The Rich in America: Power, Control, Wealth and the Elite Upper Class in the United States

The Rich in America: Power, Control, Wealth and the Elite Upper Class in the United States

The American upper class describes the sociological concept pertaining to the "top layer" of society in the United States. About the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0078026717/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0078026717&linkCode=as2&tag=tra0c7-20&linkId=2eb8359867676703c845d545981030e7 This social class is most commonly described as consisting of those with great wealth and power and may also be referred to as the Capitalist Class or simply as The Rich. Persons of this class commonly have immense influence in the nation's political and economic institutions as well as public opinion. Many politicians, heirs to fortunes, top business executives, CEOs, successful venture capitalists and celebrities are considered members of this class. Some prominent and high-rung professionals may also be included if they attain great influence and wealth. The main distinguishing feature of this class, which is estimated to constitute roughly 1% of the population, is the source of income. While the vast majority of persons and households derive their income from salaries, those in the upper class derive their income from investments and capital gains. Estimates for the size of this group commonly vary from 1% to 2%, while some surveys have indicated that as many as 6% of Americans identify as "upper class." Sociologist Leonard Beeghley sees wealth as the only significant distinguishing feature of this class and, therefore, refers to this group simply as "the rich." " "The members of the tiny capitalist class at the top of the hierarchy have an influence on economy and society far beyond their numbers. They make investment decisions that open or close employment opportunities for millions of others. They contribute money to political parties, and they often own media enterprises that allow them influence over the thinking of other classes... The capitalist class strives to perpetuate itself: Assets, lifestyles, values and social networks... are all passed from one generation to the next." -Dennis Gilbert, The American Class Structure, 1998 " Sociologists such as W. Lloyd Warner, William Thompson and Joseph Hickey recognize prestige differences between members of the upper class. Established families, prominent professionals and politicians may be deemed to have more prestige than some entertainment celebrities who in turn may have more prestige than the members of local elites. Yet, contemporary sociologists argue that all members of the upper class share such great wealth, influence and assets as their main source of income as to be recognized as members of the same social class. As great financial fortune is the main distinguishing feature of this class, sociologist Leonard Beeghley at the University of Florida identifies all "rich" households, those with incomes in the top 1% or so, as upper class. Functional theorists in sociology and economics assert that the existence of social classes is necessary in order to distribute persons so that only the most qualified are able to acquire positions of power, and so that all persons fulfill their occupational duties to the greatest extent of their ability. Notably, this view does not address wealth, which plays an important role in allocating status and power. In order to make sure that important and complex tasks are handled by qualified and motivated personnel, society offers incentives such as income and prestige. The more scarce qualified applicants are and the more essential the given task is, the larger the incentive will be. Income and prestige which are often used to tell a person's social class, are merely the incentives given to that person for meeting all qualifications to complete an important task that is of high standing in society due to its functional value. "It should be stressed... that a position does not bring power and prestige because it draws a high income. Rather, it draws a high income because it is functionally important and the available personnel is for one reason or another scarce. It is therefore superficial and erroneous to regard high income as the cause of a man's power and prestige, just as it is erroneous to think that a man's fever is the cause of his disease... The economic source of power and prestige is not income primarily, but the ownership of capital goods (including patents, good will, and professional reputation). Such ownership should be distinguished from the possession of consumers' goods, which is an index rather than a cause of social standing." -Kingsley Davis and Wilbert E. Moore, Principles of Stratification. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_upper_class

Wealth and Power in America: Social Class, Income Distribution, Finance and the American Dream

Wealth and Power in America: Social Class, Income Distribution, Finance and the American Dream

