Do democracy and plutocracy mix? Bill Moyers has spent years digging into the corrosive effects of money and corporate influence on American politics, a well-traveled intersection that has become all the more significant in the aftermath of the 2010 Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. How far back does the influence go and how much does it corrupt our democracy today? Explore these current issues with help from leading thinkers, investigative journalists and scholars.

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  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure which is more frightening–all the money spent for campaigns or the fact that citizens actually vote based on an political ad seen on TV or received junk mail.  Imagine how our economy would received that needed boost if that money was put to better use.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CQ6C6JXM6MIKM64MGP5XWIWLM Michael Couch

    Bill:
    The solution is not a useless attempt to remove dark money, it is too late for that to save us. The ONLY solution is for the American people to wake up and form a grass roots NO MONEY write in campaign for real human beings and remove all those whose hands are filled with Dark Money from office, this election.

    I’ve spent $26 on my write in campaign for President. That is all I’m going to spend.
    Charles Michael Couch

  • Splunkett1

    Why do people say that a major industry (banking and finance), right in the heart of an economic machine producing in such unmatchable quantity that it rarely receives serious threats to it’s mainly brutal policies thought to have all-of-a-sudden thrown caution into the wind and made decisions no one can account for?  Wouldn’t it be more likely that they received misleading information from a government source that induced them to take such inexplicable risks?  If you are going to look for particular suspects, shouldn’t you then start with the high echelons of The Executive Branch, where broad economic policy originates? 

  • None

    Elections are about buying and owning candidates.  This is what makes laws useless.  They simply buy the right person and get what they want at our expense.   Mitts fundraiser dinner in London put on by Barclays had the dinners starting at $15,000 and up to $75,000 per plate.  Can you afford to attend these?   I’m not voting anymore.  It’s just a scam and we get sucked into it.  Leave the elections behind and do something else.  The super rich don’t own any of us if we don’t let them. 

  • None

     I spent $75 dollars on the Ron Paul Campaign only to see that if you are not well connected to a millionaire or billionaire’s club,  you have not one chance at winning or even getting access to a major race in any US election.  Ordinary people can’t win elections.  The rich won’t allow this to ever happen. 

  • Pselgee

    Yeah, if I ran on the platform that we needed to regulate banks again to prevent another melt down, we need to push alternative to oil, and tax large corporations that bring jobs abroad, can you even imagine how well funded my opponent would be?

  • Pselgee

    At one time congressmen tried to win government contracts to bring prosperity to their state.  Now it is about what goes into their own pocket. 
    The banks failed because republicans took away regulations and banks crossed the line selling derivites (risky gambles). 
    Republicans are going crazy that health care for the people passed because they were raking in millions to NOT pass it.  Just the 40 year threat to pass a health care bill must have brought in billions!
    And as long as a large corporation put money in his pocket, they even got bonuses for dumping American workers to bring their manufacturing abroad and hire cheaper help.  Then they want to bring their product home and sell it here!  To whom when everyone is unemployed?

  • Rjmc

    I am so thankful that Bill Moyers and Company continues to ask questions that need to be asked. It often seems that the “information” fed to Americans is spawned by dark forces, intent upon destroying that noble experiment we call American democracy. We need to concentrate on making America as good as it can be and forget about forcing the world to become “like us”. We are a beacon to the world only to the extent that we live according to our highest ideals. Keep it up Bill  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1532996189 Mark Lawrence

    The topic asks, “How far back does the influence go and how much does it corrupt our democracy today?”

    One can only imagine how much it actually corrupts democracy but to answer the question of how far back corporate influence goes, one only needs to look at  several related SCOTUS decisions that took place after the establishment of the 14th Amendment during Reconstrucion… that declared a corporation to be a person within the meaning of the equal protection clause of the Amendment.  This was in the 1886 case of Santa Clara County v. The Southern Pacific Railroad Co., and affirmed as part of the decision in Pembina Mining Co. v. Pennsylvania.

    In 1889, in Minneapolis & St. L. R. R. Co. v. Beckwith: the Supreme Court of the United States for the first time squarely and positively decided that a corporation was a person within the meaning of both the “due process of law” and the “equal protection of the laws”
    Since then, corporate influence and their money has been the dominating force shaping our nation through writing and re-writing the laws we’ve been living under ever since, effectively changing the constitution in favor of big business over that of the people…

    You can read more in this OpEd piece here: http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Corporations-and-the-T-by-Charles-Wallace-Co-090408-439.html

  • Gjohnson145

    The CONTRAT SOCIAL, written by J. J. Rousseau in 1762, had a major impact on both the French Revolution and the American Revolution. Here are a few excerpts that American citizens would do well to consider before the upcoming election:

    P. 91 Book II, Chapter XI

    Do you want therefore to give stability to the State? Then bring together the extremes as much as possible: tolerate neither people opulent nor poor. These two conditions, naturally inseparable, are equally disastrous to the common well being; from the one come the fomenters of tyranny and from the other, the tyrants; it is always between these two that is made the traffic with public liberty; the one buys it and the other sells and betrays it.

    P. 128 Book III, Chapter XI

    The principle of political life is in the Sovereign Authority of the People. The legislative power is the heart of the State; the executive is its brain, which gives movement to all of its parts. The brain can fall into paralysis and the individual can still survive; a man can be imbecilic and still live. But as soon as the heart ceases its functioning, the “animal” is dead.

