BILL MOYERS: Welcome. A very wise teacher once told us, “If you want to change the world, change the metaphor.” Then he gave us some of his favorite examples. You think of language differently, he said, if you think of “words pregnant with celestial fire.” Or “words that weep and tears that speak.” Of course, the heart doesn’t physically separate into pieces when we lose someone we love, but “a broken heart” conveys the depth of loss. And if I say you are the “apple of my eye”, you know how special you are in my sight. In other words, metaphors cleanse the lens of perception and give us a fresh take on reality. In other words.

Recently I read a book and saw a film that opened my eyes to see differently the crisis of our times, and the metaphor used by both was, believe it or not, zombies. You heard me right, zombies. More on the film later, but this is the book: “Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism”. Talk about “connecting the dots” -- read this, and the headlines of the day will, I think, arrange themselves differently in your head -- threading together ideas and experiences to reveal a pattern. The skillful weaver is Henry Giroux, a scholar, teacher and social critic with seemingly tireless energy and a broad range of interests. Here are just a few of his books: America's Education Deficit and the War on Youth, Twilight of the Social, Youth in a Suspect Society, Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education.

Henry Giroux is the son of working class parents in Rhode Island who now holds the Global TV Network Chair in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University in Canada. Henry Giroux, welcome.

HENRY GIROUX: Pleasure. It’s great to be here.

BILL MOYERS: There's a great urgency in your recent books and in the essays you've been posting online, a fierce urgency, almost as if you are writing with the doomsday clock ticking. What accounts for that?

HENRY GIROUX: Well, for me democracy is too important to allow it to be undermined in a way in which every vital institution that matters from the political process to the schools to the inequalities that, to the money being put into politics, I mean, all those things that make a democracy viable are in crisis.

And the problem is the crisis, while we recognize in many ways is associated increasingly with the economic system, what we haven't gotten yet is that it should be accompanied by a crisis of ideas, that the stories that are being told about democracy are really about the swindle of fulfillment.

The swindle of fulfillment in that what the reigning elite in all of their diversity now tell the American people if not the rest of the world is that democracy is an excess. It doesn't really matter anymore, that we don't need social provisions, we don't need the welfare state, that the survival of the fittest is all that matters, that in fact society should mimic those values in ways that suggest a new narrative.

I mean you have a consolidation of power that is so overwhelming, not just in its ability to control resources and drive the economy and redistribute wealth upward, but basically to provide the most fraudulent definition of what a democracy should be.

I mean, the notion that profit making is the essence of democracy, the notion that economics is divorced from ethics, the notion that the only obligation of citizenship is consumerism, the notion that the welfare state is a pathology, that any form of dependency basically is disreputable and needs to be attacked, I mean, this is a vicious set of assumptions.

BILL MOYERS: Are we close to equating democracy with capitalism?

HENRY GIROUX: Oh, I mean, I think that's the biggest lie of all actually. The biggest lie of all is that capitalism is democracy. We have no way of understanding democracy outside of the market, just as we have no understanding of how to understand freedom outside of market values.

BILL MOYERS: Explain that. What do you mean "outside of market values?"

HENRY GIROUX: I mean you know, when Margaret Thatcher married Ronald Reagan--

BILL MOYERS: Metaphorically?

HENRY GIROUX: Metaphorically. Two things happened. 1) There was this assumption that the government was evil except when it regulated its power to benefit the rich. So it wasn't a matter of smashing the government as Reagan seemed to suggest, it was a matter of rearranging it and reconfiguring it so it served the wealthy, the elites and the corporate, of course, you know, those who run mega corporations. But Thatcher said something else that's particularly interesting in this discussion.

She said there's no such thing as society. There are only individuals and families. And so what we begin to see is the emergence of a kind of ethic, a survival of the fittest ethic that legitimates the most incredible forms of cruelty, that seems to suggest that freedom in this discourse of getting rid of society, getting rid of the social-- that discourse is really only about self-interest, that possessive individualism is now the only virtue that matters. So freedom, which is essential to any notion of democracy, now becomes nothing more than a matter of pursuing your own self interests. No society can survive under those conditions.

BILL MOYERS: So what is society? When you use it as an antithesis to what Margaret Thatcher said, what do you have in mind? What's the metaphor for--

HENRY GIROUX: I have in mind a society in which the wealth is shared, in which there is a mesh of organizations that are grounded in the social contract, that takes seriously the mutual obligations that people have to each other. But more than anything else-- I'm sorry, but I want to echo something that FDR once said,

When he said that, you know, you not only have to have personal freedoms and political freedoms, the right to vote the right to speak, you have to have social freedom. You have to have the freedom from want, the freedom from poverty, the freedom from-- that comes with a lack of health care.

Getting ahead cannot be the only motive that motivates people. You have to imagine what a good life is. But agency, the ability to do that, to have the capacity to basically be able to make decisions and learn how to govern and not just be governed--

BILL MOYERS: As a citizen.

HENRY GIROUX: As a citizen.

BILL MOYERS: A citizen is a moral agent of--

HENRY GIROUX: A citizen is a political and moral agent who in fact has a shared sense of hope and responsibility to others and not just to him or herself. Under this system, democracy is basically like the lotto. You know, go in, you put a coin in, and if you're lucky, you win something. If you don't, then you become something else.

BILL MOYERS: So then why when I talk about the urgency in your writing, your forthcoming book opens with this sentence, "America's descending into madness." Now, don't you think many people will read that as hyperbole?

HENRY GIROUX: Sometimes in the exaggerations there are great truths. And it seems to me that what’s unfortunate here is that's not an exaggeration.

BILL MOYERS: Well, madness can mean several things. It can mean insanity. It can mean lunacy. But it can also mean folly, foolishness, you know, look at that craziness over there. Which do you mean?

HENRY GIROUX: I mean, it's certainly not just about foolishness. It's about a kind of lunacy in which people lose themselves in a sense of power and greed and exceptionalism and nationalism in ways that so undercut the meaning of democracy and the meaning of justice that you have to sit back and ask yourself how could the following, for instance, take place?

How could people who allegedly believe in democracy and the American Congress cut $40 billion from a food stamp program, half of which those food stamps go to children? And you ask yourself how could that happen? I mean, how can you say no to a Medicaid program which is far from radical but at the same time offers poor people health benefits that could save their lives?

How do you shut down public schools and say that charter schools and private schools are better because education is really not a right, it's an entitlement? How do you get a discourse governing the country that seems to suggest that anything public, public health, public transportation, public values, you know, public engagement is a pathology?

BILL MOYERS: Let me answer that from the other side. They would say to you that we cut Medicaid or food stamps because they create dependency. We closed public schools because they aren't working, they aren't teaching. People are coming out not ready for life.

HENRY GIROUX: No, no, that's the answer that they give. I mean, and it's a mark of their insanity. I mean, that's precisely an answer that in my mind embodies a kind of psychosis that is so divorced-- is in such denial about power and how it works and is in such denial about their attempt at what I call individualize the social, in other words--

BILL MOYERS: Individualize?

HENRY GIROUX: Individualize the social, which means that all problems, if they exist, rest on the shoulders of individuals.

BILL MOYERS: You are responsible.

HENRY GIROUX: You are responsible.

BILL MOYERS: If you're poor, you're responsible if you're ignorant, you're responsible if--


BILL MOYERS: --you're sick?

HENRY GIROUX: That's right, that the government-- the larger social order, the society has no responsibility whatsoever so that-- you often hear this, I mean, if there--I mean, if you have an economic crisis caused by the hedge fund crooks, you know and millions of people are put out of work and they're all lining up for unemployment, what do we hear in the national media? We hear that maybe they don't know how to fill out unemployment forms, maybe it's about character. You know, maybe they're just simply lazy.

BILL MOYERS: This line struck me, "The ideology of hardness and cruelty runs through American culture like an electric current..."

HENRY GIROUX: Yeah, it sure does. I mean, to see poor people, their benefits being cut, to see pensions of Americans who have worked like my father, all their lives, and taken away, to see the rich just accumulating more and more wealth.

I mean, it seems to me that there has to be a point where you have to say, "No, this has to stop." We can't allow ourselves to be driven by those lies anymore. We can't allow those who are rich, who are privileged, who are entitled, who accumulate wealth to simply engage in a flight from social and moral and political responsibility by blaming the people who are victimized by those policies as the source of those problems.

BILL MOYERS: There's a new reality you write emerging in America in no small part because of the media, one that enshrines a politics of disposability in which growing numbers of people are considered dispensable and a drain on the body politic and the economy, not to mention you say an affront on the sensibilities of the rich and the powerful.

HENRY GIROUX: If somebody had to say to me-- ask me the question, "What exactly is new that we haven't seen before?" And I think that what we haven't seen before is an attack on the social contract, Bill, that is so overwhelming, so dangerous in the way in which its being deconstructed and being disassembled that you now have as a classic example, you have a whole generation of young people who are now seen as disposable.

They're in debt, they're unemployed. My friend, Zygmunt Bauman, calls them the zero generation: zero jobs, zero hope, zero possibilities, zero employment. And it seems to me when a country turns its back on its young people because they figure in investments not long term investments, they can't be treated as simply commodities that are going to in some way provide an instant payback and extend the bottom line, they represent something more noble than that. They represent an indication of how the future is not going to mimic the present and what obligations people might have, social, political, moral and otherwise to allow that to happen, and we've defaulted on that possibility.

BILL MOYERS: You actually call it-- there's the title of the book, “America's Education Deficit and the War on Youth.”

HENRY GIROUX: Oh, this is a war. It's a war that endlessly commercializes kids, both as commodities and as commodifiable.


HENRY GIROUX: Example being that the young people can't turn anywhere without in some way being told that the only obligation of citizenship is to shop, is to be a consumer. You can't walk on a college campus today and walk into the student union and not see everybody represented there from the local banks to Disneyland to local shops, all selling things.

I mean, it's like the school has become a mall. It imitates the mall. And if you walk into schools as one example, I mean, you look at the buses, there are advertisements on the buses. You walk into the bathroom, there are advertisements above the stalls. I mean, and the curriculum is written by General Electric.

BILL MOYERS: We're all branded--

HENRY GIROUX: They're branded, they're branded.

BILL MOYERS: --everything is branded?

HENRY GIROUX: Where are the public spaces for young people other learn a discourse that's not commodified, to be able to think about non-commodifiable values like trust, justice, honesty, integrity, caring for others, compassion. Those things, they're just simply absent, they're not part of those public spheres because those spheres have been commodified.

What does it mean to go to school all day and just be taking tests and learning how to teach for the test? Their minds are numb. I mean--the expression I get from them, they call school dead time, these kids. Say it's dead time. I call it their dis-imagination zones.

BILL MOYERS: Dis-imagination?

HENRY GIROUX: Yeah, yeah, they rob-- it's a form of learning that robs the mind of any possibility of being imaginative. The arts are cut out, right, so the questions are not being raised about what it means to be creative.

All of those things that speak to educating the imagination, to stretching it, the giving kids the knowledge, a sense of the traditions, the archives to take risks, to learn about the world, they're disappearing.

BILL MOYERS: I heard you respond to someone who asked you at a public session the other evening--"What would you do about what you've just described?" And your first response was start debating societies in high schools all across the country.

HENRY GIROUX: That's right. One of the things that I learned quickly as a result of the internet is I started getting a ton of letters from students who basically were involved in these debate societies. And they're saying like things, "We use your work. We love this work.”

And I actually got involved with one that was working with-- out of Brown University's working with a high school in the inner cities right, and I got involved with some of the students. But then I began to learn as a result of that involvement that these were the most radical kids in the country.

I mean, these were kids who embodied what a critical public sphere meant. They were going all over the country, different high schools, working class kids no less, debating major issues and getting so excited about in many ways winning these debates but doing it on the side of-- something they could believe in.

And I thought to myself, "Wow, here's a space." Here's a space where you're going to have a whole generation of kids who could be actually engaging in debate and dialogue. Every working class urban school in this country should put its resources as much as possible into a debate team.

BILL MOYERS: My favorite of your many books is this one, “Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism.” Why that metaphor, zombie politics?

HENRY GIROUX: Because it's a politics that's informed by the machinery of social and civil death.


HENRY GIROUX: Death. It's a death machine. It's a death machine because in my estimation it does everything it can to kill any vestige of a robust democracy. It turns people into zombies, people who basically are so caught up with surviving that they have no-- they become like the walking dead, you know, they lose their sense of agency-- I mean they lose their homes, they lose their jobs.

And so this zombie metaphor actually operated at two levels. I mean, at one level it spoke to people who have no visions, who exercise a form of political leadership that extends the politics of what I call war and the machineries of death, whether those machineries are at home or abroad, whether they're about the death of civil liberties or they're about making up horrendous lies to actually invade a country like Iraq.

So this-- the zombie metaphor is a way to sort of suggest that democracy is losing its oxygen, you know, it's losing its vitality, that we have a politics that really is about the organization of the production of violence.

It's losing its soul. It's losing its spirit. It's losing its ability to speak to itself in ways that would span the human spirit and the human possibility for justice and equality.

BILL MOYERS: Because we don't think of zombies as having souls?

HENRY GIROUX: They don't have souls.

BILL MOYERS: Right. You--

HENRY GIROUX: They're driven by lust.


HENRY GIROUX: The lust for money, the lust for power.

BILL MOYERS: Well, that's, I guess, why you mix your metaphors. Because you talk about casino capitalists, zombie politics, which you say in the book shapes every aspect--

HENRY GIROUX: Every aspect.

BILL MOYERS: --of society .

HENRY GIROUX: Yeah, at the current moment. This is what--


HENRY GIROUX: Well, first, let's begin with an assumption. This casino capitalism as we talk about it, right, one of the things that it does that hasn't been done before, it doesn't just believe it can control the economy. It believes that it can govern all of social life. That's different.

That means it has to have its tentacles into every aspect of everyday life. Everything from the way schools are run to the way prisons are outsourced to the way the financial services are run to the way in which people have access to health care, it's an all-encompassing, it seems to me, political, cultural, educational apparatus.

And it basically has nothing to do with expanding the meaning and the substance of democracy itself. What it has to do is expanding-- what it means to get--a quick return, what it means to take advantage of a kind of casino logic in which the only thing that drives you is to go to that slot machine and somehow get more, just pump the machine, put as much money in as you can into it and walk out a rich man. That's what it's about.

BILL MOYERS: You say that casino capitalist, zombie politics views competition as a form of social combat, celebrates war as an extension of politics and legitimates a ruthless social Darwinism.

HENRY GIROUX: Oh, I mean, it is truly ruthless. I mean, imagine yourself on a reality TV program called “The Survivor”, you and I, we're all that's left. The ideology that drives that program is only one of us is going to win. I don't have any respect for you. I mean, all I'm trying to do is beat you. I just want to be the one that's left. I want to win the big prize.

And it seems to me that what's unfortunate is that reality now mimics reality TV. It is reality TV in terms of the consensus that drives it, that the shared fears are more important than shared responsibilities, that the social contract is the pathology because it basically suggests helping people is a strength rather than a weakness.

