BILL MOYERS: This week on Moyers & Company.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: How do we afford this level of government if we want to keep it? Do we want to keep it? How are we going to pay for it? If we're going to cut, where are we going to cut? Those are key questions. And that's what this election should be about.


ROSEANN DEMORO: I'm looking for absolutes. I'm not interested in the neo-liberal agenda. I'm not interested in bipartisanship. I'm interested in social change that actually puts society back with the people.

BILL MOYERS: Welcome. The presidential campaign is off and running; off and running from one fundraiser to another. President Obama has already set a record: the "Financial Times" reports almost 200 events at which he’s rattled the tin cup, more than his four predecessors combined. He’s ahead overall – with $104 million the last time papers were filed with the Federal Election Commission. That’s ten times more than what Mitt Romney’s campaign had in the bank.

But Romney is the darling of the super PACs: Pro-Romney PACs have collected ten times as much from the friendly rich who prefer to give anonymously. And even when he’s the draw, you don’t see much of the candidate: At a New Jersey fundraiser the other day, Mitt Romney vacuumed up $400,000 in one hour at a private home while the press was safely cordoned off by police. No peeking allowed.

But while only a few people will actually see the candidates up close between now and November, we will be seeing the commercials that all that money is buying. They’re coming at us now fast and furious:

MITT ROMNEY: I balanced the budget every single year.

NARRATOR #1: You don’t quit and neither does he.

NARRATOR #2: Job creation numbers fall for the third straight month.

BILL MOYERS: But don’t despair. You don’t have to watch all of them. Because we have Kathleen Hall Jamieson for that. Our master media decoder and her vigilant team at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center scarcely miss a bobble along the political beat. At the websites and the new, their job is to critique, watch, analyze and share what they find out.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, thank you for being with me.


BILL MOYERS: One of the big stories this week was the defeat, in the Republican primary, of Senator Richard Lugar after 36 years in the Senate. And he attributes his defeat, in the statement he made after his concession, to the determination of conservatives and right wingers to bring him down. And he says it was because of his vote for the TARP program, for government support of the auto industry, for the START treaty, and for the confirmation of two of Obama's nominees to the Supreme Court, Sotomayor and Kagan.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: We have now lost an individual who was willing to do what he thought was right even when that meant working across the aisle. He's a conservative. He wasn't a moderate by most definitions. And as he notes in his statement, during the Reagan period, he was the reliable Reagan supporter. You'd call him a Reagan conservative now, which tells you how far the party has moved.

By losing him in the Senate, what we've lost is a person who has dedicated much of his life to nuclear non-proliferation, to try to make sure that those dangerous weapons don't get in the wrong hands and that we have fewer of them overall. He worked with Barack Obama on that. And the Obama campaign in 2008 featured that in ads.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The single most important national security threat that we face is nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists. What I did was reach out to Senator Dick Lugar, a Republican, to help lock down loose nuclear weapons.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: That fact was used against Senator Lugar, the fact that he worked with someone across the aisle.

BILL MOYERS: So what does this mean for the polarization that already has caused such disaffection among the American people? What does it mean for solving-- resolving something like nuclear proliferation?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: It means that if you're going to get action, you're going to have to have both parts of Congress and the presidency controlled by the same party because you're always, under this set of assumptions, going to produce gridlock otherwise. And you're going to condemn anyone who tries to break that gridlock by reaching across the aisle in order to find a point of common ground. Essentially, Senator Lugar was defeated because of his efforts to find principled common ground on issues that he thought were important.

BILL MOYERS: Many people I respect, including you, say that this period between the election in November and the inauguration of either President Obama again in January or President Mitt Romney is a very dangerous period because the Bush tax cuts expire. The deficit has to be dealt with. There are other issues that cannot wait any longer and that there's going to be a roadblock in that period of time unless, somehow, they do find the Richard Lugars. Where are they going to come from?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: I don't know. But we're facing what some have characterized as a fiscal cliff. This country has got to find a way to grapple with these issues at a time in which our system has proven to be dysfunctional because of the driving force of polarization.

BILL MOYERS: So what do people watching, regular voters out there, ordinary citizens who don't have much time for politics, what do they-- what should they be doing between now and then?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: First, we have to do everything that we can as a journalistic and academic community to focus this election on things that matter and to focus on issue distinctions between candidates that can actually translate into governance. There is a piece that the Obama campaign put up this last week that was called "Life of Julia" that projects from the age of three through 67 how Julia would be affected by various government programs that are actually already in effect.

BILL MOYERS: Frame Julia for us. What Julia are you talking about?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Julia is a two-dimensional figure created on a slideshow by the Obama administration as a means of showing what government currently provides under the Obama administration. And so Julia at three has Head Start.

And as she ages, she benefits from the fact that she gets to stay on her parents' insurance thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

When Julia faces potential pay discrimination, she's protected by the Ledbetter Act, the first act signed by President Obama.

BILL MOYERS: Which means?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Which means that she can file a discrimination suit if she is not getting comparable pay to a man who's doing the same kind of job. And she doesn't have an odd notification period requirement, meaning you could be discriminated against, not know it, and as a result lose your right to sue.

When she reaches Medicare and Social Security age, she's able to retire. And so it's an attempt by the Obama administration to say what does government currently do for you and with you?

And in the process, they're making some assumptions that are suspect assumptions. The Republicans respond by saying that's the nanny state and that's the--

BILL MOYERS: Culture of dependence.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Culture of dependency. And they lay up their alternative about what they think would happen if the Republican scenarios played out, better job growth, et cetera, et cetera. The Libertarians come in and do something that's very interesting. They basically say both of you are part of the nanny state, you Republicans and you Democrats. And we marginalize Libertarians a lot. The Libertarian critique is actually an important critique.

One of the things the Libertarian take on Julia says is her father is, you know, smoking marijuana. He gets arrested and put away. We're still fighting two wars we're not paying for. There basically is this other third critique out there that looks at the long term and says we can't sustain these things.

That's what makes the Julia narrative, for me, very valuable. It casts the long term as our perspective, not the short term. And if you look literally at what the Obama tracking of Julia's life in the slideshow does, it says this is what government currently does. How much of it are you ready to give up if we can't afford to sustain it? That's my reading on Julia.

The Obama people want me to read that and say, "Vote for Obama, you get to keep it." Vote for Obama, you don't get to keep some of it because its economic assumptions are not consistent with what we know the real world is. But I like the fact that we're asking the question: how do we afford this level of government if we want to keep it? Do we want to keep it? How are we going to pay for it? If we're going to cut, where are we going to cut? Those are key questions. And that's what this election should be about.

BILL MOYERS: But do you hear or see Romney and Obama addressing these tough choices--


BILL MOYERS: --in ways that reassure you?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: No. And if we have an election campaign in which they don't and they act responsibly, we're going to disconnect campaigning from governance. And when we have a campaign in which they don't, it's less likely that they will. And as a result, we run the risk that we are actually going to hurt the country dramatically because the polarization is making it much, much more difficult for people to find the common ground that they need.

When Speaker Boehner and President Obama came as close as they did to a grand bargain, we were seeing the possibility that government could work. When on each side the people from the left and the right said, "No, you can't give that," "no, you can't give that," we saw the problems of polarization. The leadership impulses of the speaker and the president were the right impulses. How do we draw them forward in order to get the right decisions for the country in an environment in which we cannot continue to do what we're doing?

BILL MOYERS: I'm going to get a lot of emails from my viewers saying, "Please don't have that woman again."


BILL MOYERS: "She's making me think too much. She makes my head heart," because these are tough choices.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: They're extremely tough choices. And we can't afford not to make them because if we don't make them the alternative is unsustainable for the country. And the people who say, "Well, we're going to find a way to cut," should be explaining why that's enough.

And we've had an interesting moment in which the-- Governor Romney was caught on a microphone in which he said, "Well, we'll cut housing. We'll cut education." Well, I'd like to see him say that in public and explain why. I'd like to see both sides say, "With Social Security here's what we should do." I'd like to see them debate Simpson-Bowles.

BILL MOYERS: That's the commission that recommended compromise on both spending and taxes.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Yes, and had distinguished individuals from both political parties. It is-- it makes tough recommendations. And I would like to see in the absence of the candidates having the courage to take the position, someone lay out the case for the Simpson-Bowles alternative so the public understands what it is so that we begin to build some consensus about what the trade-offs look like, what the costs are going to be, and what we need to do to sustain this country for future generations.

BILL MOYERS: But how do we do that?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: I think we do it by having the media feature it intensely as an alternative and explain why it is important.

That's what we need to do in the presidential debates. We're going to have them. When they don't answer the question, the next person up should forgo his or her question and ask the question again. And if the entire debate simply has to ask the question then let's ask, what about Simpson-Bowles don't you like, Mr. President? You know, Governor Romney? What about it do you like? Are you ready to advance-- to say that we should move the Social Security age to 70 in some kind of a phased-in structure?

Should we be doing means testing in some ways? What are your alternatives? When you say you're going to reform the tax code, is that an excuse for saying you're going to do nothing? How much money can you get out of the reforms that you were offering? And what are you going to eliminate and what are you going to cut? Right now we're playing this game. Right now you've got the Ryan budget proposal.

BILL MOYERS: Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Uh-huh. And to his credit, there is a proposal there. The first thing the Democrats did a response was to say, "Ha, we're going to assume he's cutting everything across the board." So they started pushing on the assumption that this good thing is going to be cut. This good thing, this good thing by “X” percent.

Congressman Ryan responds, "No, I'm going to get rid of some things entirely, and I'm going to preserve some things entirely. And I'm going to cut some things." That's actually the beginning of a productive exchange. Now the question is what for both sides? And let's get the public on board to accept that there's some things we take for granted now we're not going to have. There's some costs we're not now paying that we're going to have to pay. It's necessary to preserve our country.

BILL MOYERS: I understand that. But I don't know how realistically we make it happen unless there's perhaps a popular movement to require Romney and Obama to meet every week for six weeks before the election on debate terms, not of the parties' choosing, but of some independent group like we used to have with the League of Women Voters, that requires tests, probe, expects and demands that they answer these questions.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: I think the debate structure is the possible-- is the place where we've got the possibility of the solution. I would like to see a proposal that Harvard floated a number of years ago, that we devote Sunday nights, from the beginning of the general election period through the election, to intensive discussions with presidential candidates about the serious issues of the day.

I think you'd find an attentive audience for that. And I think the person who's elected would find that he was better able to govern if the public had had that opportunity. The public isn't stupid. The public actually is smart in some important ways.

But it needs help in getting up to speed.

BILL MOYERS: Are we close to de-legitimizing the American political system? Is it possible we could reach a point in our political system where it collapses of its own absurdity?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: We're close right now to having a campaign run on attack and irrelevant arguments that are highly deceptive and, as a result, make it extremely difficult to solve the problems facing the country, which is what all the concern about money and politics is well justified and why we ought to worry about trying to vigilantly hold the super PACs and the third-party advertisers accountable.

