I did an interview with a print reporter yesterday about what has been going on with lack of prosecutions, the banks, and Wall Street in general. We discussed the corrupt exchanges and HFT.

I dropped lots of F-Bombs, called out cowards and crooks and held nothing back. (“That fucker belongs in prison; this son of a bitch should hang“)

Afterwards, she commented that I seemed angry.

I wrote back suggesting that I am a happy dude, and its not Anger — its closer to an ineffable sadness that comes once you realize you have lost something dear. I am old enough to have grown up when this nation was a Democracy, but that era has passed. We now live in a nation no longer run by the citizens — it is a Corporatocracy — and that makes me sadder than angry . . .

She suggests perhaps a better word is outraged.

I wonder: Why have the Europeans figured out they are getting screwed, and we haven’t? Why are they taking to the streets en masse, while we seem to be watching our own control over our own futures slip from our hands almost as if from afar?

In America, we are too busy dropping the kids off at soccer, running around looking for sales and bargains, racing to keep our heads above water. We seem to forget to get outraged. Our control over our once Democracy — the one we had a revolution against a monarchy dictating decisions from afar — slips away from us. Not with a bang, not even with a whimper, but with a 1000s acts of gradual ceding of power to the new Monarch. We have given up hard won rights to a coordinated attack from all three branches of government; Our Congress has become the legislative branch of eBay — Congressmen are auctioned off to the highest bidder; they even have a Buy It Now button to get specific legislation passed. The executive branch has fallen under the sunk cost fallacy, afraid to prosecute banks because we spent so many billions bailing them out. It turns out that even our once venerable Supreme Court is just as corrupted, with lobbyists partying with Justices and backdooring ethics by hiring their wives.

In short, our new overlords are enormously well funded, well connected, relentless and perhaps most of all, patient. This new King was not appointed by primogeniture, or even Divine Right, but by acquiring enough profits in the free market that they can buy control over society, even as they thwart that free market ideal for their own ends. We have become, in short, a Corporate Monarchy.

The right question isn’t why am I angry, sad and outraged. The proper question is, why aren’t you?

Category: Philosophy, Politics, Really, really bad calls

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

162 Responses to “The US is Now a Corporate Monarchy”

  1. foosion says:

    One part of the story is that the vast majority of Americans see no connection between government actions and their daily lives. They don’t believe political action will have any effect. It’s not cynicism, it’s that they don’t think about the issues at all.

    There’s also an incredible lack of information about issues. It’s not clear whether this is due to people not paying attention or the coverage by mainstream media (Fox viewers are even less well informed than people who pay no attention).

    This leaves a void which our corporate overlords are happy to fill.

    For the record, I’m angry, sad and outraged.

  2. Charlotte says:

    No sooner do you post this than lobbyists for the frozen food industry get pizza reclassified as a vegetable in school meals. http://www.thestreet.com/story/11313228/1/pizza-is-a-vegetable-says-congress.html

    Shame on them.

  3. Mike in Nola says:

    Latest evidence of sellouts
    42 House Dems want more breaks for corporations and “to ease burdens on overseas operations.”

    House Democratic Group Seeks Corporate Tax Rate Cut in Overhaul

  4. Mike in Nola says:

    Went to the New Democratic Coalition website; the only info on the “contact us” page is a couple of phone numbers. Do you think they really want a call from you?

  5. amboycharlie says:

    Your’re not the only one, Barry, by any means. I blog my outrage all the time at http://bonalibro.us, and on the NYTimes editorial pages, and a few other places besides. But I’m on the other side of the world from you, where the pain is even greater, because the place I live caught pneumonia when America sneezed a few years ago.

  6. anniecat says:

    I agree 100%. I puzzled why the 1000′s of unemployed, foreclosed upon, and underwater homeowners aren’t protesting? What does it take? I’m part of the 1% and I even willing to join in their protest, but I’m not going to protest FOR them.

    Where’s the boycotts? People seem to be so lazy, they won’t even take the time to move their money from the big banks. Sure, some did, but not many in the big scheme of things.

    Where’s the slogans and calls to action? I’d start with “vote out all incumbent congressmen and senators”.

    How much dirty air, foul water, contaminated food, and financial slavery are the downtrodden willing to accept?

  7. rdkaye says:

    The Tea Party and the Occupy Wall St. folks have outrage in common. The question in my mind, and many of my piers isn’t “where’s the outrage,” the question is “what can be done?”

  8. Moss says:

    The question is how to break the cycle.
    I think many who are informed are angry, sad and outraged.
    When you have the corrupt News Corporation and other influential outlets, depicting public outrage, as expressed by the World Wide ‘Occupy’ movement, as anti-capitalism, socialists etc.. and a concerted effort to break their will with raids by police it becomes clear how ingrained the status quo is.

    It will be a matter of perseverance. To diminish the Corporate Monarchy it is imperative that more people understand what we have morphed into. The right wing propaganda machine is relentless in demonizing the OWS movement.

    The funding mechanisms which enabled the current control must be thwarted.

  9. Tuvaorbst says:

    There are a lot of people who are outraged and they are doing their best to make a difference in state and national elections.. But they are at a severe disadvantage running up against corporate interests. Who pays for all the campaign ads, how does Obama aim to spend $1 billion to campaign in 2012, how does Romney gets free positive media coverage and polls top without even spending a cent?

    Instead of ending this piece just being outraged, I would suggest you provide more constructive actions for your loyal readers to vent their frustrations – which congressional seats are up for grabs and who is running? what is their background and who is funded by big corps and who is fighting for the people? The funny thing with people is that they ridicule and ignore the candidates who are out to take the country back from the corporations, how many of them donate to the politicians they know and trust, how many even bothered to read up on the politician’s backgrounds?! If the people don’t do the homework and just listen to the media hype, then the corporations who control the media will control the politicians, it is simple as that.

    In a democratic republic like the USA, the people get the leaders they deserve, if the guy you voted for ends up showing his/her true colors, that’s your fault for not researching who his real paymasters are. If people don’t vote because they think it doesn’t matter, then its their fault for not taking the bother. At the end of the day, you have a right to vote, many people in other countries don’t even have that right, so vote and make a difference.

  10. budhak0n says:

    The drones have resigned themselves to this fate long ago. You have to realize that there are really very few of us sentient beings remaining.

    Think Jedi vs droid army.

  11. budhak0n says:

    Time for a new “American” identity?

  12. PDS says:

    BR….like the Europeans who are focusing their outrage more on Brussels and the dysfunctional Eurocrats, I think you need to channel your outrage more at Washington….yes corporations are a problem…but at least they are flush!!….

  13. hipster says:

    Barry, you are so outspoken, and i appreciate your wisdom and ability, but I think that YOU should do something with your talent, something other than what you do on your blog. Like help #OWS with a mission or a goal. Join someone like Dylan Ratigan and form a new political party. Your voice, strength, knowledge is needed to help peacefully encourage that re-establishment of our freedoms.

    I only ask this of you because i think it is your calling. Your countrymen need your voice to grow louder and more widespread.

    Keep up the good work.


    BR: I thought I already did!

    WaPo: Occupy Wall Street needs to occupy Congress and lobbyists

  14. Chad says:

    There are two big issues with why there isn’t more outrage:

    1) The majority of people feeling the pain have been so brainwashed into thinking that if they just work harder it will all be better or the “lazy” bastard on welfare is taking their money, that they don’t look up. Every person I know from my small blue collar hometown blames welfare and is in denial about the corporatocracy, as they believe every dollar “earned” is actually earned.

    2) When they do see the corporatocracy they have no idea how to stop it. It’s too big and too complicated for most people. Most people don’t even know if their bank is charging them fees let alone how to try and stop corporations from hiring Justices’ wives/husbands. They are small minded people in much more complicated world.

