neil-gaiman:

I’m ridiculously rich by most standards (including mine, for most of my life), and pay taxes on my income without begrudging it, and I considers myself mostly lucky that the stuff I like to write is the stuff that other people like to read… So this struck a chord…

areasofmyexpertise:

Leon Cooperman the Omega Advisors Inc. chairman and former CEO of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)’s money-management unit….  [wrote that] Capitalists “are not the scourge that they are too often made out to be….’

“[Now] Cooperman, 68, said in an interview that he can’t walk through the dining room of St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, without being thanked for speaking up. At least four people expressed their gratitude on Dec. 5 while he was eating an egg-white omelet, he said.”

***

Max Abelson wrote a story today for Bloomberg about the hurt feelings of many bankers and CEOs who feel they are for some weird reason being cast as the villains in “A Christmas Carol” the bleak economy.

Allow me to tell you a story.

At one point on my book tour, I was approached in the airport by a former banker.

He told me he was a life long Democrat and a huge fan of The Daily Show, but he also felt that Jon and the show had it all wrong.

(Because he was a multi millionaire, he has the right to just start critizing anyone in the airport he wants.)

He said that the bankers were not the bad guys in the subprime mortgage scandal and near financial collapse that they had everything to do with. They were just doing what the government allowed them to do.*

And so: he felt it was unfair and hurtful to make the bankers out to be the bad guys.

I was very happy to finally have the chance to say this to someone’s face:

I told him that as a freelance person, I had no idea how much money I would make this year. I never do.

But during the previous few years, due to hard work and exceedingly strange circumstance, I had made more money than I had ever conceived of making in my life. I had also paid a huge bucket of local, state, and city taxes, and that was JUST FINE WITH ME.

Because I knew that I had very little to worry about when it came to providing for my family and me this holiday season. And I suspected he didn’t as well.

But there are many, many people who are VERY worried about this. And out of consideration to them, it seemed to me a little unseemly for wealthy to care so much about the names they might be called.

“From my point of view,” I said, “I think you and me and other wealthy people should just suck it in and take it.”

I have never said anything like this out loud to a stranger before in my life, never mind a stranger who has money; but as I am now a Deranged Millionaire, I now have that right to speak my mind.

Naturally, he just ignored what I said and offered to consult on the Daily Show if we wanted.

 

***

LOOK: I do not mean to suggest that anyone in this piece is a monster. I am sure they are smart, innovative, and good to their families and employees. I respect success IMMENSELY and I am a capitalist.

However, I know better now than ever that wealth deranges.

It disconnects you from the world. It inflates your self-regard. It allows you to believe that four people congratulating you at your country club makes you a GODDAMN HERO OF AMERICA.

And it leads you to say things like former banker John A. Allison said in the article linked:

Instead of an attack on the 1 percent, let’s call it an attack on the very productive.”

Because of course, you non-millionaires are not productive, and not worthy.

I know this from experience: when wealth takes hold, the brain creates a new reality in order to explain your new fortune over the poor fortunes of others.

It is not enough to say, as some of these men do, “I am wealthy, and I got some lucky advantages, but I also worked really hard and found some opportunities, and I am proud of it.”

You must instead say: “my extreme wealth proves that I DESERVE to be wealthy, because I am better.”

This logical fallacy is the core of Social Darwinism, but you’d think after a while that Homo Robber Baronensis would have bred some thicker skin.

But it’s like no one around these rich and powerful men have ever called them a name or even disagreed with them!

Oh! That’s right: no one has. At least, not for a long time.

Well, some of these guys are childish, and some of them are creeps. 

That is all.

AMAZING IMAGE OF ME AS A POOR DERANGED MILLIONAIRE COURTESY: THE AMAZING APE-LAD.  

*This was his actual argument. It is not an argument an adult makes. It’s the actual argument that TEENAGERS make at prestigious high schools where cheating is rampant: everyone was doing it, and no teacher was stopping them. So they WERE FORCED to cheat in order to be competitive. TEENAGERS ARE NOT JOB CREATORS.

 

(Source: hodgman)

ryface:

Here are some numbers to call:

And here’s what to say:

I’m calling in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street Protestors. Please support the first amendment rights of the citizens in the protests that are being denied those rights and attacked by the NYPD

ryface:

They’re also refusing mainstream media broadcast access, because they know what they are doing is wrong and they don’t want it filmed.

If they refuse to let people see it, you know they’re trustworthy!

