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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. President Obama’s State of the Union address and the rebuttals from the Republican Greek chorus already have been extensively vetted by the media. So as we say here in New York, enough already. Instead, we have a reality check from someone who artfully uses television drama to report on the state of America from an entirely different perspective: from the bottom up.

David Simon was a crime reporter for the “Baltimore Sun” whose journalism became the material for two non-fiction books, "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets," and "The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood." Each became a TV series and led Simon to leave daily journalism to create two unforgettable shows for HBO: "The Wire," about the precincts of Baltimore and the corruption of its institutions...

LESTER FREAMON from The Wire: You follow drugs, you get drug addicts and drug dealers. But you start to follow the money, and you don’t know where the f—k it’s gonna take you.

BILL MOYERS: And “Treme,” about the people of New Orleans grappling with a new and painful reality in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. CREIGHTON BERNETTE from Treme: What hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast was a natural disaster, a hurricane pure and simple. The flooding of New Orleans was a man made catastrophe. A federal f—k up of epic proportions.

BILL MOYERS: For David Simon, the State of the Union begins with the lives and stories of these people -- which is why he told an audience at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Australia last November that what's happening in America is “a horror show.” His remarks reverberated through cyberspace, so we asked him here to tell us more. He came to New York to receive a career achievement award from the Writers Guild of America, East. Welcome and congratulations.

DAVID SIMON: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

BILL MOYERS: Watching the president's speech the other night-- he was hopeful, he was upbeat, he was encouraging and inclusive and what he said. But I kept listening and thinking about that speech you had made last fall in Australia where you said what's happening here in America is "a horror show." And I wonder, how do you reconcile those two visions of our country?

DAVID SIMON: I don't think that you can call the American government anything other than broken at this point. And I think the break has come at the legislative level. I mean, that's the part of the government that has been purchased.

You can buy these guys on the cheap. And the capital's been at it a long time and the rules have been relaxed. The Supreme Court has walked away from any sort of responsibility to maintain democracy at that level. That's the aspect of government that's broken.

And it doesn't matter whether it's Obama or Clinton or Bush or anybody at this point. If this is the way we're going to do business, we're not going to do business. You know, they’ve paid for it to be inert. And it is inert. And ultimately that aspect of capitalism hasn't been dealt with in any way.

BILL MOYERS: Every president from Kennedy to Obama has insisted that the rising tide will lift all boats, but it hasn't happened.

DAVID SIMON: Yeah, I think supply-side economics has been shown to be bankrupt as an intellectual concept. It's not only unproved, the opposite has occurred if you're looking at the divergence in the economic health of middle class families or the working class, what's left of the working class --certainly the underclass -- and you're looking at where the wealth of the country is going and how fast. We are becoming two Americas in every fundamental sense.

BILL MOYERS: So you weren't using hyperbole in Australia? That wasn't just to try to drive a point home when you talked about-- DAVID SIMON: No.

BILL MOYERS: --two Americas and the people in one of those Americas has been “utterly divorced from the American experience” that you, David Simon--

DAVID SIMON: You know, listen, a lot of this falls on people of color because, you know, they're the last in through the door in the economic ladder. And if you look at the city where I live and you look at Baltimore, Maryland, half of the adult male African American residents have no work. That's not an economic system that is having a bad go of it, that's something that doesn't actually work.

That's an economic system that is throwing away and doesn't need 10 to 15 percent of its population.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, without work they have no value, no worth to society?

DAVID SIMON: It's existential. And--

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean?

DAVID SIMON: Work is meaning for all of us. And it's relevance and it's our place in society--is dictated to us by what we contribute and what we're paid to do. And if part of America is validated to the extent that they are predominant in all of the luxury that the country can afford and part of the country is utterly irrelevant to the economic structure, you know, those factories are all gone. We don't need those people anymore. And we've let them know.

And you know, the only factory in my city, in west Baltimore or in east Baltimore that was working, that was viable was the drug corner. And that worked like a charm. And ultimately what I look at is the hyperbole by which we say we're including everybody while we're tossing people out of the boat left and right.

We've changed and we've become contemptuous of the idea that we are all in this together. This is about sharing and about, you know, when you say sharing there's a percentage of the population (and it's the moneyed percent of our population), that hears socialism or communism or any of the other -isms they want to put on it. But ultimately we are all part of the same society. And it's either going to be a mediocre society that, you know, abuses people or it's not.

BILL MOYERS: In your speech you said that knowing that they're worthless, these people, worthless, valueless because they have no economic means of support and nothing economically--

DAVID SIMON: They're not relevant.

BILL MOYERS: They're not relevant. But they have to endure as you said. And is that the horror show, the fact that they know they're not needed and they have to go on anyway?

DAVID SIMON: And that once they're in that situation, they're not only marginalized, they're abused. I mean, we are the country that jails more of our population than any other state on the globe. More than totalitarian states we put people in prison. We've managed to monetize these irrelevant people in a way that allows some of us to get rich.

Now, we're all paying for it as taxpayers for having this level of incarceration in American society which is unheard of in the world. But we let some people, you know, get a profit off of it. The monetization of human beings like that, you know, anybody tells you that the markets will solve everything, the libertarian ideal.

I can't get past just how juvenile the thought is that if you just let the markets be the markets, they'll solve everything.

You know, America worked when there was tension between capital and labor, when there-- when neither side won all of its victories, when they were fighting. It's in the fight that we got healthy, that we transformed a working class into a middle class, that we became a consumer economy that drove the world for about half a century--

BILL MOYERS: And--

DAVID SIMON: --maybe a little more.

BILL MOYERS: --and what's happened?

DAVID SIMON: Well, the fights gone out of labor. Labor’s lost the fight. Capital's won. There was--

BILL MOYERS: To the victor go the spoils.

DAVID SIMON: There was a class war and labor, and the poor people lost and the working people lost.

BILL MOYERS: Let me bring up an excerpt from your speech in Australia.

DAVID SIMON at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas: Ultimately we abandoned that and believed in the idea of trickle-down and the idea of the market economy and the market knows best, to the point where now libertarianism in my country is actually being taken seriously as an intelligent mode of political thought. It's astonishing to me, but it is. People are saying I don't need anything but my own ability to earn a profit. I'm not connected to society. I don't care how the road got built, I don't care where the firefighter comes from, I don't care who educates the kids other than my kids. I am me. It's the triumph of the self. I am me, hear me roar.

BILL MOYERS: What are you talking about there? DAVID SIMON: Talking about greed, just greed. And it's a self-destructive greed to the economy that does lift all boats in the sense that, you know, we're arguing about the minimum wage right now and making it $10. Ten-- or we're arguing about welfare reform and eliminating forms of welfare.

You know something? I know that if I pay a guy working a counter at a fast food place $10 or $12 or $15, I know if I give a welfare check to a mother of two in West Baltimore, I know that all of that money's actually going back into the American economy. I know that every single dollar has a multiplier factor. Nobody's saving money on $12 an hour in America. They're living hand to mouth.

And I know that every single dollar is going to be multiplied through the economy. You give me a tax break, you know, working as I do in the entertainment industry and at the level of a TV producer and I can't figure out how to spend enough of it, you know. I might, you know, I might have a little conscience, I might throw some of it to charity and try to feel better about myself. But I can't possibly-- how many yachts can I water ski behind in Baltimore Harbor?

And yet that's the kind of argument that supply-side economics is. Give us, the job makers, the money and we'll make jobs. Not with all of it you won't. A lot of it's going to Wall Street and it's going to sit there and it's going to be subjected to much less tax liabilities, the capital gains. You know, the scam of it, the scam of what America's become, you know, give the money to the rich and they'll see that you're not poor. Is that really what you're saying?

But you know, you actually argue about making the poor people a little less poor and then half of Congress is running away as if this is going to-- you know, if you want your economy to grow, people have to have the money, they have to have the discretionary income to buy stuff. That's what made us great in the last century is that suddenly a working class which was on subsistence wages at the early part of the century had enough money, discretionary income, to buy the things they needed and some things that they didn't need but wanted. And that grew us.

And now you're arguing over whether this guy who's working every day at the Burger King, whether he can have $10 or $12 an hour. Aren't you ashamed of yourself? Aren't-- you know, where's the shame? There is no shame anymore in America.

BILL MOYERS: That brings me to another part of your speech. Let's listen.

DAVID SIMON at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas: That may be the ultimate tragedy of capitalism in our time, which is that it has achieved its dominance without regard to a social compact, without being connected to any other metric for human progress.

BILL MOYERS: And by social contract you mean?

DAVID SIMON: Those are the things that make life worth living, that make-- that give value to being a person, a citizen. If how much money you have is the defining characteristic of citizenship or of value or of relevance, of human relevance, and if that's all that we're going to measure (and apparently, since 1980 this all we're going to measure), you're going to get a society to live in that is structured on that metric. And it's going to be a brutal one.

But ultimately, capitalism has not delivered on the promise to be a measurement of anything other than money, of profit. And if profit is your only metric, man, what are you building? Where does the environment fit into that? Where does human potential and you know, for anything other than having some money in your hand, you know, where does, where do people stand when they have health needs or when they make a mistake in life? You know, it was said a long time ago you judge a society by is hospitals and its prisons. By that standard we're, you know, we have a lot to be ashamed of.

BILL MOYERS: Those of us who've seen “The Wire” know that the people you're writing about are those losers. They're the people who are without value to society. And President Obama is on the record as saying that "The Wire" is his favorite TV series of all time. Do you think he gets it?

DAVID SIMON: I think he probably gets it. I don't think Obama is any different from the person I thought we elected two election cycles ago. I think he's encountered a rigged game. And I don't think the next guy will have anything other than a rigged game.

And I think, you know, considering the gerrymandering that has made the representative aspect of our legislative branch an absurdity and considering the monetization of our legislative branch I don't think anybody gets a legislature that is functional. I have no faith in the ability of the legislative branch of my government to in any remote way reflect the popular will.

BILL MOYERS: So when the president says it's time to deal with inequality, you are not saying he's insincere, it's just that nothing is going to happen because of the resistance and the opposition?

DAVID SIMON: He said he was going to do a lot of things in a lot of State of the Union addresses. And many of them were admirable in my eyes. Good luck. Good luck getting that passed, you know. Look at what happened with the major initiative of the first term which is health care.

The money that was heaved by-- the capital that ran into the halls of government to spend to make sure that we would not achieve what most Americans have said they want at a basic level, certainly at the time the legislation was passed, we'd like to have it that all of us have access to some basic health care. That seems to be an entirely functional thing that many Western countries have managed beautifully, but we cannot.

How it happens, who gets what, you know, single payer, once you got done with what happened in the Congress it was a marginal plan that came out and then our ability to affect it, we're arguing over an IT problem? Really? That's what it comes down to? 'Cause if we can't fix the computers and if we can't fix the administration of a program to-- and of course we can and of course they're all, you know, if you look back at what happened when Medicare came in, the bureaucracy was disastrous in the beginning and everyone--

BILL MOYERS: problems--

DAVID SIMON: Of course.

BILL MOYERS: Social security as well. DAVID SIMON: You know when we started out space program, which was, you know, an unqualified success in the end, the rockets kept blowing up on the launching pad. Somehow we figured out a way to keep launching rockets and do it right. And that's a very different America from the tonality of this one, which is selfish, which is I have my health care still and I don't want to pay for anybody else to get back in the boat. This is about sharing. This about our loss of the idea of society.

BILL MOYERS: Listening to, watching the State of Union address and when the camera would cut to the chamber in the House there, everyone in that chamber: well paid, health benefits, pension plan, a staff to serve their needs, corporations throwing money at them to make sure they get reelected. And I wonder if people that far removed from where you were can even imagine the horrors of the America you describe. DAVID SIMON: You know, I've had the sensation over the last twenty -- and before “The Wire” even, I mean, when I was just a police reporter in Baltimore -- of hearing people inside the beltway speak about the American city or about urban issues or about things that I actually knew a little bit about. And they would talk about it you know, I'd be listening to, you know, a Gingrich or even some well-meaning liberal.

And I would think, I would love to have these guys in my Volkswagen Passat and just kick them out on the corner at Monroe and Fayette and you know, and just leave them there for a month, you know, and just see if they can you stop them from saying this stuff with just a little bit of aware--

BILL MOYERS: What would they see?

DAVID SIMON: They're not going to--

BILL MOYERS: What would they see at the corner?

DAVID SIMON: Well, they'd see human beings for one thing. They'd see the America that they've left behind and have left behind for generations. And now increasingly it's not all just people of color. Now the economy has shrugged again and again and we're leaving white people behind.

And so all of a sudden, it's encroaching in a way that people are getting a little bit more frantic. And it's making some people more inclined to reflect on what the system has wrought. And it's making other people more inclined to just dig the trenches deeper.

BILL MOYERS: The best analysis of Obama's speech that I read came from the writer Matt Miller who worked for Bill Clinton in the White House when Clinton laid out, Miller says, about the same vision that Obama did this week. Here's what Miller wrote, quote, "Yet in the years since, on virtually every metric progressives care about … the measures of a good society have gone in the wrong direction."

DAVID SIMON: Wrong direction.

BILL MOYERS: “Wages are stagnant or shrinking. School rankings have sagged. College and health costs have soared. Our rates of child poverty lead the developed world. Decent jobs remain scarce. The accident of birth weighs more heavily in dictating one's destiny. All the compelling anecdotes or special guests in the chamber don't change that."

DAVID SIMON: That's right. That's right. And you know, not to critique only the conservative logic and the supply-side logic, you know, Bill Clinton in maneuvering to the center, he signed all those crime bills. He made the American gulag as vast as it is with a lot of his legislation against the drug war. And he made it so that these disposable people could become grist for that horrible mill.

I am so aware of what-- at this point of having covered it for so many years of what the drug war means in terms of being effectively a war on the poor. That's all it is. It has no meaning in terms of narcotics or anything like that. That’s the shell game.

BILL MOYERS: But you wouldn't, you wouldn't connect that, would you, to the power of capital to buy the legislation.