Now, what are the consequences of high level of attack? You don't have a reason to vote for someone. You're only being told why to vote against. Hence, no projection of what the alternatives are and no understanding of the trade-offs in government. And the danger is, with all of this unaccountable third-party money, that we're going to have high levels--

BILL MOYERS: You mean super PAC money, special interest money.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Political party money, special interest money as well as super PAC money. We're going to have high level of attack; hence, no relevance to governance and votes against. And that we're going to have high level of deception; hence, people who feel betrayed once they see actual governance or who vote against a candidate they might otherwise support.

We have got to worry about this as an issue. And as a result, trying to ensure that people understand the facts under the ad's critical. Important that the ads not distract us from the central issues. All of this is a journalistic function. And important that, when there is deception, the candidate carries the burden.

If you'll remember 2000, Al Gore was hurt as a result of the way in which he campaigned against Bill Bradley. He made some claims that were considered illegitimate by those who were tracking the campaign. He carried that penalty forward. And the Bush campaign capitalized on it, in some ways, illegitimately to attack him in the general election.

What happens when a super PAC deceives? The pro-Romney super PAC not only outspent the pro-Santorum and pro-Gingrich super PACs, it outspent them 20 to one in deceptive dollars. Those are dollars spent on ads that were deceiving. So what happens when that super PAC carries all that deception? Do we say about Governor Romney he deceived and, as a result, he carries a penalty? No, we don't. And as a result, there's no penalty structure put in place to create a structure that dampens down the deception. BILL MOYERS: Since we last talked, the Wesleyan Media Project, I'm sure you're familiar with that, has given us some grim facts about how the campaign advertising dollars are being spent. First, it says, this campaign is shaping up to be an overwhelmingly negative one, much more negative than 2008. So far, says the Wesleyan Project, 70 percent of the ads are negative. Talk to me about that.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: What we do know this year is that we've had a high level of attack and that we've had a high level of deception. And I separate the two because you can have deception in ads that make the case for a candidate that aren't simply ads that attack. And what happens when you have a high level of attacks and a high level of deception is that you disassociate campaigning from governance. And you minimize the likelihood that the candidate who is elected has made a case for a presidency that he can actually act on and mobilize the American people on behalf of.

BILL MOYERS: So negative ads are alright if they’re true, right?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: I don't like to use the word "negative" because it conflates legitimate and illegitimate attack and because negative to most people means duplicitous. It means you're not looking at the ads that make the case for a candidate that may be deceptive.

But the-- one of the problems with high levels of attacks is that it doesn't give you a basis to vote for a candidate. One of the advantages of attack at some level is it creates legitimate issue distinctions. When it's fair and accurate in relevance to governance, attack is what makes politics work.

I'm not going to tell you bad things about me when I'm running. You're going to tell voters things that are accurate if you're running a good honorable campaign to create a legitimate issue distinction. Sometimes candidates attack others for things they've actually done themselves.

And also you're going to make a case that has-- translates into governance so it gives people some reason to vote for you and against me. Those contrast ads are actually the strongest form of advertising we have because they tell you on an issue where there's a distinction where I stand, where you stand. And if that relates to a real decision in governance, that helps people vote.

BILL MOYERS: What's your response to these numbers? Outside groups including super PACs have sponsored almost 60 percent of the ads aired compared with three percent! Three percent of the ads in 2008. One group alone, Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, has aired nearly 17,000 spots mostly against Obama.

And all together there have been 33,420 anti-Obama pro-Republican spots run compared to 25,516 anti-Republican, pro-Obama spots. What do you make of that?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Well, first, third-party advertising, that's non-candidate advertising, has historically been more attack driven and more deceptive. And that's true this year as well. Secondly, when there are imbalances in money tied to messages, the side with the higher dollar amount of messaging has the advantage.

We showed this in 2008, interestingly, when the advantage was with the Obama campaign, which in some media markets outspent John McCain four to one. We documented the effect of that difference in the presence of controlling everything else that might have affected voters. And we showed a difference in vote choice based on the amount of money-- differential in the amount of money spent by the two campaigns.

And the biggest problem occurs when there's a differential in spending and a high level of deception tied to a high level attack because now you have the worst possible consequences. The whole electoral environment becomes more attack driven with deceptive content that might mislead voters into voting against a candidate they might otherwise support.

And it, by divorcing campaigning from governance, it invites cynicism about our political process. Why, after all, if when you're told all these things that are deceptive and then you vote and you don't as a result see forecast governance, should you vote the next time? And that's the theory behind the notion that maybe it does demobilize. There is some evidence of that.

BILL MOYERS: So if I had more money than you and I spend more of that money on negative ads and I run more negative ads than you, I have the advantage?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Assuming that you've got a comparably effective message. Yes, redundancy is correlated to retention.

BILL MOYERS: How do beleaguered, busy, besieged voters sort out the BS from the truth? I mean, I brought with me two ads I want to play side by side. One is from Americans for Prosperity, funded by in part by the super-rich Koch brothers. And it attacks President Obama's record on energy.

The other which I’ll play right after is an almost instant rebuttal from the Obama side. And it features someone most people have never seen, the deputy campaign manager for Obama's reelection. So let me play these two ads and then we'll talk about them.

NARRATOR #3: Washington promised to create American jobs if we passed their stimulus. But that’s not what happened.

Fact: Billions of tax payer dollars spent on green energy went to jobs in foreign countries. The Obama administration admitted the truth that $2.3 billion of tax credits went overseas. While millions of Americans can’t find a job. $1.2 billion to a solar company that’s building a plant in Mexico.

Half a billion to an electric car company that created hundreds of jobs in Finland. And tens of millions of dollars to build traffic lights in China. President Obama wasted $34 billion on risky investments. The result: failure! American tax payers are paying to send their own jobs to foreign countries. Tell President Obama: American tax dollars should help American taxpayers.

BILL MOYERS: And now here is the almost the almost instant rebuttal.

STEPHANIE CUTTER: Hi, I’m Stephanie Cutter. I’m the Deputy Campaign Manager here at Obama for America, and I wanted to arm you with the facts about the latest attack from Big Oil. You may have heard of the Koch brothers. They’re secretive oil billionaires bankrolling Republican campaigns and now they’re backing Mitt Romney. Pretty simple reason for this, President Obama would take away billions of dollars in unnecessary oil tax breaks – Mitt Romney would protect them.

So now they’re spending six million dollars on an ad that is so blatantly false the Washington Post said they have no shame.

Let’s get the facts out because it’s important that you guys know the truth. President Obama has helped create hundreds of thousands of clean energy jobs. Projects in all 50 states. And the way these oil billionaires and their front group completely ignore the truth is breathtaking.

Let’s take some crazy examples from their attack ad. They claim the administration gave money to build electric cars in Finland. No, the Department of Energy’s funding was specifically for U.S. jobs at U.S. facilities. Sure enough the company is employing 700 workers in California and their planning to build a plant in Delaware.

Okay, another ridiculous claim: they said we sent money to China to build traffic lights. That’s wrong again. Those traffic lights were assembled here, in this country, and helped expand our light manufacturing industry in this country.

They said we gave money to a company building solar plants in Mexico. Nope. Wrong again. Our money is going to a solar plant here in America with American workers.

These guys are going to say whatever it takes to tear down the President. They will literally say anything. They oppose expanding clean energy. They oppose higher fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks. So we’re going to call their BS when we see it. And we need your help to call them on it too and to set the record straight.

So share this, Tweet it, Facebook it. I keep hearing about Tumblr and whatever that is, please use that too. And thank you, for all of your help.

BILL MOYERS: Two totally different kind of ads. One's slick, highly produced, all that music and sound bites and the drama of it. The other one just straightforward, some young woman talking into camera. How do you evaluate the techniques there?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Well, first, the second is a web video and it's consistent with the ways in which the Obama campaign talked to supporters in 2008. Very straightforward. Someone comes on camera and says, "Here's the way we see the facts."

The produced, the highly visual, very evocative produced content is almost always more effective because it's more memorable. The visuals, the music, and the words underscore each other. Under both of these, however, are problematic claims. And so if you say, "I really like Stephanie Cutter. She seems really credible. I guess I'm going to believe her," or, "I really buy into all this fancy produced content in the third-party ad," you've made a mistake.

What you need to ask in both is what are the patterns of deception and how can I detect them? So let me give you some quick guides. The Koch brothers aren't big oil. The Koch brothers are little oil. They run all sorts of things, but the percent of their income that comes from oil, small compared to big oil.

She's calling them big oil because you're afraid of big oil. Big oil is negatively cast. And it's much easier to say bad thing, big oil and tie it to Koch brothers than to say highly diversified, lots of things that they run, Koch brothers. So first move, when somebody uses a single scary something and attacks should ask is that right? And what does that mean? On the other side, when people make categorical claims, do you think it's really plausible? So no jobs created by the stimulus? That's not plausible. Everything about economic theory would say it must have done something.

Well, the CBO, Congressional Budget Office, says that the stimulus created or saved 1.2 to 3.3 million jobs. That's not a small number. So test the plausibility. When people make categorical claims, they're usually false. Now, I notice I didn't say always false because that would be a categorical claim.

Then when visuals pop up on the screen, as you see words or you hear words, ask whether the visual is driving a false inference. You saw Solyndra pop up on the screen. Solyndra has failed. You heard 34 billion and the word "failure." Now, you're not-- you're processing rapidly. It's going like this in the ad. You're not likely to say 'cause you know Solyndra was a failure. That was Solyndra 34 billion? Was everything else 34 billion a failure? When you see a visual that's strong and you associate it with something that is accurate, ask whether the rest of what you're processing is coming along is misleading you.

Of the rest of that money, Solyndra and a group, I think it's called Beacon Power, are the two that have failed. We may, as a country, get back some money from them in bankruptcy. But let's assume that we don't, we lose all of those loan guarantees. If we do, it's two percent of the money that's been spent.

But that piece is not going to let you ask that because it's moving so rapidly. You've already processed the whole thing has failed because Solyndra is so visible and available. And we've heard about it in news. And it is legitimately a failure for the Obama administration. And we tend to over-generalize. So what's the bottom line with this? And there's one more, by the way. Whenever somebody says "jobs overseas," stop. We're in a global economy.

It's virtually impossible to spend a large amount of money on something major and not have something that's going overseas. We've got things that are plants in the United States that are owned by people overseas. We've got people in the United States who own things but the plant is overseas. And in many of the big products that we assemble, automobiles, you've got parts coming from all over.

So did the jobs all go overseas? Or in a global economy would some of it have gone overseas and some of it come here? Now, once you make that inference, you can tell why the Democratic response and the ad are both telling you a partial truth. Some of that money did create jobs overseas, but some of that money created jobs here. The ad only tells you half. The Democratic response only tells you half. But since you know the economy is global, you know there is some truth in both.

BILL MOYERS Is it true, by the way, that fact checkers forced Mitt Romney to back away from his claim that he had net-net increased jobs by 100,000 while he was running Bain Capital?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Yes. And when people say fact checking doesn't matter, here's a case study. Fact checking often hits a brick wall. That is the campaigns believe that they can restate so often with evocative ads that they override it. But when it is persistent and when you have debates to personally hold a candidate accountable and when the other candidates are doing it as well, it can succeed. And that's how the process is supposed to work.

