BILL MOYERS: This week on Moyers & Company…

SHEILA BAIR: I view myself as a capitalist. I know that's a bad word these days. But I do believe in capital markets if they're appropriately regulated. You need some basic rules and the rules need to make sure that when people do stupid things they suffer the consequences, not the taxpayers, not their customer, they.


VANDANA SHIVA: Everything begins a seed. The food on our plate. You and me were seed at one point. The little calf that becomes the cow. Seed is the source of life. And seed is the source of renewal of life.

BILL MOYERS: Welcome. Every day brings another reminder of the awful unfairness that besets our country. Here's the latest that leaped out at me: "Rolling Stone's" report on “The Fallen” - the sharp, sudden decline of America's middle class. In it Jeff Tietz describes a handful of everyday people made homeless, now living out of their cars in church parking lots in southern California. Once upon a time, one of them, Janis Adkins, had a plant nursery business in Utah that grossed $300,000 annually. But two years after the financial meltdown in 2008 sales had dropped by half and the value of her land even more. She tried to refinance, but four banks turned her down flat – four banks.

Makes you wonder about all those big time bankers at the other end of the scale – the ones who came running to the government and taxpayers for bailouts worth hundreds of billions of dollars, then scooped up big bonuses and perks for themselves and went back to business as usual. And what a business! You've surely been hearing about the newest scandal in banking centering on Barclays Bank in London and something called Libor.

That stands for London Interbank Offered Rate and it involves a group of bankers who set a daily interest rate affecting trillions of dollars of transactions around the world. Your home mortgage, your college debt, your credit card fees - these could have been affected by Libor.

It turns out some of those insiders were manipulating the index for their own gain, to make their bank look better off during the financial crisis, to lower their borrowing cost and raise their profits. Picking our pockets, lining theirs. "The Economist" magazine describes it as “the rotten heart of finance.”

Here are some of the emails that have come to light: One banker in on the fix writes another, "Dude. I owe you big time! Come over one day after work and I'm opening a bottle of Bollinger." And another recruiting a colleague in the fix wrote, "If you know how to keep a secret I'll bring you in on it." After being asked to falsify information, an employee writes, "Always happy to help."

Another trader jots down in his calendar, "Ask for High 6M Fix," to remind himself to play with the numbers the next day.

Caught with its hand in the cookie jar Barclays agreed to pay nearly half a billion dollars in fines to British and American authorities.

And as many as 20 other megabanks are now under investigation, including Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase. One MIT authority on finance says, "This dwarves by orders of magnitude any financial scams in the history of markets."

All this explains why I wanted to talk to Sheila Bair. She's a hero to many of us for her long fight for an honest and accountable banking system. After years working on Capitol Hill, at the Treasury Department, the New York Stock Exchange and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission she was appointed by President George W. Bush to head the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the FDIC.

Now as Senior Advisor to the Pew Charitable Trusts, Sheila Bair has just organized a private group of financial experts called the Systemic Risk Council. Among its members: former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, former senators Bill Bradley and Alan Simpson, John Reed, once the chairman of Citigroup, and Brooksley Born, the former CFTC chairman who back in the 1990s accurately predicted an economic meltdown.

Its mission: to prevent the banking industry from scuttling the reforms created by the Dodd-Frank Act and hopefully prevent another crash. She has a book coming out in late September about the need for reform called "Taking the Bull By the Horns." She's also written two books for children about money and entrepreneurship: "Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock" and "Isabel's Car Wash." Sheila Bair, welcome.

SHEILA BAIR: Thank you, happy to be here.

BILL MOYERS: If you were trying to help some of those young people that you write for understand this business called Libor how would you begin? What's the “once upon a time?”

SHEILA BAIR: I guess I would try to explain to them that when you borrow money there's something called an interest rate which is your cost of borrowing money and there are different mechanisms for setting what that interest rate should be. And one of them is something called Libor. And we are discovering now that a lot of unscrupulous people were manipulating that interest rate apparently to line their own pockets. And that is something that should be severely punished.

BILL MOYERS: If there's any, is there one thing in particular you've learned so far that caused you to hold your breath?

SHEILA BAIR: This one caused to hold my breath, I mean, you know, Libor always troubled me. There's always been judgment associated with what some people call a fudge factor, there's always been judgment associated with Libor, the Libor survey. You were supposed to look at various factors, what your recent transactions were, what other transactions are, what the market conditions are. You can use judgment. You don't have to tag it exactly to a transaction.

But using judgment, and have a potential bias in judgment is profoundly different from open collusion with other banks to lowball or highball the rates to profit. I mean, these emails quite acknowledge that they were trying to manipulate the rate to benefit their trading position. And what's ironic is the trading desk of these banks were probably hurting the part of the bank that does the bread and butter lending.

Because if they were lowering their interest rate that would reduce the interest rate on loans, a lot of loans that the lending part of the bank conducts to benefit the trading desk. So they were even hurting themselves internally by doing this.

BILL MOYERS: So there are real world consequences--

SHEILA BAIR: Yes, yes, there are. Absolutely, there are.

BILL MOYERS: --to this? I mean, "The New York Times" reporting, "As unemployment climbed and tax revenue fell the city of Baltimore laid off employees and cut services in the midst of the financial crisis. Its leaders now say the city's troubles were aggravated by bankers' manipulation of this key interest rate linked to hundreds of millions of dollars the city had borrowed." So there are real world--

SHEILA BAIR: There are absolutely real world consequences to this. There are counterparties through all these swap transactions which is what they were trying to manipulate, and those counterparties were being hurt by it, absolutely.

It's shocking. It should be punished very severely. And I think there probably is going to be more information coming out about it so I think it's just starting, I don't think it's over.

BILL MOYERS: You say they should be punished, but the Justice Department the other day in this settlement with Barclays let the bank off if it paid the fine. So that doesn't suggest severe punishment, does it?

SHEILA BAIR: Well, you know, I think another thing that troubles me about all the enforcement actions that are brought-- and there haven't been enough of them, but they generally, just, they tag the shareholders, right? So Barclays Bank, the shareholders ultimately pay this. There should be punishment of these traders and higher up in management depending on how high it went.

There should be, not only clawbacks of compensation but severe civil monetary penalties against the individual traders. Make them pay out of their own pocket. It doesn't-- it's not much of a deterrent for them if their bank's paying for it. The consequences of their mistakes, not them personally. So I hope there is more of that. There should be certainly be more civil actions against the individuals and there may be criminal activity involved here too.

BILL MOYERS: Let me play for you something said the other day by the former regulator, Bill Black, whom you may know. He's a hawk on holding banks, bringing banks to the bar of judgment. Take a listen.

BILL BLACK: What you’ve just seen is a cartel in operation, which -- not maybe -- did distort Libor for the benefits of the largest banks in the cartel. It is the largest rigging of prices in the history of the world, by many orders of magnitude.

BILL MOYERS: That's quite an indictment. Barclay and possibly, he says, a dozen other banks operated as a price fixing cartel for their own financial benefit. What does that tell us about our financial system?

SHEILA BAIR: Well, I don't think we know all the facts yet. But certainly we do know that from 2005 to 2008 there were documented instances of Barclays according to Barclays traders colluding with other banks to influence the Libor rate. I think just that by itself shows a culture of greed, of people feeling they're above the law, above ethical standards, basically justifying anything to make a buck. And I don't think-- I don't want the government setting interest rates, I don't want that at all.

But I do want government regulation of how the market sets interest rates. And there were red flags about Libor back in 2008 and then the simple fix would have been to say that if you submit a rate to Libor it has to be based on an actual transaction that you actually borrowed money at that rate not your best guess, you know, today what I'm going to pay. 'Cause the process itself opened itself up to abuse and then it completely spiraled out of control. So that, you know, that's one of the main thing's that's frustrating about this crisis.

So many of the problems, the fixes were so obvious and we just didn't have the political will and fortitude to just tell the banks, "You've got to stop doing it this way. You've got to, you know, start basing this on an actual transaction." The fix was not hard, it was just never done.

BILL MOYERS: So humor me for a moment. I'm the proverbial Martian coming to earth sent by Martian control to report back home on what I can learn about this banking and political culture down here on this weird planet. And I come to you for help because you have this interstellar reputation for telling it as it is. How would you sum up this financial and political culture so that I can give a believable report back up there?

SHEILA BAIR: Well, I think we lost our way in the mid-2000s between free markets and free-for-all markets. We forgot that you need some basic rules and standards to regulate financial markets. We deferred too much to bank judgment. Libor is one example where we left it to banks to themselves to set important benchmarks.

So we need to rein that back in. And the things that worries me is that Washington, not withstanding all of this we still, and this horrible crisis and the horrible economic devastation that it has wreaked on so many individuals, we still don't have the political will and fortitude to get tough and say, "You can't do it this way anymore. I'm sorry if you're making money this way, but this is not a good, safe way to make money. You need to stop these types of activities." All the reform is still just around the edges. We just don't seem to have the fortitude to stand up to these banks and tell them they need to start doing business differently, profoundly differently.

BILL MOYERS: Where is the indignation index in this country?

SHEILA BAIR: Where's the anger? That's right, I know. I think I worry that the public is getting cynical. I think there's been one of the reasons I started the Systemic Risk Council is I feel the special interest lobbying is in a calculated way trying to slow down reform, complicate reform, water reform down. And the public loses interest, they become cynical about if the regulators in Washington can fix any of this and they don't exert counter political pressure to get meaning reforms in place.

BILL MOYERS: There is a group at Treasury supposed to be doing this.

SHEILA BAIR: They are.

BILL MOYERS: The Financial Stability Oversight Council led by Timothy Geithner, and wasn't JPMorgan losing billions of dollars on its risk under the eye of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency? I mean, if their regulation, their oversight failed, what makes you think outsiders can have impact?

SHEILA BAIR: Well, I think that's a very good question. I think there's a real problem at OCC. They are the main regulator for the largest banks. I think there's a very difficult cultural issue at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in terms of whether they protect the public or whether they protect the banks. If they're trying to protect the banks they're going to miss things because their perspective is going to be wrong.

If they're in, you know, and these banks have huge government exposure with all their insured deposits. The OCC in particular has a fiduciary obligation to protect the government purse, to protect the government exposure from these insured deposits. And the JPMorgan Chase trading, that was being done with excess deposits. That they were playing around with insured deposit money.

