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Groupon on defensive over Tibet ad

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, February 7, 2011 12:41 EDT
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WASHINGTON — Internet start-up Groupon was on the defensive Monday as it faced outrage for running a Super Bowl advertisement that highlighted Tibet’s woes to promote the online bargain site.

The commercial during Sunday evening’s game, the most-watched time of the year on US television, opens with mountain scenes set to a melancholy flute and the words, “The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their culture is in jeopardy.”

Actor Timothy Hutton then quips, “But they still whip up an amazing fish curry,” and explains how he used Groupon for a discount at a Tibetan restaurant in Chicago.

The advertisement set off furious messages on Twitter.

“Groupon’s Tibet commercial was so appalling it made me cancel their daily email; it turned a vague dislike into enmity,” Tad Friend, a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, wrote on the micro-blogging service.

Musician Paco Mahone of Pittsburgh tweeted: “Glad I never heard of Groupon and glad I will never use them after that horrible Super Bowl commercial.”

An unscientific poll on The Huffington Post, a left-leaning news site, found that some 45 percent of viewers found the advertisement “completely inappropriate” and many more were somewhat taken aback.

Rohit Bhargava, who blogs about marketing, tweeted: “Groupon seems to have achieved the unique feat of paying $3 (million) to lose customers who previously loved them.”

Groupon, a Chicago-based company that has grown rapidly since its inception in 2008, acknowledged a “peculiar taste in humor” but said it in fact supported Tibetan causes.

Groupon said it was matching donations of up to $100,000 to three charities including the Tibet Fund, which supports jobs for Tibetan refugees.

Explaining the joke, the company said that its founders started in the world of philanthropy but have “ended up selling coupons.”

“We loved the idea of poking fun at ourselves by talking about discounts as a noble cause,” the company said in a blog post.

Incidentally, despite the fish curry reference, Tibetans are not known for eating seafood as the Himalayan territory is far from the sea.

The Groupon advertisement came just days after fashion designer Kenneth Cole got a harsh dressing down for posting a message on Twitter that played on the turmoil in Egypt to promote his latest fashion line.

Cole later apologized for his “insensitive tweet about the situation in Egypt.”

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  • Anonymous

    What idiots do they have in their marketing dept????

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think it’s offensive, but it’s definitely a jerk thing to do.

  • Anonymous

    That was the weirdest ad I’ve ever seen. I’m still shakin’ my head. Talk about buzz kill.

  • http://www.myspace.com/dermezel Megaprole

    Tibet was a theocratic slave-state prior to Liberation by the People’s Republic:

    http://www.michaelparenti.org/Tibet.html

    “Whatever wrongs and new oppressions introduced by the Chinese after 1959, they did abolish slavery and the Tibetan serfdom system of unpaid labor. They eliminated the many crushing taxes, started work projects, and greatly reduced unemployment and beggary. They established secular schools, thereby breaking the educational monopoly of the monasteries. And they constructed running water and electrical systems in Lhasa.32″

    They also freed women and doubled life expectancy.

    And consider the source of the criticisms:

    “By 1961, Chinese occupation authorities expropriated the landed estates owned by lords and lamas. They distributed many thousands of acres to tenant farmers and landless peasants, reorganizing them into hundreds of communes.. Herds once owned by nobility were turned over to collectives of poor shepherds. Improvements were made in the breeding of livestock, and new varieties of vegetables and new strains of wheat and barley were introduced, along with irrigation improvements, all of which reportedly led to an increase in agrarian production.34

    Many peasants remained as religious as ever, giving alms to the clergy. But monks who had been conscripted as children into the religious orders were now free to renounce the monastic life, and thousands did, especially the younger ones. The remaining clergy lived on modest government stipends and extra income earned by officiating at prayer services, weddings, and funerals.35

    Both the Dalai Lama and his advisor and youngest brother, Tendzin Choegyal, claimed that “more than 1.2 million Tibetans are dead as a result of the Chinese occupation.”36 The official 1953 census–six years before the Chinese crackdown–recorded the entire population residing in Tibet at 1,274,000.37 Other census counts put the population within Tibet at about two million. If the Chinese killed 1.2 million in the early 1960s then almost all of Tibet, would have been depopulated.”

