Notes From Underground ...01/31/2005 03:30:04 pm
(Oh boy, is RWB running out of
Dylan lines to use as titles?) As unpleasant as it
is, it's part of dealing with reality to face what
the hard core of the U.S. Democratic party in 2005
thinks when they see millions of people voting in
Iraq. From the Democratic Underground: The Iraq Vote Is Making
Me Sick This Morning. (addendum 02/01/2005: This link no
longer works. Obviously the managers of the D.U.
forum realized how badly this thread exposed the evil
at the heart of their world view, and how much it was
being linked around the blogosphere. I failed to find
a cached version, but this blog post has an excerpt
from it: http://www.milblog.org/MTA/archives/001766.html )
This also gives me an excuse to
crow about the mention RightWingBob.com
got in this online den of iniquity: Some Wingers Tried To
Get Bob Dylan To Play At Bush's Inaugural.
My favorite response is the first:
"That would have been the last straw for me.
I just could not have dealt with that!"
Yes, friends, that was the idea. But I guess God has
As with any Democratic Underground
threads, beware of foul language and frighteningly
incoherent thought while perusing.
Not A Bit Sorry
...01/30/2005 08:01:12 pm
Couldn't let that last thing be the final post on
this historic day, so here's another Reuters shot, of
a liberated Iraqi woman, in more ways than one.
Fixin' To Die ...01/30/2005 06:28:31 pm
Of-course, let's never forget those
who can't share the joy.
The Sands On The Shoreline Will Be Shaking
From this Iraqi blog, a photograph of ordinary people leaving
the polls, with their pride and self-respect in
People who have opposed the war
against Saddam Hussein have always asked
(disingenuously of-course): "If Bush wanted to
attack a country that denies its citizens rights and
breeds terrorism, why didn't we attack Saudi
Well, we just did.
Pictures like the above are sending
shockwaves through the Middle East. They are
time-delayed bunker busters falling as we speak on
the Saudi, Iranian and Syrian regimes.
To go back to this Iraqi blogger:
How can I describe it!? Take my
eyes and look through them my friends, you have
supported the day of Iraq's freedom and today,
Iraqis have proven that they're not going to
disappoint their country or their friends.
Is there a bigger victory than this? I believe
I still recall the first group of comments that
came to this blog 14 months ago when many of the
readers asked "The Model?"
"Model for what?"
Take a look today to meet the model of courage
and human desire to achieve freedom; people
walking across the fire to cast their votes.
Could any model match this one!? Could any
bravery match the Iraqis'!?
Let the remaining tyrants of the world learn the
lesson from this day.
The media is reporting only explosions and
suicide attacks that killed and injured many
Iraqis s far but this hasn't stopped the Iraqis
from marching towards their voting stations with
more determination. Iraqis have truly raced the
I walked forward to my station,
cast my vote and then headed to the box, where I
wanted to stand as long as I could, then I moved
to mark my finger with ink, I dipped it deep as
if I was poking the eyes of all the world's
I put the paper in the box and with it, there
were tears that I couldn't hold; I was trembling
with joy and I felt like I wanted to hug the box
but the supervisor smiled at me and said
"brother, would you please move ahead, the
people are waiting for their turn".
God bless all those who have
sacrificed to make this day happen, and watch over
those who carry on.
Oh the foes will rise
With the sleep still in their eyes
And they'll jerk from their beds and think they're
But they'll pinch themselves and squeal
And know that it's for real,
The hour when the ship comes in.
Then they'll raise their hands,
Sayin' we'll meet all your demands,
But we'll shout from the bow your days are numbered.
And like Pharaoh's tribe,
They'll be drownded in the tide,
And like Goliath, they'll be conquered.
The Whole Wide World Is
Watching, Part Trois ...01/30/2005
"An Iraqi woman cries
tears of joy after casting her vote, outside a
polling station in the holy city of Najaf, Jan. 30,
Breaking news (and it's always
nice to beat the Norwegian site by a few hours): Bob
Dylan to tour in March and April, as "The
Bob Dylan Show," supported by the great Merle
Haggard, and Amos Lee! I don't know anything about
Amos Lee, but it's a great name. The venues announced
so far all appear to be theaters. Of-course anyone on
the BobDylan.com mailing list already knows this. I
wonder if it means that Bob and Merle will get round
to making that rumored album together?
