Archive for November, 2011

“Facts Speak Louder Than Words”

November 22, 2011

I am delighted to report that The Executive Board of the California Democratic Party has, in fact, re-certified The CDP Progressive Caucus by the UNANIMOUS endorsement of E-Board membership with over 200 members present and voting over the weekend of November 18th in Burlingame. Special thanks to Peter Leinau, who drafted our November 5th Oakhurst Resolution, Madera Chair Susan Rowe who coordinated full county wide support, and Les Marsden for spearheading Mariposa County efforts and representing us all in Burlingame.

We are occupying our Party!

And none too soon!

I would presume that most of us have friends, relatives, and particularly unfriendly relatives on the dark side who can’t wait to share brilliant bursts of transcendental illumination reflecting the political sophistication of — yes — a —–(wait for it) ——— NEWT!

Allow me to share this brief example I received only minutes ago from a Flint associate now living in luxuriously isolated splendor high above Seal Beach overlooking beautiful downtown La Jolla. Indicated in the “SUBJECT” line is the undeniable assertion– “Facts Speak Louder Than Words!

Then it said —

“The day the Democrats took over was not January 22nd 2009, it was actually January 3rd 2007, the day the Democrats took over the House of Representatives and the Senate, at the very start of the 110th Congress.

Bush may have been in the car but the Democrats were in charge of the gas pedal and steering wheel they were driving the economy into the ditch.

Furthermore, the Democrats controlled the budget process for 2008 & 2009 as well as 2010 & 2011. And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills.

If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself.”

You get the picture. This was sent to several dozen folks of similarly addled persuasion. I had a different picture. It was this one — fitting perfectly with “Facts Speak Louder Than Words”. I kept the subject line, erased the rest, hit “Reply To All” and sent it along.

As Will Rogers so aptly summarized, “ “I belong to no organized party — I´m a Democrat.” I herein add — “Unlike most Republicans who goose step to party line under the blighted banner of Grover Norquist.”

There has been no Democratic (capital “D”) or democratic (small “D”) “control of Congress” for quite some time, certainly not in the recent past.

And here are three little words to share with millionaire martinets questioning the “purpose” of those tens of thousands of young, patriotic American “Occupiers” far and wide and, most especially, with all now occupying hierarchal positions of power in the national Democratic Party.


They are messages for our future — drafted by the children of today.

— “That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” (1863)

Peter Cavanaugh
Executive Committee
Democratic Club of Oakhurst

“Occupy in the Sky?”

November 11, 2011

Joe Hill (1879 - 1915)

We’ve been engaged in class warfare these last thirty years. Guess what? We lost!

That 1% vs. 99% split is finally getting the front page attention it deserves.

The top one percent of Americans currently scoop up a quarter of our nation’s income every year. They now own and control over forty percent of everything. That’s the largest disparity between rich and poor among all industrialized nations of the earth, even as U.S. citizens privately pay ever escalating costs for health care, higher education and anything else our flag waving, cliché clattering, democracy dismantling forces of the far right can “privatize”. The “Free World” is turning out to be not that free after all.

Can’t pay? Go away!

We’ve been had.

Senior citizens watch Fox News in an earnest effort to receive “fair and balanced” coverage, a continuing lie as big as Joseph Goebbels’ best.

Bill O’Reilly fans? Greta Groupies? Hannity-Homies? Do Bill/Sean/Van Susteren ever mention that a good part of your now tax free Social Security income will be subject to that 9% “Federal Sales Tax” in Squirmin’ Herman’s “9-9-9” fantasy? Or that Mitt Romney fits the exact clinical definition of a pathological liar? Or that “Medicare for All” would cover everyone, reduce costs by a full third and ultimately provide far better care than we now receive paying twice the price for half as much? And Fox sure hates those kids of ours “Occupying” Wall Street and just about every other place you look.

“Misfits!” “They should get a job!” Even “dope smoking hippies” is back in vogue amongst the badly bewildered. But particularly significant is the general Fox insistence that “They don’t even know what they want — just “pie in the sky!” — a phrase dating back to 1911. “Pie in the sky?”

I find myself persuaded this cannot be true.

Joe Hill was born on October 7, 1879. He was a Swedish-American Labor Activist, songwriter, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World –also know as “Wobblies.” Praised by the poor, feared by the rich, politically condemned and falsely accused, Hill was executed by firing squad on November 19, 1915.

