America was Birthed in Opposition to Corporate Monopoly
The sales pitch that David Koch was running on in 1980 on the Libertarian ticket was that government is bad, corporations are good. You can trust corporations.
But the reality is that the government that we have, which perhaps millions of Americans have literally fought and died to create and protect - George Washington had three horses shot out from underneath him trying to create this government - should be of, by, and for we the people, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln.
Corporations are never of, by, and for we the people, corporations are always of, by, and for the profit. And there's nothing wrong with that intrinsically unless it is absolutely unregulated, which is the direction that we've moving since Reagan stopped enforcing the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1983.
What the Koch brothers are basically saying is: the government is terrible, you can't trust yourself to govern yourself, so we will govern for you by controlling the economy. It's the economy is more important than democracy. The marketplace is more important than democracy.
That's BS. It is a lie that the billionaires have frankly and sadly got a lot of Americans to believe. And once you go down that road, if you get rid of our government and you replace it with a bunch of monopolistic corporations, then you have lost all your freedom. The only thing that is standing between us and absolute corporate subjection as we had when our government was weak prior to the 1910s basically was corporate regulation.
Look at the Ludlow Massacre in Colorado. People went on strike for decent wages. And what did the railroad do? They brought in machine guns and shot up not just the railroad workers but their families in the tents that they were sleeping in.
The Pullman Porter strike. The Haymarket Square riot. It just goes on and on and on.
If you get the government out of the way, what's going to happen, to paraphrase Grover Cleveland, President of the United States in his State of the Union address in 1888, he said the iron heel of industry is upon the neck of the average American.
He was talking about the railroad monopolies and they set their prices wherever they wanted. This country was birthed in opposition to monopolies.
The biggest corporation on Earth was the British East India Company in 1773. And in 1773, when there was a recession, the great panic of 1772, the East India Company had millions of pounds of tea in their warehouses in the UK that they couldn't get rid of. They couldn't sell the stuff and they had already paid taxes on it, because at that time they paid taxes once they brought it into their warehouse.
So the British government with the Tea Act of 1773 said, 'you don't have to pay your taxes on this tea, in fact, we will refund the money to you'. And the British government gave the East India Company what in today's money would be billions of dollars in tax refunds.
And then the East India Company used that money to bring that tea to the United States at a discount and tried to put out of business the small entrepreneurs up and down the East Coast who were running tea shops and importing their own tea.
And the entrepreneurs of America, the citizens of America, were so outraged about the fact that this giant transnational corporation was trying to wipe out all these small businesses - back in 1773 every other block had a tea shop on it - and the entrepreneurs of America were so outraged about this that they committed $1,000,000 in today's dollars, a million-dollar act of sabotage, of vandalism, throwing that tea in Boston Harbor.
That Boston Tea Party in the late fall / early winter of 1773 led directly to the American Revolution of 1776.
That was the point. A year before that, Thomas Jefferson had written a pamphlet called "A Summary View of the Rights of British America", encouraging Americans to be good British citizens.
Three months after the Tea Party revolt against a transnational corporation, Thomas Jefferson was saying, 'time for us to become independent of Great Britain because they're supporting these giant monopolistic corporations.'
You cannot trust giant monopolistic corporations. They are accountable to nothing except the dollar. And you will not have enough political or economic power to boycott them. You can't control them through boycotts, it doesn't work, particularly when they end up controlling entire industries.
You want insulin? And the price of insulin goes from $70 to $240 in five years simply because a company has a monopoly on a product that was invented in the 1880s? It's crazy. It's just crazy.
We do need government. We just need to get the money from these corporations and the billionaires that they created out of our government, and then we can actually have a government of, by, and for We the People. It's really that simple.
I've never understood what the big deal is about tea. I can live without it, if need be, but I can't live without water. Tea isn't even addictive, for cripe's sake!
