BILL MOYERS: This week on Moyers & Company…

JILL STEIN: We have to first fix the broken political system. It is the mother of all illnesses and we can fix it.

CHERI HONKALA: The last thing that we have in this country is our voice and our democracy and once that's taken away from us we're really in trouble.


SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: I don't think any sane person believes that this economy or the middleclass is really going to recover until we deal with the greed, the recklessness, and the illegal behavior on Wall Street, in my humble opinion. Fraud is the business model for Wall Street.


BILL MOYERS: Welcome – to some ideas you didn’t hear at the Republican and Democratic conventions. Both parties spent their time blaming each other for the fix we’re in, and offering themselves as the cure. But we’ve been governed for years now by one or the other of them, see-sawing back and forth in controlling Congress and the White House, so self-absorbed and corrupted by money that neither seems willing or able to cope with reality, or even to grasp what’s happening to everyday Americans. By their very nature, neither party’s capable of providing the radical critique we need – a blunt, even brutal assessment of a political system so dysfunctional as to call into question the survival of democracy.

For that, we need independent voices and third parties. So, here we go:

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is the longest-serving Independent in the history of Congress: 16 years in the House of Representatives, five now in the Senate. Before he went to Washington he served four terms as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, during which time the city was recognized as one of the most livable in America.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: I am here to take a stand against this bill, and I am going to do everything I can to defend this bill.

BILL MOYERS: You may recall what happened two years ago when Senator Sanders, having finished his usual Vermont breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, walked on to the floor of the Senate and began speaking:

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: What our job is is to appeal to the vast majority of the American people to stand up and to say: Wait a minute. I do not want to see our national debt explode. I do not want to see my kids and grandchildren paying higher taxes in order to give tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires.

BILL MOYERS: He spoke on for eight and a half hours…

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: We should be embarrassed, Mr. President…

BILL MOYERS: Castigating the agreement President Obama and the Republicans had made to extend the Bush tax cuts for the ultra-rich, lower their estate taxes, and jeopardize the future of the Social Security Trust Fund by diverting revenue away from it to other purposes.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: We have got to stand tall and draw a line in the sand and simply say: Enough is enough.

BILL MOYERS: Around 7 that evening Bernie Sanders finished, and what happened next was phenomenal. The Senate server, overwhelmed, went down – crashed. The switchboards were jammed. And like sparks from a hundred thousand watch fires lighting up the distant hills and hollows, his words flew across the country. That speech is now this book entitled, "The Speech."

I spoke with Senator Sanders earlier in the week.

Good to have you.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Great to be with you, Bill.

BILL MOYERS: I watched the Democratic Convention, as perhaps you did. And I heard all the speeches about opportunity and solidarity. And I saw that vast array of faces, of every color, every age, every gender. And I thought, "There are still two Democratic Parties in this country, the party out across the country of everyday folks like Michelle Obama's parents, working paycheck to paycheck. And then there's the Washington Democratic club, the corporate lawyers, the lobbyists, the Wall Streeters like Robert Rubin and Peter Orszag." And I was wondering, as I watched, if Obama wins reelection, which party goes back to the White House with him? The party of the country or the party of the club?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, we certainly hope it will be the party of the country, the party of 25 million Americans without any jobs, the party of people struggling to keep their heads above water, the party of the people who want to see health care for all of us. But there is no question, Bill, of the enormous impact that big money has, certainly on the Republican Party, but on the Democratic Party as well. And I fear very much that unless we galvanize public opinion, unless we create the kind of progressive grassroots movement the big money interest will continue to dominate.

BILL MOYERS: Tell me how that money works. I mean, you've been on the inside 20-some-odd years, as I sit. How does it actually work? We hear "money in politics."

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, this is how it works. And this is what people do not appreciate. And it's true for Republicans and Democrats, as well. You do not know how many hours every single week, how many hours every single day people walk into the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee or the Republican Committee. And you know what they do? They dial for dollars. They dial for dollars, hour after hour after hour.

BILL MOYERS: Who are they calling?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: They're calling a list of people who have money. That's who they're calling. And what happens when you do that day after day, month after month, your worldview becomes shaped by those people. And most of the money coming into your campaign coffers comes from those people. And you begin representing their perspective.

BILL MOYERS: Well, there are more--it's more than that, isn't it? Because you just released a long report on the billionaires.


BILL MOYERS: --who are pouring money into the—

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Absolutely. We have right now, and this should frighten every American, as a result of this disastrous Citizens United decision, we're looking now at people like the Koch Brothers, putting in one family, $400 million. Adelson, worth $20 billion, putting in $100 million. We have over 23 billionaire families making large contributions, and I think that's a conservative number.

So what you are looking at is a nation with a grotesquely unequal distribution of wealth and income, tremendous economic power on Wall Street, and now added to all of that is you have the big money interests, the billionaires and corporations now buying elections. This scares me very much. And I fear very much that if we don't turn this around, Bill, we're heading toward an oligarchic form of society.

BILL MOYERS: But the people who are in charge of this system and could therefore change it are the people who benefit from the dialing for dollars. So what's the solution when you have the fox in charge of the henhouse?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, the immediate political solution is a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. The longer-term solution is people all over this country saying, "We're not going to give up the democracy that has made this country great, so that a handful of billionaires can control the political process. We ain't going to allow that to happen." We need public funding of elections, which I think is probably the most important thing we can do politically. Billionaires cannot and should not be allowed to buy elections.

BILL MOYERS: I was taken that I think 64 villages, towns in Vermont, your home state passed resolutions calling on Congress to endorse a constitutional amendment. What's of that? In fact, when my readers on our website heard that you were coming, a lot of questions were submitted to us online. One of them says, "I've been following Senator Sanders' intention against the Supreme Court Citizens United for two years now. Why has so little happened?" That's from Craig Crawford.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, first of all, this is what happened, has happened. It's not only Vermont. We have a total of six states whose legislatures and governors have come out in support of a constitutional amendment. And just very, very recently, we have the president and his advisors talking about, perhaps, not as strong as I would like, the need for a constitutional amendment.

And millions and millions of people have signed petitions. We had a petition on our website, over 200,000 people signed it. So it is slower than I would like it to be. But I think interestingly enough, Bill, it is not just progressives who are disgusted. I think your average conservative looks around and says, "Is this really what America's supposed to be when a handful of families can buy the political process?"

BILL MOYERS: What does it take to pass a constitutional amendment? We’ve done it 25 or 26 times in the history of our country but it’s a difficult process, isn’t it?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: It is going to be a long process, but this is what I like about the process. I think in the process we're going to educate the American people about one of the most serious problems facing this country. And that is that virtually no piece of legislation will get passed in Congress unless it has the okay of corporate America and big money interest. So the corrupting, absolute corrupting impact of big money is something we have to address.

And I like the idea of taking it from state to state, legislature to legislature, having the people debate what kind of democracy do they want. I'm very proud. You know, I come from the State of Vermont. We still have town meetings. People get up and they argue about how much money they spend on the town plow. That's what democracy is about.

BILL MOYERS: Do you have to dial for dollars?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: I am very fortunate. I have. I have. But I do it a lot less. We raise our money, I have to tell you, I'm very proud of this. We have 130,000 individual contributions, averaging about 40 bucks a piece.

BILL MOYERS: Senator, what's your take on why so many young people and progressives are disillusioned with President Obama?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: In my view, President Obama ran the best campaign for president that I have seen in my lifetime. He did what is enormously difficult, get young people involved, get working people involved, have a vision out there, get people excited. That's not easy stuff. He did it.

What I think happened is, in a sense, the day after the election, he said to all of those people, all of that grassroots activism, "Thank you very much. Now I got to sit down and work with Republicans. And I got to start compromising. And I'm not going to fight for the vision that I campaigned on."

For example, every speech that I give, I talk about the crooks on Wall Street and what their illegal behavior has done to this economy. And people say, "Bernie, why aren't these guys in jail? Why isn't the Obama administration taking these people on? Why aren't we breaking up these large banks?" From the White House, do you hear much about that? You don't.

The power of big money, coming forward with the bold initiatives that get excited, say to them, "Listen, we got some right-wing extremists running the House. I need your help. We're going to change our disastrous trade policies. We are going to create a jobs program to put millions of people to work. But I can't do it taking on all the money guys. I need millions of people standing with me." Have you heard that from the White House?

BILL MOYERS: No, what we hear is continuing calls for bipartisanship, even as Republicans have waged the most partisan and obstructionist agenda in modern history. And even the other day, the president said, "I'm sure that after I'm re-elected, the Republicans will work with me." I mean, I don't understand that, frankly. And you've been down there all of this time. From his speeches, he seems to be a fighter. But from his behavior, he caves.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: I don't understand it, either. Look, there's nothing wrong with bipartisanship. If you and I disagree and we can come up with a decent compromise that's good for the American people, let's do it. But when you have people whose main function in life is to obstruct and destroy every single initiative, when you have the Republican leader in the Senate say, "Our main goal is to make sure that Obama is a one-term president."

And you keep reaching out. And they keep cutting you and cutting you and cutting you, there comes a time when you say, "Hey, I got to stand up to you. I have to rally the American people." He has not done that. Is he a fighter? I think that you have a very competitive guy, in terms of himself getting reelected. I think this guy's going to work like a dog.

BILL MOYERS: That's his career.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: That's right. He's a tough guy in that sense. In terms of public policy, standing up for Republicans, I think we're looking at a different president.

BILL MOYERS: Well, we're coming to a potential serious conflict between the election and the inauguration, no matter who wins. And you made that eight and a half hour speech, because of that agreement, to extend the Bush tax cuts and to do all of that. And we're facing this crisis over the deficit, over social services and the safety, and the safety net over the Bush tax cuts. Do you think Obama will cave again as he did the last time, sending you to the floor of the Senate? I don't think the Senate can take another eight and a half hour speech.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Here's where we are. And here's the-- you want to add another irony on top of all this, Bill, is that the American people support what the president is talking about and are vigorously opposed to what the Republicans want. Every poll that you and I have seen, including polls from Tea Party sympathizers, you know what they say? "Do not cut Social Security. Don't cut Medicare. Don't cut Medicaid. Ask the wealthiest people in this country to start paying their fair share of taxes. And by the way, take a look at military spending as well." That is what, by and large, the American people are saying.

BILL MOYERS: The polls show that? The polls show that?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Polls show that. So you would think that even if you were a hack politician who didn't believe any of this, you would stand up and fight for those principles. What I am going to do working with some of my progressive colleagues is say, "No, we are not going to balance this budget on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor. Social has not contributed one nickel to the deficit. We are not going to cut Social Security."

I am waiting. And we're doing everything that we can to beg the president, "Get up and say what you said four years ago.” And that is you're not going to cut Social Security. That's what the American people want to hear.

