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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

The Golden Calf and the Bronze Bull – What Would Moses Do?

~Photo by Zach Roberts

By Shannyn Moore

I remember wondering what gold tastes like. As a child sitting in Mrs. Harris’ Sunday school class, I listened raptly to her recount the biblical tale of Moses coming down from Mount Sinai armed with the Ten Commandments. He’d spent the last 40 days and nights meeting with God. Moses unleashed his fury when he saw what his people had been up to: drinking, partying and worshipping a golden calf made from melted jewelry. Moses smashed the tablets carved with God’s handwritten laws, ground up the idol and made them drink it. Those who wouldn’t repent were killed.

A golden calf.

I was reminded of that story while looking at pictures of the NYPD guarding the “golden” bull on Wall Street. Barricades set up to protect a statue. I wondered what Moses would have done. I’m guessing a smite or two.

For weeks protestors have occupied Wall Street. Communities across the country have joined in solidarity, including Anchorage. The basic reason? Corporate power married corporate greed and gave birth to an insatiable monster that controls our politicians, who then use all three branches of government to protect their interests and enact laws that further rig the game in their favor at our expense. Oh, maybe that was my interpretation. Regardless, you needn’t be an astute social or political observer to come to the conclusion that things have finally reached a tipping point and exacted a cost that is far too high.

The media feigns ignorance and protests the lack of leadership and message clarity of the occupiers. The regular cast of national right-wing TV hacks reads the corporate talking points that portray the crowd as a bunch of lazy, spoiled, jobless kids with art degrees and debt, looking for a handout when they should be looking for a job. The media is accustomed to “movements” with slick press releases, graphic-wrapped buses, theme songs and pre-printed messaging on posters. Washington, D.C., is full of think tanks (running on empty) that molded the tea party into a delivery device for a pro-corporate mantra by exploiting fear and identifying the scapegoat of Big Government.

The Occupation movement isn’t slick. There are no messaging wordsmiths like GOP brand guru/consultant Frank Luntz running focus groups and test-marketing campaigns. Occupy Wall Street is an authentic, grass-roots movement, sown with seeds of mass discontent that is growing each day. I am reminded of something my pop said, “The Ark was built by an amateur, and the Titanic was built by professionals.” There have been several attempts by several political groups to co-opt the occupation. So far the would-be co-opters have been shunned.

The Tea Party movement had many of the same valid concerns as the Occupation movement has. The major difference is the culprit. Who bears responsibility for the pathetic condition of our country? The Tea Party blames big government. The Occupation blames the corporations and their well-funded puppet mastery of both political parties that run government.

It’s a sentiment more recently expressed by the labor movement. We’ve seen marches in downtown Anchorage the past several years protesting the treatment of our brothers and sisters who are employed at the Hilton and Sheraton — Outside corporations inflating profits by breaking the backs of their workers.

Most politicians in Alaska are happy participants in an industry butt-kissing contest. Our governor has been and continues to lobby on behalf of multinational corporations at the expense of our economic future. The Alliance, the Chamber of Commerce, the RDC and other industry groups release report cards letting us know exactly who is winning the pucker-up pageant. If you get an F from them, you’re probably taking your oath to the Alaskan people seriously. The same group would have failed Jay Hammond for the Permanent Fund, saying he failed to “make Alaska competitive.” Legislators who receive failing grades should wear them as badges of honor.

Corporations have only their shareholders to answer to. Their mandate is to make a profit for investors. This is a basic principle we can all agree with. It’s the predatory capitalism and purchasing of lawmakers that has brought out the torches and pitchforks. It would be much easier if our judges, senators, congressmen and president would wear NASCAR-style jumpsuits with their corporate sponsors prominently displayed.

Thomas Jefferson said, “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

The balance of power has gone too far from the grasp of everyday working Americans.

It’s time to take it back.



23 Responses to “The Golden Calf and the Bronze Bull – What Would Moses Do?”
  1. michael says:

    Wow dagian, great research, $360,000 for a stupid sculpture? Ridiculous……
    But yeah, its about time big companies start realizing that they have to answer to us and not just to their stockholders alone because their actions have a big effect on everyone

  2. Dagian says:

    Sorry, it was ‘Uncle Beazley’ who was the triceratops sculpture of my youth. It was a gift? or purchased by the Smithsonian from Sinclair Oil Company. I think they made the brachiosaur (brontosaur back then) sculpture that was there with Beazley, too.