Merle's singular achievements include the song
"Okie From Muskogee," and the
full pardon he received from none other than Ronald
Reagan (then Governor of California), in 1972. (The
pardon was not for "Okie From Muskogee,"
but rather for Merle's criminal past).
Dylan also covered Merle's "Sing Me Back
Home" on stage last year. Here's hoping their
voices go better together than did Bob and Willie
Addendum 09:34:41 pm: Merle
Haggard talking about
on the occasion of his passing on last year. I
particularly like this quote, from the end of the
"You know it's
pretty hard to follow Johnny Cash's death, and he may
have been the only man in the world that could have
done it." !
The Whole Wide World Is Watching, Part
From the Times (UK): Voting Fever Takes Hold
Of A People Finally Free To Choose.
FOR decades, voting in Iraq
meant taking part in a national exercise of
state-enforced adulation, as 99 per cent of the
electorate would dutifully turn out to tick the
box beside the name Saddam Hussein.
Yesterday the contrast could
not have been starker, as the campaign for
Sundays elections picked up pace and voters
were presented with a dizzying selection of
dozens of candidates and parties.
terror aimed at wrecking the polls, there is
finally a palpable sense in Baghdad, and other
Iraqi cities, that the country is entering a new
Some vignettes of how a people
who've never known freedom are struggling towards
Across town Kurdish voters were
treated to large slices of chocolate cake, folk
dancing and poetry readings praising democracy
and reminding them of their duty to their nation.
Elsewhere street urchins were
discovering that democracy can pay. They have
been hired en masse to put up posters and
billboards on every wall space available and
probably paid a little extra to tear down the
slogans of rival politicians.
And following a description of some of the
campaign methods being employed, there's this about
some of the likely victors:
Political pundits agree that
three of the coalition lists will dominate
Sundays polls. The United Iraqi Alliance, a
loose collection of more than 100 parties
supported by Ayatollah al-Sistani, is expected to
win as much as 40 per cent of the vote, drawing
on the support of the majority Shia population in
central and southern Iraq and Sadr City, in
Baghdad. Not only do Shias believe that they will
finally win power after centuries as second-class
citizens, they have also been told that voting is
a religious duty.
In spite of the strong
religious backing, the party has been at pains to
emphasise that it supports secular politics and
rejects any notion of an Iranian-style theocracy.
To make the point that it is not bound to Islamic
doctrine, it put up posters of a beautiful girl
with long, flowing black hair that looked more
like an advertisement for shampoo.
Comical election posters are a major advance over
rape rooms and Chemical Ali, I would judge.
Meanwhile, the insurgents vow a bloody election:
"How much fear is there? A
lot of fear. A whole lot of fear," said
Dhikra Hussein, 25, who lives a block from a
polling center. "Our neighbors are all gone.
We've bought 3 kilos of everything we need."
Leaflets passed out to
residents of several neighborhoods in Baghdad
warn of more attacks that will "strike
voting centers powerfully and without
mercy." Another insurgent flier says "a
gift" is waiting for each polling place.
Rumors abound that Iraqis in line to cast ballots
Sunday will be mowed down by gunfire or blown up
by suicide bombers posing as voters.
Who's side would you be on, in the
confrontation between ordinary people bravely going
to the polls in hopes of a future for their children,
their nation and themselves, versus those who would
blow them into bloodied bits of meat for daring to
Michael Moore made his choice about 9 months ago, visionary that he is. The insurgents are
"the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and
their numbers will grow - and they will win."
Lest we ever forget.
In the words of this Iraqi blogger:
The tyrants nightmare is
becoming reality, now they will have to deal with
the scariest word in their dictionaries; THE
The terrorists have challenged the bravery of the
Iraqi people but they messed with the wrong
people. The people have accepted the challenge;
democracy and elections are not a luxury for
Iraqis, it's an issue of life or death. And the
terror brutal campaign has only made the people
more determined to go on with the change.