  15. I prefer the term Corporate Kleptocracy, that’s what this country has become. I went off an a rant yesterday as oil hit $100 in the morning on the usual BS manipulation but, of course, that’s one of many ways the people of this country are being screwed over.

    I hate to “advertise” but I’m going to be updating and expanding on the Dooh Nibor Economy and I’d love your thoughts and your reader’s thoughts on the matter:



    - Phil

  16. duzuviel says:

    I think that Herman Cain got it right on this one, the way he recently gave a face to the perception that in the US only suckers, parasites and bums protest. “Winners” have no need for this sort of tactic, since they are already rich or soon will be. And since who constitutes a winner is mostly determined by a single metric (money), few seem to care about how one gets there.

    American exceptionalism may also play a part. If you live in what you are told to be the most democratic and prosperous nation on earth, what use is protesting? It’s not like things are any better anywhere else.

    The faith-based approach to the constitution doesn’t help either. As it is, a lot of people seem to believe that the constitution was handed down on a couple of stone platters to the founders. Given that, change in any meaningful sense becomes impossible. How do you mess with perfection? Again, I am talking about perception, not how things really are.

    In the end, perhaps the US is too big and diverse to respond to the modern world’s complexities. Power probably need to be devolved from the federal level, starting with the ever more imperial presidential office. As others have noted, the amount of lawbreaking you get away with while holding the highest office is scary in the extreme.

    Nixon once said; “If the president does it, it’s not against the law”. People laughed then. No-one is laughing now, with amnesties and silence having become a way of life. Too many are simply nodding in agreement, unable to imagine anything else.

  17. phb says:

    Americans do not take action because the corruption, greed, and loss of trust has happened at a very slow pace. We are burdened with our own form of confirmation bias of “that-can’t-be-happening” and we watch our liberties be taken away from us literally brick by brick. The Penn State fiasco is a perfect example – the entire place knew exactly what was happening, but chose to ignore because they hoped it would go away and action would be unnecessary. And just like Penn State, the US will experience a point of no return and we will begin to take action and the outrage will be much more universal. We are a sleeping giant, lets just hope the giant hasn’t been decapitated before we awake.

  18. [...] Why you should be mad, we are living under a “Corporate Monarchy.”  (Big Picture) [...]

  19. Raleighwood says:

    I guess they’re waiting for the “breaking news” banner to march across the bottom of “Dancing with the Stars” to announce the end of the Republic and the beginning of Fascism.

    Not with a bang, not even with a whimper, but with a 1000s acts of gradual ceding of power to the new Monarch

    Norman Dodd of the Reece Committee might prefer the term “Oligarchical Collectivism”.


    The lack of outrage can be traced back to the public schools and how they were “modified” to get rid of critical thinking and create little robot workers for the wealthy. See anything by John Taylor Gotto.

  20. Theba says:

    In short, because the world still functions according to our expectations (e.g., turn on the tap water comes out, call 911, etc.) and the social safety net keeps the people below us fed/clothed/ housed and/or imprisoned, so that they are pretty much are out of sight/out of mind. Then throw in the real religion around here (i.e., meritocracy) and you free the powerful/privileged from having to admit to anyone (especially themselves) that they are any different, or have any more responsibility, than the rest of us.

    Unfortunately I think things are going to have to get a lot worse for us if they are going to get better (and that’s not exactly a possibility I look forward to living through.)

    I also get the impression that most of us want the railroad to keep running while things get fixed around here. My question is – does that ever happen?

  21. JasRas says:

    I will postulate why Europe is in the streets en masse, where we are not.

    First, we’re wired differently. From birth on we are quietly taught there are winners and losers and not much in between. If you are in the middle, you are either striving higher or floating lower… Somehow, in Europe they’ve learned the middle is not a transitory spot, but one of value and purpose. Sometimes it is ok to be the middle and nothing else.

    Second, they were promised much more than we by their respective governments. Ours promises survival via the entitlement programs, theirs assure dignity and maintains one’s place in the middle. With their’s promising so much more, it takes a lot less to light the flame of anger when it is threatened. Ours kinda sucks anyhow and while expected by a large chunk of the population, the value and quality of the entitlement is much lower…

    Third, our corporatocracy was not born yesterday. It has taken 40-50 years of chipping away at rights of people and building and enhancing rights of corporations. It may seems like “all of a sudden”, but it has been a long slow road. Our two party system makes it easy as well. Do you think it would be as easy for corporations to do what they have in a 40 party system? No, that would be like herding cats.

    While Europe has the illusion of stability in their political systems, their multi party mix, their vote of confidence ability has likely made it difficult for career politicians to build and maintain mini empires… The reality is that with our Senate and House, the longer you are there, the more likely you are on the take in many ways. And the laws have made it so it can’t be cleaned up in one election—Our own government has staggered the elections! Just like a corporate board that wants to prevent activist take over….

    Finally, for a long time there has been a shadow population in the U.S. You know what I mean. Almost a caste like separation of the lowest of the low. It separates away those who have quit trying, those who have failed, lost, become entitlement junkies, homeless, whatever. They are the shunned. We minimize them, minimize their voice, their opinion. They are the butt of our jokes. They are the ones we assume the worst of. And slowly there are more of them than ever. And likely they are good people who have been robbed of their humanity, their purpose, their home, perhaps their family. We complain about carrying these people, yet we take their jobs with robots and slave labor in other countries. Then we go to church, pray for forgiveness, sleep like a baby, and repeat on Monday.

    I sometime wonder what Sam Walton would think of the Wal-Mart of today. Before he died, a Walmart proudly displayed an American Flag on and over items it source in the U.S.A. It was part of the DNA of the corporation. Then, Sam died. NAFTA passed as did some treaties with China under Clinton and the flags went away only to be replaced with more “smiley faces” and “falling prices”… I’m not saying Walmart was a saint prior, but they were American and not ashamed to display it. I was young and thought it was corny. My grandparents did not though. They fought for that shit and never forgot. Eventually, they stopped shopping at Walmart…

    Somewhere along the line we decided that “legal” meant it was “ok”

    Legal doesn’t equal ethical or moral. We’ve lost our soul as a country. We might think about it occasionally, but the ones who should do something about it have more important things to worry about like food and shelter. Because they’ve lost it all along with their dignity.

  22. budhak0n says:

    @JasRas. I beg your pardon. I never promised you a rose garden.

  23. Moss says:

    We need a list of concrete reforms, a MSM forum, preferably TV (radio would help).
    While the blogshere is chock full of the facts(also many lies) not enough people use the web to formulate informed opinions.

    The numerous false choices offered up by the Red, Blue BS muddies the waters and distracts most from the real issues and how to change them. Can social protests make a real difference? Are elected officials the only way to get meaningful reforms in place?

  24. biglot says:

    There you go. Or, should I say, there, it’s gone.

  25. bobthehorse says:

    The reality is that there is not enough for most people to get outraged about. The people at the bottom have not done well (say the bottom 20%), the people in the top 5% have done exceptionally well. But the other 75% haven’t yet come to the conclusion that they’ve had a disaster. Sure the last few years have been bad but they had a great run before that. It will take another 5 years for outrage to go mainstream. At the moment the people who understand what happened are the minority, and the OWS crowd are the usual rent-a-mob lot.

  26. m111ark says:

    I’m very gratified to read this from a true wall street denizen… and here I thought all you guys were only money -grubbing scumbags. I have not heard though, anyone outside the few who are called ‘nutjobs’ HOW the banksters garnered all their power. And more important, that the banksters are mere knights doing the bidding of their lords and masters. One ‘nutjob,’ Michael Rupert said, “until you change the way money works you change nothing.” Another, Damon Vrabel, calls this “the human rights issue of the 21st century.”

