Inherited money, entitled scions

“These are the key figures who bankrolled the think tanks, financed the extreme free-market university programs, and funded the tea party shock troops that moved the Republican Party so far to the right.”

inherited wealthIn the Arthur Schenck mode of finding blog posts started but never completed, I came across an interesting article. Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh, and the Rule of Pampered Princelings by Naomi Klein appeared in the October 10, 2018 issue of something called The Intercept, reporting on a New York Times story.

It goes into how DJT was not a self-made businessman, as he markets himself. “According to the Times… ‘Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, starting when he was a toddler and continuing to this day.’ Moreover, ‘much of it was never repaid.'”

I would think that this is information that has been widely disseminated. Yet I still find people almost every week who buy into the lie, who tell me we need him because he was a successful businessman. “Not only was he spending his father’s money, he blew much of it on disastrous deal after disastrous deal, only to be bailed out by his father’s millions time and time again.

“What makes the Times’ revelations more important is that they are a rare window into an even larger story about the growing political and economic role of inherited money in the United States — the culmination of decades in which a handful of sons and daughters of bequeathed wealth waged a fierce and relentless battle of ideas against the very concept of equality and majority rule, all based on the same corrupting belief in their own inherent superiority.”

And THAT was why I recommend you read the whole article. “He never would have gotten where he is without the ideological scaffolding carefully put in place by other scions of dynastic families…

“These are the key figures who bankrolled the think tanks, financed the extreme free-market university programs, and funded the tea party shock troops that moved the Republican Party so far to the right that Trump could stomp in and grab it.”

Yes, this includes the Koch brothers, but also Betsy DeVos, “who has devoted her life to dismantling public education”; Rupert Murdoch, “who inherited a chain of newspapers from his father”; and Rebekah Mercer, who has bankrolled Breitbart News.

August rambling #2: how ridiculous xenophobia is

Will Your Prescription Meds Be Covered Next Year? Better Check!

Syrian children

It’s not just Freddie Gray. The Justice Department’s new report shows how wide and deep Baltimore’s police problems are

My four months as a private prison guard, which has led to the US phasing out private prison use

US: The Real Way the 2016 Election Is Rigged

Joseph Goebbels’ 105-year-old secretary: ‘No one believes me now, but I knew nothing’ – she said, Nothing!

Germany finally apologizes for its other genocide—more than a century later

Does Henry Kissinger have a conscience?

At what point is it impossible to separate art from the artist? (Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation)

Tote bag proves how ridiculous xenophobia is

“Christian” groups are handing out these creepy ‘gay cure’ comics to children

If your pastor says “RACISM ISN’T A SKIN PROBLEM, IT’S A SIN PROBLEM” you need to find another church

Pew Research: Choosing a New Church or House of Worship; Americans look for good sermons, warm welcome

In today’s troubling times, where are our faith leaders? But Even Reinhold Niebuhr could not be Reinhold Niebuhr in 2016

YOU THROW, GIRL: AN OLYMPIC SHOT-PUTTER’S FEMINIST MISSION

Michael Rivest: The Wall That Heals

Cartoon: The future of climate denial

174 Heroin Overdoses in Six Days in Cincinnati

NPR is closing its comments section – can’t blame them

Flat earth Theories

When New Parents Refuse Vitamin K Shots And Their Babies Get Brain Bleeds

Race and poverty

America’s wealth gap is split along racial lines — and it’s getting dangerously wider

Affluent and Black, and Still Trapped by Segregation

The Original Underclass; Poor white Americans’ current crisis shouldn’t have caught the rest of the country as off guard as it has

‘Hillbilly Elegy’ Recalls A Childhood Where Poverty Was ‘The Family Tradition’

Michele Bachmann: “White People Have Suffered More In The Last 8 Years Than Blacks Did During Couple Years Of Slavery”

Why Poor People Stay Poor -Saving money costs money. Period.

Auto Lending: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Will Your Prescription Meds Be Covered Next Year? Better Check!

The culture of the smug white liberal

What I said when my white friend asked for my black opinion of white privilege

A C-SPAN caller asked a black guest how to stop being prejudiced; Here’s how she responded

The infamous Stop White Genocide video

Lottery of Indencency

Arthur’s Internet wading

When Elite Parents Dominate Volunteers, Children Lose

Thurgood Marshall’s interracial love: ‘I don’t care what people think. I’m marrying you.’

Dashcam Video Captures Highway Pileup, Woman Rescued from Burning Car in Binghamton, NY

Larry Wilmore on the End of The Nightly Show and the Show’s Greatest Legacy

Arthur@NZ is getting better and his hospital bill; damn Kiwis!

Dustbury goes grocery shopping 2.0

At my alma mater at SUNY New Paltz, College mourns death of emeritus biology professor Heinz Meng, known for recovery of peregrine falcon – he was very cool

The only movies I’ve seen with Gene Wilder are The Producers, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask, Silver Streak, Stir Crazy, and one of my favorite movies ever, Young Frankenstein, which he co-wrote. They were all released between 1967 and 1980. But he was always excellent then and in a couple of episodes of Will and Grace early this century. Gene Wilder on The Truth | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios, plus Evanier and Tom Straw remember.