And this Iraqi blogger:
The turning point will be so
important for every one in the region. This is
why so many regimes and groups pushed their
weight against the new Iraq. The intensification
of terrorists' attacks is wrongly seen as between
Zarqawi groups alone. It represents all of those
who feel threatened by these changes including
How's that old song go?
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.
The Whole Wide World Is Watching ...01/26/2005 09:53:08 pm
With the re-release of 1985's charity single "We Are The
World," along with the Live Aid DVD, now
might be an appropriate occasion to re-examine some
of Bob Dylan's actions and remarks in connection with
Those too young ...(read full Dylan/Live Aid article here)
The Loser Now Will Be Later To Win
...01/25/2005 09:17:02 pm
A few stories down (Tryin' To
Get To Heaven) is the story of how Rolling Stone
magazine rejected an ad for a new translation of the
Bible. Well, the power of RightWingBob.com
is once again demonstrated: they have today capitulated.
Contacted at the company's New
York headquarters, Wenner Media spokeswoman Lisa
Dallos read a statement and declined to comment
further about the matter.
"The Bible ad has in fact
been accepted," she said. "We have
addressed the internal miscommunications that led
to the previous misstatement of company policy
and apologize for any confusion it may have
So, as described in the earlier
piece, Rolling Stone advertisers are now free to mock
religion or (at least in this case) promote it. Watch
out, Jann, you never know what might happen next.
The truth was
obscure, too profound and too pure, to live it you
had to explode
Paths Of Victory ...01/24/2005 04:36:38 pm
Peter Brookes, of the Heritage
Foundation, has an on-the-mark column
today, 6 days before the
historic election in Iraq.
THERE are those out there
and you know who you are more
interested in seeing the Bush administration fail
in Iraq than in seeing democracy succeed.
An obvious truth that should make
for some soul searching by those who hold such a view
- but most of them are too convinced of their own
moral superiority to spend even a precious minute in
searching their own souls.
Brookes reports on some interesting
and positive poll numbers from Iraq.
A just-released poll by the
National Endowment for Democracy's
highly-respected International Republican
Institute (IRI) suggests that Sunday's Iraqi
elections will be much more successful than the
nattering nabobs of negativity predict.
IRI conducted the poll Dec. 26
to Jan. 7 in 16 (of 18) Iraqi provinces. It shows
that "anticipated participation numbers
among Iraqis remain consistent [with previous
polls], with over 80 percent stating that they
are very likely or somewhat likely to vote on
Contrast that 80 percent
turnout with our own 60 percent turnout last
November America's highest since 1968.
There's more: The survey also
indicates that more than half of all Iraqis
living in the troubled Sunni areas and
nearly half of the Sunnis, themselves are
"likely" or "somewhat likely"
In other words, despite the
violence, Iraq's Sunni minority will ultimately
decide it's better to be inside the tent than
outside when the new national assembly drafts a
constitution later this year.
In addition, nearly half of
those polled (45 percent) say they now support or
identify strongly with a political party running
in the election, a threefold increase since May.
The "right track/wrong
track" numbers seem to bode well for Allawi and
The survey also relates that:
"Iraqis remain optimistic about the future
of their country as they anticipate their first
post-Saddam democratic elections." Some 52
percent said they think the country will be
better off in six months. And 60 percent expect
conditions to improve in a year. Even more (65
percent) are optimistic about Iraq five years
The importance of this Sunday's
elections can hardly be overstated. The good news is
that most Iraqis understand that better than anyone.