BILL MOYERS: You know, everyone seems to agree that our deficits are unsustainable, that something has to give. And many Democrats, some privately, some publicly say Social Security has to be quote "fixed." Now I was there in the White House with President Johnson when Medicare was passed. And I've often said that if Democrats don't take the lead in fixing Medicare, the opponents will. How do we fix Social Security and Medicare? From a progressive standpoint?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Okay, they're two separate issues. Okay. Social Security, as you know, is funded by the payroll tax. So despite what our right-wing friends are going to tell us, Social Security has not contributed one nickel to the deficit, because it's funded independently. In fact the Social Security Trust Fund, according to the Social Security Administration, has a $2.7 trillion surplus. Surplus.

Can pay out every benefit for the next 21 years. When Barack Obama ran for president four years ago, he had a very simple and good idea. He said, "Okay, let's lift the cap on taxable income so that instead of having a ceiling of $110,000 now, you lift that cap, start at $250,000." And you know what, Bill? You do that, just that one simple thing, Social Security will be solvent for the next 75 years. That's your solution to Social Security.

Medicare, Medicaid are more complicated issues. And that takes us to the whole issue, why we end up spending more per capita on health care than any other nation, any other major nation. In my view, we have got to move toward a Medicare for all, single-payer system. And by the way, I hope that Vermont leads the nation in that direction.

BILL MOYERS: Well, you know, I, another of the letters that came in on our website were from a man named Chrys Barnes. “How can single payer advocates rise from the ranks of marginalized fringe groups to getting an actual seat at the bargaining table?”

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, in my state, by the way, we're not marginalized. We have a governor who now supports a Medicare for all, single-payer system.

BILL MOYERS: Governor Shumlin.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: That's right. And we have a legislature that does. And we have the people who do it. I would say to your writer there, that I think the action is probably in the short term, at least, not going to take place in Washington. It's going to take place in the state level. And if Vermont or perhaps some other state can show that you can provide health care to every man, woman, and child in a cost-effective way, other states are going to say, "You know what? We would like to do that, as well." It spreads; Washington finally acts. But currently, the system is dysfunctional. It is a disaster. It is enormously wasteful. We need fundamental changes.

BILL MOYERS: Do you look at the Democratic leadership as your leadership? And if you do, doesn't that compromise you as an Independent?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: I'm a compromised every day of my life. It's a hard life. You know, there are Democrats, including Harry Reid, who are good friends of mine and who I work with. And there are other people in the Democratic caucus, who on many issues are no different than Republicans. So what you got to do is you do the best that you can.

In terms of the Fed, for example, the Federal reform. We got into the financial reform bill, Dodd-Frank important language, which for the first time provided an audit of the Fed so that we learned that $16 trillion was lent out to every major financial institution, et cetera, et cetera. So--

BILL MOYERS: Low-interest loans that they were getting. It wasn't just the bailout, right? It was the—

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Above and beyond the bailout.

BILL MOYERS: Exactly, right. We're coming up on the fourth anniversary of the collapse of this economy. We were on the cliff and almost over. Do you think the reforms that have come in the consequence, in the aftermath of that, is sufficient to prevent it from happening again?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Do we have eight and a half hours to talk about the issue?

BILL MOYERS: You had that one shot in your life. Don't think you’ll get it again.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Bill, look, I don't think any sane person believes that this economy or the middleclass is really going to recover until we deal with the greed, the recklessness, and the illegal behavior on Wall Street, in my humble opinion. Fraud is the business model for Wall Street. Right now, to answer your question, of course, the answer is no. We made some modest, modest little steps, which the moneyed interests are now trying to push aside.

We now have in this country six financial institutions led by J.P. Morgan Chase, which collectively have assets equivalent to two-thirds of the G.D.P. of the United States of America. Over $9 trillion. They write half of the mortgages in this country and two-thirds of the credit cards, okay? Three out of the four large financial institutions that we bailed out because they were too big to fail are today bigger than they were before we bailed them out.

Now, if this were Teddy Roosevelt were president of the United States, what do you think he would say? He’d say, "Break these babies up." Let's create a system where the financial institutions actually invest and lend money into the productive economy, where businesses are trying to produce products or create services, not the kind of casino, this horrendous, ugly casino that we have on Wall Street.

BILL MOYERS: But Senator Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate said to me and to others that the banks, Wall Street, those six firms now own the Senate.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: That's right. That's all absolutely right

BILL MOYERS: How are you going to, how are you going to get a reform there, when they—

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, that takes us back to another issue that Dick and I and others are working on. And that is public funding of elections. I'll give you an example. I was on-- when I-- it was in the House. It was on the House Financial Services Committee. So Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin and all of these guys and they said, "We have to deregulate Wall Street. We have to allow the commercial banks to merge with the investor banks, to merge with the insurance companies, so they can compete globally."

You had to be a moron to actually believe that. I didn't believe that. I don't think most of the American people thought that Alan Greenspan made any sense at all. Wall Street over a ten-year period, Bill, spent $5 billion dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions. And they got what they wanted with Democratic support.


SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: We are where we are. And how do you take them on?


SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, you need a political revolution. You need a grassroots mobilization which says among other things, "You got to break these banks up.” We need a financial system which supports the productive economy and job creation.

BILL MOYERS: But that's a conundrum, because, you know, some people criticize you because you're what they call "too cordial" to the Democratic Party. On the other hand, some people who support you say, "Well, if he is not cordial to the Democratic Party, he won't be able to slip a progressive idea in here and there." That's a tight rope to watch, isn't it?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: It is. It certainly is. You know, ever since my-- when I was first elected back in 1990 to the House—

BILL MOYERS: As a socialist.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: As an Independent. But, if you ask me, am I a democratic socialist, consistent with what goes on in Scandinavia? I am.

BILL MOYERS: Which means?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Which means that health care should be a right of all people, that higher education should be a right and kids shouldn't graduate $50,000 in debt, which means that we should pass legislation that represents the interests of working families, not big money interest, which means that we should be aggressive in reversing global warming and protecting the environment for future generations. You know, which means that workers earn a decent wage. All of these ideas, which people have talked about from Eugene Debs on, you know, for 200 years.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, but somewhere in socialist heaven, Senator Patrick Moynihan is looking down and say, "Go on, Bernie, go on, I’m with you” Right, right?


BILL MOYERS: But, you know, the right says that Obama is a socialist. They keep calling him a socialist. Can you prove he's not a socialist?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Can I prove he's not a socialist? Yeah. Look at his record. He is not a socialist. I mean, that's-- I mean, to be a socialist, a democratic socialist is to say, "Hey, we have 15 percent of our people unemployed today, that's the reality, or underemployed, some, close to 25 million workers. We are going to have a jobs program to put those people back to work. We're going to deal with the deficit in a progressive way."

Bill, among all of the other issues out there, what really drives me a little bit nuts, and we don't talk about it, is distribution of wealth and income in this country. Distribution of wealth, I want people to listen up on this one. You got one family, the Walton Family of Walmart, that now own more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of the American people. One family, top one percent owns 41 percent of the wealth in America. The bottom 60 percent, you want to take a guess? Now I'm going to ask you the question.

BILL MOYERS: No, I ask the questions. You can ask it and answer it.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: It's less than two percent. Can you believe that? One percent owns 41 percent. Bottom 60 percent owns less than two percent. And with that grotesquely immoral and unfair distribution of wealth and income, these billionaire guys putting this money under their mattresses. They are saying, “I’m the Koch brothers, I got $50 billion. Hey, that’s not enough, I need to invest $400 million in this campaign so I get more tax breaks on whatever it may be.” So they’re using their money and their power to create an even more unfair America.

BILL MOYERS: Are we at a tipping point between what we think of as democracy and oligarchy, which is the political rule by the wealthy?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Bill, I think we are. I think if you add up this grotesquely unfair distribution of wealth where so few have so much money. When you look at the economic power of Wall Street and other very powerful corporate entities, and then you look at Citizens United and the ability of these people to fund elections, I believe, you know, you may have the trappings of a democracy. But I believe for all intent and purposes, you're looking at a situation where a handful of families will control the economic and political life of this nation, unless we educate, organize, and take these guys on.

BILL MOYERS: How do you explain as an experienced politician, the fact that despite the Republican Convention and the Democratic Convention and all that's happened, we have a country that's divided 45 percent to 45 percent, maybe 46 percent to 46 percent, with about three percent to five percent of the voters undecided? And most of the experts say that's where the-- that's where the election will be decided with three percent to five percent. How do you explain that close division?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Okay, I look at it a little bit differently. This is what I think. I think we know where the Republicans are. The Republican Party over a period of years has moved from what we call a center-right party. And we used to have governors and senators coming from Vermont, who were Republicans. But you know what? They were sane human beings that actually were concerned about education, the environment, more conservative than you and me. They weren't crazies.

The party has now moved to the extreme right, all right? That's the Republican Party. The problem is the Democratic Party, if you go out, it is beyond my mind, Bill, that you have a Democratic Party of F.D.R. of L.B.J. that today is losing by a significant percentage the White working class of this country and senior citizens. The party that created Social Security and Medicare is losing the vote of seniors and white working class people. How does that happen?

It happens because they are not there making it clear. Listen to Roosevelt's speeches in 1936. He'd say, "Hey, the big money interests hate me. I welcome their hatred, 'cause I'm standing with the unemployed and working peoples." You hear that coming from too many Democrats right now? So yeah, the Democrats have become a party which does some good things, environment, women, gay issues, very good. Protecting white, well, not white, any working class people. They're not strong.

BILL MOYERS: How do they get them back? Not that you're in the business advising Democrats, but what, how do they get them back?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, let me tell you for a start. President of the United States goes on television, holds a press conference just to say, "Ladies and gentlemen, I just want to tell you, there's a lot of pressure for me to cut Social Security. Ain't going to happen. Bill comes before me, I'm going to veto it. Social Security is solvent. I'm going to make it solvent for 75 years. And I want every working person in this country to know Social Security will be there for them."

I think that would be dramatic. Number two, an issue that, again, there's been a lot of collusion between Democrats and Republicans about. And that is our disastrous trade policy. When I was in the House, the corporate entities, Chamber of Commerce, “free trade, NAFTA, CAFTA, permanent normal trade relations with China, will be the greatest thing since sliced bread.” All right?

The end result is that in the last ten years, we have seen 55,000 factories in America shut down, millions of decent-paying jobs lost. You go out to elderly people and they say, "I can't buy a product made in America anymore. Where are the factories? Where are the decent-paying jobs?" So I would like to see the president get up there and say, "You know what? We're going to rethink our trade policies. I want corporate America to start investing in America, not in China."

Other things that he could be doing, certainly, I think the much maligned stimulus bill, to my mind, was one of the most important pieces of legislation passed in my lifetime, in my state, money into bridges, into roads, into Head Start, into sustainable energy, created 6,000, 7,000 jobs when we needed it a whole lot. You need more of that. I just got off a plane a little while ago. Believe me, our airports are in trouble. Roads, bridges, schools, water systems, waste water plants. Let's put people back to work.