BILL MOYERS: Kathleen Hall Jamieson, we'll be seeing how this plays out over the next coming months. Thanks for joining me.


BILL MOYERS: Given the astronomical amounts of money being spent on all those ads – and the fog of lies with which they shroud our awareness – and despite the unshakeable grip of the very rich and their mercenaries on both our political parties, I’m always amazed that there are people out across America who still fight back. Who don’t give up, no matter the odds.

Case in point: my next guest and the powerful union she heads will lead a march fighting back against economic inequality in Chicago on May 18th. The Chicago protest is part of a growing international movement in support of what’s called the Robin Hood tax, named after the legendary English outlaw who took from the rich and gave to the poor back in the 13th Century.

The Robin Hood tax is a small government levy the financial sector would pay on commercial transactions like stocks and bonds. Supporters say it’s a tiny tax to clean up the mess the banks helped create. The money generated could be used for social programs and job creation.

As the idea has spread around the world, it’s been estimated that a Robin Hood tax could raise as much as $77 billion in the European Union countries and $350 billion a year, here in the U.S., The movement has been embraced by Germany’s Angela Merkel, Pope Benedict, South African Bishop Desmond Tutu, and billionaire philanthropists Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Its momentum has been bolstered by a savvy media campaign that ranges from slapstick…

BANKERS in ADVERTISEMENT: The bankers win! The bankers win! We’ve won again!

BILL MOYERS: To slickly produced videos…

MAN #1 in ADVERTISEMENT: Have you heard this idea about the Robin Hood bankers tax?

MAN #2 in ADVERTISEMENT: Yes, it’s a sweet little idea taxing the banks to help the poor, but I don’t think it would work. It’s very complicated and would be very tough on the banking sector.

MAN #1 in ADVERTISEMENT: Which has just been given billions of pounds in taxpayer monies to keep it going?

MAN #2 in ADVERTISEMENT: Well yeah, of course.

ROSEANN DEMORO: A very minimum tax could amount to at least $350 billion dollars, that could go back to our communities, that could go back to jobs, that could go back to health care.

BILL MOYERS: Here in the United States, leading the charge in support of the tax is RoseAnn DeMoro and the organization she leads, National Nurses United. It’s the largest registered nurses union in U.S. history.

And with nearly 170,000 members, it’s one of the country’s fastest growing unions. In recent years, the nurses staged some of the most organized and best-publicized campaigns for health care reform. Now they're doing the same for the Robin Hood tax with a fight they call the Main Street Campaign.

Events already have been held in Washington and on Wall Street here in New York…

The May 18th march in Chicago originally was planned to coincide with the G8 summit of the world’s most powerful nations. President Obama then decided to move that meeting to Camp David, so intentionally or not, he’ll be dodging a confrontation with RoseAnn DeMoro and her nurses. RoseAnn, welcome.

ROSEANN DEMORO: Thank you, Bill. It's so nice to be here.

BILL MOYERS: When you went to your membership and said, "I want us to get involved in taking on Wall Street. I want us to fight for the financial transaction tax," did they scratch their head and say, "What the devil is that?"

ROSEANN DEMORO: You know what, Bill? It was the most fascinating thing. They got that in a heartbeat. The people who have billions of dollars, who could make a million dollars an hour, which is, you know, Wall Street, need to give a little bit back. It's very American. It's happened before. It's not anything novel. And the nurses know that they pay tax. So when we explained that they complete got it. We did a lot of education around it. And then we fanned out into the capital.

We had a thousand nurses in Washington, D.C. last year. And we introduced the financial transaction tax. You know, there's some sophisticated things about the financial transaction tax, but frankly, all you need to know is that people in this economy are hurting. They're losing their homes. They have no health care. They've lost their jobs. Something's wrong and everyone knows it. And when you look around and you see the billions of dollars and the billionaires and the excessive wealth that's been taken out of the economy, everyone knows that.

They don't necessarily know how to speak about derivatives or stocks or all of that. But they know that those people who have those things have the money. So when we went to the capitol, two stories I'll relate very quickly.

One of the young nurses goes into one of the legislator's offices and says, you know, "We want the financial transaction tax." And this male legislator says, "Well, you nurses know a lot about financial transaction," like, you know, "What would a nurse know? Or what would a woman know?" "You nurses need to lower your expectations." And she said, "Would you like me to say that to you when I'm prepping you for surgery?" And it says the story right there, right, though, because ultimately we're talking about the life and death of people. That's what the nurses see. They see life and death. And so it's that same body that's presenting themselves to the nurse on that operating table. Those nurses see those patients in droves every single day. And they see people without hope. And they see fundamental despair. Another nurse told one of the legislators, "I don't know a lot about the financial transaction tax, but I know I pay tax on everything I buy as a working person and they should too." And that's it. They have been able to essentially, the people in the financial industry have been able to ultimately take so much money out of the economy and not even have to pay a minimum sales tax on that money. Not even a minimum.

BILL MOYERS: So how did these two congressmen respond?

ROSEANN DEMORO: Very cynically, very cynically.

BILL MOYERS: Cynically?

ROSEANN DEMORO: Yeah, what happened was that then the nurses came back together, told the stories. And of course, that enraged everyone, because that's the same experience they had in all the offices, dismissive. Our legislators have found that they can be dismissive, because labor doesn't have anywhere to go. So we decided to take the campaign to establish a Main Street Campaign to take it back to the communities and talk to real people who are losing their homes, jobs, and health care.

And say, "There is an option. We can all get together. We can fight for a financial transaction tax, this tax."

BILL MOYERS: We used to have a financial transaction tax in this country. From 1914 to 1966. Then, in 1987, at the time of another Wall Street crash, the first President Bush and Senator Bob Dole, a Republican, and several other Republicans called for restoring it. Didn't happen.

ROSEANN DEMORO: No, and there's even a financial transaction tax in the S.E.C. right now-- a small one. There's one in New York City, as well. I mean, so financial transaction tax, you know, has been here.

BILL MOYERS: There are many critics of the financial transaction tax. And they say, among other things, that the banks will simply pass the cost onto the consumer. They say that the banks -- if they have fewer trades, will let people go. There'll be unemployment on Wall Street. They say that the banks will flee, they'll go abroad, they'll go somewhere else with their business, as happened once when Sweden had a financial transaction tax, and lost a lot of trading activity. They say you're killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

ROSEANN DEMORO: Well, I'm waiting to see the golden egg. The truth of the matter is you can fix the fleeing with regulation and with policy. That's an easy fix.

In terms of jobs, there's very few jobs actually that the financial sector hits-- it's a computerized industry. Nanosecond trading, and it's very concentrated. And that's part of their beauty, part of their scheme, right? It's basically they've created an economy onto themselves without people.

And the problem is their lobbyists and the incredible amount of money they have buy and sell our legislature. They've got enormous amounts of money. But we can win this, because we have the people with us.

BILL MOYERS: So is the campaign for financial transaction tax largely leverage you're seeking, just a means of getting the attention of the powers that be? Or are you serious about getting this $350 billion dollars from a 50 cent tax on every $100 dollars of transacting?

ROSEANN DEMORO: We're as serious as a heart attack. Can I tell you that?

BILL MOYERS: You can tell me that.

ROSEANN DEMORO: If you're going to fund social services-- we assume we need about, what $500 billion to kind of jumpstart a jobs program. There aren't real jobs left in America. We need real jobs. And we need health care. I mean, all of the things that we should have a society.

BILL MOYERS: But here's what you're up against. First of all, they're not going to take you seriously, because you are nurses. What do nurses know about Wall Street? Secondly, they're going to say that, you know, the banks will find a way to circumvent this tax, pass it on to the consumers.

ROSEANN DEMORO: Isn't that amazing? Isn't it amazing how bad our thinking is in this country? That people who have billions of dollars, who could make a million dollars an hour, which is, you know, Wall Street. That they shouldn't have to pay 50 cents on $100 dollars of trade? I mean, that's just-- it shows how far we-- afield we've come from where we need to be as a society.

Because otherwise, what we're going to be is, you know, have this kind of industrial peasantry in this country. And I mean, that's where this could go if something doesn't change pretty dramatically. What I can't understand is why our legislators-- they know there's a problem.

I don't know what they think, how they think we're going to solve the problem. You know, there's a deficit created by speculation. And all of a sudden working people are supposed to pay for the deficit, that's the rallying cry? Like a deficit that working people didn't cause, that that's the priority of this country to resolve a deficit caused by Wall Street rather than job creation?

BILL MOYERS: But, you know, I don't know anyone who understands the castle better from the battering ram side than you. You've been out there with a battering ram for a long time. Trying to change Washington is virtually an impossible task, because of the entrenched, systemic corruption by which the town now runs.

ROSEANN DEMORO: Absolutely. The current way we practice politics, we are headed for devastation. I would agree with that. The only way we can do that is by changing ourselves. I'm very tired of all of us being disappointed in Democrats. I mean, okay, how many more Democrats can we be disappointed in? I-- we have got to change ourselves. We have got to-- that's why I like the Occupy movement.

And hoping that it, you know, moves with structure and reform. And I'd say, you know, kind of non-reformist reforms. Like the financial transaction tax, because what that does is it starts having a different view on speculation and what's a responsibility to society. But Occupy is extremely important to us, because it actually doesn't buy into the fact that we're all in this together.

We have been in this we're all in this together bubble fantasy for so long. I mean, you know, things were supposed to trickle down. And then all of a sudden, we were supposed to be part of some bubble up. And I mean, it's just everything's trickling, but it's trickling up.

BILL MOYERS: But suppose you get the $350 billion. What if it's spent on bombing Iran?

ROSEANN DEMORO: Well, precisely. We're not earmarking the money. We're not saying, "Okay, we want $350 billion. And this part should go to health care and this part should go to education." What we're saying is that part of the process of obtaining the financial transaction tax is the movement itself.

Because if we can engage people to actually engage the legislators-- I mean we have to continually hold them accountable. We can never give our power away. And we can never buy into the lies that have been told to us for so long. I mean, I don't even recognize, you know, liberals anymore. I don't even—

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean?

ROSEANN DEMORO: Well, they will invariably be apologetic for anything that comes down. In health care reform, liberals, we want single payer. We absolutely want single payer. And then suddenly single payer was off the table. Even the president said at one point in time he supported a single payer system. Boy, you never hear those words anymore.

Then everyone said, "Okay, well, we're you know, we're drawing the line on the public option. We will never ever compromise off the public option." All of a sudden public option's gone. And then it came to an individual mandate. "We will never agree to tax, you know, workers benefits. We'll never agree to tax our health care benefits." And now all of a sudden liberals are rallying around taxing health care benefits. It's like how low can you go? So I have, for myself and hopefully for a lot of other people, I'm looking at a stage now for absolutes. There's got to be—

BILL MOYERS: Absolutes?

ROSEANN DEMORO: Absolutes. There's going to be—

BILL MOYERS: In politics, a game of compromise, you're looking for absolutes?

