The United Corporations of America

Our government is completely broken. We no longer live in a country that represents the people who live here. In fact, Washington goes out of its way to hurt us. If we were living under a system made “of the people, by the people, for the people,” we wouldn’t let Citicorp get away with inserting a special provision into the last-minute government funding bill (December 11, 2014) to make sure the American taxpayer is on the hook every time their gambling debts (read: derivatives) threaten to crash the world’s economy. We wouldn’t build special pipelines to take dirty tar from Canada to the south where the dirty refineries have special non-laws so they can continue to ruin the ecosystem of the Gulf Coast. We wouldn’t let the insurance companies write their own ticket for selling their products through the government and give the drug companies one hundred and twenty years of patent protection so they can jack up their prices to the moon.

That is why there is a concerted effort by the people to take our government back from the United Corporations of America who are controlling every aspect of our lives, from how much we spend on the war effort, to whether or not a crazy person can easily buy a gun, to how much fossil fuels are ruining our air, soil, water, and our children’s future.

We’ve had it, Congress. And we’re coming for you.

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Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t there a theory that the rich will give charity to the poor, and that is how they will be “taken care of”? Out of pity… That when there are no jobs to be had, even though they are willing, able and motivated to work, and when people are starving in this prosperous country, the rich will tithe and give alms to the poor through their churches and not through the government. That children will be cared for, so please have more children though you may not have enough money to feed them, house them, and give them medicines.

What is the Republican and Libertarian position on the poor who work two jobs and still have difficulty putting food on the table? What is their position on unemployed or underemployed seekers of work who are struggling? Shall we turn a blind eye? I really don’t understand this idea that all the poor people in this country are “moochers.” Tell me where that idea came from, and then show me all the moochers. Do an expose on them, please. Tell me any names of documentaries on the millions of people getting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or WIC (Women Infants and Children) Program who are taking advantage? Shall we, one of the most prosperous countries in the world, have so many millions of children who go hungry? I don’t understand the callousness of our media (mostly Fox) who drill us with this propaganda that poor people are lazy and living off the government.

“We have a great program of governmental assistance ahead of us in the co-operative life of the nation; but we dare not enter upon that program until we have freed the government. That is the point. Benevolence never developed a man or a nation. We do not want a benevolent government. We want a free and a just government. Every one of the great schemes of social uplift which are now so much debated by noble people amongst us is based, when rightly conceived, upon justice, not upon benevolence. It is based upon the right of men to breathe pure air, to live; upon the right of women to bear children, and not to be overburdened so that disease and breakdown will come upon them; upon the right of children to thrive and grow up and be strong; upon all these fundamental things which appeal, indeed, to our hearts, but which our minds perceive to be part of the fundamental justice of life.

“Politics differs from philanthropy in this: that in philanthropy we sometimes do things through pity merely, while in politics we act always, if we are righteous men, on grounds of justice and large expediency for men in the mass. Sometimes in our pitiful sympathy with our fellow-men we must do things that are more than just. We must forgive men. We must help men who have gone wrong. We must sometimes help men who have gone criminally wrong. But the law does not forgive. It is its duty to equalize conditions, to make the path of right the path of safety and advantage, to see that every man has a fair chance to live and to serve himself, to see that injustice and wrong are not wrought upon any.”

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 9/Benevolence or Justice?” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 218-219. Print.


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The Bull Moose Party

In the excerpt below, Woodrow Wilson refers to the “new party” or “third party.” In his day, the third party was the faction that supported Theodore Roosevelt and his Bull Moose Progressive Party that ran on a platform of, among many other things, regulating monopolies. Wilson, a Democrat, took 435 electors, Taft (Republican) won 8 electors, and Teddy Roosevelt won 88 electoral votes, (27% of the popular vote), the most that any third party ever won.

“When you have thought the whole thing out, therefore, you will find that the program of the new party legalizes monopolies and systematically subordinates workingmen to them and to plans made by the government both with regard to employment and with regard to wages. Take the thing as a whole, and it looks strangely like economic mastery over the very lives and fortunes of those who do the daily work of the nation; and all this under the overwhelming power and sovereignty of the national government. What most of us are fighting for is to break up this very partnership between big business and the government. We call upon all intelligent men to bear witness that if this plan were consummated, the great employers and capitalists of the country would be under a more overpowering temptation than ever to take control of the government and keep it subservient to their purpose.

“What a prize it would be to capture! How unassailable would be the majesty and the tyranny of monopoly if it could thus get sanction of law and the authority of government! By what means, except open revolt, could we ever break the crust of our life again and become free men, breathing an air of our own, living lives that we wrought out for ourselves?

