The reason you’re looking at this right now on a high speed network that doesn’t cost so much that only rich people could afford it can be traced to the breakup by the federal government of AT&T way back in the Stone Age of the 1980s.
I think it’s time for some more break ups, and this is why Elizabeth Warren has my attention.
I was “there” in the 1980s when AT&T was broken apart. Thanks to that action, I spent a large part of my early career working for new competitors who never could have come into being without the forced breakup of AT&T’s monopoly.
In Warren, I see someone with the courage to go after rich and powerful corporations. I applaud her for that, and for making this a visible plank in her campaign.
There is a fundamental truism about monopolies that everyone should understand and that everyone should talk about when it comes to conversations about the balance between capitalism and so-called free markets, and the role of oversight and regulation government is supposed to play. That truism is this.
Monopolies are terrible for everyone except for the people who own them and run them.
Monopolies have zero incentive to innovate. Why would they invest any profits into innovation when the market has no alternative but to use their goods and services?
Monopolies have zero incentive to offer their goods and services at competitive prices. Same rhetorical question as before tells you why this is true.
Monopolies have zero incentive to be good corporate citizens. Do I need to say it again?
By definition, monopolies mean you have no choice but to use whatever they offer at whatever price they choose, and in whatever manner in which they choose to operate.
Ok. Fine. You can choose not to participate at all in the market they rule, but understand this reality, too. A monopoly cannot arise unless they offer something people want or need; otherwise, no one would be in that market.
And, yes, I suppose you can choose to chuck it all and move to Alaska or Belize or some off-the-grid locale. May not be a bad idea. Hell, maybe you can even sell the rights to your own “reality” show to those empty-headed nitwits at The Discovery Channel. Watch out, Swamp Loggers.
Seriously, I hope people will think about what’s been happening when it comes to corporate power and influence, especially during conversations with people who complain about, scoff at, or mock Elizabeth Warren and people like her who are now calling for this era’s tech giants – and big banks – to be broken up.
That’s advice for my fellow tech business people, too. Put greed and every last nickle of profit as the goal aside, and think long-term and for the greater good on this.
As for politicians, Democratic Party apparatchiks, and industry groups, we can expect to hear from the likes of Rob Atkinson, the president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, and Ed Black, president of Computer and Communications Industry Association, whine and wail and gnash their teeth over Warren’s plan. They’re shills for big money; it just happens to be Big Tech Money, and not Big Oil Money or Big Bank Money. It’s still Big Money
There are no shortage of articles on Warren and this topic. Here’s one from the Washington Post in which the aforementioned group leaders are quoted.
Certain liberals and progressives nowadays have no shortage of litmus tests they seem to relish in applying to every candidate.
It will be interesting to see how they test for the idea of breaking up with Silicon Valley and their money.
(This is a redacted post from a Facebook Group I’m in. It was the OP’s comments and a few that followed that inspired this response from me.)
We have none in the Republican Party.
Republican politicians have been selling the lies of trickle down economics and deregulation on behalf of their Big Money and Wall Street masters for decades.
Now the very people at the heart of the financial market collapse of 10 years ago – people like Scott J. Freidheim – are trying to explain how it could have been avoided by making their lives easier.
Anyone paying even the slightest attention to economic reality since Reagan and certainly in the years leading up to the collapse of 2007/8 will know better.
Everything old is new again
As someone who just made it under the wire of Baby Boomer, I’ve watched for decades as low information conservative voters have been able to be counted on by generations of Republican politicians as people who are very easily duped into buying Republican lies.
These days I find myself asking whether Americans who think of themselves as Republicans and who vote for Republican politicians have either the will or the desire to ever actually understand how voting for a Republican at any level of government – from school board to town mayor to president – is truly a vote for a Party with an ideology designed explicitly to hurt them, their progeny, and everyone else outside the One Percent?
Republican orthodoxy on full display
The answer seems to be that some Americans continue to be willingly duped by people like Scott J. Freidheim.