BILL MOYERS: There was a report just last weekend on N.P.R., National Public Radio, 8,000 bridges in this country in need of serious reconstruction. And that would put a lot of people to work. But you can't seem to get Washington's attention on those particularities.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Look, you got in-- this is an example where the president has got to go to every state in this country and say, "We can create jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure." And then he has to remind people that when Clinton left office and Bush came in, we had a $236 billion surplus.

And I happen to believe that Paul Ryan and his friends are total and absolute hypocrites on the deficit issue. They voted for two wars, didn't pay for it, gave a trillion dollars in tax breaks to the rich, didn't offset it. Passed a Medicare Part D prescription drug program, written by the insurance companies, $400 billion over a ten-year period, didn't pay for it. Now, after all of that, they think we have to cut Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid.

BILL MOYERS: This is going to be the big issue after the election, when we face the problem of those staggering debts, the Bush tax cuts and the other issues that are facing us. What will you be watching for in that period when we're on the edge of the so-called fiscal cliff? And the president, it'll be Obama. He'll still be in the White House, even if he loses in November, negotiates with the Congress. What are you going to be watching for?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Well, it's taking place right now. I don't have to watch after the election. Right now, you have CEOs, meeting with Democrats and Republicans, trying to work out some kind of deficit reduction plan. If some of us and the American people are not successful in stopping them, there will be cuts in Social Security, I suspect Medicare and Medicaid. Not anywhere near as Draconian as what the Republicans, let alone, want.

There is an answer to the deficit crisis. And that is when you have this grotesquely unequal distribution of wealth and income, somebody's going to have to say, "Hey, what, you're a billionaire, you know what, you're going to have to contribute." One quarter of American corporations don't pay anything in taxes. We're losing $100 billion a year, because these companies are stashing their money in the Cayman Islands. There are ways to deal with the deficit without attacking the middleclass and working class of this country, who are already reeling and in pain.

BILL MOYERS: Senator Bernie Sanders, thanks for being with me and happy birthday to you.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS: Thank you very much, Bill. My pleasure to be with you.

BILL MOYERS: Senator Sanders belongs to no party – he’s truly an independent. But my next guests not only belong to a party -- the Green Party -- they are its nominees for president and vice-president. Both plunged into politics, as you will hear, from real life experiences.

Jill Stein graduated from Harvard Medical School and became an internist specializing in environmental health, especially pollutants in the air that threaten young children and aging adults.

Her running mate, Cherie Honkala, is a single mother who knows what it is to be homeless. Last year she ran for sheriff of Philadelphia on a platform of ending foreclosures and evictions. She’s also the co-founder and national coordinator of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. That’s a non-profit organization with members all across the country.

Welcome to you both.

JILL STEIN: Thank you.

CHERI HONKALA: Happy to be here.

BILL MOYERS: I first heard of you about ten years ago when the Clean Elections Law -- public funding for state elections was up in Massachusetts where you were living at the time. And the people in Massachusetts voted two to one for clean elections, for public funding of state elections. And yet sometime later the Massachusetts legislature, a Democratic legislature, on an unrecorded vote overturned that judgment. They vetoed the public will.

JILL STEIN: It was that fight that really catapulted me into the world of political battle. I had not been a member of a Party, I had never been to a political meeting before then. And you know, to see that all these groups which had joined together, and I came to it as a mother and medical doctor, very concerned about our health care system falling apart and also about an epidemic of chronic disease descending on our kids which as a mom I took really, really seriously and as a doctor was fighting it tooth and nail, saw that money was always taking over.

A number of groups got together across labor, environment, health care, you name it, and all of us said we've got a common predator here, it's money in politics. Let's get it out. We actually passed that referendum by a two to one margin.

BILL MOYERS: It's amazing actually.

JILL STEIN: Huge. And the minute we passed it the legislature began to resist it, to try not to fund it. And then finally they wound up repealing, as you said a legislature that was about 85 percent Democratic. So it could have, you know, overridden any veto and so on. It had the power to actually clean up our political system.

And that said to me the fight here is much bigger than any one issue. It's really about a political culture. If we want to fix what ails us we need to fundamentally fix the political system. At that point I was recruited to run to office and I did it as a desperation move. Everything else was failing us and I realized it was time to fundamentally transform our political system and work with a party that was actually committed to getting money out of politics.

BILL MOYERS: I remember your saying-- somewhere I read your saying that a hunger for justice was born in you the night you and your young son were evicted from your home.

CHERI HONKALA: Yes. For me it was a very personal thing. I found myself homeless in a car in the Twin Cities and could have frozen to death--

BILL MOYERS: In Minnesota?

CHERI HONKALA: In Minnesota. I knew that that was probably happening to, you know, thousands of other families across the entire country. And so yes, definitely that night there was a hunger for justice that was born. And I just felt that it was a real disgrace in a country that has more abandoned properties than homeless families that we could have that situation.

And then it was a couple years ago that I was sitting in my office and the Green Party approached me and said, "Cheri, if you're serious about this foreclosure crisis we have an idea. And if you would run for Philadelphia sheriff and refuse to throw families out their homes--" because that's what the sheriff's department does in Philadelphia.

And I immediately got on the phone, called mentors of mine and they said, "You know, you have an opportunity to talk about the devastation that the majority of the people in this country are disconnected, that they don't really see happening on a daily basis. We watch other kinds of images, we hear different things on the news, but we're not hearing about those eight million families that have lost their homes." And so-- I decided that I would run-- as the people's sheriff and refuse to throw families out of their homes.

BILL MOYERS: You once said that politics is the mother of all illnesses.

JILL STEIN: Yeah-- exactly, you know, I got into this as a medical doctor and a mother really worried about this epidemic of chronic disease, seeing in our kids obesity, diabetes, asthma, cancer, learning disabilities -- skyrocketing rates. We didn't used to have that in kids. This was new, going back about 20 years -- 20, 25 years. And I said to myself, you know, it's not in-- our genes didn't change overnight. Our genes didn't change.

Something's going on in our communities. Got to work with our communities, found that in spite of great solutions we had that our political system was obstructing those solutions whether it was cleaning up our air with renewable, clean renewable energy or recycling waste instead of burning it or implementing a single payer Medicare for all system, they're not interested because they're getting paid.

Our lawmakers are getting paid not to be interested. So it basically means if we want to implement these solutions that create the jobs that we need, that can put an end to the foreclosure crisis and all the rest, if we want to do that we have to figure fix the broken political system. It is the mother of all illnesses and we can fix it.

BILL MOYERS: Cheri, what have you learned running about our political system that you didn't know before?

CHERI HONKALA: That we really have a responsibility to get off of the sidelines and to get involved in saving our democracy in this country. We're really in trouble. The amount of corruption, the lack of participation. The number of people in this country that are just planning to sit out this next election is absolutely demoralizing.

The fact that people that are out there watching this program today don't even know a thing about the Green Party, because there's all these ways that both the Democrats and the Republicans have kept us out of the debates, have kept us out of the media, you name it, that's a serious thing. Because the last thing that we have in this country is our voice and our democracy and once that's taken away from us we're really in trouble.

BILL MOYERS: If you made it to the White House what would you do on the first day?

JILL STEIN: For starters I think we would fire Wall Street because Wall Street is all over the White House from the Treasurer's office to--

BILL MOYERS: Jill, you can't fire Wall Street.

JILL STEIN: However --

BILL MOYERS: You can't fire the people who provide the money.

JILL STEIN: If you are dependent--

BILL MOYERS: They can fire you.

JILL STEIN: If you are dependent on that money, and that is exactly the point. That is exactly why you want to be a part of a political party which is not being held hostage by its Wall Street funders. And that's why I think, you know, you don't want to go into the voting booth and give them a mandate for four more years of the same with two candidates who are fundamentally being funded by Wall Street and corporate America that is raking us over the coals.

BILL MOYERS: But America is a capitalist democracy. You have to deal with the realities and power of capital and the needs of institutions that feed capital into the system, right?

JILL STEIN: Of course, and unfortunately our current capitalist system doesn't do that. You know, it provides capital to the very tippy top that's already got plenty. You know, small businesses have been absolutely crushed by this system. And the stimulus packages that the president and Congress have provided have been entirely inadequate to the job. They've provided mostly tax breaks which as we know is an extremely expensive way to create jobs.

And I think the American people object to what's called the realities, those political realities which are essentially the backroom deals that those politicians make in order to get the campaign contributions. So they come to office owing return favors. We don't come to office owing those favors. We have nothing but public interest support.

So we owe favors actually to the public to implement the agenda that they want, a Green New Deal to create jobs, health care as a human right, forgiving student debt, bailing out our students and our homeowners and not our bankers. We do have the money to do this. We're just squandering trillions on wars, Wall Street bailouts and tax breaks for the wealthy.

BILL MOYERS: Your Green New Deal. What is that? What's the essence of it?

JILL STEIN: It is an emergency program to solve two problems: the unemployment crisis and the climate crisis. And it basically uses the model of the New Deal which got us out of the Great Depression, created a lot of jobs in the 1930s. We can do that. It directly creates jobs in our communities, and at the same time that it creates jobs it also jumpstarts the green economy that effectively spells an end to climate change and makes wars for oil obsolete.

It makes national dollars available at the local level so our communities can decide what kinds of jobs they need to become sustainable.

So it creates jobs for teachers. Let's hire back those hundreds of thousands of teachers who've been laid off, nurses, childcare after school, home care, elder care, violence prevention, drug abuse rehabilitation, affordable housing construction. It allows people to go down to an employment office and get a job in public works and public services. And it also provides funding for small businesses and startups at the community level.

BILL MOYERS: What do you say when someone says you're utopian. You want what is impractical and impossible?

CHERI HONKALA: You know, my whole life has been about dealing with reality and being as pragmatic and as practical as possible. And we have managed to feed, house and clothe thousands of people with absolutely no resources. We're experts at being resourceful but resource-less.

And we are also experts at really seeing the massive amounts of abundance and how it never gets in the hands of the actual people. And in my neighborhood or anyplace else across the country, watching families open up their refrigerator and nothing being in there, and then watching the massive amounts of food that is thrown away on a daily basis. In Philadelphia there's 40,000 abandoned properties. There's something really wrong with that picture. And it's really this whole issue about, like, who's in control and who's making the decisions and, you know, the wrong priorities. And the priority has to be the American people and not corporate greed.

BILL MOYERS: You have said, Jill, we can and must shift to an economy in which 100 percent of our electricity is generated renewably. But we're headed in the other direction toward more fossil fuel, more drilling, more fracking and even on public lands. And the majority of people seem to like the jobs that creates and the local prosperity that comes with that “drill, baby, drill.”

JILL STEIN: And people would like even more if they could have jobs and local prosperity without destroying their climate, without polluting their air and their water and without basically, you know, riding us into a devastating future and in fact a devastating now because our water and our air and our climate are unraveling around us right now.

BILL MOYERS: You've said that to achieve your platform would require quote, "A World War II-scale mobilization." Two questions. Where's the money coming from? And secondly, World War II required a lot of sacrifice from people. What sacrifice are you asking us to make? First, where's the money coming from?

