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Facing Economic Troubles

(Photo by Robin Holland)

This week, the JOURNAL presented two different perspectives on our troubled economy. The first came from frustrated citizens of Cleveland grappling with their community’s extraordinarily high rates of foreclosure. Cuyahoga County treasurer Jim Rokakis said:

“Back in the old days when there was no sheriff in town, people would rob the banks. Well, here we are in the modern day era, and there’s no sheriff in town. The banks were robbing the people... I learned a hard lesson: I learned that the Fed really is there to protect banks, and not to protect the consumers.”

For another viewpoint, Bill Moyers spoke with journalist William Greider, who wrote in THE NATION:

“We are witnessing a momentous event--the great deflation of Wall Street--and it is far from over. The crash of IndyMac is just the beginning. More banks will fail, so will many more debtors. The crisis has the potential to transform American politics because, first it destroys a generation of ideological bromides about free markets, and, second, because it makes visible the ugly power realities of our deformed democracy. Democrats and Republicans are bipartisan in this crisis because they have colluded all along over thirty years in creating the unregulated financial system and mammoth mega-banks that produced the phony valuations and deceitful assurances. The federal government protects the most powerful interests from the consequences of their plundering. It prescribes 'market justice' for everyone else.”

What do you think?

  • How have the recent economic troubles played out in your community?

  • What do you think should be done about our economic troubles? Who should do it? What do you expect to happen?


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    Comments

    Flying a plane has constantly been a dream of mine, enjoyed reading your website.

    David Eddy and Jack Martin, take great care that you don't begin to fancy yourselves celebrities. Having been one, I can tell you it is not what you want and will not bring the changes you seek. The labors of Hercules were related posthumously, and he never had to endure a ticker-tape parade. When you get a big head, then you're a sellout. It is OK that you voice a Moyerista consensus, just don't try to take credit. There are thousands of us out here reading, trying to keep you honest and humble. (This marks my break with Jack as a follower, and from now on consider me a friendly critic. It takes dissent and critique to keep strong.)
    As for a big head nearly blown off, you should have seen Bob Woodward reports (for Disney) China: Inside Out last night. It may have been the most honest and comprehensive analysis by main stream media this decade. Bob's insights and partial truths about how China has surpassed the U.S., and how the planet is being destroyed by these developments included some top analysts (including food and ecology expert Lester Brown) and had Bob visiting Africa and Southeast Asia. It was superb and Moyers should be jealous in that it told the American public much (but not nearly all ) they need to know about our falling empire.
    So David Eddy and Jack Martin, not only do you have to capture Uncle Sam the mental patient, serial killer and pathological liar; but you must also leash the ravaging pitbull China while guiding its 1.3 inhabitants to a sustainable future. I can see why you great thinkers get big egos, because these tasks truly rival the labors of Hercules. (Pick a sack of golden apples, then pose with them in a loin cloth in front of your full length mirrors, you Moyerista Nephilim.)

    David Eddy and Jack Martin, take great care that you don't begin to fancy yourselves celebrities. Having been one, I can tell you it is not what you want and will not bring the changes you seek. The labors of Hercules were related posthumously, and he never had to endure a ticker-tape parade. When you get a big head, then you're a sellout. It is OK that you voice a Moyerista consensus, just don't try to take credit. There are thousands of us out here reading, trying to keep you honest and humble. (This marks my break with Jack as a follower, and from now on consider me a friendly critic. It takes dissent and critique to keep strong.)
    As for a big head nearly blown off, you should have seen Bob Woodward reports (for Disney) China: Inside Out last night. It may have been the most honest and comprehensive analysis by main stream media this decade. Bob's insights and partial truths about how China has surpassed the U.S., and how the planet is being destroyed by these developments included some top analysts (including food and ecology expert Lester Brown) and had Bob visiting Africa and Southeast Asia. It was superb and Moyers should be jealous in that it told the American public much (but not nearly all ) they need to know about our falling empire.
    So David Eddy and Jack Martin, not only do you have to capture Uncle Sam the mental patient, serial killer and pathological liar; but you must also leash the ravaging pitbull China while guiding its 1.3 inhabitants to a sustainable future. I can see why you great thinkers get big egos, because these tasks truly rival the labors of Hercules. (Pick a sack of golden apples, then pose with them in a loin cloth in front of your full length mirrors, you Moyerista Nephilim.)

    Jack Martin,
    I like your, "...Illegitimate leaders bankrolled by pirates".
    The sad but true is that our only choice is do what is necessary to deal with both the illegitimate leaders and the pirates.
    We need to impeach the illegitimate leaders and put the pirates in the brig.
    Even a one cell organism has enough sense to understand that their only chance of survival is their association with other microorganisms.
    Like you mentioned in your post; it is necessary that people organize their efforts to ride themselves of cancerous people.
    Sad but true; survival depends on doing what is necessary to solve the problem.
    Dave Eddy

    Um-m-m-m-m....?
    Now how long will this court thing take? See how enforcement and courts work now: Poor folks under the jail, rich get token fines and country club short-terms. See how Bruce Ivins didn't get his day in court and is being convicted by compliant media? See how small- potatoes Hamdan gets a life sentence from a military starchamber?
    It would never occur to me that people would be allowed to "educate" their children in non-corporate values. Those who insist on it would be viewed as cultists, and would produce misfit, unemployable kids. Consumerism permeates school and media, and that's why people are so easily bought. This is getting worse over time, not better. David, the people I'm drawing in to correspondence from this blog are filled with fear and dread. I can see why: I took my elderly mother to a Jimmy Carter book signing and was biometricly IDed by his Secret Service detail as a security threat (because I have been a peace protester). One slip these days can hurt your credit and cost you employment. (I know.)

    Honesty is the best policy. Any official we encounter should hear our gripes and concerns. There is too much deference and politeness to criminal accomplices. Those of us standing alone will be rendered, but those standing in a big group have a chance of generating some doubt or remorse in the general population. Only large numbers can instill fear in illegitimate leaders bankrolled by pirates.
    Your gradualism will never materialize, David, without some of us sticking out our necks. Your militia talk scares me, and makes me think of the past deathstick confrontations.(We'd be mowed down like Wounded Knee or Mai Lai.)
    Those "Charleton Heston" days were over before Gandhi and MLK. Warm hearts, come to Inauguration Day and clap your hands, no "cold dead hands" need attend. Barring this, what else could you recommend, since our nominations and elections are both rigged by money and media, if not by voter exclusions and fixed machines. This has gone too far and needs to stop now. The rest of the world realizes it better than media-doped Americans. (What I'm telling Moyers, and you about Moyers, is that he's inside the illusion bubble, but close to the skin and holding a pin. Poke the bubble, Bill. Poke the bubble, David.)

    Um-m-m-m-m....?
    Now how long will this court thing take? See how enforcement and courts work now: Poor folks under the jail, rich get token fines and country club short-terms. See how Bruce Ivins didn't get his day in court and is being convicted by compliant media? See how small- potatoes Hamdan gets a life sentence from a military starchamber?
    It would never occur to me that people would be allowed to "educate" their children in non-corporate values. Those who insist on it would be viewed as cultists, and would produce misfit, unemployable kids. Consumerism permeates school and media, and that's why people are so easily bought. This is getting worse over time, not better. David, the people I'm drawing in to correspondence from this blog are filled with fear and dread. I can see why: I took my elderly mother to a Jimmy Carter book signing and was biometricly IDed by his Secret Service detail as a security threat (because I have been a peace protester). One slip these days can hurt your credit and cost you employment. (I know.)

    Honesty is the best policy. Any official we encounter should hear our gripes and concerns. There is too much deference and politeness to criminal accomplices. Those of us standing alone will be rendered, but those standing in a big group have a chance of generating some doubt or remorse in the general population. Only large numbers can instill fear in illegitimate leaders bankrolled by pirates.
    Your gradualism will never materialize, David, without some of us sticking out our necks. Your militia talk scares me, and makes me think of the past deathstick confrontations.(We'd be mowed down like Wounded Knee or Mai Lai.)
    Those "Charleton Heston" days were over before Gandhi and MLK. Warm hearts, come to Inauguration Day and clap your hands, no "cold dead hands" need attend. Barring this, what else could you recommend, since our nominations and elections are both rigged by money and media, if not by voter exclusions and fixed machines. This has gone too far and needs to stop now. The rest of the world realizes it better than media-doped Americans. (What I'm telling Moyers, and you about Moyers, is that he's inside the illusion bubble, but close to the skin and holding a pin. Poke the bubble, Bill. Poke the bubble, David.)

    The answer to the question "How do you punish bad behavior non-violently?" the best way is remove their privileges and make them pay for bad behavior financially. Run them through the court system like any other criminal.

    Jack Martin,
    The first thing we have to do is define Patriots as those who defend the primacy of the people who constitute our nation not flag wavers who defend the actions of politicians no matter how destructive to our nation. Our constitution states that we should form a militia to over throw our government if it becomes corrupt but that is not possible especially when our state militias are fighting a federal confict leaving our homeland undefended.
    Our only hope is a paradgm change in our political sytem through the actions of congress. Every effort must be made to vote people into office who are influenced by the citizens of our nation not the vested interests of corporations. Every effort should be made to take wrong influences out of the system.
    The long term effort should be to teach our children to not do or support what is morally wrong no matter who is in charge. Then we need to reward those who stand up to tyranny not punish them.

    Dave, Mike, Grady et al (and even Ryan):
    What is the proper thing for us as American citizens to do to get the attention of and gradually control of our government? Revolution with "deathsticks" (guns) is fantasy, and media is dominated by powerful interests. Politicians are deaf without beaucoup contributions. What can we do? (Thinking good thoughts or praying have proven ineffective. What headache remedy do you celebrities take?) I tired of making and reading lists of adjustments we'd make if we were in charge: Tired of platitudes and famous quotes: Let's get in charge. Put on your thinking caps! How do you punish bad behavior nonviolently?

    Jack Martin,
    This has been a productive thread; I hope it will continue despite no longer being on the first page.

    I agree with your comment about the manufacture of automobiles.
    There is no way to avoid world wide commerse. What is necessary is the management of world wide commerce to assure that it is equitable, just and consistent with everyone's best interests. Our economics must make sure that there is an equitable distribution of funds to support quality societies in a quality environment. Poverty is an indication of a mismanaged and poorly educated society. Without management of economics, society would be chaotic and deadly. Survival of the fittest is not conservative; it is chaotic. Conservative is using your resources to their best advantage.
    David Eddy

    Ryan: One can never read enough! If you are familiar with me you know I'm a joker who works to draw people's thinking out. (I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings.)
    I am an actor and not an economist, but I do read a variety of periodicals and popular books (required in my position as a spokesperson).
    I'm glad you are confident enough to use your correct name in espousing your ideas. Paid ideologues have been a problem on this site. You can't really expect us to go back and study Gladstone, or even to discuss why an Altima was better than a K-car. Right now mindless "free trade" (tailored to the needs of speculative profiteers) is wasting energy and decimating local farming and industry in less developed countries. Suicides and starvation are more a result of wealth disparity than protectionism. Protectionism broke down first in poorer countries while the wealthy country producers have retained it. Furthermore, it is dangerous when a nation cannot make sufficient energy,foodstuffs, clothing and shoes, etc. domestically when they are at the mercy of overseas producers and long vulnerable supply chains. Already, energy prices are hurting the Wal-Mart strategy as we see our beans and corn canned in China.(Costs more despite slave wages: suffering all around)
    I think resort to myth is required here. Remember how John Henry laid down his hammer, and he died.... after competing with the steam drill? Well, wealthy capitalists can move their "steamdrill" now to find slave labor (not the union waged operator John Henry faced). A hoe and ox rice farmer in India finds himself competing against industrialized rice from a subsidized and mechanized producer. Before global trade he was feeding his family and others but now has no means of earning enough money to do so with his hoe and ox. It is no surprise that he lays down his tools and dies, to the horror of concerned folks like myself here in America. We can't help but resent the traders and their capitalist rules of speculation.
    I hate ultraconservatism masquerading as economic theory, as with the Mises Institute (inextricably related to the Chicago School). I think their greatest travesty of recent years was when they awarded Hernando de Soto a gigantic cash prize for a book claiming wealth would be created in Peru simply by the formalization of deeds and contracts (enabling the underclass to assume greater debt). Such work completely disregards the control of formal law and government by the wealthy, and is also blind to the disparity of wealth and power that arise from unbridled capitalism and usury. This disparity is presently strangling self-sufficiency, sustainability, the shift to new energy, and personal initiative around the world. Overarching unjust trade agreements are at the heart of this matter. The village model of specialization has not transferred well to global trade. If you can't see the suffering you are a truly flawed personality.
    I mean no personal affront by this, Ryan Stockman. Maybe my perspective is alien to your optimism. Can we talk more?

    Gadfly-Leap Howard

    Have you ever read any author I listed in my previous comments? I assume not. No response to my points raised just baseless personal attacks. Thats ok deflecting is a tactic of sorts.

    Paul Krugman, democrat and NY Times columnist, is a fascist? Thats news to me Gadfly.

    If you had bothered looking up any of the authors I listed you'd see they are all center-left Democrats (except Sowell) nothing coming close to the John Birch Society. You fail to mention anything of substance just personal insults. Yes I'm using my real name, you can continue to insult it if you wish.

    "It has been conclusively proven by economic trends in our economy since 1983 that corporate capitalism undermines human equity, morality and sustainability."

    Proven by whom? The consensus among economists are people with higher skill levels (college tech training) could take advantage of information technology more so than high school graduates. This leads to greater inequality. George W Bush's regressive tax cuts certainly haven't helped. However if you had actually read my post I suggested ways to ease inequality (cheaper education and universal health care EIC's minimum wage etc.)

    You mention environmental collapse yet you fail to acknowledge anything I mentioned. Cap and trade and ratifying the kyoto protocol. If you knew anything about most libertarians (Cato) you'd know I'm a democrat for even suggesting Kyoto.

    Nothing is achieved by engaging in baseless profane personal attacks.

    When you can refute the great works I listed in my previous post let me know.

    My point was to give some of the progressives here a reading list to get a different view than the one from Bill Moyers.

    Perhaps all of you are members of the green party. Krugman, Bagwattii and Wheelan all endorsed Kerry in 2004. Bhagwati has already endorsed Obama. I didn't think it was too much to suggest to the people bashing free trade here to get a different perspective on the issue.

    Or you can just close your eyes plug your ears and start typing personal insults instead of solving real problems. Vague comments about "power" don't really count.

    Dave: I'm pleased, but not impressed (with you Moyeristas).
    Let's "rethink some principles" (David Eddy) while considering the effects of power disparity (G.L. Howard).
    Michael L. Hayes still presents no means of implementing "our" good new ideas. "Term limits", a well-worn conservative remedy means nothing if leaders are continually selected from the privileged classes, We need to insure that representation reflects income distribution. Mostly poor and working people would reflect citizen needs and POV. Fifty percent of households have a negative net worth and 75% of our workers live from paycheck to paycheck, so don't think you can't afford a voice. Use the brain they can't repossess, in your head.
    Stockman says,"Do you own an American car..." -what bullshit! Most cars are made under joint ventures between U.S. and foreign firms, so there are in fact no American cars. And the cars we are offered suck because current technology is held back for petro-profit. (We should already have fuel and energy choices and this idiot is discussing the feather hatches and cup holders of the 80s.) Thinking like that should have been buried with Rotten-head Reagan.
    Any of you watching the Olympics have no sense. The real spectacle is Chinese repression, coming soon to your job and computer. If you can't do something to help us protest on Inauguration Day you are a sunshine patriot and a fair-weather friend to humanity. People like that deserve Impalas and Chrysler 300s for the remainder of their lives.

    Dave: I'm pleased, but not impressed (with you Moyeristas).
    Let's "rethink some principles" (David Eddy) while considering the effects of power disparity (G.L. Howard).
    Michael L. Hayes still presents no means of implementing "our" good new ideas. "Term limits", a well-worn conservative remedy means nothing if leaders are continually selected from the privileged classes, We need to insure that representation reflects income distribution. Mostly poor and working people would reflect citizen needs and POV. Fifty percent of households have a negative net worth and 75% of our workers live from paycheck to paycheck, so don't think you can't afford a voice. Use the brain they can't repossess, in your head.
    Stockman says,"Do you own an American car..." -what bullshit! Most cars are made under joint ventures between U.S. and foreign firms, so there are in fact no American cars. And the cars we are offered suck because current technology is held back for petro-profit. (We should already have fuel and energy choices and this idiot is discussing the feather hatches and cup holders of the 80s.) Thinking like that should have been buried with Rotten-head Reagan.
    Any of you watching the Olympics have no sense. The real spectacle is Chinese repression, coming soon to your job and computer. If you can't do something to help us protest on Inauguration Day you are a sunshine patriot and a fair-weather friend to humanity. People like that deserve Impalas and Chrysler 300s for the remainder of their lives.

    Michael L. Hayes,
    Wow! I am impressed with your post. We need a special Independent Judicial group who represent the people and are responsible for the equitable distribution of wealth. This group would have the power to break up monopolies, tax windfall profits and insure just wages. They would also set tariffs and policies for world interchange.
    Instead of having just a Punishment Justice System; we would also have a Beneficial Justice system.
    The wages of greed is social corruption.
    Dave Eddy

    "It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it."

    John Steinbeck

    Ryan Stockman, Monopoly or Oligopoly, what does it matter if the effect is the same? We are being controlled by mega-corps who have bought up control of our "free press", our government, our financial systems, our food supplies, our employment, our energy supplies and options, and our very lives. The only authority that can break their hold on our country is our government which means we need to remove those within our government who have sold out to big business. The best way to do this is to vote out almost all incumbents this fall and ever after until Congress and the administration start breaking up these "monoligopolies" into small enough pieces that they are controllable instead of controlling. This undertaking does not and probably should not be done instantly nor with malice in mind. The corporations should be given a chance to begin their disassembly themselves in an orderly manner. To prevent this from occuring again we need term limits for Congress as well as the Supreme Court. As far as our media we need to disallow non-media companies from owning any members of our "free press". If We, the People, want to get our country back we will need to become much better informed voters and make sure that we do vote in an intelligent manner. That may be asking a lot but if we are to survive as the land of the free that is what we must do.

    Interesting blog. One of the financial websites I just read used the words "Financial Crisis" in the US profile. Also found an interesting roadtrip video diary that has some great commentary about how the economy is affecting common folks. Check out www.redstateroadtrip.com - episode #11 has interviews with truckers about gas prices....

    Jack Martin,
    Thanks for your comments; they are very encouraging.
    Yes, I do live across the water from Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula. It was a rain forest long before people lived here so I have adapted to the rain.
    My martial art training has helped me to focus on the correct response to the situation.
    The teachings of Christ has helped me to have compassion for people despite their shortcommings. It is no small miracle that we exist and the fact that we have arrived at the present level of civilization. Considering nature functions on a survival of the fittest bases; it goes against our nature to be cooperative even though it is in our own interest to do so. I have my own shortcomings to deal with especially when it comes to sentence structure. Most of my professional writing has been writing manufacturing instructions which is very different from my attempts at posting and creative writing.
    On the subject of Global Monopoly Capitalism; anyone who has played monopoly knows that you have only one winner that takes it all. It is essential that in the real world monopoly is managed to prevent corporations from putting everyone else out of business. It is necessary that the economics of capitalism is a smooth running dynamic system that consistently provides a flow of goods and services world wide. Equity and Justice depends on meeting people's needs and desires within reasonable expectations. Because the present technology, communications and transportation has made the world a small place; it is necessary to have universal economics. Economics needs to support many cultures and many political social organizations so that we can share our wealth and our resources. In order to manage economics it will be necessary to have many regulations and agreements in place. We have the resource; what we need is an efficient economic system based on providing people quality lifestyles based on need not greed.
    I have done forty years of research into human and social systems. I have worked with top level management. I have written four books on social organization that I am trying to get published. It is my hope that my efforts have not been in vain.
    Dave Eddy
    taichi-wuchi@msn.com

    It's a shame Michael L. Hayes and Jack Martin are not underwritten by the corporate capitalist establishment as is Ryan Stockman (related to David Stockman?) John Birchers have long used libertarian idealism as cover for fascism.
    It has been conclusively proven by economic trends in our economy since 1983 that corporate capitalism undermines human equity, morality and sustainability. As we are on the verge of the "Greatest Depression" with concurrent environmental collapse Stockman's comments are plainly propagandistic drivel from the mouth of a drone. Hayes and Martin are wracking their minds to save our ship while such gremlins drill holes in the hull with doctrinaire jibes. Look "Ryan", if you can't comprehend Bill Moyer's Journal, Big Brother House may be more your speed.