  • http://www.myspace.com/dermezel Megaprole

    Religion is also more free in Tibet now then under the Lamas since minority forms of Buddhism and other religions are no longer completely outlawed:

    “A reading of Tibet’s history suggests a somewhat different picture. “Religious conflict was commonplace in old Tibet,” writes one western Buddhist practitioner. “History belies the Shangri-La image of Tibetan lamas and their followers living together in mutual tolerance and nonviolent goodwill. Indeed, the situation was quite different. Old Tibet was much more like Europe during the religious wars of the Counterreformation.” 5 In the thirteenth century, Emperor Kublai Khan created the first Grand Lama, who was to preside over all the other lamas as might a pope over his bishops. Several centuries later, the Emperor of China sent an army into Tibet to support the Grand Lama, an ambitious 25-year-old man, who then gave himself the title of Dalai (Ocean) Lama, ruler of all Tibet.

    His two previous lama “incarnations” were then retroactively recognized as his predecessors, thereby transforming the 1st Dalai Lama into the 3rd Dalai Lama. This 1st (or 3rd) Dalai Lama seized monasteries that did not belong to his sect, and is believed to have destroyed Buddhist writings that conflicted with his claim to divinity. The Dalai Lama who succeeded him pursued a sybaritic life, enjoying many mistresses, partying with friends, and acting in other ways deemed unfitting for an incarnate deity. For these transgressions he was murdered by his priests. Within 170 years, despite their recognized divine status, five Dalai Lamas were killed by their high priests or other courtiers. 6

    For hundreds of years competing Tibetan Buddhist sects engaged in bitterly violent clashes and summary executions. In 1660, the 5th Dalai Lama was faced with a rebellion in Tsang province, the stronghold of the rival Kagyu sect with its high lama known as the Karmapa. The 5th Dalai Lama called for harsh retribution against the rebels, directing the Mongol army to obliterate the male and female lines, and the offspring too “like eggs smashed against rocks…. In short, annihilate any traces of them, even their names. 7″

    But just keep on supporting CIA Operations if you feel like it:

    For the rich lamas and secular lords, the Communist intervention was an unmitigated calamity. Most of them fled abroad, as did the Dalai Lama himself, who was assisted in his flight by the CIA. Some discovered to their horror that they would have to work for a living. Many, however, escaped that fate. Throughout the 1960s, the Tibetan exile community was secretly pocketing $1.7 million a year from the CIA, according to documents released by the State Department in 1998. Once this fact was publicized, the Dalai Lama’s organization itself issued a statement admitting that it had received millions of dollars from the CIA during the 1960s to send armed squads of exiles into Tibet to undermine the Maoist revolution. The Dalai Lama’s annual payment from the CIA was $186,000. Indian intelligence also financed both him and other Tibetan exiles. He has refused to say whether he or his brothers worked for the CIA. The agency has also declined to comment.44

    To this day the CIA/NATO back the Lama, and they are pretty much the only groups which do so besides idiots who can be tricked into another “Colored Revolution” like those that destroyed Russia and turned it into a Third World country with sewer children:

    “Many ordinary Tibetans want the Dalai Lama back in their country, but it appears that relatively few want a return to the social order he represented. A 1999 story in the Washington Post notes that the Dalai Lama continues to be revered in Tibet, but

    . . . few Tibetans would welcome a return of the corrupt aristocratic clans that fled with him in 1959 and that comprise the bulk of his advisers. Many Tibetan farmers, for example, have no interest in surrendering the land they gained during China’s land reform to the clans. Tibet’s former slaves say they, too, don’t want their former masters to return to power. “I’ve already lived that life once before,” said Wangchuk, a 67-year-old former slave who was wearing his best clothes for his yearly pilgrimage to Shigatse, one of the holiest sites of Tibetan Buddhism. He said he worshipped the Dalai Lama, but added, “I may not be free under Chinese communism, but I am better off than when I was a slave.”57

    Nobody in Tibet wants to go back to feudalism. If you think feudalism is as fun as the CIA says it is, I suggest you try moving to Saudi Arabia or whatever few monarchies remain for a week.

  • Cussin’ Jack

    Yeah, that was a real WTF moment.

    (Sarah made me do it.)

  • ComradeRutherford

    Wow, Megaprole, spoken like a true Maoist. Let’s all celebrate the total annihilation of what little is left of the unique Tibetan culture. Let’s rejoice in China’s plan to make Tibet far, far worse than it ever was under the iron rule of the monks.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/KXMM5MVAYZHUSPNY3W7Y57F2QI Laszlo

    I’d never heard of Groupon, though it is hardly surprising for an internet company to make tasteless jokes. But WTF was Timothy Hutton thinking?

