What’s in a Name?

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Police chase protesters as Turkish riot police spray water cannon at demonstrators who remained defiant after authorities evicted activists from an Istanbul park, making clear they are taking a hardline against attempts to rekindle protests that have shaken the country, in city's main Kizilay Square in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, June 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
Police chase protesters as Turkish riot police spray water cannon at demonstrators who remained defiant after authorities evicted activists from an Istanbul park, making clear they are taking a hardline against attempts to rekindle protests that have shaken the country, in city's main Kizilay Square in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, June 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

June has just ended and it was quite a rocky month for democracy. In debt-ridden Spain and Greece, people have poured into the streets to protest against austerity policies stripping them of livelihoods and vital public services, the better to serve the interests of banks in creditor nations. The capital of Brazil boils over in protests against a government elite rife with corruption but seemingly untouchable. In Ankara, too, massive rallies against the Turkish Prime Minister’s policies are answered by riot police, tear gas and rubber bullets.

All four of these countries are parliamentary democracies. What’s happening? Why haven’t the people’s representatives been able to corral their elected rulers into reflecting what seems to be the popular will? For that matter, why wasn’t America’s own modest version of street protest — the Occupy Wall Street movement — successful in producing strong legislation to counter the 99-to-1 inequality to which it called attention? Why was there so little public criticism when city police around the country wiped out Occupy encampments wherever found?

Maybe it was because of a general American faith in the good intentions of our government. But the last two weeks have rudely shaken that faith with the revelation that the government has been monitoring our electronic communications — in secret, no doubt, to spare us the inconvenience of forming and expressing dissenting opinions on the subject. But now that the truth is out we’re assured that it’s only to zero in on suspected terrorists. The data, say the program’s officials, would never, no never, be used to harass domestic opponents of an administration. Those of us old enough to remember the reign of J. Edgar Hoover and capers like COINTELPRO have heard that song before.

Then came the Supreme Court decision eviscerating the 48-year-old Voting Rights Act — claiming that its protections against racial discrimination are no longer necessary because the law already has done its work in eliminating barriers to the ballot box. This in the face of palpable Republican efforts not only in the old South but in Northern states to enact voter ID laws, rearrange times and places of registration and election, and in other ways do whatever it can to inconvenience, discourage and reduce black and low-income voters likely to vote Democratic. All this, knowing that the right to vote is the one on which all other rights and freedoms depend.

Pare down or minimize that right and democracy is hollowed out, artificial, a mere label. And if it is neutralized by a government that does not carry out in some fashion the clearly expressed sentiment of the winning coalition, then democracy is worse than enfeebled. It’s betrayed.

It’s that sense of betrayal that fuels the rage in the streets in other countries, and simmers under the surface here in the United States, where year after year initiatives that win majorities in polls — gun control and alternative energy being two of the most egregious — simply fail to get any traction in Congress.

How badly off are we? Does this widespread frustration prove that functional democracy is fast approaching rigor mortis? In downcast moments, I think so, but then I look for somewhat shaky comfort by reminding myself that the practice of democracy has always fallen short of the ideal.

Just a century ago, in 1913, the final universal victory of democracy in the modern world seemed a sure thing. Following an age of political revolutions, most European and Latin American nations, at least, had republican systems of government, and even where emperors and kings remained on their thrones, their once-total authority was confined by written constitutions and elected legislatures.

But things are not always what they seem. Whole classes of potential voters in these new republics and constitutional monarchies were still shut out. Some legislatures had upper houses still guaranteeing to the privileged the power of veto over reforms. In others, harsh censorship laws, including the threat of prison, crippled potential dissenting parties.

All the same, the momentum of history looked to be heading in the direction of freedom everywhere, even in heavily colonized Asia and to a lesser extent, Africa, where seeds of revolt were germinating.

But then came twin upheavals. The World War and the Great Depression fed revolutionary takeovers by right- and left-wing revolutionaries in Europe. Fascist dictatorships were openly contemptuous of “weak” democracy, whose flounderings were unequal to crises that a powerful leader with unchecked authority could solve for “his” people.