    What is lacking in this discussion is understanding of power, and how the application of power determines human perception and choice. Whether free trade or socialism the respondents here discuss idealized forms and solutions without regard to how people are constrained and indoctrinated by the many phases of power. In a nation of vast wealth disparity there is also a disparity of democratic and economic opportunity. I believe Hayes and Martin would do better to enable the oppressed (includes the "middleclass") to see what is beyond gas prices, global warming and the ways we are compelled to work for our living. Help them see the possibilities, Moyeristas.

    Ryan Stockman: Quit reposting the same bullshit copied from Greenspan's diatribes. You are wasting space, and wasting vital precious time. Try a Dr. Pepper and Mentos brain enema!

    I just combined Jack Martin and Michael L. Hayes commentments into one rant.

    Sorry the statement on strategic protectionism is Jack's.

    The statement on trust busting is Michael's. Sorry again. I wish I could edit my posts. My comments still stand. Oh and thanks to PBS for allowing me to complain.

    "strategic protectionism, just as when our nation was founded (income from high tariffs and self-sufficient domestic production, as much as possible). Who really benefits from "free" trade? Why it's the global monopoly capitalist.

    This is a very troubling statement from anyone who knows anything about basic economics. It's hard even to comprehend (knowing what I know) how anyone could think this was a good idea.

    Everything about that statement is not only incorrect but incredibly dangerous to our standard of living.

    Strategic protectionism? What would that be exactly. (Rhetorical) That would be special interests wanting a handout to "protect" their area of industry. Keep in mind this would be in favor of a minority (steel, cars, airplanes, textiles) and a negative to the majority (consumers). Competition is a good thing for our economy as a whole.

    For instance does your family drive an American car? Do all of your friends drive American cars? No? Didn't think so. Few people would trade their cammery for a chevy or their Audi for a Lincoln. Cars are cheaper much much more reliable and include an incredible amount of features. Competition is good. In 2006 Hyundai made stability control, anti-lock brakes and side-impact airbags standard on their new Sonatas. Guess what? Toyota, Honda and eventually GM made the same changes. Competition works to make goods better and cheaper. Cheaper products raise my (and your) standard of living.

    Consumers (the middle class and the poor) benefit from free trade. 1817 marks the turning point of modern economics with Ricardo describing comparative advantage. Even if one country can produce every good more efficiently (absolute advantage) there are still gains overall from trade. Ricardo's examples are rather simple but if you want you can read Paul Krugman's (a democrat) textbook on international trade he adds many complications to the basic theory.

    Protection will only slow the inevitable. The overpaid union jobs in Michigan will never come back. You can try to "save" the jobs but either the company goes out of business through competition or the government must use tax payer money to prop up the inefficient sector. Either way it's a waste of taxpayer money.

    England tried this during the 1960's and 1970's. By 1976 after nationalizing various worthless industries (who should have died) and paying incredible amounts for their welfare state Britain defaulted in their debt. People wonder why Thatcher came to power.

    Self-sufficiency is also a path to poverty. This is pretty clear cut. If self-sufficiency led to wealth North Korea and socialist India (1970s) would (would have) be the wealthiest countries around.

    Yes people like Abraham Lincoln were protectionists but that doesn't mean they were right. Lincoln was mistaken thinking somehow the country was better off not using much cheaper British steel. We could have built more railroads cheaper had he not decided to try self-sufficiency.

    As to the founding fathers, Adam Smith wrote Wealth of Nations in 1776. Ricardo didn't articulate comparative advantage until 1817 and Britain still had the horrible Corn Laws in the 1840's. Also remember there was not an income tax in America until the 20th century so tariffs raised revenue. Also keep in mind most if not all the founding fathers had read John Locke and David Hume ,the intellectual pinnings of the enlightenment, who were pro freedom and pro capitalism as well as pro trade.

    Greater trade liberalization is well founded in academia and has been now for 50 years. Read Krugman, Bhagwati, Sachs, Sowell, Collier, Wheelan, Samuelson. People trust the scientists to inform about Global warming why not the scientists with PhD's in economics? All of those authors above except Sowell are Democrats. Who knows more about economics, Naomi Klein or MIT educated Paul Krugman? Hmmm i wonder. Columbia professor of economics Jagdish Bhagwati or Bill Moyers? Hmm who is more qualified? Also as a side note Krugman is merciless on "strategic trade" (strategic protectionism) in his book "Pop Internationalism".

    As far as trust busting, none of the companies you listed were monopolies they are oligopolies. There is a difference. Democracies are free to enact rules that stop companies from owning large shares of different industries GE owning NBC. However none of those companies are a monopoly. In fact I would leave GE alone they are one of our great diversified companies. Most oil is controlled by countries not evil corporations. The state owns the oil in Russia, Mexico, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia. They control the reserves and hence the price.

    So I digress it is too difficult to try to convince you or any other misinformed progressive. I encourage all the progressives here to at least read a Krugman book on economics (not conscience of a liberal trade is mentioned only once) so you have at least an elementary understanding of the history and basic tenants of capitalism and free trade. Enacting protectionist policies will only make the country poorer.

    To solve issues of inequality you need real solutions. Free trade should stay. Feel free to push for universal health care, increases (nothing drastic) on tax rates for the wealthy and higher earned income tax credits and/or a higher (within reason) minimum wage. We should have a cap and trade system for carbon and should ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Feel free to subsidize university education and give more help to retrain workers who lose their job in Ohio. These steps would help level the playing field and take some of the anxiety away from middle class Americans.

    I know most of you listen to NPR and watch PBS please as a Gladstonian liberal I urge you to educate yourself on some of the most important findings in all of economics. I personally am sick of people repeating the same falsehoods of international trade over and over. Mr. Moyers doesn't help things as he has firmly made up his mind. As have I, except I'm correct and have the evidence to support my position. All Moyers has is misunderstanding and ignorance. Gladstonian liberalism will return to extinguish this "progressive" nonsense.

    For an Economy to survive it needs stability. Our current economy has a glutonous war in progress with no end in sight, all corporations doing whatever it takes to please Wall Street instead of producing quality products, Business taking it's production overseas which includes food stuffs as well as manufactured products, an oil based society that has paniced because of Wall Streets speculative effect on petroleum prices, misguided or poorly thought out attempts to replace oil in our diet, and a government that has been taken over by little Nazis who have disconnected the Constitution and numbed Congress into submission. I do not know what could be worse than that. We obviously need to renew or replace the current government with a sane and stabile one in order to even begin to tackle the problems we have at hand. Think impeachment on a grand scale. If that does not occur we must begin voting out almost all incumbents in order to wrest control of our government back to We, the people. As far as energy is concerned we need to calmly ascertain what we have and where we need to get to in order to stop our dependence on oil. With that in hand we must determine a master plan to coordinate the shift to electric power and implement it in an orderly manner while creating as many jobs as possible to help work our way out of this recession/depression. Another very necessary venture is to bust up the monopolies that have endangered our country(all conglomerate corporations such as Exxon-Mobile, Texaco Shell, General Electric, etc). Trust busting needs to be a major part of our recovery. These mega-billion companies have destroyed the freedom of our media, the independence of our government, and the job stability of the majority of our work force. If these things are not done and very soon we may never be able to recouver short of another revolution!

    David Eddy's "rethink(ing) the principles of economics..." is a thought we must all hold in our struggling minds. I admire David and have watched his tentative expression grow and develop on this blog. A person of strong convictions (Christian, I think) and personal discipline (martial arts, listener with an open mind), he typifies what many should aspire to. Aren't you up near Seattle, Dave?
    Anyway, I have a personal grudge against global monopoly capitalism, where the rich guy wins no matter what. Now we come to a new phase of Sovereign Wealth Funds (owned by government, militaries, or large religious factions). These entities are capable of absorbing our industries and resources under current economic rules of global trade. Under such a scenario, no government would be capable of determining environmental rules, labor protections, minimum wages, standards of living, independent infrastructure or production. The whole world would become like Manchuquo under Japanese occupation, with some populations raped like Nanking. As popular as we Americans are now we are a primary target for subjugation, our rah-rah military becoming the oppressors' mercenary organ. What I'm saying here is that the present rules of the capitalist game do not favor the well-being of the U.S. population.
    An alternative scenario would be as Sen. Ernest Hollings described, beginning with strategic protectionism, just as when our nation was founded (income from high tariffs and self-sufficient domestic production, as much as possible). Who really benefits from "free" trade? Why it's the global monopoly capitalist.
    What do you think of that, David Eddy?
    beretco.op@gmail.com

    We need to understand that Economics is a human designed invention to make it possible to exchange goods and services through an efficient means of exchange. We have at present a very complicated system of economics that is based on trust and fidelity. the fidelity has been corrupted and the trust is going away. Everyone is responsible for their part in the function of economics through their moral obligations to justice and equity. We need to pay the right price and get quality goods and services. Wages must be consistent with the cost of living. Greed must be replaced with temperance and concern for the human condition. There needs to be sufficient funds to pay for the goods and services that are required for a quality society that services quality people. Education is responsible to educate people in social skills and human kindness. Our lives depend on good will one to the other and the funds to support that good will.

    "Today in most fields I know, The struggle is about creativity and innovation. There is no script."
    Robert Shapiro

    The first thing we have to do to turn around the present set of economic disasters is to rethink the principles of economics

    This economy taken a downturn only after the Democrats have a majority in congress and the senate. Super high gas prices and huge housing value losses only happend after they "Democrats" have taken leadership in house and senate. Dont even say its because of Bush either. The Democrat leadership is failing to bring prosperity and an end to the war like they "PROMISSED". Mr Obama has "Changed" on the war and many other things that he was strongly opposed to not so long ago. Let him put out a "LIST" with his positions so there isn't any question about his position. If Mr Obama is against the war and will pull our troops out lets have a definite date! No more muddy waters...I want to know what im voting for this time, IN WRITING!

    How have the recent economic troubles played out in your community?

    I live in San Francisco. This city has become a playground for rich and wealthy. I can't say that recent economic troubles seem to affect San Francisco as much since most of the people who are employed here have white collar jobs, i.e. lawyers, doctors, accountants, etc...However, if you were to focus on each specialized white collar profession, such as medicine, you definitely would find some economic trouble. Case in point. More and more doctors in San Francisco are not accepting private insurance anymore. They are starting up boutique practices and accept CASH ONLY. You can imagine how awful the situation has become as one of our favorite doctors who used to be on our plan, no longer is. Bill, I sure hope you do more reporting about how private doctors are no longer accepting insurance as a method of payment.

    What do you think should be done about our economic troubles? Who should do it? What do you expect to happen?

    Here's what should be done and in no particular order:

    1) Institute a single payer health care system in this country - It is a must!

    2) Nationalize Freddie May and Mac. Both institutions should be run by our government and should work exclusively on behalf of the taxpayer and no one else.

    3) Raise taxes on corporations in this country to the level they once were (going back to the 1950s)

    4) Pass a new, national anti-usury law! Eliminate bank malfeasance and predatory lending practices as practices by banks today

    5) Completely BAN fundraising by publicly elected officials. Our democracy must be entirely funded by government tax revenues.

    6) Make marijuana a Class II drug. Eliminate federal funding to the DEA for its pursuit of marijuana sale and cultivation. The WAR on drugs MUST END.

    Just a few things off the top of my head...

    Dear Bill - When you first started the NOW series of expose's, you dealt with some serious problems with academic freedom.

    You might want to check out the URL above on that topic even though it does not involve lots of people, only well-documented criminal actions of Eastern Michigan University that have rendered me permanently unemployable since 1982.

    You can call that an "Eeconomic Downturn" for one person if you like.

    I am available if you need to do an interview or obtain documentation.

    I would suggest more on this issue as there are lots of cases involving teachers being mistreated. This one shows how tenure is no protection now.

    Best regards, Bruce Graves

    Friday, 07252008

    Still, I want to love America...

    Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae helped to eliminate the honest appraisers so to artificially inflate the home price for higher profit, The Office of Thrift Supervision knew it, FHA/HUD had a HUGE hand in it. Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. knew it.

    In the late 1980's the House Government Operation Committee said: "If sound valuation practices are not followed, HUD"S risks are increased." Yet they continued deregulating.

    Why? Because instead of being punished, everyone gets bonuses.

    I was put out of business because I tried to protect the public from exactly what is happening now, I have spent the last 20 years trying to get the MEDIA and Congress to address this issue.

    I cannot print a web site but go to appraiserspetition. com
    How can a problem that was blamed for over 1/2 of the LAST taxpayer bailout of these crooks STILL be a problem today? Your Congress and the MEDIA

    This is a letter I received when trying to get help as an appraiser in Texas.
    Our Congress not only knew this second bubble would bust they created the whole thing.
    Forgive my simplistic view, but if a mortgage has adequate collateral there would be very little to no loss to all, so why did Congress eliminate the honest appraisers that refused to succumb to the pressures to hit the "right numbers" in the 1980's after the last bailout?

    HENRY B GONZALEZ, TEXAS. CHAIRMAN
    BRUCE F VENTO. MINNESOTA CHARLES E SCHUMER. NEW YORK KWEISI MFUME, MARYLAND JOHN J. UFALCE. NEW YORK MAXINE WATERS. CALIFORNIA HERBERT C. KLEIN. NEW JERSEY CAROLYN B. MALONEY.NEW YORK PETER DEUTSCH, FLORIDA LUIS V. GUTIERREZ. ILLINOIS BOBBY L RUSH, ILLINOIS LUCILLE ROYBAbALLARD. CALIFORNIA THOMAS M. BARRETT. WISCONSIN ELIZABETH FURiiE. OREGON NYOIA M VELAZQUEZ, NEW YORK ALBERT RUSSELL WYNN. MARYLAND CLEO FIELDS. LOUISIANA MELVIN L WATT NORTH CAROLINA

    U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
    SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
    OF THE COMMITTEE ON BANKING, FINANCE AND URBAN AFFAIRS
    ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS B303 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON, DC 20515-6052

    MARGE ROUKEMA. NEW JERSEY DOUG BEREUTER. NEBRASKA THOMAS J. RIDGE. PENNSYLVANIA RICHARD H. BAKER. LOUISIANA CRAIG THOMAS. WYOMING JOE KNOLLENBERO. MICHIGAN RICK LAZIO. NEW YORK . ROD GRAMS, MINNESOTA SPENCER T. BACKUS III. ALABAMA MICHAEL N. CASTLE. DELAWARE DEBORAH PRYCE. OHIO TOBY ROTH. WISCONSIN
    BERNARD SANDERS. VERMONT (202) 225-7054

    May 18, 1994

    Mr. Steve G 4820 Westgrove #2205
    Dallas, Texas 75248

    Dear Mr. G:
    I am writing in response to the recent letter regarding your unfortunate experiences as an appraiser in the past few years. First of all, I commend your meritorious honesty as a certified appraiser in the state of Texas. I sympathize with you and find it a shame that the fiduciary relationship you attempted to maintain with your employers went unnoticed and unrewarded.
    Unfortunately, the Congress cannot legislate honesty throughout the banking and appraisal industry. I am confident that there are many respectable banks and mortgage companies who are in great need of an appraiser with your integrity. Rest assured that I always fight to uphold the FHA guidelines and I will continue to maintain the most effective way to protect borrowers and deter unfair lending practices.

    Thank you for contacting me personally on this matter. With every best wish I remain Henry B. Gonzalez Chairman

    Of course they couldn't regulate HONESTY in the industry, the PAC's and lobbyist's were paying them to de-regulate it.

    Again, how can something that was declared; "a serious national problem costing taxpayers billions..." by a Congressional subcommittee in 1987 still be a problem TODAY?

    One real simple question:
    How does one:
    "maintain the most effective way to protect borrowers and deter unfair lending practices. "
    If one cannot regulate HONESTY in the banking and appraisal industries?

    Why (sorry, I lied about one question) when a Congressional subcommittee, chaired by Con. Doug Barnard, Jr, said:
    "...that it is extreme pressures on appraisers from real estate lenders and borrowers that MOST often cause bad appraisals."

    "Alarming numbers of lending institution officials regard appraisals as an obstacle to be overcome or a rubberstamp..."

    "While appraiser ineptitude is occasionally responsible for inadequate appraisals, MOST abusive practices result from explicit or implicit threats against appraisers, by real estate lenders and borrowers, that their services will be discontinued if they fail to provide the "right" numbers."

    did FHA/HUD enact the direct endorsement program allowing lenders to hire in-house staff appraisers, in 1985?

    They just took an independent entity and made him an employee of someone who viewed him as an "obstacle to be overcome"

    If the lenders had such a strong adverse effect on appraisers when they were independent contractors, what are they going to do now that the CONGRESS made them salaried employee's?

    Again go to the petition, HOW is this STILL a problem TODAY.

    YOUR Congress and a media owned by big business.

    And I have been after everyone from Congress to Presidents and especially THE MEDIA every since, for if all mortgaged home loans had ADEQUATE collateral and not backed by an artificial market this wouldn't / COULD'T happen,

    That's the whole point in having an independent appraisal. To make sure the bank and MOST important the TAXPAYER is protected from unnecessary losses.

    And it was a democratic Congress along with Ronald Reagan that dereguated it all, what has trickled down but taxpayer bailout one after another.

    We've cut our driving by two thirds. I make our bread and do a lot of 'scratch' cooking. We recycle everything possible. We use CFL light bulbs, turn our computers, TV's, etc. off at the plug-in strip. We're about to buy a clothes line. And still with all this we're having to use our meger savings every month just to break even. To say we worry is to understate our predicament. We can only imagine how tough it must be for our neighbors and I dare not think about families with children. Does this make us whiny Americans?

    Saint McCain will save us.

    Check out humble down to Earth McCain's latest campaign poster and post the first thing that comes into your mind:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/205288.php

    Here's mine "Is he running for President in this life or next?"

    And by the way, are those his angels of death flying in the background?

    Buyers Share the Responsiblity, you have another thought comin.

    The buyers have lost their homes, and all the money that have spent up to present. How much has Angelo Mozilo lost?

    Last night I heard about the investigation into how the lenders where not offering all the available loan to minorities that they offered to whites.

    You are missing much of what has been said, and cherry picking instances. In the case of what you provided for an example they should have lost their, cause they were willing to take a risk. That is not what they were talking about that went on in most cases, with still millions more to come this year, and next.

    I would like to suggest a solution to the current crisis in the economy. I call the plan 3/30. In essence we could have Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae; in return for our government guarantees, offer a new plan to US Citizens. Called the 3/30 Plan it would allow all US Citizens a chance to buy or refinance a home for 3% fixed interest with 30 years to pay the mortgage. The plan would be offered for the next 30 months.

    This plan would put money back in the pockets of the homeowners, help liquidate the surplus of homes on the market and give financial institutions a boost in income from the financing activities.

    Sticker shock, gas-pump shock, grocery bill shock... We increasingly hear about such things on the CNN news grind and on their specials like On the Money and Issue #1.

    However, there was a shock in 1971 that seldom gets mentioned: the Nixon Shock. This is when Nixon, on his own and without advice, consent, approvals or any of the supposed checks and balances, broke the pledge made with the world at the Bretton Woods conference and reneged on exchanging dollars for gold at the fixed exchange rate.

    Since then, the U.S. has freely printed currency with few if any constraints except the escalating national debt and the mounting trade deficit.

    Countries like France and Saudi Arabia who request an exchange of gold for the dollars they hold are out of luck.

    Is it any wonder that world is turning more and more to Euros as the international monetary standard? How long will it be before the price of oil is reported in Euros instead of dollars?

    How did Nixon get away with this? I guess because he was the Decider at the time and no one had the courage or authority to challenge him.

    As Reverand Wright says, "All those chickens ... gonna come home to roost."

    I would really welcome a discussion about this, either on this blog or on your show, Bill.

    I very much enjoyed all the learning I did from the program this week. It gave me a long list of questions to review, research and discover. I wanted to thank you for the book "Moyers on Democracy", I have just finished this fine read for the first time. I bought the book because I thought my Father would have given it to me for Christmas and have been so pleased. I start my day with a poem and scripture, exercise and prayer and have ended it with reading one of the speeches. I was so moved and inspired by your writing that I posted a review on my Blog and hope it will inspired others to read and enjoy this work. Thank you for all your efforts from an educator's daughter who is grateful for all you do and share with us.

