Friday, March 22, 2013

A Lengthy Rant


After the end of the Civil War, the agrarian South was severely punished by the government of the newly restored United States. Called the Gilded Age by Mark Twain, the industrial northeast consolidated their power and the age of the Robber Barons was born.

Andrew Carnegie consolidated a dozen different steel companies into Carnegie Steel, which he sold to someone who had other steel companies to create US Steel. Adolphus Busch and Joseph Miller created companies that today dominate the world's brewing industry.

During that time, companies could make what they called ice cream from anything, including wood shavings and glue. That's why we have the FDA.

Meanwhile, in the South, recently freed slaves (and other people of color) found more and more stringent voter laws keeping them from exercising their right to vote. (Today, Republicans are demanding IDs and shorter early voting to suppress the Democratic vote.)

Ironically, the party of Abraham Lincoln, who freed the slaves, has been doing everything they can to make it harder for people of color to vote, even trying to repeal the Voting Rights Act.

As a Texan, I'm finding it hard to believe that scared white people let Ted Cruz, a Mexican (check his last name) get elected to Congress. But I guess Cruz is, as a friend in High School described himself, a white man in a Mexican suit.

During the Gilded Age, the mega breweries established "Tied Houses." The owned the buildings of the bars that served their beer. They charged the bar owners rent on the building and the furniture, and then expected them to pay for the beer delivered to their bars. In Texas, the big brewers were convicted of collusion to drive out the smaller brewers. That was another argument for Prohibition.

So many states created a three tier system, letting distributors control brewers' access to the market. Essentially, we created a new monopoly to replace the previous monopoly.

What concerns me is that we are headed towards a new Gilded Age. An age where the multinational corporation rules the world. The same corporations that praised American work ethic (like the Republicans do) but shipped those jobs overseas because we Americans expect to be paid for our labor. As more and more of my business dealings are people who say they are named Bob, but sound like Apu from the Simpsons--and these are American companies--I'm beginning to realize that the companies with whom I do my business don't give a flying fuck about my business. So they let some person in India take my verbal abuse because the the American company decides to screw me over in the name of profits.

Face it: You and I, the working class, are considered part of the 47% because we want insurance and a little security. And the mega corporations have so much money that they get everything they want.  You want illegal immigration to go away? Ask Monsanto to stop hiring illegal aliens. You'll have as much luck as getting them to label GMO food.

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