Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Photo of Bill Moyers Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Watch & Listen The Blog Archive Transcripts Buy DVDs

« Bill Moyers & Michael Winship: Mother’s Milk of Politics Turns Sour | Main | Update: Body of War - Tomas Young »

What's the Future of the American Dream?



We're asking our guests and our viewers what is their vision for the future of the American Dream — and how we can achieve those visions. View a sample below and then tell us your vision for the future of the American Dream.
Update Required

Sorry in order to watch this video clip you need the latest version of the free flash plug in. CLICK HERE to download it and then refresh this page.

Check up on all the answers to date and find out more about the Deepening the American Dream project.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/mt4/mt-tb.cgi/1343

Comments

Although I find your guests’ ideas on the American Dream thought-provoking and inspiring, I must say that of all the people I’ve seen on your show, it was Jaron Quetel in your June 13, 2008 piece on Los Angeles labor, who I thought articulated the thing most ordinary Americans surely recognize is the heart of the American Dream. As Mr Quetel put it, “Very simply: Nice house…Front yard, back yard. …I don't even need the picket fence.” And then this: “Believe it. Believe it.”

Prosaic as Mr Quetel’s dream may sound to some, his words also demonstrate that embedded in the dream of home ownership are profound ideals we as a nation have always believed in deeply. Home ownership means having a place here in America, belonging here, secure on a spot on this land, and being part of a neighborhood and community—of being a stakeholder and participant in America’s common life. Home ownership is the very tangible core of the American Dream.

And this of course is what’s so deeply troubling about the mortgage and foreclosure crises. They’re a direct attack on the American Dream, deeply damaging the foundation of our faith as Americans. And so I believe the financial crisis is a crisis of faith.

The subject of faith—of religion, of God—is fraught in American political conversation. To many, it’s even taboo. But it’s there nonetheless—imprinted and inescapable in our documents and songs and mottos, our pledge of allegiance, and certainly in our behavior. As author David Foster Wallace said, “There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.” So if America as a nation has always had a concept of God, halting and awkward though our talk about it has been, that concept has surely been manifested in our pursuit of the American Dream, the object of our collective, national worship.

But there’s been a more dubious side to our collective faith. Financial firms like Goldman Sachs operated at the top tier of, apparently, a great and mighty church. As the highest paid executive on Wall Street, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman, is, it seems, the high priest of that church. In any case, it was Blankfein who described as “God’s work” practices such as trading recklessly and deceitfully in the dreams of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

As a homeowner and small business owner, I’m but a humble layman of this church. But if he ever deigned to allow me to approach him I would feel compelled to confess before the High Priest (or is it Reverend?—forgive my ignorance) Blankfein. I would confess the sin of doubt. I would have to ask, what kind of god is this? A god who literally sells short the American Dream? What kind of god has Mr Blankfein been selling us?

I want to know, is this God who has short-sold the American Dream the same God to whom we raise our voices together and sing our hopes that He’ll bless America? I want to know, what happened to that God?

I don’t presume to know how to do that God’s work. It is—or was—after all, GOD'S work and imponderable to ordinary human beings. But I’m sure it had nothing to do with preying on my fellow countrymen. To the contrary, the God of the American Dream seems incomprehensible without good citizenship. (Perhaps this is what Jaron Quetel was suggesting in saying he didn’t even need a picket fence: the American Dream might be better served without a fence to keep out the neighbors.) And it seemed part of God’s work to ensure those rights and obligations inherent to citizenship not only for ourselves but for all Americans. It seemed a grave sin, a violation of a higher will, to ignore those rights and obligations and to abuse the trust—the sacred trust—of our fellow citizens.

And whatever we understood as God’s work, it seemed to have something to do with OUR work—real work, not spinning paper into more paper, debased from and sucking value out of our real wealth, but our earnest efforts to serve each other and our country; to provide for each other and make things we need to sustain and enhance our lives. We might even call it helping in the work of creation. If I may say so, there’s something genuinely holy in that: binding us together as a people, it once made us whole.

Whether or not these things had to do with God, it seems to me not too much to say we once worshipped them—Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, atheists and agnostics, together, we worshipped them. As a largely immigrant nation, we did come here out of longing for, and believing in them, as our salvation.

So in our time of doubt about Mr Blankfein’s church, his work, and his God, what I want to know is, what happened to the God we still often sing of, the God we worship in the form of the American Dream, imploring each other, as Mr Quetel does, to “Believe it. Believe it”?

And will we ever be allowed to worship that God again?

I see a simple America where we learn to manufacture again and use our own natural resources and our tremendous stores of creativity and talent.
I see an America where we ensure a good education for our children-including vocational education-and educatiion that does not result in crippling debt for the students.
I envisage and America where no one will go without basic health care.
I see an America that is not divided into extremes of rich and poor. I see an America where respect for energy enables us to build green buildings create green energy,
I also dream that we learn to grow our own food supply safely, walk more and live within our own incomes - as a people and as a nation.

My American Dream is for our Nation to become educated and/or reminded of what true democracy is and that Civic courses should become the most important course in our Educational System from Preschool throughout our life time. This would solve so many issues but most importantly that everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts no matter where they learned them be it through corporate interests, their guardians or religious theocracies. Also it would be wonderful for people to realize that we can love America and what it stands for and still admit we have made mistakes and will continue to do so. People seems to accept this in the people they love; why not their country?

Bill you will be missed, but I will always be indebted to you and I thank you for all the subjects you brought to light! I wish you well in your retirement. Enjoy yourself and your Children and Grandchildren and if you happen to pass on just a fraction of the true journalistic qualities you hold, down to them, I know our society will be even more indebted to you for years to come.

Sincerely,

Amy
Edina, MN

My version of the American Dream is about employing our government to fight for justice for everyone in the public sphere, to mitigate the inequalities that are bought about by our individual circumstances, so that we all can have a chance to flourish and contribute to our societies.

My version of the American Dream is about using our government to fight for justice for everyone in the public sphere, to mitigate inequalities that are brought about by our individual circumstances, so that everyone can have a chance to flourish in our own ways.

My American Dream will blossom when the foreign policy phrase "in our national interest" changes to "in our human interest".
Mr.Moyers, I will miss you. I wish you my very best. p.s.: My other American dream is a wish that all Americans gain a similar compassion and wisdom that you have achieved.

My vision of the American Dream would include a nation of people that overwhelmingly rejects violence and the main instrament of violence, guns, and embraces peace at home and abroad. This country should follow the lead of many other counries around the globe and outlaw gun ownership. We should stop senless wars like Iraq and the war on drugs. We should stop electing leaders that just want to play let's make a deal and start electing leaders who really want to help the common citizen. It's just a dream but what the heck.

I would hope America can stop exporting it's war machine and simply set a good example for constitutional and increasingly democratic governance. NAFTA was a cynical device for exporting war and importing slaves to disenfranchise our middle class and enrich the titans of international corportist moguls. For them, the US Consitution is a quaint artifact of history that must be finessed.

We also need to stop economic growth in favor of economic maturity. The economic growth fueled by robber baron type capitalism is killing the earth. We need to learn to live better. That means better education that involves ecological ethics and responsible consumerism.

My American Dream is a vision based on what I learned on The Farm, a pacifist intentional collective in rural Tennessee that at this time – the end of the 1970s – was the largest commune on Earth, with a few satellite Farms across the country that had also set up soy dairies in Guatemala and Lesotho and run a free ambulance service in the Bronx. The guru’s wife, Ina May Gaskin, literally wrote the book on home birthing – Natural Midwifery – and this social, spiritual and economic experiment operated on an ethos and expectation of mutual care in a nominally classless and essentially cashless society.

I was a suburban twerp with bohemian leanings transplanted into a small town populated by religious longhairs living under essentially Third World conditions. As a
teen who had run afoul of the courts for what were essentially family problems, I went there for a place to live, a way to plug in and maybe get an education and to get some healing that as it happened, was unavailable to me there. (As a lifelong depressive, I am convinced that had we had comprehensive universal health care when I was a youth and young man, that I would have led a richer, more productive life. Now multiply that reality by millions of Americans.) Although there was some painful depravation borne by the communards, I experienced how real creativity and community cultivated conditions conducive to joy and happiness better than the accumulation of toys and gadgets does (although we were absolutely tool and technology connoisseurs). It was at The Farm that I learned the junkyard could be a goldmine. As in the Grateful Dead song, “St. Stephen,” “One man gathers what another man spills.”

In my American Dream, We the People wake up to the notion that strong, well-integrated communities built around the principles of mutual care, individual responsibility, appropriate use and equitable distribution of resources and technology and production through voluntary communal action have economic value and can foster individual freedom; and that conversely, corporations, who, unlike actual people don’t have to live anywhere in particular and thus, coupled with the relentless urge of capital to consolidate, blithely destroy neighborhoods and other places, most often in pursuit of short-term monetary profit.

In a cash economy where subsistence living is unavailable or unobtainable for most people and where it takes money to make money, access to sufficient credit at a reasonable cost becomes a human right. In my American Dream, corporations are no longer legally people (unless as Bill Black observed on the Journal last night, they can then be convicted, imprisoned and disenfranchised like the rest of us can) and the so-called Right-to-Lifers recognize the right to Right Livelihood: the right of everyone to be able to make a decent living in his or her hometown – or at least without migrating compulsively or abroad.

In my American Dream, the War on Drugs is recognized to be a War on Workers; and murderers, rapists, thieves and liars are tried, convicted and imprisoned instead of people growing and using their own medicine. By the same token, I dream of an America that no longer earns enmity by projecting its military might globally in order to preserve a wasteful way of life: in my dream, America is no longer a nation of compulsive consumers acting as though we inhabit a disposable planet.

Free Marie Mason! End the Green Scare!

Let me also tell you I don’t believe in much anymore, but I still believe in the power, possibility and promise of both public libraries and public broadcasting.

I think the "American Dream" has the same meaning to almost all who ponder it. As I understand it, the meaning is we as human beings are all created equal with the same inalienable right to freedom, with truth and justice for all the people. Religious freedom,freedom to be what we want, do what we want. A country of these basic freedoms, with truth and justice for all. A nation of people who are born here or come here to fulfill this dream.

My vision and hope for the future of the "American Dream" is our citizens, whether born here or come here, who are all descendants of the worlds best, brightest and most ambitious inhabitants, understand that we are a great nation. A nation of citizens living this dream. This dream carries with it a certain responsibility. As many have said "Democracy is not a spectator sport!" Unfortunately for some, this dream is a nightmare because we have become complacent and not or ill informed. We need engaged informed citizens to insure the "American Dream" is not the "American Nightmare".

In my lifetime of just over a half a century, I have witnessed a nation with a government that is not consistent with the American Dream. I've seen discriminatory practices against our citizens and others. Wars upon nations motivated by different political philosophies and greed. I see unequal justice in our courts. I see the rich and powerful controlling our government and just doing away with it whenever it is in it's economic interest. I do not see what I perceive as the "American Dream". My hope and vision is simply I would like our citizens and government to practice what is perceived as the American Dream.

I would like a government that does not get involved in my religion, or try to sponsor or establish one. I would like a government that gives all it's great citizens equal justice. I would like a government that that does less "saber rattling", and understands that we live in a world of nations and not just our own. I would like a citizenry and government that leads by example, in the sunshine and not in the shadows so all the world can see.

We are the best and brightest the world has to offer. We are a great nation. We have a form of government that was conceived by brilliant men. This is why many have came here.

My vision for the future of the American dream is we have a citizenry and government that conducts their personal and governmental affairs consistently with that dream. In my lifetime our citizens and government lost or forgot what the American dream is. I personally think this occurred dramatically around 1980 when for some unknown reason to me our citizens decided that our government was the problem and not the solution to our collective challenges. It is our government that was established by those brilliant men and I'm certain women also, that has given us all this universal understanding of the American Dream.

My vision and hope is all of the best and brightest the world has to offer and this great nation will solve our great challenges we face and our great nation will lead the world by example not rhetoric. In doing this we can preserve our universal perception of the "American Dream" and even more importantly make sure this universal perception is in fact reality, when for many it is not.

This is my vision and hope for the future of the "American Dream".

The AMERICAN Dream? Do you mean the United States of America's dream? The only dream that the USA has had throughtout its sordid history is of wealth and empire. As Sinclair Lewis put it: "...of the profit, by the profit and for the profit."

Concerning my "vision for the future of the American Dream", it has less to do with developing one's internal potential and exploring one's external possibilities, but more do with noticing, acknowledging and accepting limits--not only external limits, but also internal limits.

As to how to achieve that vision, it has something to do with achieving a more austere lifestyle:

- Live simply that others might simply live. (Elizabeth Seaton)

Indeed, it is that each and all of US recover our constitutions.

My hope is that we come to see that the realization of our deepest dreams in America is tied to the realization of dreams by people across our shared planet. As a relatively new father, I have no doubt that the love I have for my daughter is experienced equally by parents for their children in Kenya, Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan, Iran. Therefore, out of respect for the universal love of children, my dream is that we the people of the Earth make decisions with the true well-being of ALL children as the first consideration. In such a world, dropping bombs on families (as we are doing regularly in Afghanistan) could not be considered. Rather than sending our children off to kill the children of other parents, we'd spend our money instead on providing all children with clean water, health care, good food and schools. We'd learn how to live sustainably, in a way that restores the degraded natural resources that are the life support system for all of our children. We'd stop using up so many of those resources in pursuit of "the American Dream" as we've been sold it. If we pursue happiness for every child on Earth, and create policies according to that intention, our children will inherit a more peaceful, prosperous, healthy world than we currently inhabit. That's the dream of this American.


I want to see an America that turns itself back to being a forward-looking society, a society that wants to break out of the dark ages and leave them behind. I want to see a return to primary concern with the frontiers of knowledge, "what is consciousness?", "what is time?", "what is existence?"; "why is there existence, rather than nothing?". I want to see a cultural understanding that , until achieved, a completed world view is the only meaningful goal toward which mankind can work.

America is the promise to dream. It is the social contract between free men to
mutually assured existence, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I would like you to ponder the difference between "reality" and "actuality". Our dreams are our reality, but they are shared only to the extent that they are actualized.
Life is the essence.Howard Zinn said it best in your collection. The future of the American Dream is in our ability to make safe the cradle of civilization.
It is not a dream of Americans, but a place for free mankind to dream.

My dream for America is that we start being as accepting of each others' beliefs and lifestyles as we are of which vegetables other people buy.

You can't go! I missed the April 16 broadcast and was looking forward to tonight's broadcast and I was not disappointed with it's insight and quality. However I am heart-broken to learn that Bill Moyer's Journal is to be no more. For years I have been comforted to know that there was still an honest, truly fair and balanced, voice of reason and sanity shining in the wilderness of misinformation, bloviation, and outright distortion the we suffer in the modern media. You will be sorely missed. I feel we are all losing our center and listening to your show was always a stabilizing influence in my life. Who will take your place if that is even possible? You are my hero!

My dream for America is the same as my dream for the world and for the Universe... and it is that we soon realize we are all One... to do good to you is to do good to me... to do harm to you is to do harm to me... it is time to give up the path of neurosis... it does not work... only unconditional positive acceptance will... it does not mean we have to imitate one another, but we should Love our diversity... America is really big enough for this!

Here's what I think may happen to America in the near future.

The most intense sunspots in 600 or so years are due to occur in 2012. Among other effects, sunspots disrupt magnetic fields. A few sunspots in recent decades have been large enough to reach across space and have an effect on radio transmissions on earth.

It is feasable that within the next couple of years, an enormous sunspot will be able to wipe out all the information (which is magnetic) on most computer hard drives on earth.

Needless to say, this would be catastrophic for many important paperless information systems. It would also be really sad for human communications, art, family records etc.

But the most important thing it would do is to wipe out all financial records. In a matter of days, the only money on earth would be literally the cash in your pocket.

Think of it: NO MONEY!

The thing is, the more I think about this, the better this scenario looks to me.

All the worst things America does -- to its own people and to the rest of the world -- are for greed over money. If there is no money, these activities would CEASE!

War, sweatshops, clearcutting, mountaintop removal, habitat destruction, Big Pharma, health insurance, industrial food, infant formula, infant circumcision, etc. etc. etc. Since there is NO REASON OTHER THAN MONEY TO DO THESE AWFUL THINGS, the people doing them would just walk away and go home.

See, the trees will still bear fruit, chickens will still lay eggs, rain will still fall, plants will still grow. Small farmers will figure out a way to get food to some markets. People with healing talent will still be moved to care for folks. Mothers will still make milk and hug their children.

It will take some adjusting -- a LOT of adjusting -- but it is possible that we could actually return to a better, simpler way of life and to the original spirit of an American Dream.

So, I'm thinking we should start now to prepare for this possibility -- or at least to envision an America without the kind of capital which has destroyed the dream for most people it has touched.

The American Dream is still real. It is many things -- it is a land of unlimited and opulent opportunity; opportunity to learn, to work and contribute, opportunity to freely choose your life style and pursue that choice. It is a great land with nearly unlimited natural and material resources guarantying the best chance in the world for success.
The American Dream is not just available for the rich as some suggest. Ask Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey or Barack Obama and they will tell you that only in America would it have been possible for them to succeed. Part of what America offers that is not universally available is capital. Only private capital invested with faith in the American Dream guaranteed the success of these bright people. And the list of success stories is not small -- there are hundreds of thousands of similar success stories.
But we are missing the whole picture of the American Dream if we focus only on becoming successful and wealthy. Great wealth and accumulation of expensive material possessions is not the only measure of the American Dream. I realize that circumstances over the last ten years have made it much more difficult to just make ends meet for many Americans and that many people at high levels in both the public and private sector are to blame for this. We do not have equal or fair justice in America and as many of you have pointed out, the aristocracy have ruled this country from the beginning. But the people do have power, a great amount of power, they just have a hard time using it. Thanks to a barrage of propaganda from a myriad of influential sources in America, the people are greatly divided, confused, misinformed, unorganized and ill equipped to fight-back. Instead we contribute to the problem.
It is a much too complex issue to discuss here intelligently, but if we don’t stop this stupid hate and destroy campaign and start searching for truthful answers that will fix the problem, we the people will have no chance to exercise our power in a meaningful way.
The first truth to understand is that the Freedom that we all enjoy and cherish so much comes with a price. If we don’t pay the price we will lose it. The price is called Responsibility and Contribution. We abuse our freedoms in many very serious ways and it is leading us in a path of downfall. How can we expect our leaders and wealthy overlords to act ethically, when the people act just as bad. The mortgage crisis was as much our fault as those that created it. If it were not for our own greed, material worship, and ignorance, we would never have fallen prey to their predatory practices. We have fallen prey to their game, by ignoring all good sense and living way beyond our means, thus putting our family and our lives into jeopardy. They love our foolishness and never let up with their barrage of deceptive advertising luring us into debt and despair. Our economy is now dependent on our extravagance, and would suffer if we did start living within our means.
There are two sets of principles. They are the principles of power and privilege and the principles of truth and justice. If you pursue truth and justice it will always mean a lessening of power and privilege. If you pursue power and privilege it will always be at the expense of truth and justice. There are many political pundits who pretend to be the bearers of truth and justice. Instead most of them are arms of the propaganda machine of the elitists. Americans desperately need to think for themselves, to seriously question the motives of these men and women. We shouldn’t take assumptions for granted. I like to take a skeptical attitude toward anything that is conventional wisdom or seems wrong. I especially question anything that is designed to make me hate or despise somebody or something. Be willing to ask questions about what is taken for granted. Try to think things through for yourself. There is plenty of solid objective information available to enable you to properly form an opinion. We have got to learn how to judge, evaluate and compare propaganda with other information. I ask myself, why does the media want me to believe that? Why are they being so one sided and not presenting the opposite view for us to weigh? Beware of statements that our not substantiated and don‘t give actual sources. If you are told that Iran is defying the international community, ask who is the international community? With a little research, I find that many of the largest countries are opposed to sanctions. You can figure that out, but you have to do work. It is the same on issue after issue.

We have lost the ability to reason dispassionately about political and policy matters. We can no longer distinguish between lies and the truth and that has given the power elite everything they need to control us and take away our power.

The American Dream is still real. It is many things -- it is a land of unlimited and opulent opportunity; opportunity to learn, to work and contribute, opportunity to freely choose your life style and pursue that choice. It is a great land with nearly unlimited natural and material resources guarantying the best chance in the world for success.
The American Dream is not just available for the rich as some suggest. Ask Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey or Barack Obama and they will tell you that only in America would it have been possible for them to succeed. Part of what America offers that is not universally available is capital. Only private capital invested with faith in the American Dream guaranteed the success of these bright people. And the list of success stories is not small -- there are hundreds of thousands of similar success stories.
But we are missing the whole picture of the American Dream if we focus only on becoming successful and wealthy. Great wealth and accumulation of expensive material possessions is not the only measure of the American Dream. I realize that circumstances over the last ten years have made it much more difficult to just make ends meet for many Americans and that many people at high levels in both the public and private sector are to blame for this. We do not have equal or fair justice in America and as many of you have pointed out, the aristocracy have ruled this country from the beginning. But the people do have power, a great amount of power, they just have a hard time using it. Thanks to a barrage of propaganda from a myriad of influential sources in America, the people are greatly divided, confused, misinformed, unorganized and ill equipped to fight-back. Instead we contribute to the problem.
It is a much too complex issue to discuss here intelligently, but if we don’t stop this stupid hate and destroy campaign and start searching for truthful answers that will fix the problem, we the people will have no chance to exercise our power in a meaningful way.
The first truth to understand is that the Freedom that we all enjoy and cherish so much comes with a price. If we don’t pay the price we will lose it. The price is called Responsibility and Contribution. We abuse our freedoms in many very serious ways and it is leading us in a path of downfall. How can we expect our leaders and wealthy overlords to act ethically, when the people act just as bad. The mortgage crisis was as much our fault as those that created it. If it were not for our own greed, material worship, and ignorance, we would never have fallen prey to their predatory practices. We have fallen prey to their game, by ignoring all good sense and living way beyond our means, thus putting our family and our lives into jeopardy. They love our foolishness and never let up with their barrage of deceptive advertising luring us into debt and despair. Our economy is now dependent on our extravagance, and would suffer if we did start living within our means.
There are two sets of principles. They are the principles of power and privilege and the principles of truth and justice. If you pursue truth and justice it will always mean a lessening of power and privilege. If you pursue power and privilege it will always be at the expense of truth and justice. There are many political pundits who pretend to be the bearers of truth and justice. Instead most of them are arms of the propaganda machine of the elitists. Americans desperately need to think for themselves, to seriously question the motives of these men and women. We shouldn’t take assumptions for granted. I like to take a skeptical attitude toward anything that is conventional wisdom or seems wrong. I especially question anything that is designed to make me hate or despise somebody or something. Be willing to ask questions about what is taken for granted. Try to think things through for yourself. There is plenty of solid objective information available to enable you to properly form an opinion. We have got to learn how to judge, evaluate and compare propaganda with other information. I ask myself, why does the media want me to believe that? Why are they being so one sided and not presenting the opposite view for us to weigh? Beware of statements that our not substantiated and don‘t give actual sources. If you are told that Iran is defying the international community, ask who is the international community? With a little research, I find that many of the largest countries are opposed to sanctions. You can figure that out, but you have to do work. It is the same on issue after issue.

We have lost the ability to reason dispassionately about political and policy matters. We can no longer distinguish between lies and the truth and that has given the power elite everything they need to control us and take away our power.

The American Dream is ripe for reinvention.

But first you must correctly analyze what is holding it back. The American Dream was forged of our great experiment in political democracy. However, if in 1770 after the Boston Massacre and the Townshend Acts someone had told you that a nation could be the embodiment of a people -- would you have thought them mad?

Well, we are right back in 1770 again, but that was the age of the nation state, this is the age of the corporate state. So, I ask you today to imaging a corporation as the embodiment of a people. If we apply everything that generations of brilliant minds have put into forging democratic governments, into building strong, powerful, profitable corporations that are of the people, by the people, and for the people, with checks, balances, and separation of powers, elected accountable leadership, a rule of law that insure cooperators thrive and freeriders are marginalized then we can and will once again stoke the embers of the American Dream and justice, the rewards of hard work, civic pride, and hope for a better life for our children will once again be the guiding collaborative vision of this land.

Bill, report some good news for once.

Just imagine a Nation that takes care of its homeless, (a lot are veterans & mentally ill ) its young, aged, is an example to the World.
Now look at Imperialistic America, a broken health care system, banks that steal legally, a religious right wing that preaches kidnapping, murder, theft are fine if authorized by the party.
I'm amazed at the hubris of the religious right but then again it could be argued that the Taliban is the religious right just a different persuasion.

America = Checks&Balances = PowerCorrupts = TheBest&BrightestAreDefective

1+1 NOT= 3.

Yet Americans disagree, "Everyone is entitled to their opinion."

"There is no immunity to cuckoo ideas" -Vonnegut

Two examples of defects:
1
war
2
gambling

If a govt wants money they approve more casinos, if they want popularity they approve war... CITIZEN DEFECTS: THEY THINK THEY CAN WIN!!!

Top researcher Dr.Burns 1980 "FeelingGood" sold 4,000,000 and claimed all upsets are traceable to exaggerated power or exaggerated threats.

Like the dopamine peptide receptors in the brain that make the human susceptible to heroin addiction, idolization receptors hook us to Hitlers and fear exaggeration receptors hook us to demonizing enemies(like "liberals").

There is a one word scaleable solution:
MoodGym
MoodGym.anu.edu.au

Dr. Jim Yong Kim: I think that we can settle for no less than America being the force of good in the world that will take on the most difficult problems.

In my view, Dr. Jim Yong Kim is partially right because America provides the resources for one to achieve their dreams and gain worth. More specifically,I believe that Americans have an impact on the rest of the world and thus have an obligation to solve some of the problems the world contains. For example, we constantly trade with China, so consequentially we should attempt to help them with some of their problems (should they accept it) because they engage in trade with us. Although Dr. Jim Yong Kim might object that America is responsible for solving the worlds problems, I maintain that the entire world needs to work together to create peace, not just America. Therefore, conclude that while Dr. Jim Yong Kim is correct about America aiding the world in its problems, we should not be held solely responsible.

Sean N wrote, in part, "However, both of them started working very hard at a young age and eventually made enough money to send all eleven of their kids to very good high schools and universities. To this day, my grandparents have achieved the American Dream and accomplished this task starting from nothing."

Private high school?

Did they keep their money in a bank?

How many "predators" did they tolerate?

What was their mono-issue "ism" and did they have a "government" to support it?

In my view, Merle Black’s definition of an American Dream is completely correct because I agree that we should all be looking forward and excited to see the future of the United States. This country has a myriad amount of ways to succeed, but one has to put forth the effort if he or she wants to reach it. Opportunities are basically at our fingertips, but we have to accept them and use them accordingly. Black explains that it does not matter what background an American comes from, how much money they have, or how much intelligence they have to be successful. The key ingredient is to work hard and never lose hope. For example, my grandparents’ rudimental states in their lives were very harsh, and there were many temptations to just lose hope and give up. However, both of them started working very hard at a young age and eventually made enough money to send all eleven of their kids to very good high schools and universities. To this day, my grandparents have achieved the American Dream and accomplished this task starting from nothing. Without their optimism, all of their hard work would never have happened. I believe that the United States goes through some pessimistic times, like when the country enters a recession or depression, but I feel that we feel optimistic most of the time, and are following a slow, but steady incline into a very hopeful and fulfilling state. In conclusion, I agree with Merle Black’s thoughts of staying optimistic of the future and never backing down, whatever the circumstances.

In my view, Andrew J. Bacevich is partially wrong and partially right because it is well known that we learn from our mistakes and for the most part do not do them again. Though we need to make sure we learn from our mistakes we also need to dwell on what we have done right and be able to move on with the confidence that we have succeeded in most areas as a nation. Had we only failed then we might not have the confidence to do new things and better our country. More specifically, I believe that the great minds of our country such as our Presidents and those high up I our government should dwell on our failures because they need to make sure they do not repeat the same mistakes. The American body on the other hand should not preoccupy themselves so much on the failures because they might just think that we have only failed and then give up on the country.
Although a pessimistic might object that we need to dwell on what we have done wrong and make sure we do not do it again I believe that it is the responsibility of the government which has been chosen by the people to make sure the nation does not repeat mistakes. Therefore, I conclude that the government in charge of our decisions should know the mistakes in history and make sure at all cost we do not repeat them, and that the American body should move forward aware of the mistakes but do their best too make a better future.

Ross Douthat: “The thing for America to do is remain America..”

In my view Ross Duothat is right because America needs to stick to the same principles that we where founded on. More specifically, I believe that we as Americans should not put our hope in getting a break for success, but rather work hard in order to achieve success, like our forefathers did. For example, Abraham Lincoln was very poor as a child but he taught himself how to read and write and he then moved on to higher education, and later on to lead the United States as President. For example, the healthcare bill of today is not only a radical move for the government to expand their power but is also going to place more value on the family and community that is not willing to help themselves, and force independent people to rely on the government for their healthcare, and rather than having the opportunity to choose the healthcare that best fits their needs, they are forced onto the government generic plan that tells them what they can and cannot have. Although many people believe that the American Dream is a false hope that many Americans put too much trust in, it is really dependent on how hard the person works in order to obtain the dream. Therefore, I completely agree with Ross in that we must keep pursuing success just as our forefathers did, in essence keeping America American.

Robert Johnson: “That we won’t become cynical about our principles.”

In my view, Robert Johnson is right in saying America cannot become “cynical about our principles,” because criticizing out principles displays disapproval of America’s foundations. More specifically, I believe that recent generations have become increasingly more negative towards our nation and what it stands for. For example, the government is pushing to take the word God out of the Pledge of Allegiance in order to meet the needs of fragile citizens. Although activists might object that time and principles have changed since the founding of out country, I maintain that the original principles are what made America into the great world power that it is today. It is hard to go against the fundamentals of such a strong and well-built country. I do not see a need to cater to other’s political correctness when the changes they seek out are changes that America was built upon. Therefore I conclude that the values that our nation was founded on should be maintained and looked upon with a positive view in order to honor the freedom and success these core beliefs have given us, rather than becoming a cynical society.

Andrew J. Bacevich

“My vision would be that we find ways to preserve that which is best about the past”

In my view, Andrew Bacevich is right about preserving what is best about the past because the past is where the true trials occurred and were overcome with greatness. Our forefathers inherited the responsibility of making our nation great throughout such trial of the past as the great depression and the various wars that established The U.S. as it’s own free country. Our country was made great through trials and established righteous values through in and throughout. As our country and has become so successful people have let their wealth cause them to be materialistic and we have lost the righteous values we were established under. More specifically, I believe that our values today have been twisted, causing our society today to become sick. Although Bacevich might object that the society has anything to do with this, I maintain that we are the ones to blame because we sink to low levels and become comfortable, instead of seeking the beautiful things left in this world that actually do help us and have so much value. Therefore, I conclude that we need to stand up to preserve, truth, righteousness, love, freedom, and individuality so that our nation will continue to grow and not lose it’s sanity.

Response to David Beckmann's thesis: "An America that is helping reduce hunger around the world. It's no dream. It can happen."

In my opinion, David Beckmann is completely right because I do believe it is possible to end hunger all over the world. More specifically, I believe that if everyone began to realize what a problem world hunger is and stepped up to help make a difference, there is a possibility that world hunger would end. For example, Feed The Children is a Christian, nonprofit relief organization, which reaches families and children world-wide delivering food, medicine, clothing and other necessities to individuals, children and families who lack these essentials due to famine, war, poverty, or natural disaster.Feed The Children has reached out to help children and families in 119 countries around the globe, and has also reached many people here in the United States. Because of organizations like this, I believe that if everyone became affiliated with an organization and donated what they could, even if it is just time, a difference would be made. Although people might object that ending world hunger is impossible and not everyone can not afford to donate money, I believe that everyone can make a difference whether they donate money or not . Therefore, I conclude that everyone should step up and help end world hunger.

Andrew J. Bacevich

“My vision would be that we find ways to preserve that which is best about the past”

In my view, Andrew Bacevich is right about preserving what is best about the past because the past is where the true trials occurred and were overcome with greatness. Our forefathers inherited the responsibility of making our nation great throughout such trial of the past as the great depression and the various wars that established The U.S. as it’s own free country. Our country was made great through trials and established righteous values through in and throughout. As our country and has become so successful people have let their wealth cause them to be materialistic and we have lost the righteous values we were established under. More specifically, I believe that our values today have been twisted, causing our society today to become sick. Although Bacevich might object that the society has anything to do with this, I maintain that we are the ones to blame because we sink to low levels and become comfortable, instead of seeking the beautiful things left in this world that actually do help us and have so much value. Therefore, I conclude that we need to stand up to preserve, truth, righteousness, love, freedom, and individuality so that our nation will continue to grow and not lose it’s sanity.

David Beckmann's thesis: "An America that is helping reduce hunger around the world. It's no dream. It can happen."

In my view, David Beckmann is right because America can have an immense impact on the world as well as on the fight against world hunger. More specifically, I believe that achieving this impact can be a moderately simple task, if only the American people would work together and give generously of themselves. For example, there is a movement called Advent Conspiracy that has been sweeping the nation during the Christmas season. This movement urges Americans to give heartfelt and creative gifts, instead of spending ridiculous amounts of money on Christmas presents year after year. The money that would have normally been spent on gifts is used to provide food and to build water wells that supply clean water for underdeveloped nations. Studies have shown that Americans spend 450 billion dollars on Christmas every year. These studies have also shown that it would take only 10 billion dollars to provide clean water for every single person in the entire world, and the price to end world hunger is not much more. Even combined, this price is only a minute portion of the money that is spent on Christmas presents every single year. With these statistics, it would not be difficult to end world hunger.

Maria Echaveste's Thesis: "Americans have to understand that they have to fight for the American dream..."

