Reparations by Jonathan Weiss Esq.

Reparations

If the Democrats run a campaign for Presidency featuring an endorsement of reparations to current Blacks for the horrors of slavery and the inhuman aftermath, they will likely lose. The furor and backlash over bussing (which is some cases entailed busses not passing by nearer white schools) will seem minor by comparison.

Unfortunately, it may be too late. Its revival is due to the Reverend Al Sharpton (the title reportedly self bestowed when he was in 5th grade and he does not appear to have a flock) who now is positioned publicly so liberals, at least, have to kiss his ring and accept his urging of “reparations” without definitions or categories. He came to prominence for his advocacy of what turned out to be the Tamara Brawley racial abuse hoax, his racial divisiveness with the fire in Freddy’s Pizza, and demonstrations and a boycott against a Korean grocer. He parlayed this fame into an organization, a TV show, and many public and media appearances. This fame does not prove his seeking endorsement of “reparations” is right.

Some past reparations have been both justified and possible. Jews, after the Holocaust. received payments for the atrocities perpetuated and genocide. The United States disgraced itself, well before Guantamo (with no reparation foreseeable) by placing thousands of Japanese in concentration camps after imposing curfews first. The Supreme Court upheld this outrage (based in parts on purposeful lies by the Department of Justice). Over forty years later, Congress voted some recompense. (Disclosure. As part of the Board of the Asian American Legal Defense fund, I participated in the advocacy for this partial redress. I was gratified to me Fred Korematsu.)

If current American reparations were possible the first group to receive them should be the Natives or Native Americans or Indians or Native Indians. They were massacred, driven from their lands, enslaved, pushed on death marches, had treaties broken, still have treaties broken, sacred land denied or degraded, receive unequal treatment even when displaced from the land with which they identify (and maintained, it appears, with ecological wisdom) into cities. (About Oakland, see “Very, Very” by Terry Orange.) Their oppression and exclusion is such that they have not produced the famous American leaders and artists as have the oppressed Blacks – with contributing cultural identity – from Frederic Douglas to Booker T. Washington to Malcolm X. and others (Martin Luther King, Jr. has his holiday. ) Music from Scott Joplin, to the classical composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk (partially Jewish) to Jelly Roll Morton and the explosion of jazz; then rythmn and blues, rock and roll, hip hop, break dancing, and rap. Tap is one of the great dance forms. Literature: the whole Harlem renaissance, Ralph Ellison. Lankford Hughes, Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes, etc. These are major American achievements. The history of sports has been transformed with integration. The one famous Indian athlete Jim Thorpe was half Irish.

Let us affirm that after slavery came racial discrimination and brutality with Jim Crow. Lynching, torturing, treating workers like slaves except for the shining ten years of Reconstruction (often misrepresented in histories- “carpetbaggers” – movies, etc/) with many Black legislators State and Federal and voting rights – which are still being curtailed by racists. Even now we observe clear segregation, discrimination, and inequality. Besides some new laws (e.g. repeal current war on drugs with unequal incarceration, voting rights protection etc.) with proper enforcement, how would “reparations” be properly effectuated?

The Liberians present a particular problem. They were sent from slavery to their own African country. Now, here in the wrong “immigration status”, they are sometimes deported as not being Americans. What are they owed?

To whom?: Many of those identified and identifying as Black have very mixed “racial ancestry.”(Little noted is how the enslaved Indians and Blacks were thrown together so that a large number of Black families have Indians in their family tree.) Should there be a DNA test – at what percentage (the drop of blood theory is an old racist construct)?

What about those descended from people that were always free and demonstrably so?

What about recent arrivals of Africans and those from the Caribbean with black ancestors , some of whom may be been slaves?

Should there be an income or status limit?

From whom: Would there be an attempt to derive money from those who enslaved, including other Africans, sold the suffering, including Arabs, the descendants of the owners of slave ships or just Americans? Which Americans? Refugees and immigrants or their descendants who arrived after the Civil War, end of the outrageous doctrine of “Separate but Equal” or after the Civil Rights Act? What about those who devoted their careers to Civil Rights? Do they get a pass?

Affirmative action is a type of reparation. Certainly it redresses historical exclusion. But, the difficult ethical question of why punish innocent contemporaries arises.