DAVID SIMON: It's the power of capitalism--I don't know if I think it's that much of a plan, I'm not that much of a conspiracist. I think there are a lot of extra people left over when the factories all go to the cheapest labor. And you know, if you're going to move to the manufacturing base to the Pacific Rim and to Mexico and wherever else-- you're going to have a lot of extra people. And that's going to make you nervous. And those people are not going to have-- well, you're either going to have to pay them to be extra, which we don't have-- we're not that selfless. We're cutting back on welfare.

You're either going to have to pay them to be useless, you're going to have to find a way to completely reorient them and place them in the service economy in ways that they are not now relevant for. And that's a lot of money, we don't want to spend that money. Or you're going to have to hunt them, hunt them down. And that's what the drug war became. You know, we left one last industry in places like West Baltimore and North Philadelphia and East St. Louis; we left one last factory standing. We left the drug corner. And it was very lucrative and very destructive. And then we made that legal and then we made the laws against that so draconian that we could basically destroy lives.

And then to make it even more laughable as a capitalist enterprise, we started turning over the prisons to private companies. And so they can, certain people with the contracts can find a profit metric in destroying these lives.

BILL MOYERS: President Obama has said he wants a higher minimum age and he'll sign an executive order to do it in contracts that will come along down the road.

DAVID SIMON: And some jurisdictions will do the same thing. But why can't Congress look at this and say, "You know what? This is what we say we want these people working, we say we don't want welfare cheats, we say we don't want to welfare to grow. Here are people who are willing to work full time to be part of our service economy. Let's give them some discretionary income. They're probably going to spend it buying American product."

BILL MOYERS: It makes such sense, David, but at the same time, the federal minimum wage is $7.25. If it had been adjusted for productivity gains and inflation, today it would be $21.72.

DAVID SIMON: I know.

BILL MOYERS: Something like that. DAVID SIMON: We are Reagan's children, we are Thatcher's children. You know, there is no society, there's just you. We bought this stuff hook, line and sinker and we are building that. We're getting the America we've paid for.

BILL MOYERS: And where's the pushback?

DAVID SIMON: Shameful. Where's the pushback? Well, you saw a great first act in Occupy Wall Street. It's a shame they had no second act, but they had a good first act. And you see it, I think, in a very tragic way in the fact that most people are opting out of the political structure. I don't think that's, you know, I can say all these things about it's a rigged game and yet I still go in and I vote and I still argue in public. But a lot of people have given up. And one of the attractions of this sort of anti-government libertarian point of view, of the idea that government is the problem, you know, all those wonderful lines of, you know, "I'm here from the government, I'm here to help." That's the worst line you can hear. All that crap is in fact the flotsam and jetsam of everyone's disappointment in where we've been going.

And it's being harnessed in a way that only contributes to the problem. You know, government and democracy in particular, it is about constant battle, it's about nothing ever being fixed or ever being right. We will never solve a problem to the point where we can walk away from it and the machine will, you know devour the problem without our attending to it.

There will always be conflict, there will always be competing interests that force us to engage in the hard job of governing ourselves. And so the anti-government thing strikes me as a perversity. I don't think the founding fathers would recognize it. They were constructing a government of the people. That’s their language and I think that's their belief.

And the idea that the government is some, you know, once we start regarding it as some alien force that we can't control, we're done, democracy's done. That's the last stage of walking away from the responsibility of governing ourselves. If we can't control it, if it is going to be a purchased government, if we can't institute the reforms that are necessary, then we're done, we're done right now.

BILL MOYERS: But are we done? More on that question next week with David Simon. In the meantime, at our website BillMoyers.com, you can see David Simon’s entire talk at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Australia. And you can view excerpts of my interviews with Pete Seeger, who died this week at 94.

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

Full Show: America as a Horror Show

January 31, 2014

This week on Moyers & Company, David Simon, journalist and creator of the TV series The Wire and Treme, talks with Bill about the crisis of capitalism in America. After President Barack Obama’s annual State of the Union address, it’s a reality check from someone who artfully uses television drama to report on the state of America from an entirely different perspective — the bottom up.

“The horror show is we are going to be slaves to profit. Some of us are going to be higher on the pyramid and we’ll count ourselves lucky and many many more will be marginalized and destroyed,” Simon tells Moyers. He blames a “purchased” Congress for failing America’s citizens, leading many of them to give up on politics altogether.

Producer: Gina Kim. Segment Producer: Lena Shemel. Editor: Rob Kuhns.

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  • Anonymous

    Great interview. Wish more working class Americans watched this – David Simon tells it as it is. Sadly. What will it take for this nation to wake up to the horror show going on?

  • mikey

    around minute nine this guy says something like America was great in the past but now it’s different. This position has a basic flaw. Historically America stole from anybody and redistributed it to the middle class so they could buy stuff. Now everybody but the rich is in on the deal and we have to get back to the golden past when the middle class were created. This is nothing. It’s OK to steal as long as more of us are in one the crime? A perfect Democrat.

  • Fred Mannheim

    Sadly? I think it’s gone passed the idea of sadly. America is in the Twilight of it’s existence. By that I mean that, while it may continue to exist, it will only continue on as a Mediocrity. Sure we have power, Military Power, but aside from that America has a dead society. We won’t be able to fix it as long as the rules that presently allow for how our govern ment is elected and is run stay in place. Until Money is no longer viewed as Free Speech and until we Americans demand an ethical system. As it is the ethics of America is rotting both from the Top down to the Bottom up. Either it changes dramatically or we as a nation are sunk.

  • Anonymous

    The bottom line is we are done! We have a bought and paid for government, a population that is less and less capable of critical thinking, who are mostly immune from the effects of history, facts or reason. 2% of the population determines who is on the presidential ballot. Voting has become a farce because if you control who is on the ballot, you control the elections. Pretty damn hard to vote for orange or grape when the only thing on the ballot is Pepsi and Coke. The two political parties who hold hands under the table have a compete lock on power, while they put on a dog and pony show for the American Sheeple. The Supreme Court has determined that money is speech, so the more you have, the louder your voice. We have too big to jail along with too big to fail. The entire political and economic stem is broken, or should I say fixed? There is a war on scientific and intellectual thought. I would challenge anyone to point out anything of real significance that is going in the right direction! I think if you want to see where the US is headed, take a look at Mexico.

    “When we view the political elite, we are seeing the monkey who does the dance, not the organ grinder who calls the tune”

  • Grandpa Jones

    The difference between the new and the old America is the embrace of supply side economics. The “trickle down” that never trickled down but that every administration pretty much endorsed.

    Our history is a history of mutual benefit, investment and communal work. We produced what we consumed. We lived in the cycles of nature in sustainable ways. So in those terms it was better.

    The government has always taxed and spent, the only difference is the taxes were rolled back for the 1% but not for you and me. So the debt grew as the infrastructure aged and the bills got larger. IOUs were written on government paper and we hitched our fortunes to our big companies. We doubled down on a throw away economy based around driving cars around and cheap oil. Finance is now 40% of the economy from 5% in 1980, and global multinationals pretty much write the regulations and laws today. All of the republicans and democrats are the problem- the system itself is a problem. I appreciate your point of view, thanks for the comment.

  • Anonymous

    Same sad, sorry story in the UK

  • Anonymous

    Another reason to love Baltimore: David Simon.

  • Anonymous

    young people who in the sixties were at the front line, marching and bringing attention and demanding change are afraid to lose their student loans and their credit ratings. Grown folks are afraid to lose their jobs, social media, the last opportunity for a group voice is being curtailed. Occupy movement was crushed by the outside while torn apart internally. So what is left for the people to do? It’s going to be 2 more years but we’ll see people take to the streets because there will be no other options. And then people will see the true and hideous colors of american gov’t. Unless we the peole can be heard before then, we are screwed. And as the richest, most influential nation, we can expect the world to follow suit.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with much of what you say. However, when you look at the two GMO labeling initiatives that failed to pass in California and Washington State due to huge amounts of out of state money, it shows once again how under-informed people continue voting against their own best interest. Belief in both “climate change” and evolution have actually gone down in the last ten years. Studies out of Stanford and another university suggest that American adults are getting dumber. Where I live, you can’t even get a conversation going about the real problems because everyone is polarized over ideology or favoring one bought and paid for party over the other. Most people I know remain voluntarily ignorant to what is happening, and if you pretend you have no power, you don’t have to do anything!

    I have issues with the way Wal-Mart treats it’s workers, and their effect on the local businesses! So last year I decided I would no longer shop there! Alone, I can make no impact, but imagine if most of us did this one simple thing? In 2012 I decided I would no longer support either of the two current political parties and I voted third party. A wasted vote? Really?
    When you consider that more voters did not vote at all in the last election than voted for either Obama or Romney, I wonder who is wasting their votes?

  • NotARedneck

    In most cases, it is underlying racism of far too many Americans that drives the political discourse. Such people will believe almost anything if you can link it to minorities “having it too good”. Rare is the issue that doesn’t come down to this rubric.

  • NotARedneck

    The “new America” was created when the wealthy found out, in the 1970s, how easy speculation was compared to having to make real investments.

    Reagan came in and got the policies that prevented the Great Depression from returning and bolstered the middle class, removed from the political arena.

    The average worker has lost more than 40% of their standard of living since – although you would never see that bystudying the gamed economic statistics.

  • Justin King

    “financial repression” is becoming part of the “new normal”.
    Welcome to THE SERVANT ECONOMY – by Jeff Faux.

  • Rob

    Have any of you given any credence to what your own president has achieved – someone who started with nothing, shaky credentials, black and no real experience who is now the president of the United States and the most powerful man in the world. From nothing to the top, that is what America offers if folks are willing to go for it and put in the effort. No guarantees for anyone, but the chance is there. No other country in history can say that. You folks need to get off your idealistic mantra and see the world as it is, its history, get some realism, and appreciate the greatness of this country as it is today. Sorry for raining on your parade. I choose not to be part of your “OMG” reaction so no email address. I also see this will likely never make the below comment list as Bill will “edit” it out. That seems to be the way of you folks.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Bill…just sorry your show was cut to half an hour…would have loved to hear the other half. I would like to see Simon on more of your shows and elaborate on New Orleans a bit more than a blip!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. I know the general public is not aware of how far we have moved in this direction.

  • Anonymous

    “…shaky credentials, black and no real experience…” Um… yeah. Please get informed. If nothing else, look into President’s long list of credentials that not only qualify him for office (obviously), but make him more suitable than several presidents in the modern era. Unlike the last president, Obama has spotless record (no arrests, etc.) and well above average academic credentials. Take some time to learn what is required to hold office, as well as the (extremely thorough and not pleasant) vetting process involved with choosing candidates. He has as much or more experience in this field (law, politics) than many have had. And yes, he is black. The last president was white.Your point?

  • Anonymous

    We have also been significantly expanding a “secondary” workforce in the US that can be paid less than minimum wage/has no labor rights or protections (workfare labor, prison labor, etc.)

  • Anonymous

    I strongly disagree. My life has pretty much revolved around poverty and the poor since the late 1970s, and we have seen a sustained campaign against the poor since the 1980s, most disturbingly led by politicians. We have reached the point where they are, indeed, dismissed as something less than people. For example, with this generation’s inequality discussion, the inequality is restricted to the gap between the middle and rich, utterly excluding those in deep poverty. Once a person reaches the point where it is virtually impossible to secure employment (i.e., homeless, no phone, no money for bus fare), he becomes a non-person.

  • Anonymous

    Obama is a well educated black man, who forgot where he came from. He is totally in the back pocket of Wall Street and he does not have any help in Congress, but most of his policies were a mirror image of Bush, and he totally shafted the common man at the bottom. He spent billions, on Homeland security, NSA, insane military ventures and billions of tax breaks for the very wealthy, while he robbed us of all our civil liberties, and habeas Corpus.. He sold the under classes down the river, he never gave a %&*#. It was all about, him, his family, and his buddies. And the thousands of favors he owes on the way up. I don’t think anyone can come from the bottom and not need to give payback on the way up. He is just a well spoken version of Bush, with eloquent dialogue , but cemented to his wall street buddies. The American public lost again

  • Anonymous

    I see things differently. The (1960s) era of citizen activism was sparked by the civil rights movement and the Poor People’s Campaign. Kind of funny, really — We note Martin Luther King Day every year, but the public (media) discussion, especially since Clinton, has virtually censored out the history of the Poor People’s Campaign. Another part of the protest movement actually was driven by young middle class people; the anti-war movement. The primary focus wasn’t on the horror of war itself, but on the draft. It’s not clear what outside factors crushed Occupy. What I do know is: Occupy began as a historic people’s movement that could have changed the course we’re on. But before we even had time to catch our breath, media rushed in to redefine Occupy as a Middle Class Only movement. Lib media became all about/only about the “hardships” of those with incomes roughly in the $50k range, the middle class (with a few pats on the heads of low wage workers). So, the rest of us walked away, and Occupy fizzled out.

  • Anonymous

    David Simon is great humanitarian and American. Very few speak from the heart and cut through the lies and clutter. But how to have your message heard above the billionaire media sound machine

  • gininitaly

    As long as he was willing to sell his soul to the company store for his ‘efforts’… but actually the world has a very long string of rags to riches dictatorships…. just like ours.

    So if you choose to call America today a Great country because your portfolio is doing just dandy, I’m afraid I’d have to disagree, when you have 150 people who own 90% this countrys wealth, a sold out government who happily let manufacturing decamp with nothing to fill the gap… you pretty much said goodbye to democracy and a civil society where everyone can make a living.

  • gininitaly

    Actually Wall St called in their markers…. again… and the government provided them with the gestapo storm troopers to break up and criminalize the grassroots peaceful protests.

    We are no longer allowed to protest the vast injustices that have led to this Plutocracy… or hadn’t you noticed how thanks to the Patriot Act and Homeland Security… we Americans have all become terrorists threatening the throne of the elites?

  • yurik

    You didn’t rained on any ones party you just showed how superficial you are, after listening to this interview you haven’t learned a thing about our nation and how it operates. I don’t think you have the capacity to see the truth.

  • Anonymous

    It’s possible to win the lottery too, but that’s not the point, to make one person impossibly lucky or wealthy. It’s to lift everyone who works hard.

  • Glenn Havinoviski

    What is undoubtedly true – our Congress is the best money can buy – and they were. The Bernie Sanders’ and Elizabeth Warrens are few and far between.

