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December 2010

Civics Test Question

In the US which sector transfers value to shareholders?

I.      Business

II.     Government


A.      I only

B.      II only

C.      I and II

D.      Neither I nor II

The correct answer is C. Government is the handmaiden of business and through lower corporate taxes and lower taxes on capital gains and income, shifts value to those who own shares and other assets. This creates concentrations of capital which can move efficiently to the lowest cost providers of labor worldwide. This further shifts value to shareholders while immiserating the feckless US non-rich citizen. Building a strong base of support for this falls to corporate owned media. This is Freedom. It is not perfect. The alternative is Communism.

Making the Case For Capacity Building

Hildy Gottlieb reflecting on lessons learned from her own year end fundraising appeal:

But if there is one thing all capacity building organizations have in common it is that it is hard to make the case for those organizations to individual donors. Most individual donors want to directly help people in need, or directly support the arts, or etc. It is hard to make the case for support of an organization whose mission is to help other organizations do that on-the-ground work.

Meaningful Careers After 50

Diogenes by Demetrio Belenky
I was interviewed today by Julia Moulden for her forthcoming book on rewarding careers after age 50. Having spent my career rising through the ranks in Wealth Bondage, mostly in Private Client Services, it has been refreshing to become a Free Lance Pro Bono Morals Consultant to my fellow Boomers. Helping them find meaning in their lives? Why else do I carry a lamp in broad daylight? I used to carry a mirror instead, but was taken aback when I caught my own smiling face. Insane, clearly, even in my own eyes.

The Oppressor's Pedagogue

The Dumpster Dwelling Pharisee, The Happy Tutor, wishing to justify his philanthropic planning practice says:

Master and slave, consumer and producer, employee and immediate superior, prolific and devouring, oppressor and oppressed, donor and donee, brand and branded, are dialectically related. Changing one might change both. There is a saying in family counseling - the only person you can change in a family is you. Then others change, if they do, because the family system has. Likewise, for the powerless, "Be the change you seek in the world," as Gandhi said.

Who has money; who has education of the good prep school and Ivy variety? Why then do we not have a pedagogy of the oppressor? Isn't that exactly what the liberal arts originally were? The pedagogy of a slave owning class. Hence we speak of nobility of purpose.

Some might say I am just in it for the money. Closer to say that I am in it for the silences, the discomfort, the rigidity and universality of the non-responses. Practicing the pedgagogy of the oppressor in a Dumpster at the corner of Wealth and Bondage, where public meets private and all who pass pass in silence is an act of - feels like anger, the self-destructive sort. Do you have to be Buddhist monk to dream of dousing yourself in gasoline and lighting a match? How do we remind our sleewalking fellow citizens of our founding ideals?  Excuse me! I am talking to you! And they walk by eyes averted, returning Christmas gifts or running whatever urgent errand. I am a sad joke to them. And it only 9 am, too early to drink much, even if I had the money.  

Corporate Naming Rights in LA High Schools


Students in the Los Angeles Unified School District may soon be attending football games and band concerts in buildings with the name of corporate sponsors plastered on them. The school board has agreed to sell the naming rights to its buildings in hopes of raising much-needed revenue, but the plan has its detractors.

It is the least we in Wealth Bondage can do to support our bankrupt schools.

How strategic philanthropy can shape public opinion in social media

George Monbiot:

For his film (Astro)Turf Wars, Taki Oldham secretly recorded a training session organised by a rightwing libertarian group called American Majority. The trainer, Austin James, was instructing Tea Party members on how to “manipulate the medium”(11). This is what he told them:

“Here’s what I do. I get on Amazon; I type in “Liberal Books”. I go through and I say “one star, one star, one star”. The flipside is you go to a conservative/ libertarian whatever, go to their products and give them five stars. … This is where your kids get information: Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster. These are places where you can rate movies. So when you type in “Movies on Healthcare”, I don’t want Michael Moore’s to come up, so I always give it bad ratings. I spend about 30 minutes a day, just click, click, click, click. … If there’s a place to comment, a place to rate, a place to share information, you have to do it. That’s how you control the online dialogue and give our ideas a fighting chance.”

Over 75% of the funding for American Majority, which hosted this training session, comes from the Sam Adams Alliance(12). In 2008, the year in which American Majority was founded, 88% of the alliance’s money came from a single donation, of $3.7m(13). A group which trains rightwing libertarians to distort online democratic processes, in other words, was set up with funding from a person or company with a very large wallet.”

More here, but the funding sources are obscured.

Distorting online democracy - Good stuff to know how to do in my role as a serving professional in service to dynastic and corporate wealth. It is not for me to judge. The client is responsible for the ends in view, I serve up the means. Whether I brokered this particular $3.7 million social investment is not something I care to discuss. What happens in Wealth Bondage, stays in Wealth Bondage. I will however admit to drinking Sam Adams. Sometimes getting drunk is the only way I can live with myself.