  • http://theelvesattic.blogspot.com JOHN SCOTT RIDGWAY

    Hopefully they will fire their advertisement firm. I will still use Groupon because the decision does not mean that everyone at the company should suffer. They are hiring a lot of people in Chicago, and are a young company. They will learn a lesson about how self-absorbed they are, or they won’t… like anyone. They made a mistake. Making too much out of a football ad is what makes people think the left is nuts…. and mind you, I majored in Language Philosophies and like the PC movement… but there is a huge difference between telling someone they made a mistake and threatening their lively hood.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2NPRPRYZC3RF424Y4G4NKPY3FM Anya O

    I saw this ad yesterday. There were about 6 of us watching the superbowl together and when we saw the ad, all of us looked at eachother like, “did you just saw what I did? did that really just happen?” That ad was completely tacky and tasteless.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/PSKROFVS7E4PVTI2CEPLFWEJII John

    They are now the Grey Groupon.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2NPRPRYZC3RF424Y4G4NKPY3FM Anya O

    It doesn’t matter what the people thought of their Tibetan government considering that HARDLY gave China a good reason to do what they did and what they are continuing to do over there. Just like every other supposedly oppressed society, they need to fight for their own freedom unless being met with untold violence such as genocide. I suppose you also support what the US is doing to free people in the Middle East? Just blow them up until they realize what a great thing democracy is?

  • Anonymous

    Don’t worry. With any luck, The Chinese will appreciate the commercial and invite Groupon to expand in China.

  • enorceht

    “An unscientific poll on The Huffington Post, a left-leaning news site, found that some 45 percent of viewers found the advertisement “completely inappropriate”…”

    does that mean on the right-leaning news sites they found it a-ok ?

    or

    “Groupon said it was matching donations of up to $100,000 to three charities including the Tibet Fund, which supports jobs for Tibetan refugees.

    did they run the commercial by the Tibetan refugees and ask what their feelings were ?

  • http://www.myspace.com/dermezel Megaprole

    You are so playing on stereotypes it is not even funny.

    http://www0.chinadaily.com.cn/china/////2010-02/10/content_9459135.htm

    “70,000 Buddhists gather to celebrate Tibetan festival”

    The State sponsors Tibetan festivals.

    Also: “The life expectancy in Tibet has almost doubled in the past half century, from an average of 35.5 years to 67 years.”

    Anyways I didn’t know theocracy, slavery, serfdom, child sex slaves/torturte was really part of “culture”. If that’s the case I guess the kiddy porn rings of India are the most cultured places on Earth. Same with the Hostels of Eastern Europe.

    As for my beliefs: Trotkyist. China is a Deformed Workers State- which means unless it links up to a Healthy Workers State it will eventually turn counter-rev like Russia did.

    Do you have any idea at all of what effect the fall of the USSR had on Russia?

  • Anonymous

    Groupon is a great site, but for PR purposes, that ad should have a “made in China” label.

  • http://www.myspace.com/dermezel Megaprole

    So the way the CIA suckers normally Leftist/Liberal people into their Cold War mindset is to make them feel like their middle class privileges are threatened.

    Nobody wants to be at the bottom. Especially people like the Middle Classes living pay check to pay check.

    They went through college, built up a debt, feel educated cause they learned a technical field, and the idea that they are equal to a “Chinese person” or a Mexican, or a Russian or any other proletariat is very scary to them.

    That is why one middle class guy, almost in tears, told me he didn’t want to ride the bus because he didn’t want to be ride with “the Mexicans.”

    This whole Tibet thing is a GOP/Right-Wing strat to create FEAR.

    FEAR China, FEAR North Korea, FEAR Iran. Advocate a Cold War to “FREE” Tibet back to capitalism/the Lamas.

    Because according to polls Democrats win handsdown unless the US feels threatened by an enemy. So they got to keep somebody afraid, and the people concerned with Foreign issues they have zero knowledge of and power over, that way they don’t focus as much on say the fact that they are losing their Social Security, Healthcare, and all the Jobs are being taken away by Corporations.

    That is why all these Yuppie idiots supporting Capitalist Restoration in Russia, not giving a damn about how the people were effected at all.

    To quote Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine:

    As a result, Yeltsin’s popularity plunged so he did what all desperate leaders do to hold power with the next election to worry about. He began a war in 1994 in the breakaway Chechen republic killing 100,000 civilians by the late 90s. Elections were held in 1996, and Yeltsin won by overcoming his low approval ratings with huge oligarch-funding and near-total control of television coverage. He then quietly handed power to Vladimir Putin on December 31, 1999 without an election but with the stipulation he was exempt from criminal prosecution. His legacy was devastating with Klein noting “never have so many lost so much in so short a time.” When Russia’s 1998 financial crisis hit:

    – 80% of Russia’s farmers were bankrupt;

    – around 70,000 states factories had closed;

    – an “epidemic” of unemployment raged;

