[Accidental post.]

The difference between the two was that England's banking system was far different than France's. France's nobility essentially only makes money if it's peasants make money as the right of ownership granted to the nobility means that they also have to pay interest (salaries) to the peasants whose possessions they borrow. That means when the nobility borrowed money, they have to borrow enough to not only pay their expenses but pay the expenses of everyone they also borrowed against.

The key issue here is that France's aristocratic circles made up 2% of the entire population (including the military, the clergy and the nobles). It's bourgeoisie made up between 5-7%. That means their 1% was effectively between 7-9%. And their 1% was policed by each other until it eventually broke out. In a class-based society like this, the classes largely combated one another even though it was largely at the expense of the peasantry. In a classless society like the United States, their are no nobles, no church, no soldiers and no monarch to express your grievances. We have no Louis, no Comte d'Argenson, no Maximilien Robespierre and no Jean-Sifrein Maury.

So, do we really need to keep hammering nails into the coffin of a so-called "middle class?" Technically, there's more starving people in the U.S. than there was working peasants in France in the 1780s.

And the Revolution happened over what relatively is, compared to today, a minor tax increase and a temporary seasonal price increase (double price) in wheat.

Nov 8, 11 12:07 pm

If I was in charge of dealing with unions, I would give them hell on each item they demand. It's called negotiation and it happens in everyday life. Unions will demand what they think they can get (get away with). Other side has the responsibility to counter-attack. 


wait - do you actually think the unions are the ones calling the shots?  The government is the one who comes up with a new contract after it expires and the union is the one that counters and negotiates on behalf of the workers.  you're making it seem like these unions are just walking into the mayor's office and demanding stupid shit at random.  IMO - people who want to end collective bargaining are simply just weak leaders -  so they try to hide behind more regulation to give themselves the upper hand.

Nov 8, 11 2:16 pm

also - unions were being slowly undermined from within for years - why the hell did these guys decide to start hitting the hornet's nest with a big stick?  stupid.  they're just going to regroup and become stronger - now the shadowy rich people who control the world are just going to have to start over.

Nov 8, 11 2:27 pm

I think they are to some degree, as much as any other group with power and interests.  They are numbers, numbers = votes = power.

I know my GM stock got taken down to 0, while the Unions got 17% of the new company.  I am still bitter about that one.

Nov 8, 11 2:29 pm

So it looks like Wall Mart is benefitting from the big banks proposed fees, so not only are the profiting off the lower debit card transaction fees but they are making money from people using Wall Mart instead of the bank.  I don't understand why these people don't sign up with a credit union it would save them money and not reward the large cooperations that more than likely had something to do with the lower debit card transaction fees.

Nov 8, 11 5:36 pm

I don't understand why these people don't sign up with a credit union it would save them money

Because most of these people have written at least one bad check (and this includes bouncing a debt transaction) and are generally therefore unable to qualify for checking accounts at smaller banks.

Nov 8, 11 6:09 pm

FRaC, I'm sorry, I'm just too tired (plus wine) to post the links, but it was a Maine repub who wants to loosen child labor laws and the Ramos or Compean story was on a severely right-wing militant website ( I felt dirty just being there) that was an article and commenters arguing that it's FINE to kick a handcuffed person in the back because they are under arrest.  Google is your friend here, I'm not.  BTW, was this what you meant about iPads?  I only heard about this today.  What a crappy thing to happen.

Nov 8, 11 9:31 pm
virus on a virus's virus

google ain't my friend .. i've searched every corner of the internets and come up with nothing

the closest thing i've found is this: Border Agent Gets 2 Years in Prison for Rough Cuffing a Drug Smuggling Suspect (warning: it's glenn beck's site omg!) but that's a border agent named Jesus E. Diaz, Jr. though it sounds very similar to the Ramos/Compean b.s. conviction.

keep in mind Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean had their sentences commuted by bushy, not pardoned, so technically they are still convicted felons and can't work in any law enforcement capacity.

and that maine thing is pretty tame.  i though it might be some mugatu/zoolander child labor slavery thing but sheesh, $5.25/hr for the first 180 days has got the left all riled up?  for reals?