    Thank you for having mr Greider on, it was like listening to my self. Those who have and are leading the US of A have become driven by power and greed. They have sold out to the special interest people of corporate america and lost sight of the meaning to serve. I'm old and most of this will not affect me. But future generations will pay the price of greed. Those in power have beckened to the special interest groups and lobbiest. If there is no change of running this government, the Mayan calander my have some real meaning in 2012.

    Danny Clarke wrote:

    "Why is this [the fact that our currency was removed from gold/silver backing] never brought up in discussions like the one last night? It seems like an obvious abuse of power and a point of departure for the world economy."

    I think this is a great point, and I, too would like to know the answer. It seems that if gold/silver backed currencies were allowed to circulate freely (i.e. without capital gains or collectibles taxes) and compete with the Federal Reserve Notes we currently use, the gold/silver backed currencies could act as a check and balance against profligate Federal Reserve Note creation, and thus help limit overall debt.

    Mark, you need not refute anything I had to say, because it is all true. My friend told me it was no big deal to go into foreclosure. In fact, filing for foreclosure would benefit them because there was such a backlog of foreclosures in their market that they'd probably be able to live in their home for free for a couple months before the bank moved forward. It might hurt their credit rating for a while, according to my friend, but they didn't plan to buy another home anyway, and the foreclosure wouldn't be on their record forever. They were appalled to find that now they pay more interest on their credit card, and thought that wasn't fair. In the same conversation, they said they might go into bankruptcy even though they are perfectly capable of paying all their bills. Bankruptcy would just make things easier for them. Isn't the fact that high-risk debtors might default on their debt the reason that creditors charge higher interest?

    Mark, feel free to make whatever accusations you want to about what I think about slavery; the fact is one of my greatest heroes is Abraham Lincoln, and slavery isn't the issue here. We're talking about adults freely entering into contracts to which they are obligated. The reality is that if we blame everything only on "big business" and always assume individuals are simply poor victims without holding them accountable for their actions, people like my friend will take advantage of the system to take what they can get, and we'll all suffer the consequences. Honestly, I find it very patronizing to individuals to assume that that they aren't capable of making adult decisions. How does it respect individuals to assume that they can't make informed and responsible decisions about obtaining debt to finance their homes? If we are producing a generation of adults who aren't able to responsibly make decisions like obtaining mortgages, we need to look deeper at our system and make other changes so that that can happen.

    Holding individuals responsible for their actions, as I said earlier, does not alleviate the need to regulate the banking industry. Our government dropped the ball by de-regulating the banking industry. And many bankers drop the ball when they recommend inappropriate debt solutions. But when I approached bankers and have been approached by bankers who recommended ARMS with balloon payments and other debt instruments that were inappropriate for me, it was my responsibility to turn them down and do business with a banker who recommended and provided appropriate debt solutions. I did so, and I'm paying my debts, even those that felt "unfair" to me. It's not unreasonable to expect the majority of adults in our country to do the same.

    Bill,
    Thank you so much for this particular program and for having William Grieder be your guest. It all makes sense that just about every governmental department has been deregulated, which no longer represents the best interests of our nation and its citizens. I have enjoyed every one of your programs - especially Buying The War; Holly Sklar on Work & Wages; Steve Fraser on Gilded Ages; Media, McClellan, & the War; Government Oversight with Congressman Waxman; and Traces of the Slave Trade. Like you, I am deeply concerned about mass media and the loss of our democracy. Thank you also for your presentation at the Free Press Media Conference. I am hoping that the FCC and our Congress & Senate can break up mass media corporations and that Free Press will have a major impact towards this, as well.

    Finally...but too add...Washington "is" ignorant of its own country, but more so the rest of the world. So it has been..mimimize the talk and the lack of regulation by these huge corporate interests. B.Moyers...A very interesting and good program!

    Once there was a huge fire in the forest; So everyone was scared and running for cover. But, a hummingbird alone choose to fly to the river and bring back water to help put out the fire. Trip after trip until...

    If you are trying, or even thinking about helping to make a difference, be even more courageous, and the world will come to you!

    Words of one Latin America lady who so live her life.

    Mr. Moyers, another excellent show this past week. You are, in my humble opinion, the conscience of this nation. The Journal is an hour that not just every American, but every human being, should watch each and every week. It is simply the best public affairs program going.

    As for what BUYERS SHARE had to say, well, I have neither the time or inclination to refute all the fallacies of his rant. I'm sure he/she also blames the blacks for being enslaved (they should have simply run away!).

    It's true that banks and our federal government hold responsibility for the mortgage crisis. But it's equally true that those who have received sub-prime loans hold responsibility as well. This is not the tale of a cunning and powerful predator taking advantage of innocent and naive victims. It's a tale of everyone in the system trying to make a buck at everyone else's expense, and the Federal Government taking a hands off approach. Lenders are responsible for making loans that are likely to be repaid. Borrowers are responsible for borrowing money that they can and will repay.

    A friend had a house built in a booming market; one where housing prices were escalating sky-high, beyond all reason, buoyed by easy money. The intention in building the house was to cash in: borrow as much money as possible, even though it was beyond the couple's ability to pay, which the couple was well aware of; live in the house a couple years, letting the value of the house continue to grow beyond reason, even though any reasonable person could see the bubble would burst and burst soon; then sell, taking the money and run.

    Once the house's value dropped below the debt left on the mortgage, the couple changed its tune, dumping the house on the lender, even though the couple now, three years later, could certainly afford the payments on the house.

    The couple made choices to take a risk to gain some easy money. When that plan didn't work out, they bailed on their responsibility. Now they're complaining because credit card companies want to charge them 30 percent on their cards, and are considering filing bankruptcy, even though, again, they have the money to pay their bills. It's their CHOICE to shirk responsibility, and to dump their debt on banks and taxpayers.

    Any solution that places the blame for this problem on one sector of the economy -- whether that be banking, regulating, investing, or homebuying -- without placing appropriate responsibility on the other sectors of the economy is a misguided plan. All sectors contributed to the problem; all must share in the responsibility.

    The people who attempted to raise concerns about the 'housing bubble' were unable to get enough attention to prevent/correct the current 'bursting' of that bubble. Now there's an oil bubble that shows sign of 'leaking air'. Do we yet know whose rapacious greed we will support with a bailout when this bubble really does burst?

    Thanks OUTRAGE for your Wall Street Journal article (link).
    So even the investment banking class are surprised people don't react to systematic theft of their labor and their civil degradation. Now they can be confident social ingenuity has been extinguished??????????

    I often mention the work of a Canadian couple, Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein who write books and produce shows and videos. They recently returned from China and were horrified how far electronic surveillance has progressed there with American corporate assistance, a veritable olympics of oppression. Such was not the case in previous reporting from Argentina where workers have seized bankrupt businesses and are operating them as collectives and co-operatives, sometimes with government assistance.
    The U.S. has lost its way. Will we follow the Chinese experiment of iron fisted wealth disparity or experiment with softer grassroots possibilities like some South Americans?

    My MacLaughlin answer, "CHINA...bye-bye!"
    And why do I say that? Americans who have such imagination have inadequate resources and experience. Even the few who succeed with an alternative organizational strategy are soon eradicated by upstart corporate competitors who have all the legislative advantages. Financial co-optation (selling out) is also a hazard for members lacking solidarity. We have been socialized to expect at least 9 losers for 1 winner in our economic model. Now the ratio is really pepping up to 100 to 1, 250 to 1, or even 500 to 1: such is totalitarian faschism (I spell it that way on purpose.). Sometimes I think that sado-maschochism
    is a more valued product than food or energy. We have all become predatory in our daily employment.

    I guess what I'm searching for is bloggers who will email me at least once to say there is hope and that they will try to do at least one demonstrable thing to resist.... but so far Moyeristas are all mouth (keyboard).(except for 8 or 10 brave or careless correspondents)Some of you I have reached out to seemed so frightened.
    beretco.op@gmail.com

    Why do we only here about US inventories when we here about oil. Why would the US companies want to hold more then a 20 to 21 day supply at the current high price especially when they are protected by the markets that allow them to sell their oil at the highest price no matter how low their cost was. They are protected if the price goes down by their small inventory.

    What we really need to know is world inventory. Does anyone no how many super tankers are out at see with full loads. It just seems to me that the only reason that oil producers are cutting back on production is that there is no place to put it. A recent report in CNN said that there were 11 full tankers off the coast of Iran for a week. I can picture an ocean full of very slow moving fully loaded tankers waiting to unload while empty tankers a running at high speed to fill up again.

    One thing that could be done quickly to slow inflation would be to offset the high price of fuel for truckers that transport food, farmers and fisherman. This could be done by providing a limited release of of oil from the stategic reserve using some type of voucher program. Remember that the average cost of fuel in the reserve is much lower then current prices. The difference could be used to fund the program.

    This would serve to reduce food prices and relieve some of the infationary pressure which hopefully will stop the FED from raising interest rates

    I was very moved by your reporting on the disintigration of the Cleveland neighborhood. It got me thinking about similar problem we had in Dayton, OH when I served on the Environmental Advisory Committee. An old Dayton industry disappeared and the bank then owned the decaying industrial facility. It had asbestos insulation around ducts and as it deteriorated and the wind was blowing it through out the neighborhood( no windows, doors). The propertry was unsellable (no one in their right mind wants the unknown liability for prior industrial contamination), the homes adjacent were also undesirable and now the health of the near by residents was threatened. Who was to pay for the asbestos clean up? The taxpayers or the bank? Bank said not me.

    When Banks hold property they think that they have a different standard of ownership.

    Let me explain: when I own a house I must pay taxes on the property, mow the law, prevent noxoius weeds from growing, limit the kind and number of animals that live in the house ..... When the bank owns the property it should be held to the same standards; pay taxes, mow the lawn, prevent noxious weeds from growning, etc. No special priviliges for these so called corporate citizens. It is expensive and hard to maintain an empty building. If these buildings were maintained there would more housing on the market, hopefully lowering rents and reducing the number of homeless. Having to meet the owners obligations would cut down on the profit in banks (think of predatory lenders maintaining properties in 10 different states) and and mortages would be more of a local affair.

    Truth to people is sometimes as hard as truth to power.
    If there are openings for a new political awareness and new options for voters then that will be our salvation I certainly hope you're right about that.
    It's time to hone our views and perspectives on just what that alternative future will look like.
    We have started that journey at Standards of LIFE and hope you and your viewers will join the conversation at www.standardsoflife.org.
    Thanks for speaking truth to all.

    Kudos to Bill Moyers and PBS for yet another outstanding episode of the ‘Journal’. Please allow me to comment on both segments.

    First, Cleveland. I do not mean to slight the city of Cleveland, but from the looks of the neighborhood, many of these properties were in bad shape to begin with. And to Bill Moyers – I think it is somewhat irresponsible to use a rundown neighborhood as your centerpiece for the mortgage crisis. You definitely did your best to present the worst case scenario as the norm. Stockton, California, another city hard hit by the mortgage crisis, has a multitude of abandoned homes, but very few bulldozers tearing them down. What is the difference? The homes in Stockton are newer and still liveable. And there is also economic viability in the region. Cleveland, on the other hand, is reeling from all kinds of economic hardships. That said, officials in cities like Stockton can certainly gain something from Cleveland’s predicament, and it still may not be too late for other districts in Cleveland to save themselves from the onslaught of the bulldozer.

    So what can be done?

    “To put innocent people out on the street and then just sit and let the property rot is outrageous. You'd think these morons (mortgage companies) would at least be motivated by the promise of continuing cash flow.
    This is clearly a case where the legal system and the courts should have forced these lending institutions to take responsibility for their property and the people who live there.
    Unfortunately for the citizens of Cleveland (and how many other cities?), it's too late. The buildings are being bull-dozed, and nobody wins.” Larry Miller, Cambridge, MA

    What can the city of Cleveland do about all of their abandoned homes? According to Cleveland City Councilman, Tony Brancatelli, he wants blood from the mortgage companies – “And we need to have these mortgage companies step up to the table and say not just they're going to give us the house, because I don't want this house. I want this house, plus $10,000 for demolition. I want this house, plus environmental remediation money, so I can come in and clean it up and reoccupy it.”

    Those demands seems fair, and it is up to Councilman Brancatelli and his colleagues to enact legislation to protect the interests of the city.

    Once a house becomes vacant through foreclosure, there should be a step by step process the city can take to remedy the situation. First and foremost, the city can certainly put a lien on the property for any costs incurred through remediation or demolition, can’t they? If the bank wants the house back, they have to pay off the lien before they can resell the house.

    What if the bank abandons the house? Well, if the house is in liveable condition, the city should enact emergency public safety legislation that allows them to take over any abandoned house within a reasonable time (six months? one year?). I’m sure Cleveland has a redevelopment department. Take over the abandoned house through eminent domain, make it liveable, and rent it out to a low income family. . . all in the interest of public safety. If the house becomes neglected or vandalized to the point it needs to be demolished, then the property owner immediately forfeits their right to the property through eminent domain. An empty lot might stay vacant for some time, but eventually the economy will come back and the city can sell the lots to developers and recoup their losses. The lot itself should be worth far more than the $10,000 or so it takes to demolish the house.

    It really sounds like a number of mortgage brokers in Cleveland played the system, knowing full well this would happen. Is the city or state real estate commission pursuing criminal prosecution?

    This segues us into the second segment, an interview with journalist William Greider. I thought he was very knowledgeable and fascinating, but it became clear that this is a complex subject – they barely scratched the surface in the thirty minutes or so alloted for the discussion.

    The big thing most people want to know is “who should we point the finger at”?

    “If greedy homeowners would have just said NO to risky loans then there would not be any 'mortgage crisis'.” Steve S.

    “As a realtor, I know a number of mortgage brokers who are appalled by the number of people attempting to take out a home loan who are plainly not qualified. Everyone, banks, brokers, financial institutions, and borrowers have all been a part of this debacle.” Michael Bartos

    So Mr. Bartos, they were “appalled” – but did they let the loan go through anyway?

    Obviously, every stop along the food chain needs to be considered, from the homebuyer all the way to the investor who is left with worthless debt instruments. Any homebuyer who made fraudulent statements about wealth or income, only to end up in default should be prosecuted. Any mortgage broker who coerced a homebuyer into a risky loan should be prosecuted. In the latter case, I think Mr. Greider’s explanation sums it up – “Usury, to be clear about it, is rich people taking advantage of poor people by lending them money on terms that are sure to make them fail.” Buying a home is a complicated undertaking, which is why mortgage brokers are licensed by real estate commissions. Homebuyers rely on these ‘experts’ to tell them “yes, you can afford this home” or “no, you cannot”.

    And then there are the investment banks and the government officials who deregulated the industry. . .

    Unfortunately, it is not so easy to just point the finger at one group of people are another. Each piece of worthless paper must be treated on a case by case basis, and whoever is responsible (if there is proven wrongdoing) should face consequences. Hopefully, somewhere down the road there will be time to sort out the mess and let justice (at all levels) prevail.

    Economics is an essential element of social function not an arbitrary crap game where one person wins and everyone else loses.
    Economics is the life blood of the society. Without an efficient, equitable and just economic system; the society is doomed to failure.
    Our present system of economics is a system that will self-destruct. Without sufficient funds people's lives quickly deteriorate. While frugal is essential to stable economics and to avoid inflation; a stalled economy is disastrous.
    Making jobs available that at least pay the cost of living is essential to a quality society and meaningful life styles.
    Greed is a serious economic virus that can destroy any economic system. While capitalistic corporations are essential to social function; they are not human entities. It is essential that Corporations are managed to be consistent with people's welfare. Otherwise, people become slaves to the corporate system, creating hell on earth and their own demise.
    Money is both the root of all evil and the source of goods and services. People need to know the value of all things as well as the fair price.

    "Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."

    Anaïs Nin


    "The other two are just puppets of corporations and jews." Posted by: Ralph Raider | July 20, 2008 08:32 P

    The two major party candidates are not my puppets.

    The mortgage crisis is mostly caused by greedy and materialistic homeowners, not by banks. Do not buy a house you can not afford or if you do not understand how to buy a house.

    The government should not bail out anyone. Kick people out of the forclosed homes and let the banks close. We already have plenty of banking rules and anyone that broke the rules should be punished.

    Would you blame the car salesman if he talked you into a larger car than you wanted? Would you blame the TV salesman if he talked you into a larger TV? Of course not.

    Please become responsible for your own actions.

    It's not just Phil Gramm, or Rove, or Abramoff, or whoever. Our whole Republican Party is infected with greed and corruption. Look at this latest scandal.

    Did McCain's Chief Foreign Policy Advisor sell us out? Seems like he was in the middle of the money for absolution scandal that the UK Times Online discovered.

    "In a further link, Randy Scheunemann, chief foreign policy and national security adviser to John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, was listed in the WSE brochure as part of its executive team. Scheunemann and Associates, his lobbying firm, is reported as having represented the Caspian Alliance in 2005.

    At the undercover meeting last week, Payne said Scheunemann had been “working with me on my payroll for five of the last eight years”. When confronted over the link to KMG, Payne declined to comment."

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/...

    What a surprise, it looks like one of the guys behind one of the worst foreign policies in our history is a sellout. If this guy goes down with Phil Gramm and all the other McCain lobbyist advisors who are dropping like flies, who will be left? McCain himself? They guy who doesn't understand the difference between Sunni and Shia? He'll really steer us right in Iraq. This is looking really really bad for McCain.

    Your investigative story on Cleveland's victims of the predatory lending tragedy is the most important and under-reported subject of our times. Your show may be the sole major outlet for this plain truth about the causes for our failing economy. There is however one crucial element missing in this and other reports. As you introduce some of the many victims who have now become homeless, why not complete the circle and identify specific individuals who have reaped the profits. Let us see their ever upward changes in lifestyle as so many suffer. They seem to always be alluded as an anonymous group of bankers, investors, etc. We need to see them with their bigger yachts amd more expensive Ferraris or whatever other garbage on which they waste all of those criminally reaped windfalls. They are the real disease destroying this nation.

    Hi there, have you guys checked out Ralph Nader; at least he can raise a little hell. We seriouly need to get him into the presidential debates. The other two are just puppets of corporations and jews. We also need to change the election process if there is still any hope for the so called democray of ours.

    the Wm Greider bit gave me impetus to "dig" further for which I am most grateful.
    I just went as far as to read all the comments you received.... this was a great dissapointment.There was only one comment (jeff July 18, 2008 20:20pm) with which I could say 'amen". My 'dream" is to find person & plaes with whom I can join voices.

    We need term limits in Washington,but the bums will never propose it themselves.As citizens,we need to somehow get term limits on a referendum,but how?
    I think many of us would attend demostrations if someone would step up and organize them.Most of us regular folk haven't got a clue how to do that.Maybe Mr. Greider could be our new leader...come on,Bill!

    It is interesting to read such complaining opinions.
    What has become clear is that Capitalism Does Not Work any more at all. Evil business people, corrupt politicians, moaning intellectuals, and etc.
    All are just symptoms of a much deeper and fundamental problem.

    There is no next time. We have to start anew.
    First all the culprits have to be eliminated.

    Pick Up The Gun...

    Whining only prolongs the pain and suffering... The JM post below calling for ORGANIZING is the right direction! Individually we may effect little, but collectively by ourselves with true leaders, not the politicians, we can change this nation for the better for us, and our children...