And yes, they have enough shareholder capital to absorb the losses, so this is not going to be an event that costs the government money. But it's problematic because these are clearly inappropriate risks that we're taking with government-backed funds that should never have happened. Never should have happened in the bank and the OCC should not have let it happen.

BILL MOYERS: But given how egregious and consistent and repetitive all these scandals are, how can we say there’s no political will? Why is there no political will?

SHEILA BAIR: I think the political money is corrupted. The Congress, I think in fairness to regulators, when regulators try to get too assertive they frequently get batted down by Congress. We're seeing it now the CFTC again, the derivatives regulator, that is the one that unearthed this Libor scandal and is working very hard to tame the derivatives market which is-- it's a terrible source of systemic risk. And the House is trying to back their funding, whack back their appropriations so they won't have enough money to carry out their responsibilities. So I just--

BILL MOYERS: Explain that.

SHEILA BAIR: I know, I don't understand it--

BILL MOYERS: You've been an insider.

SHEILA BAIR: I don't understand it. I think, you know, when in Dodd-Frank one of the chapters in my book is called “The Orwellian Debate.” And it's about the way financial reforms, the discussion about financial reforms were turned completely upside down. So things that would help stabilize the system were transformed into things that would hurt, you know, people when it was just the opposite.

You get this now trying to raise capital standards. Banks need to put more of their own money at risk. That would help tame risk taking if they stopped using so much borrowed money and used more of their own money in their operations. That's what raising capital is all about.

But the banks say, "Oh, you raise capital it'll hurt our ability to lend. It's going to raise, you know, costs for your mortgage or whatever." That's nonsense. But you know, say it often enough it becomes true. So I think there's been a calculated effort to confuse the dialogue, to confuse the public about what is in their interest to do. And people who know and understand these markets really need to stand up and speak the truth and let people know what needs to be done.

BILL MOYERS: Despite all of this there are still in Washington some politicians who cling to the free market ideology. If I were one of them and I was sitting here with you how would you try to walk me back to earth?

SHEILA BAIR: Well, we did not have a free market in 2008. I am sorry, but we had crony capitalism in 2008 and 2009. We bailed out basically anybody over $100 billion. We said the taxpayers are going to make sure you don't fail no matter how stupid you were. So that's not free market. And I think as a Republican I view myself as a markets-oriented person. I don't ever want to go back to that kind of situation again.

There are important new authorities in Dodd-Frank that will make sure we don't do bailouts again, that mismanaged banks do go into a bankruptcy-like process where they and their shareholders and their creditors take the losses, where their boards lose their job, their managers lose their job, their salaries are clawed back. That is all in Dodd-Frank. And so for people to say, "I'm a market-oriented person," but not want the market to punish mismanaged institutions, that -- again that's Orwellian. That's just upside-down. That's not a market. You have to suffer the consequences of your mistake if you have a market.

BILL MOYERS: But I think we're at some kind of dysfunctional crisis here. A Gallup survey done last year reported that Americans' trust in banks is down to an all-time low of 18 percent. And a recent Pew research survey reports only 22 percent of Americans have faith in the government in other words to do this, people don't trust the financial industry and they don't trust the government to do the right thing in regulating the industry. I mean, isn't that a recipe for paralysis and eventual decay?

SHEILA BAIR: It is. It saddens me greatly. I don't blame them for being cynical. I really don't. I fought for five years, made a lot of enemies.

But I did what I thought was right. And we did make a difference in a number of areas, not as much as I would have liked, but we did stop a lot of bad things from occurring.

BILL MOYERS: This is really why I wanted to talk to you, because you never really got your due. You wanted to break up the big banks, some of them. You resisted bailing all of them out. You tried to warn everyone about the abuse of sub-prime mortgages, you saw the impending housing crisis and sounded the alarm. You tried to put a stop to predatory lending. You were, if I may say so, the champion of ordinary people, and over and over again, you were right and you lost. So people are saying, “What can we do? What do we do? Do we take to the streets? Do we--

SHEILA BAIR: Well, we can put people in who are independent of the financial sector. And I do want to say it's not all banks. I hope people do differentiate. There are smaller banks out there and not all the big banks are completely complicit in all of this. So I think people should differentiate. But there is a cultural problem, no doubt. And I think it's more in the trading side, on the securities side of these very large financial organization than the traditional commercial banking side.

BILL MOYERS: Is Dodd-Frank a good thing?

SHEILA BAIR: We are better off having it than not having it. We absolutely are. There are things I don't like about Dodd-Frank. Like any piece of legislation it's a compromise. I worked on the Hill, you know, they say legislation's like sausage so you get a lot of stuff in there. But we're better off having it than not having it. A lot of it it's up to the regulators in terms of how they implement it. And I think there have been some strengths and weaknesses. There's not been enough coordination. I think the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which is comprised of all the individual regulators, needs to exercise more leadership in coordinating these rule makings and prioritizing them. I had actually suggested the Financial Stability Oversight Council when I first testified on Dodd-Frank before it became law.

But I had envisioned an independently chaired council that had its own rule writing authority to write system-wide rules. So you end this interagency negotiation that the industry frankly exploits, I mean, they will play-- try to play one regulator off of another. So that's one of the things in Dodd-Frank I'd like to see changed. But not withstanding that, FSOC, this council does have significant powers and they need to exercise leadership in getting these rules done.

BILL MOYERS: Is it even possible to regulate these big banks now?

SHEILA BAIR: Well, that's a good question. I think they are too complex. I think the complexity is more of a problem than size. A bank, even a very large bank that takes deposits and make loans, I really don't worry that much about them. But a bank that's into investment banking and securities trading and derivatives market making and insurance in addition to doing the bread and butter commercial banking, I think those are too complex to manage.

At a minimum, I think there's regulatory authority to get this high risk activity outside of the insured bank, the bank where there's direct government exposure with insured deposits. It's called ring fencing, but I wish for insured banks we would just keep their business to making loans, you know, payment processing is legitimate, trust activities, those are the kinds of traditional things that commercial banks do.

This derivatives market making, securities trading, investment banking, all of that should not be done inside of an insured bank. Insured deposits should not be used for that activity. Whether that activity has economic worth or not we can debate another day.

But at least make people who want to do those types of high risk activities go to the market, convince private investors to fund it. Don't use insured deposits that are government-backed and there's no market discipline whatsoever in that. Don't use those types of government-backed funds to take these kinds of risk.

BILL MOYERS: So is your new group going to try to-- going other advocate for these changes?

SHEILA BAIR: Well, I hope so. We're certainly going to-- we'll be presenting these issues. I mean, Too Big to Fail is front and center. And again I think Dodd-Frank, just so we don't go too far into these fear, I think Dodd-Frank has started making progress in ending Too Big to Fail. The funding costs, the costs to these very large institutions of issuing debt, funding themselves, those costs have gone up.

Their ratings, the credit ratings have gone down. The credit rate agencies as well as bond investors are starting to recognize that there's a reduced likelihood that they would get bailed out if there's another problem. So that's a positive sign.

If you increase their funding costs you're going to constrain their growth right there. But there's certainly additional measures that can and should be considered and there are a lot of good proposals out there, some on the Hill, Senator McCain has one, Tom Hoenig at the FDIC has one, Senator Brown has one. So I think we'll certainly, we'll be discussing all of those and hopefully taking a position on that, yeah.

BILL MOYERS: How do you break up these big banks when they're down to just six banks controlling so many of, so much of our assets?

SHEILA BAIR: Well, that's a real problem. And I think one thing that regulators could do as part of the-- one of the things Dodd-Frank required is for these large banks to submit what we call living wills, so they’re basically breakup plans. So if you get into trouble how can the government break you up and sell you off in an orderly way without broader systemic ramifications?

The problem is these banks have thousands of legal entities. The organizational structure itself is so complex, I've heard people call it a poison pill. How can you break them up? You can't even figure out how they're organized or structured. So simplifying those legal structures and dividing up the legal structures in accordance with business lines to facilitate a breakup I think would be very good market information to get out there.

'Cause I think, you know, shareholders, that's another possible pressure point on this. Shareholders are getting frustrated. The megabanks do not deliver good returns at all and they may well be-- I think they are worth a lot more if they were broken up into pieces. But again shareholders cannot be empowered to break them up if they can't figure out what the organizational structure, how to do it.

BILL MOYERS: The shareholders in Barclays and any other complicit banks are going to be paying for this, right? Because there's—

SHEILA BAIR: They, well, yeah. They are--

BILL MOYERS: --going to be huge, billions of dollars in--

SHEILA BAIR: That's exactly right. This is going to be a terrible consequence for Barclays shareholders, I can only assume. And again, you know, the risk management controls, the internal controls are so much more challenging when you're dealing with an institution of this size and complexity. Break them up, you know, have a commercial bank, have an investment bank, have a broker dealer. It's a lot easier to manage.

BILL MOYERS: Why do you keep going?

SHEILA BAIR: Well, I care about it. I mean, I think, you know, the human face of this tragedy was something that, still troubles me. And the fact that we never really dealt with the root cause of the problem, the mortgages, and we still have so many issues there. You know, the interface between this risk taking and the real world consequences that it had for Main Street folks is something that I find very troubling.

And maybe-- I view myself as a capitalist. I know that's a bad word these days. But I do believe in capital markets if they're appropriately regulated. You need some basic rules and the rules need to make sure that when people do stupid things they suffer the consequences, not the taxpayers, not their customer, they, they suffer the consequences. And that's the kind of system I would like for us to have again. And I do care about that deeply. I care about our markets and I want them to function correctly again, but they're not functioning correctly now.

BILL MOYERS: Do you see the increasing and vast inequality that's opened up between the top and the bottom in America and between the top and everybody else, do you see it connected to what we've been talking about, to the banks?

SHEILA BAIR: Yes, I do. I think with the inequality in income you've also seen inequality in debt. So the higher income people have much lower debt loads than the lower, middle income folks. So again this is something that needs to be corrected. We need to reinstate a culture of savings and wealth accumulation and have a financial services industry that supports wealth accumulation, not wealth stripping.

You know, some of it's in the tax code though, too. I think there do need to be the favorable treatment for capital gains. No, I don't think we need it. I think people who work for a living, what they do is just as valuable as people who invest for a living and, you know, why should, if you're a hedge fund operator you pay 15 percent and if you're a young person discovering the cure for cancer you're paying 35 percent on your income? I don't get that. So, you know, I think equalizing, making the capital gains on parity with income or income produce from work is something that could also help adjust this income inequality.

BILL MOYERS: I grew up surrounded by Republicans like you. You may be the last one standing.

