Texas Governor, Rick Perry, recently accused Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, of potential treason connected with the anticipated printing of more U.S. currency to “ease” and revive a moribund economy by buying both corporate and government debt in an effort to lower borrowing costs and increase employment. As a former Air Force officer (1972-77), Captain Perry ought to know a thing or two about treason having raised his right arm and sworn an oath more than once, first upon his commissioning and subsequently throughout his five years of military service to “defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.”
But even the hanging offense of treason comes with a double standard in today’s domestically polarizing politics as Governor Perry’s warning illustrates. While it may be treasonous to manipulate the U.S. economy to lower our present official 9.1% unemployment rate and devalue the dollars in our pockets according to Mr. Perry’s definition, is it legally and morally treasonous to revisit U.S. Civil War rationale and advocate for secession as a sitting chief executive of a leading southwestern state? The stakes are high as Governor Perry could be defending himself in a court of law instead of mouthing off in the court of electoral opinion.
Absolution for infamy, extreme civic selfishness, and even treason comes easily in today’s bait and switch America. Words no longer mean what they say, standards come with caveats for the few at the expense of the many and without historical memory. Sacred national institutions and values built and defended by the blood and honor of those serving and by past servants of the people whose names are etched in tombstones and memorials on every small town Main Street, who gave their lives “so that this nation might endure”, are thrown under the bus in a media heartbeat to score partisan political points. Governor Perry argues that it is a far, far better act of patriotism to downgrade America’s formal financial standing in world markets than to ask the oligarchies in our midst to resolve the unequivocal income and wealth accumulation inequality strangling the struggling American heartbeat.
Warren Buffet’s call to cull revenue from those earning over one million dollars each year as a partial step to lower our national debt is rebranded by these Tea Party Patriots as “raising middle class taxes” even though the middle class that 80% of our national population aspires to will never see one million dollars in anyone’s lifetime. If there is any truth at all to the Oscar-winning documentary, “The Inside Job”, and to its more commercial sequel, “Too Big to Fail”, then the even more sobering truth that Main Street bailed out Wall Street while Wall Street paid itself the largest bonuses in financial history without “perp walks” or clawback will continue to stick in our national craw until justice is finally served on those who sliced and diced our middle class dreams into terminal unemployment, repackaged depressing under employment, abandoned factories, boarded-up communities, zeroed out safety nets and foreclosure hell.
In the gratuitous treason that is all around us, Deutsche Borse who is currently negotiating to run NYSE Euronext Inc. which operates the New York Stock Exchange, stands accused of same by the U.S. families of the 241 American service men and women killed in the “may it never be forgotten” 1983 Beirut Marine Corps barracks bombing that was masterminded and carried out by agents of Iran and Hezbollah. If true, then Deutsche Borse, this financial house of ill-repute, of the betraying not the rising sun, fraudulently masked Iranian control of $250 million in frozen terrorist assets that were mandated by a U.S. federal court to stay put until justice for patriots and victims could be meted out. Instead, Deutsche Borse conspired to help creditors transfer these blood-drenched funds out of Citigroup accounts and into their preferred version of the “global shareholder economy”. In today’s “Looking Glass” America, perhaps no firm is better suited to guide the New York Stock Exchange to its natural destiny where our national honor is traded daily through derivatives that kill and maim our own people at the same time mercenary defense intermediaries conspire to place over $360 million of taxpayer funds with foreign Talibans who fight us, aided and abetted by a fifth column Roberts U.S. Supreme Court that has legalized unlimited and “dark pool” multinational corporate campaign funding for the domestic Talibans who represent us.
Words matter and still have value. Actions speak louder than words. Leadership by example is the only leadership that counts. Despite the constant Internet-enabled media cacophony, black and white moral clarity is possible even when we pop an ideology pill to help us vote against our natural self-interests because the middle class dream we are desperately holding onto is still more real and preferred to the underclass reality we are living. When the partisan mist clears, hurling the treason charge and committing treason have nothing to do with each other. All hat and no cattle as they say in Texas.
Michael Peck, born in Killeen-Texas, Rice University (76), won the 1981 Chief of Naval Forces Europe Leadership Award as a serving naval officer and retired from military service as a Commander, U.S. Naval Reserves (1976-96).