♫ Don’t Lie To Me ♫

It was just a couple of days ago that I played You Don’t Send Me Flowers, by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond.  I typically try to put a few weeks’ distance between songs by the same artist, but just yesterday, a dear friend sent me information about a new song by Ms. Streisand, and I didn’t want to put it aside for any length of time, knowing I would likely forget it.  Now, I don’t intend these music posts to be political, necessarily, but sometimes they are, for the music is … well, not so much political as a statement against social injustice, or sometimes even revolutionary.

This song, Don’t Lie to Me, is Barbra Streisand’s first new original music since 2005, and was the first new single off her upcoming album Walls, due out November 2nd.   In a recent interview with Time magazine, Streisand explains what motivated her to write this song, along with John Shanks, Jonas Myrin, and Jay Landers …

“My problem is what’s been happening to America. Even basic human decency seems to be melting away faster than the polar ice caps. An artist – at least – has a form of expression, which I’m grateful for. It gives me a way to let off a little steam.  It’s easy to feel powerless, but we’re not.

They’re very troubling times. The leader of the free world doesn’t seem to care much about truth, and he’s chipping away at the pillars of democracy, like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press. I believe in the power of the truth, and I can’t stand being lied to. I don’t think the country should be lied to either. So that started me thinking about how to put down my thoughts in music and lyrics about what was on my mind.”

When asked about the title of her upcoming album, Walls, she explained …

“Well, we have a president who wants to build walls, and that got me thinking—walls can be structural, and walls can be emotional; walls between people. So I asked my dear friends Marilyn and Alan Bergman to write a song for this album, and it came out as “Walls,” which says we would have that better day if all those walls came tumbling down. I hope we find a way to tear down walls and build more bridges instead. There’s also a very hopeful song on this, “Better Angels,” that was inspired by Lincoln’s first inaugural address. It reminds us of who we have the potential to be when we listen to the better angels of our nature.”

The interview is quite interesting, if you feel inclined to take a look.  But for now, without further ado …

Don’t Lie to Me
Barbra Streisand

Why can’t you just tell me the truth?
Hard to believe the things you say
Why can’t you feel the tears I cried today, cried today, cried today
How do you win if we all lose?
You change the facts to justify
Your lips move but your words get in the way, in the way, in the way

Kings and Queens, crooks and thieves
You don’t see the forest for the trees
Head and heart on our knees
You can’t see what we all see

How do you sleep when the world keeps turning?
All that we built has come undone
How do you sleep when the world is burning?
Everyone answers to someone

Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me
Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me

You can build towers of bronze and gold
You can build castles in the sky
You can use smoke and mirrors, old clichés
Not today, not today

Kings and Queens, crooks and thieves
You don’t see the forest for the trees
Hand on heart, down our knees
You can’t see what everyone sees

How do you sleep when the world keeps turning?
All that we built has come undone
How do you sleep when the world is burning?
Everyone answers to someone

Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me
Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me

Can’t you see I’m crying?
Can’t you see we’re crying?
Where’s the new horizon?
Where’s the new horizon?

How do you sleep?
How do you sleep?
How do you sleep?
(How do you sleep when the world is turning?)
How do you sleep?
(All that we built has come undone)
Enough is enough
(How do you sleep when the world is burning?)
How do you sleep?
(Everyone answers to someone)

Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me
Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me

Can’t you see I’m crying?
(Can’t you see we’re crying?)
Can’t you see we’re crying?
Everyone answers to someone

Songwriters: Barbra Streisand / John Shanks / Jonas Myrin / Jay Landers
Don’t Lie to Me lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

I’m Sorry …

The human heart has limits, folks.  We have limits to what we can absorb, how much we can feel before we finally just … burst.

Tonight, after many frustrating, sad, maddening news stories, after writing my post for this a.m., and just as I was about to head to bed, I got a notification that I had a Facebook message from one of my favourite people in this world, Rob Roland.  Rob used to live next door to us, and I always knew that as long as he was here in da hood, there was nothing and nobody that was going to hurt me or mine.  Though Rob stands about 6’8”, he always called me Grannie, always had a hug for me, and insisted that his three adorable little girls say “yes ma’am” or “no ma’am” when I asked them a question.  Rob’s wife Aundrea is a sweetheart and I love her dearly.  So tonight, even though it was after 3:00 a.m., and I was tired beyond even my norm, I needed to see what Rob had posted to me on Facebook.  And here is what I found …

“Granny why are people not talking about the slave trade in Libya? It seems like The Who world should be outraged that human beings are still being sold anywhere. I saw a video of one slave being beaten all over his body with a 2 by 4 while he was tied up Granny, then they stated stabbing the man on camera, it brought tears to my eyes Granny, why isn’t the world, the UN doing anything or even talking about this? Is outrageous.”