It believes that social bonds not driven by market values are basically bonds that we should find despicable. But even worse, in this ethic, the market has colonized pleasure in such a way that violence in many ways seems to be the only way left that people can actually experience pleasure whether it's in the popular medium, whether it's in the way in which we militarize local police to become SWAT teams that actually will break up poker games now in full gear or give away surplus material, equipment to a place like Ohio State University, who got an armored tank.

I mean, I guess-- I'm wondering what does it mean when you're on a campus and you see an armored tank, you know, by the university police? I mean, this is-- everything is a war zone. You know, Senator Graham--when Lindsey Graham, he said-- in talking about the terrorist laws, you know these horrible laws that are being put into place in which Americans can be captured, they can be killed and, you know--the kill list all of this, he basically says, "Everybody's a potential terrorist."

I mean, so that what happens here is that this notion of fear and this fear around the notion of security that is simply about protecting yourself, not about social security, not about protecting the commons, not about protecting the environment, turns everybody into a potential enemy. I mean, we cannot mediate our relationships it seems any longer in this culture in ways in which we would suggest and adhere to the notion that justice is a matter of caring for the other, that compassion matters.

BILL MOYERS: So this is why you write that America’s no longer recognizable as a democracy?

HENRY GIROUX: No. Look, as the social state is crippled, as the social state is in some way robbed, hollowed out and robbed of its potential and its capacities, what takes its place? The punishing state takes its place.

You get this notion of incarceration, this, what we call the governing through crime complex where governance now has been ceded to corporations who largely are basically about benefiting the rich, the ultra-rich, the big corporations and allowing the state to exercise its power in enormously destructive and limited ways.

And those ways are about militarizing the culture, criminalizing social--a wide swathe of social behavior and keeping people in check. What does it mean when you turn on the television in the United States and you see young kids, peaceful protestors, lying down with their hands locked and you got a guy with, you know, spraying them with pepper spray as if there's something normal about that, as if that's all it takes, that's how we solve problems? I mean, I guess the question here is what is it in a culture that would allow the public to believe that with almost any problem that arises, force is the first way to address it.

I mean, one has to recognize that in that kind of logic, something has happened in which the state is no longer in the service of democracy.

BILL MOYERS: Well, George Monbiot, who writes for “The Guardian,” wrote just the other day, "It's business that really rules us." And he says, "So I don't blame people for giving up on politics … When a state-corporate nexus of power has bypassed democracy and made a mockery of the voting process, when an unreformed political funding system ensures that parties can be bought and sold, when politicians of the main … parties stand and watch as public services are divvied up by a grubby cabal of privateers, what is left of the system that inspires us to participate?"

HENRY GIROUX: I mean, the real question is why aren't we more outraged?

HENRY GIROUX: Why aren't we in the streets?

HENRY GIROUX: I mean, that's the central question for the American public. I mean, and I think that question has to address something fundamental and that is what we have, while we have an economic system that in fact has caused a crisis in democracy. What we haven't addressed is the underlying consensus that informs that crisis. What you have is basically a transgression against the very basic ideals of democracy. We have lost what it means to be connected to democracy.

And I think that's coupled with a cultural apparatus, a culture, an educative culture, a mode of politics in which people now have gone through this for so long that it's become normalized. I mean, it's hard to imagine life beyond capitalism. You know, it's easier to imagine the death of the planet than it is to imagine the death of capitalism. I mean-- and so it seems to me--

BILL MOYERS: Well, don't you think people want to be capitalist? Don't you think people want capitalism? They want money?

HENRY GIROUX: I'm not sure if they want those things. I mean, I think when you--when you read all the surveys about what's important to people's lives, Bill, actually the things that they focus on are not about, you know, "I want to be about the Kardashian sisters," God forbid, right?

I mean, I think that what--they the same way we want--we need a decent education for our kids, we want, you know, real health care. I mean, we want the sense of equality in the country. We want to be able to control the political process so that we're not simply nameless and invisible and disposable.

I mean, they basically--they want women to be able to have the right to have some control over their own reproductive rights. I mean, they're talking about gay rights being a legitimate pursuit of justice.

And I think that what is missing from all of this are the basic, are those alternative public spheres, those cultural formations, what I call a formative culture that can bring people together and give those ideas, embody them in both a sense of hope, of vision and the organizations and strategies that would be necessary at the very least to start a third party, at the very least. I mean, to start a party that is not part of this establishment, to reconstruct a sense of where politics can go.

BILL MOYERS: Well, you write that the liberal center has failed us and for all of its discourse of helping the poor, of addressing inequality, it always ends up on the side of bankers and finance capital, right.

HENRY GIROUX: Are you talking about Obama?

BILL MOYERS: I'm talking about what you say.

HENRY GIROUX: I know, I know. I'm--

BILL MOYERS: But you do, I must be fair and say that you go on in that same chapter of one of these books to say isn't it time we forget trying to pressure Obama to do the right thing?

HENRY GIROUX: Obama to me is symptomatic to me of the liberal center. But the issue is much greater than him. I mean, the issue is in a system that is entirely broken. It's broken.

Elections are bought by big money. The political process is not in the hands of the people. It's in the hands of very few people. And it seems to me we have to ask ourselves what kind of formative culture needs to be put in place in which education becomes central to politics, in which politics can be used to help people to be able to see things differently, to get beyond this system that is so closed, so powerfully normalized.

I mean, the right since the 1970s has created a massive cultural apparatus, a slew of anti-public intellectuals. They've invaded the universities with think tanks. They have foundations. They have all kinds of money. And you know, it's interesting, the war they wage is a war on the mind.

The war on what it means to be able to dissent, the war on the possibility of alternative visions. And the left really has-- and progressives and liberals, we have nothing like that. I mean, we always seem to believe that all you have to do is tell the truth.

BILL MOYERS: You shall know the truth, the truth will set you free.

HENRY GIROUX: Yeah, and the truth will set you free. But I'm sorry, it doesn't work that way.

BILL MOYERS: Which brings me to the book you're now finishing and will be published next spring. You call it “The Violence of Organized Forgetting.” What are we forgetting?

HENRY GIROUX: We're forgetting the past. We're forgetting all those struggles that in fact offered a different story about the United States.

BILL MOYERS: How is it organized, this forgetting?

HENRY GIROUX: It's organized because it's systemic. It's organized because you have people controlling schools who are deleting those histories and making sure that they don't appear. In Tucson, Arizona they banished ethnic studies from the curriculum. This is the dis-imagination machine. That's the hardcore element.

BILL MOYERS: The suffocation of imagination?

HENRY GIROUX: The suffocation of imagination. And we kill the imagination by suggesting that the only kind of rationality that matters, the only kind of learning that matters is utterly instrumental, pragmatist.

So what we do is we collapse education into training, and we end up suggesting that not knowing much is somehow a virtue. And I'll and I think what's so disturbing about this is not only do you see it in the popular culture with the lowest common denominator now drives that culture, but you also see it coming from politicians who actually say things that suggest something about the policies they'd like to implement.

I mean, I know Rick Santorum is not-- is kind of a, you know, an obvious figure. But when he stands up in front of a body of Republicans and he says, the last thing we need in the Republican party are intellectuals. And I think it's kind of a template for the sort of idiocy that increasingly now dominates our culture.

BILL MOYERS: What is an intellectual, by the way? The atmosphere has been so poisoned, as you know, by what you've been describing, that many people bridle when they hear the term intellectual pursuit.

HENRY GIROUX: I mean, yeah, I think intellectuals are-- there are two ways we can describe intellectuals. In the most general sense, we can say, "Intellectuals are people who take pride in ideas. They work with ideas." I mean, they believe that ideas matter. They believe that there's no such thing as common sense, good sense or bad sense, but reflective sense.

That ideas offer the framework for gives us agency, what allows us to read the world critically, what allows us to be literate. What allows us to be civic literacy may be in some ways the high point of what it means to be an intellectual--


HENRY GIROUX: Because it suggests that how we learn what we learn and what we do with the knowledge that we have is not just for ourselves. It's for the way in which we can expand and deepen the very processes of democracy in general, and address those problems and anti-democratic forces that work against it. Now some people make a living as a result of being intellectuals. But there are people who are intellectuals who don't function in that capacity. They're truck drivers. They're workers.

I grew up in a working class neighborhood. The smartest people I have ever met were in that neighborhood. We read books. We went to the library together. We drank on Friday nights. We talked about Gramsci. We drove to Boston--

BILL MOYERS: Gramsci being the Italian philosopher.

HENRY GIROUX: The Italian philosopher. I mean--

BILL MOYERS: The pessimism of the--

HENRY GIROUX: Of the intellect, and optimism of the will.


HENRY GIROUX: Right? I mean, we--

BILL MOYERS: You see the world as it is, but then you act as if you can change the world.

HENRY GIROUX: Exactly. I mean, we tried to find ways to both enliven the neighborhoods we lived in. But at the same time, we knew that that wasn't enough. That one-- that there was a world beyond our neighborhood, and that world had all kinds of things for us to learn. And we were excited about that. I mean, we drank, danced and talked. That's what we did.

BILL MOYERS: And I assume there were some other more private activities.

HENRY GIROUX: And there was more private activity.

BILL MOYERS: You know, you are a buoyant man. And yet you describe what you call a shift away from the hope that accompanies the living, to a politics of cynicism and despair.


BILL MOYERS: What leads you to this?

HENRY GIROUX: What leads me to this is something that we mentioned earlier, and that is when you see policies being enacted today that are so cruel and so savage, wiping out a generation of young people, trying to eliminate public schools, eliminating health care, putting endless percentage of black and brown people in jail, destroying the environment and there's no public outrage.

There aren't people in the streets. You know, you have to ask yourself, "Has this market mentality, is it so powerful and that it's become so normalized, so taken for granted that the imagination, the collective imagination has been so stunted that it becomes difficult to challenge it anymore?" And I think that leads me to despair somewhat. But I've always felt that in the face of the worst tyrannies, people resist.

They're resisting now all over the world. And it seems to me history is open. I believe history is open. I don't believe that we have reached the finality of a system that is so destructive that all we have to do is look at the clock and say, "One minute left." I don't believe in those kinds of metaphors.

We have to acknowledge the realities that bear down on us, but it seems to me that if we really want to live in a world and be alive with compassion and justice, then we need educated hope. We need a hope that recognizes the problems and doesn't romanticize them, and also recognizes the need for vision, for social organizations, for strategies. We need institutions that provide the formative culture that give voice to those visions and those ideas.

BILL MOYERS: You've talked elsewhere or written elsewhere about the need for a militant, far-reaching, social movement to challenge the false claims that equate democracy and capitalism. Now, what do you mean "Militant and Far Reaching Social Movement?"

HENRY GIROUX: I mean, what we do know, we know this. We know that there are people working in local communities all over the United States around particular kinds of issues, whether it be gay rights, whether it be the environment, whether it be, you know the Occupy movement, helping people with Hurricane Sandy. We have a lot of fragmented movements.

And I think we probably have a lot more than we realize, because the press gives them no visibility, as you know. So, we don't really have a sense of the degree to which these-- how pronounced these really are. I think the real issue here is, you know, what would it mean to begin to do at least two things?

To say the very least, one is to develop cultural apparatuses that can offer a new vocabulary for people, where questions of freedom and justice and the problems that we're facing can be analyzed in ways that reach mass audiences in accessible language. We have to build a formative culture. We have to do that. Secondly, we've got to overcome the fractured nature of these movements. I mean the thing that plagues me about progressives in the left and liberals is they are all sort of ensconced in these fragmented movements that seem to suggest those movements constitute the totality of the system of oppression that we are facing. And they don’t.

Look, we have technologies in place now in which students all over the world are beginning to communicate with each other because they're realizing that the punishing logic of austerity has a certain kind of semblance that a certain normality that, in common ground, that is affecting students in Greece, students in Spain, students in France.

BILL MOYERS: And in this country?

HENRY GIROUX: And in this country. And it seems to me that while I may be too old to in any way begin to participate in this, I really believe that young people have recognized that they've been written out of the discourse of democracy. That they're in the grip of something so oppressive it will take away their future, their hopes, their possibilities and their sense of the future will be one that is less than what their parents had imagined.

And there's no going back. I mean, this has to be addressed. And it'll take time. They'll build the organizations. They'll get-- they'll work with the new technologies. And hopefully they'll have our generation to be able to assist in that, but it's not going to happen tomorrow. And it's not going to happen in a year. It's going to as you have to plant seeds. You have to believe that seeds matter.

But you need a different vocabulary and a different understanding of politics. Look, the right has one thing going for it that nobody wants to talk about. Power is global. And politics is local. They float. They have no allegiance to anyone. They don't care about the social contract, because if workers in the United States don't want to compromise, they'll get them in Mexico. So the notion of political concessions has died for this class. They don't care about it anymore. There are no political concessions.

BILL MOYERS: The financial class.

HENRY GIROUX: The financial class.

BILL MOYERS: The one percent.

HENRY GIROUX: The one percent. That's why they're so savage. They're so savage because there's nothing to give up. They don't have to compromise. The power is so arrogant, so over the top, so unlike anything we have seen in terms of its anti-democratic practices, policies, modes of governance and ideology.

That at some point, you know they feel they don't have to legitimate this anymore. I mean, it's because the contradictions are becoming so great, that I think all of a sudden a lot of young people are recognizing this language, this whole language, doesn't work. The language of liberalism doesn't work anymore.

No, let's just reform the system. Let's work within it. Let's just run people for office. My argument would be, you have one foot in and you have one foot out. I'm not willing to give up the school board. I'm not willing to give up all forms of electoral politics. But it seems to me at the local level we can do some of that thing, that people can get elected. They can make moderate changes.

But the real changes are not going to come there. The real changes are going to come in creating movements that are longstanding, that are organized, that basically take questions of governance and policy seriously and begin to spread out and become international. That is going to have to happen.

BILL MOYERS: But here's the contradiction I hear in what you're saying. That if you write about a turning toward despair and cynicism in politics. Can you get movements out of despair and cynicism? Can you get people who will take on the system when they have been told that the system is so powerful and so overwhelming that they've lost their, as you call it, moral and political agency?

HENRY GIROUX: Well let me put it this way. What we often find is we often find people who take for granted the systems that they live in. They take for granted the savagery-- the sort of things that you talked about. And it produces two kinds of rage. It produces an inner rage in which people blame themselves.

It’s so disturbing to me to see working class, middle class people blaming themselves when these bankers have actually caused the crisis. That's the first issue.

Then you have another expression of that rage, and that rage blames blacks. It blames immigrants. It blames young people. It says, "They're not--" it says about youth, it says, "Youth is not in trouble. They're the problem."

And so, all of a sudden that rage gets displaced. The question is not what do we-- the question is not just where's the outrage. The question is how do you mobilize the rage in ways in which it's not self-defeating, and in ways in which it doesn't basically scape-- be used to scapegoat other people. That's an educational issue. That should be at the center of any politics that matters.

