Who's on your side - Elizabeth Warren or Jamie Dimon?

The history of America is the history of “We the People” confronting corporate power and winning. In fact, the whole reason we started this country was because individuals and small businesses wanted to fight back against the dominant corporation of the day, the British East India Company.

Here’s a little history lesson you won’t see on Fox So-Called News…

By the 1770s, the British East India Company, despite being the most powerful corporation in the world, was essentially bankrupt and faced fierce competition from small-business owners who were cutting into its tea trade with North America. And so it lobbied the Parliament of Great Britain to pass the Tea Act of 1773.

This act gave the British East India Company total control over the North American tea trade, exempted it from having to pay taxes on exported tea, and gave it a refund on any tea it was unable to sell. It was the largest corporate tax cut in the history of the world, and set up the East India Company to pull a Wal-Mart and put all the small, local tea shops across America out of business.

Not surprisingly, this really angered the American colonists. They were furious at seeing their business undercut to help out a big corporation, and so a group of them in Boston known as the Sons of Liberty decided to take action. On the night of December 16, 1773 they dressed themselves up as Native Americans, stormed a group of ships docked in Boston Harbor, and tossed chest upon chest of East India tea into the freezing winter water.

The events of that night, now known as the Boston Tea Party, set off another chain of events that eventually led to the Declaration of Independence and the creation of our republic. That’s right, conservatives - the American Revolution started with an act of corporate vandalism by the good citizens of Boston!

The Boston Tea Party is just one example, though, of a much larger trend in American history. And that trend is the trend of “We the People” taking action, both through movement politics and through our democratic government, against entrenched corporate power.

From the 1770s until really the Reagan era, Americans rose up every few decades or so to reclaim our democracy from the economic royalists who'd hijacked it. The Jeffersonian Revolution of 1800, Jackson’s Bank War, the Progressive Movement of the late 1800s and early 1900s, the New Deal of the 19-teens and the New Deal of the 1930s, and the Great Society of the 1960s – all of these pivotal turning points in our nation’s history are examples of “We the People” and our elected representatives taking on the billionaires and winning.

But ever since the Reagan era, something strange has happened. It’s the corporations that now call the shots, and they can pretty much do whatever they want. Things have gotten so bad that a captain of industry can sit in the office of U.S. senator and basically flip her the bird.

In a new afterword to her book "A Fighting Chance", Elizabeth Warren tells an amazing story about an encounter she had in 2013 with JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. After an argument about whether JPMorgan was overregulated, the conversation quickly turned to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency Senator Warren helped set up.

At that point, she writes,

"Our exchange heated up quickly… Dimon told me what he thought it would take to get Congress to confirm a [CFPB] director, terms that included gutting the agency’s power to regulate banks like his… I told him that if that happened, “I think you guys are breaking the law.” Suddenly Dimon got quiet. He leaned back and slowly smiled. “So hit me with a fine. We can afford it.”"

Wow, I mean wow. If that doesn’t demonstrate how much corporate power has usurped government power, I don’t know what does. If billionaires like Jamie Dimon can walk into the office of a US senator and mock her to her face, something is truly rotten in at the core of American democracy.

Ever since the Boston Tea Party, the way we as Americans have determined whether our government is behaving in an appropriate fashion is whether it’s protecting "We, The People" - us average citizens.

Today, thanks to the Supreme Court saying that industry can use money to distort politics, our government no longer looks out for average citizens, but instead promotes and protects the interests of the rich and powerful. Sure, some politicians like Elizabeth Warren do speak out about issues that affect everyday people, but by and large, corporations and the rich get their way, much as they did over 200 years ago when the British parliament passed the Tea Act.

The solution, of course, is to get money out of politics once and for all. Go to MoveToAmend.org to find out more.


Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 9 weeks ago

Corporations don't always get there way. Just ask TransCanada its shareholders. Over six years and still no answer one way or the other. It doesn't get any more anti corporate then that.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 9 weeks ago

Actually, Corporatists have always periodically gotten the upper hand and messed up society for everyone else. When the situation gets dire enough, the people fight back and take back some semblance of control. The problem now is that things just haven't gotten bad enough yet.

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 9 weeks ago

Marc are you saying corporations don't have the power over politics that Thom and MSNBC say they have.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 9 weeks ago

Kend ~ How did you read that into what I said? What I meant to say was that Corporations go through cycles of running politics and running from politics. They always grow out of control and take over for a while. They always trash the economy because they are run by blind greed rather than altruistic principles. And, they always have to be reigned in and balled out by We the People. Currently, Corporations are running the show. They have been since 1981.

Thom is absolutely right in what he is saying about Corporate cycles. The only thing I differ with is the idea that We the People at this stage of the game have the clout and motivation to do what needs to be done. I think things are going to have to get worse before they get better. Thom is far more optimistic than I. I hope he is right and I am wrong; however, I'm not going to hold my breath.

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 9 weeks ago

Ok Marc fair enough. I just don't see what Walmart does that hurts anyone. Yes they sell a lot of crap but it is affordable for those who have less. I like Lowes or Home Depot. At least when I go there they probaly have what I need. No one has to go there. You can shop where ever you like.

RFord's picture
RFord 8 years 9 weeks ago

Most of the average citizens and voters in these United States do not understand that if they vote for the candidates that say they are pro-life or pro-gun or for moral religious beliefs they are voting for someone backed by industrial campaign funds and when those candidates are elected they will do whatever the industrialist backers like Jamie Diamond, the Koch brothers and others want them to do. Sure they will vote pro-life and pro-gun if anything pertaining to these issues come up but the industrialist backers don't care about these issues and are ok with their candidate running on these issues as long as they get elected so they can vote in legislation to help the industrialist with their economic issues without any regard as to how such legislation may hurt the average citizen. We need to talk about this problem with others to get the word out about this problem.