Somewhere Mama's Weeping ...01/24/2005 03:59:06 pm
In response to reports that
prisoners at Guantanamo Bay conducted coordinated suicide
attempts, Alistair Hodgett
(a spokesman for Amnesty International), said:
"When you have suicide
attempts or so-called self-harm incidents, it
shows the type of impact indefinite detention can
have, but it also points to the extreme
measures the Pentagon is taking to cover up
things that have happened in Guantanamo," he
If this were a typical American
prison population, then coordinated suicide attempts
would certainly indicate something amiss behind the
prison walls. However, this isn't a typical American
prison population. These inmates got where they are
because they were involved with an Islamofascist
death cult which has a global mission to spread its
philosophy and destroy non-believers. Statements by
representatives of this group have more than once
referred to the fact that its adherents "value
death the way you (infidels) value life." On a
regular basis, in Iraq, Israel, or some other part of
the world, members of this cult and their like-minded
allies commit suicide during car bombings, bus
bombings, etc., in order to kill people whom they
hate and in return to receive the gift of eternal
life from their god (not to mention sex with 72
virgins). A coordinated suicide attempt in Guantanamo
would have been aimed at creating a stir and arousing
sympathy and world condemnation - thereby weakening
the enemy (America). And getting the aforementioned
Why is it necessary to reiterate
things about Al-Qaeda and their fellow travellers
which one assumes everyone knows? Because the truth
about this enemy simply does not sink in with many
people who insist on concocting more sympathetic and
romantic images for themselves. The media never stop
aiding and abetting the process, by burying the
horror of the enemy's acts and statements, while
focusing intently on every alleged American fault.
Sun-Tzu, in the 6th century, had something to say
about the importance of knowing your enemy. It was on
Bob Dylan's mind, two weeks after September 11th,
when he was interviewed in Rolling Stone:
Those people in charge, I'm
sure they've read Sun-Tzu, who wrote The Art
Of War in the sixth century. In there he
says, "If you know the enemy and know
yourself, you need not fear the result of a
hundred battles. If you know yourself and not
your enemy, for every victory gained you will
suffer a defeat." And he goes on to say,
"If you know neither the enemy nor yourself,
you will succumb in every battle." Whoever's
in charge, I'm sure they would have read that.
I think that Bob was right,
thankfully. The "people in charge" have
been acting according to those lessons, by and large,
though the degree to which they emphasize the truth
about this enemy to the American people sometimes
seems to be lacking.
For those who might still be having
trouble understanding this enemy, they should remind
themselves of another coordinated suicide attempt
this Islamofascist death cult carried out - only this
one was successful.
When I Paint My Masterpiece ...01/23/2005 04:28:31 pm
Dylan has been nominated for a National
Book Critics Circle award, in the category of
Biography/Autobiography. There are 5 categories in
total. Dylan is competing with well-regarded
biographies of Alexander Hamilton, William
Shakespeare and Mary, Queen of Scots. Somehow that
kind of company seems apt.
Well my heart's in the Highlands
gentle and fair
Honeysuckle blooming in the wildwood air
Bluebelles blazing, where the Aberdeen waters flow
Well my heart's in the Highlands,
I'm gonna go there when I feel good enough to go
The interesting thing to me is that basically all the
stories in the press announcing the nominations lead
with the fact that Dylan was nominated. The
continuing ability of this 63 year old groaner to
make waves and inspire headlines - without even
really trying - is kind of remarkable, isn't it?
Addendum 10:01:54 pm: This is the website of the National Book Critics Circle
("nearly 700 active book reviewers.") Their
press release states that the awards ceremony will be
on March 18th, in New York City, at the New School on
West 12th St. The
"free and open to the public. " In
addition, on the day before (St. Paddy's day),
"nominees will read from their works" at an
event that is also "free and open to the
public." Whether Bob will show up himself or
send Sean Penn (or maybe Ronnie Hawkins), I don't
know. Funny, though.
03:03:41 pm: Simon &
that Dylan will on a concert tour in March (what a
surprise!) and therefore isn't expected to go to the
NBCC ceremony, though they still plan to "work
with his office" to see if that's the last word.
This Fleeting Breath ...01/23/2005 02:19:02 pm
Back in November of last year, Bob Dylan was asked by Rolling Stone what was
the last song he'd like to hear before he died. He
replied, "What about 'Rock Of Ages'?"
For no particular reason other than maybe that
today is Sunday, here is Dylan doing "Rock Of
Ages" in Santa Cruz, California, on March 16th
in the year 2000: mp3 file, here for a little while,
may be unreliable.