  3. Dagian says:

    I found this on Wikipedia — I make no assertions for its veracity. But IF it is as detailed below–then people darn well should be respectful of this GIFT from a sculptor to everyone.

    Di Modica spent some US$ 360,000 to create, cast, and install the sculpture following the 1987 stock market crash as a symbol of the “strength and power of the American people.”[2] The sculpture was the artist’s idea, not the city’s. In an act of “guerrilla art”, he trucked it to Lower Manhattan and on December 15, 1989, installed it beneath a 60-foot Christmas tree in the middle of Broad Street in front of the New York Stock Exchange as a Christmas gift to the people of New York. That day, crowds came to look at the bull, with hundreds stopping to admire and analyze the gift as Di Modica handed out copies of a flier about his artwork.[2]

    The police seized the sculpture and placed it into an impound lot. The ensuing public outcry led the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to install it two blocks south of the Exchange in the plaza at Bowling Green. It faces up Broadway.[7]

    [edit] OwnershipIn 2004, Di Modica announced that the bull sculpture was for sale, on condition the buyer does not move it from its present location. Di Modica continues to own the copyright to the statue. In 2006, Di Modica sued Wal-Mart and other companies for illegally benefiting from his copyright, by selling replicas of the bull and using it in advertising campaigns.[8] In 2009, Di Modica sued Random House for using a photo of the bull on the cover of a book discussing the collapse of financial services firm Lehman Brothers.[9]

    Since New York City does not own the sculpture, it has a technically temporary permit allowing it to stand on city property, but the temporary permission has lasted since 1989, when city officials said the new location would not be permanent.[10] Art on loan is usually limited to a year’s display. Although the city does not buy art, it accepts donations.[11] A writer in the New York Daily News wrote in 1998 that the statue’s placement was “beginning to look a mite permanent”.[6] According to an article in Art Monthly, Di Modica, “the authorities, and New York public, view it as a permanent feature of Lower Manhattan.”[12]

  4. Dagian says:

    “I was reminded of that story while looking at pictures of the NYPD guarding the “golden” bull on Wall Street. Barricades set up to protect a statue.”

    Their MESSAGE should be received and focused upon–not a possible side-show distraction IF either statue should be damaged.

    I’m all for protests, but I am not a fan of destroying property or art. Even art that may symbolize something distasteful to the protestors. So ensuring that a publically displayed statue isn’t defaced or destroyed is entirely appropriate.

    After all, I can remember sliding down the triceratops and brachisaur in front of the Natural History Museum in DC as a child. But at some point, they were loved too much (damaged by many feet, hands and butts!) and had to go away. Triceratops (‘Dudley’) is now at the National Zoo in the hippo area. Very appropriate.

  5. juneaudream says:

    On my way back from a foggy, mountain camping trip with son the second..outside of the Hoodsport area of Washington state..I listened to some news snippets from the Seattle base..camping out there..for the good of all of us. I traveled by train and bus..back to Eugene/Springfield area..behold..weary but..proud folks..of all kinds, who had taken the time to pack their gear and..go to Seattle. They got off at the stations in Portland, Salem, and Eugene. I looked at them..and felt their gentle..but Buddhest-like calm. Conversations with them..was a heady brew..they carry..a stronger tomorrow..although it will be..a long, and..conveluted trail.

  6. Lacy Lady says:

    Can’t believe our Gov. Branstad’s take on the protesters at the State House in Des Moines,Ia.
    Heard him say on WHO’s evening news last night that the protesters will scary away the Corps that want to come to Iowa.
    It’s like telling your KIDS——If you don’t behave—–Santa Claus won’t come

  7. clif says:

    Wanna bet wall street is gonna have a little “bull envy”?

    The pic is a one tonne ox statue made of PURE GOLD in China, worth $47,000,000

    The center piece of a new 74 story hotel in village of Huaxi, which cost $472 million to build.

    Oh to have a little of the cash “wally world” ships to china each day for the plastic crap they import to sell.

  8. Lacy Lady says:

    Should have said—–Owe my soul to the Company store

  9. Lacy Lady says:

    Leenie @ 17
    You are soooo right. As the old song goes—–I sold my soul to the company store!
    As for President Carter—what I remember is that he was President when my father died, and my brother and I had to borrow money to pay the estate tax. The interest rate at that time was 21%.
    Not a very happy time for us. I have always wondered if Ted Kennedy had been nonamated, if things would have been different.