JILL STEIN: So the money comes from downsizing the military. We're now spending $1 trillion a year on a bloated military industrial security complex which doesn't make us more secure. So we can cut that back. It's been doubled. Our military budget doubled over the last decade. We can cut it back by half to where it was before and be more secure on account of it and more secure for spending our dollars here at home and creating a stable and prosperous and sustainable economy.

So hundreds of billions of dollars can come from redirecting military dollars which are being squandered. They can also come from tax dollars which are not being paid now by the very rich. And we're not only talking about a millionaire's surtax which--

BILL MOYERS: Soak the rich again, there they come again, soak the rich.

JILL STEIN: Well, isn't it about time? Instead of soaking the poor how about we have some level playing field here?

BILL MOYERS: So is that the sacrifice you expect of many Americans to-- more taxes?

JILL STEIN: Those who are most equipped to contribute to a society in which they, themselves, benefit more than anyone need to start stepping up to the plate. I mean, we have an absolutely unsustainable economy and tax structure right now. Why should Wall Street be except from a sales tax?

If you put a small sales tax on Wall Street transactions you not only generate hundreds of billions of dollars a year which could fund our Green New Deal, but you also rein in this reckless speculation in gambling on Wall Street which is a good thing all around.

And one last thing where the dollars come from which I want to say as a doctor -- to go back to this point.

Right now, we are spending over $2 trillion a year on a sick care system. Seventy-five percent of those dollars are being spent on chronic diseases that are avoidable at a tiny fraction of the cost if we were doing the right thing upfront by way of pollution prevention so we don't have the air pollution aggravating the asthma, the heart disease, the strokes and all the other things that are linked to air pollution, and it goes far beyond air pollution as well.

To have a healthy local organic diet with fresh fruits and vegetables which are absolutely critical. We are essentially poisoning ourselves three times a day with our industrial diet. And an active transportation system, that is the makings of a health care system which can recoup trillions of dollars over the next decade in chronic disease and its cost being avoided.

CHERI HONKALA: If you travel around the country and are involved in this anti-poverty movement that I'm involved in and have seen the devastation in my neighborhood--

BILL MOYERS: It's in Philadelphia?

CHERI HONKALA: Yeah, in Kensington, Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. And we already live in a war zone and people are trying to figure out daily across this country how to sell their labor in order to survive.

And the drug war is absolutely out of control and so if you want to cut back on crime, if you want to prevent a social explosion it's going to happen in this country.

People are not going to continue to, in the neighborhoods that I live in, watch their kids go to bed at night with nothing to eat. It's just not going to happen, not in a country that has an abundance where they can see right out their window seven blocks away, large buildings, folks with lots of money, and then expect their three or four kids to go to bed with no food.

BILL MOYERS: You've been at Charlotte at the Democratic National Convention among the very people who are terrified that you will do to them in November what Ralph Nader did in 2000 when he helped defeat Al Gore and deliver the victory to the Republicans.

JILL STEIN: The exit polls actually show that Nader drew equally from Democrats and Republicans, but the vast majority of his votes actually came from independents who otherwise would not have been voting in that race. And we see this over and over again in our campaign.

We are hearing from Republicans who are saying that they have a reason to come out and vote and that they'll be supporting us. We actually hear that in equal quantities to Democrats. So I just want to point out that that mythology is very self-serving for a political establishment whose goal is to essentially eliminate political competition.

BILL MOYERS: But I'm sure you know that the Democrats in Charlotte are fearful that that will happen again. I mean, the mythology as it might be lives in their psyche.

CHERI HONKALA: You can't really spoil something that's already rotten.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean?

CHERI HONKALA: We know that-- anybody that really knows politics understands that we're really dealing with a one party system in this country that's backed by corporations that doesn't really represent poor and working people in this country. And I think the thing that's far more scary is that the majority of the American people without programs like yours wouldn't even know that there's any other options. And so if we really live in a democracy then we should allow other independent parties to get access to the media, to have ballot access, to be able to be heard and to have the American people really decide who they want to run this country.

JILL STEIN: Because if you look at the record, you know, and there's been a politics of fear that has been touted and drummed into the voting public, fear campaigns and smear campaigns against independent politics for a long time, but especially since the Nader race over the last ten years. So--

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, both parties I have to say make it very difficult for you and any third party to be on the ballot in one state after another.

JILL STEIN: And why do they do that? They are very afraid that if people get wind of the fact that we could actually change things, that we actually have a choice that is of, by and for the people that actually restores our democracy and begins to push forward these solutions that people don't need to be convinced of, as you say people are already supporting them in substantial majorities-- if word gets out that there's a way to make it happen, you know, then all bets are off on what actually could happen.

And what we point out is that over the past decade of this politics of fear it has actually delivered everything that we're afraid of. But to look at American history, it's the politics of courage that has always moved us forward.

So we had it during abolition with the Liberty Party that helped drive that abolition agenda into the Republican Party which just happened to be a small party that won the presidential election at a time of great social transition and made that agenda a reality. During women's suffrage there was both a social movement on the ground as well as a women's party that kept driving the agenda into the political dialogue.

During the Labor Movement you had people fighting and dying on the streets for a 40-hour workweek, for safe workplaces, for child labor laws, for social security, for the rest of it. And you had independent parties, socialist, labor, progressive parties that could articulate the agenda and the vision and bring the demands into the realm--

BILL MOYERS: All right--

JILL STEIN: --of politics.

BILL MOYERS: Why don't you set out to take over the Democratic Party the way the conservatives over the last 40 years have taken over the Republican Party?

JILL STEIN: You know, been there, done that for about ten years. Wasn't that what the Obama election was all about? It was this--

BILL MOYERS: But it took the conservatives--

JILL STEIN: --incredible--

BILL MOYERS: --40 years.


BILL MOYERS: From Barry Goldwater forward, Jill.

CHERI HONKALA: We don't have that time. I think that Dr. Martin Luther King said it the best. He said that when you have an emergency sometimes you have to ignore the red lights, be the ambulance drivers and drive through the red light. And that's what time it is now in America. And we've got to stop saying that something is not possible because is it possible.

BILL MOYERS: Why is it possible, what do you mean?

CHERI HONKALA: There's always a beginning.

BILL MOYERS: Are we at some tipping point?

CHERI HONKALA: Yes, we definitely are at a tipping point. Again, speaking to the amount of children that are going hungry every day in this country, the eight million families that have lost their homes to foreclosure -- my nieces are African American and they lived in their home for 20 years, a little house on the corner of 38th and Tenth Street in Minneapolis.

Now today, you know, my nieces are living in my mother's little living room right now because they were one of the victims that lost their homes to foreclosure.

Right after Obama came into office I went with a bunch of women that were in foreclosure. We flew to Washington D.C., we decided that we were going to work with the Democrats. We were going to figure out how to keep these families in their homes. And today none of these women are in their homes. And so that's what time it is right now. People that are used to living a good standard of living, living in their homes for 20-some years are not going to adjust to just living on somebody's couch. They have had—

BILL MOYERS: What are they going to do? What really are they going to do?

CHERI HONKALA: --work ethics, they've worked their whole lives.

They're going to begin to say that this is enough, they're going to take off their glasses. They're going to realize that there really hasn't been two choices, that there's been corporate America that has been putting forward the agenda for both the Democrats and the Republicans and that it's time to build something new, it's time to build an independent political party that represents their interests.

JILL STEIN: And I have to say that there are a lot of good people who have been working for decades to do that and for whom the Obama election was really the culmination of a lifetime of work and who saw and participated in and created a mobilization like none we had ever seen before. And to see us only accelerate in the wrong direction and to see good progressives who are continually wiped out, silenced, taken off the ballot. It happens in the Democratic Party. It happens in the Republican Party, too. Money is firmly in control. These are not public interest institutions. These are Wall Street-sponsored institutions and at the end of the day if you don't toe the party line you will be silenced, you will be wiped out, you will be taken off the stage. You will not be admitted into the debates

We need to be working with a party that's very clear that its interest is the public interest and it doesn't take corporate money. That is the quality assurance that it will not be corrupted. And we need to move forward together. And as Alice Walker says the biggest way people give up power is by not knowing they have it to start with. We actually have it.

BILL MOYERS: Cheri Honkala and Jill Stein, candidates for vice president and president on the Green Party ticket. Thank you for being with me.

CHERI HONKALA: Thank you, Bill.

JILL STEIN: Great to be with you, Bill.

BILL MOYERS: That’s all for this week. Senator Bernie Sanders has agreed to a live chat next week at our website, Go there for the details and ask your questions of the independent Senator from Vermont.

That’s at I’ll see you there and I’ll see you here, next time.

Watch By Segment

  • Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala on Third-Party Politics

    Bill discusses the power of independent thinking with Senator Bernie Sanders and Green Party candidates Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala.

    Air Date: September 7, 2012
    Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala on Third-Party Politics
  • Bernie Sanders on the Independent in Politics

    Bill discusses the power of independent thinking with Senator Bernie Sanders and Green Party candidates Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala.

    Air Date: September 7, 2012
    Bernie Sanders on the Independent in Politics

Challenging Power, Changing Politics

September 7, 2012

The conventions are over — now it’s time for some thinking outside the box. So Bill welcomes to his studio Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who’s been an independent in Congress for 21 years — longer than anyone in American history. Sanders talks about  jobs, the state of our economy, health care, and the unprecedented impact of big money on the major political parties.

“What you are looking at is a nation with a grotesquely unequal distribution of wealth and income, tremendous economic power on Wall Street, and now added to all of that is big money interests, the billionaires and corporations now buying elections,” Sanders tells Bill. “I fear very much that if we don’t turn this around, we’re heading toward an oligarchic form of society.”

Also on the show, Bill talks to Green Party presidential and vice presidential candidates Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, who share their unique perspectives on the intersection of personal missions and modern politics. Stein graduated from Harvard Medical School to become an internist specializing in environmental health. She was a Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate in 2002, co-founded the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities in 2003, and represented the Green-Rainbow Party in state races in 2004 and 2006.

Honkala is an anti-poverty activist and community organizer who co-founded the Kensington Welfare Rights Union and the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. A formerly homeless single mother, Honkala became the first woman ever to run for Sheriff of Philadelphia in 2011.

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  • SarahS

    Why, when I click on the “Watch the Full Show” button am I directed to this page instead of the video for the full show? Something is wrong tonight. Please fix it. This program (which I had to watch in segments because of the problem) is one of the most inspiring, important of Bill’s shows this season!

  • Chris

    Same issue.

  • Dave

    Ditto. Fix it!


    This has been fixed, and we’re sorry for the error. Thanks for letting us know.


    This has been fixed.

  • Jim Ivey

    This was a great hour of television (a rare thing these days). Bernie Sanders was awesome, and did a great job building the case for an independent political voice, and a host of progressive solutions to address the grave problems faced in this country. To follow him up with the Green Party’s Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala was perfect, especially when their Green New Deal incorporates each of Bernie’s solutions. A clear case was made, both for the need for real change, and for candidates on the presidential ballot that will actually work for it. Thank you, Bill Moyers.