As always; Thom nailed it! Unfortunately in this circumstance he didn't re-state how they have pulled this off. The 25-30% are absolutely brainwashed. (And on another note; we only need to cure 5 or 10% of them to get back "within the rainbow"). The assault on the fairness doctrine, rise of Fox views. and, the one that really had the "jumper cables" was "Rush Limbaugh". I first heard his slime in 1987 or 88. I wondered; who the hell would listen to that garbage. Well; they did. Who is they? They are the ones who always snicker when "they" see a state worker leaning on a shovel. "They" (especially in the NE rite now) are awaiting Government services such as snow pushing 24/7 to be done till "they" can get out of their driveway. But; "they" will trash them for not getting out of the truck and shoveling the snow ledge on their driveway by pushing the snow off the street. The dumbing down of American citizens by assaulting education is the key point here. If you think back; the late 70's and 80's was when the "online college" phenomon started. It "boils down to education. Not a fault of the educators, a fault (that I maintain was purposeful) on behalf of the military/industrial/corporate complex that killed Kennedy and now have their endless war(s). Lets bring the draft back and "draft" an entire corporation! It's a person now ya kno....
Tom great statement on Billionaires and Democracy. I couldn't have said it better myself. Why did you ever leave the Big Picture I miss your commentary and knowledge of the history of this country.
Dianereynolds: Tell us all what Thom's blog had to do with your accusation of communist content yesterday? Give all of us "Lefties a late Christmas present." Go ahead and flaunt your ignorance.....we all need to prepare for foxaganda comments like that when Bernie runs for President.
BTW: The delusion of communism bothers you more than the reality of Fascism?? I don't hear you complaining about a few billionaires making all of the rules for your life.
deepspace: Thanks for that stat regarding employment and those seeking it....If you asked Trolls like Diane, at least half the population is getting "free stuff" at her expense, because they're too lazy to work.
Government? What Government?! We have a corporation that masks itself as a Government.
Question; what's that about 2950-10k?
Thom said it all in tonights blog! ....excellent.
However one thing our founders didn't anticipate in all of their visionary wisdom was the possibility that a few Monoploy Capitalists/Carbon Barons would have the gaul to finish destroying the planet with no other explanation than an out of control thirst for money and power. Science has already convicted them.
Can you imagine waking up as one of the Koch brothers and facing the realization that a storm producing over six feet of rain in Houston was to a large extent based on consumption of your product? Scientists for the first time have connected four extreme weather events to climate change...that was one of them.
Oldskoold: In yesterdays blog deepspace posted some stats on employment. Check it out. Is that your question?
I enjoy your column and agree with your POV. The problem though is that you are preaching to the choir and not reaching the ignorant and uninformed masses who don't realize or care whether we are losing our democracy.
The question is, how do you and others who agree with you, reach them? How do we make them realize that not only does the government constantly lie, that the media misrepresents or covers up, and that truth is something that is being sabotaged by a system of bribery that now permeates our government at every level?
There are millions like me who realize this, but there are many more millions who think what I just said are the words of a wacko conspiracy theorist.
There is no hope for democracy in a nation where most of the people are clueless.
Unfortunately America was born in protest against government...Great Britain. It's in our DNA. We forget that "greed" is in the DNA of corporations. Adam Smith, the revered Scot economist, and a father of free-trade, knew it. But, it appears that that book section is "out-of-print". As a son of a Canadian, I have looked how Canada learned the lesson, watching America, and they wanted a different DNA. When Canada became independent, their DNA included the phrase "...peace, order, and GOOD government...". Government CAN BE GOOD as it balances the power of moneyed corporations and the common good. Can Americans get it?
Yes; it was. I really like the comment you made prior to replying to my question. I was at a loss. Gotcha
Yes; it was. I really like the comment you made prior to replying to my question. I was at a loss. Gotcha
Still; can't quite get used to this Mac. Dang!
There are modifications to our capitalistic system that can help. Co-ops and B- Corporations are steps in the right direction.
A book written recently by Duff McDonald called 'The Golden Passport' is a history of the Harvard Business School and the impact it has had on the way business is done in this country. An MBA from this institution has indeed been a 'Golden Passport' opening the door to the world of corner offices and corporate governance. As early as the late 1980's the school began pushing the idea of shareholder capitalism wherein a corporate board should only be occupied by investors with profit as the only metric. This began the development of most of the dysfunction that is today on the verge of destroying our country. Indeed some of the perpetrators of this idea have seen the light but realize they have created a Frankenstein that they do not know how to kill.