“Reparations” has moral reverberations. But, because of time (if only reconstruction had lasted! – maybe with its promise of 40 acres and a mule) the practical factors militate against it being a policy rather than a slogan. Most certainly, it should not distract people of good will from dealing with the horrendous continuing mistreatment of Native Americans.

King of the Dudes, What is Battle of the Bros all duded up?

King of the Dudes

Other words such as dude also emerged in the Five Points, said Cassidy.

Dud in old Irish, appearing in the Irish-English dictionary by Father Patrick Dineen published in 1927, means “dolt, a numbskull, a rubbernecker; a mopish, shy, foolish-looking fellow”, he said. In the Five Points, says Cassidy, richer classes would come for the booze and the girls, and the working-class Irish used to look at them with their monocles and top hats and derogatorily called them “dud”.

1888 Evander Berry Wall a New York Socialite was dubbed
“King of the Dudes.”
New York American newspaper “Battle of the Dudes”. The New York Journal-American was a daily newspaper published in New York City from 1937 to 1966.
dude

This version of the word is still in occasional use in American slang, as in the phrase “all duded up” for getting dressed in fancy clothes.
He inherited $2 million before the age of 22.  He went bankrupt in 1899 and  declared that “New York had become fit only for businessmen” and left for Paris in 1912. He used bespoke shirtmaker Charvet, where Wall had his signature “spread eagle” collar shirts and cravats custom-made for himself and his dog. Wall always dined at the Ritz with his dog, whose collars and ties were made by Charvet in the same style and fabric as his master’s. When he died, he left only $12,608, having “squandered nearly every cent on pleasure.”

Learn about Irish American Vernacular English
How the Irish Invented Slang
Subtitle: The Secret Language of the Crossroads
by Professor Dan Cassidy

How the Irish Invented American Gambling Slang into Irish American Vernacular English.

What Does Boogie Mean?
The Linguist is taking notes. 1941 Ball of Fire – Billy Wilder, Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyk.

Slang is words that takes off his coat, spits on it’s hands and gets to work!

Giniker – Irish American Vernacular English: The Sunday Times Ireland July 9th 2006

IT SOUNDS like a load of bunkum, or in this case buanchumadh, but according to an American academic the Irish language has been a huge influence on American slang.

The Sanas (Irish Etymology) of Faro, Poker and the Secret Flash Words for the Brotherhood of American Gamblers. By DANIEL CASSIDY 5/13/06

Remember in 1859 Philadelphia is the 4th largest city in the WORLD.

“There’s A Sucker (Sách úr, fresh new “fat cat”) Born Every Minute.” See etymology of Bunk and Dude both are Irish.

The Sanas (Irish Etymology) of Faro, Poker and the Secret Flash Words for the Brotherhood of American Gamblers. By DANIEL CASSIDY 5/13/06

“Language is a virus from outer space.” – William S. Burroughs BEAT generation

Irish American Vernacular English words traced, found, and borrowed into Standard American English.

Karen Ellis Guest Lecturer
Honoring the work of Scholar Peter Tamony and The Sanas, the Etymology of Jazz and Dan Cassidy

Dudes: NYT News Desk 1942

dude

Well dressed in 1902 

The best-dressed American in Europe, the King of the Dudes. He was reported to possess 285 pairs of pants, 5,000 custom-tailored neckties. It was rumored that he changed his ties six times a day. His conduct was motivated by a great principle: find out what suits you and always wear it. Berry Wall usually wore capes and coats of horse-blanket plaid, high horse-collars cinched with lush Ascot cravats.

Donald Trump advisor/confidante Roger J Stone Jr with wife Nydia at the Inauguration. #Dandy #Style Roger Stone is primarily known as a political consultant, but he also serves as the men’s fashion correspondent for the Daily Caller. #1 DUDE The Dapper Don

Panicked Wall Street Bros Wonder: What Is Business-Casual??

Goldman Sachs bank execs Panicked Wall Street Bros Wonder: What Is Business-Casual???

Patter for Three-Card Monte – thanks to Whit Haydn School for Scoundrels

Who Killed Society by Cleveland Amory

DHS, FBI say election systems in all 50 states were targeted in 2016

DUDE Trump’s Justice Department OKs Trading with the Enemy
Trading with the Enemy Act  George Bush’s grandfather, the late US senator DUDE Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany. Files in the US National Archives shows Prescott Bush – how did we get here was a director  involved with…

Thorstein Veblen, the greatest American thinker you probably never heard of, predicted the rise of a Gilded Business Man and the demolition of democracy. The man who saw this coming a century ago

Louis the 14th thought “The State” was a person. HIM!