ROSEANN DEMORO: There you know, we've made the compromises. Look where these compromises have got us. Do I think that there's an absolute right for people to have health care in this country? Absolutely. Absolutely. Do I think people are entitled to work and provide for themselves and their families? Absolutely. That's an absolute.

Do I think that people should have a home to live in and to be able to care for the most vulnerable? Absolutely. Yes, I'm looking for absolutes. I'm not interested in the neo-liberal agenda. I'm not interested in bipartisanship. I'm interested in social change that actually puts society back with the people.

ROSEANN DEMORO: We have to start all over, in terms of how we do politics. Right now—

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean?

ROSEANN DEMORO: We have to engage people in their communities to actually elect the people and tell those people what we want and tell them we will un-elect them if they don't fulfill the needs of their community.

BILL MOYERS: Now you're talking about a mass movement there.

ROSEANN DEMORO: I'm talking about an absolute mass movement.

BILL MOYERS: Because after the election, we both know that after the election, no matter how the voters have expressed themselves, it's the donors who decide what the—


BILL MOYERS: --incumbents do when they get into office. We know that.

ROSEANN DEMORO: Invariably what happens is the groups are called into the White House. And they're told, "No." And then they come back and they tell the coalition, "No." And then everyone's cutting side deals. And there's no actual social movement.

What I like about Occupy is that a lot of groups tried to coopt it, and it stayed its own course. And we've got to have Occupy with a political-- you know, strategic decisions that are actually going to push the agenda for the American people. Revolt is a good one, because ultimately revolt gets a lot of attention. But we also have to be on the demand side. And we've got to be able to reach everyday people who are actually out there struggling. And give them hope.

BILL MOYERS: The paradox, RoseAnn, is that you're calling for more public action—


BILL MOYERS: --for more public policy, for more government, at a time when there's a growing powerful conservative movement that says government is the problem.

ROSEANN DEMORO: We want to have the corollary to that on the other side. Where we're actually inspiring people toward a better vision for society, for hope, for a social movement that they can engage in, that's not the politics of hatred, that's not the politics of fear, but the politics of hope. Now to do that, we are going to tap the anger, because people should be angry. So we want to validate the anger, but not take it in a reactionary way. But a way that's actually life affirming.

BILL MOYERS: Have you had any indirect or direct response from the White House to your campaign for the financial transaction tax?

ROSEANN DEMORO: We have from the White House precisely what-- I can't say from the White House, in all honesty. We have with the legislators precisely what happened to us in single payer. We had the financial transaction tax. We talked to the author of the bill, who'd done it twice before, in-- in Congress. And asked him to reintroduce it again. And said that we were going to build a movement around it. He said, "Great, you know, wonderful."

And all of a sudden, they came up with this tiny transaction tax which is effectively not much for deficit reduction, earmarked for deficit reduction. And so we were just astounded. And so what they told us-- this is the same thing. This is the same speech of "You nurses need to lower your expectations. Well, we have to introduce the concept first."

Well, the concept first of all is there. It has been introduced in America. We've had it historically in America, as you pointed out. We have it in New York. We have it in the S.E.C. We don't need the concept. We have the concept. What we need is the money to jumpstart this economy.

But I think what they want to do is to make sure that they're assuring Wall Street that it won't actually hurt. The same thing is as what's happened in health care reform.

BILL MOYERS: I ask this next question, knowing that within the world of labor leadership, you have your own politics. The AF of L-CIO, just recently endorsed Barack Obama for reelection. You're on the executive committee of the AF of L-CIO. Did you vote for endorsing Obama?

ROSEANN DEMORO: No, I didn't go to the meeting.


ROSEANN DEMORO: We haven't taken a position on Barack Obama. Our nurses worked so hard the last time on his campaign. They worked for months. I mean, people left their homes. They were excited. You know, they actually believed in his candidacy. They thought that he meant what he said when he actually supported single payer. And all we needed to do was get him there.

But we made a tremendous mistake. I mean, as a country, as the nurses, everyone. And that is he said, "You need to push me." Well, no one pushed him, except for the right, and except for Wall Street. We didn't push Barack Obama. In fact, we had the liberal groups who were yelling at anyone who stepped out of line to get in line.

So now we're in a situation that we, in part, helped create. That's the dilemma here. You can't solve the problem without changing the way you do your own work. And so this isn't about Barack Obama. We are in a process of figuring out if we're even going to endorse legislators this year, because it’s so bad.

BILL MOYERS: But let me tell you what some of your liberal and progressive allies in Washington are saying. "Look me in the eye, they say, and tell me that you're going to stand by with 170,000 powerful fighters out there for social justice and see Romney replace Barack Obama?" That's what they're saying. That's not—

ROSEANN DEMORO: Of course they would say that. And that's a reality. That's the politics of today. And so for us, you know, whether or not we endorse Barack Obama or whomever is pretty much irrelevant. I don't-- yes, it's true. We're an activist organization. We have a phenomenal amount of power. We have a disproportionate amount of power, relative to where we are. Because it's not just our members. We have, you know, we have millions of nurses who relate to us organizationally.

BILL MOYERS: It is. It's a tough union.


BILL MOYERS: You in fact, I watched with incredulous eyes, when you actually took on Schwarzenegger, a very popular Republican celebrity governor.


BILL MOYERS: And you helped bring him down.

ROSEANN DEMORO: We did. We did. Actually, you know, his Waterloo was when he said in front of a woman's conference, "I kick nurse's butts."

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: Pay no attention to those voices over there, by the way. Those are the special interests, if you know what I mean. The special interests just don’t like me in Sacramento because I’m always kicking their butt.

That’s why they don’t like me.

ROSEANN DEMORO: Well, we put that shoe on the other foot. And we—

BILL MOYERS: Why did he say that?

ROSEANN DEMORO: Because well, first of all, because he's Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was above it all. But again, the way we practice politics. He became governor. Everyone thought it was more important to get his autograph than to actually hold him accountable for the policy. And so, what happened was he decided to-- nurses have patient ratios in California, which is a phenomenal law.

He decided to roll that back. And then he wanted to meet with us. And we said, "No, we're you know, leave that legislation alone or we're not meeting with you." Well, he attempted to roll it back. We set out on a campaign. And I'll tell you, we took his popularity from up here to down here. And he never regained his popularity again. He was so shocked and off of his game that he thought that, you know, he could just be dismissive of just about everyone. He was Hollywood. He was the governor. He was above it all. And you know what—

BILL MOYERS: He was the Terminator.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER in Terminator: I’ll be back.

ROSEANN DEMORO: He was the Terminator. He was the Terminator. But, you know what, it shows you the power of these nurses. Right there, right there, it tells you how much power they actually have. When a nurses speaks, the legislators know that a nurse can be a very scary person. And for Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California legislators certainly know that. When Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to take on the nurses, I swear the legislators were like, "Oh my God."

BILL MOYERS: I don't want to put you on the spot, but well, I do want to put you on the spot. Why doesn't all of organized labor have that today? You know, I know that organized labor has been anemic. It's been under fire, of course, for 30 years. There’s been a strong conservative business campaign to make them impotent in our society. And they've largely succeeded. But there's a pathology in the union movement that has contributed to its own anemic—


BILL MOYERS: What is it? What's happened?

ROSEANN DEMORO: I think it's class shame. You know, in the last 30 years, everyone was supposed to be middle class. Working class was a bad thing. To be from the working class was you know, no one was from-- even labor uses that. You know, you working families. They don't say the working class and they don't say working people.

Everyone says middle class or working families, and you're supposed to have disdain for the working class. They bought into the paradigm, to where they became vulnerable to middle class consultants who redefined what they were supposed to be. So, I had one of the major labor leaders who has since left come to me one day 12 years ago or so and say, "We went through this consultant training and oh, you could learn so much from it."

And he said, "The thing that you could learn the most is non-confrontational language." And I thought, "Well, why in the hell would I want to do that?" You know, I mean, not be confrontational? There are people out there who are trying to harm my members, working people, poor people, and I don't want to confront them? Of course I want to confront them.

What it told me was that fighting became actually defined as something that was pathological. And the labor movement bought in. And why in the world the labor movement would buy in, I don't know.

BILL MOYERS: Assuming you will retire one day, do you have a bucket list of what you'd like to accomplish before you retire?

ROSEANN DEMORO: Yes. And it has things that are fundamental and things that we've been working on, all of our lives. And that is a just society, health care for all, taking money out of politics, of course. Jobs. Good paying jobs in America. Pride in being an American. Although I will say that we're working on the global scene, and the opportunities to actually have one world and one people, and even though that sounds pie in the sky are presenting itself in a way for the first time that I've seen in my life.

Because the financial transaction tax is seen by all of our allies internationally as a way of addressing the economy of the world. And that's why it's not the financial transaction tax in and of itself, it's the reconceptualization of what we should be as a society of people.

I am really sick of the people who are apologists for finance. From my perspective, and it may sound simplistic, but working people built this country. And you know what, Bill, if we have to, we can build it again.

BILL MOYERS: I can see you're going to have to postpone your retirement for lord knows how long.

ROSEANN DEMORO: Well, you can be my role model for it.

BILL MOYERS: Thank you, RoseAnn DeMoro, for being with me.

ROSEANN DEMORO: Thank you so much.

BILL MOYERS: Joining RoseAnn DeMoro and the nurses at their Chicago march and rally on May 18 will be the rock star activist Tom Morello -- who just happens to be my guest on next week’s edition of Moyers & Company. Tom Morello came to fame 20 years ago as the lead guitarist in Rage Against the Machine. Some of you will know Rage as one of the most successful and political rock bands of the nineties. And one of the most controversial. When the group disbanded, Tom Morello became a one-man revolution: a troubadour singing songs of protest across the land from the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol…

TOM MORELLO: This land is your land!

BILL MOYERS: To Occupy Wall Street.

TOM MORELLO: Let's march and sing!

BILL MOYERS: Wherever you look, he’ll be there.

TOM MORELLO: My job is to steel the backbone of people on the frontlines of social justice struggles, and to put wind in sails of those struggles. And people who are fighting on a daily basis, at a grass roots level.

BILL MOYERS: That’s next week’s broadcast. On our website, you’ll see a new feature called “What We’re Reading” – news stories and analysis from the Internet. And take a look at our Campaign Ad Watch page. There’s information, tools and links to help you in the fight to make campaign ads honest and the dark money behind them transparent. And remember: you’re always welcome to become one of our Facebook friends.

That’s it for now. See you next time.

Watch By Segment

Fighting for Fair Play on TV and Taxes

May 11, 2012

With the 2012 campaign season moving from primary to election mode, Bill invites back to his studio master media decoder Kathleen Hall Jamieson for a closer look at the role misinformation will play in the Obama vs. Romney TV ad slugfest.

Jamieson, who runs the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, including the sites and, discusses the sharp increase in deceptive advertising in the 2012 race, and equally-alarming new obstacles to campaign ad transparency.