In my view, Maria Echaveste is completely correct in saying Americans must fight for the American dream because people these days expect the “American Dream” of success and opportunity to be given to them on a silver platter without making any effort to achieve it. They may be right in expecting the opportunities; however, they are wrong to expect the success to instantly follow the opportunities, which it doesn’t for the vast majority of Americans. America is unique in having its opportunities because there are very few, if any, other countries that have the possibilities that America has because of what you can find in America as far as education goes. My grandfather experienced the American Dream firsthand, starting off like any other American would, except with the added conflict of fighting in World War II. After the war he got a job at Kirby Shipping and worked his way to the top and now controls several dozen ships. He had later become the president of the 100 Club. He turned his opportunity into his “American Dream.” The American dream is about making the best of the opportunities you have and what you already have, but you must make an effort for your success or the American Dream will be no more than a dream.

In my opinion Drew Altman is incorrect, for “greater income equality” will not be beneficial to our nation, and will in fact, harm it. It is a fact of life that not everyone wants to play by his communistic/progressive rules, because not everyone will be able to have different jobs, and still take in the same revenue. If a heart surgeon makes the same wage as a garbage collector, will the doctor not see that his years upon years of training and his life saving efforts are not being rewarded appropriately? While some might contend that income equality is more important than the American dream, I would advise to look back at history. Did the immigrants fresh off the boat complain about income equality and demand a public welfare system? No, they took whatever job they could get, because whining about how a country isn’t exactly how you want it doesn’t put food on the table. In conclusion, I leave you with this observation. If a man works twice as hard, shows up twice as often, and benefits the company twice as well as another, why should they have the same paycheck?

Deborah Szekely’s Thesis: “To opportunity, I think we have to add justice.”

I agree with Deborah in what she says because we do have to have justice as well as significant opportunities to achieve the American Dream in today’s society. You can’t just inherit the American Dream, you have to work for it and earn it. In every hard work there is a reward. . In her interview on your website, she even says that “I don’t think where I am today could happen in any other country but our own.” This means that what she has gotten from this experience from the United States is simply amazing. In Deborah’s thesis, she should not have said the word “think” because you really do have to add justice if you want a chance to achieve the American Dream. For example Jon Dau, author of “God Grew Tired of Us”, experienced the migration from a foreign country to the United States. He had a bad first impression on it because he had to work so hard to pay for his needs. This shows Jon showed that he cared for himself during his first couple months suffering from lack of money, but in the end Jon became to be the winner of a film festival, which earned him a good amount of money. In conclusion, Deborah is very intelligent when stating this sentence because it applies to everyone.

Author: Deborah Szekely
Thesis: “They all dream of coming to America; where people are free, where people’s own merit can be recognized, where people can work for the future”

In my opinion, Deborah Szekely is right because, while everyone’s dream is different, everyone is free to follow his or her dream in America. Everyone can apply for a job and work hard to achieve his or her dream. More specifically, I believe that people should be proud of their work because it shows their determination and in America, we celebrate their hard work by rewarding them. For example, if you worked hard and got a bonus you’re going to want to strive harder and not back down from your dream. Although some might object that once that person reaches his or her goal he or she will not strive to get better, I maintain that person will strive hard to accomplish his or her dream. I believe this because having a dream is why we get out of bed in the morning. Therefore, I conclude that following your dream everyday will lead you to a brighter future.

I agree with the words of Maria Echaveste: "Americans have to understand that they have to fight for the American dream..." So many times people come to American in order to experience the American dream. Many are blinded by the ideas of "happily ever after." Individuals do not consider the work that goes into creating their personal happily ever after; after all, no one does it for them. So when people become disappointed in the American dream or argue that the dream is no more, they have become discouraged because they have not yet reached or do not see hope in reaching it. Well, nobody said anything about the dream being easy to achieve. In fact, the dream consists of the idea of success; one can only bring success upon oneself if he works for it. It is not handed to him. Echaveste is correct, the American dream is out there for anyone who is willing to fight for it.

In my opinion, Merle Black is right because if we encourage others to do their best and work together as a nation, there is a much better chance of becoming successful, instead of mocking individuals because of their race, background and income level in today’s society. More specifically, I believe that it is possible for ALL people to make their way to the top of their game, no matter what their situation is or has been.

For example, Oprah Winfrey began her life in destruction and loss including divorce and being born into extreme poverty. She began her life literally in rags, but today is known as the richest African American woman of the twentieth century. Starting with no support from her family, leading to support from millions all over the world, because she herself took the next step into a lifetime of success. Although Merle Black might object that in order for her to become such a success, she would have had to have great support and encouragement back in her young age I maintain that her independence and inner drive to be known around the world makes her a true leader of America today. Therefore I conclude that the American dream will stay alive if we continue to enforce a positive attitude to all fellow Americans.

Thesis Maria Echaveste
“Americans have to understand that they have to fight for the American Dream.”

I completely agree with Ms. Echaveste; many American naively believe that the “American Dream” of success will simply be handed to them, that’s where they are wrong. The American Dream is more than just success it is having the opportunities to work for that success; it is having the possibilities given to you, not the success. There are not many countries in the world where you will find these opportunities, which are found through America’s education and freedom. My grandmother experienced the American Dream, moving all around the Americas she settled in Houston as a single working mom raising four boys and a girl. She took what she was given and ran with it, with little education she started working in at a newspaper as a secretary. After lots of hard work, she started writing for them becoming successful all on her own. She took the opportunity she was given and made it into her “American Dream.” That is what it is all about isn’t it, making the best of what you have? America provides the possibilities and opportunity, but you must work for your success or your American Dream will only be a dream.

In my opinion, Earl Black is right because every person in America has their own dreams and goals, not everyone has the same dream. More specifically, I believe that every person in America deserves to have a special unique dream of their own because the only way they will reach their dreams is through hard work and anyone who is wiling to work to achieve their dreams deserves it. For example, my competitive cheer coach Chris Muniz does not dream of making lots of money, he dreams of changing the world of cheerleading. Although Chris has won Worlds and has set amazing records he makes the most influence at his own gym; he gives scholarships to teens that cannot afford to pay for competitions and tuition, which causes him to loose his own money, but he does it anyway. Although there are some people who might object that everyone deserves their own American dream. Therefore, I conclude that Earl Black is correct by believing that everyone deserves their own American Dream, but only if they are willing to work hard for it.

In my view Merle Black is right because of all of the progress America has made over the past decade, which will only continue to get better. More specifically, I believe that America will get more advanced in technology and will find out ways to help its citizens even more. For example, someone will figure out how to make a more friendly gas mileage car, and better ways to protect people’s houses and belongings. Although many people might object that America is headed for destruction, I maintain that America is going to continue to get more advanced and more reliable as a country. Therefore, I conclude that America is getting more and more safer each day, and will only move forward, not backward.

In my view, Merle Black is right because it is my future also, and it depends on the future of America. More specifically, I believe that the future is going to bring prosperity in America. For example history has been known to repeat itself, and in our last depression it brought us closer together and helped us get out of the Great Depression in the 1930’s. After the depression, America has flourished, except until now, when we seem to have come across another speed bump. Although Merle Black might object that we are so far down the hole that we might never be able to get ourselves out of, I still maintain that there can and will be an end to what is corrupting this great nation. Therefore I conclude that in the future America is going to flourish once again.

In my view, Earl Black's thesis that "The American dream has to be reinterpreted as American dreams" is partially correct because we are all diverse with our own definitions of this “dream.” More specifically, I believe that each person's idea or dream of "success" is different as to fit one’s own situation. For example, a man's recent unemployment, for example, and his "American dream" to get his job and the lifestyle is different than a family's debt and their dream of determination to pay it off. A high school graduate’s “dream” would be to get into the best possible college and maintain a good average and maintain a decent job as well. Although many would think that it is called the American dream meaning it is the same for everyone, I maintain the idea that while they are all different, they revolve around the same mindset of thought: to have a good quality life without interference from obstacles that would pull them back. Most Americans have hope to achieve some sort of good lifestyle maintaining the “American dream” giving others encouragement to strive for this idea and apply it to their own lives. Therefore, I conclude that the American dream should be reinterpreted as "American dreams.”

In my view Heather Booth is right because she believes that everyone should be treated fairly and all laws should be the same. More Specifically, I believe that our laws should be equal for everyone. For example the health care law is not fair because it taxes the wealthy. However the people who are poor are not taxed at all. Although Heather Booth might object that this is not promoting democracy but I maintain that this is necessary for the economy. Also she believes that everyone should be treated fairly. I definitely agree with her because we should be treated equally. I also believe that America is the only place where freedom is open to everyone and even Heather Booth agrees with this. Therefore, I conclude that this is a moral way to view the government and laws.
This is the one I would like you to grade

There are many different views of the American dream, however I believe the American dream is more of a world improvement and not only for Americans. It has to be important and something that will change the world, and is only possible if everyone chips in. In my view, David Beckman is right because he claims that the American dream is “ An American that is helping reduce world hunger. It’s no dream. It can happen.”
And Americans can reduce world hunger. More specifically, I believe that we all have the power and money to do so. For example; if every well-off American were to send money to in need places instead of going on a shopping spree, I believe world hunger might start to rapidly improve. And not only Americans, but people in every country able to do so.
Although someone might object that it is not our responsibility, I maintain that we are all children of God and responsible for one another. Therefore, I conclude that America is a place where dreams come true, and if everyone contributes to stopping world hunger, the world could be a place where dreams come true.

Ross Douthat
"The thing for America to do is to remain America"

In my view, Ross Douthat is completely right because for America to strive as it has for the last 234 years it needs to remain theoretically the same. More specifically, I believe that there needs to be a limited government, one that makes minute changes when it is needed rather than the radical ones that are being made today, one that values strong families and communities, that support one another in times of need, that have their independence, are self-reliant, and have an equal opportunity to live out their “American Dream.” For example, the healthcare bill of today is not only a radical move for the government to expand their power but is also going to place more value on the family and community that is not willing to help themselves, and force independent people to rely on the government for their healthcare, and rather than having the opportunity to choose the healthcare that best fits their needs, they are forced onto the government generic plan that tells them what they can and cannot have. Although Ross Douthat might object that we are still striving for social equality, I maintain that our radical government has lost sight of the goal of raising the dregs of society to become the equals of the upper class rather lowering the elite to fit the molds of the lower class. Therefore, I conclude that for the “American Dream” and the citizens that fall under the United States’ democratic republic to prosper, the government needs to be reminded that they are not in power to make their opinions heard but rather to make the voice of the people that they represents heard.

Linda Chavez knows the value of optimism and the power of hope and persistence, seeing these qualities as the roots of our nation. In unity we have exceeded all expectation and speculation, and with our can-do attitude we will reach even farther. In a poll taken in April of 2009, seventy-two percent of Americans believed that coming from poor to successful in America was possible, a very high percentage especially given the state of the economy today. Whether or not those people believed they themselves would have this kind of success is irrelevant; America is a country of possibilities and Americans are people of strong faith in those possibilities. Our forefathers have begun, ended, and emerged from a “sad history” as Chavez calls it, a history of pain and suffering, and a history that has made our country the great united nation it is today. Through these trials we have overcome and eliminated our problems, coming out the other side of our failures harder working, more united with fellow Americans, and even more optimistic of what is in store for the future for us and the future of America. The American dream is heavily connected to our ability to look forward to an even brighter tomorrow because we must first look forward in order to move forward.

In my view, Leymah Gbowee is right about her view of the American dream. Her dream is the same dream as the forefathers of America, which is that the American dream is an actual dream and is something to be achieved. One of her strong beliefs is that people who were once in prison should be able to have a second chance at life. I agree with this because everyone should be given a second chance at life no matter what they have done. America is a land of second chances and it is full of opportunities. Former prisoners ought to be able to get a job and live as a normal American citizen. Leymah also mentions that our military should not be destroying other enemy countries. Just because our country and military is powerful does not mean that we should destroy other countries at our own will. America should take pride in their military but should not take advantage of it. She also states that the United States needs to first fix it’s own internal problems before dealing with other international problems. The American dream should be something that we should all strive for and do our best to achieve.

In reply to Scott Bittle’s: “I’d like to see America where the public is really engaged in making the decisions that affect their daily lives…and I don’t think we can have the American Dream without that.”

In my view, Scott Bittle is right because democracy is what keeps dreams alive. Even more, the ability for the common man to make decisions, empowers him to dream and aspire to become something more. Without democracy, one could be subject to the government’s rules and would not be in charge of their own lives. I maintain that the American Dream is only partly based on democratic system. Therefore, I conclude that with the American people, as well as the American government working side by side and doing their part, they can achieve the American Dream, because it is not just the common man’s job, but the rich’s and the American leaders.

Thesis Drew Altman
“The approach to Health Care Reform is not a Radical approach but an even approach. ”


In my personal opinion, Drew Altman is wrong because from what I have seen most Republicans tend disagree with the Health Care Reform and in its approach. More specifically, I believe that Republicans are more likely to be of the older age group like that of the forty and up, and the Democratic is gaining a younger age group. For example, when people see Barak Obama playing basketball, it is much easier to relate to him, making it much easier to side with him on topics such as the Health Care Reform. I believe that the Barak Obama’s Health Care Reform is geared towards the Democratic Party as opposed to the Altman Idea of it being balanced as beneficial to everyone, I also believe that the current climate of Health Care is the best one; I believe that Health Care is something that is earned by someone who works hard and not something free given to anyone who breathes. Although Drew Altman may object that the intentions of the Health Care Reform are for the overall good of all people and needs to be changed, I maintain that the current Health Care is the best solution for us and the intentions are in fact geared toward the Democratic Party. Therefore, I conclude that the people of the Republican Party are reacting fairly to the Health Care Reform and that the Health Care Reform is not approaching America in a manor of equality but approaching America to better the Democratic Party.

Thesis Maria Echaveste
“Americans have to understand that they have to fight for the American Dream.”

In my opinion Maria Echaveste is totally right. Americans cannot just sit back and think the American dream will just happen on its own. It takes hard work to achieve the American Dream. If someone wants to start from rags and go to riches it does not come naturally. A person must work hard to achieve it. Luckily in this country we have the resources, education and opportunities, to go from rags to riches. Too many people just expect the American Dream to happen. There are not many cases where a person has been successful with out hard work and the desire to fight for what he or she wants which in my opinion is the real American Dream. The heart to fight for what one wants so that he or she can be successful in the world that we live in today.

In my view James K. Galbraith is partially right because the country should figure out their problems in a faster manner but these problems are complicated and it needs time to resolve it. More specifically I believe that the government should find out a fast working plan that works so that they can put America to be were it is supposed to be as soon as possible. However, I would rather have the government to take its time so that they can have a better plan to solve its problems without making mistakes. If they create their plans to fast, then the plan might not work, but it is a good idea to start the plan as fast as they can. Although James K. Galbraith might object that the Government should solve their problems slowly, I maintain that the government should take its time to accomplish their goals properly but, they need to do it in a faster manner. Therefore, I conclude that the government should take its time to prepare for it’s problems so that they can solve them and when they find a plan the government should tell everyone about the plan so that it could speed up the process of solving the countries problems. When the government solves the countries problems then it will give other people an opportunity to achieve their American dream.


Scott Bittle: “Politics should be a game people play, not a game they watch…”

In my view, Scott Bittle is absolutely correct because many voters are unaware of what exactly they are voting for when they vote. More specifically, I believe that many vote for candidates for the wrong reasons. For example, it is common knowledge that our new President is a black man, as well as the first black president in the history of the United States of America. Although many people may object that his race made a smaller impact than his political views and promises, I maintain that most people that voted for our President did so in order to make history. It is no secret that the stereotype for an Obama supporter is a black man. I am in no way saying that every black person voted for Obama and am in no way saying that every black person that did vote Obama did so because he was black. However, I still believe that many voted for him simply to make history. I have asked supporters of Obama why they voted for him, and while some people stated correctly his political views, about fifty-percent of the people whom I have asked responded that they were not familiar with what he planned to do for our country. Therefore I conclude that if every American voter knew exactly what they were voting for that our country would greatly improve because the American population could prevent a fool from entering the most important office in our nation, and perhaps the world.

In my view, Merle Black is right because each and every American has their own dream. Their dreams may not be evident to the life they hold, or it may even be different then the dream they voice. Either way, I believe everyone should be encouraged to fulfill his or her dreams. For example, many people have amazing talents and gifts that God has given them; however, there are many things that hold them back. Many people do not have the means to get a good education. Some people have the money, but simply do not have moral support. As Americans we need to support each other in fulfilling our dreams to the best of our own abilities. For those of us who are blessed enough to have extra money to spend, it should be used to benefit others instead of our own selfish desires. However, simply lending support and encouragement to the people around you is so much more meaningful than handing over a check.
Therefore, I conclude that we as Americans must encourage and support those talented individuals to rise up and fulfill their own “American Dream”, many people are capable; however, they lack in confidence and or means.

David Frum’s Thesis: Where all human beings have the ability to realize whatever gifts they have

In my view, Frum is right because he and every person in society, both in America and around the world, can make a difference. More specifically, I believe that America and her citizens have the responsibility to help make the world a safer, more virtuous place where disputes between countries and individual people do not take on violence in any form, but rather are fought with the mighty pen. Thus far, the United States and her residents have done much in attempting to achieve these goals. To date, the United States has assisted a large portion of the world’s population in establishing a society in which one’s personal freedoms are guaranteed, whether as an example or through action undertaken by our government. Although many might object that America’s involvement in “imposing” justice on much of the world has caused more harm than good, I maintain that our actions have helped millions of people obtain rights and freedoms that help them to realize their innate gifts and that they otherwise would not have been granted. Therefore, I conclude that, despite many people’s objections, America’s involvement in helping maintain a peaceful, just world order is beneficial and that the entire world has a future responsibility in maintaining these new found rights and freedoms that give the inhabitants of our world the opportunity to discover “the gifts they have”.

People are arguing that because we are in an economic recession that the American Dream is dying, and that it is no longer attainable. However, I take the opposite stand, because the American Dream is just as alive today as it has always been. That is because the American dream is not to work in a corner office, own a corvette, and have a wife and two kids but rather a more abstract goal. A goal that, while abstract, is rather simple. That is to make an impact on one’s community and to further serve their country to make it better. People who give their time to help out their community are praised because they are making the world a “better place”. That is something that anyone can do, and that is why the American Dream is more alive today than ever. If one leaves the world a better place than when they entered they have been a part of the fulfillment of the American Dream.

We as an American people have drifted apart and we need to reconnect as a country. It is a sad time when a powerful nation like the United States, which was specifically formed “by the people for the people”, is oblivious to the needs of its citizens. This country is more than well equipped to support the people in need and provide them a decent life if they cannot provide it them selves, and yet there are people living in this country having to work multiple jobs just to make enough to get through the day. Our American Dream should be a country were no one need fear loosing their jobs or being unemployed because they know they can rely on their community and government to help support them. To make this dream become a reality we need to stop thinking only of ourselves and think more of the others around us so that we can help support each other in hardship, and if we can do that then our country will come closer together as a whole.

Emma Colemon Jordan's Thesis: "A future in which racial divisions are no longer operative."

In my opinion, Emma Coleman Jordan is partially correct because the American society has, in fact, become less racial and prejudice towards those of different races and ethnicities. More specifically, I take a stand on the belief that discrimination still exists on American soil, even though Congress has passed the Bill of Rights, which states the equality for every citizen. For example, segregation exists in schools and churches such as cliches, lunch groups, and youth studies. Neighborhoods, districts, and counties represent the separation between different races and ethnic groups as well. Some may relate the suburbs to rich American folks while some may say that the ghetto consists of African Americans and Hispanics. Although Emma Coleman Jordan might object that the Civil Rights Acts, the Thirteenth Amendment (the abolition of slavery), the Fourteenth Amendment (the emphasis and definition of "citizen"), and the Fifteenth Amendment (the right to vote without regard to color or race) all promoted and encouraged the movement of equality for all, I still maintain that there is still hostility towards African Americans and minorities. Therefore, I conclude that the United States of America cannot acquire a peaceful nation among its citizens because the separation between races is human nature.

Mark Danner’s thesis: The American dream has to do with opportunity. And it has to do with rule of law
In my personal view, Mark Danner is right because the opportunities Americans are provided with and those they provide themselves; create each person’s individual American dream based on what they are able to accomplish. More specifically, I believe that the services and education provided in America is more accessible to everyone no matter class or race than any other country in the world. For example Americans are provided an education from elementary all the way to high school, and has the opportunity to go to any college in the country. Although Mark Danner might object that we can never go back to the original plan of the founding fathers; I maintain we are a new America and must redevelop ourselves as a new nation with new values therefore establishing a new American dream. Therefore I conclude that because America is a melting pot and everyone has equal access to any level of education the past is the past and the American dream established by the founding fathers cannot be taking into the future; as a nation we are different and must take different values into the future.

Dean Baker's Thesis: "I think we really have to re-democratize society and the economy, and try and have a country that lives up to its ideals."

I believe that the ideal American Dream is to have a country that meets the needs of all their people whether they are millionaires who are becoming more prosperous each or ordinary commoners who are down in the dumps, not making income. In my opinion, Dean Baker is right because we are all “responsible members of the international community”, and we can all contribute to help meet the needs of all the different people in our society. More specifically, I believe that our country could contribute to meeting the needs of immigrants who are seeking better education, freedom, and a good standard of living. For example, Baker claims that all people deserve a satisfying education and a fulfilling standard of living. Since America has become more diverse over the last couple decades, it has become more and more difficult to “re-democratize society and the economy.” Although we may have long ways to go in achieving this American dream, I believe that each of us could help in turning the country around to make it work well for all residents in the country whether they are United States citizens or not. Therefore, I conclude that everyone in America deserves to be treated equally in that they all have a decent education and standard of living.

I agree with what Merle Black says in that we should be optimistic about the future of America because there are so many opportunities that America has to offer to future generations, if they try to succeed. I believe in the point that he made that people can make it in life if they really try and I also think that they need people to back them up and encourage them to pursue their dreams. For example, I know that my mom and dad are very supportive of me and my musical career and my desire to be a music teacher. They help me believe that I can do anything that I really put my mind to. With their encouragement I feel much more confident about my decisions than I would with no one backing me up. Merle Black might not fully agree with me that the generations need to encourage each other for them to have better futures, but we do agree that if we put our minds to it, we can accomplish a lot of things people never thought possible. America has already come so far technologically and many other aspects of our culture have advanced faster than anyone thought possible. Therefore, I conclude that with all the opportunities that we have in our great culture of America, we can and should be optimistic of our country’s future.

In my view, S. Bittle is right because the general population has become too lax when it comes to politics. More specifically, I believe that people have stopped truly paying attention to the core fundamentals of politics and instead, just vote by what ever their party is. For example, it has now become legal in many states for people to walk up to a voting booth, and just click a button that chooses every one that is a republican, or a democrat, or so on and so forth. Although Bittle might object that in order for the American dream to continue to exist, all people must participate in politics extensively, I maintain that the people as a whole must retain their ability to think and understand politics so as to make educated decisions based on government. Therefore, I conclude with the statement that in order for the American dream to continue to last, the people must learn how to become involved in politics on an everyday situation and not just at election time.

In my opinion Andrew J. Bacevich is only partially right in his thesis. He says, "My vision would be that we find ways to preserve that which is best about the past". I agree that we should recognize and cherish what went right and was good about the past. More specifically, I believe that we should also take note of what went wrong. If we knew what we did wrong, it can be avoided or made better. Although Mr. Bacevich might object that we should omit what was wrong to focus on what was good. I conserve that we need to know the mistakes we made so that we can become a better America. Therefore, I conclude that The American Dream can only be accomplished by knowing what went wrong with our forefathers and knowing what we do not want our America to become.

Mere Black thesis: “I’m very optimistic about the future of America”

In my opinion, Mere Black is right. If this country is to be restored to its original glory we cannot afford negative attitudes from the people. Furthermore, I believe that Mere Black is wise to be optimistic because this is not the first time the United States has been in trouble. For example, the Great Depression was the worst economic crisis to hit any country, but even so Americans pulled through like we always have and beat the odds. We even had a time of great prosperity following the Great Depression, which goes to show Americans willpower and determination. Many people around the country blame our “crumbling” America on the President and the Government. To some extent there may be truth in this argument however I maintain that the “blame game” and other futile tactics made by the ignorant population will not help anybody get anywhere. In conclusion, I restate the fact that Americans have survived many things including the Great Depression and two world wars, but the key to our survival is staying optimistic. As history has shown us, change and hardship have always played a part in the development of our country, but we must be patient and optimistic if we wish to prevail.


In my view, Andrew Bacevich is wrong because the American dream is ever changing with today society. More specifically, I believe that the American dream must be one that changes with and where a person is in life, something that can change with according how they are doing in life. Although we must preserve the past, America has always been about the future, looking ahead to create the next best thing. We have tried endlessly to prepare for the future, and our dreams are no different. Therefore, as Americans we cannot focus too much on the past, but rather the future and how our dreams and actions will put us where we want to be later in life. This is how America was formed and how it still operates today, based on a dream that we can all one day achieve our own personal goals and dreams. That is the American dream.

From under the shaded shadows of Silverado to the twisted grip of Enron, through the soaring cost of oil and gas well on into the accumulation of wealth by the banks amidst the worst recession since the great depression, compounded by the gambling gain of Wall Street. We have all seen the price of goods glaring back from the gap beyond the reach of real value. And there, stirring at the core of matter inhibited by the derivatives of quantity relative to the rate of exchange. And for those most disposed where do they go when devoured by the desire to survive.

In my view, Linda Chavez is partially right because the reason Americans’ dreams are at an all time high during trying times, such as the recession we are currently undergoing, is because of our optimism as a whole. More specifically, I believe that Americans are overconfident in the idea that our nation will rebound from this hard hit because that is what has occurred in the past. For example, during the recession after World War I many people were out of work and felt defeated, but over time united and built the economy back up to its former glory. Although Linda Chavez might object that our optimism and confidence in our nation’s ability to regain its footing, I maintain that Americans are becoming too comfortable resting in the possibility of success and the supposed constant rebound of our nation from devastating blows. Therefore, I conclude that the hope and optimism in the American Dream born during times of disunity and peril, is based solely on the notion that America will redeem itself no matter what happens. I believe that if situations in America were to change and America would fail in its ability to step back up after a fall, the overall hope and optimism of our nation would decrease drastically and the currently increasing numbers of citizens who have achieved the American dream or hope to, would begin to decrease and virtually come to a halt.

In my view, Andrew J. Bacevich is right because he bluntly describes the issues that are occurring today. More specifically, I believe that his opinion directly outlines how the outlook of the American Dream is falling. For example, he says that America has a great inheritance both environmental and political. America is a wonderful country but in his opinion we do not treat it as such. Another point that Bacevich makes is that our political history as a country is an amazing one. For instance the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution has made our country, but sadly those documents have not made us what we are now. In today’s politics they are going against the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and every thing that this country once stood for. Bacevich would like to see our country try to recover and preserve the original American Dream. Although, Andrew Bacevich might object that in recovering our nation some laws will have to be added due to how far our country has fallen. People are no longer fighting really for our freedom from overseas but now for freedoms such as gay rights and those laws, I feel, will never be able to go away now that they have once been put in affect. Therefore, I conclude that Bacevich’s opinion is very strong and correct. We as a country need to worry less about our social freedoms and more about building our country up again to it’s former glory so that some will no longer feel ashamed of our political status.

In my view, Dave Beckmann is correct about addressing the needs of millions being impoverished in America, but the focus needs to shift away from the global desire to help the hungry and realize the destitution in our own backyard. Every American cannot participate in the “American Dream” if a simple necessity, such as food, is hindering that chance for promise and success. While increasing amounts of people are lining up for food stamps, money is being given to those who do not need help, and those expenditures spent on people who do not need help is actually doing damage. Beckmann addressed the fact that 35 million people struggle to put food on the table daily. This could change by balancing money in a more economical sense: potentially cutting hunger in half. Helping countries that struggle from poverty is very important, but first we must make it a priority to solve it here, therefore allowing the U.S. to become increasingly stable. Solving this hunger could open the doors for so many lives to achieve their “American Dream” and brighten the future for our country. By eliminating poverty and giving promise, we could then focus on the impoverished around the world.

Andrew Bacevich’s thesis: "My vision would be that we find ways to preserve that which is best about the past.”

In response to Andrew Bacevich,

In my opinion Andrew Bacevich is deeply mistaken when he stated that we need to preserve the past. The American Dream is not and never will be about the past. More specifically, I believe that America solely succeeds by looking ahead. The source of the American Dream is not due to past traditions; it is due to mere competition. Just as children play dodge ball at recess, the average American citizen fights through and dodges blows to be the last man standing. The mindset of an American is different from that of any other country and that fact alone is why there is an “American” dream and not a dream like such in any other country. Although Andrew Bacevich might object that America’s success needs to keep up what it has been doing for centuries, I maintain that America must focus on the future. Focusing on the future and staying ahead of the competition is key to continuing what America has already done so well. Therefore, I conclude that the American Dream will remain live and true as long as Americans can keep up the “Be on Top” attitude that we, the American citizen, all share today.

In my view, Andrew J. Bacevich is right because our country is forgetting more about the past as we further our future and not caring how important our independence, our values, and our resolved issues came to be. More specifically, I believe that our country as a community is more focused on today’s problems and resolutions that we forget that if we had the little time to look over through past mistakes we could see how to solve the current mistake now. For example, invading Iraq to “help” them is a mistake made so many times from the World Wars, Vietnam, and others in the past that it is astonishing to think we haven’t learned from it. Although Bacevich might disagree with the thought, I believe that we should not just preserve the good, but the bad also. Even though the good builds up our self esteem and our good deeds, the bad shows us how we achieved that goal and how we were able to solve our conflicts along the way. Therefore, I conclude that all things about the past should be remembered, good or bad.

In my view, Phil Donahue is wrong because there is not a specific and explicit definition of what exactly the American Dream is. More specifically, I believe that everyone’s American Dream can be different and that there is a way to make your own unique American dream, altering your personal definition of it to fit your current situation. For example, in this recession, people have become more realistic about what they can and cannot achieve, so they modify their idea of the “American Dream” to fit certain standards, making their dream practical. Some people may argue that in America, there has always been a rooted meaning of what the dream is, but I maintain that it can be shaped and fitted, making it able to achieve. To conclude, I completely disagree with Phil Donahue’s statement that the American Dream is going to be “out of reach for most people” because anyone can achieve it if they take their recent situations, shape their American dream to fit those conditions, and work to reach their own version of the “American Dream”.

What a wonderful education I had in that I saw that REALITY is so much more than any "dream" could ever be.

Without a SANE man to land ratio that is based on sustainable agricultural supply, there is no future. You can't tweet a sandwich or a glass of water.

It WAS someone's "dream" to throw people into poverty and hunger in the USA.

Get the "realists" back in charge.

Cory Booker's Thesis: " I think the American Dream has it's roots in the idealism in which this country was born"

I believe that Cory Booker has the correct mind set on how the American Dream should expand itself. More Specifically, I believe that we need to look deep into America's history and who our founding fathers were. For example, our country does not dig deep to see the American Dream and what America really stands for. Although many other politicians may object with where the dream may come from, I maintain that America's dream started a long time ago and it has been pushed further and further from the American society. In order for the American people to have the same view, we need our congress and government to show the history of our country. Therefore, I conclude that Cory Booker statement is right for America, we should try and make it come through.

In my own view I agree completely with Joan Claybrook because administrations continue to take away our liberties. Every new group that comes into office has a different way to slowly take away our freedom. More specifically I believe that we as citizens of our counrty should be listened to when we speak out. The government walk all over us forgetting who put them into office and who all their efforts are actually for. America is not just a land, it is a group of diverse and colorful people that do not like having things done to them that takes away our liberties. For example, the Patriot act, passed under George bush, allowed the government to tap into our phones when ever they feel necessary. His administration may argue it is for our own safety, but it is in reality a huge invasion of privacy. Our nation was founded on the basis that the people choose how their country is run. When our government stops listening when we speak out is when they take over, and we no longer have a say in what happens in our country. Joan Claybrook and I continue to urge Americans to let there voices be heard and never give up even if they see no results. We must keep our voices loud to hopefully keep our liberties that our founders wanted us to have.

Response to David Beckmann's thesis: "An America that is helping reduce hunger around the world. It's no dream. It can happen."

I completely agree with Mr. Beckmann's thesis. America can make strides in reducing world hunger. More specifically, I believe that if we spent more time and effort to consider this universal plight, we could make great strides in its reduction. For example, www.freerice.com. This site improves vocabulary through simple vocabulary tests. For each word answered correctly, ten grains of rice are donated to the United Nations World Food Program. To put the simplicity of this program mathematically, ten questions answered correctly equates to 50 grains of rice. So, ten questions equates to 100 grains of rice. This process may take all of a couple of minutes. Although the opposition may contend that our economy is deteriorating and that our resources are rapidly depleting, I maintain the every ounce of effort is important in the reduction of world hunger. Therefore, the reduction of world hunger is not a dream. It is a waiting reality.

David Beckman's Thesis: "An America that is helping reduce hunger around the world. It's no dream. It can happen."

In my view, David Beckman is partially right because hunger is a huge problem not only around the world, but right here in the United States. More specifically, I believe that we need to help those who cannot help themselves. For example, just by simply giving our time and effort to help feed someone or give them clothing etc. Although David Beckman might object that we cannot end hunger, I maintain that we can. Therefore, I conclude that America can help end hunger just by giving a little out of the mass of things that we have.
This is not the typical "American Dream" that would come to any person’s head when they think of the "American Dream", but I believe that this dream can change and be different for each individual. The original American Dream was the dream of being able to come to America and make a living for not only yourself but for your family as well. American is the "land of opportunity". Though that dream still today resonates with many people, that idea along with many other ideas must be changed with time.
When I think about America and I talk about how wonderful my country is I want people to see what I do. An America that helps others, and itself. Not only is America the land of opportunity, but also along with the opportunity we have resources. America is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and with that wealth comes responsibility. We have a responsibility to our country to help those in need, and we can do that by at doing the bare minimum of feeding them.

Elizabeth Rubin's thesis: It would be great if the "American Dream" became a global idea - one in which someone does not HAVE to go to America.