    It’s the debt money. Why are sovereign nations forced to borrow their own currency? Who has the power, the borrower or the lender? What are the consequences of debt money? Answer these questions and you’ll know what we have to do.

  27. rd says:

    I think it is because the impacts are much more subtle in the US than in Europe because the giveaways are happening by changing or ignoring laws (e.g. fraud is no longer fraud or prosecuted as such), subsidies and credits to corporations, encouraging companies to offshore work, and artificiallyinflating asset prices into unstable zones.

    Austerity in Europe shows up as real cuts in government spending so a high percentage of the population is immediately and directly impacted. Historically, their governments have been more protectionist, so many of the jobs were kept in their countries and now may be vanishing.

    The Republicans haven’t had the balls yet to seriously slash Medicare and Social Security (which is what they really want to do) so it hasn’t really hit home yet on the general population that votes (seniors). The young and middle-aged folks are starting figure out that they are getting screwed, but the shape of it is still amorphous because it is behind the scenes and more a function of what government is not doing than what it is doing (see Congressmen insider trading, robosigning foreclosures, and lack of prosecution of financial crimes).

    I think MF Global may actually start to shake things up in a different way. That one hit the 1% directly and left the 99% untouched (for now). It was different from Madoff, because he simply stole money through an old Ponzi scheme. MF Global took the money of the 1% through the regulatory changes that the victims themselves probably lobbied for!

    Once the 99% of the 1% figures out that they are now in the cross-hairs of the 1% of the 1% because they are the remaining suckers with money in the system, we will start to see some high-powered pushes for change. I am starting to see the bleating outrage voiced by Occupy Wall Street in the news articles from the same people that may have been hanging up the “We are the 1%” signs in the windows of the exchanges.

    The next downleg is probably going to hit the 1% harder than the 99% because the bailout won’t be there for them to prevent bankruptcy while the overall economic underpinnings will get worse but not that much more worse for the 99%. The 99% know that they need to make major changes and many have started. The 1% don’t know that yet.

  28. lunartop says:

    The power of the corpocracy is a big part of it but I also suspect “Americans” still believe in the delusion that is the “American dream” – it’s a nice story and a comforting one but guess who’s third from bottom in social mobility http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/mar/10/oecd-uk-worst-social-mobility

  29. I call it a kleptofraudtocracy.

  30. Transor Z says:

    Barry, I’ve got bad news for you. The British monarchy sent fraudsters, treasury officials and members of Parliament to jail in the wake of the South Sea Bubble scandal of the early 18th century. So in some ways we don’t even measure up to the regime we revolted from.

  31. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    I posted this quotation of Frederick Douglas, yesterday. Seems germane to this topic and bears repeating:

    “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.”

    Land of the free and brave?

    Most people don’t give a shit . Yet.

    Having lived in the DC area most of my life, I’ve seen lots of demonstrations, and attended a few, but demonstrations are temporary — the hoopla dies down and things return to normal. OWS is (potentially) different in that their sole promise is that they will “occupy” an area — not simply fold-up and go away. That they are opposing the corporate side of the corporatocracy, directly — as opposed to wasting their time on the pseudo-legitimate political/governmental facade (as the Tea Party sought to do immediately before being assimilated) — seems to be a difficult tactic for the power structure to handle, politically. The government is forced to tip its hand to protect its true constituency.

    The paramilitary and coordinated reaction to OWS (including, by some reports, the involvement of anti-terrorism officials in response to what is clearly not a terrorist movement), is exactly the kind of thing that will strengthen the movement, and would seem to indicate that TPTB are worried about losing political control (and I emphasize ‘political’ as the occupations have been largely peaceful and law-abiding).

  32. Francois says:


    If for any reason the print reporter does not get around publishing the interview, please, please post your version on this blog.

    I’m positive the regulars would second this motion.

  33. BR,

    are you sure about this..”… I am old enough to have grown up when this nation was a Democracy, but that era has passed…” ?


    LSS: Electoral Fraud has a long, rich History..


    ‘new’ Electronic Voting machines (issue no ‘receipts’/leave no ‘Paper Trail’) are, even, easier to ‘hack’/defraud..

    “Election Night Projections Cover For Vote Rigging Since 1964?”

    and, really, with this ‘Hit-Parade’…

    this ‘Democracy’ has been, highly, Impaired for many Moon…

    the *Real Question is if We’ll, ever learn enough to let see the Light, again..

  34. theexpertisin says:

    In what epoch was a true democracy not corrupted? Or fail due to inner largesse….

    Does not every form of government breed, even sanction corruption, more or less?

    I agree with BR that corporate leaders have overreached in monetary influence . As Rev. Al Sharpton stated on MSNBC…”Resist we much”……but to what end?

  35. HEHEHE says:

    Come on BR we’re too busy keeping up with the Kardashians and watching football to have time to pay attention to any of that Wall Street stuff. It’s too complicated anyway. I am sure Eric Holder and the the DOJ have it all sorted out and will put the guilty in jail:)

  36. JerseyCynic says:

    CHARLOTTE I was just reading that! I did a few stints as “the lunch lady” for extra pocket change through the years. When they called me back this year, I told them when they started serving real food, I would gladly come back and help serve.

    I’m sitting here playing Cheech and Chong’s Basketball Jones for my hubby who’s going to the UCONN game tonight. Of course he’s only going because he knows someone with season tickets. He has a hard time looking at Calhoun –you know him, one of our (2B in debt) state’s highest paid employees.

    Don’t even EVEN get me started on the NBA. (I stopped watching the game when Latrell Sprewell hit the scene.) What a great analogy to what has happened here in our financial world. Us spectators aren’t even close to the the financial bracket necessary to attend a game. So, it’s not like we could even make a statement about the racket going on by not buying tickets — after all, we can still watch it on the teevee, so… go team, go!!

    Same applies to our ability to do anything about this mess. Once you’re in the big league, it must be very easy to get hooked. Since all us little guys count on the big boys for our own tiny piece of the swag, we settle for whatever comes our way.

    We are all angry Mr. Ritholtz, but we can’t even come close to playing in this game. Sure, collectively we could bring the machine to a grinding halt, but — deep down — we all know the PTB could (and would) easily cut us off.

    Besides, as Charles Hugh Smith points out:
    A dearth of leadership. The weakness of what passes for “leadership” today is not just a matter of bad luck but of the corruption of politics to the point that it only attracts sycophants, moral midgets and sociopaths. It’s easy to blame those attracted to the game for this, but the real cause is the American people, who reject honesty in favor of artifice and promises. The American public is child-like, self-centered, myopic, ill-informed and ultimately uncaring about anything but getting their share of the swag.http://www.oftwominds.com/blogjuly11/shape-of-things6-11.html

    George Carlin always said it was going to take blood in the streets for anything to change.

    Yeah, I’m angry. What’s a mother to do? I am no longer telling my kids that if you work and study hard you will be rewarded, cause my hubby, who is too busy shipping jobs overseas so that he can keep his company profitable so that he can keep getting paid would prefer they study this book: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assholes_Finish_First — The book debuted at Number 3 on The New York Times Best Seller list for hardcover nonfiction on October 17, 2010,[3] and remained on the list for 14 consecutive weeks.

    what IS a mother to do…
    Lock & Load (and hope for the best)

    call me when you want to rebuild.

  37. markwax says:

    Sooner or later an agitated police officer will shoot and kill a protester. Movements turn with martyrs. There are 175 million guns in the hands of everyday citizens. The outrage that erupts will make the Arab spring pale by comparison.

    Medgar Evers,…… MLK,……….Kent State,…….

  38. also, m111ark lays out another facet of it..

    “… Why are sovereign nations forced to borrow their own currency? Who has the power, the borrower or the lender? What are the consequences of debt money? Answer these questions and you’ll know what we have to do…”

    ol’ #5,on the ‘Hit-Parade’..linked to, above..

