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« Bill Moyers Rewind: Isaac Asimov (1988) | Main | Bill Moyers Rewind: After The War (2002) »

Race, Poverty, and the Inner City --- 40 Years Later

(Harris photo by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with former Senator Fred Harris (D-OK), one of the original members of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, better known as the Kerner Commission.

Convened by President Lyndon Johnson in the wake of 1967’s riots among inner-city blacks in Detroit and dozens of other cities, the Kerner Commission sought to learn what had happened, why the riots had occurred, and what could be done to prevent similar events from happening again. The resulting (and immediately controversial) 1968 Kerner Report concluded that the riots emerged from severe poverty and limited opportunity in America’s urban ghettoes, for which the Report blamed institutional racism.

The report recommended a series of measures to try and change the situation, including using the government to create jobs, expanding affirmative action, and beefing up welfare and other social services. Regarding the Commission’s recommendations, Harris said:

“I think virtually everything [the Kerner Commission recommended] was right... one of the awfulest things that came out of the Reagan presidency and later was the feeling that government can’t do anything right and that everything it does is wrong. The truth is that virtually everything we tried worked. We just quit trying it. Or we didn’t try it hard enough. And that’s what we need to get back to.

We made progress on virtually every aspect of race and poverty for about a decade after the Kerner Commission report and then, particularly with the advent of the Reagan administration and so forth, that progress stopped. And we began to go backwards... When we cut out a lot of these social programs, or the money for them... [and] we don’t emphasize jobs and training and education and so forth as we had been doing, there are bad consequences from that... I think what you need to do is to help people up, give ‘em a hand up. And recognize the kind of terrible conditions that they’re grown up in.”

Moyers also interviewed Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who offered his own perspective:

"The knee jerk reaction [is] to spend more money. Well, you know what? I can show you places in the city of Newark where we're doing more with less simply because we have good people stepping forward and saying, "I'm not gonna tolerate this any more in my nation, in my community, on my block." They're doing mentoring programs. You have grassroots leaders... Because it's all about the spirit. It all comes down to a spiritual transformation... At some point in America, we're going to have to get beyond blame and start accepting responsibility."

What do you think?

  • Are the Kerner Commission’s findings relevant today? Why or why not?

  • Are the Commission’s recommendations of more government-created jobs, expanded affirmative action, increased welfare, etc. a practical strategy for helping inner cities? Why or why not?

  • Which do you think is the more effective approach to tackling the problems of the inner city --- Fred Harris' top-down government strategy or Cory Booker's emphasis on individual and grassroots responsibility?


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    OUR "MOST BELOVED" AMERICA'S MOST SATANIC RELIGIONISM!
    Most respectfully, this message was also sent to
    UNIVERSAL RELIGIONISM !!!
    This Most-Loving Prayer was also addressed to Pope Benedict XVI – Most Faithfully!
    This is about The Most Criminal, World-Wide, RELIGIONISM – Ever!
    All that Our Whole World has ever needed - and still presently needs, foremost and more than ever – is A TRULY AMERICAN National Incorrupt Reevaluation!
    “HAPPY HOLIDAYS”!!!
    “MERRY CHRISTMAS”!!!
    “HAPPY NEW YEAR”!!!
    “HAPPY NEW CENTURY”
    ALMIGHTY GOD’S “NUCLEAR” WORLD’S TRUE AMERICAN DEMOCRACY; THAT IS, UNIVERSAL INDIVIDUAL EQUAL OPPORTUNITY TO ACHIEVE GOD’S HUMAN RIGHTS (HIS “BEST” “GIFTS”), shall never exist for us in our “America”, and in our “Free” “Nuclear” World, UNTIL BOTH CRUCIAL GOD’S DETERMINANTS – UNIVERSAL FUNCTIONAL LITERACY and UNIVERSAL GOOD-SAMARITAN HEALTH INSURANCE – are Legislatively Compelled (Constitutionally) as a Fully-Punishing Humanitarian Criminal Law; that is, until Our Insatiable Ultra Filthy-Wealthy CORPORATIST “American” Government so give the True Example, OF SUCH A SACRED UNIVERSALLY HUMAN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, for the sake of Our Most Exploited and Most Suffering Illiterate and Sick “American” World!
    Almighty God did not write HIS BIBLE just to “Inspire” The Implacable Religionist “Sacrosanct” Church-like Corporations of This World to use IT as toilet paper – that is, to use IT as Such a Globalized, Religionist, Materialist, PIOUSLY MUM, AND SO ULTIMATELY EQUALLY SUICIDAL-TERRORIST, SUBLIMINAL INHUMAN EXPLOITATION!
    Why “THE TRULY UNIVERSAL CHURCH” - as “FREE AND SEPARATE FROM THE STATE” NEVER TAKE ALL OF THESE, AS THE TRUE DAILY PREACHING INITIATIVE – AS TRUE RELIGIOUS LEADERS DID???!!! BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT ANY MORE “THE TRUE SERVANTS OF ALMIGHTY GOD” – AS THEY SO “FERVENTLY” CLAIM – BUT OF GOVERNMENTAL “COMFORTABLY” RAPACIOUS CORPORATIST MOST INHUMAN WORLD POLITICS!!!
    WHY ABSOLUTELY NOBODY SAY ANYTHING – SPECIALLY AT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS TIME -- ABOUT DENOUNCING AND UPROOTING ONCE AND FOR ALL OUR EVER ANTI-AMERICAN AND ANTI-DEMOCRATIC MOST SHAMELESSLY “HIDDEN” ILLITERACY AND LACK OF GOOD-SAMARITAN HEALTH INSURANCE!
    THE ONLY TRUE POLITICAL SPEECHES THAT OUR AMERICA NEEDS – FOR SALVATION – IS TRUE BEST RELIGIOUS INSPIRATION, BUT NEVER BY OUR OVER-CAMOUFLAGED PERPETUATION OF IRRELIGIOUS INHUMAN SLAVERY AND DISCRIMINATION!
    WHY ARE WE SO SILENT AND OBSTINATE?
    MAY WE TRULY PRAY THAT WE ALL TRUE SOLID AMERICANS REALLY ENABLE ALMIGHTY GOD TO BLESS (SAVE) OUR MOST BELOVED TRUE AMERICA!!!
    OTHERWISE, ANY OTHER CRIME OR ABORTION IS AN “INNOCENT” BY-PRODUCT!!!


    OUR "MOST BELOVED" AMERICA'S MOST EVIL CORPORATISM!
    Most respectfully, this message was also sent to
    UNIVERSAL CORPORATISM !!!
    This Most-Loving Prayer was also addressed to Pope Benedict XVI – Most Faithfully!
    THE WORST CRIME, EVER, AGAINST GOD’S HUMANITY – FOREVER?
    GLOBAL NUCLEAR PERPLEXITY!
    (In True Honor to Dr. Martin Luther King’s Most Patriotic Legacy!)
    The Nucleus of Our Whole World Ever-Growing Suicidal Nuclear Crisis is created by no other than The Most Defrauding and Most Greedy Ultra-Conservative and/or by Ultra-Libertine Politico-Religionism everywhere – Universally! Our Whole World has No True Religion Anywhere!
    The Nucleus of this Paramount Ambition of this Universal True Atheism is none other than The Global Most Voraciously Inhuman Corporative Economic Exploitation. All by extreme Global disregard of The Most Basic Human Universal Literacy and The Most Basic Universal Good-Samaritan Health Insurance. These two together are Almighty God’s True Democracy’s Vitally Essential Means for True Individual Equal Opportunity to reach GOD’S BEST Personal Human Gifts (RIGHTS).
    All of Our Vast Perpetually Dehumanized (as Illiterate and Sick) Western World, is ever more and more so “CRUCIFIED” or threatened with impunity by The Religionist-Instilled Fear of “Going to Hell” if they have “No Faith” - if disobedient to their Politico-Religionist “Leadership”; that is, “’Heaven’ is ‘Living’ in Satanic Exploitation”!
    Our Totally Politico-Religionist Western World has always even tried to expand Our Most-Voracious Greedy Corporatism to Our Islamic Eastern World’s “Friendly” Governments, but I most-strongly suspect that Islamic Religionism has an opposite but Equally Religionist-Inhuman Self-Defense: when Our Western Corporatist-Imposed Inhuman Intervention reach their Eastern Critical Level – like in Our Islamic World’s Unending Perplexity – The Islamic Religionist Counteracting “’Inspiration’-To-Go-To-Heaven” is The Ultra-Terrorist “Salvific” Individual Self-Immolation.
    All of these, for sure, are The Portending Symbolism of A- Most-Certain- Nuclear- Armageddon! NO WAY FOR NUCLEAR SALVATION!!!
    MAY WE TRULY PRAY THAT WE ALL – TRUE SOLID-AMERICANS – REALLY ENABLE THE ALMIGHTY TO BLESS (SAVE) OUR MOST-BELOVED TRUE AMERICA!!!
    OTHERWISE, ANY OTHER CRIME OR ABORTION IS AN “INNOCENT” BY-PRODUCT!!!

    A synopsis for the media portion of show Friday Feb. 6th is - the media is 'framing the debate'. Anything that falls outside that pre-supposed frame is considered/labeled 'radical'. By creating this false realty, the boundries of 'acceptable' are established. The point is - the mainstream of the american public is for the most part outside of that frame, even if they are not aware of it (keep in mind I'm not advocating the 'tyranny of the majority' either). Through semantics/spin/and misdirection the mainstream media treats the public like an infant that it needs to teach, when of course the opposite true.

    I'm not worried about the views and biases of the traditional media quite so much, when the same pundits as those you discussed on your show tonight are showing up on media death watch web sites like this. [ http://www.newspaperdeathwatch.com/ ]

    I look forward to the day when a "Rush Limbaugh" can only aspire to earning as much as you do.

    Нужна информация о [url=http://www.radiocom.su/radios/motorola/]рациях[/url]. Нужно - оперативно запустить беспроводную связь на предприяти при помощи радиостанций. Нужна максимально возможная дальнобойность и простота обслуживания.
    У наших сотрудников совсем не имеется опыта в радиосвязи, в связи с чем убедительно просим оказать помощь с оптимальным выбором рации.

    Mr. Moyers (and staff)

    This is written in response to your post about 40 years later.

    I think we need to revise, revamp and adjust our country.

    I think it is like a juggler who is juggling 4 running chain saws.
    You CAN't drop any of them, they are all important.

    Such it is with our society.
    We need to help our country, including a living wage, federally paid day care starting at six monthss, guaranteed paid maternity/paternity leave,
    training programs, tax reform, jobs training, and even a nationalized health care program...

    Pleae visit this blog to see the points.

    Nations in so-called poor" or "third-world" regions are more intelligently dealing with employing poor people in the new energy age (non-fossil fuels). A city in China just won a sustainable energy award, whilst "Royal Dutch" Shell
    CEO begs to dig in the dirt under every square inch of US soil, and in the oceans at offshore black gold rush mischances of the dice rolls.

    It is the old fossil geezers running the big US corporations, autos, big oil especially, industries that are preventing prosperity for not only the vast majority of Americans, but every other human being on earth.

    Murdering murdering murdering.

    Of course the lapdogs of these stupid "rulers" of the universe, the Corporate Media and US federal government political "leaders," are sort of a laughingstock--I have this vision: Moses, Jesus and Mohammad are watching their followers, and laughing their heads off.

    "Wow our followers sure are acting like bozos...they love the nuclear boom boom, that might excite them." says Jesus.

    "Dorks for sure. I'd rater have my beard infested with lice than be in their midst. But their actions do recommend them going extinct-easing their mental insipidities and pain finally." Moses replies.

    "More like little mud guppies. In my day they jumped off cliffs to off themselves, crazy as loons, causing me to step forward--now they and their diabolical machines spring headlong into themselves in suicidal thrusts." observes Mohammad.
    _________________
    http://www.cleanenergyawards.com/top-navigation/nominees-projects/nominee-detail/project/60
    Leverage of the project:
    "(...)
    To date, about 20 youth in the Kibera Slum, and numerous people around Kenya and surrounding countries, have benefited directly from this program for manufacturing small-scale solar PV panels. The youth have gained employment and experiences that will enrich their lives, while others in the urban slum and beyond have gained access to clean energy that has improved their quality of life (and perhaps provided employment opportunities as well). The small solar panels that the Kibera youth produce are affordable for many people who cannot otherwise afford energy services, and they provide clean energy in place of disposable batteries (that have damaging environmental impacts when disposed of) or batteries charged with grid power - thereby displacing some fossil fuel use. Groups in neighboring countries have already requested training programs so that they can undertake similar projects. This model of economic opportunity (employment and training of youth) and access to clean energy can be replicated elsewhere in Africa and in other countries that have access to good solar resources."