"

I find it ironic that Republicans have such disdain for the lazy, and yet their solution to everything is do nothing. Their answer to wealth inequality? Do nothing. Healthcare? Do nothing. Climate change? Nothing. Racism? Doesn’t exist. For a group of people so head over heels in love with self-reliance, they sure do recommend a lot of sitting on (one’s) ass.

If A Christmas Carol was performed by the Tea Party Dramatic Society, it would be a cautionary tale about how the hero, Scrooge — a blameless job creator — is turned into a socialist through the corrupting influence of Tiny Tim. And the play would end with a simple, plaintive question from Mr. Scrooge: ‘Just how much of my wealth does Mr. Tim think he’s entitled to?’

And that is the great Republican fallacy of this election: that our economic problem are due not to Wall Street’s gambling, but because too many Americans are lazy. But there are 16 million unemployed, and we only created 80,000 jobs last month. The problem isn’t laziness — it’s math.

This is where the Republican Party is now: in favor of people dying because they don’t have health insurance. In favor of letting people go unfed if they won’t work. And if they wanna work, but are Mexicans, in favor of putting up a fence that electrocutes them.

"

BILL MAHER, Real Time (via inothernews)

I intensely dislike Bill Maher, but that quote is spot-on, I must say.

beltsquid:

encyclopidia:

This is pretty cool.

Egyptians march from Tahrir Square to support protestors in Oakland.

^^^ This is a pretty huge moment that I fear will be snuffed out in a whirl of propaganda from all sides. 

wilwheaton:

infinitecosmia:thephrygiancap:

Police State Brutality @OCCUPYOAKLAND

OPD have been denying up and down that they didn’t use any rubber bullets or flash grenades, when clearly all the evidence is there. A year ago if people saw these photos, they wouldn’t believe this was on American soil. The media somehow has convinced people to ignore this and go about their day. Nothing wrong here citizens, move along.

karenhealey:

jhameia:

This is like really late but it’s been in my tabs for weeks, so here:

It began early one morning in May, when dozens of teenage girls emerged from the predawn darkness and scaled the spiked iron fence around Chile’s most prestigious girl’s school. They used classroom chairs to barricade themselves inside and settled in. Five months later, the occupation shows no signs of dying and the students are still fighting for their goal: free university education for all.

A tour of the school is a trip into the wired reality of a generation that boasts the communication tools that feisty young rebels of history never dreamed of. When police forces move closer, the students use restricted Facebook chat sessions to mobilise. Within minutes, they are able to rally support groups from other public schools in the neighbourhood. “Our lawyer lives over there,” said Angelica Alvarez, 14, as she pointed to a cluster of nearby homes. “If we yell ‘Mauricio’ really loud, he leaves his home and comes over.”

The first thing they did after taking over the school was to hold a vote. Approximately half of the 1,800 students participated in the polls to approve the takeover, and the yays outnumbered the nays 10 to one.

Now the students pass their school days listening to guest lecturers who provide free classes on topics ranging from economics to astronomy. Extracurricular classes include yoga and salsa lessons. At night and on weekends, visiting rock bands set up their equipment and charge 1,000 pesos (£1.25) per person to hear a live jam on the basketball court. Neighbours donate fresh baked cakes and, under a quirk of Chilean law, the government is obliged to feed students who are at school – even students who have shut down education as usual.

So much food has poured in that the students from Carmela Carvajal now regularly pass on their donations to hungry students at other occupied schools.

Carmela Carvajal is among Chile’s most successful state schools. Nearly all the graduates are assured of a place in top Chilean universities, and the school is a magnet, drawing in some of the brightest minds from across Santiago, the nation’s capital and a metropolis of six million.

But the story playing out in its classrooms is just a small part of a national student uprising that has seized control of the political agenda, wrongfooted conservative president Sebastián Piñera, and called into question the free-market orthodoxy that has dominated Chilean politics since the Pinochet era.

The students are demanding a return to the 1960s, when public university education was free. Current tuition fees average nearly three times the minimum annual wage, and with interest rates on student loans at 7%, the students have made financial reform the centrepiece of their uprising.

At the heart of the students’ agenda is the demand that education be recognised as a common right for all, not a “consumer good” to be sold on the open market.

Politicians and many parents fret that the cancellation of classes has turned 2011 into “a lost year” for public education, but for many of the students the past five months has been the most intensive education of their life.

“I have become a lot more mature. I used to judge my classmates by their looks. Now I understand them and together we stand up for what we believe,” said Camila Gutierrez, 15, a freshman at Carmela Carvajal. “It has been exhausting, but if you want something in life, you have to fight for it.”

These girls +1000 forever.