    – before shock therapy in 1989, two million Russians lived in poverty on less than $4 a day; by the mid-90s, the World Bank estimated 74 million were impoverished and by 1996 conditions for 25% (almost 37 million) Russians were “desperate” and the country’s underclass remained permanent;

    – Russians drink twice as much now as before; painkilling and hard drug use increased 900%, and HIV/AIDS threatens to become epidemic with a 20-fold jump in infections since 1995; suicides are also rising, and violent crime increased more than fourfold; and

    – Russia’s population is declining by 700,000 a year with capitalism having already having killed off 10% of it as one more example of free market-inflicted disaster. That’s the brave new world disease spreading everywhere with another scorched-earth stop below. Friedman called it “freedom.”

    What makes you think for like 2 seconds the same will not happen to Tibet and China once capitalism is restored?

    As of now they are not truly socialist because they are not democratic, but the means of production is collectivized. You cannot legally own, or inherit large amounts of property in China.

    And they actually arrest crooks who ruin the economy, see China arrests their richest man for breaking the law:

    http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2010/05/18/in-china-contacts-are-everything/

    Now if we could do that to Goldman, or Bush, or Cheney then maybe you can talk. But as long as the US is run by criminals, you have very little right to criticize Chinese policy.

    Free Tibet? Why don’t you Free Iraq First!

  • http://www.myspace.com/dermezel Megaprole

    Why? I mean your pissed because the Chinese proved a collectivized economy, that is at least 80% State Owned and Run can beat capitalist economies at the free market?

    http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=47541&t=China:+++Communist+Party+controls+wealth+and+big+state+owned+enterprises

    “In China, 129 state-owned companies enjoy monopolistic status in key sectors like oil, gas and telecommunications, representing more than half of the country’s GDP. Through them, the Communist Party has direct control over the nation’s wealth, at the expense of private companies ”

    The Chinese leadership has seen the problems caused by the rise of the Russian oligarchs after the wholesale sell-off of major state assets.

    Although the pull-back on privatisation and re-emergence of the state was effectively a policy decision, it has been exacerbated by the massive 400 trillion yuan ($609 billion) stimulus package that was the Chinese government’s all-too-effective response to the global financial crisis.

    In the largely infrastructure-based stimulus, the state companies that still dominated heavy industry, construction and transport, as well as cement and steel manufacturing, have benefited.

    And there are other more insidious forces at work with Communist Party cadres at local and city levels hand-in-glove with businesses.

    Successful private businesses are pressured by state companies, often with the coercive help of local law-enforcement and judicial authorities, to sell to local state-owned enterprises.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/china-privatisation-machine-into-reverse/story-e6frg8zx-1225995084947

    The Right-Wingers and sell out Yuppies are pissed because China’s economy is GOVERNMENT RUN and THE FASTEST GROWING ECONOMY IN THE WORLD.

    This destroys, completely and utterly the delusion that privatization and free markets increase efficiency.

    And China isn’t even socialist yet. It is just collectivized/state ownership and it is doing much better then capitalist countries.

    And they are reversing privatization. That is why the capitalists/corporate leaders are pissed.

  • Anonymous

    I prefer liberty and all the flaws that come with it. And I was really just making a joke that you don’t hear much about successful Chinese ad agencies(I am sure that is one thing they outsource to us).

    The vast majority of Chinese people are much, much poorer than our poorest, so I will keep our system. And political dissent is a nice feature of society, but they frown upon that in China. There is no Raw Story in China, I assure you.

  • http://www.myspace.com/dermezel Megaprole

    “I prefer liberty and all the flaws that come with it. ”

    BS. Goldman Sachs and the other CEOs and Shareholders are the biggest threat to our liberty today. It was the Market Fundamentalists that established Homeland Security, Secret Prisons, and Illegal Wars- not the Communists.

    “The vast majority of Chinese people are much, much poorer than our poorest”

    Because they started roughly 100 years behind. The Euyropean Imperialists raided China for nearly a century. After that the Nationalists gave Foreign Companies free privilege to basically milk China for all its wealth.

    It’s only been 60 years since the Communist Revolution. In that 60 years they went from Agrarian economy, to Fastest growing economy in the world, doubling income every 10 years for the average person.

    You are going by that stupid Libertarian Political Quiz which is like “Economic Freedom vs Economic Authoritarianism”.

    According to that chart Welfare, Social Security, Public Schools are “Economic Tyranny” if we only Privatized Everything we would all be free in happy in Ayn Rand’s “Utopia of Greed”.

