by andy goldsworthy
Much of the day went to painting, NPR on the radio, which I don't listen to a great deal any more from waning interest in being lied to. The funniest of all, a tunnel was dug in Afghanistan that freed 500 prisoners from the American prison at Kandahar, if I remember correctly. I'd guess some heads rolled over this one. Another story of high-tech vs guts where guts wins. I remember from school in childhood the wisdom of the American freedom fighters in the time if the Revolutionary War. The British lined up in rows and traveled in long columns. The local boys hid behind trees and worked more as snipers, thus defeating the Empire by stealth, because they knew the land. Whether it was so or not, I don't know, it's what the teacher said, or possibly false memory of what the teacher said. When it's on our side, such ingenuity is patriotism to the max. Now that we're the big intimidating Force and the other side pulls something immensely ingenious, they're Taliban, terrorists, axis of evil. We are, after all, on their land, which they know a whole lot better than by satellite maps. American Indians knew the land too.
Generals from the Pentagon are appealing to our venal Congress to stop taking food from hungry children in poverty, a rather large number in America, and basic infrastructure, like bridge replacement, and education, the one thing politicians don't want us to have. In the early 80s Reagan embarrassed the Pentagon by increasing their budget so incredibly much while slashing programs that helped black people in poverty. If it benefitted anybody black, it had to go. And it was well known that in the Reagan Whitehouse Martin Luther King was known as Martin Lucifer Coon. Bear down on the black people and build prisons for them. Good for the economy. Now 30+ years later, we're in such a fix the Pentagon is pleading with government to take needed money from their over-stuffed budget that gets spent on hyper-inflated prices for hammers, toilet seats and so on and so on. I never believed I'd see the day the Pentagon would appeal to government to take some of it's glut and pass it around to the American people who are waning from paying taxes for a war machine that has to create ongoing wars to justify itself, getting nothing in return but contempt from the rest of the world.
I heard a man talk about narcissism on the rise in America. He was going by degrees of narcissism in pop songs of a given time. That took hold of my interest somewhat. In the 1980s American individualism degenerated to narcissism, has stayed there ever since, and evidently increasing, as it would. I don't see it so much in country people, but in exurbanites I see a great deal of it. And I've learned over the years when it's a mass trend, everybody doing it, the origin is television. Some weeks after 911 when the corporate media had the American mind locked down in fear, my friend Lucas in Georgia, asked me if I felt any fear of terrorists. I couldn't believe he was asking. Why would I? They like cities. I don't watch tv and didn't get cranked up into the collective fear rush. When I saw the towers fall straight down, I took it there was something fishy going on. It wasn't terrorists I had to be afraid of, but I already knew that.
On the Diane Rehm interview show this morning, she was talking with James Stewart, who had researched and wrote a book on the increasing frequency of perjury by our "leaders." His premise was to spell out how false statements are undermining America. I think the title was Tangled Webs. The moment I heard that, my antennae went to whirring. This guy might have something to say worth hearing. Clinton is not the only president to commit perjury. I have seen Reagan lie under oath on tv news. Bush2 was known to lie only. I have a video set of government made films during the Vietnam War. At the beginning is Lyndon Johnson talking on tv to the American people lying with the straightest face you ever looked at. Practiced liar. Of course, we already knew that. I don't think Nixon had many stars by his name for truth telling. Like the reggae singer Burning Spear says, Babylon will fall.
Politics and truth don't go together very well, as it's always been, but Stewart was noting increasing frequency of our "leaders" lying under oath. You don't see government officials speak truth under oath any more. And no one calls them on it. A few weeks ago I saw footage in a documentary film of a general lying under oath in a Congressional hearing. The congressman knew he was lying and never even flinched. They are the best of the best. Stewart stated the obvious, that the conduct of our "leaders" such as presidents, senators, supreme court justices, influences the people a whole lot more than a baseball player lying about steroids. It's that lying is generally known to be the language of our "leaders." The president lies on tv news every day for 8 years and a baseball player on the spot uses his example. It worked for him, maybe it will work for me. Stewart had a great deal to say worth hearing, indeed. He had seen so deeply into the subject he was talking about, he had passion sparked by the rampant perjury going on by the international megacorporations too. Who's going to call them on it? Not the Thomas supreme court. If I could tolerate reading about those people, it would surely be an interesting read. I can't read an entire book about people who disgust me, unless it's written by Patrick White.
I found much of interest in today's radio news programs. It was like seeing a footprint in the march thru time, a time when American individualism has broken bounds and gone off into arrogant egoism of the most Xtreme. And at the same time, in the world I live in, the world of my friends, lying is not the norm. Nor is arrogance nor narcissism. The people I live among are peaceable people, who might lie to you if you started asking questions they didn't believe were any of your business to ask. Maybe them lying in Washington DC keeps us living in peace at home. But I'm with James Stewart, I don't think so. At the computer after a day of painting, I went to YouTube and found 2 videos of Thornton Spencer playing fiddle and Emily, his wife, playing guitar, with Enoch Rutherford clucking his banjo. There was no lying in that. There were no false people involved either. I'm glad to see somebody has put this present trend among our "leaders" out in the open so any of us that want to can see it. It isn't going to change anything in DC. However, it's a good resource for term papers and historians.