Wealth in the United States is commonly measured in terms of net worth, which is the sum of all assets, including home equity, minus all liabilities. More on the topic: https://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&tag=tra0c7-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=ff2efe1946d5c4d43e435783f57e86dc&camp=1789&creative=9325&index=books&keywords=wealth%20america For example, a household in possession of an $800,000 house, $5,000 in mutual funds, $30,000 in cars, $20,000 worth of stock in their own company, and a $45,000 IRA would have assets totaling $900,000. Assuming that this household would have a $250,000 mortgage, $40,000 in car loans, and $10,000 in credit card debt, its debts would total $300,000. Subtracting the debts from the worth of this household's assets (900,000 - $300,000 = $600,000), this household would have a net worth of $600,000. Net worth can vary with fluctuations in value of the underlying assets. The wealth—more specifically, the median net worth—of households in the United States is varied with relation to race, education, geographic location and gender. As one would expect, households with greater income feature the highest net worths, though high income cannot be taken as an always accurate indicator of net worth. Overall the number of wealthier households is on the rise, with baby boomers hitting the highs of their careers. In addition, wealth is unevenly distributed, with the wealthiest 25% of US households owning 87% of the wealth in the United States, which was $54.2 trillion in 2009. When observing the changes in the wealth among American households, one can note an increase in wealthier individuals and a decrease in the number of poor households, while net worth increased most substantially in semi-wealthy and wealthy households. Overall the percentage of households with a negative net worth (more debt than assets) declined from 9.5% in 1989 to 4.1% in 2001. The percentage of net worths ranging from $500,000 to one million doubled while the percentage of millionaires tripled. From 1995 to 2004, there was tremendous growth among household wealth, as it nearly doubled from $21.9 trillion to $43.6 trillion, but the wealthiest quartile of the economic distribution made up 89% of this growth. During this time frame, wealth became increasingly unequal, and the wealthiest 25% became even wealthier. According to US Census Bureau statistics this "Upward shift" is most likely the result of a booming housing market which caused homeowners to experience tremendous increases in home equity. Life-cycles have also attributed to the rising wealth among Americans. With more and more baby-boomers reaching the climax of their careers and the middle aged population making up a larger segment of the population now than ever before, more and more households have achieved comfortable levels of wealth. Zhu Xiao Di (2004) notes that household wealth usually peaks around families headed by people in their 50s, and as a result, the baby boomer generation reached this age range at the time of the analysis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wealth_in_the_United_States

Section, Week 7

Section, Week 7

Senators, Ambassadors, Governors, Republican Nominee for Vice President (1950s Interviews)

Senators, Ambassadors, Governors, Republican Nominee for Vice President (1950s Interviews)

Interviewees: A. S. Mike Monroney, Democratic Party politician from Oklahoma Estes Kefauver, American politician from Tennessee Everett Dirksen, American politician of the Republican Party Fred Andrew Seaton, United States Secretary of the Interior during Dwight Eisenhower's administration Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., Republican United States Senator from Massachusetts and a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, South Vietnam, West Germany, and the Holy See (as Representative). He was the Republican nominee for Vice President in the 1960 Presidential election. Herbert H. Lehman, Democratic Party politician from New York. He was the 45th Governor of New York from 1933 to 1942, and represented New York in the United States Senate from 1950 to 1957. Everett McKinley Dirksen (January 4, 1896 -- September 7, 1969) was an American politician of the Republican Party. He represented Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives (1933--1949) and U.S. Senate (1951--1969). As Senate Minority Leader for over a decade, he played a highly visible and key role in the politics of the 1960s, including helping to write and pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Open Housing Act of 1968, both landmarks of civil rights legislation. He was also one of the Senate's strongest supporters of the Vietnam War and was known as "The Wizard of Ooze" for his oratorical style. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everett_Dirksen In 1946 Lodge defeated Democratic Senator David I. Walsh and returned to the U.S. Senate. He soon emerged as a spokesman for the moderate, internationalist wing of the Republican Party. In late 1951, Lodge helped persuade General Dwight D. Eisenhower to run for the Republican presidential nomination. When Eisenhower finally consented, Lodge served as his campaign manager and played a key role in helping Eisenhower to win the nomination over Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio, the candidate of the party's conservative faction. In the fall of 1952 Lodge found himself fighting in a tight race for re-election with John F. Kennedy, then a Congressman from Massachusetts. Due to his efforts in helping Eisenhower, Lodge had neglected his own Senate campaign. In addition, some of Taft's supporters in Massachusetts were angered when Lodge supported Eisenhower, and they defected to Kennedy's campaign.[10] In November 1952 Lodge was narrowly defeated by Kennedy; Lodge received 48.5% of the vote to Kennedy's 51.5%. This was neither the first nor last time a Lodge faced a Kennedy in a Massachusetts election: In 1916 Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr. had defeated Kennedy's grandfather John F. Fitzgerald for the same Senate seat, and Lodge's son, George C. Lodge, was defeated in his bid for the seat by Kennedy's brother Ted in the 1962 election for John F. Kennedy's unexpired term. In February 1953, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. was named U.S. ambassador to the United Nations by President Eisenhower, with his office elevated to Cabinet level rank. In contrast to his grandfather (who had been a principal opponent of the UN's predecessor, the League of Nations), Lodge was supportive of the UN as an institution for promoting peace. As he famously said about it, "This organization is created to prevent you from going to hell. It isn't created to take you to heaven."[11] Since that time, no one has even approached his record of seven years as ambassador to the UN. During his time as UN Ambassador, Lodge supported the Cold War policies of the Eisenhower Administration, and often engaged in debates with the UN representatives of the Soviet Union. In 1959 he escorted Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev on a highly-publicized tour of the United States. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Cabot_Lodge,_Jr.