Steven Hill, D.A. Adam Schiff on ‘Law & Order,’ Dies at 94

A Marvin Kaplan story

Jack Riley, RIP

‘I’ve had a good life’: Donna Wold, the ex-flame who inspired the Little Red-Haired Girl in ‘Peanuts,’ dies

Your Guide to the Fall Broadway Season

50 things about comics, featuring ME

The 10 most Influential Poets in History

Art is about surrender – Stop asking for it to be custom-tailored

Chuck Miller at the State Fair and Don Rittner at the county fair, and Jaquandor at the county fair

Now I Know: David’s Garden and Horse, Off-Course

Ken Levine HATES Robert Hall

The Casual Sex Project

Music

Harmonica legend Toots Thielemans, Known for ‘Sesame Street’ Theme, Dies at 94 and The Getaway – End credits – Quincy Jones – Toots; more Quincy and Toots; John Barry, Toots – Theme from “Midnight Cowboy” (mostly stolen from Steve Bissette’s Facebook)

U2 Live Albany New York – 13 November 1981

John Denver, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash & Roger Miller – Rocky Top

Herb Alpert Foundation to donate $10.1 million to Los Angeles City College — making studies for music majors tuition-free

It’s only rock ‘n’ roll – and sometimes it’s better in mono

35 Years Ago: Violent Femmes Discovered by the Pretenders While Busking in Milwaukee

The poor tellers

I ended up five cents under, and spent nearly a half hour not finding the error.

Of all the recent stories about economic inequality in America I’ve read lately, this one jumped out at me: 1 out of 3 Bank Tellers in New York on Public Assistance. I’ve never worked in food service in any capacity, or in a large retail store, but I was a bank teller, for a month.

It was the winter of 1977-1978, at the end of a not great year, in which I lived in Charlotte, NC; Binghamton, NY briefly; Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC, NY; and New Paltz, NY, before drifting up the Hudson River to crash with friend Uthaclena and his first wife, and their two dogs (his I loved, hers, not so much).

After a year of being underemployed, I secured a job working at the Albany Savings Bank in downtown Albany. I was a teller in February 1978, making $6,000 a year. Every day I had $9K in my drawer, more on Wednesday state paydays and Fridays. It was depressing, getting all dressed up in a dress shirt and tie I couldn’t afford to look “professional,” with the “chance of upward mobility.”

My trainer was a former teller; she was a decent person, and undoubtedly a good teller, but a lousy, and impatient, teacher. When I finally got on the window, after the training, on the second day, I ended up five cents under and spent nearly a half-hour not finding the error.

This made it easy to quit, with three days’ notice, to take a job with the Schenectady Arts Council’s government-funded program to bring arts into the schools, starting the beginning of March. I was the bookkeeper, but it wasn’t the same level of pressure. Didn’t have to wear a tie. And I was making $8,200 per year, not a princely sum, but way better than at ASB.

The downside, ultimately, is that the funding abruptly ended in January 1979, leaving me unemployed for nearly five months, but it was definitely the better choice.
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You should watch Money on the Mind if you can. In nine minutes, it addresses the differences even perceived wealth differences can make.

Jaquandor’s liberal screed, which I agree with.

I IMAGINE we’ve gotten it wrong, John, so far

It was 33 years ago, as the now bitterly ironic “Just Like Starting Over” was climbing the charts, when John Lennon was gunned down.

“Imagine all the people living life in peace,” some guy who died in 1980 said. And this is supposed to be this period where we talk about “peace on earth.” Of course, I’m also reminded of Jeremiah 6, which reads: “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely. They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush.”

I think we humans will always disagree, but must we, as the saying goes, be disagreeable? This post by Dustbury reminded me of this; a simple fast food encounter where the patron’s job, it seems, was to be a schmuck.

“Nothing to kill or die for.” Here’s a list of active wars and conflicts in the world, most of which you have never heard about. Many of them I never knew about.

“Imagine no possessions.” Global Wealth Rises as Gap Between Rich and Poor Grows, as reported by FOX Business News, no less.

Well, I could go on. Guess I’m feeling a little melancholy about the world, especially on this day, for it was 33 years ago, as the now bitterly ironic “Just Like Starting Over” was climbing the charts, when John Lennon was gunned down, by a fan, of course.

I’ll be less cranky tomorrow – probably.

Church and state: Francis I

If a Catholic priest were to echo Francis’ complaint about the rich-poor divide, that might be safe territory.

I found this graphic really interesting. The Socialist US Senator is embracing the Pope’s condemnation of “doctrinaire capitalism, ‘deified markets,” trickle-down economics, and the finance industry. He decried the growing gap between the rich and the poor, tax evasion by the wealthy, and characterized ruthless free-market economics as a killer that was inherently sinful.” I assume this will mean that the Pope will be painted as a socialist.

Francis, moreover, launched a broadside against former President Ronald Reagan’s signature economic theory, which continues to serve as conservative Republican dogma.

Of course, he’s in the Vatican, so he’s insulated from the US political issue. But I’m always re-examining what “separation of church and state” means. (And so is Dustbury.) I will make the case that being a good Christian – in my definition, obviously – could be, may be perceived as a political statement. If a Catholic priest were to echo Francis’ complaint about the rich-poor divide, perhaps by calling for raising the minimum wage, that might be safe territory. But if he were to name names, such as calling out the late 40th US President, that might well be crossing the line to partisan political talk that could theoretically get one’s tax-exempt status yanked.

Certainly promoting, or denouncing a political party or candidate can be a treacherous path, whereas, say, praying for the President and Congress and the federal courts to do good and just actions is OK. Calling for the closing of the wage-productivity gap is OK, but calling out the politicians who created the system, not so much.

It was weird watching Peggy Noonan on ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos this past Sunday. She was SO pleased by the new pope, who was bringing back some of the disaffected Catholics, even though he was directly dissing her former employer and mentor, Ronald Reagan, who she clearly adores (present tense). It’s enough to give other denominations a case of pope envy.

Francis still stubbornly traditional positions on women’s ordination and other issues notwithstanding, I’m liking this Pope; the fact that his position is considered radical by some tells how far from Christ’s teaching some of the church has become.
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Bill O’Reilly speaks on behalf of Jesus about the scourge of Food Stamps

No, the US is NOT closing the Vatican embassy.