October 23, 2009

Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us: Chapter 3 Synopsis

Bitterly Books is undertaking a chapter-by-chapter review of Ralph Nader's work, Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us. You can read past chapter synopses here. Past reviews can be read here, and Viator's columns can be read here.

For the complete coverage of
Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us, click here.


The seventeen meet for a second time for “Maui 2,” and the meeting lasts three days, thirteen pages and one Newman/Cosby rendition of “This Land Is Your Land.” For most of the second meeting the group recounts everything that happened in Chapter 2. At the end, the official BFL is hashed out: a ten-point “Redirections Action Agenda,” that can be summarized as “Overthrow the government,” “Make everyone like us,” and “Start lots of clubs.”

Buffett decides to bring in Bill Joy, “formerly of Sun Microsystems,” as a new group member because he's not one of "these techno-twits who are imperiling us with their contempt for the ethical and legal framework necessary to contain future Frankensteins"(78). The Hollywood Reporter notes that Newman and Cosby are hanging out a lot these days.

George Soros starts a nationwide “Citizens Utility Board” (CUB), expanded from electric utility consumer advocacy into fifteen additional categories, charging $50 a year in dues. Bernard Rapoport starts a new version of Project Vote Smart. He also organizes the “Great Buyout,” a $2 billion plan to “match each incumbent’s net fundraising in a giant buyout of the special interests that normally funded them.” (84)

Rapoport and Warren Buffett “mobilize” retired members of Congress and recruit young people to infiltrate congressional staff. Barry Diller continues to buy all of television “through the magic of leveraged buyouts. He had a law firm that spit them out like extruded plastic. It was all a matter of financing.” (84) He also convinces Warren Beatty to run for governor of California. Leonard Riggio and Max Palevsky organize flash mobs. Joe Jamais and Bill Gates Sr. write a report about the American court system, and start an essay contest. Ross Perot offers “help, charitable contributions, and free professional advice” to “national groups with local chapters.” Max Palevsky declares war on Wal-Mart.

Yoko Ono says, “Hemp”; the group hatches a (two page) plot to legalize hemp. They enlist the help of Ron Paul (“Don Saul of Texas”) to do so. (97) Ted Turner seeks to promote solar power with “Girls. Girls, girls, girls!” by designing “a series of Aztec-type festivals dedicated to the Sun God” (98) with bikinis. Buffett declares there will be a “National Trust for Posterity” to advance a “trust commitment as a yardstick for today’s policies.” (100) Ono says quietly, “Get ready to lose more breath.” (101)

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