    Ed Dodson: I feel compelled to report on my review of William Vickery. He was an old time Keynesian economist who taught at Columbia and was renowned for his pioneering use of game theory in situations of asymmetrical knowledge. I find his adaptation of Georgism to be an intensification of the commercialism that plagues citizen control and lessens cultural capital. I do not mean to suggest that George or Vickery did not take the general welfare to heart. Vickery's work itself has now been transcended by deregulation and the shenanigans of elite corporate speculators. Game theory assumes set rules of behavior which no longer exist. Vickery's analysis of national debt, debt service and inflation are now out of context due to wholesale transfer of elite speculator losses onto American taxpayers and the atrophy of U.S. manufacturing capacity and strategic self-sufficiency.
    At a time when our military is exhausted and our corporate sector have become the crazy firebug arsonists of the planet it is wildass crazy to assume a few toll roads and tinkering with the tax structure will make a difference. This is McCain-level psychosis! You are a well-spoken and humanitarian man Ed, but you are either in denial or miraculously ill-informed.
    Sleep well in your Georgist dream. (This is rhetoric, feel free to clobber me in retaliation. Hit my role models. What fun!)
    I wonder your take on 9/11, the coming Famine, and the overdue 2nd Great Depression?

    Ed Santoro, below, wrote a woderful description of how America has been hollowed out for profit and control motives. Everyone should read it! Re-read it.

    Ed Dodson: Thank you, so far this is the best and most coherent comeback I've ever had on the Moyers' blog. I had spent a little time examining your site before I wrote my post but I just wanted to needle an ideological competitor. You have made some thoughtful assertions and concessions. I will look at Bill Vickrey again as you suggest, but I do assert that George is out of date in relation to current events, as is Payne and even Dr. King. I consider pressing current events to be exemplified by:
    1. The inside job on 9/11
    2.The coming famine due to global climate change, along with scientific and military strategic food production sabotage
    3.The transfer of speculative debt to U.S. taxpayers (equivalents in other countries) through frauds of derivatives trading and currency trading among other financial shenanigans

    My main issue has always been worker self-management and ownership: autogestion (a word derived from another outdated and contradictory ideologue, Joseph Proudhon, the originator of anarchism.) At 57, and with all my disabilities, I can hardly call myself an anarchist.
    Please continue to critique or refute my provocations, as I will your posts. I consider the Moyers blog an informal educational institution. You may contact Beret Co-op Folk School at beretco.op@gmail.com should you feel inclined.

    In response to comments I posted on Aril 4, Jack Martin commented as follows:

    "Henry George was 'cool' in his time but his tax plan is equivalent to the failed (as per fairness to workers) value added tax and the collection of fees for the use of natural resources has also been corrupted under our government.

    Ed Dodson here:
    The arguments made by George and other political economists remain valid. The extent to which public policy is made because of corruption is a separate matter.

    ***

    "And here you come along after most everything is ruined and needs reclaimation claiming the people can rent this stuff out. Your Cooperative Individualism seems contradictory and anachronistic to me."

    Ed Dodson here:
    Thoughtful people must do what we can to achieve constructive change. Agreeing on what constitutes changes that are at the same time just, economically efficient and consistent with wise stewardship of the earth is still a distant hope.

    I have chosen to devote much of my energy to initiating a global public dialogue on the issues, and the principles of cooperative individualism provide the framework for this dialogue. I invite you to study these principles as presented at the School of Cooperative Individualism website.

    As for the idea of relying on "economic rent" as the primary source of public revenue, economists (particularly those whose work focuses on sustainability and efficient use of natural resources) are beginning to embrace this concept. You might take a look at the writings of William Vickrey, for example, who won the Nobel Prize for Economics in the mid-1990s.

    ***

    "Tom Paine was also "cool" in his day, but that was 250 years ago, at a time when big capitalism was just emerging. Tom was a big guillotne man in France after he left the states, and that scares rich people."

    Ed Dodson here:
    Paine's insights are timeless, I suggest. He is under-appreciated as a political philosopher and as an economic theorist. In many respects, he was far ahead of his contemporaries. The Rights of Man stands out as one of the great works of any age.

    As for your comment regarding executions in France, Paine was attacked and condemned by Robespierre because of his arguments against execution of the King and Queen. He was no friend of monarchy or aristocracy, but he viewed the execution of those who were in power as acts of vengeance rather than acts of justice.

    ***

    "Hey, Ed Dodson, that's an idea. Martin Luther King is not as badly out of date as George and Paine."

    Ed Dodson here:
    Well, as it turns out, King was an admirer of Henry George's ideals and referred to him in several of his speeches and his final book. The online library at the School of Cooperative Individualism contains several of King's writings that take a page from Henry George.

    Great program this week.

    One thing that strikes me when the issue of race comes up is how little we look below the surface for the larger questions and responses. Moyer's' Journal is one of the best forums for such questions.

    That said, I keep looking for someone to refer to Orwell's 1984 when looking at race and military expenditures. Orwell put forth the idea that the reason powerful nations go to war is not to secure treasure or even political control, but to spend down their surplus revenues so that they won't run the risk of raising per capita health care standards, education, and wealth to the point that too many citizens/subordinates/consumers would have too much leisure leisure time and not enough of an incentive to work low level service jobs.

    It's helpful to remember that the British colonies only revolted when they began experiencing independent wealth and security. When they were struggling to survive, they had no problem with British rule.

    Though Orwell's novel is fiction, its logic allows for an interesting line of questioning. It was only about ten years ago, a journalist, I forget her name, discovered a very long term agenda of the Republicans deliberately to outspend government coffers so there would not be government revenues for education, health care, and other public services, making privatization of these services a foregone conclusion, so that any party in government would have no other choice. The current war serves this agenda very nicely.

    As the painful effects of these policies are now beginning to be felt, and have been increasingly so for the past fifteen years or so, a larger swath of Americans of all color and socio-economic groups, I can only hope that real change will be the only forgone conclusion we have.

    I do think Obama is the only presidential candidate with the will to make this fight.

    The Kerner Commission was exactly correct. I read a quote from a prominent politician who said about the perks of the office "...that is our due". We are at the end of a long line of giving the politicians what they believe is their due. If they were truly representing their constituents, we citizens, the solutions to the problems presented by the Kerner Commission would have been implemented 40 years ago. Now, we are still at the starting gate and we still have politicians who think their job is to manipulate the voters to get elected and pursue their own interests once they are in office. A recent poll I heard about says that 81% of Americans think we are on the wrong track. What does it take for the government to pay attention to its citizens.

    TELEVISION, RACE, AND OBAMA
    As the nation commemorates the fortieth anniversary of Dr. King’s death on April 4 and the publication of the landmark Kerner Commission Report on race in America, several questions must be raised. How effective is mass media in breaching the racial divide in America? Is today’s American television journalism part of the problem or part of the solution for bridging America’s racial divide?

    In this YouTube age, have mainstream media outlets gone too far in relying on user-generated content – images and sound bites that virtually anyone with a digital camera can post, selectively edit, and manipulate? What is the obligation of editorial staffs within large media conglomerates? Should not media submissions require the same rigorous journalistic standards as traditional print journalism, ensuring that news is reported fairly and accurately to the public?

    A blatant example of television’s editorial abuses involved Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s controversial remarks, edited from several sermons preached at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, posted on You Tube, and broadcast ad infinitum on virtually every major television network and cable outlet without benefit of their full context. The networks’ selective editorial use of the Wright clips raises serious concerns regarding television’s responsibility to the viewer.

    Ultimately any opportunity for meaningful public discourse is suppressed when television executives neglect to exercise sound editorial standards. By refusing to print or broadcast Wright’s full sermons, relevant material was in fact censored, denying viewers opportunity to form intelligent opinions or engage in further inquiry to become better informed on the merits of the issues presented as fact. Instead, viewers are positioned to internalize the networks’ preferred narrative spin, which often corresponds to the larger political views held by their corporate executives and is far from fair and balanced reporting.

    Such reporting must be called out for what it is – propaganda disguised as news. Despite the fact that a story’s broader context is often needed for accurate reporting with journalistic integrity, the increasing frequency with which use of raw private video content is now seen as news prompts further ethical concerns. There is a growing trend for mass media to use video snippets, cloaked as hard news but designed to shape public opinion, as the basis for today’s fast-breaking news stories.

    There is a place for eye-witness digital accounts of natural disasters, accidents, or crime scenes shot by ordinary citizens, but in a high-stakes national political contest the presentation of excerpted statements broadcast out of context from their larger complex narratives can be too easily manipulated or exploited for political advantage. Wright’s most controversial statements were aired repeatedly, seeping deep into America’s collective conscience long enough to seriously taint Obama’s post-racial credentials and plummeting his standing in national polls.

    Instead of taking the high road, the unspoken conservative media subtext played out as this headline by default: “Birds of a Feather: Trinity Church’s Black Militant Chicago Pastor and His Most Famous Spiritual Disciple, Presidential Candidate Barack Obama Damn Nation.” Wright’s rhetorical flourishes when critiqued out of context can easily be interpreted as unpatriotic and blasphemous. However, the prophetic preaching tradition compels a prospective convert to experience the gospel message in its totality, with all of its nuance, tone, cadence, and body language, mediated by the listener’s predisposition to discern spiritual and biblical truth spoken to power.

    Openness to the gospel narrative does not make African American church goers gullible sycophants, incapable of distinguishing good from evil or the sacred from the profane. Christians are challenged to distinguish between human government and God’s kingdom. Such preaching is part of a rich linguistic endowment innate to black oral tradition. Although the term Black Liberation Theology was eventually mentioned to describe Wright’s teachings at the Trinity United Church of Christ, on-air discussions did little to inform viewers about the beliefs and theological tenets of this theology.

    Wounded politically, Barack Obama boldly tackled the issue of race head-on in an intimate, authoritative speech on March 18 offered balance, historical perspective, and keen insight into one of the nation’s most intractable problems. Obama took the initiative to push us toward a national dialogue that the mainstream media has been hesitant to engage.

    The Wright controversy provided a rare window of opportunity for media and journalists to provide a much-needed analysis and historical perspective for understanding the racial divide – a chance to lead toward solutions. Yet the media in this instance as in too many others, chose to provide too little information too late and thus remains part of the problem.

    I had to comment that this show was one of the best and believe me it is hard for any of Bill's shows to top another. What a delightful man is Senator Fred Brown and kudos to him for continuing to do the good work

    Also, the profile of Corey Booker was amazing. What a sensational young man. A man who by all accounts lived an upper class life and could have been anything he wanted to be yet he chose to be Mayor of one of the most difficult cities in the United States. America should be bursting with pride to have such wonderful people like Mayor Booker and Senator Obama who are making great sacrifices for all of us.

    Edward Dodson: Henry George was "cool" in his time but his tax plan is equivalent to the failed (as per fairness to workers) value added tax and the collection of fees for the use of natural resources has also been corrupted under our government. Just look how we've been screwed out of revenues for , use of water,, road access, waterway travel, use of ports, waste disposal, mining, grazing, harvesting trees and so on. Our country couldn't even honor its agreements with native Americans. And here you come along after most everything is ruined and needs reclaimation claiming the people can rent this stuff out. Your Cooperative Individualism seems contradictory and anachronistic to me. That cat is out of the bag. Tom Paine was also "cool" in his day, but that was 250 years ago, at a time when big capitalism was just emerging. Tom was a big guillotne man in France after he left the states, and that scares rich people. I suggest you try starting with conditions as they exist to find solutions and not from theoretical artificialities existing only in a history book or your own mind. We are on the verge of a worldwide famine, catastrophic climate change, the hollowing out of our country by financial pirates and you want to tinker a little with the tax structure. People can sure live in a dream world!

    Ethan Allen: Boy, I thought you were headed somewhere when you were discussing "champerties" as a concept to define our corruption and control dilemma. Now you ain't even a Yankee, with your rascist spewing on the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination by James Earl Ray and the covert government. Barack Obama is just your typical U.S. Senator except for having a Kenyan daddy. The U.C.C. church he attended (denomination as a whole) has always been on the edge of liberation theology rhetoric. They are one of the parties who financed my year long tour of veterans hospitals in the 70s. Try listening to a whole Rev. Wright sermon and not just the highlights. It is as boring as any white Methodist or Lutheran preaching over all. He is in the inner city trying to convert Black Muslim youths, you dummy. I don't intend to vote for "white bread" Obama, but race baiting is not a legitimate way to discredit him in these times.

    Hey, Ed Dodson, that's an idea. Martin Luther King is not as badly out of date as George and Paine. Try starting where he left off (involuntarily , I might add). He was figuring people needed living waged jobs, and that each worker should own part of the enterprise. I know, I was a Highlander boy myself.My role model is Myles Horton.

