Warren Hellman, the 1 percent exception

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Warren Hellman posed on the Guardian rooftop for this 2007 photo.
Charles Russo

San Francisco lost a piece of its soul when Warren Hellman died last night. In a deeply polarized city, where Occupy’s paradigm of the 99 percent versus the 1 percent resonates more than anywhere, Hellman showed how an extremely wealthy investment banker could champion the interests of all San Franciscans.

I first got to know Warren in 2007 when I did a series of in-depth interviews with him for a Guardian cover story. Before that, he had been a bit of a villain to progressives as he worked with his downtown friends, such as the late Gap founder Don Fisher, to fund political initiatives and groups that aggressively pushed a pro-business agenda, from the Committee on Jobs to the parking garage under Golden Gate Park.

Born into the family that founded Wells Fargo Bank, he became the youngest partner to join Lehman Brothers before founding one of San Francisco’s largest investment banking firms, Hellman was solidly in the 1 percent. But he was a curious man with a good heart, compassionate soul, nimble mind, and strong sense of integrity.

So when the progressives he previously battled over the parking garage pushed for more car-free hours in the park – something Hellmann and his allies had pledged to support if the garage was built – he joined them and battled with his former garage allies who had abandoned that pledge, eventually forcing a compromise when it seemed the car-free crowd was headed for defeat.

That was the reason I got to know him and the focus on my “Out of downtown” story, but it was only the beginning. I came to know about how he was spending his money to help the schools and the poor, about his generous/selfish gift of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, and about his belief that George W. Bush and other neo-conservatives – those who so shamelessly and short-sightedly helped consolidate this country’s wealth in fewer and fewer hands – were sullying his Republican Party.

So we stayed in touch and had early morning breakfasts together every six months or so, talking about the issues of the day. We talked about Burning Man, an event he loved and one I was covering and writing a book about. He listened as I complained about my shrinking staff at the Guardian and how the contraction of journalism was bad for San Francisco, and we talked through some possible solutions.
It bothered Warren to see the San Francisco Chronicle being decimated by an out-of-town corporation, and he wanted to help. So he took that kernel of an idea, mulled it, and discussed it with a wide variety of people who had expertise on the topic, just as he would do with his myriad investment banking ideas.

And with that steady heat that he applied to this kernel, he popped it into The Bay Citizen, a non-profit professional newsroom that has already done a great service to San Francisco, and which owes its existence to Hellman, who subsidized it with millions of dollars of his own money and encouraged his rich friends to give millions more. That is among his many legacies, although he was probably most proud of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, probably the country's best free concert. Warren loved that music, and he told me it was mostly because it told the stories of common people so beautifully. "The kind of music is the conscience of our country," he told me. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors last week offered a bit of appreciation for Warren's gift, renaming the main venue of Speedway Meadows as Hellman's Hollow.

I’ll let the Bay Citizen and other media outlets write Warren’s full obituary. What I’m choosing to think about now is the man, and he is someone who I will truly miss. San Francisco just won’t be the same place without the example he set, but I hope it lives on in the hearts and minds of those in a position to help San Francisco find its heart and realize its potential.

 

Comments

I think you can catch Leukemia from radiation exposure. wonder how many cat scans that rich guy had in his life. Hospitals don't track total radiation exposure for a reason.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 11:42 am

It was outrageous that Speedway Meadow was renamed after a billionaire! And, as you say, Hellman was on the right.

And that parking garage is a blight!

Almost any of us could have done a better job (in terms of benefiting the public good) with the billions he was handed.

His last years were spent investing in pathetic internet "companies."

Not a loss at all for anyone!

Posted by Richard on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

In your world, the rich are bad and the poor are good? Just like the Sermon on the Mount?

What a simplistic world you inhabit.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

Dear Guest:

I believe that Hellman was allegedly born into the same religion as Jesus, yet he held on to his wealth.....

People are mixed, but we need higher inheritance taxes and taxes on the wealthy, along with cuts in military spending......

Posted by Richard on Dec. 29, 2011 @ 8:47 am

Please read "Out of downtown" before judging Warren Hellman. He was an unlikely ally of progressives on many issues, but an ally nonetheless and someone who provided an example for other 1 percenters to follow. I am saddened by his death and dismayed by your comment.

