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Name: Me
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Member since: Fri Jun 11, 2004, 11:37 AM
Number of posts: 46,259

About Me

I do stuff. And when I finish that stuff, I do other stuff.

Journal Archives

One Southerner says the Confederacy was a ‘con-job’ on white people — and its legacy still is today

(A really interesting read)



Q: Joshua Holland: You say the Confederacy was a con job on whites then and now. Didn’t white Southerners profit immensely from slavery prior to the Civil War?

A: Frank Hyman: Yeah, but most of the profit then, as now, went to the one-percenters – people at the top of the pile. About a third of Southern families did own slaves, so it was pretty widespread, but there were plenty of families that might own one or two enslaved Africans. They weren’t wealthy. The bulk of all slaves were owned by the top 5 percent or 10 percent of Southern families.
A small number of people in the South profited immensely. In my research I found that most of the one-percenters in the US were Southerners, not Northern industrialists. The Southern states were wealthier than any nation in Europe except for England, because there was so much money to be made growing cash-crops if you weren’t actually paying people to help you harvest them.

Q: But there was a middle class. In addition to those smaller landholders, there must have been other people who sold wagon wheels or imported fancy goods from Europe or whatever.

A: Right, but for the bulk of the population – what we would call the working-class today — slavery wasn’t at all financially beneficial. One-third of the population were African-Americans being paid nothing for their work, and that drove down wages. And not just in agriculture. Slavery drove down wages in the skilled crafts because a quarter of all enslaved people were trained to be carpenters and cobblers and masons and wheelwrights and shipwrights – and everything else you could imagine. The slave-owners thought, ‘gosh, why should I pay this white guy a professional wage when I can just train some of my slaves to do the work?’
So most white folks in the South were economic losers because of slavery, but many of them bought into the institution for what they saw as its social value. They might have a crummy deal in life, but somebody else had it even worse than they did. That was a big selling point in a lot of the literature from that period, many of which were owned by slaveholders. Pamphlets, newspapers, novels and magazines conveyed the message that you might have it rough as a poor white person, but you were still better off than black people.

We're fucked for the foreseeable future...

Once upon a time, America (that mythical one) stood for something. That something was a square deal and the truth...as we saw it.

I love to quote Winston Churchill from time to time and one particular quote comes to mine, it goes something like this, "America always does the right thing...eventually".

On the world stage, with the release of the CIA torture documents, the U.S. now finds itself in a situation of caught between a rock and a hard place; as it has been played out today.

If nothing is done to bring the war criminals to trial, the world will look upon us (not that they already haven't but the memos only confirm what they believed) that we are nothing more than a two bit nation lead by sociopaths who believe that getting information (regardless if it didn't really help us at all) via any means necessary regardless of the consequences. And explaining it away as the only way to beat an "enemy".

Now, as some people have floated, ACLU in particular, that Obama should pardon the war criminals. Because, that would go on record as saying they are war criminals without the dirty work of actually, you know, bringing them to trail. Because, what a mess that would be!

If nothing is done or even if a "pardon" of sorts is issued, the damage is still done. Or a phrase I like to use, "you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube".

We will forever be known as a nation that tortures. We now join the illustrious ranks of various third world nations run by dictators and military juntas.

Not really great company, huh?

But for the moment, please put all the failing, hand wringing and angry pronouncements aside.

This nation is remarkably nimble. While at times we seem like stogy old men doing all we can to get up out of our chair to complain about the kids on the lawn, we will, as Mr. Churchill said, "do the right thing...eventually".

While I would love to see that happen in my lifetime, it might, I feel that in order to heal as a nation, as a world, they need/will be brought to trial. Perhaps not in the traditional sense, but they will.

I take examples from our recent history of Cambodia. Those murderous bastards during the Pol Pot regime were finally brought up on charges of crimes against humanity.

Granted, it was many years later and Pol Pot himself died before he was sent to prison or actually found guilty. But he, never the less, was indeed eventually found guilty as well as many many of his henchmen.

But some might say, "well, we aren't Cambodia". No we aren't but that doesn't make the crimes the bush* and his room full of dopes any less serious and despicable.

The pieces are certainly in place, but like anything that really matters, the moneyed interests have to consult their balance sheets to see if the loss profit margin can withstand this "ding" to their bottom line. That will be the ultimate deciding factor.

