Peter Cavanaugh


Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf aside – icy times are straight ahead.

Since Barack Obama’s election in 2008, the U.S. stock market has almost tripled in value. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing from 6,443 on March 6, 2009, to 17,568 on Nov. 7, 2014. Unemployment has dropped from 10% in October of 2009 to 5.8% today. The federal deficit has declined from 9.8% of Gross Domestic Product in the 2008/2009 fiscal year to 2.8% at the end of September 2014 – a figure smaller than its average over the past 40 years of 3.1%.

All of this took place after our collective national treasury was drained by trillions of dollars lost in unnecessary warfare, and our world suffered a near total collapse of the global economy – both the catastrophic consequence of sadly misguided, horribly managed, ill-fated Republican rule under the woefully misbegotten, however well-intended, presidency of George W. Bush.

In a mind bending, stomach churning, tragic illustration of the age-old axiom that no good deeds go unpunished, less than 20% of the American people bent to the will of big money politics on Election Day 2014 and rewarded horrendous abrogation with historic elevation.

That’s all it took. Not even one out of five. Do the math.

Crushingly conservative, polarized, deeply divisive forces will now control the 114th Congress starting in January with Republican domination of the House and Senate enjoying numerical dominance by the largest margin since the early 1940s.

Here’s what’s going to happen these next two years. Nothing.

Founding Father Patrick Henry’s prophetic words gravely pronounced at the conclusion of his final public speech in March of 1799 have never rung truer. United we stand, but divided we fall. We are not united.

Disunity carried the day on Nov. 4, locking us into two more years of temporarily irreversible political paralysis. Abraham Lincoln’s government “of the people, by the people, for the people” threatens to be further gutted by renewed attempts at reactionary reduction. A president sworn to defend our Constitution against all enemies -- foreign and domestic -- will hopefully hold such measures in check.

Checkmate. Not stalemate.

Even the most novice chess player knows checkmating one’s opponent normally wins the game. But there will be no winners here.

The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published a report stating that child poverty in America is at its highest point in 20 years, putting millions of children at increased risk of injuries, infant mortality and premature death. Twenty-five percent of children don’t have enough food to eat and seven million have no health insurance. For far too many, the land of the free has become home of the hungry.

According to the Rupert Murdock owned Wall Street Journal, the gap between the richest and poorest Americans has widened even more.

The top 3% of our population now own more than twice as much as the bottom 90% combined – 54.4% to 24.7%. And the top 1% actually own 37% of everything with the other 99% stuck with what’s left. There’s no other country in the developed world with such a degree of economic disparity. Think about that.

Forbes magazine reports today’s chief executive officer earns 331 times as much as the average worker and 774 times as much as a minimum wage employee putting in a full 40 hour week without benefits.

But we can always count on Walt Disney for hope and inspiration.

As real life imitates art, a fearless princess is coming to our rescue.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is right.

“The game is rigged and the Republicans rigged it.”

Senator Warren is not talking about Republican voters. Her reference is toward unelected leadership at the very top of an all but invisible power pyramid representing an unparalleled concentration of wealth and influence - aimed at getting lots more of everything they can for themselves, while leaving much, much less for everyone else.

I’m in the “everyone else” bunch, and I believe the moment has come for the ultra rich to find a conscience and abandon their bought and paid for stranglehold on American politics.

Time to – “Let it go.”