  10. LibertyLover says:

    Brian’s been getting in trouble again…. first getting stuck in a tree…now a pool?

    • mike from iowa says:

      A clean Moose,like a clean mind is a healthy Moose(or mind). Besides its dang near time to harrumph around the Northwoods,enamored with foolish passion,for the ladies fair-with big ears and that come hither look than loverboy Brian won’t be able to resist. A word of advice from my lops to your ears,Bud, don’t listen to anything Mikey tells you about womenfolks.

  11. leenie17 says:

    I truly believe that the Citizens United decision by the SCOTUS is perhaps the most dangerous threat to the basic core of our democracy that we’ve had since the Civil War.

    While there is no question that the GOP is far more beholden to their corporate masters than the Democrats, our political system has (d)evolved to a state where no one from either side can attain higher office without selling out to some degree. What seems to have changed in the past few years is that those on the right are no longer hiding their efforts to protect the corporate bottom line at any cost. In fact, they’ve become downright proud of their eagerness to sell out the 99% in order to keep that 1% happy and obscenely wealthy.

    And exactly how much money will finally be enough for these people?

    • LibertyLover says:

      You raise good points…. there are two movements afoot to quell the money in politics… one is which hopes to get a constitutional amendment stating that Corporations are NOT people….

      … the other is Get the Money out (.com) encouraging public finance of elections.

      • fishingmamma says:

        I listened to President Carter talk recently about his presidency. He mentioned as an aside that he raised no funds for his campaign, that all campaigns up to that point were financed by the “little box on your tax return that you check”. Interesting.

    • GoI3ig says:

      You hit the nail on the head Leenie. The right is a little more obvious about it, but the left is also bought and paid for. It’s a sad situation.

    • yukonbushgrma says:

      Leenie, YUP, in a nutshell.

      Get the money out. Citizens United just opened the door, wide open. It was bad enough when the lobbyists held sway, but now the votes are legally bought and paid for. Who cares anymore about the average citizen who might have an opinion – or a vote?

  12. JaneE says:

    I sat and watched 60 Minutes last night. The CEO of GE was interviewed. GE who is famous for paying a negligible amount in taxes. That same CEO has been appointed by Obama to solve some of our jobs issues. I couldn’t believe it! GE has outsourced to South America, the biggest contractor there making tons and tons of dollars. A large percentage of their profits. He doesn’t understand why the interviewer was questioning the fact that this seemed to be counter to his appointment. He couldn’t understand why he is made to be the bad guy. He flat out said that his company being in other markets would make more jobs here in the USA and why was he the bad guy, why oh why! A large smile all the while. I inherited about 8 shares of GE way back when that have split to a total of 96 shares to date. I feel as though I should sell them right now.

    • laurie says:

      I thought it was an interesting interview. He raised some interesting points about how the markets for goods are more and more in other countries and GE is simply going where that leads. He mentioned two factories here in the U.S. that they have build that have yet to sell anything or yield any profit. One was making engines of some kind in Mississippi and the other was making systems for solar or was it wind power. I might be too easily swayed, but I believe that the future economy in the us will look different from the past because of the developments in India, China and Mexico. I don’t see us going back and being able to complete with the low wages (costs) in those countries. I think we will have to develop our future.

  13. mike from iowa says:

    Really surprised Glenn Beck isn’t shown with his cranium in a compromising position with the goden calf’s rectum-afterall it is gold he shills for and Bullsh#t he shills with and people with their heads up their asses that he shills to. Great article as always Ms. Moore.

  14. WakeUpAmerica says:

    Great post, Shannyn. I couldn’t agree more.

  15. GoI3ig says:

    I encourage everyone to watch the documentary “inside job.” It will make your jaw hit the floor. You may even be surprised to see who has been sucked right in. Hint: They come from both sides of the aisle.

    The middle class may go the way of the dinosaur before it’s all over.

  16. I See Villages From My House says:

    “The media is accustomed to “movements” with slick press releases, graphic-wrapped buses, theme songs and pre-printed messaging on posters.” – And on the flip side, all that for a confounding family bus tour with no clear direction, message or purpose to still be chased by media for a blurb in their voracious 24-hour news cycle. While Sarah was laughing at the desperation of a responsive MSM, she also too, managed to make herself look like an attention-needy asshole.

    Corporate influence with all three branches on the one hand, fringe Tea Party influence on the country’s dialog on the other for a pittance. . .what do we in the middle do about it?


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