  • http://www.myspace.com/dermezel Megaprole

    Also the claim that Stalin killed 20-50 million citizens of the USSR (something like 1/5th the population, about 15 times the Holocaust) comes from none other then William Randolph Hearst:

    William Hearst – Friend of Hitler

    William Randolph Hearst is the name of a multi-millionaire who sought to help the Nazis in their psychological warfare against the Soviet Union. Hearst was a well-known US newspaper proprietor known as the `father’ of the so-called `yellow press’, i.e., the sensationalist press. William Hearst began his career as a newspaper editor in 1885 when his father, George Hearst, a millionaire mining industrialist, Senator and newspaper proprietor himself, put him in charge of the San Francisco Daily Examiner.

    This was also the start of the Hearst newspaper empire, an empire which strongly influenced the lives and thinking of North Americans. After his father died, William Hearst sold all the mining industry shares he inherited and began to invest capital in the world of journalism. His first purchase was the New York Morning Journal, a traditional newspaper which Hearst completely transformed into a sensationalist rag. He bought his stories at any price, and when there were no atrocities or crimes to report, it behoved his journalists and photographers to `arrange’ matters. It is this which in fact characterises the `yellow press’: lies and `arranged’ atrocities served up as truth.

    These lies of Hearst’s made him a millionaire and a very important personage in the newspaper world. In 1935 he was one of the richest men in the world, with a fortune estimated at $200 million. After his purchase of the Morning Journal, Hearst went on to buy and establish daily and weekly newspapers throughout the US. In the 1940s, William Hearst owned 25 daily newspapers, 24 weekly newspapers, 12 radio stations, 2 world news services, one business providing news items for films, the Cosmopolitan film company, and a lot of others. In 1948 he bought one of the US’s first TV stations, BWAL – TV in Baltimore. Hearst’s newspapers sold 13 million copies a day and had close to 40 million readers. Almost a third of the adult population of the US were reading Hearst newspapers every day. Furthermore, many millions of people throughout the world received information from the Hearst press via his news services, films and a series of newspapers that were translated and published in large quantities all over the world. The figures quoted above demonstrate how the Hearst empire was able to influence American politics, and indeed world politics, over very many years – on issues which included opposition to the US entering the Second World War on the side of the Soviet Union and support for the McCarthyite anti-communist witch-hunts of the 1950s.

    William Hearst’s outlook was ultra-conservative, nationalist and anti-communist. His politics were the politics of the extreme right. In 1934 he travelled to Germany, where he was received by Hitler as a guest and friend. After this trip, Hearst’s newspapers became even more reactionary, always carrying articles against socialism, against the Soviet Union and especially against Stalin. Hearst also tried to use his newspapers for overt Nazi propaganda purposes, publishing a series of articles by Goering, Hitler’s right-hand man. The protests of many readers, however, forced him to stop publishing such items and to withdraw them from circulation.

    After his visit to Hitler, Hearst’s sensationalist newspapers were filled with `revelations’ about the terrible happenings in the Soviet Union – murders, genocide, slavery, luxury for the rulers and starvation for the people, all these were the big news items almost every day. The material was provided to Hearst by the Gestapo, Nazi Germany’s political police. On the front pages of the newspapers there often appeared caricatures and falsified pictures of the Soviet Union, with Stalin portrayed as a murderer holding a dagger in his hand. We should not forget that these articles were read each day by 40 million people in the US and millions of others worldwide! ”

    http://www.stalinsociety.org.uk/lies.html#William%20Hearst

    The myth concerning the famine in the Ukraine

    One of the first campaigns of the Hearst press against the Soviet Union revolved round the question of the millions alleged to have died as a result of the Ukraine famine. This campaign began on 18 February 1935 with a front-page headline in the Chicago American `6 million people die of hunger in the Soviet Union’. Using material supplied by Nazi Germany, William Hearst, the press baron and Nazi sympathiser, began to publish fabricated stories about a genocide which was supposed to have been deliberately perpetrated by the Bolsheviks and had caused several million to die of starvation in the Ukraine. The truth of the matter was altogether different. In fact what took place in the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1930s was a major class struggle in which poor landless peasants had risen up against the rich landowners, the kulaks, and had begun a struggle for collectivisation, a struggle to form kolkhozes.

    This great class struggle, involving directly or indirectly some 120 million peasants, certainly gave rise to instability in agricultural production and food shortages in some regions. Lack of food did weaken people, which in turn led to an increase in the number falling victim to epidemic diseases. These diseases were at that time regrettably common throughout the world. Between 1918 and 1920 an epidemic of Spanish flu caused the death of 20 million people in the US and Europe, but nobody accused the governments of these countries of killing their own citizens. The fact is that there was nothing these government could do in the face of epidemics of this kind. It was only with the development of penicillin during the second world war, that it became possible for such epidemics to be effectively contained. This did not become generally available until towards the end of the 1940s.

