, my scarf. It was a scene resembling the opening of that old TV show “Branded” with Chuck Connors. I had brought shame on my troop by decking the Scoutmaster’s son. I was eight years old.--JSC
With all these weaknesses, Trump’s only possible political role is to serve as the front man for congressional Republicans, who do have thought-out political ideas and programs, and dangerous ones. They hoped he would play, or could be forced to play, that role for them. The Republican Party is itself a precarious mix of factions—hardline libertarians, religious fanatics, neocon hawks, and legacy Chamber of Commerce types—all of whom are frantically trying to stay united around their one common priority: the worship and protection of capital. They need a leader who can mediate among them, and be an effective and reassuring presence to the public, helping them put over policy changes that are going to devastate the lives of most Americans. What they got instead is an incoherent, peripatetic, self-obsessed incompetent, who can’t control his cabinet, his family, or his mouth, and who only further confuses their agenda.--JK
Good read here, funny and astute, and of course scary at the level we all know these days.
This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather. In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.--TD
A recent Washington Post and ABC poll finds that just 37 percent of Americans think that the Democratic Party “stands for something.” Fifty two percent say it’s about nothing more than opposing Trump. The 37 percent is right. The Democratic Party stands for something, alright. It stands for the socio-pathological system of class rule and environmental ruin called capitalism – and for capitalism’s evil Siamese twin imperialism. So does the far more openly right-wing Republican Party, of course, but that’s fairly common knowledge. It’s more complicated with the Democrats, who like to pose as being “on the left” while carrying water for Big Business.--PS
Trump is a hundred shades of awful, but he is not a dedicated theocrat or free market theologian or Second Amendment fanatic. And although his misogyny is blatant and pronounced, at least he doesn’t think that he is on a mission from God to deny women reproductive rights. Neither is he a neocon, intent on bringing Russia to its heels. He may not even be a bona fide climate change denier. He is a conman, and these are roles he plays at campaign rallies and on TV– because he is working a con on benighted folk who really do hold some or all of these views, as well as on (slightly) more enlightened citizens who are too pissed off by the status quo to care.--AL
A good weekend read for you my favorite RBPD worshipers, loyalists and dedicated faithful.
The most biting chapter in Brown’s brilliant and bitter book was titled “The Abandonment.” Here Brown went into pointed detail on how a host of Black bourgeois elites (Brown’s hall of shame included William Julius Wilson, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Condoleezza Rice, Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell, Vernon Jordan, Alexis Herman, Armstrong Williams, Ellis Cose, Thomas Sowell, Chris Rock, Russell Simmons, Cynthia Tucker, Jesse Jackson, most members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and of course Oprah Winfrey) aligned themselves with the bipartisan, and pseudo-color-blind neoliberal racism of the Clintons. These Black misleaders joined the Clintons and other white elites in blaming the Black poor for their own oppression, in backing the vicious removal of millions of poor Black women and children from the welfare rolls, and in supporting a savage “three strikes” crime bill that drastically expanded the nation’s racist mass arrest and incarceration system. These and other Black “leaders” functioned as what Brown called “new model House Slaves” and Black “Slave Overseers.” “It was this New Age racist-era abandonment of principle, this shrugging of shoulders and turning of backs by Blacks and former friends,” Brown wrote, “that had set the stage for the unchallenged prosecution of a thirteen-year-old Black boy.”--PS
Eugene Victor Debs, whose home is an infrequently visited museum on the campus of Indiana State University, was arguably the most important political figure of the 20th century. He built the socialist movement in America and was eventually crucified by the capitalist class when he and hundreds of thousands of followers became a potent political threat. Debs burst onto the national stage when he organized a railroad strike in 1894 after the Pullman Co. cut wages by up to one-third but did not lower rents in company housing or reduce dividend payments to its stockholders. Over a hundred thousand workers staged what became the biggest strike in U.S. history on trains carrying Pullman cars. The response was swift and brutal.--CH
This time of year I usually get revved up about the approaching college football season. I'm a little tame this year, but I'll probably be back to normal soon enough.
As I've written here before, the biggest drag for me is the way the business side of the game has taken over. But what can you do?