Later in the show, Bill talks to RoseAnn DeMoro, who heads the largest registered nurses union in the country, and will lead a Chicago march protesting economic inequality on May 18. DeMoro is championing the Robin Hood Tax, a small government levy the financial sector would pay on commercial transactions like stocks and bonds. The money generated, which some estimate could be as much as $350 billion annually, could be used for social programs and job creation — ultimately to people who, without a doubt, need it more than the banks do. DeMoro and her organization have an inspiring history of defeating some of the toughest opponents in government and politics.

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  • Dr. William B. McCullough

    We are so fortunate to have Bill Moyers return to his job providing an intelligent and honest evaluation of this current election season where dishonesty, distortion, etc. make it increasingly difficult to see the facts of which politicians and candidates are actually saying what.   Mr. Moyers brings his wisdom and insight and decades of political experience to sort out what is actually being said, and what is being hidden.  And he does it in a way that is unique in its honesty.
      We despirately need such a voice between now and November.  Thank you. Mr. Moyers, for what you offer us in 2012. 

  • Unsanitorial

    After the recent purge of left radical voices on this site I was pleasantly surprised by the “in your face” attitude of issue absolutes voiced by nurses union president Rose Ann DeMoro. Even when Moyers warned that her militancy might cost Barack Obama a second term and that her rank and file might have to endure 4 years under “Master Cylinder”Mitt Romney she did not back away from  real practical solutions beginning with the Robin Hood (financial transactions) tax. She explained how most voters made a big mistake four years ago by allowing unreasonable compromise of basic human rights. DeMoro is correct that politics hollows itself out when it gives away justice and fairness to placate a terrorizing financial elite, an Oligarchy that is threatening to bring down the economy if the general public does not meekly submit to Austerity.

    Yes, Mr. Moyers, I think you had forgotten that the same working class that built up the United States might have to do it again without speculator parasites, and under new rules. This will happen whether you, or I, or Barack Obama or Swiss citizen Michelle Bachmann live to see it, because financial elites do nothing real, and the wealthier class of people are not much good as nurses, or machinists. or chemists , or mechanics or imaging machine operators; and it is they (the idle investors of leisure) who must ultimately submit to the farmworker and the bus driver.

    Contrast Ms. DeMoro’s attitude with that of whores’ race caller Kathleen Hall Jamieson. (A brilliant woman in a role of service to a failed political system). “We gotta pay them bills!” was her agenda. She might be a genius in reading polls and deciphering ads but that job is already highly irrelevant. Ms. Jamieson cannot admit to whom we supposedly owe all this money or how their magic fraud trick was done. She is no historian and no economist, not that such training would be adequate.

    How do I know the jig is up and that the DeMoro’s of the world are about to prevail. I know it because I live in North Carolina. At least 35% and maybe 40% of all the labor hours worked in this right to work, fire at will, unions is communist state are off the books. If you include sex work and drugs it may be 50%. Why pay social security or FDIC when fascists are telling you that you’ll never collect Social Security, or Medicare or Medicaid? Why remain under state and federal labor regulation when you still can’t make a living and most new jobs are minimum wage? Why go for Workman’s Comp. when it is just a way of paying off an exploitative employer? Why obey tax law when your employer and yourslf are accomplices in something illegal that fills the gas tank and puts groceries in the refrigerator? The bottom line is that when life goes gonzo-Libertarian by failure of the government and the justice system to protect the people who do the necessary work that the temples of big business, and war conquest and government are coming down under the bulk of their own weight. We working people are mimicking the financial elite.
    We have learned it is best to grab all the gusto you can get while paying none of the freight. (So you can see why we cynically vote for Oligarch funded tax cutters. We have lost faith in tge social contract.)

  • Hopeful anyway

    Wow.   I’d like to see just how much of our economy is underground.  I know several people who earn a reasonably decent living and are NOT looking for real jobs; as it is, they are not young anymore and are also collecting Social Security. 

  • JudyK

    While I love the idea of the Financial Transaction Tax, I think it needs to be figured so it’s not just a federal tax, but part of it would go to state and local governments since we didn’t have just a national economy ruined, we all lost jobs, tax bases, mortgages, etc.  Because I’d want it to be divided, I think it is probably a touch more complicated than Ms. DeMoro stated, but it’s an idea whose time has come.

     What I don’t understand is why she and her organization didn’t go to other legislators in both houses of Congress and seek other sponsorship when the original sponsor went all condescension on them?  Why not go to someone like Sen. Maria Cantwell whose credentials in Finance are well known and respected, and who, I think supports the FTT?

     To quit and wash her hands of any Democrat’s support seems odd to me, especially when we’ve all seen the Republican Senators and Representatives “just say no” to everything that has been proposed EVEN FROM THE NIGHT OF THE INAUGURATION.  DeMoro feels betrayed by liberals who didn’t go to the wall on her absolutes, well, I feel betrayed by her attitude that strikes me as the same non-compromising view held by those Republicans like Boehner and McConnell.  She is better than that as her long and productive life in social activism and supporting democratic principles show.

     Come on, RoseAnn; don’t adopt the same obstructionist behaviors we’ve seen cripple any attempts to improve life for the 99%.  Quit bad-mouthing those that do support your goals and work with the other groups that will embrace this FTT.  You may have believed we were all in this together and are now disillusioned b/c purity hasn’t been achieved, but remember it is a new concept to many Americans who thought it was only those “other” people who needed government support and services.  Those are the people who can contact those in legislatures and Congress and say “pass the Financial Transaction Tax and provide a stronger safety net.”  Neither compromise or  negotiate are four-letter words; they also are not synomyms for appease.

  • Unsanitorial

     Dr. McCullough, do you surmise that the choice between Isotope Feeney and Master Cylinder is a viable one? No one is unraveling bank yarns even as Morgan Chase is losing 2 billion more, no one has extracted compensation for BP’s Gulf Spill tort, several million gallons of cesium 137 laden isotope are sitting atop jack poles in Japan awaiting the next temblor and no cleanup assistance is even planned.
    This has been by far the hottest North American year on record but no TV weatherman can mention climate change without losing his/her job. We are now being told to be very frightened of exploding underpants. Will an election rectify anything? It didn’t seem to work in Egypt or Iraq or Greece. I’m with Rose Ann DeMoro I guess, elections without real issues are no big whoop. Mr. Moyers has done nothing besides telling us we must do much more than vote.

  • davidp

    I loved it when Mr Moyer´s said, “Cut the BS!”  I suppose there is alot of BS we  get from Gov, Wall St & Bankers, Corporations and finally these politicans when they  are blinded by their own so-called success.  Just look what happen now with JP Morgan…pushing everything beyond  only to make a quick buck.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t help but thinking that KHJ is spending way too much time closely scrutinizing campaign ads and way too little time paying attention to what is actually going on in the world.
    She doesn’t seem to have much in the way of a “big picture” view.
    For example, she doesn’t speak about how all the campaign ad money is effecting our already cruddy mainstream media’s political coverage.

    The big one for me, however is….
     She seems to take the Bowles-Simpson plan seriously.

    At best it might come sort of close to saving as much money as simply letting the Bush tax cuts expire. Raising the retirement age??? Give me a break. How about raising the FICA cap???
    How would spending cuts on social sevices effect the economy???  Austerity puts our economy as it is currently set up, in a downward spiral. How does laying off government workers help the economy??? Aren’t pay freezes or wage cuts or benefit cuts in effect another tax on working people???
    The most obvious question: who should we be taxing???
    Shouldn’t we be investing in education instead of underfunding it, which is the first step towards privatization, which will wreck it further???
    Campaign ads are baloney. Meet The Press is also baloney. It is a baloney festival in hell.
    There, you got your “angry email” Mr. Moyers. Keep up the good work, and love to RoseAnn DeMoro.

  • Dnadanyi

    The recent Frontline programs said it best. The purpose of banks used to be to finance business, home puchases and perhaps home improvements etc.  After the demise of Glass Stegall the total agenda of the big banks is to make money.  Why were we so surprised when they kept the tarp money so that they could gamble with it and also give out the huge bonus’ that encouraged the gambling in the first place instead of lending the money in order to get the economy growing. THE HUGE POINT OF WHAT WAS HAPPENING WAS MISSED. These big banks alsolutely need to be broken up and Glass Steagall reinstated. Bill should do a program that gets down to the nitty gritty namely that Milton Friedman’s neoliberalism has swept the world especially after Regan and Thatcher took office. It has been promoted by the IMF and World Bank and may very well have been the purpose of the Euro namely to privatise and deregulate all the commons of the world until they were owned by Corporations. It is destroying the economies of the world and the philosophy or theory MUST BE EXPOSED and totally discarded for the failure and misery that it has caused and is still causing the entire world.

  • Bonalibro

    What we really need is Saint George the Dragon Slayer. Like the dragons of yore, the  bankers and the businessmen are hoarding trillions in gold and jewels that isn’t doing people any good.

  • PAT

    Thank you RoseAnn DeMoro for validating my feelings and anger with Obama and present day liberals!  My hope turned to hurt and despair  starting with Obama’s choice of his Treasury department, his handling of big banks and economic reform and then onward to his decision of not fighting for a decent heathcare plan with a public option at the very least.  I am tired of voting for the least of two evils.  If this nation has to completely fall economically before it is able to right itself again, let it happen sooner rather than later…let the republicans take the reign as far as I am concerned…because Obama did nothing to help us. 

  • Joy Taylor

    No company  can  advertise  a product with false claims.Why does any government allow people Karl Roves to spread such false statements about anyone? Sadly Karl Rove found out at a young age that people believe lies more readily than they believe the truth.Until the Karl Roves of the world are proving to be habitual,trouble making liars and until the voter sees him and his kind for what they are…Hate ads will flourish.

  • Robert Ruiz

    Thank you Bill. 

  • Anonymous

    Like RoseAnn but she’s blind to a few things.  She fails to recognize that, if the US health care system is fixed, our government starts running a surplus.  If the US paid the same for health care as the civilized world, our government would be running a surplus.

  • Cedric Ward

    Kathleen Hall Jamieson is simply the most eloquent, clear speaker I have ever heard. Anyone that would complain to Mr. Moyers that she shouldn’t appear on his program because ‘she makes me think too hard’ should simply turn off their TV and crawl back into their cave and wait to die from ignorance.

  • Cedric Ward

    More realistically, what we should have is a monstrous gathering of citizens who understand we have all been taken to the cleaners by BOTH Wall Street, Bankers, and our government who will gather to march on these institutions and take these criminals out to the nearest trees and string them up and leave them hanging until they rot.

  • Yougot2bkidding

    Wow there really is intelligent life in our country.  I will definitely stay tuned to  

  • Jsmithcontact

    Just wish we could have a free & fair election & our centrist–moderate–liberals & progressives could do as well as possible!

  • blitznstitch

    I am pro-financial tax. I was hoping that someone out there was advocating for it. I am encouraged that our nation’s nurses are doing just that. 

