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March 18, 2019


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Jennifer S. Hendricks

Do you see positive social value in Harvard getting to be Harvard--meaning, in extreme stratification in higher ed?

Steve L.

I agree, Jennifer, that the social value is very debatable.

But the people protesting non-admission obviously believe there is individual value to a Harvard degree, while at the same time complaining about the very thing that enables its value in the first place.

In any case, Harvard -- like every other school, and therefore all of the students -- is damaged when employees take bribes, in away that does not happen when donors make large contributions to obtain favoritism. To put it another way: the big donations get spread around, while the bribes are just pocketed by the corrupt coaches. Big difference.


Hmmm ... so, it is true that bribes to individuals don't benefit the school's endowment.

So, your point is that bribes that do benefit the school's endowment are "incalculably better"? And, a bribe to the school - called a "big donation" - yields only a "preference" (read: ok) as opposed to a "result" (read: not ok).

Wow. This is Orwellian reasoning at its best. "Buying influence to secure admission of less qualified applicant, to the detriment of more worthy applicants, is incalculably better than paying to secure the admission of less worthy applicants."

Darush Mabadi

First of all I want to give a shout out to my good friend Anon. It's been a while since we both found ourselves on the same page, digitally speaking. Also the Anon 'handle" has lost its sheen of mystery. You might want to try out something else like "Steel Toothed Python or Archangel". Now that would be totally bad ass! But I digress.

Today Jaime Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, discussed how the US economy is split, basically leaving the poor behind. He maintains the economy could have grown twice as much in the last 20 years if economic policy had been designed to be more inclusive. Conversations are being had right now regarding whether Paul Manafort experienced a "white privilege" moment when he was sentenced only to 47 months. We are in a repositioning period where all of these questions relative to fair play being are engaged.

This college admissions scandal is small against the wider economic backdrop where other more insidious corrupting forces oppress opportunity and access to resources that everyone needs to get ahead. It's just obscene when people who have had the best of everything now need to effectively rob from the system for their personal gain. This is greedy gluttonous behavior inspires public outrage. It's no big deal when a few rich kid gets squeezed thru the system. It is however a big deal when the system has gotten so expensive that a poor kid fighting to get an education will likely spend the first third of his or her economic life paying back the debt owed for that privilege.

We can do better.

Steve L.

Excellent point, Darush. The great irony is that Kushner's millions actually help subsidize financial aid for the lower income students who are admitted to Harvard (where 70% of undergrads receive grants). I am not defending this system, which is badly skewed in favor of the 1%, but only pointing out that donations can be used to benefit the entire student body, while bribes benefit only the criminals who solicit and pay them.

PS: There is a big difference between "anon" and "Anon;" it was the former who commented on this post.


How about father Kushner donates millions to Harvard that subsidizes everyone, *and* his son doesn't get admitted unless he qualifies otherwise?


Steve: your reasoning reminds me of the don giving away turkeys at Christmas: "You're extortion dollars benefit the community!"

My goodness. Is there no limit to the capacity to rationalize anything if you believe that "your" group is engaged in it? (I am surmising, but I think it is quite obvious that you identify with the wealthy "liberals" who engage always in value signaling and who jealously guarad their own selfish comforts and privileges at the expense of literally anyone who gets in the way, while all the while moralizing endlessly about the "enemies" of "people" (the "rich white men" ...). See, e.g. Bernie's mansions, Nancy's millions.

It really is quite amusing. Sad, but funny too.

Why not stop at "I don't defend bribing schools with big donations, etc., to admit the unqualified kids of the rich?"

Why must you compulsively add the "but"?

And, of all things, you mention the Kushners? The folks I saw publicized seemed to be quite "left" to me; perhaps you literally can only see Republicans when there is a scandal, and all the leftists involved, there right in front of you, cannot even be seen by you.

Sort of like the "Me Too" movement that invites Bill Clinton to deliver the key note address.

Steve L.

Yes, Mary, of course that would be preferable. It would be even more preferable if Kushner would give the money to a needy state school, or community college system, instead of wealthy Harvard.

The fact is that Harvard, like every other elite university, is under no obligation to admit students only according to some conception of "merit," however that might be defined. If Harvard wants to reserve a handful of spots for the less-qualified offspring of significant donors, in order to confer benefits on everyone else, that is Harvard's business. I don't like that any more than you do, but it does not come close to bribery.