Nov 9, 11 1:58 am

Anybody think that the Penn State scandal might merge with the Occupy Wall Street protests?

Now that rumours are emerging that Sandusky "pimped out young boys" to rich donors...might the fact that a covered up ring of wealthy fat cats has been literally anal raping young boys from poor families be enough to light a riotous/revolutionary rage against the corrupted powers-that-be?

It's a sinister world, yo!

Nov 10, 11 1:49 pm

And if some bigger names gets swallowed in this scandal, hopefully there might even be a santorum/sandusky connection, yo!

Nov 10, 11 2:42 pm
Token AE

Penn State is one of my alma maters- I can comfortably say that the vast majority of students there are too daft/ self centered to organize anything of significance.

I will say that the situation at PSU is a microcosm of what the occupy movement is against- a corrupt institution with complete control over the information coming or going, attempted control over its regulation, and a leader with a cult of personality around their employees (or students in this case) gets caught in the act.

If the occupy people are clever enough, they could spin this as the catalyst for the US movement analogous to the tunisian self-immolation: supposedly incorruptible institution commits one of the worst crimes imaginable.

Nov 10, 11 9:31 pm

Very good interview this evening with Portland mayor Sam Adams about the decision to force the occupiers to leave by Sunday.  He's clearly not happy to make this decision and totally supports the movement - he even lays out, very clearly for the NPR audience, what the main issues of the movement are!  He makes suggestions about how the movement now needs to evolve into other actions to keep the ideas in the public eye.

Nov 10, 11 10:38 pm
virus on a virus's virus

you know, that was a very good interview, you know.  i think we, you know, can have a balanced, you know, approach to this situation so that we, you know, can, you know, protect everyone's, you know, free speech while, you know, keep everyone, you know, you know, safe, you you know know know you know know you know.

Nov 11, 11 12:45 am

Be still my heart: Brad Pitt aka Perfection Walking just voiced his support for Occupy and suggested that the next step needs to be truly understanding the systemic problems and proposing solutions.  Lots of hard work to be done this winter.

I'd link to the article, but it's illustrated with a picture of him with a goofy smile.


Nov 11, 11 9:40 am

I went to a lecture this week by a financial guy.  He had some interesting things to stay, but I could not believe it when he stated that "the financial crises was caused by the government".

I was just sent this article which I thought explained the "cover story" @ work now:

"A Big Lie is so colossal that no one would believe that someone could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. There are many examples: Claims that Earth is not warming, or that evolution is not the best thesis we have for how humans developed. Those opposed to stimulus spending have gone so far as to claim that the infrastructure of the United States is just fine..."

Apparently a little revisionist history is going on.  I know we can debate stimulus spending, the deficit etc....but to try to sell the idea that the financial services sector is a victim of this event just really ticks me off.

Nov 11, 11 11:16 am

keith - and I don't know how this argument helps the financial industry because it's like saying "we're all inherently criminal."  it's really bizarre - before we were hearing from these people that the government needs to be less involved in policing the market, and when the govt obliged and things went to shit these same people are acting like it's the government's fault for leaving the jar of cookies out in the kitchen.

Nov 11, 11 11:52 am

...nevermind that the government didn't hold a gun to the heads of financial firms to overleverage their ratio of risk to capital.  If the government is behind the meltdown, it's to the extent that the government was subject to a corporate takeover:  our economy was shepherded by Goldman Sachs alumni cast into government positions.  Their policies to get government out of the way through increased deregulation is what got us into this mess.

It's like voting Republicans into office and then blaming the Democratic minority for not doing enough.

Nov 11, 11 12:45 pm
Erik Evens (EKE)

The truth probably resides somewhere in between, as it usually does.  I think that the causes of the financial collapse were highly complex, involving many, many variables in a complex and chaotic dynamical system.  To assign blame to a single cause, or even a single arena of causes, will probably result in a profound misunderstanding.