But left-wing dictatorships, chiefly the Soviet Union, followed a different script. To use the corporate-speak of today, they changed the product but kept the brand. Stalin’s imitators and satellites elsewhere took on the name of People’s Republics. Find on the map a “People’s Republic” that has survived the end of the Cold War and it will almost surely be a Communist dictatorship. The theocracy ruling Iran calls itself an Islamic Republic — evidence that, right or left, a democratic label on a regime does not insure democratic content. Some of the revolutionaries of the “Arab Spring” are interested only in swapping secular tyrants for tyrants who claim total rule in the name of God, whose intentions they alone are sure of.

To return to the United States, in the last hundred years what has been the history of our own democracy? From 1913 to 1971, it was an admirable record. The Constitution was amended eleven times, and six of them in one way or another expanded the outreach of freedom. Senators would be elected directly by the people, women got a guarantee of the right to vote, lengthy lame duck sessions of Congress were abolished — lawmakers thrown out by voters in November elections would no longer have several more months in office. Poll taxes were abolished, District of Columbia residents could vote — but only for president — and the voting age was reduced to eighteen. Moreover, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 revived the Fifteenth Amendment, passed in 1870 to allow blacks to vote, and but for the next 95 years effectively nullified in the South.

Alas, despite these enrichments, for at least three decades, government that’s genuinely of, by and for the people has been suffering slow strangulation with little sign of the garrote being loosened. We all know why — it’s the usual suspects, all traceable to the classic root of all evil, money: the corporate right to buy elections granted by the Supreme Court in Citizens United, the armies of lobbyists who pass through the revolving door between government offices and corporate suites, the gargantuan expenses of virtually permanent campaigning that make even honest legislators bend to the views of their big-time contributors rather than their constituents.

I am aware of no clear challenge from Capitol Hill to the bedrock premises that hardcore conservative opinion makers have zealously spread for many a year. “Free market” solutions to such problems as climate change and unemployment are always preferable to government-run programs. “Labor costs” — i.e., decent wages — must be reduced in order to promote economic growth. “Job creators” and “innovators” must be emancipated from regulations and taxes to remain competitive in the dog-eat-dog global economy. Public spending on ruinous “entitlements” and “wasteful” social programs (like feeding hungry children or helping poor students go to college) must be severely cut — the better to free up the billions needed for the second-to-none military forces and other elements of the national security state that protect us from terrorism.

It’s noisy, robust, pugnacious resistance to these ideas and the bad laws that flow from them that I don’t hear from important Democratic leaders, the president included. He and they alike appear to me to be settling for too little. If they can keep government from being drowned in a bathtub as the most radical right-wingers hope, they are then amenable to government’s occupying a servant’s role and a modest room in the House of Wealth.

What saves me from numbing depression is recalling the words of the great progressive rebels of the American past who won long fights against great odds, and listening to those few undiscouraged and active progressives of today who appear across the table from Bill Moyers weekly, as well as wherever they can find an audience. Their testimony is all the more vital because of what I see is actually a hidden long term consensus that belies the current partisan gridlock.

If democracy is really collapsing everywhere, then it’s all the more worthwhile to revive it here so that it “shall not perish from the earth.”

But as a prudential matter, I also keep in mind a line from my favorite progressive of the 21st century: “Democracy in America is a series of narrow escapes and we may be running out of luck.”

Happy Fourth of July!

Bernard WeisbergerBernard A. Weisberger is a historian who has been by turns a university professor, an editor of American Heritage and a collaborator on several of Bill’s documentaries.
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  • Anonymous

    It’s not democracy failing us, it’s capitalism. democracy says, at it’s core, that we will all work together to ensure a better world. capitalism cares about none of that, driven only by profit and greed. capitalism finds no use for democracy. Around the world, in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Brazil, Egypt, Spain and Portugal the straw that has finally broken the camel’s back is the sense of betrayal by governments run by corporations hell bent on profit by consuming people and planet. There is no intellect left in this greed-fed carnivore, the base instinct of attack, kill and eat drives it. It is a slaughter of people, of lives, of future, of our planet and our existence.

  • Anonymous

    Saying it is capitalism that is the problem is like saying guns are the problem. Capitalism is a tool to create wealth, which it has done better than any other movement in human history. It is and always will be amoral, just like a gun is amoral. It is the responsibility of the people to control and regulate Capitalism but we have abandoned that responsibility to politicians who we are too lazy to even vote for. We use cynicism to mask our unwillingness to read about the issues, or to debate them, or to go to town hall meetings, ir to even call or write our legislators. We don’t have a Democracy, we have a Noiseocracy, where those willing to make noise (like the gays or the Immigrant Amnesty movement) are the only ones who get anything done.