SHEILA BAIR: Well, Reagan, you know, '86 we got rid of it, of the preferential treatment for capital gains. There needs to be some transition, you know. But it's-- there's really no-- I've looked at this a lot. There's no credible economic literature that says that the slower capital gains tax produces jobs, it's just not there. And it does produce a terrible income inequality. And it skews incentives.

So what do you want to do? Do you want to do, you know, be a professional investor and get your 15 percent rate or do you want to work for a living? I mean, why do we want to incentivize, we have too much investment dollars out there frankly already. And we don't have enough work. So I think realigning these tax incentives are very important. And this would-- I think that's a more direct way. You know, the millionaires tax is, that just adds more complexity to the tax system. And your problem is the capital gains preferential treatment.

BILL MOYERS: Many years ago when I was in Washington, we worked effectively with moderate Republicans. And you can't find many like you now. What do you think has happened to your party?

SHEILA BAIR: You know, I think they're still there. I do think they're still there. But it does trouble me. You know, I worked for the Senate in the '80s, for Bob Dole. And I look back at what we did during that time period. We did the '81 tax cuts, the Deficit Reduction Act, the '83 Social Security Compromise, the '86 Tax Reform Act, so much got done.

So I look at then and I look at now and I scratch my head. I think, and frankly this is both parties. I think there's just this rampant short term-ism that's kind of taken over decision making. And people are worried about their election cycle and not making their mark on history, not being statesmen, not governing the country.

There's this wonderful line in "The Iron Lady" movie when Margaret Thatcher, an elderly Margaret Thatcher is approached by a young woman and she thanks her for the great role model she was. And the elderly character played by Meryl Streep says, "Well, you know, back then it was about doing. Now it's about being." And it does, it seems to be about having the job, having the title, having the office but not about doing anything with those government responsibilities that you're entrusted. And I think that is on both sides of the aisle unfortunately.

BILL MOYERS: But Bob Dole and even Ronald Reagan believed that government policy made a difference people's lives.

SHEILA BAIR: That’s right.

BILL MOYERS: He cut taxes, he raised taxes once he saw the debt. That's gone.

SHEILA BAIR: But he did it in the right way, he took away loopholes and special interest provisions. Which is exactly what we should be, you know, raising revenue through closing loopholes, I think. And everybody says this is what needs to be done. But getting the people to make the decisions and take on the special interests and, "No, I'm sorry, you're going to lose your special tax break, but everybody else is too." Nobody's willing to show that kind of courage and say this is what's best for the country and this is what we're going to do.

BILL MOYERS: How can my viewers follow your work?

SHEILA BAIR: You go to the website and you can find a link to the SRC, it's the Systemic Risk Council. And we will be putting there our Call to Action. And our press release and our members and our Call to Action is all on the website. We'll be making additional pronouncements over the coming weeks and those will all be publicly released and go on our website as well.

So I hope we can be a source of information too for people who are confused about what we believe are the appropriate reforms that need to get done, reforms that will help them. And I think the public education function of this group is going to be very important.

BILL MOYERS: Sheila Bair, will you come back when your group is up and running and full steam and let's talk about what's happening?

SHEILA BAIR: I would be happy to do that. That would be great.

BILL MOYERS: It's been a pleasure to have you.

SHEILA BAIR: Thank you.

BILL MOYERS: We turn now from one champion of the public interest to another. From Sheila Bair fighting for greater oversight of the big banks to a global advocate for social justice named Vandana Shiva.

VANDANA SHIVA: We need a new paradigm for living on the earth because the old one is clearly not working.

BILL MOYERS: The last time we spoke with her, she was battling Coca-Cola and other multinational giants over the privatization of water in her native India—including the waters of the sacred river Ganges. Since then, Vandana Shiva has become a rock star in the worldwide battle over genetically modified seeds. Those are seeds aggressively marketed around the world by big companies like Monsanto to not only increase, but also to monopolize food production and profits. Opponents challenge their safety, claim they harm the environment, are more costly, and leave local farmers deep in debt and dependent on suppliers.

Following Europe’s example, many American consumers are demanding that food products made from genetically modified seeds be labeled. Monsanto, the world’s largest supplier, claims intellectual property rights over its seeds and usually wins when it takes farmers to court for patent infringement. But in India, Monsanto claimed its seeds would produce bountiful crops and when the results fell short, many bankrupted farmers reportedly killed themselves.

Vandana Shiva, founded India’s Navdanya movement to promote the use of native seeds, and she has become a formidable figure in all these battles. Trained in physics, she’s an activist and prolific author whose books include “Earth Democracy,” “Soil Not Oil,” “Water Wars,” and her latest, “Making Peace With The Earth.” I talked with her again recently, when she came to New York to be honored by Union Theological Seminary.

Welcome back.

VANDANA SHIVA: Wonderful to be back with you.

BILL MOYERS: It's an uphill battle you're waging. How do you keep doing it? What drives you really?

VANDANA SHIVA: You know, we have this very beautiful text in India. We have the Gita.

BILL MOYERS: Bhagavad Gita?

VANDANA SHIVA: The Bhagavad Gita. And there's a very simple lesson that Krishna gives. That you do not measure the fruit of your action. You have to measure your obligation of action. You have to find out what's the right thing to do. That is your duty. Whether you win or lose is not the issue. The obligation to do the right thing, for me, you know, I've grown up as an ecologist in a major level, from my very childhood.

And for me, the diversity of species, their intrinsic value, their integrity is vital. The rights of our farmers to be able to have seed, the most fundamental source of livelihood in a poor country. Eighty percent of the food of the world is even, today, produced by those small farmers of the kind that we have in India. Our small farmers are feeding 1.2 billion Indians. We forget the scale of what smallness means multiplied many times. Because we've got used to the dinosaur mentality. We only see the big. We forget that dinosaurs go extinct.

BILL MOYERS: You have obviously seen things differently. Because you studied nuclear physics, right?

VANDANA SHIVA: I studied nuclear physics. But I also studied quantum theory. My thesis was on non-separability and non-locality in quantum theory.

BILL MOYERS: Which means?

VANDANA SHIVA: Which basically means everything is connected. Because the industrial revolution and the scientific revolution gave us a very mechanistic idea of the universe. First, we were told “Nature is dead. There's no living Earth. How can you even imagine the Earth lives? How can other species-- they're just inferior creatures of God. And you've got to have man's empire over God, over the Earth."

The idea that everything is this hard matter, unrelated to each other is still guiding a lot of science. And genetic engineering is based on that hard matter, genes in isolation, you know? Genes determine everything. There's a master molecule that gives orders. Old patriarchal stuff. The real science--

BILL MOYERS: Patriarchal?

VANDANA SHIVA: The real science is the science of interconnection. Whether it's going to--


VANDANA SHIVA: Of interconnectedness, of non-separation. That everything is related.

Farming, for example, you must see the soil, the plants, the pollinators, the food that's produced, all of it in the whole.

BILL MOYERS: Let's take that to the system of economics. Because some people have said that globalization, the movement of ideas, of people, of money, across arbitrary boundaries, as if they didn't exist, also reflects the interconnectedness of everything. That globalization is an economic equivalent of what happens in the world of nature in that everything is connected. And you can't stop it Vandana Shiva. This is the way the world rocks.

VANDANA SHIVA: First of all, this is not interconnectedness of the ecological level. It's an extremely artificial, corporate rule on a planetary scale. Some corporations get to control the world. And then all that's flowing around is commodities. Commodities that don't have to be moving. It's still the old, hard, billiard ball model. You know?

You load the ships from China for cheap consumer products in Wal-Mart here. That is not a world of interconnectedness. The world of interconnectedness would recognize that the rivers of China need to flow, clean and free. It would recognize that the people of China need to exercise in work, in freedom, not as slave labor in factories to produce cheap goods.

This corporate globalization, based on more, higher, a deeper reach of corporations in fields where they had no role, food, water, the air, all into commodities—you know, transforming the Earth into commodities. That flow is not a flow of interconnectedness. And in fact, it is leading to a disconnection. If you look at the violence being perpetuated.

The reason I've written my new book, “Making Peace with the Earth,” is because I'm watching every day. I get calls every day from remote areas. "Please come down. They're shooting us. They're trying to tear down our sacred mountain of Niamgri, which has-- for aluminum. We have an iron ore in our mountains. They're displacing us." Every day there's a land war. Every day there's a water war. Because of the appetite of this global commodity-producing, consumption-based interconnection.

And I often say that what we have is an interconnectedness of the world through greed, which is not how nature works, which is not how humanity works. And an exclusion of people, a killing of their humanity. It is not an accident that with the rise of corporate globalization and economic globalization, we have seen the rise of religious conflict, ethnic conflicts, where people get divided, more and more and more.

So we're seeing human divisions. You're seeing a deeper division between human beings and the Earth. And all you see is a global reach. We are seeing a drop in our sense of a common humanity, and definitely a collapse in the planetary consciousness that we need to have. And for me, those are the two elements of making peace with the Earth. Reclaiming our common humanity and reclaiming our recognition that we are Earth’s citizens.

BILL MOYERS: The last time you were here, you were fighting Coca-Cola in India over the privatization of water. Now your bulls-eye is on Monsanto. Why is Monsanto so crucial to this fight overseas?

VANDANA SHIVA: Monsanto is crucial to this fight because they are the biggest seed company now. Monsanto is privatizing the seed. They control 95 percent of the cotton in India, 90 percent of the soy in this country. They've taken over most of the seed companies of the world.

BILL MOYERS: You say it's all about seeds. And that it comes down to corporations wanting to patent seeds. How does that work? What do you mean it comes down to seeds?

VANDANA SHIVA: Well, it comes down to seeds for the simple reason everything begins a seed. The food on our plate. You and me were seed at one point. The little calf that becomes the cow. Seed is the source of life. And seed is the source of renewal of life. That is where life gets renewed in perpetuity.

BILL MOYERS: So what does it mean when a corporation patents the seed?

VANDANA SHIVA: The first thing it means is a lie. That "I have created it. I have created life."

BILL MOYERS: "I, the corporation."

VANDANA SHIVA: The corporations claim that-- and, you know, we joke and say, a G.M.O., a genetically modified organization, which was the path to get patenting on seeds-- I sat at meetings where the corporations said, "The reason we've got to do genetically modified organisms is because it’s the only way we can claim a patent. A patent is a claim to invention, a claim to creation. And it brings with it an exclusive right to exclude anyone else from using, having, distributing the patented product."