Trying to understand the behavior of a highly complex informational system like financial markets can be like trying to tell the future by reading tea leaves - people often see in it what they expect to see.  They choose the explanation that aligns and supports their worldview.

Nov 11, 11 12:50 pm

Eke.  I kind of take your point.  We all subscribe to narratives that suit our world view, but you have to admit that some narratives are more salient than others.  For instance the theory of evolution attempts to describe a highly complex, dynamic system, yet some people still subscribe to creationist principles.  However it's more difficult for me to dismiss evolution theory as "tea leaf reading" just because it's a theory that supports my worldview.

Nov 11, 11 2:34 pm

FRaC.  Thanks for keeping the discussion fair and balanced and proving that corruption abhors a vacuum.  No doubt blame goes on both sides and over time.  Glad to watch your video links, there's always more to it - especially when all you get are the sound bites.  Democrat or Republican, it still doesn't negate the corporate takeover of our government.

Nov 11, 11 4:24 pm
virus on a virus's virus

or the union takeover of our government

Nov 11, 11 4:29 pm

over 30% of Americans were in unions over 30 years ago.  That number is at below 15% now.  Do some homework.


Union busting has become politically acceptable since Reagan busted the Air Traffic Control strike.



If you have to get your jollies to blaming the crisis on "liberals" then feel free to blame Clinton for passing the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (even though it was passed by a veto-proof congress).

Nov 11, 11 5:02 pm

...dialectical materialism then.  Go Wisconsin!

Nov 11, 11 5:03 pm
virus on a virus's virus

. Matias ., an unlicensed individual holding himself out to be an architect, said: over 30% of Americans were in unions over 30 years ago.  That number is at below 15% now.  Do some homework.

Highlights from the 2010 data:

   --The union membership rate for public sector workers (36.2  percent) was
     substantially higher than the rate for private sector workers (6.9 percent).
     (See table 3.)

HOMEWORK DONE!  (what the private sector does is their own business.  i have always been talking about [in this thread] public employee unions and their 'takeover' of government especially at the state level.)

Nov 11, 11 5:24 pm

All dickish cheap shots aside, if you had bothered to read the very first paragraph from the source you linked, you'd see that union membership has been on the decline.

And I shouldn't have to tell you why your selected data does nothing to refute the verifiable fact that union membership has been steadily declining.

Union membership has been on the decline due to the globalization of markets, and less stringent workers rights in competing countries.  A race to the bottom, but I'm sure you'll put forth the due diligence to come to your own conclusion.  I wouldn't expect anything less than that from such a highly esteemed licensed, anonymous professional.

And if you sincerely believe that the failure of our government is due to the infestation of unions, as opposed to the special interests and lobbyist who literally buy our politicians in exchange for favorable legislation, then I don't know what to tell you.

Nov 11, 11 5:43 pm
virus on a virus's virus

All dickish cheap shots aside, if you had bothered to read the very first paragraph from the source you linked, you'd see that union membership has been on the decline.

but it's just the opposite for the public sector (government workers).  since the 40's it's been on the increase.  and public sector union 'workers' are who i've been talking about in this thread (re: wisconsin).  but it's kind of like when y'all lump legal and illegal immigrants together and just call them 'immigrants'.  there is a difference and it's important to be specific when discussing these issues. -> At the apex of union density in the 1940s, only about 9.8% of public employees were represented by unions, while 33.9% of private, non-agricultural workers had such representation. In this decade, those proportions have essentially reversed, with 36% of public workers being represented by unions while private sector union density had plummeted to around 7%.

Nov 11, 11 6:19 pm

but it's just the opposite for the public sector (government workers).  since the 40's it's been on the increase.  and public sector union 'workers' are who i've been talking about in this thread (re: wisconsin).


Same wiki article: From 1971 to the late 1980s, there was a 10% drop in union membership in the U.S. public sector and a 42% drop in union membership in the U.S. private sector.


Same article that you posted: In 2010, 7.6 million public sector employees belonged to a union, compared with 7.1 million union workers in the private sector.