    “Paper Ballots, not Paper *Money.”

  39. [...] All Hail the US Corporatocracy.  (TBP) [...]

  40. JerseyCynic says:

    moderating – uh oh — must be a tough crowd today

  41. Francois says:

    The degree of corporate-driven corruption in Congress goes quite far, to say the least.

  42. Raleighwood says:


    I’m thinking the Patriot Act and the Militarized police have a not so subtle influence on the folks barely hanging on.

  43. Moe says:

    I’ve read many good points here.

    I also wonder about media’s infuence – it has created an immense sense of fear in this country. I remember when “Faces of Death” first came out – it was scandalous, now, it’s prime time TV. Nothing is shocking anymore. I watch some programs and wonder – my god – how do parents deal with their kids watching this crap??? We have 5 or 6 versions of CSI where people are shown mutilated beyond recognition and then we have 5 or 6 versions now of Real Housewives (a phenomenoon that stumps me completely) where drama over a broken nail can take an hour. I agree with many here – it’s been a long slow road to get to this -

  44. blinblin says:

    I’m not even an American citizen but I was angry and livid like hell a few years ago, but I could not undersand why the average citizen didn’t feel like me. In the meantime I have mellowed and am waiting to see how this corporate monarchy unfolds/ends.

    Barry, you should put together the corporate monarchy structure as you see it in a pyramid format and post it on your website. This action should raise awareness and create pressure for those at the top, since through the reach of your website citizens will slowly become aware of who is pulling the strings at the top.

    If you don’t have time to do this, maybe one of your readers might come up with a hypothetical structure and submit it to you. I am very curious to see how you or your readers envision this corporate monarchy structure.

  45. Patrick Neid says:

    People are not in the streets, except for the minuscule numbers, because Americans unlike their European counterparts are a contented bunch. Poll after poll, decade after decade shows Americans to be a reasonably happy lot. We take political corruption as a given. We also take as a given that in the end our Republic will always remedy the extremes of democracy. We are in that difficult period now. Heads will roll but probably not on the schedule we would like. Crony capitalism is on its last legs along with money in politics from all sources including individuals, unions, associations, businesses, and infamous corporations.

  46. Breezy says:

    Agree 100%
    Two suggestions:
    M111ark Says makes a useful point. It would help if more “true Wall St. denizens” were speaking up and/or organizing protests of their own. Non-Wall St. denizens will benefit (perhaps be encouraged to step up their efforts?) knowing that insiders know the rigged game is doing great damage not just to the 99% but also ultimately to Wall St itself.
    Speaking up is your department. Can you enlist your peers to come forward in some fashion?

    I keep hoping, begging: We need another Gene McCarthy type to challenge Obama in Vermont. Of course if such a candidate emerged and drove O from the race, another “serious” candidate owned by the Corporate Monarchy would swoop in like Humphrey did (Hillary?) to maintain control for the C.M. But, such a candidate would help the rebellion grow the way McCarthy’s efforts did.
    Democratic primary voters are the type of people who pay attention and are beginning to understand. The environmental vote has awakened from Obama’s mind control to discover they have serious rectal bruising. Many Ds are shocked to discover Obama not only is ready to sell out Social Security but also has been willing to all along.
    Barry, is this idea of challenging Obama in Vermont an idea you can help advance?

  47. Raleighwood says:


    The people on this site – and the blogosphere in general – are curious, inquisitive and inherently skeptical, i.e., capable and willing to think critically and come to their own conclusions.

    Unfortunately this is a minority of Americans, and imo, this was done intentionally.

    The very last thing the TPTB want is a population capable of thinking for themselves – and to my mind the CORPORATE media is in cahoots.

  48. Trevor says:

    Barry wrote: Not with a bang, not even with a whimper, but with a 1000s acts of gradual ceding of power to the new Monarch.

    Death of democracy and prosperity by a thousand paper cuts. That would mean laws (enacted and repealed), regulations (applied and ignored), presence and lack of criminal charges, etc. (not the actions of honest bureaucrats).

    Niall Ferguson spoke to the TED conference (http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/topvideos/2011/11/02/pkg-ted-talks-niall-ferguson-apps-of-prosperity.ted) of Churchill’s comment “…parliaments where laws are made, and independent courts of justice in which, over long periods, these laws are maintained” when he spoke of the killer apps that made the West what it had become when Barry was “grow[ing] up when this nation was a Democracy.” (As an aside, the very idea of citizens voting judges into office seems to me just SO fraught with chances to start the abuse of laws.)

    So many of Ferguson’s apps are no longer being applied consistently in the West, in the form they were intended. For example, think consistent application of property rights, the current mess with MERS, and blind eyes being turned by so many.

    Given this sort of behaviour in politics and corporations, why would we expect any result other than the current situation?

  49. Irwin Fletcher says:

    How many companies in the Dow from 100 years ago are still around today?
    How much has the central government grown in the last 100 years?
    The government and its operation is the largest industry in America.
    It takes and takes and takes and takes.
    It produces nothing, yet it grows and grows and grows, because it has the power to tax.
    We are outraged and talk about how bad and evil the corporations are, yet we love and trust a government that takes 40% of our money and squanders it.
    This is what happens when you give over your liberty to your government.
    Follow the money. Always follow the money. There are no angels who are going to take care of you.

  50. budhak0n says:

    How do I call Congress and urge them to CUT Medicare? It seems as if there can be a multi million dollar commercial urging me to do one thing, there should be an alternative choice.

    Cut Medicare. Frankly do away with Social Security. There won’t be anything left for my generation anyway.

  51. Henry says:

    The level of education in our country is far lower than in Germany. Furthermore, the refusal/inability to control costs makes life for the middle class such a struggle that its members do not have time to protest.

    We just moved from Berlin to Brooklyn and nominally our cost of living doubled (the exchange rate removes about 35% of the difference as of today). Astonishing, however, is that our standard of living has also dropped, by at least 30%, so we pay more for less.

    If nothing else, despite all the problems in Europe, this is why I am sure that the future Germany-backed currency (perhaps not the current euro?) will rise far above its current level.


    BR: Ahh, but Berlin is the most reasonably priced city in Western Europe! You should do better with the weak US peso

  52. emcsull says:

    So all right, with you 100%,

    but what do we do, how can we change it ?

  53. RuKidding says:

    The primary reason that there has not been more of a mass outrage / protests in the US is b/c mostly we are a bunch of uneducated sheeple.

    We had a presidential “con”didate telling the masses that he would work in our best interests and that if elected things were going to change. We believed him and vote him into office, baa.

    We have a national media that is biased and that is more interested in supporting their bias than reporting the facts. We believe them at face value, baa.

    We have a congress that tells their states/districts that they are truly working in the best interest of the people. Believing them, we vote them into office for the 20th term, baa.

    We still have faith in the american dream, that if we work hard we will be able to build a life for our family, baa.

    We have an education system that lies to our children and teaches them the government is working in the best interest of the people, as parents we are too lazy to teach them different, baa.

    We are distracted by American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Facebook, Twitter, etc and not really paying attention to the gradual elimination of our civil liberties, baa.

    Most of us still have a decent life style, 2 TV’s, are able to feed, cloth and protect our families. We have lost massive amount of equity in our homes, are focused on surviving and making a better life, don’t have enough time to spend with our family’s and friends, make a short sighted decision that these things are of higher priority than demonstrating in the streets at the moment.

    Most of us don’t know how to make a change and don’t fully understand the intricacies and complexities of the corruption and greed. Those in power keep these things obscured.

    There is currently no one clearly articulating and leading a movement that is organized and respected (think MLK and civil rights). The OWS movement is portrayed unorganized hippies and extremists.