  • Anonymous

    We have been living under an oligarchy since that actor fellow became president and introduced the country to the system called ‘Reaganomics’. As a result, The top ten percent have 81% to 94% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and almost 80% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Moyers refers to Mr. Simons shows as being about losers with out value. Which would be 99% of Americans these days. Maybe it is the Scrooges, their congressional prostitutes and the many that their media minions have lulled into contemptuous disdain for the common man and oddly even themselves that consider such. But, though we have been, invaded, betrayed, lied to, misled, short changed, robbed, enslaved, imprisoned and are under continuous siege, Americans are far from losers, and maybe for the Scrooges and their faithful the measure has changed, but for Americans the standard of worth has not. The invaders with their Trojan horses may have taken the flag, the government and perverted the mindset of many, but they can not take the soul of this nation no matter how they try. Mr. Moyers and Mr. Simon are living proof of that.

  • Anonymous

    Racism has been a handy tool for keeping people divided and fighting for crumbs at the bottom since the inception of the country. It’s a shame many people can’t see through the sham. It’s really all about the economics which is what Dr. King had begun to say before he was killed.

  • Edward Moriarty

    Unrestrained, unregulated, free (????) market capitalism, Citizen’s United Ruling by SCOTUS, designated protest and demonstration areas, Profits from illness and imprisonment of the people. America the Beautiful or littered and ravaged land? Land of the Free or Prisons for profit? Home of the Brave or Bastion of the greedy?
    It is time for massive general coordinated nationwide strikes and boycotts. We must put the brakes on this runaway train, just to get the attention of the Oligarchs and their(and only theirs) {s}elected representatives. Defy designated protest areas in order to fill the jails beyond capacity or ability to restrain, stop participating in the trickle UP economy- form co-ops, collectives, credit unions, barter systems. Send no capital back into “the system.” Do we, the American People, have the willingness and courage to take the necessary steps, and suffer the necessary hardships that will be necessary to stop this Royalist Elite takeover of our nation? The longer we wait, the more difficult the task and the more we will all suffer.

  • Anonymous

    If only we were “…mostly immune from the effects of history, facts or reason.”
    I would substitute “ignorant of” for “immune from”. And for must its a willful ignorance. Belligerent denial is the chosen reality.
    Who can blame the greedy for taking advantage.

  • Anonymous

    “Either it changes …” And will “it” change all by itself? What will make “it” change? How did “it” get to this point? Is it (another it) possible that it is because the “good men” required to keep evil from triumphing have, in fact, done nothing?

  • Edward Moriarty

    Barack Obama hardly started with nothing, Private college preparatory education is not the norm. Shaky credentials?; Columbia Univ., Harvard Law School, President of Harvard Law Review.Black and no real experience?; World travelled and educated, community organizer(not the do nothing job the pundits joke about, but a difficult path that requires excellent “people skills”, and black? what’s that got to with qualifications? He is not the log splitting, up from the people “From nothing to the top” story of which you write. and the nonsense comment { Bill will “Edit” it out}, completely discredits your post….. they way of what folks? OMG! about that, you can certain.

  • Anonymous

    You vote for folks who say the right things – who are they – Ds, Rs?

  • Rich Carter

    I decided to join Mr. Simons’ movement after seeing part of the show last night. Came here today to watch the beginning minutes and found out that I can actually communicate (via ‘the cloud’ by the way) with likeminded folks. I don’t think using ‘Disqus’ is enough for me to do to help accomplish the goals Mr. Simons presented (so succinctly, by the way) and would appreciate any guidance anyone may have regarding enrollment and /or volunteering opportunities. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Green Party

  • Rich Carter

    Why??

  • Anonymous

    There used to be an e-mail address where one could write to Mr. Moyers – but I can’t find it now – i have a couple of suggestions as to who would make great guests, but i can’t find the e-mail address – is this no longer an option?

  • Bassie Kims of Yesteryear

    Yep. And only one of ‘em is a Democrat.

    A few decades ago, Sanders and Warren would have been mainstream Democrats. The leadership would be fighting for their populist ideas, because they’d be the leadership’s ideas too.

    Look how far we’ve fallen.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Simons made many points, but 3 of the major ones were the dysfunctionality of our legislatures, the role that big money plays and the fact that folks are dropping out of the political process altogether – these points are all inter-related …
    Legislatures, and executive branches, are composed of Ds, Rs – both parties have been bought by big corporate money, there is little debate now about that – all the things we say are needed will not be achieved as long as corp controlled politics run the show – both major parties benefit from Citizens United, both from the electoral system as it stands … As long as we keep returning them to office we can expect no better – they both keep sliding to the right (that is why you have so many whacko Reps – the Dems have gone so far right there is no “reasonable” Right position left for them) …

    We need to elect non corp folks to office – the Greens are one of the “largest” of the 3rd parties that embrace progressive politics – Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Pres candidate in ’12 was on enough ballots to get enough EC votes to potentially win …

    A big part of the problem, as i see it, is that, though folks like Mr. Simons do such a marvelous job of diagnosing the problem and cry out for a solution, they perpetually overlook what is to me a rather obvious one – to return to a politics of the people you need a party of the people – and neither the Ds nor Rs have been that for some time … Occupy, out of fear of being “co-opted” by the corrupted political establishment, shied away from politics altogether, but that, IMO, was a major mistake – “Act 2″ should have been the embrace of progressive politics …

    Time after time in opinion poll after opinion poll folks express preferences for things like single payer – and there is a least one party out there, the Greens, whose platform, unlike those of the 2 major parties matches so much of what folks say they want – Greens are not corporate funded (they refuse to be – which is why they don’t have a lot of money) and are available on many ballots to choose – we have to start choosing them …. We have to translate our choices in opinion polls into our choices at electoral polls or we will keep sliding ….

    Sorry for the long reply – not too many chances to expound – but check out the folks in the Green Shadow Cabinet …

  • Bassie Kims of Yesteryear

    Valuable, but Simon makes a major mistake. He falls into the Poor Helpless President trap. He partly justifies Obama’s evil.

    Obama, after his populist SOTU, is pushing, hard, for the TPP. He is about to sign off on cuts to food stamps (food stamps!), when he could promise a veto for any bill that hurts the least among us. He is utterly cynical, utterly corrupt.

    Obama is not a helpless victim. Obama is fully complicit.

  • Grandpa Jones

    Reagan championed trickle down economics, didn’t he? And wasn’t the economic boost mainly a result of the diminishing costs of primary energy as the oil market was flooded with production? And what about the finance industry which began its long climb to achieve dominance in the economy. I recall Savings and Loan scandal, a black friday stock market crash, and of course, Ronnie taken by surprise and expertly taking credit for the fall of the Berlin wall. It was a decade when the regulators were called off and Wall street really started to consolidate the productive industries in the country who were starting to decline as cheaper and more capable industry rose across the world. I think we’re in a “new” new period at this point. Where all the money is funny.

  • Grandpa Jones

    The food stamp cuts, part of the farm bill, were a compromise with republicans.

    Lets be honest about food stamps: its corporate welfare. We pay taxes, the gov. issues food stamps, people buy processed junk from the big box grocers. We pay subsidizes for crop production, processing, and so forth, etc. Its just stimulus all around.

    If we really cared about the “least among us” there would be a minimum living stipend paid in cash which would provide enough for basic rent, basic food, basic health care, basic utilities, and not much else.

    Instead, food stamps, a stigmatized practice that attacks one’s self-esteem, which is designed to funnel money directly to the companies making America fat and stupid, and makes sure people are stuck at the bottom competing for living space with illegal immigrants and being forced to work dead end jobs in some other arm of the food process industry.

    Some think coercion is the only way people will achieve anything but I believe the opposite might be true. If we provide a real safety net and make sure no one is coerced into working, people would relax, and then begin to focus on productive and creative activity. Instead our mental and physical capital only takes the shape of whatever short-term capital strategy corporations are pursuing.

    We have 44 million on food stamps, and if we paid a straight cash stipend of $1000/mo. it would be only 44 billion a month or 528 billion dollars a year. All of this cash would go back into local communities. People wouldn’t be forced to do anything; but they would pursue work and income for the things people want: cars, cellphones, clothes, and whatnot. But heres the thing: this basic stipend would replace all other forms of welfare. And people would begin to treat themselves and their communities with a greater degree of ownership instead of being essentially client citizens. I just looked at total entitlement spending in 2012, it was over 3 trillion dollars. What value are we getting for that besides grinding people down and destroying human capital?

  • Jackie Marshall

    A huge sector of Americans have been rendered invisible by poverty but they just won’t die, so the death panel called the House of Representatives is trying to fix that.

  • http://www.billmoyers.com Theresa Riley

    Dear Aquifer,

    If you fill out the form here, http://billmoyers.com/contact-us, I can assure you that it will make it’s way to Mr. Moyers. He also reads these comments, so pls. feel free to post your suggestions here, as well!

    Best-
    Theresa @ Moyers Media

  • Jackie Marshall

    That may change when so many educated and empathetic people have nothing to lose and everything to gain by getting beaten, arrested, jailed, and possibly killed by the agents of the wealthy elite–the armor clad stormtroopers we once trusted as police officers and public servants. When you can’t get work no matter what, you have nothing more to lose by fighting back with a vengeance. Who cares if you have a record if you have NO FUTURE??? Might as well throw yourself into the pit of hell to perhaps create a future for those who survive.

  • Anonymous

    Keep blaming puppet politicians of the system they designed. It makes the oligarchy happy.

  • Ralph Melcher

    The comment of a typical middle class white liberal who enjoys the comforts of a consumerist lifestyle and has the luxury to divide the world into ‘us’ (everyone who is a pure as I) and ‘them’ (everyone who disagrees with my ideology – most of which I’ve picked up from listening to Amy Goodman). Of course for the average white liberal Obama supporter who expected when he was elected president he would defeat all the bad guys and assuage all traces of white guilt and complicity in one fell swoop Obama has been a huge disappointment.

    Taking absolutist positions garnered from ideologues in the media is exactly the same situation on both sides of the extremist divide. The problem in addressing our problems lies largely in the manufactured superficiality that reduces politics to the level of a spectator sport (Yay for the Good Guys! Boo for the Bad Guys!)

  • Rich Carter

    Oh! Is there anything I should be doing today rather than supporting the Green Party and expecting a victory (which is very unlikely in my lifetime)? Sounds like you want me to rely on the same political process that has lead to these issues and problems in the first place.

  • MSII

    A wise man telling it like it is! The founding fathers warned us of all this. They said it was “big-business”, and the “big-money” 1%ers who were the danger to Democracy, to this country not “foreign powers”. They were correct. Here we are in corporate-fascist-america. We have to get the money out of election-finance (no more 1%er sugar-daddies, no more “special-interest” corporate-money), have to make it a RIGHT for citizens to be able to vote, and KILL gerrymandering nation-wide. ELIMINATE “money=speech”, and “corporations are people”. REAL people the 99% need to take back this country.

  • Anonymous

    Minimum Wage: how many working people had their hours cut to 29 hours or less due to ObamaCare? Let’s just start with all the Subway shops, ….
    Your making minimum wage and now your hours are cut……Where is the outrage?

  • perchslayer

    Not sure what your message is here. I am guessing that you are suggesting that Subway sandwich mongers have Obama to blame for sub-poverty wages ? Or is it that he made those already sub-poverty wages somehow worse ? Or what ? What exactly are you saying here ?

  • Sue Barnhart

    I agree with the problems discussed here, but I am SOOOOO tired of liberals who refuse to acknowledge the real problem with our system is poor people do not vote in the midterms. We can blame Bill Clinton or Barack Obama for moving to the center the attempting to work with conservatives but the ONLY reason behind that is the fact that very very very conservative GOP took over the Congress at their 1st midterm. WE gave them NO choice but to work with the Congress we allowed to be voted in.

  • Sue Barnhart

    how many people who were working part time FINALLY got health insurance???

  • Sue Barnhart

    the gerry mandering happened BECAUSE democrats didn’t get out and vote in 2010 — a census year, which means the districts are re-drawn.

  • Sue Barnhart

    well put!! Im sick of the whiners. LETS GOTV!!

  • Anonymous

    I agree that’s a problem. None want to see jobs cut, hours reduced. But the problems in this society are complex; intertwined. We have a healthcare cost and coverage crisis that needs to be addressed. Let’s not forget about the preexisting conditions nonsense that just got sorted out. We also have a wage stagnation problem. So if there’s a lack of satisfactory outrage it might be because some people see the bigger picture and are willing to suffer short-term discomfort for long-term stability. Besides, on the healthcare front, it’s not like the Republicans produced a viable alternative to the Dems.

    I believe in American ingenuity. If we are a great nation indeed (as we remind everyone all the time), then we should be able to figure out a better system than the one we’ve got. We should be able to make this young, incipient system work.

  • Anonymous

    No, Mr. Carter – I want folks to start using the political process for what it can be used for – to get what they want and need instead if using it for “a lesser of 2 evils”, or for what the MSM tells them is the best they can get – the “same” political process would be the one we have been using whereby we return the same dysfunctional parties to office over and over and somehow expect different results ..

    The political process has so much potential power – and TPTB know it – why else do you suppose they spend so much money trying to make sure that we vote D/R, and if they can’t get us to do that they would prefer we don’t vote at all – their worst nightmare would be for a non-corporate party to win office – That is why it was so important to diss Nader when he ran – so important that folks think of him as a “spoiler” (which was baloney) and believe that 3rd parties “can’t win”. If more folks had voted Nader, e.g. in ’04 than in ’00 – you would have seen a different Dem party by ’08 – they would have gotten the message that we were finally serious, that they couldn’t take us for granted anymore, that they had better start producing … The Dems in the 30′s felt the hot breath of Socialist parties on their neck – today’s Dems, ala Rahm, can call us “f ing retards” and get away with it – we get the gov’t we vote for – not the one we want, but the one we vote for …

    If all the folk who expressed policy preferences in polls had voted for the candidates who actually espoused them – we would be well on our way to getting them by now – until we stop practicing the politics of fear, as Stein says, and start practicing the politics of courage, we will keep falling farther behind …

    3rd parties can win (remember the Reps in Lincoln’s day were a 3rd party), anyone can – if enough folks vote for him/her – it really is that simple – and that’s what TPTB don’t want you to know – As Alice Walker said (paraphrase) – the best way to keep people from exercising their power is to convince them they don’t have any ,,,

  • bluehawk222

    You realize that was a reaction to businesses being forced to adhere to standards of decency? You could say thousands of jobs have been lost because there was a minimum wage put in place or that businesses are losing money because they have to adhere to codes of conduct and labor laws. After awhile you gotta ask yourself sure you want products as cheap as possible but where does the cost go? I’ll tell you: Kids in Asia working more hours than they should where it should be a human rights violation, families in America one missed paycheck away from losing everything. But hey, enjoy your $5 Big Mac

  • Bassie Kims of Yesteryear

    But a cash stipend is not an option being discussed in DC. All that’s being discussed is taking food out of the mouths of hungry children.

