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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Raising the Bar

Re: “On Class, Race, Culture and the Anti-Trump Movement

The left has rescued this country so many times from the right (I mean the wrong): Great Depression, Reaganomics, random wars. Really? You think Obama was given a chance to govern? No way. The friggin', selfish, manipulative, cheating, war-mongering republicans (cap left off purposely -- they don't deserve one) wouldn't give Obama an inch. Obama succeeded, as well as he could, with the obstructionist congress that he had. Trump supporters: a basket of deplorables, that we are ALL now riding in, to hell. Don't believe me? Look at his cabinet choices: a bigoted fake news chairman as senior counselor, corporate raiders for treasury, a previously fired general for national security, a climate denier for EPA, a billionaire charter school proponent for education, "It's fun to shoot people" secretary of defense, not to mention the many conflicts of interest of his business dealings. What a mess. Leave it to the left to rescue again. Only this time, the lefts will be way left of center. No more trying to meet the right half-way. There will be such a negative reaction to Trump and his extreme-right policies -- there will be a Bernie Revolution!

Posted by Terra Wilson-Kaysser on 12/01/2016 at 10:16 PM

Re: “On Class, Race, Culture and the Anti-Trump Movement

During the campaign I really didn't get it when Trump yelled "I love the poorly educated"...I believe this group was not offended but rather elated that someone was listening...Are YOU listening Liberals?? We are they and they are we....
Great article Jay!

Posted by Terry Brown on 11/30/2016 at 4:09 PM

Re: “On Class, Race, Culture and the Anti-Trump Movement

generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups. It is a bit much for someone to say they are 99% when so many people don't agree. Trump spoke to many who don't agree with those who say they are 99% and those who are identified as 1%. The Progressives math is wrong and so many know it.

Posted by James A. Hudkins 1 on 11/30/2016 at 3:21 PM

Re: “On Class, Race, Culture and the Anti-Trump Movement

You might have given Obama a chance but the Republicans in Congress NEVER did.

Posted by Wilson Riles on 11/30/2016 at 2:46 PM

Re: “On Class, Race, Culture and the Anti-Trump Movement

In a way you are pissing on a wall. Give Trump a chance. We gave Obama a HUGE chance and he blew it with his perverted ideology that has little to do with the USA, and more with his muslim upbringing. Obama didn't even help his brothers who need help desperately! So, let's give Trump a chance and not be so wussily put off because he is a big mouthed New Yorker and richer than the rest of us. He is also a patriot, and maybe it is time for lefties in the East Bay, anywhere, to stop categorizing patriots as some kind of bigot? Maybe it's the other guys who are the bigots? It often seems that way! Let's give this gigantic and irrefutable swing to the right a fair trial period, before we decide we can see into the future.

Posted by Ken White on 11/30/2016 at 1:12 PM

Re: “On Class, Race, Culture and the Anti-Trump Movement

US/Western Culture is again channeling our perceptions, wrongly, into an either-or paradigm. Reality is multidimensional and multi-causal. US political issues are about BOTH-AND race and class and they are largely inseparable. Bernie Sanders makes the same mistake that socialists and folks on the left have frequently made: that class is more important than race or "identity politics." He wants to draw us into a class struggle within and to reform the Democrat Party. This is a historically proven mistake and a waste of energy. Read "The Miner's Canary" for examples of how to form successful coalitions across lines of both race and class.

Posted by Wilson Riles on 11/30/2016 at 1:11 PM

Re: “On Class, Race, Culture and the Anti-Trump Movement

More than anything, the election illustrates fragmentation. The "them's" are large and many; The "us" is small and few.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 11/29/2016 at 7:04 PM

Re: “How CalSTRS Investments Influenced Workers to Vote for Donald Trump

Thanks, Ambierce Brose, for the Comment.

If they really believe that folks there are fine with the effects on their towns of "Corporate Governance" investing, maybe CalSTRS board and staff should travel to Canton and to Wisconsin and have a meeting with those affected. Isn't that want Responsible people would do?