BILL MOYERS: One of your intellectual mentors, the philosopher Ernst Bloch, said, "We must believe in the principle of hope." And you've written often about the language of hope. What does that mean, the principle of hope and the language of hope, and why are they important as you see it in creating this new paradigm, metaphor that you talk about?

HENRY GIROUX: Yeah, I mean, hope to me is a metaphor that speaks to the power of the imagination. I don't believe that anyone should be involved in politics in a progressive way if they can't understand that to act otherwise, you have to imagine otherwise.

What hope is predicated on is the assumption that life can be different than it is now. But to be different than it is now, rather than romanticizing hope and turning it into something Disney-like, right, it really has to involve the hard work of A) recognizing the structures of domination that we have to face, B) organizing collectively and somehow to change those, and C) believing it can be done, that it's worth the struggle.

That if the struggles are not believed in, if people don't have the faith to engage in these struggles, and that's the issue. I mean, that working class neighborhood that I talked to you about in the beginning of the program, I mean, it just resonates with such a sense of joy for me, the sense of solidarity, sociality.

And I think all the institutions that are being constructed under this market tyranny, this casino capitals is just the opposite. It's like that image of all these people at the bus stop, right. And they're all-- they're together, but they're alone. They're alone.

BILL MOYERS: If we have zombied politics, if we have as you say, metaphorically, zombies in the high levels of government, zombies in banks and financial centers and zombies in the military, can't you have a zombie population? I mean, you say the stories that are being told through the commercial corporate entertainment media are all the more powerful because they seem to defy the public's desire for rigorous accountability, critical interrogation and openness.

Now if that's what the public wants, why isn't the market providing them? Isn't that what the market's supposed to do? Provide what people want?

HENRY GIROUX: The market doesn't want that at all. I mean, the market wants the people, the apostles of this market logic, I mean, they actually the first rule of the market is make sure you have power that’s unaccountable. That's what they want.

And I think that, I mean, what we see for the first time in history is a war on the ability to produce meanings that hold power accountable. A war on the possibility of an education that enables people to think critically, a war on cultural apparatuses that entertain by simply engaging in this spectacle of violence and not producing programs that really are controversial, that make people think, that make people alive through the possibilities of, you know, the imagination itself.

I mean, my argument is the formative culture that produces those kinds of intellectual and creative and imaginative abilities has been under assault since the 1980s in a very systemic way. So that the formative culture that takes its place is a business culture. It's a culture run by accountants, not by visionaries. It's a culture run by the financial services. It's a culture run by people who believe that data is more important than knowledge.

BILL MOYERS: You paint a very grim picture of the state of democracy, and yet you don't seem contaminated by cynicism yourself.

HENRY GIROUX: No, I'm not.

BILL MOYERS: How do we understand that?

HENRY GIROUX: Because I refuse to become a part of it.

Become I refuse to become complicitous. I refuse to say--I refuse to be alive and to watch institutions being handed over to right wing zealots. I refuse to be alive and watch the planet be destroyed.

I mean, when you mentioned-- you talk about the collective imagination, you know, I mean that imagination emerges when people find strength in collective organizations, when they find strength in each other.

Believing that we can work together to produce commons in which we can share that raises everybody up and not just some people, that contributes to the world in a way that-- and I really don't mean to be romanticizing here, but a world that is we recognize is never just enough. Justice is never done. It's an endless struggle. And that there's joy in that struggle, because there's a sense of solidarity that brings us together around the most basic, most elemental and the most important of democratic values.

BILL MOYERS: Henry Giroux, thank you, very much for talking to me.

HENRY GIROUX: Thank you, Bill.

Segment: Henry Giroux on Zombie Politics

In his book, Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism, author and scholar Henry Giroux connects the dots to prove his theory that our current system is informed by a “machinery of social and civil death” that chills “any vestige of a robust democracy.”

This week on Moyers & Company, Giroux explains that such a machine turns “people who are basically so caught up with surviving that they become like the walking dead – they lose their sense of agency, they lose their homes, they lose their jobs.”

What’s more, Giroux points out, the system that creates this vacuum has little to do with expanding the meaning and the substance of democracy itself. Under “casino capitalism,” the goal is to get a quick return, taking advantage of a kind of logic in which the only thing that drives us is to put as much money as we can into a slot machine and hope we walk out with our wallets overflowing.

A cultural and social critic of tireless energy and vast interests, Giroux holds the Global TV Network Chair in the English and Cultural Studies Department at McMaster University and is a distinguished visiting professor at Reyerson University, both schools in Canada.

Producer: Gina Kim. Associate Producer: Reniqua Allen. Editor: Rob Kuhns.

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  • Guest

    Quite a lively and interesting guest. I’m reminded of Mort Sahl.

    But, as a conservative (and no apologist for capitalism), I do believe he mistakes ‘democracy’ for freedom (or more simply, individual liberty.)

    We are losing democracy (freedom) –and our youth is losing their future– because we have looked to government for far too many things — like military armored vehicles for Ohio State University. That’s worse than the $700 toilet seat of the Reagan era.

    I’d suggest your guest -and people generally- also seek out the book, ‘Juggernaut’ by Eric Robert Morse. I’m confident it would complement the work of Mr. Giroux.

  • Anonymous

    Free speech meaning allowed to repeat the nationally approved narrative.

  • David

    My wife and I moved to the UAE to teach English. I simply could not get a job in the USA. Since being here, I have a new found appreciation for the USA. But at the same time, there is nowhere the level of greed here that is present in the USA. I agree with Mr. Giroux that our society, because of corrupt capitalism and greed, is destroying America. The right wing will destroy America

  • Anonymous

    “We” don’t look to the gov for tanks. His point is that the government has been taken over by the corporations. With corps sucking the fiscal life out of the economy, yes the public will become more dependent on gov assistance. And corps are shaping perception of your neighbors as the enemy for the very need they create.

    By the way, Wall St. Journal just published today defense is paying $800 for toilet seats.

  • Anonymous

    Politics of hope has been replaced with politics of nightmare. Used to be if one went through the maze, one would get some cheese at the end. Now, the maze is electric shocks. It does not stop until one does what is told or drops off (which is even worse). As a consequence of the iron fist in your face, the planet is dying, the new generation seems to has lost hope for life, let alone, a rewarding life.

    I hope Mr. Moyers is talking to someone else (Chris Hedges, D. Kucinich, R. Nader, R. Reich, et. al.) to continue this delightful, exceptional program going when he leaves Jan. 2014.

  • Anonymous

    The guest, Giroux, was very thought provoking on his view of society, our economy, culture & govt..I am the only one who come away feeling that would be nice but reality its not going to happening, but a goal maybe worth thriving for.. To be idealistic in our society is most frustrating knowing human greed as it applied to free markets & corrupt & greedy politicians. He finds allot of blame with capitalism but seem to excludes govt corruption & lack of regulation of existing laws.. Personally the govt had more to do with the 08 financial crash than business. Giroux seems to trust govt more than free market.. I question where the govt is going to get its revenue for all the new nice idealistic programs he would like to see… maybe from the capitalists??? He too calls us a democracy..How about democratic republic.. His views were his & well thought out from an idealistic standpoint.. I enjoyed his presentation overall even tho we have some different views. A free market system is closer to a democracy than capitalism.

  • Justin King

    I was fortunate enough to see this when Reagan was in power, and moved to Sydney in ’87.
    — whew.

  • Anonymous

    WOW WOW WOW WOW every thing I have been going nut trying to say you just said in one interview. SO Validating. THANK You.

  • Mel

    I hung on every word.

  • Jacque Gabrielle

    i am a motherless child.

  • Roland

    You can have all the “free speech” you can pay for. — John Roberts

  • Roland

    Those $700 toilet seats and $3,500 coffee makers were some guy named Sergei who worked in the Kremlin.

  • Roland

    Well, he admitted he was a conservative. Conservatives see their loss of liberty when they are “forced” to commingle with their lessers. Liberals see their loss of liberty when the Bill of Rights is used as toilet paper.

  • Roland

    The right wing has destroyed America.
    There, I fixed it for you.

  • Roland

    “Greed as is being experienced originats from the animal mind”
    Funny, I never heard of a pride of lions hoarding a herd of gazelles. Capitalism is the mechanism that allows hoarding, and it has destroyed every society that tolerated it.

  • Roland

    Why do you think America will be remembered any more than the Macedonian Empire?

  • Paul Calhoun

    Thank you

  • Robert ANderson

    Giroux is excellent! Join the fight against the right wing “War on Civilization”!

  • Robert ANderson

    They were the result of big corporate power, working to corrupt government and live off the taxpayers!

  • Anonymous

    Adam Smith & Milt Friedman both seen the flaw of the capitalism.. They predicted it would fail when the governing body (the rule maker & enforcer) get in bed with the capitalists. Crony Democracy I believe is the phrase used now. Well we are living it now big time.. Govt in bed with the health insurance industry etc. When this happens the middle class suffers which they are right now. Today it pays to be poor & unemployed.. so the govt can buy your vote with middle class money.

  • Vin LoPresti

    Excellent, indeed; but I think what’s missing is the assessment of WHY we’re not militantly “in the streets”; it’s because we’ve become complacent with the internet — it’s just so easy to rest on our butts & click to sign petitions. In the late-60s/early 70s, we had no choice but to get up and out into the streets. The obvious other reason is that no one is too enthused about being pepper-sprayed by para-military police forces. We only had to worry about occasionally beatings & arrests by police that were not nearly as violent.

  • Guest

    You are correct re: “We” don’t look…

    But the end result of beseeching government to do all the things we ask of it is the same: lunacies like that armored vehicle. What university board (or community) in their right mind would spend their dollars for things like that — unless Uncle Sugar gave them the money to do it?

  • Guest

    If the government were smaller, there’d be much less to capture. What we have now is a symbiotic relationship; not good for anyone except those who suck on our lifeblood.

    btw – Your conflicting view of Wolff (re: diagnosis and solution) exactly mirrors mine of Morse’s book. It’s easier to see where we’ve come from than to figure a way out….

  • Guest

    Roland: I’d offer a correction to your comment. *Plutocrats* see their loss of liberty when forced to commingle with lessers.

    But you’re right about Liberals (and believe it or not, this term encompasses conservatives like me).

  • Roland

    Point taken.

  • ted ledbetter

    it’s a shame that so many prefer to ignore the causal links between what we eat and how we behave

  • Anonymous

    I so identified with today’s Everyman of which I feel he spoke do passionately. I just sat here mesmerized. This really got to me here in Madison.

  • Kevin Schmidt

    Cynically put, “You have the right to believe what you are told.”

  • Kevin Schmidt

    I think the word “balance” used in media is an Orwellian code word for false narrative and/or false equivalency.

    In a different context, examine the life of any person who has achieved a high level of greatness or notoriety and you will discover an unbalanced upbringing, an unbalanced education and an unbalanced personality.

  • Anonymous

    The part of government that “plutocrats” wish to make smaller is the part that regulates the powerful to ensure the middle- and lower-income members of society have openings to grow and seek their futures without having to grovel to the super-rich.

    But plutocrats love the part of government that lets them rent-seek and, by contributing to the election of the members of government, control how the government hands out its favors, and makes sure that they get more than their share, either in the building of monopolies or in letting their companies pay workers sub-living wages, so that those workers require food stamps and Medicaid in order to obtain a strained existence.

  • Kevin Schmidt

    The issue is not about the size of government. Rather, the issue is about effective government that can benefit “We the People” instead of just an elite few.
    Right now, we have a dysfunctional government that mainly benefits the few instead of the many. It is that dysfunctionality that must be made smaller, and not the government itself.

  • Roland

    In plainer language, many of them were where the CIA and fifteen of its siblings hid their allocations.

  • Kevin Schmidt

    Today’s American right includes most Democratic politicians. When rabid Obama fans defend his indefensible policies, I respond with, “My pResident, right or far righter?”

    So allow me to fix your fix:
    The Democratic-Republican Duopoly Party, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Global Corporate Elite, Ltd. destroyed America.

  • Kevin Schmidt

    What will be the result of that thinking? Can you share your own conclusions with us?

  • Kevin Schmidt

    The elite define “free market system” as no rules (for them). The result is monopolies, cartels and an oligarchical government, all of which is the opposite of free.

  • Roland


  • Kevin Schmidt

    I think you have a limited and cynical viewpoint of civilization.

    The problem we now face is the same problem the Vulcans faced in the science fiction show Star Trek. Humanity must now overcome our animal instincts and become truly sentient beings who act on logic, reason and critical thinking abilities. Failure to do so in the next decade will result in another dark age, the deaths of billions and mass extinction around the planet, in my opinion.

  • Kevin Schmidt

    Adam Smith and Milton Friedman had flawed ideas, which exacerbated the flaws of capitalism.
    Also, where did you get the strange idea that “it pays to be poor & unemployed”? How does it pay to live in poverty? Unless what you really meant was that it pays for the global corporate elite to create a large class of poor and unemployed so they can artificially repress wages and benefits, which will create more unearned income for their greedy, sociopathic selfs.

  • Anonymous

    Without rules you get monopolies granted.. Anti trust laws are on the books, an FTC, SEC & Supreme court are to call the “balls & strikes” Robinson Pacman Act controls such matters a predoratory pricing. Our political parties in the past 30-40 yrs has no seen a merger they haven’t liked.. Some they have arranged… like the big banks.. they are now fewer & bigger to support your point Kevin

  • Anonymous

    Right now we have an economic policy of encouraging folks not to look for jobs as the amount of support is not motivating them.. The best way to solve poverty is get the folks working. with a good job. No I cann’t think of any corporation who would buy into you analysis.. Corporations need folks with money to buy their goods & services..Henry Ford paid his factories higher salaries so they could afford his cars. All boats raise in a good economy.. Question … where did Smith & Friedman fail in theory???

  • Anonymous

    Reaching out and joining hands is a challenge when those who run the capitalist casino and the politicians who greedily feed at the money trough are determined to make sure we never join hands in cooperation, but rather have our hands at one another’s throats as we fight over the scraps and crumbs which fall from the rich man’s table.

  • Renee

    Listening to this week’s guest I was once again reminded that were there no Moyers and Company, I would not be aware of people like Henry Giroux, their ideas, or the sense of hope that SOMEone is paying attention to who we are becoming as a people. You and your show allow me feel, at least once a week, that there are a few left who speak out for the values we seem to be letting slip away in favor of money and power. Thank you, Bill and Company, for your light in the decending darkness. Watching and listening to your show makes me want to light a torch and keep marching forward.

  • Karlheinz Groeger

    One of the best distillations of what’s indeed happening in our country I’ve heard in a long time!

  • Stellaa

    I have been waiting to hear someone talk about Zygmunt Bauman. Giroux and Bauman combined really hit all the right issues about our current state. Thank you for the interview.

  • GG

    If Capitalism were so bad, why did the USSR fail and why is China going capitalist. The poorest in this country are still richer than many other societies. If you have cable TV, I don’t care how little you make, you are not poor.

  • Kat Hay

    Hint: it’s ultimately not about the money, GG. It’s about what happens to people and their quality of life (Happiness Quotient if you will) under this, that or the other system.

  • Kat Hay

    Oh, and … did you listen to anything this guy said?