His last word?


“Pie in the sky” first appeared in Hill’s “The Preacher and the Slave”, which parodied the Salvation Army hymn “In the Sweet Bye and Bye.” Hill took issue with the Army’s concentration on the salvation of souls rather than the feeding of the hungry. The expression faded through subsequent years, then began emerging again during World War Two when it started being used figuratively to refer to any prospect of future happiness which was unlikely to ever be realized.

“Pie in the sky?” Nope. And forget “Bye and Bye!” We’re looking at “Here and Now” — just as soon as everyone stops playing puppet and starts paying attention.

Move over Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs. There’s something happening here — a new sheriff in town — an additional player in your exquisitely exclusive group.

Behold — in all its myriad manifestations –“The Occupation!”

Because — as you — it has become far too big to fail.

City to city! Coast-to-coast! Oakhurst to Wall Street!


“I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
alive as you and me.
Says I, “But Joe, you’re ten years dead”
“I never died” said he,
“I never died” said he.”

(Earl Robinson — 1936)

“There Went the Neighborhood!”

November 3, 2011

Just as bodies falling in space increase velocity at exactly thirty-two feet per second, I have become convinced that time itself accelerates with similar immutability as our minds travel through the years.

It seems impossible. Here we are today only three short weeks before Thanksgiving Day 2011, nationally celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November as initiated by Abraham Lincoln in 1862 — although dating back to those Pilgrims at the Plymouth Plantation in 1621.

And there we were — visiting family in Cincinnati — when what before my wondrous eyes should appear but some remarkable research by daughter, Colleen, which reveals something of which I had been completely unaware.

Quoting from just a tiny section of multipage documentation:

“Hezekiah Newcomb married Jerusha Bradford on November 14, 1716. Jerusha was the great-granddaughter of William Bradford, who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620, and who was Governor of the Plymouth Colony for many years.”

Everything is tracked without break from that point to Mabel (Newcomb) MacClasky, “Mother of Kathryn (1902), Isabel (1903), Jennie (1907), Isaac Dennison (1909) and Wilma Newcomb MacClasky (1912).”

Isabel (1903) was my Mother, Isabel M. Cavanaugh, headed for Heaven in 1998 in her 95th year of life, finally joining her husband, Donald Cavanaugh, after a full half-century of widowhood. “This is the longest time he’s been away”, said Mom, just weeks before their reunion.

The transcript Isabel’s granddaughter, Colleen, provided is utterly fascinating. It includes all sorts of curious notations, including a four year-old falling into boiling soap (unpleasant consequences), a father acquitted of killing his son (details not provided), and piracy at sea, courtesy of one Thomas Newcomb, cited as a “Soldier of the Revolution”, drafted into the American Army under George Washington on 23 August, 1777, at the age of 16. “Tea Party?” Cousin Thomas was the real deal.

There are fishermen, farmers, soldiers, merchants, surveyors, constables, judges, tanners, tavern owners, ministers, blacksmiths and wagon makers strewn throughout the pages of our ancestry. We are told of babies by the dozen, “troublesome Indians” by the score and at least one extramarital affair, balanced quite nicely by sworn testimony that old Hezekiah Newcomb (1693-1772)) led a “virtuous, pious and truly exemplary life” and “was almost never seen without a Bible in his hands.”

Thus I find myself tracked back to the Mayflower.

But that’s no big deal.

There are millions of Mayflower descendants living today, but very few are actually aware of such seemingly unique distinction.

Among notable proven Mayflower offspring are Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, James A. Garfield, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, George H. Bush and George W. Bush. Then we have such famous figures as Marilyn Monroe (pun intended) , Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Orson Welles, Noah Webster, Clint Eastwood, Alec Baldwin, Dick Van Dyke, Richard Gere, Christopher Lloyd, Bing Crosby, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hugh Hefner, Cokie Roberts and Bob Bradford, Founder of Yosemite Films.

Traceable to the Mayflower or not and surely inclusive of the Wampanoag and other native Americans who never issued engraved invitations to dock up and drop by in the first place, we all share a common past as we proceed together into an uncertain future.

“Relatives” are not only those with whom we will gather at a bountiful harvest table this coming Thanksgiving Day. For each seen and known, hundreds more are hidden from us by the impenetrable mist of forgotten bygone days — aging children– one and all.

Let’s jointly reflect upon our collective history — being thankful for and responsible to — each other.