  • SalinasPhil

    Senator Sanders will be getting my vote for president of the United States. Both parties have abandoned America and are now corrupt. The senator is one of the few American patriots remaining. We need 99 more senators exactly like him.

  • Greg Wetzel

    Jill Stein has many good answers but the most important question she can not answer and this is how to win a presidential election. I will vote for her if she manages to get on the ballot in my state. However, she has no chance at all to get her message on T.V. on the major networks or on Foxnews. She does not have a chance at getting on the debates. Possibly she could get 5% of the vote but I do not think so. Those in power will see that she does not have a chance at all to win. If for some amazing reason she wins a lot of support she will start feeling the money power of Citizen United. Money is power and the people with money have made it clear that they want more money and more power. What that means is that the rest of us need to take that power from them. This is going to be much more difficult than simply putting a Green on the ticket. Jill Stein is not being fully honest with the voters. She should admit she has little if any chance in winning this election. It is not a level playing field. It is like trying to win 100 yard dash race with leg cuffs. Sorry there is almost no chance of winning that race when other folks do not have leg cuffs on.

  • The Gubbler

    Rarely, if ever, have I heard so much pointed and comprehensive (if somewhat rushed) analysis of national politics as I have tonight in a half hour with Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala. I wish there had been more time.
    I might add that even if you want to influence the Democratic party on the local level, the best strategy is probably the one the Vermont Progressive Party has adopted….
    Form a third party and run for the good (and against the bad) policies you want put in place.
    Use your leverage.
    As far as national politics go, that probably isn’t going to have any effect, at best you will get some half-assed statement in a convention speech, published platform, or debate that is later ignored.
    to be continued…

  • davidp

    Thanks for posting this and listening how the very, very wealthy are taking over….hope there is a Teddy Roosevelt out there or other wise a elite and facist State will be down the road.

  • The Gubbler

    I have a few links if you will permit me…
    Fact-Checking the Democratic Party Platform by JA Myerson
    What Obama Has Wrought by Glen Ford
    Vermont Workers’ Center – How We Won Healthcare for All, Dec. 17, 2011.
    Oh yes, I almost forgot the music…
    F. Poulenc – Concerto for Organ, Timpani and Strings in G minor (Live)

  • Almost a senior?

    I’m a 64 year old mother and business owner and after listening to the “green party” ladies, I may vote for them. I’m not an environmentalist but I do believe money not people run this country and world! I do believe there is no real difference in the parties, as Ron Paul said on Leno the other night. And it makes my republican roots shudder to think i could vote for the green party. I believe my husband’s suggestion, which has been a 30 year running joke, that all elected officials should be drafted. If your 35, high school graduate and not convicted of a felony you are in the pool from president to the local city officials.
    Whatever, I do believe the streets of America could riot because people are hunger!

  • Mackenzie Morgan

    I don’t think she needs to say it’s a longshot. After all, everyone else is perfectly willing to say it for her.

    I think you may be wrong about TV though. She got federal matching funds this year (first time a Green candidate ever has), and she has made TV ads, and the money’s enough that she is running them. Ads are sold not for the entire network nationwide, but by the town or city. She might not have raised enough to blanket New York and LA, but from what her website’s been saying lately, it looks like there has been enough to get the ads on TV.

  • Pat Elgee

    Am I remembering wrong? I thought that the Constitution listed grounds for impeachment, ” accepting bribery, treason, and other high crimes against the state.” So why are lobbyist buying Congressmen and candidates for President with millions of dollars? This is wrong! It is ILLEGAL !

  • Pat Elgee

    Seniors and business people who make good money think that they belong to the republican party because the republican party represented the business class. The democratic class was the working man’s class.
    However, now the republican party is gone. We have the democrats and the obstructionists.
    As President, Obama took the oath to uphold the Constitution. Those in Congress who take bribes, need to be impeached.

  • Pat Elgee

    Obama has refused all corporate “contributions” in order to not taint the Oval office. The Green Ladies can do a lot of damage like getting Romney into the White House. Romney took $10 million from oil interests. He is beholding to oil and banks and large corporations; not to the people. Besides even if the Green Ladies were elected President, they do not have the support to get anything through Congress. They can only be spoilers. John Baynor and other rabid crazies have destroyed your republican party. It no longer exist. It is voting for those who corrupted the republican party, that which should make your roots shudder.

  • Pat Elgee

    She can only take votes from Obama and tip the balance to Romney. His vision is a world economy and their plan is to make money where corporation can, so jobs will go to SE Asia. He will pound the final nail into the coffin of the American People. Republicans screamed and got Free Trade (deregulation) for the banks, and now are promising it to oil. He wants more tax breaks for himself. With 1/4 to 1/2 billion in assets, what can you even do with that much money? How will even another billion improve their life? Income tax should escalate with increased income.

  • The Gubbler

    You have been misinformed my dear, about the corporate “contributions”. Sorry to be the one to break it to you.

  • Joshua Hellmann

    Pat, why do you insist on being a pawn for the politics of fear? I’m voting Green Party, heck, I JOINED the Green Party because I believe in many of the same things that the Greens do. I used to be as independent as Sanders; but little by little I saw, after the government’s near-shut down which happened last year that neither major party actually WANTED, whether because of partisan differences or corporate backers’ wishes, to fix America’s many problems. The Green Party does want to help the people of this nation.
    I don’t vote Green because I can think they can win; I vote Green because I believe in their beliefs, and not those of the Democratic and Republican parties. Why should I vote for someone that I simply do not think will benefit America? This isn’t a football game, this is the future of our nation. Start treating it as such and vote your conscience.

  • Fibonacci

    Senator Sanders, the George Mason in me thanks you to the bottom of my soul for all that you do to try and reinstate our Bill of Rights.
    Mr. Moyers, without you, I would never have known about Mike Lufgren’s THE PARTY IS OVER, which I immediately imported to my Kindle and read (couldn’t put it down once started). It was an eye opening revelation, sobering and steadying in these perilous times for our American democracy to remain a democracy. I do feel this may be the last open election in my lifetime.

  • Allen Edwards

    Sen. Sanders calls for a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United. But there may be a better way. See “WHY A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ISN’T NEEDED TO OVERTURN ‘CITIZENS UNITED'” (…/print ).

  • Reddoor2

    The GOP now represents big, multinational corporations. It is the party of capitalism, not democracy. As such, it has no use for the constitution which does NOT protect capitalism. The Constitution protects democracy under ANY economic model!

  • Reddor2

    Very good point! Where is Eliot Spitzer, the NAACP, or any of our nation’s watchdog organizations on this one? Well, citizens united made it legal.

  • Mr Frugal Frank

    I would like to thank you for this show. I do like the Green Party Gals They got my vote even though they are unknown. What amazes me the most is
    the working class folks thatwhole heartedly buy into the republican soundbites. These people aren’t for these working people at all… .But onlyfor themself..

  • Kristi Jalics

    It is not fixed for me.

  • Kristi Jalics

    It is fixed now! Thank you!

  • ann

    Thank you so much for this program. I have been wanting more information on voting alternatives.

  • Bruce Murphy

    Senator Sanders has been ringing the warning bell for a long long time. I fear that it is almost too late for us to find the willpower necessary to right our ship of state. Income and wealth distribution in our country is indeed the culprit and needs resolution. Our political system as currently constituted follows the Golden Rule-you know the one that says “the guys with the gold get to make the rules” Until we find a way to remove the influence of money in our political system, we will be mired in this sorry state.

  • Athena Melville

    Shared on the Education Now! Facebook page and Google + page,, the Occupy Ukiah Facebook Page, my own wall and Google + page, Thank you so very much. I love you Senator Bernie Sanders..

    Athena B. Melville
    Host: Education Now!

  • crescentmoon

    Is he on the ballot somewhere?

  • Laurie Hertzler

    Great show, but I disagree with several points. President Obama has many times asked the American people to stand with him on the progressive issues–the Jobs Act, The Affordable Care Act, The Dream Act…But I think your guests underestimate the backlash he has gotten, and the obstruction from the other side. Do you remember how the media howled at the “spread the wealth” comment he made to the misrepresented Joe the Plumber? President Obama shares the values that today’s guests champion, but he faces the daily reality of the nuts and bolts of getting the work done. The more we support him, the more we will advance the well being of our people and our planet.

  • crescentmoon

    Boy do I agree! I have been saying what Bernie Sanders is saying for about
    as long as he has been saying it – If we don’t have public funding of
    elections, we will NEVER be able to fundamentally change how government is run.

  • crescentmoon

    Oh, I didn’t mean to hit that 1! I’m sorry – I meant to reply.
    I would be sold on the Green party candidates if this wasn’t
    such a frighteningly close election – I just can’t do a 3rd party
    this time around. And forget organic
    even – poor people all over the country can’t get a diet full of even
    conventional fruits & vegetables! It’s
    the old food deserts coming around into the topic again. And who cares? Not anyone able to invest in their
    communities, it seems. When the only
    large supermarket closed on the north side of Tulsa (a mostly poor,
    predominately African American part of town) a few years ago, a semi-local chain
    bought the other stores here left by the departing chain, but not the one in
    north Tulsa. It was at least 2 years
    before someone came in & opened a store there – despite the fact that it
    would serve quite a large customer base.
    Oh, well, that’s kind of off the general topic.

  • crescentmoon

    I’m afraid I have to agree – this time – that it is dangerous to vote 3rd party – & that is very hard for me to say. I’m always the one who rants at those who say, “I would vote for [him] but he can’t win.” And why is that? Because you – & plenty of others – don’t vote for him! I always say “vote for the one who stands for what
    you like.” But this is too close, & there may be just enough differences in the candidates this time that it’s not exactly like voting for the same person whichever one you choose.

  • Rahim Moosa

    Thanks for reminding me of the truth I have been staring at for the last 4 years: examples such as Monsanto executives appointed to FDA positions, Wall street execs in govt. positions. And then under Clinton, the FDA was told that they had to deal with Pharma as their customer rather than the taxpayer as their customer.

  • Joe Draper

    We as american’s well have to cash the check WE have written. It has started with the tea party and now Occupy, One day we will have to get know our neighbors again, we will have to revolt, and it is already begin.

  • stan chaz

    It takes a long time to clear up the huge economic mess and the mountains of debt left by Bush & Co.

    Especially when the people who got us into this hole continually try to sabotage and block the President, instead of doing their job in Congress.

    Romney/Ryan’s idea of trickle-down “economics”
    is nothing more than
    … can I put this delicately?…..
    nothing more than the super-rich urinating on the rest of us, and then laughing all the way to the bank.

    Wise up. If the Republicans win, the rich will rape this country….”legitimately”.

    If the Republicans win, the rich will start yet another unpaid war, voucher Medicare to death,
    destroy Social Security for seniors, and decimate Pell grants for students.