  • Wicasta Lovelace

    I don’t think his point was “capitalism is bad”. I think his point was that people feel like the game is rigged against them. It’s very easy to become disillusioned and numb to the potential we’re all supposed to have inherited just by having the good luck of being born Americans. People used to believe that if you work hard enough in this country you could get ahead. But more and more people are realizing that it’s not really truly anymore. The game is rigged. After a while, as people realize that no matter how hard and diligently they work they’re not going to get ahead, it’s very easy to stop believing in ideals such as democracy, justice and, yes, capitalism.

  • Maria Elena Ramirez

    The Soviet Union destroyed itself in Afghanistan. Who wants to be China? We should be raising everyone’s boat not sinking them. If you like China, take a boat there.

  • Mike

    Its not exclusive. Capitalism, as Marx predicted, is consuming everything it can find its way into. It is making our government increasingly insolvent and our culture weak and unintelligent.

  • Dianne

    Bravo Renne. Well said.

  • Mike

    Your kidding yourself if you think that the protest/activist culture that has existed since the Vietnam era has been effective at all. Occupy Wall st. was mostly a failure. Its no better than the feelgood activity of an online petition. Any success requires something more organized and directed. The antithesis of how Occupy was set up.

  • Vin LoPresti

    Reread my comment — we WERE organized 40 years ago, bringing out hundreds of thousands to a million protestors in some cases — numbers difficult to ignore. Of course, I wasn’t referring to Occupy or anything else in the past 10-20 years — feckless all; no disagreement!

  • Tom Sokoloski

    I see the dumbbing down of America, it’s on the news all day, yesterday was “don’t think about the Kennedy murder think what a great man he was” and “If people talk on cell phones while flying it will be a nightmare”. At least once a day a talk show will use terms like “he’s a real know it all” even “egghead”! Then there is the war on the poor, apparently if you become disabled in combat you are now a parasite stealing benefits from the working people, this talk goes on and on, it makes me want to scream!

  • Louise Forrester

    Mr. Giroux should have enough integrity to practice what he preaches. For perspective I am a retired, elderly person on limited income. I was excited on listening to Mr. Moyers interview with Mr. Giroux for my grandchildren to be introduced to his ideas. I found the cost of his book is almost 10% of my monthly income. Now who is the unethical capitalist?

  • David

    I suspect it is the publisher and not the author. Intellectual works like Mr. Giroux’s publish fewer copies from smaller publications and usually cost the publisher and the buyer more money, I believe. Your local library can probably get it for you.

  • Cheryl

    There is a difference between affording cable TV and true economic security.

  • Kevin Schmidt

    The US Government does not encourage people to not look for jobs. That is ridiculous. There are no jobs because they were outsourced. We need fiscal stimulus to create more jobs, then people can go back to work again. They are not lazy as you imply.

    Also, corporations do not subscribe to Henry Ford’s salary policy. As productivity increased over the past 30 years, wages stagnated. All the additional money made from that increased productivity went to the owners, and not the workers.

    Where Smith failed was with his “invisible hand” theory. Where Friedman failed was with his free market economic system with minimal intervention philosophy. The result is we now have vulture-vampire capitalism with the highest wealth inequity and highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression.

  • Anonymous

    Echoes of the 1960s. Most Americans opposed the Vietnam War, yet it raged on. Tens of thousands of American and Vietnamese youth died needlessly. When I urged a co-worker to take action, he stopped and wearily complained that he was already working two jobs to support his family and so had neither the time nor the energy. The problem has only grown far worse since then.

  • Kevin Schmidt

    It is possible to “fix the animal”. We are consciously evolving to a higher level, where we are not ruled by reptilian instinctual behavior. Instead, we are teaching ourselves the ability to think critically before we act. On economic and social levels, competition is being replaced with cooperation, collaboration and consensus building.

  • Carmen Salgado

    I think he deserves his 250k a year. At least he’s educating people. What is wall street or banks doing for the people? Oh yes stealing from us, almost destroying our economy but they deserve the millions. That’s some logic.

  • Jeffrey Gold

    We are living in the age of The Great Absurdity—Bread and Circuses without the bread: wide-stance Republican family values checkered only by southern Appalachian soulmates, bank bailouts financed by interest-bearing loans from…the banks, banks borrowing money at 0.075% at the Fed discount counter from people whom they charge 35%, bonuses for purported-job-creating criminals and layoffs for bonus-paying job-holders, pretend-overworked private capitalist gamblers receiving socialist bailouts from the “lazy” public, bailed-out CEOs threatening to sue the public for not bailing them out enough, Wall Street privatizing prisons instead of occupying them, incarcerated CEOs having prison sentences reduced in exchange for not appealing for prison sentence reductions, Triple-A sub-prime mortgages, computationally-challenged regulators becoming treasury secretaries, corporations becoming people (will this prevent mergers between same-sector corporations in some states?), Patriot Acts protecting citizens from the Constitution, penis-tweeting representatives ratifying internet obscenity laws, wealthy Arts-hating draft-dodgers dispatching the unemployed to foreign theaters, hawkish Democrats droning on about troop withdrawals and base closures, Nobel Peace Prize winners escalating wars, full-body scans at airports of travelers without the health insurance to cover X-rays, a nation spending itself into prosperity, and a jobless economic recovery.

  • Anonymous

    Best interview ever!!!

    Finally, somebody who isn’t shy about saying just how crazy our society really is, and how capitalism is an antagonist, not a promoter, of democracy.

  • Anonymous

    What’s really important is not his salary, but whether what Mr. Giroux is saying is true. It rings very true to me, and I am grateful for his eloquence and courage in confronting the insanity of America in the 21st century.

  • Anonymous

    Not everybody has time to search through a library for books

  • Anonymous

    Then don’t be; you don’t know what the situation of Mrs. Forrester is to be implying that she should have to get it from the library.

  • Anonymous

    There are too few jobs for those who need them and would be out looking for them if they thought they were there.

    But, while too many jobs have been outsourced, it is not the big driver of the paucity of jobs. That comes down to employers not seeing people with money buying their goods and services since the Great Recession, so they laid off or fired their workers. Then with a surfeit of unemployed looking for work, any job, they were able to induce their still-employed workers to work longer and harder hours. Thus they are keeping a large pool of workers unemployed so that they can continue to get the job done with fewer workers, at low and lower wages.

    While they don’t always lower the offered wages, by not compensating workers for inflation, they effectively lower the wages. The lower the workers’ wage, the less they raise them, so that the lowest paid workers suffer the greatest loss in wages.

  • Kathryn McElroy

    The first person I’ve heard to extensively express how and why our culture has turned so dark. The pivotal agent that holds back the full outrage are the police who have become too threatening and corrupt even at contrite civil protests gatherings. A huge civil war is around the corner I’m afraid. I wish women would form a bigger alliance against the men who are after all escalating the violence and the soulesness. tearing everything apart. The men at the top anyway.

  • Marenka Cerny

    Dear Bill Moyers, I am SO grateful for your work. Without you and your decades of intelligent sleuthing I would have so much less faith in the possibility of ever increasing the quality of our public discussions. You are one of the rare interviewers who consistently elevates our collective intelligence. I have been introduced to so many important thinkers through you. Thank you.

    (I promote your interviews frequently, including on my facebook page – Bono and Monsanto forum for Conscious Debate and Discovery).

  • buddy

    He right as someone in the middle class I have lost everything. I was a farmer and an OTR Owner Operator. 15 year of logged 70 hr work week! I think it’s because people like this guy who produce nothing but ideas on how other people should live.

  • Anonymous

    Do people today even understand how profoundly the “masses” have been divided, pitted against each other, middle class against the poor? This generation decided that those who are not currently of use to employers/the corporate state, no longer have basic human rights (food, shelter). When we can dismiss the poor as something less than human, when we can refer to the hellish deprivation and fear of poverty today as a mere “lifestyle choice,” the consequences of “bad personal choices,” and turn our backs in contempt, what chance is there is ever getting the country back on track?

  • Anonymous

    Except that women are pitted against women as well. Women took the lead in dehumanizing the poor, most of whom are women.

  • buddy

    Great the next Adolf Hitler that comes around lets send the women and us men will stay home and raise the kids.

  • Anonymous

    Sadly, each generation has said the same thing. How one interprets demographics can be unrealistic, simplistic. Take the notion that nearly all women would vote for Hillary Clinton because she’s a woman, in spite of her solid record of support for right wing, pro-war and anti-poor agenda. That’s nonsense, of course. My mom is an FDR New Deal Democrat. I’m a Great Society Democrat. Neither party still exists, as the two main parties merged years ago, taking a hard right turn. My daughter and her husband believe that, in a one-party state (for all practical purposes), the best you can do is hang on — that people have no voice, no representation, in government today unless they’re the very rich.

  • buddy

    I’m 60 years old homeless and I have 15 years of log books and receipts showing that I worked a 70 hrs work week. I’ve delivered food in a reefer 18 wheeler to all 48 states and have driven almost 3 million miles. I said homeless not true I’ve had to move in with my 85 yr old parents. It’s not the rich it’s these two guys right here in this interview. They are the one’s with their ideas that have forced the middle class into working so hard.
    It’s always the same you listen to the Bill Moyers of the world and think they are so smart. Well you always end up with no toilet paper on the grocery store shelves.

  • doug cox

    We the people are hustled by conversive propaganda, delivered by those making the worse seem the better cause…deliberately and by design. This strategy is anti enlightenment and anti critical thinking and anti citizen. It is good for big shots and well monied but bad for people who are cut off from themselves in order to payoff on the gambles and gambits of those with big bucks.

  • Anonymous

    Correct, but look at the response from the “left.” They merely wave the Middle Class Only banner. We keep trying to define America’s deterioration in terms of race or gender, and the corporate state couldn’t care less about either. We’ve been in a class war. What the rich are doing to the middle class is simply what the middle class already did to the poor.

  • Anonymous

    I sometimes wonder if the middle class is even aware of the degree to which they supported stripping the poor of a list of fundamental civil and human rights.

  • gma7574

    This was a great discussion, but it left me confused and annoyed. Just what is his solution to the homeless, and other universal problems. He suggests that we ‘get involved’. How and what should we do, what is his suggestion for the problems in our public schools. How do we get teachers, including professors in our higher educational system, to really get to know their students and spend more time with them? Professors send their TA’s into the classroom to give lessons and teachers, from grade school through high school, make a mad dash out of the classroom at 3 o’clock. No teacher wants to spend any extra time with their students unless they are paid major overtime. All this is as a result of ‘union contracts and rules’. To fight these rules is a lost cause, I know, since I spent a great deal of my time fighting these rules. Prof. Giroux has a great dream for America, but no real solution to the problems.

  • Anonymous

    Odd. I didn’t hear anything even vaguely resembling “ranting.” The purpose was to raise ideas that generally don’t work their way into the mainstream. This – the economy and resulting socio-economic conditions – is a tremendously complex issue. A TV interview is (roughly) like what one finds on the jacket of a book, giving a tiny taste of what’s in it. I personally thought it was an outstanding interview.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think grownups begrudge anyone their wealth. The problem is with those who use their wealth to cause so much harm.

  • Anonymous

    Authors don’t get that much money from the sale of a book. Most goes to the publishers and marketers. Those who shun using corporations, under current circumstances, have no way of getting ideas out to the public, encouraging discussion, ideas, possibilities.

  • myself

    Amen sister! I also have grown weary of being referred as a “debbie downer” for keeping my eyes open. Most people seem to ascribe to “ignorance is bliss”. I just can’t do that. My family & I are outraged by our current “corporate nation”. We are all intelligent working people, aged 27 to 83.

  • Anonymous

    That money doesn’t go into Mr. Giroux’s pocket. Most goes into the marketing and handling of the product. Businesses charge the maximum they realistically can charge. When it comes to book resales, of course, nothing goes to the author.

  • Anonymous

    I’m afraid many have learned to think in terms of black or white, all or nothing.

  • Anonymous

    You can find out within minutes if the library has a particular book/author. You only need to use their computers (which have largely replaced the old card catalogs) or ask the librarian.

  • Anonymous

    That is absolutely correct. The publisher determines the price. Profits are split between the publisher, marketers, the book sellers, etc.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, the trend toward scapegoating the disabled began with the Clinton administration. A popular theme among right wingers is that the ill/dying and disabled are really just faking it.

  • Cathey Folsom Dayton

    Really enjoyed your show with Mr. Giroux. His comments make perfect sense.

  • Anonymous

    I really enjoyed your interview of Henry Giroux. One of the many ills that he alluded to was the dumbing down of education. Another ridiculous idea is that education is a business and that students are customers. And sadly, some people think education is only job training. Thankfully, you and Henry Giroux have not become cynics and you are still fighting the good fight. Democracy is worth fighting for.

  • Anonymous

    No, the punishment for “choosing” poverty can be death in the US. We have steadily stripped away the fundamental civil and human rights of our poor. It’s kind of weird when liberals issue a “call to action” about human rights violations in foreign countries, yet remain oblivious to those right here at home.

  • Kathryn McElroy

    You damn right the game is rigged. Phony banks, phony companies, They just turned over all the federal student loans to Mohela or whatever the hell it’s called. READ ABOUT MOHELA! As if it weren’t bad enough for students already. HORRIFYING,

  • Anonymous

    We’ve actually gone in the opposite direction. Those who are not deemed of use to employers/corporate state really aren’t considered people today.

  • Anonymous

    Today’s generation, I think, was trained to robotically wave the Middle Class Only banner. The fear young people have about failing to achieve middle class status is very real and, in a country that shipped out the bulk of our manufacturing and tech jobs, realistic. Our treatment of those pushed out of the job market is truly frightening.

  • Anonymous

    Essentially, they did what we’re doing — massive upward wealth redistribution at the expense of the country. I’m not sure where some people got the illusion that the poor have cable TV, assuming they’re well-off enough to even have an apartment with electricity. It doesn’t make sense, yet it seems a lot of middle classers fall for it. Well, back in the day, there were those insane stories about people showing up to get their welfare checks in a luxury car, wearing mink coats, etc. There are also those who think Kennedy wasn’t assassinated at all, but is apparently hiding out with Hendrix, Morrison and Joplin, maybe scooped up by a UFO to live on a distant planet.

  • Anonymous

    Cable TV costs more than a week’s worth of groceries. The poor don’t have it. Obviously. The problem is that our better-off have absolutely no concept of poverty today. Not surprising, since this is something that has been censored out of the media.

  • Anonymous

    Or, as I like to say, “Zombie Corporatism” (the zombie-like quest for profits at all costs)… Corporations are legal entities that have no conscience. In fact, a Social Conscience, other than “social conscience lite” in enhancing brand-name, is antithetical to the mandate of every modern profit-share corporation to continually increase profits for the shareholders. And this is the first generation that must be “culled” by self-destruction, rather than being drafted to fight wars. And then conveniently blamed for their own demise through drugs, despair and suicides, as we have done to our Black and First Nations populations for centuries. This is the last stage of Zombie Corporatism’s parasitic pattern, as this inevitably kills the host. Great parallels with Imperial Rome, Imperial Russia, Dynastic China, etc. where only a few ended up with all the cookies, for a while…

  • Anonymous

    It IS rigged against them. Deregulation combined with taking an ax to poverty relief/creating mandatory (super cheap) workfare replacement labor has left us entirely at the mercy of employers, and they don’t have any mercy. We’re all on our own in our current culture.

