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JP Morgan
J.P. Morgan himself
(Edward Steichen)

Recently I began to re-read Howard Zinn’s A People's History of the United States and in the chapter “Robber Barons and Rebels” I was struck by the similarity of what was happening from the 1870s through the early part of the 20th century and today.

All quoted sections, unless otherwise noted, are from A People's History of the United States.

[T]he strikes of the white workers would not be tolerated; the industrial and political elites of North and South would take hold of the country and organize the greatest march of economic growth in human history. They would do it with the aid of, and at the expense of, black labor, white labor, Chinese labor European immigrant labor, female labor, rewarding them differently by race, sex national origin, social class, in such a way to create separate levels of oppression—a skillful terracing to stabilize the pyramid of wealth.

Sound familiar? It should. It is the same divide and conquer strategy the Republican party of today is using. Making teachers and other public servants pariahs, splitting the have-a-littles from the have-nots. Making soldiers into heroes, until they speak out against the system they served and fought for … then they are attacked and called cowards for speaking out against the very oppression they were fighting. Organized labor was the enemy of the robber barons then and is again today—even though the most productive time in our nation's history was from the post-WWII years to roughly the mid-seventies when the unions were at the height of their power.

While some multimillionaires started in poverty, most did not. A study of the origins of 303 textile, railroad and steel executives of the 1870s showed that 90 percent came from middle- or upper-class families. The Horatio Alger stories of “rags to riches” were true for a few men, but mostly a myth and a useful myth for control.

Recently a right-wing friend told me that the reason he supports tax cuts for the rich is because he will someday be rich. I do not know how he will ever become rich—he is underwater on his mortgage and up to his eyeballs in credit card debt. But he will vote against his own best interests because of the myth that everyone, if they work hard enough, can become a millionaire in the United States. Mr. Zinn has it right: The myth of rags to riches is one to control the masses. It worked in the gilded age and it works today.

In 1895 the gold reserve of the United States was depleted, while twenty-six New York City banks had $129 million in gold in their vaults. A syndicate of bankers headed by J.P. Morgan & Company, August Belmont and Company, the National City Bank and others offered to give the government gold in exchange for bonds. President Grover Cleveland agreed. The bankers immediately resold the bonds at higher prices, making $18 million profit.

Nice to know the banks were just as corrupt then as they are now. The more things change, the more they stay the same. JP Morgan is now JP Morgan Chase and the National City Bank is now PNC—and they are both still ripping off the U.S. government.

And so it went, in industry after industry—shrewd, efficient businessmen building empires, choking out competition, maintaining high prices, keeping wages low, using government subsidies. These industries were the first beneficiaries of the “welfare state.”

High prices, low wages and government subsidies … sound familiar? If not it should. Look at the profits the oil industry is pulling in, and how much money they get from the U.S. government. How much money has the government given the banking industry alone over the last few years? The more things change the more they stay the same.

Meanwhile, the government of the United States was behaving almost exactly as Karl Marx described a capitalist state: pretending neutrality to maintain order, but serving the interests of the rich. [Emphasis added]

I think the above quote speaks for itself and needs no further iteration from me.

[T]he Supreme Court, despite its look of somber, black robed fairness, was doing its bit for the ruling elite. How could it be independent, with its members chosen by the President and ratified by the Senate? How could it be neutral between the rich and poor when its members were often former wealthy lawyers, and almost always from the upper class.

Citizens United, anyone? Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush pushed the Supreme Court not to the right but to the corporations. Sure, they will throw a bone or two out the right-wing faithful now and again on social issues, but for the most part the Supreme Court and the leaders of the Republican Party of today really don’t give a rat’s ass about abortion or gay marriage (they do use social issues to drive people to the polls, but that is about the extent of it). They only care about corporate profits and how to protect them. That is how we got Citizens United and money equaling speech. It was not about speech, it was about giving corporations more power.

We are the 99 percent and we have been for close 150 years. Other than a few brief years during the postwar period we have not gained any ground on the 1 percent. Of late we have lost ground. We have learned nothing from our history: If the robber barons of old were given an inch, they took a mile. The modern day robber barons were not only given an inch—they were given the keys to the castle with deregulation. They made and are making millions at the expense of millions.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 06:00 AM PST.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The time has finally come to take back what is (11+ / 0-)

    rightfully ours.

    •  At least the Robbers of Old.. (0+ / 0-)

      At least the old time robber barons left us a legacy.

      Hate the Duponts, Vanderbilts and Carnegies all you want, but it was them who gave us railroads, rubber, industrial centers, infrastructure, etc.

      What are the robber barons of today going to be leaving us?

  •  I think you can add the Marx quote to (37+ / 0-)

    public education all it take is a tiny adjustment.
    "...pretending neutrality to maintain order, but serving the interests of the rich." changes to -pretending to educate and promote the masses , but serves the interests of the rich.

    Our schools gives out merit awards for attendance. What has attendance got to do with  the ability to think and reason? It doesn't-but it does when these kids become workers. they are teaching  our kids their work ethics.
    The removal of arts the arts from school programs.  Art teaches kids creativity. creativity is a dangerous thing in the work place. Following orders down a strict wrong or right path is what is desired for a citizenry to stay in line.

    I took some education class in grad school what was emphasized the most was disciplineWe have discarded the belief that education is a thinking process and shifted to a process of obedience.

    We dont test our kids on what they think we test them on what they have learned. There is a big difference.

    Our educational system is doing nothing but educating kids to be good workers and not at managerial levels.

  •  I don't know how we get out of this. (32+ / 0-)

    It seems things are so stacked against us that it is almost impossible.  We have all the propaganda outlets working 24/7 to convince the populace that things are ok.  When you see the reaction on fox news to the Occupy movement you realize how afraid they actually are of us, and how they will react once this gets serious.

    We need to get rid of money in elections.  We need to get rid of corporate personhood.  And get lobbyists out of Washington.  And never, ever let them appoint Supreme Court Justices like they have now.