    Hurray. Bipartisanship.

  • Bassie Kims of Yesteryear

    If demanding that the least of us don’t starve, while “Defense” contractors bloat with wealth, then I’m proud to be an “absolutist”.

  • Bassie Kims of Yesteryear

    Bush Junior is a war criminal.

    And Obama hasn’t done a thing about that, either.

  • Bassie Kims of Yesteryear

    And that’s because the Democratic party has sold us out.

  • Edward Moriarty

    The real problem is whoever gets elected will immediately be compromised by the massive money and power of lobbyists who represent ONLY the wealthy and powerful. It is like the House in a Casino…….they ALWAYS win! And, They are always in control.

  • Anonymous

    There is no question that Perkins’ larger point that the rich are being scapegoated and blamed for problems they didn’t create by a resentful mob is absolutely correct and Moyers demonstrates it. Just read Moyers’ prejudiced generalization when he writes: “It’s astonishing how ignorant (not to mention crude and cruel) the very rich can be.” Imagine that Perkins was African-American, or a member of the LGBT community, and the Moyers generalized about ALL African-Americans or LGBT members from what one person said. It would be recognized for what it is–bigoted and prejudiced and certainly not true. But Moyers’ does the same thing with Perkins–generalizing about the rich–and it’s accepted. That’s precisely what Perkins is referring to. Perkins apologized for the comparison to Nazis, but his larger point is true.

  • http://www.recklesscognition.tumblr.com/ Reckless Cognition

    There is one, socialism.

  • http://www.recklesscognition.tumblr.com/ Reckless Cognition

    I did, when my hours were cut and the state gave it to me for free.

  • http://www.recklesscognition.tumblr.com/ Reckless Cognition

    If you think we should all be able to afford certain things, and our wages don’t allow us to, then form a union and bargain for better wages. The death of the union has ruined the middle and lower class.

  • Kujenga Eliyah Ashe

    THE ECONOMIC RIGHTS MOVEMENT IS HERE!!! Most of you have never even heard of this Holy Movement! It follows in the Footsteps of The Abolitionist Movement and then The Civil Rights Movement. The Abolitionist Movement, The Civil Rights Movement, THE ECONOMIC RIGHTS MOVEMENT!!! All part of The Overall Worldwide Human Rights Struggle. The antithesis of the beast system, also known as monopoly finance capitalism, not just capitalism as people and your guest David Simon calls it. Capitalism by itself is not evil nor bad but monopoly finance capitalism is straight from hell itself! As the founder of the current movement I would like to be on your show and explain how it really works. I have been in the prison industrial complex on a false charge. I do not have to guess about it. I know it well. I am the one who sent MoveOn to Wall Street. See my YouTube Videos and our Facebook Page, complete with our Economic Manifesto and its Cover Letter. Bill put me on your show and Hear the Real Truth and the Solution to our Economic Problem here in America. Enough said.

  • jami

    They did that a very long ago.

  • Kujenga Eliyah Ashe

    Bill: I also have three books as of yet unpublished that will shake up the world once published. I know that you have the means to publish them and get the Word out. Call me at 734-657-1230 cell. THE ECONOMIC RIGHTS MOVEMENT IS HERE!!!

  • Muldfeld

    So glad this is multi-part. I’ll be recording them all!

  • bluehawk222

    Totally. I think at some point we need universal, international, codes of conduct for businesses. I don’t care if Ipods jump up in price because the Chinese factory workers aren’t paid slave wages. Businesses should adjust our incomes anyway to meet those kinds of costs and general costs of living anyway. Let’s face it, the value of the dollar has changed.

  • Rich Carter

    JOIN

  • Rich Carter

    Take the religion out and struggle on. This is still a secular society and I want it that way!

  • Rich Carter

    And the Judicial System will help ensure that it remains that way.

  • Rich Carter

    But everybody knows that those are just ‘starter jobs’. Just get a good education and employer’s will be knockin’ your door down. Yeah, right!

  • Rich Carter

    Please cut and paste diatribes here so that the comments section can stay on point. We mostly agree on the issues and everyone has an opinion about who deserves blame, but with your help, we could possibly start getting our act together and taking action. I just need to know how to get involved.

  • Rich Carter

    Please read my current post and feel free to repost your replies there. I would like my original post to remain as designed. Thank you for your input and keep up the fight!

  • Rich Carter

    Unfortunately it is human nature to act in time of crisis or advance only following disaster. I just don’t want for us to destroy what we already have in order to get that change. History shows that black swans seem to show up when money is concentrated in too few places. There is only so much ‘cake’ folks can stomach, you know? The black swan that is coming may prefer pie.

  • Rich Carter

    You should make up a flyer and pass it out at the Apple store. The kids camping outside may be a bit hard to recruit though, so take extras.

  • Rich Carter

    But if we make them rich they will be able to build space vehicles that will bring the resources to us from space. They say that many other planets have at least a trace of clean water we can drink.

  • Rich Carter

    Or, we can sit on our butts typing until we vent the rage. That way, nobody actually gets hurt.

  • Rich Carter

    I hope in the following episodes he will cite examples of the role the Judiciary system has in creating the imbalances. What was intended as a third branch of government has been hijacked by the other two for decades, but it’s getting worse. Just because Congress passes a bill and Executives put it place doesn’t mean the Courts need to enforce them. They still have discretion, I think.

  • Rich Carter

    We aren’t ‘done’ yet and I for one don’t want to live in those realities often depicted in science fiction blockbusters. It’s either lots of people living in a desolate world or few people living in technical isolation. I want to live in a world somewhere in the middle. Is that too far out to imagine?

  • Rich Carter

    But what if I can’t avoid the cops and end up in hot water? If I can’t summon the powers from the pit, I don’t even stand a chance in court.

  • John Ruths

    Please allow me to indulge you with a yet another story of America as a Horror Show and the good intentions of a federal government management initiative having the opposite effect of mass destruction of many people’s lives, including my
    own.
    For the past 8 years, I worked for
    the U.S. Department of Labor as a contractor, maintaining the computer network
    infrastructure and providing end-user support. I had been working in Information Technology for the past 20 years. During the period with the Federal Government, I had several different contract employers, but did the same job consistently day in and day out with
    always positive results and a good review at the end of the year.

    Then, along comes Executive Order 13583: “Establishing a Coordinated Government-Wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce”. In other words, reverse
    discrimination. Add to that the Veterans
    Preference hiring initiative, and you effectively wipe out all of your contractors, which is what part of this program is all about.

    In February of 2013, my replacement arrived. He was an Air Force veteran and also Hispanic, so he scored double points on the selection process by the Human Resources department. He also qualified at the GS-12 pay scale on his initial hire, which put him about $10,000 ahead of what I was earning. Not a bad deal. I trained him until my contract termination on
    March 30, 2013. Nonetheless, we worked
    together for two months, and he was equally competent in performing the job. We became friends, and are still to this day.

    Now for the bad news:
    Since losing my job, I have survived on unemployment compensation and a small supplemental part-time job at a home center store. I have applied for hundreds of jobs in my field, and an equal number of job not in my field, and again, the only job I was able to get was a part-time casual job in a home center store, but appreciate it because it helps to buy food. Last week
    I found out that my unemployment claim was still valid until the end of March, but the money allocated had run out. Nobody told me this was going to happen; I had to find out by calling my state representative’s office. You can’t get through on the phone to the unemployment office. The only thing you get is a recording that all representatives are busy, and to call back later.

    I applied for welfare, since my unemployment has run out, and I have exhausted all of my savings trying to survive. The only thing that the welfare department
    will give you is food stamps. No cash assistance, no housing assistance, and health insurance only if you can provide proof that you are disabled.

    So now I face the prospect of being evicted from my apartment with nowhere to go, no place to store my furniture and personal possessions (because I have no money), lose my car (so now I will have to rely on public
    transportation which normally does not service suburban locations where the jobs are – but wait, I forgot I have no money, so forget that), and live on the
    street with my pet (a cat). All of this for a 54 year old man with a college degree and 30 years of solid responsible work experience. Oh, did I also mention
    that I have served as an officer and director of a non-profit medical center for the past 20 years; and also possess a Commercial Pilot’s License?

    I’m sure my story doesn’t mean anything to a lot of people; and some of the more ignorant pundits out there will point an accusing finger and say it’s all my fault. I say to them: Just wait. Your day is coming. The economy is falling apart, debt is swirling around the world like a hurricane, looking for the next country to
    collapse into chaos, and all the while the politicians point an accusing finger at each other, blaming the other party for our problems. We are in the perfect storm; and the chaos has just only begun.

    So look for my kitty and I on the street corner. I’ll have a coffee can nearby for donations,
    and if I’m lucky a shopping cart too (for personal effects); and will be dispensing free computer and management consulting advice. If anyone finds me dead, please try to make sure I am buried with my mother and father in the Husband Cemetery, Somerset, Pennsylvania. And please give my kitty a
    nice home if I’m gone.

    Thank you Mr. President, and Thank You Members of Congress!

    John C. Ruths
    Philadelphia, PA

  • Rich Carter

    Please change 54 to 57, 30 to 20 and make it sound like a manufacturing engineer wrote it. That way I can plagiarize it!

  • John Ruths

    Be my guest. Alter it to suit your needs. Mine is the God’s honest truth.

  • Rich Carter

    I heard about it, so word is getting out. Also, I think getting involved myself could be something I might consider. My problem is that I just can’t get folks to listen to reason. They always get so emotional.

  • GregoryC

    I agree, but I think the corporations plan to sell to Americans who will continue buying their products using increased levels of debt, not buying power of their declining wages and expand sales to growing economies elsewhere (India, China).

  • GregoryC

    Any real change will have to come from the bottom-up. I don’t think politicians have the strength of character, values or ability to fight dark/corporate money. My Congressman, Rep. Yarmuth, has been working on legislation to get money out of politics. I hope he’s successful, but he’s battling his colleagues and the financial elite.

  • GregoryC

    Gerrymandering predates the 2010 midterm election and gerrymandering benefits both parties to the detriment of voters.

  • GregoryC

    Look forward, not backward.

  • Anonymous

    I have 24 years in IT as a Oracle DBA, in the largest companies in Silicon Valley and around the country as a contractor. In most meetings I am the only native american in the room. Usually 25 H1B’s and one or two native born. Some are very talented and others are mediocre at best. I have been knocked off of programs by young upstarts that know very little, but as I am the only non- H1B in the room. Im the first to go, regardless of knowledge and expertise. The young kids go off for the latest training while Im stuck training the next batch of young H1B’s that know very little. I had some very good breaks from one of the Large Indian Consulting groups of which I am grateful. And a handful of my India DBA/programmer friends did share knowledge and work as a team. But I know my days are numbered and corporate america sold me down the river. I many times paid 40% of my income in taxes and never got the most minimal of health care, or job security. I’m just glad I never brought kids into this world. I would never want any child to go through what I did to stay gamefully employed in america. To keep a home with tons of equity out of foreclosure for a limited time, I slept in my car for weeks at a time in San Diego, despite making over 100k a year, with zero health care benefits, just because the bank would not work with me despite making double payments on numerous occassions and no other debt. My dream is always to leave these shores, so I could at least have the most minimal of health care, and some job stability.
    24 years in IT, eight pages of work experience on high end projects in the biggest companies on the planet, and still eating &%#$*.

  • Anonymous

    The thing is, your job should not have been compromised to accommodate someone else.
    If this is how this is going down, which in your case it did, that’s a huge failing of our system and speaks to how out of touch the legislators and the president are. Why on earth would putting one person on the dole to create a job for a vet be a good idea? Why?

  • Dirk Ouellette

    So Bill, when are you going to begin the discussion about the “Myth of Progress”?
    The following written by John M Greer in 2013 is prescient regarding our predicament. As our society devolves, we will begin to understand EROEI, energy return on energy invested, has been upside down since the dawn of the 21st century. Our belief in that Myth of Progress comes from 300 years of cheap, easily available energy.

    ” To believe in progress, then, is to believe that whatever trajectory our
    civilization happens to have followed is the right one, since it is
    clearly more advanced and therefore better than the paths taken by less
    progressive societies, and that for the same reason we ought to do even
    more of whatever we’ve been doing. Faith in progress thus provides
    powerful justifications for the status quo, whatever that happens to be,
    and it allows any attempt to choose a different trajectory for our
    civilization to be dismissed as “going backwards,” which to believers in
    progress is the one unforgivable sin. “…

    ” All this has an important role in driving the predicament of industrial
    society, because the dead end of dependence on rapidly depleting fossil
    fuels can’t be escaped by going further ahead on the path we’ve been
    following. Almost without exception, the technological progress of the
    last century will have to shift into reverse as its foundation—cheap
    abundant petroleum—goes away, and most of the social and cultural
    phenomena that grew out of petroleum-based technology will go away as
    well. I’ve argued elsewhere that the downside of the Hubbert peak will
    force a return to 19th-century technology, and the slower exhaustion of
    coal and other nonrenewable fuels will complete the process of
    reversion, returning the western world to something like the technology
    and society it had before the industrial revolution began in the first
    place. “…

  • jsegal

    It would help to give poor people and all of us something to vote for. Words are cheap but actions are worth a million words. Show people real tangible improvements in their/our poverty ravaged neighborhoods, open a library, fix a school, plant a community food garden, LBJ said if you want to win elections build a library that voters can drive by on the way to work or vote.