    P. 133 Book III, Chapter XV

    As soon as public service ceases to be the principal business of the citizens, and they prefer to make use of their wallet rather than their own person, the State is near its ruin. Is it necessary to march to combat? They pay some troops and stay at home. Is it necessary to go to a council meeting? They name some delegates and stay at home. By dint of laziness and of money, they have finally some soldiers to serve the Country and representatives to sell or betray it….As soon as someone says of the business of the State, “What does it matter to me?,” one must reckon that the State is lost.

    P. 144 Book IV, Chapter I

    When the social knot commences to unravel and the State to weaken; when the special interests begin to make themselves felt and the smaller groups to influence the larger, the common interests of the people change for the worse and find some adversaries; unanimity no longer reigns in their voices, The General Will is no longer the will of all; contradictions and debates arise, and even the best ideas do not succeed without dispute. The General Will becomes mute. Then one causes to pass in the name of Laws (Legal Decisions) iniquitous decrees that suit the goals of only the special interest groups.

    P. 145 Book IV, Chapter II

    …the manner, therefore, in which the general business of the State is conducted, can give an indication rather certain of the actual state of the health of the political body. The more opinions approach unanimity, the more the General Will of the people is dominant. But the long debates, the dissention, the tumult announce the ascendance of special interests, and the decline of the State.

     

     re.

  • Shamus

    Look at the story from the BBC at the link below:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18944097
    If the US could get the taxes involved from these havens we would be well on our way to solving some of our debt problems.
    I can not believe that some Americans think we should do what the Republicans want to do and give the Rich another 5 TRILLION Tax cut over the next decade.
    J.A.San Antonio, TX.

  • Jeff Joseph

    Some one needs to stand up to these right wing lunatics. Obama wont do it. I think its time for a third party made up of moderate Dem’s and Repub’s of good will and common sense.
    How about it Bill up for a challenge? This congress is the most stupid and corrupt in the last 45 years owned by Wall street and Lobbyists

  • larue

    I was horrified to see Grover Norquist on Sunday shows this morning (ABC This Week)- He is not an elected official, or policymaker- basically he’s just an extortionist- why do the major network news organizations glorify him by making him a so-called “expert” ?

  • arrdubyazee

    I would like to see a searchable database of program transcripts, including charts that may have been used. It may be a bit dated, but I still want the written word (and printed image), so that I may quote from them in my own essays. Also, the copyright holder’s preference as to how such quotes should be cited.
    Thanks.

  • Madeline Roberts

    According to David Rothkopf, the author of Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They are Making, around 2008, “private equity firms managed to persuade Congress to treat their ‘carried interest’ in companies as capital gains rather than ordinary income, resulting in a substantial tax break (15% instead of up to 45%). Many, even a few financial leaders such as Warren Buffet, viewed this as so egregiously inequitable that an opposition movement has formed against it.” (Rothkoph, 2008, p. 151)

    Could this be a reason why Mr. Romney has chosen not to disclose his tax returns with the American public? I think it might.

  • Camille

    “Buying the Presidential Office” has been in the minds of potential despots since the beginning of this country. Read President Lincoln’s Message to Congress, Dec. 3, 1861. State of the Union December 3, 1861 – President Abraham Lincoln
    …….In my present position I could scarcely be justified were I to omit
    raising a warning voice against this approach of returning despotism.

    It is not needed nor fitting here that a general argument should be
    made in favor of popular institutions, but there is one point, with its
    connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask a brief
    attention. It is the effort to place capital on an equal footing with,
    if not above, labor in the structure of government. It is assumed that
    labor is available only in connection with capital; that nobody labors
    unless somebody else, owning capital, somehow by the use of it induces
    him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered whether it is best
    that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce them to work by their
    own consent, or buy them and drive them to it without their consent.
    Having proceeded so far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers
    are either hired laborers or what we call slaves. And further, it is
    assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer is fixed in that condition
    for life.

    Now there is no such relation between capital and labor as assumed, nor
    is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life in the
    condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are false, and all
    inferences from them are groundless.

    Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit
    of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed.
    Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher
    consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of
    protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and
    probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing
    mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole labor of
    community exists within that relation. A few men own capital, and that
    few avoid labor themselves, and with their capital hire or buy another
    few to labor for them. A large majority belong to neither
    class–neither work for others nor have others working for them. In
    most of the Southern States a majority of the whole people of all
    colors are neither slaves nor masters, while in the Northern a large
    majority are neither hirers nor hired. Men, with their families–wives,
    sons, and daughters–work for themselves on their farms, in their
    houses, and in their shops, taking the whole product to themselves, and
    asking no favors of capital on the one hand nor of hired laborers or
    slaves on the other. It is not forgotten that a considerable number of
    persons mingle their own labor with capital; that is, they labor with
    their own hands and also buy or hire others to labor for them; but this
    is only a mixed and not a distinct class. No principle stated is
    disturbed by the existence of this mixed class.

    Again, as has already been said, there is not of necessity any such
    thing as the free hired laborer being fixed to that condition for life.
    Many independent men everywhere in these States a few years back in
    their lives were hired laborers. The prudent, penniless beginner in the
    world labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with which to buy tools
    or land for himself, then labors on his own account another while, and
    at length hires another new beginner to help him. This is the just and
    generous and prosperous system which opens the way to all, gives hope
    to all, and consequent energy and progress and improvement of condition
    to all. No men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who toil
    up from poverty; none less inclined to take or touch aught which they
    have not honestly earned. Let them beware of surrendering a political
    power which they already possess, and which if surrendered will surely
    be used to close the door of advancement against such as they and to
    fix new disabilities and burdens upon them till all of liberty shall be
    lost.

