Ring them bells St. Peter
Where the four winds blow,
Ring them bells with an iron hand
So the people will know.
Oh it's rush hour now
On the wheel and the plow
And the sun is going down
Upon the sacred cow.

Links to outside sites will open in a new window


Daily Ramblings:


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 mercy ...

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.

sorry :(


The Sands On The Shoreline Will Be Shaking ...01/30/2005 02:35:07 pm

From this Iraqi blog, a photograph of ordinary people leaving the polls, with their pride and self-respect in ascendance.

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 Arabia?"

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 not.

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 sun.

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 tyrants.
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 dreamin'.
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 09:18:49 am


at last.

"An Iraqi woman cries tears of joy after casting her vote, outside a polling station in the holy city of Najaf, Jan. 30, 2005. "


...01/28/2005 09:07:07 pm

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 Nelson's.


Addendum 09:34:41 pm: Merle Haggard talking about President Reagan, on the occasion of his passing on last year. I particularly like this quote, from the end of the interview:

"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 Deux ...01/28/2005 08:16:02 pm

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 Sunday’s elections picked up pace and voters were presented with a dizzying selection of dozens of candidates and parties.

Notwithstanding insurgent 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 era.

Some vignettes of how a people who've never known freedom are struggling towards self-respect:

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 Sunday’s 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 try?

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 PEOPLE'S CHOICE.
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 the dictators.

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 things.

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 caused."

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 Jan. 30."

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" to vote.

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 Co., also:

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 out.

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 said.

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 rewards.

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 event is "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.

Addendum 01/25/2005 03:03:41 pm: Simon & Schuster says 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 attack.

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 tenure.

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 ignore them.

TV Talkin' ...01/22/2005 09:05:41 am

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 news agency:

... 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 the DPRK.

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 groups—“core,” “wavering,” and “hostile”—based on the government’s assessment of their and their family’s 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 camps.

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 wiretapping means.       

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 stooges.

They finish:

No matter how desperately the U.S. may work to vilify the DPRK's system, man-centered socialism of Korean style remains stable.


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 current issue.

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,
Stone-cold dead
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

GWB and Rehnquist

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 God.

The speech, abridged for the sake of amplification:

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 freedom.

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 world.
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 world:

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 your side.

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 forever.
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 Liberty.

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 freedom.

May God bless you, and may He watch over the United States of America.



Well, No Dylan ...01/19/2005 08:25:46 pm

O Sole Mio

... 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 we'd won."

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?


4 more years


Jim Jones ...01/18/2005 02:38:05 pm

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 sending you
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 around him.

Now it's day and night the irons clang
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.




Original text copyright 2005 by RightWingBob.com
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Argument With A Leftist

God On Our Side

A Christmas Carol

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