    The Hearst press articles, asserting that millions were dying of famine in the Ukraine – a famine supposedly deliberately provoked by the communists, went into graphic and lurid detail. The Hearst press used every means possible to make their lies seem like the truth, and succeeded in causing public opinion in the capitalist countries to turn sharply against the Soviet Union. This was the origin of the first giant myth manufactured alleging millions were dying in the Soviet Union. In the wave of protests against the supposedly communist-provoked famine which the Western press unleashed, nobody was interested in listening to the Soviet Union’s denials and complete exposure of the Hearst press lies, a situation which prevailed from 1934 until 1987! For more than 50 years several generations of people the world over were brought up on a diet of these slanders to harbour a negative view of socialism in the Soviet Union.

    The Hearst mass media empire in 1998

    William Hearst died in 1951 at his house in Beverley Hills, California. Hearst left behind him a mass-media empire which to this day continues to spread his reactionary message throughout the world. The Hearst Corporation is one of the largest enterprises in the world, incorporating more than 100 companies and employing 15,000 people. The Hearst empire today comprises newspapers, magazines, books, radio, TV, cable TV, news agencies and multimedia. ”

    The same guy who made Reefer Madness is the original source of the USSR mass murdering millions.

    I’m not saying Stalin was anything but an idiotic, bloodthirsty monster. But the idea that the USSR killed more then the Nazis, with less means, and no plan, and no Death Camps, is patently false. The actual numbers are more like 10s to 100s of thousands– still a hell of a lot, but less then most capitalist countries.

    The reasons they do this is obvious. The Rich Bourgeoisie are roughly 10,000 people in number. In a country of 300 million they are surrounded and ountnumbered 100 of thousands to one. If we ever realized that all these pro-corporate, fundy market ideas that we “NEED” them are BS they are fucked. So they have to keep us busy with scare stories about the USSR and how the Nazis were socialist, even though the Nazis were super-pro free market:”

    http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2007/09/27/fascism-a-false-revolution-by-michael-parenti-1996/

    “Who did Mussolini and Hitler support once they seized state power? In both countries a strikingly similar agenda was pursued. Labor unions and strikes were outlawed, union property and publications were confiscated, farm cooperatives were handed over to rich private owners, big agribusiness farming was heavily subsidized. In both Germany and Italy the already modest wages of the workers were cut drastically; in Germany, from 25-40%; in Italy, 50%. In both countries the minimum wage laws, overtime pay, and factory safety regulations were abolished or turned into dead letters. Taxes were increased for the general populace, but lowered or eliminated for the rich and big business. Inheritance taxes for the wealthy were greatly reduced or abolished. Both Mussolini and Hitler showed their gratitude to their business patrons by handing over to them publicly owned and perfectly solvent steel mills, power plants, banks, steamship companies (”privatization,” it’s called here). Both regimes dipped heavily into the public treasury to refloat or subsidize heavy industry (corporate welfarism). Both states guaranteed a return on the capital invested by giant corporations and assumed most of the risks and losses on investment. (Sounds like S&Ls, doesn’t it?)

    As in all reactionary regimes, public capital was raided by private capital. As a result, in Italy during the 1930s the economy was gripped by recession, a staggering public debt, and widespread corruption, but industrial profits rose, and the armaments factories busily rolled out the weapons. In Germany, unemployment was eased somewhat because of the massive arms program and the arms spending. But generally, poverty increased. But from 1935-1943, the net income of German corporate leaders rose 46%. In both countries, the conditions of labor deteriorated greatly: speed-ups, dismissals, imprisonment for workers who complained about unsafe or inhumane work conditions, longer hours for less wages.”

    Nazis were not socialist, they were pro-privatization and free market

    And the upper classes of the US supported them in the 20s and early 30s. Now they are trying to white wash their history and willing to say anything, no matter how far fetched the lie to protect their wealth from a Socialist Revolution.

  • Anonymous

    First, take a breath and calm down. I like a good exchange, but I can hear you yelling through my keyboard. And when I make an opinionated statement, you calling it BS will not change my mind. But to the facts…

    China is 100 years behind? They have been around thousands of years longer than the United States. They just starting using our ideas in the last 100 years. They are slowly adopting what we pioneered, but without the fringe benefits of being your own boss.

    Shareholders are evil? What is wrong with getting ahead for your family and investing some money?

    And I never said anything that should make you believe I advocate for the privatization of social security or public education.