Public unions are not growing.  They're just shrinking at a slower rate than private unions.  And they are very much on the chopping block, as evidenced by Wisconsin.


So, how, exactly, do you perceive unions as the problem when they are statistically shrinking?

Nov 11, 11 6:47 pm

another quote from the same wiki article:

American union membership in the private sector has in recent years fallen under 9% — levels not seen since 1932

Hmmm...what kind of conditions were American workers subjected to in the 1930s?  Oh, that's right, extreme austerity.

The New Deal got us out of the Gilded Age and actually helped social equality. Of course, since the 1980's, unions have been busted, financial regulations have been repealed, Glass Steagal was removed, the tax code has been reversed and become regressive, and Social Security is likely going to be offered as a sacrifice. All the while, income inequality is mirroring the trends this country experienced in the late 1920s, poverty is up to 15%, we are at over 20% real unemployment, youth unemployment is at 25%, and top earners have seen 275% increase in their earnings in the past 30 years while working class Americans have seen less than a 2% increases, and this country has seen a net gain of ZERO jobs since 2001. $1 in lobbying yields a $220 return of investment in the form of favorable legislation, and we have entered two wars without raising revenue.


FDR is rolling over in his grave right now, which is probably pretty difficult given the polio.

Nov 11, 11 7:09 pm
virus on a virus's virus

from the wiki linky i linkied: Since the 1970s, union membership has been steadily declining in the private sector while growing in the public sector.

public employee unions run california (right into the ground)

. Matius . said: since the 1980's ... the tax code has been reversed and become regressive

the HELL?  are you buying into that whole warren buffett 'i pay less taxes than my secretary' b.s.(and all rich people are warren buffett)?

Nov 11, 11 8:01 pm

FRaC, you ready to stop being anonymous yet?  Seriously, man: you can cherry pick all you want, but on pretty much every topic offered in this thread the bigger picture reveals that you are wrong.  Not to mention your point of view is greedy and selfish - redundant, I know, but for some people twice as much isn't enough.

Matias,  I appreciate your efforts but FRaC is not to be swayed.  He's made up his mind and it's everybody's fault but his.

Nov 11, 11 8:39 pm
virus on a virus's virus

where's the ramos/compean link?  you slandered my namesake then left me hangin' on a googly excuse!

and the current tax rates are fair-er than the 40's-80's (90% upper tax rate?!?) but far from 'regressive'.

greedy and selfish, meh i've been called much worse ..

and i'll stop being anonymous when anonymous stops being anonymous

Nov 11, 11 8:46 pm

haha.  I know, Donna.  I'm more or less responding for people who are reading and not a part of the conversation.  Most people will change their world view when presented with evidence that challenges their preconceptions.  I'm just hoping someone will read it and be informed.  I don't have much hope for FRaC.  He's cemented his worldview and will post-hoc rationalize evidence to suit his theory.


But for anyone else, this is a great documentary worth watching (4 part series) about the economic collapse.  It's free (I think I may have linked to it a few pages ago, I can't remember):

Nov 11, 11 8:50 pm

Data from the Tax Foundation bears this out. Between 1987 and 2008, the share of income controlled by the top 1%  grew to 20% from 12%. That signals a total share growth of 67%. During the same period, their share of taxes went to 28% from 24%, suggesting share growth of 17%.

In other words, the top 1% share of income grew nearly five times faster than their share of taxes.

The Wall Street Journal, SEPTEMBER 26, 2011, 1:08 PM ET


That is the issue.  Seems blatantly clear to me.  The R's can blab all day about how the rich pay more in taxes...well, duh, of course they pay more 'cause they make more!  I pay more in taxes than a Wallmart employee (well, most anyway).  Proportionally, however, when you compare apples to apples (and not isolated numbers), you can see how unfair things truly are.

The issue:  Redistribution of Wealth.  This has occurred and continues to grow momentum as the wealthiest collect more and more of our country.  If the R's get their tax "reform", it'll grow at an exponentially faster rate and the rest of us will have to take up the burden.