The History Books Tell It ...01/22/2005 04:49:36 pm
This is why Victor Hanson is obligatory reading. With
the current amazing reaction to the President's
declaration of the promotion of liberty as the
organizing principle of American foreign policy,
Hanson looks to history for the lessons that repeat
themselves. An excerpt:
My favorite example of
castigating idealism is far older and from
fourth-century B.C. Greece. By the 370s B.C.
idealists were firmly in control of the
government of conservative ancient Thebes, and
turned an oligarchic Boeotian Confederacy into a
real democracy. Convinced after their victory at
Leuktra (371 B.C.) that a wounded Sparta was
still a perennial threat, the new Boeotian
democrats mobilized a Hellenic coalition of the
willing to drop the old realist idea of
containment or of just waiting for Sparta to
Thus they embraced the preemptive act of invading
Sparta and freeing 250,000 Laconian and Messenian
indentured serfs or helots ("those
taken"). The preemptory invasion was aimed
at bringing freedom and democracy to Greeks
heretofore deemed less than fully Hellenic and
thought incapable of self-governance.
The subsequent successful invasion led by the
general Epaminondas was one of the few military
operations of the ancient world that had real
elements of idealism. Yet the circle around
Epaminondas was also suspected of being
influenced by the Pythagoreans, zealots who had
fallen under the spell of the subversive and
dangerous teachings of Pythagoras. The latter
purportedly had promulgated weird notions,
ranging from the equality of women to
vegetarianism, and his work seems to have
influenced Plato. Perhaps, Pythagoras was an
ancient bogeyman not unlike the contemporary Leo
Strauss, and was used to explain the otherwise
inexplicable fact that the Boeotians of all
people went into the heart of darkness to free
the people of the Peloponnese.
One last thing about such appreciation of
idealism in foreign policy: After Epaminondas
emasculated Sparta, liberated the helots, and
fostered a democratic Peloponnese, the Thebans,
far from hailing the hero, put the returning
commander on trial for usurping his prescribed
The more things change, the more they
Search For What's Not Lost ...01/22/2005 02:18:12 pm
In a never ending scramble to keep
up with the demands of a clamoring readership, Right
Wing Bob has added a search
functionality to what was already a state-of-the-art
web based publication. It's there, in the top of the
right hand column, and it works like these things
generally work. It's functionality is provided for
free by the folks at Free Find.com,
who in return get to run text ads above the search
results. Since the ads don't benefit Right
Wing Bob in the slightest, please
TV Talkin' ...01/22/2005
Via LGF, a link to the Middle East Media Research
Institute and their compilation of Iraqi election ads and public service
announcements. It's instructive indeed.
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall ...01/21/2005 02:50:04 pm
The non-governmental group Human
Rights Watch has the North Korean regime
rather peeved. In the delightful words of the official North Korean
... in an "annual report
on human rights" released on Jan. 13 dealing
with human rights performances in at least 60
countries [Human Rights Watch] once again pulled
up the DPRK over "the issues of political
offenders" and "defectors from the
north". This is nothing surprising to us as
it used to let loose a string of trite
vituperations against the DPRK as a tool
serving the successive U.S. administrations in
the implementation of their "human rights
policies." We term the Human Rights Watch's
malignant mud-slinging at the DPRK over its human
rights performance as sheer sophism
fully representing the U.S. hostile policy toward
Anyone seeking a quick expansion of
their vocabulary would really be well advised to read
North Korean news on a daily basis, rather than
investing in any of those tapes you sometimes hear
advertised on the radio.
The Human Rights Watch
report should be read in
full, but here are some excerpts:
Leader Kim Jong Il has ruled
with an iron fist and a bizarre cult of
personality since his father, former President
Kim Il Sung, died in 1994. Virtually every aspect
of political, social, and economic life is
controlled by the government. Although
North Korea has acceded to the International
Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on
Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights,
it routinely and egregiously violates nearly all
international human rights standards.