BILL MOYERS: What's the claim? Speak from their side. What are they claiming?

VANDANA SHIVA: Well, they're claiming intellectual property. And they changed the language. They say the seed is no more a seed. It's an intellectual property. They make the society shift its thinking of what is at stake. Seed is the first link in the food chain. And therefore, when you control seed, you control food.

BILL MOYERS: You say that corporations have hijacked our food system. How so?

VANDANA SHIVA: Well I come from a country where there were no corporations in the food system until 20 years ago. They weren't allowed to be. Our rules said food was too precious. It was an important source of livelihood. So we had to protect our small farmers. Every law protected the small farmer, land rights, markets, prices, everything worked so a small farmer could have a living. Food processing stayed in what we call the cottage sector, the small scale sector. That's why we didn't have junk food and processed food. Globalization changes the rules. And agriculture agreement is written by a former official of Cargill to represent the U.S. public.

BILL MOYERS: Cargill--

VANDANA SHIVA: Is the world's biggest grain trader. The second is the intellectual property treaty controlled and written by Monsanto. And then you have the so-called food safety agreement called The Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement. Every one of these are very highly complex names. Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights, Sanitary and Phytosanitary. All of them are basically saying, "Let there be a monopoly of a corporation to have-- to write the rules so that only they can be players in the food system."

And the final step is the retail, where food reaches our table, Wal-Mart wanting to have foreign direct investment in retail. A big issue in India's parliament, a very big issue on the streets of India. So from the seed to the table, corporations are saying, "We want to be the only players." Five in seed, five in grain trade, five in processing, and five in retail. That is a corporate hijack of our food and a corporate dictatorship over our food system.

BILL MOYERS: But here’s what you’re up against. Several activist organizations—some seed businesses, some farmers, organizations like yours—filed a suit here in New York, challenging Monsanto's seed patents. And the U.S. district judge here in New York threw it out, saying it was “a transparent effort to create a controversy where none exists.”

VANDANA SHIVA: Yes, that case has been a sad ruling, a very sad ruling. In my view, it's the same kind of status that says corporations have freedom of speech and therefore they can hijack our democracy. Let them spend as much money as they can to literally buy elections. But for every case of this kind, there are other cases being won.

We have won cases against Monsanto in India.

BILL MOYERS: But if something like this is as bad as you describe it. If it's a monster roaming the countryside. How is it getting away with it?

VANDANA SHIVA: Well, it's getting away for two reasons. First, freedom, democracy, and choice is taken away. It's taken away from the farmer, by not allowing them to have their seed. It's taken away from the consumer by not letting them have labeling to say what they're eating. If there was labeling of G.M. foods, no one would eat it.

BILL MOYERS: Genetically modified--

VANDANA SHIVA: Genetically modified foods. The second deeper tragedy, which is why I link this always to democracy, is the fact that governments are being hijacked and governments are being influenced.

We stopped a whole agreement in Nepal by building a movement. Haitian farmers said, "We don't want this stuff." And they took it after the earthquake. The French have said, "We don't want this stuff." And the WikiLeaks show the ambassador saying, "We need retaliation.” This is a seed war. This is a war.

President Bush and our prime minister signed an agreement on agriculture, on the board of which sit Monsanto and Wal-Mart. And they then sit and dictate the policies. That means that much more work for us to reclaim our democracy and our freedom. So they're getting away, because they're using governments to shut down alternatives and push seed against the will of people.

And President Bush is on record in a film called “The World According to Monsanto,” senior President Bush, asking Monsanto, "What do you want us to do?"

MAN 1 in The World According to Monsanto: And I would say quite frankly, we have no complaints about the way the USDA has handled it. They’re going through an orderly process. They’re making sure as they deal with these new things they do them properly. No, uh, if we’re waiting until September and if we don’t have our authorization we may say something different.

VICE PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH SR. in The World According to Monsanto: Call me. We’re in the dereg business. Maybe we can help.

VANDANA SHIVA: In India, Monsanto, in effect, controls our agricultural ministry and our prime minister's office. And so very, very often, we have to work very closely with our state governments, which are our regional governments, to defend our constitutional rights.

To say, "Why should we be force fed a genetically engineered B.T. eggplant, when we have the most delicious eggplants, 4,000 varieties?" It took a movement, 13 governments, 7 public hearings to put a moratorium. The advisors from here flew in to try and undo that moratorium.

BILL MOYERS: Monsanto advisors?

VANDANA SHIVA: U.S. Government advisors.

BILL MOYERS: On the side of Monsanto?

VANDANA SHIVA: On the side--the White House, the USDA--

BILL MOYERS: Department of Agriculture?

VANDANA SHIVA: And the Department of Agriculture and the FDA all have a revolving door with Monsanto. And this is all on record. So on the top, there's Monsanto, hijacking all our governments. And through that, trying to hijack our food supply. And from the ground, farmers, consumers, regional governments saying, "We want a Monsanto-free food system. We want Monsanto-free, G.M.O.-free, patent-free seed."

BILL MOYERS: Now Vandana, the other side of the argument is made by people like Bill Gates. Bill Gates says that genetically modified seeds are necessary to prevent starvation in poor countries because they enable farmers to double and triple their productivity.

VANDANA SHIVA: Unfortunately, he's so totally wrong on this assumption that genetically modified seeds produce more. In India, Monsanto came in with a claim of 1,500 kilograms of cotton per acre with their genetically engineered cotton. The average yields are 400 kilograms. Our studies show that. The government studies confirm this.

When you grow just genetically modified cotton, you destroy all the associate crops that were feeding the poor families. So it actually leads to less food. When you spray roundup and kill the greens that are necessary for women to have iron, for children to have vitamin A, you're creating hunger. You're creating disease.

Super weeds taking over your fields are a recipe for hunger. Pests overtaking your fields are a recipe for hunger. But worse, seed, patents are a way of getting money out of poor people. This is not a solution to hunger and poverty. This is aggravating the crisis poor people already face.

BILL MOYERS: You know, many people will hear you as they have the others who come on this, at the table and describe what's going wrong in the world. And they always-- they often write me on the web or stop me on the street and say, I heard that diagnosis. But what can I do?

VANDANA SHIVA: I think first thing is each of us has to daily ask a question, "Where am I complicit in a war against the Earth? Where are my daily actions part of a devastation of the planet and with it, a devastation of the lives of people." Because the two go hand in hand. A war against the Earth is a war against people. Peace with the Earth is peace among people.

Getting rid of the inequalities, the violence, the exclusions. And I realize that food is a place where we can all begin. Food is a place which is so loaded with dishonesty and is what keeps a false economy of food alive. The subsidies that go to industrial agriculture.

BILL MOYERS: Subsidies we taxpayers--

VANDANA SHIVA: Taxpayers pay. A high-cost system, which uses a lot of wealth of society, then uses our wealth to cheat on the prices and make costly food look cheap. So our choices are distorted. We go and eat the junk food that then creates the high cost of disease, the high cost of obesity, the high cost of diabetes at an early stage, the high cost of environmental devastation.

And so we need an honest system. And we can begin by creating that honesty and that peace by relating more directly to the food we eat, to the people who grow our food.

To me, the beauty is, every time I come back to this country, there are more farmer's markets. There is more commitment to local food supply. Even in the city of New York, people are saying, "We'll make local food. We'll grow local food." It is an easy step, but it is a very far-reaching step.

BILL MOYERS: You’ve spent time in this country, you know that in inner cities it’s almost impossible to buy fresh fruits and fresh vegetables.

VANDANA SHIVA: That's the challenge we have. It's not that there isn't a food stamp system. Public money is being spent on feeding the poor. But then it's insuring that the only access the poor have with the money they get, again from public money, is to bad food. We could divert this to good food. There's no rule in the book that says healthy food should be a luxury for the rich. Healthy food is a right for all.

BILL MOYERS: For the last 20 years, we've heard and read report after report of progress in India, the creation of a middleclass enjoying its new prosperity. At the same time, we read and hear and see stories of people deprived of their livelihood and their homes from huge environmental projects, big dams, big mines, big infrastructure. I mean, it's always been a lot of poverty there. But are you becoming-- is that great gulf becoming a permanent feature of India in this modern world?

VANDANA SHIVA: Well, you know, my small effort is to not allow it to become a permanent feature. But it's not that these are two separate worlds. They're separated in terms of the status of people, their dignity, their rights. But they are deeply connected at the levels of the Earth's resources.

The reason you have a few families joining the ten richest billionaires of the world in the Forbes list is because they've grabbed the land, the electricity, the resources, the oil, and that is what has left the other India poorer. It wasn't that the other India was left out. They've been pushed out. And that's why while we have some of the highest growth rates in the conventional measure of economic progress, which in my view is not a very reliable measure, we also have two of the most outrageous indicators that are linked to that model. The first is the quarter million farm suicides. If a quarter million farm--

BILL MOYERS: Those have been documented?

VANDANA SHIVA: They're documented. This is Government of India data. This is not our data. It's official statistics. And you can do an overlay. And the highest rates of suicides are in the cotton belt, 95 percent of the cotton today is Monsanto's cotton. So there is a link.

Today ever fourth Indian is hungry and every second Indian child is wasted or stunted, which in effect means that half of India is being robbed of its future. And to me, this is not acceptable. That is why we try and build a kind of agriculture that allows farmers to have a livelihood, for the poorest child or the poorest household to have nutritious food. It is not easy because the whole system is weighed against alternatives that would work for everyone.

It's partly because of the pressure of the corporations, but partly because of not thinking, of just being blind, of having been so fed by what I have called monocultures of the mind, you know, just turning to recipes from somewhere else. And of course the chemical industry will tell you only chemicals grow food. Chemicals grow toxics. Chemicals don't grow food.

That only Monsanto seeds will be able to remove hunger. And all of this new mythology becomes part of the policy framework. But I am deeply committed to make sure that this terrible brainwashing that is robbing our present generation and our future generations, that we are able to work collectively to change it. Because while in your parents’ generation, your generation, and in my generation, the doors of a growing economy were constantly opening up, today we are in a period, where for the majority, the doors are shutting down.

I work with people in Spain, with people in Italy. I advise the governments there, work with the movements there, or Greece, or the Occupy movement right here. They are realizing that what has been created is not going to provide opportunities for all.

BILL MOYERS: As you talk, I remember reading somewhere that Einstein had a big influence on you, right?