In response to Elizabeth Rubin,

In my opinion, I completely agree with Ms. Rubin's thesis because the dreams of optimism, social flexibility, individual rights, and economic chance are not only an "American" dream, but also a human ideal. More specifically, I maintain that it is misleading to call this ideal the "American Dream." For example, protests and demonstrations around the world, such as the most recent ones in Iran, have proven that the human nature in everyone is what provides the basis behind this dream. Although one might object that this belief is a form of ideological imperialism, I maintain that this human ideal is accessible in many different ways, and is not necessarily obtained solely through the American system of government. Therefore, I concur with Ms. Rubin in claiming that the term "American Dream" should be changed to the "Global Dream."

Mark Danner's thesis: "The American Dream has to do with opportunity. And it has to do with rule of law."

In response to Mark Danner:

In my view, Mark Danner is partially right because America is a land of opportunity, especially concerning education. More specifically, I believe that individuals have the capability to achieve their goals and improve their circumstances through obtaining an education if they take advantage of opportunities. For example, students have access to scholarships for education; however, it is their responsibility to pursue the scholarship. Although Mark Danner might object that the government should be handing out money, I maintain that the government should make opportunities available to those who are willing to take the initiative. Therefore, I conclude that America is full of opportunities; anyone can achieve their dreams if they take initiative and pursue opportunities.

Scott Bittle's Thesis: "Politics should be a game people play, not a game they watch"

In my view, Scott Bittle is right; in order to accomplish the American Dream, people should be able to let their voice be known. More specifically, I believe that we, as Americans, should not just sit around and watch America change; we should let our opinions and voices be heard and thought of when making major political decisions, affecting the everyday life of the average American citizen. For example, with the recent elections, we, as the American public, should be able to become publicly engaged in the choices that come in-between these elections. We should not just watch politicians make lifestyle changing choices, without having any say at all. Although some people might object that we should let the politicians and important office holders be the only ones to have their say in political decisions, I maintain that the public should have their opinions be taken into consideration when making important lifestyle changing decisions. I conclude that Scott Bittle is right in believing the public should become more engaged in important political decisions

Maria Echaveste's Thesis: "Americans have to understand that they have to fight for the American dream."

In my view, Maria Echaveste is right because a dream is not given it is earned. More specifically, I believe that the American dream is not a right; it is a privilege and it has to be fought to achieve. For example, the war we are in right now is to make sure that opportunity is still available. Many people believe that this war is all for nothing, but I am willing to bet most of these people have had a taste of the American dream. The other people understand that the soldiers are fighting for them and their opportunity to succeed. In conclusion, the American dream is attained through hard work and persistence, not laying around waiting for it to knock on the door.

Earl Baker's Thesis: "The American Dream has to reinterpreted as American Dreams."

In response to Earl Baker:

In my view, Earl Baker is right because in this country, the population is just as diverse as the opportunities we have. More specifically, I believe that the ideal of the American Dream changes depending on social status and race. For example, an immigrant may view the American Dream as obtaining equality among other citizens despite gender, color, or religion while a lower class American citizen might view the American Dream as winning the lottery. Each person has their own dream, and their dream can be connected to their country because that is where the resources to reach that dream are available (for those who have an "American" Dream). Therefore, I conclude that since there are many different people in America, it is reasonable to believe that there is a multitude of American Dreams, each one representing the people of America. We are culturally diverse, and so are our dreams.

Thank you, Bill Moyers and Mother Jones editors for your fine investigative reporting on why nothing has been done to stop the Wall Street excesses that recently brought the world to it's financial knees.Goldman Sachs paying a 1% income tax? How do I sign up?
Until we elect people (like me-Smith for US congress-WI!) who are willing to do what is right for the majority of Americans and who pledge NOT to be swayed by the powerful Financial and Health Care lobbyists can we truly have "Change we can believe in".

Dean Baker’s thesis: “I think we really have to re-democratize society.”

In reply to Dean Baker:

In my view, Dean Baker is COMPLETELY WRONG because democracy is not only unconstitutional, but anti- anything America stands for; such as, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. More specifically, I believe that Alexis de Tocqueville got it right in his book “Democracy in America” when he said that, “Democracy leads to despotism and tyranny of the majority”. For example, Benjamin Franklin stated that, "democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner” meaning that democracy does not serve justice but an “unruly mob” like the one seen in William Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar”. Although liberals might object and say, “This country was founded on democracy! ”I maintain that when Benjamin Franklin was asked, “What Government have you given us?” he replied, “A Republic if you can keep it” and also made sure that the word democracy would not be found anywhere in the constitution. I insist that we have not kept it, but instead have turned our backs from it and are in the midst of an immoral democracy as seen in the 18th century book “Democracy in America”. Therefore I conclude Dean Baker, that the reason we are in the worst economic, political, and social bedlam that America has ever seen because we, “[democratized] society” and the only way to retrieve the civil rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is by returning to a Republic and keeping it.

In my view, David Beckmann is completely right because poverty and starvation are one of the most global problems of our time. More specifically, I believe that because we have so much wealth and opportunity in our country, we should help aid and feed the millions of starving people in third-world countries. For example, giving 7 cents to the UNICEF foundation gives food and water to an impoverished person for a day. This small amount of change we often lose or even throw away could change a person’s life each and every day. Although some people might argue that the American Dream should be focused solely on helping American’s and their lives, I maintain that helping someone in such dire need should be a priority for everyone. Therefore, I conclude that a key element of the American Dream should be helping those around the world who are not fortunate enough to have our abundance of opportunities, wealth, or freedom.

In my view, Heather Booth is right because many people view themselves as not good enough. More specifically, I believe that a lot of people think that they are not worthy of the fair treatment they deserve because they feel “less” than models on television and in Magazines. For example, people who are famous should not be exalted just because of their fame and fortune, but people should become famous for their personality. People should have the ability to build their own dreams without being criticized, no matter the circumstances. Although Heather might object that people should believe in themselves, I maintain that it is even more important to believe in others as well. Therefore, I conclude that if all people in the world praised and honored their neighbors, they would feel better about their own dreams, and they might even be able to make them come true. Rachel D.

Here's a presentation by Thomas Palley that everyone must see.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aa8ksiqr1Rw#

THE AMERICAN DREAM STORY! THE FINAL CHAPTER? TODAY, THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENTS WITH SMILES AND HAPPY LOBBYIST, THEY VOTE FOR POOR GOVERNMENT PRACTICES AND NOT FOR ITS CITIZENS, CAPITALISM BAIL-OUT ONLY AND MORE WARS, AND LASTLY, BROKEN PROMISES TO THE AMERICAN INDIANS; OLD PROBLEMS CONTINUE, WITHOUT ABATEMENTS. AMERICA'S WAGE SLAVES CANNOT WORK ANYMORE,OLD GOVERNMENT MANAGERS KNOW, OF NO BROKEN PROMISES, AND THE BANK OF AMERICA CANNOT KEEP PAYING OFF, $$$ TO OTHER NATIONS AND COUNTRIES, SO THEY CAN PLAY, THE ROLE OF BIG BROTHER. THE LAND AND WATER AND AIR AND CITIZENS ARE GETTING POISONED AND SOON... THERE WILL BE NO FOOD. THE AMERICAN DREAM WILL BE FINISHED!!! PEACE, BE WITH YOU. THE END

Unfortunately no one that matters will read my book and this message will be lost in the noise of vested.

Posted by: walt

We need your "noise", Walt. First, we have to stop the passing of this latest health insurance legislation being magically called "health reform"...

People like to lead interesting lives, that's what "health" is all about. A bowl of crazy that makes us SICKER is all Baucus came up with for 3 million dollars in payola.

There's the very real possibility that they are all so full of hubris that they have again miscalculated the "risk" and the blowback.

Did you know that Hughes Aircraft was a non profit organization and its earning went to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute www.hhmi.org. When Hughes existed it never entered the medical field because it did not even want the appearance of any impropriety. What a tragedy that was because they were a premiere system engineering technology power house that could have transformed health care in the USA.

In my book I made that statement - Sustainable Development Possible with Creative System Engineering.

I also go on to state that many of our defense companies should have developed transition strategies after the Berlin wall came down. It has now been 20 years. What if some had entered into the health care arena with their massive systems engineering knowledge and technologies?

Unfortunately no one that matters will read my book and this message will be lost in the noise of vested.

We're all "renting" - isn't that what happened with leveraging 40 times over the value of ALL real estate in USA...? And let's not forget "property taxes" where the home owner's slave wage is updrafted to cover the cost of city infrastructures for corporations....

Hey, I'm FOCUSED - the ONLY role of "government" is to protect the INDIVIDUAL against force and fraud. I guess I need to specify the HUMAN BEING since corporations are "persons" with rights above and beyond the ones "god" gave me, huh?

Anna is correct. Racism is but a stalking horse for the classism and cronyism thatgradually degenerate into slavery. Our present scourge is wage slavery.

Long live Johnny Rocket wherever you may be. This correspondent reported himself as an unemployed yeoman about to be evicted from his dwelling and using unoffcial WI_FI access for communication. Another correspondent, Klark Mouvinon, was reported lost when his compatriot returned from out of country contracting to reclaim his camping trailer and tow truck job. Where are Johnny and Klark now? On the street, I guess. That's where we'll all be heading if needed change is not forthcoming. Don't get behind on your rent, Anna.

It's NOT about "racism", it will always be about slavery.

"Johnny" blazed on this site in May 2009 with the NEW pledge of allegience:

"Our Great Purpose is to create billionaires, and give them as much freedom and as little accountability as possible.
I myself am committed to this greater national purpose, and do my part.
I embrace my role as one of the impoverished masses, because I know that the vast fortunes of a few are possible only if others are willing to live in poverty.
I am proud to be unemployed, because I know that low wages can only be maintained if workers are desperate for jobs.
I nobly partake of meals that consist of cheap, non-nutritious or harmful ingredients because I know that with each swallow of aspartame, each mouthful of fully hydrogenated vegetable oil, I am helping our country's Corporations. My sacrifice allows them to absorb wealth while my body absorbs unhealthful foodstuffs.
I relish the opportunity to inhale and drink toxic industrial waste products that have infiltrated the air and drinking water, because I understand that my own life is of no importance when compared with the chance to concentrate greater wealth into fewer hands.
I happily go without the medical care I need, to help the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance industry and the medical industry to create the billionaires that are so vital to the realization of our Great Purpose.
I am learning to like the new American wilderness of flat, barren land where forested mountains once were. I know that mountain-top removal mining is efficient, and that mountains are unnecessary. The fewer there are, the more of America I can see with an unobstructed view. And as everyone knows, the only value of timber is in its harvesting. In what other country are people sufficiently patriotic to sacrifice more than 500 mountains for the Greater Good?
I humbly wallow in ignorance, because I understand that if educated, I might be subjected to dangerous ideas. I might be corrupted by unnatural desires for a home, respect, dental work, a little time to relax, and similar extraneous desires that might distract us from the accomplishment of our Goal.Unlike the fools in every other industrialized country, I recognize that I do not deserve a job, decent pay, proper nutrition, a heated home, an education, clean drinking water, respect, or any such absurdities.
I, like millions of others, am a proud American, willing to subjugate my own welfare to the Laudable Endeavor to create a tiny parasitic class of billionaires who can have whatever they want, and do whatever they like, without regard for anything or anyone.
How glorious it is to contribute to this Land of Opportunity! A land in which a billionaire can find enough write-offs to pay absolutely nothing in taxes, while every homeless veteran who gathers enough coins to purchase a cup of coffee pays tax on it.
Ah, to be American!"

Welcome Northern Virginia Community College students in Intercultural Communications. I see that you already understand how narrow and limited your comments must be to "get a grade." If you want to know more about the "minority" political situation I suggest you surf on over to Democracy Now and peruse the material about Naomi Klein's new book "Minority Death Match: Jews, Blacks,and the 'Post Racial" Presidency". America should not be conceived of by college students as a melting pot, vegetable soup or a healthy salad. Those are nursery concepts for day care kids. Student unemployment in this country is above 25%, for black men- 25%+, for Hispanics 21%+; and those are the official figures discounting the discouraged and the under-employed. A Federal Reserve Bank Governor (from Kansas City) recently pegged the overall real unemployment rate at 17% and rising.
Much of the fervor in the health care debate comes from racism and classism fostered by propaganda from big corporations. So much for free speech.
Some of you students say people come here for a better life, but isn't it often the actions of first world business keeping poorer countries from developing or having a democratic government? So you immigrants are now in the core rather than the periphery. Were you part of the elite privileged class at home? If you were you might have quite a good time exploiting uninformed American natives when you graduate. They may have degrees but they are allowed to learn very little. Young people, in the last decade of American empire you must learn to read between the lines, even on Bill Moyer's Journal. Get curious and get active. Demand that your instructor let you learn something useful!

Im a student at the Northern Virginia Community College doing a assignment for my communciations class.

Philip Pan “That this continues to be a country that welcomes people from around the world”.

My opinion is that I agree with this vision on how America welcomes other countries and provides opportunities for them. America is known to be “The land of opportunities”. That’s why many people from all over the world come to America to start a better life and have many opportunities given to them. One main reason why they leave their native country is because they couldn’t all that over there. The Melting Pot metaphor does tie in with the American Dream by how the United States is very diverse with many people from different countries living there. All these people share their cultures with others and want to live free and happy. That’s what makes the United States known to be as the melting pot.

Emma Coleman Jordon “A future in which racial divisions are no longer operative”.
Racial issues continue to be a problem in this society. I do agree with what she says on how it should come to an. We should move on from the past, accept the differences and move forward into the future. I notice that the racial problems are delaying us from being able to fix the other important problems we are facing today. How can society function properly if we continue to hate each other because of the color of our skin or our cultural backgrounds? This metaphor Melting Pot does tie in with the American Dream by how the United States is so diverse and people should get along with each other no matter what cultures they come from.

I have always been an advocate of freedom of speech and I felt really strongly about it .I think that was mostly because back in my country the political system was so corrupted and ones opinion really didn’t matter. Coming here I was aware, mostly from reading books and watching a few American news editions, that there was freedom of speech but what I found exceeded all my expectations and made me realize of the real meaning of the word .It shockingly made me realize also that what I was fighting for before was far less freedom than these people actually have. I must admit that sometimes it was a little confusing to hear certain people or journalists allow themselves to go as far as to criticize and mock a president but that’s what the freedom of speech is and even though there might be problems deep inside invisible to publics eyes America should never for one instant take this freedom which is the dream of many other countries for granted.
Intercultural communications –comment on Mr.Scott Bittle

America is a wonderful country and I realize that every day more and more. I believe this is the place where other ethnicities become conscious for the first time of their natural roots, and all this because these amazing people have such genuine interest in other cultures and embrace all of the diversity in such a wonderful and noble way. This is my second year here in America and I can say that I have grown intellectually and I am a better person now due to constant positive reinforcement and encouragement of talent and ability as Mr. Merle Black also states. It really is the land of opportunities and if you are able and willing to grab one you can be anything you want to be.
Intercultural Communications-Comment on Mr.Merle Black

In watching Bill Moyers’ Journal, Deeping the American Dream, I thought filmmaker Ellen Spiro had a great quote: “The American dream is about tearing down walls, not erecting them.” The more we shut ourselves out from the rest of the world, the more close-minded we will become. How are we going to ever achieve world peace without accepting diversity? There are more advantages to accepting other cultures than disadvantages. Maybe another nation has a better way of running government? Maybe if something isn’t working in the American system, we can look to another system to see their outcomes.

Jessica Dabaghi- Intercultural Communications- On Thomas Frank

Anytime i hear anyone speak of the American Dream the first thing that comes to my mind is money. I believe people think that in order to be happy, you have to be wealthy. This media is constantly spewing stories and images of wealth and it translates to the general public as wealth equaling happiness. In my opinon this is a huge misconception. My American Dream would be to do something in my life that i love and that gives back to not only my country, but my world.

Phillip Pan Intercultural communications
Pan is a perfect example of the salad bowl concept, because like his dream he has immigrated into American society but he holds the cultural values that his parents thought him. Also the salad bowl concept represents a culture open to add ingredients (different people from different culture) to the mixture along the way. Pans American dream is the heart of what America once was, a country of immigrants with the dream of a better future, as “Americanized” citizens.

Greg Mitchell Intercultural Communications
Maintaining free speech of press is key concept to the salad bowl concept because it allows for each culture in America to host their own news programming, which express their cultures values and gives a pride to peoples cultural roots. The melting pot concept does not apply to the American dream because immigrants coming to America don’t totally drop their culture; they are creating a mixture their and our cultures, which is why its important for us to keep the right of free press.

With the concept of the American dream in mind a quote of Carl Shurz: "Ideals are like stars: you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you reach your destiny." It is a thing that we could never possibly fully achieve but by striving to reach it, we are coming closer to an accepting and just culture. Laws might be just but the people that enact them might carry their own prejudices. By each of us following the American Dream, we encourage and strengthen the principles we hope our country to follow.

I believed that the American dream lies to each individual trying to improve their lives in the United States. It is true that the United States is the land of opportunities but opportunities varies from each individual depending on what they want to achieve. The American Dream only happens to people who works hard and has a goal in life. The dream won’t happen unless you start believing on it and actually start improving yourself by going to school, working hard and abiding the laws. It is still up to the person on what they want to achieve in life. Everybody has a choice; most people consider rich and fame are the definition of the American Dream but for others American Dream is just being happy and satisfied living.

I think these videos are very inspiring. These are only about a minute long or even shorter than that, but it concisely presents some great points. There seems to be a debate whether it's an American Dream or an American Nightmare. In reality, immigrants seem to go through various challenges; however, they don't tend to speak up for their rights. People complain about the hardships, but not many people seem to stand up and raise their voice. Just like Mr Bittle mentioned in his video, "public should be really engaged and have their voice be counted". It is not a "sports". If we want things to change, we need to be actively engaged. Ms. Harris also claims that American Dream is a "collective action", and a "process of being together". American Dream is not about one individual's goal; it is about all Americans'.

Jacob Needleman about Money and Life.

All this time, I have been a believer of the saying “Follow what you love to do and that money will follow” but after listening to Jacob Needleman’s “Money and Life” It made me think that life is not all about what you like to do and the prosperity of money. Life has a more important factor and that is “Time” after watching the interview it made me think about my past experiences, the joys, the pain and some parts that I didn’t even have a recollection or memories. The point is that the time I had spent with my family and friends, whether happy or sad, I felt happy by just remembering the memories. On the other hand, money is still important in our life. It gives us freedom, power and maybe happiness. I’d never had a lot of money, so I’m clueless about its effect. Mr. Needleman’s Money and Life interview had somehow touched or changed some of my perspective about life and money.

America itself is a beautiful country, full of opportunities. People from different countries see America as a place for freedom, a place where people struggle to make a living, a place where everyone works together to form a strong community. My vision of the American dream means reaching out to help others working hard and treating everyone the way you would want to be treated. America is about everyone coming together as one, as a nation, in order to work together to make the American dream possible. We can do so much more if we could just take the time to look around and share what we have with one another. Many have failed to go through the American dream because they are not motivated enough or that they are not willing to change for the better. Moving to America from another country means that you are willing to adapt to a new life and getting used to new customs. Also, the Melting Pot could tie into the concept of the American dream because America, for example, is a place where immigrants of different cultures or races form an integrated society. Just by going around a school’s campus is a great example of cultures coming together; both the faculty and the student body are usually composed of people from a number of countries rather than only one.

i agree with the responder who wrote, if we as an Americans do not come together, we shall not last as strong. there needs to not be one side trying to inialate the other, rather there needs to be cooperation from all sides in order to keeo oder in this country. Americans have continuosly been a country of great achievements, but we did not do it by bashing eachother, rather working together.

Many people may have goals to achieve the American Dream but what may look like stepping stones away to achieve, more stones seem to be added along the way to make it more difficult to accomplish. A vast number of immigrants come to America in hopes to have a "better life" and more opportunities, but honestly, are there really more opportunities? For some, yes- those that work extra hard, have some sort of luck, and know people who may be able to help them out, but for an average Joe from a country such as Guatemala that comes here from doing labor work all his life has a big chance of being thrown back into doing labor work, waiting outside of a 7-11 for a slight chance of getting picked from an American who may in fact is trying himself to achieve his rendition of the American Dream.
No one said it would be easy although having leaders in charge that allow people to speak of what we want may make it easier. America, supposedly being all about equity and fairness may not be living up to its standards. Certain leaders with power that contribute to our government make decisions based upon their favors and advantages. For example, such as health care, leaders in the government have benefits already that allow them to make doctor visits not questionable for such minute things as a cold, although a person who may have excruciating pain in their bodies that can’t afford a doctor’s visit may have a serious matter such as cancer or a disease that has developed. The American Dream is more like the American Nightmare in reality.

I personally recognize two interpretations of the “American Dream” and find that I am quite unable to reconciling these opposing view points. The first of these views is idyllic and classically iconic and represents the principles upon which this country was founded. It is the Vision. The other is shrewdly unsentimental and rather disheartening and reflects what I as an individual perceive to be the unforgiving truth. It is the Reality.

It is psychologically exhausting to have two opposing identities struggling to fit into a concept in which conventionally there is only room for one. Rather than Vision vs. Reality, I would like to see Vision inspire Reality.
And in order for this American Dream to become an American Reality, we have to fight for it. We most make it so through our own actions and examples. And we must speak out.

Quixotic and idealistic? Perhaps. But I believe that perhaps it is better than bitterly denouncing and abandoning a dream that still for many provides a glimpse of hope and new beginnings. It is not an individual’s right to dictate or disregard the faith of others---but it should be everyone’s responsibility to foster and facilitate that belief for as long as it exists.

If we can’t believe in something better, then we can only believe in something worse.

Jack Martin, "He'd be a much better man, and a more perceptive leader, if he did not feel the crosshairs' shadow."

Obama and Palin, were to date in USA history, the most snaringly, hate-dominated selection of backroom power brokers for the theatrical actors for the political stage.

If either of those two had something of more substance than their snarky, winner take all AMBITION, then they would have NOT been selected to play the roles.

The gig is up, Mr. Martin.

The "checkmate" came in 2007 when Russia and China said they would stand with Iran against a USA invasion.

Iran needs to just say "it ain't worth it" to pay that much atention to Israel and then we can all move on from the megalomaniacal horror shows of "religion" - the Supreme Being of $$$ fame, and the "god" of "love".

Hire Disney execs to turn the area into a vation destination - all are free to walk around their symbolic black cube, or stick wishes written on paper into the wall (talk about data mining opportunities for marketing!), or parade jesus-on-a-stick once a year to remind the "faithful" what will happen to them if they stop a-- kissing the "sons of god" who derive authority from the hierachy of the "church".

Yes, indeedy, "fascist" roots evolved from the "church" having been granted a status of personhood greater than "god" and the individuals created FOR love.

Now we know why Jesus never wrote a book :-))

Mr. Cerf talks about how our media is not as helpful as it once was. We are not getting s in depth coverage as we would like or what will be most helpful to us. He feels that the internet is our only true way of communication now. I agree one hundred percent with him, on our media we are not getting any positive news, and if it is positive it is only a brief statement. Our news notifies us of all the negative things going on in our world and our specific nation. Our internet is also helping with our democracy, people can voice their opinions and be notified of current issues, both sides that is. With the media we are not able to voice our opinions because it is just a notification network, communication one direction. By using the internet we can communicate in two directions. Like Mr. Cerf said, we can get back to using the original Bill of Rights, because we can use our freedom of speech on the internet. It will also help get our input to congress from a larger more diverse group of people.

Mr. Blackmon is absolutely correct; we have accomplished things today that thirty years ago we never thought we would have been accomplished. The first major example is having someone of a different race as our President of the United States. Thirty to forty years ago, the privileges for women and people of color barely existed; the right for women to work or vote was shunned upon. African Americans were not allowed to do the same things as white people were, and they were not allowed to even use the same drinking fountain as a white person. Today we’ve accepted everyone as equals and can share and do the same things regardless of race. And we are still making differences and positive changes for everyone’s ethnic background. I’m not saying changes are happening over night, but with time our world has become a much better place for everyone! And is just fantastic to look back at all the changes we have made and will continue to make. Mr. Blackmon also mentioned how we are able to talk freely about the past and help make change. And we all hope that the dreadful things in the past can be put away for good.

Mr. Beckmann makes a point very clear: He wants an America where kids never go hungry and for people to step up to end hunger and poverty. He ends it by saying that, "This isn't a dream, it can happen." This video, although brief, also really caught my attention. Around the world, millions of kids everyday are going hungry because they don't have anything to eat. We here, in America have anything we would ever want to eat and at times, we just throw food away because we're "too full" and "don't want to eat it anymore". I myself eat everything that is on my plate whenever I eat something. If I don't finish it, I don't throw it away, I save it for later. We shouldn't be wasting food because around the world, there are people less fortunate than us because they have nothing to eat. If society as a whole would step up and make an attempt to end world hunger, then nobody would be starving anymore.

I thought the video was very informative and inspiring. Mr. Bacevich makes a great point. We as Americans should try as preserve our inheritance. Bacevich goes on to mention the Constitution, and the Declaration Of Independence, the two documents that our country of the United States was founded on. He also mentions that we live in a different state of society and how we should revert to a society where the integrity of those documents is about. The bashing of the political system is another thing that made this article a bit more informative for me. Because there are times where the political system follows and goes by what the documents are about, and others times, they do not.

Note: The inappropriate placement of a press release concerning her personal kingdom building by Claudia McClennon (below) drew my attention in connection with "conservative" (LATENT RACIST)reaction to President Obedient's pep talk on education, available in schools tomorrow.

Core facts: It is customary for the duly elected President of the United States to use his bully pulpit to encourage and support deserving elements among the citizenry. Until recently education has been accepted a positive universal asset good for everyone. What is not customary is that reactionary elements under pro-business encouragement and support are preventing schoolchildren from seeing the President's non-partisan speech on education.

Perceptions: Barack Obama and his spouse Michelle are as uncommon as professional sports celebrities in that they have parlayed subsidized degrees at prestigious schools into a personal fortune and a phenomenal political career. (How long before Michelle attains a senate seat?) Naturally, as winners, they truly believe in the innate value of education. They see less how luck and their deference and obedience to powerful and wealthy interests have enabled their rise. Certainly, they are intelligent, but they did not succeed purely upon principle. (The Obamas are in denial, in many ways.)Just as every capitalist fortune is built on structural and personal crimes they too have some closet skeletons. The American people, with choice narrowed by power and manipulation chose Barack Obama as the least evil, even as they chose Bill Clinton in 1992.

Background: George Bush may have been corporately selected as a matter of revenge against social progress. As Karl Rove so eloquently stated,"We're taking this country back to the 50s." Unfortunately, social conservatives also bought corporate fascism in the process.

The Bigger Lie: People enthralled with the face value of a minority leader forget that the corporate agenda continues. Barack Obama is perceptually capped by his obedience to business needs and does not realize how much things have changed since he and Michelle succeeded in school. He speaks in complete candor disregarding the odds against any underclass individual escaping poverty through scholarship in these repressive and class-hardened times. Access to the opportunities of individual entrepreneurship and intellectual innovation are greatly diminished daily as corporate dominance surges.

Civility: Community peace may be maintained by not confronting the fiction of supposed educational opportunity. Those of you with sustaining jobs have only to look at the gradually narrowing and rapidly more expensive curriculum at educational institutions. It's like the old folk tale of the big and little dog. The big dog advises that if you can't eat it, drink it, or have sex with it; then piss on it. The coursework that doesn't serve the fascist corporate agenda is essentially being urinated upon. Ask any instructor in literature, social science, or other humanities. Our golden age of wisdom and knowledge is past peak. The American educational dream is dying for lack of support to idle curiosity.

Slave driver?: And yet Barack Obama (President Obedient) mounts the lectern to admonish neglected and ill-fed schoolchildren that hard study pays, even as their families experience unemployment, eviction and repossession. A commander's fervor cannot turn the tide of battle when the troops have been disarmed. So what is he saying? "Serve the inevitable oligarchy with all your might!"

Regrets: I hate to write these things. I do not want to be identified with the people who censor the discourse of the President. They are supportive of ignorance and repression and they are misled by sadists. At this point Obama's pep talk is essentially harmless, but this is another opportunity to derail a partially humane agenda that may lessen corporate profits and hegemony. Maybe Obama believes he can sustain us in what Paul Krugman has called Purgatory indefinitely. It does feel like we are poised on the event horizon of a black hole of corporately created indebtedness. Such is the ultimate unjust condition. But at least President Obedient retains the grace to lie to little schoolchildren on the railway to oblivion.

Literary reference: Flannery O'Connor, in her story "the Misfit" has the title character say,"She would've been a good woman, if there'd been someone around to shoot her every minute." While this may be true of certain commercially minded opportunists posting this blog site I argue that just the opposite is true of President Obedient. He'd be a much better man, and a more perceptive leader, if he did not feel the crosshairs' shadow. (I have great sympathy for Obama and appreciate the burdens he bears.) Purgatory implies a chance for redemption. Even the agnostics like myself must pray hard, as we never have before, and forget selfish schemes.

As an immigrant, my American Dream has been:
* to live in a society where I believed there was equality of access to higher education and employment opportunity (largely true for me - 37 years ago - but less true for others today);
* to free myself from poverty, totalitarianism, class and gender discrimination;
* to have freedom of expression, to live in a place where dissent was not equaled to treason;
* to live in a society where at the time I believed people were ethical and caring of others, something that seems to be very much diminishing.

What I hope for America is:
* that it first and foremost focus on providing equal access to fundamental needs to all who live here - education (beyond high school which I consider "basic literacy"), health , nutrition, access to housing.

* that America distinguishes itself in the world not by the size of its arsenal, and war-industry capacity, but by its commitment to ethics on behalf of all humans and the planet in general. I.e: Invest in alternative energy instead of nuclear warheads.

* that America become a leader in developing a "planetary world view" - applying creativity, inventiveness, science, technology, and human compassion to develop solutions that benefit and can be accessed by all peoples. Instead of spending our considerable resources on destructive games of dominance and power over others, we need to learn to be collaborative and communicate effectively with others in the planet.

Click on my name for a link to a song I wrote about the American dream called "Wake Up." It's a pretty good band recording of it, with some nice instrumentals. Anyway, it's about how we all need to wake up from the "American dream" if we really want to be free -- because things are not always what they seem. Please enjoy, as I have enjoyed this discussion! (If interested, folks can connect with my music page at www.myspace.com/jamminjames111.

The American Dream is no more. It has been taken hostage by greed and big money. Corporations now have parity with living,breathing beings and their money talks louder than the voice of a human. We have been reduced to wallets that are always open to feed the machine and die,when neccesary,to keep the corporation alive and healthy.
We must take back our Senators and Congress from their influence and remind them of who voted for them.
If we don't the USA may be just another great promise that history passed by.

My American Dream is to put myself in a position to make my children's dreams come true, to inspire them to dream big, to create opportunities for them where they can be safe to fail until their greatest vision is fulfilled, to provide the means and loving support to enable their success, and in doing so, help you provide those same dreams and opportunities to your children.

i forgot to give my view of the future of the dream in my previous comment so here goes! we need a new american dream, its hard to see how we can beat the last one tho, the one we are still living has captured people from child hood i.e comic books with super heroes, what we believe as a child is crucial to our habits as an adult. hitler used this to his advantage but for the good of himself imagine if someone used this process for the good of all humanity, in effect reprogramming the human race. as i stated westerners now have grown up with comic books and hollywood, space travel. and if we're honest there is a part of us even educated people that belive we can be like superman or rambo deep down,the 50's was a golden time for the american dream, that was when dreams took off an people believed that they could not only achieve wealth but even super powers! the 50's saw teenagers being targeted for the first time as an untapped source of revenue to drive an economy 'rock n roll'. brainwashing of children would never be accepted by the general public if asked for permision, but that is exactly what goes on every day, adverts on tv, whats cool etc, but all what kids think is cool is what they are conditioned to believe by companies that want to sell to them very clever ay! but the bottom line is the way we live has to generate money its just that the wrong people benefit. maybe thats how it has to be, the mass controlled by a priveliged few. maybe we can still generate this desire to spend in people as well as creating good. we have to generate a new version of cool, a version that is not drugs guns and being a rebel. the future of our planet rests with our children and what they are told and believe in thro to adult hood, but its hard to keep them from outside influence that is not desired. and i maybe overstepping the mark a bit but whats with all religions killing each other in the name of god? i hope there is a god and i would love to believe in god but i definatly dont believe in religion.

is the american dream designed as most believe for the benefit of the individual or a clever financial invention to get people to spend money in their asperations to have and own all the things they see on tv in made up families.i believe that we are whitnessing the last days of the american dream due to greedy bankers that tried to escavate just that little bit to much out of people. the stock market values are like a pulse on the worlds economy, the slightest missed beat can send you into premature complete organ failure.without the american dream we would be like north korea and indeed many other countries like it. we are all but ants that work to build a comlex colony. or are we just bacteria that has grown on this planet, maybe we are a cancer, the need to survive is no greater in us than any other disease. known to man

My Dream for America

 On July 28th I joined in a world wide meditation called “Fire the Grid”. As I moved deep into inner space, I began to see a vision of a new America and our world. The ideas that came during meditation seem to have a life of their own and are continuing to grow.

Here are some of the visions I had during that fruitful time of meditation with millions of other people around the world.

FAMILY: I saw small nuclear families growing bigger through informal “adoptions”. I saw overworked mothers and fathers trying to take care of their children alone beginning to adopt uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents in their neighborhood who shared in caring for and educating the children. There no orphans or neglected children.

EDUCATION: I saw a new system of education. It is no longer operated like a factory in which children are pushed along an assembly line where bits of information is added at the same time to everyone regardless of their interest or ability. The new system looks more like an extended family that does home schooling. Children are encouraged to think for themselves and explore and discover new information according to their personal interest. Rather than having centralized school buildings to which children are assembled by bus, the educational system is incorporated into the life of the community with roving groups of students exploring all aspects of life. Teachers become educational enablers and help the students gather the information and experience they are seeking and arrange contacts with resources in the community and in natural environment. Every person in the community can act as both a student and teacher as they share their experience and skills with others. Students who share the same interest organize classes and select and hire the teachers according to what they want to learn and discover.