    Read more: State of the Union Address: Abraham Lincoln (December 3, 1861) — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/t/hist/state-of-the-union/73.html#ixzz25KnWckb0

  • larry elford

    http://youtu.be/TyitkZ-EFok A short presentation titled WINNER STEAL ALL, from a recovering Canadian stockbroker. In it we look at about a dozen ways that those in charge of the system, can use systemic ways to cheat and rob more than half of every persons rightful investment capital. Intended to wake people up, inform them and protect them. Cheers from Canada.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwYig2CP66Q&feature=related Phaerisee

    I do like Romney’s business experience, but his Gordon Gecko-esque tenure at
    Bain Capital concerns me. I also have a problem with him calling himself pro-life. In fact, Romneycare provided for taxpayer funded abortifacients
    (Pharmaceuticals that cause spontaneous abortion) How many catholics know this?
    He also is continually calling himself a christian to gain votes, when most of us learned in Sunday school that this is not the case.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGFAph3lWqw

  • garden maiden

    I hope this is an appropriate note: Tom Neilson, award-winning songwriter, has written a song called ‘Corporations are human’. You can listen to it for free at Soundclick: http://www.soundclick.com/player/single_player.cfm?songid=9994074&q=hi&newref=1

  • BklynProgressive

    Read “You Can’t Be President,” by John R. MacArthur – an eye-opener.

  • BklynProgressive

    The bankers fund the candidates. It’s like the old question “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Either way, the middle class are the losers.

  • shaman175

    It’s good to discuss what is going on, but what are we going to do about it. I have the answer to this in part. As a former Union activist for a public sector professional group of NYS workers called PEF (Public Employees Federation) as a Steward and Division leader, I’ve contacted on numerous ocassions the AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumka, about making severe changes in tactics and strategy by the Unions. We need to start our own political party as another alternative to the Democrats or Republicans. The national network and monies already in place by the AFL-CIO could be more aptly spent on supporting candidates selected from their own rank and file. Why waste milllions in supporting candidates from either Party in exchange for relatively little in return. Middle class Americans are under attack, and Unions comprise a large segment of the working people. Bernie Sanders made great points about what many of us know already, but he didn’t even mention about the Unions having a effect except in his reference to a “grassroot movement.” We could call the new party the TAB (Take America Back). Many professionals like me are associated with Unions who would run for office if they had the necessary support. The AFL-CIO represents a large segment of votes and support with telephonne banks and volunteers to help in campaigns. So what is preventing the AFL-CIO from strategizing in such a way. Are they under the thumb of the FBI or CIA from acting is such a way? If I could think of this, why can’t they? Here is a way of counteracting the current wave of oliogarchy politics!

  • shaman175

    It’s good to discuss what is going on, but what are we going to do about it. I have the answer to this in part. As a former Union activist for a public sector professional group of NYS workers called PEF (Public Employees Federation) as a Steward and Division leader, I’ve contacted on numerous ocassions the AFL-CIO President, Richard Trumka, about making severe changes in tactics and strategy by the Unions. We need to start our own political party as another alternative to the Democrats or Republicans. The national network and monies already in place by the AFL-CIO could be more aptly spent on supporting candidates selected from their own rank and file. Why waste milllions in supporting candidates from either Party in exchange for relatively little in return. Middle class Americans are under attack, and Unions comprise a large segment of the working people. Bernie Sanders made great points about what many of us know already, but he didn’t even mention about the Unions having a effect except in his reference to a “grassroot movement.” We could call the new party the TAB (Take America Back). Many professionals like me are associated with Unions who would run for office if they had the necessary support. The AFL-CIO represents a large segment of votes and support with telephonne banks and volunteers to help in campaigns. So what is preventing the AFL-CIO from strategizing in such a way. Are they under the thumb of the FBI or CIA from acting is such a way? If I could think of this, why can’t they? Here is a way of counteracting the current wave of oliogarchy politics!

  • Jonetta Kurtz

    I saw a picture of a placard stating that senators should wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers so we can tell who their corporate sponsors are. Not a bad idea.

  • Mary L.

    I have learned more in the past 3 weeks from Bill Moyers program regarding the buying of the election . I have forwarded the web site to numerous friends . I think todays program with Trevor Potter was extremely enlightening about the Pacs and the coverup of who was donating large amounts of money. His insight and his knowledge on how to remedy the problem is extremely helpful in understanding how we can still save our democracy.

  • Arcadio De Jesus

    Did Mitt Romney cheat in the Debate?