    If the Republicans win, the rich will lower their own taxes even more,…and screw the rest of us.
    If Romney/Ryan win…. then…. WE LOSE.

    It’s still your country.
    Too many people have died for it. And for us.

    Don’t let a bunch of billionaires buy our democracy, and desecrate their memory.

    Grow a backbone. Stand up. Fight back. Vote.

  • Bruce Samuels

    These Green Party candidates are great! They have the situation that we are in analyzed correctly. I’m voting Green!

  • Peter D

    Above all other comments by Sanders, the most important was that we need an electoral system paid for by public funds. This was the system in Great Britai and, under that system, there was no political corruption. The exact opposite is the case in the US.
    Peter D

  • christina hayes

    Are you sure that the money didn’t come from the Koch brothers, or Adelson, or some other money source with a purpose of undermining any chance of moving in a progressive direction? I do not want to be unkind, but I had a hard time listening to Jill Stein, and she was saying things that I agree with. She talks about a 100% green energy economy, but she adds nothing about how that could be achieved. She talks about firing Wall Street, but what economic principles would guide us in a new direction and how would we get there? Does she have economists who are advising her? Who are they? It is not enough to say we have empty homes and people on the street. I want to know what processes will allow us to put people into those homes. Can government just take those houses and give them to other people? How do we get to a solution? Although I personally am profoundly disappointed in Barack Obama, handing full control of the government back to the Republicans is unacceptable. For that reason, I will vote Democratic, and I do hope that the Koch’s, or Adelson or some of those other billionaires that Bernie Sanders is warning us about don’t give them the means to help the Republicans win.

  • christina hayes

    There was a “Draft Bernie Sanders for President” movement and petition that was circulated not that many months ago. I signed it and also sent him a letter pretty much begging him to run. Now when I try to go the links, there is nothing there.

  • christina hayes

    Here is a link to a story at the Daily Kos about the petition:Daily Kos: Draft Bernie Sanders for President 2012 Website Launched

  • JSC1227

    I’m much more cynical about the whole situation. I believe there are
    many talented courageous individuals fighting to protect and maintain
    individual freedoms and create a more egalitarian society. However big
    money already won out and controls everything. They have destroyed the
    constitution and militarized our society much like a third world
    dictatorship. Anyone that protests or criticizes the system is subject
    to incarceration, and being blacklisted from employment in the
    marketplace, and reduced to a life of poverty in a brutal society. I
    feel that like all great empires before it, roman, nazi, chinese the
    lust for power and greed gets so great that life becomes slavery. It
    thus will ultimately collapse into a firery ball of insanity. There
    being millions of guns out there, with the govt armed to the teeth, and
    massive fema camps, to house all the disenfranchised without resources
    when society does collapse, I want to take my chances outside these
    borders. I’ll come back if and when they replace the system, with a more
    egalitarian canadian type system. The greed is too great, it all ends
    up feeding on itself.

  • jmars

    thank you for broadcasting Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala of the Green Party
    only by face time and broadcast space will the voices & messages of Americans be heard as a third party is squeezed into the screen
    cooperation beats competition
    peace is cheaper than war
    vote for peace

  • Kate

    My thoughts, precisely. I lived many years in the UK. I think about their system a lot these days, and how, in contrast to theirs, the amount of cash going to campaign funding for these presidential elections is immoral. It does not have to cost this much money to get your honest views communicated to voters in a clear and straightforward way. The US system of spending millions on these presidential campaigns, when there are many many social and infrastructure problems that could be improved with said amounts so money… seems a waste. In the end, how many people’s opinions will be swayed? Could this not happen in a less wasteful way? I refuse to donate any money to PACs or other direct/indirect manner of funding these presidential campaigns .

  • Rev Frank S Moyer

    A great program – if possible before November elections – would be to have Sen Sanders, Dr Jill Stein and David Axelrod discuss the issues raised on the 9-7-12 show.

  • Pat Elgee

    True. Big multinational corporations are not American anymore, but small countries. Yet, they still buy the US Congress. Monsanto is US in origin (I believe) but is causing havic in India. Other cancerous food companies buy South America. Look at BP. They spent the whole summer spewing oil into the Gulf, not because they couldn’t plug the hole, but because they wanted to capture the well. In any case, no Congressman should be taking bribes to give Wall Street or Mobil/Exxon, Shell, or BP Free Market. In control Republicans will take the cash and owe their contributors; not represent the people. Follow the money. That tells the story.

  • Pat Elgee

    With internet access a lot of money is not needed. A political website could leave clear platform goals.
    Even third party could be clearly represented without major costs.

  • Steve King

    The Green Party candidates talked about third party candidates and pointed at the how the Republican Party came into existence. What they failed to state was that this was over 150 years ago and that since then, for better or worse, we have had only the two major parties with any chance to elect a president. Only one third party candidate since then has even finished second in a presidential election and that was a popular ex-president Teddy Roosevelt whom many Republicans felt was unfairly denied their party’s nomination in 1912.
    As to Mr. Moyers’s question to the Green Party candidates why they didn’t seek to take over the Democratic party as the conservatives took over the Republicans over a course of forty years. Their response was that we were in too much of a crisis to wait. Anybody who remembers Barry Goldwater’s 1964 candidacy will recall that his supporters believed that, with civil rights legislation, the coming of Medicare, and the perceived weakness of the Democrats on national defense and LBJ’s then unwillingness to double down in Vietnam, the country was being destroyed by the destruction of civil liberties at home and was viewed as a paper tiger abroad. I’m sure that any of them would have said we had no time to waste trying to take over their party.
    And if Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala believe that their candidacies will draw support from Republicans as well as Democrats, I would question their knowledge about the political realities of our country.
    While their goals are laudable, as Mr. Moyers suggested the only way that they have any chance of getting them made into laws is to take over the Democratic party by replicating what the conservatives did with the Republicans. Perhaps this will prove impossible but clearly the third party path has already been shown to be so.

  • youthinasia

    Sorry, but there is no history of “a takeover” of the Democratic Party. As someone who has been involved in that enterprise for decades, I can attest to that folly. The party is composed of legacy loyalists who cringe at any challenges to the leadership, civil libertarians with special interests, union leaders, supporters of the Israeli government, among other special interests.

    The best case I can offer is the quixotic 2009 fight for Medicare for All. The party regulars and insiders fought us at every turn. (Respect the force of the dark side of the Democratic Party.) Our salvation is outside the party.
    Thanks, Bill and Company. Please give us a second edition with these wonderful guests.

  • Todd Farkas

    I wonder if Bernie Sanders would consider backing the Greens, he is an independent isn’t he? Uh, sorry, I should have written “Independent”.

    Bernie Sanders, our real Mr. Smith. Fight on.

  • K. Carriere

    I hope there are enough of us to keep Obama in office and to nominate Bernie after that & Hilary would be a great President or VicePresident. Listening to Bernie I hoped he could coach Obama.
    I have been saying for years WE have to get money out of politics. Herb Ogden, a VT State representative from Hartland said 30 years ago it should cost no more than the stamp on an envelope to run for office.
    Parties CHANGE…this Republican Party is not Teddy Roosevelt or Abe Lincoln’s Party…in the South the Democrats became the Dixiecrates and are now Republicans. I fear WE are afraid of anyone that does not look like “US”……I keep thinking the French will take back the Statue of Liberty.

  • Loren Hart

    What a wonderful show! Thanks to Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, Cheri Honkala, and everyone at Moyers & Company for all the great work!

  • crescentmoon

    I’d like to see PACs eliminated.

  • crescentmoon

    Ah, but how would you put your negative ads demonizing your opponent on such a forum…?

  • crescentmoon

    But remember, Obama put people who participated
    in creating the economic mess into his administration. It’s discouraging on both fronts – but I agree that it is scarier with the Romney-Ryan option.

  • crescentmoon

    I agree with what you say about the green candidates, but we
    aren’t getting those details & answers from the “main” candidates, either.

  • crescentmoon

    I admire the job Hillary is doing, but she is not any more
    progressive than most Democrats & I don’t think she could do any more than
    Obama has been able to. She is not in
    the category with Bernie.

    LOL – Adieu, Mademoiselle Liberte. Bon Voyage.

  • Scott

    I envision the future as being like the oligarchy of the middle ages as depicted in Monty Python movies (e.g. the scene where a cart is wheeled down a filthy street to the call of “Bring out your dead, Bring out your dead…”). Metaphorically, at least.

  • Anonymous

    You miss exactly 100% of the shots you don’t even bother to take.

  • Anonymous

    Well my $250 contribution is 100% Koch-free.

  • Anonymous

    How can she “take votes from Obama” when he doesn’t own them? Maybe *your* vote is owned but by *my* vote is not owned by any candidate or party.

  • Anonymous

    Take over the Democratic party? Ha. As a Green I’ve heard that for over 20 yrs. Other progressives have been trying exactly that for that long and longer and it simply doesn’t work. There is entrenched corporate money that will resist at every single attempt. What is needed is leverage. The Democrats need to know that they stand a very good chance of seeing many progressives vote for a Green or other progressive emerging party and then, and only then, might they actually walk their talk when they spout progressive promises and then do the opposite in office. We have truth in advertising for products – why can’t we have them in politicians?

  • Anonymous

  • TiredofBS

    I say Sanders should run for President!! I’d vote for him!!!

  • Winston Shaw

    There is a photo on the PBS homepage depicting a line of men and woman standing in front of voting booths voting. When I first saw it I thought it was a photo of a group of men standing in a public bathroom using urinals… Sadly those voting in the next presidential election who opt for either the democrat or republican candidate will fall into the later category. In other words they will be pissing away their right to vote on candidates not worth voting for. While it’s true that casting one’s vote for a third party candidate may very well amount to little I feel that at this point in time I have nothing left to lose…so I am voting for the Green Party candidates Jil Stein and Cheri Honkala! Just wish that Bernie Sanders were running…he’s a breath of fresh air and a parcel of true info that’s for far too long been left unsaid…

  • Winston shaw

    Whoops, just reread my post and saw that my lack of comment on Jill & Cheri’s contribution to this show could be taken as a lack of enthusiasm for what they represent and what they had to say. Nothing could be further from the truth…I was most impressed with them both. In fact I have long believed that if America is to be rescued from its madlong rush to oblivion it will have to be a woman who does it…us guys have simply whimped out!

  • Grtckn

    I always enjoy listening to Senator Sanders. He can be counted on to speak the truth. I would like to give my opinion on his comment about white working class voters leaving the Democratic Party — White working class voters left the Democratic Party en masse after the 1964 Civil Rights Act. When the Democratic Party embraced economic fairness and voting rights for black people in our nation, the white working class voters saw this as blacks getting something they did not deserve.
    Many Republican Party leaders, right wing talk radio shows, social media, and Governor Romney continue to capitalize on the blacks are lazy and undeserving narrative which stokes the fire of racial resentment… “I understand how difficult it can be for an African-American in today’s society. In fact, I can relate to black people very well indeed. My ancestors once owned slaves, and it is in my lineage to work closely with the black community. However, just because they were freed over a century ago doesn’t mean they can now be freeloaders. They need to be told to work hard, and the incentives just aren’t there for them anymore. When I’m president I plan to work closely with the black community to bring a sense of pride and work ethic back into view for them.” — Mitt Romney in Prattville, Alabama March 2012

  • Walt Socha

    I’m here in Oregon. Will delay voting to the last minute…if Obama is gonna carry the state, then I’ll vote for Jill Stein. Yeah, a bit of a cop-out…but I’m terrified of Romney/Ryan.

