Steve Fraser: The Return of the Titans

By: Thursday September 11, 2014 6:40 pm

George Baer was a railroad and coal mining magnate at the turn of the twentieth century. Amid a violent and protracted strike that shut down much of the country’s anthracite coal industry, Baer defied President Teddy Roosevelt’s appeal to arbitrate the issues at stake, saying, “The rights and interests of the laboring man will be protected and cared for… not by the labor agitators, but by the Christian men of property to whom God has given control of the property rights of the country.” To the Anthracite Coal Commission investigating the uproar, Baer insisted, “These men don’t suffer. Why hell, half of them don’t even speak English.”den

We might call that adopting the imperial position. Titans of industry and finance back then often assumed that they had the right to supersede the law and tutor the rest of America on how best to order its affairs. They liked to play God. It’s a habit that’s returned with a vengeance in our own time.

 

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Daniel Schulman, Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty

By: Sunday August 3, 2014 1:59 pm

Mainstream political understanding in the United States is increasingly informed by the perception that our elections and lives are being determined by the outsized spending of millionaires and billionaires we will never meet. The poster boys of plutocracy are the subject of this year’s book by Mother Jones senior editor Daniel Schulman in Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty.

With a timely release, considering our current national zeitgeist and upcoming midterm elections, Sons of Wichita has been received and celebrated with a twist: Schulman’s tomb of “Kochology” has been received with surprise for its non-condemning tone. The Daily Show host Jon Stewart joked “these Koch brothers almost seem human,” in an interview with Schulman.

Liberal Billionaire Backing Major Climate Change Campaign

By: Friday May 23, 2014 10:56 am

Liberal Billionaire Tom Steyer is putting his money where his mouth is to the tune of millions of dollars. Steyer is backing an effort with the group NextGen Climate to take the fight to climate change deniers at the polls.

Sunday READ – 24 November 2013

By: Sunday November 24, 2013 2:15 pm

Greydog’s reading suggestions

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Danny Dorling, The No-Nonsense Guide to Equality

By: Sunday September 2, 2012 1:59 pm

Modern democratic society requires basic equality. Our Founding Fathers understood this point when they drafted the Declaration of Independence with the radical statement, in its time: “All men are created equal.” Citizens must feel that they have a say in political decisions, that they are represented in some way. Citizens must also feel that they have an opportunity to “win” sometime in the future, even if their causes and candidates “lose” today. The opportunity to change government and policy based on citizen interests is central to democracy, and it requires a foundation in interpersonal equality.

Danny Dorling’s provocative book expands upon these insights. He argues that “human beings are happier and healthier the more equal they are.

Membership Matters [Update: Don't Miss Tonight's Movie "8" and Member Party]

By: Monday March 5, 2012 2:00 pm

We’re planning to combine’s tonight’s movie, featuring the terrific play, “8″ — about the Proposition 8 Trial and an all-star cast — with a welcome party for all our current, new and about-to-become members. So if you’ve been thinking about becoming a member of Firedoglake and haven’t signed up yet, this is a great time to do so.

Billionaire Campaign Funding: A Horrible Way to Run a “Democracy”

By: Tuesday February 21, 2012 1:10 pm

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who has already injected over $10 million into helping Newt Gingrich become President, told Forbes that he could easily spend $100 million this year on influencing politics. Having elections heavily impacted by the whims of a few billionaires is a horrible way to run a democracy. Even the billionaires currently exploiting it admit it is a horrible system, but that hasn’t stopped them from choosing to exploit it.

Why Does George Will Hate Billionaires?

By: Friday October 7, 2011 6:01 pm

George Will explains why taxation is socialist.

Occupy Los Angeles: Totally Awesome!

By: Saturday October 1, 2011 5:20 pm

Los Angeles knows how to throw a demonstration: Prop 8′s demos were great, Chanology was epic, and May Day 2007 made world news and changed the LAPD riot repsonse. So I was expecting some goodness re: OccupyLA, even though–form their Facebook page, things seemed a little disorganized–like camping at City Hall despite sprinklers going off at 8pm, no porta-potties, fear mongering that we’d all get pepper-sprayed, questions about access for the disabled and worries about what to wear (sunblock goes with everything!).

Well, kudos to the General Assembly to pulling it off.

Late Night: Rich People are Oppressed

By: Monday March 7, 2011 8:00 pm

I get it, I do. People have exploited those they considered beneath them since the beginning of time. It’s only recently that we’ve begun to tell ourselves we ought to like it and help them to do it, in the hopes we may someday be the exploiters. I don’t know when that became an admirable thing to be, but it seems that’s the motivation: Side with billionaires because someday you’ll be a billionaire and then you’ll want to keep all your money instead of giving it to the government so they can teach unwashed poles like you to read and patrol the filthy streets where you live in your hovel.

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