A poet’s work is to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides,
start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.
– Salman Rushdie

 

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SPOILED LITTLE RICH KID STILL AT IT
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In This Issue:

David’s Notes
Must the Empire Always Strike Back? by Tom F. Driver
Colonel Douglas McGregor on the War in Iraq:
Watch it on-line at Newsweek On Air
Bill Moyer’s Journal and the Mainstream Media
Two Poems from Judevine Mountain
A Final Note, and a Last Word from Rahsaan Roland Kirk

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David’s Notes:
It’s been almost a year since the last JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE. I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been so busy with other things I haven’t had time, which is, in part, true. But the truth is, I’ve been so depressed by the state of politics in America I haven’t had the heart to do another JME, and I barely do now. But we’ve got to keep on keepin’ on, right?

9/11 week is over, Praise the Lord. Barack O’Bama is right, why fall for this crafty connection between 9/11 and the War in Iraq? Why did General Petraeus have to come to Congress on 9/11? Almost everybody says they don’t respect The President anymore, but they do respect the Generals. Huh? Why? Based on what? On the way General Colin Powell dissembled and lied to us? General Petraeus even had charts and graphs just like Powell did. Why should we–given our past experience with generals–believe a word General Petraeus says?

It is clear now from what General Petraeus said and from President Bush’s speech on 9/13 that the President intends to stick to his pig-headed, stubborn, spoiled-little-rich-kid view of the way he wants the world to be. He means to do absolutely nothing about Iraq from now until he leaves office. Then he will retire to his ranch in Texas where he will go fishing and stick the next President with the quagmire, mess, conundrum, chaos he has created.

He has bankrupted America, killed thousands of innocent soldiers and civilians, both American and Iraqi, destroyed our military, not to mention made a total mess of disaster relief, education, social security, health care–make your own list–and so on, and now he intends to walk away doing what he always does, giving to everyone the erected middle finger and his trademark smirk.

This should not come as any surprise. When he failed miserably as the president of the Texas Rangers baseball team his friends bailed him out. He never had to face his own incompetence and failure. It will happen again on January 20, 2009.

George Bush has always gotten his way even if he’s had to redefine reality to get it. And he’s going to get his way again. He’s going to, as usual, leave the mess he’s made for someone else to clean up, just as he did with the Texas Rangers baseball team.

And if you don’t believe me, here’s what The New York Times editorial for September 9, 2007, had to say, Nothing has changed about Mr. Bush’s intentions. Waving off the independent reports, he plans to stay the course and make his successor fix his Iraq fiasco.

May God have mercy on the next President.

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Must the Empire Always Strike Back? by Tom F. Driver
For a very brief time after 9/11 we North Americans had a chance to learn from our pain. One of its lessons might have been how much we are like others in our vulnerability, our suffering and our flawed leadership.

Since we were getting a flood of messages of sympathy and solidarity from around the world, we might have learned from them how to turn pain into compassion and wisdom. Then we could have begun to address the causes of the miseries that lead to terrorism.

We could have seen that terrorism is not simply born of evil but comes from histories of inferiority and the consequent desire for revenge. The way to counter terrorism is to advocate not for our own brand of “democracy” but for the just distribution of the world’s resources.

Instead, we used 9/11 to bolster our own feelings of “us versus them,” our illusory dream of invulnerability and our search for enemies rather than friends. This mentality, a blend of machismo and militarism, has given us bloody Iraq, tempts us to nuke Iran and requires us to look under every rock for dangerous foes.

Given this mentality, we will find them.

—–

Editor’s Note: Tom F. Driver is emeritus professor of theology and culture at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. This essay first appeared as a Letter to the Editor in The New York Times on September 14, 2007

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Colonel Douglas McGregor on Newsweek on Air
The media continues to be the defining factor in what we hear, see and know about anything. And some of our most trusted media outlets–NPR for example–fail us over and over again, like Cokey Roberts’ thinly veiled Republican analyses on Morning Edition. On the other hand, I am continually surprised and pleased by the reporting on Sunday morning on a program called NEWSWEEK ON AIR, which airs on commercial radio stations around the country. Here for example are Colonel Douglas McGregor’s comments on the war in Iraq, an honest, straightforward assessment, for a change.