    He
    did cheat in the debate, watch the video slowly, and you will see, the
    deshonest thing he did. And tne he claims, to be a Good Christian, with a
    good heart”"”…

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/videos/2012/10/05/did-romney-cheat-at-the-debate.html

  • Anonymous

    A New Paradigm – The Bigger the Check, the Bigger the Balance

    Bill and Company, thank you for teaching us about money and politics. As we walked away from tonight’s show, each of us having experienced over three-score-and-ten years, my wife and I finished each others sentence (both literally and on our 21st century political system) that the new paradigm is increasingly, the bigger the check, the bigger the balance, the more money poured into the system as ‘free speech’ the longer the lever to corrupt what our founders gave us, ‘a republic, if we can keep it.’ I feel like King Canute chastising the tide, but perhaps were all of us to join in, sweeping it back with brooms, we might, just might have an impact on it.

    baumgrenze

  • Andrew Dundas

    There is a simple way to fix our Congressional problems. Elect a Free Democratic Republic Candidate in 2014. Our Congress members will poll their community before voting in Congress. #FDR2014

  • David McCracken

    Perhaps I’m not reading carefully enough but I have not heard anyone
    making the following argument. It is a fact that some citizens have far
    more money than others to spend on political campaigns. Our constitution
    guarantees all citizens equal rights, including the right of free
    speech. If spending money on political campaigns is free speech then it
    must be unconstitutional. It is the same as apportioning vote based on
    finances. Mitt Romney’s vote would be worth about 2000 times more than mine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ghunn Gail Hunn

    The other night Stephen Colbert had an on-air conversation with his lawyer, Trevor Potter, about what happens to SuperPAC money that hasn’t been spent during a campaign. They discussed how it can be laundered through a different type of legal construct – a 501(c)(4), I believe – in order to avoid the IRS. As much as I like the Colbert Report, I think most people outside of his audience do not take it seriously. I would love to see Mr. Moyers investigate what happens to unspent SuperPAC money, especially whether and how it is moved around to avoid taxation. In particular, I would like to see an investigation into how Congress (and who in Congress) wrote the laws that made this sort of tax dodge possible. Thank you, Mr. Moyers, for all you do.

  • B.C.

    This last election was the most expensive we have seen. So I began to wonder who gets that money. In other words, people donate then the money is spent on campaign advertising. So how much of the big donations go back into the pockets of those who donated because they own the media or work for producers of the campaign media, especially TV. And the small donors aren’t in that loop.

  • JVL

    I have not missed many of Moyers shows and with the ones I have seen, there is a conspicuous absence of the most thoroughly researched money in politics book and author of our time. His name is Lawrence Lessig and his stunningly researched and unbiased book is Republic, Lost. NONE of the others that have been on Moyers shows have even come close to the level of understanding that this remarkable scholar has of the problem and what to do about it. Why?

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.elgee.5 Pat Elgee

    When you consider John Baynor, you can begin to understand why the GOP is run by fanatics. He will not compromise. Losing is winning for this man.

    Entitlements for the rich, far exceed any entitlement of the poor or wounded soldier.

    Congress has not acted responsibly for quite a while.

    The GOP was a sore loser that Obama won the first time, and Romney’s comments demonstrate the mentally deficient attitude toward Obama’s second win.

    When Baynor talks of cutting entitlements, he is not referring to those who line his pockets.

    When Baynor talks of cutting social security and Medicare, he is not talking about the Golden Fleece retirement and health care package that they voted themselves.

    I dubbed it “Golden Fleece” because they take the gold and fleece the rest of us.

    Raising social security retirement age is fine, but after a single term in congress they voted themselves full pay retirement!

    They are totally insane!

    No, Congress will not act responsibly in the future.

    The GOP points out how other Presidents have been able to cross the aisle and get work done, but no Congress has been as stubborn as this GOP crazy-head mentality.

    I expect the GOP will crow about “Obama’s failure” when the GOP makes sure that reform does not happen, or if reform is passed, will use it as extortion for more contributions from Wall Street in the PROMISE that it will not be enforced.

    The Corruption is Unbelievable!

    When you consider John Baynor, you can begin to understand why the GOP is run by fanatics. He will not compromise. Losing is winning for this man.

    Entitlements for the rich, far exceed any entitlement of the poor or wounded soldier.

    Congress has not acted responsibly for quite a while.

    The GOP was a sore loser that Obama won the first time, and Romney’s comments demonstrate the mentally deficient attitude toward Obama’s second win.

    When Baynor talks of cutting entitlements, he is not referring to those who line his pockets.

    When Baynor talks of cutting social security and Medicare, he is not talking about the Golden Fleece retirement and health care package that they voted themselves.

    I dubbed it “Golden Fleece” because they take the gold and fleece the rest of us.

    Raising social security retirement age is fine, but after a single term in congress they voted themselves full pay retirement!

    They are totally insane!

    No, Congress will not act responsibly in the future.

    The GOP points out how other Presidents have been able to cross the aisle and get work done, but no Congress has been as stubborn as this GOP crazy-head mentality.

    I expect the GOP will crow about “Obama’s failure” when the GOP makes sure that reform does not happen, or if reform is passed, will use it as extortion for more contributions from Wall Street in the PROMISE that it will not be enforced.

    The Corruption is Unbelievable!

  • tony

    what about the money Obama raised, they raised more then anyone who has every ran but you or your guests nevered mentioned that. You really need to be fair.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Fredman/100003531899218 Steve Fredman

    Obama should read “THE TROUBLED HEALTH DOLLAR” a realistic look at 60 years of medicine focusing on one area, then another. the chapters on big pharma and health insurance were guided by shows hosted by Bill Moyers. Health Care was one of Obama’s achievements. and he understands it… sort of. but he should read the book

  • Herbert Pairitz

    The Changes We Really Need

    This article is about what a WWII veteran that served in both Europe and the Pacific theaters thinks is wrong with the operation of our government and our economy and what should be done about it to correct our predicament.

