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‘Family Values’ Lunatic Todd Kincannon Arrested Just For Showing Wife Who’s Boss

I found this last time I searched for this douchebag, the one who started the rampant Twitter harassment of me circa November 2013…

via ‘Family Values’ Lunatic Todd Kincannon Arrested Just For Showing Wife Who’s Boss

Scott Andrew Hutchins for New York State Assembly District 74!

I just received notice from the Board of Elections that I will be on the ballot for the Green Party primary on September 18, for which I am running uncontested within the party, which essentially means I am going to be on the ballot for November.

Here is the Facebook page for my campaign:

https://www.facebook.com/ElectScottHutchins/ (which includes a map of the district)

The Twitter account is
@HutchinsAD74

I do not run either of these. They are run by the party.

Major campaign issues:

  • Opposition to any and all corporate welfare used to create so-called “affordable housing,” such as the 421-A scam.
  • Establishment of public banking in New York State.
  • Opposition to all hydrofracking in New York State.
  • Opposition to Citizens United. Corporations are not people, and money is not speech.
  • Support of the unregulated homegrown marijuana act as a corollary to opposition of the drug war and the use of private prisons, such as Corrections Corporation of America.
  • Support of Jill Stein’s plan to eliminate all student debt through quantitative easing.
  • Oppose public funding of private, for-profit schools masquerading as public schools (charter schools).
  • Support the Legal Aid Society’s proposal for criminal discovery reform, allowing defendants to see early in the process exactly what the prosecution has against them. “New York’s discovery rules systematically block innocent or over-charged defendants from meaningfully investigating the case; locating and using exculpatory evidence; and formulating a proper strategy of defense prior to the trial.”

I hope I have your vote if you live in district 74!

Book Review: The Age of Selfishness: Ayn Rand, Morality, and the Financial Crisis by Darryl Cunningham, introduction by Michael Goodwin

The Age of Selfishness: Ayn Rand, Morality, and the Financial CrisisThe Age of Selfishness: Ayn Rand, Morality, and the Financial Crisis by Darryl Cunningham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Michael Goodwin describes the fiction of Ayn Rand as “cartoonish,” and Cunningham shows this is quite apt. It’s pure fantasy that a court, at least in Rand’s time, would have dismissed the charges against Howard Roarke. Perhaps now, if he were rich enough, they would have.

Cunningham makes Rand a pathetic figure, duped by her dishonest mother into giving away her toys on the false promise that they would be returned to her, kind of like when Congress, under the influence of Rand, took away people’s social security to give it to billionaires.

Rand claims, “No one helped me, nor did I think it was anyone’s duty to help me” (9), but Rand was lying through her teeth.

She was helped by many people during those early years. She stayed with her relatives in Chicago for six months. She failed to repay, or even offer to repay, small loans given to her. The family, through their connection with a film distributor, managed to supply Rand with a letter of introduction to the DeMille organization in Hollywood. They also paid for her train fare to California and initial living expenses. None of this help was acknowledged by Rand in her later years. (9-10)

Ecven though a script reader accurately found her stories “far fetched” and characters “not human enough,” DeMille, having met Rand and cast her as an extra, hired her anyway (12), and she wrote and was paid for an unproduced screenplay called Red Pawn (12-13). Talk about privilege! She wrote crap no one wanted to produce and got paid for it, all because of a family connection, while I, with a master’s degree in film, get stuck in a homeless shelter. Where is the justice in that? Her books are fantasies of individual achievement, by and for, Goodwin argues and Cunningham implies, people who want to believe they have achieved things on their own and generally have not.

The book contains graphic synopses of both The Fountainhead, which seems considerably stupider than the 1949 King Vidor film I saw in 2006 and which, Cunningham notes, Rand disowned, and Atlas Shrugged, which I won’t go into, other than that he makes it appear that they have zero literary value and are only of interest because of their influence. Even conservatives of the day were outraged by Atlas Shrugged when it first appeared. Whittaker Chambers of National Review, which now seems fringe in its right-wing extremism said, “From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard… commanding: ‘To a gas chamber–go!”, which seems in line with the objectivist trolls on Twitter who tell me I should kill myself because I can’t find a job. Robert Kirsch of The Los Angels Times is also quoted, “It would be hard to find another such display of grotesque eccentricity outside of an insane asylum. John Galt is really arguing for a dictatorship. Cunningham tells us that Rand had not expected her work to be compared to fascism, and “fell into a deep depression,” which further suggests that Rand was dishonest, even to herself, or incredibly unintelligent. It is unfortunate that she got her wish to “profoundly change the American political scene” not long after her death (the above all cite p. 37).

Although I completed the first draught of my play, Misused Minds: Curse of the Educated Youth in 2004, I got the impression from Cunningham that I was intuitively parodying Rand based on his retellings of her work.

Much has been made of the fact that Rand sought and received social security toward the end of her life. She is accused of hypocrisy, of being one of the very moochers and takers she so despised. But it was her view that this was a system she had paid into against her will and that she was merely taking back what was hers to begin with. In other words, it was exactly what the majority of people do when they apply for social security or any other welfare benefit, yet Rand still thought of herself superior to the masses she saw all around her. Rand’s life was full of such contradictions. Her novels were high-minded and philosophical, yet also full of soap opera trashiness, overwrought emotion, and thin characterizations. she trumpeted the virtue of reason or emotion, but was unable to rise above jealousy and was unforgiving toward anyone she believed had slighted her. She upheld an individual’s freedom above all else, yet ran her immediate circle of friends like a small dictatorship, where opposing views were not allowed and where dissent was punished with expulsion. Rand prided herself on the ability of her senses to discover the truth of the world, yet she failed to see through her lover’s deceit, even though the evidence had been in front of her for years. It did not concern Rand that the economic system she promoted would enrich only the few at the expense of the majority. For her, unrestrained free-market capitalism was a moral system in which the undeserving poor suffered the consequences of their own inaction. It was only right and proper that those who made no effort in life should live in poverty. 63-66)

Cunningham proceeds to describe how Rand’s so-called morality allowed Libertarians and the Cato Institute to “live guilt free with their indifference to those with fewer opportunities than themselves” (67).

The next section details how that economic crash of 2007 was caused by exactly the values that Rand espoused, such as the push from the right to ensure that derivatives went unregulared, on the grounds that it would be a hindrance to the free market–“if derivatives were regulated, capitalism would fall apart, [Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, and Lawrence Summers] warned. There would be market turmoil and risk couldn’t be managed effectively. They made the claim that by even talking about regulation, [Brooksley] Born was threatening the stability of the market” (98). “The phone call may have been illegal, as the [Commodity Futures Trading Commission] is an independent body” (99).

On pages 100-101, Cunningham quotes Greenspan’s (who was part of Rand’s circle) 1957 review of Atlas Shrugged at length: “Atlas Shrugged is a celebration of life and happiness. Justice is unrelenting,. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy… Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.” This mentality is astonishingly dishonest when it is applied to people who have been to college studied what they considered was their purpose and can’t find a job.