VANDANA SHIVA: Yes, I became a physicist because of him. I mean, you know, even as children, you get to, you know, if you read Nightingale, you want to be a doctor or a nurse. I read stuff Einstein wrote and he wrote simple stuff that you could read it. That's why I wanted to be a physicist.

BILL MOYERS: And he said once, I'm paraphrasing it, but "Unless an idea is at first absurd, it has no chance of success."

VANDANA SHIVA: Absolutely. He also said that you cannot solve the problems you face through the same mindset that caused those problems.

BILL MOYERS: Vandana Shiva, thank you very much for being with me again.

VANDANA SHIVA: Thank you, Bill. It's always such a pleasure.

BILL MOYERS: That's all for this week. At our website,, there's more about the subjects we've discussed – banking reform, hunger and genetically modified food. Also, Woody Guthrie would have turned 100 years old this weekend but his songs are as vital as ever. Revisit my video essay about what Woody still can teach us about fat cats, bureaucrats and what a democracy made for you and me should be. All at

I'll see you there, and I'll see you here next time.

Watch By Segment

Banking on Greed

July 13, 2012

Just when you think the reputation of banks couldn’t get any worse, comes word that we’ve seen nothing yet. As many as 20 banking institutions, including Barclays Bank, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, UBS and HSBC, are reportedly under investigation for illegal and unethical practices toward protecting their profits at all costs and letting others pay for their mistakes. In this episode, financial expert Sheila Bair talks with Bill about the lawlessness of our banking system and the prognosis for meaningful reform. Bair was appointed in 2006 by President George W. Bush to chair the FDIC. During the 2008 meltdown, she argued that in some cases banks were NOT too big to fail — that instead of bailouts, they should be sold off to healthier competitors. Now a senior adviser to the Pew Charitable Trusts, Bair has organized a private group of financial experts including former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, former Senators Bill Bradley and Alan Simpson, and John Reed, once the chairman of Citicorp, to explore ways to prevent the banking industry from scuttling reforms created by the Dodd-Frank Act.

Also on the show, Bill talks to scientist and philosopher Vandana Shiva, who’s become a rock star in the global battle over genetically modified seeds. These seeds — considered “intellectual property” by the big companies who own the patents — are globally marketed to monopolize food production and profits. Opponents challenge the safety of genetically modified seeds, claiming they also harm the environment, are more costly, and leave local farmers deep in debt as well as dependent on suppliers. Shiva, who founded a movement in India to promote native seeds, links genetic tinkering to problems in our ecology, economy, and humanity, and sees this as the latest battleground in the war on Planet Earth.


Footage from Bitter Seeds courtesy of Teddy Bear Films

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  • Buck Meister

    When your so-called expert (who was obviously part of the problem as an appointee of George II) now talks about no political will, she obviously is not counting the will of the people who never voted for a culture of corruption sold to them as if the bosses [solely because they are rich] will have some integrity as if drunken draft dodger cheerleaders are somehow suddenly close to God.

  • Julogue1

    “Well, what to we do?  Take to the streets?”  This is often the frustrated response to problems that seem unsolvable given the iron fists of those (mostly secrectly) in control.   I recently spoke with one of the 99ers who said there’s are terrible prices to pay for decent and in this country. Would be a great story to interview those who most recently suffered not only the legal consequences but the social ones, not only for the demonstrators, but for their families. 

    Thanks to Sheila Bair for her good work – hope she keeps up the good fight. 

    And thanks to Bill for the interview! 

    Also, hope Bill does a future show on how farmers in the US are also controlled by the seed sellers.   Would be wonderful if Gates would listen to Vandana.  Appears he is easy to manipulate by any one who wants to make a buck. 

  • Anonymous

    It’s been shown over and over that regulators have not been effective in policing the TBTFs.

    The latest is that the NY Fed knew LIBOR was being manipulated but failed (or was unable?) to stop the illegal activity.

    Additionally, we know this Congress does not like regulation.

  • Anonymous

    There are so few heroes in this ugly financial mess — so few I can count them on one hand, and most of them are women.  I was so sad when Sheila Bair stood down from the FDIC, as she is one of that handful of heroes.  There she was, cleaning up small banks and restructuring mortgage loans while the masters of the universe were (are) still doing their testosterone fueled smash-and-grab act.

    I am so happy to see Sheila back in harness, and I wish her SRC the best of luck.  I’m also pleased that another of my heroes, Brooksley Born will be involved in it too.  (Anyone who’s not familiar with Brooksley should surf over to PBS FRONTLINE and watch “The Warning”.  It may even get you off the couch and down on the streets with OWS, which is trying to struggle back and needs all the help it can get.)

    And if “The Warning” doesn’t make you angry enough to get you out there, consider  the cowardice of Obama, who refused to fight on behalf of another heroic woman — Elizabeth Warren, who deserved the chairmanship of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was her baby, and which Obama has allowed to be so underfunded as to be castrated.  Now, she’s reduced to fighting what looks like a very unsure battle with that former centerfold beefcake who’s sitting in Ted Kennedy’s old Massachusetts seat in the Senate.

    This Libor scandal even threatens to wipe that smug look off the faces of Canadians, who think we’ve done better than most countries because of our superior banking system.  Well, RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) looks as if it might be implicated in this scandal.  They deny it, of course, but it’s the only Canadian bank whose shares have been falling in price.

    I am so angry I could explode.  Whatever happened to fiduciary obligation?  Do any of these banksters even know how to spell it, since we all know that they don’t practice it.

  • Randydeanw

    My goodness….Bill you found a Moderate Republican?!?!?! I thought that species of dinosaur had vanished from the earth! I felt a slight glimmer of hope when Ms. Blair talked about how the shareholders would actually have more value, if these mega-banks were broken up. Ever since the Glass/Steigel act was taken down by the congress, senate, and Clinton presidency, the financial sector has ballooned into such a disproportionate part of our GDP. And here you have a Bush appointee to the FDIC, talking about raising capitol gains taxes, having break-up plans in place for these “too big to fail” institutions, and actually punishing these cavalier traders ?!?!?! Wow…Is there hope???? 

  • Thinkoutsidethebox

    President Obama and Prof. Warren got the policy right, In the Senate is where Prof. Warren can protect her baby the CFPB.  When President Obama leaves office in 2016, Prof Warren will be ready for the battle to be the next President of the USA

  • Carol Lee

    I agree, how refreshing to find a moderate Republican and while I found Ms. Blair’s interview enlightening, I have to say that your interview with Vandana Shiva was incredible.  What a knowledgeable lady, to save our planet, we need to be awakened.  Thanks for helping the process!

  • LScherer

    At last! At last! You have taken up the problem of Monsanto. Not only do they own the seeds, they design them so that seeds of the new plants do not germinate. Thus farmers must buy each year instead of saving seed. They have no money to do so, hence the suicides. Also, Round-Up destroys the earth, itself. Films from India show the terrible destruction. The soil no longer can be cultivated and what plants do come up are spindly, sparse, and almost useless. In our country, if genetically modified seeds are wind-carried to an independent farmer, Monsanto will find the plants that grow from them on the farmer’s land, sue the farmer for patent infringement, and usually destroy the farmer. Bill Moyers, you should follow up on more of this and put it out on the air. Our lives are at stake.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for including V. Shiva, she has an understanding of our planet and our humanity that is deeper than can be expressed in the time available.  Please bring her back for a full show, or at least encourage your viewers to explore her life and work more deeply.

  • Michaelpshaw

    I wasn’t aware there was any such thing as a moderate republican. I believe Barry Goldwater, the guy who wanted to nuke Vietnam was also described as such and by today’s standards he’d practically be a liberal. That said  and although I am happy to see a republican who actually cares about our economic crisis in a practical way, Dodd-Frank is a weak bill that goes no where near far enough to oversea the shenanigans on Wall Street. That of course would be Glass-Steagle, which protected the American public from this very nonsense for more than 70 years until Clinton and a republican congress backed by neocon drum beater and Texas senator Phil Gramm who did more than anyone to see to it this real protection for the American public died . Also concerning Sheila Bair, glad she is trying to address the issues, but I cannot help having suspicion with anyone who would sit on the same board with people like Alan Simpson who wants to gut Social Security. Now perhaps Bair is the only thing holding him and his ambitions back. If that is the case I apologize. However her lack of will in even mentioning the real solution-(Glass-Steagle) brings for me at least, a certain level of doubt to her sincerity.

  • Michaelpshaw

    As for V Shiva, she is a saint! I’m glad you put her on the program.

  • Mfprevoteau

    Thank you, Bill.
    Thank you, Sheila Bair.
    Thank you, Vandana Shiva.
    You’re all the salt of the Earth.

  • William W Haywood

    It is going to take more than compromised political will to stop this criminality. All of these people, our elected leaders included, consider themselves to be above the law, they consider that criminal prosecution would be to hard on their cronies when they commit these crimes. They do not want to inconvenience their rich buddies because they may need them later. Reform is never going to work until many of these banksters who caused this are behind bars. None of them are to big to fail. None of them are to important or to rich to not have to spend time in prison because it is an inconvenience. Send the message to them that the law is going to put them in jail and take their wealth when they commit these crimes. The wealthy elites run the country and as long as they do they are going to allow themselves to continue to be able to get away with these criminal activities.
     This is a cabal, the banking industry working with Wall street, and all being authorized and known by those we have elected to represent us.
     This woman is an elite bankster.

  • Anonymous

     Your lips to god’s ear!