    •  they always have been stacked against us. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dwayne, Subterranean, Chitown Kev

      my problem with OWS is I dont see how you can maintain
      being at one place for a great deal of time.
      when occupy went to the docks in Oakland I thought that was the shift that was needed. Taking it to where money is actually made. Wall street is the end product  i think we need to focus on where the product is making money.
      that is where wall street will take notice.

      •  I think we need real General Strikes. (20+ / 0-)

        We need to protest the way France protests.  We need to shut things down for a few days.  That will get us noticed.  

        •  I doubt that would happen here... (8+ / 0-)

          ...too many people are not aware of what is going on in this country.

          "Republicans only care about the rich" - My late Father (-8.25, -7.85)

          by Mark E Andersen on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 06:35:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Best chance for support in this country... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mark E Andersen, Mayfly, cameoanne

            is focusing the attention on the financial capitalism run wild that has brought down our economy this time. Move your money, split up the banks so they cannot be too big to fail, these should be the first steps.

            From the history beautifully shown in this blog this is a long fight. We need to build our strength and fight the battles that make sense first.

            •  No Strategy (5+ / 0-)

              The brilliance of #OWS is they have no goal. No strategy from the past will work now, a revolution that brings true change cannot be planned, because we know what does not work, yet we do not know what does work. Answers emerge from the process, not as a pre-conceived notion.

              Our country's history is a perfect example, the first government established after the revolutionary war failed and was replaced by the government set forth by the constitution. The declaration of independence changed the political relationship with the British crown, but the form of government that later emerged was not on the radar when the revolution began.

              The system that we stuck with mostly copied the Iroqois Confederacy. Of course we left out the most important part of their system, which is that the Grandmothers could dis-empower any leader who was not working for the good of the people.

              "Without LOVE in the dream it will never come true..." -Robert Hunter/Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia; -8.88, -9.54

              by US Blues on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 07:52:34 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  It will take much more than that. (7+ / 0-)

          In order to release the machine of true Democracy from the machinations of "democracy for the 1%," you're going to have to annihilate the 1%'s machine of war: Money itself.  Money is the foundation of the 1%'s very existence; take it away, and they'll commit countless atrocities against the 99% to get it back.  Tax it, and they'll simply buy it back by buying the government --- and handing the 99% the bill for the purchase, plus interest.

          But --- if you destroy the very idea of money itself --- a thing that the 1% holds a mortally-vested interest in training the rest of us to believe completely impossible --- then the 1% will become nothing but a pile of dead leaves in the midst of a very windy day.  Eliminating the concept of money brings down the banks; the brokers; the IMF; everything that the 1% is willing to murder the rest of us for.  It eliminates the poverty of health care and the homelessness of eviction driven by the profiteer.  It makes all luxury either commonplace --- or extinct....

          I count even the single grain of sand to be a higher life-form than the likes of Sarah Palin and her odious ilk.

          by Liberal Panzer on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 06:54:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  If that can't happen, then we need to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          withdraw all of our labor, money and support for the system and form our own local institutions held together by human values and interdependence.

          Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

          by StrayCat on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 07:28:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The other thing I've been saying for the past 30 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          is this:
          I have a big bridge which I can see from my kitchen window. The bridge funnels rush-hour traffic into town. We won't have any rebellions as long as I can see SUVs coming over that bridge in the morning. They're still there, dudes.

          Meaning that our masters have been very careful to keep the great majority of us at sustainable economic levels. They got what happened last time very well. They won't make that mistake again. Right-o that our wages haven't increased in 45 years. But the homeless are relatively few and the few true slaves we have are well hidden.

          Corruption is what keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why we win. -Syriana

          by CarbonFiberBoy on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 07:56:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I think we're in real trouble. (15+ / 0-)
         Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
              John F. Kennedy, In a speech at the White House, 1962
              35th president of US 1961-1963 (1917 - 1963)

      Yes, there is a correlation between President Barack Obama and Neville Chamberlain. Both have brought us "peas in our time."

      by Jonathan Hoag on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 06:39:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Four dead in Ohio" (10+ / 0-)
      When you see the reaction on fox news to the Occupy movement you realize how afraid they actually are of us, and how they will react once this gets serious.
      One of my sharpest memories of college was the moment when I heard about Kent State. Johns Hopkins was already in the middle of a student strike (over allowing military recruiters on campus)--in fact there was a student referendum vote on the issue the day the news from Cambodia hit, prompting student bodies nationwide to strike.

      I was hanging around an office upstairs in Levering Hall (the student union) with a handful of the strike organizers (I wasn't one of them) as we listened to the news on the radio. When we looked at each other the same thing was written on everyone's face:

      This is no springtime frolic.
      This could get us killed.

      snarcolepsy, n: a condition in which the sufferer responds to any comment with a smartass comeback.

      by Uncle Cosmo on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 06:59:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  As I've been saying for 30 years (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ahumbleopinion, Russgirl, opinionated

      "you can't have campaign finance reform without campaign finance reform."

      One idea is the current campaign to change the wording of the 14th Amendment. Not going to happen of course, unless we have campaign finance reform.

      The only visible way forward is to re-elect Obama and then have another Democrat after him, with enough Dem Senators to confirm SCOTUS judges until we have 5-4 in favor of the 99%. That's going to be tough because of the Republicans' foresight in nominating relatively young judges, and Democrats' lack of same.

      Along the same line of thought, we need to have much stricter laws about revolving doors in government/corporate relations. Same problem with that, no votes. It's finally become obvious that what's wrong with the SEC, Justice, etc., is simply revolving door corruption. There's no adequate lever to make 'em do the right thing.