In 1966, Greenspan wrote three essays for the Rand anthology, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal in which he equated government regulation with a breakdown of society’s morals. In his view, there was no need for the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the Food and Drug Administration. All regulations that protect the public from unscrupulous businessmen, even building codes, are unnecessary, he argued. the potential damage to a reputation is enough to keep a contractor from building unsafe structures. Greenspan goes on to say that it is a businessman’s greed that protects the consumer. The reputation of a company is often its major asset. If a business isn’t trusted, then it cannot prosper. this is even truer for a securities firm. Securities worth hundreds of millions of dollars are traded every day over the telephone. the slightest doubt as to the trustworthiness of the broker’s word or commitment would put him out of business overnight.

It is clear from these essays that Rand profoundly influenced Greenspan’s economic thinking. It also explains why, once he became chairman of the Federal Reserve, he took a hands-off approach to the regulation of derivatives–a decision that was to prove catastrophic to the world. (100-101)

Anyone who can take Greenspan’s claims seriously is a blithering idiot. Even Greenspan no longer can:

“I have made a mistake in presuming that self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms.” You found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working. “That’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for forty years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.” Did Greenspan genuinely believe that an unregulated financial sector pursuing self interest would lead the U.S> economy to a stable and optimal equilibrium? He did, and he held fast to these beliefs long past the point where the evidence should have alerted him to the truth. Selfishness is not a virtue to be embraced. Self-interest does not work to bring about human happiness on a global scale any more than it achieves it for people on the small interpersonal level where we all live our lives. The details of Ayn Rand’s life demonstrate this last point very effectively. (141-142)

On pages 133-137, he details the involvement of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which Fox News demonizes as the major culprit, and thus blame the financial crisis on the government rather than private business, but notes that the flaws in this argument are that a) both companies were private businesses with shareholders that have only quasi-governmental ties, and b) that they were latecomers who did not contribute to the crash any more than the other players.

The events leading up to the 2008 crisis should have destroyed the fantasy that an unregulated financial industry will naturally channel money to its best uses, or that bankers’ concerns for their reputations will prevent them from placing their institutions or customers at rick. Sadly, this has not proved to be the case. There is still a strong belief on the right that the free market can solve all problems and that the financial crisis was caused by the last vestiges of regulation and government interference. They claim that only with the total repeal of interventionist laws and regulatory agencies can markets find their true value, so that people can prosper. this clearly flies in the face of reality. If the last thirty years have shown us everything, it is that free markets lead not to personal freedom, but to corporate freedom–a freedom that has been embraced countless times to pollute, steal, and oppress. (139)

The shrinking away of the state is a long-held libertarian dream, but one that can only continue the process of handing power over to unaccountable corporations–a prospect even worse than state tyranny, because, in a democratic government at least, the public has some kind of role. (147)

The next section of the book deals with the differences between conservatives and liberals based on how much like or unlike the Ayn Rand mentality they are. This section is probably the most problematic, because Cunningham spends a significant amount of space (194-203) praising the Affordable Care Act without a peep about single payer, which makes me wonder if he is in the pocket of big pharma. I put his How to Fake a Moon Landing back on the shelf when browsing because he argued unconvincingly and contrary to my experience that medication is better for back pain than chiropractic.

Cunningham’s comparisons of conservatives to liberals on pages 151-153 seem to be a comparison between an unintelligent person and an intelligent one. To “have little problem dismissing any science that runs counter to their beliefs, no matter what the evidence is, or how well argued” (151)is part of his definition of a conservative. It is also a key factor in defining a stupid person. So is a belief that “the poor and ordinary are best motivated by less money” (151), while “the bedrooms used by liberals contained a greater number of books” points toward making liberal and intelligent synonymous, as does “a larger variety of types of music” (153), and “conservative offices were less stylish and less comfortable than those used by liberals” (153) again points to lack of intelligence. Paul Ryan would certainly qualify as an example, for denying he made a speech saying he makes all his staff read Rand that was recorded (I saw it myself on the Young Turks, and you can too, right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fojrl…) only to claim it was an urban legend (179).

The best example of conservative stupidity is Tea Party founder Rick Santelli: “in his anger, Santelli had conveniently forgotten that it was the government’s nonexistent regulation of the derivatives market along with the greed of bankers and those in the mortgage industry, not government intervention that had cause the catastrophe in the first place” (184). Of course, this is the same group that started using “tea bag” as a verb and “tea bagger” as a self-described appellation until they learned that it had connotations of a non-reproductive sex practice. He shows how “corporate America has coerced the Tea Partiers to act against their own interests by having them vote into office politicians who openly favor big business and Wall Street over the people in their own communities who have lost jobs and homes” (187). This is the warped morality of Ayn Rand followers. “It is certainly wrong for anyone to live at the expense of another,” Cunningham says. “Unfortunately, right-wing politics often fails to make any distinction between freeloaders and the poor. The unemployed are treated with suspicion, while working people are increasingly denied a decent level of earnings” (192). “The tens of thousands who turned out to call for a reduction in government spending and taxation do not want to fall into poverty and have their children receive a poor-quality education and inadequate health care, but this is what a smaller state would mean. Tea partiers are unwittingly pushing the selfish interests of giant corporations, not people” (218).

It’s hard to see how a rational person could disagree with Cunningham’s conclusion:

Ayn Rand dreamed of a world unhindered by regulation, government, or concern for the disadvantaged. Many of the people who follow her philosophy don’t appear to realize, or perhaps care, that these ideas would create a grotesquely unfair society. America today has a shrinking middle class, an increasingly dominant billionaire elite, and a government corrupted by vast amounts of money. All of the ingredients are in place to create a new gilded age in which the commanding heights of the economy are controlled not by talented individuals but by family dynasties (219). Ayn Rand was wrong. Selfishness is not a virtue. Altruism is not a moral weakness. Taxation is the price we pay for civilization. It’s time we rejected this selfish philosophy. (222-223)

The book contains an excellent bibliography of 47 sources, which Cunningham recommends reading in their entirety, although I don’t think I could stomach reading Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, and We the Living, which are all included, although he does not summarize the latter. Rand biographers he cites include Barbara Branden, Jennifer Burns, Anne C. Heller, and Gary Weiss, as well as Alan Greenspan’s The Age of Turbulence.

Apart from the aforementioned glowing appraisal of the Affordable Care Act, the main fault I found with this book was with the artwork. The best artwork in the book is obviously lightboxed, while the characters are little more than stick figures with lower case bs for eyes. The image of Rand on the cover is reused several times for close-ups, with blatantly digital zooms, such as on page 7. Alan Greenspan is one of the few figures who doesn’t look completely generic. When I criticize an illustrator like Rob Liefeld, it’s in comparison to other illustrators, but most of the time I felt I could draw the scenes better than Cunningham, and I don’t even attempt to try to pass myself off as a professional line artist. I really feel the book would have been even more effective had Cunningham found a better illustrator and kept to the writing of the book.

Moe Tkacik, who wrote the excellent article for Reuters explaining why the law preventing the discharge of student loan debt in bankruptcy is unconstitutional, once told me that the only real way to succeed in white collar work, the only sort I can physically do, apart from in the arts, is to be “malleable, sycophantic, and shallow,” which she went on to say is “impossible to fake.” Rand herself “could only bear the company of sycophants who repeated her opinions back to her,” (Goodwin introduction, IV), and it seems these sycophants have taken over the business world with their perverse ideas, keeping millions of potentially excellent employees, especially young people, out of work, then blaming their situations, such as my homelessness, on the victims. If only they could see through to their own shallowness and foolishness, society could work so much better for all.