  • Christina Marlowe

    I’ll just repost this article:

    Mission Accomplished: The Reagan Occupation and the Destruction of the American Middle Class
    by David Michael Green | June 25, 2010 

    Eighty years ago, something occurred in America that was never supposed to happen. An aristocrat came to the presidency and engineered a policy revolution that created a broad and prosperous middle class where it had not existed as such before.
    To do this, Franklin Roosevelt and his party had to rewrite the existing rules of wealth redistribution in the United States such that the traditionally fantastically wealthy overclass (which had grown even fatter as the industrialism of the prior century concentrated wealth yet further) would become merely tremendously wealthy from that point forward, in order to leave enough for others to live a decent life.
    Needless to say, this rankled the country club set, but, remarkably, they more or less made peace with this development during the early decades of the post-war era, and largely cooperated with the new economic order. So did their political representatives. The Eisenhower administration was the first chance after twenty years of the New Deal to dismantle the newly created American welfare state, and Ike not only refused to take that opportunity, but famously labeled those in his party who wanted to as “stupid”.
    If Eisenhower, in his gray suit, black-and-white photos and de rigueur businessman’s hat from the era seems quaint today, so does his political restraint. By the 1980s that was ancient history, and remains so to this day, including through (and via) two Democratic presidencies now.
    If Americans understood the real ambitions of Ronald Reagan and his puppeteers, and if they knew the degree to which the supposed patriotism of those folks extended beyond falsity and into the far darker waters of being an irritating irrelevance put on purely for show, then they would not only stop seeing Reagan as some sort of national hero, but would also understand that he instead launched a process far more equivalent to an invasion and occupation of this country.
    The goal of the right – which cares about America about as much as it does about Burkina Faso – has been to restore the economic order last seen under Herbert Hoover, in which a tiny minority possess vast sums of wealth and there is (therefore) essentially no remaining middle class. It is nothing short of a breathtaking display of a world class greed, worthy of the ages.
    It has also been a work of strategic genius (in much the same way one might appreciate the Germans’ engineering prowess in figuring out the logistics of how to mass murder ten or twelve million civilians in a year or two), one which has drawn upon deep psychological insights, absolutely sociopathic amoralism, and clever tactics that have all simultaneously pushed in the same direction. In plain English, they hired some politicians of hit-man level moral integrity, who then marshaled fear, insecurity, hate and deceit into a witch’s brew of self-destruction that would prove highly attractive to a large segment of the population already sinking from the effects of a global economic order rebalancing after decades of post-war American dominance.
    Of course, you couldn’t just come right out and say, “Vote for me and I’ll give your money to people so rich they can’t even imagine what they’ll do with it (but they still demand to have it anyhow)”, so slightly more subtle tactics had to be employed. It is telling that the most honest thing Barack Obama ever said was when he thought there were no microphones in the room. But he was right when, at a presidential fundraiser in San Francisco he told the wine and cheese set that the right uses guns, god and gays (I would add Gaddafis) to scare people out of their money. I’ll believe that Republicans are serious about protecting heterosexual marriage on the day that you can’t find half of them prowling the gay bars of DC every night (and you don’t even want to know what the other half are into).
    This bait-and-switch tactic worked perfectly well whenever it was applied. It didn’t hurt that the regressive Billy-Bobs who vote for these folks are as dumb as a tree. With bags of hammers for leaves. But stupid is really only the facilitating quality, and often one that is neither present nor required. What really drives this stuff is fear. If you can turn that into a loathing of fur’ners, fags, bitches, blackies and brownies, you got their vote. Then you can do what you really set out to accomplish in the first place. George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign was the paradigmatic example. All year he talked about jamming through a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Big priority. Urgent national issue. The religitarded across America just about peed themselves, they were so excited. Then he gets elected and is brazen enough to announce that there’ll be no such effort, after all, and that his signature legislative initiative will be an attempt to hand over the fat Social Security pot of money to Goldman Sachs. The redneck dolts with their Bush/Cheney ’04 bumper-stickers didn’t know what to think. So, of course, they just didn’t.
    Meanwhile, to say that this kleptocratic revolution worked really well is only untrue by means of the verb tense employed. It is still working really well. And the final leg of Reagan’s March to the Sea is now upon us. Chunks of middle class body parts have been hacked off, bit by bit, over the decades, ’til there’s little remaining anymore. Remember how they told us that ‘free trade’ wouldn’t decimate our jobs, our unions and our bargaining power? Is that why little old ladies serve Happy Meals at McDonald’s all across the country, assuming they’re lucky enough to get that job? Remember how they said that massive tax cuts for the wealthy would be ‘revenue neutral’ and would jump-start the economy? Which is confusing since the national debt doubled under George W. Bush, and then he proceeded to hand us the worst economy since the Great Depression. Remember how they told us that we needed to slash wasteful government spending on benefits? Now that we’ve become the ones who need those, they’re gone. Remember when they said that government is our enemy and corporations should be free to do whatever they want? You know, like spill oil or trade derivatives?
    There’s another little trick that is about to become especially prominent in the coming years. When Reagan came to office and began his “voodoo economics” project of nearly quadrupling the national debt, after having promised to cut it instead, many people were puzzled by this. Personally, I figured that they just did the math and realized that in the real world (where governments sometimes live but campaigns rarely do) something simply had to give. If you slash tax revenues and massively increase military spending, guess what’s gonna happen to your budget? Others, however, saw a more nefarious game being played, and perhaps they were right. This is the idea that they intentionally ran up deficits so large that the national government would be forced to do what it otherwise would not, which is to slash spending on popular entitlements and other social programs.
    Whether or not the conspiracy was real, it is the case that the federal government is running humongous deficits every year, which pile up further on the massive national debt. And it is also the case that we are now hearing a rising chorus on the right – especially from the tea party know-nothings – about slashing government spending as the top priority for Washington. Even though, according to the principles of Keynesian economics, this is the last thing we should be doing during a recession.
    And, of course, something tells me that as the pinch is increasingly felt, the call for cuts won’t be in the domain of military spending, even though our allocation there is obscenely out of proportion to any imaginable threat in the world, and is roughly equal to what almost the entire rest of the world spends on defense – that’s one country equal to almost two hundred others, combined. I’m also guessing that we won’t be raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans either, even though they pay far less than they did in the pre-Reagan era, when the country was generally very prosperous, and even though they often pay a lower percentage in taxes than the secretaries and janitors who work for them. No, we can’t touch those folks.
    Instead, the intense pressure now will be to finish the job of eviscerating the middle class and transferring every last nickel of their wealth to the oligarchs who fancy themselves masters of the universe. Unemployment insurance, for example. Never mind that we have ten percent official unemployment and closer to twenty percent in reality, or that whole cities like Detroit are being wiped out. The Republican minority in the Senate, along with the Democratic “moderates” there, are now refusing to extend expiring unemployment benefits (which are already a pittance when they exist). Nine hundred thousand laid-off workers have thus lost their meager sub-subsistence benefits, and that number will grow to more than a million-and-a-half in a few days now. Guess why. Because regressive senators – including John Kerry and Maria Cantwell – are holding unemployment insurance extensions hostage to protecting a loophole that allows wealthy fund managers to be taxed on their profits at an obscenely low percentage rate. How’s that for national priorities? How’s that for compassionate conservatism?
    Next, inevitably, will come entitlements. Indeed, most of the states in the union are already heading that way, cutting pensions for employees. Not to mention certain low priority areas like education, which is getting slashed from California to New York. How long can it be before Medicare and Social Security are put on the chopping block? And why? Because we have our priorities good and straight, pal: a morbidly bloated military and pathetically low tax rates for the wealthiest among us comes first. Then, if we could somehow do it for free I suppose we could allow decent education, or health care, or retirement with dignity for our elders. But, of course, since that can’t be done without cost, those things must go.
    The other strategic initiative now reaching fruition during the right’s three decade-long campaign to massively redistribute wealth in this country – literally, the crime of the century – is the evisceration of the state. This must be done (or, more accurately, it must be done in some respects but absolutely not in others) because the state is the only force capable of standing up to the power of concentrated wealth, and because the state sets the very rules by which such wealth either is or isn’t concentrated. It also must be done because the state nominally speaks for the public and the public interest, as against the private interest.
    Since Reagan, regressive puppet politicians have been spouting anti-state rhetoric and sarcastic venom with increasing intensity. Saint Ron of Hypocrisy told us that government was the problem, not the solution, seemingly without noticing the irony of his massive military build-up or the government-enforced restrictions the right favors on everything from abortion to gay marriage to euthanasia. Now, as gutted and corrupted regulatory institutions have permitted massively harmful meltdowns ranging from Wall Street to coal mines to oil wells, we are forced to listen to sermons from those on the right about the incompetence of government. Well, yeah. If in fact you staff government regulatory bodies with industry shills who are explicitly ordered not to actually, er, regulate, and if you legislate away their power to effectively do so anyhow, and if you pulverize conscientious whistleblowers to within an inch of their lives, then guess what? That little bit of government will in fact be incompetent. In fact, it will be nearly as bad at the competence thing as, say, all the big banks on Wall Street (which had to be rescued by the, uh, government), or all the big auto companies in Detroit (ditto), or British Petroleum, or Enron, or the savings-and-loan industry, or…
    And so, despite the astonishing illogic of it all, the American people now clamor for more harm to be brought upon themselves and more of their money to be looted for the further enrichment of the wealthiest one-tenth of one percent of the population. It certainly doesn’t help that the supposed “party of the people” is every bit as much a part of the problem as anyone else, and arguably far more so given the extra measure of disingenuousness involved. From NAFTA to WTO to welfare ‘reform’ to the Telecommunications Bill, Wall Street never had better friend in the White House than Bill Clinton. That is, until Barack Obama simply outright changed the address of Goldman Sachs’ headquarters to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. As we speak, the president and his party in Congress are busy gutting meaningful ‘reform’ of the shamelessly gluttonous finance industry, just as their masters have ordered them to do. And if you think Obama’s bad now, wait until after November. Like Clinton in 1994, he will take the trouncing he’s about to receive in the election as a signal to move even further to the right.
    And thus the Reagan Occupation inches closer yet to a full-blown “mission accomplished”. The middle class is on its knees and shrinking fast. Unions have been broken into irrelevance. Government, supposedly an agent of the public interest, has become a complete tool of those it is meant to monitor. Both political parties are fully owned by the oligarchy. The public has been brainwashed into seeing its allies as enemies and its enemies as allies. We have been drained of hope that any actor on the horizon can come to our rescue.
    Bad policy choices by self-serving politicians? Would that ’twere only thus.
    We are occupied.

  • Onequitamrelator

    The actions that are needed to remedy all the injustices on both these segments are the actions for the common good. Humans have been divided from this common good by consumerism and the very people who should be protecting U.S., but they have become Lap Dogs for the rich and powerful. It Takes A Village is the best way to put into perspective the remedy that it will take to bring the world back into alignment again and realize it is all about Quantum Beliefs, we are only empowered when we speak as ONE. WE ARE ONE ORGANISM LIVING ON AN ORGANISM.

  • D.D. Delaney

    I love Vadana Shiva’s version of interconnectedness and why globalization is not interbeing in any way but a corruption of it for power and profit. I also think the environment is the key issue to which all others are connected. If we were to begin caring for the Earth as indigenous peoples (and Eastern seers) have long advised, I suspect our burgeoning and multiple crises, our planetary perfect storm, would ease and disperse.

  • Anonymous

    you don’t want to go back to the economics of 2008? News flash, we never left.

