doctorow at May 3rd, 2014 21:01 — #1
leehb9 at May 3rd, 2014 22:14 — #4
This is a very chilling testament to the world that has been 'created' for us by the corporations, the banks, the lawyers...etc, etc.
Read it and weep, people, for it's real.
Damn, I wish this was a script for a screenplay...except in this story, everybody dies at the end anyway! The only plot point missing is the mandatory little white pills you've got to take every day to stay 'happy'...
Oops, I just realized that my computer plus the internet = "little white 'happy-pills'"...
It's turned out to be a full-time addiction! And now I carry it around in my pocket and use it all the time...If I get online, I won't feel the pain... I wonder who's online now???
rigs at May 3rd, 2014 22:24 — #5
Really? This is what passes as "brilliant" nowadays? I can't read the whole thing since I don't do facebook, but what you have here is just mostly "rich people suck" surrounded by easily refutable hyperbole and generalizations, at best.
I'm looking at the Forbes 400 richest people in the US. I got bored after the first 30 or so, but most of them seem to be self made. How does that jive with the quote you decided to highlight about inheriting money "the old fashioned, Medieval way"?
Can we see some hard evidence that for most rich people "a lot of our income is derived from tax incentives and taxpayer-financed bailouts"?
gothicgeek66 at May 3rd, 2014 22:29 — #6
mmmmichael at May 3rd, 2014 22:35 — #8
Mark Twain said it best (from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court):
In half an hour we came upon a group of ragged poor creatures who had assembled to mend the thing which was regarded as a road. They were as humble as animals to me; and when I proposed to breakfast with them, they were so flattered, so overwhelmed by this extraordinary condescension of mine that at first they were not able to believe that I was in earnest. My lady put up her scornful lip and withdrew to one side; she said in their hearing that she would as soon think of eating with the other cattle—a remark which embarrassed these poor devils merely because it referred to them, and not because it insulted or offended them, for it didn't. And yet they were not slaves, not chattels. By a sarcasm of law and phrase they were freemen. Seven-tenths of the free population of the country were of just their class and degree: small "independent" farmers, artisans, etc.; which is to say, they were the nation, the actual Nation; they were about all of it that was useful, or worth saving, or really respect-worthy, and to subtract them would have been to subtract the Nation and leave behind some dregs, some refuse, in the shape of a king, nobility and gentry, idle, unproductive, acquainted mainly with the arts of wasting and destroying, and of no sort of use or value in any rationally constructed world.
And yet, by ingenious contrivance, this gilded minority, instead of being in the tail of the procession where it belonged, was marching head up and banners flying, at the other end of it; had elected itself to be the Nation, and these innumerable clams had permitted it so long that they had come at last to accept it as a truth; and not only that, but to believe it right and as it should be. The priests had told their fathers and themselves that this ironical state of things was ordained of God; and so, not reflecting upon how unlike God it would be to amuse himself with sarcasms, and especially such poor transparent ones as this, they had dropped the matter there and become respectfully quiet.
The talk of these meek people had a strange enough sound in a formerly American ear. They were freemen, but they could not leave the estates of their lord or their bishop without his permission; they could not prepare their own bread, but must have their corn ground and their bread baked at his mill and his bakery, and pay roundly for the same; they could not sell a piece of their own property without paying him a handsome percentage of the proceeds, nor buy a piece of somebody else's without remembering him in cash for the privilege; they had to harvest his grain for him gratis, and be ready to come at a moment's notice, leaving their own crop to destruction by the threatened storm; they had to let him plant fruit trees in their fields, and then keep their indignation to themselves when his heedless fruit-gatherers trampled the grain around the trees; they had to smother their anger when his hunting parties galloped through their fields laying waste the result of their patient toil; they were not allowed to keep doves themselves, and when the swarms from my lord's dovecote settled on their crops they must not lose their temper and kill a bird, for awful would the penalty be; when the harvest was at last gathered, then came the procession of robbers to levy their blackmail upon it: first the Church carted off its fat tenth, then the king's commissioner took his twentieth, then my lord's people made a mighty inroad upon the remainder; after which, the skinned freeman had liberty to bestow the remnant in his barn, in case it was worth the trouble; there were taxes, and taxes, and taxes, and more taxes, and taxes again, and yet other taxes—upon this free and independent pauper, but none upon his lord the baron or the bishop, none upon the wasteful nobility or the all-devouring Church; if the baron would sleep unvexed, the freeman must sit up all night after his day's work and whip the ponds to keep the frogs quiet; if the freeman's daughter—but no, that last infamy of monarchical government is unprintable; and finally, if the freeman, grown desperate with his tortures, found his life unendurable under such conditions, and sacrificed it and fled to death for mercy and refuge, the gentle Church condemned him to eternal fire, the gentle law buried him at midnight at the cross-roads with a stake through his back, and his master the baron or the bishop confiscated all his property and turned his widow and his orphans out of doors.