    Looking for a solution to mankind's manmade inequity is the same as Einstien's search for a unified field theory (UFT), the unification of nature is simply to equate. Equal or = is nature's true balance, nature's justice, nature's undivided truth. Only nature's truth of equality and practice of that solution or truth will rebalance nature, and set the universe free.

    =
    MJA

    There are millions of Americans who have or are significantly impacted by disability. This underutilized community manpower resource could provide tremendous public service if interested, consistently and reliably organized.

    Public understanding and social acceptance might even result in the far distant future.

    People might learn and share what they are geniunely proud each day with others and benefit everyone in the community.

    Would you?


    Darwin Vaught
    Charleston, WV

    Strange as this will sound to most readers, the means by which poverty -- and the societal strife associated therewith -- can be permanently eliminated has been known for centuries. A close reading of the works of many of history's most thoughtful writers provides the answers.

    Near the end of the 19th century, one writer in particular -- Henry George -- resurrected their insights and embarked on a crusade to change the course of history. Sadly, the momentum his generated dissipated with his death in 1897. Yet, his books and speeches provide us with the keys to a peaceful and sustainable future.

    Henry George believed that the most important right of human beings was our equal birthright to the earth. His investigations confirmed that this birthright was denied to the vast majority of people and had been so denied for most of recorded history. His solution was deceptively simple:

    "To secure fully the individual right of property in the produce of labor we must treat the elements of nature as common property."

    This did not mean that government should own all land natural resources, only that those who did so should compensate the community and society for the privilege enjoyed. Market forces would determine what the propery annual fee (what the political economists called "rent") would be for control over any specific location or tract of land. George went on to argue that government should rely on this rent fund to pay for public goods and services, removing taxes from incomes earned by producing goods and providing services; and, removing taxes from the assets people actually produced (e.g., buildings, machinery, other equipment).

    What would be the outcome if we adopted these changes in our societal structure? George offered this:

    "Thus the great cause of the present unequal distribution of wealth would be destroyed, and the one-sided competition cease which now deprives men who possess nothing but power to labor of the benefits of advancing civilization, and forces wages to a minimum no matter what the increase of wealth. Labor, free to the natural elements of production, would no longer be incapable of eomploying itself, and competition, acting as fully and freely between employers as between employed, would carry wages up to what is truly their natural rate -- the full value of the produce of labor -- and keep them there."

    The tens of thousands of people who rallied to Henry George in the late 19th century faced enormous challenges in the political realm. The power of monopolistic interests can never be overestimated.

    George's message was taken up after his death in the U.K. by none other than Winston Churchill, campaigning in the early 1900s as a liberal. In Rusia, Leo Tolstoy did his best to get the Czar to adopt Henry George's program to save Russia from revolution. And, in China, Sun Yat-sen included much of George's ideas in his plan for an independent and united Chinese republic.

    PJB: A Brief for Whitey


    By Patrick J. Buchanan

    How would he pull it off? I wondered.

    How would Barack explain to his press groupies why he sat silent in a pew for 20 years as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright delivered racist rants against white America for our maligning of Fidel and Gadhafi, and inventing AIDS to infect and kill black people?

    How would he justify not walking out as Wright spewed his venom about “the U.S. of K.K.K. America,” and howled, “God damn America!”

    My hunch was right. Barack would turn the tables.

    Yes, Barack agreed, Wright’s statements were “controversial,” and “divisive,” and “racially charged,” reflecting a “distorted view of America.”

    But we must understand the man in full and the black experience out of which the Rev. Wright came: 350 years of slavery and segregation.

    Barack then listed black grievances and informed us what white America must do to close the racial divide and heal the country.

    The “white community,” said Barack, must start “acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination — and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past — are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds … .”

    And what deeds must we perform to heal ourselves and our country?

    The “white community” must invest more money in black schools and communities, enforce civil rights laws, ensure fairness in the criminal justice system and provide this generation of blacks with “ladders of opportunity” that were “unavailable” to Barack’s and the Rev. Wright’s generations.

    What is wrong with Barack’s prognosis and Barack’s cure?

    Only this. It is the same old con, the same old shakedown that black hustlers have been running since the Kerner Commission blamed the riots in Harlem, Watts, Newark, Detroit and a hundred other cities on, as Nixon put it, “everybody but the rioters themselves.”

    Was “white racism” really responsible for those black men looting auto dealerships and liquor stories, and burning down their own communities, as Otto Kerner said — that liberal icon until the feds put him away for bribery.

    Barack says we need to have a conversation about race in America.

    Fair enough. But this time, it has to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.

    This time, the Silent Majority needs to have its convictions, grievances and demands heard. And among them are these:

    First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

    Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.

    Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ’60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.

    Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks — with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas — to advance black applicants over white applicants.

    Churches, foundations, civic groups, schools and individuals all over America have donated time and money to support soup kitchens, adult education, day care, retirement and nursing homes for blacks.

    We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?

    Barack talks about new “ladders of opportunity” for blacks.

    Let him go to Altoona and Johnstown, and ask the white kids in Catholic schools how many were visited lately by Ivy League recruiters handing out scholarships for “deserving” white kids.

    Is white America really responsible for the fact that the crime and incarceration rates for African-Americans are seven times those of white America? Is it really white America’s fault that illegitimacy in the African-American community has hit 70 percent and the black dropout rate from high schools in some cities has reached 50 percent?

    Is that the fault of white America or, first and foremost, a failure of the black community itself?

    As for racism, its ugliest manifestation is in interracial crime, and especially interracial crimes of violence. Is Barack Obama aware that while white criminals choose black victims 3 percent of the time, black criminals choose white victims 45 percent of the time?

    Is Barack aware that black-on-white rapes are 100 times more common than the reverse, that black-on-white robberies were 139 times as common in the first three years of this decade as the reverse?

    We have all heard ad nauseam from the Rev. Al about Tawana Brawley, the Duke rape case and Jena. And all turned out to be hoaxes. But about the epidemic of black assaults on whites that are real, we hear nothing.

    Sorry, Barack, some of us have heard it all before, about 40 years and 40 trillion tax dollars ago.

    It won't matter what big city mayors want if Wall street speculators have their way with our government!
    See Terry Gross's Fresh Air of April 3, 2008 (at WHYY archive) if you want to know what is causing our Great Depression. See also recent articles by Wessel, Borosage:
    links available on Taxpayer's Bill of Rights page.
    This is really, really urgent!

    James Monroe Powell:
    Thanks for your highly constructive clarification. I admit that we are beginning to talk past one another so this thread must be concluded. The dichotomy between emotional and rational responses to scarcity is enlightening. As for the bakery, I bake at home and would probably tend to attack the miller when irrational.
    As for competence, this blog illustrates the sort of self-education I have described and advocated. Most of us here illustrate our intellectual shortcomings and agendas, but this seems no barrier to speaking out. It may be the task of some parties here to join Moyers in a Socratic role. I have admitted some mistakes and misperceptions on this blog and have become a better Folk School leader because of Moyers blog interactions.
    Thank you J. P. for communicating with an amateur intellectual and provocature.
    I will edit-scan new pages for your instructive posts.
    Feel free to critique my submissions.

    J. Martin,

    Ironically, our collaborative analysis has us venturing into an area, psychology of scarcity, where neither of us has extensive academic credentials. Upon further review of both of our arguments, it appears that we have arrived at an examination of the human psychological response to market scarcity and its effects upon individual citizens and societies in general. Since I can only draw inferences or make deductions based upon my own observations, please feel free to correct me if I venture astray.

    J.M. as I see it, there are two basic responses to the imposition of scarcity upon a human being - rational or emotional. The rational response attempts to identify casual factors underlying the reduction in supply while the emotional response attempts to assign blame upon and individual or group. For example, a rational mode of inquiry would attempt to ascertain whether or not the scarcity being experienced is naturally occurring or is it artificial in nature? Then, the natural logical progression from that point is to determine how the good (jobs, gasoline, food, etc…) was produced – is it a man made product, or is it naturally produced? If it is a man made product, then the natural line of inquiry extends to the manufactures’ inability to meet the demands of the market. Why are the manufactures unable to meet the demands of the marketplace? For example, one of the reasons why gasoline is experiencing a period of what I would characterize as run away double digit inflation is because of limited refinery capacity. In short, we haven’t built any new refineries in the past twenty years. So, production capacity has remained fixed despite the increase in demand over time. Although there exist other casual factors, increased demand from China & India, Geo-Political instability within oil producing countries, corporate greed – a desire to keep gas prices at historic highs in an attempt to maximize shareholder profits- and limited exploration or discovery of new oil fields, the one factor that we should have exercised more control over was the construction of new refineries.

    Regarding the emotional response, this is the more primal of the two mental processes, and in fact probably involves accessing areas of the brain which were formed early in its development. Believe it or not, this emotional response is closely linked with the instinctive human drive for self-preservation because the instance of unanticipated scarcity is often perceived as a real threat to life or lifestyle. This threat response in humans can easily be observed when an instance of bread scarcity results in a corresponding attack upon the local bakery. Even though the bakery is the producer of the very good that helps sustain their lives, the emotional response is to lash out at it because it has failed to meet their demands and now poses a perceived threat to their lives. Perhaps, this is symptomatic of a societal transition from an agrarian society, where individuals were once self employed and dependent upon only God and Earth to provide their daily bread, to that of an industrial market economy, where all citizens were made dependent upon the all powerful market, to provide for their needs. But, the real question is what happens when the all powerful market fails? Then, it would appear, the victims of the fall have only government to turn to in order to alleviate the scarcity in question (jobs, gasoline, food, etc…) Unfortunately, when governments fail to alleviate the scarcity in question for its citizenry, they are usually dissolved violently by the same threat response on a national scale. In short, bloody violent revolution!

    J.M. it has been a pleasure exploring the psychology of scarcity with you, but this subject deserves an entire book devoted to its related topics in sociology, economics, politics, anthropology, and psychology. Perhaps, our conversation on this blog will spur some intellectual to begin that line of inquiry.

    Bill is a fact finder. He is a very rare man in a nation beseiged by hypocracy and complacensy.
    I wish we had more of Bill Moyers in our media system

    J. M. Powell:
    Thanks for the definition of the racist scarcity syndrome I was attempting to describe. You blame politicians for exploiting Group Threat Theory, but I believe others with specific goals are even more integral to this phenomenon. I have a strong interest in dimensional power studies and begin with the work of Steven Lukes (NYU-"Power: A Radical View). John Gaventa ("Power and Powerlessness") explored multidemensional asymmetrical relations in the Appalachian community to test these ideas, and I come honestly to this thinking from association with Gaventa. Just by possessing greater means some persons or groups psychicly silence and paralyze those having much less, so it is not surprising that people act against their own knowledge and interests for survival. Just last night I was talking with an older white woman who was an activist, but is now a repressed bartender touting fraudulent booster schemes for ruthless exploiters in her own community. There is really nothing in it for her except an undocumented job and about $35 a night in tips. She's unhappy because she knows it's wrong but feels she has no choice financially. I am frustrated at not having an alternative to offer.
    As for education I believe an apprenticeship model is better than the classroom in most instances. I have taught building trades in a proprietary school and seen the graduates emerge with over 20K in loan debt. We are wasting people's time in classrooms when they could be learning hands-on, and we are teaching more and more useless and exploitive subject matter. I think people can learn and do good in the community at the same time. We are too obsessed with credentials. You must have learned by now from experience that degrees don't always correspond to capabilities. The educational individualism you advocate seems to me incompatible with your systems theory model of a positive sum game. This is the same mistake made by Jimmy Carter (another of my heroes) in the late 70s. This society is dog eat dog because those with the say so prefer it. A high percentage of office jobs today are non-productive and contrary to common interests. The fraud, deceit and manipulation that surround sales is only surpassed by operations in customer service where deserved benefits and rights are denied. Both medicine and education typify these negative tendancies, and these intimate interfaces are now being exploited to invade personal privacy for sequential exploitation.

    J.P. (Please don't call me Mr. Martin. I am a humble weaver and teacgher.) I was not suggesting that the knowledge you and I have accumulated is worthless. We did the work ourselves but paid for the evaluation and certification, sometimes with a little guidance and often being used to generate ideas for others higher up in the education game. People are now also paying too high a price for a defective product we call education, which is partly mis-socialization.

    You have not addressed the economic facts of trading peonage for status in a country that is basically zero sum in its operation.Right now the formal workforce is shrinking as more and more people need living waged jobs. A person doesn't have to be a whore or drug dealer to die from working, a good example would be nail salon workers. It is an unusual situation where a handsome creole intellectual is more conservative in his assessment of reality than a white as a potato old former carpenter with some scattered higher education. You do know your African American history, but I don't think you have fully accepted the dire prospects of all U.S. residents if we don't critique and resist.I share your anxiety that a revolution would make my knowledge (and diplomas) less relevant but you and I will not live forever, and we have responsibilities to those who succeed us as well as those who are suffering now.

