Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"...a funny ol' world that's a-comin' along".

by Robert Parry begins:
Over the past several decades, the U.S. State Department has deteriorated from a reasonably professional home for diplomacy and realism into a den of armchair warriors possessed of imperial delusions, a dangerous phenomenon underscored by the recent mass “dissent” in favor of blowing up more people in Syria.
And ends with:
Yet, the neocons and liberal hawks who control the State Department – and are eagerly looking forward to a Hillary Clinton presidency – will never stop coming up with these crazy notions until a concerted effort is made to assess accountability for all the failures that that they have inflicted on U.S. foreign policy.

As long as there is no accountability – as long as the U.S. president won’t rein in these warmongers – the madness will continue and only grow more dangerous.
The piece led me to re-post something from my first 12 months of blogging, it was posted originally in May 2007.
I was moved by an article written by one of my favourite journalists, Christopher Cooper, for The Wiscasset Newspaper [Sorry, link now defunct]. The piece was titled "As Some Warn Victory, Some Downfall" - a line from Bob Dylan's song "It's Alright Ma (I'm only bleeding)".

A short extract:
"Anybody who likes this [Me: or any] war should sign on to it. Send his or her son and daughter. Send the Pentagon a generous check toward the cost. Support the troops? Go die in the desert so they don’t have to. Yellow ribbons tied to a power pole or a string of made in China toy flags along a bridge rail don’t do the job five long years into the butchery.

I wish I thought electing Democrats these days made much difference. I wish I thought the anguish ninety or a hundred families feel every month when they see a brace of officers coming up their front walks bearing that unspeakably terrible salutation could somehow seep into each of our hearts and make us turn off the ball game or the car race or walk out of the Spiderman sequel and demand that somebody, anybody, either party, do the right thing. Right now."

Christopher Cooper's article led me, via its title, to read again some Bob Dylan lyrics of the 1960s. Many remain relevant today, they were written when Uranus conjoined, or lay very close to, Pluto.

In a 2002 review of Mike Marqusee's book, "Chimes of Freedom: The Politics of Bob Dylan's Art", Stefan Schindler of La Salle University wrote:

"What is especially fresh about Marqusee's book is its astonishing relevance. It's a journey into the smoldering fissures that still inform our collective psyche: globalized, militarized, terror-edged, led by lunatics. Marqusee makes exactly the right point when he suggests that "the sixties might someday come to seem merely an early skirmish in a conflict whose real dimensions we have yet to grasp." As William Faulkner said: "The past is not dead. It's not even past."
Bob Dylan's lyrics are in stark contrast to the mawkish sentimentality of some country music offerings. Dylan's own politics have been the subject of argument among his fans. It may well be that he is not quite as "lefty", nor totally anti-war, as these lyrics suggest. It doesn't matter. We each see in them what we want to see. Good poetry and lyrics can be chameleon-like, capable of appreciation in many ways, on different levels.

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

From IT'S ALRIGHT MA (I'm only bleeding)
As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don't hate nothing at all
Except hatred.

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It's easy to see without looking too far
That not much
Is really sacred.

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have
To stand naked.

I'm out here a thousand miles from my home,
Walkin' a road other men have gone down.
I'm seein' your world of people and things,
Your paupers and peasants and princes and kings.

Hey, hey Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song
'Bout a funny ol' world that's a-comin' along.
Seems sick an' it's hungry, it's tired an' it's torn,
It looks like it's a-dyin' an' it's hardly been born.


mike said...

We humans are just simply a gargantuan mess! Your post is about war with bombs, guns, drones, and soldiers...one side pitted against another. We have so many wars that don't involve actual militant, enemy combatants, but are metaphorically so similar. Some of today's news headlines from "The Guardian" infer a war on human trafficking, rape, poverty, abortion, gun control, Trump-Hillary, refugees, Brexit, racial profiling, corruption, LGBTs, Muslims. One surprised me: plastic microfibers from fleece and other synthetic textiles is in the air and water, causing havoc. The headlines change daily, new declarations of "war", with an ever-changing focal point.

All of this news contrasted nicely with "Art of stone: spiritual sculptures around the world – in pictures"

mike (again) said...

Who needs guns when one can pray?

"Pastor Donnie Romero of Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth told his flock he agrees '100 percent' with Baptist Pastor Roger Jimenez, who made news with his sermon advocating that the government should use a firing squad to 'blow their brains out.'

'These 50 sodomites are all perverts and pedophiles, and they are the scum of the earth, and the earth is a little bit better place now,' Romero said in the Sunday sermon. 'And I’ll take it a step further, because I heard on the news today, that there are still several dozen of these queers in ICU and intensive care. And I will pray to God like I did this morning, I will do it tonight, I’ll pray that God will finish the job that that man started, and he will end their life, and by tomorrow morning they will all be burning in hell, just like the rest of them, so that they don’t get any more opportunity to go out and hurt little children.'”

Twilight said...

mike + (again) ~ As well as being a "funny ol' world" it can be an extremely nasty, verging on evil ol' world" too.

I understand we're currently under that pesky mutable Grand Cross today (Jup/Merc/Sat/Nep) - maybe that's why I woke up this morning feeling a tad grumpy and blahhhh!

Great photographs of the stone sculptures - thanks for the link!

Here's a swap - kinda weird, kinda calming:


Twilight said...

mike ~ Charles Pierce on Senate's refusal, yesterday, on 4 gun control measures


I put up a comment/pic in the sidebar late yesterday - I shall put it back for today.

mike (again) said...

The strandbeest video was very interesting...thought the legs were human at first. It is relaxing to watch...thanks.

"When Our Doubt Becomes Despair" is like so many other essays of late. Bewilderment at our legislative branch. Pierce used the word "nonce", which I'd never come across prior. I assume he means, and I like the definition as he used it, "Nonce word, a word used to meet a need that is not expected to recur", from Wiki.

However, I think tweets from igorvolsky portray the situation accurately. Not sure when you'll view, but the pics of senators with $ over their mouths are currently at "19 hours ago":

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ I stumbled over his use of "nonce" because I knew it only as slang, for a sex offender (I suspect that Pierce, being American, wasn't aware of the English slang or he'd not have used it).

Great tweets - yes! It's cui bono? (once again).