Johnnie Dorman's picture
Johnnie Dorman 8 years 9 weeks ago

What people don't seem to understand is that if common people made the kind of money they should be making, they wouldn't have to go to where things are sold dirt cheap in order to offord things. Cheap things mean cheap quality, not high quality things that a high quality pay check can afford. You can't "shop wherever you like" if there are no other places to shop." Small businesses can't afford to "have everything you need" because they can't compete with Wal-Mart's monopolizing everything. This is where the expression, "race to the bottom" comes from. "Cheap pay buying cheap goods."

On a side note, rather than his name being, "Dimon," it should be, "Demon." Pigs, pigs, pigs, all of them.

PFNELKAK 8 years 9 weeks ago

With the technology today, to flood the mind with so much info., to distort the truth, to deceive 'WE THE PEOPLE', to see so many people hurting, & disease, & death, & crime, right at our fingertips, it's no wonder why people are changing the channel to see something they enjoy. And saying, "I can't do anything about it", and sitting back and watching their favorite programs or, if healthy and bucks, being able to do what they like. In the mean time, corps. are changing the laws to suck us dry of our contentment to eventually turn us into slaves.
Only some kind of major catastrophe will awaken us from our sleep, but then it might be to late.
Thom is surly helping to get out the info. needed to fight the misinformation bombarding our minds daily by corp. media. If you tell someone to read this book or that one, they just turn their head & roll their eyes. Thom has given us so much info. these past few months,
I'm one for putting fact sheets together, with references, on a given topic, preferably one page, with an eye catching title, to hand out or place on bulletin boards. Many small steps can make a giant leep. That personal contact is what is missing today. Facebook is another. Any other ideas?

Jerome Swift's picture
Jerome Swift 8 years 9 weeks ago

PFNELKAK. I love that idea. I would certainly do something like that if I had it too.

geo214@comcast.net's picture
geo214@comcast.net 8 years 9 weeks ago

The East Indian Company of today is certainly Starbucks that over a 14 year period made 3 billion in profits and only paid 8.6 million in profits. Putting mom and pop coffee shops out of business. What is even more disgusting is that they get all kinds of corporate media free advertising discussing how wonderful Starbucks is because they want to discuss racism in their stores. How hippocratic can a corporation be. If they really cared about the American people they would pay taxes that would not be at a rate that has so many zeros after the decimal point of their rate of contribution.

ChicagoMatt 8 years 9 weeks ago
Most of the average citizens and voters in these United States do not understand that if they vote for the candidates that say they are pro-life or pro-gun or for moral religious beliefs they are voting for someone backed by industrial campaign funds and when those candidates are elected they will do whatever the industrialist backers like Jamie Diamond, the Koch brothers and others want them to do

(Ignoring the Liberal arrogance "people are too dumb" part of that statement...)

Ever wish the Democrats would just stop with the social issues already? How many red states are only red because of social issues, but could easily be turned blue if only the economic issues mattered.

Indiana, for example. There was a great opportunity this week for Democrats to pick up that state, by coming out and publically supporting the RFRA.

Calling people stupid/ignorant/backwoods/uncultured/etc.... That doesn't bring them to your side. That only ensures they will go to the polls to vote against you, even if they're voting against their economic interests.

Yes, Liberals can bask in their self-assessed "moral high ground" or think they are "on the right side of history" when it comes to gay marriage. And those married gay couples, like most of the rest of the country, can look forward to a life of debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and never being able to afford retirement.

Thanks, Liberals.

Kend's picture
Kend 8 years 9 weeks ago

Geo. Starbucks didn't put mom and pop shops out of business their customers did. Starbucks offered better products so customers go there. If Starbucks only paid 8.6 million in taxes blame your government they make the rules not Starbucks. Personally I don't get Starbucks too expensive and fancy for a redneck like me.

liz banker 8 years 9 weeks ago

What did Senator Warren say in response to Jamie Dimon reaction to her criticism of the banks.... 'I'M GONNA RUN FOR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES if Hillary miraculously bows out in the 2016 presidential run"? If Senator Warren really means all the things she seems to be so passionate about, she would seriously reconsider.

Senator Warren will regret her decision NOT to run in 2016 in the same way Teddy Roosevelt regretting not running for a third term in the early 1900s. Senator Warren will privately regret her decision regardless of Hillary or Jeb Bush. At best, Hillary will either cave in or triangulate on the issues; and at worse, prefers to side with the one percenters since Hillary herself is proud member of the .01percent that owns nearly 60% of all wealth generated in America (notwithstanding lows sales from her book tour of last year).

mathboy's picture
mathboy 8 years 9 weeks ago

Maybe I missed it in an earlier newsletter, but I haven't seen the article about businesses in the 1940s creating modern religious right.

geo214@comcast.net's picture
geo214@comcast.net 8 years 9 weeks ago

Kend- if you do not have to pay taxes and your competition doe they will be put out of business as they have been. As far as blaming the government well who do you think the government is? How about a bunch of toadies bought by the Starbucks type corporations. Our legislators just vote for the laws their corporate masters tell them to vote for, which are written by corporate lobbyist. I do agree with you in that Starbucks coffee is pretty bad.

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