  • Anonymous

    How many people in the US today can afford being concerned about “the quality of life”? Actually, an interesting point that I recently came across: The overall quality of life in the US (among all modern nations) went from #1 when Reagan took office, down to #11 by the end of the Bush administration. That’s a remarkable deterioration for so short a time. Another interesting point is that since Clinton’s welfare “reform,” the overall life expectancy of America’s poor has already fallen by 5-7 years.

  • Ricardo Valdi

    What an awesome interview. Mr. Giroux hit it out of the ball park. I think he even had Bill somewhat in the student’s seat and somewhat speechless. (I still love you Bill). I was hanging on to every word, belief manifested in words. Absolutely amazing.

  • Anonymous

    So… why don’t we? I think we almost did that with Occupy, but before we knew what was happening, media turned it into a Middle Class Only movement. I guess there weren’t enough people still in the middle class to keep things going.

  • Ricardo Valdi

    You know that I hear that when you start using Hitler analogies you’ve already lost the argument, or you don’t have an argument.

  • Anonymous

    (Hi. From next door, in Jefferson County.) I think what shot down any efforts in WI to push back is the fact that the people here have been so deeply pitted against each other, middle class against the poor.

  • Ricardo Valdi

    If you were on island with 100 rich people you would be the only one doing any work.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree. That was said about TV, too, for years. The fact is, this generation doesn’t know what it wants.They talk about “economic justice,” then make it clear that this would apply to the better-off alone, middle class workers. From the public discussion, it’s clear that they still believe that only those found to be of use to the corporate state/employers qualify as a human beings with fundamental human rights. “Back in the day,” the police most certainly were as brutal, getting plenty of use out of tear gas and billy clubs, and their guns.

  • Anonymous

    And then we dropped the ball, walked away, and have largely remained silent as we watched a century of progress systematically wiped out by the right wing.

  • Anonymous

    You make an important point that really needs more attention. We catch mention of sizable protests now and then, but there is no follow-up. I do remember how the right wing insisted that there would have been no anti-war movement, no civil rights movement, no cultural movement, if the media would have just ignored it. Today’s MSM is doing just that — refusing to report anything about US dissent. I suspect that as long as protesters behave themselves, staying within the designated protest zone, keeping their voices down, picking up their litter before leaving at curfew time, it’s easy to ignore them.

  • Kevin Schmidt

    Yes, I know. And Larry Summers is partly to blame for the “Secular Stagnation”.
    To end it, we need Keynesian Fiscal Stimulus in the form of repairing our crumbling infrastructure, the building of fast trains throughout the country, and tax incentives for residents and businesses to transition to sustainable energy production such as solar and wind.

  • Kathryn McElroy


  • Jeffrey Gold

    DHFabian, I can’t agree with the assessment the middle class did it to the poor. Poverty will always be a natural consequence of any hierarchical system; the difference being in the matter of degree. Poverty is a consequence of action and inaction; if the middle class is guilty of one thing, it is inaction: not looking out for the poor—or even themselves.

  • Anonymous

    I agree, “Zombie Capitalism” accurately describes our current Corporate Citizen as a true soulless entity. Incapable of feelings, and no social conscience, only to acquire money for its masters. It doesnt have to be that way but Free Trade, not Fair Trade, has become the norm and is the cause of all this mess.

  • Anonymous

    I submit our government will crumple to the global one world financial government that is solidifying right before our eyes.

    THE FIX: Campaign Finance Reform!!!!!!!! Pull the teeth from these rich controlling entities whoever they are. We cannot allow them to buy elections and control our politics anymore!

  • Anonymous

    I’m confused. You suggest that 15 yrs of 70hr work weeks left you as someone who “lost everything” & your solution is that others should not work at “ideas” but do what you did? Lastly, the interstate highway system changed commerce – it began as an idea.

  • Anonymous

    Buddy, i’ll indulge your unwitting game, what has capitalism done for you? It is not a rhetorical question. I would value your impression as individuals who hold a similliar ‘belief system’ hold (one of) the keys to our shackles.
    In a prior comment you said 15 yrs of 70hr work weeks left you with nothing. But, capitalism didn’t fail you…my god how could it! – rather its the boogey-man of ‘other people’. Are we so weak a country that we cannot question our economic model in an effort to make it better? Do we not have that courage?

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    Why aren’t Americans outraged and in the streets? It is not just the media. Mike Lofgren, Pierson & Hacker, Bruce Bartlett, and David Stockman all made the connection between the involvement of the religious right and the government becoming “irrational, nuts, or crazy.” Peter Dreier made the financial connection between the religious right and Wall Street. That is an “unholy alliance”. Even David Jeremiah says, “Remain calm” while the 1% are enriching themselves and bankrupting the country. Pat Robertson says, “The elites are running the country”. Thomas Jefferson warned of the priests that “are always in alliance with the despots abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own”. The 1% are the despots in this case.

  • Anonymous

    Several times you have said the ‘middle-class’ have acted to create/foster/cultivate an impoverished class. How? Is it some tacit approval of ‘the 1%’ that you hold responsible? Is it the middle-class political leaders? The middle-class on wall street? the lobbyist who work on behalf of the middle-class? The tax system that benefits only the middle-class?…

  • Anonymous

    Check out Girouxs’ article entitled “Why Don’t Americans Care about Democracy Right here at Home?”

  • Anonymous

    Wel said. I’d like to echo your sentiments regarding an articulation of systemic problems rather than those derived by partisan politics by HG. Both parties complicit in the elevation of Capitalism over Democracy.

  • Anonymous

    Is this guy giving voice to many of us out there who think like him? I’ve listened to many on Bill Moyers but this Henry Giroux hit the nail on the head! Around the country we here the corporate propaganda 24/7 and our heads are about to explode by is monotone idiocy. Its refreshing to hear someone who thinks like me.

  • Anonymous

    So, you saw no truth in what Giroux had to say? Do you care to defend Democracy or Capitalism? – you seem to conflate the two in your argument. And your quip “the poorest in this country are still richer than many other societies” Frankly, without lengthy rebuttal, that’s absurd.

    What if I said we had one of the worst health care systems of the developed world (with similiar political structure)? some of the greatest inequality? one of the worst education systems? All are true. And then I said ‘But, that’s okay because other countries are EVEN worse.” Would that be reason enough to not try and improve our country? Nearly 40% of Amerians sit ‘at or near poverty’, millions of children go hungry each night and you want to argue that that is okay because someone somewhere is worse off? How cowardly to prefer the least we can be as opposed to the best we can be in order to defend capitalism which you, yet again, conflate with Democracy and have not decided which you are defending.

  • Robberbarons

    First comment on this blog. I’ve been watching Bill Moyer since day 1. As an honorable Vietnam Vet I have seen and lived this nightmare that Mr. Giroux spoke about. I feel his anger and frustration. My only hope is that their is a revolution coming before my time has come. I have not picked up a weapon since my tour of duty but would gladly strap one on to fight for our Democracy against these capital terrorist.

    The Robber Barons have taken away everything that I use to pledge my allegiance to. Most Americans don’t even realize that the DOW never went above 1,000 during our most glorious golden years; Then Ronald Reagan became president and his trickle down, voodoo economics was the new norm and the beginning of the end of The American Dream. We need a new FDR. I thought just maybe President Obama could fill his shoes but he couldn’t even fill Dwight D’s.

    There’s a train a coming and I certainly will be on board.

  • Anonymous

    What mechanism would you suggest we utilize to wrestle momentum in the direction of restoring equality (both economic and of opportunity)? Ask yourself who benefits most from a weak Govt.? It is no surprise that at this point of our ‘inequality’ that individuals like the Koch Brothers have systematically advocated a position that ‘all govt. is bad’. This is a canard that benefits the Plutocrats. I’d agree there is a symbiotic relationship but the solution is not found via weakening the mechanisms of democracy (what is left of it). As a thought experiment consider the ramifications for the majority of Americans of a.) an ever weakening Govt. or b.) an ever weakening plutocratic control of Govt.

  • Arm of Keaau

    There’s always one jackass! (_:

  • Arm of Keaau

    “Social conscience”? Of course they have one! They use it every time they force employee’s to give to their “social cause” Cancer, Diabetes, Combined Campaigns, etc. along with money they bamboozle out of the public, and then write it off as a tax break towards their bottom line. A strong social conscience indeed. (_: FBI

  • Arm of Keaau

    You’ve been bamboozled about the “Chinese Bogyman” by the corporations that have already conquered this country by infiltrating the legislative process and have bought and changed the rules from democracy to capitalism. We’re not becoming Mexico, we are Northern Mexico. (_:

  • Steven Nagourney

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 16,000 for the first time ever Thursday, in the seventh consecutive week of gains. This feat was immediately followed by another milestone: the S&P 500 index closed at 1,804, the first time the index has closed above 1,800 in history.

    The Dow is up by 24 percent over the past year, having doubled since 2009. The S&P 500 is likewise up by 28 percent.

    The WSWS needs your support!

    Your donations go directly to financing, improving, and expanding the web site.DONATE

    Far from expressing a genuine and healthy economic recovery, however, the rise in the stock market has paralleled a vast expansion of social misery and an unprecedented expansion of social inequality.

    The number of people receiving assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has climbed from 28.2 million in 2008 to 47.7 million in April 2013, an increase of seventy percent. Far from decreasing, this number continues to swell, with over 1 million new food stamp recipients added between 2012 and 2013.

    The reason for this vast increase in destitution is not hard to find: between 2007 and 2012, the median household income in the United States had plummeted by 8.3 percent. The precipitous fall was due to a combination of a sharp fall in the percentage of the population that is employed, and a fall in wages. The percentage of the US working-age population that has a job has fallen by 4.6 percent since 2008, while manufacturing wages have fallen three percent since May 2009.

    A report in October by the National Center for Homeless Education, based on figures provided by the US Department of Education, found that over 1.1 million children enrolled in public schools were homeless at some point in 2011-2012, 72 percent higher than before the onset of the economic crisis.

    Side by side with the sweeping growth in social misery and destitution has been the vast expansion in wealth of the super-rich. The world’s billionaires have had their combined net worth double since 2009, according to a report published earlier this month by UBS and Wealth-X. Even though the United States has only 4.4 percent of the world’s population, it has a third of the world’s billionaires, according to Forbes.

    Since 2009, the richest one percent has captured a staggering 95 percent of all income gains, while the bottom 95 percent have seen their incomes stagnate, According to a report issued by University of California Berkeley Professor Emmanuel Saez earlier this year.

    US income inequality grew four times faster in the first three years of the Obama administration than under Bush, according to figures published Saturday in the New York Times. As the newspaper reports, “From 2001 through 2008, during the George W. Bush administration,” the ratio of mean (average) to median income “grew at 0.28 percentage points per year. From 2009 through 2011, the latest year for which the data is available, the ratio increased 1.14 percentage points annually, or roughly four times faster.”

    The vast growth in stock prices is not the result of impersonal and impartial economic laws, but rather definite policies pursued by the Obama Administration. This administration has, during its entire existence, done everything in its power to prop up the financial system asset values of the super-rich. This has taken the form of a vast transfer of wealth from the population to the financial oligarchy.

    The present rally began in March 2009, following a key set of decisions made by the Obama Administration to make it unmistakably clear that it would abide no impingement on the wealth of the financial oligarchy, and offload the burden of the financial crisis onto the working class.

    On March 23, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unveiled the details of a plan to extend virtually unlimited funds to purchase the toxic assets of the banks at inflated prices, using taxpayer money. Since that time, the Federal Reserve’s holding of mortgage-backed securities shot up from $68 billion to $1.4 trillion, and is growing by $40 billion every month. That day, the Dow rallied by a staggering 7 percent, and closed up by 497 points.

    Just days before, Obama had made clear that he would oppose any serious attempt to limit the compensation of executives at the bailed-out insurance giant AIG, and the administration moved to block a proposal by congress to block a $165 million bonus payout to AIG executives, to be paid with bailout funds.

    Then, on March 30, Obama outlined his proposal for the restructuring of the auto industry, in which the White House made the imposition of sweeping wage and benefit cuts the precondition for the provision of federal funds to bail out the auto industry.

    Those three events combined to create the biggest four-week rise in the Dow since 1933.

    At the end of 2010, the Administration agreed to extend for two years the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich, while implementing a cut in payroll taxes for both employers and employees that drained funds from the Social Security system.

    The crisis over the federal debt ceiling in the summer of 2011 ended with a deal to impose over $1 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years, along with an agreement that another $1.2 trillion in across-the-board “sequester” cuts would be triggered at the beginning of 2013 if no deficit-cutting deal had been reached between the White House and Congress by then.

    In the course of those crisis negotiations, Obama offered unprecedented cuts in Medicare and Social Security as part of a “grand bargain” with the Republicans.

    Later in 2012, the so-called “fiscal cliff” crisis resulted in the triggering of the sequester cuts, beginning last March. The current budget and debt limit impasse will likely be used to extend the sequester cuts, compounding the already severe impact of cuts in programs ranging from Head Start to housing subsidies to legal aid for the poor.

    Earlier this month, the White House and Congress implemented a 5 percent reduction in food stamp benefits, the first nationwide reduction in benefit payments in the history of the program. By all indications, the political establishment will do nothing to prevent the expiration of federal extended unemployment benefits beyond the 26-week cutoff for most state unemployment assistance programs. The extended unemployment benefits are scheduled to expire in December.

    Throughout this entire period, the attack on workers at the federal level has corresponded with a relentless attack on the wages and benefits of state and local workers, coupled with a relentless assault on social programs at state and local levels, including the layoffs of hundreds of thousands of teachers, firefighters and social service workers. This process has found its latest expression in the bankruptcy of the city of Detroit, which is being coordinated with the White House to set a precedent for using bankruptcy to slash the pensions and benefits of city workers.

    The ability of the government to impose these draconian attacks was entirely dependent on the suppression of the class struggle by the trade unions and the pseudo-left allies of the Democratic Party. Throughout this period, the working class has sought to resist the sweeping attacks on its living standards, but in every struggle has been betrayed and undermined by the trade unions.

    These included the 2011 protests against Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s attacks on collective bargaining rights, and a whole series of strikes, including the 2012 teachers’ strike in Chicago, the 2013 New York and Boston school bus drivers’ strike. In each of these cases, the struggles were shut down by the trade unions and channeled back into the Democratic Party.

    What are the central lessons to be drawn from this? First, that the Obama Administration is an instrument of Wall Street, in alliance with the military-intelligence complex, and has focused all of its efforts on transferring social wealth from the majority of the population to the super-rich.

    The stock market boom is not an indicator that the crisis has been resolved: far from it. It is an expression of the fact that the government and Federal Reserve have no solutions to the crisis confronting the capitalist system.

