2009 Nov 23 FC’s Pre-sentencing statement “Money Makes the World Go Round” (Prison Writings)

Excerpt from the below statement: “Oh, and one more thing your honor. There is a song from the movie Cabaret that says what I’ve been trying to say here far better called “Money” that I would like to sing a verse or two….”


“Money makes the world go round” from the film Cabaret:




Nov 23, 2009 Pre-sentencing statement by Frank Cordaro

(Below is my recollection of the statement I made at the Nov 23rd sentencing from my notes and memory. http://www.desmoinescatholicworker.org/wellmarkguiltyverdict.html just before Ed Bloomer and myself was sentenced to 72 hours of jail time for refusing to pay any court cost or fines related to our sentencing.)

I first want to thank you, Judge, for giving us a fair hearing. I want to thank you for allowing us to present our defense to the jury and giving the necessary jury instructions, had they wanted to find us not guilty, they could have done so. You gave us a more favorable hearing than most judges I have been before.

We are now at a different stage in the process having been found guilty; we stand before you about to be sentence. It’s at this point in our justice system that the same reasons that brought us to the Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield lobby in July are in play in this court room today. This case was never really about the charge of trespass, nor is this sentencing about justice being done.

This case was all about Capitalism and the post-Ronald Regan Corporate Cultural takeover of our democracy and governing structures. We see it every where, every day.

We see this in our current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, were we have privatized our military. We now have more private mercenaries on the ground, in our war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan than we do US military personal. We certainly see this in Omaha NE with our efforts to resist STRATCOM and our nation’s militarization of space. The crossover between military and private contractors at STRATCOM is indistinguishable. One cannot tell where one begins and the other ends.

I have personally experienced the world of “For-Profit Prisons.” And more and more of our traditional law enforcement personal is crossing over to the private sector.

And at the heart of Capitalism are our banks and financial institutions. Can there be any doubt that the Corporate Culture rains supreme? The recent government “bailouts” is point in fact. What does it mean to say some banks are “too big to fail”? In this upside down world, profit is privatized and losses are socialized. More to the point, we live in a world where our capital is valued over our people, and the most basic needs of our citizens are ignored. This runs contrary to what the Catholic Church calls the “common good”, that which any government or economic system must fulfill to be just and moral.

This deadly interlocking interest of capitalism, militarism and big government has some very troubling outcomes.

I am reminded of what our beloved former Bishop of the Des Moines Diocese, Maurice Dingman said back in the 1980’s after he had visited several counties in Latin American and witnessed first the immoral, unjust and murderous USA foreign policy effects on the people of that region. At the same time, he was trying to stop the planned liquidation of the family farm system in this country. Bishop Dingman said he feared that our country was slipping into fascism. This was not something he said lightly. Having been in Rome, Italy, studying to become a priest in the 1930’s, he saw the rise of Hitler and Mussolini first hand. He knew what he was talking about.

It is this corporate cultural take over of the Health Insurance system that brought us to the Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield lobby in July. These Health Insurance syndicates, which is a better term, are a collection of the financial interest groups (very rich people) who have a monopoly hold on the monies used by Americans to pay for our healthcare costs. Before any healthcare cost is paid for, these financial syndicates make sure they get their profits. Worse yet, they own Congress and both political parties. So much so, that our elected officials in Washington DC can not politically advocate any kind of healthcare reform that does not keep intact these money-making financial syndicates, even if the basic health care needs of our people are not met, even if thousands of Americans die each year because of a lack of access to healthcare. “Health Insurance Profits” not only “make us sick” as our campaign slogan states, they are also killing us.

Finally, it is right here at this stage of the Justice System that the corporate cultural take over shows itself most blatantly, especially for the poor and marginalized people. The people who are our friends and we serve at the Catholic Worker. We used to say you get the justice you can afford in this country. If you have a “million dollars”, you’ll get a “million dollars” worth of justice. And if you’ve got “two cents”, you’ll get “two cents” worth of justice. These days it’s much worse for the folks who get the “two cents” worth of justice. Nowadays, not only do you get little to no justice if you are poor, you have to pay for what used to be paid for by the larger community for the ‘common good’. There is a fee and charge for every step in the process from the point of arrest, court appearances, community service, probation and fines. And in Polk County, they also charge you, by the day for going to jail!  As an attorney friend of mine recently said about this process, “they knock the poor down and kick them when they try to get back up.”

It is for this reason and in solidarity with the people we serve at the Catholic Worker that I will not pay any fine or court cost should they be levied at me as part of my sentence.

Oh, and one more thing your honor. There is a song from the movie Cabaret that says what I’ve been trying to say here far better called “Money” that I would like to sing a verse or two….

(Sung) “Money makes the world go round, the world go round, the world go round. Money makes the world go around, of this we are assured. Money, money, money, money, money, money, money, give a little, take a little, take a little, give a little… MONEY!!!”


Frank Cordaro

Phil Berrigan CW House

713 Indiana Avenue, Des Moines, IA  50314

(515) 282-4781   http://www.DesMoinesCatholicWorker.org

FC’s personal page link http://desmoinescatholicworker.org/frankcordaro.html


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