(Note the hilarious value of grand
international pieces of paper.)
Basic services, such as access
to health care and education, are parceled out
according to a classification scheme that divides
people into three groupscore,
hostilebased on the
governments assessment of their and their
familys political loyalty. There is no
freedom of the press or religion. The judiciary
is neither impartial nor independent. There is no
organized political opposition, no labor
activism, and no independent civil society.
No human rights organization
has direct access to the country for research or
investigation. Human Rights Watch has documented
abysmal human rights conditions through
interviews with refugees and escapees from prison
However, North Korea has a few
things to say about the United States in return:
The U.S., styling itself a
"human rights judge", has no right to
talk about human rights as it is the graveyard of
human rights and the worst human rights abuser in
the world. The political freedom, democracy and
vital rights of the popular masses are abridged
in the U.S. legally and institutionally.
The U.S. election law
restricts as strictly as possible the people's
right to elect and bars the popular masses from
freely taking part in the political life by
putting up various preconditions such as sex,
occupation, level of education, length of
residence, property status, age, political view
and religious belief.
More than 10 intelligence
institutions covering the whole area of the U.S.
with a dense intelligence network are gathering
specific information about the inhabitants who
account for 90 percent of the population. On this
basis they are encroaching upon the political
activities and freedom of speech of the popular
masses while gathering and analyzing the data
about their political life and ideological trend
by Internet and precision monitoring and
Actually it's sobering to contemplate how many
"amens" Kim Jong-Il's description of
America in 2005 would generate in a place like Democratic Underground.
The North Koreans also add:
A total of 235 million weapons
of various types are in use in the U.S., a
cesspool of crimes. In consequence tens of
thousands of people fall victim to gun-related
crimes every year.
It's irresistable to note that if the North Korean
people were similarly well armed, we woudn't have the
mixed pleasure of listening to the rantings of Kim's
No matter how desperately the
U.S. may work to vilify the DPRK's system,
man-centered socialism of Korean style remains
Tryin' To Get To Heaven ...01/21/2005 12:26:51 pm
Rolling Stone Magazine has rejected an ad for a
new translation of the Bible.
Is it because they really prefer the good old King
James? Well, apparently not. A spokesperson for
Wenner Media, which owns Rolling Stone, says that the
magazine is "not in the business of publishing
advertising for religious messages." Though, as
the Washington Times reporter notes:
Rolling Stone magazine accepted
advertising for a company selling a T-shirt
emblazoned with the image of Jesus Christ.
Indeed, a color ad with the image of Jesus and
the message, "Put down the drugs and come
get a hug," appears on page 71 of the
If you care to, you can see a
picture of that T-shirt here, along with this promo line: "the
freshest vintage style t-shirts in the universe. They
will make you laugh so hard you'll flat-line."
So it would seem that advertisements mocking religion
are A OK.
According to the AP story, the ad for the Bible
"features the face of a contemplative young man
and includes this copy: 'In a world of almost endless
media noise and political spin, you wonder where you
can find real truth. Well, now there's a source
that's accurate, clear and reliable. It's the TNIV --
Today's New International Version of the Bible. It's
written in today's language, for today's times -- and
it makes more sense than ever.' "
Well, I guess it shouldn't surprise, given the
reception Dylan's gospel work received from these
self same purveyors of ... well, I don't know what
they purvey exactly ... but it sure isn't the truth.
I was blinded by the devil,
Born already ruined,
As I stepped out of the womb.
By His grace I have been touched,
By His word I have been healed,
By His hand I've been delivered,
By His spirit I've been sealed.
Can't Wait ...01/20/2005 02:327:12 pm
Again, George W. Bush has delivered
a profound and ennobling speech - a speech which, if
given by a Democratic president, would be hailed as
the long awaited return of the great oratory of the
past. Well, history will remember it even if Chris
Matthews won't. Another thing about George W. Bush's
great speeches is this: he means every word. And the
words result in action. Four more years of it, thank
The speech, abridged for the sake
On this day, prescribed by law
and marked by ceremony, we celebrate the durable
wisdom of our Constitution, and recall the deep
commitments that unite our country. I am grateful
for the honor of this hour, mindful of the
consequential times in which we live, and
determined to fulfill the oath that I have sworn
and you have witnessed.