    Bottom line, things need to get a lot worse before they will get better here in the US. Not many people read Taibbi’s vampire squid articles or your website and can really grasp/pinpoint where the corruption and greed stems from. And if they do, where do you start?

  54. Concerned Neighbour says:

    Barry, I think a lot of people are angry, but the anger is in most cases misplaced. Tea Baggers think government is the problem, and if only government got out of the way our corporate overlord job creators – so hard done by until now (obviously) – will rain down unicorns and Ipods for all. Occupy Wall Street is closer to the mark, but has no focused agenda to bring about change (yet).

    Until things get worse, the masses will keep their heads down and not do much of anything about it.

    And BTW, I was very interested to read your comment re: “corrupt exchanges and HFT”. I’ve believed this for years, and this is yet another instance of media impotence in recent history (think Iraq war compliance, etc.). Is there not one single enterprising journalist at a major outlet that lift a finger to expose all this? Matt Taibbi is great, but he doesn’t have the platform.

  55. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    Yesterday Congress passed a bill that watered down Obama’s efforts to provide healthy lunches for school children. The tomato paste on pizza is now classified as a serving of vegetables.

    Why did Congress make these changes that prevented the move towards providing healthy lunches to our children? Lobbyists for the frozen pizza industry had a significant hand in writing the legislation.

  56. Chad says:

    Nice summary on the differences. It rings true.

  57. budhak0n says:

    We completely get it Ru. It’s a game to them. You have to understand the deeply ingrained evil nature of the Baby Boomer to really get the punch line.

    An entire generation who lives off of stupid commercials making believe they are the next Dennis Hopper.

    I’m going to go Full out until I’m dead… Yeee hawwwww. great stuff.

  58. emcsull says:

    OK, with you 100%

    So what do we do now ? How can we change things ?

  59. FlourChild says:

    The country is headed toward a single and splendid government of an aristocracy founded on banking institutions and moneyed incorporations and if this tendency continues it will be the end of freedom and democracy, the few will be ruling…I hope we shall…crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to trial and bid defiance to the laws of our country. I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.

    Thomas Jefferson

  60. Bokolis says:

    I’ve been angry, sad and outraged for so long that it’s pretty well faded by know. I’ve since come to understand that this can’t be fixed by tweaking (or tweekin’). We have to blow it up and start all over. When y’all’re ready for that, I’m good at breaking shit. Until then, we’re either the back-up QB in a hopelessly lost gridiron match, just trying to compile meaningless stats in garbage time, or, as you say, picking up nickels in front of a steamroller.

  61. Doctor Bang says:

    In all honesty because the S&P is holding up, as long as the Fed can keep the market propped nothing will change.

  62. Theba says:

    JasRas Ditto on Chad’s compliment.

  63. BusSchDean says:

    Not sure if you are aware of this effort but it seems quite consistent with the theme here. I like very much that a former Chairman is taking a leadership role. Barry has had to read my repetitive comments asking why business leaders are not taking a leadership role; apparently now one has.

    “Over the past few months, a number of very significant funders of reform have decided that enough is enough. Led by Arnold Hiatt, former Chairman of Stride Rite, they have decided to form national powerhouse to advance sweeping reforms.

    This is fantastic news for the movement, and for me. United Republic, the new organization, launches today at unitedrepublic.org, with a mandate to enact and inspire an extraordinary range of new and powerful work. We are also merging with the 250,000 members of MSNBC’s host Dylan Ratigan’s “Get Money Out” campaign.”

  64. Finster says:

    BR, the U.S. is very similar to Italy in that a large part of its media are controlled by the corporations (partly by foreign intersts, Murdoch is Australian). These media outlets cater to certain partisan needs and cement into the minds of their viewers exactly the world view they pursue religiously.

    Politics in the U.S. is religious. It is about believers and non believers. Critical communication and a weighing of rational arguments is greeted with hostility (flip flopping). The discussion is taken hostage by occupying key phrases to be employed and branded (“flip flopping” being one of them, same as “Entitlement reform,” “speading the wealth”). Creating and controlling the language employed in political dispute is as important as choosing ground for a General to attack and commit to battle. The method of conducting political discussion has turned fundamentalist.

    This climate is fostered by the Corporatocracy and the polar opposite of Enlightenment. As critical discourse is the lifeblood of a democracy, opening the valves of political unrest before it turnes violent and permitting the address of grievances, shutting down this vent destroys the self healing capacity of democracy.

  65. Donald says:

    I’m not so sure that the Sheeple are uneducated (I hear lots of stories about retail “associates” with masters degrees), but perhaps uniformed, misinformed or simply unaware. Taxes and inflation keep most of us on a treadmill. Are you going to spend the few precious hours with the kids everyday to go online and search for the truth (follow the money) or abandon the family to go protest? Probably not and the TPTB know this!

    To answer a previous question; “what can we do?”. I have a suspicion that it’s too late. Put a hundred educated guys in a room and what can they do? Nothing! Just go work, pay your taxes, bury your head in sand and pray this will be a decent place for the next generation.

  66. wannabe says:

    And yet you consistently berate the only people who are actually interested in reducing their power, scope, and reach (tea party libertarians) more than you berate anyone else and side with (and cover for) the confused #Occupy socialist defecators, defilers, vandals, old lady assaulters, arsonists, child human shield users (etc. etc.) that will reliably support any new governmemt power that their addled minds can imagine will actually help the situation to improve.

    Strange that.

    Clearly 40% of GDP is not enough government. We need more.

  67. gman says:

    The PR machine will continue to misdirect the anger. Think 1930s Germany.

  68. Theba says:

    I wouldn’t look to a lack of/need for an informed citizenry for blame or a fix. That’s a thought experiment that never pans out. Playground justice is about as complicated as it gets for most.

  69. BuffaloBob says:

    A little historical perspective may help. This country was established embracing Calvinism which postulated that material success was evidence of God’s blessing and a ticket to heaven. If you were not rich it was because God hated you. Who would want to admit to that? So people worked hard and kept their mouths shut hoping for success that would prove they were one of the chosen few. Funny how religious dogma can inflict it’s insanity for generations.

    Our current corporatocracy is hardly unique in US history. The extreme concentrations of wealth of the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties and the depressions that followed allowed the pendulum to swing back to a more progressive government and egalitarian society. In each of these instances the transition was relatively peaceful. Hopefully it will be this time as well.

  70. constantnormal says:

    “The proper question is, why aren’t you?”

    Welcome aboard, BR. Glad to have you with us.

  71. Greg0658 says:

    had to stop @1 past JasRas .. that was good .. & then 9 minutes to come up with that :-)
    I understand its the system of 8000+ years .. capitalism thru time has been (probably always will be) the Cop
    .. now back to the same old story/song/dance

  72. budhak0n says:

    @Donald. Love to see you in 10 years. Stop back.

  73. BusSchDean says:

    Barry, did I write something that put me in the penalty box? My comments do not typically wait to be moderated and overwhelmingly agree with your positions (not that you require such agreement).

  74. nizer says:

    Many Americans are as mad as hell about what is going on in Washington, but the problem is that a lot of people have become numb and accepted Washington for the the way it is or don’t know what to do about it. The public could vote for the individual that would do the right thing, but there seems to be so few of those that in most races there would be no one to vote for. You could vote out all incumbents, but the system is so broke that it wouldn’t take long for the newbies to become corrupt.

    What I would like to see is a list of items (eg investments in blind trust, no donations accepted from businesses, etc.) that an elected official would agree to follow before the public will vote for them and have them sign it online. Since very few of the people that are in government today would ever sign such a thing then it looks like we need a third party (or a group of independents) that will run on a platform of these items and agree to abide by them.

    With social networking today the word can get out quickly, but this is something that would need focus and a respected leader with integrity to drive that focus and bring the needed media attention. I agree with hipster that Barry and Dylan would be great for this or would be able to know who should lead the effort.