    But It’s essentially up to all of us to get involved in our neighborhoods and work for a local economic system that lifts each other up. Yes knock doors and invite people to vote on the Mid Terms and yes get inside the Democratic Party conventions to get better candidates endorsed who put our jobs first. But it’s up to you and me, all of us!

    When the people lead the leaders will follow.

  • jsegal

    It would help to give poor people and all of us something to vote for like bold candidates who oppose ANY SNAP cuts and fight to EXPAND SNAP, Medicare and Rising Wage Jobs!
    FIGHT BOLDLY for the people Democrats to END WEALTH THEFT! Yes it’s not “Income Inequality” it is really Wealth Theft! Grand Theft Middle Class! Larceny! Protect the people and uplift them into a restored FAIR ECONOMY and they will rally to the Polls to vote for you!

    Words are cheap but actions are worth a million words. Show people real tangible improvements in their/our poverty ravaged neighborhoods, open a
    library, fix a school, plant a community food garden, LBJ said if you want to win elections build a library that voters can drive by on the way to work or vote.

    But It’s essentially up to all of us to get
    involved in our neighborhoods and work for a local economic system that lifts each other up. Yes knock doors and invite people to vote on the
    Mid Terms and yes get inside the Democratic Party conventions to get better candidates endorsed who put our jobs first. But it’s up to you and me, all of us!

    We MUST get Money OUT of our Elections and all of US back into the process of having OUR VOICES heard! YOU! ME! ALL OF US!
    When the people lead the leaders will follow.

  • jsegal

    AGREED! The question is John how can we get people to organize locally to get our neighbors involved in making things better and making our voices heard more?

  • Grandpa Jones

    They can go to any church and get fed. Thats all part of the plan, as Bush spelled out in his faith-based social welfare plans in the 00′s. I’ve discussed the cash stipend to a few people, and none have ever heard of such a thing. In everyone’s frantic effort not to appear to be giving out free lunches whilst giving out free lunches we’ve lost sight of the point.

  • Anonymous

    SCOTUS put the final nail in US representative democracy’s coffin with Citizens United ruling. Congress not the only government officials owned by corporations. In Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, the Supreme Court became a wholly-owned subsidiary of corporate America and the GOPTea Party.

  • Peter Biresack

    I’m so sick and tired of you referring to yourselves as ‘americans’ and your country as ‘America’. America is actually a continent, often divided into south and north america, consisting of 35 sovereign countries. Try to behave, call yourselves what you are, namely US citicens. Most people here in Euorope despise the way you highlights yourself.

  • Peter Biresack

    You talk a lot about the american people. Does it include all brazilians, argentinians, venezulanians to? Otherwise, you should stick to US citizans whenever speaking generally.

  • Peter Biresack

    American culture? What the hell is that? Is that a mix of all the cultures from all the 35 sovereign countries in America, or do you mean the US culture? If so, say that.

  • Peter Biresack

    You probably mean US ingenuity, or?

  • Mark Cohen

    Actually, Gerrymandering is beginning to hurt the parties as evidenced by the internal turmoil in the Repubs between the “standard” party members and the ultrarightwing Tea party types. Gerrymandering was supposed to ensure reelection of one party over the other. It does this by carving out bizarre-shaped voting districts designed to contain a high percentage of right- or left-leaning voters (depending on which party is doing the gerrymandering). The problem is that these districts are becoming more and more polarized to either extreme. On the right that means the voters are now more rightwing than the politicians that represent them. And the new crop of ultrarighties are taking advantage of this to the detriment of the party power structure. An equivalent situation is possible on the left. However, those on the left tend to be a lot less insane, so it may not materialize.

  • Mary Lee Hannington

    You misspelled “peak” it’s “peek”.

  • Anonymous

    The official name of the country is The United States of America. This is the name that appears on all official documents, including the money. That most people abbreviate that name to “America” is no great crime. We all understand that North and South America are two great continents. People in other countries on these continents refer to themselves however they want. I am unaware that any refer to themselves as “Americans.”

  • Anonymous

    You haven’t mentioned if the complaint about economic inequality is a valid complaint. Is it? If we are still complaining it is because we have yet to achieve a perfect union, the goal of our Constitution, and the common good is still neglected.

  • Anonymous

    I should also add that when I have traveled to Europe I am constantly referred to as “American.” When I traveled to Central America last summer I was referred to as “American.” No one introduced me to their friends as a United Statesian or a “citizen of the United States.” Everyone in the world refers to the citizens of the United States as “American.” If you want to stop the practice you have chosen a rather silly fight.

  • Anonymous

    You were not an employee of the Department of Labor in the traditional sense, rather you were a “contractor.” Contractors loose their jobs when the contract ends, as you well know. Had you been a regular employee you would have had the weight of the law behind you and you could not have been fired without cause. I am very sorry for your situation. I am also very sorry for the veterans, Hispanics and African Americans who have long faced the discrimination you now face.

    If you are able to relocate the University of Utah’s IT department is hiring.

  • Rich Carter

    Because all the other animal roles were taken??

  • Being There

    T’is a pity this is a two-party economic theory of global neoliberalism. The Clintons are emblematic of the type of Third Way Democrats who buy into the idea. So that’s how Clinton could make banks the clients of the state. That’s how Clinton smashed FDR’s Glass Stegall act. That’s how Clinton ended welfare. It’s not your daddy’s Democratic party. So along with the Republicans they all made sure we were never going to get single payer health care and made sure that money is free speech.

  • Rich Carter

    Instead of electing folks who want to be in politics, the people need to comb their population to determine their ‘best’ representative. Whoever is recruited goes reluctantly straight to work in the interest of their constituents. After a few years they return to a suitable occupation. Now that’s either a novel approach or something that hasn’t been done since the Whigs wore stylish robes and wigs.

  • DaniM

    Are you actually scrolling through the comments to look for commenters referring to the U.S. as America and it’s citizens as Americans? That’s what we call ourselves. Get over it! We get your point–and you do have point! But this is a discussion about something else (in case you haven’t noticed) and at least as important.

  • Rich Carter

    You are alive and being part of it. I just want a disaster level response now instead of after a catastrophe. The part of the movie where everybody is fighting each other to survive is always the scariest part.

  • Peter Biresack

    I don’t think so.

  • Peter Biresack

    Of course not a crime, but a stupidity.

  • Rich Carter

    I’d need to embellish some parts and downplay others, but my story is very similar. I have a very long perspective, though, and haven’t had any significant advance in my personal GDP (other than inheritance) since 2003.

  • debi

    I really, really wish that I could convince everyone I know to watch this.

  • debi

    The problem is a group in DC has committed to fight him on any and everything.

  • Rich Carter

    You are making comments on an inappropriate discussion board. Whenever ‘America’ is referred to, just read it as ‘US’ or please find a story more to your liking elsewhere. Thank you for playing!

  • Rich Carter

    What is a perfect union?

  • Anonymous

    What can REALLY reduce crime? The answer to this question must include ways to reduce addiction, a major cause of crime for two reasons: (1) reduced impulse control and (2) the need for money for drugs.

    Not many studies have been done (if you can’t guess why, read on to find out), but look at the example of Barbara Reed, a Chief Probation Officer in Ohio, whose health education work with 5000 inmates led to a recidivism rate of only 20%, while the national average is 45%.

    Ms. Reed checked for heavy metal toxicity, and in many cases had to use interventions to lower their toxic load before any dietary changes could get results.

    What’s food got to do with regaining a population of civic-minded, effective, innovative, and compassionate Americans? (Note, while this is about food, but is NOT about being a vegetarian.)

    Isn’t it obvious that a person’s biochemistry has a lot to do with their mental health, including addiction and any resulting criminal behavior? Indeed, antidepressants get better results than talk therapy, Ritalin etc. make the brain function better for ADD people– because mental health is based in physiology, which chemicals (from prescriptions or food) can change. In fact, about half of incarcerated males have ADD or another learning disability (LD) or special education (SE) designation.

    So why is nothing done to improve prison food? Because lobbying makes it nearly impossible to improve both prison and school food due to the revolving door between government agencies like the FDA and USDA and huge corporate interests.

    Worst of all, the public is in the dark about these hidden influences because our media want those advertizing dollars, both from Big Processed Food and from Big Pharma, so they won’t report on the role of Big Ag in these government agency decisions.

    Another barrier to change is the irrational and unscientific standards that are cast in concrete by the USDA and FDA. During 200,000 years of humanity’s evolution, only 5% of our calories came from carbohydrates (starch and sugar). Ten thousand years ago, agriculture raised the level of carbs to as much as 60%. Many anthropologists attribute the higher incidence of both chronic and acute disease, tooth decay, and smaller stature of workers, compared to the better fed elites, to this shift in food.

    It has only gotten worse in the past 30 years; ‘diabesity’ and other diseases will make our children’s lifespan shorter than our own. Michael Pollan reports, ”Roughly three quarters of the two-trillion plus we spend on health care in this country goes to treat chronic diseases, most of which can be prevented by a change in lifestyle, especially diet.”

    The current Low Fat mania is one of the worst ideas in decades— all of us, but especially growing children, need the animal-sourced, fat-based vitamins A, D3, E, and K2 for thousands of biochemical processes.

    Another example of misguided federal standards: whole grains are NOT better! They contain many phytates and other inherent ways to discourage insects. Traditional cultures soaked grains overnight or made sourdough to neutralize those. Refrigeration and canning are hyped as the savior of health, but, in fact, every region utilized fermentation to preserve foods for weeks and even months.

    Foodies and gourmets love their sourdough, cheese, marrow, bone broth, sauerkraut, kefirs, pastured beef-pork-chicken-eggs-milk. But you won’t find these foods in any school cafeteria! Even school food reformers Chef Jamie Oliver and Chef Ann Cooper still think Low Fat is the way to go, that’s how hidden this information is.

    To find out more, leaf through Sally Fallon’s compendium of traditional food preparation: Nourishing Traditions, based on the research of Weston A. Price, DDS, who wrote Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. We would see vast improvements in health and the reduction of crime if schools followed the menus Dr. Price wrote. More at WestonAPrice.org

  • Edward98

    So do I. It’s ‘wake up America.’

  • Edward98

    So this is a demonstration of American Exceptionalism. Wow we have a lot to be proud of.

  • Virginia

    As David Simon said, a System of ignorance deteriorates, and
    a System of wisdom is needed. And several people commented earlier in this
    thread, how so very sad it is that Bill Moyers’ program has been cut down to 30
    minutes, I so deeply agree, and also here, PBS West was reduced to just one
    airing per week.) … but also something else thats SO DEVASTATING is that PBS
    East, which airs here for Eastern Canada, reduced the airings and now
    has TOTALLY STOPPED AIRING BILL MOYERS’ program, which I feel is heartbreaking,
    and so shocking and retrogressive to the world, for PBS to do. How and why did
    PBS do such a thing ? As we know, Bill Moyers has been one
    of the few on TV who so helpfully shares caring, ethical truths and enlightening
    for the populace, which indeed is needed for helping to save the
    world.

    Also, there have been two others on TV who’s focus is such
    ethical helpful exposure of truths. But one of these, Stephen Colbert, has, also
    heartbreakingly, been totally removed from the Canadian CTV Network, and was
    replaced by numbing frivolity and superficiality. I feel that he and Bill have
    been the two top wonderfully most helpful truth-exposing fellows, but their
    ‘airings of truths’ have been cut by Media. Why ?

    A woman recently (below on January 2) wrote an excellent,
    and very timely and critical comment on the Moyers thread following David
    Simon.

    She wrote something that I’ve long wished would be
    acknowledged in the world, … about how the basic Corporate multi-Media, airing
    evading and brain-dead fluff, and in their not revealing important depth
    truths, are so detrimentally keeping the populace blind and in the dark, which
    is injuriously crippling our world. I’ll mention too, that this problem is in
    various countries, (not just in ‘America’.) As she described, .. the world has been lulled to sleep by the ultra-corrupt corporate-owned
    multi-media that controls the minds of the populace, (as Corporations have
    purchase-control of Governments too.) I want to express
    that, direly needed in life, is that caring, thoughtful people of conscience
    should STAND UP for having truthful, helpfully meaningful media. And this includes INCREASING, (not decreasing), of those who are deeply
    helpfully enlightening to the world, such as Bill Moyers. Truth and understanding is needed and vital for saving the world. As
    said in Life-Wisdom : ‘Wrongs in life must be understood and acknowledged, in
    order to correct them.’

    The Media needs to acknowledge and caringly accept their
    personal Responsibility to the world in their media-position of Influence, ..
    and then, they could be in a way of truly helping All Life on
    Earth.

    P.S… Truth .. the #1 urgent critically important global
    situation is the disasterous man-made climate-change causing environmental
    catastrophe, which needs quick correcting in order to save civilization.

  • Riley217

    Well said

  • Anonymous

    I could care less how many ivy league degrees you secured, its a lopsided economy that doesnt raise all boats. If your limited education doesn’t recognize the obvious, than all the logical discourse in the world will not impregnate your brain pattern. Liberal , conservative, there are winners and losers, the losers are super pissed off, and they will get violent with all the inequality. Ignore it, and they will march up your street like episodes throughout history, for the disenfranchised who cant take it any longer. Get off your high horse and suffer point 00.1 Percent and it may make sense to you. Otherwise while you complain and they starve they will march and burn your house down out of starvation, while you argue ideology.

  • Virginia

    thanks so much, menagerie, for pointing out, and so clearly, this so serious and destructive situation. And I want to let you know I have written a comment 9 hours after yours

  • Anonymous

    Bill Moyers is now on Houston PBS at a more convenient time in early evening. 30 minutes is easy to digest and more people will be watching then rather than at 11 p.m. Moyers is a refreshing discussion of important topics that are not found elsewhere on television.
    Simon puts a human face on a problem that President Obama is trying to address. Just the president’s hint about marijuana will add to the openness of its use and the lowering of putting casual users in prison that Simon mentioned. These prison stays disrupt people’s lives and prevent them from getting jobs.

  • Zachary

    Sorry for late respond, but I am in !