  • Anonymous

    maybe a better analogy would be to compare capitalism to gambling. gambling has inherent features and is only used in a certain way. you talk as if capitalism is an all-in-tool and that it is only bad when used incorrectly. as far as the gun analogy, you can’t build a house with a gun, you need a hammer. capitalism has inherent features which are evil – the biggest feature, selfishness. there never has been, nor will there ever be a compassionate capitalism. An “amoral” human organization is inherently evil. To not care, to not have compassion is to be an evil person.

  • marvin steiner

    Unrestrained capitalism is a problem,just as the finger on the trigger is the problem behind the gun,so the lack of a legal restraint of capitalism’s excesses causes capitalism’s abuses.

    America has always been anti-intellectual.That mattered little prior to Bernays,B.B.D.O.,et al our people pursued their self interest.Whether the Whiskey Rebellion,Shay’s Rebellion,market booms and busts ,Pullman,Homestead,child labor,abuse of working woman,\the Grange Movement,Woman’s Suffrage;corrective measures were instituted by popularly elected politicians .Federal suppression of the two rebellions,the Sherman and later Clayton Anti-Trust .Acts,I.C.C.,numerous labor laws,woman’s right to vote ,You get the idea,public officials responded to popular agitation in the press,farmers and workers with guns,clubs and bombs.

    Enter Bernays et al ,the father of “public relations”anti intellectualism run amok.There is no countervailing power to money fueled advertising .There are no longer working class men and woman.we have shed our blue and white collars for the suburban middle class.Two paycheck families with easy installment credit and charge cards.

    We’re too busy to vote and when we do the invisible money laden hand of Bernays more numerous successors pulls the levers and checks the boxes.We in a word have given up participatory democracy for mindless rampant consumerism .

    We see club swinging water cannoneer overwhelming protesters in Egypt,Spain Turkey Greece,all democracies with the right to vote.A mockery of Dean Inge comment on democracy,”it is better to count heads than to crack heads”.

    We now confuse our best interest with that of the Chamber of Commerce and Fox News sponsors.

  • Anonymous

    It is interesting that you guys are comparing capitalism to gambling and “an itchy trigger finger”. and ignore the fact that capitalism has given more people more food, more material goods and a better quality of life than any country or movement since the first caveman cracked the head of his fellow caveman for food. Capitalism being amoral means it is like tofu and takes the flavor of the things around it. If people are evil or greedy, their version of capitalism will reflect that. It is up to the rest of us to put in rules of conduct that make the system fair without trying to turn it into Communism or Socialism, two failed movements that depended in idealized versions of the human to work. America and Capitalism have worked together because our Founders assumed people weren’t perfect and would try to corrupt the system. But they also assumed the people would keep this system in balance and the people have failed it. It isn’t the fault of Capitalism that the people allowed the tax rate to drop from its high of 98% in the 50s. Capitalism is just a way of producing wealth. Greed exists in all political, economic and social systems and it is greed and laziness that have brought the world to crisis.

  • Truth Slinger

    There really is no mystery here. Socialism, in the cloak of “Democracy”, is killing our country. We don’t have Democracy in this country. We have socialism in this country and are calling it Democracy. Socialism has one main theme and aim: to destroy democracy and freedom at all costs and make the state ruler of the spirit, soul, and body of the “believer”/voter/citizen all in the name of “freedom”. But, socialism cannot at any time provide freedom by its very nature because the state MUST have all of the power to dictate what the citizens do. You can have a free republic like our founding fathers gave and try to keep corruption and defilement out or you can have the freedom and soul killing “democracy” touted by the author of this article. You can’t have both. The state has ALL the power or “we the people” do. Democracy as is being proffered by Democrats, is deadly to this country. And, you will all too soon see this fact proven. Then, in all denial, you will blame on the Republicans. The delusion is absolute and is absolutely amazing.

