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

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

Re: “The Ticking Climate Bomb

Jay, I would rather the planet be warming than cooling. The warming is slight and is consistant with the warming we have been undergoing since coming out of the last ice age. Show me a glacier that has been receding and I'll show you a glacier that has been receding since before we had been burning much fossil fuel.

How about you be the first to live without a house or building over your head, which is responsible for about one-third of CO2 emissions. While you are looking for a comfortable cave or straw/branch shelter to live in don't use an auto or airplane to get there either as they are big CO2 emmitters as well. Also don't buy your groceries at a store; that food got there because a truck burned fossil fuels.

Our way of life is not possible if we only used renewables. If we stopped burning fossil fuels today billions of people would be without jobs and millions would soon die as well due to the complete disruption of modern society.

Your hyperbole about oil companies destroying the planet completely ignores the fact that we want the things that oil and gas does for us. As an example, suburban sprall destroys prairies, farms or woods, but try going into those neighborhoods and telling the people that live there that they need to move out so nature can return!

Posted by Vincent Sauve on 11/18/2015 at 6:14 PM

Re: “The Gentle Thich Nhat Hanh

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

Posted by Editor on 10/06/2015 at 4:56 PM

Re: “The Gentle Thich Nhat Hanh

Jay, a wonderful, thoughtful essay about a man who elevates humanity. Lonnie

Posted by Lonnie Powers on 10/02/2015 at 5:19 PM

Re: “The Gentle Thich Nhat Hanh

Love this!

Posted by Justin F Harris on 10/01/2015 at 3:53 PM

Re: “The Gentle Thich Nhat Hanh

Thank you for such a lovely tribute to Thay Nhat Hanh. I do object however to the slightly reproachful tone of the comment regarding his holiness the Dalai Lama. It is not necessary to disparage one figure to extol the virtues of another. Both figures are of such inspiration that making such a speculative remark regarding his holiness can only be detrimental to the spirit of Buddhism that they practice and encourage others to follow. His holiness has shown time and time again an openness to learning, others' perspectives, and to always listen and to use your own mind to make your decisions. I should hope that the author reconsiders his own judgment and follow their example.

Posted by betty tran on 10/01/2015 at 12:00 PM

Re: “The Gentle Thich Nhat Hanh

I have an extra orchestra center section ticket 10th row J. Who needs a ticket? Message me if you would like to buy it. I spent $28.75.

Posted by Jeannie Zukav on 09/30/2015 at 6:32 PM

Re: “The Gentle Thich Nhat Hanh

The monks and nuns of Thich Nhat Hanh's community will be teaching and leading an Afternoon of Mindfulness on October 10 at the Nourse Theatre in San Francisco. You can learn more at

Posted by Kenley Neufeld on 09/29/2015 at 9:33 PM

Re: “Forced into the Arms of the Rich

"The phrases..have been true for the non-rich since Spartacus led the slave revolt against Rome."

This article is as bloated as the Greek public sector. Funny Mr. Youngdahl would cite that country as an example of the evils of collective bargaining reform, without mentioning that Greek public employees make significantly more than their private sector counterparts, nor that the Greek retirement age is 5 years earlier than that of the German taxpayer who is bailing out Greek pensioner. Also not surprising that Mr. Youngdahl, a labor lawyer, fails to mention that the outcome of Friedrichs might mean unions have less money to pay his fee.

But whats most striking is Youngdahl's logic, that if you cannot force Union members to pay their "fair share" dues, Unions will be forced to cozy up with wealthy donors. I'm not sure if Mr. Youngdahl realizes how this logic is such an indictment of the public sector unions themselves.

If you can convince wealthy donors to part with their money to support Unions, why cant the Union convince all its Union members to pay their "fair share" union dues when it is benefiting the union member themselves?

Because, as Youngdahl writes, "The leaked papers showed that labor advocates were forced to work on strategies to convince the wealthy of the benefits of unionism". In other words, In order to get money from donors (or anyone for that matter), once must convince these donors of the benefit.

As Mr. Youngdahl correctly points out, behind every negotiation, both parties must operate under the principle of mutual benefit. Public sector unions, rather, operate under the principle of reaping the most amount of benefit for the least amount of sacrifice. The public sector union leaders maintained their grip on union members by only focusing on what is owed to the unions, ignoring outright any sacrifices the unions must make to the public. This narrow view on one owns self-interest has been ingrained into the public sector employees mind by its leadership, and is the reason you cannot trust the union member to pay his "fair share". It is the unions own un-doing.

3 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Clarence C. Johnson on 08/03/2015 at 11:27 AM

Re: “Forced into the Arms of the Rich

FDR opposed public sector unions. It takes no great imagination to conclude that elected officials will be paying more attention to future union campaign donations than the interests of the taxpayers when negotiating with "public sector" unions. In the end, you get BART. Constantly increased taxes, rotten service, decrepit rolling stock and facilities while BART employees are among the highest paid in the world. Pass a new tax to update car stock, and the unions decide that money could be better spent on their wages and benefits. Which is why I now routinely vote against BART budgets because the improvements and updates never come - but the wage and benefit hikes rain down.

1 like, 3 dislikes
Posted by Nadja Adolf on 07/31/2015 at 2:32 PM

Re: “Forced into the Arms of the Rich

Sorry, but given that unions in SoCal are demanding that union shops be exempt from the proposed new $15 minimum wage, I find it hard to believe that the unions exist as anything more than a political slush fund in the 21st Century.

And unlike most of those who write joyous articles on the virtues of unionization and sing Union Maid at every party, I have actually belonged to a union.

2 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Nadja Adolf on 07/31/2015 at 2:28 PM

Re: “Hug a Greek Today

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 07/18/2015 at 11:13 AM

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