    I can’t take this a second time; I feel that our “rolling down” country will
    strike the ground soon. Exactly the same feeling as I had 36 years ago in
    USSR. I know end of the story better
    then born Americans, because I already had it in my life, I know what happened to my friends and family, they didn’t want to listen my protests before I was kicked out from INVINCIBLE USSR.

    I already had in my life – obese
    congress clapping after every president sentence.
    Meaningless elections orchestrated in advance by powerful.

    My (middle class American on the plus side, thanks to my free college education in disappeared USSR) facts: every American company
    I worked with – disappeared, every
    foreign company I worked with -closed their business in US, don’t feel
    healthcare, justice, democracy and on and on..

  • Rich Carter

    Thanks for not responding to my ‘joint’ reference without ragging on me or changing the discussion to ObamaCare bashing. Regardless of where in the world this issue exists, the effect on the residents is just about the same. The accumulation of wealth at the expense of others is human nature. It’s been around since one guy paid another guy to get his daily firewood. The guy with the fire didn’t just give it away, did he?

  • Rich Carter

    It is amazing isn’t it? Protect us from foreign drugs by punishing the user. Talk about putting the cart before the horse. I can still remember my day in court and my night in jail like it was yesterday, but I still can’t figure out why I was there.

  • Rich Carter

    I do believe you have cut and pasted your manifesto into the wrong box. We are currently discussing economic inequality in America on this message board.

  • Rich Carter

    At screwing things up!!

  • Rich Carter

    I wish I could fly too, but it gonna happen. You would need to get them to finish whatever episode of reality TV they were currently watching first, so just hope they aren’t binge watching the entire season!

  • Rich Carter

    I looked up the causes of depression and found ‘living in modern America’ listed just after ‘experiencing a death in the family’. I wondered what they meant by use of the word ‘living’.

  • ende

    Take a chill pill.

  • Rich Carter

    Very good. But if you could care less you still have a ways to go before hitting rock bottom. Some of us are already there!

  • Rich Carter

    There is an awful lot of chaos going on here and I thought I could make a random adjustment in an attempt to control some of the environmental variables. It didn’t work.

  • Rich Carter

    I ensure you the conspiracy is much deeper than that. Choose the red pill and I will show you just how far down the rabbit hole you have fallen.

  • Anonymous

    I hit bottom a few years ago . Lost everything. I’m starting to move back up now, but I know what it is like to sleep in a car or in the woods for extended period of time without a friend in the world, family that coudl care less, and the govt providing the bare minimum. Food stamps. Yes 24 years in IT and you can still sleep in the street in America without drug, alcohol, or psychological problems. Its actually quite brutal out there. I’m glad I got up a few notches.

  • RRLA

    A curious typo for someone who attended “this nation’s best universities and Law School” AND spelled, let alone used, such a word as metonymy correctly.

  • RRLA

    “Peak” for “peek” is a curious typo for someone who attended “this nation’s best universities and Law School” AND used, let alone spelled, such a word as “metonymy” correctly.

  • Anonymous

    Legalizing marijuana will damage the profits of the cartels.

  • Rich Carter

    You will be welcomed to the bunker anytime!

  • vince

    Bunch of anti American bs.

  • Rich Carter

    Makes me wonder what folk’s who argue against evolution or climate change (which are both plainly evident in the real world) actually believe what is happening. Their beliefs should scare the devil out of anybody who actually thinks about it.

  • Anonymous

    I admire David Simon as a journalist, screenwriter, and advocate, but we all need to get over the romantic myths of American government. It was founded primarily by wealthy slave holders who intended citizenship to be reserved for landowning gentry to the exclusion of minorities and women; you know, a government for old white men. The one thing they had in common with the wealthy persons of today is they liked the idea of employees working for nothing.

    More Americans were killed by other Americans than by the British during the American Revolution. Many Americans were Tories loyal to the British crown. The ideas of the “founding fathers” were imposed on the general population.

    Thomas Jefferson said that for a government established by one generation to rule persons of a later generation is tyranny. It’s time for another government, a government that addresses the needs of this more populist generation.

  • Anonymous

    I was quite happy with an hour of Moyers. Typical of the disappointment that PBS has become over the last ten years after the aggressive takeover of their board of directors by the Conservative Right during the Bush Administration. A half an hour of Moyers that was replaced with what ? Yet another weekend news program. The efficient distribution of state propaganda by saturating all forms of communication with the same political hype. It amounts to suppression of free speech from a trusted non-affiliated source and dedicated patriot like Bill Moyers and Company !

  • Anonymous

    A lot of Neo-Liberal Democrats trying to save Clinton’s questionable reputation. Unfortunately nothing can take back the personal gold mine he has obtained for himself through his past actions to serve the high rollers of this world. Clinton is untouchable now but his war mongering wife is still in the queue for a twenty sixteen run and the continuation of the ongoing transition to an all powerful military empire with a wealthy private oligarchy in full control of the government !

  • Anonymous

    Rich, check out the Representative who chairs the House committee on Science and Technology. He has made statements that the idea of evolution and climate change or straight from hell and that he knows form the Bible that the earth is less than 10, 000 years old and it was created in 6 days as we understand day to be! He is also an MD?

    The uninformed forget that the founders of this country were true intellectuals and mostly Theists. Jefferson for example could speak multiple languages and these guys were the brightest of their time. They would not have even sat down for a cup of tea with the parasites we have today! Also, check out “Jefferson’s Bible” it speaks volumes of where his head was at!

  • Rich Carter

    You forgot about my ole buddy Ben Franklin. He really knew his science but it came as real shock when he finally realized the truth. But I will need to look into the Sec of Psuedo Science you mentioned..

  • Rich Carter

    Can’t really vote that comment either way. It must be a bipartisan issue.

  • Rich Carter

    And the next illogical step is to blame Obama Care, I bet.

  • Rich Carter

    Can’t really vote that comment either way. It must be a universal phenomenon like gravity.

  • Rich Carter

    Click -HERE- to vote as best post.

  • Anonymous

    Not at all Rich! It was just that Jefferson was the first one to come to mind, and his “cut and pasted” version of the Bible is absolutely fascinating.

  • Rich Carter

    He was going out to get some hemp from his maid and had to ‘cut and paste’ so he wouldn’t be late.

  • Kujenga Eliyah Ashe

    Dear Rich: Peace! If you want a secular Movement that deals with economic injustice and inequality there are many out there for you to join or follow. Or start your own. But as for me and my house we will follow THE MOST HIGH!!! By what ever Name people call on THE CREATOR AND SUSTAINER of The Universe both Spiritual and physical. The Abolitionist Movement was A Holy Movement led by Spiritual Men and Women. The Civil Rights Movement was A Holy Movement, led by Spiritual Men and Women and so is THE ECONOMIC RIGHTS MOVEMENT!!! I do not expect you nor any secular person to understand The Power of Holy Spirit Filled People. Finally I will say that this world is divided into both Spiritual and secular parts. The whole world is not secular as you say. Thus if you want a Mao or Stalin secular movement then go for it. I want a Dr. Martin Luther King type movement, and it is to this end that I labor.

  • Anonymous

    There were at least 3 Major Disasters in 1913.

    1. The 17th Amendment was added to the United States Constitution in 1913. This needs to be repealed so that the Senators return to being representatives of the States. The Founding Fathers created a Congress with a House of Representatives to represent the people and a Senate to represent the States, the States now have no representation in the Federal Government and the they are begin forced to bear burdens for which they have no representation, it is therefore necessary to restore the Senators as representatives of the States. The 17th Amendment was added to the constitution in 1913, in 1917, which is the four years necessary for a majority of the Senators to no longer be representatives of the States, they voted for President Wilson to turn a European war into World War I by allowing him to declare war on Germany. This and the other Wars encouraged by the Senate is more than enough justification to show the need for repealing the 17th Amendment.

    2. The 16th Amendment was added to the United States Constitution in 1913. This needs to be repealed and replaced with the requirement that the Federal government cannot spend more in one year than collected in the previous year and each State will have the Authority to determine how much of it’s Citizens wealth will be collected and provided for operation of the Federal Government. The Founding Fathers created a Federal Government which was not allowed to levy an income tax on its Citizens, the 16th Amendment changed this in 1913 and now allows the Federal Government to take away the wealth of the Citizens of the States and place undue burdens on the States for the return of some of this tax money. The Federal Debt per person was $12 in 1910 before the Income Tax amendment and was $28,229 per person in 2006 and growing, the need for limits on Federal spending is obvious.

    3. The Federal Reserve Banking System (FED) was created in 1913. The Federal Reserve seems more interested in protecting the crimes of the Financial Institutions then in protecting the United States Citizens from inflation. It has a goal of devaluating the dollar by at least 2% a year while at the same time holding interest rate at almost 0%.

  • Menagerie

    It is a very sad situation Virginia that the world has been sold out to the highest bidder. On a more positive note the American media is losing their footing and ratings because Americans are waking up to the big corporate media BS and minimizing story’s or not talking at all about the more important issues like “Fukushima.” My family is Canadian and I long to hail from there once again, America is dying a rather quick and painful death as anyone from the outside looking in can witness. All I can say is “GREED” what a way to go the most undignified way to die !

  • Diana Reichardt

    Who cares what this guy thinks.! What Simon is saying is exactly right! It is like I have been saying, the corporate world, the top 1% of the people don’t give a fig to what is happening to the working class!! If this situation goes unchecked I truly fear what is going to happen. People are already agitated and concerned. I hope, no, I pray some one in congress is listening..

  • Diana Reichardt

    It is the way it is because they do not want the American citizen to know the truth! Mr. Moyers is good for this country and we need more informative people like him who are willing to let us know what is going on. Unfortunately, money has far reaching arms and will continue to block information from us.

  • Anonymous

    Moyers mentioned on a show that National Geographic and Fox would carry a new program “Cosmos”. I am curious of when this will be shown. Does anyone know about this.

  • Diana Reichardt

    No Menagerie is right!! Our country is dying due to the Greed in this country. Greed is the reason for the economic inequality. The “me” generation has grown up and it is still about ‘me” and to heck with anyone else!

  • Anonymous

    “Starting in March, Tyson will host a new, updated version of the hit PBS television series Cosmos, which made the late Carl Sagan a household name. This time the new series, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, comes courtesy of the National Geographic Channel and Fox TV.”
    Above from Moyers site.
    I tried to search the NGEO site to find out when but was able to get the dates. Carl Sagan’s Cosmos was ground breaking television.

  • Rich Carter

    I have no issue with the book, but I just thought it was better suited for private viewing in the ethics library reading room. It’s really quiet in there.

  • Rich Carter

    Just looked at The Hill website and saw the talking head you mentioned. I gagged when I saw his picture due to prior exposure. Also browsing Jefferson writings on-line at Internet Archives. I just love his selfies and his jokes rule!!

  • CZ1

    As America, with its mandate to spread world democracy, gets more involved in Middle East civil conflicts, I’ve often wondered what great advantage the Founders of our nation had in sending the Loyalists (Tories) back to England or up to Nova Scotia.

    What would our government be like if we had to accommodate the political, economic and religious differences of a defeated faction that continued to live among us? How might that condition shape our ideas about “democracy”?

  • Anonymous

    Your answer reflects a common
    ignorance that fully explains our ongoing march to oblivion. It’s obvious that you didn’t even click the attached link, wouldn’t want to waste your time listening to the accumulated knowledge amassed by someone who has actually participated in trying to improve our system of government. If you had actually read Dr. Robert’s piece, you would have discovered that he fully opposes the exportation of living wage jobs to low wage foreign sweatshops and blames many of our problems on this one event. Mr. Simon has the right to his opinions, but in the end they are solely his opinions based on his experience as a journalist attempting to increase circulation and a TV Producer searching for the highest, and most profitable, viewer ratings. Two industries now exclusively owned by private wealthy interests that have used their holdings to solidify their class’s economic domination over a naïve public !

  • Anonymous

    David Simon is brilliant! It’s all stuff we know, right? How do we fix it???

  • Anonymous

    Campaign reform. Maybe more PBS stations carry free debates of candidate.

  • CZ1

    How morally, economically, socially and physically destructive can a profit-driven national practice become? The United States need look no further than its reliance on slavery.

    In the first-half of the 19th century, the national GDP — North and South — derived much of its wealth with slave labor. In current dollars, GDP values have been set at $2 trillion. The Southern cotton kept the textile mills in England and the North running while America was entering its industrial (finished) export products age.

    America was addicted to the profits from slavery, and freeing this great capital investment would, today, be like closing down the auto and airplane plants. A healthy, teenage male with possibly 40-years hard work in his body could cost as much as two houses. Next in value was a teenage female slave with the prospect of bearing more slaves. In a small community, a man owning even one slave would be “rich” and influential.

    Today, we are disgusted by these considerations. But abolitionists in that era were as much “loved” as protesting hippies during the Vietnam war. Trouble-makers all — good candidates for a caning — traitors to American prosperity. Slavery was the “natural state of man,” — some men, anyway — acknowledged and endorsed in the Bible.

    Not all slave owners were cruel. Many slaves were treated “carefully” if not “lovingly.” As a class they were probably better off than the Chinese whose lives were without legal protection in California and who weren’t supplied $12 Winchester rifles to protect themselves from Indian raids while they hammered rails and dangled from cliff walls to blow holes for the railroad tunnels. But it was still slavery.

    The slavery question had been an issue since the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams, who proposed in 1775 that Thomas Jefferson write it down, did not protest the elimination of its condemnation in the final version, putting the nation’s separation ahead of the slave debate that would divide colonial support. Again and again, the slave problem appeared in founding documents and was “managed,” by compromise — all the way to our bloody civil war.

    David Simon is correct: Monetary markets do not solve everything.

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad Mr. Moyers agreed to continue his program, but I must say that a half hour (really, about 23 minutes compared to 53 before) isn’t quite enough time for interviewees to flesh-out their ideas.

    Regarding Simon, I agree with most of what he said, but strongly disagree that the problem is Congress, and that Obama is really the man people thought they were electing in 2008.