Rob, in case I didn’t mention it, is African-American.  Doesn’t matter, but it might explain why he sees things that I didn’t.  My friend Rebecca, who is Latino, then responded to Rob with this …

“Have you seen the Mexican man being beaten all over by a policeman in California? Yea, it happen today. I thought all that bigoted stuff happened in the east states… I guess we in the west we are also going to judged by the color of our skin. Trump and his hate policies are destroying our country. That’s why we care whats happening in America daily…period.”

Perhaps it is only because it is late, I am unusually exhausted, and have been dealing with some personal issues the last few days, but these two comments have brought me to tears and made me feel as if my heart is about to explode with sorrow.  I have failed both of these wonderful friends, for I have not reported on the slave trade in Libya, though I am and have been aware of it.  And I was not even aware of the Mexican man beaten by a policeman in California.

Donald Trump and his shenanigans occupy all my time, and despite my promise many years ago to write about social injustices around the world, I have failed.

Rob & Rebecca … I have let you both down.  I am sorry.

Hypocrisy abounds with the NFL

Last year, Colin Kaepernick, a player for the San Francisco 49ers, made a choice not to stand when the national anthem was played before the game. In so doing, he was standing by his convictions and I believe he showed courage and was using his voice to protest the string of recent killings of African-Americans by police (and others). Since then, he has been shunned by fans, fellow players and the NFL. My friend Keith has written an excellent post showing us just what a hypocrisy it is for the NFL to condemn Mr. Kaepernick. Even if you are not a football fan, as I am not, please take a moment to read this, for it is not about football, but about truth and justice. Thank you, Keith, for an excellent post and implied permission to share.

musingsofanoldfart

Colin Kaepernick, a proven talented quarterback, cannot get a job in the National Football League (NFL). Even non-football fans know the reason is he chooses to exercise his First Amendment rights and kneel in protest during the playing of the national anthem. Kaepernick does this as he feels blacks are not getting fair treatment in the US and too many are being needlessly killed.

Yet, this protesting prevents NFL football teams from hiring him since his release from his previous team. You would think the man is radioactive. Many fans are stridently against him given a bent to jingoistic behavior. But, before you decide to do the same, let’s speak of three hypocrisies in the NFL leadership ranks.

First, the NFL likes to portray a patriotic theme, with heavy military showmanship. Looking under the covers, your tax dollars pay for that show. Our military pays the NFL for the privilege…

View original post 262 more words

Beyond The Protest

On my ‘”to-write” list was a post about Colin Kaepernick and his choice to kneel, rather than stand, during the national anthem played before football games. For the record, I commend this young man for having the courage of his convictions. While the topic was moving toward the top of my list, blogger-friend Hugh Curtler wrote an excellent post and said almost exactly what I would have said. So, rather than re-invent the wheel, I ask you to take a minute to read Hugh’s post, and as always, leave him a comment to let him know what you think! (We bloggers really do love to hear your opinions!)

hughcurtler

As we all know, Colin Kaepernick has drawn the ire of thousands of people around the country for having the audacity to kneel during the National Anthem before football games because of what he sees as social injustice in this country. Lately, we are told, he has even received death threats, as have others who have followed his example; this underlines the fact that most people are more upset about the protest itself than they are about the injustices that the protest is designed to call to our attention.

That there are serious issues between the black communities and the police forces of many cities is beyond question. Recently a black man in Charlotte was shot because his car broke down and the police who arrived on the scene thought he had a gun (doesn’t everyone these days??). Countless other examples could be pointed out, including the recent shooting in Tulsa. And…

View original post 457 more words

Jail Time For The Wearing Of The T-Shirt

1 September 2004 – Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia –  Imagine that it is the first day of a new school year.  You are likely either very excited, or very unhappy to see summer end.  Either way, you have arrived at school and are playing on the playground with other children while waiting for the bell to ring, when you and several classmates notice some masked men coming onto the schoolyard from across the railroad tracks. It seems funny at first, but then you hear the teachers yelling at everyone to “Run!” But where?  Suddenly there are what seems like a hundred masked men with guns, telling everyone to get into the building, else they would be shot! Then you are rounded up, along with all the other children, teachers, staff and parents bringing their children for that all-important first day of school, and marched into the school’s gymnasium.  Scary, yes?