  • Jim Rough

    Dear Bill,
    I love your sentiment … “now it’s time for some thinking outsidethe box.” Yes! …I believe your viewers would like to know about a new out of the box strategy, the Wisdom Council, which is being proven to work in cities of Central Europe. It is a low risk strategy that can be set in motion by the President or a network of well-funded nonprofit organizations. The Wisdom Council transcends partisanship to facilitate “We the People” to arise, in a way that all of us can solve issues like money-in-politics and the national debt together. It’s a good new story about a breakthrough strategy that really works. See

  • Anonymous

    Speaking of tipping points, we’ve passed the tipping point for global warming,. We have to take on Big Oil&Gas by the millions, protesting, and halt greenhouse gas emissions as best we can. See Bill McKibben’s website.

  • Chris Stovic

    To have a good “political revolution” the other parties
    need to join forces for a common ground and issues.
    Have candidates of the small party run on common
    agenda. With candidates rotating in each election!
    As it stand now there is no chance for a change for
    better benefits for the geneal public.

  • Anonymous

    The question of incentives for good works is powerful for the entire country, possibly moreso than many of the issues that make up the political spectrum. I may see an incentive to work for a corporation, or for the government, or for my children’s future. There’s very little suggestion of near-term prosperity. Survival can be an incentive, but it’s not the promise we’ve been led to expect.

  • TW–Massachusetts

    TW–Massachusetts: Many of these comments seem to miss the point. The Democratic and Republican parties are virtually the same because the same sources fund them both. It’s terrible the way the 2 major parties have conspired to keep minor parties off the ballot.
    I’m lucky to be from Massachusetts so I can cast my protest vote for Jill Stein and the Green Party.

  • Greg Wetzel

    Yes, bribery, treason, and high crimes have always been illegal, but unfortunately people are greedy and being given money makes many people look the other way. Also, the law has been reshaped by the Supreme Court. The Citizen United Case now makes it legal to pay millions or as much as the billionaires wish to spend on congress representatives or a presidential candidate because money is deemed as speech. What this means is that the rich folks have more speech than the average folks. $ 5 or $ 20 is not much speech, but $400 Million is a lot of speech and the donations will reap tax cuts and favors that will make the donations worth such an expence. Citizen United must be thrown out. Even better, we need to impeach many of the Supreme Court Justices and the folks in congress along with the president and start all over. All this talk on the internet is wonderful, but as far as change — we must get into the streets and protest. Until we demand that things change at a level similar to what was done in the Civil Rights movement, the rich will continue to steam roll their neo-right ultra conservative agenda and things will continue to get worse and worse.

  • Steve King

    And in the mean time we’ll have Supreme Court justices like Thomas, Scalia, et al. whose rulings like Citizens United will tear apart many of the basic tenets of democracy for years to come. Anyone who watched “Need to Know This Week” heard that if Romney and a Republican Congress are elected, within hundred days they will seek to turn back the clock to not only before Obama but before FDR. I don’t know about anyone else, but that scares the hell out of me.
    I wish all Democratic office holders were like Bernie Sanders but the fact is that they aren’t. However, for those who say that it is impossible for the Democratic party to change forget that not too long ago it was ruled by racist southerners and corrupt big city organizations.

  • Dennis

    This is such a tremendous episode. Thank you.

  • Lia

    Great show!! I agree with what Jill Stein has to say but…..

    Now is not the time to challenge the presidency with an Independent candidate and I think Bernie knows this. It’s time to get the house in order and fire the congressional and senate obstructionists who have kept this country from a better recovery and the change many of us voted for.

    We have a IMPORTANT ISSUE to consider that not many are talking about, but should be kept in mind when voting in this election and 2016. And if you know anyone saying they aren’t going to vote or are voting against Obama talk to them about this. Here in lies a broader issue regarding the direction this country is about to turn.

    We all agree there’s too much money in politics and Citizen’s United is bad for the country, but who is responsible for it being upheld? The Supreme Court.

    In the Supreme Court currently the scale is tipped 5 Republican appointments, to 4 Democratic appointments. That, potentially will change within the next 4 – 8 years given the age of 4 justices. Do the math.

    Ruth Bader Ginsberg is 79 Clinton appointed
    Antonin Scalia is 76 Reagan
    Anthony Kennedy is 76 Reagan
    Steven Brayer is 74 Clinton

    We have 3 Supreme Court Justices turning 80 and one trailing shortly behind who will be in his late 70’s by 2016. We’re unsure if they might retire, or come to their demise during this next presidency. This is downright FRIGHTENING. The reality is, we (the country) absolutely cannot lose the next two elections, or the republicans/corporations have the country cornered.

    If Obama is re-elected, Ginsberg could easily retire and Breyer if he chose to as well. The scale would remain as is.. not a good thing particularly, but ground would not be lost. The two Reagan appointed justices would have to wait or survive until 2017 or 2021 depending on who wins 2016.

    If Rmoney is elected the scale would potentially reach 7-2. Then the country would be signed sealed and delivered to the rich and crazy.

    With women’s rights being assaulted from all angles by the religious whack jobs, Rmoney has said he would overturn Roe v.Wade and the Supreme Court would allow it. Citizen’s United favoring corporations over people, allowing obscene amounts of money to dictate the elections and how we live our lives we cannot allow this to happen.

    I’ve been watching Bernie Sanders for years and he is my #1 hero and would vote for him in a minute if he were to run. That being said…. I don’t believe any independent has a chance in hell to win at the moment. I do firmly believe, any vote against Obama puts Rmoney one step closer to the white house and the country at grave risk.

    I’m not entirely thrilled with many of Obama’s policies. I was looking for more change than we’ve seen. I firmly believe we have to make a decision right now to accept the fact its a 2 party race this election and push harder than ever to give him a congress and keep a senate majority this time that he can work with.

    I had to make the decision to back Obama because he is the only viable option and right now this country needs whats viable not a dissatisfaction statement.

    Rmoney will drive this country right over the cliff in the worst free fall ever seen with his groundless imaginary plans, but more importantly he will be in the position to appoint Supreme Court Justices and if he did, it would take DECADES to correct. We’ve suffered enough, we’ve given enough and I think the risk of what would be lost if Rmoney wins, is worth being patient another 4 years.

  • Anonymous

    Lia sums it up well.

    Electing Obama and the Democrats is not the end…but a means to the end.

    Not voting out od disgust…or voting for a third party candidate who cant win as a protest may be cathartic…but it is, functionally, the equivalent of supporting Romney and company.

    The challnge is for the people…US…to make sure that what Bill calls “the party of the country” BECOMES the dominant force in Democratic party politics/policy.

  • Vittorio Felaco

    It is true and it is scary! Let’s hope that Americans will finally see the light and understand that we are one country and cannot afford the madness that the present republican party represents in spades!

  • Vittorio Felaco

    I believe that Bernie Sanders may very well be the only real politician left in this country. It is sad that a man like him cannot be the president of this country judging from the enormous impact of money that business represents in the political process! Money is buying everything in this country and the concept of democratic government has gone to pot! It is a shame and I am hoping that a second term for this excellent president would start us on the road to real democracy! It is also sad that intellectuals like Bill Moyer do not occupy a larger segment of the political spectrum! I am particularly upset at my brothers and sisters in the religious right for their totally misguided embrace of a party that has gone berserk and has betrayed every principle that previous notable and dignified republican leaders have always represented. Republicans have gone from being a center right party to a totally fascist-like right wing party fed and guided by individuals who are willing to shade anything they stand for, just like Romney has done in the last few months giving in to the worst elements of his party and denying all the ideas and ideals he previously claimed as his own!

  • moebears

    How is Obama defending the Const? He is ripping it to shreds. What Bush started, Obama is continuing. How can Obama “get rid” of congress taking bribes, when he does it himself? Goldmansachs, anyone?

  • moebears

    No, it is the party of cronyism, along with the democrats.

  • moebears

    I agree with you about the repubs, but you seem to have a massive pair of blinders on when it comes to the dems. They are also in bed with wall str and other large corporations. Obama has received millions from goldmansachs and others.

  • Sylvia Arthur

    That’s right. Anyone who votes Democrat because they think we might get a better deal is simply not paying attention. We can only remove the entrenched power with our own power; our voting power, our buying power, and our worker power. This is hard work. No one who is concerned should vote and then sit back to see what happens. No more victem mode. Defend yourselves with knowlege about sustainable economies and economic justice and then speak out publicly- any way you can. We must lead and implement these changes no one is going to, or even should buy it for us like the Tea Party.

  • Chris

    Wonderful show. I didn’t really know Bernie Sanders before, but I’m a HUGE fan now. Liked Ms. Stein and Honkala as well; however their road to fruition is much longer and tougher than Bernie’s. Thank you, Bill!!

  • Mackenzie Morgan

    Homesteading laws do still exist. That is, if you squat in an abandoned building, maintain it, do the repairs, etc. after a certain amount of time, it’s yours. I’m sure amendments could be made to those laws to make it easier to convert unused unloved land and buildings into homes.

  • The Norwegian

    look at how the Norwegian country is governed.
    Seems we have a lot less to worry about.

  • Felicia V. Gaddis

    Wonderful program… thank you Bill Moyers for highlighting real people with real solutions to Americas problems. Sander’s interview was very informative and substantive and although I know economically, they are on slightly different ends of the spectrum, I would love to see Buddy Roemer and Bernie Sanders on a ticket together… between the two of them, I think they could figure this thing out.

  • Strawman411

    So, if Obama had gotten more support, would he have eschewed recruiting to his inner circle some of the biggest crooks from Wall St., those who had campaigned hardest for deregulation and the resulting legitimization of naked greed?

    Would he have not only continued, but actually accelerated ALL of Bush’s criminal anti-terror policies, such as renditions, warrantless domestic surveillance and drone assassinations, unprecedented secrecy, persecution of whistleblowers (at least those not acting under his orders), and closing down legal medical marijuana dispensaries?

    Would he not have stepped up his fund-raising efforts from Day One, soliciting primarily the very moneyed interests who were and are hollowing out this country and its constitution?

    Lesser of two evils? Are the Republicans probably even worse?

    Whatever your answer[s], it is what officeholders do, not what they say — or how smoothly they say it, that enables us the voters to make an informed choice.

    I’m not yet sure for whom I’ll be pulling the lever this November, but it will not be for the nominee of either wing of the Corporacratic Party.