Posted by steven on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

It's sad when someone stereotypes anyone, whether it's young black males or so-called "one-percenters". The idea that someone's value and ethics can be determined by something as simple as net worth was never tenable, and it isn't here either.

My favorite people are those who trump the stereotypes. Wealthy people who do great good are an excellent example. Or for that matter, anyone who isn't "programmed" and whose views aren't easily compartmentalized. And that includes both Hellman and Hutchins about whom Tim wrote sympathetically the other day.

The world doesn't run in straight lines.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

How much of his wealth did he actually distribute?

He spent his years investing in cheesy internet companies.....

Posted by Richard on Dec. 29, 2011 @ 8:49 am

his wealth to have a huge impact. So the comparison with much poorer and less successful people isn't fair.

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 29, 2011 @ 9:08 am

It's true that we sometimes acquire 'strange bedfellows', {though when I was in my prime I kinda liked a 'bit of strange'}. None of these 'billionaires, got that rich by being 'nice guys' and most of them, like Ellison, Fisher, the Kochs, should roast eternally in the fires of hell, but there are some who manage to somewhat redeem themselves and put some of their ill gotten gains to good public use. Hellman was one, along with Buffett and Gates.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

It's a sad result of this divisive 1%/99% rhetoric that people stereotype others based on how successful they are. With the result that success is equated with immorality, while dismal failure somehow ipso facto makes you "pure" and "worthy".

It's patent nonsense, of course. And I would have thought one who has lived as long as you have wouldn't be hoodwinked into believing such self-serving twaddle. The simple fact is that there is little or no correlation between net worth and moral worth. It's a myth perpetuated by those besotted with envy.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 5:10 pm

BULLSHIT.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

are inherently bad? While being poor is the same as being virtuous? How convenient for you.

Is that something you learned growing up in hopelessly class-ridden England in the middle of the last century? And if so, didn't you move here precisely to escape that kind of precious and presumptively stereotypical class envy and warfare?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 6:16 pm

I for one am totally fine with the idea of honoring Hellman by naming a meadow in Golden Gate Park after him. Hardly Strictly is a generous gift to S.F. and hundreds of thousands appreciate it and enjoy it every year. My only question is, will people pronounce it "Hellman Holler?"

Posted by rebecca on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 4:53 pm

It's not about good and evil (and I believe Patrick specifically said that not all rich people are evil). But one simply doesn't "earn" a billion dollars by working for it. No one has ever earned a billion dollars -you simply can't. You make billions by inheriting it, stealing it in various ways (legal or not), exploiting others, playing games with manipulating markets, slicing and dicing derivatives, taking advantage of rules rigged in your favor in one way or another, etc.

If billionaires were people who cured diseases and took us to the moon and made great lasting works of art, it would be a different story. But they're not. Virtually to a person, billionaires are ordinary people -maybe clever ones who put their mind to concentrating society's resources for themselves -but otherwise mediocre intellects any one of whom we would have been just fine without.

And Hellman was no exception. He's not the worst of the bunch. Some (many) are downright criminal. Quite a few, like Fisher for example, we should be glad are no longer here to cause damage to the social fabric. Maybe Hellman wasn't among those. I don't know much about how he acquired his billions except that he must've been real good at concentrating society's resources for himself.

But if you're going to tell me that we should be thankful for this great benefactor's magnanimity when he throws a few scraps our way, I say no thanks.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

Look at Steve Jobs. He created toys and tools that are used by billions of people and added great value in thatw ay. He also worked hard all his life. Are you telling me that he stole that wealth, exploited others or committed crimes? That's nonsense. Likewise for Bill Gates etc.

You're stating an assumption based on your personal beliefs that capitalism is somehow inherently bad and wrong. Horsecrap.

Billionaires are ordinary people, but who do extraordinary things. You may have your own personal views of who adds the most value, but those are personal and subjective. The world provides a much more objective method - financial success. You may not like it, especially if it doesn't reward you particularly. But that doesn't mean it's wrong.

And yes, the wealth often form foundations and trusts, or otherewise give a lot back to society. Both through taxes and through charity, the wealthy give far more than you or I could ever do. Hellman is just one of many examples of that.