Big-time conferences get started with their month-long fall camps in about two weeks, so the 2017 season is rapidly approaching.
If you've followed this blog even casually since I started it in 2010, you know I'm an Oregon Ducks fan.
Of course it is widely known that Oregon fell off last year after a decade-long stretch of winning seasons that included two national title games--both losses unfortunately.
The former staff didn't recruit enough good players on the defensive side of the ball in recent years, but offensively the Ducks were their usual dynamos.
So the old staff is gone, but the same defensive players are back. It could be a rough first year for new head coach Willie Taggert. Every game will likely be a shootout, which is a risky way to collect wins.
Here is Oregon's 2017 depth chart as predicted by ChileDuck, a fan who lives in Ogden. Barring injuries, defections or suspensions, he's usually spot on, so we shall see.
Terrorist threats have been exaggerated beyond belief to manipulate a frightened, but also a growing impoverished population. The threat level was assigned colors, and each time the color vacillated towards the red, the nation drops all of its grievances, fights for equality, jobs and health care and unites in hating Muslims, people they never met.--RB
But you wouldn’t know it from listening to the 2016 presidential campaign. Both Trump and Hillary Clinton's economic addresses focused much more on the middle class than on the poor, a New York Times analysis found. And transcripts of the three presidential debates show the middle class was mentioned thirteen times compared to just four mentions of poverty, the poor, or low-income people. In ignoring the poor, Clinton and Trump have plenty of company.--EP
Vonnegut was very good. Not everyone believes he was because he made everything so simple. Doing that was his genius. He made me laugh, which is important to me as a reader. The pleasure in reading comes first.
When I fall asleep, and even during sleep,
I hear, quite distinctly, voices speaking
Whole phrases, commonplace and trivial,
Having no relation to my affairs.
Dear Mother, is any time left to us
In which to be happy? My debts are immense.
My bank account is subject to the court’s judgment.
I know nothing. I cannot know anything.
I have lost the ability to make an effort.
But now as before my love for you increases.
You are always armed to stone me, always:
It is true. It dates from childhood.
For the first time in my long life
I am almost happy. The book, almost finished,
Almost seems good. It will endure, a monument
To my obsessions, my hatred, my disgust.
Debts and inquietude persist and weaken me.
Satan glides before me, saying sweetly:
“Rest for a day! You can rest and play today.
Tonight you will work.” When night comes,
My mind, terrified by the arrears,
Bored by sadness, paralyzed by impotence,
Promises: “Tomorrow: I will tomorrow.”
Tomorrow the same comedy enacts itself
With the same resolution, the same weakness.
I am sick of this life of furnished rooms.
I am sick of having colds and headaches:
You know my strange life. Every day brings
Its quota of wrath. You little know
A poet’s life, dear Mother: I must write poems,
The most fatiguing of occupations.
I am sad this morning. Do not reproach me.
I write from a café near the post office,
Amid the click of billiard balls, the clatter of dishes,
The pounding of my heart. I have been asked to write
“A History of Caricature.” I have been asked to write
“A History of Sculpture.” Shall I write a history
Of the caricatures of the sculptures of you in my heart?
Although it costs you countless agony,
Although you cannot believe it necessary,
And doubt that the sum is accurate,
Please send me money enough for at least three weeks.
The U.S. Constitution that the Founders enshrined thirteen years after breaking off from their capitalist parent and mentor England was a shining monument to the privileging of property rights – the rights of the propertied Few – over human rights and democracy. In the Constitutional Convention debates that produced this most un- and anti-democratic charter, the leading Framer and slaveowner James Madison backed an upper U.S. legislative assembly (the Senate) of elite property holders to check a coming “increase of population” certain to “increase the proportion of those who will labour under all the hardships of life, and secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings.”--PS
Terry Simons is the founder of Round Bend Press Books, Round Bend Press Detritus, and an associated writing/editing service to aid and abet renegade authors. He has worked as a day laborer, dishwasher, factory drone, community organizer, journalist, media consultant and freelance writer. He attended the University of Oregon and Portland State University, where he read journalism, politics, literature and history. He is the author most recently of "Along Came the Death Squad: Political and Scattered Notes."
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