  • Anonymous

    I think Truth Slinger misses the point entirely. What we are really seeing is the rise of tyranny, or worse, fascism. Old “Slinger” clearly hasn’t a clue. If there is “socialism” it would be amongst the powerful banks and corporations that are controlled by them. Socialism is what our congressmen and senators enjoy through our tax dollars. Social justice is not socialism. Eliminating tax credits from big oil, industrial farming, offshore banking is not socialism. Eliminating all deductions for incomes over $500,000 is not socialism. Slashing medicare and social security payments for anyone whose earnings are more than $1-million is not socialism. Truth Slinger needs to open some history books to see what our country was based upon: Fairness, equality, unity. Not the careless slinging of labels designed to divide us.

  • Anonymous

    OLD POET SAYS: “Noiseocracy, where those willing to make noise (like…the Immigrant Amnesty movement) are the only ones who get anything done” –

    I agree with you a little – – Although I gave your first thumbs down.
    Here’s Why:
    1)- Ellis Island & America historically didn’t provide “Amnesty” – “WE” provided “Citizenry” with Lofty ideals such as Voting Rights etc. And Capitalism & Guns aren’t Amoral – Republican supported Human Beings that kill folks are amoral. Republican supported Capitalist are Amoral. They want a return to Greedy slavery Capitalism & They own the a “House of Obstruction” in Congress.

    2)- That brutal Senate Bill (If not Obstructed) will not provide any voting rights or citizenship so why on Earth do you name it “Amnesty”!? We gave German Immigrants the “Whole Farm” and didn’t require them to learn English!? America was built on Immigration but – Oh! Please! Don’t let the Hispanics come here!? And This Noise-Ocracy?- It isn’t the “ONLY” Squeaking wheel that gets attention -OR- Are you blind!? Move away from the Computer!

    3)- (Put The Computer Down) & get into our Real-World Political Arena where We The People Actions are moving America forward on All the big issues of this Modern Era – Not “ONLY” on Immigration.

    4)- It’s “We The People”- Involved – Participating – Voting – Taking Actions In the POLITICAL ARENA that compels Our America Forward. – That is how WE have always moved Our Country Forward.

    Hi Everyone – Hope You All Had a Great 4th!

  • Anonymous

    Both afterallthat and Truth Slinger are partly right but obviously think the house (and senate!) are burning down so insist on shouting. 1) For most Liberals, the goal is not to “destroy democracy and freedom at all costs” but to provide what they see as social justice. The problem is they see so many of the poor as pathetic objects who need unending assistance and damn the costs (so long as others pay it). 2) I agree that the rich have Socialism. When they see nothing wrong with paying execs millions to NOT SCREW UP THEIR COMPANIES they warp the idea of true Capitalism, which is with great ideas and great risks should come great rewards. 3) Interestingly, both of you see the rise of something bad. All thinking people do. BUT now comes the interesting debate because we are at war. And just like Lincoln suspended Habius Corpus in the Civil War and Roosevelt interned Japanese Americans during WWII, America will take away rights if it truly believes its existence it threatened. The problem is this truly is the war to end all wars since winning it could be the ultimate in pyrrhic victories.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting that you see something pejorative in just mentioning that the amnesty movement (or whatever PC term you wish to use) makes noise to get its points across. My point was that as the average American sticks his head into his Ipad and ignores all traffic (on the street and in the political arena) that those who make noise begin to disproportionately affect the nation. But if you do wish a tangent to talk about this issue then yes,I am not a fan. it is called the Amnesty Movement because many if not most of its proponents wanted that. It was only its opponents who were able to get conditions placed on it. And it is disingenuous to mention Ellis Island because the point of that historic place was to process LEGAL immigration. Just as I believe hundreds of bankers should have been indicted for what they did, I don’t believe people who come here illegally should be allowed to stay. Just like I think this is legally wrong, it is also economically destructive. Have you seen some of the stats on the billions of dollars these illegals are costing America in health care, not to mention the thousands who commit crimes, many horrendous in nature.

  • David Dunn

    We are seeing an attack on individual liberties both here and worldwide. In Egypt, the Islamists want to control all branches of government. Individual rights are taboo.

    In the U.S. the legislative and executive branches of government are assailing individual rights. Women are not allowed to exercise their First Amendment right of religious freedom to opt for an abortion. The Bill of Rights is under attack in a number of states.

    In the U.S. the federal government, operating under the NSA, is spying on individual citizens in violation of their First and Fourth Amendment rights all in the name of national security.