DUDE Trump’s money came from his grandfather another DUDE WHO owned a general store and whore house.

Donald Trump’s money originally came from his grandfather Friedrich Trump a German immigrant, who ran a whore house /restaurant – bar, in British Columbia.
Buried in a ghost town in Canada’s subarctic are the roots of the family fortune that paved Donald Trump’s path to prominence.

Guthrie reworked his signature Dust Bowl ballad “I Ain’t Got No Home” into a blistering broadside against his landlord: BEACH HAVEN AIN’T MY HOME (aka. “Old Man Trump”) Words by Woody Guthrie

Nov. 8 election that Eric had asked if American Hat Co. could make a custom hat for his father. Soon after, the manufacturer was at work getting measurements ready as well as the materials befitting the president of the United States.
“It morphed into now we’re making hats for Eric, for Don Jr. and for Mike Pence as well,” Mundee said.
Mundee said the Trump family requested a light-colored hat versus black, so the manufacturer went with a silverish tone. The material is a mixture of beaver belly fur and mink, making the hat soft as silk. The crown, or top of the hat, is done in a cattleman’s style. He said this specific style of hat is widely known as the finest in the cowboy market.
And it’s not just the material that American Hat Co. uses that puts their stamp on the product. It’s also the gold foil stamp on the inside band that also illustrates its quality, as well as the Keith Maddox mark of “KM” on the brim of the hat. The hat retails for about $2,800.

Federal watchdog issues scathing report on ed department’s handling of student loans NPR

The department’s own inspector general says student loan companies aren’t following the rules, and that the government isn’t doing enough to hold them accountable

The audit documents several common failures by the servicers, among them, not telling borrowers about all of their repayment options, or miscalculating what borrowers should have to pay through an income-driven repayment plan. According to the review, two loan servicing companies, Navient and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, better known as FedLoan, repeatedly placed borrowers into costly forbearance without offering them other, more beneficial options.

https://www.npr.org/2019/02/14/694477547/federal-watchdog-issues-scathing-report-on-ed-departments-handling-of-student-lo

trump goes beyond cronyism to something far worse

The man who saw this coming

betsy devoss paid for her appointment

 

A critical new report from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General finds the department’s student loan unit failed to adequately supervise the companies it pays to manage the nation’s trillion-dollar portfolio of federal student loans. The report also rebukes the department’s office of Federal Student Aid for rarely penalizing companies that failed to follow the rules.

Instead of safeguarding borrowers’ interests, the report says, FSA’s inconsistent oversight allowed these companies, known as loan servicers, to potentially hurt borrowers and pocket government dollars that should have been refunded because servicers weren’t meeting federal requirements.

“By not holding servicers accountable,” the report says, “FSA could give its servicers the impression that it is not concerned with servicer noncompliance with Federal loan servicing requirements, including protecting borrowers’ rights.”

EU Tells Internet Archive That Much Of Its Site Is ‘Terrorist Content’

We’ve been trying to explain for the past few months just how absolutely insane the new EU Terrorist Content Regulation will be for the internet.

Among many other bad provisions, the big one is that it would require content removal within one hour as long as any “competent authority” within the EU sends a notice of content being designated as “terrorist” content. The law is set for a vote in the EU Parliament just next week.

And as if they were attempting to show just how absolutely insane the law would be for the internet, multiple European agencies (we can debate if they’re “competent”) decided to send over 500 totally bogus takedown demands to the Internet Archive last week, claiming it was hosting terrorist propaganda content.

< – >

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190410/14580641973/eu-tells-internet-archive-that-much-site-is-terrorist-content.shtml

Trump Goes Beyond Cronyism—To Something Far Worse

William Barr Accidentally Concedes His Reason for Withholding the Mueller Report Is Baloney

Barr showed how hollow his position of withholding the full report from Congress is.

Trump has Barr and his Daddy had Roy Cohn and see Once a long time ago we  had Leon Jaworski.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/04/william-barr-testimony-mueller-report-baloney-watergate.html

Barr: I don’t know if it would be unprecedented since I’m not really sure what happened in the Watergate situation. I know the report came out 50 years later, I think. – what a smart mouth answer!! who wants to tolerate that!!

