When Robber Barons meet Muckrakers …

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

There is a clash of titan forces taking place in the American Economy right now. It’s a tale as old as Greed itself.  

It is the tale of the “Powers that Be” running into the watchful eyes of the “World that Should Be”.

The story involves how corporate Robber Barons avoid the watchful glare of the citizen Muckrakers.  

It is the tale of Deception and Greed vs Honesty and Fairness …

Who are the Robber Barons?

Robber baron is a term that revived in the 19th century in the United States as a reference to businessmen and bankers who dominated their respective industries and amassed huge personal fortunes, typically as a direct result of pursuing various anti-competitive or unfair business practices. The term may now be used in relation to any businessman or banker who is perceived to have used questionable business practices or scams in order to become powerful or wealthy


Business is Business, right?  

Most people want to be rich someday — So what’s the problem?

from encyclopedia.com

ROBBER BARONS. At the turn of the twentieth century, crusading journalists and other critics scornfully labeled the leading business titans of the age, the “Robber Barons.” The term grew from the overwhelming power these industrial giants wielded over many aspects of society and the resentment those suffering under their yoke felt. Disgust with the power of corporate America and individuals like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J. P. Morgan led to the growth of the Progressive movement and to reform efforts, including antitrust legislation, and investigative journalism, or muckraking.

Robber Barons were vilified for using the capitalist system to exploit workers, form anti-competitive trusts, and place the accumulation of wealth above all else. The belief that the rich could use whatever means necessary to increase their riches seemed to counter the ideals upon which the United States was founded. Muckraking journalists such as Ida Tarbell, who wrote about the abuses of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, reinforced the idea that the Robber Barons were a destructive force, a group of soulless industrialists willing to circumvent laws to achieve supremacy.


OK, Businesses that flaunt the Law, well yes, THAT is a Problem!

But someone is watching them right? … If a Capitalist “goes too far” someone or something will stop it right? … maybe, but I wouldn’t bet on it!

for Updated Foreclosure Maps


A muckraker seeks to expose corruption of businesses or government to the public. The term originates from writers of the Progressive movement in America who wanted to expose corruption and scandals in government and business. Muckrakers often wrote about the wretchedness of urban life and poverty, and against the established institutions of society, such as big business. They were often accused of being socialists or communists.

Muckrakers were a significant part of reform in the United States in the 20th and 21st Centuries because of the freedom of the press provided for by the First Amendment of the Constitution. They played a significant role in the social justice movements for reform, and the campaigns to clean up cities and states, by constantly reporting and publicizing the dark corners of American society in a sensationalist way.


As mentioned before, the Muckrakers were part of the social justice movement during the Progressive era. During this time period, these journalists, through their research and constant exposure of the wrongdoing by officials in American public life, gave fuel to protests that led to investigations and later on reform of not only Corporate America but the American Government. The Muckrakers’ journalistic efforts helped reform and regulate Wall Street and aspects of big businesses.


So, If corporate corruption is the mucky problem, investigative muckraking may be the disinfectant!

Sunshine and the Truth, will set you free — or at least give you a fighting chance, to find that path to “World that Should Be”

What is muckraking journalism?

Muckraking is a term applied to journalists who use newspapers as a means of attacking injustice, exposing abuses, and circulating information about misconduct to the general public. The term was popularized in the late 1800s when some American journalists began to stray from reporting news events and started investigating and writing about prominent people and organizations. Concerned with exposing corruption in both business and politics, they helped raise awareness of social, economic, and political ills. Their work led to a number of reforms and legislative changes.


The Muckraking reporting of the Past, have given us what few Corporate protections, that theoretically, give us some vague semblance of Opportunity and Happiness today:

Antitrust Legislation

Antitrust Definition

However it is the Muckraking reporting of Today, that will help us to reclaim the waning security and dignity of the American Workers.  If were lucky, and very diligent … and LOUD and sensational ala Alan Grayson.