    Today even this very Wall Street Journal article is asking: "Why people are not outraged?" given that everything going down the drain now for the great majority of Americans.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121642367125066615.html?mod=myyahoo_module

    Lately I've been analyzing the blog posts (as I believe Moyers and staff do) to gauge attitudes and knowledge in the American public. Some of you have advocated revolution (about 10%) which amounts to inciting insurrection and treason in troubled times.
    Most inciters though are about as serious as jeff, the figurative painter, who uses this blog to shill his wares (link).
    More moderate persons, such as David F. believe we can fix things with "laws in Washington." Some others believe that juggling federal government organization will do it.
    The ones who really amuse me are the dreamers who have a big plan on You Tube or elsewhere that if just everyone would watch, things would be better instantly. The one guy who said if he were made president today gas would be one dollar a gallon tomorrow is a hoot: He must think the presidency confers godlike powers. (It don't, buddy.) The people I sympathize with are the ones who say capitalism and the free market have failed because of concentration of power and the resulting failure to regulate.(Alliance of big business and military interests in a bogus government rings accurate too.) This group is closest to the truth. But even they lack any viable plan for implementing reform. (The pinheads who blame dumb homebuyers for defective mortgages would blame the diabetic patient for the surgeon amputating the wrong leg: They are hiding their crimes or defending their faschist betters.)
    Technologically, the wealthy class and their retainers in power are sure their sheep flock is under control in an electric fenced pasture, readily available for the next shearing or the slaughterhouse. (UM-UM LAMBCHOPS) That is a substantive definition of faschism: Ruthless power in too few unscrupulous hands.
    When politicians and businesspeople ceased fearing the mentality and physical might of the public we were doomed to slavery and the death camp.(This raw truth has no right or left.)
    Dave Snow is astute in his assessment of the types of adjustments needed, but his is a car with no engine facing a steep hill. There are plenty of good laws and principles now, not being obeyed or enforced in Washington or anywhere else because the people are assumed to lack solidarity and there is no fear on the part of an elite behind their corrupt law, invasive surveillance, the military, guards and mercenaries with terrible weaponry, state terrorism and the authority of our sham government with it's torture and prisons.The Supreme Court has even made the language of law uncertain and murky, but uncertainty always advantages power.
    Until the people get direction in their resistance and mobilize the ability to instill fear in the privileged class very little will change. Even the FED is just a symptom of a larger malaise.
    Your money, my money, their money is not real without a social contract and tax revenues to underwrite it.
    The labor of we people is the underlying basis. (Mom and Danny are in the kitchen baking biscuits and the capitalist monopoly boardgame in the den with Dad and Milly is only an illusion, like grand theft auto.)
    All of us Moyeristas have ideas and plans.(Some demented brainwashees have business models.) I suggest we network off this blog with one another. My plan is to formulate ideas over email and then dialog the details as we bus (also walk, drive, bike, train)to Washington in January to deliver our articles of redress at the Inauguration Day ceremonies. If they mow us down or exterminate us in camps at least we will have resisted like peace-loving, intelligent human beings and our blood will mark the monsters' hands forever. Lets be so numerous that the monkey runs and the jails cannot begin to hold us, that computer biometrics cannot put names to our faces. We all look alike to them anyway, just screwportunities. But, we who care know, even sheep have hearts and minds. beretco.op@gmail.com
    More later, Moyeristas.

    Note: Bill has called for postable videos which will be refreshing too.(Send you r complaints and ideas.) This week's show followed a NOW format with a realworld problem followed by sage analysis, but what kind of Journal do you want: It is Bill Moyers' in name only, and belongs to Moyeristas as well.

    Bill, William Greider destilled the situation like I have never heard anywhere before. But I still see a different reality today. The rich are flaunting their stuff and could not care less about the credit mess. There is no danger or risk for them. The silent majority or as Greider put it "extreme consensus" still doesn't speak up forcefully enough for change. That's what has to happen and we will get a better society and country.


    I can't tell you how much I appreciate your program, the details and fair commentary. This and the Newshour is the only real news on TV.

    Thank you

    A REDRAFT ...

    IF americans want a democracy, rather than the corrupt plutocracy that they have, the solution is simple ...

    REVERSE the constitutionally created diffusion of political power, which has created this plutocracy ... by removing its central systemic defect,

    ABOLISH the office of the presidency .... and fold all its powers [ executive and independent ] into the house, and contemporaneously neuter the powers of the senate, so as to make the house the unquestioned dominant political body

    THIS'D reverse the bizarre and stupid diffusion of legislative power between the current three legislative bodies [ the presidency [via the veto], house and senate], the interaction of which generates a power vacuum [aka gridlock] filled by bribes from the wealthy; mostly the large corporations, with most to gain from such an oligarchy or plutocracy

    THIS is the essential elements of a plutocracy, and the plutocracy that exists in the us

    "Plutocracy is rule by the wealthy, or power provided by wealth. In a plutocracy, the degree of economic inequality is high while the level of social mobility is low."

    "... the United States is a plutocracy in which there is a "fusion of money and government." "

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutocracy#cite_note-0

    THE above excision would also obliterate the independent uncontrollable powers of the typically deranged, megalomaniacal, paranoid characters, who become president, and who promptly commence a series of imperial wars at the behest of wall street to steal resources from other nations, and secondarily to reduce the backlog of unattacked enemies contained in the brainpans of the nations paranoids including, of late, the christian whackos who fostered the anti muslim imperial crusades into the holy lands, and the gung-ho military, and their industrial boosters

    SUCH a new arrangement in the political kernel'd be a novelty in one surprising area ... with a greater concentration of power would come political accountability of the politicians to the citizens, who for the first time would experience the joys of inflicting massive electoral retribution on the crooks and scoundrels currently in congress, and the presidency

    THE us would be a parliamentary democracy, transparent, with citizen supremacy [ ie the end of tenure for politicians ... to those not realizing its implications, this would simply circumvent the need to limit terms , or get money out of politics, or require the public financing of elections, etc]

    I would expect the taft-hartley act would be repealed in 6 months, and the nation'd enjoy universal single payer health care within a year

    THE latter change would rip one trillion per year away from the current annual two trillion dollar health care bill, plundered by the health industry, and return it to the citizens ... a nice windfall from the current annual us gdp of fourteen trillion

    POLITICIANS would become subservient, obedient, and fearful of provoking citizens ire, not those large corporations

    BUT this is never going to happen, instead people will be cajoled, and badgered, and exhorted to vote, and maybe a few will, but it'll make no difference; the system is flawed if a democracy is desired; it's not a democracy, despite an abundance of myths, and writings from scribblers to the contrary

    GREIDER makes points about the crooked economic system and the political crooks enabling it, but doesn't see the elephant in the room; a substandard and flawed constitutional structure

    TORTURE is yet another inevitable outgrowth of an imperial plutocracy, as is the quaint faith in the rule of law; the appeals courts are guaranteed to overrule jury verdicts in commercial cases

    FINALLY how health care is dealt with in the us, epitomizes this plutocratic state

    THE us has not got, nor will ever get, universal single payer health care; yet none have asked why the us does not have such yet ?

    IT'S a complete mystery to them

    HEALTH care is seen not as right, but simply as a magnificent, exploitable business opportunity, and as such is simply another operation of the plutocratic nature of the state; the politicians taking their orders from the health industry will simply not allow the total transformation of the system to a state overseen and constrained system

    THE economic mechanics are quite simple

    HEALTH care has an inelastic demand curve, such that raising prices reduces demand BUT increases total revenue

    NOW one dollar in six goes the health care to care for no more than four out of five people; at an annual cost of 2 trillion, from a gdp of fourteen trillion

    UNDER a system, such as existS in canada, the uk, australia, france, etc., their system transferred to the us would cost the us only one trillion per year, to cover everyone ie 100 %

    AND i hear you ask, where has the extra one trillion gone to ?

    THE answer is quite simple ... it's gone to the plutocracy in control of the health care system as a reward or payoff for a plutocratic system; in technical economic terms, as an economic rent; to the insurers, the pharmaceuticals, the medical profession ... to lobbyists and politicians for their bribes

    THEY steal one trillion dollars each year, year after year, and the figure will only grow over time it was no accident medicare was forbidden to negotiate drug prices; it was purely a systemic outcome of a plutocratic system

    WARS also are great source of corporate access to the nation's tax treasury; no bid contracts to halliburton are an entirely expected systemic outcome

    GREIDER'S discussion of using that same treasury to pay for failed commercial risk in the current banking collapse is another illustration

    BUT the remedy that would fix the problem is unattainable from the rigid, calcified constitution, which created the disasterous plutocracy; that being so, the bulk of the population in the us are forever doomed to impotently chase symptoms of a failed state

    THE CITIZENRY ARE NEVER GOING TO BE ABLE TO ...

    stop the torture of the enemies of an imperial plutocracy,

    reign in continuous presidential imperial wars,

    clean up political corruption, from corporate bribes, to rigged elections, etc

    provide universal single payer health care,

    clean up a rigged judicial system, which is a proxy of large commercial interests

    interest citizens in voting in a rigged electoral game

    stop corporations writing financially self serving public legislation, for their proxies to enact , and which typically give these corporations unfettered access to the nations resources, including the public treasury*1

    THE END

    *1 the most extreme recent example of such is big oil's free loading access to the us military to attempt to steal iraq's oil and become the regional oil hegemon, and the war industry's unfettered access to the nation's treasury

    One would think that from the corruption leaking out of every orifice of government that Congress really is nothing more than a collective group of corporate lapdogs promoting "The Corporate Tower of Babel" Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us of the Military Industrial Complex but the wage slaves were to busy picking up corporate crumbs to lessen. While every other industrialized nation prospers, America continues to be bleed dry.

    Many who bought homes were playing with the marked cards while Bush continued to repeat ..... "the economy continues to grow" and American continued to buy. Now as the cat is crewing out of the bag one leg at a time the truth as become Bush's hair ball. Greed is like alcoholism, enough is never enough.

    I really wish more people watched, listened, and then acted on the type of information available on PBS. The link between do-nothing Congress and the predatory loan practices is criminal. Once again, if our elected representatives do nothing, as they have in the last 8 years, then start over. I have registered a webpage recallall, starting with my representative who picks the Republican group think every time. We require intelligent statesmen in Washington or America will cease to function as it was designed.

    Thank you Bill Moyers for an informative program and thank you William Greider for your extremely fair assessment of the state of our economy and the reasons behind it. Having read most of the comments, your viewers, for the most part, are very helpful. I especially liked the comments from one named Dave Snow. We are a divided country (divided between the 5% who control everything and the rest of us). I hope that will change now that many of us have woken up to the reality.

    I am listening to Mr. Moyers’ interview with Mr. Greider again. I have read Mr. Greider for several years, though only one of his books. I need to read the other books. He is refreshing, isn’t he? I appreciate many of the posts on this blog. I don’t always respond when someone mentions my name, but I do read your responses. I understand why someone mentioned communist systems on another thread and I appreciate anyone who mentions flushing Ayn Rand or by implication Mise.

    The notion of rescuing predators outrages me. Heck, just let people keep the houses and let the predators go bankrupt. I know that is not possible, but gosh why should we keep rewarding looters masquerading as
    brokers and bankers. At the least, lets prosecute where we can and improve regulation where we have failed to manage lending.

    Economics remains a mystery to me. I have been reading it for many years but I lack the mathematical skills needed to grasp it. However, it seems to me that capitalism is the product of government, not the other way around. And its seems grossly unfair for taxpayers to assume risks but to be denied the benefits of profits. Both Republicans and Democrats, it seems, have dirty hands regarding Fannie Mae. I see nothing wrong with helping homeowners secure housing but much wrong with bailing out those who took unreasonable risks in making investments.

    I don’t know what mechanism we need to achieve these aims. It seems that there might be a paradox here.

    Nevertheless, lets try to help those who need housing but not make taxpayers pay for the obviously failed leadership of Fannie Mae.

    I am tired of paying for the fiascos with my small retirement stolen by infation.

    Three years ago, just before the hurricanes in Louisiana, I anticipated having $40,000 to spend on a house. The house I wanted to buy was priced for about $76,000 but the price rose to over a hundred thousand during the weeks after the storm when I got the money. I had wanted to be on the top side of equity, not the bottom side of it.

    I did not buy a house. I am not disappointed. What I have observed the struggles people have endured.

    1. I think it is not really fair to blame the buyers, afterall did not the media and people in power not spin the American dream? How many were told that values are going up -- you can't lose! Buy a house now or lose! yeah!

    2. If the common people do not get a fair share, you are going to have a revolution. What CEO is worth 240 times the salary that the average of the 20% in your lowest salary class get? The CEO's will have to meet Robin Hood, no choice.

    3. Eisenhower warned you to not let the military industrial complex get out of control. You guys did not listen, did you?

    4. You need universal healthcare now and pharmacare more-than-ever because in the longer term it will be less costly. With your unemployment going up, salaries probably going down, a sicker population is not going to be productive.

    5. It is interesting that a pre-emptive strike is launched on Iraq but Washington did nothing pre-emptive here and the Ohio situation had its indicators, but your lobbyists are separating you and your wealth.

    Good luck to those on the median and below.

    As someone who worked in the mortgage industry during the heady times, I feel I am qualified to offer some insight. Yes, it is true that homeowners have some responsibility for their own woes. Lack of discipline and financial knowledge led many to purchase homes they could not afford or refinance when they should not have. In my experience, clients would actually become upset when you suggested they should purchase something less, get a fixed rate instead of that attractive adjustable, or -gasp- maybe just wait.

    Mortgage companies and the like were not innocent. I would think they should have been aware that many of the deals being offered - no doc loans, no down payment,etc were risky. After all, if that was clear to me, I don't understand how it could have failed to be to corporations, analysts, et al.

    Perhaps it comes down to a concept discussed in Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational and on the show by Greider, the removal of direct responsibility. Very few in the loan process felt they personally would feel the direct pain for a bad loan. And unfortunately, because of our own lack of foresight- be that as a homeowner, mortgage broker, loan/wholesale company,investor or the Federal government- we will deal with the results.

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    Your guest Mr. Greider has hit the nail on the head.

    The US should implement a fair set of usury laws. A good set of usury laws would liken themselves to NASCAR restrictor plate racing....The economy can still go fast, but not so fast as to fatally wreck.

    After watching you program on Facing Economic Troubles, I was greatly disappointed and frustrated. I have always considered you a neutral party in journalism. However, an important factor was left out of this messy mortgage situation. What about the individuals who signed up for these outrageous debts, knowing that they did not have the credit or the income to make the payments? We are a country of people who always find ways to blame the other guy and never ourselves for our troubles.

    Thank you for an insightful and intelligent program on the banking and mortgage meltdown. I hope that
    Cleveland's troubles are not the "canary in the mine" for the rest of the U.S...

    Bill Greider's calm and thorough review of what is happening in the financial and housing markets was a wake - up call for citizens of the U.S. as well as citizens of other countries. The fact that most astonished me was that this deregulation began in 1980 under Carter and the Democrat majority. I remember how difficult it was then to get a mortgage (and how expensive -- 11 to 20% rates were common).
    Have we traded sound financial management with its attendant discipline for expediency?

    As the cartoon character Pogo used to say, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

    Thank you for your responsible, honest, realistic assessment of the current economic crisis and for the work of William Grieder in making sense of our dilemma. It was an antidote to the disingenuous treatment of the same topic that evening on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. We need your kind of journalism on PBS.

    Wish everyone could watch your program with William Greider. Thank you for having him. We are quickly losing our beloved America. When is the greed in Washington going to stop? This nation is going by the way of Rome.

    Straight talk by William.

    trickle down & deregulation don't work for me, a poor 30,000/yr American who pays his cc bills on time.

    We are living in a time of Reverse Robin Hood where the Rich steal from the poor

    I watched your program on predatory loaning practices in Cleveland with William Grieder. One fundamental question that I felt you avoided was the question of borrower's own moral responsibility. If the lenders and the banks knew that the borrowers were too poor to qualify for a loan, certainly the borrowers knew also. If the lenders knew that borrowers were lying on the application, certainly the borrowers did too. In your eagerness to focus blame the bankers you left out the other half of the equation.

    Let me offer an alternate version of the situation. Cleveland was built by incredibly hardworking and thrifty immigrants. But as we all know the industrial and manufacturing base of the rust belt has been dying for at least 30 years. The original workers moved out of the neighborhoods that you described because the jobs were leaving and because of growing crime spreading out from the inner city. In addition Afro-Americans were understandably wanting to move into these neighborhoods for better schools and to get the few jobs that were left. You had houses that needed to be sold, but the only people wanting to buy them were increasingly uneducated, unskilled, unwanted, and poor. For a generation banks have been under increasing pressure to make greater number of loans to African Americans REGARDLESS OF THE RISKS OF THE LOAN. Because of the bias of your program you conveniently neglected to mention that nearly all these loans were made TO African Americans BY African Americans. Those who both profited and lost were overwhelmingly African American, as were those who ruined these houses by stripping them of copper, tin, and steel. This was a criminal opportunity brought about by generations of white liberal guilt. Since you have been reporting on the subject of housing discrimination for years how could you of all people have missed it?

    My guess is that any city with a large underclass will disproportionately be affected by this crisis, not because of racism or contempt for the poor, but the exact opposite... the eagerness to help the poor regardless of their actual circumstances.

    Thanks, Mr. Moyers, for highlighting the mortgage mess in my home state, Ohio. When a picture of the state capitol appeared on the screen, I knew exactly what was going to follow. The General Assembly, dominated for years by the most reactionary group of Republicans north of the Mason-Dixon line, can always be counted upon to place the financial interests of their corporate donors over the well being of the people they are ostensibly elected to serve. Thanks to complicit media, the actions of the General Assembly in creating and sustaining our mortgage crisis remain virtually unknown to most Ohioans. In November, Ohio voters will go to the polls with little knowledge of the voting records of the incumbents running for reelection. The politicians will merely drag out the predictable promises of lower taxes, better schools, and more jobs, and then enter the General Assembly prepared to enact more laws for the benefit of their real constituency- powerful corporations and other business interests. Even more distressing is the fact that the Ohio Democratic Party and its governor appear unwilling or unable to make any significant changes to our state's political status quo.

    "The People," that romanticized and idealized entity, a fiction fostered by Jefferson and reinforced by Lincoln, can do absolutely nothing about this state of affairs except squeak and squawk. There is no such actual thing as "the people," except as a fictitious construct like "God." Social consensus/convention holds that God has certain qualities, certain concerns, and certain potencies; and by the same token, "the people" are held to be such and such, and to feel such and such an emotion such as indignation, and to have some kind of awesome power; but in actuality, as all of the masters of reality well know, people as a generalized mass are selfish and hedonistic, incohesive, fundamentally immoral and irrational, fractious, disharmonious, heterogeneous, and inclined to mutual hatred and violence. Even this generalization is invalid, like all others. "The people" is a totemic myth, albeit a pillar of American culture.

    Clearly some (post below) are starting to get a bit uneasy that us real people are now getting the truth.

    ”These ideas effect not just consumers and workers in the United States but people around the world.“

    The real question is who are they? This usury class not only is manipulating the market, the economy, but the very government, and the nation of OURS? When and how have they (AIPAC type) been doing such kind hijacking that brought this country, and even the world to this abysmal sate all the while savagingly enriching their class, their religion?

    People will not let this pass any more!

    So, Ryan Stockman, you are saying that to be anti-usury is to be anti-semetic ?

    Greider is truly a grand old man - the only thing I see him being 'ANTI' is parasites, both corporate and the just plain stinking rich who suck the lifeblood out of the productive people of the world.

    Our USA has "grown too big for its britches" that were built for 13 colonies' population. For an answer to mismanagement by gov't and corporations, just look at all these comments; USA is so statistically-large now that engineers know better how to structure Representation : Mars Rover circuitry is multi-layered hierarchical commands with feedback loops for quality control.
    Yet we're still voting and letting go responsibility at that point. We need pyramidal feedback from Representative actions back down through states, to cities, to neighborhood watches gathered in-strength through town halls. From which as local teams to be Constitutionally granted power at the Representative's helm if enough town halls re-vote alike. Plus


    Your interview with William Greider was very interesting. Sounds like an anti semitic rant on usury. Laws banning usury can be dangerous and counterproductive. More populist banish the "rich". Greider seems to want to ban interest all together, he doesn't actually say that but the way the both of you rally against interest it just seems strange. Religions used to kill people for charging interest. Jews were often the scapegoat because they would lend money to people plus interest. Using religion to justify your nonsense doesn't help the argument and makes your guest look quite misinformed about the bloody history of demonizing "money lenders" and bankers.

    Millions of ordinary Americans own stocks, bonds and mutual funds. To save for a home and to fund our retirement. It's NOT just the "rich" that have an interest in the market. Ridiculous regulation and windfall profits taxes are nonsense. Of course Moyers and his guest are already wealthy their two bit "progressive" (socialist) schemes won't affect them when they fail miserably.

    Another bit of laughable nonsense is the statement, "the market is dead". Sorry but capitalism is the reason we as a nation are wealthy. Not socialism nor dim witted schemes to "empower" workers or shift the focus away from workers to capital. Simple childish nonsense. Wealth should be more equally distributed but you don't shoot the hand that feeds you. Capitalism is the best system.