    The fundamental problem is the capitalist system itself. The working class must end its political subordination to the Democratic Part

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    That is exactly right. We do need a new FDR that has the political will to “break the money trust”.

  • Anonymous

    I feel your anger and frustration. Many of us do, so very many, all over the world, and our voices are not heard, but please no talk of guns! No talk of violence! This plays right into the hands of the system as it stands today. They would seek to disqualify and tarnish all those who resist their system if any ONE of us became violent. And make no mistake, they have more weapons. They will never be defeated through violence. And if one becomes violent, where does one stop? Where does it stop?

    I believe we must call a spade a spade and realize that we are living under a kind of totalitarianism. Giroux pointed to the totalizing quality of neoliberalist thought in that we can imagine the death of our planet before we can imagine the end of capitalism. This shows how the current ‘free market’ ideology has so captured our imagination that we are almost incapable of thinking that there could be any other way of doing things.

    This system of market ideology seeks nothing but its own economic gain (at the end of the day their privelege lies in nothing but digits on a computer screen, fancy that) oblivious to the suffering that their gains cause others. Oblivious to the fact that their system, if it carries on as it is doing, has no other outcome than to destroy our biosphere, as it requires constant growth to survive but of course this is impossible as nature will eventually put limits on this growth. We all know this.

    The only moral thing people of conscience can do is to resist. Really, we’ve come to that point. As MLK said in 1967 at the start of his poor people’s campaign ‘timid supplications for justice will not solve this problem. We’ve got to massively confront the power structure’. We’ve come to that point but not with guns.

    There are many precedents for peaceful resistance. Gene Sharp has written an interesting little book and there are many others.

    I agree with every word you say but I don’t like the part about strapping on a weapon!

  • Dianne

    Ed Schultz brought the spotlight to Wisconsin. And you are correct about the MSM not covering Wisconsin until we had been well underway. I tried sending out notices to different news outlets including the UK. Nada.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting point of view, back by the Truth.

  • Robberbarons

    Thank you for your kind words and wisdom. I prefer peaceful means as well. But let’s remember that there is no law against having a revolution. This great country was founded with a revolution because of tyranny against its citizens. As a Bostonian I’m a big believer in civil disobedience against all things evil within our government. Mr Giroux speaks of such evil destroying our Democracy and Republic. Onward Real Christian Soldiers.

  • Anonymous

    That’s exactly what the corporate elites want, for you to direct your anger and frustration at other denizens of the 99%, not at the 1% that are the cause of your problems. Snooty, pedantic, allegedly lazy college professors and intellectuals aren’t your problem; your problem is Monsanto, Cargill, Tyson, etc. and their government handmaidens. Check out Wenonah Hauter’s “Foodopoly.”

  • Anonymous

    Yes I agree it is ridiculous when folks can make 30-40,000 dollars for not working.. What incentive is that. If govt stimulus could create jobs I say after 800 billions dollars plus on “stimulating” the economy we should have GDP growing @ 4% plus.. No where did I state that there not folks in need. Yes they need to be helped but why encourage unwed mothers to have more children so they can get more govt money yet not properly parenting the children..I like your comments about Smith & Friedman.. they were more trusting in a narrowly regulated economy, Human nature I guess, idealistic like the guest speaker. I place more responsibility in the hands of the regulatory agencies & laws, Sherman Anti trust, Robinson Patman FTC etc. but when govt gives businesses a pass on regulation due to political considerations & deals out favors with our money I placed more blame there mainly because it our money & they are the umpires. Politicians are great in extorting money from business & industry or getting in bed with political friends i.le Solendra, GE, etc. Ike warned us of the military industrial complex, Teddy R. The only problem with capitalism is capitalists & he broke up the trusts. Now the govt seem to encourage it..In stead of 9-10 big banks we have 4-5 who wield too much political power with revolving doors with govt. Thanks for your comments.

  • The Webcast Guru


  • Anonymous

    You’re playing right into the hands of the corporate elite, who want us divided and fighting over the scraps they leave.

    $250K isn’t anywhere near private jet money. Your anger is misdirected. It’s not Giroux who’s calling the shots, enriching himself and his ilk while trashing the planet; it’s multinational corporations, hedge funds, and super-rich investors, people with more money than you can even imagine (e.g., the top .01% of households in 2012 made at least $10,250,000). It’s also their bought-and-paid-for, revolving-door politicians.

    Regarding Gore, yes, he’s cashed-in and squandered his moral capital (although at least he is trying to get the world to do something about climate change). I’m sure he tells himself that he’s “putting his money where his mouth is” with his venture capital efforts in alternative energy, but really he’s taking advantage of his name and connections to get filthy rich. Starting from perhaps a few million, his personal wealth has swelled in a very short time to over $100 million. He’s had success after success – no venture capitalist is that good. Gore’s definitely well into the top 1%.

    But lumping Giroux in with Gore isn’t fair. There’s really no comparison.

  • 4ever49

    I agree that dollars call the shots in DC, on both sides of the aisle – but what does Giroux propose to do abut it?
    He reminds me very much of the 60’s hippy railing against the system but coming up very short on the solutions side.
    All his intensity is lost on me when it appears to me as more “science” from the humanities department.

  • Chris Mitchell

    The only way to stop this madness is for the masses to simply STOP VOTING DEMOCRAT AND REPULICAN – TO VOTE IN MASS FOR A 3RD PARTY SUCH AS THE GREEN PARTY, to make campaign finance reform be the top priority, which cannot happen with the existing congress.. The two party system has our society by the balls and the way our congress has garnered their power shows that these people stopped working for the people a long time ago. They now only work for corporations and the wealthy.. PERIOD! Citizens must stand up and unite together to create a mass movement for change. The Occupy Movement needed more organization and to create a party that people could vote for. FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY – VOTE GREEN!

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    Read Winner Take All Politics. Jobs are only part of the problem. Prior to 1980 nine administrations paid down the national debt from WWII. See the graph at . Since 1980, only 1 administration (Clinton) paid its bills. The 1% and corporations have successfully shifted the tax burden to the middle class while they only pay capital gains taxes. That is America’s new caste system. Until all working people are involved in this struggle, those that insidiously dismantled “shared prosperity” since 1980 will rule. Don’t feel guilty but don’t feel sorry for those that reap 95% of the stock market gains and pay far less tax than they should.

  • UpStateJohn

    And yet some hobbits left the shire and saved middle earth.

  • UpstateJohn

    Bill, if you decide to follow through with this request, could you please address how many homes that were foreclosed during the “great” recession were bought in mass by millionaires and former politicians and turned into rentals?

  • UpStateJohn

    Actually, I thought Henry Giroux stopped short of one obvious answer: the unions are too small. There is a connection to the rise of corporate feudal stasis and the withering of unions. If the corporations, or rather the few that own them, don’t care, as Giroux posits, because they can shrug of off labor costs (i.e. human costs) by jumping borders, then unions should follow suit and take the fight to them. By the end of the 21st century their should be global unions forcing those who have amassed capital to negotiate. After NAFTA the unions should have followed suit and created continent-wide unions. The first step to organizing a just future is to take inventory of your arsenal and coordinate it.

  • derpherpes

    perhaps the finest intellectual argument, and poignant interview made in the past decade. he really touches a nerve as to the death of intellectualism, and most will not only never hear his words, but discard him for not embracing bully zombie politics and thought

  • Myers

    Exactly DHFabian. Nevilleross is just using the standard tactic of deflection. Anyone who criticizes capitalism in any way is not allowed to participate, because all capitalism is the same and perfect.
    Selling toxic assets as with triple A ratings is the same as people who produce tangible goods or services. To say otherwise ,you must live a life based on pure asceticism or perhaps convert to Jainism.
    This is the personification of the markets as a Darwinist survivalist metric,internalized by the Zombies referenced in this program.
    The original comment was obviously written by someone who had access to a computer, a server , the time to write a comment and was at least healthy enough to write said comment.
    Use a search engine or make trip to the library , not so much.
    If health prevents ,what about the grand children she referenced or their parents ?
    In any case, how an “emoprog” giving the book away for free would change any of that ,I haven’t a clue unless the printers print it for free and USPS or UPS ship it for free.

  • UpStateJohn

    I am happy that Henry Giroux mentioned education. Unfortunately, Gent258, the “dumbing down” of education is too mild a term for what is going on. The privatization of schools by corporations involved with creating textbooks and expensive (and meaningless) assessment data are out to pillage the public coffers for the bottom line. Politicians and many administrators are more than happy to help out for short term gains. Proponents of such change are gleeful in predicting the end of higher ed by the middle of the century and, with the help of popular media, try to sell the notion that quality can be quantified and technology can solve any problem. Similar to the pre-WWII futurism movement in Europe, the message is that with technology, the future is predetermined and that reflection is unnecessary and unwanted.

  • SustainbleFuture

    What we do IS just for ourselves. The real problem is that the ‘elite’ have a very limited concept of themselves. When you expand the definition of the SELF to a scope beyond your life, your family, your tribe, your generation, then YOU become enlightened and life gains meaning.

    “Pessimism of the Intellect and Optimism of the Will” – you see the world as it is, yet act as if you can change it. – Gramsci

  • Roland

    ” employers not seeing people with money buying their goods”
    Which started with offshoring. Specifically the maquiadoras of the eighties. Before Raygun “homeless” was not in our vocabulary.

  • Roland

    Democracy actually works pretty well. But it is easily lost.

  • Roland

    Do not hold your breath waiting for the Chinese civilization to destroy itself.

  • Roland

    “This is the first time in history where a major power transition can be made on a global scale without extreme violence.”
    Do not count on it. The empire has an incredible capacity for violence and little reluctance to use it. Tanks at universities? Consider how many activists have been murdered.

  • Denise Johnson

    Really, that is what you took away from this interview- I have mine too bad about the rest of you. You just don’t get that we are in this together? You think you have been so lucky -what happens when the 1% decides they want your little sliver of the pie. You should watch this program again because you missed something.

  • Roland

    Not to mention the right wing mobs who murdered thousands of civil rights and anti-war protesters and “hippies”.

  • Roland

    In the thirties a college education was intended to make one a better person and citizen, now it is just vocational education.

  • Roland

    If Capitalism were so bad, why did the USSR fail”
    Because did not understand and could not counter the US’s seventy year “cold” war of assassination, infrastructure destruction, divisive propaganda and outright deception. Mikhail Gorbachev became a CIA “asset” in the sixties, for example.

    “why is China going capitalist.”
    It is not. It just allows independent business.

  • Roland

    “the poorest in this country are still richer than many other societies”
    That is true. Bangladesh and Sudan are poorer. As Cris Rock has pointed out, poor Americans do not have flies in their mouths. Still, it is disgusting to take Bangladesh as our standard.

  • Roland

    “leading liberals over the past 40 years or so were at least inattentive if not derelict in their duties.”
    They were too busy squabbling with each other.
    “Curtis LeMay was willing to conduct.”
    “willing” should be “eager”

  • Roland

    Poverty inevitably follows.

  • Alison D. Gilbert

    Thank G-d. Someone who has credibility is saying exactly what I am thinking about, what I am reading and what I am saying. Hallelujah, please keep it up.

  • Roland

    “I found the cost of his book is almost 10% of my monthly income. Now who is the unethical capitalist?”
    So someone who asks to be paid for his work is a Capitalist? Did you (or your husband) work for free? A Capitalist is one who makes money from the work of others, FYI.

  • Roland

    I think “think” should be “expound”. No surfeit of thinking in some quarters.

  • Roland

    Who let Newt Gingrich in?
    I guess that those with liberal ideas should live like Zen monks, begging bowls in hand?

  • Roland

    “the quarter million+ is his salary”
    …which he EARNS. Jealous? (I bet you do not object to the $15 million the MBA running your local hospital takes home.)


  • Roland

    “He’s had success after success – no venture capitalist is that good.”
    Ever hear of Paul Allen?

  • Roland

    The middle class gave us Milhaus and Ronnie Raygun, That cost us all. Then the middle class went after programs for the poor in a vain attempt to relieve the pinch they were feeling.
    The tax system benefits only the ruling class?

  • Roland

    We’ve been in a class war for over a hundred years, and for the past forty-five the plutocratic oligarchs have been winning.

  • Roland

    After Nixon, the middle class became eager to dismantle the Great Society.

  • myers

    “implying that she should have to get it from the library.” ?
    Go back and read the comment,
    “I was excited on listening to Mr. Moyers interview with Mr. Giroux for
    my grandchildren to be introduced to his ideas. I found the cost of his
    book is almost 10% of my monthly income. Now who is the unethical
    She has said straight up, that she objects to purchasing a book that costs 10% of her monthly income. If she went ahead and bought the book that was her decision, nobody put a gun to her head, just as no one is putting a gun to her head to borrow it, for free from a public library. I and others only suggested, there were alternatives for people who can not afford a personal library, assuming she were truly interested and not just taking a swipe at those who think Mammon omniscient.
    Thing is, I fail to see how implying a book’s value or anything else for that matter, should be determined by a formula which says, that it can’t cost more than 10% of Louise Forrester’s monthly income , at least that is ,if it is written by some one who draws a distinction between the commodity of worthless control fraud paper and the commodity of a loaf of bread.

  • Roland

    “Who were the fool who allowed corporations to
    have the rights of people!”
    John Roberts and the Supremes. As W said, elections do matter, and we will be paying for W’s “election” the rest of our lives.

    “The Supreme Court has not been the same since Diana Ross left.” — Sarah Palin

  • Roland

    “The old, the elites will die off to be replaced by …”
    … their children, who will be even more depraved. The Western Roman Empire eventually collapsed this way, but not until the common people had lives worse than those of wild beasts.

  • Juli Kozak Krebs

    Giroux gets it.

  • Roland

    “I’m just a bankrupt farmer”
    Yet you still serve those who bankrupted you>

  • Roland

    It is not the 1%. It is the one basis point. (1% of 1%) They are the people who own and rule America. People like Dodo Hamilton who turned Camden N.J. into a slum as part of getting a man out of her life.

  • Roland

    “This guy has no clue to production or the concept of work!”
    Grioux produces work for which people are happy to pay, while you jam gears for peanuts.

  • Randy Whitaker

    Dye & Ziegler. Irony of Democracy. They saw everything you’ve been highlighting, of late, decades ago. Sometimes a theory get’s stronger. Would LOVE to see either of the authors on your show please ?

  • Jeffrey Gold

    I don’t think the middle class has ever been that organized.

  • Roland

    Many police departments now screen FOR sociopaths because they are more reliable at suppressing the populace.

    “I wish women would form a bigger alliance against the men who …”
    Women like Ann Romney? Fascists come in both sexes. In a class war the ruling class is uniformly loyal to itself.

  • Roland

    Maybe if you had understood some of these ideas twenty years ago you might still have a pot to ???? in. Why do you think being a certified dummy makes you an authority?

  • Roland

    Stockholm Syndrome

  • Roland

    Try very hard to explain how Giroux and Moyers caused your problems.
    And not the trucking companies who found people like you to do their work for beer money.