View all my reviews

Stephen A. Schwarzman Loathes Public Libraries; I Love Them

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The above photo, which was featured in The New York Times, shows Stephen A. Schwarzman’s utter contempt for the public library. This is from the new 53rd Street library they was opened in the basement of the luxury hotel that was built when Michael Bloomberg sold the Donnell Library Center, the main circulating branch of the New York Public Library that was formerly on the spot. The picture reveals that much of the collection, 70% smaller than that of Donnell, was put there strictly for show, since nobody can actually reach them. Even with me being nearly 6’4″, that step stool is no help.

It is an insult that Schwarzman’s name is on the iconic main research library (formerly known as the Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Library) on 5th Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets with William Cullen Bryant Park as its backyard. As many of you know, much of my blog writing and job search occurs at branches of New York City’s three public libraries: The New York Public Library, which covers Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island; Queens Library, and Brooklyn Public Library. The latter two were formed before Queens and Kings Counties were annexed by New York City, and although there is a cooperation between them so that people with cards from the other libraries can also use the New York Public Library, all returns, holds, etc., must be done with the correct library system, because they decided not to merge, which was probably a good idea even though it makes things a little less convenient when you are in different parts of the city, especially since relatively few New York Public Library branches have after hours drops as a result of arson, although they’ve begun adding them since I made my complaint about that around 2004 and was told that arson was the reason.

Here you can listen to all the horrible details about Schwarzman’s plans to eviscerate the public library to make a profit. The library that bears his name is even set to contain luxury condos in the future, its main reading room already closed to the public.

I am a major user of the public library system, and the shrinkage of any of its branches is a slap in the face to all New Yorkers. In spite of what Mitt Romney says, we all pay taxes, some of which go to the public library.

Here is a list of libraries I myself have personally used at least once (asterisks next to libraries I have used extensively):

New York Public Library

  • 125th Street Library
  • 58th Street Library
  • Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library
  • Battery Park City Library*
  • Baychester Library
  • Belmont Library and Enrico Fermi Cultural Center*
  • Bloomingdale Library
  • Bronx Library Center*
  • Castle Hill Library
  • Chatham Square Library
  • City Island Library
  • Columbus Library*
  • Dongan Hills Library
  • Donnell Library Center (demolished)*
  • Epiphany Library
  • Grand Central Library
  • Grand Concourse Library*
  • Great Kills Library
  • Hamilton Fish Park Library*
  • Harlem Library
  • Hudson Park Library*
  • Jefferson Market Library*
  • Kingsbridge Library (old location only)
  • Kips Bay Library*
  • Melrose Library*
  • Mid-Manhattan Library*
  • Morningside Heights
  • Morris Park Library
  • Morrisania Library
  • Muhlenberg Library
  • Mulberry Street Library*
  • New Amsterdam Library*
  • New Dorp Library*
  • New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center*
  • Ottendorfer Library
  • Port Richmond Library
  • Richmondtown Library*
  • Riverside Library
  • Roosevelt Island Library
  • Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
  • Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL)*
  • Sedgwick Library*
  • South Beach Library*
  • St. Agnes Library
  • St. George Library Center
  • Stapleton Library
  • Stephen A. Schwarzman Building*
  • Terence Cardinal Cooke-Cathedral Library
  • Throg’s Neck Library
  • Todt Hill-Westerleigh Library*
  • Tompkins Square Library
  • West New Brighton Library
  • Woodstock Library*

Queens Library

  • Broad Channel
  • Broadway*
  • Central Library (Jamaica)
  • Court Square*
  • Elmhurst (trailer)
  • Far Rockaway
  • Flushing
  • Forest Hills
  • Jackson Heights
  • Langston Hughes
  • Lefrak City
  • Long Island City*
  • Seaside
  • Steinway

Brooklyn Public Library

  • Arlington Library
  • Bay Ridge Library*
  • Brooklyn Heights Library*
  • Central Library*
  • Clarendon Library*
  • Cortelyou Library*
  • Greenpoint Library
  • Leonard Library*
  • Midwood Library
  • Pacific Library*
  • Park Slope Library
  • Saratoga Library*
  • Walt Whitman Library
  • Williamsburgh Library*
  • Windsor Terrace Library


And that’s as someone who has lived in this city only twelve years and ten months.

We cannot allow Stephen A. Schwarzman to buy libraries that belong to the public so that he can make a profit. He has expressed a desire to close SIBL, Brooklyn Heights, and Sunset Park, among others. As you can hear in the live discussion linked above, the air conditioning mysteriously conks out in all the libraries they want to close (nd the air conditioning doesn’t work that well at Mid-Manhattan, which became the main circulating branch when Donnell closed–they have to put giant fans everywhere).

Book Review: Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science That Makes Life Dismal by Moshe Adler

Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science that Makes Life DismalEconomics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science that Makes Life Dismal by Moshe Adler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Because production is carried out by teams, an individual’s contribution to production, whether she is a worker, a manager, or even a piece of machinery, cannot be separated from the contribution of all of the rest of her teammates. The division of a product among those who produced it therefore cannot be determined by the process of production itself. Who then decides how the product should be divided between those who produced it? And how do they make this decision? Currently, executives are the ones who decide who gets how much, and they take the lion’s share for themselves. Workers and shareholders are almost powerless. But this is not preordained. The source of executives’ power lies in the fact that the ownership of corporations is diffused among many individuals. This is an inherent characteristic of large-scale production and cannot be changed. What can be changed, however, is whether executives are permitted to turn it into an advantage. It is the role of government to make sure that one person not exploit another, and, therefore, to determine the maximum ratio between the highest compensation of an executive and the lowest wage of a worker, and between the earnings of shareholders and total payments of labor. (191-192)

This book is an excellent refutation of some of the core beliefs of neoclassical economic theory. He stops short of calling neoclassical economics a religion as Michael Perelman does in The Invisible Handcuffs of Capitalism, which was published the following year, but he does hint at it in the conclusions of both his sections. “[A]s recent events have demonstrated, this human sacrifice is in vain. ‘The economy’ is a colossus whose pedestal is shaky largely because it rests on a concept of efficiency that renders practically all government programs inefficient” (108) is one example. The only other is “[A]rguably, the damage from the teaching of the economist’s theory of wages is far greater than the damage from the teaching of creationism. Yet the theory of wages is part of economics education in any and all schools, and it continues without any notice or opposition. The reason is, of course, not hard to understand. While everyone is hurt when we teach religion and pretend it’s science, not everyone is hurt when we teach economics. What workers lose, executives and capitalists gain; and it is the latter who study economics, hire economists, and endow schools” (192).