We have seen our vulnerability and we have seen
its deepest source. For as long as whole regions
of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny --
prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse
murder -- violence will gather, and multiply in
destructive power, and cross the most defended
borders, and raise a mortal threat. There is only
one force of history that can break the reign of
hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions
of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent
and tolerant, and that is the force of human
We are led, by events and common sense, to one
conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land
increasingly depends on the success of liberty in
other lands. The best hope for peace in our world
is the expansion of freedom in all the world.
America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs
are now one. From the day of our founding, we
have proclaimed that every man and woman on this
earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless
value, because they bear the image of the maker
of heaven and earth. Across the generations, we
have proclaimed the imperative of
self-government, because no one is fit to be a
master, and no one deserves to be a slave.
Advancing these ideals is the mission that
created our nation. It is the honorable
achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent
requirement of our nation's security, and the
calling of our time.
So it is the policy of the United States to seek
and support the growth of democratic movements
and institutions in every nation and culture,
with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our
America will not pretend that jailed dissidents
prefer their chains, or that women welcome
humiliation and servitude, or that any human
being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies.
We will encourage reform in other governments by
making clear that success in our relations will
require the decent treatment of their own people.
America's belief in human dignity will guide our
policies, yet rights must be more than the
grudging concessions of dictators; they are
secured by free dissent and the participation of
the governed. In the long run, there is no
justice without freedom, and there can be no
human rights without human liberty.
Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the
All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can
know: The United States will not ignore your
oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you
stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.
Democratic reformers facing repression, prison,
or exile can know: America sees you for who you
are: The future leaders of your free country.
The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we
still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: "Those
who deny freedom to others deserve it not for
themselves; and, under the rule of a just God,
cannot long retain it."
The leaders of governments with long habits of
control need to know: To serve your people you
must learn to trust them. Start on this journey
of progress and justice, and America will walk at
And all the allies of the
United States can know: we honor your friendship,
we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your
help. Division among free nations is a primary
goal of freedoms enemies. The concerted effort of
free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to
our enemies defeat.
A few Americans have accepted the hardest duties
in this cause in the quiet work of intelligence
and diplomacy; the idealistic work of helping
raise up free governments; the dangerous and
necessary work of fighting our enemies. Some have
shown their devotion to our country in deaths
that honored their whole lives and we will always
honor their names and their sacrifice.
America has need of idealism and courage, because
we have essential work at home: the unfinished
work of American freedom. In a world moving
toward liberty, we are determined to show the
meaning and promise of liberty.
Self-government relies, in the end, on the
governing of the self. That edifice of character
is built in families, supported by communities
with standards, and sustained in our national
life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the
Mount, the words of the Koran, and the varied
faiths of our people. Americans move forward in
every generation by reaffirming all that is good
and true that came before ideals of justice and
conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and
In America's ideal of freedom, the exercise of
rights is ennobled by service, and mercy, and a
heart for the weak. Liberty for all does not mean
independence from one another. Our nation relies
on men and women who look after a neighbor and
surround the lost with love. Americans, at our
best, value the life we see in one another, and
must always remember that even the unwanted have
worth. And our country must abandon all the
habits of racism, because we cannot carry the
message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at
the same time.
We go forward with complete confidence in the
eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history
runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human
choices that move events. Not because we consider
ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses
as He wills. We have confidence because freedom
is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in
dark places, the longing of the soul. When our
Founders declared a new order of the ages; when
soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based
on liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful
outrage under the banner "Freedom Now"
they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant
to be fulfilled. History has an ebb and flow of
justice, but history also has a visible
direction, set by liberty and the author of
When the Declaration of Independence was first
read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded
in celebration, a witness said, "It rang as
if it meant something." In our time it means
something still. America, in this young century,
proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and
to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our
strength, tested, but not weary, we are ready for
the greatest achievements in the history of
May God bless you, and may He watch over the
United States of America.