“You cannot use monopoly in order to serve a free people. You cannot use great combinations of capital to be pitiful and righteous when the consciences of great bodies of men are enlisted, not in the promotion of special privilege, but in the realization of human rights. When I read those beautiful portions of the program of the third party devoted to the uplift of mankind and see noble men and women attaching themselves to that party in the hope that regulated monopoly may realize these dreams of humanity, I wonder whether they have really studied the instruments through which they are going to do these things. The man who is leading the third party has not changed his point of view since he was President of the United States. I am not asking him to change it. I am not saying that he has not a perfect right to retain it. But I do say that it is not surprising that a man who had the point of view with regard to the government of this country which he had when he was President was not chosen as President again, and allowed to patent the present processes of industry and personally direct them how to treat the people of the United States.”

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 9/Benevolence or Justice?” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 212-214. Print.

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The New Employment Model

There is a new employment model underway. It’s the authentic production model. When a person is creating their own unique product, art, message, or service and when that good or service could only possibly come from such a worker, he can charge what the customer will pay. Rather than relying on a boss to provide the work, the new jobholder will offer his/her own unique skills to the local market and perhaps the world.

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A Benevolent Boss?

I wonder if we will all come to the conclusion some day that the human race is too defective to sustain itself. That one megalomaniac too many, one sociopath with too much power will prevent us from self-correction.

Would my Libertarian and Republican friends please explain to me: how much money is enough? When will you look back on all you’ve done and decide that you didn’t give a hand to your fellow man?

Is the corporate CEO a master to his employees? Who among us is living in a master/underling paradigm at work? Do employees have to depend upon a benevolent master, or can they receive the respect they deserve? Who is satisfied at work, and who is just doing it for the paycheck?

“I don’t care how benevolent the master is going to be, I will not live under a master. That is not what America was created for. America was created in order that every man should have the same chance as every other man to exercise mastery over his own fortunes. What I want to do is analogous to what the authorities of the city of Glasgow did with tenement houses. I want to light and patrol the corridors of these great organizations in order to see that nobody who tries to traverse them is waylaid and maltreated. If you will but hold off the adversaries, if you will but see to it that the weak are protected, I will venture a wager with you that there are some men in the United States, now weak, economically weak, who have brains enough to compete with these gentlemen and who will presently come into the market and put these gentlemen on their mettle. And the minute they come into the market there will be a bigger market for labor and a different wage scale for labor.

“Because it is susceptible of convincing proof that the high-paid labor of America,—where it is high paid,—is cheaper than the low-paid labor of the continent of Europe. Do you know that about ninety per cent of those who are employed in labor in this country are not employed in the “protected” industries, and that their wages are almost without exception higher than the wages of those who are employed in the “protected” industries? There is no corner on carpenters, there is no corner on bricklayers, there is no corner on scores of individual classes of skilled laborers; but there is a corner on the poolers in the furnaces, there is a corner on the men who dive down into the mines; they are in the grip of a controlling power which determines the market rates of wages in the United States. Only where labor is free is labor highly paid in America.”

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 9/Benevolence or Justice?” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 207-209. Print.

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No Plan At All

What did we do in Wilson’s time to deal with monopolistic corporations? We were given a false pretext by Teddy Roosevelt, a “plan” that was no plan at all.

“And I warn every progressive Republican that by lending his assistance to this program he is playing false to the very cause in which he had enlisted. That cause was a battle against monopoly, against control, against the concentration of power in our economic development, against all those things that interfere with absolutely free enterprise. I believe that some day these gentlemen will wake up and realize that they have misplaced their trust, not in an individual, it may be, but in a program which is fatal to the things we hold dearest.

“If there is any meaning in the things I have been urging, it is this: that the incubus that lies upon this country is the present monopolistic organization of our industrial life. That is the thing which certain Republicans became “insurgents” in order to throw off. And yet some of them allowed themselves to be so misled as to go into the camp of the third party in order to remove what the third party proposed to legalize. My point is that this is a method conceived from the point of view of the very men who are to be controlled, and that this is just the wrong point of view from which to conceive it.

“I said not long ago that Mr. Roosevelt was promoting a plan for the control of monopoly which was supported by the United States Steel Corporation. Mr. Roosevelt denied that he was being supported by more than one member of that corporation. He was thinking of money. I was thinking of ideas. I did not say that he was getting money from these gentlemen; it was a matter of indifference to me where he got his money; but it was a matter of a great deal of difference to me where he got his ideas. He got his idea with regard to the regulation of monopoly from the gentlemen who form the United States Steel Corporation. I am perfectly ready to admit that the gentlemen who control the United States Steel Corporation have a perfect right to entertain their own ideas about this and to urge them upon the people of the United States; but I want to say that their ideas are not my ideas; and I am perfectly certain that they would not promote any idea which interfered with their monopoly. Inasmuch, therefore, as I hope and intend to interfere with monopoly just as much as possible, I cannot subscribe to arrangements by which they know that it will not be disturbed.