    The sad fact is fraud was involved in the housing crisis and people are hurting. However it was also a bubble. Bubbles have occurred countless times throughout history. Read "A Random Walk Down Wallstreet" for clear examples. People bought homes as "investments". The general public is not too bright. They are greedy. If home prices rise 300% in Florida maybe you shouldn't buy a $600,000 house and try to flip it. I don't feel sorry for people who listen to fools like Robert Kiyosaki who pushed real estate even when it was obvious that the bubble was breaking. Some people should just be renters.

    Banks have lost billions of dollars. The "bailout" of bear stearns made the stock price go from $120 a share mere weeks ago to $10 a share. Not exactly a bailout. Shareholders were wiped out.

    Fannie and Freddie
    stiutation is more complicated. They shouldn't exist. They used to only buy mortages from people who have money down and have good credt. That was until they started buying other "AAA" rated paper. And of course the ratings couldn't be trusted. Add to the fact that Fannie and Freddie were only required to hold $80 billion dollars of capital when they hold $trillions in mortages and you have a problem.

    Nationalizing fannie and freddie is not a good idea. When the crisis passes they should be privatised completly and wound down. They are not needed.

    Finally as I stated a little over a year ago when Mr. Moyers interviewed Lori Wallach (from public citizen) I gave you a list of recommended reading to increase your knowledge of basic economics. You evidently didn't listen.

    Here is another list of experts (not authors and activists/socialists) who know what is coming out of their mouths.

    "Pop Internationalism" by Paul Krugman. "The Bottom Billion" by Paul Collier. "In Defense of Globalization by Bhagwatti." "The Naked Economist" by Wheelan. "The Origin of Wealth" by Beinhocker. "Fooled by Randomness" by Talib. "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" by Malkiel. "The Elusive Quest for Growth" by William Easterly. "White Rednecks and Black Liberals" by Sowell. "The End of Poverty" by Sachs. The Financial Times or any article written in The Economist newspaper.

    There Mr. Moyers, a short reading list that is made up of mostly Democrats (Sowell being the biggest exception). Hope that raises the level of discourse when you "interview" someone and talk about the economy. True liberals like myself are ashamed to be mentioned with "liberals" such as Mr. Moyers when he continues to push ideas that are not only counterproductive and non liberal but dangerous rhetoric. These ideas effect not just consumers and workers in the United States but people around the world. True Gladstonian Liberalism will return to extinguish this progressive nonsense. I hope that President Obama will be that liberal. :)

    Dear Mr. Moyers,
    I enjoyed your interview with William Greider and we investors and also free enterprise want answers. We shouldn't have taken off the usary laws. Also, we shouldn't have gotten rid of the GLASS-STEGALL ACT. We need more regulations,not less. The media should ask Senator Obama why he thinks TAXING HEDGE FUND DEALERS would be a good idea which is what I favor also. Also, when I contact my elected officials, I don't believe that the HEDGE FUND DEALERS are registered as lobbyists even though they contribute millions of dollars to the campaigns. I am a member of Senator Obama's blog site and when I type in "Does anyone know anything about hedge funds?" we came up with over 500 letters and we could have gone further. People want answers so we don't have to go through what happened to the Indy-Mac Bank in California. In the July-August issue of the AARP Bulletin on page 32, they talked about a book by Andrew L. Yarrow about the federal debt. It said the debt has almost doubled under President George W. Bush and that every American household could have debt of a cool half a million dollars. He would make a good guest on your program. Keep asking questions.
    Yours truly, Disgusted Middleclass Taxpayer, LaVern Isely

    i don't know if this has been addressed in the above comments as i did not read them...but it seems to me that in the situation of foreclosures where renters have maintained paying their rents...the banks should work with those renters to keep them in their homes...it seems this would be a win - not lose everything outcome for the renters and the banks...

    Bill, we need to peel back history a bit to get at the root cause of our current monetary situation.

    After WW II, when the U.S emerged as the premier world power, FDR convened the Bretton Woods conference at which the dollar was established as the basis for the world monetary system and the IMF was established.

    The U.S. pledged at the time to tie the value of the dollar to the price of gold.

    In 1972, Nixon broke this pledge and we have been printing money in unconstrained quantities ever since.

    Why is this never brought up in discussions like the one last night? It seems like an obvious abuse of power and a point of departure for the world economy.

    We're still 'dancing around the issue' of being overcharged to use other people's exorbitantly manufactured money. Are they [the producers] "citizens" mistreating other citizens usuriously by overpricing their 'product' just 'to make a quick buck'! If so -as it sure appears- "let the courts & citizens juries decide how they should be penalized and punished! They could be rightly required to pay back all usurious fees and charges. {Yeah!]. Meanwhile, [while we're all waiting for our big due 'rebate' people can simply stop 'buying the goods'. What to use as an alternative though needs be addressed because there's simply not enough gold and silver to go around quickly enough to meet basic needs for everyone else who doesn't have it. I guess we could all just decide to wait it out -or issue I.O.U's too until we can 'honor them' with what we'll be getting back from the Feds as 'payment' for helping to 'bail THEM out. What an economy boosting national and world celebration we can all then all hold to make up for losses :o}

    Not only has the door been left open to the hen house, they gassed all the chickens first, murdered the rooster and the rest of the barn yard animals then sold them as cosmetic fluff to disguise their rotten crimes.
    Has anyone even realized the utter similarities of the names Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac? Unless I'm insane these names sound to suspiciously like a whore and her pimp. The filthy rich investors who have been getting their jollies with Fanny and giving Freddy the tip now are getting it all paid for by average Joe Blow worker who hasn't even gotten a kiss from Fanny but then her pimp comes along to beat him up to take his house. Meanwhile congress is getting serviced by Fanny on the side and nobody even realizes that Fanny has not only AIDs, but gonorrhea , syphilis and every type of crab ever known to the human race spreading it to Joe Blow worker who still hasn't even gotten a kiss.
    Personally I like the idea of the French revolution. Why not riot in Washington and take these rotten SOBs out and string them up? Guillotine anyone? I think it's time we go back to the bad old days when the public got its pound of flesh when it got burned. Why not let the blood of these rotten shysters flow down the streets? I could use some entertainment.

    Want a solution Bill? Go to YouTube and type in 'anonbene or 'The Benefactor Project" into the search engine. You will have the answer to the Cincinatti housing problem, the equity problem, the credit problem, the homeless problem and a cure for poverty. It's all free.
    If you and your listeners, politicians and every other know it all complainer in the country refuses to act then you will have no reason to ever talk about what is there to do about this problem. The answer is given.
    The best thing to do for the country right now is to walk away from your mortgages. Wait until after the tax man get's done with his process and then go buy the houses from the city for $1.00. You will save the city the demo cost and you will get the house for $1.00 for salvage rights. Dismantle and move it. I show you how on YouTube.

    What I just gave this country is, at minimum, $60 Billion worth of free houses. There's more but I doubt anyone is listening or cares.
    Tom Canavan
    anonbene@yahoo.com
    The Benefactor Project.

    Thank you for actually mentioning the problems of tenants who have the misfortune to live in foreclosed buildings. The Cleveland Tenants Organization has done good work--making sure that tenants know what their rights are in foreclosure actions. Many states have no information for tenants at all. (I can't, for instance, find a single tenants organization in Nevada. Not one.) Tenants in California can get basic information at tenantsforeclosure.blogspot.com/

    Your program was telling the truth about predatory lending, but I think you've left out a huge series of realities that have made the economic situation even worse.

    You may have done other programs about the current administration not taxing the wealthy, allowing all our non-service and some of of service businesses to move overseas and pay little or no tax, and other programs about why we are broke unto the third generation, because we're giving money to the wealthy, taxing the poor, destroying the middle class, and trying to run two wars(badly)and threatening at least one more against Iran, and while running prisons, bases, and embassies all over the world to maintain and increase our previous power, and allowing department store chains like WalMart to take over most of the selling of goods, primarily goods that used to be made here and are now made in China. But if you didn't, all those things belong in this horrible situation in which people work multiple jobs at minimum wage and have no place to live anyway, and in which Capitalism is unregulated and running wild for the wealthy.

    When George W. Bush says the economy is growing, he means it's growing for him and his friends and the wealthy who run the country. He happily and easily ignores the rest of us and asks why we're complaining and what we're complaining about.

    So, with proper respect to Alan Greenspan who helped make it all happen, and some Democrats who helped it happen, let's call it what it is. This country is going bankrupt and is now owned by several other countries (China, Saudi Arabia, etc.) and the middle class is dying. Maybe the government will eventually realize that destroying the poor and middle classes was a mistake--but I think it will be too late. So if you've said all this, you've begun to cover what's going on in the world. And you will be as frightened as I am.

    Thank you for actually mentioning the problems of tenants who have the misfortune to live in foreclosed buildings. The Cleveland Tenants Organization has done good work--making sure that tenants know what their rights are in foreclosure actions. Many states have no information for tenants at all. (I can't, for instance, find a single tenants organization in Nevada. Not one.) Tenants in California can get basic information at tenantsforeclosure.blogspot.com/

    One poster with a good dictionary put it the most accurately; Facism is when the corporations and the military (industrial complex) assume control of the government.
    We are now living with that result, one that the last good republican president, Ike Issenhower tried to warn us about as he left office.
    Our direction as a country has been averted to increase the fortunes of the top one-percent, to the detriment of the rest of us.

    We must take back our country by any means possible.

    First, start with removing the personage of all the corporations. If a corporation wants to do business in the USA it must hold its banking interests here and employ at least 51% of all their workers in the USA. Also, no CEO of any corporation can have any compensation that equals more than 10 times any public servants (teachers, fireman, police, garbageman, health workers, etc) compensation package.
    This would ensure that the people within the corporations would have some connectivity to the US market they exploit for profit, and would use their power to influence and uplift society as a whole.

    Second, completely outlaw lobbyist. This is nothing but legal bribery which is illegal. Remove the corrution by removing the money.

    Third, remove the electoral college and return America to a countable paper ballot system for voting (NO DAMN MACHINES!!!). Our votes should elect our representation, not a bought and paid for electoral college voter.

    Fourth, change the election process. Remove the money, the people own the airwaves so the TV & Radio ads shoud be free to all candidates or you revoke their license.
    Shorten the process, our elected officials spend two-thirds of their time in office collecting money and glad-handing for votes, to get re-elected. The campaign time should be defined and mandated by law; primaries to general election should be about 4 months max. How do we do that you ask? Simple, just create a Voting Day Holiday on a Monday or a Friday and the whole USA votes on that day (primary & general elections Voting Day).
    No more long drawn out process lasting 2 years. Each candidate gets one 30 minute info-commercial per month during prime-time to reach the people, to express their views and ideas to the American public. The candidates debate once each month with all candidates represented from all parties. We must break the two party gridlock if we expect to get the best and brightest people to get & be involved.

    Call me a dreamer but this is our best plan of action.

    Thank you again Bill for trying to wake us all up. No hope unfortunately...

    BTW, if you like Bill's show, you will love this Rolling Stone article on the Class War.

    Click my name, or copy the link below.
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/21830103/its_a_class_war_stupid

    Think! Act! Change History!

    Very interesting discussion about usury. I was wondering if anyone else watched Loretta Napoleoni on C-span a few months ago talking about her book, Rogue Economics? She explains that Islamic finance is the only sector of the world's economy that has not been affected by the subprime crisis. And the reason is because Islamic finance follows Sharia law, which bans usury (among other things). Basically, they kept it clean and now they have the most money. She theorizes that the world's power is shifting from the West to the East. She anticipates that we will not experience a full blown 1929 style depression because ultimately we will be bailed out by Islamic financeers but that will be the mechanism that pushes the transition of power to the East. She also theorizes that the Arabs will, or have already, join forces with a country like China because the Arab nations have wealth but they have no manufacturing and so will seek partnership to shore up that piece of major economic influence.

    LN was the first person I heard talk about usury in the context of this crisis so my ears perked up when I watched the show last night. I did not know these details about Islamic finance but I now realize that we should all learn more about it.

    I also believe that our country needs a frank discussion about the role and prevalence of gambling in our finance system and our society. Right now, the government is bailing out wealthy institutions and individuals because they all made bad bets. This is like parents on fixed income bailing out their adult child's gambling debts. I believe that we should consider screening financial workers for gambling behaviors similar to the way bus drivers are screened for drugs and alcohol. Gambling behaviors can reduce good judgments about financial decisions similar to a drunk driver making impaired decisions about driving. The press is using a lot of words like "bets" and "casinos" when talking about the econ crisis but they seem to not realize how often these words are being used and I think they should tune into these clues/signals and delve deeper.

    Anyway, good show last night.

    The government bail out of Fannie and Freddie is like feeding the sharks, now that the small prey is gone, they begin to feed on themselves.

    =
    MJA

    come on bill...
    when are you going to tell the truth to the american public?

    the federal reserve is neither federal or a reserve.

    it is a private bank, and as such is not nor has ever been part of the federal government.

    do the right thing.

    come on bill...
    when are you going to tell the truth to the american public?

    the federal reserve is neither federal or a reserve.

    it is a private bank, and as such is not nor has ever been part of the federal government.

    do the right thing.

    Bill Moyers, thank you for articulating so well the thoughts and feelings of progressives on the subject of various insanities. I'd like to say a word about solutions. That word is barter. Beneath America's $13 trillion economy lies at least $1 trillion of stuff that goes to waste: surplus product inventories, open appointment slots, billable hours, unbooked hotel rooms, empty tables at restaurants, empty seats at entertainment and sports events, excess production capacity -- the list is endless. Barter lets you "use what you've got to get what you need," without paying cash. But traditional one-on-one barter can only scratch the surface. That's because you often can't find a match: the auto mechanic doesn't need his nails done, or already has an accountant, or can't use six cartons of wool socks. So there's no deal. NPR's All Things Considered tackled this issue a few days ago. On Wednesday 7/16/08, they aired a lively interview with the owner of a business-to-business barter exchange in Pittsburgh. (Ref.: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92602005) Participants earn "trade dollars" when they sell to other participants. They spend trade dollars when they buy. In many cases, no cash changes hands. Three years ago I drank the Kool-Aid and co-founded a similar organization in Houston. We now work with thousands of participants locally and nationwide in an endlessly creative enterprise -- harnessing goods and services that otherwise remain deadweight on the economy and on individual businesses.

    What I'm wondering is why aren't falsehoods like Ross Douthat's saying that "the cost of living is lower" as a rebutal to the inequity caused by supply-side economics is never challenged? If there is inflation and wages do not exceed inflation then the cost of living cannot possibly be going down.

    If you could be a superhero - one not already in existence - what would your special powers be? What would your name be?

    My special power:
    calling the conscience of people to become a non-prejudiced, fair/just, nongreedy, loyal/faitful, kind and giving to become happy.

    My name: Super-Conscience Caller

    Here is an advice from me:

    An "SPECIAL" Way OF Birth That Renders THE Power To Rule And ExploitThe "ORDINARY" Non-Westerners:

    Is this the way to treat others?
    (see the "Testimony of William J. Burns ..." after these)
    Is this the way to treat others?
    (Clink the link at the end to read the "Testimony of William J. Burns ..." )
    July 17, 2008

    SERVANT Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sen. Christopher Todd, Sen. Shelby, …
    Remember that on the Judgment day, in the presence of God, I will held you responsible, and ask you if you conveyed these words to the People’s-SERVANTS in the legislative, judiciary, executive branches AND to the Press/Media.
    Please, tell them not act as if you are GUARDIAN of people. Act as SERVANT of people.

    I wish you well and a swift recovery SERVANT Ted Kennedy. Please convey this message to all other SERVANTS of people in Senate, Congress, White House, and other institutions of the government and Judiciary branch; to: a) start acting as being SERVANT of people, b)start earning their salary, c) stop acting as being the GUARDIAN of people -- as i.e. parents as the Guardian of their underage/retarded/incapacitated children/offspring.

    To everybody in the legislative, judiciary, executive branches AND to the Press/Media:
    Remember that on the Judgment day, you will be held responsible for your arrogant/cruel/unjust/rights-denying/exploitating/pirating-actions/treatment of the non-Westerners because, we the Westerners, the "better than the others -- the non-Westerners", who think that we are are “better than them” due to the “SPECIAL” manner of our birth; falling off the ASS's HOLE/Vulva [whereas the manner of the birth of non-Westerners is via the “ORDINARY” birth-canal; exiting the vulva of their mothers which makes them "subhuman"-non-Westerners WITH LESS rights than us. That is, because of our falling-off the Ass-hole, we acquire the right to RULE on them, to look down at them, to exploit them and their resources, and consider what is theirs as ours. The reason for this way of my talking to power is to make it sink in the minds (of those who forget the fact that they [are just like any other person on the earth] sent/elected as the SERVANTs of the people to, without infringing on the RIGHTS of other people on the earth, advance the WILL of the peoplein the institutions of their government.

    Servants of people, Servant Speaker Peloci and Servant Chairman John Conyers,
    You are there to, on behalf of people to legislate and watch for the interest of people NOT to act as if you are GUARDIAN of people (under-age children/retards).
    It is not up to you to veto the will of the people.

    There is danger of starting another act of aggression against the very peaceful nation of Iran . Warmongers/Military Industrial Complex (MIC)/illegitimate desire of Israel are after destroying what Iranians, on their own, have achieved in technological advances/military industry; to keep Iran from joining the developed countries. IAEA through more than 250 thorough/intruding inspections (that we will not tolerate a second of it -- despite of our annual manufacturing of 50 modern atomic bombs) has concluded that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful. But illegitimate power houses/MIT and the cancerous big corporations that are after exploitation of resources of Iran, want to bombard Iran anyway to keep Iran dependant so that she is forced to buy arms and goods from them at astronomical prices until she, due to no longer having OIL to sell, becomes poor like African countries that are left on their own to fend for themselves. These power house/MIT/Corporations do not want democracy for Iran .

    Since when the burden is on the accused? Iran is not making atomic bomb.

    SERVANT President/Senators and Congressmen/Congresswomen,
    I, as the soul of the nation/humanity, order you all [SERVANTS of people], to stop bullying Iran . Who has given you the authority to pass sanctioning resolution against Iran -- to freeze assets, put blockade on Iranian ships in Persian Gulf; in their backyard waterways by our faraway [bully, coercing, extortionist, pirate] country? You the SERVANTS of us, the people, have no right to order our forces to act as pirates in Persian Gulf for a spoiled country, the Israel (that has more than 200 atomic war-heads BUT dares to lecture the peaceful nation of Iran that has a peaceful nuclear program according to the NNPT guidelines/IAEA). I, Dr. Murray M. Morgam, as the collective-soul of humanity/nation/people, order you to pass a resolution to pull out all our forces from Persian Gulf and vicinity and bring them back to home and start to make the military very small, to a size that is necessary to defend any attack on our country here in the USA.

    Who the hell you think are? Era of colonialism is passed. How dare you decide to dance to the lead of Senator Lieberman to block Iran ’s ships/assets and dare to inspect their cargo. We have made mocquery of the UNSC. Iran is a peaceful country. I, Dr. Murray M. Morgam, as the collectivesoul of humanity/nation/people, order you to start EARNING your salary by spending your time on the issues that you have authority (according to the Constitution); on the domestic issues. Start earning your salary and act on people’s will; pass law to dismantle our atomic bombs and pass law to prohibit our country to make new/or upgrade our atomic bombs. That is what you have to spend your time on.

    We all, know it very well, that Iran is not, ever, going to make atomic bomb. The "burden of proof" is on the accusers not the accused.

    Time and time again, IAEA has concluded that Iran 's nuclear program has been peaceful and that they have not found any clue to point to it having had been otherwise; that is, being a weapon-geared program.

    IAEA should ask Europe , USA , and Israel to prove their allegation (that Iran has weapon-geared nuclear program) NOT Iran to prove is not making atomic bomb.

    It is impossible to prove/show that you do not have something that you have never had it at all? The burden is on those who make the allegations. OR, because we (the blue-blooded, arrogant, savage-beast-bullies) consider ourselves "better than them" (because they are non-Westerners, and thusly/sub-humans with less RIGHTS than us), we want to prevent them from advancing in science and technology; that when they achieve it without our permission, we treat them with "Carrot/Stick" policy!!!. Is it logical to, instead of saying hello to the shopkeeper of a shop (that has something that we want to buy), threat him/her instead? If we treat Iran with respect, they would be more than happy to sell their oil to us with enthusiasm.

    As to if "West" is better than rest of the world and Iranians, I refer you to:
    1. "Les Grecs et les Barbares" to find out even per the prejudiced ancient Greek historians, they saw themselves admiring Persian culture and the advanced way of their life/culture.