Then and only then if this were to go forward, the U.S. would regain a margin of it's "respectability". Because that very gigantic, "IF", is at the bottom of a very deep hole this nation has dug itself into.

The US is an oligarchy, study concludes


After sifting through nearly 1,800 US policies enacted in that period and comparing them to the expressed preferences of average Americans (50th percentile of income), affluent Americans (90th percentile) and large special interests groups, researchers concluded that the United States is dominated by its economic elite.

The peer-reviewed study, which will be taught at these universities in September, says: "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence."

Researchers concluded that US government policies rarely align with the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favor special interests and lobbying organizations: "When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it."

The positions of powerful interest groups are "not substantially correlated with the preferences of average citizens", but the politics of average Americans and affluent Americans sometimes does overlap. This merely a coincidence, the report says, with the interests of the average American being served almost exclusively when it also serves those of the richest 10 per cent.

More at link...


after a bit of googling, I wasn't able to locate a single U.S. news outfit that carried this story.

"will anyone responsible for the torture,"


That's how it works in todays America.

When confronted with questions as to why the purps won't be brought up on charges we will be the recipient of various forms of the now tired phrase, "the nation wouldn't survive it". And a rough translation means, "we, the current crop of willful stooges (aka politicians) to the wealthy and military machine, wouldn't survive it"

It's all about preserving legacy based on lies and the "winners" who write/rewrite the history.

Don't get me wrong, there will always be those who will work as the poster children for the outraged. The various congress people that will call for investigations (blue ribbon or otherwise) to "get to the bottom of this".

There will be all sorts of speeches, televised conferences and various hearings filled with lots of feigned indignation and finger wagging. The well rehearsed and over practiced expressions of "exasperation" and "head shaking in wonderment".

And most certainly there will be the usual smoke and mirrors by both sides to cloud out the actual issue which could lead to an actual real investigation.

In the end?

Several underlings will fall on their swords to serve their time in a country club jail for "crimes" that only cut the surface of the actual travesty, but they will be paraded around as the "one" who was the "mastermind".

The full court press by the Sunday talk show spokes models will make sure that subterfuge is the name of the game.

But the main mission is further division, not between the have mores and the have even less, but to further exploit infighting within the middle and lower class. Continuing to make sure that we the people never ever coalesce on a common cause.

And our gaze is never kept for long on the actual issue.

Don't be the least surprised if some non-trovercy (think Benghazi) is trumped up to distract us all when the real red meat of this report is issued. (most likely on a Friday Night News dump)

Yes, I'm cynical. I have lived a long time and have been witness to how our nation transitioned from the rights of the people to the rights of the corporation.

And at the end of the day, when all is lied and done, it's about money. It's always been about money. Nothing more nothing less.

And those in power; (don't insult yourself by thinking the politicians are in power) want to stay in power.

You mean the present day treadmill goal of trying to achieve the unachievable goal?

For most of us paying attention, the American Dream was nothing more than a marketing ploy so people would continue to buy more and more to keep the economy going (believing that it was never going to end) and to out do the russians.

That American Dream?

I'm of the firm belief that those of us born of the "baby-boom era" honestly believed that this was how it was always going to be. Of course we ate up the propaganda in copious amounts. After all, and believed that "we're Americans and we're just so special!"

Myself, having been born at the very tail end of the baby boom, and having paid attention to the devastating effects of horrible wars (Viet Nam, desert storm, iraq war, afghanistan and the many little micro-wars of choice in between), the slow and purposeful destruction of unions and the hollowing out of a living breathing economy by the right wing and ineffective democrats, the willful ignorance and lack foresight regarding pollution, and the rapid growth of a propaganda business to make us all believe that we are doing better, even though in retrospect, we are underpaid, overworked, less represented and gleefully ignored by our congress people; made for what we have to day. In essence, an American Dream that exists on paper with skewed stats and fudged numbers to make those in power sleep better at night.

Is that again that American Dream that is being talked about?

I don't know about all of you, but I grew up in a solid lower middle class union blue collar family, where my dad (a mechanic for the NY Dept of Sanitation) was able to, on a single salary, put myself and my brother and my two sisters through college, support my mom, buy a small cottage for vacationing, retire with a solid pension and provide for him and my mom, very well, until they passed away.