Hating the rich because they are rich, as currently evidenced by this one percent witch hunt, is flawed thinking.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 7:38 am

I didn't expect anyone to actually mention Gates as a counter example. Must not be a techie, because it's well known among all the computer people I've ever talked to that Microsoft produces inferior products; what Gates has really excelled at, is cornering the market and thus concentrating resources into his own hands. Most techies agree that we'd probably be better off had Gates never appeared on the scene.

As for Jobs... I expected that, since the media has been worshipping at the altar of Steve Jobs for years now, and it reached a crescendo when he finally died this year. So I knew it wouldn't be long before somebody parroted that line. Which is why I've been saving this to cut through the crap when the time came:
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4439

No, Steve Jobs is not the Dalai Lama and Da Vinci all rolled into one. He's just another billionaire CEO with a very conventional billionaire CEO's mentality. His comments to Obama proved that not only was he no visionary, but he was actually quite out of touch with ordinary reality.

And btw, if you look carefully, nothing I said implies "hating the rich because they're rich." I merely fail to lionize them because they're rich. When the worship is so pervasive, that failure to worship at the cult of the billionaire is interpreted as "hate," perhaps we need to look at how off-kilter our societal moral compass has really become.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 8:53 am

But to say that some of these people didn't "earn" their wealth is a highly subjective personal opinion, and not one that most Americans would agree with.

You might be able to get away with saying that and not sound bitter. If you're lucky or clever.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 9:06 am

I agree completely. Steve Jobs had a great deal to do with Apple's success and turnaround, but it was the engineers, programmers, and developers inventing these products and making them a reality (along with all the underpaid Chinese Foxconn workers who manufactured them). These Apple engineers were probably making in the range of $70,000 - $160,000 a year for their efforts compared to the $100 million a year some CEOs make. No CEO is worth 4 or 5 hundred times the salary of the "average" American worker. However creative or innovative, Apple products have always been overpriced, overmarketed, and probably worse price to performance than many competitive (or copycat) products in the marketplace. Bill Gates is a great phillanthropist, yet he is still worth $50 Billion. Same goes for Larry Ellison. Capitalism and Democracy are clearly the best systems, but the 1 percent (or even 10 percent+) have taken advantage, and made their millions or billions on the backs of the 99%; many of whom are unemployed, starving, homeless, or met some other misfortune/fate
(including death) because of the unnecessary greed that exists (and is allowed to run amok) in this country.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 26, 2012 @ 12:19 am

The one percent could do so much more. Nobody needs even $10 million to live a very luxurious lifestyle, let alone $50, $100 Million, or a $ Billion. Wealthy Americans in this country could easily afford to feed and house all the homeless in this country (many of whom are veterans) and still live a luxurious lifestyle, but there seems to be no interest or cohesive effort to attempt that undertaking. About the closest thing, is Warren Buffet's initiative to have Billionaires donate half of their wealth to charity. If you were Bill Gates, you would still have $25 Billion after donating half your wealth to charity. There is always two sides to an arguement, but I argue that there is no time like the present. What we do today, and how will live our lives, will determine the fate of many in future generations.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 26, 2012 @ 12:29 am

should keep or give away. It's their choice, not yours.

In most cases, these people have created that wealth from nothing, so it is for nobody but them to decide what to do with it.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 26, 2012 @ 9:10 am

That's not what he was saying.

Steve Jobs didn't put any more time and physical energy into his work than a single mother working two jobs to feed and house her kids.

Yet she makes tens of thousands a year while he made billions.

This isn't about envy. It is about the fact that our compensation system for our wealthiest workers like Steve Jobs is completely out of whack. The income that people like Gates, Jobs and Buffett makes is so ridiculously imaginary that the weight of such incomes is totally undermining our economy and making it impossible for the average worker to even spend money in that economy without being given ponzi scheme levels of credit which becomes more and more unrepayable as the rich simply continue to artificially inflate their compensation without end based on that very same idiotic hyper-credit infusion. The whole set up is completely crazy.

Roosevelt tried to solve this problem by passing a national income cap, and the Congress foolishly voted it down and instead instituted a top 96% income tax. This was a bad move, because it is easier politically to lower a tax which is seen as a 'take away' whereas a cap would have been seen as a rational 'limit' and would have been less easy politically to inflate.