MONEY: I saw people replacing the money created from debt with $Credits earned by people when they created real wealth – new products and essential services for the community. People no longer made money from the work done by others. I saw Mothers earning $Credits for taking care of their own children and students earn $Credits from educating themselves. I saw artists, entertainers and inventors being rewarded with $Credits for creating new beauty, joy and useful innovations.

COOPERATIVES: I saw corporations and banks gradually replaced by worker owned cooperatives. $Credits the employees earned from their work was used to buy shares in the business. While the Banks no longer made money from interest charged on loans, they continued to serve as record keepers for the economic transitions and the management of the $Credits system.
With mothers no longer forced to work outside the home in order to feed her children she is able to become a good teacher and have time for other creative things in the community. Children are able to work with their parents as part of their education. Older adults can share their wisdom and experience and play with the children.   The $Credits they earn from the community wealth they are creating can we shared with the infants and small children and all folks with special needs.

ENERGY: I saw fossil fuel and nuclear power replaced by tapping the unlimited energy potential found throughout space-- known as Zero Point Energy or the Plenum or the Source. This energy source is already being used to generate all the electricity needed by at least one community in Switzerland.   I see electric cars and space craft powered by this unlimited energy potential. I saw balanced sea water being pumped into desert areas for irrigating food crops and trees. I saw people replanting the rain forests and rapidly rebuilding the top soil (6 inches per year) that was lost by factory farming and deforestation.

WORK & PLAY: I see work and play being mixed up so that creative work is so much fun that it feels like play. I see people using their creative imagination to rebuilding the earth because they love it.

With unlimited free energy and machines operated by computers I see the work week reduced to 16 hours – 4 days a week and 4 hours a day. By using the cooperative business systems and $Credits people will no longer be a “wage slave to a job”  and will be free to do other creative things—music, travel, explore, write, art, etc.

I see people exploring space and making contact with beings in other physical worlds, but also I also see us exploring inner space and the spiritual universe. I see us expanding the system of open communication between people in the physical world and those who have graduated into another dimension after physical death.

The American dream for me is to have the freedom to choose how we want to work and earn our way in fields of our own choice and to learn from all of our experiences in a way that we can continue to make progress, grow, and develop, and expand our own individual consciousness. The goal is never-ending but one that is forever enriching our present life in whatever category we find ourselves in each moment.

For at least the last twenty years, the American 'dream' has been that the rich somehow, as if they were blessed by God, deserve their wealth and that, correspondingly, the poor deserve their poverty and are inherently incapable of anything more. This unconscious delusion is seen in a national worship of wealth and fame. There can be no real re-visioning of the American dream until the culture can free itself from this narcissistic fantasy and individuals can regain an authentic empathy for their fellow citizen.


American Dreamin

On 9/12, still stunned,
I walked into the Acme,
grabbed a free 8x10 flag stapled to a stick,
brought it home and stuck it behind the porch lamp
on the patio of my second floor condo.

A 1968 peace-marching, sit-in squatting, hippie
had become a flagrant flag-waver.
A private moment, grazing that “who do you think you are” insult, she always flung. This time I knew the answer:

I am where I was born.
I claim as my own
a right to be a rebel: a Midwestern, corn lovin
yankee-rebel, a guiness drinkin, gritted teeth cursin,
candy-apple red spike heel wearin, She’ll be comin

roun the mountain singin, American Mime’n,poetry writin,traffic ticket fightin, Iraq war protestin
pension holdin, money savin, home-ownin, Civic drivin,
rebel, who’s not going to let mad fanatics yank it all away.

Deda Kavanagh

i would like to comment on the health care debate. i have first hand experience with a national health care system when i was stationed in Germany. i must say that it was a very good visit. my wait time was 20 minutes. total time at the hospital was 1 hour. and my bill, $0.00. to all of the people that are anti govt. health, do you have first hand experience? WAKE UP! you have the ability to speak with people around the world about there health care. are you asking them? in closing, don't scream at these people. listen to what they have to say. speak your peace calmly. if it is not what you like, don't vote for them!

The Future of the American Dream?
How can we say "American Dream" when that dream has been the cause of people being enslaved for 400 years? How do we say "dream" when Native Americans were placed on reservations? How do we say "dream" when Japanese Americans were forced from their homes to live in interment camps? It seems to me that the American dream is not a dream at all. In order to have it, someone has to loose.

I would like for Americans to believe in the "American Idea". Our founding fathers had great ideas in creating a document that challenges us to treat everyone with respect. The search for the American Dream (wealth, fame and fortune) has turned this country into a delicious experiment of constitutional challenges. This was proven by the amendments. I believe that the "American Idea" is to allow everyone to worship as they choose, to live in harmony, and to respect and love one another. I know this is a Utopian idea. It the one that most Americans strive for. If we really practiced this idea, we would really live the American Dream.

The American dream has become a nitemare of planetary carnage...there is no escape...if we fix the climate, we face the asymptotic Borg...all the rest is commentary...somebody get the capsules

I'm afraid to say there is not much hope for most Americans ever obtaining "The American Dream". The odds are stacked against us. Between the corporate lobbyist and outside interests our politicians have no incentive to do what is best for the "people". Until this country (the people) stop this Washington money merry-go-round we will continue to fall deeper in the abyss of "haves and have nots". Not until the American people stand up say "we're not going to take this anymore" will we ever see any change for us. Granted, there are still some who will rise through the bog of buerocracy to "success", but it is just because they choose to play the game. The problem is, to "play the game" requires some degree of relinqishing ethical and moral values to be successful in today's world. Until conservatives give up their fear of change and and realize that "Capitalism" has almost played itself out in our country. We can not continue to borrow money from China and pretend we are the #1 economic country in the world. We are vunerable and our future is now in the hands of a 3rd world country that basically depends on our ability to keep buying their crap, inferiorly made, toxic products that our government does not even try to stop from entering our country. At this point the government does not care who dies and at what costs. The Americans have decided to settle for this standard of living and we WILL pay the price.

The government's comprimise of our laws such as 1. Environmental- allowing large food and chemical industry to geneticly modify our food so toxic Round Up can be sprayed directly on our food, so plants do not even make seeds anymore and and are forced to buy from agricultural conglomerates such as Monsanto who also make the Round Up. 2. Health- Insurance companies basically only insuring "healthy" people that can work, and dropping them when they get sick which also forces people to have to spend their life's savings to pay for end of life care leaving them basically indigent. Allowing the pharmaceutical companies to make huge profits while outsourcing production to 3rd world countries who produce toxic and inferior product cheaply. 3. NAFTA which has outsourcd our production jobs just so companies can increase profits. This means we are no longer a producing nation, but consumer nation which is not a sustainable form of economics. 4. Immigration- Bypassing immigartion laws allowing undocumented people into our country in the hopes they will pay taxes which will help support the retiring baby boomers. This is really the reason for not closely monitoring our borders. Our economy has to have more workers to pay taxes, the problem is these people usually get paid on cash basis and we are not getting the tax revenues required to sustain our system, in fact we are spending our taxes to educate and provide free health care for these illegal immigrants. Again, it's cheap labor for big industry. 5. Wallstreet- Bailouts of huge corrupt companies that are totally out of control with no reform in sight.

So, NO, I reaally don't have much hope of most American's ability of ever acheiving the "American Dream". We are basically self destructing while the people sit by and apatheticly watch. I think the people will not do anything until it is so bad that we are in bread lines, homeless, jobless, with a collasped econmic infrastructure. Our nievte and apathy that this will not happen to us is going to be the our downfall.
Diane Baton Rouge

INTEGRITY. Buckminster Fuller had it right, and re-reading "Critical Path" today his evaluation of the US Government subsidization of banking special interests at the expense of the public (the Great Depression era, not today, but exactly like...) I am reminded of his emphasis on the word INTEGRITY. Truth, teling the truth, acting on the truth, living up to your word, that is the American dream, where trust lowers the cost of doing business and there is enough for anyone willing to work. We have been cheated by a two-party tyranny that is "running on empty," a Senate and a House both impeachable for abdicating Article 1 of the Constitution (balancing the power of the executive), and an executive that is theater--Goldman Sachs owns the Treasury, the President is nothing more than a puppet on the world stage (a fine puppet I might add), and nothing now being done by the White House is relevant to our future. See my article at www.oss.net on "Fixing the White House and National Intelligence." It breaks my heart to see the American public sitting quietly like sheep while millions lose their homes and their jobs and the White House meekly approved the Goldman Sachs/Treasury recommendation that AIG be allowed to give out millions of dollars in bonuses. This is criminally insane or insanely criminal, take your pick, the time has come to abolish this government or have multiple state seceed from the United STATES of America. IMHO. I called this with my book ELECTION 2008: Lipstick on the Pig, free at www.oss.net/PIG as well as at Amazon. There is nothing wrong with America that our collective intelligence cannot fix, but first we need an Electoral Reform Act of 2009 that eliminates the two-party tyranny and gives Independents, Greens, Reforms, Libertarians and others a level playing field. If we can replace one third of the Senate and one third of the House with patriots that have not sold out to special interests and the "party line," we can fix this country without violence.

Obama is in my view an extremely intelligent person who is being held captive by conventional wisdom. He should realize that 70% of America did not vote for him, and it is that 70%, if he embraces them and listens to them, that can help him break the back of the Democratic partisan hacks that now control him on behalf of Wall Street, and restore true liberty and the spirit of America.

After all the poetry, after all the visits to metaphysical stratospheres,
the bottom line is that USA is a "child" and it is in desperate need of having its diaper changed.

Idealists also happen to be very realistic - that's why they are competant. Yes, you need to be humbled to change the diaper.

Quote from the forbidden book :-) - "Enduring liberty is predicated on the REALITY (my emphasis) of justice - intelligence, maturity, fraternity, and equity....Liberty is suicidal when divorced from material justice, intellectual fairness, social forbearance, moral duty, and spiritual values....There is no error greater than that species of self-deception which leads intelligent beings to crave the exercise of power over other beings for the purpose of depriving those persons of their natural liberties..."

I'm FREE to change the stinking diaper - right? Or do we need a constitutiona amendment?

Hard to believe it is 2009 and in the, supposedly, most FREE THINKING "society" on the planet, so much effort and $$$ has been expended on FORBIDDING A BOOK.

The diaper is 30 years old - that's REALLY dirty. How many UNEMPLOYED will you need to recreate this SECOND time around in order to make sure the filthy diaper stays on...? How SICK from the diaper does the "baby" need to become? Or is this another kind of Tuskegee experiment? Or would people rather choose eternal sleep than lower themselves to change the diaper? Seriously, WHY all the hysterical yaddayadda - even in iambic pentameter?!

Nothing more REAL than collecting dead carp (KOI virus) out of a lake in 110 degree F. to bring home the FACT that the carp aren't capable of doing the science they needed to do to help themselves live....we humans had to dispose of the dead carp before the vacationers came.

So what diapers have the poets cleaned up lately on the road to enlightenment? :-))

For Bill Moyers – The American Dream
by Terry D. Kester


Its all we have, here in America.

The American Dream IS America.

Its not really true . . . its usually impossible,

But yet it propels us – daily.


It is as all dreams a mere whisper, a shadow

Thus it is nothing . . . and yet, for me, for us . . . it is everything.


We believe in it because we have to believe in it because if we did not we would see ourselves for what we are . . .

Or what we're becoming . . .

Or what we wanted to be but aren't now and actually weren't before.

But yet it propels us – daily,

Daily - beyond the night of reality.


All else has failed or been assassinated time and time again.

Every American ideal has been jailed or murdered at one time or another and will be again.

But the American Dream does not die.


All else has failed us from men to declaration . . .

From justice to peace to mercy – we fail – and fail more often than many – and deny that we have failed.

But the dream survives, the American Dream lives.


There are those who take our dream, who shift burden of cost and risk onto our tired shoulders as we labor – yet we dream on.


There are those who killed our music, shredded our aspirations, polluted our health and slaughtered our hopes – yet we dream on.

No matter what the real America does to us, even to the taking of our very lives we will not be awakened from our dream.

And if we give nothing else to our children or to world we have already given them all . . . the greatest gift of all . . .


Sleep in pain, sleep so troubled, yet we dream on . . .

The American Dream – hope and transformation time and time again even though we sleep in

Pain, sleep so troubled, we dream on.


For it is not really just the American Dream that we dream . . .

It is the dream of all humankind, of all the world.


It is the Dream of the people, by the people, with the people, FOR the people . . .

And IN the people.

Even today awakened – it is the only dream I need.


Terry D. Kester 07-01-09

History might not be repeating itself so much as it is keeping itself attached to the game and how to "win".

Sophists, as an elite class, go all the way back to pre-Socratic times in ancient Greece. The teachers of "sophistry" came to be disparaged for their oversubtle, self-serving reasoning. Are not our "schools" producing a self-proclaimed class of elites (wannabees) who go into deep debt to become skillful at devious argumentation?

Modern "Sophists" smirk at the "time-limit" they enforced on the Czar and other European aristocracy. And here they are, setting themselves up for the same fate.

Using "math" to hide acts of iniquity is just plain sick. "Unemployment" as a "derivative" to create a new class of elites is delusional. "We are not out of work because the economy is bad. The economy is bad because we are out of work".

But the 20-something, "educated", debt-ridden girls who pull up your info on their screen at the bank, don't even ask why you are there in front of them, but instead proceed to read the "notes" attached to your account about how to say "NO" to anything you want to do with your own money and if you insist, slam "fees" attached to the transcaction because that's how SHE gets paid by taking it from you to "help" you, same with the mortagage girls who have been ordered to find all the unemployed who want to lower their rates because the unemployed is a carefully selected class of intelligent small business owners who are to be processed into foreclosure, and the best for last, the health insurance girls who read the notes on their screen about how to say "NO" to your broken bone cast because their STATE has an ideology brewing (FREEDOM from Health Care Act) that insists that people might not want to set their broken bones - well, the girls are all living the American Dream, aren't they?

Grandma still has something new to say about the past, some angle I did not know "pet-peeved" her. Seems her fire was ignited back when by the fact that they built gas chambers in HER back yard.

Agreed. Sophists have NO CLUE what is "paradise" for another. But they do collect the data to identify and promptly steal another's created "paradise" for themselves in hopes it might fill them up with whatever humanity they know that they lack. But it never does because their sophisticated minds find a way to argue themselves out of "love".

"Forgiving tolerance" is an insane response to bold iniquity. Make no mistake about it, nothing will move forward unless a decision is made - one way or another - for how JUSTICE is still a BIG part of any HUMAN dream.

It's idealists v. sophists - always was and always will be.

A flag has been thrown on the field. You can't keep blowing up all the MATERIAL proof that idealists are more COMPETENT than any sophist, any day. Send Palin a memo that her kids are going to run into trouble if they bs like Mom taught them.

alvin - i don't question your good intentions but it's ironic that you call people who refer to the "american dream" arrogant when it's you assuming that the whole world automatically agrees with your vision of "all humanity living on a sustainable planet in peace and harmony." No offense, but isnt it narcissistic and close-minded to assume with all the diversity and conflict in this world that "all humanity" wants what you want? I think there are a lot of Americans who disagree with you, let alone people from different cultures. Who gave idealistic Americans the right to define the aspirations of "all humanity?"

When Martin Luther King said he had a dream, did he say he had an American dream? I think not.

As soon as you start restricting humanity's dream to only Americans, you must reflect upon the arrogance of such a statement.

Try considering the dream of all humanity living on a sustainable planet in peace and harmony. To say that only one type of society or one race, or one nation can have this dream is akin to religious or national fundamentalism. If you recall, this type of dream led to WWII.

There is only one dream for humanity and the world, and it is not the capitalistic dream of America. George Bush and Dick Cheney proved that dream was a nightmare.

The American Dream is neither American or a dream. There exists within each of us a desire for peace and fulfillment; feelings that are self effulgent within us. It is the idea that peace exists "as a consequence" that causes so much conflict and misunderstanding. The American Dream is humanities dream.

Many thanks for your exceptionally fine program with the poet, W.S.Merwin. Not only is Merwin an exceptional poet, but I suspect he is a humane and deeply compassionate man as well. I listened to your riveting conversation with gratitude and great pleasure. In our culture, poets are rarely offered such an opportunity to express their wisdom and their opinions, but this evening was a wonderful exception. Merwin is surely among the finest writers in contemporary American poetry. Thank you again for a memorable hour.

First I want to thank you for having my Lansmann,W.S.Merwin on. I, too grew up in Unionn City, As did Senator Bob Menendez. As for the American dream it has to do with ever increasing knowledge of exisistence. I see humanity merging with its own inventions to strike out on an exploration of the Universe that will never end. I'm probably too old (74 years)to participate, but maybe I can help get it started.

The future of the American Dream can best be answered with a question: To which America are you referring?

The one that invariably profits from a web of political protection and financial secrecy or the one that still believes their children will one day go to college?

Which America indeed. And while this question creates an opportunity to have important conversations like this, we as a people suffer when critical questions aren't asked or answered, when crisis seems to determine when or if we act at all to solve difficult problems, when the death of a celebrity illustrates how lonely and tragic success in America can be.

Which America indeed. Our hopes, dreams and hard work are no longer safe from the machinery of empire. Opportunities are too esily exploited by opportunists; all in the blink of pixel.

Perhaps, the question should be: How safe is the American dream? How safe are we?

Lee Howard, WOW what a nightmare!!! Sometimes I wish we could all get together and sit at a round table to discuss. So many are so jaded and so pessimistic. I am too to a degree even though I wrote rather positively. Still I cannot aver what we simply do not know. How can we EVER know about an oligarchy or about a conspiracy. I can ONLY know what I really do know, have seen and what was. I know Zinn's People's History of the US and I know what is utter myth and what is not. BUT I still do believe and have seen the so called American Dream work. It saved my grandparents from dying in the Holocaust. It allowed me an average person to live a decent life not an affluent one but a COMFORTABLE one where I eat well, sleep in a bed and have a very modest home. That's okay. It's YARDS better than my granparents had in the shetytls of Shepatovka in Russia at the turn of the century.

What I am saying is there IS something good, something noble and something that HAS worked for so many who immigrated here. It cannot be denied. Will it exist in the future? Who knows. Ask god -- IF you believe. Thankfully here one can tell god to take a hike without someone in the government slitting one's throat. These freedoms exist, they are not phantoms BUT yes, there are miles to go before we sleep!

I think the "American Dream"
is an illusion. What is one persons dream may also be another persons nightmare. Each of us has individual hopes and dreams that also evolve with our circumstance and age. To call it one thing would diminish it. I have a friend who refers to her dream as the house and white picket fence. I used to think along that line too. Just a place of your own. Now my dream really is that there were less people on the planet to destroy it. I wish 99% were gone.

Life is conditional. We have very paltry means of verifying anything about life. That is why we resort to so many refuges of faith. We assume we have a little life nestled within our bodies, and that there is a larger possibility or reservoir of life outside us. Our senses are like a tiny pinhole through which we experience that larger domain we perceive as life.

Last night I experienced an horrific nightmare. My work supervisor at MS Dean Witter, whom I affectionately refer to as Doozy, was the only other figure present in the scenario. I’m much closer to my wife Gladdie, my cousin Clint, and some older friends, so I tend to believe this particular comrade was present for a particular figurative reason. She and I have a competitive, sibling rivalry, joking sort of relationship, but are highly interdependent in our work. She, the cool technical analyst, is able to assimilate pertinent information, and I am able to help her present it in a forceful but appropriate manner. We are an outstanding team who has been able to move here from Goldman Sachs with increased security and benefits, and to be recognized as prime financial talent.

As a diversion, persons in our office wager in commodities futures markets. We are not into default swap insurance or derivatives because those price tags are out of our league. At present, Doozy is dallying with cotton and tobacco, which relate to her graduate research in France; but I’m leveraged to the hilt in crude oil and refined spot petroleum products. I don’t worry because two years ago I was unemployed and had nothing, and because most of any profits would be frittered away underwriting independent filmmakers. As the dream began Doozy asked me, “Gardy, what makes you think you’ll see your recoupment come September. The United States may crumble by then, and anyways; it could be that none of us live to see Autumn.”

This was uncharacteristic of my optimistic and pragmatic friend, the happily married mother of two pre-teens, and the kind of woman who is frequently increasing her husband’s life insurance. “You could drop over like Billy Mays,” she added smartly, “or North Korea could slip through a bomb or missile.”

And that’s exactly what happened. It was just like where the premier episode of “The Lone Gunman” predicted 9/11 in March of 2001. But it didn’t go down according to face value.

A cabal within our government, or oligarchy, became impatient with Obama’s rigamarole of legislation and false flag nuked Anchorage, Alaska. The response incineration of Pyongyang came within thirty minutes. Not surprisingly, other possessors of nuclear fire held fast, and a twilight existence was preserved in a diminished environment. Well, my energy futures soared, but at a price. When Luxemburg and the Germans shared information of genocidal conspiracy this country locked down like a maximum security special housing unit. Within hours Obama had disappeared and David Petraeus was installed as our supreme security leader. From then on every word uttered risked interrogation and confinement, and the subsequent, whatever that is.

This nightmare has really shaken my faith in everything familiar and dependable. I think constantly about how the covert agencies deceive us and manipulate our existence. I obsess over 9/11 as a frame up and the conspiracy to assassinate the Kennedy brothers and MLK. I fondly remember Mel Carnahan and Paul Wellstone. I wonder about what I can verify through my little peephole into reality, and when the fist of a thug may close that aperture permanently. Almost nothing comes to me firsthand, and I have limited travel experience, mostly in Europe. How do I know the actualities of Iran or China? How do we know what we assume is so? I could just as easily be gambling on a roulette number as outcomes of world events. And even more important: I can not remember how I trusted before, can’t find that page in my mind’s book. But maybe I’ll be rich come September, and that is some sorry consolation.


Mr.Bill Moyers
Dear Sirs:

World peace is large part of the American dream but my dream and passion is to lift the curtain on the lies of the 9/11 official investgation and see the perpetrators exposed. Not out of revenge but out of justice. I will leave it up to God to be their judge.

Wilbur N.Rhodes Kittery Maine

DHR. Point well taken and oh so beautifully said. I agree with what you said in its entirety. I am that middle of the roader with a tilt to the left. I loath the right wing, of course, but I am also not fond of the ad infinitum criticism of this country on the left. It is a tough world out there and it sometimes must be acknowledged. There, I think, must be a middle road somewhere! Great post and so well written!

Natalie, you too are quite right! I can understand how one reading my missive might envision an ascetic atop some mountain safely insulated from the reality of life. To the contrary, I am a rather plain 62 year old Texan who has owned his own company for over thirty years. I have been married 33 years and we have raised 2 boys and sent them off to college. I own my home free and clear with a swimming pool in the back yard, Japanese Maples scattered about, and azaleas that provide spring color. I have played more than my fair share of golf at the local country club and hunt dove in the fall and pheasant in the winter. I have had a wonderful life – some might even call it the American Dream.

That said, the Manichean philosophy of western civilization carries with it quite a cost. When we think in black and white we are prone to the mistakes of the buffalo that the Indians would stampede and steer over the edge of a cliff. The Buddhist’s like the term, the middle way. That is something that the western mind, the Manichean, the Zoroastrian, has trouble seeing. All poets and no Zoroaster spell trouble. Our problem today is too much Mani and not enough of the poets. At present the American Dream is that herd of buffalo suspended in midair off the edge of the cliff. Zoroaster offers little at this stage of the game while the poets just might be able to help.

If everyone tried to follow the Rotarian's 4-way test of the things we think, say or do:

1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and better FRIENSHIPS?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

I believe that America and the wrold will be much better.

DREAMS ARE FREE , LIKE NEW FREEDOM FREE ,

NEW LIBERTY , IF YOU ASK ME ,

ITS BRAND NEW , HISTORY .

DHR, you are quite right. It was a curious juxtaposition. Poetry is poetry and its sensitivity to the frailties of life offer repose. In the final anaysis, though, mankind while capable of wonderful lofty sensitive thoughts at the end of the day needs to survive. How one organizes a society to do so is not so easy and the frgility of life is evident in so many other lands. That America has offered hope to millions and delivered on some promissory notes is a tribute to this country. That it has much to do will always be part of its story a story nonetheless as important as any poetry I know.

I watched your program with W.S. Merwin this morning and towards the end there was this solicitation of opinion concerning the American Dream. What an oxymora was created, this Whitmanesque man speaking of the sublime and mysterious cast against the crass materialism of the American Dream. The carrot employed by preachers and politicians to steer the herd. I think of VJay Seshardi’s, The Long Meadow – the self-righteous and the final illusion. I think of Dante -…how salt the savor of others bread and how sad a path it is to climb and descend another’s stairs. I think of T.S. Elliot – We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. I think of Reinhold Niebuhr – The final wisdom of life requires not the annulment of incongruity but the achievement of serenity within and above it. The American Dream, like the world’s religions or the politician of the season, is a protean body that changes shape to meet the current demands. Jesus said, in the Gospel of Thomas – The Kingdom of Heaven is here on earth and man does not see it. Henry David Thoreau said – There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it, no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.

I think the august group quoted above would agree that the American Dream would best be attained by simply waking up each day and being mindful of what surrounds us. There is a generation of working Americans today who have discovered how salt the savor of other’s bread can be when chasing dreams defined for us by others. VJay’s dog, rescued from a crack house, understood what we cannot comprehend.

Mr. Martin from the Figger Institute: You put MY name in your response. I NEVER remember talking to you or responding to you in any way previously. I THINK not sure but I THINK you have the wrong Natalie Rosen as some of the personal info is not true of me although some of it I wish was. Perhaps I am living a parallel universe. So be it. Just a small response:

Some of what you say is well taken BUT I am emphatically NOT unmindful of the shortcomings of the American Dream and said so in the last paragraph I wrote. I am NOT stupid and I am aware totally of the African experience and, indeed, the Indian experience, a people from whom we stole the land for our experiment. I rather, though, wanted to concentrate on the fact that there IS and HAS been a so called American Dream even if sometimes it is illusive. My turn of the 20th century Jewish immigrant grandparents had a story to tell and it was a good one duplicated by millions. One can concentrate on all the poor, all the homeless, all those stuck in quagmires -- SOME of their own making and some NOT. Rather, I wanted to concentrate on what made America attractive to the MILLIONS upon MILLIONS who made it a success story. There are those en masse too. I did not mean to imply there is NO class in America -- any idiot would realize OF COURSE there is social class just go to the Hamptons and then to Bedford Stuyvesant to see its reality. NO that is NOT what I meant. There is NO classless society on planet earth. What I meant was there was a LESS ascribed and intrinsic class from which no matter WHAT one did one could not escape. Surely the African experience was the exception for centuries to the achievement of the Amerian Dream and we still feel the sting of slavery. Other ethnic minorities too have been surely oppressed BUT and it's a BIG but our nation has the ability through its institutional construct to change. If you do not see that change there is nothing I can say to obviate that.


The Oprhas and the thousands upon thousands of other African American success stories can attest to it. There is still the HOPE and the DREAM that has lived, changed and ALLOWED for the possibility of the exit from one's difficult circumstance. There is much in this nation that one can do to keep the dream alive. Sometimes events have been beyond anyone's control and no matter what one does one cannot escape their plight BUT the Dream lives as it did long ago so that many believe it is still possible that the next generation will do better. There are reasons for that and I tried to concentrate on those reasons which I believe have to do with our institutional realities which our Founders first put forth but I certainly am not unmindful of the nation's shortcomings and if you REALLY knew my story you would understand why! I think you have the wrong person!


The American Dream v.1.0

If we mean the average citizen living on what was Indian land or burning what was Nigerian oil, the American Dream is a very comfortable existence, lived at the expense of others. If we mean our corporate and plutocratic elite, the “dream” is to shanghai docile citizens into a universal hive comprised of consumers and warriors – the political and military power needed to acquire the land, resources and labor of others.

The strategy of our elite has been to offer us a comfortable existence in exchange for our loss of conscience and humanity – bothersome and inconvenient reminders of our social responsibilities. Their main brainwashing tool, ironically, is our own Constitution, specifically the first amendment that underwrites the lies that must be told in order to trigger our fears and desires and to fuel our ignorance of reality.

The strategy of enlisting a base of fearful and acquisitive people in service to corporate interests has been effective, especially when coupled with the starvation of our educational system and control of media. As a nation, we are rapidly slipping into the know-nothing-and-care-less mindset. We are losing the collective ability to see our own ugliness. Once we arrive at the tipping point where we are mentally comfortable with the evil we do in order to make ourselves physically comfortable, we will have achieved the dream world of America’s elite. Hello, Fascism.

The American Dream v.2.0

Despite being the target of this fiendishly conceived strategy, the United States of America remains the grandest of social and political experiments. Our Constitution has helped us guard against known abuses of bad governance for over 200 years. Vigilance under the law has not only protected us, up to now, from disappearance, secret trials and torture, but from many arbitrary and capricious judgments, from the meddling of organized religion in policy and from discriminatory state laws and dangerous corporate activities.

Our system of law simply asks us to pay attention. In doing so, we have gradually turned an imperfect union into one that recognizes its imperfections and begins to make the proper course corrections. Our Constitution eventually forces us to see our systemic blemishes and to make changes for the betterment of all. No other system of government is based on a positive feedback loop. In its ability to self-monitor and to make needed changes, America is, oddly, more like Toyota than GM. The American dream is one nation, under construction, with liberty and justice for all. Good morning, Democracy.

I've thought a lot about the US-American dream lately, maybe because I've tuned in a little to the US media to see what will happen in the Obama administration. As a person living in a different country, my dream is that the US will stop dominating the world. I wondered if President Obama would help with this but, with a sinking stomach, I hear him talk about wanting the US to lead the world "again". That is a terribly distressing message to me. All I ask really is that my country, Canada, could go back to it's pre-NAFTA days of being a completely different culture than the US. After listening to President Obama, I realize that's a pipe dream. So, about the US dream: I wish the US could snap out of it and stop living in a hazy dream world and start living in the present moment and seeing itself as it really is, not as how it romantically imagines it will be in some undefined fantasy world. Please start dreaming about reality and facing it and owning up to it.

On the discrete gifts of an anxious senior (Natalie Rosen). Yours is a wonderfully balanced and comprehensive fantasy of opportunity and fairness when you write about the American Dream. For instance, you say there isn't and never was social class in America. What about slavery, indentured servitude, male and propertied suffrage, repression of women and the employer-worker dichotomy still intense today? You are a gifted, creative elder woman who has lived in relative material advantage. Surely you realize that your optimistic assertions do not make your fond wishes so. What audience is there for your obedient platitudes? Can you say "I got mine, or most of what I expected" then tell the homeless and long unemployed that "spunk and grit" will win the day. The odds are even more against the old libertarian myths now that frontier, and opportunity and world empire are gone.

When I talked with you before (called) you seemed to agree that our country faced real scary problems, and this was before the Meltdown was revealed. Somehow you backslid to a panicky complacency, and negated the anger inside you, denied your role in community solidarity. You can paint dreams, American Dreams, that can never be real without the efforts of people like yourself. Or you can use your talents to rally and organize. What are you afraid of? Losing your property? Offending your supportive husband? If things keep sliding you and he may live to see worthless money and martial law. The only antidote is your demand for ecological progress and candid political information for the general populace. The age of the fallout shelter ended in the 70s. Come out of the basement and exercise your citizenship: Face your responsibilities. Even your art will prosper from courage. Your friend, Jack Martin Figgersinstitute@yahoo.com

The American Dream – that oft used multifaceted phrase unique to these United States. What does it REALLY mean? I believe it has a common meaning and a unique meaning. It is as amorphous as the diversity of the nation and as concrete as the people who comprise the nation. It is unique and it is diverse. It has evolved as the nation has evolved and its foundation has stayed the same as the nation’s Founders intended.

The Founders, imperfect as they may have been, created through a rather simple document – a Constitution – which bestowed upon these United States the keys to the machinery of government which form a democratic way of life no other nation ancient or modern has ever duplicated. Their gift was the mixture that created the possibility of this American dream. It combined the balance of power (executive, legislative and judicial) in the operation of government with civil libertarian freedoms through which the dream could become manifest. In addition to all of that, the Founders advocated for a free market through which the governed could use to improve the quality of life. The country added one more necessary ingredient which was the near absence of the importance of social class in determining one’s destiny. The notion of class did not cement one to his economic fate as it did in the European experience. It is the combination, I believe, of our Constitutional republic with our basic civil libertarian freedoms amid a free market economy which makes the American dream work. It inspires hope that each generation COULD do better than the one which came before it.

The Constitution provides too, I believe, the necessary flexibility that allows for the possibility of intrinsic social change. It is the mixture of these basic pillars upon which the United States stands that makes it unique among nations and which makes so many want to risk their lives to come here. Nowhere, I believe, on earth is the concept of what it means to be a free person so embraced. We may differ as to policy but we, I think, are in agreement as to this.

The hope and the dream, of course, have never been completely fulfilled. To be sure, many groups have struggled and still do to obtain the nation’s promise. The magnificence of the country, though, is the fact that it can change over time and that it does not remain stagnant by policies driven by the realities of different eras. The country can change as the times and technology dictate and yet remain true to the basic tenets the Founders initially put forth. The arc of US history, I believe, bends towards justice and the possibility of justice, fair play and advancement continue to be its hope.

I think the American Dream in essence is the hope that neither government nor its institutions place obstacles in the path of a citizen's effort to make a decent life for oneself and one's family. As I recall from my childhood, the American Dream was that the rewards of personal effort and diligence, regardless of social class, would be dignity, the ability to provide for one's needs (food housing,etc.), and the possibility to achieve one's goals. In order to discover whether the American Dream is reality or illusion, to find out, in fact, if the dream is still alive, one would have to ask young people. But as a middle aged person, I think it would be helpful to restructure the American conversation by changing some of the ways we speak about ourselves.
First on my list would be to stop talking about ourselves as "consumers" and "human resources". Somewhere in the last few years or decades, we have taken on the language of the business model. Language has power, because for one thing it determines the context within which we make decisions.
I think that this misappropriation of identity, from human beings with intrinsic individual and societal needs, abilities, and value, to function, in terms of the success or failure of business, has crept into our culture and become embedded both in our common language and institutions.
Maybe we don't need to change the discussion in our businesses, but we ought take it out of the way we determine the direction of our institutional policies, both health care and financial.
There's a Chinese saying that wisdom is calling something by its true name. This would be a good place to start. And maybe we could start calling the American Dream the American Reality.