  • Anonymous

    Well, you certainly hope so? Not good enough sweetie. People need to go to prison for long, long sentences.

  • Greg

    Wow. .. A Moderate Republican.  I thought they were extinct.  She actually tells it like it is.  I’m an Independent Progressive but I’d  vote for Ms. Bair if she was running for office.   

  • michtom

    Having Alan Simpson on the council indicates a horrible blind spot or simple corruption when it comes to true reform. 

    Simpson is viciously against equality of opportunity and the rule of law, as well as heavily invested in destroying all social safety programs while overtly lying about the economics of deficits and stimulus.

    I am very disturbed that Bill would fail to question her on the members of the council–starting, of course, with Simpson.

  • feministlatinawithstandingKS

    Julogue1, you bring up a good point about speaking to the people who are on the front lines of grassroots organizing and the toll it takes in one’s life. Stephen Lerner, on the Labor show, hit it on the head when the first thing people think about as a consequence to grassroots activism is whether or not they are going to lose their job. There is reason to hesitate….losing your job in this economy is nothing to take lightly! As a daughter of a labor attorney who represented unions in NLRB and employees only for 25+ years, I have vicariously seen these very consequences– and their recourse is next to nothing. “Rolling the dice” on my ability to feed myself and 2 young children gives me pause. I don’t speak to anyone at work about politics for fear of retribution because I am in the conservative lion’s den. I would therefore love to hear from the very people doing the grassroots organizing and the ways in which they mitigated barriers. 

  • Jim Baran

    Bill, I love your show! I love the guests you share with us and the ideas they have, but…..even though I delight in watching your program, at the end…I am saddened. There is so much inequality in America and the world, that trying to change it seems insurmountable. There is so much apathy, and lack of ethics in this country with the powers that be that if I try to talk with my friends about the ideas you share with us, I get shot down. I really feel like I can’t make a difference. I’m just a little guy, getting smaller everyday. Keep up the good work that you do Bill. You know you have to live forever don’t you? No one else does what you do!! NO ONE!

  • Cedricward

    Another light weight interview by  Bill Moyers who loves to play devil’s advocate and keep his interviews at a 2nd grade level so he won’t confuse the average American Citizen who can’t figure out what 10% off 100 is.

    Sheila Bair uses phrases such as “we’ll look at it” and ” hopefully we’ll take a position on it”. What a mealy mouthed bureaucrat.

    She writes ‘children’s’ books about finance because that’s what the elites  KNOW the citizens are…children…or at least have the intelligence of children.

    When will people like Moyers grow a pair and simply say that what these CRIMINAL banksters and politicians have done to us all is TREASON…AND the THEFT of the assets of the entire country?

    I used to like Bill Moyers, but his interviews, even though they may be about very IMPORTANT SUBJECTS, are watered down to the point that they are simply a waste of time.

    He water down the subject matter so that his viewers simply mutter…”oh, how bad that is!” then switch the channel and watch a soap opera or sports game. They think SOMEONE ELSE will take care of the problem.

    And THAT is how this mess got to be OUT OF CONTROL!

    APATHETIC CITIZENS who don’t see that THEY HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY to see that their local and national governments STAY WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THE CONSTITUTION!

    BUT NO….we’ve all become a bunch of LAZY, FAT CONSUMERS OF CRAP AND CHEAP THRILLS!

    When is someone in the media going to realize they have the platform to INFORM and ROUSE UP the citizenry to REMOVE our current batch of CRIMINAL POLITICIANS from the seats of power and REPLACE THEM with citizens who care about the GENERAL WELFARE?


    MY BLOG:

  • Cedricward

    No Randy…there is no hope.

    Hope and a dollar might get you a ride on the bus, but it’s going to take more than ‘hope’ to repair the damage these criminals have done to all of us and the entire world’s economic system.

  • Cedricward


    Roundup has been found to be what is killing the bees too. No bees…no pollination…NO FOOD!

    It may have something to do with the decimation of the bat population too. They eat the insects that would grow out of control without them.

  • Davideros

    Oh, I see, Cedric, your attack on an excellent Moyers interview is about getting people to read your BLOG…

  • Cedricward


    There is no law any longer because there is no Justice System. The entire system has become populated by these criminals and their cronies.

    There is only ONE SOLUTION to this mess…and I think you and anyone with a brain knows what that is.

  • Taichi-wuchi

    We are not only occupied, we are preoccupied on the wrong solutions to our economic and political problems.  It does not matter who gets into political office oe who gets rich and who becomes poor.
    The fact of the matter is that we need to use our technology to make the transition to an efficient form of government and distribution of wealth that makes it possible to supply the needs and desires of all of the people all of the time.  Otherwise, our nation will turn into a chaotic disaster just as the terrorists intended.

  • Taichi-wuchi

    Seeds are not only vital to the food supply; the idea of seeding is a vital element of economics.
    It is necessary to seed the economy with the necessary funds to provide the exchange of goods and services that make possible the Gross Domestic Product of the Nation.
    The GDP cannot function as a random system; it must be forcasted to provide the necessary transactions to make possible the necessary GDP.  
    The exchange of Goods and Services has to be a dynamic system, not a static system.
    Otherwise, people’s lives are destroyed for want of a reliable economic system that provides the necessary fiscal transactions.


    And just what was it that I said in my comment that would cause it to be removed?

    And NO to Davideros below…it was NOT about getting people to read my blog.

    You think the interview was ‘excellent’…that’s YOUR POINT OF VIEW!

    Mine was that it was another watered down bunch of pablum for the masses who are being led by the nose ring by criminal banksters, politicians, and the media.

    If you notice…when you post your comment the sign in boxes ask if you want your comment to be linked to your website.

    I included my blog’s URL so that anyone who might want to have a further insight into my views could do so.

    Is that a crime now?

    It appears that Bill Moyer’s crew has blocked Cedric Ward from commenting on this website in  PLAIN ENGLISH with no profanities.

    And you believe you support FREEDOM OF SPEECH?


  • Anonymous

     Right!  The idea of the common good went out the window with Margaret Thatcher and supply-side economics.  “There is no such thing as ‘society,'” said Thatcher, “only individuals.”  The individual she was talking about is Homo economicus, the guy (and it is a guy) who is in the market 24/7, maximizing his utility.

    The “common good” has been vilified by conservatives as a bleeding-heart liberal idea.  They favour “trickle down economics,” meaning that the richer the rich get, the more will trickle down, i.e., just think about all those lucky workers toiling in the factories of Porshe and Gucci.

  • Christina Marlowe

    Is it that you do not understand? The CRIMINALS must be PROSECUTED for their CRIMES. Absolutely NOTHING will “change,” much LESS get “better” until and unless THAT happens. Indeed, if the CRIMINALS are ALLOWED to continue to PLUNDER, it will, in FACT, only get WORSE. MUCH WORSE.

    ALL criminals involved in these monstrous, reprehensible, PATHOLOGICAL financial CRIMES, which were clearly, totally and willfully collaborated as a gigantic Scheme to Defraud and totally BILK the very citizens of this, our country, the United States, and, um, the entire world, MUST PAY.

    Each one of these Criminals must be Indicted, Prosecuted to the fullest extent of THE NEW LAWS, (all of which will be made retroactive) and, finally, actually PUNISHED SEVERELY; Let me be perfectly clear: Each CRIMINAL that is found GUILTY in the Courts of Law, whether by a judicious Judge or by a Jury of his/her “peers,” shall be held fully accountable for their [blatant] CRIMES, and penalties will surely entail STIFF terms of imprisonment, along with the lawful SEIZURE of ALL ill-gotten gains.

    We all know, for example, that George Bush, Dick Cheney…that list goes on and on; And let’s not forget Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, Richard Fuld, Hank Paulson, Larry Sommers, Timothy Geithner, Alan Greenspan; And an astonishingly dizzying and countless number of all the other CRIMINALS; All should be on the TOP of the list for the vigorous investigations and thorough prosecutions.

    We MUST HOLD each of these Serial PREDATORS/Criminals FULLY ACCOUNTABLE for their outrageous crimes of Fraud, Scheme to Defraud, Financial Elder Abuse, and countless other very serious Felonies.

    In fact, they should ALL be publicly EXECUTED by HANGING.

  • Jnewsham

    Sheila Bair, Booksley Born and Elizabeth Warren are heros that should have been listened to.  Not Summers, Geitner etc.  The solutions are there but there is not the will in either party to enact them.  Both parties are more interested in their self-interest than the United States. This division of wealth will eventually be the ruin of America. While Obama et al fiddle. John N.

  • Sdpolewalking

    I post this on my facebook.
    The ladies on the Bill Moyers show are sounding an alarm. Something I have talked about for years.
    What I have found is that like minded friends of mine can talk about
    this and even find humor. After all laughter is the best medicine. The
    scary part is that some can get so mad when you take away their 64 ounce
    cups of corn syrup. The truth is scary and most don’t like to be scared. The answers seem easy and really less scary than most fear.
    Let’s take back the patents that were funded with our tax dollars in
    the form of research and development used for, we the people. This needs
    to be done at the minimum. Technology that would help the
    environment and make our lives better but is not profitable for
    corporations to development, is out there and being held back.
    My goal is to grow almost two thousand dollars worth the food per year
    in my spare time. I equate that to two weeks of not working for the
    machine and I will be eating healthier. You go Sheila, Vandana and Bill

  • James Wilson

    Vandana’s speaks the truth and we all have to start listening and doing something to make change .

  • Mjb129

    It’s great that you’re back on the air.  It’s a shame that you’re not slotted in prime time (Washington market). Our democracy is short-changed by this. Hats off  to you and to  all the articulate and informed guests that make this program so worthwhile.  Keep it up…as you have through all the passing years

  • Dbrock 77

    What an inspirational show!  To see such gifted women as Bair and Shiva speak was for me, as a woman, a breath of fresh air.  I just wish we had a political system that attracted people like this, as they are true leaders. Bill, I am so glad you are back–my family love the timeliness and intelligence of your show, your eloquence, thoughtful questions, and that you attract guests that give us hope.

  • Rolsyl77

     awesome comment

  • Plefevre

    Thank you for another great show.

    It was interesting watching Ms. Bair timidly go around the issue of financial concentration without ever questioning the elimination of the financial pillars system brought about by the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

    Firstly, it’s impossible to let a market regulate itself if you eliminate the market. When the buyer, the seller and the broker are the same person conflicts will abound. That’s what the end of the four pillars did.