Well, No Dylan ...01/19/2005
... but Dubya's showing up to perform and that's
the important thing. Thanks to everyone who sent
communications to Washington to try and get something
going. It was always a shot in the dark, but I'm glad
we fired it. What's the line? "I'm glad I fought -I only wish
Of-course if Dylan shows up somewhere by surprise
tomorrow, Right Wing Bob
still reserves the right to claim credit.
Oh, and, now that I think of it, we did
win, didn't we?
Jim Jones ...01/18/2005
Those interested in such things know that some
live recordings of Dylan's 1993 tour have appeared in
trading forums recently - so called
"preboard" recordings; i.e. not soundboard
but drawn from various mikes. That results in strange
mixes, so you're not hearing what the crowd actually
heard. Too esoteric to spur much interest on my part,
but I nevertheless have crossed paths with such a
recording of Dylan's June 1993 gig in Tel-Aviv,
Israel. I particularly like his performance of the
traditional song Jim Jones
at that gig (mp3 here for awhile, may be unreliable).
The mix is such that it's as if you're standing
behind Dylan's left shoulder. His guitar is right out
in front, and his vocal is loud and clear. There's
some pedal steel guitar licks from Bucky Baxter
shimmering ghost-like in the background, and that's
about all you hear from the band. That's OK, since
this is essentially an acoustic number. I like the
performance a lot, and it made me think about the
song a little more.
Dylan sings this old tune in some way that's
deeply and completely convincing - yet without the
slightest stretch or strain. The song is the story of
a convicted criminal, Jim Jones, banished from
England to the other side of the world: Botany Bay in
New South Wales, Australia. It's a place the pitiable
convict has not reached yet, but it exists in his
mind already as a place of ultimate torment, where
gladness of any kind cannot even be contemplated.
As the judge tells him:
"Oh, for life, Jim Jones, I'm
Across the stormy sea
But take a tip before you ship
To join the iron gang
Don't get too gay in Botany Bay
Or else you'll surely hang
Or else you'll surely hang", says he
"And after that Jim Jones
It's high above on the gallows tree
The crows will pick your bones".
His dread of the destination is
such that when a pirate ship attacks the convict ship
that carries him, he is dismayed when the soldiers
fight the pirates off. He then wishes for the ship to
sink in the tempest tossed sea.
With the storms ragin' round us
And the winds blowin' gales
I'd rather have drowned in misery
Than gone to New South Wales
There's no time for mischief there they say
Remember that, says they
Or they'll flog the poaching out of you
Down there in Botany Bay.
In the third and final part we arrive at the
present time when Jim Jones is "writing"
the song, so to speak. It seems to me that he's still
within the bowels of the convict ship itself, not
arrived at the horrible place itself but imagining
himself there. He even knows the name of a famed
escaped convict who came before him, Jack Donohue
(maybe from another song he's heard). He is also now
nursing a bitter desire for vengeance that gives him
the barest breath to carry on, while his fellows die
Now it's day and night the irons
And like poor galley slaves
We toil and toil, and when we die
Must fill dishonored graves
And it's by and by I'll slip my chains
Into the bush I'll go
And I'll join the brave bushrangers there
Jack Donohue and co
And some dark night, when everything
Is silent in the town
I'll shoot them tyrants one and all
I'll gun the floggers down
Oh, I'll give the land a little shock
Remember what I say
They'll yet regret they've sent Jim Jones
In chains to Botany Bay.
It's really a pretty terrifying song of a human
being beyond the edge. It's hell on earth, and fear
and hopelessness, where hatred and a bitter pride are
the only source of strength. And yet it's poignant -
you can cry for this desperate Jim Jones.
It's a song that Dylan connects with and wears
like a comfortable old pair of boots. He lives in it.
Every anguished nuance of the tale is held within his
voice, and he plays his guitar with every ounce of
expression that is called for, and yet the whole
performance is at the same time a model of restraint.
Anyway, I just like it. The performance on Good
As I Been To You is equally great.
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2005 by RightWingBob.com
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