    The executive, legislative and judiciary branches of government have colluded to destroy the separation of powers of the different branches of government. Hence, the NSA, gets the judiciary to issue secret carte blanche wiretaps without justification.

    It’s the people’s duty to challenge these infringements on individual liberties.

    Governments are catering to the extremists of fundamental religions. Economically, governments want nothing to do with a proportional based tax and wage system. Worldwide, governments are catering to the wealthy few at the expense of the many.

  • Anonymous

    You say, “The state has ALL the power or ‘we the people’ do.” In a democracy, the state and the people are one and the same, if the people choose to control their state. It seems, though, that many people confuse democracy with freedom. In a democracy, the people have the right to decide (within constitutional limits, if any) whether and how individual “freedoms” are restricted. This is certainly the basis of environmental law and zoning. There are many other ways in which individual freedoms are restricted today, and many others that still need restriction, such as buying governmental influence through the ruse of “campaign contributions”. There are many other instances, but I’ll mention one for consideration. Where does a corporate “person” get the right to foist its costs of doing business onto the people’s government? I refer to the fact that some companies (e.g., Wal-Mart) pay many workers so little that those workers need governmental assistance to survive. It used to be that employers had to pay at least enough to permit workers to keep body and soul together, but now that we’ve gotten beyond that level of cruelty, employers can, if they choose, enlist the government and the rest of society to pay to keep its workers alive. Surely restricting an employer’s freedom to be a societal leech comes within the power of a democracy, no?

  • Anonymous

    You Crack Me Up!

    Your Whole Reply is “A Dog That Don’t Hunt!” – My dog smells Republicans out in a New York Nano-Second & please stop throwing ignorance at me such as (PC-Terms) etc. But I must say, it WAS your terms that my dog smelled out so fast & accurately. My righteous Dog is mans best friend & your friend too. BTW I’m certainly not always politically correct or an elite intellectual – while at the same time I know it’s good & I value people who are both Correct & Smart & Truthful. Those are 3 things Republicans aren’t good at – i.e. Fox-News.

    I’d forgive you for not getting it, (The Amnesty Thing) – But Look – You just don’t think you’re wrong to support the Un-American illegality of Laws that make Our legal Hispanic Immigrants, ILLegal Alien Human-Beings. Worse than that, these Un-American ILLegal Laws passed by Republicans are Racist at the Core, to the point that Our Hispanic Immigrants are Politically Correctly called ILLEGAL ALIENS. Most Respectable News-Outlets have dropped this brutally racist term. I know this (Not as a Hispanic). I know the Racist Republicans cause I was one of those shameful idiots for a lifetime in the South. Republicans just lost the last 2 elections for excluding all the voters who are not like them.

    Don’t you See? — Art Thou the same blind man I knew before? If todays Republicans were in power during those Ellis Island Times the Democrats & The Righteousness of Jesus would of stopped your brutality. And I ask you to please stop it Now.

    I’d of turned your ideas away on almost every one of your Wrong Ideals – I consider many of them Un-American. Especially on Women’s Issues – I just can’t fathom how you Republicans keep this War On Women rolling forward. Aren’t you embarrassed? You don’t even invite them to the table for their ideas on their own issues. I Just Can Not Wait Till Hillary & Bill are back in a White House! You guys are even preventing Americans from voting?!

    Take Care Everyone – Get Involved – Participate – Vote!

  • Anonymous

    So now you have become Orwellian? By my definition, if you forgive crimes en masse, it is AN AMNESTY. And not only rabid Republican monsters oppose it but anyone who believes in the rule of law. But that is the liberal playbook, call anyone who opposes you either racist, sexist or homophobic depending on the cause being debated at the time. BTW, I am a lifelong Democrat. My aunt worked for a liberal Democrat and I helped as much as my 10 yr old self could but I don’t think joining a party means you check your common sense at the door. I see no more reason to forgive crossing into America illegally than I do for forgive a felon for having a gun. Yes, there are exceptions but exceptions cannot become the norm or law means nothing. And it is nonsense to play oracle and say that they would have stopped the legal immigration of Ellis Island. Hell, if they are as racist as you say they would be allowing it simply because the immigrants were mostly white. I believe in structured aid to the needy, that is why immigration should be controlled. I’d allow more immigration from Africa where people are far worse off than in Mexico. But another word for unstructured is chaos. And anyone who doesn’t think the events at the American/Mexican border aren’t chaos isn’t paying attention.