“The Roosevelt plan is that there shall be an industrial commission charged with the supervision of the great monopolistic combinations which have been formed under the protection of the tariff, and that the government of the United States shall see to it that these gentlemen who have conquered labor shall be kind to labor. I find, then, the proposition to be this: That there shall be two masters, the great corporation, and over it the government of the United States; and I ask who is going to be master of the government of the United States? It has a master now,—those who in combination control these monopolies. And if the government controlled by the monopolies in its turn controls the monopolies, the partnership is finally consummated.”

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 9/Benevolence or Justice?” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 204-207. Print.


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Big Business

Who runs our government? Big Business.

“If the government is to tell big business men how to run their business, then don’t you see that big business men have to get closer to the government even than they are now? Don’t you see that they must capture the government, in order not to be restrained too much by it? Must capture the government? They have already captured it. Are you going to invite those inside to stay inside? They don’t have to get there. They are there. Are you going to own your own premises, or are you not? That is your choice. Are you going to say: “You didn’t get into the house the right way, but you are in there, God bless you; we will stand out here in the cold and you can hand us out something once in a while?”

“At the least, under the plan I am opposing, there will be an avowed partnership between the government and the trusts. I take it that the firm will be ostensibly controlled by the senior member. For I take it that the government of the United States is at least the senior member, though the younger member has all along been running the business. But when all the momentum, when all the energy, when a great deal of the genius, as so often happens in partnerships the world over, is with the junior partner, I don’t think that the superintendence of the senior partner is going to amount to very much. And I don’t believe that benevolence can be read into the hearts of the trusts by the superintendence and suggestions of the federal government; because the government has never within my recollection had its suggestions accepted by the trusts. On the contrary, the suggestions of the trusts have been accepted by the government.

“There is no hope to be seen for the people of the United States until the partnership is dissolved. And the business of the party now entrusted with power is going to be to dissolve it.”

Can you imagine the Republican party dissolving the cozy relationship between Big Business and Government?

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 9/Benevolence or Justice?” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 201-203. Print.


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Cynics, Gurus, Prayers and Greed

Today I met another cynic who doesn’t believe “it” can be done. You can fill in the blank for her. What do you assume can’t be done? Getting money out of politics? Moving the mountain that would get us to really address global warming? Getting a third party’s presidential candidate elected? Getting money out of politics? Passing a 28th Amendment? How about making sure our ballot box is safe, secure, and counted correctly? What would it take to make young people care enough about politics to vote?

Can we deal with issues like poverty, hunger, homelessness by applying the lessons in a spiritual guru’s self-help books? I’m waiting for a self-help guru to get into the trenches with me. I’ve been places that have really gotten depressing lately. I’d like to know what they do when everyone is telling you it can’t be done. Tony Robbins? Oprah? Marianne Williamson? I voted for Ms. Williamson in the primaries in California’s 33rd District. She wasn’t one of the top two to advance to the general election. Now that’s a dose of reality.

Below is my “favorite” quote from Woodrow Wilson’s book, The New Freedom. I’ve italicized it so that you can see exactly which words need your attention. We have a boogie man in our midst and it’s greed. The whole lot of us are going to have to come into the trenches and not just pray, not just meditate, not just agitate, but organize and activate to fight the greedy bastards. We have to be like the bully’s Mom and set boundaries and tell him “NO!”

You tell them, Woody.

“Shall we try to get the grip of monopoly away from our lives, or shall we not? Shall we withhold our hand and say monopoly is inevitable, that all that we can do is to regulate it? Shall we say that all that we can do is to put government in competition with monopoly and try its strength against it? Shall we admit that the creature of our own hands is stronger than we are? We have been dreading all along the time when the combined power of high finance would be greater than the power of the government. Have we come to a time when the President of the United States or any man who wishes to be the President must doff his cap in the presence of this high finance, and say, “You are our inevitable master, but we will see how we can make the best of it?”

“We are at the parting of the ways. We have, not one or two or three, but many, established and formidable monopolies in the United States. We have, not one or two, but many, fields of endeavor into which it is difficult, if not impossible, for the independent man to enter. We have restricted credit, we have restricted opportunity, we have controlled development, and we have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world—no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men.”

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 9/Benevolence or Justice?” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 200-201. Print.


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Woody vs Teddy

Below, when Woodrow Wilson refers to “the third party” he’s referring to Theodore Roosevelt’s party that claimed to be for the common man while supporting monopolies. Their argument was that you can’t stop them, so the best you can do is hope that they will be kind. See where that gets us.