Adler’s premise is that empirical data support the classical, utilitarian economics of Jeremy Bentham and David Ricardo and contradict the claims of the neoclassical economics of Vilfredo Pareto and John Bates Clark, and he uses history to show that both of them formulated their “theories” in direct attack on the working class. The immorality of Pareto is made quite bald on page ten when Adler cites a quote from Manual of Political Economy that most economists would be afraid to cite when explaining Pareto’s objection to utilitarianism, “Assume a collectivity made up of a wolf and a sheep. The happiness of the wolf consists in eating the sheep, that of the sheep in not being eaten. How is this collectivity to be made happy?” If this is the basis of your argument, you might as well argue that if a poor person enjoys killing rich people, they should be allowed to do so. The de facto reverse is practically true (compare Micah Johnson to Timothy Loehmann, although Loehmann was an agent for the wealthy and not wealthy himself), and it all stems from this quotation. Pareto’s argument, that redistribution of wealth via taxes could hurt the rich more than it hurts the poor, or that “a rich person derives greater utility from her last dollar may exceed the poor person’s utility from the first dollar” (ibid), is absurd. Adler notes that economists do not say that this is true, only a paranoid might be, but if it were, it would contradict Bentham and make redistribution of wealth unjustified (11). This premise assumes that the wealthy are of better character than the poor, a lie that needs no further illumination here as I have covered that intensely in my review of Perelman’s book. Adler summarizes Bentham, “a large difference in character between the rich and the poor was so unlikely that the government would make fewer mistakes if it operated under the assumption that the rich and the poor are similar, than if it operated under the assumption that they are fantastically different” (11-12).

Pareto did not concern himself with the question of how likely it was that redistribution would hurt the rich more than it would help the poor. For him, the theoretical possibility, no matter how remote, was reason enough to reject the lever of equality as a yardstick of economic efficiency. And based solely on this theoretical possibility, the entire economics profession removed the distribution of resources from its definition of economic efficiency and replaced it with Pareto’s own definition. (12-13)

And here we see that a right-wing (as in the original definition of protection of the wealthiest over everyone else, not “conservative,” or “Republican,” although there is certainly overlap) view point has replaced science with pseudoscience in exactly the manner of teaching creation as science rather than religious allegory.

In order to push forward their right-wing agenda, neoclassical economists concocted the idea of the “Pareto Frontier,” (shown graphically on page 22) which is nothing more than a manipulation of data to essentially say that a person who is made homeless is not made worse off by being homeless, a patently false statement that would normally get one laughed out of a university or a courtroom. It is this Pareto Frontier that is used to pseudoscientifically say that rent controlled housing is economically unsound, when the elimination of rent control has caused all housing in Boston to increase in price, which should tell any reasonable person that it should not be eliminated, as right-wingers desire, in New York City. Adler gives three reasons why the desire to eliminate rent control is problematic–it fails to address why price controls were enacted in the first place, it does not say what to do in the interim after the elimination before the “free market” can produce its abundance, and it ignores that developers generally have incentives for new construction, and that rent control laws generally are not applied to new construction (29-30).

He then lambastes right-wing nutjobs John Stossel and “Adam Smith economist” Walter Williams (often a substitute host for Rush Limbaugh when the latter is on vacation (the appellation is derived from when I listened years ago, not from Adler’s book) on Primetime Live. Again, this involved manipulation.

Williams lived in Virginia, not New York, and had done no research about the housing marker in the city. In his analysis he presented no numbers about rent control in New York or in any other place in the world. Instead of giving viewers facts about rent control, host John Stossel broadcast footage of different rent-regulated buildings in NYC and Williams commented on what he saw. Stossel started by showing Williams photographs of rich and famous people who live in posh rent-stabilized apartments. He then showed his guests pictures of dilapidated buildings in the Bronx.

Stossel: Finally, the most destructive unintended consequence of rent control is that some landlords say, “If I can’t raise the rent, I won’t make repairs.” And they don’t.

Williams: Short of aerial bombardment the best way to destroy a city is rent control.

Landlords “won’t make repairs”? Wasn’t Williams just told of posh rent-stabilized apartments of the rich and famous, and shouldn’t Stossel have concluded that what determined the condition of the buildings was not rent control but the wealth of the tenants? Anyone with knowledge about the real estate market in New York City knows the reason landlords cannot raise rents in poor neighborhoods is not rent control but . . . that the tenants are poor […] If Stossel wanted to show viewers what an unregulated free market in housing can do to the quality of housing in New York City, he could have used the photographs in Jacob Riis‘s 1890 book, How the Other Half Lives. It is precisely the failure of the free market to provide acceptable quality housing to the poor that led to the creation of housing codes. (30-31)

Adler also notes Williams’s failure to mention that new construction in New York City is exempt from new construction, and that new construction is booming while low income housing is being destroyed by income inequality, not rent control. When I was temping for MTA at $12.60 an hour (about $22,000 at 35 hours a week), it was impossible for me to find housing within a reasonable commute from work via public transportation that I could afford on that income without a rental subsidy, for which I received the voucher two business days after I was laid off, along with my fellow temps, all of us having college educations, one in aerospace engineering.

Adler rightly points out that developers in New York have no incentive to build low income housing, and that such housing, Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, for example, is often converted into luxury housing, and that the prices building owners paid for rent-regulated buildings were lowered to reflect the available rental profits, all of which Williams failed to note. In spite of this, Williams is in line with 93% of economists who believe that rent regulation, in spite of empirical evidence to the contrary, reduces quality and quantity of affordable housing (32). He also debunks the claim the two made citing Mia Farrow as a wealthy abuser of rent regulation, failing to note that she has fourteen kids, many of whom are adoptees with severe disabilities and require abnormally high expenses for their care. Because of rent deregulation, the Farrows moved upstate, probably because Mia Farrow could not afford New York’s astronomical market rate rents. The reality is that in 2004, rent-stablized tenants earned a median of $32,000 a year, vs. $42,000, the median for a market rate tenant (33). Now New York City’s mayor makes tax incentives for “affordable housing” that bottom out at $40,000, even though the average income within the five boroughs is only $53,000 for a family of four, and spends 2/3 of its income on rent, double the national guideline. “When a policy benefits the poor, everybody is a utilitarian, calculating whether the beneficiaries are deserving. No calculations are carried out, however, when the rich gobble up the resources of society” (34). In chapter three he shows how Pareto efficiency arguments have been made that the poor eat too much and breathe too much clean air. He also cites an example in which Clarence Thomas was actually right and not playing “Uncle Tom” for Scalia, saying that the value of a home to a poor family is infinite, and no “just compensation” can be made for taking it away, while the supposedly liberal Sandra Day O’Connor got her way with “just compensation,” which has been written into law in Michigan, while ignoring Thomas’s concerns (50-51).

Next, Adler tackles the insane lie that is the Laffer Curve, which claims that taxing the wealthy too much reduces government revenue, showing that it has been debunked more than once by Austan Goolsbee, Richard Kogan, Peter Dreier, and others. Then he shows us that when goods are distributed on the private market, musicians make more money playing for private parties, fewer, bigger apartments; airplanes with fewer passengers, and doctors seeing a few rich patients are all more Pareto efficient than making sure that all have access to these services. He calculates 35% increases in owned apartments and a 20% increase in rental apartments if Manhattan apartments are limited to 1,200 square feet (84). He also points out the unjustifiable fact that GlaxoSmithKline has the ability to set the price of AZT, the main anti-AIDS drug, beyond the reach of millions who die because they need it, when the drug was created with taxpayer dollars by the Michigan Cancer Center and Duke University (79). Only a fool could fail to see the injustice, theft, and downright murder of the public not owning the drug for which they paid to develop.

One last point for this section is that Eric A. Hanushek of the Hoover Institute, who, surprisingly, provided his own photo for the book in spite of what Adler says about him, is the main promulgator of the idea that “You can’t throw money at education,” while Adler shows that close analysis of data shows that the level graphs on page 101 are misleading because of fewer high school dropouts and an increasing child poverty rate would have caused the graphs to plummet were it not for increased government funds, and that his claim requires a belief that class size does not matter, which is again debunked by empirical evidence (101-106).

This is all preparation for the main event, in which he thoroughly debunks John Bates Clark’s wage theory, showing that it was developed in direct response to the Haymarket Massacre in May 1886, in which Chicago police, as the agents of wealth, gunned down countless innocent people simply for exerting their First Amendment rights to demonstrate in demand of a living wage (133-4). Adler demonstrates that neoclassical economists have no empirical grounds for separating the productivity of a worker from the team she is on. He notes that they concoct parables, citing Wikipedia (which has since been taken down, presumably for violating the “no original research” policy, but available at https://issuu.com/homeworkping/docs/1…) and SparkNotes as typical examples, to claim, as per Hal Varian‘s Intermediate Microeconomics, that the “law of diminishing return” is “a common feature of most production processes.”

The problem with these statements is that, despite their implicit claim that they are derived from everyday experience, everyday experience actually contradicts them. First, the examples themselves do not show what the authors say they show. Dump trucks that move earth to and from construction sites travel short distances and have no use for either additional drivers or for workers to unload them. The same is true for cement trucks, since they unload their cargo automatically into concrete pumps. The marginal productivity of a second driver in all these cases would be zero, but so is the marginal product of the actual driver, because without a truck, she would not be able to deliver anything at all. How then can trucks be an example for diminishing marginal productivity of workers and for how the VMP [Value of Marginal Product] of workers explains workers’ wages?

As for the Spark Notes claim–that if the marginal productivity of the second carpenter in a furniture factory is high and of the sixteenth carpenter is zero, then the marginal productivity of the workers in between must be declining gradually–this is doubtful. As the photograph below shows, carpenters work on benches and with tools, and Ricardo’s dose is perhaps the best description for such a method of production. Except for differences due to individual dexterity, the marginal product of all doses is exactly the same, while the marginal product of a carpenter without a bench and tools is zero.

Even more troubling, however, is the fact that students’ attention is diverted from the ubiquitous examples that are blatantly inconsistent with the VMP theory of wages. Why is it that trucks are discussed, but not taxis and buses? Is it because in these cases it is so obvious that the marginal productivities of the drivers are not separable from the capital goods they drive? Why is a parable drawn form a furniture factory when very few students have ever seen one, yet students’ attention is not called to team production, even though every construction site or road that is being paved displays it so clearly? How can Varian assure his readers that declining marginal productivity is a “feature of most production processes,” when most production processes that students witness every day contradict this claim?

Had students known of Clark’s fear of social unrest by workers who felt exploited and of the historical events that gave rise to his fear, their antennae might have been raised. Without such discussion, they accept the diminishing VMP of labour he conjured as a scientific observation, and pass this fabrication on to their own students. (139-142)

That should be enough to disgrace any economist who has won the John Bates Clark medal in the eyes of an intelligent person.

Adler goes on to show examples of how increases in the minimum wage do not generally result increased unemployment (154-5) (although he admits that there are limits, while noting that Ricardo thought that high unemployment caused falling wages and low unemployment caused rising wages (120), shows that unemployment persists when wealthy investors refuse to invest (166-7), and debunks the concept of “efficiency wages,” showing how it is simply an attack on the non-wealthy, and not based in observable fact (179). He also cites a study by David Raff showing that Alan Krueger and Larry Summers are wrong about Henry Ford paying efficiency wages, and that the higher wage did not, in fact, lead to reduced employment, but rather, increased employment (181-184). Adler repeatedly shows that a blame-the-victim mentality is constantly in place for the neoclassical economist, but that it is not grounded in facts or empirical evidence, as Adler puts it, “lacking in both theoretical merit and humanity.” Adler debunks the foolish claim that unemployment is voluntary (172-4, 180-181): “The fact that they agreed gives the lie to both the claim that unemployment is voluntary and that these workers are unfit to work. Surely those who are working for a welfare check would agree to work at a higher-paying job. But nobody noticed” (173-4).

The answer to all this comes in (of all people) John Bates Clark:

The indictment that hangs over society is that of exploiting labor.” “Workmen” it is said, “are regularly robbed of what they produce. This is done within the forms of law, and by the natural working of competition.” If this charge were proved, every right-minded man should become a socialist; and his zeal in transforming the industrial system would then measure and express his sense of justice.

Adler has shown Clark’s tests to this charge to be irrational nonsense that do not hold up under scrutiny, thus, we need to take up Clark’s advice based on his and his followers’ own failure to successfully challenge this charge with any valid evidence.

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Assurance Wireless Defrauds Taxpayers and Blackmails Customers

A couple of months ago I was having problems with my Assurance Wireless telephone not charging. After buying several charge cables I realized that the problem was the port, not the micro USBs, flimsy as they are. Assurance sent me a new phone, since I’ve had it over a year, and didn’t require me to send it back. Every time I have received a phone form them, it has been a Kyocera. this time, it was an Alcatel One Touch. It seemed more advanced than the Kyocera, but I ran into difficulties with it almost immediately.

First, I encountered a problem that I was getting a blank screen when checking my messages–not always, but frequently. Turning the phone off and turning it back on could usually correct it. when I contacted customer service, they said that I had used too much memory. This claim does not square with the facts. I have had the phone less than two months, and as of right now, the phone is exhibiting the problem, and it is telling my I have 22.45 MB available, 18.35 MB used, for a total of 40.80 MB. It was similar at the time I first made the complaint, when I had had the phone for two weeks.

After switching the menu back and forth between grid view and list view, the messages came back, seemingly miraculously. The memory explanation also does not fly because the few messages I had locked (saving did not appear to be an option), had disappeared form my phone along with the older messages. since older messages are automatically deleting from my phone, it cannot rationally be argued that the problem with my phone is that I have used too much memory.

Assurance Wireless’s tech support gave me two options, a hard reset on the phone, which would delete my unread messages, and if I were unwilling to do that, I could call Alcaltel’s warranty department, and they provided the number.

The phone has gone through this phase several times, and is at the present time. the tricks that seemingly unlocked the phone through random play did not work. I would call Alcaltel’s warranty department for help, but Assurance has decided that my phone call to Goodtemps on June 6 at 4:43 PM (they close at 5) went on for two hours and nine minutes. This did not happen, but they are refusing to restore my minutes. Apparently, they think I’m stupid enough not to press the end call button, as though I haven’t had a cell phone for nearly fifteen years. They made a fraudulent but realistic record of the call, and then tell me I have to pay $5 for more minutes, which I refuse to do on principle.