The Truth in Reporting is a weapon, for which the Top 1 Percent have little defense.

Here’s some fresh MUCK for you, in case you missed it:

U.S. derivatives bill addresses end user concerns

Fri Oct 9, 2009

By Kevin Drawbaugh and Christopher Doering



Derivatives are also used by companies ranging from airlines to agribusinesses to protect themselves from the risk of price movements and other changes affecting their operations — such as the price of fuel and other commodity prices.


It is important that there is “a clear line between the commercial end users and the large banks,” he said.

The Peterson bill also says the government cannot impose margin requirements on end users. Under the Treasury proposal and the financial services measure they would have that power.


The largely unregulated, $450 trillion OTC derivatives market includes credit default swaps, which are used to bet on whether a company will default on its bonds and have been widely blamed for amplifying the severe financial crisis last year that hammered economies worldwide.


Four large banks control over 90 percent of the U.S. derivatives market: JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Citigroup.


There is a legitimate use for derivatives futures, and then their is a speculative reckless use for them.

It is the latter that must be regulated.  The legislative debate is about to begin, that article is a good place to get up to speed. … Trust me, the Robber Barons, (aka Big Bankers) — already have!

The Progressive muckrakers, in the modern world, now surf the internet.

Stirring up the Truth though, is still as important, as it always was.

Exposing the Outrageous behavior of the Elite Class — is a battle, that is never quite put to rest. … at least not when the Filthy Rich have all the advantages, that the “Powers that Be”, possess.

We have what’s right on our side, they have their bank accounts.

Time will tell which force, wins the day …

Could be time to “muck out” those barns, again!

There seems to be no shortages of their “messes” to clean up. … That Top 1% is NOT a very tidy bunch, are they?

also posted on dkos


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    • jamess on October 11, 2009 at 02:27

    for citizen journalists,

    one and all.

  1. left that is relative to our predicament regarding the corporatists/technocrats vs. the populists in our party. It examines the history and development of populism in the democratic party and how it lost power to the neurtralism that has morphed into a Washington consensus around free market fundamentalism that led to the Bush Recession and Obama/Bush Bailout scheme.

    I hope everyone has time to take a look at it but here is a sample:

    When they made their deal with big business, the Democrats became a wonky party of technocrats and expert administrators who balanced all the various interests and came up with the answer which was best for everyone, and they distanced themselves from their earlier party-of-the-common-man pretensions. Rather than to represent the majority of the electorate, they increasingly defined their constituency as a hodgepodge of special interest. Political parties inevitably do represent plural interests, as the Democrats certainly had done ever since the Civil War, but the post-Fifties Democrats made a fractionated constituency a deliberate goal and did everything they could to avoid majoritarian appeals and to marginalize majoritarianism within the party.

    What is most interesting is discussion on how the establishment corporatist dems used McCarthy and the fake populists to smear economic and progressive populists within the democratic party.

    Check it out: http://www.openleft.com/diary/

    • BobbyK on October 12, 2009 at 00:27

    is that Dick Dasterdly without his side kick?

    His side kick dog had the coolest dog name ever:


    BTW, excellent post jamess!

  2. …a good one!

  3. Please correct me if I’m mistaken, but didn’t one of the first recorded incidences of muckraking occur in a book (fiction or non-fiction, that’s up to you) written about 1,800 or 1,900 years ago? Something about some hippie-lookin’ guy with long hair, beard and sandals that kick the butts of some Robber Barons and overturned their tables or threw them out of some temple or something on that order. Seems to me that caused quite a stir back then and I bet the local media was abuzz about it for a long time after that, heck they could still be talking about it as far as I know.

    I wonder how the kids at the Conservative New Testament project justify that little tidbit of moral relevance? Just a passing thought…thanks

    P.S. I’ve searched the whole of the interwebs for photos to post of said incidence, but alas there doesn’t seem to be any…could this be the first case of media censorship…please help!

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