    What’s Wrong With Our Government

    Our government is not promoting the general welfare as required in our Constitution but, instead, is promoting the corporate welfare. The unequal distribution of the wealth has devastated the working class. Politicians are allowing big business to exploit the working class citizens by replacing American workers with foreign workers, etc. in payment for campaign contributions and other favors, and in defense against any negative publicity campaign by big business investors. The huge amounts of money spent in political campaigns and political activity has completely corrupted our government. In addition, we have price gouging, severe inflation, competing with $2/hr. countries, the illegal immigration burden for the working class, unfair taxing of citizens and deceiving the citizens in order to exploit them. In WWII many of our young men gave their lives to prevent Adolph Hitler and Hirohito from taking over our country which permitted the wealthy big business investors to retain their freedom , businesses and wealth. After the war the big business investors continued to increase their wealth by exploiting the very same working class that saved them from catastrophe in WWII. This was morally and economically wrong. The wealth of this country that the working class worked for, and also died for in WWII, should be redistributed to the working class and also used to decrease our financial deficit. The greed of big business for money has denied the working class benefits to which they are entitled to under a democratic form of government.

    Financial Occupations Detrimental to Our Economy

    The regulation of businesses has been very weak and caused a collapse of our mortgage market, a decrease of value of our homes and many other financial disasters. Money is being manipulated by middlemen like future traders who profit by merely raising prices without contributing anything of value in their transactions. It is conceivable that over half of our population are employed in this “money creation” type of business. The resulting inflation is devastating to the working-class citizens. The Federal Reserve System is helping big businesses but not the working class. There are many government policies and business activities that hurt the working class, such as subsidies, grants, tax loopholes, investing in other countries, damaging interest rates over 7% and below 3%, speculation by banks and the activities of lobbyists.

    Questionable Use of the United States Armed Forces

    Our armed forces are not utilized to protect our citizens from invasion by other aggressive countries as originally intended, but are employed by our politicians to provide huge business profits to greedy corporations that are willing to squander the lives of our young men and women and the taxpayer money to achieve their financial goals. In Iraq we spent almost a trillion dollars and lost about 4,500 troops and the civil war just continued. Without our intervention it might have subsided sooner. Saddam Hussein killed a lot of his people but none of ours, and he prevented a civil war and controlled the terrorists and the citizens. The new government is very corrupt and very unlikely to provide its citizens with a democracy or freedom or stop the civil war. Policing the world is highly detrimental to our working-class citizens.

    What is the True Value Of Our Political System?

    Politicians and political parties represent a huge financial burden to our economy and, unfortunately, they do very little to benefit the working class, and they help big business investors to exploit the working class citizens. The two political parties often end up in gridlock attempting to knock each other out of office, and so it becomes impossible to pass any legislation to correct our economic disaster. We have gotten to the point where money is electing our government office holders and their efforts are diverted to spending most of their short working hours to campaign funding. Our political system does not promote the general welfare per our Constitution but cashes in on the vulnerability of the working class citizens to get their money and their votes. We have proven the point that we cannot sustain a democracy if we have political parties or money-driven politics.

    Misleading the Public

    It is surprising that big business investors and our politicians can successfully deceive the citizens into believing that these people are helping them rather than exploiting them toward poverty. Money controls the news media and especially TV, and when viewers hear the same false information on multiple TV channels it becomes a fact to them. Big corporation money also influences the White House and Congress so they do not engage in serious discussions about outsourcing jobs, lack of business regulations, trading with $2/hr. labor countries, etc. Citizens have been influenced to believe that big government and socialistic programs are bad for the citizens, even though the opposite is actually the truth. Our current corrupt government and attempts to reduce social programs like Social Security are devastating to the working class. Even the United States Supreme Court informs the citizens that giving large campaign contributions to the White House and Congress is a form of free speech (not a bribe).

    What are Congress and the White House Doing to Correct Our Government?

    The members of Congress and the White House are not primarily promoting the general welfare but are going along with the big business investors in order to obtain large campaign contributions and other favors. They do not primarily represent the voters that put them in office, so we end up with another situation of “taxation without representation”. An example of this is the removal of the “public option” from the health care bill to appease the HMO insurance companies. The Senate also utilizes their filibuster and sixty vote majority rules to prevent any bills from being passed to help the working class. Neither the Congress or the White House seriously takes on the problems of outsourcing jobs, trading with $2/hr. labor countries, unfair trade agreements, relocating manufacturing companies, etc. The stimulus programs did not create sufficient permanent jobs, and the tax cuts sure did not. The primary efforts of both political parties are directed toward defeating the opposition, not helping the working class.
    What is the Solution to All of This?

    A solution concerning how to accomplish all of our goals is listed below.