This has thrown off numerous things for me. Goodtemps needs me to send them the medical forms that they lost when I sent them to the customer service e-mail when they had their fax turned off after the move. I found the authorization page in my storage unit, dated December 29, 2015 on Saturday, and the sheet noting that the fax failed because the line was disconnected, but not the page my doctor filled out. My health insurance company sent me a new health insurance card with a doctor I do not know on it, and I have tried to handle this through Twitter because I cannot make the phone call, but they didn’t respond after having me send them a direct message there. And of course, since I got laid off, I need my phone to be available to receive calls from potential employers. All of this Assurance has preventing me from doing with their fraud and blackmail.

There really needs to be a class action lawsuit against Assurance. This would be the only way to combat this. They are getting the taxpayer’s money while denying the promised services. I have asked them repeatedly to prove that their logging of the phone call is correct, but they keep just repeating the information, without providing any evidence that the phone call genuinely ran for that length. My phone shows that I made the call, but does not note the duration. They seem to think that repeating the information over and over serves as “proof.” In court, it would be my word against theirs, and legally, $5 is too little to sue, and certainly impractical. The Constitution says the minimum for a lawsuit is $20, which had the purchasing power in 1789 that nearly $700 has today.

That tech support was unable to help me with the first issue, and came up with such a wildly implausible answer as memory use, shows me again that competence and employment are completely unrelated, while the second half shows the same sort of corruption as the shelter system when the government fails to do their job to make sure that the private company actually does what they are supposed to be instead of coming up with sneaky schemes to illegally increase their profits.

In Which I Give My Mother a Lesson in Logical Reasoning, and She Learns Nothing

I was threatened with being fired in tandem with a woman I with whom I am supposed to work directly. I currently have only one assignment at work, and I was given a direct order not to do it on my own. It involves comparing documents, and the supervisors consider it a two-person job, one reading aloud, and the other comparing. Sometimes I have to do so with a lazy person whom most of the temps agree fails to pull her weight. I told another temp of her antics, making me wait 45 minutes for her to arrive and then eat her breakfast on the clock, and how she, instead of putting notes on the document as instructed, would go over to the temp doing the corrections when she found an issue, which is expressly not how we were to do it, but she did not understand and had to be lectured by the project supervisor (who is below the supervisor) repeatedly. The project supervisor then said that further problems would put not only her, but me, out the door.

I explained this to my mother via texts that are no longer on my phone (which holds only 50 in the sent mail box), and she had this to say:

Since you have all the answers, there is nothing I can say. I no longer even try. Everyone’s life reflects the choices that have been made; you are no exception.

I was reminded of the smug stupidity of Donald Trump and continued the conversation via text:

That is asinine. If I get fired because of what a coworker does, how does that have anything to do with my choices? Put reason before dogma. And you wondered why I called you an irrational moron in an earlier argument. If someone punched you in the face, would you consider it the result of your choices? I think not.

Mom:

Except for money, you seem so like Trump with your attitude and ridicule. Consequently, I simply consider the source. Lack of kindness brings negative karma.

How is it unkind to ask people to be rational? You sounded like Trump before, but I didn’t want to say it.

Mom:

From preschool on, everyone but you has been stupid and incompetent. You live in a world of fools so life for you is very difficult.

I showed this message to the guy doing the corrections, the aerospace engineer to which I referred earlier. It cracked him up when lazy girl whined to the project supervisor because I had said that she had farted in the chair he liked. It was a childish joke, but her telling the project supervisor and stewing about it was like kindergarten, and the project supervisor said so. She also said that she didn’t want the engineer using that particular chair. She didn’t give any particular reason. She had initially said that she didn’t like the chair, then clarified without any particular reason that she did not want him to use it. The engineer agreed that my mother’s claim that everything that happens in a person’s life is a result of their own choices is a ridiculous dogma. After all, an aerospace engineer working in a crappy low-level office job is hardly the result of individual choice.

I said the following to my mother in response:

This message exemplifies what a horrible mother you’ve been your entire life. If I get fired because my coworker breaks rules, it cannot rationally be my fault. Morons think Trump is a genius because he became a billionaire from a million and an NYC rental building. Reality is he’d have to be an idiot not to.

Mom:

I’m simply one of the many fools in your life. I hold you accountable for your actions, and you don’t like it. Everything wrong is always the other person’s fault. You are not responsible for anything happening in your life. It must be awful being a puppet!

Then [coworker’s name redacted] must be my puppet to you when she risks my job by refusing to work when we’ve been instructed we must work in pairs. If I do the work without her, I violate a direct order. You might as well blame workers for decreasing wages as their productivity increases.

Mom:

: It’s rare that a supervisor would fire a good worker when someone else is causing a problem. It’s unfortunate that you may be that rare case. I hope it doesn’t happen.

I replied:

She said we would both be gone if the problems continue.

Why is it that my supervisors make 90k with benefits with high school diplomas? Surely trying to get into white collar work with no education leads to homelessness. How about DOTmed: “You did what any rational human being would have done. The trouble is, Phil’s not rational.” [I won’t name the indirect supervisor who said this to protect him, although it was in the original text, but it’s not hard to find out.]

My mother then e-mailed me this:

Scott,

It is very sad to see how unhappy and afraid you are. Since happiness is “an inside job,” I know that only YOU can make the changes necessary to make yourself feel better.

It’s so easy to blame others for what is going wrong in our lives, but that really serves no purpose except to continue down a negative path. If one’s own attitude doesn’t change, nothing in the outer world will change either. The title of the book you intend to write will turn readers off. Most people realize that excuse making does not solve problems and gets you nowhere.

I just reread the correspondence that [redacted friend’s name] sent to me about you back in 2012. She was frustrated about your behavior: uncooperativeness, rudeness, and ungratefulness. By [redacted freidns name]’s words, I learned that I wasn’t the only one to be on the receiving end of your negative words and treatment.

Your behavior from preschool to the present day has been amazingly consistent, and that is the only reason I mentioned it. Unkindness has been your consistent way of treating others, and it has a boomerang effect. Unfortunately for you, unlike your childhood days, the problems you face now as an adult have serious and very unpleasant ramifications: no home, no job, no family, etc.

Please start being kind to yourself and others. It’s worth a try, since your negative way hasn’t been working well for you. You’ve been emancipated from your parents for over 22 years so blaming us or me for all of your current problems is unreasonable. You are in New York City because you decided to be there, and when your dad asked you to return to Indy, you told him no because you said you couldn’t get a job here. Obviously, New York isn’t much better.

Have you considered moving to another part of this country or the world where the cost of living isn’t the highest? To blame a city for genocide because of the high cost of the apartments there is ludicrous. Two of my favorite TV programs are House Hunters and House Hunters International in which purchases and rentals of property are sought. There are all kinds available at both the top and bottom ends of the scale, but it is clear that prices are extremely high in the New York City area. I’m surprised you didn’t know this.

Your experiences are the result of the choices you have made. Others have the same right to choose what they want to experience, and that includes me. Please don’t text me again if all you intend to do is to complain.

You are wished the very best today and always.

Love,
Mom

My response:

You are not being honest. Telling someone without a car and an ambulatory disability to move is asinine. [Why would it make sense for someone to move from where they have a job and don’t need a car to where they don’t have a job and need a car, particularly if they can’t be on their feet for long periods?] I am aware that housing is expensive in NYC, but the so-called progressive mayor is cutting deals to make it worse. Also, I find it very unlikely I would ever get a better job than what I have in a less expensive part of the country.

I’m sorry, but when the boss chooses to hold me accountable for what another employee does, it is irrational and imbecilic to blame my choices. I’m sorry you’re not intelligent enough to grasp logical reasoning.

[redacted friend’s name] expected me to get a smartphone for a job that would get me $100 a week if I were lucky. That is foolishness. I’m not sure why you can’t see that.

[redacted friend’s name] also told me not to worry about the debt to my former landlord, the one you paid, and I am very grateful to you for having paid. I still think the law should be changed and that they should be forced to return the money. [redacted friends’s name] has both real estate expertise and a law degree, so I relied on her for accurate information. She blocked me on Linkedin when I told her I was disappointed with her response–exact word used.

The friend in question spent much time homeless in another country without shelters with a mentally ill mother. She also has a volatile personality (As blocking me on LinkedIn when I said I was “disappointed” with her response) and is a recovering alcoholic. I’m not sure she is a very good example of a better-behaved, more credible person than I am.

Needless to say, much of what I said to her was said in anger–I went to her for support and got treated like garbage in return.

The following morning, I sent her this via a multitude of texts, what I thought was a calm and rational response to the discussion of the previous day:

Put more neutrally–When I tell people of the sweeping negative generalizations you make of me going that far back, others tell me that you are abusive, crazy, and unmotherly, foolish enough to believe that other people’s children never misbehave. When I tell people that you shared such negative things with your coworkers, they tell me that you have no discretion and have no idea how to behave in public. I learned from the best [hence this public posting]. I never condemn you when I tell people you won’t take in your disabled college graduate in a time when capitalists’ failure to pay a living wage has forced so many parents yo take in non-disabled offspring, but others say horrible things about you, and one of the nicer things they call you is an irresponsible parent. David [Friedman] says that I expect irrational people to have power over me because you made it normal, so I expect it. The reason you never heard about other parent’s kids misbehaving is because other kids’ parents knew better than to broadcast it or found it a humorous example of a kid being a kid. You even found fault with me when I got a standing ovation for singing in church. What the hell is wrong with you? David says, “The good parent’s response to a toddler making a mess is to get the camera. The bad parent attacks the child for being a child.” We both know you were the latter. [The only existing photo of me making a mess that I’ve ever seen is with a small piece of cake on January 2, 1977, my first birthday.] Just as in my 20s, you punished me when I went too long without a job interview or a temp assignment ended because of your failure to understand the world around you, like the time you took the computer away and made me take resumes in person to companies that weren’t even advertising for employees. Success rate: 0.0. Never made it past front desk security, who probably never delivered it to the right person.

Frankly, your support for Sanders stuns me. Editorials about millennials not leaving home because they are too lazy to get real jobs are more in keeping with how you’ve treated me. It’s not as though I want to live with someone who wants to keep a huge hierarchy between us. [For example, my mother would refuse to give me any kind of heads up when she was going to be home when at time she was normally at work, giving “It’s my house!” as her excuse for why she was not willing to do so in the future, while being exactly the opposite with me, constantly angry for coming home at all different times of day or night while I was in college and after.] Like Trump supporters, you seem to live in a fantasy land where well-paying jobs are available to those willing to do them. See Ivan Pereira’s article in the September 8 AM New York if you think $12.60 an hour is well-paying. Also see the article in The Washington Post about how there had been net zero job growth since December 1999, the very month on my bachelor’s degree. But, as you say, such problems are based on the choices of those worst hurt by them.

It is an irrational, dogmatic, imbecilic LIE to blame my homelessness on my choices. It is unkind in the extreme to gossip about me to your coworkers. You’ve been unkind to me my entire life, and “do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work with kids. Never has and never will. I simply asked you to stop your presumptuous, unkind, and foolish claims.

Thank you for the Easter card and check. Also thank you for telling me you perceived my words as unkind. I was lecturing you, but unkindness wasn’t the intent, didacticism was. It takes a really warped mind to construe a lecture on logical reasoning (from which you learned nothing) as “unkindness.” You’re the only one I know who considers Jim [my older brother] sending me a job description with “the ability to stand and walk for long periods of time” under “Requirements” “helpful.” I think you have a lot to learn about unkindness before accusing others of it.

I had no idea Jim sent you a job description so I could not have had a reaction to something I know nothing about. You have quite an imagination and ability to make up things. Please stop texting me.

Bull. This was years ago and erupted into a big argument because Jim thought my reply was obnoxious, and he forwarded it to you. You screamed at me on the phone that he was just trying to be helpful. No one I told agrees. Stop lying.

Mom:

The past is over. As a narcissist, you seem to think everything is about you. It isn’t. If what you say happened, the only one to remember is you. Please stop texting me.

Oh yeah. It’s so kind to call me a narcissist. You’re full of shit. I come to you because I see a blatant injustice, and you turn around and blame the victim.

The good news is that the lazy girl finally got a partner who is better at corralling so that I can do the work with other partners and not worry about her. Supervisor wanted two pairs, but Goodtemps sent some no-shows. She is not my replacement.

Mom:

I’m glad a change worked out for you. With all your blaming and protesting about everything and everyone, I’m glad something positive has finally happened.

You just love to blame the victim. This text has such a nasty tone.
If I’m a narcissist for remembering that, what does that make you for remembering the chapel incident at First Baptist? I don’t remember it–only you bringing it up repeatedly. I’m talking about something fewer than ten years ago, yours is 35+

You are pathologically unable to have happy memories about me. When I got a standing ovation for singing at church, you had only negative things to say.

You’re such a narcissist that you forget any incident that might make you look bad. You can’t let me forget such things.

I make no claims about what I have forgotten where you are concerned. But I do remember what I personally experienced, and much of that I would like to forget. I’m grateful for here and now. Have a happy Easter.

Most parents would be proud that their kid had started reading before preschool. Not you.

Only you knew that; not your parents. That’s news to me.

Of course you don’t. You don’t remember at all me telling you how the teachers pulled me from playtime to read Dick and Jane to them because I could. I found it boring and suggested other books from the shelves, but rarely did they let me. This was not normal, nor was this a punishment. They didn’t do it with any other kid, and it was always presented as a positive. If I really didn’t want to, they told me it was OK, but they usually persuaded me with flattering my intelligence. I once persuaded them to let me read from a book about elephants, but nix to Over the Rainbow, a storybook depicting part of The Wizard of Oz that I’ve never been able to identify. [I did a Google search for it as I typed this and could not find the book in question.] One time I found a Dick and Jane book with pictures of black kids and telling [sic] them the words were the same. I know you knew at the time because I remember griping to you about it because the book itself was so dull. I didn’t even know the title because it was always already open. It wasn’t Mrs. Cohen [the one in charge of the preschool]. I remember the faces but not the names of the teachers who had me do this. One was a younger lady with short red hair and large eyes. The other was an older, line-faced woman with curly hair and a long nose. It was always at the far left side of the building as you walk in [although it looks very different now, you can see the view I looked out on while sitting there here: http://peterrabbitschool.com/Peter_Rabbit/Preschool.html — The website shows that Mrs. Cohen still operates the school]. The curly-haired woman was there the longest, so I’m sure you saw her. She did a lot while Mrs. Cohen stepped back and supervised. The only kids whose names I still remember from preschool are Amy, David, Brent, Eli (who had curly red hair), Hayley, and Anya.