    2. Read the "Le Monde" (En Iran, un autre berceau de la civilisation €
    LE MONDE.FR | 4 janvier 2008
    http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Archaeology/Pre-History/jiroft.htm http://www.bulletinasiainstitute.org/Muscarella_BAI15.pdf
    http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Archaeology/Pre-History/jiroft.htm
    Aratta-Jiroft-Halilrood -- 5000 years ago) about the first cradle of Civilization (the City of "Arrata" that per the ancient Greeks was the Glorious last city that is found in south of Iran, near the city of Kerman; the present city of Jiroft near Hlil-rood that they think is the city of "Arrata', AND

    3. Go to PBS watch the documentary that says about the Minoans in Crete that had been of Iranian origin back 5000 years ago --
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/episode-home/sinking-atlantis
    to find out that it is the West that had been referred to as the "Barbars" by Greek. And read about the contributions of the glorious Islamic era that Iranians to all branches of science and art since 700 hundred years ago while Europe was living "dark ages".


    We know that, within a millisecond of daring of the use of such policy ("Carrot/Stick" policy) by others, we would respond with: "Shove them both" and would leave the room immediately. How dare you treat people like that? They are not horse or donkey. I am amazed that Iran , despite of our savage treatment of them, has been able to show such admirable degree of patience and restraint towards our insulting attitude of us against them. I, as one of the Citizens of USA, am asking you to, immediately put stop into use of such a stupid "foreign Policy".

    We should treat the nations of the world as equals; with respect. Specially, a nation like Iran, that has more than 5000 years of glorious civilization, and contribution to the world in all fields; fields of art and science (physics, chemistry, medicine, astronomy, mathematics, and arts).

    A fair-minded person like I, acknowledges that, despite of our rude, arrogant, and bullish behavior of West, Iranians have been more than patient with the ILLEGITIMATE/ and UNJUST, RIGHTS-DENYING demand of West from them.

    Shame on you, Mr. President. Shame on Europe and shame on us all.

    Mr. President, our past interferences against the toppled democratic governments of Iran , demonstrates how in-genuine our “pro-freedom”/”pro-democracy” claims have been/are.

    Mr. "President", Please, do not BS people. Forgot our toppling of Mossadeq and our sabotaging of Iranian's beautiful 1979 revolution which lead to toppling of President Banisadr? Please refrain from making any sort of threat, AND any sort of manipulative pseudo-uprising fabrications against Iran; so that people, who had democracy/freedom (during the three year Prime-ministership of Mossadeq and the two year Presidency of Banisadr), on their own (without any sort of interference from outside), re-establish it again from inside; through peaceful and genuine uprising against their government (that is stolen from them). The only person who has authority to speak for people of Iran , is the first-President of Iran , the self-exiled former President Banisadr who, at the moment, lives in Versaille , France . He, truly/popularly, was elected by 70% of votes through a real election. Since then, he has been educating/informing people of Iran so that they, by themselves, stand up again to topple the current corrupt/illegitimate regime and re-establish a legitimate/people-representative government in its place. All these, including the nuclear-issue [that per IAEA is a peaceful program], are INTERNAL affairs of Iran . How would we feel if a bully-nation [from across the Globe] interferes in such internal affairs of ours –telling/deciding-for-us [as if we are under-age/retarded] as to what is good or not-good [in our interest]? AND through imposition of various sanction regimes [via abuse of UNSC or outside of it] coerce us to do what that bully/pirate nation THINKs is RESPONSIBLE-behavior/good for us? Neither our Senate [or any other institutions of our country] nor those of the other parasitic/arrogant/pirate/thieves [other blue-blooded Western countries across the Atlantic ] have ANY right to meddle into the internal affairs of other nations of the world.

    De quelle droit we dare to DICTATE to other nations what to do or not to do?

    Without regard to the nature of the government, people of Iran tend to wrap around their government when they perceive outside-danger/threat against their country; no matter how brutal and oppressive it is. So please,stop/refrain from making/imposing any degree and sort of threats, sanctions or manipulations against Iran .

    Do not pay attention to Mojahedin-e Khalgh or ex-kicked-out blue-blooded pro-Shah individuals who, in order to continue their parasitic way of life, bark and wag their tails to us so that we throw them some money (bone). These kicked out corrupt people, who do not respect any degree of human rights for the people of Iran , are against democracy and freedom for their homeland.

    Please, I, as the soul of humanity, HEREBY order you to cease/stop assets-freezing [pirating]/bullying/coercing Iran.

    Servants of people, Servant Speaker Peloci and Servant Chairman John Conyers,
    You are there to, on behalf of people to legislate and watch for the interest of people NOT to act as if you are GUARDIAN of people (under-age children/retards).
    It is not up to you to veto the will of the people. It is NOT important that there is or there is not enough vote to convict President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. It is the desire of people to proceed-with/act-on the previous and the current impeachment proposals of Congressman Kucinich; regardless of the number of supporting votes. Impeachment matter is NOT a political issue that you weigh the gains or loss viz à vis the at issue political subject matter. Constitution of the USA allows people to impeach and remove a President who has committed high crimes.

    Because, President Bush has set numerous dangerous precedents which are harmful to the Rule By People, it is imperative to impeach him [before the end of his term] regardless of the number of supporting votes in favor of the conviction. The fact that Congress has proceeded with bringing forward the subject matter of the impeachment, would remove the implied created power/authority effect, as a precedence, that another US-President might desire/decide to invoke. Power corrupts. Congress and Senate are there to, as one of the MOST important duties of legislative branch, watch for people so that the President does NOT act like a King.

    It is UNPRECEDENTED for Congress to ignore an impeachment request coming from a legislative body. It would be terrible for Congress to break this long-established precedent. When the Florida legislature requested the impeachment of Judge Swayne, Congress acted upon it. It came to the floor of the House as a highly privileged motion. The House required a committee to report on impeachment. When the committee reported it, impeachment was passed. When the Mississippi legislature requested the impeachment of Judge Bruin, Congress acted upon it. It came to the floor of the House as a highly privileged motion. The House required a committee to report on impeachment. Shortly later, a new judge was appointed, apparently after Judge Bruin died or resigned.

    So, I, Dr. Murray M. Morgan, as the soul of the humanity/people/nation, ORDER you [as the Servant of people] to, immediately, bring forward the proposals of Congressman Kucinich to vote and send it to the Senate for the trial. You are, hereby, ordered to refrain from acting as if you are the GUARDIAN of people.

    So, I, as the collective-soul of the people, order and urge all the Congressmen, congresswomen to, for the sake of upholding the Constitution/Constitutional RULE OF LAW, support the previously introduced Articles and the Article of Impeachment introduced by Re. Dennis Kucinich on July 10. President Bush deliberately lied to Congress and to the people about the "threat" coming from Iraq because of its so-called arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. He started the war to remove Saddam who had dared to put image of his father in the front-yard walkway of one of the governmental buildings/one of the Places in Iraq for the people to walk on (shown in CBS or ABC -- it is funny that nobody dares to talks about this uncontrollable motive of President whish was the real reason behind the Iraq-war this uncontrollable urge to punish Saddam was the reason that GW Bush was chosen/encouraged to run for Presidency – because he would do whatever he is told to do). The President lied and hundreds of thousands of people have died as the result of his vengeance-seeking. The Constitution is the law of the land and not a partisan political issue.


    Sincerely,

    Dr. Murray M. Morgan
    ...
    sz4M@yahoo.com
    ===
    Is this the way one treat/speaks with people? What a condescending attitude as if we, as "better than others -- due to the "SPECIAL" way of our birth we have acquired the right to rule/exploit "ORDINARY" non-Westerners' resources!!!.

    click the link to see what I mean:
    http://www.internationalrelations.house.gov/110/bur070908.pdf
    Testimony by
    William J. Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
    U.S. Department of State
    Before the
    House Foreign Affairs Committee
    July 9, 2008
    The Strategic Challenge Posed by Iran

    Hi Ewan,

    In a way you are right. Sure the dems aren't as bad as the repos, but then again, which is worst, the crook who commits a crime or the cop that lets him get away with it? By doing nothing the dems are accomplices to the repo crimes.

    If you want lenders to be more careful with their lending practices the only demand (regulation) that needs to be added to the way they do business is that they MUST keep their mortgage paper for the first 7 to 10 years of the loan term. Investors who want to own mortgage backed securities can either buy them after this initial period or own stock in the lending institutions. For the amount of "bail-out" we are providing, this is the least we should demand of the failing institutions that have practiced "un-ethical" business while they were "policing" themselves.

    Bill:
    I liked your show and your guest, very interesting
    and true. thanks for a good view of these matters
    elj

    Sorry but I feel you never miss the opportunity to say that both parties are to blame for the Republicans misdemeanors. Lets be fair Mr Moyers have you no praise for folks who brought you Social Security, encouraged unions, and promoted any social improvements to hit the books. Sure they make mistakes but don't forget they got elected on the promise to improve the lot of the working man, and the unemployed. Whereas the Rpubs used the fear of Govt. spending your hard earned money on worthless families etc. to kill the social programs. So lets not play the Republican game of saying we are all just as bad. But true to form you feel obliged to say they are all just as bad. You judge them too harshly with the housing mess. Let me put it this way, if the banks said "If we are allowed to issue "questionable" loans, to thousands upon thousands of people who never would have been able to own a house, will now realize the American Dream" isn't it worth the risk? After all for the first time in their life they will actually own real property. And so on. What Democrat is going to deny this apparent chance of a lifetime to their electorate?. As a Democrat in congress What would you have done? Don't get me wrong I think you have the best program on the planet, so indulge me on this. Be specific if you can but please don't generalize unless you are promoting Independants

    Watching this and other good PBS shows has given me the courage to email my congressmen at the state and local level and tell them what I think of them, both democrats and republicans, how I hold all of them responsible for all the troubles this country is having. It is their responsibility, their job, to prevent these things. They are corrupt and incompetent and it felt so good to tell them. I suggest everybody do it. They're supposed to represent us, not corporate greed and themselves. They should be stripped of their power. Anybody running for office should be qualified and the qualifications should be written down. They all should have to take an oath like doctors--First do no harm, what a joke, lots of doctors can't do that, but it sounds good. And I told them to impeach Bush and Cheney. We all need to start telin them what we think of the lousy job they are doing. They'll get the message. Voting is not enough. Look at the lousy choices we have. War, war and more war. Never any talk about peace anymore, like it's no longer even an option. Our whole government is a disgrace and they have sold out our whole country.

    Prols unite! Yeah!


    We told them damned folks in Worshingtin back in the 80's & 90's to lower their standards for mortgages so that WE THE PEOPLE could also join in the Amerikan dream of owning our own houses! We done it! We was able to buy big-ol' houses to rival those the CEOs, doctors, lawyers, scientists, etc. owned and enjoyed -- on nothing more than our union salaries (or less). We was livin' the dream! And then all hell broke loose...


    Who knew that one day, our "interest-only" loans would ripen, and we'd be hit with not only balloon payments, but real-world interest rates, just like them rich, educated folks we was imitatin'! Shee-yit! Now whut are we to do?


    HAH! I gotit, we'll blame the Republikans just like we do for everything else! Cause everyone knows it's them money-grubbin' bastards that are tellin' the bankers to call in our mortgages, or sell them, or whatever, so that we now find ourselves with $1,000 more per month due in mortgage payments (or more)... driving many of us out of our OWN HOMES and into the very streets we thot we'd been saved from by our Democrat saviors who made our funny mortgage loans available back in the 80's and 90's! Right?


    Oh for God's sake, GROW UP! Most of you have NOBODY to blame but yourselves for over-buying homes you couldn't afford in the first place if you had been forced to qualify using standard practices, and your Democrat morons in Washington hadn't screwed with the process!


    Get off your bongs, get off your asses, get educations, get real jobs, or shut the hell up and be satisfied with what little you can afford in life. But stop blaming others for your own pride/greed ("we deserve as much as anyone else"), stupidity and recklessness.


    This was and is NO conspiracy by the banks. They put their necks on the line for people who couldn't qualify for standard morgages, and those who signed them to get houses at VERY LEAST had reason to know the terms and what would happen in so many years, had they taken the responsibility to READ the mortgage documents (or to even just *skim* them!)


    What did you really expect the banks to do when you couldn't (or wouldn't) follow the terms of the relaxed mortgage you signed, and make payments just like all of us on regular mortgages have had to all along, just give you the house??? Maybe forgive the loan or say, "What the heck, we're not in the business of making money, we're a charity anyway" and just re-write the mortgages to keep running at fairy-tale rates until they had to declare bankruptcy?


    In like manner, how can you even begin to think the federal government, who made these loans available to you at YOUR DEMANDS, would now swoop in and payoff your mortgages? OMG?!?


    I had been amazed at the number of new McMansions going up in my area and being gobbled up like chicken nuggets -- who the hell earned enough to buy these beautiful homes? Well now I know, and they're either bitching at their banks or trying to find new digs asap. And complaining to anyone who will listen -- and blaming the Bush Administration, as usual.


    Who am I to rain on your parade? A retired gentleman who smartly bought only as much house as I could afford in the early 90's, with a standard, fixed-rate mortgage. And I'm having no problem making payments now. I live within my means. Instead of buying a huge house (etc.) with my severance payments when I first retired, I put it down on my little house, and "did without"; yet now I still have my little house, and I am not struggling to make payments each month. Oh, and I watched rates and re-financed my mortgage *three times* to get it down to my current rate. It's a novel concept these days, living within your means...


    Yet another terribly biased load of Bull Moyer crap. Didn't we ride you outta PBS town already -- "Now"?
    What made you recant your ordained ministership, anyway, now determined like a crazy old bag lady to harass Republicans, conservatives, and God with any chance you get? I sure wouldn't want to be in your place on Judgement Day. ;-)

    Twenty years ago Charles Keating made the headlines as the SAVINGS AND LOAN meltdown took place. It was said at the time, if this problem was dealt with we would be seeing these same financiers showing up in the banking and insurance industries. I've been waiting to see if that prediction held and I believe it has. Keating a good friend of John McCane as Ken Lay (CEO of Enron),was a good friend of George Bush. The power is with the money. The question is how do you dismantle the masters house with the masters tools

    Mr Greider suggests a changing paradigm in American politics as a result of the subprime crisis, credit crunch and recession/deflation crisis. I hope he is right. Certainly, people are angry as they pour $4 gas into their cars or face untenable resets on their ARMs. But they seldom communicate with their politicians. If this anger is going to be truly manifest in a new political movement, a movement that marshals public interest into a force that forms policies, then America's resignation to the concept of "politics as usual" must end.

    The perception that this very severe economic catastrophe is the result of greed and fraud on Wall Street must give way to a recognition that the true genesis lies with the gross neglegence just south of Constitution Ave. in Washington D.C.

    It is imperative that when institutions, like banks, have the potential to grossly affect the welfare of all Americans, the American people, either through vigorously enforced laws and regulations, or through outright ownership, control the behaviors of those institutions.

    As long as money, not citizenship, confers access to our elected representatives, we will find that our nation's policies reflect the interests of men like Jack Abramoff and his clients, not ours.

    I implore each of you to contact your representative and senators and tell them that regulation, not bailout is their first order of business.

    First off, I enjoyed Bill's interview with William Greider very much, great info and opinions.


    To fix the economic problems, I would first start with the lobbyists in Washington. We need to pass laws that would make it illegal for these guys to have access to our government representatives. They manipulate our reps to influence our policies which only benefit special interests.

    Our economy is just one of the problems that the lobbyists have created. Their money is influencing almost everything: gas price manipulations, alternative energy resource research, healthcare, medication prices, outsourcing jobs (import-export tariffs)…

    Since lobbying is sometimes a necessity, maybe a cabinet or department should be created for them. Then the department officials could deal with the lobbyist and then present their special interest to congress. Also, strict and severe laws should be passed to make sure department officials and congress are not taking bribes the way they are doing it today.

    While the lobbying problem is being dealt with, maybe some congress members (repos and dems) should be removed from their seats and prosecuted for selling out their country.

    Second (some might say this should be the first step, and they’d probably be right), I’d impeach Bush and Cheney. Cheney and the Bush family have too many ties to Saudi Arabia. The conflicts of interest are obvious, and if Pelosi wanted to, she could have already had their nuts in a frying pan (What happened to the pre-Nov 2005 election Pelosi? Was she threatened, bought off or blackmailed?).

    If Bush and Cheney were out of the picture, I’d start dealing with OPEC. I’m not sure how to this, but something needs to be done, at least long enough for us to wean the country from oil.

    Next I’d deal with companies that outsource jobs. Maybe higher taxes on imports would be required, and/or incentives to companies that buy and sell American goods and services.

    I honestly believe all of America’s major economic woes were brought on under the guise of globalization, and that our economy has been masterfully disassembled (notice I used past tense). When baby Bush first took office, the price of oil was about $25 a barrel and last week it was above $145. Gas prices first started to affect our economy about mid-2005, and less than a year later the sub-prime foreclosures began to rise increasingly. And with increased outsourcing, our middleclass wages have been greatly reduced. Has someone capitalized upon the capitalistic capitol of the world?

    RICK KARR: Here's what happened: The kinds of people who lived in Slavic Village were prime candidates for sub-prime loans; many of them were retired, so they'd already paid off most of their old mortgages but they were living on fixed incomes, so they didn't have enough cash on hand to repair regular wear and tear on their homes.
    ...
    RICK KARR: So they did what Americans have done for decades - they tapped into that equity by re-mortgaging their homes.
    ....
    JIM ROKAKIS: You'd tell them, "I don't have any money." "No problem, we don't, you don't require a down payment." Or, "I have a horrible credit score." "No problem, we're not gonna let that get in the way." "But I don't even have job." "No problem. We're not gonna document your income." I mean, it really, in some cases, was that extreme. And it gets worse. I've sat in on probably 100 counseling sessions, people facing foreclosure. I'd say the majority of people fit the criteria of not having enough income, didn't come in with a down payment, had a bad credit score. Most of them got cash back at the close. How's that for an incentive?

    Those are very different circumstances. If you bought a house without putting any money down, even getting cash back, what have you lost? You didn't have any skin in the game. It's the owners of your loan that are going to actually lose. You shouldn't have been given a loan in the first place and now you will go back to being a renter.

    Hello, I was in the midst of previewing my comment and it disappeared. I would appreciate getting it emailed back to me so I could finish up.

    I had always thought the homeowners who purchased their homes with nothing down were solely to blame for their misfortune and the ensuing crisis, and never really understood the bigger picture.

    Thank you very much for adding a few pieces to the puzzle tonight. I very much enjoyed tonight's guest. Thanks again.

    I think we need to replace our economic system of capitalism with something more fair and equal. I think we need to wake up and realize there is much more to be gained by humans cooperating than competing. Capitalism has corrupted and bankrupted this country. Elitism should not be tolerated. Intelligent people should direct their intelligence for the good and protection of all. Instead many have used their intelligence to take advantage and sold out or hide out when they should be speaking out. Our government officials,elected and appointed are either corrupt or incompetent or both. The people who could really do an exemplary job in government wouldn't touch those jobs with a 10 ft. pole because of the way things are. Who should do it--get things to change--we the people should, nobody else can, but many are so beaten down, helpless and hopeless as your story showed. But not everybody. What do I think will happen? Things will get much worse, but there is growing resentment and anger festering in the decent people of this country who cannot be brainwashed by the propaganda that has been going on for a long time. And I for one am tired of being bullied and tired of our total bully president. Eventually there will be a social uprising, some brave leaders will emerge. I have high hopes of this. Your show tonight was wonderful. I used to think Obama was the answer, no longer. I'm a registered independent and may not vote at all, the candidates are so lame and out of touch, it is sickening. Why do I never hear anybody say we need a new economic system? We need a new judicial system too, one that doesn't imprison and put to death innocent people. We've got a lot of bad systems and we know it. The status quo really sucks and when more of the elitists in the upper fifth of the economic echelon who have sold out start losing everything because the greedy at the very top want it all, boy will they be crying foul as it is true the bigger they are, the harder they fall and the more you have, the more you have to lose. I say, c'mon, we can do so much better than we are. Thank you Bill Moyers. Your shows give me hope and courage and I hope some of us posters return the same to you and your guests. We are not all sleeping.