    1. Get all of the working class citizens to realize that they are being exploited by big corporations and the politicians, the lobbyists, the Congress, the White House, Wall Street and all of the middleman money manipulators.
    2. Notify the White House, the Congress and everyone that we want complete campaign finance reform to take the money out of politics and we won’t vote again until we get it.
    3. Expand the use of the polygraph starting with the members of Congress to prove that campaign contributions are actually bribes, and then cover the police, the courts, etc.
    4. If other attempts have failed, initiate ballot propositions in all of the states to obtain complete campaign contribution reform and to expand the use of polygraph testing to Congress and other government employees.
    5. Initiate a program of requiring all citizens to vote independently and eliminate all political parties.
    6. Enforce the proposition that the primary purpose of business in the U,S. is to provide the workers with good paying permanent jobs and not just to provide businesses with maximum profits.
    7. Change the many damaging rules like filibustering, sixty vote
    super majority in the Senate and citizenship for babies born to visitors to the U.S.
    8. Cease the current practice of replacing American workers with cheaper foreign workers. This includes discontinuing most trading with $2/hr. foreign labor countries, returning manufacturing plants and out-sourced jobs to the U.S., cancellation of all foreign-worker visa programs and correcting all unfair trade agreements.
    9. Discontinue all benefits given to illegal immigrants other than emergency health care, enforce current illegal immigration laws and force businesses to verify the citizenship of employees.
    10. Strictly regulate all businesses by enforcing 7% maximum interest rates and 3% minimum interest rates and the elimination of all middlemen money manipulation activities.
    11. Discontinue the current practice of using our armed forces to intervene in civil wars in other countries just to provide lucrative no-bid contracts to big corporations.
    12. Initiate a government program of redistribution of the wealth from the big business investors to working-class citizens who own only 4% of the nation’s wealth. Start by reducing the taxes on the working class drastically and increasing the taxes on the wealthy drastically.
    13. Reverse our current government programs of promoting the corporate welfare to promoting the general welfare to comply with our Constitution.
    14. Force the members of Congress to represent the citizens that voted them into office and stop the exploitation of the working class by big business investors.
    15. Install a form of government that is a democracy combined with socialism for the basic necessities of life that cannot be trusted to profit-making businesses.

    Our government was originally established as a republic by the Declaration of Independence, later structured as a democracy by The Constitution of The United States, decimated through the years by the money-makers and changed to a plutocracy and now needs to be changed back to a democracy. The primary cause of the current economic devastation of the working class is their exploitation by big business investors with the help of the politicians, lobbyists and office holders. The only way to bring prosperity to the working class is to install complete campaign finance reform where all campaigns are paid for by the taxpayers and to manufacture and sell most products within the United States
    .
    For more details and verification on this subject it is suggested that you read the book entitled Fixing Our Government.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shody-Ryon/542528785 Shody Ryon

    during the show, these guys were saying things like “its a start” or “at least we should know where the money is coming from”.

    why are we apologetic about democracy? why do we beg for scraps of independent self determination? private sector funding of public sector political campaigns is the same as bribery in intent, deed and result and is not substantially different in any way, therefor it is bribery.

    the requirement is that there is no quid pro quo, for bribery, I’m sorry, campaign finance, to be considered legal.

    search: frankly the banks own this place

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/29/dick-durbin-banks-frankly_n_193010.html

    it is scary and disheartening to see this show with some enthusiastic about being less treasonous than others involved, others not on bill moyers.

    congress acquiesces to special interests because the reasoning is they would’t kill the economy because they are profit driven. once they have a certain amount of money, they switch gears and go for political power. to to gain power they have created “a new normal”: feudalism.

    otherwise, where are the jobs? in other words, the job creation part of selling official US policy is a failure, and that easily could be by design, because corporations are focused on profits and political power, not necessarily a flourishing democracy with citizen input.

    i am glad that bill moyers is highlighting this third rail discussion, but i hope the rest of us come to grips with what our ancestors fought and died for, a constitutionally limited democratic republic without apology.

    one way to understand this would be to read the following short list of short documents

    the declaration of independents
    article 2 section 4 of the US constitution (impeachment, treason, bribery)
    wiki: checks and balances
    search: oath of office

    separation of powers was not instituted to protect corruption and corrupt people in government, it was for the opposite reason, yet our legislators think corruption outside their personal office is none of their business and corruption inside is the way getting reelected is done.

    congress people are not the same as you and me, they have a duty to uphold the constitution and they have the authority to call for investigation if anything is going wrong.

    where is the investigation into “frankly the banks own this place”? surely this is the illusive “quid pro quo” unseen far away in both the judicial as well as the executive branch and a little closer on the same branch in the house of representatives and everywhere other than in dick durban’s eyes.

    when people took to the street, the joint terrorism task force, which is tolerant of bribery leading to treason when the money comes from corporations, found common citizens assembling and expressing political opinions a threat to democracy.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/05/fbi-occupy-wall-street_n_2410783.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/29/fbi-coordinated-crackdown-occupy

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.allison.1217 John Allison

    Not about The Budget , Not About Big Bird , Investigative Journalism , Not Fox Controlled Spin Is What The G.O.P. Tea Ho’s Want Killed…

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.allison.1217 John Allison

    Picture a three legged stool , Labor /Citizens , Owners / Management , Bankers/Capital , The trick is to create harmony….To have all three groups pulling together , not tearing each other apart….

  • Bill

    It is my belief that politicians, free from lobbyist control, would promote legislation best for the Nation and would weed out unnecessary legislation favoring special interest. To free politicians from lobbyist control, we need a new way to fund political campaigns.

    Special interest and the wealthy find it vastly rewarding to invest in campaign financing. Our democracy and the US Treasury would be far better served if Congress developed and approved legislation for a new public mass media provisioning that sufficiently supports all party campaigns. Let the American public and our Nation (rather than special interest and the wealthy) receive the rewards from campaign financing.

  • brenda

    when is socialsecurity going to revise the system? social security is getting more of my hard eared money than I am! I am 66 yrs old ,had to take it early now they say that’s it. there is so many rules and regulations no one understands. I feel when social security needs more money it revises again, and we seniors have to try to survive on whats left. I wonder if the trillons that their getting in interest is not enough for somebodys pocket. Dr.Richard Wolff summation of the political and the economic situation is true that I have seen through the years. and if FDR could see how his ss has been sabotaged, I bet he would roll over. one thing I disagree with the greed and displacement that is here.