“The third party says that the present system of our industry and trade has come to stay. Mind you, these artificially built up things, these things that can’t maintain themselves in the market without monopoly, have come to stay, and the only thing that the government can do, the only thing that the third party proposes should be done, is to set up a commission to regulate them. It accepts them. It says: “We will not undertake, it were futile to undertake, to prevent monopoly, but we will go into an arrangement by which we will make these monopolies kind to you. We will guarantee that they shall be pitiful. We will guarantee that they shall pay the right wages. We will guarantee that they shall do everything kind and public-spirited, which they have never heretofore shown the least inclination to do.”

“Don’t you realize that that is a blind alley? You can’t find your way to liberty that way.”

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 9/Benevolence or Justice?” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 196-197. Print.

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How Monopolies Think They’re Doing You A Favor

Are unregulated businesses making life easier for you? You know what happened when we deregulated the banks? Remember what they said when they did away with regulation? “We don’t need it; we’ll be good; we’ll police ourselves!” How did that go? And yet Citicorp is trying to get rid of the provision in Dodd Frank that would’ve banned the government from bailing out banks that deal in high-risk swaps. Citicorp made certain that Congress would pass a special exception for them so that the taxpayers are on the hook for bailing them out the next time they gamble with everyone else’s money. I don’t understand why Congressmen get away with inserting these provisions into a huge funding bill at the last minute without their constituents being mad about it.

Roosevelt said he was anti-trust, that he was going to break up the monopolies, but he only said that to gain popularity. In truth, he was backed by the trusts (read: monopolies)! Things really haven’t changed much, have they. Read what Roosevelt’s predecessor says of Teddy’s presidency.

“The doctrine that monopoly is inevitable and that the only course open to the people of the United States is to submit to and regulate it found a champion during the campaign of 1912 in the new party, or branch of the Republican party, founded under the leadership of Mr. Roosevelt, with the conspicuous aid,—I mention him with no satirical intention, but merely to set the facts down accurately,—of Mr. George W. Perkins, organizer of the Steel Trust and the Harvester Trust, and with the support of more than three millions of citizens, many of them among the most patriotic, conscientious and high-minded men and women of the land. The fact that its acceptance of monopoly was a feature of the new party platform from which the attention of the generous and just was diverted by the charm of a social program of great attractiveness to all concerned for the amelioration of the lot of those who suffer wrong and privation, and the further fact that, even so, the platform was repudiated by the majority of the nation, render it no less necessary to reflect on the significance of the confession made for the first time by any party in the country’s history. It may be useful, in order to the relief of the minds of many from an error of no small magnitude, to consider now, the heat of a presidential contest being past, exactly what it was that Mr. Roosevelt proposed.

“Mr. Roosevelt attached to his platform some very splendid suggestions as to noble enterprises which we ought to undertake for the uplift of the human race; but when I hear an ambitious platform put forth, I am very much more interested in the dynamics of it than in the rhetoric of it. I have a very practical mind, and I want to know who are going to do those things and how they are going to be done. If you have read the trust plank in that platform as often as I have read it, you have found it very long, but very tolerant. It did not anywhere condemn monopoly, except in words; its essential meaning was that the trusts have been bad and must be made to be good. You know that Mr. Roosevelt long ago classified trusts for us as good and bad, and he said that he was afraid only of the bad ones. Now he does not desire that there should be any more bad ones, but proposes that they should all be made good by discipline, directly applied by a commission of executive appointment. All he explicitly complains of is lack of publicity and lack of fairness; not the exercise of power, for throughout that plank the power of the great corporations is accepted as the inevitable consequence of the modern organization of industry. All that it is proposed to do is to take them under control and regulation. The national administration having for sixteen years been virtually under the regulation of the trusts, it would be merely a family matter were the parts reversed and were the other members of the family to exercise the regulation. And the trusts, apparently, which might, in such circumstances, comfortably continue to administer our affairs under the mollifying influences of the federal government, would then, if you please, be the instrumentalities by which all the humanistic, benevolent program of the rest of that interesting platform would be carried out!

“I have read and reread that plank, so as to be sure that I get it right. All that it complains of is,—and the complaint is a just one, surely,—that these gentlemen exercise their power in a way that is secret. Therefore, we must have publicity. Sometimes they are arbitrary; therefore they need regulation. Sometimes they do not consult the general interests of the community; therefore they need to be reminded of those general interests by an industrial commission. But at every turn it is the trusts who are to do us good, and not we ourselves.

“Again, I absolutely protest against being put into the hands of trustees.”

Wilson, Woodrow. “Chapter 9/Benevolence or Justice?” The New Freedom; a Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1913. 192-195. Print.

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