Jay Youngdahl

Posted by Jay Youngdahl 1 on 11/18/2016 at 9:36 AM

Re: “How CalSTRS Investments Influenced Workers to Vote for Donald Trump

While the actions of CalSTRS are interesting, the leap from that to voting for Trump is tenuous.

This article implies that after the actions of CalSTRS, Relational and Timken resulted in the splitting of the family owned Timken into separate companies that somehow a "disaster" resulted. But TimkenSteel is still in Canton, still producing, and still part of the community. They had a couple of layoffs, in part because the downturn in oil drilling (yeah!) resulted in less demand, but I'd love to see some proof of the other effects. The NYT article is great, and two years old. Perhaps some fact checking on recent events is in order.

In fact Timken and some of its employees, like Trump, place blame on regulation and imports for their sluggish performance. I'd expect that antipathy towards trade agreements and regulation played a large role; CalSTRS role seems minimal.

Posted by Ambierce Brose on 11/17/2016 at 11:51 AM

Re: “How CalSTRS Investments Influenced Workers to Vote for Donald Trump

This is a must-read. Thanks.

Posted by Tony Daysog on 11/16/2016 at 5:28 PM

Re: “How CalSTRS Investments Influenced Workers to Vote for Donald Trump

This kind of information doesn't seem to get enough media coverage! What will it take for the common people, those who are not aware of the underlying issues that's causing the devastation of a declining country! It's REALLY SCARY! How can the average person, without the knowledge, effectively make good decisions? When everything seems to be for the Elites, the power of MONEY! The political systems, where we're suppose to have power, is antiquated, needs changing, just look what's happened to this election, the people spoke, but the people's choice was denied!

Posted by Joyce Jenkins on 11/16/2016 at 9:16 AM

Re: “Time for White Americans to be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem

what a great disservice this author is doing. Instead of trying to bring all groups together, he is bashing his own ethnicity to the point of exhaustion. Were there events in the past that were not just? Of course there were. To lay blame one one ethnicity is racist! I'm sorry if you have white guilt. My advice is to get over yourself and live a life embraces all viewpoints, but also relies on your own prejudice (not all prejudice is bad).

Also I know MANY people who are white that had no privilege. How callous is it to attribute privilege to the color of your skin. How is this any different that saying because your black you are a criminal????

Posted by Richard123 on 09/02/2016 at 1:40 PM

Re: “Time for White Americans to be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem

"This isn't racist...I'm disgusted by this lame and offensive attempt to make me guilty of a crime I didn't commit."

Remarkably naive or dishonest or both.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 07/18/2016 at 10:01 AM

Re: “Time for White Americans to be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem

This is absolute rubbish.
1. No one alive is a slave or knows a slave.
2. Black people sold black people into slavery as well, there is REAL slavery today in Africa and the Middle East.
3. Black people are told to be proud of their heritage. BUT whites are told we guilty of crimes we didn't commit, crimes before we were born.
4. The black community can protest shootings, but when thugs attack the police they are held up as victims when they are clearly a thug.
5. More white people are killed by the police.
6. 10 times more black people kill black people but this can't be discussed.
7. The black community is about 75% fatherless. Black men who won't take responsibility for their sex without a condom actions.
This isn't racist, this is factcist....if the black community wants to be part of society they need to look inward and gain respect instead of demanding it with blocked streets, looted stores, and daily killing of other black people.. I'm disgusted by this lame and offensive attempt to make me guilty of a crime I didn't commit.