THAT, is the American Dream. Being able to live a full life without the daily slings and arrows, that seem to increase every moment, to keep us down, afraid and that much poorer with each and every following day all the while keeping us distracted and off balance with a new gewgaw or trumped up "controversy" to prevent us from coalescing into the formidable power we are as the people of this nation.

The real American Dream, is were the people of this nation have a voice and control the means by which they have an actual say in the decisions the effect us directly and not subject to the winds of daily bullshit that ravaged our character and destroys our spirit via the moneyed interests of the 1%. Who, I might add, have zero to nothing in common with us or care one whit of what we think.

The American Dream is to breath fresh air, drink clean water, eat clean food and raise our families without the threat of it all collapsing in the next moment.

We have been suckered into doing a more and more with a hell of a lot less. We are told daily to vote and support things against our own best interests out of fear that the "other guy" might win and "make our lives miserable".

Look the fuck around you. Our lives, compared to 40 years ago, are fucking miserable and they want us all so tied up in fighting for scraps that we don't have to time to realize this.

I love the writings of Robert Reich, but the whole concept and idea of "The American Dream", is nothing but a farce. What he writes of and what I wrote, is how it should be, not some fucking dream.

Dreams, I might add, for the most part, are just that: dreams.

Allowing the banks to fail here would have had a very interesting outcoume...

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but bank savings are protected by the FDIC for up to 200k.

Look across the spectrum of our society. How many of the 99% have 200k in the bank? probably not many.

and see that's the rub. those in the upper income bracket would be the ones that would suffer the most.

letting the banks fail would have been an incredible social equalizer. those with millions would have lost a bundle and *GASP* would have to suddenly live like the rest of us, the "great unwashed".

and that is, one of the may reasons, the circular clusterfuck of our banking system hasn't been held responsible.

They couldn't possible live like the rest of us. It's beneath them.

And as a side note: those who argue that "letting them fail" would have been catastrophic for the nation, lives with the delusion that nothing at all would have been done to prevent a cascade of trouble across the board.

Let the banks fail and help the people. That's the chant that should have been yelled.

but alas...

the problem as to why the US can't do it, is very simple...

via propaganda we are lead to believe that if we allowed those bastards to fail, then life as we know it would suddenly vanish from the face of the earth.

That everything that we know and love would no longer exist and the slim possibility of ever returning to "normal" wouldn't exist.

so, instead we are forced to believe that by supporting this grifting institutions that we are much better off than the grossly over imagined sensationalistic apocalyptical alternative.

See? that's why it won't work here, because a portion of the population enjoy being suckered by their fears by the wealthy 1%.

while the rest of us get pissed off at not having any say or being accused of being "Un-American" because we want accountability.

whenever a politician says, "the country wouldn't survive it" what they really mean is they will lose their jobs because they are firmly tied to whatever illegal activity that was perpetrated.

less a club than a exclusive society entered into by birth.

clubs people can join, but the real "club" to be in is the one that is only allowed by birth.

there are lots of really wealthy people and, sure, you can say they are in a club, but for the obscenely wealthy, the kind that makes the word "wealth" sound down right poverty-like, well those folks only get in that society via genetic birth lottery.

the "hard-work" types who were born in the CEO's office and think they worked their way up to owning the team. All the other, the "poverty-like" wealthy, they are still playing ball and being born on home-plate and third base.

the rest of us, we are not only not in the dugout, not only not in the stadium, but we are the guys looking for change on the pavement in the parking lot.

this is how it's done...

first: leverage buy out. destroys a union shop (if it were one to begin with)

second: return with new owners with lower wages

three: those who stay in town (not being able to afford to leave) have to take the same job again at a lower wage but work more hours to make up the difference.

four: workers get burned out having to work additional hours to make ends meet so they turn to "help" to get them through the shifts

five: meth, crank or crack is that help.

six: the slow disintegration of what was a solid working class town.

seven: repukes blame the problem on unions "being too strong or unwilling to compromise"

eight: the middle class overall continues to vanish and is replace by low wages workers who have no power and are meant to feel thankful they have a job, all the while being mentally whipped into servitude.

The corporate epidemic and meth.

I’m currently reading a book called Methland by Nick Reding. It depicts the rise of meth from the shady days of its birth to today’s wide spread use.

While the book focuses mainly on meth and its growth, the author alludes to and indirectly places blame of its growth on the leveraged buy outs by corporations during the era or Reagan’s deregulation. It never comes right out and talks about this elephant in the room.