Why not just auction off 10% of the seats at Harvard?

And, what makes you think that donations go solely to aid the poor unfortunates that Harvard so graciously -- noblesse oblige -- admits? You state: "The great irony is that Kushner's millions actually help subsidize financial aid for the lower income students who are admitted to Harvard (where 70% of undergrads receive grants)."

This statement is highly misleading. In fact, Harvard itself would dispute the mistaken assertion that donations from private donors account for the receipt of 70% of undergrads of "grants":

"These awards come from a variety of sources, including Harvard endowment funds, gifts from alumni, general tuition revenues, and federal and state grants. ... Pell Grants and SEOG are awarded by the federal government and administered by our office, based on financial need. ... Of the roughly 6,600 current undergraduate students at Harvard College, 16% are Pell Grant recipients. If you are a Massachusetts resident, you may also be eligible for a state Gilbert Grant, which is awarded on the basis of need."

You ignore these facts.

The fact is that donations often go primarily to feather the nest of lazy, overpaid blowhards, whose pretense to superiority is only matched by their arrogance and ignorance.

After all, it is their kids, as well as those of the other blessed ones, who actually need excessive grooming, and a bribe to boot, to get into a decent school.

Truth is, the parents who lied and cheated did this because the kids just weren't that competent. And you defend them using a specious argument that their bribes to the universities are well-spent. I'm sure there must be a phrase in latin to describe this sort of sophistry. It really is appalling.

And again, please don't pretend you don't see all the liberal, leftist socialist socialites wrapped up in this scandal Steve. The fact that you only point at the "Kushners" really is embarrassing, and proves the point better than anything I could say. You are incapable of seeing your own ilk as anything but perfect. Even their perfidy is excusable (unless, of course, they are Republicans.)

But then again, in a Socialist country, it is the elite who live in luxury while all the rest go without. See all the little piggies, walking on two legs and dining with the other farmers.

This issue is so revealing of folks' true beliefs.


BTW, just to cap the point of this:

What have the elites in the US, especially the baby boomers, given America?

Have they shown themselves to be extraordinarily able and competent? Are they models of selflessness and good cheer? Have they managed the economy, the military, Wall Street and academia in noble and admirable ways?

After protesting and going out on strike and stoning their way thru colleges and graduate school, they took the reigns from a competent generation and proceeded to prove their selfish, narcissistic personality disorders are incapable with any sense of well being for the country as a whole.

Again, no wonder they need to bribe schools to admit their spoiled, lazy and distracted little princes and princes. They've jacked up the price of education to satisfy their never satiated greed to the point of ruining the next generation's chances anyway. And, Lubet brags about the crumbs they allow to fall from their tables. SHAME!

These hapless stewards of America's decline have been no better at parenting than they are at every other aspect of running this country, which they are ruining just as fast at they possibly can.

Meanwhile, over on Rachel Maddow's show, I heard that a "Kushner" once met a "Russian" in a tea room.

Now, THAT'S important.

Darush Mabadi

anon- The list of notable contributions from Elites and Boomers is long and currently ongoing. I won't bore you with the mind numbing details. Try Google when you have a moment. Elites aside, it is equally important to take note of the working middle class and the credit due to them for building this country. We all play a role here one way or another.

Since you hid in the shadows of anonymity I have to ask what is your role, other than to troll an Academic at the top of his class? Your selective mockery of liberalism leads me to assume you fancy yourself as a conservative. That's cool, just share with us in the day of Trump where deficits flourish and Tariffs are foisted up as the long lost tool for effective trade negotiation, what does it mean to say one is conservative? If you are not, please clarify. At the moment, I shut my eyes and see you wearing a Red Maga hat as you type out your jive.

Finally your lacking of context is most curious. As much as you can describe the injustice of runaway costs with higher education, your assessment of the cause is way way off. We all know the cost of education has exploded upwards, This has been an ongoing problem for decades. I suppose you can blame the elites all you like, but this problem exists up and down the academic spectrum from Harvard down to the Beauty Salons on the South Side of Chicago. I find it hard to believe the Winklevoss Twins or others of their ilk are the source of this problem, Your inability to separate the elite between those who are deserving vs those who merely have arrived because of privilege is most unfortunate. You have insulted a bunch of hard working kids.