    Is it Congress that is secretly promoting the hideous corporate power grabs masquerading as ‘free trade’ agreements? Can Obama’s full-throated embrace of the utterly disastrous and indefensible practice of horizontal slickwater hydrofracking for natural gas, be blamed on Congress? Was it Congress that sent EPA personnel to people’s houses, after the agency had proven that the gas companies had poisoned their water, to reverse course and suddenly claim that their water was safe to drink (while making ‘strictly off-the-record’ recommendations that they NOT drink the water, and admitting that higher-ups at the agency – a.k.a. political appointees – ordered them to lie. I’m sure it was a coincidence that the 2012 presidential election campaign was getting into full swing and Obama needed campaign cash and support from gas-boom states). Can Obama’s terrible appointments of corporate donors to critical positions – such as Penny Pritzker as Sec. of Commerce and John Wheeler as chairman of the FCC be attributed solely to the idea that ‘Gee, the Senate would never confirm anyone better?’ How about O’s sickening drone war? What about O’s enthusiastic promotion of the security state, only waning a bit once exposed?

    Obama is no man of the people. Of course, it’s not really about the man, it’s the system. Any candidate who gets anywhere near the presidential nomination of a major party is thoroughly vetted by the corporates, and nobody any good will be allowed, if they can help it, to get into the white house.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Rich
    I found out the hard way its good to have a plan B and savings hidden somewhere. It all started with a house I couldn’t afford. But life is starting to move again. I don’t imagine acquiring too much in this life time, but it has never been a high priority. I warm shelter with wholesome food is a beautiful thing when you haven’t had one for awhile.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, at some point some of these people will tire of reality TV. Keep pointing them to stuff that will wake them up.

  • Anonymous

    If you are against the Citizens United ruling join the Facebook page Move to Amend or Citizens United Against Citizens United.

  • Anonymous

    Obama is a center right Democrat.

  • Anonymous

    How do you get people to even agree on what they are organizing for??

  • Pinky

    All three branches of the American government have been bought by multinational corporations. It should not stretch anyone’s credibility to say corporations could give a rat’s rear end about the stewardship of the average American citizen.

    An organization has been established with the goal of getting the money out of politics: Wolf-Pac.com. Wolf-Pac.com is working at the (real) grass roots level with state legislatures to call a constitutional convention to enact the “28th Amendment to our Constitution which would end corporate personhood and publicly finance all elections in our country.”

    I encourage everyone to look into the web site ( wolf-pac.com ) and participate in bringing back democracy to the USA.

  • Rich Carter

    Nobody seems to pay much attention to what I ‘share’ with them (well, at least not yet) but I’ll still try to get through to them!

  • Rich Carter

    I am presently housed in an underground bunker located in Ohio. It’s covered with snow this morning, but I plan to dig my way out later today to hunt for fossils. With God’s blessings, I will find the one that finally disproves evolution and will take it down to the Kentucky Creation Museum sometime next thaw. Watch for my discovery to be front and center at the next one sided debate airing on a web near you.

  • Rich Carter

    Does anyone have any idea how to become involved with Mr. Simon’s ‘movement’? Is there any organization out there (and please don’t name some political party or charity) working on these problems now. In order to avoid a true catastrophe we need to act ASAP, not after the fact.

  • Rich Carter

    Distance shouldn’t be a problem. I’m already underground, so I should just have to find the worm hole that connects Ohio with WA. If it really does exist, I could theoretically be there before the waitress even gets you seated at the table. In the meantime, I’ll check out your YouTube channel. I will need to register , though and am a bit nervous about revealing info which could disclose the location of my bunker to malicious internet hackers such as NSA.

  • MelleB

    I’m crying right now at the honesty of you both…THANK YOU!! WE NEED CHANGE NOW!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I was a bit surprised also since many of Fox listeners probably go for the 6 day creation story.

  • Patrick Annabel

    Bill, I happened upon a recording I have with you in NYC on June 3, 2004 @ The inequality Matters Conference. You were highlighting Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, ‘Nickle & Dimed’. You called it ‘The most important book that you had read since Michael Herrington’s book, ‘The other America’ in 1962. Sadly, 10 years later, inequality has only worsened and the unrelenting class war pulverizes all of us not lucky enough to have been born with a golden spoon in our mouths. Just want to say what great service you have provided for so many years to so many voiceless Americans! Thank you for coming to bat for us!
    Sincerely,
    Patrick Annabel
    Walla Walla, WA.

  • Rich Carter

    Many?? I just assumed they all did considering the anchors and guests. Masters of spin and brain washing, Fox News is your number one source for disinformation.

  • Anonymous

    That is the Fox innuendo station?

  • Vagabond1066

    Lobbying is fundamental to a free society. It’s how people express their will to those in power. I “lobby” my congressmen every time I write them a letter.

  • Vagabond1066

    If you can tax a corporation, then you must give representation to that corporation. No taxation without representation is fundamental to our system.

  • Vagabond1066

    IMO, trying to grab as much money as possible through taxation is greedy.

  • JonThomas

    Notice that you are putting the word ‘lobbying’ in quotes. It’s because the part of your mind which uses grammar to logically structure your sentences knows that you are stretching the confines of language and meaning.

    Lobbying is more than communicating your thoughts and feelings to your Congresspeople.

    Lobbying is the effort to INFLUENCE.

    Can lobbying be a positive for society? Yes, but since it can also lead to the worst forms of political abuse and corruption, it is not, in all it’s forms, “fundamental to a free society.”

    Therefore, James, in his short, non-detailed comment, makes an outstanding point.

    Lobbying must be regulated, and much of what is termed ‘lobbying’ should indeed, as he said, be outlawed.

  • JonThomas

    Good comment. This is one of the key understandings of why corporations are antithetical to a responsible society.

    Corporations should not be allowed to exist. They are conjured entities designed as a bulwark for individuals to profit from actions without suffering consequences. They skirt the responsibility which comes from being a moral agent in a rational universe.

    There is nothing wrong with private enterprise (as they are represented by individuals,) but corporations are irrational entities. They can not harmoniously exist in a rational, responsibility based universe.

    A corporation cannot be held liable under laws which govern individuals. For example… even if it were to be the direct cause of death, you cannot ‘jail’ a corporation for manslaughter.

  • JonThomas

    But who? Who is being greedy?

  • JonThomas

    For me, the most salient part of this discussion was where Mr. Simon explained, once you begin to see government “as some alien force,” and not as the founders envisioned… a system to facilitate the “responsibility of governing ourselves,” then you are no longer understanding the concept of democracy. Consciously or not, you no longer support the structure, and the purpose of the Republic.

    This key concept about government being an “alien force” really strikes home at the disconnect in the current partisan divide, and lays bare the mental conditioning fostered by those undermining The People’s interests.

    That one key thought is the linchpin holding an entire entranced world view together. Pull that pin and watch the the payload separate from the motive.

  • Vagabond1066

    Politicians using other people’s money to buy votes, as well as the people who are all too happy to be bought.

  • Vagabond1066

    Influencing those with power over us is a most basic part of human nature. Children learn how to influence parents at a very early age. We do the same to teachers, bosses, spouses, and yes, even government officials.

    The more power someone has over us, the greater the effort to curry favor with them. If you want to reduce influence of people in government, then you need to reduce the influence of government over people. IMO, big government is the catalyst for big corruption.

  • Anonymous

    Where is the link to the Australia talk that Bill promised in the video?

  • Anonymous

    Taxing a corporation is just taxing a business. The founding fathers taxed corporations. Corporations are not people no matter how much the supreme court wishes to twist it. Next you will say they deserve the right to vote.
    Skip Moreland

  • Anonymous

    We already know the answer to that. We included the defeated confederates back into the government. It hasn’t worked out very well.
    Skip Moreland

  • Jonathan Wyer

    Where is the second part of this interview? This week’s episode had Bill McKiben, not David Simon.

  • Daniel Hettenbach

    This is a great interview. True, true, true. Thank you Mr. Moyers & Company for this valuable work you do bringing these ideas and thinkers to us the general public.

  • Tim Schillaci

    Simon places the blame on “a purchased Congress” but then excuses Obama by claiming that he is the victim of a “rigged game”. Why does Simon not call the President to task as to why he chooses to play the game rather than join us in the struggle against it?

  • Vagabond1066

    No, I just don’t think that businesses need to be taxed at all. Tax the people who work at them.

  • Anonymous

    Well even the founders would have disagreed with you since they taxed businesses. But we certainly have been going in the direction that you like to the detriment of this country.
    Skip Moreland

  • JonThomas

    Want to hear a good one?

    Many of the very ‘Conservatives’ on the right, who want to lower business taxes, describe themselves as Christian.

    They are often quick to push legislation which would make the U.S. a Christian nation, but they do not realize that the only Earthly Government, which the Bible says God established, only taxed ‘increase’.

    In other words, the Bible promotes the taxing, not of income and effort from work, but instead it only gives precedence for taxing profit!

    Let’s see them stand outside of IRS clinics holding signs to demand the taxing of profit.

    Pro-profit-tax-ers?

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t want to blow the minds of the cherry picking bible people by using the bible against them. I do that far too often as it is. I mean even christ told them to render unto caesar what is caesar’s. But they don’t like to hear that.
    Skip Moreland

  • Anonymous

    “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s…” — is that what you are referring to?

  • Anonymous

    The Declaration of Independence said pretty much the same thing about alienation of people from their government.

  • Penny

    Or combat their image as “science deniers”……..public relations, you know. Fair and balanced. (sarcasm font desperately needed!)

  • JonThomas

    Well, yes… and no.

    The Bible says that God set up his Only Earthly kingdom, Ancient Israel, after he gave them the ‘Promised land.”

    The people were to give the Levites (the priests and those who attended to worship) a tenth of everything -not just ‘increase’. There were even further tenths to be given during certain years.

    God did not intend for Israel to have a King. However, God also told them that when they demanded a King, that the King would take ‘tribute’ from them. Along with a list of what the King would demand, there would also be a tenth. This was not the ‘tithes’ commanded for worship, but a separate ‘tenth’. (1 Sam. 8:11-17)

    I just did a cursory search and while some versions use the word ‘increase’, I will have to keep looking for the example of the King’s tenth being not of everything, but just the increase.

    As far as Jesus’ words which you quoted, that is under the principle of respecting, and following the laws of the land in which you live.

    The Caesars controlled Israel at that time, as it was the ‘Gentile Times.’ Rome’s basic method of rule was to allow the local Governments to continue operating. Because of such, Jesus recognized the right of Caesar to collect taxes.

    Jesus did not challenge the right of the Earthly Kingdoms to exercise rule. In fact, he admitted that they did have authority. (John 19:11)

    While the Bible says that human governments do have such authority to maintain order (Romans 13:1-7,) it also says there will come time when the Earthly Kingdoms will take a stand against God himself.

    Anyway, I recognize that many people do not subscribe to the Bible’s view, but for anyone claiming Christianity, it gives insight. In the meantime, I’ll have to keep looking for the details on the King’s tenth. Admittedly, I probably should have kept my mouth shut until after I did the research.

  • JonThomas

    Interesting.

    Well, England did have the House of Commons, but the rest of the Government structure was only beholden to the whims of the Nobility. Besides this framework, it’s good to keep in mind that the Colonies had no direct representatives in any branch of the English Government.

    The people were not Citizens in the common usage, but rather Subjects of the Throne.

    The only leverage they had was the good graces of those who shared their interests.

    So, while the Declaration of Independence did speak to certain feelings of alienation, since there was no democratic process available to them – the colonists only real choice, was to declare independence.

    The situation that Americans find themselves in today is a bit different.

    A person may not like how the Government is operating, and he or she may have valid complaints, but the structure of the Government itself is still based on representation.

    I would say that unlike the situation of the Colonists, government is not an ‘alien force,’ it’s that alien forces are exercising undue influence.

    Your comment does shine light on the place of what we now commonly call the 1%, or as some look up to them as so-called.job creators.’ If they are given such titles that imply ‘benefactors’, at what point have they set themselves up as (and many look to them as) a protected nobility.

    We see that already happening when many on the political right look to give them advantages such as certain fiscal protections.

  • Anonymous

    “The situation that Americans find themselves in today is a bit different.

    A person may not like how the Government is operating, and he or she may have valid complaints, but the structure of the Government itself is still based on representation.”

    I agree that is the INTENT, but I was only speaking in terms of how the system ACTUALLY operates, and that is what leaves many of us feeling alienated.

    I believe that this COULD be a truly representative government if it were not for the fact that politics in this country can be purchased by the wealthy.

  • JonThomas

    Excellently said!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. The only difference I take to your OP is the reference to the “partisan divide.” Other than that I think your post was really solid.

    I don’t see any partisan divide at all. The D’s and R’s are BOTH purchased parties (with the exception, perhaps, of a small minority in the CPC), the very factor that creates the alienation we have been discussing.

  • JonThomas

    Yeah, I guess I see a bit more lip service, and a touch more action towards the common person from what is called the ‘left’ in this Nation, but I can’t argue your point.

    If it weren’t for the few in the Caucus you mention, there wouldn’t be much difference at all..

    I see where you get your nom-de-plum. Two sides of the same coin.

    Above, when I spoke to the ‘partisan divide,’ I wasn’t thinking so much of the voting records of office holders, but more of the of the differences in views between people who consider themselves conservatives, and who think of themselves as liberals. I wasn’t as clear as I should have been.

    There is a lot of disconnect between these peoples (for many reasons,) but when it comes to the real power divide, you are right, for the most part, both R’s and D’s are on the same side… and it’s definitely not mine lol.

  • Anonymous

    So really, the divide isn’t really the partisan divide in Congress (which we agree does not largely exist in reality) but rather the divide that creates the “two Americas.”

    I stop short of calling this phenomenon a “partisan” divide because the left and right in this country are NOT aligned by parties, at least not the two major parties.

    Once again, I repeat myself — sorry Jon if you have already heard my rant — and maybe I am talking to myself only. But I hope others on the American Left hear me, particularly the ones who are not aligned with any political party:

    The American Left needs its own political party, one that represents its needs, not one more party to accommodate the profitability of the elite. Once that party establishes incumbency in Congress, we could talk, ingenuously, about partisanship and a divide.

  • JonThomas

    Your ‘rant’ is something more people should hear.

    In my OP, I should have said ‘ideological divide.’ You are right to make the distinction. Thank you.