  • http://www.myspace.com/dermezel Megaprole

    “Shareholders are evil? What is wrong with getting ahead for your family and investing some money?

    Because the very basis of it was theft from the get-go. Theft from the Working Class, the Peasantry and non-European civilizations.

    All this is is inherited theft.

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch27.htm

    “In England, serfdom had practically disappeared in the last part of the 14th century. The immense majority of the population [1] consisted then, and to a still larger extent, in the 15th century, of free peasant proprietors, whatever was the feudal title under which their right of property was hidden. In the larger seignorial domains, the old bailiff, himself a serf, was displaced by the free farmer. The wage labourers of agriculture consisted partly of peasants, who utilised their leisure time by working on the large estates, partly of an independent special class of wage labourers, relatively and absolutely few in numbers. The latter also were practically at the same time peasant farmers, since, besides their wages, they had allotted to them arable land to the extent of 4 or more acres, together with their cottages. Besides they, with the rest of the peasants, enjoyed the usufruct of the common land, which gave pasture to their cattle, furnished them with timber, fire-wood, turf, &c. [2] In all countries of Europe, feudal production is characterised by division of the soil amongst the greatest possible number of subfeudatories. The might of the feudal lord, like that of the sovereign, depended not on the length of his rent roll, but on the number of his subjects, and the latter depended on the number of peasant proprietors. [3] Although, therefore, the English land, after the Norman Conquest, was distributed in gigantic baronies, one of which often included some 900 of the old Anglo-Saxon lordships, it was bestrewn with small peasant properties, only here and there interspersed with great seignorial domains. Such conditions, together with the prosperity of the towns so characteristic of the 15th century, allowed of that wealth of the people which Chancellor Fortescue so eloquently paints in his “Laudes legum Angliae;” but it excluded the possibility of capitalistic wealth.

    The prelude of the revolution that laid the foundation of the capitalist mode of production, was played in the last third of the 15th, and the first decade of the 16th century. A mass of free proletarians was hurled on the labour market by the breaking-up of the bands of feudal retainers, who, as Sir James Steuart well says, “everywhere uselessly filled house and castle.” Although the royal power, itself a product of bourgeois development, in its strife after absolute sovereignty forcibly hastened on the dissolution of these bands of retainers, it was by no means the sole cause of it. In insolent conflict with king and parliament, the great feudal lords created an incomparably larger proletariat by the forcible driving of the peasantry from the land, to which the latter had the same feudal right as the lord himself, and by the usurpation of the common lands. The rapid rise of the Flemish wool manufactures, and the corresponding rise in the price of wool in England, gave the direct impulse to these evictions. The old nobility had been devoured by the great feudal wars. The new nobility was the child of its time, for which money was the power of all powers. Transformation of arable land into sheep-walks was, therefore, its cry. Harrison, in his “Description of England, prefixed to Holinshed’s Chronicles,” describes how the expropriation of small peasants is ruining the country. “What care our great encroachers?” The dwellings of the peasants and the cottages of the labourers were razed to the ground or doomed to decay. “If,” says Harrison, “the old records of euerie manour be sought… it will soon appear that in some manour seventeene, eighteene, or twentie houses are shrunk… that England was neuer less furnished with people than at the present… Of cities and townes either utterly decaied or more than a quarter or half diminished, though some one be a little increased here or there; of townes pulled downe for sheepe-walks, and no more but the lordships now standing in them… I could saie somewhat.” The complaints of these old chroniclers are always exaggerated, but they reflect faithfully the impression made on contemporaries by the revolution in the conditions of production. A comparison of the writings of Chancellor Fortescue and Thomas More reveals the gulf between the 15th and 16th century. As Thornton rightly has it, the English working class was precipitated without any transition from its golden into its iron age.