Section 8

Section 8

Review: Quiz 1

Review: Quiz 1

Political Figures, Lawyers, Politicians, Journalists, Social Activists (1950s Interviews)

Political Figures, Lawyers, Politicians, Journalists, Social Activists (1950s Interviews)

Interviewees: Harold Himmel Velde, United States political figure Hugh D. Scott, Jr., American lawyer and politician John V. Beamer, U.S. Representative from Indiana Orland K. Armstrong, Republican United States Representative, journalist, and social activist Edward L.R. Elson, Presbyterian minister and Chaplain of the United States Senate Richard Russell, Jr., American politician from Georgia Richard Brevard Russell, Jr. (November 2, 1897 -- January 21, 1971) was an American politician from Georgia. A member of the Democratic Party, he briefly served as Governor of Georgia (1931--33) before serving in the United States Senate for almost 40 years, from 1933 until his death in 1971. As a Senator, he was a candidate for President of the United States in the 1952 Democratic National Convention, coming in second to Adlai Stevenson. Russell was a founder and leader of the conservative coalition that dominated Congress from 1937 to 1963, and at his death was the most senior member of the Senate. He was for decades a leader of Southern opposition to the civil rights movement. Russell competed in the 1952 Democratic presidential primary, but was shut-out of serious consideration by northern Democratic leaders who saw his support for segregation as untenable outside of the Jim Crow South. When Lyndon Johnson arrived in the Senate, he sought guidance from knowledgeable senate aide Bobby Baker, who advised that all senators were "equal" but Russell was the most "equal"—meaning the most powerful. Johnson assiduously cultivated Russell through all of their joint Senate years and beyond. Russell's support for first-term senator Lyndon Johnson paved the way for Johnson to become Senate Majority Leader. Russell often dined at Johnson's house during their Senate days. However, their 20-year friendship came to an end during Johnson's presidency, in a fight over the Chief Justice nomination of Johnson's friend and Supreme Court justice Abe Fortas in 1968. While a prime mentor of Johnson, Russell and the then-president Johnson also disagreed over civil rights. Russell, a segregationist, had repeatedly blocked and defeated civil rights legislation via use of the filibuster and had co-authored the Southern Manifesto in opposition to civil rights. He had not supported the States Rights' Democratic Party of Strom Thurmond in 1948, but he opposed civil rights laws as unconstitutional and unwise. (Unlike Theodore Bilbo, "Cotton Ed" Smith and James Eastland, who had reputations as ruthless, tough-talking, heavy-handed race baiters, he never justified hatred or acts of violence to defend segregation. But he strongly defended white supremacy and apparently did not question it or ever apologize for his segregationist views, votes and speeches.) Russell was key, for decades, in blocking meaningful civil rights legislation that might have protected African-Americans from lynching, disenfranchisement, and disparate treatment under the law. After Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Russell (along with more than a dozen other southern Senators, including Herman Talmadge and Russell Long) boycotted the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City. A prominent supporter of a strong national defense, Russell became in the 1950s the most knowledgeable and powerful congressional leader in this area. He used his powers as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee from 1951 to 1969 and then as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee as an institutional base to add defense installations and jobs for Georgia. He was dubious about the Vietnam War, privately warning President Johnson repeatedly against deeper involvement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Russell,_Jr.

