Showing posts with label vandalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vandalism. Show all posts

Monday, June 29, 2020

Coronavirus update: The Fed bought $428 million of corporate debt while distressed student-loan debtors get diddly squat

Perhaps you have noticed, as I have, that a high percentage of the George Floyd protestors are young White people.

 Youthful White men and women helped pull the ropes that brought down statues of Confederate figures across the South. And it is Millenials--White Millenials--who joined in the vandalism and destruction that damaged many American cities.

Why is that? Are White protestors merely standing in solidarity with their Black brothers and sisters over the residue of racism in the United States? Or do they have their own grievances?

I think it is both. In this season of discontent, we should remember how many Americans have been thrown out of work--tens of millions.  And we should never forget that 45 million Americans--more young than old--owe $1.7 trillion in student debt, and only about half can pay it back.

This nation has been in lockdown for four months now due to the coronavirus epidemic.  Public employees--professors, teachers, administrators, etc.--are still getting paid.  Workers in the private sector have been laid off by the millions, especially in the service industry. And many of these unemployed workers have student loans.

What has our federal government done to assist laid-off student-loan debtors?  Diddly squat.  The Department of Education has granted a brief reprieve from making monthly loan payments and is abstaining from charging interest, but that is about it.

Oh, yes, DOE said it would stop collection efforts against defaulted college-loan borrowers until the coronavirus crisis had passed. But last May, DOE was sued for allowing employers to continue collection efforts.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank is buying up corporate debt--over $400 million. So far, the Fed has bought corporate debt owned by Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Boeing, Exxon-Mobile, Ford and Walmart. And it has distributed more than $350 million in forgivable loans to businesses that promise to maintain their payrolls.

Who has benefited from the Fed's helicopter money over the last few months?  Corporate executives and corporate stockholders, that's who.  And--in case Fed Chair Jeremy Powell hasn't noticed--the people protesting on America's streets don't own stock.

I don't mean to question the motives of White protestors who join the Black Lives Matter demonstrations. I feel most are expressing real and legitimate anger about race relations in the United States.

But I also believe that White protestors feel a kinship with Black protestors on economic issues and consider themselves to be fellow victims of corporate America.  And I agree with them about that.

Many White demonstrators have racked up thousands of dollars in student debt and are not holding down jobs that will allow them to pay back what they owe. Some have come to realize that their college education was way too expensive and didn't prepare them for decent jobs. 

Now, these student-loan debtors are out of work and struggling to make their loan payments. They realize that our federal government has been spewing out billions of dollars to corporations to help them deal with the coronavirus while it has done virtually nothing for distressed college borrowers.

They are angry. I would be angry too--very, very angry. 





Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Christopher Columbus statue beheaded in Boston. The morons are out of control.

Poor Christopher Columbus. He wasn't woke, and he paid the price.

Over the last few days, protesters pulled down Chris's statue in Richmond and dumped it into a lake. And in Boston, vandals beheaded a likeness of Chris located in Boston's North End.

What did Mr. Columbus do to deserve these indignities? He discovered America--the racist son of a bitch.  And by introducing Europeans to the Western Hemisphere, he ushered in a long era of oppression against the Native population and against Blacks.

OK, we get that. But what are we supposed to do now--all the descendants of privileged Europeans? Go back where we came from? If we did that, who would patronize the Indian casinos?

Of course, I'm being sarcastic. But on a more serious level, I am offended by the morons who vandalize statues of Christopher Columbus. They obviously aren't aware that Columbus symbolizes Catholic contributions to American history.

In the late nineteenth century, American Catholics were still being discriminated against, especially in New England. Protestants were forming men's civic organizations partly to establish life insurance funds for their members. But Catholics were not permitted to join these groups.

Father Michael McGivney, pastor of St. Mary's Church in New Haven, Connecticut, organized a small group of Catholic laymen to provide life insurance for Catholic working men.  One of the members suggested a name for the organization: the Knights of Columbus.

Over time, the Knights evolved from being merely an insurance company to becoming a militant organization devoted to stamping out anti-Catholic bigotry in the United States. It was the Knights who led the movement to recognize Columbus Day as a national holiday, and it was the Knights who fought the Ku Klux Klan during the 1920s when the KKK was primarily an anti-Catholic terrorist organization.

By the early twentieth century, Christopher Columbus came to symbolize Catholic contributions to American history. He was especially dear to Italian Catholics because Columbus was Italian.  It is no accident that Columbus's statue in Boston is located in the North End--which is Boston's Little Italy.

Although the vandals may not know it, their lawless acts are microaggressions (don't you love that word?) against Catholics and ethnic Catholics in particular. When they deface a statue of Columbus, they dishonor millions of Catholic Americans, and they demonstrate their woeful ignorance of American history.

*****

Note: I am aware that strictly speaking, Columbus did not "discover" America.  Scandanavians were probably the first Europeans to explore North America. More to the point, archeologists theorize that the first people to settle the Western Hemisphere came from Siberia via the Bering Land Bridge.









Sunday, May 31, 2020

To hell with social distancing: Let's loot the liquor store!

Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd on Memoria Day. Riots began in Minneapolis on the following day and quickly spread across the country. Within a week of Floyd's death, more than half the states had called out their National Guard.

Dozens of police officers have been injured over a week of rioting. In New York City, almost four dozen police cars were damaged or destroyed. In Chicago, a policewoman was assaulted by rioters who tried to keep her from making an arrest.  In Minneapolis-St. Paul, more than 250 buildings were damaged or destroyed by rioters, including a police station and a post office. 

All this mayhem was triggered by the unjust killing of a black man, but I think there are other causes for all this violence. After all, there are 40 million Americans who are out of work.  Surely some protestors are on the streets simply because they are unemployed and bored.

For example, while watching the television coverage of the riots last week, I saw a slightly obese white guy in his fifties who was out on the streets of Minneapolis.  A television camera captured the man verbally abusing a police officer from a distance of about six inches from the officer's face. Does that guy have a job, I wondered? 

I don't wish to disparage the motives of the people who are demonstrating in our cities, but I think there would have been a lot less vandalism, arson, and looting if there were not so many jobless people.

A dude with a job would probably turn down an invitation to set fire to the post office. "It's a lovely invitation," he might say, "but unfortunately, I have to be at work tomorrow by 8 AM." 

He might also beg off from joining an expedition to loot the local liquor store. "I wish I could join you," he might explain," but I have to get the kids off to school tomorrow morning.

Requiring people to wear masks when they appear in public is also playing a role in all this chaos.  Many states passed anti-mask laws back in the 1920s to help bring down the Ku Klux Klan. But this past week, thousands of protesters were wearing masks that cloaked them in anonymity should they decide to throw a firebomb at a police cruiser.

George Floyd's death has fueled legitimate anger all over the United States. Everyone realizes that. But in my opinion, these riots will not be quelled so long as millions of Americans are jobless and required to wear masks when they are on the streets.

Burning police cars: requiring people to wear masks is part of the problem.