The American dream has changed over the centuries, but today, I believe the American dream should be to further the journey toward Civilization (we have a long way to go).

The American Dream is justice. The idea while not being American in origin, that no one is better than anyone else because of birthright or money or station. Though when our country began it specifically rejected the idea of being born into royality should be an advantage, we have created our own "royalty". To complete and make real the American dream we as a people must disregard the new idea that because someone has more money that they should be treated different, better, than anyone else. We have forgotten our own roots and have so far failed our own set of ideals. Greed has become the new Amercian dream.

The American Dream? If it is not somehow brought into consonance with understanding that unconstrained, unending "growth" is known biologically as cancer, the American Dream will self-destruct.

Our economic survival, as presently structured, unequivocally *must* "grow" in order to continue. Yet growth cannot continue infinitely. If we want our descendants to have *any* economy in which to meet their needs (let alone their "American Dreams"), we must resolve this paradox.

Perhaps some kind of virtual "growth" can be invented, in which we perpetually disassemble, improve, and rebuild the same stuff. That would be okay, if possible. Negative growth probably wouldn't be okay, since its biologic equivalent might be starvation.

Otherwise, we must arrive at a different economic system, in which "growth" is not necessary. It is hard to visualize what this steady-state (more or less), or anyway non-perpetually "growing," society would be like. Discussion of it will be almost impossible, however, since it sounds suggestively like Communism's final end of history.

Sorry. I seem to be looking into the long term. Discussion of the "American Dream" conventionally means talking about the immediate expectations of today's productive people. Unfortunately, this fails to anticipate the circumstances in which their children and grandchildren will find themselves in several decades. Unconstrained growth in the present pattern promises a very ominous outcome in several decades. Yet we cannot function right now without "growth." Really, we can't. It isn't a problem which can just be waved out of existence. Therefore, I'm reduced to proposing that our efforts must be devoted to figuring this out, and replacing the economy of "growth" in order to realize any ongoing American Dream.

The American Dream is unfortunately a manufactured product of movies and the advertising/consumer culture. At the beginning, that Dream was about personal freedom while enjoying the "pursuit of happiness."

However, from the beginning, there has not been a true representative government, because the legislatures were under the influence of the rich and politically well-connected individuals. Today, the single change in our system that would begin to restore the government to the control of the "common people" is full funding of political campaigns. This would be strenously opposed by all the special interests that currently control all laws, judicial appointments and government agencies.

Until those elected need to respond to the people that elect them, and not special interests, no change in the status quo will occur.

This is my American Dream, but it's only a dream . . .

Thank you, Bill, for having Merwin in and returning to this aspect of your life's work. The gloom of recent weeks in The Journal had about done me in, so the surcease was a blessing. In a vein that is closer to this week's than the past few, I am looking forward to Brother West and company next week.

Merwin's living on Maui was evocative - no, I mean enviable. Anyway, apart from the Edenic element (and really pretty much tangentially), I wished to have introduced into the conversation the topic of Maui Wowie. Several successfully productive creative people I have known, from professional poets to research scientists, have confidentially reported the benefit to their work of judicious use of the Herb. Although for some people it may be an interference, and for a few quite risky, for others it facilitates meeting the touch of the Sacred Fire.

Of course, in a public forum like this, people like Merwin can seldom discuss this, since it can be used to so thoroughly discredit them. In any case, Merwin may have no knowledge of it in his own experience. Bringing up Maui, however, brings it to mind, and I wish you might find occasion to sympathetically explore the positively pro-Herb argument one of these days. It is, after all, politically relevant.

Thanks again. Maui going out of mind now, I'm signing off envying you your weekend in NY.

The American Dream is to love in order to be loved. But, unfortunately, not too many are persuing such a dream.

I am sorry to say that the American Dream has become its own worst enemy. This is largely the result of people believing dignity, freedom, and pride are more important than integrity.
I would argue that the vast majority of people in the U.S.A. (and possibly anywhere else) do not understand what integrity is, much less it's preeminence for a real civilization. I think most people, if asked, would think that dignity and integrity are the same thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many act dignified while lacking integrity.
Integrity is integration. It comes from integer - wholeness. Unity. But we have become a society of fractions wherein we have been led to believe the divisor (denominator) makes us all equal.
Until we seriously commit to the integration of every other person's (beyond nationalities) rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" as being inseperable from our own, we will continue to lack integrity and any chance of real civility.
I believe that the need for integration also extends beyond our human "societies" and, for our own well being, must include our relations with all forms of life. Our pillaging is indeed our pillaging of our own lives.

My good American dream is that we liberate our conversations from the realm of profit driven media. We are nearing the point where we could begin to find ways to govern ourselves more directly by utilizing the advanced technologies at our disposal.

Why depend on the major TV and radio networks when it comes to running political campaigns? We limit the conversation we need to have right now about fixing the economy, improving health care, and achieving peace in our time, when we rely on the major corporate media networks to inform us as to what our choices are.

The internet and cell phone technology has revolutionized the way we communicate. People demonstrate every day how much they want to embrace this technology. We could use it to govern ourselves more, and to demand that those we elect to office listen to us for a change instead of insurance industry reps, bankers, investment firm CEOs or lobbyists.

The American dream is rooted in self government, and that is naturally going to be dependent on communication. We could do so much more with the freedom we have to just talk to one another, and as Merwin says, listen.

I think the conversation with W. S. Merwin informed me about what the American Dream is. He said when we get a poem it's like we are remembering it. He also said children can get poetry. We don't need to be super educated... He is so right. Wisdom abounds. We find it in conversations with strangers, people always surprise us when we are least expecting it.

Merwin made me think about how important conversation is in general, and that we must be free to listen, Merwin's core art form, and speak, something that has grown increasingly limited in the States despite access to the tools of communication.

PR executives bombard us with messages about what we have to be to have a voice. Right, left, center, these are all artificial constructs as ideas...they are about politics, but not what We the People are at all.

As someone who works in community radio I'd say the heart of the matter for me lies in our ability to talk about what the American Dream is and hear what others think.

As always, Bill Moyer's Journal inspires us.

the american dream ?..it is the call of Jesus Christ who said.'Love your neighbor as yourself"....

The American Dream is Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn on a fine Saturday summer morning when the the good tomatoes start showing up at the Farmer's Market, a 3-piece acoustic string blues band is playing, and the whole neighborhood comes out to greet each other and picnic in our glorious utopia.

Walt Whitman dreamed it, right down to his picnic trees on the hill, begging one to lean and loaf and whistle through leaves of grass.

Ursula Le Guin could not have imagined Omelas any finer, but instead of the single tortured child in the basement, we have the Whitman Projects just over the hill.

American Dream can only begen when America decides to demonstrate with the patience of a parent that it LOVES its people.

perhaps we could all stand by the reflecting pool -on the mall -and demand a direct referendum -a true vote to oblige our country- not our minions of corporate interests to perform and craft "a more perfect union" The issues of our health, our pensions and affordable housing are a good start - but not yet enough to create the good village which might be America. We do not need a shining city on the hill . . . but neighborhoods, and neighbors who no longer fear or hate their neighbors.

The United States Of America is a unique experiment in the history of the human race. People from many different countries, races, ethnic groups, religions, cultures have come together in one country and are trying to create a peaceful, prosperous environment where all humans have equal rights. Human nature being what it is has made this a slow process. To me the American Dream should be all humans learning from this process what works and what does not and then hopefully through this learning process a global country will develop.

There shouldn't even be an American dream. The vision for the world should be justice, establishment of systems to reduce conflict between groups, common sense living with more equitable distribution of higher standard of living. Not neccesarily more 'stuff'. these goals should not be limited to any country or peoples.

The American dream is the comfortable acceptance of conflict and the unbounded opportunity to cause change.
David L Carpenter 2009

The American dream is the comfortable acceptance of conflict and the unbounded opportunity to cause change.
David L Carpenter 2009

The future of the american dream for me is to live more basically, respectfully, to understand fully our abundant nature while not disrespecting nature...to know the world as we know ourselves and to live and love accoringly...if there are to be any labels at all let them be...citizens of the world, indeed

“The Evil in Governments and the Lies that make it possible….”

The founders of our country were not great men, they were not good men but, they were greedy and they were smart men.

The founders of our country were Evil men who wanted a government that could keep Kings and Dictators out of power while allowing those who were rich and powerful to run the country. They did this through a system that checked the power of politicians and forced them to make changes on a regular bases that served the needs and desires of the real rulers (the wealthy families) and guarantee they could continue to have their way without being in the “public light of criticism and hate”.

They created the Government to guarantee they would retain the advantages and privileges of wealth and maintain their power to do what was necessary to keep the “lion’s share” of their money, land, possessions, and influence and maintain their positions and properties in life.

They also needed to hide their power from the public and did so by the use of the First Amendment, that being “the freedom of speech” which allows the poor to speak their minds without consequence and so be ignored by the government. While at the same time also allowing the News Organizations to spread the Propaganda of the Rich, by use of the “Daily Newspapers and Nightly TV News” that the Rich and Powerful use to influence public opinion to believe and follow what they are told.

They needed Democracy because it is the best form of Government to divide the common people with. The common people must be divided in order to control them for if they stand together they would then be in control and capable of taking back the fruits of their labor from the rich and improving their standard of life from that of Salve to Citizen.

Competition begets hate: The republicans hate the democrats and vice versa and this continuous disagreement keeps the government in turmoil and the people’s attention on questions and not the actions of those behind the scene who are the actual deal makers leaving the public to hold the bag and pay the bill. We are enslaved by our own laziness and lack of attention to the powers given to the people in the Constitution.

Democracy requires elections that require different parties that separate the population and cause contention and division between the common people. This is the much desired result as the common people can not agree and therefore they can not demand Equality from an unjust government.

Democracy is not for the people, but for the Rich and for their Corporations that make them rich. Democracy is not by the people, but by the Federal Government which protects the Rich and their Corporations.

Democracy is not of the people. That is impossible because the common people are Slaves without rights or protections and are not consulted about decisions that affect their lives. The Federal Government protects the rights of the Wealthy and Corporations and takes no notice of the slaves used to support the institutions that serve the rich and powerful.

Democracy is no friend of the poor or working or educated people, only the rich and powerful benefit from a system that first allowed SLAVERY through the owning of human beings and now allows Slavery through the paying of wages that force people into debt and poverty.

The Founding Fathers were mercenary bastards in another way… they saw in Capitalism a form of finance that allowed the shrewd, greedy, lying thieves, charlatans and conmen on Wall Street and in the Banks, and Insurance Companies to fleece the poor over and over. They have like clockwork on a regular bases time after time transferred the money saved by the working people to the coffers of the rich and powerful.

This is done by the passage of laws that force the poor to pay for certain services. The one best example is the people are forced to buy many kinds and types of insurance, forced to take out loans for houses and cars, and soon forced to pay for health care. All these purchases force the people to pay by monthly payments or by paying off loans that keep them in debt. This financial oppression forces the people to pay for their services while the Federal Government uses the people’s tax dollars to take care of the rich and the corporations.

If and when there are citizens who are able to save some of their wages or salary’s and choose to invest in the Stock Market they are first told to diversify (this makes the broker rich) and second to hold for the long term (this makes it possible for the rich to sell at the top and leave the sucker

holding the bag and this is how the rich transfer the money from the poor to the rich).

Also all programs recommended by the Federal Government through the IRS (401K and IRA etc.) have turned out to force the savings to be held long term and caused the market go up and when the rich sell at the top these instruments are responsible for the loss of 50 to 75% of the working class’s lost in their savings. (This is the second way the rich transfer money from the poor).

The third way the rich transfer money from the poor is to fail and go to the Federal Government asking for a bail out. The rich are then rewarded for failing and again transfer money to themselves from the taxpayers.

And when the Federal Government seems to be bleeding too many tax dollars, the FEDERAL RESERVE steps in with a smile and asks, how much would you like and yes we will guarantee that you DO NOT FAIL!

At this point the people must take some responsibility as they have become so lazy as not to remove the incumbent in congress who no longer cares about their lives or families. They only have one power given to them by the constitution and that is the vote. But the vote is worthless if it creates a plural dictatorship or if you will, an oligarchy. (Government by a few, especially by a small faction of persons or families ...). Only when the citizen uses the vote to remove the elected official who works for the rich and only when the elected official protects the poor does the citizen allow him or her to remain….

When the electorate fears the Citizen more then the powerful will he or she protect the poor and return the fruits of their labor to them and give them the protections of the constitution and their is the only reason for the Federal Government to exist… and the Federal Reserve should be ABOLISHED!

Capitalism is no system with its “free market and no consequences” to build a family friendly, neighborhood friendly, educational system friendly country with.

It is a house of cards that will fall over and over and be rebuilt by a Government that will take from the poor and give to the rich all to fix a broken system so the rich may have their cake an eat it too.

The truth is it is a system that was meant to fail… with out failure there would be no “spread” and so no way of selling and buying low… as each time you sold you would have to buy back in at a higher price and that would prevent any profit.

Democracy is used to effectively control the people due to the fact they have lost the will to vote out the incumbent. It pits the rich against the poor, the democrat against the republican, the boss against the worker, one race against another, and in the end as we have now plainly seen the Government against the Citizen.

Capitalism is used to fleece or transfer the money from the poor to the rich. At present moment many are saying they want the free market and no regulation… how long would they want the "free market" if they had to deal with failure and not be paid for their mistakes.

Will you, America, be like the slaves in Egypt, be unworthy of entering the promised land or will you find the backbone to stand up as Citizens and not slaves and take back your Country, Culture, and Home?

Are you worthy to live Free or will you remain in Slavery?

The END Of PART ONE

Dear Mr. Moyers:
The American dream died on Dec.23, 1913 When congress passed the Federal Reserve Act and thereby committed the greatest act of TREASON in historyIt surrendered this nation's sovereignty and sold the American people into slavery to a cabal of arch-charlatan international bankers who proceeded to plunder, bankrupt, and conquer this nation with a money swindle.

http://home.absolute.net/xode/nwofraud/Bankruptcy_fraud/Attnpub.htm

Immigration changed America form a “Family” oriented Country to a “get rich quick” country that ended up as a Third World Country with a busted Financial System…. Caused by a “free market” unregulated and run by unchecked greed and unethical behavior.

You rightly ask, what does this have to do with Immigration?

In the 1955 we had 165,931,202 people in this country and the great majority were here to serve, raise a family, buy a home and a car, and educate their children and most had a pension plan for retirement. This could be accomplished with one income.

We had a healthy Middle Class and a healthy Working Class and our Country prospered and our people felt good about themselves.

We also had a Social Security back up plan that kept most of our poor off the streets.

Back to Immigration: around 1968 the Federal Government decided to allow the world to come across our borders without restrictions. The basic reason was the Corporations wanted more consumers and they wanted them to be
immoral meaning not to care about our country or culture, but to want to make as much money as fast as possible.

The result is we now have 306,412,112 people. You can see the increase from is almost double in 55 years.

More then 10% of those immigrants are blatantly illegal and costing our Social Security, School, Health, and Welfare Systems more then the Federal Government will admit to as they make the best slaves for the self employed farmers and construction contractors.

The other immigrants some 70,000,000 due to their “take the money and run” have changed this country forever. We no longer have pension systems; our school system has been dumbed down to the point of not functioning, we now need two and three incomes to pay for our food, fuel, and shelter. Food prices and Fuel (gasoline & diesel fuel) cost alone will be enough to bust any recovery that attempts to prosper.

As we speak the $4.50 gas prices just recently seen have again risen from $1.50 to $2.25 and are rising fast and by the end of the summer may be $5.50. This will certainly cause an end to the so-called “end of the recession predicted by the Federal Reserve”. Wall Street will fail again and fall below the low of 6547 as the suckers once again get fleeced by the professional wall street charlatans and thieves.

Corporations have since the 1970’s sent jobs and manufacturing overseas with impunity and stopped paying taxes in America. They now keep their money overseas in the most tax friendly countries.

Education has become so expensive that loans are now necessary to acquire a college education. Our culture is now a nonculture as we deal with immigrants who do not speak our language and do not intend to. Our traditions are dismissed by the Federal Government as interfering with Corporate need. The Federal Government and the Corporate World and Wall Street all want Main Street to worship greed and money. The bottom line is wealth at any cost and a go to hell attitude for the welfare of the American Citizen.

By allowing unlimited immigration we have lost the DNA of our American Culture forever and will now be struggling to survive as a third world country and “an every man for himself” attitude.

If enough people try to live in the same place then that paradise becomes a cesspool and the smell can’t be covered up.

Immigration has made the psychic of America sick, we now are in denial of the down fall of the United States. We seek relief in drugs, sex, food, and entertainment of all sorts. We consume and throw away the cheap products and shoddy services that are now offered as a mater of business as usual. We borrow more then we make and we spend all we have. We have taken the attitude that there is no tomorrow and things will be worse if it gets here.

If we don’t as taxpaying citizens overthrow the Congress by the vote given us (US) in order to rid our country of Charlatans, Thieves, and Conmen, in Congress lining their pockets with the “30 pieces of silver” paid by the rich and powerful to them for betraying us (US), we will in the end suffer a fate worse then Judas and we will have no defense of or for ourselves.

“We are morally and existentially tired, disoriented, anchorless, and defensive” Dick Meyer 2008

We are also in denial…. Denial of “Population” being our biggest problem and of it causing all the other problems to grow and become much worse.

Denial of Global Warming because it is too expensive for “our bottom line”.

Denial of our Congress the House of Representatives and the Senate being a Pluralistic Dictatorship and selling us out to the Corporations and the Rich and Powerful.

Denial of our Congress making it possible for the Corporations to make of us Slaves paying us (US) less then living wages, resending healthcare, and ignoring our rights.

Denial to recognize that the Federal Government is the “caretaker” of the American Citizen and it has no other job.

The protection of the Citizens safety, health and prosperity is the only justification of the Federal Governments existence.

Corporations have no rights as they are not human and they do not suffer the consequences of the harm they do.

That system worked well in the 50’s, 60’s, & 70’s and if immigrants cannot become Americans and share our Culture they should go home and take their greed and other problems home with them.

No one of good character abandons their home. They have come here for a free ride instead of fixing the problems of their home country and becoming part of the solution to their home country prospering.

They are in fact cowards running away form the land of their birth out of selfish greed.

Too many people have come here, borrowing too much money and consuming too many goods and services without regard to the consequences. They had no love or respect for their home countries and they have no love or respect for the Untied States of America.

But before you hang me from the nearest tree as I am sure you will want to. Let me say this about the American Citizen. He is without honor or morals. His character is filled with selfishness, self absorption, and self importance. He has, as a majority, left the serving of his country to a few while he stayed home and “covered up his cowardness with his patriotism” and bought into the greed and consumption of the day. No one is so stupid, lazy, and without redemption as an American. He blindly follows his leaders, acting as he is told to act, thinking what he is told to think and doing what he is told to do. He believes what he is told is true. But he learns over time that he has been used and rather then turn on those who stole his life and took his rights and made of him a salve, he self medicates himself with drugs and sex and steals away into the night full of hate and self contempt. He is a loser of grand magnitude and passes most days blaming everybody for his pain and being vindictive toward those who have less then he, and those who can not do him harm. He is the Charlton, Thief, and Conman that makes those in congress powerful and makes it possible for the wealth to be transferred from the poor to the wealthy. He is despicable and dies alone and unloved.

The White and Black people were here in North America before the United States was created. They are not immigrants but citizens of a country they built and now stolen and ruined by immigration.

Immigrants come here not as “guess with manners” but thinking themselves entitled, to much they have not contributed too….

They are not entitled to anything much less everything. If they plan to stay they would be well advised to learn the language, find and use their manners or learn the accepted manners of the culture which they should also learn. Not wanting to do this they should leave sooner rather then later.


I am afraid that everyone in this world aspires to make the
American dream their dream. China has just bought rights to build the Hummer. The American dream is now undergoing an intense scrutiny which includes re-examing our relationship to our planet. We have suddenly and profoundly been made aware of our interconnectiveness.

So many of the commentators mentioned the same things in their description of the American Dream that it seems like they are universal human dreams; healthcare, education, decent food clothing and shelter, the ability to take care of our families.

Many of our government and business leaders take shelter in the idea that if you work hard you will succeed, anyone can rise to be President, but that is not true.

We don't all have the opportunity. Sometimes the round pegs don't match up with the square holes.

We have to reach a place in our minds and our hearts where we understand that we share humanity. It is not OK to sit by and watch while others suffer.

If the American Dream means anything it means that we know that we can solve any problem. We can solve poverty, healthcare, hunger, ignorance, crime, economic distress and all the other social problems.

When we all focus on our shared humanity we will achieve the American Dream.

Louis Fuchs

There are no Solutions 05/09/09

Humanity due to its selfishness and greed can not agree to anything outside of its vision of what must be.

Every man finds a leader and his group and proclaims to know the truth, the way, what is right for the world….

Then another man finds a different leader and a different group who also proclaims to know the truth, the way, what is right for the world, plus what is important i.e. what to say, what to do, how to be, “live the right way”.

Each judges the other as wrong and evil. Each group is willing to lie, cheat, steal, and kill to see its beliefs are flowed and the opposing group is judged to be wrong in all things and destroyed.

Since the beginning of time and history man has not changed and had sought to kill and/or enslave those who are not in his tribe. The tribes have grown bigger and the leaders eventually die, but the Status Quo lives on and although humanity now considers its self civilized and educated, the super rich still enslaves the vast majority of mankind.

Even though the 1% is in control of vast numbers of people and dollars they still prefer WAR as the best way to get what they want which is “more”.

There are solutions in math and science but they only affect technology which is toys and tools that give us products and services that may entertain us but offers us no sustenance for our heart or soul.

Relationship, compassion, cooperation, are not valued by those who contend and compete to win the prize. The prize is always “power” and the powerful always seek riches and slaves.

Desire for power, pleasure, and greed for more, will in the end win over anything seen as good. In the end man will destroy mankind through his unbridled appetites.

Man began as a beast and he will end as a beast, unworthy of living on this earth.

Dear Mr. Moyers I have a solution to the American dream. If we would pull together and find a common thread that binds us together for one common cause. We can save the American dream of owning a home.TDB has a program name, Saving The American Dream. With a tax deductible donation of $26.00 one time this year from all Americans, TDB will buy the home owner home, reduce the monthly payment and charge only 1% interest on the unpaid balance of the loan. TDB will save a tremendous amount of homes in the foreclosure process. Not homes that are foreclosured. The common thread that we share is pulling together to help our country. Our President Obama said "we need to pick ourselfs up, dust ourselfs off and sacrifice for the greater good". We need to donate to TDB to save the American dream. We need to sacrifice 1 cup of coffee, one soda or one pack of cigarettes per pay day. This is how i came up with $26.00. One dollar per pay day. 26 pay periods per year. Let's pull together with our common thread of helping each other in our country. Let's save the DREAM.
TDB is a non-profit (501)c3 registered with the IRS, the Virginia State Corporation Comm. TDB needs all Amercians donations. Go to you tube and put in Saving the American Dream TDC and donate TODAY!!!!!!

No doubt this has already been said by many, but my American Dream of the moment is for us to WAKE UP.

Thank you, Mr. Moyers, for conducting your weekly teach-ins. Now how can those who've seen the truth do more to spread it, in time to save our country -- and the world -- from the transnational grillionaires who're running everything for their own benefit?

I'm about ready to start preaching on street corners and posting leaflets on windscreens in Wal-Mart carparks. Would it do any good?

Somehow, we who believe in democracy must become an overwhelming force of opposition to the predators and their enablers.

The "American Dream" should be buried by now, or at least reserved for slumber. The reality is that America has not lived up to what were the supposed promises. That "we" are a nation of laws and justice is blind. As the perpetrators of the lies of the last 8 years can tell you money will keep them out of jail (unfortunately)!

My hope is that "we" stop seeing other and realize that we are society and we are our brothers keepers; no matter the brothers/sisters religion, culture, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, age. That everyone has a right to live in peace! That everyone has a right to have food and shelter! That both education and health-care should have quality and excellence! That the only one "we" need to have dominion over are ourselves!

I was happy with the overall feel of this recent painting, and the journey it took
me through. It's like America itself is at this crossroad, forced to
reinvent itself, yet still has this great expanse to be harnessed.
Plus, it was strange; since I've painted it, I've heard two references
to Don Quixote "tilting at the windmills." This idea that windmills could be monsters, personifies the fear of failure, and the battling of false obstacles that seems to run counter to the entrepreneurial spirit of the American Dream. As with all dreams or nightmares; it is simply the result of the imagination.
-"Portrait of the American Dream"
2009, Acrylic on wood, 26" X 44"-





One of the very few things BUSH got right was when he said every American should have a home but he left out one word...affordable. What every human being needs is “affordable” space for living or conducting business. I find it odd that consumers in this country will complain about the quality of their cars and not complain about the lack of quality in their newly built over priced homes, except to their family and friends, and pay the outrageous prices they do for living and business space that is 25 years old and older. The value of housing has yet to reach the bottom because it has been overpriced since the 60's. The lending institutions know pricing is still not where it should or will be and they just don't want to have to eat the 85% difference. Every American doesn't want the responsibility of a home just as every country doesn't want or need American styled democracy. That is like saying every woman wants a mink coat. Even in America we can't all live like kings, some of us have to live in the glen and do the work. I want a BLUE Book for all living and working space like we have for cars!!!!

I follow Ms.Karen Armstrong for a long time
Could you give me her address for her compassion organization .Thanks.JJR

My American Dream is akin to that of Ms. Karen Armstrong [March 13, 2009 Guest on The Journal]:= Live by and Promote The Golden Rule among Neighbors and Nations alike!

The American Dream is now, whatever it was before, 100 Million Dollars.

That's it, period. We've let the ideals go and they have gone.

Right now, we do have a unique opportunity to re-invent it though. I fear, this will only make the Millionaires happy though since they will still control any area they desire with that $$$$. You know, pay as you go.

Brian

The American Dream is now, whatever it was before, 100 Million Dollars.

That's it, period. We've let the ideals go and they have gone.

Right now, we do have a unique opportunity to re-invent it though. I fear, this will only make the Millionaires happy though since they will still control any area they desire with that $$$$. You know, pay as you go.

Brian

The American Dream is essentially the same as that of someone living in Bangladesh, Nicaragua, or anywhere else, and it is perhaps a mistake to think of it as an American invention. It is basically the hope that one can improve one's life, and is often coupled with a willingness to take risks to do that. It is also coupled with a feeling that such a thing is possible. It is an entirely universal "human" dream which can be found everywhere on this planet, with people often looking to America because it seems to offer the brightest ray of hope. To call this the 'American' dream is patriotic, but inaccurate. The dream itself is both glorious and flawed - especially in these modern times when the concept of sustainability is becoming pressing. The need to improve one's life has historically come largely from a feeling of deprivation about one's life the way it is. If one can arrive at an attitude of satisfaction with one's life without constantly needing to have more, then one can escape the cycle of greed which has brought us to the brink of destruction. Therefore, not only is our dream not patently American, but it is in dire need of adjustment towards an approach which is more steward-based. Ironically, the legitimate fruit of patriotism lies here. We must truly become the 'guardians' of that which we hold most dear. That must be part of the Dream.

To whom the memory doth concern To whom our plight is revealed May our heavenly Father's peace be learned and all enmity be repealed. To do honor to our God, as one, and remove blight from our land Let us fight to bring our freedom-song to all who'd sing its praise. But to fight for the rights of citizens takes a different tack this time For to only look to wrong and right leads us further from the Light! Let us win this war a different way Put to rest the universal fight. Let's sacrifice our pride and pain honoring those who paid the price. Let's lay down our rogue self-righteousness. Let's confess the fear we share. Let's testify, prove all our trust and show the world we care. We'll accomplish this together. We'll survive the moral strain. Let's unite our hearts together now God renews us as we pray. Only then will we bless and, in turn, be blest! Lord, please comfort the USA!

It's amazing to me how many of us just want the allowance to use our skills, talents and passions to have basic security -- financial security and freedom from fear of each other. I sometimes wonder what's wrong with me that I often find myself more terrified of other Americans who feel they have the right to hold my life and future in their hands than I ever am of some foreign terrorist or nuclear bomb. I think maybe we were never taught honestly growing up what the American dream costs and how we can learn to make that payment a fundamental and acceptable part of our everyday lives.

this is from Edmund Burk 1791....'Men are qualified for civil liberity in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites....Society cannot exist unless a controling power upon will and appetites be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within the more there is without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."

my american dream is to help other americans who are in need. there are so many unfortunate souls who need our help. All the folks who are in need of help to experience their american dream. how can I and others make this happen? John Seiersen, Aiken, SC, fusalage@aol.com

The founding of America largely stood for independence from suppression. It meant freedom to rise to greater heights for anyone who had the guts, and who was willing to earn it with sweat and innovation.

Thus, the American Dream SHOULD BE about:

Independence, free will, innovation, free expression, free thinkers! It's the opportunity to do WHATEVER one wants in the pursuit of his/her individual dream without suppression; and TAKING that opportunity.
NOT simply the mindless pursuit of materialism and status that is brainwashed into the existing public by corporations' mass media mouthpiece.

Equality as independent human beings;
Equality in opportunity;
But certainly NOT conformity.

Not long ago I was finally able to put definition behind the words that I have heard all my life: THE AMERICAN DREAM.
Personally it required leaving America to discover what the American dream was....in one word FAILURE.
Guaranteeing my individual right to fail, provided the fundamental impetus for success. Without the prospect of failure, success has no prospect.
A nation that does not respect personal failure is ultimately doomed to national failure.

Autumn,
I love your holistic vision. Perhaps the country is not yet ready to hear your vision of the American dream, but peace and unity will appear. Keep on being audacious!

The deepening of my American dream is for we, the people, to allow responsiveness to the ever-changing landscape of life.

To notice, sitting on our perch in America, that it is only a perch and that we are at the end of the day, one humanity trying to figure out how to make it. The word American may even have to fall from the dream if we are going to make life work. Global life has already happened

Ed: You have described exactly the struggle I've been involved in for 30 years: to establish "a sustained community for the discussion of how power works (against the citizenry) in America."

The work of Steven Lukes: "Power: A Radical View" which descrbes the several dimensions of "power over" in the United States has been extremely helpful to me in this understanding. John Gaventa ("Power and Powerlessness") tested Lukes' ideas in the field (Appalachia mining country). Gaventa was once director of Highlander Research Center, the successor to Highlander Folk School where Myles and Zilphia Horton facilitated the theory of nonviolent resistance underlying the civil rights movement. (Rosa Parks and Dr. King studied there.)

You and Annie and ccairnes intrigue me because you share my quest. (A successor to our zombie daydream) I will let my former student Grady Lee Howard's words suffice for what we learned at beretco.op and now at Figgers Institute. Use your edit button and search Grady Lee Howard (below). You will see how we predicted the current demise last July (7/12@ 11:02am). I'll admit Grady is a silly bloke. We are interested in further discussion with you, but be advised we are anti-capitalist in a humane sort of way.(Kind of the survival of the Highlander spirit) See also Bill Moyers interview with the "Radical Hillbilly."

We developed the maxim: "It is difficult or impossible to become or remain extremely wealthy (Moyers added "or extremely poor") in a fair and just society." Our associate Klark Mouvinon says "Labor fashions your reality on an hourly basis." We believe literary and artistic expression are a vital adjunct to political resistance. We embrace the United Nations Declaration of Human rights as an ideal.

In Nazi Germany during the war theorists gathered in seclusion to fashion a post war Constitution. They knew that Fascism would soon fall. Obama is a fool to believe conformism can save this empire. Do you agree?

The "American Dream" is the right and opportunity for every citizen to learn as much as he/she can, work as hard as necessary to achieve whatever it is that he/she wants to achieve without interference from a controlling force such as the government.

The dream is not an entitlement but an opportunity.

It is the acting out of true liberty.

The expression "the American dream" is an illusion used as opium for the people. It makes Americans work harder and accept greater injustice than other people do. It’s a clever way to exploit the lower class.

Annie, while I have not necessarily blown the whistle on anyone, I have spoken my mind and have stuck to my convictions about what I should be doing in my professional work. And I have (as others have and do) paid some sort of price for such actions.

In the past several years, since returning to the U.S., I have been unable to shake the notion that in my lifetime American workers have never been fueled so much by fear. I am not entirely unlike Joe Wahlreich in Alford's _Whistle-blower narratives: the experience of choiceless
choice_. A new found and unexpected awareness that American institutions are quite readily intent to squash the individual who goes against the established narrative has sent me directly to fighting against the ropes. I certainly don't mean to romanticize this individual ethic, but a very strong realization that something is afoul directly and consciously forced me to turn to a small business venture of my own as pure therapy and strategy.

It is very interesting that Alford used a lot of discussion of literature to help frame his own meaning, along with the stories of the Whistle Blowers. In my post, I had wanted to connect the ostensibly disparate strands of American institutions, individual conviction and integrity, literature, and education, and other related issues.

Your and ccairne's posts, at least for me, have led to a more intimate understanding of a darkening reality of life in America of the last thirty years, a reality that may very well grow darker and darker in the coming decades.

As Americans, most of thought this type of systemic fear was a thing of fascism and communism (though perhaps the fear in these institutions was never as systemic as it may possibly be in America), not an American reality.

Ccairne concluded a post with a call that caught my attention: "Our task is to bring about a new American way adjusted to the joy of the World."
My post was an attempt to further that endeavor, which I think is gravely undervalued in America of the past thirty years. This does not mean that people should be encouraged to put their livelihoods at stake by blowing the whistle, but simply that there must be a sustained community for the discussion of how power works in America.

I'm not naive to believe that a few actions will bring about needed change, but I do believe that strategic daily micro actions are not only therapeutic but also aggregative. What else is there to really do, watch _Survivor_?

Most people would pay dearly to be able to see into the future. Such a task may not prove very difficult if we are sensitive to the stirrings of both the present and the past. The United States government is currently positioned to bring about the change that is needed. In the likely event that it will be unable to bring about that change, issues and perspectives will nonetheless arise that clearly articulate the nature of the beast. But then again, I suppose people had said that about the Civil War.