And here were these freemen assembled in the early morning to work on their lord the bishop's road three days each—gratis; every head of a family, and every son of a family, three days each, gratis, and a day or so added for their servants. Why, it was like reading about France and the French, before the ever memorable and blessed Revolution, which swept a thousand years of such villany away in one swift tidal-wave of blood—one: a settlement of that hoary debt in the proportion of half a drop of blood for each hogshead of it that had been pressed by slow tortures out of that people in the weary stretch of ten centuries of wrong and shame and misery the like of which was not to be mated but in hell. There were two "Reigns of Terror," if we would but remember it and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon ten thousand persons, the other upon a hundred millions; but our shudders are all for the "horrors" of the minor Terror, the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe, compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty, and heart-break? What is swift death by lightning compared with death by slow fire at the stake? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief Terror which we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror—that unspeakably bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves.
These poor ostensible freemen who were sharing their breakfast and their talk with me, were as full of humble reverence for their king and Church and nobility as their worst enemy could desire. There was something pitifully ludicrous about it. I asked them if they supposed a nation of people ever existed, who, with a free vote in every man's hand, would elect that a single family and its descendants should reign over it forever, whether gifted or boobies, to the exclusion of all other families—including the voter's; and would also elect that a certain hundred families should be raised to dizzy summits of rank, and clothed on with offensive transmissible glories and privileges to the exclusion of the rest of the nation's families—including his own .
They all looked unhit, and said they didn't know; that they had never thought about it before, and it hadn't ever occurred to them that a nation could be so situated that every man could have a say in the government. I said I had seen one—and that it would last until it had an Established Church. Again they were all unhit—at first. But presently one man looked up and asked me to state that proposition again; and state it slowly, so it could soak into his understanding. I did it; and after a little he had the idea, and he brought his fist down and said he didn't believe a nation where every man had a vote would voluntarily get down in the mud and dirt in any such way; and that to steal from a nation its will and preference must be a crime and the first of all crimes. I said to myself:
'This one's a man. If I were backed by enough of his sort, I would make a strike for the welfare of this country, and try to prove myself its loyalest citizen by making a wholesome change in its system of government.'
You see my kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its office-holders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death. To be loyal to rags, to shout for rags, to worship rags, to die for rags—that is a loyalty of unreason, it is pure animal; it belongs to monarchy, was invented by monarchy; let monarchy keep it. I was from Connecticut, whose Constitution declares "that all political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their benefit; and that they have at all times an undeniable and indefeasible right to alter their form of government in such a manner as they may think expedient."
lorq at May 3rd, 2014 22:43 — #9
The rich sure are lucky that people like you are ready to defend them free of charge. I mean, what would they do without your free assistance?
rigs at May 3rd, 2014 22:55 — #10
It was either droit du seigneur or this.
I assume you're resorting to ad hominem because you can't actually address any of the points I made.
eark_the_bunny at May 3rd, 2014 23:06 — #12
It is all Bread & Circuses until someone steals the bread then there is hell to pay.
gamen at May 3rd, 2014 23:20 — #15
It's not an entirely accurate description of our current situation - it's too black and white. We still have some mobility between income brackets. There are still people socking away money for retirement without making a ton of money, people starting businesses, etc. But it's a pretty good summary of what it looks like we're heading for.
No hard data, but...
The bailouts part would be that they likely saved some investments from being lost, and some of those investments would be held by 1%ers. Still, there were good reasons to save those companies/banks... (And no good reason not to break them into smaller pieces). Still, hyperbolic.
Tax incentives probably mean things like farm and oil subsidies, which once again go in part to businesses which have no need of them.
bobbaboosh at May 3rd, 2014 23:20 — #16
Guys, guys, I have been kinda a dick recently. So in order for me to make it up allow me to take this one.
@rigs I think you see my point.
anansi133 at May 3rd, 2014 23:34 — #17
Yes, I believe things are pretty much this bad. But the essential truth remains: there are more of us than there are of them, and the only reason these people get to live on top of us, is that we continue to accept their money. It's a lot of bother to invent ways to not have to take their money, and reinvent ways of governing ourselves that don't involve the government they've bought and payed for. As well as being intrinsically difficult, there are plenty of folks who'll take their money in exchange for making it even more difficult.
