Monday, January 03, 2011

Iris DeMent and Darrell Issa-- Living In The Wasteland Of The Free


Wasteland of the Free is an independent website "inspired by and dedicated to Iris DeMent, hoping against hope that the compassion and humanity she personifies still exists in the hearts of sufficient numbers of Americans that we may yet reverse our country's accelerating social decay and ignominy." It's also the name of a song she wrote in 1996-- pre-George W. Bush, but very much presaging what he was about to bring to our country.
Things have gone so bad so fast that we appear to be in a headlong plunge toward barbarism on the scale of Hitler's Third Reich through the renewed development of nuclear weapons and serious planning for their preemptive use against countries weaker than us. We wield our weapons of mass destruction for political and military use and threaten the entire world, building up tensions and hatreds as we throw our weight around imperialistically in foreign places we have no legitimate business in. We support some dictatorships while we condemn others for being dictatorships, that and other blatant hypocrisies destroy our credibility and respect worldwide. We all have seen the Bush administration go to war against a sovereign state on the basis of nothing more than the dark suspicions of their own paranoia; no lack of proof of weapons of mass destruction or worldwide opposition has deterred them. They even made torture respectable in some circles, suspended Habeas Corpus, and discarded entirely the American principles of due process and rule of law by capturing and holding people indefinitely without trial. Sadly, the campaign promises that gave so many Americans hope for change have not been implemented by President Obama and he has allowed America to continue on it's dark path, another Empire bent on death, destruction, and dishonor. The fruits of these moral lapses are already coming back to haunt us because they are the best recruiting tool Osama bin Laden and other fanatics could ask for as he provides them with real justification to hate us. Hostile states like North Korea and Iran have scrambled to amass nuclear arsenals to protect themselves from what they must perceive as unprovoked American aggression and readiness to kill many thousands of innocents. A kind of mass blindness to the fundamental immorality of initiating war seems to have infected our nation not unlike the way it infected Hitler's Germany, although much of the world sees America as more dangerous and sinister than the Nazis ever were. Hardly anyone seems too concerned about the legal architects of the Bush torture polices, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and his compliant attorney John Yoo (who holds that the President's war powers place him above any law) who should both be in prison by now with their bosses for war crimes. Atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison involving torture are probably still is going on in other places with the Obama administration's full knowledge and blessing. Occasionally more information comes about the secret prisons in Europe and the "extraordinary renditions" enabling torture outside of our laws in the name of a country that is supposed to stand for freedom and moral clarity. My country, that George Bush Junior and now Barack Obama have been dragging into the darkness like Hitler dragged Germany down into depravity. Of course it all fits into the same pattern of secret spying on Americans in blatant disregard of the law and attacks upon the Constitution.

Iris was born four months after Blanche Lambert, another daughter of Arkansas, better known to most as defeated U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln. They couldn't be more unalike, Blanche assiduously avoiding the big social issues in a miserable political career that DeMent tackles with such grace in hers. "Wasteland of the Free," which was the standout track from her third album, The Way I Should, is certainly her most overtly political song. You can watch her performing it live above, but do yourself a favor and read her lyrics as well. She put a lot into them.
We got preachers dealing in politics and diamond mines
and their speech is growing increasingly unkind
They say they are Christ's disciples
but they don't look like Jesus to me
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We got politicians running races on corporate cash
Now don't tell me they don't turn around and kiss them peoples' ass
You may call me old-fashioned
but that don't fit my picture of a true democracy
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We got CEO's making two hundred times the workers' pay
but they'll fight like hell against raising the minimum wage
and If you don't like it, mister, they'll ship your job
to some third-world country 'cross the sea
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

Living in the wasteland of the free
where the poor have now become the enemy
Let's blame our troubles on the weak ones
Sounds like some kind of Hitler remedy
Living in the wasteland of the free

We got little kids with guns fighting inner city wars
So what do we do, we put these little kids behind prison doors
and we call ourselves the advanced civilization
that sounds like crap to me
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We got high-school kids running 'round in Calvin Klein and Guess
who cannot pass a sixth-grade reading test
but if you ask them, they can tell you
the name of every crotch on MTV
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