I hope Bill sees in this thread ideas for future interviews. We need to change our understanding of just what is meant by "The Best and the Brightest" in this country, a label that is a gross misnomer. And Charlie Rose needs to get off his ass.

@ Ed:

Thank you for that very interesting and thoughtful perspective.

However, the excerpt I quoted is but one piece of the endured "absent life" of whistleblowers. I hope you are moved to read it because you misunderstand. Not only are W.B.s "worked over" as you aptly put it, we also are forced to dig our own graves, climb into the open pit and move all of the dirt back over ourselves. When the last shovelful has been smoothed so that no mark remains, we no longer breathe - it's all of society that has done that to us - making us kill ourselves slowly, with full awareness and in plain sight of rescue by people who not only are also fully aware, but who actively withhold the means for rescue and societal acceptance, not just the organization that originally opposed us. W.B.'s are a too-close reminder that the social contract and civil society are nothing more than lies. We are made as scapegoats, and we are forcibly removed from every aspect of society save the ability to comment on random websites and online venues. Otherwise, you don't see us, you don't hear us, and you certainly don't voluntarily come close enough to perceive our wounds, our betrayal and our endless empty suffering. I posted that excerpt as an affirmation of understanding to ccairnes and as a warning to anyone thinking of doing the W.B. deed. Don't is what I counsel. It gets you nothing but grief and a society determined to disappear you to assuage itself.

I've wanted to respond to the interview with Lithgow on literature by commenting on the importance of literature in articulating critical perspectives on life, institutions, politics, power, etc.

Annie's reference to Alford encouraged me to post in this thread.

A novel like Ellison's _Invisible Man_, among many others, seems instrumental in delineating a path for maintaining critical awareness amid a sea of competing ideologies that wish to subsume the individual thinker.

I've been looking for various articulations of these forces for a very long time. Alford's research fits in very nicely. Thank you, Annie.

It strikes me that Ellison's narrator learns through his struggles that "knowledge is disaster," and that what the individual decides to do with that disastrous situation is the key, which is why the narrator must go underground to regroup and build some kind of protective shell that will allow him to reemerge into society with a deeper sense and conviction of the rules of the game.

Those lower frequencies intrigue me, and I think it is important, especially in public education (as well as private) to dial in students to such frequencies on which literature broadcasts its particular types of understanding.

For me, this aspect of literature, meaning, is more important than the use of language or recognizing the craft of writing. Focus on these areas will, however, reinforce meaning, but often meaning and its implications get left out, especially in institutionalized education. And this happens, even though hundreds of very political works of literature are on standardized reading lists across this country and are even read in classrooms.

I think there is a very real power in literature to nurture critical thought, yet there seems to be something in the system that understands this educational potential and is very staunchly at work in erecting obstacles and impediments to delimit such education with an "e" rather than an "E". Conversations about education never discuss this dilemma; rather, they devolve into cant about standards, teacher quality, Teach for America, funding, math and science results, etc.

Not to pull out a trite cliche about the power of education, but if we as a society desire change, education is a fundamental crucible for that change. Understanding meaning through literature if a significant component in that change.

The american dream is that every mother's son can grow up to become president.

As long as the majority of the people believe that the american dream is still alive and well, then our democracy will exist.

Thank you, Annie and ccairnes. It is helpful to know there are many people out there who have not been worked over by dominant ideologies. The trick now is to make sure such a collection of individuals become a community, a community of which Moyers' Journal is an integral part.

Americs's Dream as set forth by the founding mothers and fathers of this new nation was that the God given rights of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" were respected by all mankind. Currently behaving as an imperialistic, fascist nation we have extinguished that dream!

If the people lead we can bring it back. The first right is the "Right to Life". Asking the United Nations to endorse the United Peace and bring it for consideration of each and every citizen of our planet Earth will end militaries and the military/industrial complex syndicate almost overnight. Such a new American 'dream' of global peace is possible.

Please join me this summer in bringing the United Nations Peace Pledge to a million Americans during the Great American Peace March - 40 Days/40 Cities beginning July 4th in Seattle, WA

Mary Hath Spokane, a Peace Prophet
Author of the United Nations Peace Pledge:
"We are Peace Prophets.
We will never kill a brother or sister Human Being. We believe only the Creator of that Human Life has a right to end that Life."

@ ccairnes:

I wandered upon your comment just now whilst looking for a way through the consequences of whistle-blowing. I had forgotten that I commented before here on this topic - it's the first one listed at the very bottom of the scroll.

You are much farther along the path, and I appreciate your sharing what you did. Perhaps this excerpt from work done by Dr. C Fred Alford might be of interest:

Knowledge as Disaster

To know what he has already learned, the whistle-blower would have to give up what every right-thinking American believes in. To forsake this is particularly difficult for the largest group of whistle-blowers I listened to: conservative middle-aged men. "Hell, I wasn't against the system," said Bob Warren, a civil engineer and retired naval officer. "I was the system. I just didn't realize there were two systems."

What must the whistle-blower forsake in order to hear his own story?

* That the individual matters.

* That law and justice can be relied upon.

* That the purpose of law is to remove the caprice of powerful individuals.

* That ours is a government of laws, not men.

* That the individual will not be sacrificed for the sake of the group.

* That loyalty is not equivalent to the heard(sic) instinct.

* That one's friends will remain loyal even if one's colleagues do not.

* That the organization is not fundamentally immoral.

* That it makes sense to stand up and do the right thing. (Take this literally: that it "makes sense" means that it is a comprehensible activity.)

* That someone, somewhere who is in charge knows, cares, and will do the right thing.

* That the truth matters, and someone will want to know it.

* That if one is right and persistent, things will turn out all right in the end.

* That even if they do not, other people will know and understand.

* That the family is a haven in a heartless world. Spouses and children will not abandon you in your hour of need.

* That the individual can know the truth about all this and not become merely cynical, cynical unto death.

Not only is it hard to come to come to terms with these truths, but when one finally does, it seems one is left with nothing. (emphasis added)

If you care to correspond, my email addy is on the page linked at my name.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the words dream, faith, hope. I'm a whistle-blower, a siren - not in the Greek mythological sense of drawing sailors into danger, but a sound to send a signal; a cynic - in the Greek spirit of sitting in a jar on the steps seeking honesty.

If I had a hope, it would be that America is beyond hope. When Pandora let all the plagues, sorrows and mischiefs out of the box, she retained hope. Now hope is out of the box. Out of the box hope transforms into action. Plagues, sorrows and mischiefs develop from pressures exerted by forces outside us. Hope keeps us thinking that all there is to save us is that the outside force will withdraw and leave us be. Action releases us to address the plague with science, the sorrow with justice and the mischief with accountability.

Calling out the concept of faith is laden with sensitivities and I will try not to offend my host, Bill Moyers, who trained as a man of the cloth. Of all the three, dreams, faith and hope, faith is the most loathsome to me. The externalized aspect of faith makes it particularly tempting for us to use it to manipulate others. Faith asks us to suspend what we know in the hope that unknown information will lead to another conclusion. It is not a forgone conclusion that faith will lead us to unrighteousness, but it happens. I know this. Progress depends on our willingness to expand what we know towards a conclusion we want.

And now our dream. My American life has roots in the Deep South - Alabama. It is a life influenced by Martin Luther King's dream and Warner Von Braun's achievement. The world of my children sees the realization of King's dream, which brings me an exhilarated joy they don't even understand because it's their life without question. No longer a dream, it is an achievement. Who ever dreamed human beings could launch people out of the biosphere, to the moon and back again? Von Braun saw it was possible. The task was achieved by pursuit.

In our dreams it is common to feel paralyzed, to see logic defied and to have difficulty recalling what the task is. It is these realizations that being us to the awareness we are having a dream. It wakes us up. You might say, dreaming put us in our current situation. Taking action to know our task and pursue it cannot be a dream.

If I could whistle the game to a halt, pull the driver over with a siren blast, and be an honest man, here is what I would say: The American dream has become the enemy of American achievement. Our task is to bring about a new American way adjusted to the joy of the World.


Angela Burton: Why worry about it girl. Just make that wealth alone and go it on your own, maybe move to Russia or Ireland or Singapore, lands of economic freedom.

The "American Dream" is opportunity & recognition. Opportunities that allow every American (& those who desire to be American) to explore, discover & realize their own "true identity". And the dream that each American receive recognition for that true inner quality redeemed!

The American Dream is all about freedom. The freedom to pursue your dreams. It is NOT about everyone chipping in to pay everyone else's insurance, or medical costs, or education, or unemployment insurance, or welfare checks. The American Dream is about being left alone to pursue what you wish with what you've accomplished.! It is not about Socialism, or Communism, or redistributing wealth. It is about the CREATION OF WEALTH. If you stop the entrepreneurs from starting their businesses, there will be no jobs for anyone. Oh, wake up America, this man in the White House is going to lead us to ruin with his spend, spend, spend policies, and his complete lack of knowledge of economics, and how that works. The rest of the world looks to us for inspiration because we are FREE. An Obama Dictatorship, giving away the money earned by people who work hard, to people who don't work at all, is unforgiveable.

As I was watching the program tonight with John Lithgow so beautifully reading Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "How Do I Love Thee?", I did what I usually do which is to get into a discussion with my husband, my love, about the interpretation of writings and ideas. His interpretation of the poem is that of Ms. Browning describing as best she could the depth of her love. When I read the comments by other people who feel so passionately about the concept of American Freedom, I see familiar words such as government, history, Washington, interests, protect, defend. But when I read Ms. Browning's poem, I do not envision a personal description of love for another singular human being. I picture it as the love of a citizen - possibly an immigrant coming to a new country. Look at her poem again and read it with the eye of say someone who came through Ellis Island in search of the "American dream". How do I love thee - let me count the ways (freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc.) I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach when feeling out of sight for the ends of being and ideal grace (with all the passion I have inside for all that I love - family, friends, country, culture). I love thee to the level of every days' most quiet need (shelter, food, clothing, heat, drink 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). I love thee freely as men strive for Right. I love thee purely as they turn from Praise. (How many of our citizens - no matter where they came from loved the idea of the American dream, fought for it daily in their personal lives and on the battlefield and did not expect praise in return). In love with a passion put to use in my old griefs and with my childhood's faith (the passion felt for those left behind - the people, the conditions, the circumstances but with the faith of hope to sustain the passion to keep moving forward). I love thee with a love I seemed to lose with my lost saints - again, the culture left behind but hope to bring to the new world. And the ending....I shall but love thee better after death-what have I left behind for my children, my grandchildren, my legacy as well as the legacy of a country with so much promise, passion, compassion - love. I wrote this extemporaneously - please forgive my floundering. But that is how I feel about that poem, about the people who fought to bring this country to this day - the day when we all continue to seek the passion, the compassion - the love we need to keep going, to keep fighting - the love of self, family, neighborhood, larger community, culture, country, world. Thanks for listening.

I believe there is a real grassroots effort abroad in our land and around the globe to rewrite our old dreams of what the 'goodlife' should be for us. In the 1700s the dream was phrased as 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' at least here it was. Somewhere along the way it became a lot more materialistic as evidenced by the above term -goodlife. We are in the process of revising the ideas of house and home and family that are incorporated in the American Dream. What I see evolving is a refreshed meaning of family and community.

Many of us are realizing that home and family cannot be separated from community. The idea of family is becoming more inclusive and many others have problems with that. As a single parent (1969 - @1990) I quickly realized I was not going to be very 'successful' in raising my daughter, even with a moderately supportive parent of my own. Ever after that I found support with women in my same adventure (students and single parents) or occupation (Corporate educator/Public Educator). My daughter told me later she didn't feel like an only child because of our circle of friends. It does take a village to raise a child!

Within communities locals are banding together to support various efforts to feed the hungry, tutor children who need help, etc. I see a recognition of public responsiblity and engagement. As many here have lamented, our democracy has been under serious attack from within for a long time. To have the democracy we want and need we all need to be ever vigilant. I usually took a 'vacation' after the Civil Rights efforts, or the End the Vietnam War, Roe v. Wade, etc. Not any more! There are no vacations from protecting our rights. We are the American Dream. We are still evolving and maturing, I believe. Crisis tend to put us in a temporary panic or fright mode. We need to get over it quickly and heighten our awareness to attacks from anti-liberty, anti-democratic forces whether they are internal or external.

We are the keepers of the dream, and we are awakened and awakening.

In the last year, as I've debated with friends and family obsessed with "freedom" (defined as capitalism), the phrase which has come to my mind more and more often is this: "Great freedom requires great responsibility."

Similarly, on a spiritual note, those who have experienced the most grace and forgiveness should be the most gracious and forgiving.

Yet in practice, we are quick to embrace freedom, and quick to reject responsibility -- responsibilities to the poor, responsibility to use our knowledge wisely, responsibility to manage our physical resources wisely, etc.

In practice, American the religious has been ungracious and unforgiving, on social issues at home and abroad.

My "American Dream" is that the American people could realize these four great tenets: freedom, responsibility, grace, and forgiveness.

It is not enough for these values to only be reflected in private life, they must be reflected in our governance as well. "Great freedom requires great responsibility."

My American dream is that a free people can, as a group, be a force for ever-improving the human physical, technological, and social condition, and take joy in the knowledge that we are doing it.

Stan, This free publicity thing is mushrooming. By crucifying you on a cross of gold we may have rebirthed you as a Messiah. Check your Google hits!

There are a few wealthy people in every community who throw down crumbs.What are you, a crumb magnet? You've never stated your status , profession or affinities. I'll tell you, $182 dollars is mighty slim pickings for a guy like you to pull down. We can't help but think you're in collusion with the mob behind the casinos. Are they going to bust your kneecaps if you don't fix up this tiff? How much is the electric bill for those lights and who pays it? Does the energy come from a renewable green source? Might it not be better used at a hospital or a farm? Stan, I've seen your late middleaged photo on the Watercooler, and it may be an old one. Is this your last breakneck chance for noteriety or what? In any case you're living an illusion because the rules have changed. How can you expect railroads and casinos and even large food banks to honor agreements in these times of displacement and scarcity? Investments have evaporated, pensions and health benefits cut off, and unemployment soars. Ask yourself what is more important, the throne of an entitled bourgeoisie or the health and hunger of a hundred families. My Jewish buddies always advised me to buy wholesale and cut out the middle man. Cut out all the middlemen, Stan Lessmann, and empower the human rights of the working people of these United States.

I will play your game for one more round, you poor tarbaby punching fool, but that is all.

This mission is not a PR stunt. Nor do I represent any corporate entities. Actually, at present all I represent is an idea that I hope becomes reality. No money in it for me; just funding for the needy.

For the casinos it is a relative pittance given their gross daily revenues. But if you’re the Omaha Food Bank, that $182/day amount is significant—NOT a pittance.

No way is the lighting of the bridge an advertising gimmick for the railroad. It is simply a means by which an already in-place structure is made more beautiful from dusk to dawn. Perhaps you will go to my website to appreciate the power that light adds in a community. Cleveland is a city with many lighted bridges and it is much more aesthetically appealing because they are lighted. Omaha’s riverfront is so much more beautiful than it was. People gather there now with a sense of community rather than merely driving by on their way to and from the airport.

Finally, my sense of the poor and the affluent, the citizen and the corporation is not cynical. Countless numbers of Omaha’s many affluent citizens have, and continue to share their considerable wealth with us, the people. Perhaps our community is aberrational. If so, count us lucky.

It's not my fault our exchange of the 21st was deleted, Stan Lessman. It was probably because you sought free publicity. The moderators on here are sharper each week. Jack M. says it is available at the WFAE Watercooler site under the blog heading "Faith, Hope and Charity..." in case anyone is following this topic.

Reply to Stan Lessmann, in hope of understanding:

Klark Mouvinon is a new acquaintace of mine who is a partially disabled man of 60 who drives a tow truck part time in New Jersey. I reposted his work because I thought his perspective revealing about how working class people perceive the public relations aspects of charity.

I'm heartened and I'm sure Klark is flattered that a busy professional like Stan has taken his time attempting toclarify and refute Klark's analysis. Thank you very much Stan Lessmann. But I'm disappointed that Stan was unable to refute all of Klark's claims and showed so little empathy for a working man's concerns.

I sought out friendship with Klark because we both have strong connections to the humanely interested not-for -profit sphere. Having been involved in some pretty Rube Goldbergian and inane promotions of giving myself I found a great deal of humor in what Klark described. I began to laugh not only at Stan and Ms. Knapp (apropos names, as from the Simpsons indeed) but at myself and my associates, and even at Klark, who has gone to great ends to restore personhood to individuals caught in an economic undertow. Humor is a great advantage as we seek to overcome the futility of propping up the downtrodden.

Stan's insistence that the old Southern Baptist adage about teaching "a man" to fish remains valid is quite revealing. At a time when our oceans are overfished and becoming liquid deserts, the quality of farmed seafood is suspect, the foodchain of aquatic life is increasingly polluted with mercury and other toxins, and our very shorelines and groundwater are threatened by climate change, such simpleminded folktales based in wrongheaded religious assumptions become an obstacle to desperately needed environmental and economic education. If one teaches skills, then they must be needed skills that will not further deplete the carrying capacity of our planet. Otherwise we might teach "a man" to stripmine coal or to grow excess opium poppies. Fishing is rooted in Christian myth, but if one believes Deities are going to intervene, or believes these are the Endtimes, all charitable activities would probably be deemed futile anyway.(Let go and let God.) The same thing that is wrong with Stan's proposal appears to be wrong with the Obama administration. They are facing new and compounded crises and are looking to the very different past for solutions that either may not fit or may even exascerbate our urgent problems. Institutional entrenchment and a sense of entitlement among those formerly in charge now seem an insurmountable problem in business (especially banking), the federal government and even charity. I continue to agree with Klark that Stan's "Light the Bridge" campaign is illustrative of our general inability to let go of old ways and tackle directly the problems at hand. I do not doubt Stan's integrity and good will, but think he is reluctant to abandon a tried and true method that has served people well in the past, but may no longer be the best way. I think it remains for younger people, along with people like Klark and myself, and even Stan Lessmann himself, to seek out and develop more innovative approaches. Otherwise we will end up carrying a rock around a tree until the roots are trampled and the tree of life is murdered.

Add a Comment

Although our original postings are no longer up,
Mouvinon's reaction to my initial posting demands a response.

Your use of the emotionally loaded work "scheme" was completely inaccurate. A scheme it's not! This is a pure, corporate/charity collaboration of longstanding potential value. Had you gone to my web site, you'd have realized that the Union Pacific Railroad is asked only to allow the decorative lighting of their already in place bridge.

The three, very profitable casinos are asked only to 1) Fund the lighting of the bridge--from which they would derive direct aesthetic benefit, and 2) A daily donation of $182 per casino directly to the Omaha Food Bank. That food bank serves a regional population of 93 counties in Iowa and Nebraska. Its overhead is low. Its director draws an appropriate salary. It fills an (unfortunately) growing need.

I am certainly as enlightened as you regarding the need to employ people, pay a living wage and assimilate our current underclass into the general populace. (The ...give a man a fish vs teach a man to fish...parable is absolutely valid.)

Finally, venting about corporations and lamenting the fact that there is a growing underclass in our country is futile. Action, not verbalization, is the key to change.

While too many individuals and families are struggling with low wage jobs and/or unemployment, providing such basic needs as food and shelter are also a struggle for them. That’s why lightthebridge.org was created.

The mission: providing significant, additional funding for the Omaha Food Bank.
Enlisting local corporate entities to accomplish that goal is the objective. As Ben Stein said in January ’08 at the California Club, “Large, successful corporations need not only be good neighbors but good friends.”

With the inauguration of a new administration in Washington, D.C., and a significant shift in our collective value system, now is a perfect time to pursue this mission. If we are here to “do God’s work”, then this mission is a perfect prototype; one that can be replicated in cities across the nation.

What is the American Dream? The quest to build a civilization based upon the better nature of our innate common humanity. Hence "All men (human beings) are created equal." When we get there, clothing and compassion will be givens, not issues.
But as for where we are now here in America in taking another giant leap for a man but one small step for mankind step in getting closer to things being done on Earth as they are in Heaven. We have made such a big deal of a person of color getting elected to the highest office in the land. But what is the big deal? Is he not just a man like any other man? As equally created and loved by the creator? Does the color of his skin make him special? No! The experiences of his existence and the content of his character are the only constitutionally relevant factors to his uniqueness and qualifications to the post. Hopefully he is a man of his words.
Yet one cannot deny the state of our present day humanity. Yes, electing a non-white to the presidency has brought fear, disdain and hatred to the many minds of a fortunately shrinking substantial segment of America. None-the-less as Americans, whether we can see or agree with their points or not, they have a right to think and feel as they do, but surely pigs will fly before fear, violence and hatreds lead to a happy contented person or world. Less disdainful, yet just as annoying to many minds would have been an American of the non-male gender getting elected to the presidency. But what would have been and probably would be absolutely the most terrifying and nerve racking of events to the majority of Americans of most colors and genders would be something little if at all mentioned in this “historic” election we’ve just experienced, a Native American raising to the chiefdom of this nation. Truly the lowest by all common standards of all Americans, rising from the ghettos of the concentration camps to become the most powerful of this nation’s citizens. Now that would be Historic. Not unlike a Palestinian being elected prime minister of Israel.
What is the American Dream? It is the World’s Dream’s. It is he Dream of all mother’s and father’s since our common ancestor’s stood up upon two feet. The hope that some day the only tears shed will be those of joy. But If history shows us anything, this adventurous journey that humanity is on to where ever it is that that light what ever it may be leads us, is a painfully slow one. But if we believe, we’ll get there one day.

the future of america is to make the economy work for all people here. single payer healthcare is necessity in the usa now. multiparty (dems, repub, green party, social dems. not just dems and repub)real democracy has to happen without corporate influence. more cooperation with local economies to employ people locally. also fundamental change in how our economy is impacting the environment. the usa has to get real about global warming.

The American Dream will be continually clipped by Washington, and the Corporatocracy, in order to maintain a favorable balance of wealth for power.

The American Dream seems to be unkowable only to our government. The everyday American wants to be able to support their family, educate their children, have access to healthcare and a stable home and have a government that represents them. We have been taught the idealism of the American Dream but our government hasn't done the things necessary to provide it. Our Founding Fathers allowed slavery to impose death and misery on millions of people, government has always given breaks to big business but big business has never given anything back to ordinary citizens and our politicians have allowed money to corrupt and dominate our policical processes. We elect them but they represent the wealthy. If our leaders committed to representing us and provide the elements of the American Dream there would be prosperity and peace in American and maybe in the world.

The American Dream is one in which all citizens can afford to make healthy, local, seasonal and sustainable food choices. The agricultural policy in this country has for too long supported agribusiness and not the small, diversified, local farms. I would like to ask that President Obama change who receives the farm subsidies and support healthy food policy. Corn, Soy, Rice, Wheat and Cotton should no longer be the big winners. He can begin in the schools by supporting the school lunch program with more money to buy local, seasonal produce. By changing the way we view food, we will have fewer health problems, cut down on green house gases and invest in our communities. That is my dream for America.

To me the grand American dream is in serious need of practical, bite-sized application. For example, I think recent events have aligned such that we can begin to address the rift between the church-going African American community and the GLBT community, which is ironically a primary preservative of our society's last vestige of denied civil rights.

GREED IS GOOD

Well, too many people still think so. Our present situation is partially the result of spoiling children with material goods. Our delusions are fed by mind numbing television ads that make us believe that our children are deprived unless they have the latest Elmo. Unfortunately, presidents are elected using the same tool.

Let us first identify specific problems with our society and then work together towards solutions that may help us recover our American Dream.

NEED TO BE A PARENT TO OUR CHILDREN AND NOT A FRIEND Children need love, guidance and discipline (no, it is not a dirty word). Children need friends of their own age.

NEED TO DO SOMETHING PATRIOTIC Wearing a flag doesn’t count. Quit using cocaine; it is supporting our enemies.

NEED TO REDUCE COST OF POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS so politicians are not beholden to large corporations and their bagmen lobbyists who are literally writing the laws of our land.

NEED FOR OPENNESS AND TRANSPARANCY IN GOVERNMENT

NEED FOR FEWER CAREER POLITICIANS

NEED FOR REAL SHAREHOLDER RIGHTS AND VOICE IN CORPORATIONS
Think: CEO pay; offshoring decisions and safety

NEED FOR POLITICIANS WHO ARE NOT WEARING GOD ON THEIR SLEEVE

NEED FOR MORE CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT IN GOVERNMENT AT ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT

NEED TO REDUCE SPECULATION IN OIL Require substantial deposits on oil futures contracts

NEED TO REDUCE PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTMENT OF POLITICAL HACKS AS LEADERS OF REGULATORY AGENCIES IN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

NEED FOR GREATER REGULATION OF OUR FINANCIAL/BANKING INDUSTRY We have plenty of laws. We need real regulation and enforcement in all areas including hedge funds and new financial “inventions” of Wall Street.

NEED TO AGAIN DEVELOP OUR MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY BASE, but not through protectionism unless it is of a very temporary nature.

NEED FOR AN AUTOMOBILE DEVOID OF FRILLS THAT PROVIDES BASIC, CHEAP, SAFE AND RELIABLE TRANSPORTATION Think original VW Beetle.

NEED TO RECOGNIZE THAT WE ARE DOOMED AS A COUNTRY IF WE BASE OUR ECONOMY ON THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY

The day of reckoning has arrived! As an American, a Texan, and a citizen of this great land, I emplore all Americans to become self sufficient, respectful, and caring of the abundance that the good Lord has provided! Like it or not,WE must take care of each other. The President will need our prayers, our deeds, and a strong willingness to think differently. I wish him the best! Go America Seize the new day!

Soon, we, the body politic, will receive stimulus checks in the mail. Designed to reinvigorate our consumer confidence, these $500 checks ($1000 for couples with at least one spouse working) are supposed to give us back our spending power, so that we, in turn, can "stimulate" the economy. I'll take the check, but it didn't work in March 2008, and it's not going to work now. Why? Before we can take a step forward towards the American Dream again, we need to recognize, collectively, that America has been disassembled and shipped overseas, even as we watched it all happen, believing the promises of "global expansion." Our confidence has been shot through with lies, betrayals, and, yes, deception, and it's not going to return for the price of a $500 bribe. Now, what comes next is grass growing in the streets, barter for essential goods, a garden in your backyard (if you're lucky enough to have a yard), and three generations living in a single abode. Can we adjust to that dream? Before we can ever advance again as a society, we have to tear some things down and build anew. That will be hard work, but I'm ready to put a nail in corporatist capitalism's coffin. Good riddance.

The days when rampant consumerism and corrupt government drove the American Dream into a ditch, finally ended in a massive accident.

One victim dead, madison avenue. Hundreds of millions others injured during this fateful collision with underground business is reported.


Da Car done Broke, buddy

Order Propecia, Cheap Propecia , http://openlibrary.org/user/propecia , Nice Site. kjfkjhkjh4379834jh

The future of a dream? Geez, just look at its past for some hint as to where it's going. Rampant consumerism and corrupt government have driven the American Dream into a ditch. Reminds me of the poor folks in Flannery O'Connor's story "A Good Man is Hard to Find". That's US in the ditch, and the Powers That Be just came by to see how we're doing. Some future.

Matt: the ideas of "future" and "more of 20th century consumption" are incompatible. Reconciliation is improbable if not impossible. Low expectations of people are not just cynical, but mass-suicidal.

Let's hope in the future the American Dream will not be so materialistic. I think to most of America the American Dream is consumption and as much and often as you like. The Constitution, democracy, civil rights etc. all are things that are secondary or affect other people. As long as people have money and the things that come with it people will be happy in this country. Cynical and pessimistic I know, but that is what I see. Maybe in the future more more more will be something that defined the late 20th and early 21st century.

To define the American dream is a seemingly impossible task, as defining this “dream” would identify in most simple terms the interests, hopes, and aspirations of every single American living today. It is to define the “missing link” that connects the infinitely numerous cultures and ethnicities – it would unify the shining diversity of peoples we shelter in the “Great American Melting Pot.” Indeed, it seems impossible to delineate a dream so universal that it can extend across the 9,631,420 square kilometers of the United States of America, uniting every single American contained within. However, it is not impossible – it can and has been done. When an immigrant steps off the boat, or perhaps the plane, and walks onto American soil for the first time, he has a feeling. He or she can sense in the air the essence, or the fundamental nature of America. This sensation is something most natural-born Americans share in every moment, yet rarely acknowledge. It is a feeling of freedom. It is the resonating of the words of our fore-fathers. The American dream, as of now, is simply that all men (mankind of course) are created equal, that we all have God given inalienable rights. The American dream as it lives and breathes today is “Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness.”

It would be absurd to identify a material desire that all Americans share, as our cultures are diverse and sometimes conflicting. In this way, the beautiful diversity of ethnicity and customs found in America make it impossible to honestly consider a doctrine of Materialism our American dream. For a long time the American dream has been defined in this way. America has advertised itself as the land of wealth and opportunity for years and years; however, it is not unreasonable to call this “dream” a vision. A policy of our society for the longest time has been “Anyone can be president. Anyone can come to America and be rich. We have the opportunities here.” But this dream is truly a vision, just ask any person starving so they can feed their children, ask someone fighting for their life in a bloody gang war if they can be rich, if they can be the president of the United States… If large groups of people do not believe in our dream, then how can our dream truly unite Americans? We know there are real constraints in our consumerist civilization. We know that not everyone can be a millionaire, not everyone can be president.

It is for this reason that the Materialist dream we are swimming in, sink or swim, is not the ideal dream for Americans to share. What we need is a dream rooted in the human interests we all share. Interests we are born into. We all want to live. We all want to be free from tyranny and oppression. We all want to be happy. Our dream is a land where all these things are not just possible, they are guaranteed. We are connected and united in these fundamental desires, these needs. Our fore fathers and the minds of the enlightenment philosophers were saw with insight into what humans need. We all need life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our dream is a land where all Americans have the means by which to attain them.


David Holmes

That one day Americans will treat each other with equality – not just legal equality – is my hope for the future of the American dream. For far too long this promise of equality has simply been a phrase in the Declaration of Independence and not put to practice. My hope for the future is that this will change.


Apparently, equality seems to be a very difficult dream for America to achieve. It took Americans much longer than it should have to give African-Americans and women their due rights in this country. Even though it took about two hundred years, these rights eventually came. While legal rights are certainly an importance in America, my dream extends beyond legality and into the everyday treatment of ordinary people.


America's diversity is something that has never failed to amaze me, or most of the world. The idea that millions of people can live somewhat peacefully in one single, united country is absolutely mind blowing. But just that we can exist peacefully does not mean that we are yet able to exist as equals. I'm sure we all remember the resentment the majority of the country felt towards those of Middle Eastern descent, even if they were legal Americans, after the September 11th attacks. The problem with this reaction wasn't that America was upset because of a devastating attack on our country, but it was that we focused our anger on more people than necessary. Instead of centering anger on the group responsible, Americans went broader; we targeted our anger at all Muslims or Middle Easterners. This was simply not an acceptable way to behave.


To treat certain individuals with insolence based solely on ethnicity or religion is to act as an arbitrary and unenlightened individual. We are Americans, living in the land of the free and the home of the brave; we must hold ourselves to higher standards than previous generations of Americans and to higher standards than the rest of the world. We, in our personal lives, can no longer continue to discriminate against others. We are Americans, we are better than that.


In order that my dream for the American dream may one day be achieved, people need to start acting now. As we have seen in history, change takes a long time. But hopefully, this change will not be so difficult. By simply reaching out to someone who is utterly different than you are - whether you have different cultures, or religions, backgrounds, opinions on politics or tastes in art -, you are making progress. And the more often you do this, the less awkward, difficult, and forced it becomes. In turn, if all Americans did this, we would have the ability to be a unified, unstoppable force.


James Truslow Adams's American Dream has largely been made a reality. Today, we are a land that strives to give its citizens a better life and opportunities based on merit, and certainly we have given most citizens an economically richer life. Now, it is time for America to strive to give its citizens a richer life in the sense of a fuller life. There was once a time when we were all different, we were all immigrants – the Irish, the Italians, the British – we were all at one time ostracized. We who are no longer discriminated against now, had forefathers who faced malign attitudes; it is cruel and certainly hypocritical to discriminate against others now. In the waters of America, there stands a copper statue welcoming the poor and the huddled masses, should not we, as Americans, strive to do the same?

Here is notice for a real boost for the American Dream, and for the dreams of people everywhere. Watch your tv over the next few days:

Christmas Miracle

For years the world has been filled with miracles of all kinds. In April 1995 Time magazine devoted an eight-page spread to its cover story on miracles, and concluded: “People are hungry for signs.”

Look now for the biggest miracle of all. In the very near future a large, bright star will appear in the sky visible to all throughout the world – night and day.

Unbelievable? Fantasy? No, a simple fact. Around a week later Maitreya, the World Teacher for all humanity, will begin His open emergence and – though not yet using the name Maitreya – will be interviewed on major US television.

In 1988 CNN and many other media reported on Maitreya’s miraculous appearance to 6,000 people in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday 11 June. A week before the event a remarkable sign occurred: “On Saturday 4 June a big, bright star was sighted, unusually brighter than ordinary stars,” reported Kenya Times editor Job Mutungi.

For over 30 years artist, author and lecturer Benjamin Creme has been preparing the way for the biggest event in history – the emergence of Maitreya and His group, the Masters of Wisdom. In May 1982 Creme revealed at a packed press conference in Los Angeles that Maitreya had been living in the Asian community of London since 19 July 1977.

Awaited by all faiths under different names, Maitreya is the Christ to Christians, the Imam Mahdi to Muslims, Krishna to Hindus, the Messiah to Jews, and Maitreya Buddha to Buddhists. He is the World Teacher for all, religious or not, an educator in the broadest sense.

As a modern man concerned with today’s problems, Maitreya works behind the scenes of our changing world. The outpouring of His extraordinary energy has been the stimulus for dramatic developments on many fronts: the ending of the cold war; the break-up of the Soviet Union; the reunification of Germany; the ending of apartheid in South Africa; the growing power of the people’s voice, leading to demands for freedom and justice; and the worldwide focus on preserving the environment.