Nov 11, 11 8:55 pm

I'd really like to know how Bush got elected in the first place when it came down to a Florida recount where his brother is governor, and how he got elected a second term when exit polls indicated Kerry leading and voting machines are showing up in the middle of a mesa in New Mexico.  How is it the 1% can occupy our voting rights, but OWS is challenged on all fronts to occupy public spaces?

Nov 11, 11 9:17 pm

Excellent article by Matt Taibbi, and really amazingly strong comment in the comments section (bold mine):

Rebecca Stanton |Yesterday, 1:30 PM EDT
Anthony Painter made a snide post on about a month ago which attracted great comments from many dissenters, including Billy Bragg, who expressed the point of the protests succinctly and well. I won't match his eloquence, but basically what he said was: The political choices offered to us at the ballot box do not include any of the things that we really want. No one running for office is willing to address the needs or the aspirations of ordinary working people, so we the people have no choice but to take to the streets to articulate the kind of society that we want to live in.

This really rang true for me. Sure, one can hold one's nose and vote for the Democrat, hoping that at a minimum abortion will remain legal (if not accessible) and homosexuals won't be actively persecuted -- but where are the candidates who are willing to rein in our military adventures, to speak to the deeply held general sentiment that we probably shouldn't bomb people who have done us no harm, to protect the little guy from the rich and powerful predators circling him, to stand up for our most basic rights to organize (which is literally the ONLY weapon the average person has to fight for his own rights against the power and influence his boss can buy), to stand up for the people (like drug addicts, single mothers, immigrants, and the poor) who are dehumanized to serve as scapegoats in one or another narrative by smug, privileged dudes trying to justify their monopoly on power? Who is going to stand up and say "The health of the planet, our only home, is immeasurably more important to the human race (not to mention the species we share it with) than any corporation's short-term profits, and we are going to adjust our priorities accordingly"? Who is going to say "The profits on the banks' books are just numbers on a piece of paper, but your home is the shelter you rely on to protect you and your family from the increasingly extreme weather and give you a place to gather in at night; fear not, we will not let you be kicked out on the streets"? Who is going to say "Our prosperous and technologically advanced society is rich enough to take care of everyone, even our weakest and poorest citizens. There is no shortage of wealth here, so we are going to make sure that no one has to suffer through needless pain, hunger, or premature death through neglect. As your neighbors, we pledge to take of you, and we ask that you make the same pledge to us"?

Those are the values being articulated -- and *embodied* -- at OWS, and it's why the movement has inspired so many, including this humble (but fortunate, at least for now, in my secure and well-compensated employment and extensive safety net that I wish all people could enjoy) commenter.


Nov 13, 11 8:06 pm
virus on a virus's virus

matty taibbi said: We're all born wanting the freedom to imagine a better and more beautiful future. But modern America has become a place so drearily confining and predictable that it chokes the life out of that built-in desire. Everything from our pop culture to our economy to our politics feels oppressive and unresponsive. We see 10 million commercials a day, and every day is the same life-killing chase for money, money and more money; the only thing that changes from minute to minute is that every tick of the clock brings with it another space-age vendor dreaming up some new way to try to sell you something or reach into your pocket. The relentless sameness of the two-party political system is beginning to feel like a Jacob's Ladder nightmare with no end; we're entering another turn on the four-year merry-go-round, and the thought of having to try to get excited about yet another minor quadrennial shift in the direction of one or the other pole of alienating corporate full-of-shitness is enough to make anyone want to smash his own hand flat with a hammer.

sensory overload; this poor guy has lost his ability to see how amazing life is (and just how far we have 'progressed') 'tis a shame.

Nov 13, 11 9:01 pm

Well Donna and I were discussing this on my Facebook page and it reminded me how much I miss the open and honest dialogue on Archinect, so here I am.

I think the OWS movement is long overdue.  I think that, like the beginnings of any truly transformational movement, things are bound to be rocky.  I agree with Taibbi and the commenter above... there is simply no reason that in a society as prosperous and capable as ours, that we are not able to take care of everyone.

