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Billionaire Ken Langone Walks Back Nazi Comment

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Billionaire Ken Langone Walks Back Nazi Comment


Billionaire political donor Ken Langone has acknowledged that his recent comments comparing Nazi Germany to the current populist fervor in the United States “may well have been [inappropriate].”

On Tuesday morning, Politico published a report tracing populist sentiment in the United States and the subsequent response by wealthy donors, who fear the worst. How bad is it for the embattled 1 percent? According to Langone, the populist climate in the United States is similar to Germany just prior to the rise of the Third Reich.

“I hope it’s not working,” Langone told Politico. “Because if you go back to 1933, with different words, this is what Hitler was saying in Germany. You don’t survive as a society if you encourage and thrive on envy or jealousy.”

Later on Tuesday, the billionaire walked back his claims in a statement. “My remarks were intended to discourage pitting one group against another group in a society,” he said. “If my choice of words was inappropriate — and [it] well may have been that — I extend my profound apologies to anyone and everyone who I may have offended.”

Despite his quickly issued — and carefully worded — apology, Langone’s initial comparison between U.S. populism and totalitarianism in Europe has become increasingly popular with the Masters of the Universe crowd.

The latest (possibly satirical) example of this ignorant rhetoric was published Wednesday in The New York Observer. “I feel like I’m living in East Germany or Moscow,” a Wall Street worker is said to have told the Observer of life on Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side. The Wall Streeter continued his analysis of the largest U.S. metropolis: “It’s not a Woody Allen movie anymore. It’s Moscow on the Hudson.”

Amazingly, Langone is not the first U.S. billionaire to make a Nazi analogy. Venture capitalist Tom Perkins famously wrote a January 24 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, which included lines like: “I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich.'”

So while Langone acknowledged his recent Nazi comment may have gone too far, it did provide another blatant example of misplaced fear by the paranoid 1 percent.

To ensure his wealth remains safe from the many populist forces closing in, maybe Langone should refocus… and fight the real enemy.

Screenshot: YouTube



  1. RobertSeattle March 19, 2014

    If you have a net worth over 1 million (not a billion) dollars your “play the victim” card is hereby revoked.

  2. Budjob March 20, 2014

    Just another wealthy ASSHOLE that has nothing better to do than spread his bullshit.With a little bit of luck,just maybe people of your persuasion will contract an inoperable disease!!! I don’t have a problem with the wealthy in the U.S. it’s the way they disperse their wealth! fifteen million dollars for a painting,twenty million dollars for a sculpture.Yeah,I find it obscenely ostentatious!!!

    1. darkagesbegin March 20, 2014

      better to spend it buying art than Senators and Representatives, thereby enslaving us

      1. Budjob March 20, 2014

        Say there dark,I think a much better way to spend some of their millions would be to provide FOOD for the twenty million children that go to bed hungry EVERY NIGHT in this the WEALTHIEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!!!

        1. plc97477 March 23, 2014

          I think the way they should spend their ill gotten wealth is to give their workers enough money to pull them out of poverty.

      2. Russell Byrd March 21, 2014

        It might not be so bad, if the Pols that they buy, are stuffed and mounted above their mantels.

        1. plc97477 March 23, 2014

          Good idea. I would go along with that.

    2. DurdyDawg March 22, 2014

      And don’t forget: While at the same time begrudging g’ment help for the poor, hungry, unemployed, elderly and disabled that they refuse to contribute their fair share of taxes in but instead manipulate it to it’s most grayest areas.

  3. 788eddie March 20, 2014

    You know, I think Mr. Langone has encouraged me to find another “hardware store” in which to spend my hard-earned money.

    1. Allan Richardson March 20, 2014

      Their biggest competitor, Lowe’s, pays their workers more and has better customer service (maybe a connection there?) and a bigger selection of merchandise. Since the two stores near us are less than a mile (maybe half a mile; two large shopping center blocks apart anyway) apart, it’s not a difficult choice to make.

      1. 788eddie March 21, 2014

        Thanks for the information, Allan. The Lowe’s in our area is only a little further than Home Depot. Definitely worth the extra distance to send a message.

  4. bstockinger March 20, 2014

    I think the comparison should be to the mess that was France before the French Revolution. The 1 percent live like the king, queen, and the aristocrats while most of the rest of the population lives from hand to mouth. The comparison is nowhere near completely accurate, but it sure is closer to the truth than their Nazi analogy. Our 1 percent control 80 percent of the wealth in the US, earn 20 percent of the annual income and then complain that they are being mistreated. By whom, are they mistreated? Their accountants or maid or butler perhaps?