And Barr, noted the perfect precedent:
Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski’s cooperation and sharing of confidential grand jury materials with the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate inquiry.

In that case, which Barr brought up, a “Road Map” for impeachment from the Watergate grand jury itself was released publicly last October after 44 years of being sealed by the court.

However, that Road Map—with all of the secret grand jury material that it included—was sent at the time of the Watergate investigation directly to Congress for consideration.

How we got the Imperial Presidency

By naming people such as Herman Cain and Stephen Moore to top jobs, Trump converts the machinery of government to his personal use.

Donald Trump’s administration, however, has transcended cronyism and declared a war on expertise, in which unbiased knowledge is itself somehow politically suspect if it does not accord with President Trump’s beliefs and assertions—and especially if it conflicts with his personal interests. In this administration, complicated issues are not problems to be solved or tasks to be administered for the public good, but threats to be hammered down by alert sycophants. As the Trump economic adviser Peter Navarro once put it: “My function, really, as an economist is to try to provide the underlying analytics that confirm his intuition. And his intuition is always right in these matters.”

<snip>

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/moore-and-cain-nominations-reach-new-level-cronyism/586831/

Former top prosecutor: Trump ‘effectively’ named co-conspirator

The previous US lawyer in control of the Southern District of New York federal prosecutor’s administrative center has instructed Sky Information, in his view, that the administrative center has “successfully” named Donald Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal offense.

Preet Bharara used to be regarding a sentencing memo written by way of prosecutors about Michael Cohen, the president’s former non-public legal professional.

“In testy exchange, Rep. Maxine Waters tells Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, “no other secretary has ever told us the day before that they were going to limit their time.” “You’re ordering me to stay here …. that’s not what I want to do,” Mnuchin says 

The Man Who Saw Trump Coming a Century Ago

Thorstein Veblen, the greatest American thinker you probably never heard of, predicted the rise of a Gilded Business Man and the demolition of democracy.

The Man Who Saw Trump Coming a Century Ago

Veblen got his initial job, teaching political economy at a salary of $520 a year, in 1890 when the University of Chicago first opened its doors. Back in the days before SATs and admissions scandals, that school was founded and funded by John D. Rockefeller, the classic robber baron of Standard Oil. (Think of him as the Mark Zuckerberg of his day.)

from the beginning, Thorstein Veblen was there, prepared to focus his mind on Rockefeller and his cronies, the cream of the upper class and the most ruthless profiteers behind that Gilded Age. He was already asking questions that deserve to be raised again in the 1% world of 2019. How had such a conspicuous lordly class developed in America? What purpose did it serve? What did the members of the leisure class actually do with their time and money? And why did so many of the ruthlessly over-worked, under-paid lower classes tolerate such a peculiar, lopsided social arrangement in which they were so clearly the losers?

Here’s Why Wall Street Bank CEOs Started to Sweat Yesterday about Today’s House Hearing

Here’s Why Wall Street Bank CEOs Started to Sweat Yesterday about Today’s House Hearing

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 10, 2019

http://wallstreetonparade.com/2019/04/heres-why-wall-street-bank-ceos-started-to-sweat-yesterday-about-todays-house-hearing/

At 8:00 a.m. yesterday, Politico’s Ben White and Aubree Eliza Weaver dropped the news nugget that the nonprofit watchdog, Better Markets, would be releasing one day ahead of today’s House hearing with the CEOs of the largest banks on Wall Street a report titled: “The RAP Sheet for Wall Street’s Biggest Banks’ Crime Spree,” which promised to detail, for the first time, “that of the more than $29 trillion in total bailouts, the six biggest banks in the country (Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo) received more than $8.2 trillion, or nearly one-third of the total bailouts provided to the entire financial system.”

Wall Street On Parade has been reporting since 2012 that of the secret $16 trillion bailout loans made at almost zero interest rates by the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis, a handful of mega banks on Wall Street received the lion’s share. (See here and here.)

But what Better Markets has done in its new report is to combine the Fed’s largess with that of TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) and support provided by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and other guarantee programs. It comes up with the following:

“At least $29 trillion was lent, spent, pledged, committed, loaned, guaranteed, and otherwise used or made available to bailout the financial system during the 2008 financial crash. The American people were told that this unprecedented rescue was necessary because, if the gigantic financial institutions, mostly on Wall Street, failed and went bankrupt (like every other unsuccessful private business in America), then they would take down the entire financial system, which would take down the U.S. economy, wreaking havoc on Main Street families.