    Thanks so much for your analysis and response. I wish more persons on this blog would interact to refine hopeful strategies.

    Letter to Mr. Jack Martin

    Mr. Martin the intensification of racist sentiment during periods of stark material deprivation that you speak of is known in the realm of Political Science as Group Threat Theory. In essence, human beings instinctively seek to assign blame upon someone or something for circumstances which are often outside of their sphere of influence or understanding. So, race groups that are seen as competing for the same scare resources are often targeted by politicians because it shifts the scrutiny and blame away from their own failed economic policies. Instead of looking at the underlying casual economic factors bringing about the market scarcity and addressing them by creating incentives for increased production of whatever the scarce goods are jobs, gas, wheat, etc… politicians all too often give into demagogy and play upon the fears of their constituents. In sort, the zero sum game becomes the only game in town, and for me to win economically somebody else has to lose. Although many hold this socially Darwinist view of the allocation process as gospel, I feel that a positive sum game, where both consumers and producers win, can exist if the proper incentive and disincentive structures are put into place via government policy. For example, in order to ease demand for gas, the President could easily mandate that all government vehicles run on natural gas, hydrogen, electricity, or run off of a hybrid gas electric engines by 2010. These profitable government contracts would in turn spur investment in alternative fuels within the auto industry by profit seeking suppliers while reducing carbon emissions and overall consumption for gas.

    With respect to your pessimistic view of the economic benefits of education, I am in total disagreement. Since laborers enter the marketplace and advertise their respective skill sets to prospective employers in an attempt to secure a job, those skills are paramount in determining whether or not the laborer in question qualifies for employment. Moreover, the acquisition of skill sets can only occur through the education process. Whether, the position is a policeman, plumber, electrician, doctor, lawyer, or engineer, all of these respective positions required some period of training, and the more skilled the position the longer the period of study. In fact, by removing the education process, the end result is an unskilled laborer. Surly, you cannot be forwarding the argument that an unskilled laborer will fair just as well economically as a highly skilled laborer in the information age economy of today. Perhaps, such an unskilled laborer would fair well in the squalid underground economy of prostitution, and drug trafficking, but the risks of being imprisoned or murdered, are far greater for that unskilled laborer than for a plumber. As I see it, higher education, though it may not guarantee anyone a career, it does significantly increase the odds in your favor of finding gainful employment within your field of specialization. Personally, I would rather have a degree, than not have one.


    By the way, my ethnicity is quite a racial mix, my grandfather on my mother’s side was white, my mother is considered Creole and my father was a descendent of slaves that were force ably imported from western Africa. In other words, I’m a forty two year old African American male with a Master’s degree in Political Science, a minor in economics, a minor in philosophy, a recently completed Advanced Certificate in Information Technology, and I to sometimes find myself looking for work in this Bush economy.

    Great show.

    Two fine guests.

    Booker really gets it. What's most astonishing is that he gets what spiritual transformation actually is. He should run for President. What a fine human being. Newark is lucky to have him onboard.

    Thank you

    James Monroe Powell:
    Your command of language and your historical knowledge are enviable. I assume here (though I may be mistaken) that you are a white man of middle years.
    I differ with you on both racism and the positive effects of education.
    Racism intensifies under deprivation. I cite Nazi Germany and 1980s Yugoslavia as well as genocides in Africa as examples. When the pie is smaller and government is no longer able to deliver approximate equity people tend to resort to ethnic affinities, nationalism, xenophobia, religion and other simpler affinities to exclude those they perceive as competitors. (An enjoyable example is the German film "THe Tin Drum." ). While I have not experienced Iraq directly I assume this has also been the case there. Blacks have been a convenient tool for American labor exploiters, a means of dividing to conquer resistant labor. Anyone who lived through the middle of the 20th century saw jobs migrate away from our metropolises. Advantages were institutionalized by government. Unfortunately in the present downturn, resentment at competing ethnic groups will tend to intensify without counteraction by egalitarian grassroots movements.
    Education is no guarantee of employment or success in times of scarcity. During the Great Depression it was conspicuous how many well-educated persons lost their jobs. Since then the workforce has become more vulnerable. The increase of specialization and the velocity of technological change tend to lessen the possibility of adapting to another type of employment. It is also harder to scale down since our workforce of 140 million is beginning to shrink and people at the bottom are desperate due to our lack of a real safety net. PBS Now reported several weeks ago that 40% of our workforce are temporaries and self-employed contractors. No wonder so many lose work but don't file for unemployment benefits. They're not eligible in many cases. The demographic of a higher median age means that 50 and 60 year olds quietly retire from the official workforce. It is also estimated that 50 million people work in the underground economy, not paying taxes and often involved in petty criminal enterprises.
    Education is problematic when it costs so much relative to income and the loans are so crippling. Community college and vocational schooling tend to overpopulate fully occupied job categories and drive down wages. I have recently witnessed the same phenomenon in the insurance industry where new desperate college graduates are used to replace forced out older workers. Older can mean 30 years old these days. Idle respondents in other highly skilled sectors are telling me the same story. The new guys and girls make half what the old men and women got, with poorer benefits.
    I liken our workforce to a game of musical chairs. I have also visited towns where buyout recipients have started a plethoria of franchised enterprises, many of which subsequently failed.
    Education should be a good in itself, but it is often so vocational, even in premier schools, that it is not. It is a shame when Duke, Harvard and Nebraska State become business and data processing academies. Philosophy and social science departments are a shadow of their former selves. Our higher learning is gone in the sciences as well, I think because high schools have flaked out and our students aren't prepared. My unconventional education in anthropology and philosophy have rendered me less employable . With my theoretical and critical knowledge capitalists see me as a threat to discipline or a wise guy. They hate to hire someone with a diploma they lack too. I have to lie about my higher education to get work sometimes. (I'm not the only "poor me.")
    Anyone who knows our culture understands how much more important networking and unofficial referral and favor trading are than achievement and ability. Some hogs are just born nearer the trough.
    So how can you recommend inner city youths sacrifice for education post- affirmative action? As for those who made it out, they continue to walk a rotten floor with scanty margins.
    There are only so many hours in the day and now employers want to own your personal time too. Those young people having to come in on the weekends to the insurance corporation I studied to handle their enormous caseloads are not going to be doing much volunteer work. A non-profit income may not cover their loans and expenses. Most people's parents are not in a position to help.
    That is why I go beyond Fred Harris's prescription and assume that we have to create a parallel socialist economy beside capitalist markets just to survive. Startup revenue can only come from a severely progressive tax structure that also demands higher corporate rates. Tariffs may also be necessary.
    Quality of life and a viable lowered carbon infrastructure demand this.
    I do not discount the "stone soup" approach of Cory Booker, but somebody has to bring the carrots, potatoes, onions and so on. Otherwise our social fabric becomes as thin as water and runs down the drain.
    Do you concur with any of this, James Monroe Powell?
    beretco.op@gmail.com


    • Are the Kerner Commission’s findings relevant today? Why or why not?

    Doubtless, the commission’s then shocking findings on the pervasiveness of institutionalized racism still gives any person of color reason to pause and reflect upon present day inner city conditions in an attempt to compare and contrast the past with present social economic circumstances. When one conducts this comparison and contrast in the light of the mounting body of social and economic statistical evidence, it becomes apparent that not only have things not changed significantly, but in fact, some statistics have worsened over time. For most, this worsening of the social and economic statistical data of the inner cities can be directly traced back to policy decisions of administrations that did not value the social programs that were suggested by the Kerner Commission’s findings. Since these programs were often viewed as a waste of tax payers’ dollars by some administrations, they were either cut or severely downsized without regard for the inevitable increase in social costs that would be later incurred by the state from corresponding increases in crime, welfare dependency, unemployment, dropout and graduation rates. In short, the direct linkages between policy prescriptions and social costs needs to be carefully reviewed as they relate to everything from the plight of the inner cities to the affect of green house emissions on our earth’s climate – yes, government polices matter more than you can imagine!

    • Are the Commission’s recommendations of more government-created jobs, expanded affirmative action, increased welfare, etc. a practical strategy for helping inner cities? Why or why not?

    Grappling with the social and economic problems of the size and scale facing most of America’s inner cities requires the intervention of an institution, Federal Government, of the same size and scope in order to effect any significant change. However, this in no way means that the entire burden of this complex solution should be borne solely by the taxpayer, but should instead be divided equally between the individual citizen, private sector, churches, non-profits, schools, households, local, state, and federal institutions. Surly, any practical solution, one that actually produces measurable positive results, to such a complex socioeconomic problem involves the coordination of multiple actors performing in concert to achieve a common goal. Since no government program can help an individual citizen that does not wish to better his or her own condition, it is incumbent upon each individual to exhibit some degree of self-reliance and self responsibility. Although governments have an obligation to their citizenry to provide a stable safe environment that is conducive to learning, once this environment is established it is up to the student citizen to take advantage of that precious opportunity. This need for the individual citizen to value their education by viewing it as probably the sole legal means of bettering their socioeconomic condition has to be instilled by the households, churches, and non-profit organizations that interact with these students. The present demand for self reliance and self initiative reminds me of Booker T. Washington argument: “Every persecuted individual and race should get much consolation out of the great human law, which is universal and eternal, that merit, no matter under what skin found, is, in the long run, recognized and rewarded.”

    Additionally, those fortunate few, who have through struggle, and personal sacrifice, managed to successfully climb out of poverty by utilizing the ladder of higher education to establish themselves and their families in the small but expanding minority middle class should take heed of their social and moral obligations to those who were left behind in the world of the dark seedy underclass. In fact, W.E.B. Dubois felt that this talented tenth was bound by the principle of Noblesse oblige to those who were less fortunate than themselves. Of this talented tenth he writes, “As student and worker at that time, I looked upon them and saw salvation through intelligent leadership; as I said, through a Talented Tenth.” Because with wealth, power and prestige come social responsibilities, those who have the education or resources to help, should help via volunteerism, mentoring, or through charitable contributions.

    Finally, I am reminded of Dr. King’s assessment of the lasting positive effect that higher education has on members of an underclass and underprivileged group: “But today, more than ever, the Negro realizes that, while studying, he can also act to change the conditions which cripple his future. In the struggle to desegregate society he is altering it directly for himself as well as for future generations.”


    • Which do you think is the more effective approach to tackling the problems of the inner city --- Fred Harris' top-down government strategy or Cory Booker's emphasis on individual and grassroots responsibility?

    A hybrid model which incorporates the best elements of both would probably be the most effective approach.

    Thank you Bill once again for introducing me and many others to a truly inspirational and eloquent speaker in Mr Booker. Here is a man of action but in the process he encourages all in his community and beyond to have hope that there is a better future for all of us out there. With the political climate as it currently is with focus by the media on personal insults & trash news this came as a breath of fresh air. Let's join him & the faceless others out there working at a grand plan for how we can garner the strengths of all in our comuunity, no matter their political persuasion or religious affiliation, to make this world a place we can all enjoy for the short time that we are here. Cory Booker is one of many I am sure that are out there actively working towards this goal & I applaud him, them & you Bill for bringing this to the wider world.

    In reference to Mayor Booker's discussion and the need for grassroots action and people stepping up please see The Pact and The Bond books by Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins and Rameck Hunt who came out of the housing projects in Newark as young black men who succeeded in medical and dental school because of something in them and because others cared enought to mentor them through the world both inside and outside the inner city. These books should also be on the list of those read by a new president. They validate my experience working with inner city preschool children and the desperate need for qualified caring people to start early to support and educate the next generation. Out of a class of 17 children age 3-5 we have 3 children whose fathers have been killed and numberous others in single parent homes, or with grandparents, foster families and stepfamilies all struggling to make it and not always able to provide the attention that their children need. The education system is one piece but the lack of support to families is a huge weight that drags down effective education.

    douglas kinan, what you are describing is what I refer to as the Hegelian Dialectic.

    can't find your definition of:
    cham·per·ty (chmpr-t)
    n. pl. cham·per·ties
    A sharing in the proceeds of a lawsuit by an outside party who has promoted the litigation.
    [Middle English champartie, from Old French champart, the lord's share of the tenant's crop, from Medieval Latin campars, camppars : Latin camp, genitive of campus, field + Latin pars, part; see part.]
    champer·tous (-ts) adj.

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin

    Great program Bill Moyers. Two excellent guests.

    Mayor Booker is correct when he says "silence and inaction" is the key to solving much of the problem.

    One additional element needs to be added to the mix: champerty.

    Champertous conduct has almost guaranteed a divide in this country on most all issues.

    Whenever you have someone, or a group, creating the problem so that same person or group can solve it and make money doing it, you know the country is in big trouble.

    Mayor Booker is correct when he says "silence and inaction" is the key to solving much of the problem. One additional element needs to be added to the mix: champerty. Champertous conduct has almost guaranteed a divide in this country on most all issues. Whenever you have someone creating the problem so that same person or group can solve it, you know the country is in big trouble.

    # Are the Kerner Commission’s findings relevant today? Why or why not?

    The Kerner Commission's findings are most relevant. As mentioned in your interview, examples such as Katrina, definitely show the poverty that is still endemic in the black community, in particular, in the deep South. African Americans are incarcerated in higher numbers compared to whites. Institutional racism is a reality that still needs to be reckoned with in the United States.

    # Are the Commission’s recommendations of more government-created jobs, expanded affirmative action, increased welfare, etc. a practical strategy for helping inner cities?

    Most definitely! When the private "free-market" fails to create employment, then government MUST step in as it has done in the past. It's the Republican right-wing of this country that has bastardized government and shrunken it's pivotal role as a job creator. During the Great Depression, Roosevelt realized that the free market was ailing badly and
    was not creating jobs for the millions unemployed. He went to work by creating numerous job programs which added tremendous value to the country's infrastructure along with creating employment. Government's primary duty is to improve the quality of life for its people. Job creation by government most certainly fits the bill.

    # Which do you think is the more effective approach to tackling the problems of the inner city --- Fred Harris' top-down government strategy or Cory Booker's emphasis on individual and grassroots responsibility?

    Without question, it is a combination of the two! Cory is right when he emphasizes individual responsibility. But when the free market fails and becomes corrupted by greedy capitalists and consumers, laws get broken and the net result is lay-offs and poverty. Government MUST act as the referee to the free market to prevent such economic catastrophes. But government only works if it is held accountable. To tackle the problems of the inner city, you need inspiring leaders like Mayor Cory Booker who most definitely challenges each and every individual to take responsibility for their own lives and their own actions. No should have to depend upon government but in a time where wealth has become so concentrated in the United States, where classism has essentially become the new racism, government is needed more than ever to re-establish rules and regulations that contribute to a more equitable distribution of our nation's wealth.

    A terrific show. But to all those who would like Mayor Booker to run for national office - perhaps you missed his point. It's not about waiting for the government or elected officials to do something. It is about each of us taking the responsibility for doing something ourselves.
    Second, to all those who feel that we have made real progress and racism is no longer the issue it once was - please ask and answer these questions,"200 years ago, who had economic, governmental and religious control?" (Answer: white males) "Who has economic, governmental and religious control today?" (Answer: white males). How much progress has been made?
    And finally, to those who can not understand why those in the African American community continue to struggle with poverty please read Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary's book on "post traumatic slave syndrome" and become educated on the devasting legacy of over 12 generations of American slavery - unique to this country.

    Thank you for an insightful and moving show about race relations. And thank you for introducing Mayor Cory Booker. I had read about him recently in The New Yorker; to hear and see him speak blew me away. What a compelling, intelligent and inspirational man; someone who "gets it" -- to use his words -- about what it means to be a true public servant. I know that Newark needs Mayor Booker but I selfishly wish Booker was running for President instead of that empty suit, my IL Senator Barack Obama. Now that I know more about Booker, Obama's Presidential candidacy is really a joke. Obama's deeds can't hold a candle to all that Mayor Booker has accomplished so far and his plans for the future.

    Idealistic...and just what we need. Great show today and it is so timely. The Mayor is motivating!

    I can appreciate and applaud the authority of Mayor Cory Booker and his use of this authority to take authentic, spiritual actions toward promoting and encouraging the attitude of hope in the oppressed. However, I find a sense of schizoid rhetoric in the way he denounces 'transcending race', while at the same time admonishing 'oneness' and 'unity'. In my opinion there will be no 'liberty and justice for all' or 'one nation under God' outside of the idea of 'transcending race'. Those with authority who have a goal of guaranteed maintenance and perpetuation of ideas, discourse and activities which encourage racism and oppression provide a tremendous barrier to unity. Because of this the oppressed need both spiritual and natural help to transcend barriers to the access to resources that lead them to energize their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

    Interesting discussion, but I find it disingenuous to bemoan the greater percentage of blacks in jail without an honest discussion of the relevant statistics on crimes committed by various ethnic groups.

    It has been most noticeable here in Vermont lately that a vastly disproportionate number of violent and truly heinous crimes have been committed by blacks.


    Albert Einstein said: “Yes, we have to divide our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever.”

    But we don’t have to divide the political and mathematical, or for that matter the scientific and religious solutions of life of truth, equality and = are truly and simply ONE and the same.

    The truth of equality, =, or One, will stand forever, and ultimately the truest test of time.

    =
    MJA


    Albert Einstein said: “Yes, we have to divide our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever.”

    But we don’t have to divide the political and mathematical, or for that matter the scientific and religious solutions of life of truth, equality and = are truly and simply ONE and the same.

    The truth of equality, =, or One, will stand forever, and ultimately the truest test of time.

    =
    MJA

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    You give me hope in humanity. Thank you for continuing to educate the masses and introducing us to admirable people each week.
    Sincerely,
    Ishmael

    Bill,
    Thank you for an illuminating hour. As a teacher of US Government,I want all of my students to see the interview with Mr. Cory Booker. This is the type of leader who can restore the spirit of America. His common sense approach and eloquence mark him as a man who is worth national attention. I would like to see him as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. To see his earnestness and conviction combined with a "tell it straight" fearlessness leads me to cast off synicism and believe that there is still hope for our great country which has been for too long mired in fear and hopelessness.

    The March28 Journal on poverty and the interview with Cory Booker were intensely significant. Social organization and human kindness are essential to solving the problem of poverty.
    To begin with; what we measure as time is the on going change of form and relative relationships of physical objects in space. Space is a volume of openness that contains the phenomena of physical reality. Physical reality is the construction of energy into matter consisting of particles that become the form and function that provides a comprehensive and coherent whole that can and does support life experience. Human life is the recipient of, the reason for and the source of appreciation of physical reality.
    Human beings are rational entities that can change reality for the better or the worse. Better or worse is in relationship to the quality of Human life. While this is a human centric concept of reality; it is the necessary concept for the survival of human kind. Supporting the needs and desires of humanity should be or prime objective.
    Raising children is our most important task. Children soon become the adults who make the decisions that effect human life. It follows that providing the support for parents is essential to the well being of children. Parents need good jobs that provide wages beyond the cost of living. A flexible work force requires a surplus of workers. Because of this it is necessary to have unemployment insurance that supplements the cost of living in order to have a stand-by work force.
    It is not only necessary to take the people out of the slums, it is also necessary to take the slums out of the people making it necessary to teach social skills and organization.
    David Eddy

    What do you think? (Michael's Answers)

    Are the Kerner Commission’s findings relevant today? Why or why not?

    My formative background has exposed me to the problems of elitism and economic inequality, in those very places that just before my birth had exploded in riot and assignation. I have seen both the positive and negative potential of America in the aftermath of Kerner Commission, and Fred Harris is right, we never finished the processes recommended by the 1967 National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders. Thus, their findings are still relevant.

    I do not believe that governments can solve racism, end elitism, or change human nature. Our greed and fear divide humanity in conflict, to unify the white and black community in the U.S. would require overcoming both human nature and the prejudice of past experience, and only death can eventually erase that memory. Individually we have the potential of reason, it may be possible to achieve change, to educate ourselves and gain enlightenment, to overcome our evolved tribal nature by rational self-interest, but such can not be forced upon us by government. Government can, at best, encourage and motivate such unity through legislation and economic policy, and inspire our potential by its own example.

    Today, the problem has grown multi-fold, not only does a legacy of American slavery and segregation remain, but there is a new form of slavery evolving among the undocumented and disenfranchised, from both Latin America and the Pacific Rim. The people are trapped in a form of illegitimate limbo, unable to legally enter American society, and unwilling to return to the horrible conditions of their home country, conditions American policies create and perpetuate, they live as an invisible underclass here.

    These new slaves compete with our poorest American Citizens, and this hinders America's social progress. The wealthy use this slave labor to secure their lifestyles, abusing these undocumented people, and reducing opportunities for social advancement and economic mobility among U.S. Citizens. This hinders the fair distribution of wealth, and pits the new slaves against the uneducated poor, as wages are under-cut and we compete for resources. Add this to the development of the prison-industry and the legal process of criminalizing the poor, and our government is again guilty of amplifying social injustice.

    Are the Commission’s recommendations of more government-created jobs, expanded affirmative action, increased welfare, etc. a practical strategy for helping inner cities? Why or why not?

    Some of the original Kerner Commission recommendations are now outdated, but all levels of government should be compelled to hire people who reflect the population they serve. If applications from any protected group or class of people seem to be lacking in either quality or quantity, the government should be compelled to take steps to correct that problem. Even if that means specifically financing education for those under-represented groups to prepare them for the government jobs of the future.

    In a free society, one can not compel the private sector to hire those who they do not consider qualified, for whatever reason. Although, regulations can and do limit adverse discrimination. However I believe market forces and the genius of individual innovation will force the private sector to hire people based upon their abilities alone, regardless of social prejudices, or else face an inability to compete.

    Governments can influence these Social Justice problems directly by eliminating their benefits to the wealthy. However, our current government is cleverly financed by the wealthy, through the campaign finance system, and the rotating door between government service and lobbyists, political consultants and government contractors. It would take revolutionary campaign finance reform and publicly-funded elections to re-balance the power between the rich and everyone else.

    After the revolution, we can start by integrating and equalizing the public education system between rich and poor, actually try and finish following the Kerner Commission recommendations. Perhaps a contempoary NACCD Report should be done?

    Which do you think is the more effective approach to tackling the problems of the inner city --- Fred Harris' top-down government strategy or Cory Booker's emphasis on individual and grassroots responsibility?

    Cory Booker is wise beyond his years (I'm the same age), and he is right. Top down strategies can influence only policy, you can not force individuals to change, and the public is made of individuals.

    This all really boils down to the definition of 'RESOURCES', some people think that directing public resources means spending public MONEY. What Mr. Booker is saying is that you can throw all the money at a problem till you run out of it, but it will not change anything unless good people spend their TIME doing what needs to be done.

    Perhaps we should impose a SOCIAL JUSTICE Tax on all Americans, you can pay it with 10% of your MONEY, or 10% of your TIME. Get people to spend time in our public schools, to work with our prisoners, our homeless, our sick, our poor. Many wealthy sociopaths would rather pay the $10%, but the good people will give their time, and that attention will leverage their abilities to create the community we all deserve.

    Bill,
    Thank you for doing what you do best. Your show allows me to hear from individuals I might not ever hear from, special human beings such as Mr. Booker, who instill hope that all is not lost.
    Inspiring gentleman, Mr. Booker, seems to be able to say very eloquently, what we true Americans feel and believe in.
    Michael

    Thank you for two moving interviews and introducing me to two admirable men.I want to share those terrible statistics with my fellow Americans, hoping the truth will begin to set us free.

    This guy's on fire. I love him. Looks like it's a new day in America.

    Thank you, Bill Moyers for yet another wonderful program featuring Newark's mayor, Corey Booker. I was impressed with Booker's commentary about the importance of options being available, specifically for disadvantaged Afro Americans, in order to have a chance to overcome poverty.

    I've read many of these posts in response to last night's program. I was struck by several topics: the continuing racial and economic divide, the high incidence of out-of-wedlock births among Afro Americans, the Kerner Commission's accuracy, and the concept of responsibility, accountability, and empowerment within the Afro American community to bring about change. I've a few conclusion of my own.

    First, I don't think that racial prejudice is at the core of the decline of the Afro American inner city community. The problem is overwhelmingly the absence of economic vitality, inferior education, and moral decay.

    I was born in 1949 in Philadelphia, PA. When I was growing up post World War II, the majority of Afro American homes (in my neighborhood) were owned by married couples. Industry was thriving, and everyone worked. I did not personally have any friends/relatives who had a father absent from the home, or unemployed. Also, my mother (like most of the moms in my neighborhood) was a stay-at-home mom, and often met us at our neighborhood school at noon to accompany us home for lunch. The focus or our upbringing was the importance of a good education, cultural awareness, and religious ethics, which became the tenets of our belief system. By the early 60's, white flight was clearly evident, yet the immediate neighborhoods where I lived were still stable. My brother, male cousins, and their friends all had part-time jobs after school; jobs working mostly in stores and shops owned primarily by Jewish immigrants. By 1962, the only 'hang out' on street corners were assembled by young men wanting to join jazz bands gathering to emulate the sounds of John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, etc. Regarding social morality of the early 60's, teenage pregnancy in my neighborhood was practically unheard of, as was premarital sex. Sure, there were whispers of indiscretions, but then there were serious consequences. Thus, 'shame' was not just a word (a scarlet letter), it was a harsh stigma for transgression of well-formed social and religious values. The 'negro' family (in my neighborhood) was doing well. Then, by the summer of 1964 there was a chilling change which hung over our once stable and secure neighborhood. Not too far from us, riots broke out in fashionable shopping districts as tensions between store merchants and patrons rose (with accusations of unfairness and a decline in the quality of service following white flight), further heightened by the gradual disappearance of manufacturing and industry jobs, followed by unemployment. My father packed our family and had the foresight to move us to Phoenix Arizona by November 1964. Now for my second point.