In “The Lehman Brothers Collapse, 10 Years Later,” full-blown One Percenter and former senior Lehman executive, Scott Freidheim, is peddling the right-wing lie that says everything is the government’s fault if the government doesn’t do what Big Money wants.
In other words, pure Republican orthodoxy.
Mr. Freidheim has the temerity to claim that Lehman’s collapse was the government’s fault for not allowing Lehman to reorganize in ways that would have given them better federal protections.
Think about that as you then consider this.
In what I suspect was an unintended and fleeting moment of honesty, he admits in the interview that his industry didn’t “take it far enough” in evaluating the risks they had created for themselves and for the world economy.
So, which is it?
Too much regulation or too little?
By his own admission, Wall Street paid too little attention to risk. Why? Was it because they expected to be bailed out, thereby continuing to socialize all the risk while privatizing all the gains?
And, when the help didn’t come to him and Lehman Brothers?
Freidheim wants us to agree with him and blame Lehman’s collapse on the federal government.
Seriously, and on behalf of all Americans outside the 1/10th of 1% where you live, Mr. Freidheim, fuck you and all of your fellow Wall Streeters.
You all belong in jail.
Republican voters; stop ignoring reality
Voters across the spectrum who are outside the One Percent – but especially Republican voters – need to stop and understand what Freidheim and people like him are saying.
You Republican voters more than anyone need to understand what Republicans, bankers, ALEC, and all the Big Money power brokers are doing to this country because YOU’RE THE ONES VOTING FOR politicians who want LESS regulation of greedy, power-hungry, and soulless people like Dick Fuld, James “Jimmy” Cayne, Jamie Dimon, and now lesser-known cretins like Scott Freidheim.
You Republican voters more than anyone need to understand why Freidheim and his ilk want LESS REGULATION. Less regulation means they have more opportunities to take unwarranted risks knowing that they will keep all of their gains and that we’ll have to bail them out on their losses as the only way to “save the financial services industry” when next their greed and stupidity causes the next collapse thanks to people like Freidheim and his kind.
And most of all, you Republican voters more than anyone need to understand that you are not at all even a part of the concern of Republican politicians.
And, that absolutely includes the current leader of what is now the cult that is the Trumpublican Party.
Trump is not a Republican, neither are you, and none of them give a shit about you
Here’s a prime example of how Republicans hurt everyone.
Thanks to you Republican voters, The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S.2155) was signed into law by Trump. It de-fangs what was already not a strong enough post-collapse attempt to rein in the banks, Dodd-Frank.
As someone duped into believing you’re a Republican, you apparently bought the lie that undoing Dodd-Frank was a good move.
You were wrong. Again.
You Americans who think you’re a Republican were wrong in the 2016 election for believing you were voting for someone in Trump who was going to work for you and not the bankers. Honestly, you Republican voters should be ashamed of yourselves for being so gullible.
Not to worry, though.
November 2018 is your next chance to prove you aren’t the useful idiots of Republican politicians and Wall Streeters you act like by voting for them. All you have to do is to stop being your own worst enemy, and stop voting for the Party who has fucked you over your whole life.
Lefties, you’re responsible, too.
As for you self-proclaimed liberals and progressives who can’t seem to hate enough on the so-called “corporate” and “Wall Street” Democratic Party; here’s my advice to you.
Grow the fuck up.
You need to stop acting like some perverse combination of spoiled brat, self-righteous egomaniac, and puritanical zealot, and understand the difference between imperfect allies and actual enemies.
Yes, Democrats are imperfect. So are you.
But understand this:
One, just ONE House Republican, voted against the bill.
Not a single Republican Senator cast a No vote. Not. One.
So, to my fellow social democrats, liberals, progressives, and everyone else on the left who is self-righteously banging your fists or holding your breath or acting like whatever spoiled and privileged lefty that you want to be, stop that shit right now.