      Corruption is what keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why we win. -Syriana

      by CarbonFiberBoy on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 07:49:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting to read in NYTimes that Geithner (19+ / 0-)

    argued for letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire, but Obama was persuaded by Congressional Dems otherwise:

    In the summer of 2010, for example, Mr. Geithner tried to get the White House to fight to make sure the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy expired at the end of that year as scheduled — not only to reduce deficits but to be more fair.
    “The most affluent 400 earners in 2007, who earned an average of more than $340 million each that year, paid only 17 percent of their income in taxes — a lower rate than many who consider themselves middle-class Americans,” Mr. Geithner said in a speech at the time, as he tried to lead the charge against Republicans’ push to extend the rates.

    Yet Mr. Obama did not take up the cause, dissuaded by Democrats in Congress who were worried about how a tax fight might affect the midterm elections.

    Will teh New Robber Barrons' bought Congress prevail  and keep those cuts for their paymasters? Or will Occupy Together efforts gather the public will to the point that Congress is forced to let them expire?

    •  The NYT protects their boy ! Manhattan Uber Alles! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Geithner is a sell out sack of shit -

      IF he was in the party he belongs in - the right wing rich pig ass kissing Republican Party, I'd have NO trouble with his clinton-ian bullshit.


      Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

      by seabos84 on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 08:06:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  US funding pensions at big defense companies (17+ / 0-)

    Yep, highly profitable companies too.  More corporate welfare.

    "I don't want to blame anyone. I just want to know how lowering taxes on the rich creates jobs" --Informed citizen at Congressional town hall

    by Time Waits for no Woman on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 06:22:58 AM PST

  •  An ill-informed electorate (26+ / 0-)

    and one without much critical thinking skills is the basis of corporatocracy.

    Ask yourself why it costs so much to go to college today, compared to yesteryears.  

    Because corporations don't want the electorate to be able to figure out why our wages are not rising, when the cost of living is.

  •  It was at this time that Henry George (20+ / 0-)

    burst onto the scene. He wrote the best selling economic book of all time Progress and Poverty.

    He introduced the term "progressive" into the political sphere. His approach threads the left/right divide and his economic world view must be reckoned with.

    Economics has become corrupted.  I mean that literally.  There is even a book by long-time economics professor Dr. Mason Gaffney, called "The Corruption of Economics." In the book, Gaffney makes the case that neo-classical economics displaced classical economics over decades during the early part of the last century.  Economics was a science before that, it hasn't been one since then.

    Going back to first principles, J.B. Clark and others took the classical 3 factors of production: Land, Labor and Capital, and combined them into 2: Labor and Capital (Gaffney points out elsewhere that there is even a move to reduce the factors to just 1: Capital, as in "Human Capital" for Labor!).

    Land (classically defined as ALL the natural elements of the universe) is nearly the opposite of Capital:

    - Land is finite. Capital (goods) are only limited by Labor and Land availability.

    - Land typically appreciates over time and from population pressure. Capital depreciates over time and can be replaced.

    - Land was created by nature. Capital is created by humans.

    - Land is indispensable to life: without Land, you die...instantly.  

    Capital is important, but not vital. You CAN, if pressed, get water and food with your bare hands, and live in the wild like our cave-dwelling ancestors did. It's hard, but we did it throughout most of human history.

    Unless we understand First Principles, nothing else matters. It's like trying to practice physics without accounting for gravity, or heat.

  •  "Robber baron" is a fancy word (9+ / 0-)

    for the predatory impulse which obviously survives in some humans.
    The more inept we seem to quite readily identify and restrain in confined situations.  The more clever ones, especially the ones able to disguise their objectives with verbiage and legal maneuvers manage to get away with behavior best categorized as that of the carnivorous pack-rat.
    Ironically, what seems to make their behavior more tolerable is that money renders it immaterial or virtual.  The practitioners of human husbandry don't actually consume their prey sooner or later.  Their predation is, if you will, once removed. That makes it more difficult to identify. But it also makes it easier to counter. All we have to do is take our money back.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 06:25:42 AM PST

    •  "All we have to do is take our money back" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      yes, of course, but how does that happen?

      i've been reading about the anarchist influence on the occupy movement, and a lot of it is practical and useful;

      but when the premise is that direct democracy is the way to run an economy/government, i can't imagine how that gets done in this age of such vast numbers of citizens, etc.

      am i wrong to want social democracy such as in germany, france, netherlands, etc.?  

      is capitalism, which is clearly eating itself now, ala karl marx's philosophy, necessarily dead, or it is still a useful economic system, as long as seriously regulated

      •  How do we take our money back? (0+ / 0-)

        We return what we received in exchange for it, plus a reasonable charge for the inconvenience to the vendor.

        •  Originally, the House was tasked with (5+ / 0-)

          supervising the purse strings.  By setting up the private Federal Reserve Banks, the Congress relinquished that "power"--i.e. obligation.  Since the Federal Reserve is a statutory corporation, Ron Paul is correct in arguing that it can be abolished by statute as was DADT. However, the banks which have captured the Fed can be worked around, as is being done by the Department of Education taking over the higher education loan program and as is continuing to be done by the Social Security Administration in making money directly available to individuals and making it difficult for financial institutions to get their "cut" (debit fees are a try to correct that).

          People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

          by hannah on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 09:06:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I like that definition (0+ / 0-)

      One might say that the Predatory Era, after a deep recession, gave way to the Progressive Era.

  •  Unions and Divide and Rule (13+ / 0-)

    While the unions were a third of the work force in the 50's, they were segregated by race and gender.  The Civil Rights and Women's Movements challenged the segregation because women and AA folks wanted to be able to hold better paying jobs as well.  The pushback from the union segregationists gave the Republican Party the opening it needed to make inroads amongst the working class.  The Teamsters endorsed Ronald Reagan for President, but it was a hollow victory for Reagan Democrats.  Not only did Reagan fire the air traffic controllers, his appointees to the Department of Labor were anti-union.

    Reproductive rights are directly related to economic equality.  Without them, women can be derailed from education and good paying jobs.   This was done post WWII.  An example was separate seniority lists for men and women in some industrial unions, where a woman worker with more seniority could be bumped in favor of a man.

    Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

    by arlene on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 06:29:43 AM PST

  •  And Alice Walton builds a museum (4+ / 0-)

    dedicated to American art for the common people. It's free for the masses - like the libraries Carnegie built.

    What we need now is a heroic type, someone who could rally the people to higher deeds. I don't know what's to become of us - Julie Child, June 1, 2000.

    by paige on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 06:32:24 AM PST

  •  History repeats, because power always corrupts (7+ / 0-)

    We are again in a stage of an overripe declining empire where those with power are absolutely corrupt.

    There is an excellent article out in the latest New Scientist,
    The underhand ape: Why corruption is normal that explains how corruption is endemic and correlated to power.

    It might seem we are doomed to suffer the consequences of overwhelming powerlessness, but the article does offer some hope.

    Given our tendency to baseness, anti-corruption campaigners have their work cut out. But the news from the lab is not all bad. One ray of hope lies in the discovery that individuals can become less corrupt. When Barr and Serra repeated their experiment, they found that a person's tendency to bribe declined the longer they had spent in the UK. The pair also made an intriguing observation that suggests some individuals might be less susceptible to corrupting cultural influences in the first place. While the corruptibility of undergraduates reflected the CPI ranking of their home countries, the same was not true of graduates - those from countries where corruption is higher tended to be more honest than undergraduate compatriots who had spent equal amounts of time in the UK. Barr and Serra see these people as non-conformers who could one day fight corruption back home. "We think of them as agents for change," says Serra.

    The other common sense solution is to increase deterrence e.g. regulation and enforcement.

    A more promising way to reduce levels of corruption might be to beef up the deterrents. Kurzban believes that the only reason people ever consider not cheating is because others occasionally hold them to account. Punishment certainly works in laboratory experiments. When people play cooperative games for a reward, they are far more likely to resist cheating if they know that other players could fine them for trying to profit at the expense of the group. In real life, the punishment inflicted on a cheat tends to be social disapproval, ranging from ostracism to incarceration. In recent months, for example, five British politicians have served prison sentences for fiddling their expenses.

    There are far more than five fiddling Brits that need to face some perp walking accountability these days.

    We need, the Occupy movement needs, to keep hammering on this. Zinn got it and thank you Mark for reminding us that we have been here before.

  •  I wonder if the threat of communism (11+ / 0-)

    in the 20th Century had as much to do with the success of the New Deal and progressive policies, which really only modestly reformed laissez faire capitalism, as FDR.  

    Now that communism has been "defeated"  nothing is holding back the worst instincts of today's crony/phony capitalists.

  •  Excellent piece! (7+ / 0-)

    What's going on in this era is amplified by the historical perspective.

  •  Great diary, Mark. I think that by keeping a (9+ / 0-)

    society ignorant in terms of its' history allows for the same opportunistic individuals to be perpetually in the drivers seat to take advantage of the majority.  The very wealthy will, and can survive the deliberate slow teardown of those rules and regulations that corrected many of the negatives that were once in place in this country as they have the resources on their side, and can use time to their advantage to accomplish their goals of control for their financial gains and comfort again, and again, and again.  

    It's time for me to re-read Zinn's book, again.

    “We learn from history that we do not learn from history”

    ― Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

    "You can't always get what you want; but if you try sometimes...." - Rolling Stones

    by LamontCranston on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 06:42:51 AM PST

  •  And My Reading List Grows nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark E Andersen, Chitown Kev

    I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

    by DamselleFly on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 06:43:01 AM PST

  •  Much of Robber Baron Wealth was subsidized..... (15+ / 0-)

    I was just musing about the same things as I traveled on a 3,000 mile road trip across the south. Remember, all the railroad barons were heavily subsidized by government through massive land grants direct financial subsidies. Dotti oil lands. They took these windfalls and profits to get into all kinds of other businesses - many also with favorable government policies and subsidies. Now their modern day equivalents are doing the same thing - to them getting government out of the way means 'give us our way with the land and the resources, and keep labor cheap.' Remember also that the Southern conservative ideology is a modern version of similarly reasoning emanating from a highly-profitable slave economy before the civil war - they also wanted government to leave them alone and wrote tens of thousands of pages of political tracts on why slavery was natural and beneficial. Similarly, they were able to cast the fight as something other than slavery and get the poor low income whites to actually fight and die for their slave economy. Lots of parallels!  Good diary!      

  •  Great Diary (11+ / 0-)

    But it's worth mentioning that public opinion is not the problem.  The public overwhelmingly supports increased taxes on corporations and the rich, as well as other efforts to reduce oligarchy. The solution isn't changing the minds of the deadenders - it's mobilizing people on positions they already hold.

    Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

    by David Kaib on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 06:46:36 AM PST

  •  Money buys power (0+ / 0-)

    "Money buys power".  That's been the case since day one in America....and not likely to change any time soon.  And, one political party or ideology might be somewhat less involved in allowing this to happen, but truth is, few powerful people in government reject the favors from those with money.

    It doesn't take larger government to change this.  It will take better legislation and regulation that actually walks the talk the politicians make to control those powerful money folks and keep them from influencing government to accept the very laws and legislation that allows for big-money interests to take from the masses.

    - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

    by r2did2 on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 06:47:10 AM PST

  •  how to get rich (4+ / 0-)
    Recently a right-wing friend told me that the reason he supports tax cuts for the rich is because he will someday be rich. I do not know how he will ever become rich—he is underwater on his mortgage and up to his eyeballs in credit card debt.

    The answer is simple -- he will win the lottery.

    The Paragraph: Terse news, history and science.

    by hungeski on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 06:47:22 AM PST

  •  Empire Building (9+ / 0-)

    Second verse. Same as the first.

    The Koch brothers have bankrolled a broad attack on progressive government programs. Their grandfather’s history in Texas helps explain why.:

  •  Great post, and painfully true. (6+ / 0-)

    In regard to whar your right-wing friend said, I recently had this same discussion with some acquaintances of mine, which I subsequently wrote about, almost verbatim.