We need to finally face the reality that if we don't do something about this imaginary inflated 'pay'-for-the-rich problem, this mess will continue to get horribly worse and the entire global economy will eventually collapse just as it did in the 30s.

We need to institute an income cap. Around $250k per year should be enough for anyone and would probably be about right as a starting point for a stable economy. This should be phased in over the next 20 years or so, so that the rich can adjust to such a profound change in the way compensation works, and the cap should then be -very- strictly kept in place.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 9:10 am

I'd agree that many people work hard and don't make much money.

It's about how smartly and effectively and innovatively we work. That's what determines whether you make a million a year or 20K.

You can have one opinion about relative worth and I can have another. Money provides a viewpoint that is independent of such subjectivity and personal bias, however.

I think billionaires earn their billions every bit as much as you earn your 20K pa. It's all a matter of opinion.

Salary caps? Not gonna happen.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 9:19 am

And your argument about the relative worth of someone's personal input is complete bullshit. When wealth gets up into the multiple millions and billions it doesn't come from pay for labor value, it comes almost entirely from market and financial trading for profit, which produces nothing of value whatsoever.

Whatever ostensible value someone like Steve Jobs contributes to the world can be easily rewarded by that person getting paid in the top level of the cap, where that personal will still make more than the average worker and thereby will have an incentive to continue being innovative.

Extremely high pay like that of Gates or Jobs only encourages mergers and monopolization, and out of control financial speculation for profit.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 9:36 am

how wealth is built? The simple fact is that it is the market, and not you, who decides what anyone is worth. I'll take the collective wisdom of the marketplace over an angry left-wing activist and so would almost everyone else.

There isn't a single member of Congress on record as supporting a salary cap which, in any event, could be easily cirumvented. You're deluded.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 11:01 am

I've discussed these very issues with Warren, so maybe his perspective could be illuminating. Much of his wealth was inherited, as is the case with most billionaires. And much of the rest came because of the opportunities he was afforded by being born into the right family and with joining Lehman Bros. at a time when greed and short-sighted speculation was making the 1 percent very rich. Warren was the first to admit that his fortune had more to do with luck and circumstances than his brilliance or hard work.

That said, he was very intelligent and savvy man, partly because he recognized and acknowledged these very things. He was good at business and admirably work to strengthen good companies with capital infusion instead of simpy profiting from their manipulation.  Like Warren Buffet, Hellman believed the rich should be taxed at much higher rates and that an high inheritance tax was necessary to ensure wealth was distributed more widely than just a person's family. But what made Hellman a truly extraordinary man was his recognition that San Francisco needed good public schools, strong and independent media voices, and lively culture offerings that the common person could take part in. And he gave his time and money to creating those things.

To address earlier points, the rich aren't necessarily bad. But they also aren't necessarily better than the average person, and they shouldn't be the only ones to decide how their wealth is used. Capitalism is a rigged game that has benefited the 1 percent at the direct expense of the 99 percent, and if the winners of that game don't voluntarily begin to give some back and see to the common good, then they should become the objects of our scorn and the targets of our activism. The moment has come where the rich should be forced to declare whether they're with us, like Hellman and Buffet, or against us, like Don Fisher and the Koch Brothers.

Posted by steven on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

Thus it's luck to a large degree thus high incomes should be taxed at a higher rate. When the Supreme Court says it's okay to bribe a member of congress to get him or her what you want - a huge government contract or legislation passed so environmental regulations are watered down or eliminated, that has nothing to do with labor or smarts or great ideas. Yet that's how huge fortunes are made.

The reason the billionaire Koch bros spend millions to select who will, to a large degree, be in our national congress, is that those members of congress can greatly effect the $ the Koch bros will make.

Look at how Haliburton's support of Bush and having an insider (Cheney, a former Hal CEO) paid off. Was that based on smart ideas or hard work? Nope, the hundreds of millions the top officials of HAL made was government connections - basically corruption.

So it's time the tax rates on high income be jacked up so this unfair, corrupt income is at least taxed at a high rate.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

and it gets lambasted whenever it moves to raise the cap

That cap seems to work just fine, and because it is a 'limit' instead of a 'tax', it takes a lot more political hubris to raise it; whereas passing a law to cut taxes is about as easy as falling off a log.

And can you elucidate for us what my income level has to do with whether or not I have studied and understand economics?

Making off-the-wall assumptions with no basis of reference is not helping you make your case.

I have, in fact, studied and understand economics in great depth.

Your arrogant assumption that someone who has a relatively low income doesn't understand economics, is typical of knee jerk Randite ditto heads like you, who believe that the very meaning of life is to become rich.

I've got news for you.

It isn't.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 9:13 am

that shareholders vote for executive pay scales.

So it's OK to decide to limit your own pay. It's not OK to try and limit somebody elses.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 10:42 am

Why is it not ok?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 11:45 am

quasi-socialist places like parts of Europe. While in the US, it's a fringe idea with no serious political support.

So yes, you're entitled to think a salary cap is "OK" but the "99%" who disagree with you have a different view.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 11:57 am

You claimed:

"So it's OK to decide to limit your own pay. It's not OK to try and limit somebody elses."

Why not?

Answer the question.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

right to cap my income if I choose to, but it's unfair on you if I try to impose that limit on you or others.

In practice, what you suggest is achieved by taxation, since high income will attract more tax. But the idea of a 100% tax above some limit is not going to motivate many to achieve more.

More generally, the American people historically do not support such ideas and policies.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

Let's try one more time to see if you come actually come up with an answer, or if you are simply going to continue limply ducking the question for the rest of eternity.

You claimed:

"So it's OK to decide to limit your own pay. It's not OK to try and limit somebody elses."

Why not?

Just answer the question.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

limit your own income. I don't think it's OK for you to limit the incomes of others.

Of course, it depends what you mean by "OK". But if your view was a common one then there'd be elected politicians out there singing that song. There aren't.

Ultimately voters decide what is "OK". So put some candidates on the ballot who support salary caps, and lets see how much support your idea really has.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

To translate in as simpler form what you have just repeated for the third time:

"ummm.... uhhh..... er...... BECAUSE!...."

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

mean that I didn't respond, but only that you either didn't understand or didn't like my answer.

But it's OK if we disagree. The voters will decide who is right for us.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

Let's try again.

Why isn't it ok for me and the rest of my fellow citizens, to set a cap on both our, and your, pay? If setting taxes is ok? Why not income caps?

Why?

And let me help you here. The response to the question 'why?' is not statements of belief about whether it is politically feasible, what has happened in history, or whether you -like- the idea or not.

The answer to the question, is a simple explanation of why it is not 'ok'.

Give some reason that setting a national income cap is somehow not 'ok'.

We cap prices on many things. We cap government employee pay. We just passed a ballot measure to cap public employee benefits. Why is private income somehow special compared to these other caps?

Your answer, undoubtedly will continue to be tangential ravings that have nothing to do with the question.

But by all means, go for it...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

There's many reasons people become billionaires but rarely is it because they did an extraordinary thing (meaning something most people couldn't also do if in the same position). Most billionaires become billionaires because luck puts them in a position where it's very possible.

You could go down the line on some famous ones. Gates had access to computers one few his age did. His father had connections to IBM which was a big reason IBM went to him when they were looking for an OS for their new computer. If no IBM and their decision to use only Microsoft's OS , no huge sales for Microsoft, etc etc - point is there was a lot of luck for Mr. Gates rather than anything extraordinary he did to be in the position to cash in on that op.

How about the Koch bros. They inherited a chemical and oil biz from their father - thus putting themselves in a position to have growing financial resources to buy more growth-producing financial resources. If anyone, it was their father that did the extraordinary thing.

How about Warren Hellman? His family had extensive ties to Wall St and banking corporations. Gradually he was in the position to make bets that would pay off in billions if he bet correctly. Did he do anything extraordinary to get his billions? Doesn't appear so (he certainly did in spending some of his $ in creating HSBG fest).

What one finds often is billionaires become billionaires because they have the opportunity to leverage some asset - such as the labor of the 300,000 employees of the corp they are CEO of, or the connections they have with powerful people in the govt (an extremely common way fortunes were made - including the railroad founders in the 1800s in the US who made their fortunes via straight huge US government handouts in exchange for nice campaign contributions).

It's generally a big myth that billionaires have done anything extraordinary themselves to become billionaires. Common features of B's are: 1) having extreme luck (such as Gates above), 2) having opportunity to leverage some asset (usually not their own but which they will reap the gain of the leverage like the 2008 financial crisis where the risks are paid by taxpayers and the gains, if they happen, go to those making it like AIG, 3) having strong inside connections and influence with top govt officials.

Since it's basically extreme luck to get those features, they should be taxed at a very high rate because their assets give them outsized, and thus undemocratic, influence as the Koch bros demonstrate.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

First you make the massive assumption that all success is down to "extreme luck". Then you make a huge leap from that dubious premise to assert that "they" should be taxed at a "very high rate".

I feel sure it is comforting for you to dismiss the successes of others as random, capricious noise. And then seek to "punish" them for their ill-gotten gains thru punitive levels of taxation.

Luckily, almost nobody shares your view.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 8:31 am

Simple question. The polls are clear.

What's your answer...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 9:19 am

Everyone knows that the answer you get to a polld epends on how the question is phrased.

What matters much more is how people vote. And they consistently vote for representatives that support the current market system. That's been true ever since Reagan.

Moreover, the GOP swept to power in the House just 13 months ago on a platform of lower taxes. Expalin that,

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 10:43 am

That the reason voters vote for such candidates is that they are given no choice? Since Wall Street makes sure that all viable candidates are pro unhindered 'free market' capitalism, what choice do they have.

The answer - none.

If voters were given the chance to vote for a candidate who would truly make the rich pay their fair share, they would do it in a heart beat.

That never happens.

So your behaving as if voters are 'choosing' these leaders is completely ludicrous.

Voters do not choose national level candidates any more, corporations do.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 11:52 am

In most elections, there is a Green Party candidate who, no doubt, runs on a platform along the lines of what you suggest. They get crushed by the candidates with more appealing policies.

Or are you saying those Green Party candidates aren't supporting your ideas?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

It's called unrestricted corporate campaign donations which determine all of the major players who have any real chance of winning national elections.

A reality of which I am sure you are already perfectly aware.

So why are you wasting our time with your laughable Fox News style responses...?

I've got news for you. People who actually know how to think like grown ups about this stuff read the SF Guardian.

This is not Fox News, and if your best argument is one that would only survive on Fox, don't deign to insult us.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

policies sufficiently effectivelt that even a cynic like me knows broadly what those polciies are. If enough people agreed with you, then there are candidiates to vote for. But they don't.

You can blame on "big business" or "corporate money" if that makes you feel better. But the reason Greens lose is because it is a fringe viewpoint with no serious or widespread supprt.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

How unfortunate for you.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

Elections at the national level are freely contested by parties and candidiates with a wide diversity of views. If your ideas had any real credible commection with the voters, then the Greens would be usccessful.

They aren't. And you should be learning from that, not blaming "the system" or some "vast right-wing conspiracy".

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

hahahahahahahaha

Posted by anonymous on Dec. 21, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

Sad, but glad that you sad sacks are showing your true colors. You are so blinded by your own obsessions over class and perceived inequality that you cant even see a person for the good they produced in their lifetime just because they were very wealthy.
Tell me Greg, what "scraps" have you produced which have benefited hundreds of thousands of bay area people? What legacy will you have left behind when you are gone? A string of bile addled posts on a left of left wing web board?
The best part? When you're no longer here, some newbie will just take your place spouting the same doctrinaire BS - because it takes virtually no personal reflection/introspection/knowledge. Just one of any other...

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 7:43 am

unbearable as life's losers seek to find a convenient scapegoat for their failures. And what better way to rationalize away one's failures than to create a bogeyman - those who have been successful?

It's such a pernicious trend that they even pour scorn on those who give back to their society, like Hellman. To paraphrase an old gag: those who can, do; those who cannot, become class warriors.

Fortunately, most people and voters want America to continue to be the land of opportunity, where anyone can become wealthy and then give it back. Those who want to tax the wealthy into oblivion (or more likely, moving to Bermuda or Switzerland) are still thankfully a small minority.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 8:05 am