    Secondly, you cannot regulate greed, but you can pit greed against greed (that’s what a market is). Under Glass-Steagall the greedy checked and balanced the greedy.

    I fail to understand how one can say all the words (too big, too concentrated, insured banks should not be in the brokerage business etc.) without considering the return of the pillars. 

  • Oakwooddh

    I don’t know what we would do without Bill Moyers..
    When I tell friends about his show I sound like a commercial for Chanel 13 WNET PBS…our tv hardly ever leaves 13..sometimes we watch mayor bloomberg…can’t receive 21 unfortunately…

  • AnitaC1040

    I don’t know why Sheila Bair is a Republican. She kept saying it is both sides fault, but except for the more conservative Dems, I would say that most Dems have tried to put on more regulations on the financial industry (the right keeps trying to water it down), Dems have tried to close loop holes in the tax system and have tried to raise wealthy individuals taxes and lower middle class taxes.  Those Dems keep getting thoarted by the right wing Republicans. She didn’t even provide an example of how it is both sides. That is just propaganda she is spewing, you shouldn’t have let her get away with it. She knows it is her side, she is either delusional or she doesn’t want to say it is her side.

  • AnitaC1040

    Vandana was wonderful. She told the truth and was calm in the telling. Great guest!

  • KKGun2012

    Sheila Bair is not so lily-white or so knowledgeable.  She sat at  the FDIC and allowed the Asset Marketing gurus (aka government bureaucrats like Jim Wigand) destroy the economic recovery on the last bailout with his unmonitored private/public partnership deals. Every asset monitor hired to look into the deal recoveries was unable to do so because the FDIC offices in charge refused to open their kimonos to show the real recoveries.  Go back to your cubicle, Sheila, and this time get it right.

  • Georgann Putintsev

    If we want to stop corruption and get serious about investigating & prosecuting these criminals, they would put in 500 GAO Auditors and Justice Prosecutors to get these Greedy people & FINE 100% theft from these corporations & their accounting firms…along with their highlighting connections & contributions to corrupt politicians.  
    I recently watched a movie on the Blue Tuna and its what’s happening in every industry sector – excessive Greed to the point of extinction of a species.  Those in the position to reduce & set LIMITS – don’t, because they are part of the problem.  What Monsanto & many companies like them do is EVIL & the likes of their Bt infected product will contribute to poisoned water/wells, disease and famine.  Corruption has been allowed to spread far & wide with WIN/WINs on so many levels.  Tornado’s will be the least of Monsanto’s problems.
    Since we are ALL connected.  We must get off this cycle of Greed, making money with no accountability allowing the FDA to approve corp xyz without adhereing to their basic tenants.  We must become good responsible stewards of the Earth.   We can as AMerICANs focus our intentions onto sustainability with the biodiversity of life supporting ALL.  That 12/21/2012 clock is ticking down to our enlightenment. 

  • Becky

    Vandana Shiva was AWESOME!  What an eloquent speaker, and she totally has it right that Monsanto is trying to take over the world through its greed and their claim to intellectual property rights over genetically modified seeds.  I want to help educate people about her and her philosophy.  Thanks, Bill, for having her on your show.

  • Anyor

    Re: LIBOR.  I agree – there should be personal accountability for the traders.  They should be indicted under some kind of “Betrayal of the Public Trust” law and serve jail time as well as incur a financial penalty.  Upon getting out of jail, they should be banned from return to any financial position – as they have proven themselves untrustworthy.

  • Anonymous

    “(Alexander) Hamilton well knew that the plan alone, sound as it may have been, was insufficient to guarantee its passage in the republic with the new constitution. Something more was needed, some human incentive.

    And so Hamilton used the forces of human nature, in their uninterrupted forms both good and bad as they were observed to exist, to successfully implement and solidify his economic plan. Noting perhaps the greatest human vice to be greed, he surmised that if this passion could be harnessed in service to the state, “the nation was on its way to power, opulence and greatness.”  So he incentivized the speculative interest, prevalent on the dark side of human nature and especially among the moneyed class, to provide the support vital to its success.”


  • Ruhtramal

    The sad thing is that the same people who are getting the crap kicked out of them by deregulation, the Bush tax cuts and ‘Organizations as people’ still want to vote for the exact same policies that screwed them to start with (Check Romney and the Republican Congress)

  • Taichi-wuchi

    If our problem was not sustemic you would be right.
    The problem is that we need to correct our way of doing things first so that there is no longer wrong doing built into the system like no rational  education requirements for essential government political positions and there are lobbyists writing the laws and influencing decisions.

  • Jadorf

    Why does Monsanto own Blackwater?  What does a seed company need a private army?

  • TerriLH

    Evil attracks evil?

  • Marilyn Boyden

    I fear that genetically modified foods will lead to genetically modified species – including our own.
    As for the banks, the FDIC should stop “insuring” depositors in the offending big banks. Vote “with your feet America” and move your funds to safer local community banks and credit unions.

  • William

    Ms. Bair was not asked about Glass-Steagall and she did not mention it. What does she think about reenacting Glass-Steagall?

  • Enough

    legislation needs to become more pure.. less like cheap, filler engorged sausage…

  • Enough

    what to do about that disgraceful Bush family….?

  • Anonymous

    Elizabeth’s run for that Senate seat remains very close. There is no doubt that the PTB will pull out all the stops to prevent her being there. I fully expect the last few weeks before the election to see the Mass. airwaves filled with lies and personal smears — given that she speaks truth, they will try to tear her apart — libel and slander as we have seldom seen it. And there will be BIG MONEY contributed to this effort.

    I am not Big Money. But if a LOT of Americans can send small amounts to her campaign, this is one instance in which they should. Now and then I eek out $25 from my modest SS benefit, which I live on. We ALL need her in the Senate. Please go to her web site and contribute– from $5 to $25, or more if you can. She needs help with this battle from ALL of us.

  • Jeff Joseph

    Technology is no substitute for common sense.

  • Jeff Joseph

    It’s not just old fool’s like Simpson. When I see my Senator Mark Warner (D) VA, wearing a $10,000 suit of clothes extolling the values of Boles-Simpson and entitlement reform, so they can fund a bloated military I get physically ill. It’s not called the ” Cat Food Commission ” for nothing…

  • Anonymous

    Really? Max Baucus (democrat) would not even table discussion about a single-payer health care system. Why? because of for-profits choke hold on the house and senate. What about Chris Dodd who would not go after banks aggressively and when asked about breaking up banks that were ‘too big to fail’ his reaction was “that’s too simplistic” (to consider). What about NAFTA under Clinton? I could go on and on.

    It is a systemic failure by BOTH parties and this fighting ‘right v left’ is simply a distraction that benefit the rich, corporations, and cable news channels.

    To be clear, when considering the lesser of two evils there is no doubt which party is driving the country off the the equality cliff the fastest. Which party has an ideology that clearly is clung to with religious ferver and is abscent research and economic understanding. ..from ‘trickledown economics’ to ‘austerity measures’ to ‘creationism’ as science…to those who wish to get an advanced degree being called ‘elitist snobs’…it’s clear the Republican party of old has completely lost its way. But, both parties are not serving the interests of the poor and the middle class unless a result of a secondary benefit. One such example, in 2010 93% of the income was earned by only 1% of the population AND yet the American people could not increase taxes on the rich? Democrats didn’t fight too hard for that one…even though greater than 66% of Americans (at the time) were in favor of raising taxes on the rich.

    IN short, as the right v. left debate rages on, as the rhetoric grows we see clearly who the winners are. The wealthiest and corporations.

  • Anonymous

    I experienced the Housing Fraud, not a Subpriime mortgage, but trying to reduce my Interest rate, to afford a home we built and then found out we could not sell our own home, Stuck with two homes, and dealt with Wells Fargo. I was lied to, I was given mis-information, and was being systematically set up for Wells Fargo to take my home.
    I eventually got out of Wells Fargo’s thumb to a credit Union but I found out, just how Predatory Wells Fargo was treating people who got caught up in the Housing Scams, written and supported by the Mortgage Serving banks, like witholding full mortgage payments to Fannie Mae.
    Then the HAMP program that had $89 Billion to help people in their homes, and only $1 Billion was utilized but the $1.4 Trillion of TARP guarantees were the real Prize and Wells Fargo telling Congress they lose money on all foreclosures but in 2010 Wells Fargo made $10 Billion in Profit while foreclosing and shortsales homes.
    When I hear Ms Bair say she does not know why there is no will in Congress to fix this mess. She is either living in a cave or being “Politically correct” and not wanting to go to where the problems lies, the Corporate Takeover of our Government.
    Hank Poulson pulled off the greatest Swindle. He got ALL the banks to take bailout money, even if they did not want it. Covering up the Fraud. Knowing that even though Goldman Sachs was a major reason Lehman failed, he made sure that the will to send all the Swindlers to jail would be not in the best interest of the Financial system.
    Gads, they got away with it. Ms Bair called it “Crony Capitalism” but was part of it. “Reminds of being just a ‘Good Soldier” and carrying out orders that violated all principles of Honesty and what was best for the country.
    As Lee Iacocca said “Where are the Leaders?”.
    Our Government is being Bribed to where they are not effective. The Koch Brothers (Disgruntled Billionaires worth at least $50 Billion are buying our government backing the Tea Party nuts who are doing everything they can to destroy any regulation of our financial system. In the meantime, the ALEC also of the Koch brothers and others are bribing Legislators in all states and in Congress to pass laws that will make them rich.
    Ms Bair mentioned “wealth extraction” and I wonder as a “good Republican” she will back the King of Wealth Extraction of the 100,000 defined benefit Pension funds that disappeared with Merger and Aquisition schemes of Bain Capital and Mitt Romney. I looked back at the tax reform of Reagan, where the start of the demise of the Middle Class, 1981 and ERTA that Reagan signed which allowed Corporations and Raiders access to Pension plans.
    40% of the Forbes 400 are Corporate Raiders. Of the point 1%, 49% are Corporate Executives paid 90% in stock, taxed at 15% and 19% are Financial Banksters in that group of 150,000 households.
    I think Ms Bair knows this. We, the 82% who disapprove of our Financial System know it.
    I want to remind why the USSR failed, a primary reason was Corruption, and in their Financial System.
    We better fix ours, otherwise, we may just have to start over, like the USSR with a new system. People are really ticked.

  • TieDyeClay

    I would also like to see William Greider, Noam Chomsky, Bartlett & Steele or Naomi Klein on the show. They ahve been writing about these issues for awhile.