  • Roland

    They were not. Nixon roused elements of the middle and lower classes to chasten those who were “destroying America”. And a majority of the middle class wanted to follow the Pied Raygun to see the “Shining City On a Hill” Well, now we are there and it is Orwellian, if not Wellsian.

  • Roland

    This is nothing new. Disabled soldiers are not of any value. And after discharge neither are any vets. Soldiers currently in Afghanistan are expected to be grateful to get up to five years care for COMBAT related injuries at the VA.

  • Anonymous

    You’re absolutely right – it’s just that it’s easier to use a round number. Certainly, the lower echelons of the 1%, making “only” about 1/2 a million, can’t compare to the .01%, whose income starts at $10,250,000.

  • Roland

    Brainwashed was the word you sought.

  • Anonymous

    Do you honestly think a career politician turned venture capitalist, having virtually unprecedented immediate and continuing success, is likely to be achieving this success because of skill and not because of his name and connections?

    Check this out:

  • Roland

    There will be no revolution unless we all become like the Vietnamese and prefer to die than live as slaves. And since the government is monitoring everything everyone does, that is not likely.

  • Roland

    Right. They have a monopoly on violence abd violence is all the understand. But only violence from some source will remove the tyrants. The Vietnamese had no chance either, yet they won. Or you could wait another fifty years for the system to collapse ubder its own weight.

  • Frank Stalter

    Agreed or write someone in if there’s no 3rd party candidate available.

  • Roland

    You should feel endangered. You still had a job today, but what about tomorrow? To think your fortunes are unrelated to your neighbor’s is a grievous error.

  • Jeffrey Gold

    Nothing has changed, except only gotten worse. The problem with America, where everyone is led to believe in their upward mobility, is that supremely unqualified, self-styled, self-impressed, monied exploiters ascend into the highest offices where their gargantuan ignorance butts up against reality but the evidence of their effects is delayed (and even now, failure is not something to sniff at—it is something that will get you promoted and bonused).

  • AnnaFrieda

    It is refreshing that people now can talk openly and frank about America’s madness, failures and grand delusions. I remember a time when voicing any criticisms about this country was deemed unpatriotic and treasonous, which I believe is the reason why the right-wing nuts were able to lead us into the abyss without much trouble. Giroux may see zombies now, but I see zombie-like people who are finally coming out of their stupor and realize they had been brainwashed. Not sure how hopeful I feel about America’s future, but it is a good sign that the younger generation is a lot less gullible than the older generation.

  • Anonymous

    We are like crowds of people lured into massive concrete jungles by the lights, smell, and noises. At first the noises mingle with our imagination and seem so close to conversations we long to be part of it. Soon the light hurt our eyes and endless skyscrapers fill us with a bewilderment equal to knowing the ones only occupied at night are for the very rich or famous dependent on the masses below to service their needs. Knowing the masses are like the endless waves of Chinese who regularly destroyed the walls the rich would set up they know the inevitable interval is closing in on them.

    For the people below and especially the young who still have the energy to confront the bastions of power they are increasingly connected to their evolutionary call of Universal Consciousnes expanded on by Tiere De Chardin or the idea that what hurts you hurts me. Considering players that could have sided with this universal call and tendency that have instead doubled down on wreckless growth like W. Buffet investing in TarSands and the industry that promises fifty years of safe dividends while today they already are pushing the death and destruction of First Nations people and others. Instead it means the lines are increasingly becoming entrenched and unwilling to join that universal call that their own evolution would naturally pull them. This is like a drug addict that can never face reality and be without the high of having more than most. Fragmented only in the sense people don’t acknowledge their shared feelings and connections but each day it seems closer to the reality of seeing our concrete jungles for what they are and joining for more of the Jeffersonian ideal of small farmers from sea to sea and mankind working for each other while seeming independent as far as one can really go.

  • jsegal

    What Green has won a local election that you know of? I know of none. If people see nobody to vote for, nobody winning at lower levels they won’t vote for any Green or other 3rd Party. Instead of saying Vote Green I’d suggest saying build Green. Build Green grass roots, do things in people’s communities to help them create green sustainable economies and ecologies and then ask them to vote With you rather than for you. Check out the “Transition Movement” in your area sometime. Thanks

  • Kathryn McElroy

    What I would like to see happen is a summit meeting. Forget the protests–we see how they handle that. A summit meeting with real leaders who directly address why people like Michelle Bachman can get on TV and lie. Just outright lie and be a Senator. What a set-up! To suddenly have nutty lying senators and at the same time, create a fake news outlet supporting false information. THAT HAS TO STOP. I don’t want fake news reports. There must be established at least one or two outlets that are hardcore undisputed…take it to the bank fact vetted places to get news. Rush Limbaugh can be on the radio if he wants to—-FINE. He MUST BE RELEGATED to a platform of clown entertainment radio with a specific attribute. I would prefer F.A.K.E radio or something like that. It would have Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean(Satan’s nanny) Hannity and that little hideous man named Mark Levine. (Cabin boy). and the rest would be Progressive Insurance commercials…the only place you could hear them. And Fox would have to claim that they were FAKE news. Supporting liars and frauds. Not one itty-bitty report about the coke snorting senator on FOX. ZIP. FOX MAKES ME SICK.

  • Kathryn McElroy

    The last straw is that the Republicans will remove all the voting machines from their states. If they get to do that….

  • Kevin Schmidt

    It is not possible to make $40k from unemployment. Most states max out at $20-25k per year. That is hardly an incentive to not work, especially since the unemployed would have to had made considerably more money to qualify for those amounts. Plus at those amounts, they would not qualify for $200 a month in food stamps. Better check your numbers.

    Many economists, like Krugman, said $800 billion was not enough. This is true, since even today there are at least three applications for every job opening.

    Where is your evidence that women are encourage to have babies out of wedlock?

  • Kathryn McElroy

    But they have never sent soldiers off to a FAKE war before, the Republicans did that. Now instead of having any appreciation for the soldiers who had to go fight a fake war, the Republicans who sent them off to a fake war are trying to cut soldier benefits. The Republicans are doing these evil things against soldiers, against women. RIGHT NOW. they are trying to elect the dumbest people to high office. They have tried to get Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann elected for years. Who are they going to put up in 2016…Kim Kardashian? UNPRECEDENTED.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    Right on. The need for money from Wall Street to finance campaigns and “leadership pacs/personal slush funds” has made liars out of our elected officials and “normalized lying”. There are personalities that actually don’t find that to be offensive. Decisions based in lies are bad decisions. A mass rally of hundreds of thousands would be needed to get their attention.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    FYI see Peter Dreier on Bill’s website that made the financial connection between the “right wing wing nuts” and Wall Street. You are also correct in that they “led us into the abyss”. Few questioned those religious leaders.

  • Kathryn McElroy

    That experiment has failed. I have personal friends that held the belief as I that if you take away party lines, things can progress. FAILED BIG TIME. We are too indoctrinated into war themes. THE HUNGER GAMES if you will. TEAMS. But let me say this…the Republican team excludes everyone including women. Are Republican men gay? They hate women now! They must hate their daughters and their wives and their sisters. Texas men have become queer I suppose. Even gay men love their mothers and daughters and sisters. AND SOLDIERS! REPUBLICANS HATE SOLDIERS APPARENTLY! THEY ARE CUTTING FUNDS TO THEM.

  • Maria Elena Ramirez

    His role is as an educator and he is educating. We cannot en masse look to individual leaders. We must recognize ourselves as community and work together, educating each other as we build a healthier, more compassionate public sphere. We must return to caring about our fellow men and women.

  • Kathryn McElroy

    He’s just telling the truth. That’s a good starting point. Why is it that nobody is outraged by “non-journalism?” Couldn’t we at least get together and demand a solid fact venue of reporting? Just one hard line reporting source? Real journalists and 3 or 4 vetting verifications before it goes out to national news? Everyone should be behind that.

  • Roland

    Pie? Why do the serfs have pie? The welfare state is too generous. Let them eat grass.

  • Roland

    How gentle will your life be when we lose Social Security?

  • bobnebel

    Dr. Giroux brings up something interesting when he quotes what Rick Santorum said during his presidential campaign, ‘The last thing that the Republican party needs is intellectuals.’ Methinks Bill Buckley has been turning over for these past few years?

  • Roland

    How? Our rulers will not go for that. It is too late, democracy is dead.

  • Roland

    Proceed methodically toward realistic goals. First reject the Rs. Then we can deal with the Ds.

  • Roland

    Sure, why not. Allen was not a trained investor either. In investing the amateurs usually do better than the professionals. Or is it that, as a D, Gore should stay poor? Note that Gore got rich by putting his money where his mouth was.


  • Vicki

    Watched mesmerized as Giroux verbalized images I had in a nightmare back in the mid-80’s – a voracious consumptive soul-less system, supported by militarized power, colonizing every culture and ecosystem on the planet at an ever-expanding rate until there was nothing left and it collapsed as a result of its total success. Pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will – seeing the world as it is yet acting as if change is possible – is difficult but necessary. I think some of the most important actions are:

    + Campaign Finance Reform
    + Revoke Corporate Personhood
    + Globalize Unions
    + Save the Planet
    + Demand Truth in News

    Thank you Bill, and Alternative Radio too, for doing all you can to help us understand.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I think you’re really naive on this one. From your response, I don’t think you read the article. I’m not suggesting that democrats need to be poor – and Al Gore has never even been close to poor – just that Gore gave in to temptation and used his name and connections to get rich while deceiving himself and others that he was “putting his money where his mouth was.” It’s simply a fact that a project including a well-known political figure has a huge advantage. It helps for any project, not just venture capital. That’s why the group that bought the Texas Rangers brought GWB on board to advance their scheme of fleecing Arlington, Texas taxpayers. And recognition of the Bush name’s key role is why GWB was given an outsize cut of the loot when the plan worked. Believe what you want, I guess.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    The “leadership packs” (60 minutes) have to go. They are the personal slush funds that they created to go around campaign laws for the benefit of themselves and family. The “deferred bribe” has to go. That is a $2 million/yr job IF you are a good boy while you are in the Oval office, House, Senate, or their staff.

  • Roland

    Does it bother you that some Ds are well off? Gore fleeced no taxpayers. How did his “prestige” help? He just invested in sound companies that you Rs said were doomed and reaped the profits for being right. W had plenty of “prestige”, yet both his oil patch ventures went broke when he could not find oil in Texas. Brains matter.

  • Anonymous

    It has been reported the 52% of the babies born are out of wedlock. In the African American community that percentage is 74%..Its a sad statistic. I believe Illinois pays up to 4 or 5 children child support. . The states & fedl govt has extended unemployment comp together with food stamps. rent assistance etc it gets to be sizeable. Paul Krugman is a firm believer that govt creates jobs..He feel govt can do it best & I have seen him on TV advocating more stimulus. If 800 billion did not move the employment figures either one of two things. It wasted on crony capitalism or none jobs projects. We can not spend us out of a recession.. just create more debt… financial child abuse.But the young & unborn don’t vote.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not a Republican. Stop trying to fit me into a neat little box. Brains do matter, but if you would ever read the article, I believe you would have serious misgivings about Gore’s success. My father, a life-long Democrat and having years of experience at high levels in the federal government, read the article and was deeply troubled. Al Gore is a gifted and in some ways admirable man, but he appears to have, at least to some extent, sold his soul.

  • Kevin Schmidt

    Actually, austerity measures have cut back on unemployment and food stamps.
    You harp on the poor as if it is their fault that there are not enough jobs to go around, yet say nothing about the multinational corporations who receive twice the amount of corporate welfare than the poor receives in social welfare.
    Plus, the main reason why the US has such huge debts is because of unfair tax cuts for the wealthy, who now pay a smaller PERCENTAGE on their unearned income than the middle class pays on their earned income.

    The other reason for our debt is the $1.2 trillion war mongering budget that is larger than the rest of the world combined.

  • Margie

    The democracy we all hoped for has instead become Crony Capitalism where those who nearing brought down the nation suffer no consequences except to pay out money…which they have plenty of.

    Greed rules. Capitalism is greed driven!

    The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The stock market soars for the rich while the poor get their benefits cut.

    Shades of the great depression. And it’s not over yet either.

    We’ve just had a short break before the REAL catastrophe hits.

  • Roland

    We built the machines of our own destruction, just as in the poem _The Hangman_.

  • Anonymous

    Unemployment is down due to the number of folks giving up & withdraw from the labor market.. We have the smallest % of the total population in the labor force, . Food Stamps went from like 32 million to 47 million in the last 5 yrs. No I’m not harping on the poor but rather a govt

    that has no ideas to motive the private sector to invest in more plant & equipment as well as intra structure projects. Your comment on capital gains has merit but that invested money has been taxed all ready once when it was earned. It does motive the formation of capital for growth. The DOD budget has been higher than it should be as why do we have bases in Europe..Let them defend themselves. How about a corrupt & wasteful Crop Insurance program for the Ag sector??

  • Anonymous

    By “democracy”, I believe Mr. Giroux means “socialism”. If you think people are like zombies now, just wait until they have NO incentive whatsoever under Mr. Giroux’s construct.
    What is happening with businesses today – and individuals too – the ones he calls the “elites” (when the government rulers are the TRUE elites) is that they have seen the utter failure of big government and its programs and they have had a belly full of it. They don’t want to support that anymore. Liberals like Mr. Giroux have been trying to turn the safety NET into a safety HAMMOCK since FDR. He, and those like him, have no one to blame but themselves for their over-reaching.

  • Kathryn McElroy

    The voice of reason out of the wilderness. I wish there was an army like him.

  • Anonymous

    We as Americans allowed politicans, ie Bill Clinton, to lie and tell us NAFTA will create American jobs. The sucking sound of jobs lost and unions failing began and now we have our state of economy as such today.
    It is time to stand up and demand our rights as citizens to be free from big money corruption and its controlling our government for their own profit while American citizens are left without representation.
    Campaign Finance Reform MUST be demanded with ‘NO’ as an unacceptable answer from our legislators.

  • Anonymous

    We all must take active action to reform our election process and fix this corruption.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    That is the view of the 1% that “cast off all values to acquire wealth”. The CBO has reported that we can’t grow our way out of the debt spent to make the 1% happy, the concentration of wealth has exceeded that achieved in the 1920’s, and the 1% received 95% of those gains. Even the fed knows that they can’t figure out how to end the stimulus without crashing the markets. That means the markets are artificially propped up. The revenues projected out to 2018 don’t even match revenues collected by the Clinton administration. We are in a downward spiral of increasing debt they can’t stop. Congressman and Senators are only pawns compared to that kind of wealth. They accused Theodore Roosevelt of being a communist in 1910. See his New Nationalism speech. That is an old and flawed argument. Theodore was right about national economic catastrophe then. Franklin Roosevelt had to deal with it.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    By Democracy, the 1% mean using their wealth to buy the government to rule 99% of the people for their profits. The tax code that produced shared prosperity after WWII has been successfully dismantled by the 1% in the last 33 years. That is the “plantation” for the “profit of the few” that Theodore Roosevelt warned us about in 1910. We are reproducing a very bad social/economic/political cycle that has been seen before. There will be a high price to pay for this repeated folly as even Republican Joe Scarborough warned.