While I’m still only part way through the book, the two towns that are the current focus of the book are Oelwein and Ottumwa, Iowa.

Oelwein; was once home to a union ham production factory. And Ottumwa: a transportation, factory hub to the west and strongly union.

Both suffered greatly under the “hostile take overs” of the early and mid-80’s when “greed was good”.

What happened next was a mass exodus to the coasts and the major cities as the now unemployed populations looked for work.

Those who remained saw their wages slashed from 15 plus dollars an hour middle class wage to $5.60 an hour minimum wage. Those folks now had to work at least 3 times as hard to maintain what they once had before.

These two formally strong union towns were destroyed and what replaced them was a depression. Not just in an economic sense, but also in a mental sense. Lives which once had a future and purpose were stripped of the dignity of good solid jobs, and now decayed into a drudgery of wage slaves with no benefits.

In steps Lori Arnold, half-sister of Tom Arnold. Living on the edge most of her life she found a purpose in the mass production and distribution of meth to not just these two towns but basically to all of the mid-west. She preyed upon a clientele eager to feel something other than destitution. However, even though she got out a year early of her 10 year sentence on a variety of federal drug related charges, she liked to model herself as someone who actually helped the people of Ottumwa. She cites the daycare she had built right next to the bar where she distributed meth to the moms and dads of those children in that same day care. She was a real icon of the community. She honestly believed that she was helping people.

Around this time, the mid to late ‘80’s, the Reagan administration via Nancy Reagan, started promoting the “Just Say No” antidrug propaganda, but their main focus was on coke and crack. Alarm bells were ringing in local governments regarding meth, but no one in the federal government level paid any attention to the “small time” drug.

The people in this nation were still under the belief that the “real” drug problem was in the cities. But anyone paying even the least bit of attention knew for a long time that drugs played a major role in small town America.

As each major employer in the small towns of America were leveraged out, closed down and social fabrics destroyed; meth moved in.

But the question needs to be asked, why meth? Why did it take such a hold and so quickly?

People, who were now desperate to make ends meet, worked double and triple shifts at low wage jobs. They used meth to get them through those extended shifts, at the few remaining jobs at the plants. The effects of meth allowed them to work longer, with less food and virtually no sleep.

When the plants, with the few remaining jobs, eventually closed down, the unemployment rate skyrocketed and so did meth use. As a result, in many a small town, the only soul source of income, was the dealing of meth.

The closing down of these plants in these small towns, were their ultimate goal of the likes of Bain Capital, Cargill and their ilk.
This effect is repeated itself throughout the U.S.

With the selection of corporate glad hander George W. Bush as president of the U.S., meth use went into high gear as the economy crashed leaving whole sections of the US with double digit unemployment and small town companies ripe for the picking.

While much as been done to stop the manufacture of meth; via the controlled sale of Sudafed, one of its main ingredients, clever chemists have found new and creative ways to continue to manufacture the drug.

And over the past few years, the major meth labs have been broken up, but much like hitting mercury with a hammer, it has spurred smaller labs and gave rise to the “shake and bake” method.

However, the root cause of meth use still has yet to be fixed; unemployment in the America. Sure we are seeing growth in the cities, but the towns and communities, which are part of the “flyover states”, still suffer enormously.

Until we as a people, wake from our daze of corporate propaganda and stop working against our own best interests, nothing will change and it will only get worse.

To quote from the movie Jaws, “what we are dealing with here is a perfect engine, an eating machine”, but what these corporate machines eat are people and their hopes and dreams. They care nothing for our future, but only for their own bottom line, golden parachutes and the next victim. And in their wake they leave a scared mental battle field to be exploited by those who seek out the desperate for profit at the hand of meth.

While I have long known of leveraged buyouts and the spread of meth throughout the nation, I never put the two together.

Until we as a nation stop sucking up to corporations and start putting the people first, nothing is going to change.

I have always been a strong union supporter, now I am more than ever.

I see rumblings of discontent and people taking chances to form unions, but until the corporate control of the small towns is finally broken, the big achievements that are made in the cities will only be a Pyrrhic victory when it is compared in the rest of the nation.

I haven’t written about the topic of unions and peoples rights in quite some time. I admit that I too had gotten so completely disenchanted with how this nation treats its workers and the basic rights of the people. This book, even though I’m only part way through it, has reawakened something in me.

I hope my small piece give you all food for thought.


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