Maitreya’s message can be summarized as “share and save the world”. He will seek to inspire humanity to see itself as one family, and to create world peace through sharing, economic justice and global co-operation.

With Maitreya and His group working openly in the world, humanity is assured not only of survival but of the creation of a brilliant new civilization.

For more information visit: www.share-international.org

The phrase the American dream was first coined by the author of The Epic of America in 1931. “That dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement. ”The American dream is made up of many complex ideas. For some people the American dream symbolizes a new start in life. For others it means equal opportunities in the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that we all share. In Howard Zinn’s the Cradle of Common Concern, he addresses what the American dream encompasses and how we need to change ourselves so that the dream of America can be achieved by everyone.
Howard Zinn is a historian that has dedicated his life to studying the patterns of history and how they have influenced the American dream. We need to face ourselves before facing the world. This means that we need to address our personal flaws and stop looking for the justification to our own actions. Two examples that Howard Zinn uses are Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Zinn asks, “what was our justification for killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people?” If these acts of terror are continued we will be forever trapped in a vicious cycle of violence. Howard Zinn goes on to say that our interests are all the same and that we all share the same “human interests.” Our interests are the same means that we share the same interests, values, and desires. We need to put the false beliefs of society behind us and strive for the American dream.
The American dream is stopped by the idea that there are two Americas. These are the technological America, which is well progressed and unstoppable, and the moral America that is slow in progression. We need to focus more on our moral obligations than the advancements in technology that the United States has become so focused on. Howard Zinn says, “in order to unify ourselves with everyone else, we should avoid outside influences. We need to determine for ourselves who we are and what is really important to us.”
Other ideas of what the American dream are displayed in The Two Dreams of America. The idea of the American dream can be defined in two ways. One is a vision that drives us to reach an ideal goal. The other is an illusion of a goal that is, in reality, unachievable. The American dream is one that everyone is able to obtain. The people of the United States want a dream that is true and not an illusion. The American dream will also not deny the ideals that we are striving for, which are truth, freedom, and independence. These are the parts of our human values and America did not create them.
The American dream is one that is driven by ambition and one’s own beliefs in society. We need to separate the material world of America and focus on our own ideals that the foundation of America was built on. The founders of America built the United States on the ideas of Jefferson and the ideas of the Enlightenment. This was what encompassed the unalienable right of the pursuit of happiness. The American dream has turned into a materialistic dream of wealth, success, social mobility, and the comfort of living. If we do not put our ignorance to the side it will corrupt the American dream. It will get in the way of our American ideals, especially the pursuit of happiness. “Happiness for man consists in serving the good. We cannot perceive the truth with the false parts of ourselves. Only the real can perceive the real.”

Like I mentioned in class, the first thing in my head when I hear the term “American Dream” is a commercial on TV for a financial company. The commercial’s basic message is that the American Dream is no longer the desire to live in a brick house with a white picket fence, own two cars, and raise two children. No, they stated that the American Dream was simply any pursuit of an American, no matter the style or desire. My idea of the American Dream is people being given a place where they can work for a content lifestyle. People can’t always achieve it, but they can work for it. My idea is similar to that of the commercial in that they both acknowledge that the dream varies from person to person. America is not a Utopia, but throughout the past two centuries and very much so today, America has been the land of opportunity and a corridor to an improved lifestyle. Because Americans and new immigrants to the country are different in values, it is understandable that many content lifestyles revolve around materialistic values: status, wealth, luxury items. It is also expected that some will cherish natural rights given by the Constitution.
In the beginning, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and the other founding fathers created a nation whose governance and laws were revolutionary. Even before the Declaration of Independence was signed, Europeans flocked to the British colonies seeking a better lifestyle, a more content lifestyle. Land was abundant, there was no feudal system, and religions saw more tolerance than in Europe. Very few colonists were simply seeking an adventure by moving to America. They sought a better life. Once the Declaration was signed, the life became even better as the residents only paid taxes to a government that the people elected. The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, attempting to replace the instable Articles of Confederation. The Constitution included the Bill of Rights, a document listing the new freedoms given to Americans. As many historians note, the rights found in the Declaration or the Constitution are not American in origin, rather universal concepts. Regardless, America became the land that offered the largest portions of freedom. The rights ranged from religion to speech to trial by jury. The rights were far from perfect, adhering mainly to the rich of that time. One must not, however, let that imperfection detract from how far ahead of the rest of the world America’s practice of these inalienable rights was. The fact that America was the leader in freedom, not a purely free nation, attracted the great numbers of people across the global seeking a more content lifestyle. Economic, political, and social aspects were more inclusive in America, adhering to all the individual dreams.
Today, the world has leveled out very much economically and somewhat in terms of freedom. Technology has allowed other countries to offer the same content lifestyle that America does. Other nations have adapted American freedom ideas for their people. The field has leveled out, but America still remains the nation offering the greatest opportunity for any human looking to improve their life. America has not been stripped of the lead in the race for free society that it gained after being founded in 1776. On the whole, America provides the easiest economic lifestyle on the globe. An equal amount of effort in America goes further than in almost any other nation. People stick to or journey America to live as easily and contently as possible. Still we cannot discredit those that seek political freedom, those that stand in awe at the concept of being guaranteed life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They make up a part of the American Dream as well. The final portion is proposed of the unique desires of individuals who can best pursue those desires because of America’s developed system for success.

LA Dory: You have another wage-slave sister in NC. Many women in our age group are terribly depressed right now. I am thankful for miracles like the mechanics who honestly keep my 1993 car running. You must be an attractive nurturing soul if people trust you with small children. Please continue to write and comment on this blog. It makes me feel better sometimes reading the caring and concerned posts. You are brave in lamenting your investment errors, but who could succeed in this cruel mess? You have to value the investments you make in other people above those made with money. Think of writing back to Moyers as another investment. You'll probably never have much money, but you can project a stern and constructive love into the community. An older Black sister once counseled,"It is more important to make a life than a living." Think of the proudest moments of your life and realize that at 57 many more are to come, if you let them.

American Dream=consume even if you can not pay for it....isn't that what the financial 'people' told so many? Why buy a $200,000 home when you can qualify for $300,000 and make that much more on appreciation''it will double in value before the ARM adjust.

The American dream has become the American NIGHTMARE!

The Automotive greats show up before congress trying to sell the sizzle without any beef on the grill!

What should one expect--it has been their policy for years!

A foreign car co. offers 100,000 mile--10 year warranty...Detroit offers 100,000 miles for 5 years.
That is 20,000 miles a year or the warranty is as much sizzle as beef.

Management and Union leaders have been treasonious in their actions for dedcades!

Which threatens our way of life more, Iraq or the financial mess that is unfolding?

Go ahead--return the Congressmen that were so quick to give away your $700 Billion and you can give more & more & more...wait that is the Unions line...sorry! So Sorry!!!!!

Billy Bob, Florida
where ya'll don;t give a damn the DNP & Obama denied my vote, but your financial crisis gets your attention. Your money won't be worth a damn without the real American Dreal!

The American Dream is as individual as any of us is. What is common to all of us is the need for an over-arching framework within which we many live. That framework includes a sense of subjective unity of spirit (not unlike that which two Americans might feel when in a foreign country) , confidence in fairness and equality before the law, and the knowledge that justice is certain. Justice is, after all, more than legal resolution. We must trust again and be trustworthy, or the future of the unique American experiment is uncertain.

I totally agree with Irene Emerson who also wrote today. The American Dream is a myth to keep us all working hard to enhance the wealth of those relatively few at the very top of the food chain.

My idea of the American Dream, as a kid growing up in rural Boise, Idaho in the 1950s, would be to grow up, get a college degree, marry, own a modest home with a yard and vegetable garden in a safe community. I'd have a job that afforded me some satisfaction and the ability to contribute to society while enjoying some world travel on occasion.

However, that has never materialized. I did get my college degree, but I've been slotted as an admin assistant my entire life and have never been able to break out of it. Marriage did not work out. I could never expect to buy a home on admin wages in California, where I live. For awhile, I had a life taking cooking, dancing, and sailing lessons, getting acupuncture to control my allergies, and traveling to other parts of the U.S. once a year to visit family members. But now, I'm a 57-yr-old woman. I just go to work and come home alone to my small, old, one-bdrm apartment. Thank goodness for rent control! I drive a 15-yr-old car. I do not have cable TV. I have no debt. I babysit on Saturdays for movie money. That's my life. It has gotten squeezed down into a narrower and narrower tunnel. I feel like I've been working long hours all my life just to line the pockets of the wealthy!

Now that they have legislated that we all have to manage our own retirement funds--making our own choices as to where to put the money, I've made terrible mistakes with my investments in trying to learn at this late date. I have never seen these funds grow and now I've lost 42.5% of my retirement portfolio as of today (on paper). I'm down to $45K. Nobody can retire on that. Yet I hang on and continue to put money in. As Yogi Berra said, "The future is not what it used to be."

Vince Wilyard is correct: The American Dream has always been materialistic and dependent upon slavery. A proper slogan for today:"Free the wage slaves..." I can't go to sleep thinking about the USA without having a nightmare, such is my A.D. Every aspiration of 90% of Americans is a delusion because there are no means for achieving. Today if you tell a child they can be anything, and to follow their bliss, you are a deceiver. No working class person is allowed anything without selling out and serving the wealthy interests. That's the bottom line.

What the "American Dream" is has changed throughout the history of this country.

At one time, it was called Manifest Destiny. Then it became "Americanism" in Teddy Roosevelt's time. Yet in that same time, lazzez faire capitalism that was based upon social Darwinism. Also in TR's time, it became impossible to ignore the downside, and changes were made.

In more current times, it means debt equals wealth, and that is where it really got completely unsustainable.

It is important to separate the economic and political philosophy from the ideology. Otherwise you allow the philosophy of freedom that the Constitiution provides as the groundwork for the American Dream to become George Carlin's definition:

"They call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it."

Economic Equality and social harmony (at least neutrality), are the real goals, and if they remain dreams, they will never be realized.

Is the American Drean hard for the young person to acheive today. Two thirds of American people according to a recent survey conducted by the National League of Cities believe that it is defeintely becoming harder to acheve the American Dream. First we must define the American Dream. According to the young people the dream includes finical stability. some say " I want wealth and I want it now, i want to drive a fine car,live in the big city, in a great condo, and be able to socialize.

Others say that the Amerixcan Dram is not that hard to obtain. Research done by Real Change News reports that we must change our lack of involvement in politics. In the last presidental in election young people turned out at the HIGHEST level in years. The Internet age, which is now makes it eaiser for your voice to be heard. Knowledge Is POWER! The American Dream is Possible according to the previous generations if we had the same DNA of working hard as our grandparents had. Many previous generations beleive that success come to those who work hard. It is great to see the price of gasoline go down but that is just another factor for those wha are trying to acheive the dream. Some may have us beleive that the American Dream is now on track, but only time will tell.

However, all one has to do is listen in to CNN,ABC, or any other newscast and they soon will realize that Ford, CITI Bank, Fannie May and Freddie Mack are few of the ones asking for bail out money. Where is all this money going from? It will eventually fall on the shoulders of young students just like me. We all know that our goverment is just not printing out money and there are not any consequences. This is not making the American Dream easier to acheive. Bill MAher, who appered on Larry King Live said " that the American Dream is not attainable for the young people of today". Many who got to college must use credit cards to pay their way. And by the way, at one time credit cards were flowing freely and debt piled up. How can the American Dream be acheived if young people are overwhelmed with an abudance of debt. The average American lives form paycheck to paycheck. The cost of housing, healthcare, food, college, and child care has grown much faser than inflation. Houing debt is 66% higher than it was for the baby boomers. Many blame corporate behavior and goverment inaction as the root cause of the loss of obtaining the American Dream. Many Americans who had driven SUV's, watched 52 inch flat screened TV's may face a smalle future of dwelleing, shruken cars, and painful credit card debt repayment.

Writer James T. Adams was to coin the term "American Dream" in 1931, which he interpeted as " that ldream of land in which life would be better,richer, and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to one's ability. " Do you think he could have ever dreamed the defintion of American Dream today in our present world. I definitely beleive that our American Dram will be harder to acheive. CNN news achor reported the=at we are in a ression and has been sine December 2007. The economy has played a major role in making me realize that the American Dream will be much harder for my generation to achieve.

The American Dream, it is the belief that every American has an equal right to freedom, equality, and opportunity. But it hasn’t always been the same dream because over time it has changed. The past is different from the present, and the future may even be more different. Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. all have made significant contributions by fighting diversity to what society sees as the American Dream.
Thomas Jefferson led an impressive political life. His contribution to the Declaration of Independence, gave early America their first sense that all men are created equal. He helped fight for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He offered to give people the right to consent to be governed. Also, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new government. He believed that it was the right of the people to choose who they wanted as ruler. If this ruler caused its citizens to suffer, they have the right to overrule this corrupt government and settle on one that fits their needs best.
He fought for a change of rights, which the officers of Britain violated when the king had them to come over and collect taxes. During a time of peace, there were standing armies without the consent of legislature. Also, the king obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers. The American people didn’t feel like as if they had any freedoms at all. They were surrounded by armies who would torch houses and kill people if they didn’t follow the king’s rule. Also, they couldn’t make their own laws. They were stuck under the king’s ruling even though he was on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. We fought for these basic freedoms that we have today and to live in a world without corruption from higher powers.
John F. Kennedy is a well, respected man who received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and served in the Navy. In 1960, he was elected president, and became the youngest man and the first Catholic elected president. In his Inaugural Address, he stated that the world is very different than when our forefathers wrote the constitution. We have the power to abolish human poverty and all forms of human life. It is scary how true this statement was by Kennedy because if the world wanted to, we could help out third world countries that need basic supplies. But we also have the power to completely destroy man since the invention of the nuclear bomb. This all came after Eisenhower dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Kennedy’s version of the American Dream was for all nations to have peace with one another and to help the poor. He wanted us to pledge our best efforts to help them. He stated, “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” These were powerful words because it brought everybody to a sense of reality that not everybody has a roof over their heads and food to put on the table. He reached out to the people from the south of our border. He planned for a new alliance with them and to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. The people need to all come together to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the greatest civil rights leaders and orators of this century and received a Ph.D. from Boston University. Influenced by Gandhi, he fought for the rights of African-Americans by leading rallies and protests. In his “I Have A Dream” speech his first line was, “I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.” He along with everybody else knew that this was the speech that was going to turn things around with racism in America. But at the time African-Americans were still not free. They were still segregated in the community and some examples are, separate bathrooms, separate drinking fountains, and having to sit in the back of the bus. They were exiles in their own land because they didn’t have the same rights and opportunities as white men and women.
He fought for equality, freedom, and opportunity for all African-Americans who were affected by racism especially in the south. He had a dream that on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and slave owners will be able to sit at the same table of brotherhood. It would be very difficult for this dream to come true because African-Americans would have to forgive the slave owners who were so cruel to them, and gave them no rights. Also, the slave owners would still have hatred for African-Americans and they would have to lose the hated they were raised with and passed down from family to family. It would have to take both sides to compromise and for that to happen, it was very unlikely.
Today the American Dream is a matter of discussion, and there are plenty of different views. The American Dream is still alive today, even though there is a different definition for what the dream stands for.
The American Dream is still alive today because people believe that it stands for capitalism and success of personal business. This is in contrast to the past because Jefferson, Kennedy, and King all fighting for the wellbeing of the entire population. Today people believe that success and happiness can only come from money. This is because today the people are trapped in a world of materialism. For example, people are judged by the clothes they wear, the car they drive, and the house they live in. People feel pressure to be accepted by their peers, so they strive to make as much money as they can. When this happens they tend to sacrifice family and culture, which consequently have lead to higher divorce rates and family security.
With the economy today it is much more difficult to start up your own business and be successful at it. It is a difficult time for everybody, buy it can possibly help out the American people in the long run. With jobs being loss, it can put more pressure to be closer knit as a family. This is important because when there hard financial times, they tend to fall on family for support and help. Maybe there will be a trend of more marriages being intact because families will look towards one another for help.
As for the future of the American Dream, nobody knows for certain what is going to happen along the lines of equality and the economy. But if there will be such a dream in the future, we need to have the power to criticize ourselves, and embrace change so that we can fit reality with our beliefs.
If we want to keep the American Dream, we need to fight for what our fathers fought for in the beginning. We need limited government, strong families, and strong communities. This can be achieved if we fight for our independence and being self reliant.
The country needs to be a strong influence among other countries again. We have lost respect from other nations be being “too involved” with international affairs such as the war in Iraq. Our country needs to fight for its good name, and want to have other nations recognize us as an ally again. For this to happen, the public needs to elect political leaders who will reach out to its people rather than lash out.

Your title phrase was a "branding" initiative of the real estate industry with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I don't believe in any such thing. I have aspirations but they do not include purposely adopting a set of desires someone made up and imposed on me.

i disagree with 'start loving' in that i don't think the middle class is the 'engine' of american destructiveness abroad. we DO have complicity in our govt.'s crimes because we do have some measure of influence over our govt., but to say that we have ultimate responsibility is to assume that we are a democracy when we obviously are not. the only kind of democracy there is in our country is the democracy of dollars - one dollar, one vote. this kind of democracy is now stronger than the traditional one man, one vote. i think moyers has done an admirable job of trying to expose this. it is when we recognize our complicity in crimes but also our relative lack of influence in the halls of government and then act accordingly that there can be real change.

My American Dream is that soon, very soon, any American leader, and most American citizens could go to the Niger Delta, to Bolivia, to Congo without armed guard because the educated poor there saw that we were devoting, maniacally committing no longer our "liberal" crumbs but our lives and treasure to the-least-of-these our brothers and sisters on the planet.

Today, those in your video above would rightly need military guard to protect their lives, and selfishly horded treasure, in such places; as does the WTO each time it meets now.

Bill, are you, in our last time of opportunity becoming irrelevant; a nice, soothing mouth piece for the murderous myth of Middle Class American righteousness and entitlement? The Middle Class in the West IS the engine of planetary destruction and lower class oppression and exploitation. Do you have the courage to see this, and help us see it, before it is too late;if it is not too late already?

As always, the odds of realizing the American Dream all depend on who you are; although President Obama's success will do much to increase the share of the pie for groups traditionally left begging for scraps from the table, there will still be a disparity in the success enjoyed by upper-class male heterosexual WASPs when compared to ethnic and sexual minorities, women, and most especially those from lower-income neighborhoods. Unless some fundamental systemic changes are made to the manner in which funds are allocated to school systems in the lower-income parts of this country, the legal and social barriers erected to keep ethic, religious and sexual minorities as well as women at a disadvantage vis-a-vis the dominant portion of the population, as well as a lifting of the stigmas associated with having views on religion and politics that do not match that of the majority, we will continue to see disparities between not only the haves and the have nots, but also between those that have an even chance of success through hard work and those who have a less than even chance at success through their own hard work.

The playing field has always been uneven, and while Barack Obama's Presidency may do alot to reduce the highs and lows, we start out with mountains and valleys and aspire toward a fertile plain that will take centuries to achieve.

I, like many Americans, am deeply affected by the surge of hope and vision that has swept our country. It is as if armies of angels have flown over our nation lifting with them a blanket of fear and mistrust, revealing the heavens smiling down on our endeavors. The election of Barack Obama is giving even some of the most apprehensive citizens a feeling of lightness and freedom in a time when doing things the usual way has weighed us down with a yoke pulling the past, present and future debts. These debts are not only financial but ethical and emotional in a historical sense.

But these debts are now being addressed. No longer are we allowing the sins of financial corruption or racial segregation to go unspoken of in the public discourse. So the discussion of the elephants of injustice in the corner of our country is finally meeting its destiny. The people have voted passionately that the time of redemption is now. “Change” has come. But what is this change of which we speak and seek?

Perhaps, the change is the return of oversight and regulation over the many facets of balancing the economic, environmental and political systems of our nation. Maybe, it is the end of our tolerance of intolerant groups that have sought to keep control of the status quo in their hands. Or, it might be that we as a nation have decided with furious vigor to show the pessimistic and hostile citizens of the planet that representative democracy can work even if it is imperfect. Maybe, we have decided to close the chapter of the 9/11 decade while keeping the lessons that fanatical intolerance has wrought and take our first healthy collective step forward after the crippling effects of the attack.

The change is many things to many people across the globe. In many ways it is an absolution of the white guilt that has quietly lingered in the back of many minds. As with the financial debt, the segregational sins of the father are paid by the son. So, the aura of mistrust of white judgments by blacks and the fear of black judgments by whites is now being seen and spoken of with an attempt at healing, for the era of politically correctness had filled us with a fear of truthful conversations. But the change of view from this bipolar spectrum of color has come.

Through the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States, the highest office of our nation, we have declared that the time to end this quiet fear and desperation is now. We have chosen to admit that we all make decisions based on race to some degree but that we will no longer limit them to negative conclusions. We have been blessed with a man of both colors willing bridge the racial divide. He has chosen to carry the cross of white shame to the hill of black hope so that a higher power may reveal the glory of a life of many colors. Not only has the black culture been given a hero but the white culture has as well. Now both sides can release the shackles of a confining paradigm so that we all can come closer to being free at last.

The “Change” our president elect speaks of is the step forward that we each hold in our own mind as unique to us, necessary for a colorful and positive future. Our change is a personal one. It is a change of attitudes, habits and goals. We are changing the “American Dream” to the American Vision so we may all be awake to the struggles of our neighbors and help each other with a spirit of unity. We united once in a time of crisis but then divided in those passionate years.

I pray that we may change so we no longer require tragedy to embrace and unite, and that we may find joy in the fulfilling of our neighbors visions while we learn the art of compromise. Thank you America, you give us hope for change. Lady Liberty never stood so proud as now.

American Dream
The American Dream has changed over many years, however one thing that remains consistent is controversy. With media watching peoples every moves it’s hard to not find disagreements. There is controversy in religious views, music styles, sexes, fashion and much more. It’s hard to think that America can never not have controversy. I feel that since we are made up of a group if such diverse people, that controversy will never not exist. However I feel that the American Dream should not consist of controversy and that we should accept everyone. If you see someone that has crazy clothes on and hot pink hair, instead of judging and deciding what kind of person they are, get to know them or push those thoughts out of your mind. Prejudging is something that Americans need to stop in order to have a better and brighter future. This is what my American Dream would be, no controversy and no judgment.

Has anyone ever contemplated the idea / reality that our large scale manufacturing / production model is addicted to slavery in some form or another?

Take for instance the slavery that our country was founded on. Many large plantations and businesses could not function without the mass exploitation of people during the 18th & 19th centuries.

After the "Civil War" "freed" African Americans ended up becoming share croppers. Which in reality was another term for indentured servants. Again, large business thrived on such exploitation.

The railroads exploited thousands of Asians to lay tracks that opened the rest of the contintent up for commercial expansion.

But once manufacturing became the lifeblood of our economy an ever increasing number of women and children were also exploited for their hard labor. Around this same time organized labor movements were just emerging to counter such human exploitation.

Coal miners helping to fuel the manufacturing engine who wanted to organize for basic living standards and wages were crushed by companies and government to stop any such movements.

There is only a brief period in our nation's history where our country did not sustain itself through human exploitation. It starts during the Great Depression when labor movements began to gain momentum. That momentum continued on through until the 1960s. That is around the time that we began to exploit other labor markets in other countries.

The term for this new addiction to slavery is outsourcing, or offshoring. Now Mexicans and Central Americans provide American corporations with an abundant supply of cheap labors. China has become the factory for the world: a labor force subdued by a communist dictatorship. In other words, government insured slavery.

Our American dream was truly alive and well when were a self-sufficient republic. We can get there again; but it will take a change in recognition and a concerted awareness to our addiction to slavery.

I often tell people that you can't have Cadillac quality at Wal-Mart prices. I might add that you can't expect to get paid well if you are willing to pay a fair price.

Hopefully in the coming weeks people will realize that there is more to life than a credit score and stock portfolio.

Vince

“I WANT A DIVORCE”
Or, Let’s Really Divide the Red and Blue States

As must as I respect and admire Mr. Moyer and wish he was running for President, I am afraid I am not as sanguine about the future as he is. I wish we were voting in November on an entirely different subject. Forget the minor, temporary, largely illusory, shift in so-called power in one ineffectual branch of government resulting from the midterm election. Forget the McCain/Obama popularity contest when there will be a change in the name on the door of the White House. I want a “divorce” instead.

No, not from my spouse. I want a complete divorce from the scary people who insist that torture is somehow acceptable if they merely redefine the word (as if a rose by any other name would magically remove the thorns). I want a divorce from those who feel the US can attack anyone they want at any time without so much as the same proof we would insist upon in a court case for marijuana possession. I want a divorce from those who arrogantly assume there are no adverse consequences from such rash actions, let alone unintended and very expensive ones. I want a divorce from those who apparently have never read the Bill of Rights, not to mention the explicit wording of the rest of the Constitution such as its absolute prohibition against warrantless searches. I want a divorce from those monomaniacs who say that it’s okay to require a license for parading and a test to drive a car, but neither to own an armor piercing, 50 caliber, sniper rifle capable of bringing down airliners. I also want a divorce from those who claim that the only “patriots” are those who never question policies of those in charge (which of course makes George Washington a terrorist). I want a divorce from those who insist there is no limit on the President’s power (apparently Divine Right theories are back in vogue). I want a divorce from those who feel it is perfectly okay to permanently foul the water, the land and the air itself. I want a divorce from the wastrels who think it is okay to create unpayable debt and save nothing for our children or their children. I want a divorce from those “Bad Samaritans” who have no compassion for the elderly, the ill, the disenfranchised, the poor. Someday, I could be one of those myself, not to mention that is not what we were always been taught in Sunday School. I want a divorce from those zealots who shout that I must suffer their brand, and only their narrow brand of religion, in the schools, in the courthouses and the other places I must go too.

The list of irreconcilable differences goes on. The list of outrages grows daily. Worst of all, I no longer believe it is possible to change the minds of that half of the country which rigidly espouses such beliefs. We have drifted so far apart, we don’t even seem to speak the same language anymore. The words might sound familiar like “liberal” and “conservative” and “freedom” and “liberty,” but it’s obvious the definitions applied by each side are from totally different dictionaries. The meanings have become so twisted that it is impossible to communicate. For instance, I think of “liberal” as caring about your fellow humans, trying to protect the weak and disadvantaged, attempting diplomacy first, seeking justice and fairness or at least understanding, and insuring all are educated, not just your own. To the other side, “liberal” is now an unthinking curse word. Similarly, to me being “conservative” means saving for the future, preserving our infrastructure we have built, honoring our agreements, living within a budget, acting honorably. To those now in power who call themselves “Conservatives,” apparently it means the exact opposite if the budget deficit, the trade deficit, the moral deficit of officeholders, and the refusal to stop burning fossil (i.e. irreplaceable) fuels, to name a few dangerous policies, are representative of their concept of the word.

I wouldn’t mind if it was just the personal assets of the other side that got wasted, but they seem to want to use my relatives in the army, my taxes, my land, and my life to achieve their fixated objectives. Notwithstanding the 2006 midterm election (and in fact because of its narrowness), I have come to be that short of jail, involuntary servitude or civil war, there is probably no way to hold this “marriage” of states and peoples together, not voluntarily anyway, not with knowledgeable consent of the governed. Moreover, I frankly don’t want to be around such people and the leaders they worship.

They must fear me given their passage of abominations like the so-called Patriot Act and even FISA which overturn everything that once brought us together as a county. I certainly fear them and their willingness, like and abusive spouse, to use any means to accomplish the ends they happen to like.

And no, I don’t want to hear about my “just leaving the country.” It’s been my country too. I earned my Combat Infantry Badge under fire serving my country unlike some others on the other side holding high office. I paid my taxes unlike many of the campaign contributors to those currently in power. I worked hard to develop the assets enjoyed today instead of it being handed to me by inheritance or gift. Consequently, like spouses in a divorce, I believe I am entitled to share in the resulting community property. Let’s split it up.

Let’s have a property settlement. Let’s divide up the country, each to our own. I’ll even be happy to let the other side pick first. Or, we could start flipping coins. I don’t care so long as thereafter I would not be the target of terrorist attack because of our country’s hypocrisy on the Middle East. Plus, I might finally have a chance at a resulting new body politic that will seek armor for its soldiers and health care for its sick and elderly. I might finally have an opportunity to put people in charge who understand that petrochemicals should be available for irreplaceable medicines, plastics, lubricants, etc. instead of ripping it out of the ground solely to run gas hog Hummers polluting the air. I might have schools that teach the scientific method, not the myths of one specific religion out of the literally thousands of competing sects.

Yes, I would no doubt still have stupid, venal, self centered, hard hearted politicians. But, at least I would not feel, as I do now, they were a direct threat to every single thing I hold dear and important.

I would be sorry of course if my own state ended up being one of the areas with title transferred to the other side, but I will accept that. You can’t always get exactly what you want in a divorce. Besides, it’s better than ending up killing each other in a new “civil” war. And, war it is likely to be if we have with King George and those believe as he does.

I read that some fundamentalist Christian groups are currently trying to separate South Carolina from the rest of the Union. I genuinely hope they succeed in seceding. If they gain momentum on the concept, that means we might have a chance to do the same up in my neck of the woods for exactly the opposite reasons.

American Dream Project – Bill Moyers

I recently did New Jersey child support court system. Since, I wrote numerous letters to state and federal agencies, and ACLU for assistance. No one can address questions with direct answers. My ex-spouse expresses similar concerns. Bill Moyers did The Power of Myth with Joseph Campbell in the late 1980’s, I recall an Indian story about releasing your dream into the physical world and are you going to use the world for human (thou) purposes or are you going let the world use you for its (it) purpose, the difference of being a thou or it. Campbell referenced being a thou or an it as a way to view the world, a way of being viewed by the world (address questions with direct answers) our American Dream.
I completed a book, SPIRITO, 2009 release, about the gifts of personal and social service, it seems to me our culture moves further away from the very act of being alive as a human being.


Where is the american dream heading who knows for certain. i ask my self whether I should invest in a small business or move out of this country? Maybe i should then move back and get the world of promise and incentives. I have my society around me crumbling well they feel that there are ahead of game. Well when society reduces itself to do anything for paper money it is off track. I am personal sick of this artificial life.I feel we are selves as a percentage of population our not in control just wild west criminals. We need more control as a people. Possibly dramatic economic hardship will give us unity. We Deserve it. The criminals know no economic sufferage when it is addiction that they sell. The Reganism in which I cherish is gone and so will I from this land which i call home.

Campaign Finance Reform

I’d like to share an idea that could help end political corruption and restore fairness to our democracy. Recent cases of corruption illustrate how our democracy is at risk from influence peddling and the current system of campaign financing.

Think back to people like Jack Abramoff, Tom Delay and Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who got caught red-handed. We shook our heads and said shame on you, but we haven’t done much to fix the system. The problem is that our election process actually invites corruption. Our leaders are forced into year-round fundraising, just to pay for air-wave advertising and that’s not what the framers of the Constitution intended.

So, what can we do about it? Well, the cell phone could be the answer.
A 2005 FCC report says 93 percent of Americans have cell phones. According to the last census, there were over 159 million cell phone users in 2003. We know the number is higher now, so let’s round up that up to 160 Million.

If the FCC collected just 25 cents a month from every cell phone user, it would amount to 480 Million dollars per year. Since federal elections are held every two years 960 Million would be available for each election cycle.

That’s just an example. The point is the cell phone could solve the problem of political corruption by eliminating the need for political fund raising. This “pocket change” from cell phones would go into a “Lock-Box” only to be used to fund legitimate candidates for federal office. To keep costs down, only the top two candidates coming out of open primaries would qualify. Open primaries, followed by run-off elections seem to work well for cities and counties around the country.

We could then hire the two leading candidates as temporary employees until Election Day. Then the loser gets laid off, just like in corporate America

As temporary employees the candidates would be given a budget to stick to. This would help reign in out-of-control candidate spending. Out-of-control spending is one of government’s the biggest problems and it seems to start with the election process. Why not ask candidates to demonstrate their fiscal responsibility by sticking to a fixed budget? Shouldn’t fiscal responsibility be one of those important Family Values politicians are always going on about?

Now, nobody likes taxes. I certainly don’t, but funding elections with a small air wave user fee on cell phones would probably lower taxes by eliminating the special interest legislation congress keeps passing to keep big donors happy.

Of course, broadcasters could also contribute to the airwave election fund, either in dollars or in ad minutes. They could even pay their corporate taxes with ad minutes.

Wouldn’t we all be better-off if our elected representatives no longer had to seek handouts from oil companies, drug companies and other special interest groups?
Our founding fathers envisioned a democracy where candidates competed on the strength of their ideas, not on how much money they could raise.

Of course, our forefathers couldn’t have imagined the invention of modern mass media or the role it would come to play in our democracy. It’s time to update our democracy. It’s time for modern technology to better serve democracy.

An abbreviated video version of this posting can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vpAazLFJ6Y
Thank you for your time, and please, share this idea with your friends.

Sincerely,
Tom Heffernan

Abstinence (and birth control) are the solution to overpopulation. Ninety years is a long life even for our lucky ones, and women are fertile for only about 35 years maximum. So, logic dictates that a humane manageable adjustment could be implemented in something well short of a century.
So we see that population is not our hardest challenge. The attitude that excess persons must be disposed in cruel ways is the obsession of sadists and control freaks.

As for the city mouse and the country mouse there is an old hippy legend illustrating human nature. People on a human rights march through Tennessee got into a conflict. Some leaders wanted them to stay marshaled together for a show of force and for safety, especially when coming into a city where the police would become involved. Many of the egalitarian rank and file opposed this control, saying that free association and interacting with a variety of people was their primary joy in the effort. A big thunderstorm came as they approached Nashville and they massed in a crumbling barn. The issue came to a head.
The practice was that people spoke in turn to their heart's content and a consensus would formulate over time. After two hours of droning on as to the social merits of each view an old lady was seen trudging in wet as a sponge. She listened and dripped for awhile and then took the floor.

"I don't see why we can't mingle and move at our own pace in the country, then we could meet up and organize on the outskirts of town. If time was pressing none of us would be here anyway."

She had voiced the consensus.