  • Truth Slinger

    Yes…I do say…after 32 years of political studies. But, I’ll let others speak for me:

    Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally—either directly or through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination.

    The term originates from the Greek δημοκρατία (dēmokratía) “rule of the people”,[1] which was coined from δῆμος (dêmos) “people” and κράτος (kratos) “power” or “rule” in the 5th century BCE to denote the political systems then existing in Greek city-states, notably Athens; the term is an antonym to ἀριστοκρατία (aristocratie) “rule of an elite”. While theoretically these definitions are in opposition, in practice the distinction has been blurred historically. (Wiki).

    Our country was set up with the STATES having all of the power and the FEDS only having “enumerated powers” with all other powers residing with the states and the people. A democracy by definition cannot include the state being the determining power if for no other reason than the people are to be represented in that government. When our representatives usurp “we the people” as they clearly have done in this day and time, and they subvert and/or displace our Constitutional Republic with socialism (which is being done with alacrity by BOTH parties), you cannot, then, you still cannot modify the definition of “democracy” to fit your definition (in your statement). When the state has supreme power and there is a police welfare state as we have today, “we the people” are in grave danger. When the state has the power, we are slaves to tyrants. When we the people have power, the state is our “servant” and not our master. That’s what our founding fathers said and I trust them and will NEVER trust the Feds to preserve either our Constitution or our freedoms…just like our founders conveyed.

    Concerning companies and their being “societal leeches”…..we the people do have the authority to limit an employer/company but you don’t destroy the “free enterprise” system (not to be redefined as “capitalism” as they are not one in the same) in the name of regulating business thereby making America a socialist nation with the state being our “Big Brother”. Keep the “leeches” in check but don’t kill the goose that lays the golden jobs. No more “robber barons” and their greed but no more union thugs and their blood lust for power (by and large run by mobsters…..I know I belonged to a union at one time). You don’t let either big business or labor take advantage of the other. You keep BOTH in check. Your hatred for business and big corporations appears to keep you from seeing the larger picture. That is never politically expedient or sound. Best regards.

  • Truth Slinger

    And….these guys also ignore the fact that virtually all of the socialists and haters of big business us free enterprise and capitalism to become wealthy prior to wanting to destroy both! Hollyweird actors make millions of dollars from the freedom to act and draw huge paychecks (from the capitalists who risked great amounts of their money to make a movie) and then turn around and talk trash about “the rich”. How hypocritical can you get? *SIGH*. Even China and Russia have “resorted” to capitalism because their socialist capitalism-killing doesn’t work (nor can it work in the real world….which most Democrats don’t live in).

  • Truth Slinger

    Capitalism is an economic system that has been proven to be the only system that can work for a free people. However, we the people have allowed our government to become corrupt and they have usurped our authority and have ceased to be our servants and have become our master. Then, they blame the dynamic on “capitalism”. A daring and deceptive ploy but it appears to be working. The matter is simple: to return our democracy to us, keep capitalism but limit its greed, and throw out the bastards (both parties) who are killing our nation. It’s our government that is the problem ….NOT capitalism. Our government is in bed with the greedy big business (surely …you didn’t miss that part). Reckon just where did the billion or so dollars come from that boosted Obama’s presidential campaign? From the average Joe Blow donor? The math doesn’t add up. The government is beholding to Big Biz. We can stop this nonsense but not by killing the goose that lays the golden jobs. Stop the lust for power at the top and sew their pockets shut so they can’t continue to be bought and manipulate in the name greed. Simple really.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, Capitalism is the best tool to create wealth but it does need restrictions. And those who abuse it should be thrown in jail. That is why I lost all respect for Obama. He talks of the people but his administration has not indicted even one banker or other corporate type for robbing trillions from the people. And yes actors are hypocrites but guess what? They are still better than the business types who own five houses but pay almost no taxes and make their workers work part time to avoid paying even minimum wage.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Old Poet: – “BTW, I’m a Lifelong Democrat?”

    Mr Poet, Most of my friends Rep & Dem freely admit to their racisms – So did I – And today I’m free of that horrible thing.