Posted by SF Tech on 07/17/2016 at 1:43 AM

Re: “Time for White Americans to be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem

This is an insightful commentary with a dire warning. I think all Americans need to take heed and step up to individual responsibility. I KNOW most black Americans don't want blood shed just by their patience and willingness to work with system for decades. By the current status of America on race relations with black Americans, I KNOW that a large majority of white Americans DON'T CARE about race relations with black Americans as an important issue in their daily lives. I KNOW THIS FOR A FACT.....a great portion of white America can come together with other races and elect a black president for two terms, when they think its to their individual benefit but cannot come together in 250 to 300 years over racial injustice to a major racial sect. A major sect of people carrying various degrees of the white blood line too, with a skin color shades deeper. It is my opinion that a large majority of white Americans DON'T WANT TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION. Racial divisiveness continues go be perpetuated in the homes by parents, in the schools by teachers, in the workplace by employers and corporations, in the politic by power grabbers and authority enforcers. So even when Black Americans follow all the rules, rise to the top, wait on the nod or favor of someone in power, they are still disrespected....i.e. President Obama called a liar by a congressman during a State of the Union speech in front of the joint House of Congress and the SCOTUS. When black Americans, white Americans, all Americans, the world, witnesses this behavior....come on, what's next....

Posted by cynthia1948 on 07/16/2016 at 11:56 AM

Re: “Time for White Americans to be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem

Again it is time for whites to wake up if they want to save the nation. For almost 100 years after the Civil War, whites in the south extended slavery in a de facto way with racist Jim Crow laws. At the same time, whites ignored these racist laws and terrorist tactics of the KKK along side State and local Police. Even JFK in his early Presidency was reluctant to get involved in the southern quandary, despite pressure from MLK and other civil rights groups. The Feds easy default was to let the States handle their own problems in their own way despite evidence that they had no intention of complying with the law. It took the murders of white freedom riders in Mississippi to awaken the country to the level of terrorism Blacks lived under every day. Only then did we have Federal legislation in the passing of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. Both were reflective of the fact that 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Blacks were not free and had never been treated as full citizens. In the last two weeks we saw film of 2 Black men murdered by white cops in Baton Rouge and St Paul. Even after Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Ferguson Missouri, Eric Gardner and others, unarmed Black men continue to be killed by law enforcement with no consequences. We also saw cops murdered in Dallas by an armed maniac fed up with the corrupt Police culture. White America needs to once again wake up and get involved. The entire criminal justice system needs reform. When you have local Police funding their own jobs on the backs of poor people of color and you have a prison system motivated by profit, their is a systemic problem. The Dallas event should put America on notice that Black people are tired of marching, praying and going to funerals. Mark my words, these young kids who grow up in neighborhoods terrorized by cops, with no dreams of a future other than oppression, incarceration and death will turn to violence. Whites need to get involved and pressure politicians to get off their asses and do something about gun control legislation and
changes to the criminal justice system. Do not allow Police unions and idiots like Rudy Guiliani to defend the status quo by racist distraction and victim blaming. Those are exactly the people who need to shut up, go away and make room for change. If they don't there will be more events like Dallas in our future.

Posted by Gary Patton on 07/13/2016 at 4:52 PM

Re: “CalPERS Should Refuse to Fund Tobacco

Thank you for drawing attention to this outrageous hypocrisy. At a time when the fossil fuel industry is being compared to Big Tobacco - because of their insidious influence on public health and public policy, not their investment returns - it is unacceptable to even float a trial balloon about returning to tobacco. Perhaps as you suggest, desperate investment professionals are counting on the public being forgetful about tobacco's impact, or blaming the victims of tobacco addiction, or being willfully ignorant about the reckless hyping of tobacco to underage youth outside the United States. Weren't the negative returns on tobacco established by the settlement with state attorneys general?

Posted by Lisa Lindsley on 04/15/2016 at 1:50 PM

Re: “The Gentle Thich Nhat Hanh

I am passionate follower of Thich Nhat Hanh, I have read many of his books, all of which have lessened the stress and anxiety of my life, and given it more purpose. However, I'm think Thich Nhat would strongly disagree with your article calling out the Dalai Lama as partially straying from pure Buddhist practice, or as the lesser man than he.