    It is time to have a few focused items that American can rally on and then Occupy the Airwaves, Occupy the Internet and then Occupy Washington with the message.

  75. beaufou says:

    You are always looking at the big picture while most people cannot be bothered.
    And being busy is not an excuse, I know plenty of people who claim they are but find enough time to watch garbage on TV and text and Facebook all day.
    It’s part intellectual laziness and a sign of the time, our societies teach us to be individualistic and self centered.
    Invictus posted about a large part of the population still believing they’ll join the 1% one day, the game is no longer about building a coherent ensemble, it’s each for his own.

  76. Orange14 says:

    When the majority of the electorate consistently vote against their own self interest you have a recipe for the makeup of the current American Congress. How else can you explain how someone such as Spencer Bachus stays in office. Thomas Frank wrote about this several years ago in his book, “What’s the Matter with Kansas, How Conservatives came to Rule America.” Until this changes, we are in for more of the same.

  77. steelhead says:


    OT but why did you remove the Support Occupy Movement banner?

  78. MikeDonnelly says:

    emcsull and others, Supreme Court has ruled money = free speech and corporations are people. Ergo, those with the most money will have the ear of Congress. And Gov’t will work for those that pay the bills.

    We have to change how Gov’t is funded. I don’t see any other answer.


  79. HEHEHE says:

    Oh never mind the DOJ is too busy doing important stuff to arrest anybody for securities/housing fraud:

    DOJ: Fibbing on web sites should be a crime

    CNET) The U.S. Department of Justice is defending computer hacking laws that make it a crime to use a fake name on Facebook or lie about your weight in an online dating profile.

    In a statement obtained by CNET that’s scheduled to be delivered tomorrow, the Justice Department argues that it must be able to prosecute violations of Web sites’ often-ignored, always-unintelligible “terms of service” policies.


  80. tab says:

    In order to feel outraged, people need to be able to act. And in order to act they need a new belief system that will form the base of those actions. We do not have a simple, articulated belief system that will help people understand the situation. Most people believe that our problems are caused by bad government, by conflict between the rich and the poor, between democrats and republicans. In other words at this point we do not even know what the questions is. In order to be outraged and make changes people will need to understand that we have created corporations and given them enormous power over our political and social system. A few people make an enormous amount of money from this situation and are willing to spend money to maintain it. None dare call it bribery. Perhaps as important though is that the livelihood of many people depends on corporations. If you are a bank employee, are you willing to lose your bonuses if banks go back to being a simple service rather than a profit center?

  81. inthewoods says:

    I would say that people are struggling so hard to survive right now that they simply don’t have time to pay attention or protest. And if they do have time, the corporate media machine makes sure they use that time up on either trivial pursuits or factually challenged news.

    It also seems to me that being angry has somehow become unacceptable. When I bring up this kind of stuff in social situations, I often get “you seem angry” – to which, like you Barry, I say “yes, I am, why aren’t you?”

    My wife, however, always asks me the right question: “It’s fine that you’re angry, but what are you doing about it?” and then I struggle to answer with anything meaningful. Yes, I vote – but I’m in a state and county where we already have a decent Congressman interested in the issues I’m concerned about – it’s hard to not feel like my state is already doing the heavy lifting by default.

    I’ve got three little kids (all below 3), so it is a struggle to find time for anything. So let me ask the group – what else can I do to channel my anger into something actually useful?

  82. Gator81 says:

    Right on target, as usual, BR. Thank you for an excellent and succinct summary of a sad situation.
    I am indeed outraged, and more so by the day.
    Demand financial justice. With whatever voice you have, demand financial justice.
    I joined “Get Money Out”, signing their petition yesterday. I hope you all will, too.

  83. Ned Bushong says:

    Barry, that’s the best thing you have ever written, ….by far. Congratulations!

  84. eliz says:

    I, and I’m sure others commenting, have seen this coming for decades. Much to the chagrin of numerous family members and friends, I have been harping on the growing concentration of wealth and influence for a very long time….pretty much since the late 70s.

    What I came to understand back then is this:

    Capitalism demands competitive markets in order to provide value (the best and widest range of goods and services at the best price – this is actually the goal of Capitalism.) Competitive markets are at odds with the profit motive, which eyes monopoly as its end. The primary economic role of government in a Capitalist economy is to ensure competition in the markets (via strong and enforced anti-trust rules, progressive taxation, an educated populace, well underwritten loans for R&D and small business, etc.) Of course, our government has not done this, and instead has destroyed the competitive markets and replaced them with captured markets. In the process the government itself was captured, due to lack of any barriers between monied interest and government. This accelerated the rate of grift-n-graft and the path to the Corporatist Kleptocracy.

    As for why we are different in temperment than Europe? I think JasRas hit many good points. I would also add or emphasize (1) the geography is different, more concentrated, and (2) Americans tend to be much more materialistically oriented, rather than community oriented.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    I support the Occupy movement.

    I support the New Economy movement.

  85. uzer says:

    @anniecat: $ave the Rich: Vote D or R!!
    (or don’t vote, it makes no difference)

  86. JerseyCynic says:

    So what do we do now?? how can we change it????

    you want solutions — I have 2 solutions. Bloodshed in the streets (we’ve been doing this over and over and over and over — it’s now called the military industrial complex) OR we work towards a world without money (it DOES grow on trees, so who the fuck are we kidding here). I have no problem checking out of here ANYTIME if the first one happens, cause I’ve been trying to clean up this mess for far too long. It’s been an exhausting effort trying to raise 3 good kids. I was successful only because the current culture du jour that was being served up to my kids forced me, as a mother, to work 24/7 undoing practically everything that the outside world was teaching them. JMJ my mother had it made! For years I blamed that ‘GREATEST GENERATION EVER’ — they sure kept their blinders on nice and tight. But I really can’t blame my Irish Catholic commando mother though, because “blind faith” was the culture being served up in our neck of the woods at the time.

    I remember as a kid, constantly asking my mother about this “money thing”, cause she was always telling me it didn’t grow on trees. I would say “well, somebody makes it out of paper, so why couldn’t we make a money tree?” and then in her cute mom way, she’d say “well, that’s why we have our government — with all it’s “branches” that follow a system –called CHECKS AND BALANCES”, – blah blah blah
    (I bet she would have enjoyed reading me that bedtime story narrated by Samuel L. Jackson)
    and as I got older…..
    “Well what about those kids who don’t have parents like I do — the ones you won’t let me hang around with? The ones you say aren’t going anywhere in life. The ones you say will have a bad influence on me if I hang around with them. Why do you suppose they don’t work harder?

    “Well, it’s not that they don’t work harder — so many people out there are born into very difficult lives right from birth — a lot of times it’s not their faults. Don’t worry though honey, our government takes care of people in need”
    Don’t you worry yourself about that kind of stuff.
    Period. The. End. now go. to.sleep

    Bottom line now that I’ve been on this earth for more than a half of a century: Luck Of The Womb

    It’s time.

    WIth all the billions of people in the world today, there is no reason why we all can’t “job share”. If you think about it, we would ALL be working significantly less and we would ALL be free to rejoice together on this big beautiful planet we call Mother Earth. In the grand scheme of things, our lives are over in a flash. This isn’t complicated. The self-appointed global rulers are the ones who are interfering and purposely fucking with us in this unrelenting quest for worldly possessions. Casting ours away does not necessarily equate to a lower standard of living. This current “standard of living” has done nothing but force a way of life that deep down, most of us don’t really want. Besides, it’s all been accomplished by borrowing paper ‘money’. (Isn’t there a company out there called The Money Tree?) If we all just worked together on the local levels, the self-appointed rulers’ current lifestyles of the rich and famous would come to a screeching halt.

