The Disgruntled Dylanologist

All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie.

Hillary Clinton: Sad-Eyed Lady of the Statelands


The kings of Tyrus with their convict list

Are waiting in line for their geranium kiss,
And you wouldn’t know it would happen like this,
But who among them really wants just to kiss you?

I don’t know which is more surprising— that Barack Obama tapped his former rival, Hillary Clinton, to be Secretary of State, or that Bill Clinton has agreed to play ball with the guy who humiliated him by making him sing his praises in the seventh inning stretch of the recent presidential campaign.

Either way, naming Hillary Clinton as the next Secretary of State is a political masterstroke. Once again, Barack Obama has hit it out of the ballpark.

In all fairness to the Clintons, the pitch probably seemed like a softball. In exchange for a coveted spot on Team Obama, all the Clintons had to do was publicly disclose a list of the financial contributors to their wildly successful, albeit highly secretive charitable organization, the Clinton Global Initiative.

Sure, the deal lets the former president feign ‘transparency’ by voluntarily offering up the names of the corporations, countries and charitable organizations that have stuffed more than $500 million into the Clinton coffers over the last 10 years. But can anyone really expect Hillary Clinton, the soon-to-be de facto representative of the Obama Administration abroad, to see past the favors, chits and IOUs that she and her husband have amassed over the last 15 years?

Saudi Arabia alone gave to the Clinton Global Initiative between $10 million and $25 million. The governments of Brunei, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Qatar and Taiwan each gave more than $1 million. So did the ruling family of Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Foundation.

So why would Barack Obama appoint someone with such an obvious conflict of interest to such a high profile post? Because Hillary Clinton’s nomination was never about building a ‘team of rivals,’ as Obama so often likes to suggest, casting himself in the mold of his political aspirant, Abraham Lincoln. Obama had another Lincoln mantra on his mind when he decided to call Hillary Clinton up to the big leagues, and that mantra goes something like this: “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?”

By providing the 2,922-page list containing more than 200,000 benefactors, Bill Clinton not only lifted a veil of secrecy that had protected his personal and business dealings from scrutiny for the last decade and half, he publicly disclosed every name of every person from every county on every continent in every corner of the world he has had contact with for the last 15 years.

Anyone connected to the Clintons—all their supporters, their benefactors, their cronies, their champions—all laid out not only for Obama, but for every other Clinton contrarian to see.

This deliberate drawing an adversary out into the open, leading them into the arena, then laying them bare for all to see isn’t just a technique that works well on the political stage. In fact, it’s a technique Bob Dylan has employed with dexterous skill since he stepped in the stage some 40 years ago.

Anyone who has witness Bob in his element knows that when you step on stage with Dylan, you leave nothing on the sidelines. The same is proving true with Barack Obama. Whether it’s writing about a marriage that’s doomed, or plotting a union that will likely end the same way, Dylan and Obama are masters at their craft.

The pending Obama-Clinton pact is a perfect case in point. Should Senator Clinton becomes Secretary of State, Obama gets two of the biggest sluggers in the Democratic Party on his team. If not, they go back to the minor leagues.

Either way, Barack Obama has his bases covered…

Now you stand with your thief, you’re on his parole
With your holy medallion which your fingertips fold,
And your saintlike face and your ghostlike soul,
Oh, who among them do you think could destroy you?

For a complete, searchable list of all 220,000 donors to the Clinton Global Initiative, click here.

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December 22, 2008 Posted by | Disgruntled, Dylanologist | , , , , , | Leave a comment

There’s a Slow Train Coming: You Get What You Pei For


Sometimes I feel so low-down and disgusted

Can’t help but wonder what’s happenin’ to my companions,
Are they lost or are they found, have they counted the cost it’ll take to bring
down
All their earthly principles they’re gonna have to abandon?

Who knew a song written nearly 30 years ago would be so relevant three decades later? I don’t think any of us would put it past Bob Dylan.

Now, the last I want to do is knock the arts. Artistic expression—in whatever form it bubbles to surface—is something that should be praised, protected and preserved.

So why am I out to tear the arts a new one? Because there is a slow train coming, my fellow Disgruntled Dylanologists, and it ain’t running on coal—it’s running on oil.

The future is bright in the Persian Gulf. The horizon, it seems, is even brighter. Because in the months to come, oil derricks won’t be the only structures rising up from the white-hot Arabian sands.

In the last year alone, nearly every member of OPEC has commissioned a ‘cultural arts’ center. Shining, sparkling, glowing celebrations of the world’s artistic heritage in a land formerly awash in sand dunes.

First, there’s the King Abdulaziz Center, a sprawling, 400-acre compound consisting of a museum, library, theater, cinema and more. And here’s the best part… the whole thing is dedicated to one, singular objective: The history of oil in Saudi Arabia. This, of course, makes complete sense when you consider who’s footing the bill—Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company.

And then there’s the newly-commissioned Louvre Abu Dhabi, set to open sometime in 2012. Let’s be honest. Most of the world couldn’t find Abu Dhabi on a map if they tried. And while the city has been in existence for nearly 3,000 years, it wasn’t even on the map until 1958. Guess what they found in 1958? (HINT: What’s black and gold and greases the palms of politicians the world over?)

No museum, however, is more impressive than the Museum of Islamic Art, which opened last week in Qatar. But it isn’t what the Museum of Islamic Art houses that’s so impressive— it’s where it houses them.

One of the guidelines for the project enacted by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei was that his 376,740-sq.-ft. museum rise from its own island in the Arabian Gulf in Doha Qatar. An island in the middle of an Arabian oasis. It drips with irony, not to mention $1.6 billion in oil money.

Listen, I’m not coming down on the OPEC nations for wanting to celebrate the arts. And I’m certainly not criticizing them for wanting to preserve their own cultural heritage. The fact that anyone is willing, much less able, to make an investment in the arts in this day and age is something we should all stand up and take note of. And that’s precisely my point…

A large part of the reason that arts funding is being cut faster than a punk in a back alley knife fight in America and abroad is that the world economy is in shambles. Money that should be spent on schools, roads, education, and the arts is being siphoned off at an alarming rate to fund a war to protect the countries who are crippling us in the first place.


I guess there’s an upside to the fact that Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Qatar are building monuments while the rest of the world build ships and boats. At least we’ll know everything that’s important to us will be safe when the deal goes down.

The irony, of course, is that we certainly had plenty of forewarning. Bob saw that slow train coming nearly 30 years ago…

All that foreign oil controlling American soil,
Look around you, it’s just bound to make you embarrassed.
Sheiks walkin’ around like kings, wearing fancy jewels and nose rings,
Deciding America’s future from Amsterdam and to Paris
And there’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend.

December 1, 2008 Posted by | Disgruntled, Dylanologist | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment