Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us

Yeah that's a pretty crazy idea, but Crazytimes are the new normal and that's the title of a book by Ralph Nader. This comment by Lookout in today's Weekly Watch triggered my memory:

Is the term conscientious millionaire an oxymoron

As far as I can tell Patriotic Millionaires are genuine Berniecrats.

The mission of The Patriotic Millionaires organization is to build a more stable, prosperous, and inclusive nation by promoting public policies based on the “first principles” of equal political representation, a guaranteed living wage for all working citizens, and a fair tax system:

All citizens should enjoy political power equal to that enjoyed by millionaires;

All citizens who work full time should be able to afford their basic needs;

Tax receipts from millionaires, billionaires and corporations should comprise a greater proportion of federal tax receipts.

And this article was featured by Politico this morning:

GOOD READ -- BOSTON GLOBE'S ANNIE LINSKEY: "In the era of Donald Trump, New England's biggest GOP donor is funding Democrats": "Boston hedge fund billionaire Seth Klarman lavished more than $7 million on Republican candidates and political committees during the Obama administration, using his fortune to help underwrite a GOP takeover of the federal government.

"But the rise of Donald Trump shocked and dismayed Klarman, as did the timid response from the Republican-controlled House and Senate, which have acquiesced rather than challenge the president's erratic and divisive ways. So, in an astonishing flip, Klarman, at one point New England's most generous donor to Republicans, is taking his money elsewhere: He's heaping cash on Democrats.

"He's given roughly $222,000 since the 2016 election to 78 Democrats running for Congress, according to federal election data from 2017 and a preview of Klarman's first-quarter donations provided to the Globe by a person familiar with his giving."

In the era of Donald Trump, New England’s biggest GOP donor is funding Democrats

It is certainly probable that Klarman is simply switching to funding 78 Corporate Dems because they are more manageable than the GOP crazies. It would be interesting to see the list.

Onward to the book, which I have not read. Here's a brief review of Nader's book, by a former press secretary:

What would Ralph Nader do with a $15-billion operating budget and a dedicated corps of sage billionaires onside to wage the good fight? In Nader's new book, "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us!", we find out.

With the conclusion:

In real life, inveterate social entrepreneur Nader has also been reaching out to some of the mega-rich depicted in his book. With a few exceptions, including Ross Perot, who was a little prickly about the book's notion, many of them have responded positively, including Yoko Ono, Ted Turner, Warren Beatty and the book's main protagonist, the Oracle of Omaha.

Just as I was finishing this review, [March, 2017] I Googled Warren Buffett and found two news reports from the past two weeks: 1. A coalition of U.S. companies, investors and directors co-chaired by Warren Buffett has proposed a radical overhaul of executive pay.

2. Buffett may be an investor in the Cronkite Channel, an education-focused news site that would uphold the values of the broadcast legend.

Both of these events are foretold in Nader's novel - or, as he would prefer, his 735-page practical utopia. Stay tuned.

There's lots of room for skepticism here. Maybe there's a billion dollar ceiling on compassion for your fellow man, but 200 Patriotic Millionaires is a hopeful sign. The political players who have been consumed by The Randian Gospel of Satan are beyond hope; for example the Koch brothers, Jeff Bezos and Paul Ryan.

There may be a very few billionaires who are still receptive to a divine epiphany about the rapid downward spiral of the American Empire; perhaps even Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.

That may be a necessary, but insufficient step to the survival of mankind. In my honest opinion the survival of civilization and humanity will also require that a charismatic genuine progressive be elected President in 2020. Time is running out and the way things are going the human race may not make it to 2020.

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Comments

Meteor Man's picture

There are some that run an hour that I haven't watched. My money quote is "a justice movement needs money":

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

Are gonna save us?

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Lily O Lady's picture

@gjohnsit

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

k9disc's picture

seriously... Until that paradigm or hegemony dies, we're fucked. We need a steady state economy, stat. The whole notion of money has to change, IMO.

And that just kind of crushed me. Bummer.

@gjohnsit

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

Lookout's picture

...but I sure wish him luck getting the rich to save us. His tort actions in court have effected us all in ways most don't recognize.

No doubt some rich folks are rational. FDR and JFK were both wealthy and worked more for the people than most presidents. But the root of our problem is capitalism...the system which benefited them. People rarely act in a way to harm their self interest.

Re-inventing our system is an uphill struggle, but all journeys happen one step at a time.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout were both into saving Capitalism, certainly not abolishing it. And I for one will NEVER trust Warren Buffet again, he of "not giving his kids a dime" but leaving them massive amounts of stock they'll never pay taxes on. He's willing to talk the talk but will never walk the walk while there's a buck to be made.

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mimi's picture

yep.

I guess I have to read Nader's book. But if that is what he says I disagree with it for now.

I think it's an insult on our intelligence to think that the super rich can save us. Why would they. We are not their friends. We are poor and they are not. They like to keep it that way. It's for their own good. It's that simple. All those talking heads are not poor, how boring. Sigh.

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Meteor Man's picture

I wish I had a more thorough analysis of Nader's book. I skimmed though a couple of the longer videos. Since I believe that this admittedly long shot event will depend on a divine epiphany for billionaires, I chose the one from All Souls Unitarian Church in New York.

Nader points out that historically the abolition of slavery was funded by wealthy Bostonians and New Yorkers. The civil Rights campaign of the 50's and 60's was supported by a couple of very wealthy families.

Nader also points out that the primary and maybe only reason progressives can not get results is lack of resources and money. Nader adds that we don't need all of the billionaire Oligarchs, we only need 1% of them.

Nader also addresses the problem of getting our message out to the larger public, which requires our own media outlet.

I fully understand this is a long shot. I am surprised how pragmatic Nader manages to make it sound.

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

Bollox Ref's picture

'saving' the Republic, pretty much puts paid to the idea that the US is a functioning, modern, representative democracy.

Sounds more like the Roman Republic.

(Edited)

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Bollox Ref

The notion of some rich gal/guy 'saving' the Republic, pretty much puts paid to the idea that the US is a functioning, modern, representative democracy.

Sounds more like the Roman Republic.

Every democracy needs a Cincinnatus to step up to the plate now and then. We need one now.

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Bollox Ref's picture

@thanatokephaloides

to 'save' us in what we like to call the 'modern age'? I'm not sure I like that scenario.

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

ovals49's picture

@Bollox Ref

But one individual to save us.

How about one individual to serve a movement? It seems the necessary impetus needs to start from a bottom-up movement, and to stay with that movement, if we are to have any chance of avoiding an unpleasant repeat of history. I agree, quick fixes and messiahs are not the answer.

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"Humanity is just an evolutionary cul de sac."
George Carlin

Meteor Man's picture

@thanatokephaloides

Every democracy needs a Cincinnatus to step up to the plate now and then. We need one now.

I'm at about 50/50 on our chance of surviving until 2020. It sure would be nice to have a candidate with a progressive backbone that was who Obama promised to be.

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

Big Al's picture

Nadar is right relative to money being the primary issue holding us back, but he's crazy to still think progressives can reform the democratic party and this duopoly unrepresentative political system. Hell, most progressives still support and approve of Obama.

I once wrote an essay asking for a billionaire to step up for the revolution. We need a lot of organizational work to pull off a revolution and that does require money. So if some rich person or persons out there want to donate money to the cause, under our rules not theirs, why not. We can agree to spare them from the guillotines.

The devil is in the details.

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Meteor Man's picture

@Big Al
The Patriotic Billionaires appear to agree on all the right issues. The big question is how much money and influence they commit and how it is applied politically. All billionaires can't be as superficial as Trump and as corrupt as the Koch brothers. One or two billionaires plus the Cincinnatus reformer that thanatokephaloides suggests above just might pull everything together in time.

I think an American Jeremy Corbyn would fit that description.

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Meteor Man

I think an American Jeremy Corbyn would fit that description.

Would that our Constitution would permit Mr. Corbyn to run for President here.....

Wink

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

mimi's picture

@Meteor Man
Revolution also 'funded' by the millionaires and the rich?
What kind of revolutions are those, who are organized and funded by the very people the revolutionaries want supposedly 'depose' from their power?

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I am at times. But who is to say that these billionaire fuckwits just see the writing on the wall and are 'hedging' their bets? Or maybe it is just that they would prefer that they are not seen by the public as just another greedy asshole and is really a marketing thing?

They can take a vow of poverty for justice right now and donate all they own to good causes, keeping what they need to eat and live. No one is stopping them.

And, didn't Bernie show that we actually don't need them? $27 x (all of us) = a lot of bucks.

Cynical mode off.

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orlbucfan's picture

is a huge negative part of human nature. I haven't cared for Nader in decades, plus he's not hurting in the $$coin department. Patriotic Moneybags is definitely an oxymoron to me. Rec'd!!

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Some yahoos make me want to change species!

All citizens who work full time should be able to afford their basic needs

I couldn't take much in after reading that, at the beginning. It sounds like a slave plantation to me, a la bezos' brainwashed masses:

this is not a joke, they are direct quotes

Our Leadership Principles
obsess over customers
Leaders are owners
may be misunderstood for long periods of time
Leaders are right a lot
never done learning
invent mechanisms for development like Career Choice
problems are fixed so they stay fixed
Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy
value calculated risk taking
Accomplish more with less
do not believe their or their team’s body odor smells of perfume
No task is beneath them
Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly
they rise to the occasion and never settle

Either that, or get replaced by a robot! Oh you're perfect? Robot anyway! Sorry about the pre-programmed HR thingy. "Alexa, send me the most perfect robot."

asswhole foods
gig me with a spoon

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Lookout's picture

His book "breaking through power" aims to be a grassroots manual.
https://www.breakingthroughpower.org/

The link takes you to his DC conference by the same name to learn from people who are challenging the system.

Ralph's primary successes have happened in the courts. He is trying to encourage the people of our country to stand up and "break through power" Asking the rich for help is just one strategy in this larger struggle.

Those of you that think Ralph is a self serving elite don't know much about him. Try listening to his podcast occasionally to learn what sort of person he is.
https://ralphnaderradiohour.com/

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Meteor Man's picture

@Lookout
Outstanding link! Thanks to all for an enlightening discussion of an odd idea I would not even have bothered with except that Ralph Nader was the source. I think the concept of Breaking Through Power is at the core of the issues we are fighting. Looking forward to watching these day long seminars.

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"They'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war." Howard Zinn

@Lookout I don't see any free copies of the text so I guess I'll wait for the Public Library shelter to let me break through to my power. Heh.

Actually, I am wanting to see new works "challenging the system". Ralph has made a fine career of using the law. I voted for him in 2000, but he does not inspire me now. He is like Bernie, comfortable old men approaching their exit, and feeling good about what they are leaving behind. Recruiting others to every old cause until the very last. Fine. Go on, keep going. One more book tour. meh

waiting for godot

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mhagle's picture

He basically thinks we could be extinct by Christmas.

His science is not completely outlandish. It is my understanding that he believes that once the ice completely melts in the artic ocean, that the big bubble of methane is going to belch up from the bottom and instantly raise temperatures 4 degrees C. or so. Our habitat will die and then we will die.

I hope not. But it is OK to look at the worst case scenario to ramp up the sense of urgency. That is why I think it may be true that it might be up to a bunch of rich guys to do a bunch of stuff really really fast. Really really really really really fast. There is no time for a revolution. IMO

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo