As we near the end of 2014, here’s a look back at the top 10 most popular segments of the year on BillMoyers.com.
1. What the 1 Percent Don’t Want Us to Know
Bill talks with Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, about a new book that’s the talk of academia and the media, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, a 42-year-old who teaches at the Paris School of Economics. In it Piketty shows that two-thirds of America’s increase in income inequality over the past four decades is the result of steep raises given to the country’s highest earners.
2. Neil deGrasse Tyson on Science, Religion and the Universe
A new poll by Pew Research finds that one-third of Americans do not believe in evolution, with Republicans far less likely to believe that humans evolved over time than Democrats. That may be why the teaching of evolution to children continues to be an often temper-flaming debate. In states like Texas, some public school students are opening their biology textbooks to find evolution described as “dogma” and an “unproved theory.” Bill speaks with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson about the role of religion in science class and other issues in a three-part interview.
3. The Deep State Hiding in Plain Sight
Mike Lofgren, a former GOP congressional staff member with the powerful House and Senate Budget Committees, joins Bill to talk about what he calls the Deep State, a hybrid of corporate America and the national security state, which is “out of control” and “unconstrained.” In it, Lofgren says, elected and unelected figures collude to protect and serve powerful vested interests. The Deep State’s heart lies in Washington, DC, but its tentacles reach out to Wall Street, which Lofgren describes as “the ultimate backstop to the whole operation,” Silicon Valley and over 400,000 contractors, private citizens who have top-secret security clearances.
4. Neil deGrasse Tyson on the New Cosmos
In the first part of his conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill speaks with the astrophysicist about the nature of an expanding, accelerating universe (and how it might end), the difference between “dark energy” and “dark matter,” the concept of God in cosmology and why science matters. “Science is an enterprise that should be cherished as an activity of the free human mind,” Tyson tells Bill. “Because it transforms who we are, how we live, and it gives us an understanding of our place in the universe.”
5. America Is a Horror Show
David Simon, journalist and creator of the TV series The Wire and Treme, talks with Bill about the crisis of capitalism in America. It’s a reality check from someone who artfully uses television drama to report on the state of America from an entirely different perspective — the bottom up. “The horror show is we are going to be slaves to profit. Some of us are going to be higher on the pyramid and we’ll count ourselves lucky and many many more will be marginalized and destroyed,” Simon tells Moyers.
6. Public Schools for Sale?
Education historian Diane Ravitch says the privatization of public education has to stop. As assistant secretary of education under President George H.W. Bush, she was an advocate of school choice and charter schools; under George W. Bush, she supported the No Child Left Behind initiative. But after careful investigation, she changed her mind, and has become, according to Salon, “the nation’s highest-profile opponent” of charter-based education.
7. Facing the Truth: The Case for Reparations
Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine, thinks it’s time for a bold step to change the way we talk and think about race in America. Bill speaks to Coates about his June cover story for the magazine, provocatively titled “The Case for Reparations.” In it, Coates argues that we have to dig deeper into our past and the original sin of slavery, confronting the institutional racism that continues to pervade society. From the lynching tree to today’s mass incarceration of young African-Americans, he says we need to examine our motives more intently and reconcile the moral debt and economic damage inflicted upon generations of black Americans.
8. Breaking Big Money’s Grip on Elections
Bernie Sanders, Vermont’s independent senator, is angry about what he sees as big money’s wholesale purchase of political power. It’s a grave threat, he believes, not only to our electoral process but to democracy itself. He says: “I think what we have to do, Bill, is lay out an agenda which says we are going to take on the billionaire class. You know what? We’re going to overturn Citizens United. We’re going to move to public funding of elections so these guys don’t buy elections.”
9. Elizabeth Warren on Fighting Back Against Wall St. Giants
In Oklahoma, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and her brothers grew up in “an America that invested in kids like us and helped build a future where we could flourish.” But, as she writes in her memoir, A Fighting Chance, “Today the game is rigged – rigged to work for those who have money and power.” Before returning to Washington for the start of Congress, Sen. Warren talks to Bill about the problems facing middle-class Americans. “The only chance we’ve got is if those families will turn back to their government and say, ‘I demand that you work for me, not for the billionaires, not for the millionaires. That you work for me.’”
10. Chaos in Iraq
Bill speaks with combat veteran and historian Andrew Bacevich about the events unfolding in Iraq and what they say about America’s role in the world. While some neoconservatives lament that our “world order shows signs of cracking, and perhaps collapsing,” thanks to Obama’s inclination to engage less in other countries, Bacevich sees things differently. “Let’s look at what US military intervention in Iraq has achieved, in Afghanistan has achieved, in Somalia has achieved, in Lebanon has achieved, in Libya has achieved. I mean, ask ourselves the very simple question. Is the region becoming more stable? Is it becoming more democratic? Are we alleviating, reducing the prevalence of anti-Americanism?”
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