    I am convinced that the model of the 'traditional' family unit works best to raise a well-rounded child. Furthermore, the emphasis on education is paramount to becoming successful. When I was school age, most first graders came to school with the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic. As the second eldest daughter, I recall assisting my mother teaching my younger siblings their academic 'basics' prior beginning first grade. The 'Mother School' was critical not only academically, but also regarding social skills and moral ideals. Self-respect, common decency, and good manners were a mainstay of my upbringing. But again, my mother was home to tend to me and my siblings' social, educational, and religious nurturing needs. I'm certain that in today's 'permissive' culture, any child left home to raise themselves - because mom has to work (made worse with the absence of a father) - that child is already predisposed to the maladies leading to a disadvantaged life of poverty.

    Finally, I believe that ... nothing in life is more sacred that the integrity of your own mind ... as Emerson aptly states. Yet, integrity is intricately interwoven in how we come to embrace 'learned' moral ethics. What we should or should not do, how we ought to respond to any moral dilemma, how we inevitability treat our fellow human beings, and ultimately how we come to emerge as 'noble', decent human beings capable of making conscionable choices ... it is all of this which will become the determining factors of being able to overcoming poverty and ... racial/social injustice.

    I am an 83 year old women who has heard racist remarks in and outside of my parent's home and outside where ever I have lived . I listened to Bill Moyer's program on the Kerner Report and am ashamed to say I had forgotten about it. I think we all selectively forget what we think we can't do anything about. I thought racism would disapear with my generation,and I voted for Barac Obama because he was getting younger voters active and since I have great grand children in varias colors I hoped they wanted that change.E>A.

    Barack Obama for President
    Cory Booker, Vice-President

    Both with amazing passion, oratory, commitment, education and action. Inspiration instead of desparation...FINALLY!

    All of my posts were deleted. The only posts remaining are positive, except for one response to me by Jack Martin, which makes no sense, since all of my comments are gone. I do not want you to believe that this is a democratic forum or that Moyers is interested in truth. Moyers is a CFR member. The CFR is the real government, and it is interested in world government, not racism. You foolish people who watch PBS and believe you live in a democracy are my enemies. This is a tightly controlled dictatorship, and if you ever wake up, you are going to be on the same watch lists as I am. As long as a black person plays their game, he is free to torture as many watch listed whites as he pleases. During the past ten years, blacks were the most ready to torture me and fire me for my watch list status.

    Dear Mr. Moyers, I think Mayor Booker's idea for a Statue of Personal Responsiblity is excellent. Our nation should hire the citizenry of Newark to design, build and install it. The mayor seems truly visionary, inspirational and pragmatic.

    In my own lifetime, I've personally seen America's race relations improve in some ways since the 60s, but I realize we've yet a long, long way to go toward achieving full human coequality. I hope we will embrace that goal fully, and pursue it persistently in each succeeding generaton. I would like us to visualize how our society might look with that goal realized 100 years from now.

    As America is not the only place on the planet that has racial conflicts, I think we should champion human equality from the standpoint of world leadership. We should formally declare our creative energies and material resources on behalf of a clear moral stance for human harmony and understanding. We should write a Declaration of Worldwide Rights of All Planetary Beings to be free of war and destruction upon any form of life or habitat, and stand by it. We should present the declaration with a massive dropping of flowers all over Iraq and see what happens.

    I wish we would elevate our priorities in the congresses of our nations, states, citiies, towns and hinterlands so that support will endure for continuing research into human history, and meaningful education of our young toward understanding how their adult roles will be responsible in some part for the shape of a future shared by all humans. We need to admit that much of what is wrong with our present educational system is its subsumption to the most base interests of capiltalism. Job training does not equate to the education needed for participation in a democractic society. Let free public schools educate the mind for the long haul and let businesses train the person for its trade cycles.

    Power holders in American and global corporations need to continually relearn the fundamental relationship between morality and money. Politicians need to continually reaffirm dedication to the common good and renounce pandering to the powerful few. Religious leaders need to refrain from allowing politics to corrupt the integrity of their roles as spiritual advisors. Philosophers need to speak with courage toward our best ideals. Citizens need to recognize the purpose of government as what we are each personally responsible to and for. Every individual should put the education and safety of all children as a first priority necessary for the good of all. Without the earnest play of these and many other roles in our society, I don't believe we can have an America of the kind I often hear bespoken in terms so overproud and self rightous that they make me cringe.

    We should invent language for our public dialogues that would help us refer to ourselves in terms of what we are in common as human beings and that samewhile celebrate our differences. To my mind, coequality means being inclusive of all the many cultural differences among us, in addition to skin color. Coequality would mean that each human being anywhere pursues individual potential free of tyranny. It would not mean a guarantee of outcome. Between pursuit and outcome is where personal responsibility lives, I believe.

    Finally, we should realize that opportunity to effect a profound transformation in human relations exists in every moment and any of us can seize it at anytime, if we but chose to do so. A good place to begin is inside our own minds.

    This is what I want.

    Thank you, Mr. Moyers, for the efforts and contributions you make to help us develop understanding, and find ways of expressing the critical problem of race relations in our society.

    Dear Mr. Moyers, I think Mayor Booker's idea for a Statue of Personal Responsiblity is excellent. Our nation should hire the citizenry of Newark to design, build and install it. The mayor seems truly visionary, inspirational and pragmatic.

    In my own lifetime, I've personally seen America's race relations improve in some ways since the 60s, but I realize we've yet a long, long way to go toward achieving full human coequality. I hope we will embrace that goal fully, and pursue it persistently in each succeeding generaton. I would like us to visualize how our society might look with that goal realized 100 years from now.

    As America is not the only place on the planet that has racial conflicts, I think we should champion human equality from the standpoint of world leadership. We should formally declare our creative energies and material resources on behalf of a clear moral stance for human harmony and understanding. We should write a Declaration of Worldwide Rights of All Planetary Beings to be free of war and destruction upon any form of life or habitat, and stand by it. We should present the declaration with a massive dropping of flowers all over Iraq and see what happens.

    I wish we would elevate our priorities in the congresses of our nations, states, citiies, towns and hinterlands so that support will endure for continuing research into human history, and meaningful education of our young toward understanding how their adult roles will be responsible in some part for the shape of a future shared by all humans. We need to admit that much of what is wrong with our present educational system is its subsumption to the most base interests of capiltalism. Job training does not equate to the education needed for participation in a democractic society. Let free public schools educate the mind for the long haul and let businesses train the person for its trade cycles.

    Power holders in American and global corporations need to continually relearn the fundamental relationship between morality and money. Politicians need to continually reaffirm dedication to the common good and renounce pandering to the powerful few. Religious leaders need to refrain from allowing politics to corrupt the integrity of their roles as spiritual advisors. Philosophers need to speak with courage toward our best ideals. Citizens need to recognize the purpose of government as what we are each personally responsible to and for. Every individual should put the education and safety of all children as a first priority necessary for the good of all. Without the earnest play of these and many other roles in our society, I don't believe we can have an America of the kind I often hear bespoken in terms so overproud and self rightous that they make me cringe.

    We should invent language for our public dialogues that would help us refer to ourselves in terms of what we are in common as human beings and that samewhile celebrate our differences. To my mind, coequality means being inclusive of all the many cultural differences among us, in addition to skin color. Coequality would mean that each human being anywhere pursues individual potential free of tyranny. It would not mean a guarantee of outcome. Between pursuit and outcome is where personal responsibility lives, I believe.

    Finally, we should realize that opportunity to effect a profound transformation in human relations exists in every moment and any of us can seize it at anytime, if we but chose to do so. A good place to begin is inside our own minds.

    This is what I want.

    Thank you, Mr. Moyers, for the efforts and contributions you make to help us develop understanding, and find ways of expressing the critical problem of race relations in our society.

    Mr. Moyers, thank you for continuing your shows -- please don't ever stop. I don't think you've ever been better -- you haven't lost a thing. I haven't thought of the Kerner Commission report in decades. But your show brought me back to my late teens when it's findings seemed so new and radical. And thanks for reminding us all that the Great Society didn't fail as much as was simply dismantled! even we progressives get sucked into the phony national stories.

    Every American: every leader from Parents to the President, from school board members to state legislators, EVERYONE should view this program. It was life-changing. Mayor Booker, what a power-house. He can affect more change right where he is. Let his message grow from person to person, block to block, town to town, state to state. Responsibility can be intoxicating. The story about the woman who said that 'she' was homeland security, I want to hear her tell her story. This program needs to be re-run, with much fanfare preceding it. Those who taped this program, pass it on. Those who didn't but can afford to purchase it, do so, and pass it on. Let's use the technology we have to spread this message. I think this message can save our Country.

    Thank you Bill for keeping race on the table and providing us with informed guest who are walking the talk to change race relations in america, and in their communities. We need more leaders like your two guest!!!!!

    When I saw and heard Barack Obama deliver the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention, I said, "That man has a brilliant future in politics". I said the same thing when I saw and heard Cory Booker last night. I wish we could clone him to lead every major city in this country!

    The Kerner Commis. report suggest more govt. jobs, affarmitive action, increased welfare--"The Surge Syndrome". What is different today that will improve the results over recent decades?

    J. Wright said it-I saw & heard it, but the real issue is that Obama justified it-I saw & head that too.

    Cory Booker is leading by "grassroots" involvement.
    He said it-I saw & heard it.
    Mayor Booker used a lot of big words, but he also got down to "where the rubber meets the road." Maybe he is that light at the end of the tunnel.

    It is time to leave the 60s behind and let the bright, positive leaders take over.
    Who needs more of the failed past?

    Judge the presidential candidates on experience, judgement, character, etc. not on gender or race. The Dem. have far better qualified, experienced, unimpeachable character, candidates available--pick one at the convention!

    Respectfully,
    Billy Bob, Florida, where votes don't count unlike Chi-town where even the dead's count.

    The Cure

    Equality lessons taught in every school, to every age, to our only future, lessons that teach nature's undivided truth, lessons that must supercede the lessons of reading, writing, arithmetic, science, and computers, the simple beautiful lessons that teach us the true light of wisdom, is the only path to unity, the road to justice, our freedom, our salvation, health, life, the cure. We are what we are taught, divided or united; education holds the key to the doors of nature's true freedom, the truth that all is One.

    =
    MJA

    What a great show and God bless My booker what he's doing. I think the truest thing that Mr. Booker said was that it is time we as Black Americans stops making excuses and taking responsibility. After all the saying "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result" applies to us. we need to start doing something different if we want to see changes. As a Muslim also, there's also a teaching is Islam that God will never change the circumstances of a people until they change it themselves. In order words, change starts from within, it starts with us changing ourselves every single one of us. no one is going to change our situation unless we start doing so. if we do this, no obstacle can stand in our way because God will be there to help us. so I see a bright future ahead for all of us as a nation. we just need to be steadfast and patience.

    Thanks Cory, for saying what so many of us (without lapel flags) have wanted to say in so many ways.
    And he said it much better than I ever could.
    I will definately look for more from Booker!

    Thanks for bringing these two informed men and the resulting serious discussion together for us.

    Which approach is better? I don't think an "either or" answer comes close to moving this problem along.

    Mayor Booker's approach is courageous and right! To be successful that approach needs the framework and support of many Kerner commission recommendations.

    Perhaps the best answer is having countless mayors following Bookers example while at the same time having a president and government that is responsive to their approach ~ providing the policies and belief in the role of government that encourages and supports their success.

    Booker's approach has to come first but a supportive Govenor and President has to be ready and able.

    An amazing program, filled with hope and challenge. Cory Booker -- what inspiration and vision! Watching him last night, his energy and passion were palpable and his message of personal responsibility struck a chord. This morning, I'm looking for volunteer opportunities in my city. Thank you, Bill, for another great show.

    Great show. Thanks Bill, as always.

    The grass-roots is the way to go. We, as citizens must take the lead, and the govt will follow.

    Might be interesting to tie this in with your episode on "populism". I prefer Mr Booker's version of populism.

    Excellent program. Mayor Booker knocked me off my socks with a message that was among the most inpsiring I've witnessed on television.

    I grew up in the suburbs outside San Francisco, and like your blogger from Seattle, racism was not a part of life here. Our neighbors were among the few blacks around, with their son being a football star and prom king. In this upscale and liberal part of the world, it was not us and them - just folks.