You can listen on line at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12318129/site/newsweek/?bclid=1173345317

Click on: Audio: Advising Petraeus: And His Advice, suffer through a commercial, then when play video comes up, click on it, suffer through another commercial and then listen to the news piece. McGregor’s comments are toward the end of the piece but well worth the wait.

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Bill Moyer’s Journal and the Mainstream Media
And speaking of media, if you missed Bill Moyers initial reentry into the Public Television world with his newly minted Bill Moyers’ Journal last March, go back and watch “Buying the War.” This 90 minute documentary points out in specific detail how the major mainstream press–The New York Times and Washington Post along with CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN and Fox–all collaborated with the Bush Administration to spread, unchallenged, the lies used to lead us to war in Iraq.

And they are still at it. The New York Times reported on September 13, 2007: In Iraq, the report from General Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker to Congress was viewed favorably because it portrayed the situation accurately. For more on this go to:http://jameswagner.com/mt_archives/006638.html

To watch Bill Moyers’ Journal “Buying the War,” click on http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/btw then scroll down to Watch & Listen and click again. You can watch the video and/or read the transcript.

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Two Poems from Judevine Mountain

He Should Be So Lucky

One general pulling out a victory
leaves ten thousand corpses to rot.

Ts’ao Sung

General Hsin Ch’i-Chi complains:
never the spring wind
will turn this white beard
black again.

Now, instead of reveling in his book
Destroying Tatars
he’s been reduced to reading
How to Plant Trees.

He should be so lucky.
Better he should spend his days
putting young trees into the earth
rather than young bodies.

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THE SUBWAY PHILANTHROPIST

The Emperor of Death loves only weapons and money and
so long as he is on the throne, The Subway Philanthropist
plies his trade, prowling the bowels of New York City moving
deliberately from subway station to subway station dropping
fifty-dollar bills into white plastic five gallon buckets, saxo-
phone cases, violin cases, upturned straw hats, Tupperware
bowls, all sitting quietly in front of electric guitar players,
Mariachi bands, women classical saxophonists, avant garde
jazz ensembles, brothers in do-rags drumming on plastic
buckets and tin cans, a woman playing a saw, an electric
organist playing Guy Lombardo’s greatest hits, old Chinese
men playing one-string Chinese violins, Peruvian Panpipe
Players, young Chinese men playing Chinese flutes, Buddhist
monks playing Shakuhachi, doo-wop singers doing close four-
part harmonies, conga players, bongo players, cellists, string
quartets, Hawaiian guitar players and trombone players too,
all of them, every one, no matter how good, how bad, itÕs
music and it’s a stay against, an antidote to, The Emperor’s
hatred of all that is warm and good and alive. And so The
Subway Philanthropist plies his trade, makes his rounds,
prowls the subways paying one fifty-dollar bill at a time to
keep humanity alive while the Emperor of Death wages war
upstairs, above ground, in the sad daylight of the world.

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A Final Note, and a Last Word from Rahsaan Roland Kirk

When it all finally comes out, the Bush administration will make Warren G. Harding look like Mother Theresa. The Bush administration will, however, never have the honesty about itself that Harding had about himself. This is the most corrupt, criminal, evil, scandalous, wicked, foul, dishonest administration in the history of the United States. Their egomaniacal arrogance, hubris and vainglorious pride know no bounds. May they all–Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Gonzales, Brownie, Rumsfeld, the whole schmear–go straight to hell, or better yet: Guantanamo.

Or as Rahsaan Roland Kirk said, lo, those many years ago, in “Watergate Blues”:

Line ‘em up. Take ‘em away.
Don’t give ‘em no break.
—–
Editor’s Note: “Watergate Blues” is from Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s album Boogie-Woogie String Along for Real, Warner Bros. Records, BSK 3085. © 1978.

Further Note: Percy Heath–bassist for The Modern Jazz Quartet–composed “Watergate Blues.” Heath plays cello with Rahsaan on “Watergate Blues.”

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