Money talks

For Your Consideration

Peter CavanaughJune 21, 2012 

"Tailored suits, chauffeured cars.

Fine hotels and big cigars.

Up for grabs, up for a price.

Where the red hot girls keep on dancing through the night -- Come on, come on, listen to the money talk."

AC/DC -- 1990 -- From "The Razor's Edge."

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker's multimillion dollar victory in Wisconsin has blessedly assured President Barack Obama's reelection in November with commanding Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate.

There are lots of moving parts here, perhaps including loose screws in my head, but I firmly believe that the American people are finally starting to get it.

Having dramatically witnessed an undeniable demonstration of arrogant, self-serving, primarily inherited riches -- unleashed without reservation or restraint by a few against the many, recognition is at last being given that -- when a handful of billionaires can dominate mass media with their exclusive message by an eight to one margin -- the voice of the people can no longer be heard. Such silence is our deadliest enemy.

Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, in his latest New York Times best seller, "The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future," categorically states that economic injustice is killing the American dream. Stiglitz cites irrefutable data showing that in the "recovery" of 2009-2010, the top 1% of U.S. income-earners captured 93% of growth.

The trend is one of concentrating income and wealth at the top, the hollowing out of the middle and increasing poverty at the bottom as the five Walton families (of Walmart fame -- not John-Boy's folks) enjoy greater wealth than the bottom 30% of the rest combined -- all one hundred million of us.

And those who believe we still are "The Land of Opportunity" should kindly notice their environment. Bootstraps have broken and many a Horatio Alger can't find work.

I include this arcane observation by way of also stressing that, for the first time in my seven decades on the planet, young folks have a better shot at rising to the top elsewhere than right here at home -- almost anywhere else in the free world. But I'm not going anywhere and they're not either.

This is all fixable, but that means not pretending everything's fine except for "big government," "taxes," "regulations" and mindless devotion to a "free market economy" -- all of which are just part of the big lies designed to keep us powerless, poorer and in our proper places. Markets are "free" only as paid for.

My great-great-grandfather, Thomas Newcomb, lies buried in a cemetery in upstate New York, beneath a large grave marker prominently displaying an American flag under which can clearly be seen the words, "Soldier - Revolutionary War."

Drafted into George Washington's Army at the age of 16, Thomas was a rebel -- a renegade -- a traitor against the king. Quoting from official documentation, "On 5 Aug. 1781, Thomas rendered service near Peekskill, and in a whale-boat on Long Island Sound; captured a sloop, and, immediately after, another armed with 10 guns, making her a prize, with three other sloops, loaded with wood and forage for the British army; carried them into Stamford, Connecticut."

I am pleased to report that Thomas was also a man of committed social conscience. Again from the archives: "Following his discharge from the Army, Thomas became a farmer and wagon maker. In 1821, Mr. Newcomb moved to Onondaga Valley, New York, and from there canvassed the country in supporting The Anti-Slavery Movement."

The Fourth of July is but two weeks away, when we celebrate our freedom with fun, frolic, festivities and fireworks.

Political conservatives in 1776 were Tories, also known as "Loyalists" or "The King's Men" -- supporters of the status quo and unquestioned British rule. How ironic that many who will be adorned in all sorts of red, white and blue attire this 2012 Independence Day, wearing breeches, woolen stockings, leather shoes and those iconic three corner hats dangling gayly festooned Lipton bags, will be sporting historically verifiable rebel wear from an otherwise Conservative era. Yep. That was the "liberal look."

There is no doubt in my mind that, without question, my patriotic Tea Party friends have their hearts in the right place. I remain ever hopeful their heads will soon follow.

The Sierra Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service