Originally posted on REALITY BLOG:
As a lowly young man full of ideas that would have changed the world; and naively believing that I could implement them, I often wondered at how large corporations became so wealthy and attained such incredible amounts of capital for their projects, warehouses, office buildings, investments, and for their global expansion. Why were the tallest buildings in every city I visited always topped with a bank logo? Why were the names of every city’s sports arenas and concert halls being replaced with oil/energy and other corporation names and logos, even though the taxpayers paid for their construction? And after many failed attempts to start up my own small business ventures that would revolutionize the world, I gave up trying to play in the big boy markets, because I couldn’t get my hands on the big boy money. I realized that some unseen hand would not allow me to compete, though I could never figure out just whose…
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Last year, I posted a blog titled “Steven Flax: The Conscience of a Genocidal Maniac” based on his tie-breaking vote for a 1% increase in rents for rent stabilized housing. When the New York City Rent Guidelines Board had their 2015-2016 vote on Monday, June 29, Steve Flax was strangely silent, and seemed to look furtively about for the one who trashed his so-called conscience, and the person mouthing the bulk of the idiocies from the stage was Sara Williams Willard, who at least was hired, unlike Steven Flax, to represent landlords.
Williams Willard looked like a fat cow (the few pictures I could find of her online looked like they were about twenty years old) as she claimed that it was “myopic” and “selective listening” to freeze the rents of severely rent-burdened (legally defined as paying more than a third of their income in rent) and harmful to the landlords. I’m pretty sure she was the moron I interrupted last year when she lied about the charter of the Rent Guidelines Board mandating that the landlord makes a profit, when it says no such thing. (I would link to the charter, but I can’t find it. I was given a hard copy about a year ago at Picture the Homeless, which I assume is now in a bag in my storage unit.)
The data presented showed that landlords’ expenses had gone up on average between -1 and .75%, while their profits had gone up between 3-5%. Year after year, the Rent Guidelines Board has continued to allow unjustified rent increases based on costs that were never incurred, yet she made an unreasonable argument, completely unsupported by evidence, that . The figures at the top of this paragraph also do not include such things as late fees and major capital improvements. I was angry with the Rent Guidelines Board for allowing a 2% increase for two-year leases, which seems to me to be excessive and totally unreasonable based on the figures. She essentially said, “It is completely reasonable to extract more money out of rent-burdened tenants for negligible increases in cost that are more than compensated by profits.” She hemmed and hawed, but could provide no support for her argument beyond ad hominem attacks (and yes, I know “fat cow” is an example of one, but I have provided much more than ad hominem attacks). Unfortunately, the Rest of the Rent Guidelines Board failed to justify why, under the circumstances, a 2% increase on two year leases was reasonable based on the data they stated that I report at the beginning of this paragraph. What was Williams Willard listening to but greedy, exploitative landlords? Why does she believe it is ethical to make people homeless for a profit? The staggering increases in homelessness, particularly in family shelters, were reported by chair Rachel D. Godsil before casting her vote, and the audience echoed that putting people in family shelters is more expensive to the taxpayer than keeping them in rent stabilized apartments. The primary cause of homelessness is real estate speculation; i.e. capitalism. It is a fact that there is enough vacant property in New York City to house the shelter population a minimum of four times over.
Cathy O’Neil pointed out in the June 28, 2015 meeting of Occupy Wall Street Alternative Banking, New York City real estate is an example of the inefficiency of the free market. When supply exceeds demand prices are supposed to fall, but even though there are more vacant homes, both in New York City and nationwide, than homeless people, prices continue to go up. New York City Council Chair Melissa Mark-Viverito showed in a presentation at El Museo del Barrio on May 20, 2015, that the supply of housing for people making more than $70,000 a year is at an enormous surplus, while housing for people who make less than that is at an extreme deficit. Apart from Picture the Homeless’s community land trust model, no method of changing this makes the slightest bit of sense. They all involve severely increasing the surplus of housing for people who make $70,000, when so many of them are lying vacant, to add far too little of housing at the price range where it is severely needed. This is patently nonsensical, as is the bulk of the religion of capitalism. This religion also states that when a supply increases, prices decrease, and that has not happened in the real world. Philip Mirowski has written an entire book, More Heat Than Light: Economics as Social Physics: Physics as Nature’s Economics, which discusses how economists stole their formulae from physics with no evidence that they had any real-life referent if though the math worked out on paper, as though substituting 500 grams for 500 pounds isn’t going to throw off the accuracy of the rest of the formula.
Sara Williams Willard should be forced to spend at least a month in a homeless shelter, preferably one where she will receive the kind of treatment I received at the hands of Robert Green, as well as get the health problems I got from the shelter food. I can think of endless shaming tactics to use against her, but would need to mobilize a group to do anything.
Originally posted on Petersen Voice Studio:
A blog by a voice teacher was recently posted (and since retracted) on why students shouldn’t study classical singing. Needless to say the article received a tremendous amount of vitriol from many classical singers and teachers, and caused the author to finally remove his post.
It got me thinking: What IS classical singing?
Is it a technique or is it a style of singing?
I don’t presume to be able to answer those questions definitively, but I’d like to explore both ideas.
The first thing to do in any argument is to define TERMS, so we can have a productive argument. We have to agree on what it is we are talking about when we argue so that we don’t become derailed by personal biases, cognitive distortions, and logical fallacies.
Firstly, classical ‘technique.’
What does classical technique mean?
There has never been a consensus from teachers on what actually constitutes a…
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This is why I am homeless, not any personal failing on my part.
Originally posted on A Matter of Scale:
Economic prosperity has been engineered out of our society except for the top .01% during the Lost Decade.
This article was written in response to this series of articles on Medium. You can follow the link for the main article thread. I took umbrage at this last assumption:
“The free market has lifted more billions out of poverty than any thing done by anyone in the past two thousand years. Governments, usually autocratic, sometimes despotic and occasionally democratic (see Greece, Venezuela etc) have caused far more harm to working people than supposedly evil capitalism.”
Yes, the “free markets” have lifted more billions (of dollars) out of “poverty that they created” than any other form of government in the history of the world. Yes, the engine of capitalism is only too happy to:
- Destroy millions of lives to claim the land of early America in order to gain economic strength against the…
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Never experienced this, because I never got to go home, but love the points.