Leon Botstein thought Jeffrey Epstein was just a “normal” sex offender
There’s a very obvious reason to shun Epstein. That Bostein did not says everything about him, whatever his justifications. He is saying that his job requires him to have no moral line whatsoever. But who takes such a job? I think the idea is that money cannot be dirty, it washes clean as soon as you give it to something worthy. But the truth is that the money is there to wash dirty people clean. This is the only reason they give that money. Strictly speaking, there are people destroying the health of the planet and making weapons that kill many that should also not be washed clean. Eschewing the Sacklers means that virtually all of these people should be eschewed who kill as many as the Sacklers did. We should not be so cynical to say it is all a farce so why not take the money. However, if we do not say this, then the rift widens and we have to look it square in the face and see how complicit virtually every laudable institution is, how awash in blood money and harm they all are.
So when are we going to say this? I think we should. We should stop our servility and start to speak out against these people. They should not be regarded as ‘respectable citizens.’ A number of environmentalists have said as much, including Aldo Leopold. Unless we start to create social norms around behaviors of mass harm we are always letting the money and prestige wash away the crimes. Henry Kissinger’s birthday party was a cheering example--people were called out for attending that party. The enormous social cachet of that group of people is very hard to affect. They operate as a gang and because the power structures are fairly closed and refusal to say anything critical about even the worst and most harmful crimes is the price of admission to the gang (as Larry Summers apparently told Elizabeth Warren) it’s hard to have any effect. So I doubt anything we say will matter. Harvard undergraduates will climb the greasy pole with internships with these very people. Nevertheless, we should still be as loud as possible about what they have done and what we think about it. We should speak and bear witness because it is true. Money can erase a lot of things but we shouldn’t let it erase the truth.
Like the PGA-LIV merger. I guess wealthy murderers are also acceptable, if the price is right.
I had NO IDEA that the PGA had any kind of tax-exempt status!! You want to talk about money, morality, decency, not to mention fairness, wealth distribution, dishonorable tax laws?!! How about this news item that caught my eye before leaving computer-land for the morning. This was a Yahoo News item this morning and it is astounding that the PGA EVER had tax-exempt status, but now? NOW? That must end NOW!! Write your Congress-people!!
"Congress Tees Up New Bill Stripping PGA Tour’s Tax-Exempt Status
Wed, Jun 7, 2023
Barely a day after the PGA Tour shocked the world by announcing it would be joining a for-profit venture with its heretofore hated rival—the Saudi-backed LIV Golf—a Congressional bill has been introduced to strip the tour of its tax-exempt status.
On Wednesday afternoon, Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), the third-ranking minority member on the House Armed Services Committee, proposed the “No Corporate Tax Exemption for Professional Sports Act,” which would end the PGA Tour’s ability to file as an IRS 501-C organization, as it has done for decades."
The article goes on with some excerpts here:
"As Sportico noted in a story published earlier Wednesday, the PGA Tour is one of the last major American pro sports organizations to continue operating as a federal nonprofit, after the NFL voluntarily converted to for-profit status in 2015.
Over the last 15 years, there have been several bills proposed, mostly by Republicans, that would change the Internal Revenue Code to disallow pro sports organizations earning more than $10 million in annual revenue from availing themselves of tax-exempt status.
“Saudi Arabia cannot be allowed to sportswash its government’s horrific human rights abuses and the 2018 murder of American-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi by taking over the PGA,” Garamendi said. “PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan should be ashamed of the blatant hypocrisy and about-face he and the rest of PGA’s leadership demonstrated.”
Garamendi, a former college football player and wrestler at Cal, has been a member of Congress since 2009. He previously served as the lieutenant governor of California.
“ 'The notion that the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund would pay zero dollars in taxes on their blood money and potentially billions of dollars in profits while countless American families pay their fair share while struggling to make ends meet is ludicrous,” Garamendi said. “My common-sense legislation would right this wrong and bring some much-needed accountability to this matter.”
Having been in the position of running a nonprofit and needing the wealthy in order to pay staff and accomplish our mission, I can admit that there were many times when I wished we could have achieved our goals without them. I often felt like a serf, arranging our activities so that the lord or lady would favor us. I agreed with Obama when he proposed that large donations should not be deducted at the higher tax rates (when they actually pay higher rates).
Not only must nonprofits be dependent upon the wealthy (most of whom are good people) but they also must compete for grants from wealthy foundations and banks. Billions of dollars are held by community and family foundations that dribble out 5% of their assets to nonprofits every year. Now that Federal earmarks have returned, nonprofits must now compete for money from their representatives.
Why is it that this country has so many social needs that are only partially alleviated by nonprofit work? I believe it is because mankind has forever developed standards that rewards only certain characteristics. Our capitalist system supports those standards and the ever accelerating benefits flow to the wealthy.
Epstein is no more morally repugnant than Trump; indeed Trump’s sins are more varied and some are against the whole nation . Both money and power are what rules the modern world in reality. Thus one could conclude that the party who supports Trump’s candidacy is also bought and paid for by as*holes as well. Money and power are more addictive than any drug.
