“Occupy in the Sky?”

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)

5 Responses to ““Occupy in the Sky?””

  1. Charles Walker Says:

    There is but one answer: Take the 1% out and shoot them and take all their money and give it to the 99%. If we just keep repeating that, finally the 1% will have eliminated the 99% and they will have everything. You know, kind of a socio-economic fractual. What the 99% apparently don’t realize is that elementary arithmatic shows that there is ALWAYS 1% at the top and 99% at the bottom. As far as “Fair and Balanced”, we can only get that from Rachel, Piers and the worst commentator in the world. BTW, Puss’n’Boots had more intelligent social commentary than any of Mikey’s films.

  2. Les Marsden Says:

    Charming, Charles. But it’s not quite so simpletonian as an eternal “ALWAYS 1% at the top and 99% at the bottom.” Of COURSE there will be – but the DIFFERENTIAL between the two is what’s at issue. We’re currently witnessing a predatory manipulation of our economic system BY the 1% that has resulted in a vast CHASM between that 1% and the remaining 99 of us.

    And THAT’s the bottom line. Do you somehow presume that our economic system is whirring along with perfect equitability for all those who participate? That earnings ratios are fair across the board? That those in the 1% who manage to MANIPULATE the system and manage to pay little or no taxes are perfectly, ethically justified – while those in the middle class who pay a substantially larger portion of their income in taxes are somehow saps? At what point in the future will the 1%’s control of the system reach the point where that chasm will have become SO huge that you’ll find it to be unacceptable?

    And note: as you’re decrying those who have brought focus to the manipulations that have resulted in this situation – I can only guess YOU must be part of the 1%! And in that case, I’ve got a lovely bridge to nowhere I’d like to sell you…

  3. Charles Walker Says:

    Les…thank you for your insightful comment. Unfortunately, unlike Peter C and I, you never had the benefit of Father Ward’s history class. From the time of the Neanderthals, someone has always had the biggest club. “Relativity” has never had much to do with it. Ben Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in their day were part of the “1%” and the “chasm” was far, far deeper then. Even a cursory look at American History will revel to you that the chasm has always been huge. The percentages may change due to the increase in population, but the dollar amounts are much lower today than they were, say, in the halcion days of the Robber Barons. Try as you might, you just can’t change natural selection.

  4. petercavanaugh Says:

    Name a guy after Darwin and it goes right to his head.

  5. Charles Walker Says:

    But Peter C, you really CAN’T change natural selection! Look at Michael Moore! Darwinism on fire!

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