    But Let me apologize, as I seem to have placed you in a Defensive Mode & Being that I’ve placed my life on the line your Freedoms in our home of the Free & Brave? — I can see your Patriotism & Love for Country even if you didn’t serve in a War Zone – I respect your rights – But I can find not ONE bleeding-heart Jesus-freak Liberal-Progressive leaning ideal in any of your posts so far? Except your above Claim.

    As an Independent — I don’t have that Play-Book you speak of. But I have freed many of Both Sides of the Island from the wrong political, race & Old White Man Traditions. Jesus would of already said “Let My People Go To America” because as in all past cases the Hispanic Immigrants will also make America stronger. And if your so strong on laws, why aren’t you for Senator Liz Warren’s hard work to get the Big Banks charged with crimes & What about having friendly laws for We The People and Strong Laws for Romney’s We The Corporations? And you haven’t complained about Capitalism Welfare??

    And may God Bless your apparent worship – Not of God or Jesus but clearly your love of Capitalisms. I learned this fact or insight from the Posts here & The Republican Fox-Hole News-PlayBook. I truly hope & pray that’s not where you enrich your mind with all your ground-breaking news and Truths? Please – May I get you to use PBS for truth reports – If not, will you please get some balance from Rachel Maddow & The Ed Show at MSNBC?

    Be sure to have a Good Night Old Poet –

  • moderator

    To everyone in the thread,

    While you are sharing your thoughts and viewpoints please refrain from any personal attacks. I think both of you have made salient points, but please keep as friendly as possible.

    Thank You,

    Sean @ Moyers

  • moderator

    To Everyone in this thread,

    Let’s try to stay on topic and avoid any personal attacks.

    Sean @ Moyers

  • Truth Slinger

    I think we’re on the same page….it’s just a matter of who we want to hang first. I’ll buy the rope. It’s the politicians who create the rules/laws so that the business types can exploit others and also pay few if any taxes. I think that a good house cleaning of some (that’s where the rope comes in) and by putting the fear of God in the others would them them know that we’re through with them and their ilk. It’ll let them know that we can see through their distractions and smoke screens and will no longer tolerate their greed and corruption.

  • Anonymous

    The sad thing is I am not sure we can stop it. Remember, like roaches, they find the holes to creep though. We used to be able to control businesses by passing laws. The problem now is the multinationals. They just set up shop where U.S. laws can’t touch them. Then they hold America hostage, threatening to move even more of their factories overseas unless we allow even more tax breaks and even more abuse of the workers. The reason China is going to be a stronger economic power than America in a few years is that they don’t allow the politicians and business people to do the stuff they do here. But of course they also don’t allow many of the freedoms that Capitalism has given our Democracy. I suspect that might change. Money may eventually corrupt them. But it is not the best place to have hope.

  • Anonymous

    It is inevitable that capitalism will lead to corporate control of government. THIS has been proven by history. Laws have been passed in America to prevent monopolies. the glass-steagall act was passed to prevent corporations (financial institutions) from blowing up the economy in the unrestrained pursuit of profit. Corporations operating in the arena of capitalism have been restrained time and again through history, but, they always find their way back to control not just the market, but, our government – all in their pursuit of greed. there is nothing benign about capitalism. at it’s root is the seed of greed, the selfish, self-serving uncompassionate religion of profit. the problem is NOT our democracy, it is capitalism and always has been. to deny this history and this reality is just an attempt to rationalize and legitimize the right to be selfish.

  • Steve Saylor

    I wonder if anyone here might consider than our monetary system is broken beyond repair, and that the economic systems we’ve known from the past century are no longer relevant, and might be better left in the past century. That the fractional-reserve Ponzi scheme being run by our Federal Reserve and the Central Banks of the world is unsustainable and can’t last much longer. And that an infinite-growth economic model is unsustainable on a finite planet, and trying to produce and sell sell sell anything and everything we possibly can just to serve a fictional money game that has nothing to do with the natural world is illogical, if not downright suicidal. And that our advanced technology is responsible for our unemployment. You get my drift. It’s time to update to a resource-based-economy instead of the monetary-based-economies FROM THE PAST CENTURY!!

  • Michael Varian Daly

    While the Left and the Right have been engaged in The Culture Wars, The Corporate State has bought up everything in sight.