  •  We literally are back in the days of the (14+ / 0-)

    robber barons, except that many of them these days are not as well known to the general public. We knew this wasn't a good thing a hundred years ago.  We're supposed to be so sophisticated now, but we can't even seem to relearn lessons that were figured out long before our generation.

    Why is this?  I blame it on the true believers, who stick to an ideology regardless of the facts. I watched the film "Downfall" last night, about Hitler's last days in the Bunker as seen from the point of view of one of his stenographers. The one that had the scene of Hitler ranting and raving that has been hilariously supplied with all kinds of different subtitles on YouTube. What the movie really brought home is that there is absolutely no limit in the power of true belief to totally insulate people from what in fact is actually happening. No limit at all. You think Fox News viewers believe in weird things? They're just pikers. As shown in the movie, you can come to believe that it is better to poison your own children than to make them live in a world that, horrors, does not include National Socialism, and then, horrifyingly, act on your belief.

    There is no stopping point to what a human being can be led to believe, no matter how ridiculous. Any time you let somebody else do your thinking for you, you are on a dangerous, slippery slope. And  the corporate, right wing propaganda that today is being used to comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted depends, since it is so divorced from reality, on encouraging people to stop thinking, relax, and just be told what to believe.

    There are signs, for instance with OWS, that reality may yet triumph. We can only hope.

    "The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    by orrg1 on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 06:53:28 AM PST

  •  Excellent read (5+ / 0-)

    Thanks Mark. I'll be emailing this to all on my list.

    Did you notice in the picture of J. P. Morgan the arm of the chair he is holding in his left hand actually looks like he is holding a knife?

    How fitting.........

    "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

    by fugwb on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 06:54:38 AM PST

  •  The resulting inequities (7+ / 0-)

    make the novels of Charles Dickens sound comtemporary ......

  •  one minor quibble (10+ / 0-)

    with this otherwise excellent article...while there are a lot of similarities between what's going on now and then, that's been true ever since the "golden age" of the Robber Barons
    ended in the late 1800's. The Republicans have, basically, been trying to re0-establish Robber-Baronism ever since, not just in recent times, but ever since.

    You might cite Teddy Roosevelt as an example of how Republicans alleged veered from Robber-Baronism, but, looking back on history now, he was more of an anomolie, someone who was more of a Progressive "Bull Moose" than a areal Republican on certain reform issues (although he certainly was the beneficiary of a lot of money from some of those same Robber Barons whom he railed against as the head of the Republican Party).

    In other words...the Republican Party's policies and positions have, basically, remained the same from the late 1800's to the present...lavish massive amounts of benefits and breaks on the filthy rich...and that will solve all of our problems. All of their various "new" positions ever since then have, actually, been variations on that trickle-down/tinkle-on economic theme.

    The Republicans, despite all of their protestations of allegedly being the party of "new ideas" has, basically, not changed one bit. They are committed to doing the bidding of those with massive amounts of money, as long as that money is first lavished on them.  

    •  True dat! (0+ / 0-)

      Really, one could argue the oligarchs are no different than the feudal lords from the Middle Ages. New brand, same agenda.

      Catch St. Louis' progressive talk show, The Murdock Report, every Tuesday @ noon! Stream or download it: I do the twit thing too @SmokinJoesTruth

      by Da Rat Bastid on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 09:39:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a history major (10+ / 0-)

    Please be assured that there is nothing new under the sun, nor in the hearts of greedy men.

    The trick comes with recognizing the same old, same old whenever you see it.

  •  The Reason They're "Back" Is That for Half a (11+ / 0-)

    century we used government to prevent them existing.

    There's no way our system of government can protect the people of the entire planet from a dangerously unstable American economy and the ravages of our rich unless they're very forcefully contstrained, beginning at quite modest levels of wealth and income in the upper middle class.

    We did it once, and together with parts of Europe and Asia those principles created the only large comfortable working class with upward mobility, access to education and leisure, and secure old age that ever existed in all human history.

    Both political parties here adamantly oppose that outrage and so here we are back where our system is designed for the people to be, at the mercy of the economic nobility and a broad diversity of us from intellectuals to labor out in the streets demanding civilization.

    Our country has been given back to us again, the country it always was with one brief exceptional period.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 07:23:39 AM PST

  •  "The new robber barons" was exactly (8+ / 0-)

    what Jeffrey Sachs labeled the 1% back in March.  

    What is most disturbing to me is that it was the original robber barons of the 1880's that spun the lawsuits from which by a misinterpretation of a Supreme Court ruling, corporations became persons.  Thom Hartmann has an excellent book on this.  There is a free online source for some of the book here at Truthout.  For anyone wanting to know about  the origin of how corporations "became persons", this is essential reading.

    The Roberts Court of course with Citizens United continues the assault on the meaning of personhood.  "Robber baron" is a description of the new 1% that is chillingly accurate.  There has been a consistent war on the rights of humans and the elevation of that construct of the corporation.  The robber barons of today carry on the same practice as their predecessors of 1880

    I wrote some of this in March in this diary.  In an interview then Sachs had the following to say

    "It's pretty clear there's an agenda nationwide: Republican governors backed by the Koch Brothers [and] extreme right wing money want to crush the unions," says Columbia Professor Jeffrey Sachs. "The public is against it, but public opinion doesn't count much in this country these days." (Editor's note: The Koch Brothers have denied our repeated requests for an interview.)

    But Sachs says the "real story" is much bigger than Wisconsin: It's about stagnant wages of public and private sector workers alike, and the increasing and increasingly pernicious role of big money in politics.

    The following statistics speak to Sachs' first point:

        * Since 1973, the median take home pay of full-time workers is virtually unchanged on an inflation-adjusted basis.
        * The top 11,000 households in America have more income than the bottom 25 million.
        * Since 1976, 58% of real income growth has gone to the top 1% of Americans.

    "We've reached the greatest income [and] wealth inequality in history," Sachs says. "This is a new ‘Robber Baron' era, of course."

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 07:24:39 AM PST

  •  What "return"? They never left. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StrayCat, OleHippieChick, Matt Z

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 07:30:04 AM PST

  •  history rhymes (12+ / 0-)
    Fortunately, after some burrowing in the univ. library, I was able to confirm its authenticity. Here it is, with more surrounding context:

        "We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end.   It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood. . . .    It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but  I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes
     me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war,  corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war.  God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless."

    The passage appears in a letter from Lincoln to (Col.) William F. Elkins, Nov. 21, 1864.  

    Any other questions, we are there again ... and again ... and again.

    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." Mayer Amschel Rothschild, 1790

    by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 07:30:11 AM PST

  •  This post is well illustrated by that famous (6+ / 0-)

    photograph of J.P. Morgan by Edward Steichen.

    Somehow he made it look as if Morgan was a pirate with a dagger in his hand, although you can see it's only the arm of a chair.

    "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow." -- last words of Steve Jobs.

    by Timaeus on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 07:31:39 AM PST

  •  quote in local lte (6+ / 0-)

    "i won't believe in corporate personhood, until Texas executes one"

    Republican Health Care Plan: Stay Sick so we can keep the Insurance Companies Solvent oh Bush/Cheney 2004 because it takes 8 years to destroy the country

    by demnomore on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 07:40:49 AM PST

  •  THIS (5+ / 0-)
    Recently a right-wing friend told me that the reason he supports tax cuts for the rich is because he will someday be rich.  I do not know how he will ever become rich—he is underwater on his mortgage and up to his eyeballs in credit card debt. But he will vote against his own best interests because of the myth that everyone, if they work hard enough, can become a millionaire in the United States.  

    This is a dialog that needs to go viral, it is EXACTLY WHY the brainwashed contingent of our population votes against their own interest, time after time.  

    We also ought to keep in mind that the voting process is just as corrupt today as it was during the Gilded Age--they just steal the shit electronically now.

    Thing is, the greedy are getting so greedy, they're starting to get sloppy. Which is why @OWS scares the living fuck out of them.

    We must not abandon the occupied areas just because it might get cold outside, AND we must enhance that occupation with additional action. IMHO, some of the spin--even from written sources we find more or less trustworthy as a whole--is getting more nuanced and we must step back, read carefully, and recognize it when we see it.

    REPEAL the Telecomm Act & REVIEW this decision. NO journalist should be fired because their boss can't have the truth told.

    by lunachickie on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 07:43:25 AM PST

  •  We have the means but not the strategy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, Russgirl, Matt Z

    A long time ago I worked with a Right Wing AH who was as pessimistic about this country changing as we are today. Only, his beef was that we are a democracy and sooner or later the country would move to the Left. His solution was that you get more votes the more you pay in taxes.

    And yet, the Right won. Their strategy was to buy off Congress and control the media. It is working full bore today. The fact is that it is a tenuous victory.  But something went wrong. Because of their greed the economy is in a state of fail and the 99% are feeling it. They are violent in their reaction to #Occupy because it is a crack in their hegemony. When a majority of citizens realize that they are getting screwed they will use the power of the ballot box to make changes.

    My point is that democracy provides the means for peaceful revolution, but we need to form a strategy to get to that point. The bottom line is that the nation needs to be run for the good of the people and as long as the people are hoodwinking into thinking that the interests of the 1% are their interest we will never get there. If politicians believe that they can't get elected with just corporate money, that they need to ride the wave of populism then they will do the right thing. Not all of them, but their replacements will.

  •  This is all pretty tenuous... (0+ / 0-)

    Like this:

    While some multimillionaires started in poverty, most did not. A study of the origins of 303 textile, railroad and steel executives of the 1870s showed that 90 percent came from middle- or upper-class families.

    Well, what did you expect? If 10% of multimillionaires came from poverty, I think that's pretty good. Also, I'd like to see the split between multimillionaires coming from middle vs upper class. Lumping them together seems a bit contrived, to me. If a big portion are coming from the middle class, we've got a great system.

    The obvious answers are wrong. That's why we aren't doing them already.

    by atheistben on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 07:50:34 AM PST

  •  You remind me of a couple of points (8+ / 0-)

    made by sociologists Richard Sennett & Jonathan Cobb in one of my all-time favorite books, The Hidden Injuries of Class (1972).

    One is that the common meaning of "Horatio Alger story"--i.e., poor but industrious youth who rises on his own merit to wealth & power--is a myth. In fact Alger's message was far more insidious: His formulaic plot always had the kid come to the attention of some powerful & wealthy man who then took the boy under his wing & sponsored his rise to wealth etc.

    IOW the success of the Alger hero wasn't so much a function of his personal traits as it was of who he managed to convince (in whatever way) to sponsor and protect him. What Alger didn't point out is there are other ways to obtain that sponsorship--notably by being born to the right parents. W is the classic example--a total fuckup in every business venture he ever tried, who was repeatedly bailed out by his parents' (& grandparents') wealthy & powerful friends.

    Another point Cobb & Sennett made is how the US class system works: Rising from the lower depths to the upper crust is possible, but it's rare, & most of it happens by chance--which is to say that many people fail to rise who are as deserving as those who do but are simply never at the right place or the right time or have the right idea to catalyze that rise (usually by attracting the support of someone wealthy & powerful [see above] for their ideas).

    The evil genius of the American class system is that it throws the rare Horatio-Algerish successes back into the face of the unsuccessful & says See? Anyone can be a big success in America! What's wrong with you that you aren't?

    IOW, the blame for not "succeeding" is shoved back on the individual for him (or her) to internalize as a personal failing, rather than on a system which makes "success" at least as dependent on luck as on "worthiness" (whatever that means).