  • Guest

    More of these excellent guest please! Thank you very much for giving them the opportunity to talk to us!!

  • C Francisco Martinez

    More of these excellent guests please! Thank you very much for giving them the opportunity to talk to us!!

  • Anonymous

    We all know it’s about the economy and jobs. And so President Obama’s call for nation-building at home is right on the money. A nascent economic recovery in places like heartland Ohio that’s flying under the radar. Who among us understands much whether the responsible forces will not become clear absent the benefit of hindsight a couple of decades into the future?

    The parallels to U.S Grant’s rise to the head of all Union armies during and low key tone for Reconstruction of the South following the Civil War are apparent.


  • John Bartolotta

    Thank you so much for having Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala on to get their message out. You’re one of the few media outlets giving them any time and it’s appreciated.

  • je_mclaughlin

    Terrific show, love the podcast. We need to get rid of the filthy money in politics but how? I look forward to reading “The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class”
    by Bernard Sanders.

  • Jasmine Sailing

    Jill Stein has admitted the difficulties of running as a third party candidate many times, she isn’t deceiving people. The @jillstein2012 Twitter account even retweeted me saying people get too focused on win/lose and forget that altering mass media dialogue matters too. I heard her answer the obligatory “Why not run as a Democrat so you can be elected?” question during an interview on a Colorado non-commercial radio station. Worried about her not getting enough air time? Pester media sources about it! Email to express your opinion about including nationally qualified candidates (both Jill Stein and Gary Johnson qualify) in the debates. It’s a shame that the Green Party needs to waste so much precious campaigning time defending their right to not be Democrats.

  • Adam Levine

    I find it disturbing that Bernie Sanders has not chosen to run for President. After submitting the Saving American Democracy Amendment, he is perfectly positioned to run for President and support his Amendment as core to his platform. If Democrats and Progressives had him as an alternative, I don’t believe that Obama would get his shot. Every time I ask myself why he isn’t running, I come up with answers that range from potential corruption to fear that he will divide Obama voters while leaving Mitt’s base untouched and in a position to win. If there were one question for Senator Sanders, it would be why he hasn’t chosen to run?

  • jaloganjr

    Bless you, Bill Moyers. You are a credit to our species.
    You remain one of the few small islands of true, investigative journalism remaining on the airwaves.
    In the tradition of Cronkite and Murrow you provide the engine needed to keep democracy running. An oasis of reasonable discussion amidst a barren desert of politically and financially manipulated agendas so arrogant they hardly bother to disguise themselves
    Please keep on keeping on……….

  • Anonymous

    Loved the show. Thanks Bill!

    However, the interviews did not leave me particularly hopeful. Even if we get most of the corporate money out of the official electoral process, it will still slosh around in the background and the corporate agenda will still dominate, absent other changes.

    There still seem to be many people who think that because we have two parties and those parties are very different in some ways, then we have a real choice. But really, as your guests pointed out, when it comes to the corporate agenda, we have one party.

    Many other people say that “politics is the art of the possible,” and that we can’t be unrealistic. My answer to this is that we are facing a catastrophe, namely the destruction of the environmental conditions that support life as we know it, and it is clear that NEITHER MAJOR PARTY is capable of dealing with it. This is an emergency! The way things are going, especially with the Obama admin’s irresponsible “all of the above” energy policy, we are crossing climate tipping point after climate tipping point, all but guaranteeing a nightmarish future. What’s likely to happen is we’ll lose most of the Greenland ice sheet and the seas will rise by yards/meters, not just feet, wreaking havoc. Then our leaders will say we have no choice but to let the mad scientists try to save us with schemes that may be more destructive even than climate change, like spraying metals into the upper atmosphere in order to deflect the sun’s energies.

    As much as I agree with the Green Party’s agenda, they have no chance to win this election. They have too little support, too late in the game. Moreover, I didn’t find their argument convincing that it’s a myth that supporting the greens is likely to put Romney in the White House. I have been a strong democrat all my life, and if I vote for Jill Stein, that is one vote taken away from Barack Obama, a vote he had last time. I can hope that as many or more R’s than D’s do as I do, but the math is still relentless. We have a winner-take-all voting system that turns 3rd parties into spoilers, plain and simple. I wish Stein and Honkala had mentioned “preference” voting, also known as “Instant runoff voting” (IRV), which allows voters to choose third party candidates without helping the major party candidate they least favor.

    One quibble with Sanders: Bill Clinton never really had a budget surplus, although he came closer than anybody in recent years. His “surpluses” are the result of counting the excess FICA taxes as income but not as future obligation (which they were as well). The gross debt climbed in each of those “surplus” years. Also, besides excess FICA taxes, which averaged roughly 70 billion per year during Clinton’s second term, he benefited from a stock bubble that artificially pumped up federal revenues. That said, his budgeting record was sterling compared to that of the R’s who preceded and succeeded him.

    Also, we can say that SS hasn’t contributed “one dime” to the debt, and that’s essentially true, but the fact remains that its trust fund, including all the interest collected, is an unfunded liability to the gov’t as a whole. For that reason, the trust fund is counted as part of the national debt. What that means is that once we start drawing from the trust fund, pain will be felt elsewhere. So, we will have issues once we start drawing on the trust fund in a meaningful way, not simply when it “runs out.”

  • David Myers

    As a general question for both guests, but particularly Senator Sanders since you are already in Congress, which I think frustrates viewers that you and The Happy Few like you never dare ask, since the one common theme is tales of helpless woe: What If nothing improves and keeps getting worse, as everything has for a loong time, with no reason to think anything in sight can turn the tide? At What Point is Enough Enough, or Too Much Too Much, and what will be your position then? Since by Every Indication, we’ve already PASSED that, just as that young British historian at Harvard pointed out in a PBS documentary that WW III has come and is still going on without anyone noticing, WHY are you and none of your colleagues and kindred spirits even addressing the question? The more perfect union we formed at the outset turned out to be one big mess. Safe bet that there are more homeless people in America today than LIVED here when we fought the Revolution, perhaps even more people in PRISON or on parole, n’est ce pas? One might well argue that what used to be OUR government now exists principally to uphold the privileges of people like that single family, who own FORTY percent of it all. Lotta talk about how bad bullying is. Is it okay if the bully became the principal, and his cronies have taken over the whole school? Would it not be fair to describe Congress as a gang that is terrorizing the whole country?

  • Tibber Luke

    This argument, “now is not the time to vote 3rd party”, is trotted out every 4 years. The bottom line is that it is never a convenient time, there will always be fear of allowing election of the greater evil.
    If not now, when?
    If you live in a solid color state, this decision should be easy. If you are in a purple state, make up your own mind whether it is better to vote your hope or vote your fear. it is YOUR vote, it is YOUR power!

  • Anonymous

    Every state ballot has a write-in line.
    And you can obviously spell Dr. Jill Stein.
    So that she IS on the Ballot.
    PLEASE do.
    Vermont just pushed her out.

  • Anonymous

    Please go to her website.
    She ALONE is for public money.
    The Number One systemic change needed to end the control of politics by the banksters.

  • Anonymous

    Please grow up and a spine along with it.
    You could be just a tad progressive and encourage the Blue State voters to support Dr. Stein, while cautioning the purples.
    Instead, pure DNC drivel.
    With my apologies.

  • Lia

    This is a MUCH BIGGER election than “every four years”. We rarely ever have 4 elderly justices at election time, which is what sets this election apart and why it’s particularly important. Usually, it’s one or maybe 2 justices approaching such an elderly age. This sets 2012 apart from others. The next generation of aged justices will be in 2 decades. We need to plan properly and thoroughly now.

    If we are to open up the opportunity for a 3rd party, which I AM 100% in favor of, we need to lay the groundwork for that to happen. To not consider this fact and fail to plan for this is short sighted.

    No independent is going to win as long as there are SuperPAC’s and that is a fact. Additionally, if we fail set up the Supreme Court to favor “We The People” NOW, we will lose not only our rights for decades to the corporations, but we’ll also lose ground for the possibility for a viable 3rd party possibility. To not recognize this fact neglects to see the direction of the country from a broader perspective and how we drive it. We can’t have too narrow a focus of our goals despite our current disagreement with the state of affairs.

    There’s far too much on the line this election and many are failing to understand how to accomplish the ultimate goal. A dash of fear in the recipe of reality and path to democracy is a healthy thing. A recipe of anger and disgust for the present misses our hope for the future. It will only lose our ground and ultimately the corporations will win and we will have no where to stand and we then become pawns of the elite.

    YOUR vote, YOUR power as long as you know the path to and for the end result.

  • Lisa

    Why are the Green Party and credible Interdependent Candidates not included in the upcoming Presidential debates? Is there a constructive way in which the rules can be changed?

  • Gylangirl

    Yes Republicans screamed for banking deregulation and Free Trade. But the Democrats delivered it.

    President Bill Clinton signed NAFTA and the repeal of Glass Steagal.

  • Andre

    People who think that President Obama just needs more time to put this country on the correct path to long-term financial stability, a true green environment, significant financial regulations to reign in Wall Street, a real plan for creating fair-wage jobs for EVERYONE, stopping these endless wars, rescinding the Patriot Act, etc…

    Let me remind you of the following:
    -None of the significant Wall Street criminals have been prosecuted, but rather promoted, both literally and figuratively inside and outside of government.
    -The POOR have not even been mentioned (or, if so, barely a peep) by the current administration in any rhetoric leading up to this election.
    -President Obama was a Constitutional Law Professor at the University of Chicago, but has shown virtually NO real interest or action in his Supreme Court nominations being railroaded or the Supreme Court’s corporate-leaning rulings.
    -The true costs of these endless wars, including the illegal Iraq War, are being hidden from the public by this administration (# of wounded, homeless vets, substandard care of vets, multiple tours to avoid a draft, literally millions of innocent civilians murdered via “collateral damage”, and on and on)

    And that’s the very short list.

    The only solution is one wherein we the people vote for a third party that has a truly progressive and aggressive platform to transform our country from one owned and operated by corporations to one owned and operated by and for the people.

  • Bernie and Lockheed Martin

    Bill, next time ask Bernie why he cares more about Lockheed Martin’s profits and the budget-busting, behind-schedule, nuclear warhead-carrying F-35 fighter jet than his own constituents? As someone who has lived in Vermont for the last 12 years and observed Bernie up close during this time (& voted for him every time until now but never will again), Bernie talks a big game but has strayed FAR from his Progressive roots. He did great things as Mayor of Burlington and got off to a great start in Congress. However, over time, he’s become just another corrupt inside the beltway pol, talking out of both sides of his mouth. He’s a tool of Lockheed-Martin now. Cares more about their out-of-state profits than constituents in low-income, immigrant-filled Winooski and South Burlington (who stand to lose their life savings thanks to Bernie’s callous support for the F-35). Bernie is part & parcel of the corrupt Washington “inside the beltway” culture. There’s truly no hope for America when even Bernie Sanders fully succumbs to the military-industrial complex.