  • Carl Howard

     Kathleen Hall Jamieson, before you condemn Americans in increasingly dire health and economic circumstances to work at the few jobs left until age SEVENTY, allow me to request that you 1) acknowledge the toxic nature of Simpson-Bowles, and 2) recognize something called THE PEOPLE’S BUDGET, which not only addresses both debt and deficit, but RATIONAL SPENDING MEASURES, and which has been scored higher by the General Accounting Office (GAO) than any other budget submitted.  Until you acknowledge this budget and demand it be discussed in our corrupt corporate media, I will not offer you any credibility of any kind.

  • Dnadanyi

    Didn’t Honda just get sued for lying about gas milage? Why can’t we pass a law that disallows lying political advertizing.  Does anybody know if Canada allows hateful lying on their TV and radio? The money that is wasted is criminal and the hateful lies divides our country even further.  I havn’t felt so hopeful in a very long time when I listened to RoseAnn De Moro.  She is a down to earth common sense courageous woman who will not be told no. When I listened to her I felt the beginnings of a new American revolt against the establishment.  She makes me want to get out and demonstrate.

  • Anonymous

    I appreciate Jamieson’s focus on the importance of facing facts, but of all the programs she mentions not once did she point at the elephant in the room, the defense budget, which wastes over 50% of every tax dollar.

  • Bbryski

    Apparently Jamieson assumes our economy will no longer be able to expand enough to provide for the needs of the whole of our society. All her points accept that the further rise of the oligarchy and marginalization of services for the non-wealthy are inevitable. Like Simpson-Bowles and indeed like almost everything about the
    trajectory of public policy for the last thirty years, Jamieson seems
    perfectly fine with slowly strangling the American middle class while
    happily kowtowing to an ever more brazen elite.  For her, the death of the American Dream is something to be facilitated, not resisted.  Who could read Paul Ryan’s budget and imagine it constitutes anything other than the further economic evisceration of the middle class? And does anyone  believe that this sort of public policy can possibly be politically stable in the long run?

  • Repaddock

    “” is an article that seem to contradict the “no it’s not” comment about whether they qualify as “Big Oil.”

  • Anonymous

    I don’t live in Canada, but have relatives there and have spent much time there. There are laws that are enforced against hate speech and deliberately lying on the airwaves and in public forums. That may be why Ann Coulter was not allowed to speak at a University last year. Unfortunately, with most Canadians living close to the US border, extreme rightwing AM radio is able to blast Limbaugh, Hannity and their ilk to the north. Although the CRTC denied FOX news a Canadian broadcasting licence, it’s recently available on some cable packages up there.  With the conservatives now in power and an Alberta oilman at the helm, any protections they have enjoyed against rightwing propaganda may be short lived.

  • Richard Genz

     I usually find your questioning excellent, but your latest interview with Ms Jamieson of the Annenberg Center really surprised me.  Here you have a guest touting Congressman Paul Ryan’s “serious proposal,” a guest who had a hand in declaring it a LIE that Ryan would “end Medicare as we know it” (  Where was the challenge from you?  I’m sure you’re quite aware of what Ryan’s voucher idea would do: simply shift health costs from gov’t to consumers, in the name of deficit reduction and to cut taxes for the rich.  In other words, he wants to change Medicare as we know it.  Moreover Ryan’s entire anti-government budget is a head-on attack on the values you have espoused on TV for years.  

    Why treat Jamieson with kid-gloves?  Her centrist thinking is safe (ie dangerous) and conventional.  She does not understand what Ryan & Co. are hitting us with: an individualist Ayn Rand dystopia.  Jamieson apparently does not understand that private for-profit health care has been a disaster for the US, witness our massive share of GDP for medical costs vs. our mediocre health outcomes.

    Next time you have her on, don’t allow her the cloak of media expert.  She’s an advocate for the “grand budget bargain” which is anything but politically neutral.  It’s the subtle game-plan of the one percent oligarchs, trying to co-opt befuddled liberals.  But not you–I hope.

    By the way, I thought your show w/ David Stockman (of all people) was superb.

    Thanks for your work, and for returning to work.

  • Chris

    Thankyou Dr. McCullough.  I agree.  I think extremism is an enemy to a people who need to be informed.  The perspectives of Kathleen Hall Jamieson helped me see that I’m not the only person who thinks that saying one party is all good and one is all bad is illogical.  The impending decisions to be made by the government that are not being talked about are huge.  What’s being covered by most of the media seems tivial in comparison.   I’m a 44 year old steel mill working from KY.  I’m woried.

  • Commonscience Ch Ch,cal hall

    Anyone else?

  • Commonscience Ch Ch,cal hall

    When we want to be led by the ghost of AynRand we’ll go to PaulRyan.
    GEITHNER,Greenspan,et al, followed AYNRAND to produce over 2004to present the pain we experience in financial disasters.
    They are examples of the ESTABLISHMENTINSIDERELITES represented by the RULERCLASS whose entitled minions include ROMNEYROBOT?

    The iconoclasts in the camp of rightward lurchers ever more rightward rid themselves of LexLugar with full appreciation of what costs & perils might surface in NUCLEAR (NU-CLEE-AR, NOT NOO-KYOO-LUR) PROLIFERATION?


  • Jon-Edmond Abraham

    I support totally a Robin Hood tax, but can you really tax greed?

  • Midekalb

    So many comments on what we, and the media,  should do.But no way that that will happen.

  • Clairemcmanus

    I think people like RoseAnn DeMoro are real heros. They persistently represent the voice of the small and vulnerable and they do it eloquently without the vitriol and venom that has become mainstream in political repartee. She truly has compassionate ideals. I applaud her and her work

  • Kathleen Spry

     I can’t. You can’t. We can.

  • Maryannpreston

    I am so proud of Rose Ann DeMoro and her nurses. As a women and a retired RN I  support the work the work that she and the nurses with are doing fighting for the 99%. Keep up the fight Ms DeMoro and thank you Mr. Moyers for having her on your show.

  • Cynthia Davis

    I find it ironic that basic things like food, clothing, income from labor, savings, property, utilities, etc. ad infinitum  can have taxes piled up so high that even the poorest of the poor cannot escape being excessively taxed but “financial transactions” most commonly done by those that have so much that they can gamble in such matters so much so that they nearly destroyed the entire financial system for all – are given a FREE PASS and preference above and beyond everyone else – the real non-diversionary spin meaning of  “ENTITLEMENT”.  

  • Anna

    ET TU, BILL MOYERS? In THIS discussion, no mention of Ron Paul campaign?
    Which is the only substantive Campaign of 2012 where the candidate Ron Paul – still running – talks about the major issues that we are facing: wars, war on drugs, the destructive role of the FED, corporatism and more. To me, any publication that does not mention Ron Paul Republican campaign – maintains the lie: that we have now only two people to choose between.
    No! There are still 11 GOP primaries ahead of us and the media keep us misinformed about the delegates count.

    Vote Ron Paul: 11 primaries 5/15 #NE
    #OR 5/22 #AR #KY 5/29 #TX 6/5 #CA #MT #NJ #NM #SD 5/26 #UT

  • Ralph Hornsby

    Hey Bill,
    Why don’t you REALLY be fair and remind everyone Ron Paul is still in the race and is taking Romney’s delegates away from him?  No mention of him makes you look just as fair as FOX News.

  • Anonymous

    Ron Paul is still in the race.  He’s the only one running who has the support of medical professionals among the top five donors to his campaign, and he’s a doctor, himself.  I’d far rather we use his plan to stop the wars and use the savings to tide us over on social programs, than to tax my retirement investments and cause layoffs for people working for publicly traded companies so they can pay more money for wars.

  • ChristopherD

    Dear Bill,  As a watchful observer of the 2012 election I can not believe the outrageously slanted coverage by the MSM and PBS along with the continued blackout of the Ron Paul campaign. I can only conclude, like Fox, ABC, NBC and most major news media, PBS is nothing more than a shill for the NWO.  As a result I will no longer be supporting PBS.  Good luck & farewell.

  • Celery_nm

    How can we take you and Kathleen Hall Jameson seriously when you think that the Simpson Bowles commission issued a report? They did not. Simpson and Bowles merely presented their own biased paper. Why should anyone debate a commission that never issued a report?

  • Dnadanyi

    Thanks for the info.  They better nip this in the bud or god help Canada.

  • fpublic

    While I agree with Prof. Jamieson that we need discussion of a range of policy options, the width of that range is so crucial that I cringe when I hear her talk about Simpson-Bowles as a valid intermediate position.
    If we want a options that serve our nation as a whole, we have to have concessions from the wealthy. I don’t know all the details of Simpson-Bowles but am sure it’s deliberations were limited to a range of solutions acceptable to a congress purchased by the 1%. Simpson-Bowles found it’s recommendations from a neo-liberal playbook that thinks austerity for Social Security and Medicare is a valid compromise from throwing the recipients completely into the street. The 99% of us need to look elsewhere if we want a range of solutions that are fair to us.
    The Republican and Democratic parties have moved so far to the right, that Simpson-Bowles is not where compromise should be focused.
    What about a range of options that includes the progressive tax rates of Pres. Eisenhower, the environmental policy of Richard Nixon, the financial transaction tax proposal of Reagan and Dole? 
    Jamieson is right that journalists need to widen the debate to include realistic policy options. They have a tough road to do so but they will fail if they think the limited solutions of Simpson-B0wles are adequate.

  • Dnadanyi

    The thought has crossed my mind that an impartial international body should oversee our elections.  

  • Anonymous

    Please do another interview with William K Black, Professor Emeritus at  U Missouri, Kansas City. Your last one was in 2009. Thank You.

  • David Welch

    She’s nowhere near blind to that – she and our union (I’m a member) have been the most forceful and consistent advoacates for single payer health care in this country

  • David Welch

    Here’s a little reality check: We did go to lots of other legislators.  None would touch it.  In the “gentlemen’s” world of politics as it is actually practiced, the original sponsors of the bill – Harkin/DeFazio – are now considered to “own” that issue as far as other Dems are concerned.  And even though they have compromised it to the extent that it’s meaningless, no other Democrat will violate the rules of the club by touching it.  It would make them outcast within the club to do so.  So even those who totally agree with our approach say, “sorry, can’t do it”

  • Mikef

    RoseAnn DeMoro and her group is obviously doing important things, but I couldn’t disagree more with her statement that there would be no difference between a President Obama and a President Romney.  Barack Obama is not a perfect president (yes, the politics backed him away from single payer and public option), but there is a huge difference between he and the conservative Romney.  She and her nurse followers will not be happy if Romney is elected, and she will have no one to blame except herself for not backing Obama.

  • Mrnsvg

    a  financial trnsactions tax is a good idea. even more we need regulation like th old uptick rule and other protections against the manipulations of the market possible with computors and big investment firms such as hedge funds which make it difficult for retail investors to safely actually invest in american enterprise. i also agree wity mikey  that rose ann demoro should support obama. the alternative is frightening. the rigidity of the alternative is the reason more good could not have been accomplished by obama

  • Anonymous

    Jamieson is always worth listening to, but I think her take on what needs to be done, while accurate, is pie in the sky. 