A base tenet of Thich Nhat Hanh is not to be dualistic, not to see things as good and bad, or black and white; as you seem to do with capitalism, corporations and Mr. Loeb. The Dalai Lama is also great because he is able to have compassion for all, and sees all fellow humans as doing their best, shaped by their environment and the beliefs of those who have been around them. So Thich Nhat would not have any less veneration for Mr.Loeb, American Express, or capitalism than he would for the Pope, the Red Cross, or communist socialism; all are just different manifestations of one whole, each manifestation had to be what it had to be! His goal is to lessen delusion, increase the awareness that we are all brothers, and thus lessen violence and injustice in the world.
Not accumulating wealth while others are hungry is of course a massively subjective recommendation that each person will measure differently, and part of the good message is to tolerate others. I would say you are wealthy if you are able to hire servants to cook for you, serve you, and clean up after you, aka going out to dinner, even once a month. Some would define it as a certain brand of car, size house or bank account. One thing we are instructed not to do by good spiritual teachers like Thich Nhat , is to use our own personal definition to turn our nose up at someone else whom we may deem as greedy. The internal psychologic impetus for that is making our own ego feel better by comparison, as it is anytime we speak ill of others. Thich Nhat would never say that the hierarchy of love he has for his followers lines up along the list from those with the smallest bank accounts to those with the largest. What matters is the compassion for others in each person's mind, and if their subjective measure of 'greed' and 'wealth' is kept in line with great compassion for others, that is all that matters. Even a molecule of antipathy for Mr. Loeb, of whom you and I have only superficial knowledge, would not be tolerated by Thich Nhat. Furthermore, he does NOT advocate shedding all possessions and being stoic, contrariwise, just like the Buddha, he advocates the 'middle way'; and hence this is subjective and subject to individual freedom.
Furthermore, accumulating individual wealth is usually not at the expense of, or causal of, another’s poverty. This is key. It is usually the result of a free market system with some good degree of respect for the rule of law, or mechanisms to mitigate corruption, combined with checks and balances against a too large central power that would otherwise accumulate all wealth, like a king, or all powerful totalitarian government. Add talent and good work ethic to that fertile soil and you often get wealth. Poverty is more often the result of lack of a free market secular economy and a too powerful corrupt ruling class or oligarchy. So accumulating individual wealth itself does NOT cause others to be poor or hungry, and giving it all away often simply temporarily helps a few people living under a bad economic system, while permanently siphoning it off from the effective economic system.
How can anyone be faulted for saving the amount of money they judge a safety net? One has to have some assurance of being able to have shelter and eat, as their job is not 100% assured, and they will have to stop working someday. It is very hard for the average human to have a clear crisp sense of the suffering of others far away through the lens of pictures and video. We have deep love for our family right in front of us all the time; and saving or acquiring things for their happiness and security is a powerful natural instinct. The greatest people on Earth are perhaps those than can poignantly feel the suffering of others who are far away, but those who don’t have as much of this great talent can still follow pure Buddhist philosophy in their own path. Furthermore, in our country, despite politicians who spin things to the contrary to get votes to put them into power (simple math, most voters are not super wealthy), any person earning a high salary in America can feel good in the mathematical fact that the vast majority of services our society provides are paid for by the tax revenue from the 'wealthy'. The non-partisan widely acclaimed Pew Research group shows the mathematical proof of how silly the main anti-capitalist argument in America is, that "the rich don't pay their fair share of taxes", the facts are AMAZING:
Too bad there is no intelligent debate among our politicians; facts don't seem to matter these days.
So, you have done something very non-Buddhist; you have let your obvious dualistic views tilt an article away from the good things about Thich Nhat, to speak negative about the Dalai Llama in your over- simplistic view of capitalism. Thich Nhat would not approve I think, and I suspect you have not read any of this books. He would laugh and then gently scold anyone trying to tell him that he is 'better' than the Dalai Lama. You have clearly personally categorized capitalism and Dan Loeb in the 'bad' category, and try to sneak that in your article, as if no one will notice, or you want to project with haughty condescension that any intelligent reader of this must already know and agree that capitalism is the antithesis of Thich Nhat and Budddhism. Wrong in full. Neither of those two great minds categorizes people or systems as good or bad, and in fact such categorization is the root of much suffering in their view. Thich Nhat sees delusion, greed, and anger as leading to injustice, and with compassion tries to enlighten us against those.
Do not toss out capitalism in the waist bin of your 'bad' category. No system is perfect utopia. But compare the suffering of the poor and their quality of life in any capitalist country vs. any socialist one. Study Cuba and Venezuela, and countless others, all of them if you have time. The safety net is of horrible quality, basic goods are not available to many. Corporations have horrible aspects, but also employ huge numbers, provide great services and life-improving products we all use every day, and donate massive amounts to charity. Specifically, how does American Express, ‘deprive others of the chance to live’, as your article suggests? Please answer that otherwise libelous implication of your article. Just about all of the great advances in medicine were seeded by huge risk of capital by investors whom you may slander as ‘greedy’. But without those wealthy risk takers, zero people would be getting modern medicines for cancer and other diseases, despite the constantly improving lack of universal access to such treatments. Research the myriad of amazing advancements far underway in many venture capital firms that may end may terrible diseases and you will feel a great thrill for the future. I can give you many examples. They outnumber government sponsored such projects exponentially.
Show me any country without a stock market in which there is not horrible poverty, worse than in the USA, and I will give you a Nobel prize. It doesn't exist. ‘Inexplicably cozied up to Wall Street’ is the statement of someone stereotyping everyone in a huge complex system as a bad. Wall Street can also be seen as a mechanism for one to slowly funnel some of their earnings to buy companies as an investment for the future, delaying consumption/buying goods in the present, such that they can someday retire on the appreciation of that investment. All the while, their stock purchase will be providing capital for a company to hire more workers and improve their services and discoveries. Meanwhile we can pass laws that make companies treat people and the Earth fairly. Go to Greece, or ANY country where anti-Wall Street philosophy has administrated the economy and you will see mass unemployment and a middle class standard of living far below the poverty level in America. If I am missing a country without an active equity investment structure that has a good average standard of living and social safety net, please let me know. Your world view is oversimplified as either/or, you have been listening to some in the politician class, whose words are crafted only to get votes from the masses, not to make intellectual correct points for historians, philosophers, deep objective thinkers, and economists.
Capitalism, synonymous with individual freedom, and with our individual diversity of luck, skill and work ethic, is the only system compatible with individual human dignity. I would make several modifications such that it becomes long term focused and does not harm our environment; but don't throw out the baby with the bath water. You're missing a thousand gradations below the simplistic black and white delusion on the surface. No one 'controls' all the money. Countless billions are sitting in banks waiting to be loaned to start businesses, billions are printed every year that can be claimed by anyone; no one 'controls' all the money. Yes, we should limit how much a corporation can donate to a campaign, since right now we have a political system of cronyism and bribery; but that is part of the gradations and modifications that are available, it does not mean we enslave ourselves to socialism. Socialism is the exact way ant and bee colonies are arranged, and it is incompatible with individual human freedom and diversity. In reading your piece, I appreciated the interjection of personal politics into a biographical sketch of who I consider of the, if not the, greatest man in modern history in Thich Nhat Hanh. Many of your readers may have seen right through that, and I believe it lessened the esteem of your publication as a result.
with respect and best wishes,

Posted by Todd Bitterman on 12/17/2015 at 12:42 PM

Re: “The Ticking Climate Bomb

The denialist comments here are nonsense. See these pages from the Union of Concerned Scientists, NASA, the EPA, and Scientific American.

Posted by Aryt Alasti on 11/24/2015 at 7:18 AM

Re: “The Ticking Climate Bomb

First it was gloval warming. Then when the data showed otherwise, it became "Climate Change." That covers anything. Basically, this is a HOAX, in the classic meaning of a hoax. This hoax enriches certain people at the expense of others. The "science" is totally inconclusive and illusionary. Do not be fooled by the advocates who are so passionately convinced that doomsday is coming.

Posted by Jerry Udinksy on 11/18/2015 at 8:25 PM

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