Where’s the Outrage Against Casinos?
I empathize with Tom Vannah’s article about his favorite fishing spot being off limits due to the rising population in his town (“Crowd Control,” October 1, 2013). I live in Palmer. I have to live every day with the heartbreak of knowing our lovely area could be destroyed by a casino. When I drive up Route 32 or on Route 20 and look at the pretty hill ahead, it kills me to even think of a gaudy, ugly Las Vegas monstrosity dominating the entire valley.
I have called the Mass. Audubon Society, the Berkshire Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Appalachian Mountain Club, asking them why they don’t get involved in trying to protect this area from casino devastation. I have asked the Pioneer Valley Planning Authority why regional planning isn’t considered here. No response. They just don’t care. We protest the Keystone XL Pipeline and global warming, and rightly so, but here we have a Chernobyl in our back yard: a massive development proposed in a small semi-rural town that would create unsustainable growth and destroy acres and acres of wildlife habitat and precious farmland, and people are oblivious.
Palmer is surrounded by charming little towns with church steeples and town commons. How many times have I run into people from Springfield or Chicopee walking dogs at Lundon Pond or climbing Peaked Mountain or kayaking on the Swift River? It’s not fair to the people who enjoy this area for its serenity and beauty. It’s not fair to the bears and bald eagles, foxes and bobcats, scarlet tanagers and whippoorwills. It’s insane, criminal. People should be as upset about this as they are about any other environmental disaster. People should be concerned about preserving what’s left of our pretty New England and our dwindling countryside. That there is not a big outcry about this in the Springfield Republican, the Worcester Telegram and the Boston Globe and from all the environmentalists around here is a complete and total mystery to me. What’s wrong with Senators Brewer, Rosenberg and Story? What the heck’s wrong with people? Where’s the outrage?
All In for Casinos
I was so glad to read in the Advocate that Massachusetts has decided to take a chance on legalizing casinos. Casinos are a gamble that will pay off big. The new casinos will really help my small business grow. I’m a gambling addictions counselor and I’ll wager that soon business will be booming! Casinos will create lots of new jobs, such as hotel maid and valet driver jobs. And casino workers will be learning important job skills that can be used in future employment, such as blackjack dealing and roulette wheel spinning. Also casinos should give a big boost to the pawn shop and loan sharking industries.
The truth is, the greatest impact won’t be on the economy, but on our presently polarized political process. In the past, most politicians spent most of their time trying to raise the most money. But now, with Citizens United, they can get unlimited contributions to their superpacs directly from the casinos, just like Newt Gingrich did. Here’s how it works. The casinos take the money from the people and give it to the superpacs, who give it to the politicians. That’s what I call trickle-down economics!
Casinos will raise new revenue for the state. Wouldn’t you rather have some poor fool lose his family’s food money than have your taxes go up? You bet I would. And why should Massachusetts residents be forced to go to all the way to Connecticut to lose all their money when they could more easily lose their money right here at home? Look at what casinos have done for Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Why wouldn’t we want that here? Sure, casinos might cause some dicey situations, but it’s a chance I’m willing to let others take. Let’s see how it goes with casinos and let the chips fall where they may.
Given the duration of the government shutdown and the threat of economic default and possible collapse, if this had happened elsewhere, it would be referred to as a political coup. A handful of extremists have grabbed the reins of power in an attempt to depose the extant government and replace it with another fashioned after their own narrow agenda. In this instance, it’s the Right Wing Tea Bag Party. Their actions make the USA look like a banana republic and may engender the same sort of economic instability common in Third World countries.