Far more convenient to go ahead and let things be as they are. Maybe you'll get lucky and be hired on in time to avoid the flood. Maybe your Horatio Algiers fantasy will somehow come true, and you too can do to everyone what's being done to you right now....
...and then again, maybe eventually you'll feel inspired to turn off the glowing glass screen, step outside into the light, and compare notes face to face with another human being, and work out the how and the why of changing things. because the revolution will not be blogged on facebook or boingboing or anyplace else. The revolution happens out in the real world where people can actually take risks and get hurt and make change.
brainspore at May 3rd, 2014 23:38 — #18
Then you're deluding yourself. Even the "self-made" billionaires on that list almost always started out with huge social and economic advantages.
Starting with #1: Bill Gates wasn't the son of billionaires, but he was the son of a prominent lawyer and the grandson of a bank president—firmly placing him in the top 1% from the get-go. He had talent and ambition and he worked hard to make the best of his opportunities, but he was hardly a "rags to riches" story—more like a "riches to almost unfathomable riches" story. You'll see similar patterns for most of the "self-made" billionaires on that list.
jhbadger at May 3rd, 2014 23:49 — #19
Yeah -- the stuff about there being no difference between the Democratic and Republican parties is boring libertarian nonsense. I'm often disappointed by the lack of real progressive policy in the modern Democratic party, but that doesn't mean they are the same as the reactionaries who dominate the modern Republican party.
dobby at May 4th, 2014 00:00 — #20
The new feudalism, Lawrence Lessig has been the only voice for change that I have been able to hear that even begins to address the true issue. So if LL and maybe John Stewart can lead something peaceful there is hope to restore the balance, or there can be a terrible civil war. But we have seen that in Europe feudalism and a decaying Roman empire pretty much continued through until WW-I with many places missing the enlightenment, some not getting free until the 1990s or even now.
Rep/Dem gives you a few non-fiscal social choices like LGBT liberation, gun control, abortion, race issues, etc; you will not get to vote anytime soon on candidates with opposing views on banking or political campaign corruption except perhaps regulating in a way that entrenches further these corruptions, even the idealist finds out that these topics will gain no traction and waste effort that can be otherwise be used effectively toward social change. Greek and Roman citizens once had franchise but eventually fell to the apparently human default system of feudalism.
Feudalism puts resources into the hands of few, those resources and the inertia of social position helps entrench generational status. Rare random events like disaster and war can change fortunes in such an environment but are so terrible overall they are not to be wished for.
bobbaboosh at May 4th, 2014 00:05 — #21
Not sure if i want to out myself as a Libertarian or not... oh damn, I think I just did.
Curious, what progressive policies do you think are missing from the Democratic Party?
romberry at May 4th, 2014 00:17 — #23
Can't read the whole thing since you don't "do Facebook"? No. You can't read the whole thing because you didn't bother to try. (You don't need to login to Facebook for access to the post.)
romberry at May 4th, 2014 00:21 — #24
Saying that they "aren't the same" is daming Dems with faint praise. Yes, the Dems are not "as crazy" as the Republicans on social issues, but on economic issues which are the foundation upon which all else is built, the Dems essentially worship at the same "free market" alter. If you think the Dems are on your side, you're as wrong as the people who think that of the Republicans.
jhbadger at May 4th, 2014 00:28 — #25
1) Support for a real single-payer health system like everybody else in the first world
2) Elimination of the corrupt "for-profit" prison system
3) A reduction of the bloated military budget; this would 1) discourage invasions of whatever country we dislike this week 2) free up billions for additional funding of the NIH and NSF to retain America's scientific primacy and as a side effect generate technical advances leading to new companies and fields being developed here.
4) A serious commitment to environmental issues.
rigs at May 4th, 2014 00:38 — #27
@Romberry I have facebook blocked by noscripts and ghostery (otherwise facebook tracks you even if you're not logged in), but thanks for calling me a liar on the basis of nothing whatsoever. I'm sorry, I take that back, it was based on your not liking what I said so you felt a need for an ad hominem.
@BobbaBoosh Thanks, but I was aware of the bailout. Now the missing piece of the puzzle is something that shows that "they" get "a lot" of their income from it.
bobbaboosh at May 4th, 2014 00:39 — #28
If I can opine:
- Sounds good on paper- Im skeptical.
- The thought that a company can profit from crime and that there is such a thing as an 'occupancy guarantee' makes my blood boil.
- I agree.
- Well... not so much. We should certainly be good stewards of the Earth. But in many cases environmental problems are presented as a way to fleece the plebes. CO2 is 0.036% of the atmosphere.
Now, does not the lack of strong support of these things in the Democratic Party refute your thesis that there is not difference between the Democratc and Republicans?
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