    IF americans want a democracy, rather than the plutocracy they have, the solution is simple ... abolish the presidency, and fold its powers [ executive and independent ] into the house, and while at it severely trim the powers of the senate, so as to make the house the unquestioned dominant political body

    THIS'D reverse the bizarre and stupid diffusion of legislative power between the current three legislative bodies [ the presidency, house and senate], which consequently creates a power vacuum filled by bribes from the corporations

    THE above excision would also obliterate the independent uncontrollable powers of typically deranged characters who become presidents, and who typically and swiftly commence a series of wasteful imperial wars at the behest of wall street to steal resources from other nations, and secondarily to reduce the backlog of unattacked enemies of the nations paranoids, including the christian whackos who recently fostered the anti muslim crusades into the holy lands

    SUCH a new arrangement in the political kernel'd be a novelty in one surprising area ... with a greater concentration of power would come political accountability of the politicians to the citizens, who for the first time would experience the joys of inflicting massive electoral retribution on the crooks and scoundrels currently in congress, and the presidency

    I would expect the taft-hartley act would be repealed in 6 months, and the nation'd enjoy universal single payer health care within a year

    THE latter change would simply rip one trillion per year away from the current annual two trillion dollar health care bill plundered by the health industry, and return it to the citizens ... a nice windfall from the current annual us gdp of fourteen trillion

    POLITICIANS would become subservient, obedient, and fearful of provoking citizens ire, not the large corporations

    BUT this is never going to happen, instead people will be cajoled, and badgered, and exhorted to vote, and maybe a few will, but it'll make no difference; the system is flawed if a democracy is desired; the us hasn't got the faintest shadow of a democracy incorporated into its design

    GREIDER makes points about the crooked economic system and the political crooks enabling it, but like the rest of the struggling pontificators including moyers, doesn't see the elephant in the room; a substandard and flawed
    constitutional structure

    TORTURE is yet another inevitable outgrowth of an imperial plutocracy, as is the quaint faith in the rule of law; the appeal courts are guaranteed to overrule jury verdicts in commercial cases

    FINALLY how health care is dealt with in the us, epitomizes this plutocratic state

    THE us has not got, nor will ever get, universal single payer health care; yet none have asked why the us does not have such yet ?

    IT'S a complete mystery to them ?

    HEALTH care is seen not as right, but simply as a magnificent, exploitable business opportunity, and as such is simply another operation of the plutocratic nature of the state; the politicians taking their orders from the health industry will simply not allow the total transformation of the system to a state overseen and constrained system

    THE economic mechanics are quite simple

    HEALTH care has an inelastic demand curve, such that raising prices reduces demand BUT increases total revenue

    NOW one dollar in six goes the health care to care for no more than four out of five people; at an annual cost of 2 trillion, from a gdp of fourteen trillion

    UNDER a system, such as existS in canada, the uk, australia, france, etc., their system transferred to the us would cost the us only one trillion per year, to cover everyone ie 100 %

    AND i hear you ask, where has the extra one trillion gone to ?

    THE answer is quite simple ... it's gone to the plutocracy in control of the health care system as a reward or payoff for a plutocratic system; in technical economic terms, as an economic rent; to the insurers, the pharmaceuticals, the medical profession ... to lobbyists and politicians for their bribes

    THEY steal one trillion dollars each year, year after year, and the figure will only grow over time it was no accident medicare was forbidden to negotiate drug prices; it was purely a systemic outcome of a plutocratic system

    WARS also are great source of corporate access to the nation's tax treasury; no bid contracts to halliburton are an entirely expected systemic outcome

    GREIDER'S discussion of using that same treasury to pay for failed commercial risk in the current banking collapse is another illustration

    BUT the remedy that would fix the problem is unattainable from the rigid, calcified constitution which created the disaster; the bulk of the population in the us are forever destined to chase symptoms of a failed state how to stop torture, how to reign in frequent presidential imperial wars, how to clean up political corruption, how to provide universal single payer health care, how to clean up appeal courts that reject jury verdicts in
    commercial cases

    THAT'S ENOUGH FOR NOW

    Greed has blinded us. As long as it didn't affect us personally ....there was/is no problem. Maybe if we started asking as a 'Nation' again we will join together for all Americans and take back our Country. Morally, Constitutionally and lastly, to become the great Country we once were.

    We the People....

    Homeowners in danger of being foreclosed have a very good legal remedy for avoiding that foreclosure. If you know anyone in this situation, please encourage them to seek legal counsel first and refer them to "The Subprime Trump Card: Standing up to the Banks", http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9454.

    If all the homeowners potentially qualifying for relief from these foreclosure actions exercised the rights provided them under recent court cases, the banks to which Congress is attempting to give the public's money would be in very serious trouble. Unfortunately, so would the pension and retirement funds so many have come to depend upon for a retirement income.

    The time has come to nationalize not just Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac but the entire US banking system. Unless this is done, there will NOT be enough money to save both the wealthy shareholders and investors of the banks and Wall Street brokerage houses whose greed was responsible for this crisis and the millions of Americans whose lives are being destroyed by that greed. See “Let the Lawsuits Begin: Banks Brace for a Storm of Litigation”, http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9577

    What a great show as usual. I don't believe there will be any changes out of Congress regarding the problems we face for exactly the reason that were discussed. Our out-of-control capitalism has created an environment where people have to remain silent due to debt. Change their moral compass because they owe for everything. Congress is but a reflection of ourselves. I guess it is as Mr. Greider stated as well that Congress has no clue.

    What is need?
    What is want?
    When is it enough?

    I believe it is only when we realize the hold "greed" has on us, will we be able to change Congress.

    Perhaps as an extra hope we will as awaken from our 'fog' and stand firm and unwavering that torture in all senses is evil and NOT what this great Country stands for.

    Shakespeare said it right - "Neither a borrower or a lender be." In the coming global recession only those who are sovereign with 2-5 years food and water and no creditors on their backs will survive. The greed of the Federal Reserve and World Bank and their 'rape' of Nature has brought humanity to possible extinction! Not only should we legislate against usury we should get rid of the Federal Reserve (foreign bankers), the World Bank and nationalize oil, coal and natural gas. Mary Hath Spokane

    So now we should rein in the rhetoric and refrain from ideology? The Republicans, from 1980 onward, have never felt any compunction when ideological rhetoric suited their political agenda. I just love the fact that Repubs are on the run now, and you can trot out as many statistics and factoids as you want, but the reality is that the Republican GOP, through THEIR rhetoric, drove this country to the Hard Right, driving all politicians, Republicans and Democrats, to political positions they would not have otherwise held. The Republicans have had their chance, had their way, and now their time is over. I blame THEM for the multiple national crises we face now, and I absolutely refuse to stand with Republicans on any issue, this one especially.

    To whom it may concern,

    I have just watched your excellent Bill Moyers Journal piece on the effect of the so-called 'sub-prime' crisis on the people in neighbourhoods in Cleveland, and the excellent interview with William Greider.

    However, it is very disappointing to see that, despite what is happening to innocent people in the real world, good journalists like Mr Moyers and Mr Greider still seem to self-censor themselves when it comes to openly and frankly discussing the root cause of all these social, political and economic ill effects. It is inexcusably negligent for the intelligent media to attempt to report on these current events without explaining the reason why they persistently recur.

    The simple fact of the matter is this: it is the privately-controlled debt-based money-creating privilege given to the commercial banking system and its attendant financial institutions which underlies all of the unnecessary war, want and waste in the world over the past 4 centuries at least. The historical evidence for the cause and effects of this problem, and the historically proven solution, are authoritatively and irrefutably explained in the book "The Lost Science Of Money" by Stephen Zarlenga, Director of the American Monetary Institute. I understand from the author that both Mr Moyers and Mr Greider were sent copies of this book some years ago.

    I hope that in the coming challenging period good journalists like Mr Moyers and Mr Greider will release themselves from their self-censorship and more openly and frankly speak truth to power, and in so doing align themselves firmly with the interests of the vast majority of the citizens of this country. After all, isn't that the role of the fourth estate?

    I trust this plea for public responsibility in public broadcasting will be considered appropriately.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jamie Walton.

    I think that to bail out these large WALL STREET FIRMS is for all practical purposes ENSLAVING the American working class. We are ENSLAVED by usury, ENSLAVED by the lack of Bankruptcy since they changed the bankruptcy laws, we are locked into a system where if we want more than a crust of bread we must sign away our rights to freedom and become a slave to this FASCIST STATE. We can't even grow into adult hood with the ability to know what we are signing and we are already IN DEBT for an education, which is what we need to understand this system in the first place.

    America is enslaved. We need a new government. It's time folks. This government is NOT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE OR FOR THE PEOPLE. It is a corporate vehicle set up and owned by corporations whose purpose is to extract as much wealth as possible from every corner of our nation to enrich the greedy corporate fascists who then invest overseas.

    They have failed to invest in America for a couple of decades. You want to know what they do with their money? GOOGLE TIGER WOODS DUBAI and see an EXAMPLE of what they do. Tiger Woods is just a small example of what they do.

    No loyalty for American corporations comes from me. They are traitors. From the corporatist president to the corporatist congress, to the corporatist judiciary. Traitors all.

    In response to PJB, I think that free markets don't work.

    I also think that over regulated markets are not the answer and that to much pull back is bad. It's already happening with companies losing lines of credit.

    However the credit card companies have been basically legal loan sharks praying on peoples greed.

    They should not be aloud to get more than 10% interest and they should be banned from all college campuses.

    It's shameful what goes on with these crooks.

    The housing crisis proves to me that the older system of
    qualifying for a mortgage and having 15 to 20% to put down and not borrowing more than 3 times what you earn is prudent.

    What we need is more affordable rentals.
    We need more money spent on infer-structure and a national health care system instead of a health care busness would be a good idea while we are at it.

    The idea of a little more for the people and a little less of the top 2% is not a bad idea to me.

    Dear Bill,
    You are slowly getting there but I fear you will arrive at it when it's too late. William Greider sees the problem but lacks any ability to solve the problem, because he's stuck, as is the American Capitalist system, with the economy of money. The solution is beyond the economy of money in fact it's beyond money.

    I wrote you some weeks ago about my book that deals with these human problems that unless we take heed Humanity is in great threat. You suggested to me that you are not able to take on any new issues that I laid out in my last letter/comment to you. I feel what I have been working on for many years is rapidly becoming relevant. Jack

    To Daniel Conrad's question about "fascism".

    I have a wonderful old dictionary from the 1930s that has the best definition of the word, because it was newly minted in Italy.

    Definition - Fascism- When the banks and the military run the government.

    Put in modern terms: Fascism is, the military industrial congressional complex, just as President Eisenhower warned.

    So yes, this is a fascist country, and has been for most of this century.

    BTW, check out the wonderful documentary _The Corporation_. It describes in detail how the corporations, the fascists, have stripped middle class Americans of their wealth, and what we need to do to change the system. We define what a corporation is, we wrote their charters. We can also force them to change those charters.

    Ah! the freedom of speach. It's about the only thing we seem to have left in this country. What good is it to us now?

    The events that led up to the depression in the 1930's had very similar parallels. At the time before the great crash of 1929, very little money was needed to buy shares of stock, and the markets became very inflated, and stock prices reflected wild inflated exuberance. When the markets crashed, fortunes were lost overnight, runs on the banks caused failures, credit dried up, unemployment pursued as businesses were forced to close their doors. Today, instead of people buying stock with little money down, known as buying on margin, the public was encouraged to purchase property beyond their means with little or no money down, with the same expectations that fortunes were to be made. This administration has done nothing to protect the American public from the ruinous practices of predatory lending. No one is being held accountable, and measures to show up confidence could lead taxpayers in the whole for hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of dollars. Bush will be remembered as a worse president than Hoover.

    Mr. Moyer's show tonight was very enlightening and very encouraging of the hope I have for America. First, the truth will reveal the falsehoods, and many falsehoods are being revealed by everyday life as pointed out in tonights show.

    Second, Americans can understand more truth by simply reading our U. S. Constitution and asking themselves one question as they study, "Why was this part of the consitution changed, and when?"

    Example; article 1 section 3 established how the U.S. Senators were elected. The 17th amendment in 1913 changed this clause, Why? There are many other changes to our constitution that have occured, Why? This is all Americans have to do to get started on an mysterious adventure, to simply study. The truth will do the rest.

    Bravo on the farm subsidies program you ran some time ago. This particular program was disappointing to say the least. I’m quite certain that the housing market is not a free market. Therefore, when dispensing blame for the troubles we’ve seen here of late, we should be more honest with our assessment of the root causes of the problem. For instance, we should start with the vain-egalitarian notion that all Americans should own a home. Universal home ownership is a nice idea, but we ought not to ignore scarcity. When we ignore scarcity, the law of unintended consequences is the inevitable result. How many places in the economy today can we point to where there is a lack of respect for scarcity? I can name a few: biofuel subsidies, public education, college education, health care, and home ownership!

    Fannie Mae wasn’t a creation of the free market. It was a creation of the New Deal. Nor was Freddie Mac a creation of the free market (it was created so that Fannie didn’t have a monopoly on the mortgage refinance market). So when we say that banks no longer care about what they originate, that they just pass on risk to the unsuspecting secondary market, we should remember who created the concept of the secondary market to begin with. These entities also have a line of credit with the Treasury that has created the perception in the market that the taxpayer stands behind these companies (this concept of the taxpayer protection is no longer a hypothetical as you note in your discussion of Freddie/Fannie “bailout”—although we should note that no taxpayer monies have been spent thus far). The management of these companies probably also take more risks than they otherwise would since they probably also operate with the belief that the taxpayers will bail them out if they screw up (also known in some circles as moral hazard). There are other government programs that stimulate artificial demand for housing—the mortgage interest tax deduction, the Community Reinvestment Act to name a few. Nope, housing economics are at best mixed, and distorted by these government interventions into what would otherwise be a free market. So it is disingenuous at best, and does the public discourse a great disservice to blame the housing mess on wealthy conspirators who are out to sucker the average American out of his/her chance for the American Dream.

    I also take exception to the equally disingenuous claims that deregulation has been a net looser for the country. The numbers aren’t consistent with this claim. The economy isn’t currently in a recession, and recent deregulated history has seen fewer recessions than its regulated counterparts. Indeed, the economy had 16 down quarters between 1946 and 1965, 15 between 1966 and 1985, and just 5 between 1986 and today. Yes wages have stagnated recently, but more goods and services are within the reach of the average American than ever before, and what would have been wage gains for the average American worker have no doubt been poured into spiraling benefit costs which are driven primarily (as we all know) by the cost of healthcare.

    So, let’s get real when we discuss the issues and not be blinded by ideology. Both conservatives and liberals can agree that there are things in this country that are broken and need fixing. We aren’t going to repair them unless we work together, as Lincoln reminded us: “a house divided against itself cannot stand”.

    After listening to your program tonight regarding the financial meltdown, I couldn't help but think about when regulation started falling apart. Perhaps it was in the late '70s, when, as a sailor with some money burning a hole in my pocket, I got burned on sugar futures by a Wall Street trader who was banned, yet still trading? My next act of ignorance was investing in gold at $139/ounce, but was advised to get out of it ASAP. The bitter sugar was still in my mouth, so I sold at $136/ounce. What happened a few months later--it hit $800/ounce. I didn't learn my lesson then, and supported another financial deal without conditions that left a lot of people extremely bitter when it closed a few years ago. Perhaps I still haven't learned because I have invested a significant amount of money in a diverse portfolio of companies who have ticker symbols on Wall Street. However, I do feel most fortunate in that there is no lien on my house; my wife & I own it free and clear. Unlike many other areas around the country (certainly unlike the Cleveland portrayed in your story), El Paso TX is still in the bubble, with an anticipated influx of many thousands of troops to Ft. Bliss/White Sands to bolster the economy. It is my contention to reshape the transportation infrastructure/base of my 'Hidden Gem in the Desert' so that people will want to live here, not because they have been ordered here for duty. (That's just one plank in my platform when I run for Mayor!) I appreciate your program for the insight and reflection it provokes.

    I think some of the saddest effects of recent economic problems are not monetary. The human cost is rising as well. Stress, anger, and fatigue are running high. People I talk with down here in Orlando are just exhausted.

    As one friend put it, “I have to know everything about everything before I do anything now mostly because if I don’t, they rip me off. I have to know how my car’s cooling system works so I won’t get screwed for an $800 fan switch installation when the problem is most likely a $90 thermostat. I have to be part lawyer, doctor, computer tech, financially analyst. I can’t rely on what anyone actually says anymore.”

    So many folks are scrambling and scrambling and scrambling. One lady said she spends an hour in the grocery store just reading labels and ingredients. An elderly neighbor says she spent 2 hours on the internet researching roof shingles for a repair job. Another neighbor is pouring through credit card receipts and statements from 8 months ago to prove to a company that a purchase was made and the item still under warrantee. Another, after hours of research, is fighting with a doctor about why her daughter is prescribed one drug that directly counteracts the effects of another prescribed drug.

    And this stress is turning to anger…people are outright meaner and ruder to each other. I saw security people called to a cashier line when a dispute arose over who was there first. It’s a tinder box of reactivity. No one lets anyone finish a sentence. Doors aren’t held anymore. Few people say “please” or “thank you.” Few even say “good-bye” on the telephone anymore.

    Comedienne/CBS Commentator Nancy Giles said it best a couple of years ago. She said it came to her when she was pumping her own gasoline one day. “You know, I’m doing a lot more jobs now. Why isn’t there a line on my IRS tax return for ‘wages earned but unpaid?’”

    I'm somewhat amazed (but not surprised) that the same people who, when times are good, talk about the self-correcting nature of the free market (which I believe, but only if everyone is honest and agree to play by the rules), are the first ones to ask for a bailout when things go bad.

    Let the banks fail, and I'll bet the next time a sub-prime packaged security is offered there won't be many takers.

    I’ve been a fan of Greider for a long time. This was my first opportunity to hear him in person. As when I read his articles, my response is that what he says makes sense. It is too bad that no one (in power, as in Congress) is listening.

    The most important point he made is that the private corporations get bailed-out but not bought-out. Why don’t the people of the US own Continental Illinois Bank, all the savings and loans, Chrysler, and Bear Stearns? We paid for them. The only way to stop the exploitation of “too big to fail” is for failed industries to be nationalized.

    Regulators knew this meltdown was going to occur for almost ten years now. It was blatant, obvious, and they did nothing to stop it.

    Ten years ago Japan had their meltdown, and it almost took down all of Asia. The experts watched and learned, then turned around to use what they learned to strip the middle class here in America of its assets.

    Ten years ago Japan had a major meltdown, recession, and ultimately deflation. The value of homes, everything, had to drop to realistic levels.

    Everything that happened to them is happening to us. If you want to understand how bad things are going to get, study what happened to Japan.

    After all, that's exactly how the criminals that are stealing your money, destroying your bank, learned how to do it.

    What scares me: Greider's prediction -- and my belief -- that Americans have darker days ahead as this ripple of credit woes cripple the US. Greider's fears appear valid about private equity funds buying into US financial institutes.

    I hope this is a nightmare...and that I wake to an American Dream.

    If Fanny and Freddie are bailed out, more US Treasuries will be sold, possibly doubling the national debt. Thus, ever greater US debt held by China and oil rich countries. What happens when foreign creditors own a controlling majority of US Treasury debt?

    What if instead of US private equity funds, it's foreign investment funds that purchase American banks and Wall Street? After all, the combined market value of the US financial market is beginning to look like a bargain.

    And there's no rush. As the US implodes, foreign investors can chose at what deflated price they claim the complete package: the US government and Wall Street.

    Thanks for the interview and the story about the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland. Although most of us had surmised how bad it is and how un-ethical, the power brokers and politicians are, it still hurts like a gigantic splinter under the fingernail.

    Its the same old story: When a man with money deals with a man with experience, the man with experience gets the money and the man who had the money gets the experience.

    Many times over the past year I have heard comments from conservatives about how "those people" given sub-prime loans did not "deserve" their so-called expensive homes. But from what I could see in the Cleveland homeowner's situations, they were trying to fix up homes which were already paid off. Many were elderly homeowners who got bamboozled and confused about the terms of their loans. Fees were added to the loans, concealed costs were charged. But did those same conservative's get on the blogs and wail about Mr. Schwartz's expensive HOMES on Long Island and elsewhere when Bear Sterns needed a handout? Of course not. The difference here is, the elderly and poor homeowners no longer live in this neighborhood, many are homeless. Mr. Schwartz and the corporate officers at Bear Sterns have a roof over their heads, thanks to us taxpayers.