  • J Kessler

    J Kessler • a few seconds ago

    +

    Flag as inappropriate
    good program on capitalism, but you may not like the answer to its pernicious puzzle
    it’s literally built-in to our culture, into our society, and that is what is changing right now
    your see traditional family values breeds male dominance (which I call male dumbinance)
    that, the competition rivaling and warring are subconscious drives for power (ego, ie. sex drive) that manifest “too big to fail” and its…”you can get away with what ever you are big enough to get away with” (hierarchies cannot be regulated)
    what most are calling the “new normal” is the evolutionary change that is already leveling the playing field as you read this, I’ m talking the advance technologies that globalization is spreading across the planet – man is not “in charge here”
    I know you guys will keep up the good work, as best you can
    best wishes and warm regards
    Jake

  • http://www.facebook.com/tommy.carrig Tommy Carrig
  • Anonymous

    You Americans, you’re so funny, and you’re killing us…

    Did none of you hear your President 52 years ago warning you about the undue influence sought & unsought of a web of military and industrial interests ? Just weeks after bonesman grandson of the Pacific Union empire Robert Lovett instructed President-elect Kennedy on who to appoint to his cabinet…

    What did the US do at the UN besides offering a $100m bribe? Washington and Moscow jointly demanded the UN seize the colony of West New Guinea and then invite the Indonesian military to seize the colony…

    Why? Because Papuans are black? Yes in part, but also because West Papua (West New Guinea) had the world’s largest gold deposit and Robert Lovett as a Freeport director wanted a cheap mining license – see the company’s spin at fcx.com

    The Cold-war was used as a cover-story for why the US wanted Indonesia to occupy West Papua, but it was always about the gold & other wealth to be stolen.. The war-on-terrorism was used as cover to excuse US support of the US Indonesia socirty of companies in 2002, while the slow genocide and mining of West Papua continues. People are right to point their fingers at China profiteering from Darfur, but it pales in contrast with the US funded slavery of West Papua
    see colonyWestPapua.info

  • Jake Kramer

    Anyone who’s spent time, coast to coast, in America, knows that we are generally a peace loving nation. Why criticize us all when the minority of greedy people and politicians have locked up control, but contain the seeds of their own destruction. America will always be free and peaceful. Don’t believe? Then go somewhere else.

  • Anonymous

    Your countrymen’s behavior in America is not the problem, its their political killings and gold mining in West Papua that is the immoral conduct.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1518851559 Kathryn J Maver

    Not so sure that we’re peace loving if more than half of us own guns. And if we are such a peace loving nation, why are we not out on the streets in protest when our elected government drops bombs on other countries on such a regular basis? How is that peaceful? Reality-denying, maybe, but not peaceful. What are you saying when you say “we are generally a peace loving nation”? What, to you, is peace?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1518851559 Kathryn J Maver

    If you are going to talk about Money and Politics, you should definitely invite David Graeber on for a discussion. He wrote both “Debt: The First 5000 Years” and “The Democracy Project.” He’s an American anthropologist who just took a position, I believe, at the London School of Economics.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.brambach Jason Brambach

    It’s hard to respond to judgement without criticizing and judging back, isn’t it? But then what happens to the dialogue? It is dead. Unless one can look for the universal core which is not american or papuan.

  • Ron Greenstein

    This a first draft that touches on some of the many possible functions a true coming together of “We The People” could serve.

    This a brief description of an idea for the formation of a party that is political in the broadest sense, whose mission is to initiate, organize, and execute ways to influence the United States of America to become as a nation of citizens of, by, and for the people–a nation that does little of nothing to harm and uplifts the spirits by considering the interests of all concerned.

    For time being this party can be referred to as the “B” (Be or Bee) Party. Its mission is generally twofold. It seeks to gather massive support from the citizenry by offering an wide assortment of opportunities how to express one’s support. This would include ways of expression that are easy, convenient, and affordable. This massive support which is also a powerful agreement of many would be used to influence the giants corporations in many industries to voluntarily choose to be caring, responsible concerns by adopting principles and guidelines that are sustainable, reverent toward the environment and fellow beings, that are promote fairness, safety, and security for their employees, vendors, and the citizens residing in the place(s) of operations. For a good example see: http://www.bcorporation.net/

    The suggested leadership for this party is a new model derived from “wisdom councils” (see: http://www.wisedemocracy.org/page11/page18/wisdom/wisdom_council_process.html

    All decisions, plan initiations and approvals will be dealt with by a wisdom council made up of 12 randomly selected from a pool of willing party members, supported by a facilitator and others providing needed data.

    The B Party does not seek to be a typical political part by running or endorsing candidates in elections. The corruption of the government and most current policies will not given any credence by playing in their games. The government will attend the B Party once it has purged itself of the corruption.

    The requirement of gathering massive numbers of supporters will include approaching the many thousands of mostly single-issue non-profit organizations seeking their willingness to recommend that their membership support the efforts and mission of the B Party.

    Membership in the B Party requires each member to do his best to 1) assert one’s support by following some planned activities that demonstrate the power The B Party is wielding and 2) to follow as many recommendations the B Party leadership (councils) decide are necessary to help fulfill its mission.