We kill for oil, then we throw a party when we win
Some guy refuses to fight, and we call that the sin
but he's standing up for what he believes in
and that seems pretty damned American to me
and it feels like I am living in the wasteland of the free

Living in the wasteland of the free
where the poor have now become the enemy
Let's blame our troubles on the weak ones
Sounds like some kind of Hitler remedy
Living in the wasteland of the free

While we sit gloating in our greatness
justice is sinking to the bottom of the sea
Living in the wasteland of the free
Living in the wasteland of the free
Living in the wasteland of the free

GOP pimp-daddy Darrell Issa, not with Iris

The song was banned by many radio stations for its stinging indictment of the right-wing social and political agenda, and Iris's career came to a screeching halt. Country radio isn't a place where you're likely to hear a song that lays out a progressive critique of the Establishment and takes on institutions like the Church, the foreign policy establishment, capitalism and corporations. College and NPR stations did play it-- and one, WMNF in Tampa, was partially defunded by a raging Republican asshole in the state Senate, John Grant, who found it offensive beyond bearing. He had $103,000 cut from the station's budget, but the station raised $120,000 in a one-day special fundraiser.

Republicans really are assholes. Not just the Members of Congress-- who are all assholes-- and other elected officials, but rank-and-file citizens who look at the party and what it stands for and identify as a Republican. I wonder how many people watched California crook Darrell Issa-- a career criminal who was arrested for car theft multiple times and worked closely with Duke Cunningham on a series of bribery scams and then ignored subpoenas to testify-- on CNN's State of the Union yesterday and decided they want to be a Republican.
The incoming House Oversight and Government Reform chairman on Sunday tried to clarify his recent remarks to Rush Limbaugh where he called President Obama "one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times."

"When you hand out $1 trillion in TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) just before this president came in, most of it unspent, $1 trillion nearly in stimulus, that this president asked for, plus this huge expansion in health care and government, it has a corrupting effect," Issa said on CNN's State of the Union.

Issa wasn't one of the 91 Republican congressman who did what George Bush asked them (i.e., vote for TARP). But among the ones who did were virtually all of his party's leaders-- John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Pete Sessions, Fred Upton, Buck McKeon, Spencer Bachus, and David Dreier, as well as just-elected U.S. Senators Roy Blunt, Mark Kirk and John Boozman. That's a lot of corruption in the paranoid little world of the wealthiest Member of the House. The Republicans seem to have appointed a jackass with no idea what the hell he's talking about to chair the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. And according to this morning's Politico Issa "is aiming to launch investigations on everything from WikiLeaks to Fannie Mae to corruption in Afghanistan" right off the bat-- as well as "how regulation impacts job creation, the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the foreclosure crisis; recalls at the Food and Drug Administration and the failure of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to agree on the causes of the market meltdown."
This sweeping and specific hearing agenda shows that Issa (R-Calif.) plans to cut a wide swath as chairman, latching onto hot button issues that could make his committee the center of attention in the opening months of the 112th Congress. By grabbing such a wide portfolio – especially in national security matters – Issa is also laying down a marker of sorts, which could cement his panel as the go-to place for investigations.

All that comes to mind is a picture of a psychotic child with a loaded gun.

Want to see him floundering around like a raving maniac and an imbecile?

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At 5:38 AM, Blogger Retired Patriot said...

Issa is still PO'd that he got Davis canned but didn't get his job. And he's going to take it out on the whole country.

Then again, IOKIYAR.

Thanks for highlighting Iris' great song. This song was way ahead of its time.... and still is. Although we don't feel like living in the wasteland of the free. We ARE living in that wasteland.

And the GOP calls it a victory.



At 6:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw this:
Paul Khoner

"Darryl Issa is investigating the criminal actions of Rattner, who just got busted and the whole DOE ATVM and Loan Gaurantee favoritism, misdirection of applicants, misdirection of funds and log-jamming of applicants that compete with Rattner's, Lachlan Sewards, Matt Rogers, Steve Spinners and Mr. Tobins special Interests at DOE/WH. Feinstein and others will go down along with her husband on his Mongolia lithium, Tesla and Blum Capitol scams."


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