    Tonight's program with Mr.
    Bill Grieder was well done. I have suspected that there is more to every story laying just below the surface of network news. I am saddened by the lack of integrity on the part of our elected officials and those with the gift to grow and manage wealth. As a nation, we have failed to teach by word and action ethical standards by which to live by. We no longer have a moral compass or values to guide us because we have forgotten and/or ignored them. We have been lulled to sleep and complacency by the growing wealth of our portfolios and investment accounts. I believe each person needs to take a good, long, hard look at themselves: their habits, behaviors and attitudes. Each person must ask themselves, "What can I do to make a difference?" Like a stone that splashes into a calm pond, from that stone come ripples of hope that travel out and across the pond knocking down the walls of greed and usury. Will you pledge to become a stone of hope?

    We the people, will rise up in November and restore Washington to the people by any means necessary!

    The level of greed and power addiction underlying the political system in our country leaves us all betrayed. The political and economic systems have been methodically highjacked for the benefit of the wealthy and the politically entrenched. Reversing the damage seems a most hopeless task, yet your programs and guests somehow offer hope. The fact that someone is speaking the truth and can eloquently explain the mechanics involved in the hijacking of our democracy suggests that there may be a path back to the common good. One thus hopes and, consequently, looks for that path.

    Yes… I understand--nothing is perfect ever…human beings are not perfect, and if we’re not perfect, how we can be expected to create an ideal society, fair political system, uncorrupt financial foundation and equality and justice for all? Should we even strive for such high standard of social economic and political integrity?
    So, here we have a question: To be or Not to Be
    Back to square one.
    Coming from former Soviet Union and being pretty cynical overall I generally feel that I’m Back to The Planet of the Apes, The negative transformation from at least appearance of Democracy to the joke we have become is just startling. It didn’t happen overnight, remember “Wall Street”, greed is good mantra “Pretty Woman”, where you takeover and sell piece by piece, creating virtual nothing. Fluff, paper money, nothing for nothing exchange, then boom…we’re stuck with what we seed…crisis.
    Moral collapse, indifference, immediate gratification, denial… all of it on a massive scale. We turned into Apes, not even so gradually.

    It is up to all of us now, every citizen of this country to decide the eternal question: To be or Not to Be.
    It is up to us to stop being victims and get alert and responsible for ourselves, for our society and for future generation.
    I do believe we’re on a verge of conscience transformation, and I think we realize now that there’s no easy road.

    Mr Greider may hope for a political awakening by the masses, but I see no reason for such hope. Americans are not educated, from their school years, to participate in their own governance.

    Even the politically aware in our country do not support third party candidates, and that is the only way forward because the major parties are too corrupted for change to come from them.

    Ralph Nader is ignored by the intelligensia on the left. The have fallen behind Barack Obama and look to him for change. "When will they every learn?"

    Finally, Americans are too divided as a people to come together. They will not learn to be political. They will just learn to suffer. The young and the smart should consider emigrating.

    Please do not blame the consumers. They do not know the mortgage rules. They have a tendency to believe the "guy behind the desk" because he is supposed to know what he is doing and should be honest. You trust your doctor to determine your treatment when you are ill, don't you?
    When I worked in mortages prior to 1990, the standard was that the mortgage payment should not exceed 28% of one's gross income and one's total debt should not exceed 36%. A down payment of 20% was required or 10% with insurance. If these terms were met, one would qualify for a mortgage. If not, one was disqualified and did not get a mortgage.
    Thank you once again, Mr. Moyers, for yet another provocative and expositive discussion.

    Thank You Mr. Moyer for telling us the TRUTH !
    The only solution I see is for the American people :
    STOP PAYING FOR SERVICES POORLY RENDERED!!
    STOP PAYING OUR TAXES!
    Yes, cut off the flow of
    Blood from the American people--A.S.A. "The Government".
    If we don't send it,
    They can't spend it!!

    Your interview with William Greider was excellent. It would have been very valuable to have invited in the same session, the chairmen of the finance committees of congress to see what they plan to do to correct these huge problems.

    William Greider was interesting, but he live in fantasy-land! We have a Corporatocracy for years! And the idea that "people" are just going to get together and do "something" to change that is laughable!! Corporations control the congress and 95% of both parties.

    Everytime I hear about the problems we face, and "solutions" proposed by people like WG, the more I wonder, what about Clean Elections? IMO, this is our only REAL chance at taking back our government...and it will take years if not decades!

    Yes… I understand--nothing is perfect ever…human beings are not perfect, and if we’re not perfect, how we can be expected to create an ideal society, fair political system, uncorrupt financial foundation and equality and justice for all? Should we even strive for such high standard of social economic and political integrity?
    So, here we have a question: To be or Not to Be
    Back to square one.
    Coming from former Soviet Union and being pretty cynical overall I generally feel that I’m Back to The Planet of the Apes, The negative transformation from at least appearance of Democracy to the joke we have become is just startling. It didn’t happen overnight, remember “Wall Street”, greed is good mantra “Pretty Woman”, where you takeover and sell piece by piece, creating virtual nothing. Fluff, paper money, nothing for nothing exchange, then boom…we’re stuck with what we seed…crisis.
    Moral collapse, indifference, immediate gratification, denial… all of it on a massive scale. We turned into Apes, not even so gradually.

    It is up to all of us now, every citizen of this country to decide the eternal question: To be or Not to Be.
    It is up to us to stop being victims and get alert and responsible for ourselves, for our society and for future generation.
    I do believe we’re on a verge of conscience transformation, and I think we realize now that there’s no easy road.

    Watching your program tonight on the present mortgage crisis, I was stuck by the juxtaposition of moral, upright, God-fearing Republicans in a time of wanton and destructive avarice. Isn't it ironic that the same politicians who say that they believe in Original Sin and the Fall of Man, do not believe that business and finance should be regulated? I guess we are supposed to believe in the innate goodness of the market? I cannot declare bankruptcy in the face of a medical or family emergency--that has been regulated, but the New Robber Barons believe they should not answer to any rules, much less suffer "regulation." These guys have ripped our country apart, and it will take a generation or more to repair what they have done. What we need is a prophet on the order of Jeremiah to point out the magnitude and national shame of it all. That would be true religion.

    There is no point in pointing fingers, because as Pogo said, the enemy is us. I wrote the following earlier this week for Rose, and repost it here with a little elaboration.

    Econ 201:

    These days for all practical purposes debt = money and money = debt. It is not a commodity and has no inherent value.

    Banks and corps can create virtually unlimited amounts of debt, hence of money, by simply issuing notes, regardless of savings or interest rates.

    But the debt needs to be serviced by productivity and if it isn't the debt or money loses value and prices rise.

    Those holding money try to keep it from losing value by creating even more debt, which they call liquidity, insurance or pump-priming, but which is actually a Ponzi scheme, and discourages productivity, because it redistributes funds from the thrifty to the profligate. However many ppl think the increase in wages and prices means they are wealthier.

    Nevertheless some ppl eventually decide to cash-in starting a sell-off and begin buying and hoarding commodities, which they think will hold value, but are of little value themselves in the absence of some use for them, and businesses begin merging, which equates to economic contraction, but appears to improve returns.

    None of this could happen if the debt had to be borrowed from actual savings. That would also decrease the disparity in the distribution of wealth, and encourage ppl to be more productive, as well as returning power to ordinary working folk.

    Setting interest rates arbitrarily only creates arbitrage situations such as fueled the housing boom when in addition to money returning from overseas into the bond mkt lowering rates, the Fed lent more money at an even lower rate in response to 9/11. Subsequently raising rates no doubt helped produce the foreclosures. Removing debt as the basis for money and returning to a gold or silver, etc standard is of no consequence, because we already are on such a standard - it never goes away - and would only insure that price-setting of the commodity was not fluid.

    I can not agree more. I, while for the most part republican, have never associated with either party. What was said tonight was 100% correct. What everyone needs, is someoe in charge that is not going to make anyone happy. But we must make this nation stronger!!!! It will not be easy....on the rich nor the poor. Thanks for the wonderful interview.

    I found Bill Grieder's analysis compelling. Recently while discussing politics and economics, I have found myself using the word "fascism". Self-serving oil-politicians, and Tom Delay's theory of a permanent Republican majority support the notion in my mind. Are we in fact in the clutches of American fascism, or do our problems result from shared levels of greed in America? Does the term "fascism" apply? And is it at all helpful to label any of the players in American politics and economics with such language? Is it possible to placed this potentially jarring question on the table in the context of your show?

    The interview with William Greider, as well as many others you have done before, are excellent. However, you can do a tremendous service if you had invited the chairmen of the finance committees from congress, in the same interview, to respond as to what they can do about these monumental problems.

    Banks, credit card companies and financial institutions are at the root of our problem. Greedy fees hidden interest rates we have had to deal with this change in banking and credit over the past twenty years. It was not always this way. it leaves you wondering about what is moral. Full disclosure to many consumers comes after they spend their money and accept credit banks solicit. It is a national disgrace and it makes me furious. Enron, S&L and now this mess. Who is watching our interest as a nation? It is very distressing.

    Thanks for a most enlightening program. It was very gracious of you, Mr. Moyers, to have Mr. Greider explain what is really happening in the money market both in NYC and Wash.DC. It is also happening all over the USA in Regional banks and the answer to it all lies not in regulation, but in elimination of the "Minimum Wage" laws which eliminated much of the wealth-producing labor of America, and also by the elimination of the income tax which is forbidden by our Constitution. We must get Government out of every area not specifically allowed by the Constitution, return the control of monetary systems to the Congress and eliminate foreign control via Federal Reserve System--establish severe penalties for congress-persons and bankers who commit fraud on the people thru the banking system . It will take keen knowledge and guts on the part of whoever is President to solve our problems before they destroy the entire country God gave us in which we need to re-establish justice, domestic tranquility, defense, and general welfare, for if we do not vigorously go about setting things aright again, we will all suffer permanent everlasting shame and want. But who knows what to do, how to do it, and the guts to carry it out? I do, but no one knows me from Adam's Housecat. I am appalled at the lack of knowledge shown by G. Bush, John McCain, and he who I humorously refer to as "Morocco Bomber". And Mrs. Hitlery Clinton and her husband Bilk are no better. We have turned our country over to ignoramuses who have no one's interest at heart than their own--all the candidates want is to WIN at any cost, just to get in the White House for the honor, prestige, and glory they think they will acquire. Oh, woe is me (and all of you too). Were I President, I would bring price of gasoline back to less than one dollar per gallon within one to three years using synfuels made from coal, peat, and lignite of which there is an enormous amount all over USA. Problem can be solved but only if carried out by someone willing to put his country ahead of self. --js

    I was watching the Bill Moyers program on the Mortgage Crisis and the largely unregulated financial sector. In the discussion with William Greider, they alluded to the fact that the big banks and financial institutions are lobbying in congress to block attempts to close the "Enron Loophole" because they are still trying to make a buck off of the financially powerless. I still think that the institutions at large are speculating on oil to offset losses in the stock market due to the Mortgage Crisis. From testimony of big oil to congress, a barrel of oil is on average traded 20 to 30 times per day and that by their estimation of standard market forces a barrel of oil should be about $50 to $55 per barrel.

    Over the past few weeks I've been noticing as the stock market drops, oil prices hike, and as the stock market hikes up, oil prices drop. Demonstrating statistic relevance is another matter, but with the effort to obstruct regulatory legislation ...?

    I know a number of economists, including Bernacke, poo poo the idea by noting the lack of "hording" of oil. However, when Enron et all were gouging California they hid the "hording" by back and forth buying among middle men, a.k.a. paper trading, until they marked up the cost 1,000% - all in an effort to cover their bad debts. I think Bernacke has his head up his ass - and our economy.

    What I don't understand is how these lending institutions can foreclose on rental property and then evict the tenants, even though they're paying their rent?
    By letting the tenants stay in their homes, keep up their rent and help maintain the property, it's a win-win solution.
    To put innocent people out on the street and then just sit and let the property rot is outrageous. You'd think these morons would at least be motivated by the promise of continuing cash flow.
    This is clearly a case where the legal system and the courts should have forced these lending institutions to take responsibility for their property and the people who live there.
    Unfortunately for the citizens of Cleveland (and how many other cities?), it's too late. The buildings are being bull-dozed, and nobody wins.
    Enough of Reaganomics! Enough of unfettered greed and stupidity! Enough of neo-con artists!

    LM
    Cambridge MA

    I watched tonights show and I became angry. I also wanted to cry. What has happened to this country? Why are 40% of the children in the Cleveland OH public school system homeless?
    Why is there no national outrage over this?

    40%! If this was a national figure we would be in a depression.

    Enough is enough, it's time to get mad. It's time for protest and it's time for the fat cats of this country to be put on notice. We will not take this BS anymore, period.

    Wall street has had it's fun and made millions and billions.

    It's over, bring back usury laws, nationalize Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac. The rest of the wall street crowd can go to hell. This is one tax payer who has had it up to here with both parties and the bail outs of the millionaires and billionaires.

    Maybe it's time for a revolution. Without the folks this is not country.
    Bush and his cronies seem to forget this. I hope that the Dems are paying attention, it's going to get messy and I for one am sick and tired of the status que.

    I thought the program on the mortgage crisis with guest William Greider was excellent. One thing that has not been emphasized enough, however, is that the borrowers were very greedy, too, and were taking loans they had no business getting. True, some were ignorant, some sales tactics were over the top, but many borrowers thought they could get away with it--and they did-- as long as the market kept going up.

    As a realtor, I know a number of mortgage brokers who are appalled by the number of people attempting to take out a home loan who are plainly not qualified. Everyone, banks, brokers, financial institutions, and borrowers have all been a part of this debacle.

    People like me have NO VOICE! This is the closest middle to lower class America has to airing their greivances! I live in this World of Credit Card Predator's, and Banks who charge for each & every service! If I close out the CC's my Creit Score goes down! So these companies have us over a barrel and they know it!

    As they say that "the government" will bail out and secure these bank and securities failures, it means that they will take the money out of the taxpaying public's hands and put in in the hands of these unscrupulous financiers. Well, it seems to me that the ONLY way to put an end to this is if EVERY taxpaying American refuses to pay their taxes. This may be the only thing that will stop this runaway train, but it will only work if EVERY ONE of the taxpayers is on board. If not, they will merely seize the properties of the few who stop paying their taxes.

    I don't think it is merely coincidence that there is only one accounting in the new testament where the man from Galilee gets angry, it is when he overturned the tables of the financiers (moneychangers).

    Mr Moyers,

    During the darkest days of Republican rule you were a light.

    I am someone who gets my News live from C-SPAN and CNBC many hours a day since Republicans sent paid aids on the Enron Plane as part of their relentless effort to stop the recount of the popular vote.

    But these days since practically the day after the Democrats gained their VERY SLIM MAJORITY, RESTORED DEMOCRACY in their treatment of the new Minority Party (which then turned around and has been abusing that)

    ..your show has been something to take with a grain of salt and it is almost as if you now get your news now from the right wing! WHICH has always thrived on IGNORANCE and consciously ALSO SPREADS SKEWED FACTS AND INFORMATION.

    You obviously do not know this which might be why you have been so spun But the day after November of 2006 the Republicans decided that their only job going forward was to make the Democrats look bad to their constituants.

    So out came Mr Bush's Veto Pen, while the Republicans conducted one fillibuster
    after another. They dropped all approriations on the floor while Mr BUsh has been using the bully pulpit to trash The Democrats.

    SHAME ON YOU FOR BEING BRAINWASHED BY THAT Since every tragedy we endure today has come to us from REPUBLICAN DEREGULATION AND CONTROL OF THE AGENCIES AMERICANS PAY TO PROTECT THEIR INTEREST!

    You can thank Phill Graham
    for the 2003 Enron Loophole THAT IS AT THE ROOT OF BOTH HIGH OIL PRICES AND THE FORECLOSURES.

    As for your comments at the begining to today's show I am embarrassed for you.

    InyMac has always BEEN FAMOJUS ON Wall St. AS THE KING OF SUBPRIME BANKS. And Bear Sterns WAS FAMOUS FOR PACKAGING SUBPRIME AND SELLING THEM DOWN THE LINE (OR UP AS ONE MIGHT CALL IT).

    To Equate Fanne Mea and Freddy with IndyMac is not only pure ignorance but
    But dangerous.

    These are institutions that have allowed average Americans to own home AND HAVE STANDARDS.

    And Banks have much more regulation than MORGAGE COMPANIES LIKE American Home Mortgage.

    Since Bobby Kennedy died we have had 7 Republican and only 3 Democratic administrationS. And of the 10Trillion we are in debt 7.5Trillion has come to us from Reagan, Bus1 and Bush2.

    Yet Obama has praised Reagan and the Republicans while you trash Democrats at almost every show of your.

    MORE REAL FACTS: The government is NOT buying Fanne and Freddy stocks BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO INJECT CONFIDENCE IN THE MARKET THEY LEFT THEMSELVES OPEN TO DOING THAT IN THE FUTURE (AND IT'S STOCK HAS SIGNIFICANTLY RECOVERing).
    Which if our government did buy their stock they would have made the tax payers money!

    They did not "Give" tax payer dollars to Freddy and Fanne BUT OFFERED THEM THE OPPORTUNITY TO BORROW MONEY FROM THE OVERNIGHT WINDOW.

    The problem is NOT "WARSHINGTON" it is Republican IDEOLOGY!

    And by the way Hillary had proposed doing something about this IN ADVANCE 6 MONTHS BEFORE American Home Mortgage want bankrupt.

    Your use of Footage of the Most Radical Republican legislator during the hearings that Treasury Secretary and Benake were testifying Causes me to believe that your show is controlled by the Collage Republicans who now claim to have 900 of their people embedded in Main st and Public Televsion.

    You now scare me as much as the right wing have.

    To Equate Democrats with Republicans is to be BRAINWASHED AND IGNORANT.

    THE GRAND OIL PARTY NOW LOVE YOU.

    And I have been a registered Independent most of my adult life.

    I don't know who your guest is BUT THERE IS CURRENTLY DISCUSSION TO DO THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT HE IS SAYING.

    while every Democrat wants more regulation. The fight between regulation and not is WITHIN the Republican Party (The Radicals versus the moderates) RIGHT NOW THE MODERATES ARE WINNING SO STOP SPREADING INNACURACIES. Since confidence in the system is 50% of its health right now.

    Who is this guest! Why didn't you get Barney Frank and Chris Dodd to tell you what has been going on!!

    I have seen the Democrats fight on the behalf of We the People for 8 years 20 hours a day. Your guest is SCARY!

    c.r.a., a bill which a peanut head presadent of the 1970's passed, has a lot to do with todays problems with mortgages. banks would want to expand into markets,but guess what would happen. community groups acorn would shake down the banks that wanted to expand into an area by getting connshessions in billions of dollars in loans to people who could not afford them. so the banks charged higher intrest rates to the greater credit risksthen acorn sues the banks for dicrimination. so the banks gave in to these community groups, because if they didnt these groups like acorn would protest and with the socialist government's backing would stop the banks expansission plan. so the banks got prommises from the government to cover their losses if these bad credit risks defaulted on their loans. this is why you see all the fed bailouts of the fianancial market today at the tax payer's expence

    Bill Moyers has got it all wrong again. The mortgage crisis was caused by greedy homeowners wanting to own something they could not afford. Please stop calling the greedy homeowners victims.

    Should we also blame the car salesman if he talked me into buying a larger car than I needed? Of course not. If the greedy homeowners would have just said NO to risky loans then there would not be any 'mortgage crisis'. Thanks

    You cannot spend what you don't have. If I borrow, the question is "Can I trust the lender?" Then..... Who does the lender trust? Today the Secretary of the US Treasury mumbled and fumbled pretending to try and answer questions that a six year old could answer IF he would tell the truth. What is truth? God in heaven, please help us to be truthful.
    Norm Persing

    It will get much worse in the short term, although it has been no bed of roses for us regular working folks since Reagan and trickledown economics anyway.

    The bill has come due for the parasitic feeding upon a once prosperous America built after World War II on progressive, bottom up tax and spending policies.

    After the 1976 Buckley V Valeo decision legalized graft by politicians no other result was possible.

    Among the forgotten lessons of the past financial cataclysms is that most regulations were created to rectify a wrong or save a people from those who would profit regardless of harm to others or country.

    Since we dumped actual retirement plans for 401Ks in the eighties everyone got sucked into thinking all regulations were bad for the portfolio.

    As it turns out those regulations protected our children and communities from rapacious, soulless capitalism that deposits its profits in the Cayman Islands and its toxic byproducts in China - all we lost was our Democracy.

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