Here in the United Kingdom, more and more places are ripping out cashier tills in favour of self-service channels.

One local supermarket here is mostly self-service with their queuing system. It looks like an airport check-in hall.

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Mar 1, 2023·edited Mar 1, 2023Liked by Thom Hartmann

Thanks Thom. Is is interesting also that your example of breaking up AT&T was eventually reversed allowing the Bells to merge (Southern Bell heading the way). So, the breakup was relatively transitory. Same with Standard Oil. It's another example of how corporations are only aligned with their self-serving goals (primarily money). I often think corporations should be required to include goals on ethics, worker and community responsibilities. Since all corporations are licensed by the government, this seems eminently reasonable - but politically unlikely.

This leads me to another thought - corporations should be governed as a 'system'. You describe parts of the system: cities, consumers, employees, retail outlets, corporate hq (to name a few). What I do not see is anything that analyzes and governs this system. As a simple example, corporations locating a new retail mega-store will usually bend the city/county over for low or zero taxes. They argue the benefits to local workforce. That's the carrot. The stick is they negotiate with other cities/counties as alternative locations. Thus they force all the localities to work against each other in biding wars.

Without viewing them as a system with a lifecycle, we miss how the corporation actually implements their monopoly.

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Mar 1, 2023Liked by Thom Hartmann

Sometimes I miss living in the middle east. I almost always shopped from small stores my first few years, and I loved it that shopkeepers knew me and sometimes saved merchandise they knew I liked. And if I was short on money, they'd say, "no worry." I miss the human-ness of shopping. Once a shopkeeper and I rescued a starving cat. We fed him and kept him safe until a sanctuary came, and they found him a home in Toronto.

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The main reason Asian immigrants are so successful is that they build, own and run their own businesses and bank together too. The money stays in the community. African Americans did a great job at that as well (Black Wall St.) until they were literally bombed (1921 Tulsa Massacre). Walmart is the consumate example of greed and avarice; each Walton kid has their own jet. And, these are 737's. NYTimes had a great article on how the top 1% in the US are the biggest polluters, by far. I was writing grants for a non-profit and applied for $ from the Walton Foundation; I couldn't even get $250! They give a fraction of what the Gates Foundation gives. Yet, the daughter has a billion dollar art museum in Bentonville, Arkansas - just what we need! Jeez.

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How does one man have so much power to be able to do so much damage in such as short time? To say Reagan was a scoundrel is a great understatement. It is no wonder that his kids hated him. I’ve forgotten the title of the book I read about him about 15 years ago but more needs to be done to show just how he managed to dupe even many Democrats and how he got away with so many abuses.

The same question applies to the Supreme Court. How do a handful of self-important reactionary justices have the power to reverse progress and destroy lives? We need to understand the dynamics. We also need to understand how the American people are so easily misled.

Expanding the court and expanding Congress, especially at a time when the fascists have exposed their incompetence is an absolute necessity. The more power and control can be diffused, the better. Thom should be on the Supreme Court, of course.

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When the efficiencies of the morbidly rich spawn negative externalities that are forced upon our citizens and our country, the costs to fix their messes must be borne by those who profit. Specifically, the morbidly rich sociopaths who pull the strings and keep the GOP grifters in office. Unfortunately, the powers of corporate personhood will probably continue to be superior to those of our citizens as long as the master propagandists can manipulate enough poorly educated citizens into voting for GOP grifters. However, since their cultists make up much less than a majority of the electorate, the kleptocrats will continue to have to make their government whores cheat like a Trump with 21st Century gerrymandering, election fraud, and voter suppression tactics. Rove must be so proud.

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The plutocrats, the neo nobility, believe and act like the economy, meaning the people, exist to serve them. It is neo feudalism, where the serf and the freeman are dependent on the good graces of the lard of the manor. And the lords of the manor look down upon serfs and freeman as instruments that exist for their benefit.

This attitude is infectious and has filtered down into all elements of society.

I’ve encountered people who act like the job exists for them. I’ve run into this mentality in some service jobs like waiters. You are not a customer who is to be served, you are there to provide them a


A fish rots from the head down. When we see the shareholders of USA Inc, getting away with murder, theft, scoff laws, greed, self servance do you not think that we peons will follow.

Bolshevism has had the positive effect for the neo nobility, of putting capitalists on a high altar, whereas any criticism at all is labeled socialist, and in the deficient American mind that translates to communist, and there is a subsequent knee jerk defense of neo serfdom.

Let me add at this point. That Marx railed against the middle class, which he called the bourgeoisie.

In all his writings he had nothing to say about the elite, the nobility, the financiers, the lords of the manor. Marx’s society was, more or less as our “founding fathers” envisioned America, an elite commanding the horde. Royalty, the nobility, the Saxon baron and the ceorl https://www.britannica.com/topic/ceorl.

Which by the way is the ideal society of the libertarian, a society in which the Kochs and other elites, who fund the l likes of the Federalist society and libertarian causes have been funding and whose politicians they have been financing.

While the elites are in competition among themselves, they are united in one thing: Their real threat is the middle class, the bourgeoisie. The middle class is the rung on the way up the ladder, which poses the threat of displacing them, and it is the rung on the way down.

As evidence in the Lewis Powell memo, which warned the plutocrats, the elite, that their biggest danger was an educated, informed, middle class which had enough time on its hands to pose a threat to the power and privilege of the plutocracy.