Such began what would become known as the Beslan school siege, a siege that lasted 3 days, involved some 1,200 hostages and ended in the deaths of 334 people, 186 of them children. Another 700 were left injured. The hostage-takers were Chechens protesting Russian occupation of Chechnya. On the 3rd day, a Friday 03 September, bombs went off in the gymnasium and Russian security forces stormed the school, engaging in a gun battle that would ultimately result in even more injuries and deaths.  It is not my purpose here to recount the story, which is long and complex. However I will place a few links to a timeline and story at the end of this post for any who are interested.

Twelve years later there are still unanswered questions:

  • Who initiated the storming of the school building and the subsequent bloodbath between the terrorists, government forces and local vigilantes?
  • Did some of the terrorists escape? According to the official version of events, there were 32 of them, and all but one were killed. The only one captured, Nur-Pashi Kulayev, was sentenced to life imprisonment, but both the hostages and the organizer of the attack, then-leader of the Chechen rebel movement Shamil Basayev, claimed that some of the attackers had escaped.

Many blamed Putin for the handling of the hostage situation.  Additionally, as a result of the crisis, Putin used that tragedy, whether justifiably or not, to increase the power of his office, similar to what Erdogan is doing in Turkey as a result of the failed coup in July.  And now to the point of my story …

breslan-shirts

15 days in jail for wearing these shirts

Thursday marked the 12-year anniversary of the Beslan siege, and a three-day memorial was planned to mark the occasion.  Given that there are unanswered questions and that Putin’s government has been something less than transparent in the years since 2004, it is not surprising that there would be protests.  The protestors were mostly parents who lost children in the siege.  My fellow U.S. citizens will think the Beslan protest was extremely peaceable compared to those we are familiar with, but … 5 women were arrested.  Why?  Because they were wearing t-shirts that read “Putin is the executioner of Beslan”. Yes, folks that was their crime, a crime for which they are subject to 15 days in jail and applicable fines. They were not screaming or yelling, they were not throwing rotten tomatoes, they merely wore t-shirts that offended President Putin. Four of the women lost children in the siege and one also lost her husband. The fifth woman’s daughter survived the ordeal, in which hostages were held in the sweltering school for nearly 60 hours.

Two journalists were also detained by police for attempting to cover the protest, but were released a few hours later.  The journalists said police prevented them from filming the protesters, blocking the camera’s view and then forcibly taking them into custody.

To those of us who live in countries with a much greater degree of freedom to protest, freedom to speak our minds even when we are wrong, freedom of our press to cover stories as they see fit, let this be a lesson:  Guard those freedoms at all costs!  Look at Turkey, look at Russia … look at how thin-skinned, narcissistic demagogues keep the peace.

bidenOn a somewhat related note, speaking of protests, I would like to give a ‘hats off’ salute to Vice-President Joe Biden for his handling of a protestor at a Cleveland, Ohio event where he was speaking on behalf of Hillary Clinton. The heckler in the audience was screaming repeatedly “My friends died, my American friends,” and “My friend died.” He was angry about U.S. policy in Syria and Biden’s call for the Kurds to withdraw from captured ISIS territory.  Trying to drown out his outburst, Clinton supporters were chanting “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary”, and as you can imagine, Biden was not able to speak above the din.  Finally, he said to the protestor, “Will you listen? So did my son, OK?”  It is reported that everybody got so silent that you could have heard a pin drop.  Then Biden told the heckler that he would be happy to speak with him in private after the rally.  Reportedly that conversation did take place, though no details are available.  Joe Biden is a man of class and dignity and he handled that so beautifully.  Ask yourself what Trump would have done.


Links to stories about the Beslan school siege in 2004.  All links will open in separate tab:

Timeline of events – 1 September 2004

Botched Operation Was Disaster

Police Detain Russian Mothers