Environmental Disaster: Natural Disasters That Affect Ecosystems

Environmental Disaster: Natural Disasters That Affect Ecosystems

John P. Milton is a meditation and Qigong instructor, author, and a pioneering environmentalist. He is the founder of Sacred Passage and the Way of Nature. About the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0385046561/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0385046561&linkCode=as2&tag=tra0c7-20&linkId=268051c278e62f5d26a866d80556fb86 He pioneered vision questing in contemporary Western culture in the 1940s. In 1945, at the time he began his sacred solo retreats in the wilderness, vision quests were unknown in the Americas outside Native American culture. He received his M.S. in ecology and conservation from the University of Michigan in 1963.[1] Milton is also known for organizing and leading dozens of expeditions into some of the wildest areas left on Earth, starting in his late teens. A founding father of the environmental movement in the early 1960s, he was a professor of environmental studies and a Woodrow Wilson Center scholar at the Smithsonian Institution. He was one of the first ecologists on staff at the White House as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, and was a founding member of the environmental organization Friends of the Earth. He is a frequent lecturer and workshop leader, and a pioneering, renowned, and sought-after meditation and Qi Gong teacher. Thousands of people have sought his instruction since he began teaching in the 1950s. He has developed unique practices for uniting inner and outer nature through training in Buddhist, Taoist, Vedantic, Tantric, and Native American spiritual traditions, and he incorporates T'ai chi and yoga in his work. The book Discovering Beautiful: On The Road To Somewhere includes several sections detailing a student's apprenticeship with John. John's work in the world is also featured on the Transition United States web site. His books and articles focus on inner development, Qi Gong and ecology. He recently published the book Sky Above, Earth Below. Devotees of Milton say his programs inspire Earth stewardship by cultivating natural wisdom and an open, loving heart in the wild. John Milton lives in Tucson, Arizona. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_P._Milton

The Great Gildersleeve: The Campaign Heats Up / Who's Kissing Leila / City Employee's Picnic

The Great Gildersleeve: The Campaign Heats Up / Who's Kissing Leila / City Employee's Picnic

The Great Gildersleeve (1941--1957), initially written by Leonard Lewis Levinson, was one of broadcast history's earliest spin-off programs. Built around Throckmorton Philharmonic Gildersleeve, a character who had been a staple on the classic radio situation comedy Fibber McGee and Molly, first introduced on Oct. 3, 1939, ep. #216. The Great Gildersleeve enjoyed its greatest success in the 1940s. Actor Harold Peary played the character during its transition from the parent show into the spin-off and later in a quartet of feature films released at the height of the show's popularity. On Fibber McGee and Molly, Peary's Gildersleeve was a pompous windbag who became a consistent McGee nemesis. "You're a haa-aa-aa-aard man, McGee!" became a Gildersleeve catchphrase. The character was given several conflicting first names on Fibber McGee and Molly, and on one episode his middle name was revealed as Philharmonic. Gildy admits as much at the end of "Gildersleeve's Diary" on the Fibber McGee and Molly series (Oct. 22, 1940). He soon became so popular that Kraft Foods—looking primarily to promote its Parkay margarine spread — sponsored a new series with Peary's Gildersleeve as the central, slightly softened and slightly befuddled focus of a lively new family. Premiering on August 31, 1941, The Great Gildersleeve moved the title character from the McGees' Wistful Vista to Summerfield, where Gildersleeve now oversaw his late brother-in-law's estate and took on the rearing of his orphaned niece and nephew, Marjorie (originally played by Lurene Tuttle and followed by Louise Erickson and Mary Lee Robb) and Leroy Forester (Walter Tetley). The household also included a cook named Birdie. Curiously, while Gildersleeve had occasionally spoken of his (never-present) wife in some Fibber episodes, in his own series the character was a confirmed bachelor. In a striking forerunner to such later television hits as Bachelor Father and Family Affair, both of which are centered on well-to-do uncles taking in their deceased siblings' children, Gildersleeve was a bachelor raising two children while, at first, administering a girdle manufacturing company ("If you want a better corset, of course, it's a Gildersleeve") and then for the bulk of the show's run, serving as Summerfield's water commissioner, between time with the ladies and nights with the boys. The Great Gildersleeve may have been the first broadcast show to be centered on a single parent balancing child-rearing, work, and a social life, done with taste and genuine wit, often at the expense of Gildersleeve's now slightly understated pomposity. Many of the original episodes were co-written by John Whedon, father of Tom Whedon (who wrote The Golden Girls), and grandfather of Deadwood scripter Zack Whedon and Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog). The key to the show was Peary, whose booming voice and facility with moans, groans, laughs, shudders and inflection was as close to body language and facial suggestion as a voice could get. Peary was so effective, and Gildersleeve became so familiar a character, that he was referenced and satirized periodically in other comedies and in a few cartoons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Gildersleeve