“This has actually been true since the 1930s for traditional commercial and retail banks, primarily because they provide essential financial services like checking and savings accounts as well as loans to individuals and businesses small, medium, and large.  That is the fuel for the American economy, standard of living, and overall prosperity, which is why those banks are insured by the FDIC and backed by the taxpayers.  In addition, those banks were guaranteed because the odds of their failure were minimized—and taxpayers were protected—by numerous banking regulators who policed their activities to promote safe and sound banking practices, making bailouts less likely.

“However, the $29 trillion in bailouts from the Fed, FDIC, and other regulators (in addition to the $700 billion taxpayer dollars made available under the TARP program) were not only or even primarily provided to those regulated banks that take deposits and make loans. Instead, those bailouts were extended to virtually all financial institutions, including those engaging in the most dangerous, high-risk activities that actually caused the financial crash.

Thus, for decades gigantic nonbank financial institutions like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, AIG, money market funds, and many more were allowed to maximize private profits with little or no regulation, but when their activities triggered the crash, they nonetheless were bailed out.

“This was a stunning violation of the most basic rule of capitalism, applicable to virtually every other business in America:  Failure leads to bankruptcy.”

Now that the researchers have really gotten readers’ blood boiling about the crony regulators and the secret trillions in bailouts, Better Markets delivers the gut punch.

Despite all of that taxpayer support, the mega banks that received it not only continued their crime spree but upped their game. The researchers write:

“In fact, they have engaged in—and continue to engage in—a crime spree that spans the violation of almost every law and rule imaginable.

Taking the breadth and depth of their illegal conduct as a whole, the six biggest banks in the country look like criminal enterprises with RAP sheets that would make most career criminals green with envy.

That was the case not just before the 2008 crash, but also during and after the crash and their lifesaving bailouts…

In fact, the number of cases against the banks has actually increased relative to the pre-crash era.”

Better Markets then proceeds to detail the ghastly RAP sheets of each of the six mega banks. (Read the full report here.)

Against that backdrop, the CEOs of seven of these mega banks will take their seats at a hearing at 9:00 a.m. this morning before the House Financial Services Committee. You can expect to see a lot of their lawyers in the seats behind them.

 CEOs of 7 mega banks challenged by House committee In one of the tensest moments of the hearing, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase acknowledged his bank benefited from slavery.

In 2005, JPMorgan Chase acknowledged that two of its banking predecessors had received thousands of slaves as collateral before the Civil War and that the bank had also owned hundreds.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a fierce industry critic, has made executive accountability — including making it easier to jail chief executives — one of the central themes of her presidential campaign.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/04/10/ceos-mega-banks-will-testify-before-house-committee-heres-what-expect/

Slime ball Fed proposes easing post-crisis rules for slime ball big banks buddies
The proposal comes as the Trump administration continues to look for ways to curtail the regulatory burden faced by the banking industry, a decade after the global financial crisis. The industry has complained many of the strictest rules are too cumbersome and costly.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested by British police after being evicted from Ecuador’s embassy in London

Ecuador handed Julian Assange over to British authorities Thursday, ending a standoff that left the controversial WikiLeaks founder holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London for nearly seven years.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange-arrested-by-british-police-after-being-evicted-from-ecuadors-embassy-in-london/ar-BBVPL3U

About the WikiLeaks Defence Fund

The WikiLeaks Defence Fund promotes media and public activities to defend Julian Assange and other WikiLeaks journalists.

The Fund supports a dedicated campaign team which works across global media to build support for WikiLeaks and the public’s right to know.

The Courage Foundation and the Defence Fund

The Defence Fund is run by the Courage Foundation – a trust audited by accountants Sterling Partners in the UK for the purpose of providing legal defence and campaign aid to whistleblowers and journalistic sources.

The Courage Foundation is an international organisation that supports those who risk life or liberty to make significant contributions to the historical record.

It also campaigns for the protection of truthtellers and the public’s right to know.

https://defend.wikileaks.org/donate/

Why Poverty Is Like a Disease By Christian H. Cooper April 20, 2017

This science challenges us to re-evaluate a cornerstone of American mythology, and of our social policies for the poor: the bootstrap.