    Let’s all go occupy our town greens and get to work. WE are not the ones trotting all over the globe, spreading this ‘new world order’. If we were, none of this would be happening. WE would be spreading peace.

  87. dr.j says:

    OK. I am outraged about the Hedge Fund industry, mostly domiciled in Connecticut, home of former Senate Banking Honcho Dodd, influencing Dodd and other politicians (D and R) to characterize their 20% take of the return as “capital gains” to lower their tax rate. The Hedge Fund Industry “stole” the votes by donating so much to the campaigns of politicians. The biggest phoney is Obama who talks about hedge fund managers as bad guys on camera and takes $1.8 million in donations from the industry on the last election cycle. The R’s are right behind him.

    Where is Ritholtz moaning about this act that undermines the democracy? Barry: are you paying income taxes on your 20% to make sure you aren’t contributing to the “buyout” of Congress?

    Sheesh. Aren’t you all tired of the bs? Gates, Buffett, Ritholtz, all top 1% guys who take advantage of the current system of taxes and donation limits rather than act honorably in accordance with their words? Gates will pay no estate taxes because he has big insurance policies for his kids and the rest gets donated to charity. Buffett takes most of his income as capital gains and will avoid the estate tax by passing on his shares, which will likely not be sold, to the Gates Foundation. If you really believe you should pay more taxes, pay them, and if you do not like money buying politicians, do not donate to industry groups, unions, PACs, and do not go to fundraisers.


    BR: Which part of “get the Dirty Wall Street Money out of Politics” has you confused?

  88. uzer says:

    Barry, I tried explaining essentially the same thing to my Fox “news” watching sibling 3.5 years ago but I couldn’t break through their fog. Time for another try with your words this time.

  89. Taliesyn says:

    And the thing I love about Ritholtz’s genuine righteous indignation , which I’ve had to live with every since I experienced the job recession as a result of the *2nd* Oil shock , is that he’s *doing* something constructive with this well-place outrage beyond having written a great book and then went on the book promo tour to speak ( I caught him on CSpan discussing his book at one of my original haunts,the “New Book Revue” right in downtown Huntington, L.I. ) and continues to speak out to the point where Citizen Ritholtz has created this wonderfully robust forum which is one of my handful of permanently bookmarked 1st looks in the morning.
    Citizen Ritholtz’s well-placed outrage reminds me of the time when “MoneyLine’s” Lou Dobbs , a self-described free market advocate Republican whom brought his market journalist expertise to the CNN , had absolutely *had it* , astatedso, with the string of corporate criminal behavior parading about ( Enron , Global Crossing, Worldcom, Citibank again , you know the rest ) and openly decided to *stop* carrying water for these outright gamers/corrupters of a genuine market economy the way CNBC were a shameless pack of cheerleading Kudlows
    continued to be , and started openly *criticizing* these outrageous corporate practices that began coming out after the fact of our turn-of-the-century market debacle. It was aNixon goes to China wave of critiquing , even lambasting , of these system gamers that *pollute* what should be a *healthy* free market economy complete with referees’/cops on the beat to try and and attenuate crossing the line of behavior towards market distorting gaming that ultimately leads to costly debacles.
    Well Citizen Ritholtz has had his Lou Dobbs moment , is*rightfully* “Mad as hell and is not gonna take it anymore” and is actively crying bullshit in a crowded theatre from a position of *in the know* authority about what he’s outraged about.
    And with that flashback to seminal masterpiece of oscar-winning cinema ( including Best Original screenplay)
    Paddy Chayefsky’s “Network” I am also remind of the speech given to Howard Beale by the head of the corporation , Arthur Jensen ( played tone-pitch perfect by Ned Beaty ) , that owned the network Mr.Beale had just made a bona fide hit and then went too far exposing a supposed to be secret deal buying Network.
    CitizenRitholtz’s outrage over this Corporate Monarcy instantly caused my flashback to this chillingly prescient piece of Chayefky’s script ( written in the early to mid-1970′s )
    Read the “Arthur Jensen” speech from the script sometime at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074958/quotes.
    ( Hell , better yet buy the actual DVD or Blu-Ray as it is a bonafie masterpiece of writing, directing , and performances with all these categories winning Oscars )
    It’s the one speech that begins with:
    ” You have meddled with the forces of nature Mr. Beale , and I won’t have it.Is that clear?….”
    Particularly chilling now , triggered by this “Corporatocracy” editorial , is this this timely quote:
    ” You get up on your little 21″ screen and howl about America and Democracy. There is no America. There is no Democracy. There is only IBM , and ITT , and AT&T , and Dupont……( this was the 70′safter all, but feel free to substitute more 21st appropriate corporate logos. The punchline remains )
    “….Those *are* the nations of thew world today.”
    Citizen Ritholtz is just golden in my book.

  90. RJL says:

    BR — this comment might get blasted but I’ll say it anyway because someone has to. I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree the system is unfair, corrupt, and outrageous. However, when I go home at night I fell safe and secure and my family is ok and that’s all that matters. I realize that as an American, even if I make minimum wage I am “richer” and have more opportunity (financial and otherwise) than 99% of the world’s population — make that 99% of the world’s population throughout history. In other words, all of the US is the 1%, even the protesters because they have access to shelter and clean water and cell phones. If you’ve traveled much in the 3rd world this becomes obvious. I would add that many Greeks could say the same (although as a previous commenter stated, they are more upset because they believed more false promises).

    Maybe this is what’s so frustrating — we’ve been given so much, we are so rich and we’ve fallen so far short of our potential. Maybe it needs to get much worse before it’ll get better. Maybe corruption is and always has been part of government (our nostalgia about the Founding Fathers notwithstanding). I AM outraged. But I’m just being honest — I find it difficult to join the protests when I have a steady job, a beautiful wife, and 2 kids on the way. I’m busy.

    Are people like me allowing this country to go down the toilet with our inaction? What would push me to get involved? I’m not sure, but I will sign a petition and support however I can the following: I’d like to see a 3rd party because I don’t trust the other two. I’d like to see a balanced budget because that just seems obvious. I’d like to see Wall St. reform because I don’t trust the markets and pulled my money out of stocks a long time ago. I’d like to see universal health care because under the current confusing system it takes a graduate degree to fill out a claim. I’d like to see a simplified tax system, and I would gladly pay higher taxes if I thought the money was actually helping. Seems to me many people would support these ideas, but when people get elected they can’t get it done. So I go back to my normal life and forget about all the things I’d like to change.

    – Outraged But Seemingly Stuck

  91. Taliesyn says:

    And the thing I love about Ritholtz’s genuine righteous indignation , which I’ve had to live with every since I experienced the job recession as a result of the *2nd* Oil shock , is that he’s *doing* something constructive with this well-place outrage beyond having written a great book and then went on the book promo tour to speak ( I caught him on CSpan discussing his book at one of my original haunts,the “New Book Revue” right in downtown Huntington, L.I. ) and continues to speak out to the point where Citizen Ritholtz has created this wonderfully robust forum which is one of my handful of permanently bookmarked 1st looks in the morning.