As an old ICU nurse, I marvel at all the a$$ kissing of Bill Gates, who is an expert in every field and even an outstanding book reviewer. Time to tax the rich adequately. They make their millions on the backs of others. Their ideas, inventions, or purchased software AKA DOS would not bring them a red cent without the labor if others. Our value system stinks. And believe me money is how America shows what it values.
The real lesson, as Professor Reich implies, is that this is just the beginning. Given the requirement of investors to earn a historical rate of return on their money (3-5% on bonds and 8-10% on equities) combined with lower rates of economic growth results in their ultimately capturing greater and greater shares of the national income. In 1991 money seeking a rate of return amounted to about $90 trillion. Now it’s closer to $400 trillion. The result, of course, is that all this wealth seeking more wealth must buy more and more, even taking over the functions once performed by the state (e.g. space exploration, war, communication etc.). Thus even governments, as well as non-profits such as Bard, must increasingly seek their beneficence. Eventually the top 10 percent (or 5 percent, or, ultimately .001 percent) will own everything. The big question is how can the increasing power of the plutocrats be checked?
Ever since the Citizens United decision, the super wealthy have taken over our government. We must pass an amendment to reverse this decision.
I think of the very recent PGA/ Saudi marriage as an example of this sort of thing.
Is it really a question of wealth or poverty? Isn't it more a question of having principles and standing by them? Morality - character - aren't qualities attached to financial status, or any other external quality. They are what they are and you either have them or you don't. What those Epstein "groupies" (and I mean those seeking something from him, or responding to his overtures to them) demonstrated is what we are seeing every day in this country (and not only this country, obviously) and that is the absence of the proverbial moral compass, of any engrained sense of decency, morality - of character.
Money may set loose the many available ways of acting out one's immoral or amoral lack of character in more varied ways, but lack of character is not the exclusive purview of any particular financial status, racial status, gender, education or any other qualifier.
For those public figures, "celebrities," politicians, CEO's, etc. who lack character, they may be able to keep their indecency hidden for a while, maybe a long while; money buys silence and secrets - from those also without character - we have learned. The notion of there being different levels of "character" was "popularized" by the Clintons. The idea that there were such things as public character and, separately, private character was part of the shift in consciousness that they and their "team" developed in order to shift attitudes about their behaviors.
That discrepancy was demonstrated very dramatically (in my opinion) when we would see Bill and Hillary exit a church in Washington, D.C. on a Sunday, sometimes a Black church, and Bill would be shown on camera smiling, holding his Bible high up as he waved and greeted people outside the church. We later learned that he was meeting Monica Lewinsky for a liaison at the White House.
Public - private - but that precious quality we call "character" not there.
You have to know right from wrong and choose right. That's how morality works.
On top of all that, even as much sucking up as Presidents, Board Members, etc., do, it is not enough to keep our cultural institutions going much less education, health care, child care, etc. I could go on and on. The problem suggests that the sort of socialism that exists in Scandinavia and other parts of Western Europe is a better path to follow.
Money talks BS Walks !
They Been buying the Supreme Court since Slavery and they bought the CURRENT supreme Court .
Did you think the Jan 6 Attempt coupe was a grass roots effort??? Really !!!
The re introduction of Slavery is the goal of the wealthy idle rich .
Look at our tax system money is broken into classes according to how you acquire it. The Rich pay less than 5 % while the working poor ( wage slaves ) pay nearly 40% of actual wages through all combined tax systems.
Money has skewed the entire scream of government into protect the Rich tax thx the wage slaves.
Do other "advanced" and "developed" countries have this problem. Not so much. Why not? Because taxes pay for universities, museums, operas and support even tiny theater troupes. Take a look at Western Europe.
On point and timely. Much like the adults in the room can’t pretend any longer that our way of life cannot co-exist with our ecosystem any longer, the adults also can’t afford to pretend any longer that our Capitalist economy is working the way it needs to. Real trouble is brewing when the only way our colleges -for example- thrive in the current state of things is for the Leo Botsteins of the world to grovel for scraps. There will be a revolution, how do you avoid it? Well, the rich pay their fair share of taxes and stop getting the tax avoiding loopholes would be an urgent first step in avoiding the worst outcomes for all.
It's "Please Sir, may I have some more?". Politics makes liars of us all.
Leon Botstein, Saul Alinsky, and many others...Good careers that will forever be tainted because our system forces those who wish to do good, to the street, cup in hand to beg billionaires. And, that trip sometimes takes you to the bad side of town...Hospitals, universities, charities, the arts...If you want to survive, you have to mooch. That's Love American Style.
I am a retired academic who did her fair share of administrative work. The rush to take the devil's money, and its horrific impact on academic values, that started at my university in the 1990s, has been a source of pain to me. I remember all too well when I was dean of my college being told by the president of the university that he didn't see any reason for me to worry about what the faculty wanted to see done. If there was money on the table, that was all he needed.