About the tune - in the thread about the song he wrote about the NYC Firefighters, InOBU was discussing the tune he put to it, "Lough Hospitasl"(aka Locke Hospital) and he said "By the way Deportee is very like Lough Hospital, which is also Bold Robert Emmitt, and Beat the Drum Slowly and Play the Pipes Lowly, and Streets of Laredo."
Which is true. And the older tune fits very well to the words of Guthrie's song.
"Nothing really changes" - as you said karen, sometimes they get worse. Sometimes they get better as well, but it all balances out, and on the whole "nothing really changes". We get rid of polio, and along comes Aids. Still, if you don't keep on trying to make it better, it'd just get worse.