    Legislation was terrified at this revolution. It did not yet stand on that height of civilization where the “wealth of the nation” (i.e., the formation of capital, and the reckless exploitation and impoverishing of the mass of the people) figure as the ultima Thule of all state-craft. In his history of Henry VII., Bacon says: “Inclosures at that time (1489) began to be more frequent, whereby arable land (which could not be manured without people and families) was turned into pasture, which was easily rid by a few herdsmen; and tenancies for years, lives, and at will (whereupon much of the yeomanry lived) were turned into demesnes. This bred a decay of people, and (by consequence) a decay of towns, churches, tithes, and the like… In remedying of this inconvenience the king’s wisdom was admirable, and the parliament’s at that time… they took a course to take away depopulating enclosures, and depopulating pasturage.” An Act of Henry VII., 1489, cap. 19, forbad the destruction of all “houses of husbandry” to which at least 20 acres of land belonged. By an Act, 25 Henry VIII., the same law was renewed. It recites, among other things, that many farms and large flocks of cattle, especially of sheep, are concentrated in the hands of a few men, whereby the rent of land has much risen and tillage has fallen off, churches and houses have been pulled down, and marvellous numbers of people have been deprived of the means wherewith to maintain themselves and their families. The Act, therefore, ordains the rebuilding of the decayed farmsteads, and fixes a proportion between corn land and pasture land, &c. An Act of 1533 recites that some owners possess 24,000 sheep, and limits the number to be owned to 2,000. [4] The cry of the people and the legislation directed, for 150 years after Henry VII., against the expropriation of the small farmers and peasants, were alike fruitless. The secret of their inefficiency Bacon, without knowing it, reveals to us. “The device of King Henry VII.,” says Bacon, in his “Essays, Civil and Moral,” Essay 29, “was profound and admirable, in making farms and houses of husbandry of a standard; that is, maintained with such a proportion of land unto them as may breed a subject to live in convenient plenty, and no servile condition, and to keep the plough in the hands of the owners and not mere hirelings.” [5] What the capitalist system demanded was, on the other hand, a degraded and almost servile condition of the mass of the people, the transformation of them into mercenaries, and of their means of labour into capital. During this transformation period, legislation also strove to retain the 4 acres of land by the cottage of the agricultural wage labourer, and forbad him to take lodgers into his cottage. In the reign of James I., 1627, Roger Crocker of Front Mill, was condemned for having built a cottage on the manor of Front Mill without 4 acres of land attached to the same in perpetuity. As late as Charles I.’s reign, 1638, a royal commission was appointed to enforce the carrying out of the old laws, especially that referring to the 4 acres of land. Even in Cromwell’s time, the building of a house within 4 miles of London was forbidden unless it was endowed with 4 acres of land. As late as the first half of the 18th century complaint is made if the cottage of the agricultural labourer has not an adjunct of one or two acres of land. Nowadays he is lucky if it is furnished with a little garden, or if he may rent, far away from his cottage, a few roods. “Landlords and farmers,” says Dr. Hunter, “work here hand in hand. A few acres to the cottage would make the labourers too independent.” [6]

    The process of forcible expropriation of the people received in the 16th century a new and frightful impulse from the Reformation, and from the consequent colossal spoliation of the church property. The Catholic church was, at the time of the Reformation, feudal proprietor of a great part of the English land. The suppression of the monasteries, &c., hurled their inmates into the proletariat. The estates of the church were to a large extent given away to rapacious royal favourites, or sold at a nominal price to speculating farmers and citizens, who drove out, en masse, the hereditary sub-tenants and threw their holdings into one. The legally guaranteed property of the poorer folk in a part of the church’s tithes was tacitly confiscated. [7] “Pauper ubique jacet,” cried Queen Elizabeth, after a journey through England. In the 43rd year of her reign the nation was obliged to recognise pauperism officially by the introduction of a poor-rate. “The authors of this law seem to have been ashamed to state the grounds of it, for [contrary to traditional usage] it has no preamble whatever.” [8] By the 16th of Charles I., ch. 4, it was declared perpetual, and in fact only in 1834 did it take a new and harsher form. [9] These immediate results of the Reformation were not its most lasting ones. The property of the church formed the religious bulwark of the traditional conditions of landed property. With its fall these were no longer tenable. [10]

    Capitalism started in England with the stealing of Peasant land by Rich farmers with connections to the Feudal Lords.

    It is not based on hard work. People in Third World Free Trade Hellholes work 10 times harder then any rich brat shareholder. Do they get anything to leave their kids? Maybe a massive debt.

  • Anonymous

    Groupon defended their insensitive commercial about Tibet by saying that they love to poke fun at themselves? That just does not track somehow. I am glad that Groupon supports Tibetan refugees but what does it say to the football crowd?

  • http://twitter.com/Dermezel Jacob Guevara

    Okay, you know the CIA is behind the Free Tibet movement right?

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8442

    What do you think will happen to these people if Tibet is “freed” and corporations enter the picture? Do you think they will get Government Housing and State provided Water service? If they can’t get access to free water, are you going to consider this decision to support the Free Tibet movement a responsible one?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_N6BJ56PKHQMYMIH3LYCOQC233I Sidd

    Screw Groupon. Free Tibet!

  • Jaimie11

    Oh I understand – self-determination Chinese style. So much like the British/American method of liberating people. And the Nazi method: We thought “Work will make you free” was a jaded perversion. At least, “Death will make you free” is much more honest.

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