    Well Citizen Ritholtz is*rightfully* “Mad as hell and is not gonna take it anymore” and is actively crying bullshit in a crowded theatre from a position of *in the know* authority about what he’s outraged about.
    And with that flashback to seminal masterpiece of oscar-winning cinema ( including Best Original screenplay)
    Paddy Chayefsky’s “Network” I am also remind of the speech given to Howard Beale by the head of the corporation , Arthur Jensen ( played tone-pitch perfect by Ned Beaty ) , that owned the network Mr.Beale had just made a bona fide hit and then went too far exposing a supposed to be secret deal buying Network.
    CitizenRitholtz’s outrage over this Corporate Monarcy instantly caused my flashback to this chillingly prescient piece of Chayefky’s script ( written in the early to mid-1970′s )
    Read the “Arthur Jensen” speech from the script sometime at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074958/quotes.
    ( Hell , better yet buy the actual DVD or Blu-Ray as it is a bonafie masterpiece of writing, directing , and performances with all these categories winning Oscars )
    It’s the one speech that begins with:
    ” You have meddled with the forces of nature Mr. Beale , and I won’t have it.Is that clear?….”
    Particularly chilling now , triggered by this “Corporatocracy” editorial , is this this timely quote:
    ” You get up on your little 21″ screen and howl about America and Democracy. There is no America. There is no Democracy. There is only IBM , and ITT , and AT&T , and Dupont……( this was the 70′safter all, but feel free to substitute more 21st appropriate corporate logos. The punchline remains )
    “….Those *are* the nations of thew world today.”
    Citizen Ritholtz is just golden in my book.

  92. bm says:

    Many good posts here. I just don’t think that many of the 99% get it. A friend of mine today complained that the OWS supporters were going to inconvenience people today with their demonstrations and protests in the subways in NYC today. I’ve had other friends make disparaging remarks out the whole OWS movement. It defys belief.

    I would love to vote out the incumbents, but the other party never seems to put up a better option IMHO. In that regard, it’s ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t’.

    As others have written here, what can we do, how can we change it?

  93. Matty NYC says:

    This starts with the question of why so much of the middle class votes against its economic interests.

    I’m not a fan of Marx, but you have to admit that he was right about religion, and the corporate puppeteers have milked religion for all they can. To take this one step further, you have to include the myth of the protestant work ethic. How do you fight back against this? I don’t know – even the 99% movement, as amorphous as it is, is taken more seriously than anyone who tries to argue against organized religion in this country.

    Need an example? What are the chances that an athiest could every be elected to a major office in this country.

  94. JerseyCynic says:

    I forgot my solutions to a world without money — Quick Quick — start from the bottom up.

    Starting tomorrow, everyone in the world is responsible for getting rid of their own garbage. No more “sanitation” pick-ups. You’re on your own. You want to live in a pile of cheap shit from China — fine, rot-away. See Annie Leonard’s secret of stuff — garbage in garbage out.

    Then, after that gets straightened out (we’re still playing with our paper money here), anyone with a pension, 101K, any retirement “monies” left at all , gets it in cash (now it’s called funny money) to pay off as much of their debt as possible. If you have some left — congratulations you did a good job trying to play the game.

    Then we get rid of the Department of Education. Our “tax” dollars are still being paid to our town of residence here. We can probably afford to still pay the teachers at this point if we make some vital cuts — I get to be in charge of handing out the pink slips to the Central Office!! I think our overly educated teachers can handle teaching the children in town on their own — parents make sure they’re ready, willing and able to learn. Pitch in to help out those who are not.

    I gotta go to work. I’ll be back if anyone wants to keep listening

  95. BoulderPatentGuy says:

    It is sad. However, I think a lot of this “look what’s happened to our Government” rhetoric is simply due to the times. The incessant media blitz that’s been created by cable/sat TV and the internet means that more information is disseminated & therefore more crooks & liars are caught. You think JFK would have gotten away with what he did then, in today’s world? Go ask Elliot Spitzer, I’m sure he’ll have an answer for you.

    Part of being human is the whole “Hope” deal that Obama was able to tap. It’s likely been around since homo sapiens were created (or before) and is what helps keeps our race in existence. However, it’s also what creates despair. You can only have hope for so long before it begins to fade. And unfortunately, hope is difficult with incessant chatter supporting ideas in direct contrast to our hope.

    Over generations, our hope will change, as it always does. Like most Europeans have come to understand and accept, humans are fallible. It’s impossible to have it otherwise. Though like them we’ll never accept the immoral acts of our leaders – the lying, cheating, stealing, etc, we’ll at least get to a point where the incessant blather of humans acting badly will cease to dim our hope.

  96. escapeartist says:

    I am almost left speechless at some of the comments here. Drones? Really? We lack critical thinking skills? We don’t understand the connection between government and our daily lives? We’re too busy shopping? Why aren’t thousands boycotting and protesting, because you’d be there too? This is what you think of your fellow Americans?

    What the hell do you think the OWS movement is, rush week?

    I’m a 99%er, and I can tell you,there is outrage. I’m glad it’s finally reaching a boiling point and people are taking to the streets. And I hope in cities across America people go back to the streets despite being evicted by DHS.

    There is outrage. But we “drones” have been busting our asses for so long for so little that at the end of the day we’re effing exhausted and still trying to figure out how to put food on the table to feed our kids. We fight a for-profit congress and a for-profit presidency through a for-profit judiciary for change, but if we don’t toe the line we risk being thrown in for-profit prisons. We tried to change the system the right way, through the electoral process, only to have our elections stolen by Diebold and Republican’ts (yes, I spelled that right) and our own court system. We elect people through sheer hard work and pavement pounding, grass roots donations, and the like, and moneyed interests buy them after the fact. Legal shenanigans keep our truly elected from taking office, crazies shoot them in the head, and asshats block productive action in congress with obscure and archaic legislative parlor tricks. We’ve been trying to persuade our cohorts who drink the koolaid of lower taxes = more jobs, fewer regulations = more jobs, less government spending = more jobs to see the larger picture (unintentional nod to BR), but oddly enough the more you try to convince someone to change their world view with facts, the harder they cling to the lies.

    We’re expected to graciously give up our “entitlements” (again, for the sake of jobs) when in point of fact those benefits (unemployment, medicare, medicaid. social security) were earned. They were funded for us, by us through the payroll deductions we stare at every two weeks. Go ask Senator McCain why he won’t give up his Social Security check and maybe you’ll gain some insight as to why we’re reluctant to, too. President Obama was right to pursue healthcare reform first, because the American people by and large wanted a single payer system and the analysis of the time showed that the cost savings of such a change would have been enough to divert economic disaster following the credit bust. Instead, thanks to our Corporate Monarchy, we got a watered down every-man-for-himself insurance mandate.

    Some of us are in our third presidential term of corporate boycotts, and having been a former bank employee, I can tell you people have been moving their money from the big banks since TARP. $4.6 billion is the figure you know, because it’s the measure of what moved in the month leading up to Bank Transfer Day. It’s a drop in the bucket.

    But maybe you haven’t heard about any of this on CNBC. Given how the MSM is corporate controlled, I’m not surprised; a lot of us 99%ers have been voicing our frustration over this for years. There’s a reason the revolution won’t be televised, and that’s the legacy Edward Bernays left us.

    The level of disconnect in this country is beyond the pale. I grew up on government cheese while watching President Reagan pour champagne to demonstrate his brilliant economic policy. I was six at the time, and my dad was serving in the military but his wages weren’t enough to feed four kids, maybe you remember stagflation. I walked to the neighbor’s everyday to use their outhouse because we didn’t have indoor plumbing. Everything I have today I worked for, but in 2008 I lost half of everything I had put away for retirement because I believed the big “buy and hold” lie. That money didn’t just disappear, it went somewhere. Maybe some of you Jedis can take a peek in your investment accounts and tell me if you’ve seen my dollars. Maybe you could buy some champagne with them.

    TL;DR: Government cheese has a bitter aftertaste.

  97. Greg0658 says:

    hi5 eliz@9:58 .. governments role is to provide a thriving capitalism market place .. via taxes to create a base infrastuctures and train its labor force*
    .. good thread .. best wishes in this > old capital vs new labor** > to bring stuff to life and divy it up

    * imo we try to provide to much training for the corporate monarchs in this fast changing 21st century

    ** in the niceness of the thread in general (JC) – I do think both sides (most do) wish something different but its just the way it is (till we make it different)