But if you need further understanding, just ask someone from Annapolis, West Point or any garden variety Navy Seal...they will explain what it means to be an elite and to have earned it. I wonder what they would think of you?

Context Bro... try it sometime. You will feel much better about yourself and the world you experience.

Now I am done trolling you...



THanks. The rambling, off point condemnations in your comment are not relevant to anything I posted, however.

But, thanks for the "trolling" anyway. I thought the comment was condescending and sort of weirdly disjointed and illogical, but, then, when you put it that way (you are just trolling), your "comment" does seem kinda "cool."

One specific response: the tired complaint about anonymity has been hashed and rehashed on this site. The comments could be limited to "signed" comments: but, the owners have decided against that.


Oh, and btw, I'd love to hear you answer this question:

"Have they (the Baby Boomers) managed the economy, the military, Wall Street and academia in noble and admirable ways?"

Context, bro. Be specific.

I'd love to hear you actually address an issue on the merits.

Darush Mabadi


You clown yourself once again. I don't really have much concern for how you perceive my comments. After all, you are little more than some dude hiding behind the veil of anonymity as you toss spit balls from the back of the room. It is seldom that I find myself reading content on this site, yet your jive is consistent. You want us to pretend that your objectivity is real. It isn't. You seem singular focused on trolling Steve L. offering nothing but snide accusations packed with a touch of resenting spite. One has to wonder? You claim Elites are controlling higher education, yet offer nothing in the way of evidence. You sound like a Trump supporter who considers science and higher learning the 'Devil's workshop".. so really what is the incentive to debate a faceless stooge who consistently has proven himself unworthy?

I will gladly take you down in about five minutes the moment you reveal yourself. Until then you should assume that your comic relief is ongoing and unabated.

Without that basic disclosure, I see no reason for us to continue.

Best of luck my bro


Darush: "I will gladly take you down in about five minutes the moment you reveal yourself."

I would hope that Steve would take that comment down immediately. It clearly violates his posting policy.

Darush Mabadi

Not really, it’s in response to your sarcastic snide behavior. All I am saying is that until I know who I am addressing this is all you get. Without question, based upon what I have seen, it would take little time to provide a response that would clearly reveal your true intent. Fact speaking not being one of them.

Ok, I will now try harder and not let you tempt me again.

Produce your identity or continue to assume the role of coward.


"I will gladly take you down in about five minutes the moment you reveal yourself. "

now hold on there keyboard warrior...

Darush Mabadi

Another "man/woman of mystery" who misses the larger point. It should not be okay to bully anyone... yet that seems to be tolerated without concern here. The constant unending assault that anon brings against Steve L. is inappropriate and should be unilaterally called out.

Isolating my comment out of context is not helpful either. It suggests intent and tone both which are not accurate. I am not a keyboard warrior. I am someone who likes respectful dialogue. Defending against that is not warrior like. It is just the proper thing to do.

In the words of Rodney King: "Why can't we all just get along?"

Let's try that for a while!!!

This will be my last retort. I think I have sucked up enough bandwidth.

I am happy to respond to questions, but I will ignore the rest.



Why are you such a hypocrite?

Why do you make veiled threats against other persons?

Why can't you debate an issue without making the issue who you are debating?

Finally, why do you speak in the vernacular of a 1970's exploitation film?

Darush Mabadi

Why are you such a hypocrite?

I am not.

Why do you make veiled threats against other persons?-

I have not made any threats. , I think who you are plays a role, it further seem evident that you think so as well given how desperately you seem wanting to cling to your anonymity. You bear no cost for striking out at others. I bet if you exposed yourself, your behavior might change. Claiming that I could take you down is not a threat. What is a threat is your ability to attack without impunity nor any need to be responsible. So you can spare me your indignation. It means nothing to me. But we can find out, all you have to do is reveal who you are and then let's chat.

Why can't you debate an issue without making the issue who you are debating?

I prefer to understand source and insight behind the statement. You take full advantage of that when you attack Steve L. It's called leveling the playing field, son. Take a second peek at my above comment

Finally, why do you speak in the vernacular of a 1970's exploitation film?-

Please elaborate.. exploitation film- WTF is that?

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