The solution was to degrade the middle class. As paul Volker said The U.S. must trim it’s standard of living. https://www.nytimes.com/1979/10/18/archives/volcker-asserts-us-must-trim-living-standard-warns-of-inflation.html. Echoed by the central bank of Central Banks, the Bank for International Settlements in Basle,Switzerland which in their annual report for 83/84 said that the U.S. and world must reduce their standard of living (pages p.'s 131 & 183 of the '83 Annual Report of the BIS

The B.I.S. is the central bank of central banks, it holds the reserves of its member Central banks, thus is the boss, just as the NY Fed is the boss of the other regional Federal Reserve Banks.

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Some of us are walking out of Lowe's and Walmart, because they don't have any people checking out anymore, but as we walk out we ask for the manager and share why we are changing our shopping behavior.

The whining and Laziness by the US voters and Shoppers in the last 80 years have given us precisely what we thought we wanted. And because a relatively small percentage of Americans have lived and travel in other countries for much longer than the traditional Texas Skip-and-Hop across all European countries in 10 days, most don't know that there are different life styles available. So, as a result of Mr. Hartman's analysis let him know how many of us walk away from the robot stores.

Let's see how many get on local zoning boards to make sure that realtors and wheeler-dealers don't farm out the neighborhood. Typically builder associations such as the Home Builders' Association have along penetrated state regulatory systems to stop neighbors from preventing or penalizing growth.

This is an excellent Hartman Analysis, and it deserves to be used as a Blue print for people taking turns to sit in on local governance boards.

Mr. Hartman Citations:

Without local competition, they now charge whatever the market will bear, leading to that $5000 annual “monopoly tax” we all pay in higher prices because we live in Reagan’s America. Profits among America’s largest corporations soared so much in the past two years, unconstrained by competition, that they account for an estimated 60% of our problematic inflation.

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Capitalism which is unlimited greed, and has been used for thousands of years, always ends badly for the peasants. With a maximum wage it could work and with a 90% tax rate on millionaires it would work even better. It always ends like the board game "Monopoly".

The Trump supporting Cult needs to read this article, but they won't because they have been brainwashed into believing it's all the Dems fault. Since about 1985 it appears to me that the GOP took over the dem party, thanks to the capitalist money and influence.

I strongly believe the reason the Federal reserve raised the interest rates under Jimmy Carter was to mess up the economy and get him thrown out of office. Same thing with the arms for hostages and the oil embargo, all staged to move the country further to the right.

Now the Federal reserve is doing it again I believe to crash the economy and get a right wing corporatist elected. So the autocrat fascists can work young people to death and let the old and disabled people die or send them off to war, then die.

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Per the theory the 1000th monkey having learned something, at that point it goes universal. Therefore if an idea can reach enough people, it then spreads like wildfire..

I've actually been mulling over the idea of universal non violent resistance and I can't think of an instance where it was used or achieved change. I can, on the other hand, name instances where

such achieved change, when behind them was the threat of violence.

The sad fact is that change only comes from fear. It they don't fear they don't change.

South Carolina seceded because it had no fear from the Federal government, other states saw that there was no response and followed suit.

Then the war, and change, but the victors, anti separatists, the abolitionists, sat back resting on their laurels, tired of war, and not at all interested in the well being and fate of former slaves, caved into an unreconstructed white power structure and in The Compromise of 1877 an informal agreement between southern Democrats and allies of the Republican Rutherford Hayes to settle the result of the 1876 presidential election, marked the end of the Reconstruction era.

Without fear restraining them, the south resumed it's antebellum life and practices, with a slight modification, now slavery, if within the bounds of the 13th amendment was legal, and to "celebrate" Louisiana built a prison on the largest plantation in the state , Angola, named of course for the supposed source of slaves.

The South and the north found, following Karl Marx, a new form of slavery, wage slavery.

Marx had been imploring southern planters to free the slaves, hire them back at market wages, that way they could produce cheaper cotton, which his partner, Frederick Engels (who had inherited a textile mill) could then buy.

Southern cotton was too expensive, so Engels bought the cheaper but inferior, Egyptian Cotton.

So despite the death of 650,000 nothing changed, for the American Descendant of Slaves, except they could no longer be bought and sold and their families broken up, but the southern planters now found that their investment in King Cotton was more profitable than before the war.

And here we are almost 160 years after that suicidal event, back where we started, on the verge of a breakup because of a culture war, only this time, the basis of the culture war has been, cleverly expanded by demagogues, and the proponents of those who started this car are now in positions of power in the Supreme Court, FBI, NSA, DHS, most if not all law enforcement agencies, local, state and Federal as well as our military. The ranks, by and large come from red states, the officer corps, has long been contaminated by Dominionism.

Non violent resistance assumes a neutral government, that can be persuaded. I am not sure that we have that anymore.

Other than the rank and file, most of whom got mere slaps on the wrist, what traitors (yes traitors to the constitution) that are politicians or insiders have actually been punished. None, and will they? No because the Trump humping DOJ, has drug it's heels, letting the statue of limitations run out, and waiting for the anticipated right wing change of government in 2025

No fear, no actions, no consequences and we slide into perdition.

What I am saying is that non violent resistance, needs to be backed up with the threat of violence, otherwise nothing changes, because there is no motivation for them to change

The right wing knows this, and despite some stumbling blocks, they press forward and are winning.


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That title doesn't sound familiar. I haven't seen the book since before I had to downsize and got rid of some books. I think I had given it to a relative or roommate whose opinions I had hoped to change. I remember vey little about the book except that the author made a very good case for dispelling the myth that Ronnie Raygun should get any credit for the removal of the Berlin Wall. I did a search but couldn't locate the book that I read. At best ,he was an obnoxious and arrogant old fool. But he truly did do a lot of long-term damage.

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deletedMar 1, 2023Liked by Thom Hartmann
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