    It occurs to me that the 99% understand this situation in their collective gut--& it shows in such things as the wild popularity of "talent shows" like American Idol whose big attraction is being able to select finalists & winners by popular vote on their merits--& carefully ignoring the fact that the semifinalists are first vetted by panels of "experts".

    snarcolepsy, n: a condition in which the sufferer responds to any comment with a smartass comeback.

    by Uncle Cosmo on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 07:55:02 AM PST

  •  We need a national teach-in (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark E Andersen, ringer, Russgirl, Matt Z

    on the history of the Gilded Age and Robber Barons.  Now that 1% ownership disparity is in play, let's see where we're heading if we choose to ignore our past.  

  •  I am reading American Colossus right now (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Da Rat Bastid, Russgirl, Matt Z

    by HW Brands. It covers 1865-1900 and he is doing a great job narrating this history.

    There's a lot in there I feel I didn't cover well when I was a student, especially the the Railroad Strike of 1877.

    One thing this book shows is that big business has been getting the government to finance big projects and assume the risk, while business often reaps the rewards.

    Furthermore, in the financial panics of the late 19th century, big business had no problem going to the USG and begging for bailouts.

    Same shit now, different century.

  •  J.P. Morgan gets a bad rap (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    donkeyhoetee, hungeski, msmacgyver

    I am a liberal, but I've also studied history, and Morgan himself was not a "robber baron."

    The "robber barons" were people like Jay Gould who built monopolies through manipulation and used them to crush people.

    Morgan organized industries, and accepted the regulations of the progressive era. He knew that in exchange for the power to concentrate capital, he owed those who worked in those industries, and those who bought from those industries. He paid that by cooperating with the government of those times, especially the T. Roosevelt Administration.

    The Sherman Act and the Clayton Act offered financiers like Morgan a deal. You can organize capital, but in exchange you have to maintain prices, improve working conditions, follow reasonable regulations and laws.

    The robber barons didn't believe in either reasonable regulations, nor reasonable laws. They were a different sort. They wanted to retain monopolies without regulation, as current Republicans seek to do.

    Regulated monopolies were important to the development of mass production. Without control over rail rates and electric power rates, Henry Ford could not have built Ford, nor could other businesses of the early 20th century have developed.

    What you're doing here, in a contemporary context, is lumping Warren Buffett in with Don Blankenship of Massey Energy. They're not the same.

    by Dana Blankenhorn on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 08:02:35 AM PST

    •  Quote from Jay Gould..... (6+ / 0-)

      .... after hiring strike breakers was.

       "I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half."

      Funny.. this is mentioned under Wage Slavery in Wikipedia.

    •  "American Colossus" by H. W. Brands ... (0+ / 0-)

      gives a pretty good rundown on who was who and who did what.  As I recall, at one point Gould controlled more gold than the U.S. Treasury and tried to corner the world market.

      But even those that were philanthropic generally made those contributions later in life, after they had assured their place and that of their descendents, perhaps to buy their way into heaven.  Reportedly at the conclusion of a meeting, Rockefeller said to Henry Ford, "Goodbye, I'll see you in Heaven."  To which Ford, no angel himself, is said to have replied, "You will if you get in."

      "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

      by midnight lurker on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 09:07:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If We Are Truly A Sophisticated (0+ / 0-)

    society, why are we ignoring what we really are and where some of our problems like dominating - oppression impulses come from?

    Science is revealing this to us but it isn't implemented adequately.

  •  How close are we to fascism? (0+ / 0-)

    Just as prostitution is the world's oldest profession, religion is the world's oldest scam.

    by Agent420 on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 08:13:13 AM PST

  •  book available free online (0+ / 0-)

    "The only person sure of himself is the man who wishes to leave things as they are, and he dreams of an impossibility" -George M. Wrong.

    by statsone on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 08:21:56 AM PST

  •  Questions of cause and effect (0+ / 0-)

    I"m a good liberal, but even I recognize that there are real questions of cause and effect:

    "the most productive time in our nation's history was from the post-WWII years to roughly the mid-seventies when the unions were at the height of their power."

    Was that the most productive because unions were exercising their greatest power? Or, did unions enjoy more power and greater membership because our economy was so strong?

    US manufacturing was unchallenged for 25 years. It was easier for unions to find industries and factories to organize, and the promise of huge sales also gave labor more leverage than it has now.

    Is it possible that the growth of union power bolstered a middle class, which in turn created a powerful market of consumption and innovation that boosted our economy? Of course, it is possible, but it's impossible to say which was the cause and which was the effect.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

    by FischFry on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 08:22:47 AM PST

  •  a quotation that seems apt: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark E Andersen, Black Max, live1, Matt Z
    “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” (Steinbeck)

    I think I first ran across that one on the Wonkette.

  •  A small quarrel with the diary (0+ / 0-)

    J.P. Morgan and others sold the United States gold in exchange for a promise to pay for it.  They sold the paper for a profit.  The diary concludes, "Nice to know the banks were just as corrupt then as they are now."  Where was the corruption in that deal?  The United States had the physical gold.  Morgan had the promise.  Morgan sold the right to collect on the promise to someone wanted the promise more than Morgan did.  Who got hurt?

  •  They've been back since 1968 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark E Andersen

    and it has been down hill ever since with the acceleration brought by rotten Ronnie.

    Rec'ed Mark.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 08:45:03 AM PST

  •  Strange but apt comparison: (0+ / 0-)

    The Food Network show "Restaurant: Impossible" shows what a mockery the idea of "work hard and you will inevitably prosper" has become. In every single case I've seen on that show, a restaurant is in danger of going under and the owners have worked themselves and their staff members to the bone. Owners have mortgaged their homes, cashed in life insurance policies, drained their savings, etc to keep their businesses afloat, and worked 70+ hours a week in those businesses. It never was merely about "working hard." It's a combination of hard work, smart business decisions, community relations, and luck. If "hard work" was all it took to be successful, the majority of Americans would be plutocrats now.

    Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Main Street. Occupy everything. Force a tsunami of change on the nation.

    by Black Max on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 09:02:35 AM PST

  •  The Spanish American war (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rizzo, opinionated, Matt Z

    The parallels boggle the mind.  An unecessary war, based on a falsehood of a Spanish attack on the Maine, which ultimately led to a prolonged war against muslim guerillas (the Phillipine Insurrection).

  •  The American Dream as False Consciousness (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rizzo, Russgirl, Matt Z
    Mr. Zinn has it right: The myth of rags to riches is one to control the masses. It worked in the gilded age and it works today.

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 09:17:03 AM PST

  •  Wrong National City Bank? (0+ / 0-)

    National City Bank in Cleveland became part of PNC.  In 1895, it was still a relatively tiny bank in the grand scheme of things.

    National City Bank of New York, however, was likely the National City Bank that purchased the bonds.  It was controlled by a Rockefeller --- and later merged into Citibank --- the banking arm of Citigroup.

  •  There is one glaring difference (0+ / 0-)

    The robberbarons used social darwinism to justify their greed and avarice. Today, it's the religious right writing the talking points.

    Catch St. Louis' progressive talk show, The Murdock Report, every Tuesday @ noon! Stream or download it: I do the twit thing too @SmokinJoesTruth

    by Da Rat Bastid on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 09:26:59 AM PST

  •  When I read A People's History... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chitown Kev

    what struck me was how we have a history of struggling for equality. It became apparent that while standing up for equality is essential, we also need to rethink the deeper human condition that would lead some to so violate others, and strip them of their human dignity. For a permanent solution to the struggle, we need to look for the underlying cause of the problem, the primordial cause, the source of inequality at so many levels... where does it come from and how do we eradicate it?

    I have come to some of my own conclusions, but that is not important. What matters is that we all take this opportunity to think deeply and find a broader context for the struggle.

  •  I've been thinking, and saying this... (4+ / 0-)

    for quite some time.  But I think it's even worse than that - I think what the ultimate goal is not just to take us back 100 Years, but to take us back 500 years to a new age of Corporate Feudalism.  Where Nations and Governments don't matter, only the Super Kings of Industry, in their Privatized Gated Communities (Castles) with their Privatized Security (Knights & Mercenaries) with all the best services which they can afford and nothing affordable (Health Care, School, Decent Quality Food) for anyone else.

    They're out to create a world of Lords and Serfs, and guess who get to be the Serfs?

  •  resold (0+ / 0-)

    "The bankers immediately resold the bonds at higher prices, making $18 million profit."

    Readers who understand the bond market will note that this sale did not cost the United States government one thin dime.

    We can have change for the better.

    by phillies on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 11:13:12 AM PST

  •  Among the many benefits derived (0+ / 0-)

    from reading Zinn's "History" is the realization that our public education has been designed to perpetuate the status quo... in large part by the choice of history texts by our teachers, many of whom were liberal but confined in their teaching by Boards of Education, who were largely conservative, and certainly opposed to any thorough exposition of some of the dark parts of American history, such as genocide of American Indians, and a large scale study of slavery... not to mention slavery's aftermaths, such as Jim Crow, carpetbaggers, President Andrew Johnson's elimination of 40 acres and a mule, etc., etc., etc.

    Kick apart the structures - Seth

    by ceebee7 on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 12:42:44 PM PST

  •  I started reading (0+ / 0-)

    What's The Matter With Kansas, Thomas Frank (2004) yesterday.  I'm depressed, furious and more convinced than ever that the bad guys are going to win.

    I'm a late comer to RW hate talkers, i.e., Limbaugh et al, and wasn't even aware that Fox "news" existed prior to the Obama campaign.  The influence that these media monsters and the fundamentalist churches have had on Americans cannot ever be discounted or ignored.

    May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. George Carlin

    by msmacgyver on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 02:07:43 PM PST

  •  You gut your credibility when you write crap (0+ / 0-)

    like this -

    ". . . then they are attacked and called cowards for speaking out against the very oppression they were fighting."

    and this  -

    "But he will vote against his own best interests because of the myth that everyone, if they work hard enough, can become a millionaire in the United States."

    Caricatures are inane. Live in the real world.

    •  Bwhahahahahahahahahaha! (0+ / 0-)

      I have have no credibility...this coming from someone who has never posted a diary here and has more HRs than I care to count.

      I suggest you start you stand up career because that has to be the funniest damn thing I have ever heard.

      "Republicans only care about the rich" - My late Father (-8.25, -7.85)

      by Mark E Andersen on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 04:07:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Amusement is where you find it (0+ / 0-)

        I didn't say you had no credibility, I said you gutted it. How much of what you read do you think you understand? It should be obvious to you that your use of hyperbole undermines your assertions, including the two I cited.

        I'm curious as to how you'd answer the Randian belief that the exploits of the robber barons furthered the greater good enough to justify their exploitations. Carnegie works his men into the ground but cheap steel is a greater good that allows for the building of safer bridges, buildings, etc.

  •  Good, but a quibble (0+ / 0-)

    Very good article. We need to understand the HISTORY of our economy and how we got to where we are. Only then can we truly understand the actual forces that shape it into the structure it has today.

    When you say that the banks exchanged the gold for bonds and then the banks turned around and sold them for a profit -- what's wrong with that? It's hard to tell from the context of this article WHO the bonds were sold to. If sold to the US, then yes, it was exploitative, but if sold on the general market, I don't understand that as a problem.

    Do you have more info?

    What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

    by equern on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 04:14:04 PM PST

    •  The US Government... (0+ / 0-) far less gold than it should have for the bonds. Bonds do not appreciate in value that quickly. I would recommend reading the book as it is explained far better than I can explain it.

      "Republicans only care about the rich" - My late Father (-8.25, -7.85)

      by Mark E Andersen on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 04:17:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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