If we were able to do what Germany has done in making co-determination the law of the land where corporate boards are required by law to include stakeholder factions including; 1. Employees, 2. The government, which very much has a stake in corporate decisions, and 3. The ownership and investor class, we might be able to begin a correction process which would take the country back from the bankers. Indeed there are multiple layers that have to be addressed if we are to regain control of our country, but this - A fundamental restructuring of our banking / corporate system must come first.
Good idea, that system has worked in Germany for years. I doubt if you'll get support from the "washed up lefties" though. It's a solution that takes away an issue. I think changing the law is a bit too much to accomplish. One way to begin, would be to work with a large corporation to restructure their board of directors. It will require a lot of work and co-operation from everyone involved. Do you have any ideas on where to begin? Perhaps a large corporation with an image problem. I like it, keep it going.
Thom, you said that we are at a crossroads. I agree, and have felt so for a time. I say that we are getting up the gumption to take a step forward as a society. There will be a little shakin' and a little tenderizin', but forward we'll go. The billionaires will read the writing on the sole of the big shoe and 'see the light'.
Compassion holds the lamp.
Make America Greatful Again
In post #18, with a big 12-incher "corndog" stuck in her/his gullet, the washed-up public school "teacher" lapping up taxpayers' sweat is talking out of both sides of her/his mealy-mouth again. Obviously, she/he has no idea what liberals think, because she/he can only process Koch-Trump-Fux News "alternative facts" in her/his rapidly deteriorating cerebral cortex, gummed up with the sticky plaque of right-wing lies.
Just as obvious, Corndog doesn't listen to Thom's show and so doesn't understand a damn thing he ever says; otherwise, she/he would know that Thom lived in Germany, is quite familiar with their worker friendly policies and trade unions, and has interviewed various people who sit on those power-sharing company boards. He has repeatedly and loudly praised their progressive structure and the liberals who made it possible.
Try that in fascist America and you'd be laughed out of the board rooms and duly escorted out of the corporate towers. Asking ant-union greed-mongers to voluntarily give up even one iota of their power would be like asking senile Trump to say something if not intelligent at least intelligible. No, our corporate overlords must be dragged kicking and screaming to the table.
That can only be accomplished by changing the laws to rein in runaway greed. Volunteerism, moral consciousness, or even public shame simply does not factor into Oligarchs' plans for society and an own-everything mentality. With their moral turpitude growing like a noxious weed, they must be forced to do the right thing.
Say, here's an idea "on where to begin": VOTE THE BUMS OUT! In 2018 and 2020 elect liberals and progressives who aren't afraid to fight fascism every step of the way, including circumventing the corporate stooges on the Supreme Court by passing legislation to GET MONEY OUT OF POLITICS!
Remembering the "good 'ol days" of AT&T
I would like to hear a Libertarian's response to some of the restrictions that AT&T imposed in the pre-breakup days. In particular, I would like to see how competition alone would solve the problem.
1) AT&T owned the phone wires in your premisis or business. Only AT&T could modify or connect anything to the wires. Only AT&T equipment could be used (phones, PBX, switchboards, etc.).
2) Adding an additional phone to an existing line in your house was a considerable expense, both installation and monthly. I remember shortly after the breakup when phones were first being sold to people that a $125 basic phone was considered a good deal.
3) AT&T prevented you from using a non-AT&T service for long-distance, radio (cell phone) or similar service.
Within several years after the breakup the costs for phones, long-distance and business use (PBX, switchboards) plumeted.
We all know that phone service is a natural monopoly and that without government involvement that AT&T would have forced contracts on customers that would have been at least as restrictive as the above. If there were competition in one area of the country it would be very easy for AT&T to take them out by dropping prices in that locality and then raising them after the death of the other companies.