  • Rich Carter

    Maybe he knows we can’t win and just gave up.

  • Rich Carter

    But don’t get too emotional that you can’t think straight. We’ll need folks to be at their objective best (within reason of course) for what will be coming if this ‘winner takes all’ game continues.

  • Rich Carter

    Only if he reads it. Otherwise you’re just practicing your writing.

  • Rich Carter

    The people making up the corporation already have representation. Why should they receive additional consideration just because as an employee they can join a group and access company money to spread their message? Also, the corporation is not representative of all the employees. Most extort the efforts of others to help spread their message. I worked for a non-union company that worked hard to stay that way despite the employees’ wishes.

  • Vagabond1066

    I’m an atheist. Nice try.

  • Vagabond1066

    That is true. I’d prefer for him to not have so much influence over my life, then it really wouldn’t matter if he reads it or not. Some people though, keep insisting on giving Washington ever more authority over our lives.

  • Je Mo

    This has to be one of the most accurate assessments of our current problems. We might not all agree on the soultions yet the issues were well stated.

  • Virginia

    To Rich Carter .. By viewing your comment to me, it seems you
    fail to see that in order to be able to fix any Government Problem, what is
    Necessary is an educated aware populace, including through honesty in
    the media.

    And as life’s Wisdom Teachers have said : “It is only Truth
    that shall set us Free.”

  • Rich Carter

    I may have no problem with the contents of the message or your right to post an opinion, but this is a comment board. I shouldn’t need to use the scroll bar.

  • Virginia

    To Rich .. in reply to your two comments to me .. If you want to have your own limits-definition of
    what the ‘comment board’ is, .. you should realize it is just according to your
    personal biases. Also,”two-liner” comments can be rather
    limiting as well. Anyone who chooses to generally confine themselves to a
    limiting way .. can do so for themselves, but not for anyone else.

    I see the many Moyers threads more as ‘discussion boards’,
    for possibly significant contributions of sharing. Various
    peoples’ very good ‘comments’ of substance need to be
    scrolled, which shouldn’t be begrudged, .. and I believe that learning/sharing
    is worth the scrolling.

    Expressions of importance are so good in
    life, .. and as now, adding to my previous letter explaining the need and appeal
    to promote Honesty in Media, I’ll point out a quotation : .. “Secrecy is the
    freedom tyrants dream of.” – Bill Moyers

  • Anonymous

    It
    would help, though, if
    you would
    lay off
    the
    use of the carriage return
    so often. It
    makes it harder to
    read and might be contributing to the
    scrolling problem?

  • Virginia

    hi Menagerie, .. thankyou for you note. Yes, thoughtful people
    on the outside can see the “horror show” of America. It’s good to hear that your
    media is increasingly loosing it’s footing. Canada also has been controlled and
    stifled largely by our greedy Corporations/Government, which is our ‘horror
    show’, but in recent years, a few Canadian TV broadcast stations here developed
    more courage and have increasingly aired some documentaries exposing serious
    truths. In fact this year, so courageously a critically important documentary
    was aired exposing how the Canadian Harper Government extremely supresses and
    silences scientists and scientific facts, which the Corporate Government does in
    attempt to continue doing the wrongs that it wants, by hiding truths and
    keeping the populace in the dark and blindly controllable. And it seems
    obvious that this destructiveness has been happening by other Countries’ Powers
    too, (Corporations and Governments together.) Exposing truths to the populace
    is vitally important. And we also have many people who are right-wing and/or
    apathetic. Yet, as it seems and it is said, earth’s humanity is in a cosmic era
    of awakening and stopping of wrongful ways, both personally and globally. And
    this is happening while we suffer the increasing devastating environmental
    climate crisis which humanity’s errors have caused.

    The wonderful few American media-fellows available here who
    are so caringly exposing truths, as well as Bill Moyers, are Stephen Colbert on
    ‘The Comedy Network’ (both which costs extra to get), and Jon Stewart, .. (all
    available on-line)… and I deeply appreciate them. Did you see this week Bill
    Moyers’ talk with Bill McKibben ? It sure described the critical situation of
    our Time, .. of oil. Some comments after it sure express doubt and
    disbelief about surviving it. And in our situation, I’ve been feeling that
    what’s needed is a focus on spiritual evolving. .. Wishing you well

  • Virginia

    I really do agree with you. I don’t know
    what the term “carriage return” means. But I’ve learned that why my sentences
    have come out looking scattered is because I’m someone who only feels
    comfortable drafting my writing in my email section, and then using copy/paste
    to transfer it to the web-page, but this method scatters it on the web-page.
    Fortunately I learned today that, after posting it, I can use the “edit” feature to correct it,
    which will be good to do in future.

  • Rich Carter

    So you are implying I should just go ahead and read it then. Why didn’t you just write that?? Also, we are in agreement about helping America, I think.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, dear; I really do show my age at times. The carriage return key is the one marked “Return” or (maybe) “Enter” to the right of the quote keys. It’s the one you hit to make the cursor move down.

    In days of old, it was called the carriage return on old mechanical typewriters. I forget that younger people have never seen those contraptions, much less how they were used.

  • Virginia

    Yes, Rich, we both are in agreement about wanting to help. Yet actually,
    I am a Canadian in Canada, and I view things with a global perspective, and with
    always a desire for helping all living Beings. We are all together on the
    planet, and everything effects everything else. And I feel that this view-way of
    living is what Mother Earth, and the cosmos, needs all humanity to live in, in
    unity, (without an approach of insularism, separation or borders.) For decades,
    I have felt that the prayer said should not be ” God Bless [my Country] “, but
    it should say “God (or Divine) Bless All Life on Earth”.

  • Virginia

    hi again, I will also show my age now ! and explain that in the
    typewriter-days, I was in creative Art-college/schools, with absolutely no interest in learning how to type so never really much did.

  • Andrew L

    He’s not running for election again, yet still playing games and putting out petty, small fry proposals like 10.10 min wage here and a tax code tweak there, and some gay marriage genuflection as dessert. Don’t get me wrong, I agree in principal with all these stances, but if you can’t even get the small things done without a knock down drag out fight with crazy nihlisht repubs then why not swing for the fences and change the debate. Nothing to lose with no more elections to run for.

  • Anonymous

    Love what he has to say about democracy and our need to re-assume responsibility for governing ourselves. However, have a problem that he “blames” politicians and their being “bought” without mentioning the likes of the Institute of Economic Affairs and their offsprings the Cato Institute; the Fraser Institute; the Manhattan Institute – and 400= more around the world. Also, given Earth is finite, we cannot assume infinite growth is sustainable or the way to alleviate poverty.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree with your last claim. What happened to politicians was, they see the polls with congress having about a 10% approval rating and then see the results of the election returns with 90% of them getting reelected.

    They don’t have to deceive themselves, they see us for what we are, ALL TALK AND THREATS, NO ACTION. They don’t have to consider us we aren’t important by our choice. If we united and got them out of office and got money out of elections, then their replacements might take us more seriously. But a 90% retention rate, sure is comfort to them.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know about him, but Obama was elected, and I believe wanted to make change. But he came to reality, voters go to the polls, come home, celebrate if they win, than sit on their butts and do nothing. So Obama ended up with no support from the very people he counted on.

    The one thing missing here is the fact that we have the corrupted government and bad policies that we ask for and deserve because we are too unwilling to do anything to stop it.

    I have worked for three years at least to get people to unite and do something as simple as pick up the phone and call their elected officials and complain about something, send an email, show them that we care about an issue. And everybody seems to believe that it is someone’s responsibility other than theirs.

    Going to the polls is just the beginning. We have the power to change but we have to think we deserve it. And we have to actually get involved and DO something to make it happen.

    A 10% approval rating and a 90% retention rate is us giving permission to the politicians to screw us over……with our blessing.

    Also, politicians count that for each call there are 99 people sitting at home agreeing with the caller. What would happen if 99 people picked up the phone and 1 did nothing?

    Tune in, get involved, and DO something positive. WE are the only thing that we can count on, we are all we have.

  • Anonymous

    Try going to look at the Democratic votes on most every issue once they get elected. Then look at how the vote is rigged so that a certain number of votes are needed to pass anything. Now count their votes when they actually matter.

    You just might find out that almost all of our politicians have been bought…..by the same handful of people. There is so little difference between the two sides that it is difficult at times to prove we have two parties.

  • Thirdcloud

    I don’t think we disagree except that it would be more accurate to say that many have begun to see through their partisan distractions.

    To take money out of politics will require a grassroots effort–the political class will never put themselves out of office.

    The lack of real action stems from those who’ve yet to have the economy directly descend upon their lives.

    People need to realize that our solution is now outside of the narrow political options being discussed. That may take more time.

    What action are you taking and what do you suggest?

  • Anonymous

    right now I am mostly trying to get people to stop sitting down and waiting for Superman to sweep in and save us. And I am trying to bring issues up and asking for ideas on how to solve things and sharing my opinions.

    I call my representatives, the White House and sign petitions. But unless there are enough people working on that at the same time, the elected will not listen.

    I also monitor city and country board meetings locally under the Sunshine Law. I took training to help register new voters for my state. I have helped register nearly 300 new voters so far. I need something else to do.

    I flew to DC, visited OWS camps there as well as the one that was in NYC, I went also to protest the Keystone Pipeline in DC and at several protests in the Midwest too.

    I need to do something more. But what? If we united, we could do a great deal in a shorter period of time. The politicians count on us not being able to do follow up.

    Do you have any ideas on how to organize the masses? I used to help organize political rallies and give speeches, and at best 150 people showed up.

  • Thirdcloud

    You’re doing a lot of great things!

    It’s time we take a page from the Grover Norquist’s “no new tax” playbook. Let’s tell every politician—regardless of political affiliation—that in exchange for our vote they must sign the pledge that upon being elected to office their first order of business must be publicly funded elections and campaign finance reforms.

    http://www.chicagonow.com/sheffield-gazette-digital-fish-wrap/2014/01/without-election-reforms-were-going-nowhere-fast/

  • Anonymous

    What partisan distractions — you mean the labeling and branding efforts of the D’s and R’s? There is no substantive difference in policy between the two.

    Or perhaps you are also one of the zillions so easily tricked by the Democrats’ sugar-coated lies they tell BEFORE the elections?

    We have a two-headed party, not two parties. There is no partisanship — this might be a different world if there were any.

  • Anonymous

    My impression is that people don’t understand the issues, short of the sound bytes they get on the MSM news outlets. But they do not get the nuances, especially if they are not avid, voracious news hounds like this group here.

    Worse yet, many people are not even AWARE of some very important issues, like the TPP. Where in hell would they even find out about it?

    I do appreciate your efforts to educate and get people involved. But I think it is important to keep in mind that there is more basic foundational work that needs to be done before a bunch of know-nothings start picking up their phones and babbling nonsense to inculcated college interns who might not have any better understanding.

    I apologize if I just made a seemingly straightforward task, based on seemingly straightforward assumptions, into a somewhat more challenging project. My intentions are good, I promise.

    BTW, Obama was not the only one who got elected in 2008 and 2012. As we canvass for new voters, we should remind them that their power is in the Congress, and they must push back against the power of the Executive.

  • Anonymous

    Yes. Exactly why I parade around the Internet with a moniker like mine.

  • Anonymous

    in my job of registering voters, I am not allowed to talk politics and I can give no advice.

    I don’t watch MSNBC, it was FOX-lite the 15 minutes that I watched it. I believe it would be helpful here if we passed a law saying that news had to be actual facts, and opinions and spin should be limited and labeled. And that stations who are found guilty of lies and spin should not be allowed on air. That would take care of FOX for sure. I really don’t know about the others.

    That would help with getting the public educated based on facts. And they would become more informed voters.

  • Anonymous

    Huh? In Arizona, the GP signed up voters, and I was not aware of any law saying we could not discuss politics.

    I am wondering if there is a way to sign up members to a specific party (even make up a new one) so you can discuss a politics (even if it is just a framework in place of any actual party’s agenda).

    Anyway, I don’t think any of the issues I brought up should be considered biasing in any way.

  • Anonymous

    no, we can’t talk politics. IF asked, all I can say is that Mitt was a republican and President Obama is a Democrat. That is all.

    I had to go through training, take an oath, and I have an ID from my state saying I can register, and I have to work at all times with at least one other person from a different party than mine.

    We have to count up the sheets, count the number from each party, and all of the people working have to sign the tally and then we get it to the registrar’s office. Check and balance, fair and free elections.

  • Anonymous

    Check and balance, fair and free elections, even if the public has no idea what they are really voting for. Not exactly my idea of a strong foundation for democracy, so I am not sure what good can come of registering these people.

    They will register to vote, go home and turn on Fox or MSNBC, and make the same uneducated, un-nuanced binary decision as to which head of hydra they will vote for. The false dichotomy will not die.

  • Anonymous

    no, they won’t. The average viewer on FOX is about 68-69.

    The people I have registered are either college educated and leaving college or college-bound students who are interested in American government. And most know far more than one might expect.

    I can understand your concerns, but I have to do my best. And will continue to register. And be glad that so many young people are interested.

  • Anonymous

    I apologize for the evil thinking we have taught your otherwise decent people. Canadians should take your country back before the US destroys it through their proxies like Harper, Frazer, and the Northern Foundation.

    I always viewed (until recently) Canada as sort of a sensibility check on North America. That backstop has been failing lately.

  • Eric Nielsen

    Come on Bill… I know Simon has good intentions, but don’t either of you see that the European Union style of living is coming to America with the Union of the Americas, starting with Canada, Mexico and the U.S.?

    Please have a show on the Conspiracy Theory, cause it is coming down the pike real quick. Our economic system can only last so long before wages become too high and have to be adjusted downward, which our country is now doing to everyone. But what they aren’t doing is lowering the cost of things to match the new income levels that the people now have to live with.

    Dive into it deep–Bill. :)

  • Hans Aresch

    Don’t you trolls ever get tired? If you want to hear about conspiracy theories, there’s a whole internet out there catering to your disinterest in actual information. Bye.

  • Anonymous

    Moyers would never cover that level of hooey.

    Try Mark Levin.

  • Anonymous

    Did Alex Jones take a vacation? He will be back, just be patient.