Sorry, but this is all news to me. You never read at home, and I wasn’t at preschool with you. I was, however called when you made a mess with maracas they wanted me to spank you because they couldn’t get you to behave using other discipline.

As you kept reminding me, and your first sentence is false. [Most of my memories of this incident are in the third person, so they cannot be authentic, only my imaginings of what was told to me. I remember puncturing a maraca made of styrofoam cups and masking tape to see what was inside, and the rice making a mess, and trying to hide that I had done it, and getting spanked, but the stories I remember being told depicted me gleefully shaking the contents of the maraca all over the floor, and got more and more exaggerated until I was laughing at being spanked, which definitely never happened.]

Of course that’s all you remember because you are pathologically wired toward the negative and wonder why you’re never happy.

I also remember when we learned about China and sat in the kitchen with bathroom cups [3 oz. paper cups] full of rice; I was the last holdout to switch from chopsticks to a spoon. The chopsticks were black and very wet. I know I would have told you this on the car trip home.

Mom:

Trip home?

When you picked me up from preschool. You obviously don’t remember them if you can’t remember my ability to read the text of picture books at a young age. You never remembered anything I told you about my days in school even though I took your requests to know quite literally until grade 3 or so.

It was more your fear of problems than me creating an inordinate number of them.

I remember your teacher crying and telling us she couldn’t teach with you in the class. That’s why you had to change schools.

That was 1st grade, and that was because I acted hostile when I was punished for complaining about Robbie Goodwin messing with headphone jacks. Then as now, you always gave my side of the story little if any weight and decided without any evidence that I was lying, then compounded your judgment of me with these supposed “lies.” [I remember my mother telling me repeatedly while in kindergarten and first grade that she had put me on a waiting list for the school to which I was transferred, but she has no memory of this. I remember her mentioning a “waiting list” and wondering what my weight had to do with it, but not asking.]

I was also dealing with your father being fired and fear about how we would survive. It was an awful time.

I know, and you took it out on me. I didn’t see Robert Goodwin again until high school, but I don’t recall any interactions. The incident was so vivid I can remember it was a record of “Rumpelstiltskin” and being convinced that the voice of the princess was the woman who was on The Electric Company as Jennifer of the Jungle, et al. [Judy Graubart–indeed it was; I just found it on YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDiU2h25svA%5D.

I can’t remember you ever being happy, just complaining about me, Dad, Jim, or your bosses.

You sound like the ones who blame the deaths of Ramarley Graham and Eric Garner on the victims and exonerate the cops.

You don’t know me at all. You just think you. You are so mistaken. All you know are your projections about me. Thank you for living so far away. That’s a gift to both of us.

Your messages show you won’t know me at all, but you project your lies on me, claiming things you’ve forgotten did not occur. You said I made up about the job application and your involvement in it.

Don’t you ever live in the present? The past is over and the future doesn’t yet exist. Try living in the moment. It’s the only time where change can happen. Change your thinking, and you change your world. It’s a good cliché because it speaks the truth.

[Caught in a lie, she changes the subject.]

But this hypocrisy annoys me–you blame all your problems on others and fault me for doing so even when it is objectively correct for me to do so.

That is not what you did outwardly. I still don’t think it’s a good choice to major in your weakest subject because “demand.”

Since your words and behavior have been negative for so long, and they represent your thoughts, how can you expect a different outcome? People respond to what they experience. That’s why I would encourage you to be kind and thoughtful for your own sake. I want you to be happy most of all, but only you can make that happen.

Changing your thoughts doesn’t create job interviews or make landlords not not find you suspicious. I did not choose to have physical problems. Explain how I chose to graduate into the worst job market in 75 years.

Well, all fields are glutted, so don’t discount luck. It’s common to discard apps unopened these days, also nepotism. If an application is deleted unopened, how is that the result of the applicant’s choice?

How would one get this from a resume and well-written cover letter?

So when billionaires take my tax money to line their wallets and keep me homeless, I should shut up and blame myself?

Positivity toward evil brings more evil.

Mom:

That’s like saying light brings darkness. It doesn’t work that way. One candle can light many others, yet it doesn’t lose its own light.

I knew you would say that, but the analogy fails. It wasn’t saying children laboring in factories was OK that ended children laboring in factories. Saying government collusion with billionaire developers is OK is to encourage it.

Mom:

Government collusion with billionaires is NOT OK. That’s why I’m for Bernie Sanders.

We are not going to stop it by showing positivity. That is why I keep up the public posts calling the mayor a genocidal fascist. The mayor’s unaffordable housing scam passed City Council on Tuesday, in spite of opposition from 55 of 59 community boards and a couple hundred protesters outside City Hall, which just goes to show that “American democracy” is an oxymoron, just like Sanders has the popular vote but Hillary has more delegates.

Housing projects turned to shit because the government defunded them for wars of choice, but instead they blamed the tenants and tore many of them down only to replace them with “luxury” condos that are luxurious only in price. Even massive vacancy real estate is worth more than money. At the rate things are going, the majority of NYC is going to live in the very profitable shelter system and most luxury rentals will be vacant because wages are ridiculously low. Even lawyers are making only $20 an hour these days, less than is needed to live in the cheapest borough, the Bronx. This climate was chosen for us by the previous generation. Wake up!

If blaming gets you what you want, keep doing it. Unfortunately, it has a way of keeping the blamer mired in negativity. Since like attracts like, only more negativity developes [sic], and envelops the blamer. It is a vicious cycle until the blamer decides to make a change of mind and heart and realizes only a positive, loving attitude will bring the desired results. It takes mental work and courage to do this. Faith in Divine Energy and Infinite Intelligence called God also helps. I’m grateful that the teachings of A Course in Miracles helped me during difficult times. I hope you will find something that helps you.

It took three years of praying to God just to get a job I can actually do, but it neither pays a living wage nor is even close to what I want to do. Bow I have to pay $671 to to the government because they won’t allow me to defer my debt anymore. This will keep me homeless. I feel betrayed by MSDWT for telling me my entire life about the importance of a degree. The chaplains always pray with me that the job will utilize my talents and compensate me well. Still waiting on those parts.

Mom:

You have learned that life is hard. Ask any Syrian refugee forced to flee his country because of tyranny. This country has enormous problems as well, and you are learning first hand about them. Maybe being an activist is your calling.

I think so, but no one is paying me for it.

When you see jobs in activism on the internet, it’s canvassing, which pays poorly, and I am in no condition to do. That and non-profits are usually restricted by donors from attacking problems at the source.

No intelligent person fails to understand that the underlying cause of my homelessness is systemic failure, not personal failure.

Navient is demanding that I pay $671 per month for my student loans and says that all my deferments are exhausted. I make only $1440 a month after taxes. I contacted them a week ago to explain my situation, and have a confirmation number, but all I get are daily robocalls.

This conversation took place in late March 2016. On June 3, 2016, the aerospace engineer, the lazy girl, and the new girl, who has a degree in criminal justice, were all laid off. One of the regular employees, who also has a master’s degree, said that the managers telling us an afternoon before, and with our project supervisor on vacation, was “puerile” and demonstrative of their lack of any education past high school.

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