Pull your heads out of your asses, and support any and every Democrat on every ballot.
Most of all, act like an informed and intelligent citizen, and vote in November for whomever has the ‘D’ next to their name…….unless, of course, you’re happy helping Republicans to keep control of local, state, and federal government.
No, Democrats aren’t perfect, but this is where you need to grow up. What they aren’t are Republicans.
If that’s not enough for you……I’m tempted to suggest an impossible solo sex act, but instead, know this.
You are looked at now and you will be considered by history when it’s written as just as much the source of our social, political, and economic problems as the duped 99-percenters who are voting for Republicans because you refuse to do what is required to end Republican rule.
To all my fellow progressives, liberals, wannabe social democrats, and disgruntled Bernie supporters:
Time (actually far past the time) for some tough love. Time for us to pull our collective heads out of our assess.
Republicans control everything because of us. Yes, us, and it’s probably not for the reasons you want to tell yourself. It’s not those evil corporate Democrats.
It’s you and me.
Here’s the reality.
1) I can’t vote for candidates who don’t run, and neither can you.
Stop insisting that the Democratic Party “give us” progressive candidates we want or else. It doesn’t work like that. Please stop making that idiotic demand. You’re making all of us look stupid. If you don’t like who’s on the ballot, run for office yourself; otherwise, please shut the fuck up about “corporate” Democrats controlling who is on the ballot. You need to vote for Democrats as the only way to beat Republicans. (I’m going to get to your roiling self-righteous outrage and indignation in a minute.)
2) Any Democrat is better than any Republican any day.
Does this even need to be explained? Do you honestly believe that Democrats and Republicans are the same? If you do, you need to know that is just about as intellectually dishonest a position as one can take. I’m asking you again to shut the fuck up because claiming that both Parties are the same is even dumber than believing that the Democratic Party hand-picks corporate candidates, or that you’re “punishing” anyone but the most vulnerable among us by self-righteously refusing to vote for a Democrat.
3) Less evil is always better than more evil.
When were elections ever not this choice? Seriously. I’ve been voting for longer than most of you have probably been alive. No, it’s not optimal, but what is in life? And, you need to pay very close attention to this – you will NOT change this reality by not voting or by throwing your vote away by not voting for the only Party in today’s reality that can beat Republicans, and that’s the Democratic Party. If this isn’t convincing enough, ask people in the LGBTQ community and refugee families and people of color and women and American Muslims and environmental activists and Planned Parenthood and just about anyone who isn’t an aging cisgender white Evangelical if they think Democrats are just as evil as Republicans.
4) When did a scorched Earth become a progressive value?
This one is especially directed at all my fellow middle class and doing-ok white liberals from the Baby Boomer Generation. Haven’t we fucked up this world enough already? Now you want to pat yourself on the back for not supporting “corporate” Democrats regardless of the fact that that just about guarantees more Republican scorched Earth? Is that the world we want to bequeath? We stay fat, dumb, and self-righteous in our suburban homes banging away on our keyboards and thumping our chests in so-called progressive Facebook Groups, too selfish and too egotistical to worry about others in distress today – right now – to do what’s necessary to salvage what’s left of this country and this planet by first stopping the Republican destruction.
5) We progressives and liberals continue to be our own worst enemies thanks to our inability to unite.
Instead of banding together to defeat Republicans, we waste our time and energy arguing with each other about who “deserves” our vote and how we need to “punish” the Democrats for not being progressive enough.
There are no perfect progressives.
There are no perfect candidates.
If there are any, they aren’t running for office where I live.
We need to start voting in unity in every election the way conservatives do. It’s the only way to defeat Republicans, and that’s all that matters in November. Nothing. Else. Matters. Now.
We can only move this country toward a more progressive future by first defeating Republicans the only way possible, and that’s to vote for Democrats.
That is how we start winning battles.
That is how we win the war.
Then we can go back to arguing over who is the more corporate and who is the more progressive politician.