@20 & 21
20 the only thing you have correct in your post is I don't listen to Thom's show. The rest is your usual made up, misdirected BS
21....what is your point, AT&T was broken up years ago. Monopolies are not good...in anyway, shape, place or thing....competition is the key....Governments only function is to make the rules, and "referee" the "game".
"As a means to success, determination has this advantage over talent--that is does not have to be recognized by others". General Dwight David Eisenhower
#22. This from someone who supports a crackbrained, serial-sexual-assault predator with likely progressing dementia and an immature, child-like mind.
That he must be treated accordingly -- with kid gloves (Spare the snicker and spoil the child.) -- has been related by nearly 100 percent of those who know him best: family, staff, cabinet members, business associates, and other close acquaintances. (Does he even have any real friends or just sycophants?)
Sadly, he displays the worst child-like behavior you'd expect from a spoiled two-year-old -- pouting for hours on end over perceived insults, interspersed with loud, vindictive, wild temper tantrums, pointing the finger at everyone else for his own serious, extensive mental and emotional inadequacies. But always -- always! -- it's all about him first and last and most.
So, other than for ridicule and to expose the willful ignorance of his fascist followers, such as Corndog, there's no sense in responding to blind loyalty and idiotic gullibility, to someone who is totally okay that a goddamn fool with little fingers is stroking his "big button."
The only value this ridiculous manchild has for the efed-up fascist billionaire party, laughably trying to govern, is that he will sign their efed-up fascist billionaire bills -- payable by the poor, the middle class, and the future generations of low-paid worker slaves with few benefits and little hope for a comfortable retirement.
Mr. Ed my loquacious little Shetland, the absolute best part of a Trump presidency is watching and listening to you Leftie/socialists do nothing but cry and whine all day long. Thom and his band of merry lemmings are beside themselves with hatred for anything Trump. Listen stud, you want Trump out of office? You are all full of horseshit. Pence makes Trump look like a leftie. I told Rick Steves this well over a year ago., All I want is for Trump to appoint judges, from that point on it is bring on President Mike Pence. Then, all you leftie/socialists will see what a real conservative will do and your panties will be so tightly wound you all will be braying in alto for years.
Yes, I know the good times will end, but until then,
ah, the smell of sweat and leather, the sting of the whip!
The empty words of a blind follower.
The Most Important Legal Issue Of Our Lifetime!
We need to launch a legal Constitutional challenge to overturn the US Supreme Court rulings that “corporations are people” and “money equals speech” as far as Constitutional rights are concerned for the following reasons:
- The claims used to justify those rulings were untrue to begin with. There is NOTHING in the present US Constitution that can HONESTLY be used to justify those two rulings.
- It would have required a Constitutional Amendment to the US Constitution to validly make such fundamental changes which have in effect “turned the priorities of our government upside down.” As evidenced by the “Boston Tea Party” and our Revolutionary War, our founding fathers who wrote the US Constitution would NEVER have agreed to approve those two rulings!
- Many of the claims that were used to justify those two rulings have historically proven to be untrue since those rulings were made.
- Those rulings are turning our government into a MASSIVELY DEADLY KLEPTOCRACY as already demonstrated by the enactment of a tax reform law last month that will literally KILL tens of thousands (and eventually many millions) of American men, women, children, babies, and fetuses by denying them healthcare and eviscerating our environmental protections, food safety protections, worker safety protections, etc. Such efforts by our present Republican-run government are “Satanically inspired” (so to speak), because such changes are based on the sole criterion of MONEY (i.e. making the already rich even richer)!
It is not just our own futures that are at stake on this issue, it is the futures of all generations of Americans to come. Please contact the ACLU and other activist legal organizations to urge them to begin such a legal challenge through our court system NOW!
Feel free to publish this or to use these points in your own articles.
Thanks again, Thom, for a sorely needed history lesson. An accurate accounting of the past is vitally important in this modern dark age, where the right-wing rewrite of history is the coin of big-money Republicanism. Down through the ages, it always has been a battle royal between the few who seek a disproportionate, undeserving share of a nation's wealth and power and everyone else.
The solution is simple: Get money out of politics!