  • Cy Eberhart

    The art of misconception was in place long before television. Just before the 1932 Presidential election Will Rogers wrote: Now honest did you ever read, hear or see as much bunk and apple-sauce piled into one campaign? There wasent any more truth in over one half of what any campaign so called “Orator” said. If it wasent a “Deliberate Lie,”  why it was an “Exagerated Falsehood.”

  • Anonymous

    I did not like hearing the host use the letters “BS” in reference to a rude phrase. Folks deserve to hear more pleasant language in discussion programs; they don’t need to be reminded of such unpleasantries.

  • Pdigesu

    Dictatorship is inevitable. Whether it will be an industrial power base or a socialist revolutionary based individual, it will happen. The people will demand it but the outcome will  be based on how much they understand about what they need. Intelligent societies brought Ghandi, our society? too scary to imagine! Mussolini may have been right, Democracy cannot  not exists. We are expeiencing a pivotal point in american history, Ceasar is about to cross the Rubicon and make a worthless congress un lobbyiable . Hail Ceasar.   

  • Nancyharris1948

    I would watch Kathleen Hall Jamieson every week, she is so insightful and straightforward.  RoseAnn DeMoro is absolutely worth watching.  Thank you for including smart, intelligent, accomplished women on your show.  So refreshing and so necessary.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I too would like to hear Bill Moyers interview Ron Paul. His guests are always great, as are these 2, but I surprised that I could not find an interview in the search function for Dr. Paul.

  • JudyK

    Thank you, David, for the new information.  I will call Harkin and DeFazio’s offices and tell them to forget the deficit and look to the safety net to be the repository of any Financial Transaction Tax.  They need to amend their proposed bill so people are the immediate  recipients of its benefits, not  paper debt reduction.

  • Sharon

    The interview with Roseanne DeMoro brought me to tears.
    She spoke so honestly and eloquently about the state of our country. I too feel that it doesn’t matter which party you support this fall because they are both in the pockets of the corporations.
    It gives me comfort to know that there are thoughtful leaders like Roseanne out there fighting for the 99 percent!
    There may still be hope for all of us yet!

  • Eli

    KHJ has outlasted her usefullness on this program.  You have the inspirational RoseAnn DeMoro talking about how disinterested she is in compromise and bipartisanship, then we hear KHJ talk about a commission report that DOES NOT EXIST.  The Simpsons/Bowles “report” is a merely a letter written by the chairs of the commission because it did not get the neccessary votes to issue a report.  THEN she talks about the Paul Ryan budget plan as a good starting point, completely IGNORING the People’s Budget that was issued by the Progressive caucus, which is the ONLY budget plan the truly saves Social Security and our social safety net, and balances the budget.   The center is not our salvation, it is a sell out to corporate interests.  Bill Moyers needs to challenge her when she spouts her flawed centerism.

  • Bruce in MA

    Dear Bill Moyers,
    I have never written to you before but have followed you for at least 10 years and seen just about every program.
    I have seen Kathleen Hall Jamieson many many times as you go-to person to get clarity on the political landscape.
    I would highly recommend you to remove her from your go-to person (as you where saying under your breath). I have before scratched my head over her comments on political adds (in previous interviews), but in the current show, it was more clear than ever that she follows a Libertarian world view and praised Paul Ryan policies. I understand you want a balance of views, but I find it dangerous to have people on that plays sheep in wolf clothing and she is defiantly one (there is plenty of those from FOX if one desires balance). BTW another such person was social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who explained how the conservatives was on the right track and the democrats was on the wrong track, in a very sneaky way, that made it look like that the Democrats brain is just wired all wrong. 
    One point that really gets me upset, is her (Kathleen Hall Jamieson) comment that she fully supports raising the retirement age (while I think it should go lower), she must be so cut off from reality (and living in a bubble), that she does not realize, when one gets over the age of 50 the job opportunities are heavily diminished and as the job market is now, almost impossible. Being 69 does not exactly increase ones chances. 
    Also I would think Marty Kaplan would be a much better person as a go-to person and media and political adds. 
    Bruce in MA

  • Dave

    I think when push comes to shove, her union will back Obama. I believe she’s just frustrated by the lack of a realistic alternative in system-tainted environment. Until there’s a true people’s candidate in a true people’s democracy, we’ll all just be choosing between the fox and the wolf that both plan on consuming us.

  • Catherine in CA

    A common theme that is emerging from your wonderful shows is that the voice of the people is being drowned out by money and goes largely disregarded by our politicians who are too focused on retaining power or are in the pockets of monied interests.  Candidate debates on TV have devolved into microphones for talking points and cameras for photo ops while legitimate debate sponsors like The League of Women Voters are ignored by candidates.  I believe one way to restore true debate would be for groups like The League of Women Voters to hold their debates even if all the candidates of the major parties refuse to participate.  Invite third+ party candidates to discuss and debate topics in a loosely moderated roundtable format.  Do not invite back candidates who consistently duck questions while spouting unrelated talking points instead.  I am confident that if such forums were held at least twice a month during campaign years, the public would tune in even if Dem and Rep candidates declined to participate.     If nothing else, such forums might give rise to legitimate 3rd and 4th parties, and I believe major party candidates would eventually be begging to join in if they feared they and their monied backers were losing control of the situation.  We need to realize that the only real game in town belongs to the voters not the candidates or their parties, and we need to own our power.  We need to ignore those candidates and parties who are unresponsive and provide a forum for those that do respond with thoughtful and fully expressed ideas and who answer our questions.

    I thought your conversation with Roseann DeMoro was outstanding even among the many other great ones you have given us.

    You are a shining beacon in today’s media.

  • Catherine in CA

    Addendum to my original comment:  As voters we must be willing to listen to a multiplicity of opinions and not just to those who would preach to our chorus.

  • Catherine in CA

    Until we overturn the two-party system, we will always be stuck choosing between the lesser of two evils.  I can understand Ms. DeMoro’s decision to withhold support from either party, but like you I have misgivings as to the result.  How can we break the hold of the two-party system and grow a real democracy?

  • Oscar Romero

    Kathleen Hall Jamieson thinks that Simpson-Bowles (shouldn’t it be Bowles-Simpson because it is B-S?) should be on the agenda for the debates.  She’s full of it.  B-S is BS.  Let’s hear from William K Black.  Let’s hear from Richard D. Wolff.  Let’s hear from American Friends Service Committee. 

  • Oscar Romero

    Kathleen Hall Jamieson says that Koch is not “big oil” because oil is only a small part of it’s business.
    From InsideClimate News, which documents a half century of Koch Industries involvement in tar sands in Alberta, Canada:

    • The company is one Canada’s largest crude oil purchasers, shippers and exporters, with more than 130 crude oil customers.
    • It is among the largest U.S. refiners of oil sands crude, responsible for about 25 percent of imports.
    • It is one of the largest holders of mineral leases in Alberta, where most of Canada’s tar sands deposits are located.
    • It has its name attached to hundreds of well sites across Alberta tracked by Canadian regulators.
    • It owns pipelines in Minnesota and Wisconsin that import western Canadian crude to U.S. refineries and also distribute finished products to customers.
    • It owns and operates a 675,000 barrel oil terminal in Hardisty, Alberta, a major tar sands export hub.
    • And this year it kicked off a 10,000 barrel-a-day mining project in Alberta that could be the seed of a much larger project.

  • Oscar Romero

    Must read by Digby:
    I sure would like to know if Kathleen Hall Jamieson and/or the Annenberg Public Policy Center receives money from Pete Peterson.  According to HuffPost, quoted in the Digby post above,  Peterson donates to liberal and conservative institutions.  (Of course, she’s now a libertarian.)
    It’s interesting to see how long Peterson has been trying to drown government in the bathtub and how much money he has spent to do it.

  • Robert Barnard

    Dear Bill,

    I appreciate your program and the work you’ve done all these many years. Thank you.

    Thank you also regarding the report on the Robin Hood tax. But I have to ask; how can we trust that the money will go to those who it’s meant for when state governments are already high-jacking the housing relief money currently paid by the banking industry?

    Here’s a recent article:

    It just seems like we’re being preyed upon by both government and business. I think we’re distracted and concentrating too much power at the out-of-reach federal level, and not holding state government accountable.

    Thank you again for your work.

  • John Coleman

    I thought about your program since I viewed it on Sunday. First comment ever.

    I could not believe what Kathleen Hall Jamieson was saying. I thought she was an objective commentator until Sunday’s program.  Basically praising Paul Ryan’s “budget” is an absurdity. Attacking Social Security is equally absurd. 
    Propaganda, yes Objectivity, no

    Bill’s interviews are normally incisive and to the point  and counterpoint.
    Kathleen Hall Jamieson’s interview reminded me of his interview with Jack Welch. Bill almost fell off his chair when Welch uttered outlandish statements. This time Bill just sat there. I was the one falling off my chair.

  • Ann Slaby

    Normally I enjoy watching Kathleen Hall-Jamieson.  However, I think she is really wrong about what our debt will do.  For information about the economy and politics, analyzed and written with a close eye to verifiable data,  I turn to Paul Krugman.  Here is his blog regarding the “debt crisis”

    Thank you.

  • Sherb

     must remember… ron paul is still a republican!

  • Dkennedy123

    LOL!  Krugman huh?   Mr. Inflation.  He needs to room with Bernake.

    They’re not going to print away the derivatives. And we’re responsible for most of them now….since the Fed has been allowing the big banks to put them in FDIC accounts.  You deserve what’s coming when europe shakes down.

    Krugman is a joke.

  • Dkennedy123

    10 years from now when we’re at 30 trillion you’ll be saying the same thing.

  • Dkennedy123

    We’re not a democracy….they want you to believe we are and they’re governing like we are…

    Surprise.  We’re a Republic.

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  • Matt

    also, a white supremacist.

  • Esau

    I agree – the Progressive Caucus’s budget proposals are completely off the media’s radar screen.  KHJ, as a media critic, is part of the problem of epistemic closure.  She positions herself smack dab in the “middle”, halfway between a Republican Party that has gone off the rails, and Obama’s Democratic Party that resembles the old Rockefeller Republicans.  There are lots of good, liberal Democrats (Bernie Sanders and other Progressives), but since they may as well be invisible, as far as KHJ is concerned.   

  • Private Private

    I normally like and respect what Krugman has to say. However, I disagree with his premise in the linked article.

    The initial few decades after WWII were a boom for America in large part because almost ALL of the world, EXCEPT the USA, was in rubble. There quite literally was no country that could compete with us economically. So we were big exporters.

    Conversely, most the industrialized nations in the world today are fully reconstructed and are in much better positions to compete. Thus the opportunity to grow our way out, which is basically what Krugman is suggesting, is not as great. There will be no exporting our way out this time.

    Additionally, debt is not the only problem hanging over precipice. The way manufacturing has become globalized and financial markets have become digitized are creating excellent short term gains for those institutions while ensuring long term termoil for the citizens of the USA and other nations involved.

    The solution is clear. Capitalism needs brakes. specific regulations that prevent free-for-alls and abuses yet minimally constrict commerce. But the primary goal should be to prevent damage to the society for which the commerce is meant to benifit; even if that comes at the cost of some of that commerce.

