Though I did attend the meeting, mostly for it's potential comedic value, there was, unfortunately, no room at the inn for Gladys and the other bloggers, and so we hung out in the corridor straining to listen.
I am, therefore, still waiting for some audio to fully comment.
To be honest, I'm mostly interested in what questions the Board posed to the Tribe, and what is says about them, because, not surprisingly, the answers from Mr. Cromwell even in the muffled distance sounded something like:
...it's coming... only a flesh wound... just a minor fix... times are tough... scale it back... sovereign nation... blah blah yada yada...
In the meantime, I'd like to point out that this meeting was just another in a long line of choreographed public relations appearances that occur only when absolutely necessary.
Let's see, first came Glenn Marshall, way back in May of '07, blustering about racists, posturing as a 'steward of the earth', and promising to cut checks for everything from reduced home values to lost restaurant patronage, when he graciously appeared at what he himself proclaimed to be a 'dog and pony show'.
Then, in September, came the Princess with the big check. At that appearance, Selectmen Adam Bond and Pat 'Tankman' Rogers beamed at Sean like a pair of giddy bachelorettes who'd just been deemed rose-worthy.
In April '08 Sean and his posse grudgingly showed up for the BIA hearing, gave a short speech and barely tolerated the rest of us for as long as they could before taking off for the break room.
Last summer some of them showed up for Marshmallowfest '08. I'm still not sure what that was supposed to be all about but let's face it - it was all about keeping up those casino appearances.
You didn't see the Tribe in New Bedford at the Standard Times debate last year, did you? Of course not. That wasn't an event crucial to maintaining appearances - and in fact may have very well lead to embarrassing and highly quotable slip ups - not unlike Sean's delightfully revealing radio broadcast last February which many of us so enjoyed.
Come to think of it, I don't remember seeing the Tribe at the Statehouse casino hearings, either.
See what I mean? Only when necessary.
As far as this "fix" Cedric seemed fixed on, take heart. According to the Enterprise:
Last Friday, Congressman Barney Frank told The Enterprise he does not expect Congress to overturn the Supreme Court decision. “It’s virtually a zero chance,” Frank said.I realize that the 1,500 member Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, the Middleboro Board of Selectmen, and an ever-dwindling cadre of flying monkeys are anxious to see their casino built, but let's face it, with the crises in the mortgage, banking and auto industries, harsh public reaction to stimulus bailouts, a recession, an on-going two-theater 'war on terror' and modern day pirates gunning for U.S. sailors - Congress and the President have their hands busy.
And remember, while a Congressman can sponsor some legislation to give the Mashpee a special dispensation, doing so would open up the entire IRA for revision. Now, try to imagine those Western gaming tribes covered by the 1934 provision and numbering in the hundreds of thousands, which receive millions upon millions in Federal benefits under the IRA.
If you wanted to keep those benefits, would you want the IRA tampered with?
Well, Gladys isn't sweating some imaginary "fix". Cedric is in denial. He wants to make sure Middleboro is also in denial, and that the public is sufficiently misinformed. Seems to me like Monday's meeting covered that as per the usual. Everything is staged.
By the way, have you noticed how pro-casino forces, whether Tribal or State or otherwise, need to keep the myth of inevitability alive? Their PR people will issue a statement or they'll gather together at some event to reaffirm gambling's unrelenting stranglehold on our lives. The press obediently covers it, predictably making sure to slap the requisite quote from Rich Young somewhere towards the bottom of the article where no one will read it, and soon people start to believe casinos or slots or land in trust or whatever are a done deal, orchestrated up on high by powers beyond their reach, and so, the message is clear, you may as well give up any hope of trying to stop it.
And that's if we're lucky. If the TV news covers it, our side won't get a quote in at all.
One is, wittingly or not, led to believe there isn't any real opposition to expanded gambling at all in this State.
And that's the casino investor food chain.
And yet, for some reason we all politely go along with it. Like bringing knives to a gun fight - as if to imply that we're up for the fight - but we wouldn't actually want to hurt anybody.
Well, leave it to our friends at Casino Free Philadelphia to find a way to fight politely.
It's time to take notes. See how the activists took a meeting, run by a corrupt, smug and snickering gaming board, and turned it into their event? From the bottom paragraph to the headline in a few simple steps...
There is important business at hand raising awareness around the state and around this nation as to the predatory nature of slot machines and expanded gambling. We've had two years of experience learning all about it. It's our responsibility to share that knowledge with others, and it's time we stopped letting ourselves be gaveled by our elected officials and nullified by the media.
We have always been right about the myth of inevitability. We were right about the environmental impact. We are still right about the addictive nature of slot machines, about predatory gambling, about the costs and impacts of casinos. About corruption, about crime, about quality of life and quality of lives lost.
So speak up.
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:-Shakespeare
It's time that stage was ours.