    Here is one practical example to give an idea of how the B Party might go about influencing the industries. A communication goes out to every major player in , say for example, the cellphone service industry. It is an enquiry as to whether the company(ies) is willing to adopt a charter similar to a B Corporation, and thus gradually have all the B Party membership become it customers by leaving the companies who refuse the suggestion. The question may come up as to what if no company is willing. One solution to this dilemma could be to raise funds in a trust in order to purchase one of these companies, and then virtually put the rest out of business. If this works out, it should only need to be done once.

    Please offer feedback about this idea, and please share this brief description with others.

  • SCREAMING_ FOR_IT
  • Anonymous

    Are you some kind of wacky Liberal?
    Hear is a shocker for you. It is always about money. 1000s of years before anyone ever dreamed about the USA or North America it has always been about money, sex and power.
    Hear is another shocker for you. Many of your Liberal Leaders have gotten filthy rich while espousing their Liberal crap to you, their chump supporters. Before you die of old age, wake up.
    Eisenhower warned about the industrial-military complex.
    I am watching a PBS program focusing on Papuans as I write this. I assume the “Papuans are Black” (your words, not mine) reference is meant to convey that they are being “targeted” to be taken advantage of. What “bleeding heart PBS” showed me was a bunch of “smoking (I know not what” Blacks appearing to think it is 1013, not 2013. But, should some problem arise, the bleeding heart Liberal Press will be pressuring the USA to “rush in” and help these people.

  • Anonymous

    What on Earth makes you think that Ron Paul is an “ordinary” person? Even if he is, being a ‘regular person’ with the wrong ideas (Ayn Rand’s buII-crap) doesn’t make him any better than the usual wealthy candidates with bad ideas.
    I really don’t care if the candidate is rich or not – I want a candidate that understands what is going on and is willing to do what is needed to fix this country.

  • Anonymous

    Because it improves ratings, and therefore advertising revenues. Love him or hate him, Norquist and his ilk generate public interest and that neams ratings and earnings for the networks. Nothing else matters to them any more.

  • Anonymous

    Here is a way to beat Monsanto and all other giant corporations at their own game:

    Incorporate We the People and issue equal non-transferable shares of stock in trillions of dollars of our public treasure (public lands, mineral resources, public airwaves, etc.) to each citizen before other corporations privatize and glom it all. An equal share would be issued at birth, and the share would be equally distributed to the public upon death.

    The dividends we all accrue from leases of our public resources will end poverty in America. Stock in our public treasure would also save it from being privatized, stolen and destroyed, as the corporate oligarchy is doing. Our shares and their dividends could not be garnished or expropriated.

    As a private corporation, We the People Inc. will be able to hire and fire our management in yearly online stockholders meetings. Our equal shares will give each American an equal voice in our corporation. This is Direct Grassroots Democracy.

    We the People Inc. would be the largest, richest and most powerful private corporation consisting of 300 million Americans with an equal voice in its management.

    (Similarly, a recent direct democratic Swiss initiative would give each citizen $2,800/mo.)

  • Jim

    I really enjoyed listening to Gretchen Morgenson. I would have enjoyed it much more if she wasn’t reading prepared answers. She is quite capable of answering impromptu questions in a real (not simulated) interview. This is ersatz journalism and I’m disappointed to see it on your otherwise critically aware program.

  • Anonymous

    Must be a conspiracy ? ABSOLUTELY !!!!

  • evilroyslade

    I have given up on our Republicans and Tea party, they vote to block Bill’s then use that failed Bill as a fund raiser campaign raising cash for their reelection then they have lost all credibility. Watching them flip flop and work against middle class issues is nearing criminal. IMO

  • Anonymous

    evilroyslade, I have given up on demon-rats, & republicans too, but I see much more less evil with the tea party ! I love the fact of bill moyer’s video on foxnews a couple weeks, “Our congress is totally corrupt ! If You knew the TRUTH, You would be ripping their heads of with our bare hands”

  • Anonymous

    Wilbur Clark, the logic is that evil, terrorist muslim obama & the one-party world government is clearly that they are planning to RV our economy, i.e. total collapse ! See the remark earlier on this thread…i will copy & paste it again for everyone,

    I love the fact of bill moyer’s video on foxnews a couple weeks, “Our congress is totally corrupt ! If You knew the TRUTH, You would be ripping their heads of with our bare hands”

  • Anonymous

    Excellent idea frigate, but do you think the evil & greedy SOB’s would give us a tiny penny ? I don’t think so.. Many people I know, expect a Major civil war to start in America in 2014 !!

  • Anonymous

    Again Wilbur Clark, It is a TRUE conspiracy, rothschild & soros is controlling almost the whole world ! They are planning to force a total collapse in America very soon !!! MANY will die !! Did You know that almost no one got a new, decent job the past 5 yrs, but 20,000 muslims got new jobs with our federal government, many of those jobs was worth over $100,000 !! Many ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, are taking our jobs, & they get free healthcare, free housing, no taxes, free education, && WE are paying for that too ! Do You think that obama will finish his death in natural causes ??? Many people HATE that man !

  • Anonymous

    katie Maver, those bombs will be ON OUR NATION SOON !!
    Yes, most of us are peaceful citizens, but when our evil leaders cause us to have a total collapse, WILL force us to fight back ! You do not believe that ??? && When a criminal or a muslim attacks us in local communities, many You would be very glad that You had a gun ! Most people that DO have guns, are for hunting or protecting our family’s & they are peaceful. How about Chicago the past 10 yrs, a gun free large city, but the criminal’s still have guns, & Chicago murders are up %500 !!
    If your community is gun-free, you are in must more of danger !