    However, not far away was the small unincorporated town of Marin City. Situated between some of the wealthiest areas of the world, this town had a different situation. It had a concentrated black population. It also had - and continues to have - a disproptionatly high level of social problems. Yet this has had nothing to do with urbanization or lack of public funds. In fact, because Marin City is part of the wealthy town of Sausalito, it's teachers are among the highest paid in the country, with a tax base shared by neighboring millionares. Despite plentiful resources and progressively minded white communities, the schools in Marin City are dysfunctional, with equally rampant social problems in many homes.

    Mayor Booker and other black activists have put it well: change will not come by money and programs alone. It must come from WITHIN. I think we must move the dialogue away from racism, and to what black society can do for itself.

    As caucasions with good intentions, we point the finger to racism, afraid of seeming racist by bringing up tough social questions. But I ask, if blacks are living here with nearly the same economic potential as their white neighbors, what are the inner conflicts keeping them from achieving what many other minorities have gained? Blacks are just as capable as anyone else, and this is a special time in history when nothing should hold them back.

    Our country is swiftly moving past victimization. It's finally time for it's people to move past that mentality, and towards hard questions, real answers, and success.

    Great show tonight Bill,

    After years of watching you & all the other great PBS reporters & shows but more so in the last year as I watched America come apart at it's seams I kept having this recurring thought "what can an 69 yr.old DAV like me do to help in some way"
    Watching you show tonight & hearing Cory Brooker speak--I heard my answer. God, I wish our leaders would take such actions & have the same kind of attitude as Mayor Brooker.
    He should be running for a higher elected office.
    Reminder me of Tony Robbins giving one of his "Power Talks"
    Thanks for such great programing.

    Thank you for bringing us this program. I was born in 1961 and raised in all white neighbgorhoods in Northern California. I have observed from a distance the plight of black communities as my parents sought to keep us sheltered from it, in hopes of offering us more opportunity. As a result, I've had a bird's eye view of the lifestyles of white upper and middle class families. All is not roses, believe me. There was not much more than a good education, job and nice house to aspire to, because there was no real spiritual depth or moral foundation in these homes. There was marital infidelity, child abuse, alcoholism, deciept, fear and an illusion of superiority. I often asked myself, "And who in the world do they think they are to be judging someone else?"While hearing, seeing and experiencing the racism against my people (blacks) and the impoverished (all races) and observing the psychological ills and disillusionment of those who believed themselves to be superior, I had almost lost hope in change. All of the rhetoric and ignorance is rampant. How so many people of color and those who are impoverished strive to be like these people who made up the communities wherein I was raised. They have no clue what was really going on behind those picket fences and in the houses on the hill. We should all be careful what we wish for. The change must come from one's own inner morals and principles and commitment to adhere to them. Make sure your principles are pure and in alignment with creating and maintaining that which brings forth the good and God and nature have set forth and modeled. It is about spirit and self-care. Model how you want to be treated, by treating yourself well and and with your cup full, treating others well. Build on that. We must understand that not only is America our country, but our thoughts and actions are America's seeds. We must sow what we want to grow. "What we focus on the longest becomes the strongest," I heard a special man say. I want to thank you, Mr. Moyers for bringing forth those who can continue to shed light and inspiration through words, deeds and commitment. I am an advocate for change and a participant in mind/body/spirit health and balance. I humbly declare that I have work to do. I appreciate greatly the views of Mr. Brooks and Mr. Harris. I will continue to follow them and do research to become less naive about history and politics, so as to be a source for change in my present and for the future of my children and grandchildren.

    Blessings to you all.

    I enjoyed the program very much. I was very inspired by Mayor Booker and also liked hearing what Mr. Harris had to say. I have already sent out a blog post recommending my readers to watch it. Thank you.

    I was inspired by both guests and feel we need BOTH top down government action AND heightened personal responsibility. Each guest said it all: Harris: "programs were working, but they were abandoned" Booker: "we each need to be an instrument of light." Consume less, ride the bus, find a still place in your heart and explore compassion; the faces of a city's tired workforce will break your heart, but you will begin to know what to do. Do it. (PS: Can someone help Sharon? I think she's in a world of hurt...)

    Seattle which is in King County has such a small black population that we don't have as many of the same problems as other cities do. In fact downtown is the most appealing place to live. Our county executive is black and there are clear pockets of black poverty but by and large people are not as racist perhaps due to the much much smaller numbers of blacks.

    There is however a growing resentment of immigrants from India and Pakistan. The suburb where Microsoft is headquartered now has 1 out of every 4 adults as a first generation immigrant. People aren't worried about inner city poverty but about affordability (houses run over $450,000). I do wonder why West Coast Asians who were placed in concentration camps in WWII have managed to recover but blacks seem caught up in a victim mentality. Even Obama seems to suffer from it.

    As the mayor identified the solution is as much something internal as external. Jobs, good schools, opportunity..

    Although speaking truth to psycosis is a new experiemce for me I am genuinely honored to be called a Neanderthal by Sharon. It would please her if I wrote longer sentences I guess, and feared those "not like us" more. I do remember buying some fiberglass shingles from the Bilderburg Group in 1983. They have now lasted 25 year as promised and still look pretty good.

    You ask about whose approach is "more effective", Fred Harris' or Corey Booker's, however, I don't think that is the question to ask. Both have recognized the fact of racism, and the economic and social problems it has fed. They both have used their personal skills best to work towards addressing this. It would not only be fair but disrespectful to compare Fred Harris 40 years ago to Corey Booker now. Both are to be admired for their frank summary of the state of inner cities, then and now. The racism issue is not going to be solved by a one-prong approach. It needs to be looked at from all aspects; social, economic, historical and cultural.
    One final comment, I think Mr. Booker hit upon a key point when he spoke of "options" (including hope and trust in the justice system). When people feel they have no options, they despair and feel they have not much, if anything, to lose. This is a fact of human nature. It is under these circumstances that people are most likely to revolt, riot, etc.

    Terrific show. Thanks once again, Mr. Moyers.

    Mayor Booker's zeal and energy left me breathless--and wondering how I can do more.

    Wow - beautiful. Cory Booker, we must, as a country, nurture and encourage and somehow develop the passion and the vision you embody. Amazing... hold on to the dream, you are supported from near and far.

    This was an awesome interview. Black America must heed the words of the Cory Bookers, Deval Patricks, and Donna Edwards of the world and get rid of the Sharpe James of the world that are afraid to said what Booker is saying and instead are willing to play the "poverty pimp" game.

    The Cory Bookers of black american politics are willing to execute their campaign promises, which sets him apart from many politicians on the city and county level that exploit the hopes and dreams of a community for votes by campaigning on ideas you never intend to implement.

    This change is sweeping black america, and the older generation that fails to recognize and nurture this force shall meet its political demise.

    And another thing: I'm sick of this "Holy Family":Strong Father bullcrap. My dad died in an industrial accident before I knew him and I did OK. (I got SS benefits and Johnson's Great Society so I could give back later.) Contrary to tradition and popular belief the reproductive and nurturing capacity of humanity can be organized in a variety of ways as demonstrated in any anthropological examination of varied cultures and pre-history. The nuclear family, ideally headed by a reproductive pair bond, is a vulnerable unit refined under capitalism for maximal manipulation and exploitation. There can actually be economic and social advantages to extended (multi-generational) families, non-traditional unions, and voluntary (elective) collectivity.
    Sometimes there is a place for polygamy, polyandry, group marriage or many other innovations. This is truly a relativistic subject area.
    In some cultures the men and women are segregated in unisexual longhouses. Some pastoral groups mimic the ways of the animals they herd, with one "old goat" accumulating a harem (Spitzer and Bill Clinton would like that.). In most primate groups females dominate and determine sexual access and social organization. (Hillary thinks villagers raise children. I like that idea too.) Anyway, can't we all just get along (per Rodney), and stay out of other people's family business. Anyway, Daddy ain't gonna be buyin' no new shoes and school lunch if you screw him out of a living waged job.

    What a great, great show. As a white, middle-aged woman I keep hearing negative comments about African-Americans when I am in all white company (much like the ones I see made by some on this board). Because I teach at a predominately African American community college, I see daily proof that the negative stereotypes are false and we, as white people, have no idea of the struggles they face everyday. Most of my students are very poor. They work full time (and even 2nd & 3rd jobs) but a lot of them can't afford books. They have families, live in dangerous & neglected neighborhoods, pay higher prices on just about everything from gas to groceries to interest on loans, suffer racial profiling by police and a society that suspects and resents their every move but they get up everyday and go to school and their jobs and still manage to go to church every Sunday. In the 6 years I've taught at this college, I have never seen or heard of violence on our campus. Our campus is 60% African American, 25% Hispanic & 15% white but everyone gets along & there has never been any racial strife of any kind. Indeed, there is no segregation of any kind and dating & friendship choices seem to be based on higher qualifications than skin color. What I have learned most profoundly is that we're all basically the same. We want the best lives possible for ourselves & our families &, if given the opportunity, will do everything we can to succeed. I've also learned that, even though I grew up poor, because I am white, I never had to face the challenges my students have to face - the daily discouragement of a society that puts every barrier in their way while never giving them a concrete vision of what they could be or guidance on how to achieve their dreams. Because I am white, I was given opportunity, acceptance and guidance and was able to rise above my childhood circumstances. But, as a white person, I never faced what they face daily and could never presume to equate my experience with theirs. We don't have the right to judge circumstances we never experience or declare victory over struggles we haven't endured. It is time that we all admit that America has been a land of double standards and it's time to join together to make America the land of opportunity for all her citizens. There is no need to fear. This isn't a zero sum game. There is enough freedom, repect, dignity, opportunity and prosperity for all of us. By helping each other, we all stand to gain.

    Examining the archive of these blog pages one comes across legitimately frustrated people who repeat rumors and claim Bill Moyers is a member of some esoteric organization with an elitist and undermining agenda. I'm not much interested in his affiliations, because he has what Thorstein Veblen labeled "idle curiousity." You can see it in these interviews with Fred Harris and Cory Booker. I and my organization have affectionately called Moyers a hostage because of his tendancies, to extemporize rather than to incite, and to avoid cutting edge controversies (like 9/11 truth). Like many a concerned intellectual he is a phenomenologist and not a materialist. In our pre-emptive milieu the trend and tone is so much against materialist types they often become a caricature of their ideals. What we have is a politics of lip service, and not of service to humanity. (Witness our "bringing of democracy" to the West Asia.)
    Cory Booker preaches "stone soup", and much of what he says is simply rhetoric. I've seen that path Cory, and you wind up being a collaborator with the powers that be, negotiating away your gains for a few crumbs. America is maintained as a "zero sum" game by those with power. When your garrison realizes no reinforcements are coming they will turn on you like a hungry bear. As for race, minorities and the poor continue being conscripted into de facto slavery and debt peonage by this heartless system. Newark is one car in the death train. Violence and exploitation are generated by those at the financial top.
    Fred Harris and I wished that the lucky people would have a heart. Reagan was a monster who preached heirarchical sadism with code language and brutal cuts, but he was made possible by Jimmy Carter's systems theory and technocratic attitude.(He has since learned better.) America did not grow in compassion or solidarity because citizens were infantile socially and easily manipulated for short term exploitation of the most disadvantaged. People were seen as a factor in wealth production to be economically mined. Now the price system of extraction has the former middle class scooped in it's dragline. Where can the resources to bail us out come from when our taxes are already being extracted to maintain elite profits? This only generates compounded debt we can never retire. Will we have wholesale mass debt peonage or will we miraculously organize to resist. It is as if the Bible story were turned upside down and Joseph sold his eleven siblings into slavery, then prophecied 7 lean years and let them starve in captivity.
    Racism says another group of people "are not like us" and this gives license to our cruelty and crimes, activities with a real material intent.
    (I agree with the first poster tonight MW Anderson)the important divide is not race but socioeconomic class. Who said,"The rich are not like us:They have more money."
    (F. Scott Fitzgerald? Just before the last Great Depression) I prefer to say,"The rich are not like us:They have no empathy." Else how could they implode the country to which Cory Booker and I have so long pledged allegiance. I don't know how we'll overcome them, and the food crisis , and the climate crisis, and the energy crisis, and the other crises they see as profit potential, but we must and we will.
    As we work past our imposed anomie (a good concise word from Emile Durkheim) people just like you and me, and Cory Booker, and old Fred Harris and even laid back Bill Moyers will have to be recruited to the lowly working class agenda. It will only work if we can hold onto our compassion and empathy in the midst of a dire struggle for survival.
    (When our Titanic is sinking, how can we permit multinational monopoly corporations to destroy more than half the lifeboats so they can get top dollar for the remaining seats? By our silence and inaction, that's what we're doing.)It's not only American inner cities ready to explode; it's the whole world. My dear and cherished friend Bill Moyers has now been a hostage 56 days and it is up to "we the people" to seize media, seize grassroots politics, seize the means of rational production without the superstition of the sanctity of excess private property, and set him and ourselves free. "It is nearly impossible to become or remain extremely wealthy in a just and peaceful nation." (Translation for Moyers: It is as hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of Heaven as for a camel to traverse the eye of a needle, and it shouldn't be our job to cram those wealthy pigs through.)