    1. Russell Byrd March 21, 2014

      And in pre-revolutionary France, the 1% did not pay ANY taxes. None. Of course, this is very similar to what the 1% are trying to do here. Seems that type always think the same way.

      Any complaints against the 1% or the crazy economic system that allowed them to amass such wealth, are seen as mistreatment. Like Citizens United, if you have enough money, you are entitled to do as you please, and no one has a right to stop you.

  5. jointerjohn March 20, 2014

    Hey Mr. Langone, good news for you, they have come up with a cure for filty-richness. It’s call philanthropy and you might want to look into it as a way to escape any potential holocaust that may be coming your way. It would also feel good on your conscience…oops…sorry, I forgot, don’t have one of those.

    1. Allan Richardson March 20, 2014

      It might also help when you meet Comrade Jesus. Read Matthew 25.

  6. ExRadioGuy15 March 20, 2014

    Wow…another Fascist Corporate Plutarch going “Full Godwin” on us. For those that don’t know, “Godwin’s Law” is violated when someone makes an incorrect, invalid or “non-sequitur” comparison with something done recently to what the Nazis did in Germany. Langone, Perkins and Zell went Full Godwin with their Fascist and projectional comments. Why are they “projection”? Projection is a psychiatric ploy whereby one falsely accuses another of doing or being something they already are, doing something they already did or are doing. You’ll notice that the GOP excel at projectional hypocrisy.
    The Nazis were Fascists. The GOP, sadly, have been Fascists at least since October 2001 and the case can be made that they’ve been that way since the summer of 1981. The reason the GOP love Vlad Putin so much? They share the same political ideology: Fascism.
    For nearly three years, I’ve been correctly calling the GOP Fascists. According to an article published in the Spring 2003 edition of Free Inquiry magazine, written by political scientist and former corporate executive Laurence Britt, there are 14 defining characteristics of Fascism. Mr. Britt studied seven Fascist regimes, including the Nazis, and found that all of them shared those 14 “DCs”. The GOP adhere to each and every one of them.
    I realize that telling this sad truth makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Guess what? Too f*cking bad! The TRUTH is rarely pretty, often ugly and sometimes even “fugly” (f*cking ugly). The sooner more people, especially GOP Progressives and Moderates, get around to recognizing the sad truths about today’s Republican Party, the sooner we can vote them out of office and stop the virus of Fascist ideology. The fact that these “One-percenters” make these stupid comments should be a wake-up call. So, WAKE UP, PEOPLE! The Fascist Corporate Plutarchs/Fascist Christian Theocrats are trying to eliminate our representative democracy and install a Fascist regime. It’s in our best interest to refrain from suborning such an effort.

  7. Lovefacts March 20, 2014

    I’m not surprised Langone picked the wrong party to smear with a Nazi/Fascist mindset, instead of the Republican Party. After all, most Americans have no idea what Fascism is. Governmental control of our personal lives, support of big business and the wealthy, and extreme Nationalism–to the point of attacking anyone who’s different in color, religion, political belief, and ethnic background.

    In truth, if you take the current Republican rhetoric -against homosexuals, intellectuals, and the “socialist/left-wing” media and substitute Muslim for Jew; illegal for foreigner workers; their speeches sound the same.

  8. Pamby50 March 20, 2014

    That was no apology. When you insert the word “if” into an apology, it means you really aren’t. You are just sorry you are being called on it.

  9. highpckts March 20, 2014

    Why are they always having to “walk it back”!! Always have their freakin foot in their mouth!

    1. DurdyDawg March 22, 2014

      Because if ‘walk back’ gaffs such as that often work in a jury trail then of course it’s gonna work on air heads who only hear what they tuned in to hear whether it’s later retracted or not. It’s what was said, not what was fact.

    2. plc97477 March 23, 2014

      Maybe they really enjoy the flavor of toe jam. Sorry I know that is sillly.

  10. howa4x March 21, 2014

    Interestingly his wealth grew at 1 billion under Obama so we know that the president is not a socialist as most 1%ers rail. If he doesn’t want to see populist fervor directed at him and the other uber wealthy, they need to stop being greedy and support a raise in the minimum wage, especially in their stores like Home Depot, and support access to quality health care for all. By denying people human dignity they stoke the very sentiments they fear most. Considering they only represent 1% of the population I would be scared too if I acted like them.


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