The story of the self-made, inspirational individual transcending his or her circumstances by sweat and hard work. A pillar of the framework of meritocracy, where rewards are supposedly justly distributed to those who deserve them most.
What kind of a bootstrap or merit-based game can we be left with if poverty cripples the contestants? Especially if it has intergenerational effects? The uglier converse of the bootstrap hypothesis—that those who fail to transcend their circumstances deserve them—makes even less sense in the face of the grim biology of poverty. When the firing gun goes off, the poor are well behind the start line. Despite my success, I certainly was.

Why Poverty Is Like a Disease

Christian H. Cooper April 20, 2017

http://nautil.us/issue/47/consciousness/why-poverty-is-like-a-disease

Emerging science is putting the lie to American meritocracy.

On paper alone you would never guess that I grew up poor and hungry.

My most recent annual salary was over $700,000. I am a Truman National Security Fellow and a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. My publisher has just released my latest book series on quantitative finance in worldwide distribution.

None of it feels like enough though. I feel as though I am wired for a permanent state of flight or fight, waiting for the other shoe to drop, or the metaphorical week when I don’t eat. I’ve chosen not to have children, partly because—despite any success—I still don’t feel I have a safety net. I have a huge minimum checking account balance in mind before I would ever consider having children. If you knew me personally, you might get glimpses of stress, self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. And you might hear about Tennessee.

Meet anyone from Tennessee and they will never say they are from “just” Tennessee. They’ll add a prefix: East, West, or Middle. My early life was in East Tennessee, in an Appalachian town called Rockwood. I was the eldest of four children with a household income that couldn’t support one. Every Pentecostal church in the surrounding hillbilly heroin country smelled the same: a sweaty mix of cheap cleaner and even cheaper anointing oil, with just a hint of forsaken hope. One of those forsaken churches was effectively my childhood home, and my school.

Class was a single room of 20 people running from kindergarten through twelfth grade, part of an unaccredited school practicing what’s called

Accelerated Christian Education. We were given booklets to read to ourselves, by ourselves. We scored our own homework. There were no lectures, and I did not have a teacher. Once in a while the preacher’s wife would hand out a test. We weren’t allowed to do anything. There were no movies, and no music. Years would pass with no distinguishing features, no events. There was barely any socializing.

On top of it all, I spent a lot of my time pondering basic questions. Where will my next meal come from? Will I have electricity tomorrow? I became intimately acquainted with the embarrassment of my mom trying to hide our food stamps at the grocery store checkout. I remember panic setting in as early as age 8, at the prospect of a perpetual uncertainty about everything in life, from food to clothes to education. I knew that the life I was living couldn’t be normal. Something was wrong with the tiny microcosm I was born into. I just wasn’t sure what it was.

As an adult I thought I’d figured that out. I’d always thought my upbringing had made me wary and cautious, in a “lessons learned” kind of way. Over the past decades, though, that narrative has evolved. We’ve learned that the stresses associated with poverty have the potential to change our biology in ways we hadn’t imagined. It can reduce the surface area of your brain, shorten your telomeres and lifespan, increase your chances of obesity, and make you more likely to take outsized risks.

Now, new evidence is emerging suggesting the changes can go even deeper—to how our bodies assemble themselves, shifting the proportions of types of cells that they are made from, and maybe even how our genetic code is expressed, playing with it like a Rubik’s cube thrown into a running washing machine. If this science holds up, it means that poverty is more than just a socioeconomic condition. It is a collection of related symptoms that are preventable, treatable—and even inheritable. In other words, the effects of poverty begin to look very much like the symptoms of a disease.

That word—disease—carries a stigma with it. By using it here, I don’t mean that the poor are (that I am) inferior or compromised. I mean that the poor are afflicted, and told by the rest of the world that their condition is a necessary, temporary, and even positive part of modern capitalism. We tell the poor that they have the chance to escape if they just work hard enough; that we are all equally invested in a system that doles out rewards and punishments in equal measure. We point at the rare rags-to-riches stories like my own, which seem to play into the standard meritocracy template.

But merit has little to do with how I got out.

[snip]

Who you are as a person is not just defined by your DNA, but by which parts of it your epigenome permits to be expressed.