  • Anonymous

    As I am fond of saying, the “1%”, lobbyists, etc. are attracted to money and power like flies to s-. That is a fact of life and there is no changing it. It’s like gravity or any other law of physics. You can figure out how to deal with it, but you can’t change that simple principle.
    One way to deal with it is to reduce the power of Washington and put that power back in the hands of the states. “If I were King”, that’s what I would do. The construct that the Founding Fathers put in place puts a little bit of power in each of a whole lot of hands, from the Federal Government to the local level. That makes it very difficult for the “1%” to operate as they do today. That construct, today, is dead. We are no longer a true republic, but we are a small ‘d’ democracy with states as puppets to the central authority.
    That, based on the principle described above, is a recipe for what we are seeing today.

  • Sam Ay

    It is time to see what is wrong, and find the tool, and ways to fix it.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    ecgberht, We agree on most of that. I don’t think that the founding fathers ever saw this kind of wealth coming from Wall Street. They relied on the 535 elected people thinking and acting independently. They were worried about “foreign cabals” but not rich Americans operating the country to protect their foreign investments as we now have. Shame on the 535 people that have corrupted this Democracy beyond most people’s imaginations. Boise Penrose said it best when he said, “The government is the last safe haven for scoundrels” as he publicly delighted in taking the rich man’s money “so he could write laws for the rich man to make more money” . Pat Robertson realizes that the “elites are running the country”. Joe Scarborough indicated that only a few people are running this country. The politicians desire to keep their jobs and gain great wealth (leadership pacs or lobbying job later) is the poison that causes them to compromise themselves.

  • Kevin Schmidt

    Glad to see you no longer blame unemployment on a government policy that encourages people to not look for jobs.

    The double taxation canard was disproved long ago. unearned income in the form of capital gains needs to be taxed at much higher rates.

  • Chris Barksdale

    The Answer is right before us Challenge Absolute Judicial Immunity Doctrines and the beast falls

  • Anonymous

    When I file on salaried income I pay taxes. consequently when I take a risk on the equity market investments & have a gain I am taxed on the gain however if I have a loss I can only deduct $3000 per yr but no upward limit on the gain..Folks are taking risk on the market & risk taking should be encouraged for capital formation for investment & hopefully more jobs. I would say the whole tax program should be revamped.. Govt has never had so much revenue but they want more by upping the debt limit.. Is there a limit?? Our creditors will dictate that.

  • Kevin Schmidt

    We do not have enough revenues. Large corporations and the wealthy are not paying their fair share of taxes, which is why we have had huge deficits ever since Reagan was president.

  • nnyl

    It happened here 100 or so years ago. We are in a new robber baron era. The kind of income inequality that we see now always leads to unrest.

  • nnyl

    The founding fathers didn’t trust corporations and did not want them to have any influence on the government.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    I don’t recall their writings on corporations and accept your observation. In 1910 Theodore Roosevelt was clear about the “sinister influences of the special interests”. Corporations have far too much influence at this time.

  • Anonymous

    How much is enough?? Total Revenue has never been higher..The top 10% pay 70% of the tax revenue. 47% pay no taxes, many get tax credit just for filing. How much should top 10% pay???

  • Kevin Schmidt

    It’s not about how much of a percentage of total taxes the wealthy pay. It’s about the PERCENTAGE of individual income that counts, regardless of total dollars paid.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Giroux speaks the truth. It has progressively become more difficult for a person to earn a sustainable living and create modest wealth for himself and his family. This is a deliberate process of industrialization which only views human beings as producers and consumers. Industrial work is dehumanizes people. The treatment of human beings is now the same as the treatment of animals on the assembly line to a meat factory. The US and much of the ‘developed’ world have invoked this model for development and the global institutions they have spawned – WTO, UN, World Bank, IMF and other “multi-lateral” bodies are only trying to push this despicable model on the rest of the world. This is colonialism version 3.0 – its much more encompassing and there is NO exaggeration that this will swallow the entire globe.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    nnyl was correct

    Thomas Jefferson’s words about corporations were — “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” The Lewis Powell memorandum put corporations before country and got Powell a position on the Supreme Court.

  • leah #lovemyplanet

    Madness is the return of barbaric means of government, police state, lack of social coherence in helping those in society that need to advance their lives. we have shattered the dream, maybe it never existed, American dream was an illusion that kept everyone hoping for a future of fairness and a good society

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    Chris, you see what Thomas Jefferson feared.

    Thomas Jefferson said in 1821: “The germ of destruction of our nation is in the power of the judiciary, an irresponsible body — working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall render powerless the checks of one branch over the other and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.”

  • Anonymous

    @disqus_31nGLojPJX:disqus Sadly, I agree.

  • Anonymous

    My query was directed at DHFabian Roland. Although, I can see your perspective e.g. the middle-class voting/electing Reagan. But, i think they’ve been unwitting participants to a distribution of wealth, laws, and power in a direction that almost exclusively benefits the richest. It has allowed the right-wing to maintain more power than they deserve for many many years. So while I might agree at one level I also have some sympathy for that blind alliegance to that which binds them/us. But, I disagree that those in the middle class actively did so, in aggregate, in an effort to keep the poor empoverished. While that has been one of the outcomes it has also effected the middle-class. Clearly. :).

  • Anonymous

    Indeed. indeed.

  • Roland

    Agreed. Unintentional and unwitting, like vehicular homicide.
    ” more power than they deserve” Dunno, the right wing has been organized and disciplined. Recall the words of Will Rogers: “I do not belong to any organized political party. I am a Democrat!”


  • fedupwithpoliticians

    Mr. Giroux’s “Ghost of Authoritarianism” (too the left) makes the case for the much needed separation of Church and state.

    Thomas Jefferson warned us with these words, “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is easier to acquire wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them, and to affect this, they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purposes”. —
    to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814

    I believe that the “prophets of authoritarianism” and the “emergence of the Christian Right, with its
    anti-intellectual and fundamentalist ideology” has enabled dysfunctional government (irrational and fiscally irresponsible) since 1980. Their “spectacle
    of conformity” of the “intellectuals that have lost their voices” is even more pathetic.

  • Chris Barksdale

    thank you so much and I will use Jefferson’s words in my US Court of Claims suit to be filed in a few weeks. filed because US District Court Judge deprive my 1983 action against Ohio, by extending absolute 11th Amendment Immunity to it after Ohio Attorney General waived Immunity by consented to the suit by signature, people need to know if they are poor like me and commence federal suit under 28 USC 1915 its mechanism sub-section (e),(2),(B) is arbitrarily imposed to dismissal us , so all public servant Officials are insulated by the people we appoint on the federal bench who are supposed to be impartial, US District Courts indeed are oppressive as the government from which we separated.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    You must know these words. “When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be
    drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks
    provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the
    government from which we separated.” –Thomas Jefferson to Charles Hammond, 1821. ME

  • Anonymous

    Dear comrades, the problems with our country are NOT rocket science. The lobbyists force the politicians to pass legislation creating cartels and monopolies in exchange for campaign financing.

    The value of the dollar is dropping faster than Wall Street traitor jumping out a window! The value of the dollar is directly proportional to the number of people who are greedy about it. Without a strong middle class the dollar will continue to collapse in value as it is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.

    Marx said laissez faire capitalism is always followed by communism because unfettered greed would result in a government’s currency collapse. Once the government’s currency collapses, people in bread lines will demand MORE government not less. See you in the bread lines comrade!

    But do not worry my comrades, I have good news! As soon as the Chinese Yuan is allowed to float freely against the dollar, ALL our CEO jobs will be outsourced. Then the son’s and daughters of privilege will have to grovel at the feet of the communist Chinese. The Chinese have an N word for white people, “gwai lo”. It’s a pejorative term meaning white ghost. So do not worry my comrades, the gwai lo children of privilege will be groveling like dogs before their Chinese masters.

    google “Wealth Distribution in America” video. Watch it and weep.

  • Anonymous

    “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up. “

  • Jim

    Ecgberht the 2008 economic collapse results from bank because of the lack of federal regulation. I don’t know about you but it seems Wall Street and Washington have been in bed for awhile. In fact it seems inaccurate to even use different words to differentiate them. The Inside Job does a good job detailing the specifics of speculation and the collapse. Also, I don’t get what kind of social net is getting dismantled, it’s not like there was ever the equality of opportunity in the US. There are millions of children without access to decent education. These kids will rarely have the opportunity wealthier kids will have in the future. There isn’t a fair leveled playing field.

  • jsegal

    Ranjopin thank you for sharing this information with me. I’m checking it out, taking a look.

  • Tulasi Devi Sisti

    Survival of the fittest? As an academic Girioux should dispense with the language of “social Darwinism,” but besides that, THE FITTEST? Who are the sob’s that went running to the government for a bailout, after causing a financial collapse that cost taxpayers $16 TRILLION dollars??? The banks!! They are not fit to rule…and hardy the fittest.

  • Tulasi Devi Sisti

    “Coming out of schools not ready for life”…being alive makes you ready for life.

  • nnyl

    “I hope we shall crush… in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” –Thomas Jefferson

  • Gary Keyes

    Your comment is ridiculous.

  • Lydeeyah

    Truth was told about this on Tom Hartman’s radio program.

  • Ms. M.

    Seems that we do have a zombie population though. If you try to discuss any of these issues w/the avg American you’ll be accused of being “negative” or viewed as crazy. Most Americans think corporations are great, they create jobs, &that striving for money & material things is the way to go. Americans are brainwashed, yes. But we can’t make changes in this country as long as the majority of Americans claim to be happy with the system as it is.

  • Ms. M.

    I like when Giroux talks about the media coverage on poverty though. It’s very true. We hear/see/read stories of poor people who supposedly don’t know how to manage their money, don’t know how to write a resume, don’t know how to get a job in this “new” economy, don’t know how to apply for the “assistance” that’s supposedly available to them, etc. As though poverty results from a character flaw.

    (I’ve been homeless, so I know a bit abt this. There’s very little, if any, true assistance available to poor people. Some ppl qualify for nothing. )

    Yet we can see how well the rich manage their money… When their businesses fail they ask the govt for a bailout or tax break. They incorporate so they won’t be held responsible should someone sue their business. Yet they preach self responsibility and picking yourself up by your bootstraps while they get assistance from the govt.

  • Denialawareness

    I have read both Friere and Gramsci (not “Gramsci”) and I disagree with your simplistic descriptors: “hate” and “Communist” whose sole purpose is to support your invalid contention that Giroux ‘does not know what he is talking about.’ You will have to do better than that! Both of these writers, as well as Giroux himself, offer highly-nuanced insights and accurate perspectives on our current reality. You should check out Gramsci’s ‘cultural hegemony’ theory for example. You seem to be a good example of its effects!

  • Kathryn McElroy

    I refer to Lewis Black, who worked as a civil servant in the early years of his life–seems to be completely frightened by the lack of outrage of our society at what’s happening. It bugs him out! I have to agree. Our passivity to the vanishing middle class is completely outrageous. The fact that the strategy of the Republican party is to stop people from voting…should very well stop the world from turning…period. That there is one individual that exists in the USA that agrees we should minimize voting, should leave the United States.

  • Roland

    I think you need to realize that you now live in the land of slaves and the home of cowards. And you must learn to love Big Brother.


  • Peter Gilliam

    This is so true. I am only a hairstylist and make under six figures but I’ve done so many free haircuts to salespeople and architects who’ve lost jobs after Clinton’s terms where we never thought America could be so unstable! I survived greatly! Hair grows! But these corporations lack loyalty to employees whether at bottom or the top! People have lost 600k homes! They have seen there is NO security and now have now a gloomy outlook as never before!

  • Jim Walts

    This was good. I feel that a major dividing issue was touched on here. I feel it needs to be strongly debated and brought to the attention of the people. That issue was “Individualize the social”. I hope to see that done more in the near future.

  • Jimmy Aceves

    Thom Hartmann, 9am-12pm PST Excellent NEWS SOURCE & opinion.

  • Spring1217

    Remember what it was that changed the 60s? The war was stopped BECAUSE of protests. Perhaps we need to get back to speaking up and speaking loudly! Change will only come will involvement, on a grass roots level. No third party is needed, we need to get inside the party, change it from the inside with normal people( the everyday people, both middle class and poor), demand change and let the politicians know their jobs will be in jeopardy if they’re not doing the will of the people who elected them.

  • Spring1217

    We are one of the groups most adversly affected by the inequality. I’ve become more vocal as I’ve aged;gray hair be damned. And, we’re a very large segment of society,they’ll have to listen, knowing that we vote.

  • Russell Scott Day

    Transcendia, it’s a friend to yah. As I hammer and yammer on I did work to create another nation to build up. I became a creative economist and offer the Insurodollar to change the paradigm, and work within the dominate system, inventing something you can see as part of a unifying force represented right there in your hand, the currency of common interests. To pool partially your policy equity with the others of the nation unites people, instead of separating all of us from each other as the ones who have the gold, or oil, and those that don’t.

  • Anonymous

    One source of hope, and bolstering of hope that already exists, is a progressive faith community. My community is open to all who believe in and /or are seeking fellowship with a higher power. We feed the hungry, have a ministry for those suffering from addictions or prison, and try to live what we believe. If more of the 99% were to find a higher purpose, the wielding of our collective might would indeed change the world.

  • bmiller

    “BILL MOYERS: If we have zombied politics, if we have as you say, metaphorically, zombies in the high levels of government, zombies in banks and financial centers and zombies in the military, can’t you have a zombie population? …“

    Interesting that the metaphor of zombies and mechanized, dehumanized systems suggest themselves. More than metaphor, these may be unconscious psychodynamics that were articulated half a century ago by analyst Eric Fromm in the syndrome of necrophilia. Please see my essay on this – and the extent to which it may illuminate current affairs:

  • 4ever49

    I remember well – as a Viet vet I had little sympathy for the college student complainer, who was already exempt from the draft as long as they stayed in school or got married.

    They seemed to miss the point that Uncle Ho was posing as a patriot for the Vietnamese when in fact his VC vanguard were killers – killing any village headman or school teacher who was literate in order to control the
    message. The real concern of protesters was their own hides.

  • Spring1217

    Point taken and no , you guys that served weren’t treated well! That was another one of our trumped up missions that put people in harms way and cost too many lives unnecessarily, Of course they were concerned for themselves too,but I think there was a sense of altruism of the times because we were witness to a war being broadcast into our living rooms on a daily basis. I think the young populace noticed. The protesting probably wouldn’t have taken place had there not been a draft in place. Most people didn’t want to go, and rightly so, but most had friends or loved ones they didn’t want to expend on that war. So, yes it was the , in part, the protests that put an end to it. The r doesn’t like mass civil unrest and their greed and corrupt thinking was unmasked with Kent State. The Pentagon Papers confirm alot of what the country, in their hearts, knew. The voice of the people can be strong when it’s united against injustice. I know many VN vets and am happy we got some of you back!!