    I find it simply amazing that Cory Booker can talk so much about personal responsibility, yet pass over lightly the responsibility of every biological parent of a child: namely, to BE there as the child's parent!

    Bill Moyers refers to a "destructive ghetto environment," but the most destructive environment is that of a family with no father present to role model the very responsibility that Cory Booker states is so important.

    It is nothing short of mind boggling that in nearly two dozen of our major cities, seven out of ten African- American children are born to a home without a father.

    This has nothing to do with race. NO
    family of any race is going to do well when one of the two parents doesn't even stay around for the child's birth.

    Should we then be surprised that most such families live in poverty, when they have one income instead of two? Do we know of any entity/institution/group that does well with 50% staffing?

    Would the New York Giants have won the Super Bowl with only half of the squad suited up and ready to play?

    Cory needs to encourage every family of whatever color to take the obligations of parenthood seriously.
    Among them is that of being the child's
    'First Teachers' in the home that is the
    'First School.' A child surrounded by
    books and music in a home with two parents who love each other, does not
    usually become at high risk for prison or the other appalling statistics raised in this program.

    Whatever the parents' race is, if our society doesn't have the skill set to build intact families, how in the world would we have the skill set to repair them?

    Dr. Curt Schmidt, Author

    'Seven Deadly Threats to America'

    We missed a key point that may well explain Fred Harris' compassion. The state of Oklahoma may technically by mostly white but it has a very significant Native American population and Walters Oklahoma is Comanche territory and Fred Harris has ties to that community. As always Bill, thanks for what you do and who you are.

    Thank you for the introduction to Mayor Cory Booker. I got to participate in the civil rights movement of the '60s and watch the Kerner Report gather dust.

    We need to ask ourselves why our situation today is worse than it was back then. In part it is because we are repeating the mistakes of alcohol prohibition. In part it is because our systems, personal as well as political, are overwhelmed.

    We need to end the denial of our failures. But Mayor Booker is right; we need new efforts more. Success is not monetary gain but moral change. Caring for ourselves and caring for each other. That cannot be sold. It must be earned.

    This was a valuable but narrow discussion of urban problems today. The fastest-growing segment of America's underclass is latino. And, the majority latino population in Los Angeles offers a preview of coming attractions for the rest of the nation. Gangs of young latino young men rule whole swaths of this city. These men have no jobs and are not looking for jobs. Their days are filled with dope, drink, and protecting their turf. And, when another gang challenges that turf, all hell breaks loose. That's what happened a few weeks ago in the northeast sector of Los Angeles, where a neighborhood was locked down for hours as police shot it out with gang members. Gang activity is just one dysfunctional element in this community. The national media needs to pay attention to the changing racial landscape before it's too late. We don't want another Kerner report to ask why the latino underclass was ignored.

    Mayor Cory Booker is an inspiration. How refreshing to hear a public figure state outright that soundbites will not solve anything, and that true change starts with individuals, not politicians. My compliments, sir, on forcing me to revise my opinion on the future. We may yet have a chance.

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    On your program on 40 years after the kerner Commission: after 40 years
    it's still the white man's fault/ the "original sin"
    an applied mass guilt on white people, because of
    out-of-wedlock births, single parent homes, an unwillingness to absord education, poverty: here it loud from Bill Cosby
    "get off your tail" and read a book/ where's your beef at corporate america
    and government for sending our jobs overseas, and uncontrolled spending by gov.?/ where's the $ from Iraq and her oil instead of ours? wake up to the crooks in government? they are selling us out/

    A very interesting show.

    Booker is very inspirational! If every town in America had a person with his energy and conviction for change this would be a lot better country. But I don't feel this can solve all our problems.

    I feel a worsening problem in America is the exiting of jobs for cheaper labor. With more people looking for fewer jobs, supply and demand results in lower paying jobs for some and unemployment and poverty for others. Government action is needed, but how without becoming Protectionist?

    Mayor Cory Booker for president!

    This was extraordinary and courageous reporting. The Kerner Commission tore down the walls of segregation in this country. Its landmark report led news reporters to venture into inner city black communities and talk to people who lived there for the first time. Mr. Moyers' report demonstrated that the commission's findings remain relevant today. In response to the challenge put forth by Mayor Cory Booker, African Americans have gained a stronger standing in the society, so that they can do more today to tackle inner city problems than they could back then. That doesn't negate the need for more more stable jobs to replace those that have been sent overseas. Government has had a role in creating jobs to support the economy, and can do so again.

    Both Sen. Fred Harris and Mayor Cory Booker were impressive commentators from their perspective viewpoints. I am memorizing both of their names. I'd like to read Sen. Harris' writings and hope and expect to see and hear from Mr. Booker in the future in political circles. Thank you for both of them.

    It is tough to write a few lines on this subject out-of-the-blue on a Friday nite, but I would like to point out that I think you are wrong if you mean to attribute all these social problems to simply a prejudice against black-skinned ppl. It is like arguing that Indian problems are due to a prejudice against Indians, or problems with Arabs are due to a prejudice against Arabs. I would argue that it is rather cultural clash inherent in course our social and economic development has taken, though it may well have a genetic component, as most things psychological do. It has in my view more to do with the clash of Tory and Whig, than of black and white. The problem of welfare dependency cannot be doubted, nor the failures encountered by job training programs. That there has been a flight to the suburbs and exurbs is true, but it started, believe-it-or-not, in the 18th-19th century. The movement from rural areas to urban ones in Elizabethan times in England. Many rural towns are just as badly off as any inner-city in population, jobs, and infrastructure. What we like to call economic growth (and I am not sure that it actually is) concentrated population in cities, and transferred wealth to them, then ppl went back and bought up rural property. Even so there is no doubt that the poor are absolutely better off than they were decades ago, tho' they may be relatively worse off, or less happy and well off than they might have been under another regime, or that capitalism tends to destroy traditional "moral economy," to use E. P. Thompson's term. Liberals argue that such problems signal a need for more economic growth rather than less, but Tocqueville (and later Marx) pointed out that the French Revolution was actually begun by the tax and welfare policies of the monarchy, backed by most of the Philosophes and Economistes, which bankrupted the state, applying the same reasoning he had earlier expounded in Democracy in America. The recent PBS series, which pointed out that most Afro-Americans are less Afro and more American genetically than they think, needs to be taken a little more to heart, and perhaps also Jefferson's doubts that the slaves would ever be assimilated save by interbreeding.

    I think Bill Moyers does an excellent job of bringing important issues forward for discussion. I was much impressed with Cory Booker's "democratic" call to action. However, I feel Bill missed Cory's point in his closing remarks when he said it is up to Cory's generation to resume the battle that his generation shelved. Cory's point was that if you are an American, you can be part of the solution. It is not the actions of the evil...

    Mayor Booker makes it sound pretty simple: Do something. Such a lost ideal in the "what's in it for me?" world we live in. And on so many levels: 1. Why does the federal government have to try to intervene in our schools? Nobody else is apparently asking more of our schools; 2. Who's forcing us to drive our cars that are contributing to global climate change? I'm trying to do more in my own small ways and spectate less. One of my next steps--mentoring.

    I was inspired by Mayor Booker. I whole-heartedly agree with his assessment of our responsibilities as Americans.

    I remember being similarly inspired by politicians as a child. I remember feeling enthusiasm for our democracy back when the bully pulpit was still used to inspire citizens to action.

    I grew up poor in a single parent home in a small rural town. "War on poverty" programs reached me and made a difference for me. I would have never received a college education without the help of federal grants.

    In my town there was no such thing as community organizing or open dialogue. While I believe community is essential and powerful, rural areas can be places where it is not possible for folks to step out of line without being marginalized. In my case, government programs and services were essential to my escape from poverty.

    I'm not advocating absolution of responsibility of rural communities. It just may be a different dynamic and a bit harder nut to crack for social change.

    NOW is a terrific pipeline for hearing good people talk about good ideas and with Mayor Booker, good actions. Thanks

    Your revisit of the Kerner Commission was chilling when I realized that indeed its prediction has come true, that we live very much in two societies (well, actually several more than that now if you count our Latino communities and those of Asian immigrants). I'm amazed by how many white people I know have no contact with African Americans as peers.

    Fred Harris is correct that Ronald Reagan's proclamation that government could do no good was a terrible blow to the civil rights movement, but let's not forget that Daniel Patrick Moynihan's advice to Richard Nixon to practice "benign neglect" toward racial matters started the ball rolling. The Kerner Commission was a lot bolder than I recalled, and it still resonates.

    People like Corey Booker, Deval Patrick, Obama and that prospective new Congresswoman in Maryland inspire me to believe that we can live differently, but as Booker says, it's got to be intentional.

    This was one of your best shows.

    Thank-you as always, even when I disagree with your opinion I can't disagree with your intent, as a decent for real human being!

    Do I believe racism still exists? Yes. Is it the Majority of America? No. God, I sure hope the Civil Rights movement did some good, it cost enough, in time effort and sacrific!

    That said: I am honestly conflicted. I have an issue with, how long, how much, is going to be enough?

    I was born in 1950, lower income family, the Only Black family around (or in my school) that was Black, lived on my street! I waited, or went up and got ruthie to walk to school with! (my father told me not to talk to or associate with French, or Italian, forget about Black)! I didn't care. Ruthie was smart, nice and talented (piano) and I didn't underatand the difference. No big statement, just was.

    I was in Grammer school, and Kennedy died. I was in High School, Vietnam esscalated! Then MLK, was killed! White kids were marching with the black! We all wanted Civil Rights, equality! Ruthie's cousin, and I became friends through Fife and Drum Corp, he was elected (in a white school) class president and valdictorian! Everybodies friend.

    National Honor's student! Scholarship to every Ivy League College, he choose an all black college in the South. He wanted to know what it felt like to be black. We all just thought of him as Butchy, nice guy, great student, snare drum champ!

    At what point do 'we' have a right to ask: when do black people say, we have to stand up, and do it ourselves? Go to, stay in, school; stop tolerating drug dealing on Our street corner?

    In the 70's I moved to N.Carolina, bought a small farm cut off from an estate that was being divided for the first time since it was decreed to the original owner, from the King of England! We bought one of three tenate farmer's houses. The other next to us, was bought by a family who's grandfather for three generations back, had All been tenent farmers! His brother in the next house, was leasing it, and was still a tenate farmer! They were white. One made IT, saved and bought, the other didn't. Why??

    Why have some black people made IT, and other haven't?? I don't understand.

    I just don't believe it's all about race, isn't some of it about life choices? Aren't white people born into poverty, facing the same bad odds?

    At what point do you stop blaming others, and say 'I can do it'! How much affirmative action is enough?

    I was moved by what Mayor Booker said. His is a realistic, pragmatic attempt to deal with the difficult issues facing Newark. I think the personal responsibility he emphasizes could be just what the doctor ordered for Newark and for every city with such problems (not to mention each of us in our personal lives). And, at the risk of sounding naive or silly, wouldn't it be so helpful if we could all look at one another and see ourselves. See the desperate struggle to survive we are all engaged in and reach out to ourselves in the form of that other person. To Bill Moyers: you are one of a kind. Are you training someone to follow in your footsteps? I hope so. We will need someone like you when you decide to stop.

    Mr moyers, I respect you greatly and ask that you consider the term as outdated. Marriage is only one way of helping families remain intact. Not all parents want to be married, or cannot legally be married, and yet they still are families.

    I think perhaps the Kerner Commission’s findings are even more relevant today than when originally presented, although the core concerns they address aren’t quite the same. While the goal of minimizing (and hopefully one day eliminating) racism in America has made progress, there is much work left to be done.

    But it is the disparaging inequalities between the wealthy 1% and the rest of Americans—regardless of race—that predominantly drives the need for the recommendations presented by the Kerner Commission’s report.

    While both Senator Harris’s and Mayor Booker’s approaches are laudable in there own right, and are perhaps the best solutions for other limited, more narrowly defined challenges, it is only when a concerted effort to combine these concepts into a cohesive and committed program that we will see progress in addressing the grave problems that lie ahead of us—problems that may well prove to be the most harrowing this nation has faced since the Great Depression.

    We need top-down governmental intervention to provide emergency social assistance and to enforce financial and corporate regulations long abandoned by the conservative disciples of Milton Friedman; yet we also need grassroots mentoring efforts to form a principled social foundation. It is only by building a secure national program dedicated to minimizing our systemic inequalities in wealth, health, and social hierarchies that we can nurture the concepts of greater personal responsibility and accountability—to ourselves and our fellow citizens—required to ensure the equality and prosperity of future generations.

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