Exposing the Secrets of the CIA: Agents, Experiments, Service, Missions, Operations, Weapons, Army

Exposing the Secrets of the CIA: Agents, Experiments, Service, Missions, Operations, Weapons, Army

Allan James Francovich (March 23, 1941 – April 24, 1997) was an American maker of investigative films, including documentaries on CIA covert operations and the Lockerbie disaster. More: https://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&tag=tra0c7-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=93461610f1b320f43d0bf4ee479a9cdc&camp=1789&creative=9325&index=dvd&keywords=allan%20francovich Francovich suffered a fatal heart attack in a Customs area at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, on April 17, 1997 whilst entering the United States from England; he was 56. His father, Aldo Francovich, worked as a mining engineer for Cerro de Pasco mining company in Peru; as a child he lived in high altitude mining towns and witnessed the extreme poverty of the miners. He attended an elite preparatory school in Lima then came to the U.S. to attend Notre Dame University, where he completed a B.A. He lived in Paris for several years, studying free-lance at the Sorbonne before coming to Berkeley. There he finished an M.A. in Dramatic Arts at UC, Berkeley; he also studied film briefly at Stanford and received a grant to study film from the American Film Institute in 1970. He and translator and writer Kathleen Weaver were married in 1970; the two separated amicably and were divorced in 1986. She collaborated on his films during the time of their marriage. His films and papers are archived by the Pacific Film Archive, in Berkeley, California. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Francovich Victor L. Marchetti, Jr. (born December 23, 1929) is a former special assistant to the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and a prominent paleoconservative critic of the United States Intelligence Community and the Israel lobby in the United States. While serving as an active-duty American soldier, Marchetti was recruited into the intelligence agencies in 1952 during the Cold War to engage in espionage against East Germany. Marchetti joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1955, working as a specialist on the USSR. He was a leading CIA expert on Third World aid, with a focus on USSR military supplies to Cuba after the end of the Kennedy administration. In 1966 Marchetti was promoted to the office of special assistant to the Chief of Planning, Programming, and Budgeting, and a special assistant to CIA Director Richard Helms. Within three years Marchetti became disillusioned with the policies and practices of the CIA, and resigned in 1969, writing an exposé of the CIA in a book published in 1971 entitled The Rope Dancer. Later Marchetti published books critical of the CIA with author John D. Marks. The books included, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence (1973). Before this book was published, the CIA demanded that Marchetti remove 399 passages, but Marchetti stood firm and only 168 passages were censored. It is the first book the federal government of the United States ever went to court to censor before its publication. The publisher (Alfred A. Knopf) chose to publish the book with blanks for censored passages and with boldface type for passages that were challenged but later uncensored. The publication of this book was one of the events that led to the establishment of the Church Committee by Frank Church. In 1976 Marchetti published Foreign and Military Intelligence and in 1978 he published an article about the JFK assassination in the far-right newspaper of the Liberty Lobby, The Spotlight. Marchetti, a proponent of the organized crime and the CIA conspiracy theory, claimed that the House Select Committee on Assassinations revealed a CIA memo from 1966 that named E. Howard Hunt, Frank Sturgis and Gerry Patrick Hemming in the JFK assassination. Marchetti also claimed that Marita Lorenz offered sworn testimony to confirm this. In 1981, sued the Liberty Lobby and Marchetti for defamation and won $650,000 in damages. Liberty Lobby appealed the case with lawyer, Mark Lane. Marchetti, Liberty Lobby and Lane won the appeal in 1995. Lane wrote a book, Plausible Denial, to describe the unfolding of that historic trial. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Marchetti

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