  • Private Private

    Much to do about compromise.

    The abundance of compromise brings about a civil war. The lack of compromise brings about a revolution.

    The word compromise in governance is a double-edged sword that has become a kick ball directed at each side in order to score points.

    The lack of compromise on segregation brought of the Civil Rights Act of 1965.

    The abundance of compromise gave us the Nebraska-Kansas Act of 1854 and popular sovereignty which lead to Bleeding Kansas and other catalyst events of the American Civil War.

    Yet the opposite can be true. Compromise by all in congress is what passed the Civil Rights Act, and the unwillingness of Republicans to support slavery and the south to give up slavery caused the Civil War.

    My point is compromise is not inherently good or bad. If moral good is compromised for profit margins of a few, is that good?

    This is the problem. I see liberals standing up the downtrodden, maybe their ideas are not the best resolution or add to the debt, but they are trying. Then I see conservatives putting their constituants pocket books before the moral imperative to help the downtrodden. Thats why I left the Republican party and became an unaffiliated voter.

    When liberal representatives compromise on minor things in spending most do not care about those types of compromises. However, liberals get upset when representatives compromise their morals and their duty to represent the liberals who voted for them. Time after time liberal representatives give up important issues that are moral imperatives to liberals only to see that republicans give up “carrots” in return. This is the source of why so many liberals are so dissatisfied with congress.

  • Private Private

    When she said that my, how did she put it, “deception” alarms where going off. Koch Bros. are a part of the big oil network. They do not have their own gas stations but they facilitate the larger companies and work on the gather and processing side of big oil. She was likely digging to try and sound impartial and this was the worng bone to throw towards the conservatives.

  • Private Private

    The S-B or B-S, whatever you want to refer to it as, proposal was not entirely bad. But their prioritization was not inline with main street americans. They want to cut entitlements and renew the Bush Tax Cuts. Whaaa whaa whaaat?!!!

    Its like cutting an arm off to stop the hand from bleeding.

  • Private Private

    Unless of course those multiplicity of opinions say that we should enslave the immigrants and that women should not be able to use internet or post comments on blog sites like you have here. Right?!! Then are we still required to listen?

    Tolerating intolerance might not be the best way to spread tolerance. But ignoring and not giving validation to intolerant ideologies that ban gays, force choices on women, and embody and embrace hypocracy and bigotry we create a vacuum for which those opinions cannot take hold.

  • Private Private

    WOW. Your comment lacked any innovative thinking or outside the box lines of thought.

    10 years from now this country is going to have more retirees than the workforce has need for them. So who do you think is going to take care of them?

    DUH!!!!!! So we can PRETEND that mountains are made of chocolate and marshmallows and that if you cut off funding for older americans they will magically all find jobs and not still need help from the social services; and that we wont pay for it one way or another.

    OR we can be more intelligent, practical, and pragmatic and realize that is not going to happen and actually make a plan to to allocate money to the services they will fall back on.

    Or we can do the prior and when unretirable unemployable elder start falling into the social services lines we can watch as they become overburdened and spend the money that way, scarificing our morals as a society that takes care of its elderly in the process.

    Its like healthcare. People who dont have coverage still get sick or hurt and need help. It makes sense to just cover them and reduce the healthcare cost in the long run.

    Elderly still need to eat and be housed. Just cause you cut their retirement off does not mean those needs disappear. We pay for it one way or another.

  • Daniel Thornton

    I am not sure what program you watched, but nowhere did she praise Paul Ryan other than to discuss compromise on the budget, and how do you interpret comments on the need to possibly move SSN eligibility to 70 yrs old as an attack ??   
    ADD much ?

  • Robert Kalayjian, MD

    As a physician I was impressed and embarrassed by RoseAnn DeMoro and her nurses’ commitment to doing what is necessary for the health of all Americans:  Single payor healthcare, jobs and affordable housing for all.  

    Embarrassed and I quit the AMA years ago because the only concern most American physicians seem to have is their personal income…their own welfare.  As a physician I would be proud and honored to follow these nurses to bring about the fundamental changes Ms DeMoro is proposing.

  • nancylee

    I think Kathleen should read this Glenn Greenwald article in Salon today about the Bin Laden film coming out just in time for the election…

    WH leaks for propaganda film

  • maria robinson

    Sorry, I don’t trust her “facts”.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    The harm to governance is inattentive
    people turned away by far too many lies.


    “If once
    [the people] become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress
    and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be
    the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.” –Thomas Jefferson to E. Carrington, 1787.

  • Cristy & Hugo, NYC

    We love this woman.  The headache happens when we don’t get to hear what she has to say on the important issues of the day. She and Mr. Moyers make us think.  Information is power. Thank you!

  • Nonodifference

    Thank you, Richard, for saying what needs to be said here.  I was going to write something similar, but you beat me to it.

    Frankly, I am very disappointed in Moyers on this interview, primarily for not holding Jamieson’s feet to the fire.  She is an equivocating provocateur of la-dee-dah kumbayah nonsense, much like so many people in the PDA, DFA, OFA, MoveOn, and other Obama apologist organizations with their never-ending drone of “we must compromise” and continue voting for the candidates and neoliberal incumbents of the right-wing Democratic Party.

    Meanwhile, she touts Ryan’s budget, presenting it as some sort of sensible way to slash spending on social programs.  It sounds to me like choosing whether to amputate the left eye or the right eye first, without ever considering the value of vision either eye provides.  This incredible argument only amounts to more justification for the right-wing agenda to fleece the working class and move yet more money to the 1%.

    I was ready to send money to support this program, as I liked the work BillMoyers & Co. had done in the past; I had thought, now that Bill doesn’t have the right-wing agenda of the commercialized PBS to censure and edit him, he can come out guns blazing.  Who does Bill Moyers REALLY have to cow-tow to now?  Liberty Mutual?

  • Mass. Citizen

    Too many overly intellectual words used for analysis to WAKE UP simply and effectively, too many words in general & too little appeal (you do realize as journalists how you tell a story counts too, right?).  Recommending , what will never happen – what ‘Harvard’ suggests, splitting hairs, using words/phrase like ‘worry’ ‘translates into governance’ ‘disassociation, ‘redundency is corrolated to retention’, what are …etc.    (Please! )                                                                                                     Can you say – Lies, Misleading? To expose and people are organizing and fighting  against this?!  Just talk about the ‘big lie’, talk the FACTS and move on.  Well, then, as Bill saya — ‘then we’ll TALK about (it).   But the time KHJ ends, even those disposed to the point are snowed out with all this…                                                                       Now as a KHJ -her ‘libertarian’ leanings causing her to  abandon focus on GROSS INEQUALITY, and then she claims Koch brothers are not big oil (wrong – they are, it’s just a small part of their empire & influence). Instead focusing on Simpson-Bowles.          You folks are talking to yourselves and each other– not really WAKE UP journalistic material, just more analysis that is like spinning wheels with a subtly that does NOT match the depth of trouble we are in and the serious corruption and misinformation you are discussing. 

  • Mass. Citizen

    RoseAnn DeMoro was a breath of fresh air. (And sorry for typos above.)   Being EFFECTIVE matters.           And it IS time we wake up from this ‘we’re all in this together’ fantasy.  Read Howard Zinn’s History of the US, and then ACT. I too am interested in social CHANGE. We ARE talking about a mass movement…  Occupy with strategic, specific focus, reaching everyday people!  Validate the ANGER, (& not turn it into reactionary direction)!  We are NOT in this together…it’s been trickling UP – only no trickle.  WE didn’t push Obama.  I’m with the Nurses – who are activists by profession and otherwise!   We have to change OURSELVES into activists who demand accountability. And speak PLAIN, confront people with direct words and actions – like angry people do. RoseAnn is right on! 

  • Marie Isenburg

    One take on Kathleen Hall Jamieson’s how to detect “Patterns of deception” in ads.
    Maybe someone else could be more concise, but I think this is a good start:
    1. Watch for the single scary claim, ask “is that right?”
    2. Watch for catch-all “categorical” claims.” “All” “none,” “no one,” “always” or “never” usually mean nothing. A good choice is to check what they’re really saying. If you have no time to check, you should disregard as unreliable information.
    3. Watch for visuals/graphics that quickly work up emotions. Emotional decisions, especially those made in anger or fear, usually hurt more than help.
    4. Take into account the big picture. For example, we’re in a global economy.  That means some part of production has to go overseas because the US doesn’t even make some of the things we need to keep our businesses going.
    5. This should be first: Consider the source. If the message is coming from someone who has anything to gain from your decision, it’s not good info. That goes for “good guys” and “bad guys.” Again, verify if you have time; otherwise, ignore.

  • Gmarti12

    Is the presidential debate hosted by, the type of dialogue you (Bill Moyers) and Kathleen would like to see on national level?

    I would appreciate hearing everyone’s comment on this.

  • Anonymous

    Would love to know if anyone in the government has taken this petition and idea seriously as this idea and movement is now several years old in my understanding or has it been ignored like most public protests regarding holding Wall Street and the financial sector responsible for the situation we currently find ourselves in now nationally and globally? Would it be possible to have a brief follow-up report on how this movement is doing? I think it is a wonderful idea but have some concerns about the naming of it as a “Robin Hood Tax” as I wonder if it detracts from being taken seriously by conservatives and the wealthy when it is framed in that kind of language. I heard Bill Moyers refer to this frequently as the Financial Transaction Tax and others call it the Tobin Tax. Has this movement considered calling it both names,  by referring to it as the Robin Hood Tax, also known as the Financial Transaction Tax when they introduce the idea as a bit of a compromise? Also I think many people do have concerns about how one can be sure the government will actually use the money obtained from these transactions for people and programs that actually need them rather than using it for another war or financing more corporate welfare, etc. Since the government is so inherently broken in both Democratic & Republican parties as so well stated by Ms. DeMoro, what will hold the government accountable to do the right thing with this new income? Granted the government is using the excuse that lack of funds is the justification to cut social security, government jobs, and government programs so needed by people affected by the crisis right now, but what will prevent them from squandering it again as they have in the past for agendas that benefit corporations & ultimately, government officials in high positions when they get out of public service and can obtain high paying corporate jobs? Would like to see more discussion about those issues. Thanks for bringing an element of sanity & truth to our country and to journalism, Bill Moyers.

  • Pam

    I have been a fan of PBS and Bil Moyers for a ling time but I will never again watch a show with Kathleen Jamieson.We are not communication students waiting to be molded in the ‘correct ways”of “bi-partisan” neutrality,
    Obama has tried,unsuccessfully to work with this recalcitrant right-wing Congress and,to our benefit, he and the Democratic Senate did not agree to Ryan’s disastrous and mean budget plan.nor to cuts in women’s choice or gay rights etc.
    Jamieon and, it seems lately, Moyers are trying to make the case that Obama is useless and parties do not matter.They keep minimizing Dens.
    Well, I have news from the real world,Obama and the Dem Senate,although far from perfect, have been our firewall and I’m seeing the Moyers show and the likes of Jamieson as enablers of right-wing policy.This is it. I’ve had it !!!!!!!!!!!