However, who has two thumbs and is exhausted?  This girl, right here.  I've been working my tail off... not only just at work but with every fiber of my being, to try to support job creation in my field and in other places.  I try to talk to anyone and everyone about how the economy is changing and how we can adapt ourselves to it.  I encourage innovation at every opportunity.  

And here I am in Portland, and the Occupy Portland protestors, god bless them, moved into the park a block from my building.  And I support what they are doing and what they are ultimately trying to say, which I think is essentially captured by Taibbi and the commenter above.  But when a system becomes unsustainable, it collapses.  The Occupy Portland encampment had sanitation issues; it had anarchists move in; it had experienced violence between campers and most disturbingly, it had 4 drug overdoses in the past couple of weeks.  And the Mayor made the decision that, after allowing the camp to violate city law for 6 weeks, that it had to come down, for health and safety reasons.

And as I sat here last night and listened to the helicopters hover above our city, and I watched the protestors on TV screaming obscenities at the cops, who very patiently managed the crowd and the eviction of the camps last night, I thought, "this isn't how you effectively communicate a message.  This is how you drive people away."  I feel like I'm doing my part to educate people and to try to protect and create jobs.  So I feel like if the protestors actually represent the 99%, as they claim to, they need to work harder to do their part.  Throwing bottles at the cops, and smoking pot on the steps of the police station on a dare, and standing in the street blocking traffic for no apparent reason isn't effectively doing their part.  The majority of the 99% doesn't conduct themselves that way.  What they PROBABLY need, I have been thinking, is a leader.

We shall see how things go, but, for the record, the city of Portland and the Portland Police handled the whole situation here incredibly, despite anything you may hear on Twitter or elsewhere.  


PS.  Miss you, Donna!  And all the rest of y'all too.

Nov 13, 11 9:02 pm
virus on a virus's virus

And the Mayor made the decision that, after allowing the camp to violate city law for 6 weeks, that it had to come down, for health and safety reasons.

wait i thought O(pick yer city) were just expressing their first amendment free speech rights?  are you admitting they were, *gasp*, breaking the law?!?

Nov 13, 11 10:38 pm

"The OWS protests are captivating, disjointed and showing signs of confused frustration -- just like the late-1800's Eight-Hour Day Movement that ultimately led to the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938."

Nov 14, 11 10:55 am

sensory overload; this poor guy has lost his ability to see how amazing life is (and just how far we have 'progressed').  'tis a shame.

Matt Taibbi is right.  He's just saying the things that many of us have felt for years. If you can't see that something is deeply wrong with the world, then it's you that has lost the ability to see how amazing life can be.  "Discontent is the first step toward progress"   

Nov 14, 11 5:57 pm

If you have particiapted in an occupation you know first hand the elation of positive group energy, confusion about procedure and frustration with process. Such is the nature of true democracy.

Regardless of the frustration, it beats the crap out of "elected" representatives who represent themselves first and the people who fund them next.


Nov 14, 11 8:13 pm
virus on a virus's virus

please heed OWS and don't vote in 2012

muchas garcias mucho muchacho

Nov 14, 11 9:34 pm

FraC, OWS is about empowering the individual. Personal responsibilty and autonomus action is the basis of the movement.


Nov 14, 11 10:32 pm

I read an interesting poll over the weekend and it stated that over 50% of Americans support either OWS or the Tea Party.   I am pretty sure it was the WSJ, but unfortunately they did not give the ratio.

Nov 14, 11 11:32 pm
virus on a virus's virus

wait i thought it was 99%


Nov 14, 11 11:56 pm

...which indicates 49% passively watches the 1%-controlled-Fox network / corporate-sponsored media.

Nov 15, 11 2:29 am

It looks like the courts said it may not be constitutional to kick the ows people out.  Tents are free speech too.  Hopefully this works for them and follows through in places like Denver.

Nov 15, 11 9:48 am

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