Why don't the egoists on this blog chill out and let the rest of us seek a consensus? The one's of us who really care, I mean.

The main problem is we have built our society on steroids. We have built an artificial, non sustainable model for our world. There is not much alternative either way when it comes to billions of people.

http://dieoff.org/

Do we make gargantuan hell hole cities and pile every one in these concrete high rise monsters? Or spread the people out and use some fuel to cart em around?

Either way we are sunk.

I posted about population control to another group and one responder commented "if eating babies is right I want to be wrong."

Well, I have no answer as to how to go about pop control, but I can see we have too many people in our world for the limited resources that are available.

If the world was a perfect entity, no, the gov should not dictate pop control...but we are far from perfect.

Our future existence on this planet will demand some form of pop control, but I think nature will take care of that problem in the not so distant future.

And in the big picture, we can't fix the problem, we can only postpone the inevitable. But buying a little more time would make things much more livable in the not so distant future than the current path we are headed in.

The world is in a death spiral and politicians as well as industry are pretending this problem does not exist. We can only blame ourselves, for it is just how we have built our world over the years....too many people, living outside of natures intended balance and not an infinite supply of energy to fuel all our demands.

It would be one thing if we all reverted back to rural living, burning trees for fuel and housing and living within our comfortable means allotted to us by nature, as our ancestors did back in the day. But 7 billion people can't burn the trees!

The public just won't not go for pop control...too UN-American...goes against our religious upbringings...too controversial and all of the rest. I can hear the cries now...Communist!...Atheist!...Baby Killer....Hitler....Impeach the President!!!!

I think nature will help us humans out with that hard decision - for nature does not discriminate nor find the truth too controversial or provocative or opinionated to be true. And in the end, nature will settle the dispute of population control with even handed justice by removing excess population just as it does with all its species, ever reminding us all that nature does not bow to man...it is always man that bows to nature.

http://i280.photobucket.com/albums/kk187/fookisan/po3.jpg

Posted by: Adam Hester: I believe that the American dream has turned into a big American question mark. In my opinion, a large section of the American population bases their dream on the amount of things they can acquire. Consumerism has taken the place of what once was a simple need to be comfortable and without need. Hence the question mark. We buy and we buy; most of the time just moving ourselves further from level and lending more fuel to profiteers fire.

*********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********

Well, part of the 'dream' is still alive. After all we could all live in China or Russia and be killed for what we say here. Freedom of speech, albeit not perfect in the US of A and freedom to worship as we please costs nothing in money. And so far can't be outsourced to CHINDIA.

Thoreau said. "All good things are wild and free."

The problem with 'the dream' is America do not count their blessings with such free freedoms and only count what can be bought with dollars and comes with the Martha Stewart seal of approval.

Thoreau also wrote: "I am grateful for what I am & have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contended one can be with nothing definite - only a sense of existence."

There was not many pre-qualifiers Thoreau needed to live the dream. Just opening up his eyes in the morning was enough for him.

And one last tidbit of wisdom from Thoreau.

Thoreau once said when people invited him to dinner they put their pride in how fancy and expensive a meal they could make. Whereas he put his pride in how simple and inexpensive a meal he could make.

Where do we put our pride?

We surely don't put American pride in living within our means and sustainabilty of the dream.

But when Al Gore talks of sustainability...lets be honest, we only pay it lip service.

We talk of living in a sustainable world, yet our actions betray our true feelings. All we have to do is to look at the stock market to see what happens when growth declines even a little.

Even if a company yields stable earning, but does not grow its earnings it is looked down upon. Stability and balance is part of a sustainable footprint, yet we shun such balance.

With one breath we talk about cutting global warming and how we have to cut our dependence of fossil fuel.

Then with the next breath we demand no cut backs in our standard of living, we must spend and consume above all else...build more, build faster, build bigger.

The GDP must only go up, up and away...all the while this consumption just increases global warming and keeps depleting the fossil fuels faster and faster.

Sick...sick..sick mentality, buy more cars, build more houses and monstrosities of architecture, spend more but 'cut back' to save our dear fossil fuels. For all practical purpose we will be out of crude oil and natural gas in 2 or 3 decades and possible much sooner.

Our economy is not based on sustainable health - it is based low interest credit to encourage compulsive spending, debt and living a life of constant consumption with a 'disposable mentality' when it comes to durable goods.

All this consumption to artificially fuel our economy to make our retirement funds only go up contributes to more and more global warming and the depletion of our natural resources.

Then the governments juggle the numbers to make the inflation figures seem artificially low, so everyone's retirement portfolio will make them happy so they will continue to buy and consume more...and on it goes....IT IS ALL WE KNOW and the bill is coming due soon!

http://i280.photobucket.com/albums/kk187/fookisan/po4.jpg

Posted by: TruthandConsequences : The "American dream" has been outsourced to China and India, as we watch their standards of living rise at our expense. That's what globalization has been about, allowing corporations to do business wherever they like and trade wherever they like with no regard to civil rights, labor laws or environmental standards. We have succeeded in making corporations far more powerful than individuals or countries. And capitalism doesn't care about ethics, morals or compassion, so until the U.S. and other governments find the balls to rein them in like the trust-busting of 100 years ago, we will watch the "American dream" shrink along with our living standards. A modern definition of the "American dream" also needs to include sustainability, but poorer Americans will have a harder time adopting more climate-sustainable habits because they are more expensive, just as many poorer people have bad diets because fast food is cheaper than good food.

*********** REPLY SEPARATOR ***********

Yes, T & C, you are correct with your answer.

Global Attitudes Survey, PEW Research Center 2008 Posted by: LookInTheMirror

http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=261

Satisfaction with Economy; Country in right direction.

China:-------82%
Australia:---69%
India:-------65%
Gemany:------53%
Poland:------52%
Russia-------52%
Egypt:-------44%
Brazil:------41%
USA:---------20%

As I wrote before T & C, we have become the bitch of China.

...more than 70 per cent of the commodities sold in Wal-Mart are made in China.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-11/29/content_395728.htm

Now, we could have limped along a lot longer on our hallucination of American life but a monkey wrench got thorn into the equation. We are running out of cheap fossil fuels to keep the dream going.

And other areas are starting to show cracks in the mantle such as commodities, water, food shortages, etc. Apparently we do not wish to accept that there are limits to growth...it goes against the American dream and the Goldilocks economy they promote at CNBC.

Remember what our politicians say...the American dream is not negotiable. We will keep a tight grasp onto it no matter what...even if it kills us.

...but like all fairy tales we must be brought back to reality one day as we reach the end of the fabled story.


Figgers: ("Jasper") Lionel Caspar Figgers was a distiller of sippin' whiskey near Riverbend, N.C. (now under Lake Norman)who retired to Switzerland during "the drought." He always complained that Rockerfeller funded Prohibition to protect the oil market from alcohol. Figgers also successfully invested in hemp production in Brazil, where he is regarded as a pioneer of alternative energy. Jasper was a profligate and fickle exploiter of young women until he went to Dr. Carl Jung complaining of migraine. Complete analysis and introduction to Jung's psychological transcendentalism radically reformed his interests, and he satisfied himself by painting nudes (male and female) incessantly from 1923 to his death in 1939. Figgers Institute began as an experimental distiller in Geneva in 1933, but he never returned to the U. S. to resume his business after the 22nd Amendment superceded the 19th. He thought alcohol both a fuel and a cultural gentility, to be shared with one's intimates cost free. His estate awards grants (recently again in America) to self-made and original thinkers. Our charter and modest edifice (Stanley, N.C.) was indirectly secured by submission of a collection of poetry from our newest benefactor Martin Verkamps Eigpt IV
to a Figgers review panel. Although we own the domain name "Figgers Institute" in America we have elected not to build a website until such time as we have artistic offerings to show as stipulated in our renewable grant. You may contact co-directors Gladdie Victrola and Coley Whitesides via beretco.op@gmail.com. We are producing sculptures, puppets and installation art; and writing on political blogs (as per our grant proposal). None of us have a "higher learning" connection.
Pilots are strange birds when it comes to labor, I suppose. They carry guns and kick the tires. AAP, you still haven't listed the groups we should check into. How about marching on Inauguration Day? Is that OK with you? I hear they will have monkey cages for dissenters at the conventions. How about that?

In speaking with Bill Moyers, Andrew Bacevich covered a lot of ground. Bacevich briefly spoke on the fundamental driving force that manifests itself politically and militarily. And that is what we call consumerism which simply put is materialism. In short, being focused on the material world, our view is that the ownership and control of mater is the path to happiness. Throw hedonism into the mix as well. Our obesity rate clearly points to that.

Solutions offered to date have all failed simply because all they offer is temperance and no one wants to temper his pursuit of happiness. Most will begrudgingly concede that wealth does not buy happiness but knowing no other path they pursue it anyway.

The difficulty in getting any attention at examining this failed world view is that “practical Americans” are absolutely convinced that material reality is the bottom line. It seems obvious that what is visible is real, especially considering a baseline of time relative to our own existences. But, what is really needed is the openness to look beyond our own failed philosophy.

To understand our materialistic view of reality, we can look at it from a historical and scientific perspective. At one time, reality was considered to be composed of earth, air, water and fire. Now it is mater, energy, space and time. The source of matter-energy-space-time therefore must be something else.

Human intellect evolved to relate to these elements and therefore is not a vehicle to “understand” the source of mater-space-time-energy. Eastern thought says that this source is Consciousness. This abstraction is totally at odds with the Western notion of a physical foundation to reality and its notion of deity. This is, BTW, illogical as any deity has definition but what has definition is a part of the creation so could not be the creator.

The path to happiness is the path to freedom from these delusions and the consequent development of identity in Consciousness. Such is practically attainable. When we start to progress in this direction, we will find that the compulsion to consume simply falls away. This, in turn, can be reflected in our national and worldly politics.

The American Dream has perished. The middle class has ceased to exist. Before you disagree, please look at the rest of the argument. I wrote about it on my blog:

viewfromthemiddle.org

So many wordy statements! May I tell a story? My parents, both New England textile workers before the work went South, built their own little cape (with their own labor)after WWII on a bit of land that became a platte of almost identical little houses. They raised us together for several years, then divorced. My mother continued to raise us by working in electronics assembly or nursing homes, or kitchens. Most years the family income was $4,000-$8,000. We rented. She washed clothes and household linens by hand in the kitchen sink. We had some basic furniture that she bought "on time". There were no vacations or cultural events. She never had time to attend school meetings or events.
I loved school. Someone suggested I write to Sen. Pell to ask for help to go to college. I learned about Pell grants and applied. That grant, a school grant and a workstudy grant covered four years at my State College. It felt like unbelievable bounty!
I was assigned a project in my freshman year to answer the question "How do voting habits relate to people's experience of the American Dream?" I passed the class with a notation on my project : "This is puzzling, but I respect the effort." In nineteen years as the bright and studious daughter of working poor parents I had never heard of the expression "The American Dream" and I'm sure the paper reflected my ignorance.
Well, that was 1974. I expect a whole new crew of college freshmen (not to mention kids with no access to college or employment)are as clueless now as I was then. The American Dream has no experiential relevance to them and the larger that population becomes, the sooner the notion itself will die. Without action - even sacrifice - to even out access to education and resources for every generation, whatever "The Dream" really is will prove unsustainable.
Postulate freely. You are speaking among yourselves. Fewer and fewer people even know what you're talking about.

Sorry, one more final comment:

A strike is not a fun bomb that you throw in the room as a prank. To union members, it is the final threat of mutual assured destruction. It has serious ramifications to the union members and their families as it means, at best, loss of income and, at worst, the bringing down of the company upon which his/her livelihood depends. A strike only makes sense as leverage in collective bargaining toward a systemic changes such as better wages, benefits or work rules.

I must admit that I don't have much empathy for arm chair revolutionaries that want to throw sand in the gears of our institutions without any real idea of what institutional systemic changes they wish to bring about once they bring the machine down. I suppose that if you don't know where you are going then any road will take you there, but I ain't gonna go with you.

Finally, you should know that airline pilots are not the elite that you would paint us as. As a profession, we have not seen an increase in real wages in decades. We are pretty much unionized, flying heavy equipment operators who are very much entrenched in the Middle Class worker crisis. Anyway, as a pilot at an airline that saw an average 30 percent cut in our wage scales and no cost of living increase in more than two years, I find it amusing to be patronized as elitist by nonunion, nontrade academics. Perhaps I'm wrong and you who speak for Figgers are yourselves poverty stricken, uneducated working class folks, but somehow I doubt it.

The real power for change is in uniting and empowering common middle class working folks in ways that lead to beneficial systemic changes that in turn leads to an increase in Middle Class wealth. Certainly, even the poor will benefit if the Middle Class again expands. As I said before, the greatest increase in Middle Class wealth in the history of the world took place as a result of systemic changes to laws and institutions by policy makers who were part of the system and by union members who fought in practical ways toward those systemic changes. If you want me to take you seriously, much less join you, tell me what you hope to accomplish, otherwise you're just anarchists and rebels without a clue.

What is a "Figgers Institute"? Perhaps you should check your website because I can't seem to find it on any word search.

Perhaps your efforts will inspire some change, but I think it is unlikely. Hundreds of thousands have marched against the Iraq War with little result. On the other hand, various right wing groups have been masters at working within the process to change (and even take over) the process and to push their agenda. Examples are everywhere but the NRA and the Neocons are just a couple that stand out. For Middle Class workers to have a voice, their professional trade associations and their PACs must do the same. Given some combined efforts, average people from all walks of life. The average nurses, average teachers, average janitors, average bankers, average lawyers and yes even the average airline pilots have far more common interests with each other than they have with the one percent wealthiest in this country. They just need to realize that they are all alies in this struggle.

My last practical suggestion is that the Middle Class through such advocates essentially take over one of the two political parties. The hows of this suggestion are too complex for this forum.

In any event, I would have prefered the candor that anonimity allows. Your strange efforts to disrespect my desire for privacy (although not completely successful) will cause this to be my last post here. Perhaps that was your intent after all. Well, no matter. It was just something to do for a while between flights anyway.

Grady,

Admire your research ability, but I'm not from Alaska. Have to fly to HI today, but may have more comments to your comments later if I have time.

AAP/Tony Salmon:

You are correct about organizing (We appreciate your union work.) but you have not listed any specific organizations people should look into.
Is cabotized another word for piratized (sounds like privatized doesn't it?)?
The present civil wars among the unions are not Rove's fault, though he is a master on wedge issues, and a model for saboteurs.
We at Figgers agree (among ourselves) that power disparity exceeds even wealth disparity. People who have to charge gas and food (paying usury tribute to the privileged) are in no position to embrace the middleclass fundraising model. Flying so high you may not have realized that 75% of American households are in fiscal jeopardy.
Recently, our commentators have scolded the upper middle-class for their inaction and comfortable complacency. Coley Whitesides is preparing an essay on American sadism and hierarchy which pertains to this problem. One has to remember that high income groups do not generally follow the old physician/pilot model but report directly to their speculating employers as in the banking and investment world. No group is more toady than bankers.
You seem to be what we call a systems person, embracing adjustments of law and regulation. You attack a confusing morass that is rigged to trap like a spider web. We, rather, recommend organized direct actions such as physical non-violence, boycotts, general strikes and mild sabotage campaigns (anti-advertisements and defacement for example). You may see these things as childish or even risky, but we have to short-circuit the system in order to avoid co-optation. Haven't you ever been part of a sickout, or are Alaskans just so healthy that it is out of the question?

Second practical suggestion to fix the American Dream: Join a political action group, trade group, or special interest organization that specifically promotes middle class issues and that has the expertise to draft and lobby for specific changes to our institutions, laws and regulations to implement real changes.

Huge changes to the software (laws and regulations) and the hardware (public and private institutions) of our democracy took place after the Great Depression and World War II. Some remedies were designed to remedy the excesses in the financial sector, in corporate governance and in the farm sector, excesses that directly caused the Great Depression. Other changes were designed to counter the power imbalance between workers and huge corporations. Finally, sweeping changes after WWII, were also designed to stimulate a retooling of industry from a wartime to a peacetime economy thus promoting industrial growth and job creation.

Some of the sweeping changes that took place were a necessary reaction to the incredible economic crisis that was the Great Depression. Others were earned in blood and suffering by union organizing activities. The result of these institutional changes, however, was the largest growth in Middle Class wealth that the world has ever known.

Unfortunately, most of these positive changes to the Middle Class earned by our parents and grandparents have been slowly eroded away by the race to the bottom aspect of Globalization and by the wholesale acceptance of the myth of Free Market by the policy makers in both political parties. Unions have been shattered by outsourcing and cabotage. Corporate governance law has declined to the point where the leadership of failing companies walk away with tens and hundreds of millions of dollars, and no one is put in jail much less sued for unconscionable actions, fraud or breach of fiduciary duty. And regulation of financial markets has so disappeared that now banks and financial institutions are once again collapsing.

What is most amazing to me is the profound silliness of this fallacy that markets must somehow be completely “free” of all government regulation. By definition, there is just no such thing as a “free market.” Just at the basic level, markets cannot exist without both government defined and enforced property rights and government defined and enforced contractual rights.

Anyone who thinks that they actually have an inherent right to “own” something just hasn’t thought that much about the fairly recent inventions that are the concepts of “property rights“ and the “contract“. Property rights by definition mean a bundle of rights which allow one some abilities to use of personal or real property and to exclude others from use. Contractual rights are the legally binding rights and responsibilities regarding promises to provide goods or services. The legal existence of contracts and property are defined by government at law and enforced at law by governmental institutions such as the courts. Without government there are no contracts and there are no property rights. Without contracts and property rights there is no “market” because we basically go back to the strongest person or group owning everything by force of arms. I take what I can by force and I keep what promises I can be forced to keep by someone stronger than me.

In other words, without governmental control of the market, there is no market and there is no capitalism. One institution cannot exist without the other. What we are seeing now with the rise of the so-called “free market” system of Globalization is the collapse of real working capitalist markets. Put quite simply, a market without government involvement is like baseball without rules, without a regulation baseball diamond, without umpires and without a rule making body, it’s basically dodge ball with a very hard ball being thrown at you.

Much more could be said about this, but if the fallacy of the “free market” were actually true then how on earth can one explain the incredible growth of China, perhaps the most advantageously regulated economy on the planet right now? Indeed, how does one even explain the tremendous national and middle class growth of America during the years of increased government oversight as a result of the New Deal? Corporations are nothing more than legal fictions, useful institutions created by law by “we the people” and born into reality to serve our bidding. The idea that we create this monster and then must set it free to destroy us is simply ridiculous.

And now back to my suggestion. Because of the continuing collapse of unions and with them the methods and means of organizing workers, workers need something to take their place. I believe that we need workers to join and support political action groups and lobbying organizations that promote corporate governance law and programs that benefit workers in obtaining a greater share of the productivity of the labors. Such organizations should not pit one working group in one country against another, but instead should work on a globalized scale to level the playing field so that corporations cannot continue to externalize the cost of environmental destruction and unfair or unsafe labor practices to the workers in other countries.

Many such organizations are out there and more need to be formed, but basically we average Americans need to quit letting the Carl Roves out there stop pitting us against each other with hot button issues (abortion, flag burning, the gay menace, race baiting, etc.) that never actually change and have little actual effect on our daily life, and we need to start supporting and voting for our own economic best interests. If anyone on this blog is not the CEO of a major multinational company and thinks that he/she is rich enough to be a a freemarketeer, then your dreaming.

A paper offered to Bill Moyers on the Death of the American Dream 07/21/08

Our leaders meet in places not open to the citizen to decide how we will live. Is it that they do not trust us or is it they only feel contempt for us? Are the few more important then the many, do they know better then us what we need and how to live?

Is this the American dream or a Nightmare?

The rich live behind locked gates but, the poor live in public places exposed not only to inclement weather but to crime and disease. The police protect the rich, the land owner, the business man, and the government. The poor are left to defend themselves and denied the means to do so.

Is this the American dream or a Nightmare?

Corporations put the bottom line (profit) before the common citizen needs. They are betting that God is dead and scientist are wrong on two fronts, first Population and second Global Warming.

Is this the American dream or a Nightmare?

I learned that Germany has Fuel Cell Cars and convenient location to refuel them. They chose people over profit and pure water exhaust over green house gasses. Our big car makers and oil companies give us only excuses and care not one whit about us or our children facing a dying world. What happen to the attitude that America could overcome any obstacle? That is any obstacle with the exception of the Rich fleecing the poor. And we know that the Federal Government by way of the Congress makes that possible.

Is this the American dream or a Nightmare?

The men that fought for and founded this country could not have imagined: That our Government would turn against the citizen in favor of an Elite 1% Upper Class. The abolishment of the Class System was one of the main reasons for birthing our Country. That the Government would to tax the citizen and then waste the tax paying citizen’s money by giving the 1 % and even the 10% all types of Pork Belly projects, special loans, grants, favors, and best of all “subsidies”, all paying the rich to do little or often times nothing. The Founding Fathers meant for a Government of Law to be fair and equitable and to protect the rights and welfare of the Citizen. If the Citizen is not protected, how will the Law prevail, how will the Institutions of Government stand?

Is this the American dream or a Nightmare?

That the Government would further invent a tax code so evil that it is used to control not just the citizen but the citizen’s ability to innovate, to invent, to start a business, to have a choice. The citizen is oppressed by taxes, the lion’s share going to Corporations, the Military Complex, allowing monopolies with out regulation, with little or no benefit to
the citizen. Wages adjusted for inflation have not risen since the 1970’s. The citizen is expected to do more with less. Propaganda keeps the citizens thinking they make progress. The only progress the working people are making is the size of the hole of their debt is getting larger by the day.

Is this the American dream or a Nightmare?

Usury law repealed – 1980. (Regan gives free rein to the republicans to fleece America) News Media keeps quite. Where are the democrats? Haven’t you heard, they joined the Republicans… did you really think there was a difference? The Federal Government, The Federal Reserve and the States let Banks, Brokerage Houses, and all sorts of charlatan lenders set up shop to fleece America by use of interest rates? Home loans, school loans, credit card debt, and even more despicable ways were found by what use to be called “loan sharks”. The number of examples are now counted as failed banks, home foreclosures, credit cards failed to be paid off. Then there is the Federal Government using Tax Payers money to bail out Brokerage Houses, Banks, Freddy Mack and Fanny May, this list could go on for years. What do you think, was this a good move for the good of the citizen?

The citizen once had Regulation to protect the citizen. Now we have the good will of the Government which is a misnomer.
Democrats say they want to protect the people but in the same breath they say they want Free Markets. Free Markets are what has made the Wealthy 1% own more then the bottom 90%.

You can not protect the people without Regulation.

Laws, Rules, Regulations came about to stabilize and protect the Citizen. That is way the Federal Government did away with the Rules and Regulations that stabilized and protected our Banking System, so Banks and Brokerage Houses could join up and get creative with instruments of investment that would serve the Top 10%. Now we, the bottom 90% are paying the bills and bailout and the Federal Government claims they are not to blame. If Senators and Representatives are not responsible… who is?

Is this the American dream or a Nightmare?

How is it the Government loans us tax payer’s money to go to College. Shouldn’t it lower taxes so we could pay our own way?

Is this the American dream or a Nightmare?

The benefits given to the citizen after 1945 made it possible for all the veterans who chose to to be a college graduate and a home owner and those citizens built the greatest country with the highest standard of living in the world.

I might add, it took a lot of Regulations to control Banks, Corporations, Mines, Construction, and many other industries. It is a fact that Corporations and Business will not do the right thing unless there are sufficient consequences to persuade them to act in the best interest of the Citizen and the Country. If they act in their own interest, greed will take over and the Devil be Damned.

“Escape and avoidance play a much more important role in the struggle for freedom… A person escapes from or avoids aversive treatment.” Thomas Moore
“Morally wrong or ethically wrong are not so much descriptions as indications of what has aversive consequences.” Thomas Moore

But then the Government and corporations wanted the take the money back and did so by downsizing, by sending jobs offshore, by stealing pension fund, by taking benefits back, and then allowing insurance companies and pharmaceuticals, and health care institutions to gouge the citizen with sub standard care and over priced goods and products, and services. It seemed that every Contract Government and Corporations had, was invalid if it concerned the Citizen. But, if the Citizen had a contract it was made invalid by Congress passing a law….

Is this the American dream or a Nightmare?
We now come to the most despicable thing the Federal Government ever did to the Citizen. The Congress voted to resend the Bill of Rights guaranteed by the US Constitution and now we the citizen are subject to an Outlaw Government that now has the power to spy on every citizen with out that citizen being able to seek protection under the constitution and other great documents, the bill of rights, the declaration of independence, the federalist papers. How can there be an American dream when our nation of Law has become an instrument of the Wealthy, an outlaw congress no longer interested in the citizen – we the people?

Is this the American dream or a Nightmare?

Inflation devalues the dollar and halts the citizen’s ability to save and prosper. Gas, Food, Transportation of all types, shipping cost of all products, and services are higher without any added value. Loans are harder to get and more difficult to pay back.

Yet, the Government does not emit that inflation exist and so doesn’t not allow the citizen a cost of living to simply stay even. The Government also says that there is no Recession still people lose jobs, suffer foreclosures, and pay higher prices at the pump and in the grocery store. Our Government lies to us every step of the way. They hide the facts and refuse to use the same mathematics the citizen is obliged to use in their Check Books.

They want to control us with the “Propaganda of Truth” that is to say the Government lies and the citizen suffers.

How do they the Senators and Representatives do it? For the saddest reason of all – the Citizen no longer has a backbone and does not say to our government that the US has no class of citizens and the working people have a right to protection from the non-human entities like corporations and organizations who do not have mankind’s best interest in mind.

So Folks what will it be? Population! and its counterpart Immigration!
Or? Global Warming!

Population growing unrestricted and over running the earth? To the point we have no quality of life, no life at all….
Immigration unrestricted and over running our country? And letting those number of people feed the Corporation Bottom Line with easy profits at the cost of our quality of life.

We should close the borders and tell the free loaders and get rich quick schemer to go home and fix their countries and solve the problems that caused them to leave. Not bring those problems to our home and ruin our country with them. Immigration if left to the government will turn our country into a cesspool not unlike and the same as the countries they left.

Global Warming – We will fail to stop G.W. and cause the end of mankind and causing the earth to take a thousand years to recover, maybe longer.

The reason we will fail is two part. First greed. Second we have never done anything about a problem until it was too late and broke. We are reactionaries not interested in maintenance or caring about the environment. So we don’t prevent we fix but this is too big to fix after a certain point and I believe we have already reached that point.

If the cost of fixing the problem is too great to save humanity then so be it. I am just thankful that the greed of the USA, China, India and soon to be Russia will only destroy the people and not the earth. This earth is so beautiful and unique in the Universe and we human beings want to destroy it our of greed… this has to be the final Evil Act of man.

Is this the American dream or a Nightmare?

Something must be said about drugs both legal and illegal. Physical illness mostly Cancer and Heart dieses are very costly and happen over long years of body abuse. Lifetime habits are hard to change and the result is the loss of hope for a better life.

Legal drugs for mental health, are the best reflection that the American Dream is non existent. Life is so disappointing and overwhelming people seek relief in a world of denial and unreality. The drugs are not the first choice that was a generation go…alcohol.

Neither of these methods solve problems and both cause physical problems. Not to mention discrimination by the general public. It would seem the General Public is the
precursor of Big Brother… more Propaganda then reality but reality never mattered to our Federal Government after 1980….

Illegal drugs could be stopped immediately if the Government cared about the citizen. (A trillion dollars for war but not one penny to stop drugs). Lip service is offered when the News is bad enough but there are no Severe penalty for all involved, only when the drug grower/dealer/user is caused enough hurt and loses their freedom forever… this is that which would stop drugs. Nothing will work as long as the Government wants the drug trade to be prosperous.

Do we, that being the Federal Government, not tell the Afghanistan farmer that we will not destroy their crops. Would it not be less costly to pay the Afghanistan farmer a good “Subsidy” as we do our Farmers to not grow it, that being drugs?

Is this the American dream or a Nightmare?

Education is so non-existent I don’t want to talk about it.

Libraries have become about cd's, dvd's, and Internet games. The book stacks are empty and magazines sit unread on the racks. The parents that do bring children see the library as a babysitting service.

Apprentices have diapered along with manufacturing and industrial jobs sent overseas.

Only industries that have to stay like farming and mining and utilities remain. The rest “sold the farm” and left for Asia.
Is this the American dream or a Nightmare?

Finally the FBI can now break into your house, arrest you without a warrant, seize your computer, seize your property, take you away without revealing where.

It is not just privacy and spying the citizen must endure.

Is this the American dream or a Nightmare?

96% of incumbents are reelected……………

Is this the American dream or a Nightmare?

AAP: I have to read about 8 or 9 hours a day now, then get on the computer 2 or 3 at home,so I'm not going to be reading about "systemantics" or Transcendental philosophies anytime soon. I do talk in a brusque manner as a rule, maybe because of my unique stature (3'2"/55lbs.)as a "little person" and my African American heritage. I've been awarded several degrees and am disappointed in what I achieved by paying tuition. 52 is too old for law school. How about critiquing the article over on the "Novel Approach to Politics" page by my Puerto Rican/Italian spouse Gladdie? I would appreciate it and so would the other members of Figgers Institute.
If you are a woman pilot (or male), that was some exquisite fandancing you did to explain your response to Hearsay. I've flown so frequently from and to Charlotte recently you may have noticed me as a passenger. You're very clever, but do you have a social conscience? We consider this blog a good place to meet wonderful people.

AAP: I have to read about 8 or 9 hours a day now, then get on the computer 2 or 3 at home,so I'm not going to be reading about "systemantics" or Transcendental philosophies anytime soon. I do talk in a brusque manner as a rule, maybe because of my unique stature (3'2"/55lbs.)as a "little person" and my African American heritage. I've been awarded several degrees and am disappointed in what I achieved by paying tuition. 52 is too old for law school. How about critiquing the article over on the "Novel Approach to Politics" page by my Puerto Rican/Italian spouse Gladdie? I would appreciate it and so would the other members of Figgers Institute.
If you are a woman pilot (or male), that was some exquisite fandancing you did to explain your response to Hearsay. I've flown so frequently from and to Charlotte recently you may have noticed me as a passenger. You're very clever, but do you have a social conscience? We consider this blog a good place to meet wonderful people.

Ted wrote: “And sociologist Kurt Samuelson demonstrated that part of Weber was bunk. Both Catholic and Protestants used the same methods of create capitalist Europe.”

I don’t completely disagree. Perhaps nothing is the complete answer to anything so complex as why the Industrial Revolution happened in the West and no where else until much later. Perhaps changes to society wrought by the Protestant work ethic started the competition and the Catholic countries followed suit to keep from being left behind. Paul Kennedy in “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers” proposed that fierce economic and military competition between European powers may have in due course given rise to the Industrial Revolution. After all banking, that prerequisite institution to capital investment and industrialization, was first invented to finance these endless European wars. No doubt the seeds of industrialism may have even gone back even further to the post Dark Ages rediscovery of the Greek Philosophers, to the resulting rise in rationalism and to secularization of government, science and business. I tend to think that there is a little truth in all of these theoretical causes.

What’s important, however, is that the American Dream is a bi-product of the Industrial Revolution. Without the increase in worker productivity brought about by mechanization, without the union organizing effect of huge capital intensive factory and mining operations, without opportunities provided by a nearly classless society in America and perhaps even without the mechanized killing and destruction coming out of WWI and WWII, we perhaps would not have had an American Dream at all.

There’s no easy cause to point to, but if we do not try to understand the many complex causes that have promoted and sometimes fulfilled the American Dream, we certainly can’t figure out to fix it and make it possible for generations in the future. I appreciate you're trying to discredit my point about these causes. I'm just not sure what point you're trying to make.

Now that I have laid a little foundation, let me get to the my promised practical suggestion on how we here can fix the American Dream. (Yes, Grady, it may appear that there is madness in my method, but what may have seemed off message was actually aiming at something eventually).

First suggestion: If you have not done so already, go to law school and become a lawyer. Lawyers are the 21st Century equivalent to the aristocracy and the knights of the Middle Ages. Whether you like it or not, lawyers founded the country and they basically run the whole show. Trying to fix government without a graduate level technical understanding of Juris Prudence is like a witch doctor trying to perform brain surgery. Perhaps some of you are smart enough to become expert through your own studies or perhaps this proficiency can be gotten from comparable graduate level degrees, but I doubt it.

To change anything so effected by government as the American Dream you have to speak the language of the law. You have to have a strong foundation in Constitutional law, including the development of basically got a new Constitution and a new form of government with the post Civil War Amendments. You have to understand how the various court systems (yes, systems) work and how they write and rewrite law, even our sacred constitutional law, every day. You have to understand jurisdiction and venue and conflicts of law and standards of review and how the various courts and layers of government are empowered by the law, as well as a host of other complex topics that make up the software and hardware of the machine that is our government. Expertise in history, theology, philosophy, economics, sociology and business would also be a plus.

And when you’re done and you have your JD posted proudly on your wall and you have passed the Bar somewhere, you would just be beginning to have the tools to either fix things a little or to screw them up even worse, but at least you would have the tools.

P.S.

Sorry about the long posts and I admire your stamina if you actually took the time to read them. I've been flying all nighters lately and so am on a wierd schedule even at home. Too much time to waste I suppose.

Sociologist Max Weber believed that this social change may have been the catalyst that ultimately launched the Industrial Revolution starting in Protestant England and spreading to Protestant America, and that the Industrial Revolution could not have been possible without the radical shift in theology brought about by the Reformation. Weber also believed that the Protestant ideology that made moneymaking socially acceptable also became corrupted over time. The higher motivation of making money for the greater glory of God was left by the wayside and the moneymaking itself became its own reward". . . ."

And sociologist Kurt Samuelson demonstrated that part of Weber was bunk. Both Catholic and Protestants used the same methods of create capitalist Europe.

“Hearsay“: (Blacks, 6th Ed.) “A statement other than one made by the declarant while testifying at a trial or hearing, offered into evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.”

“Hearsey“: the person who offered the intelligent post below. My sincere apologies for the misspelling of your name. (And “typical pilot chauvinism” Grady? How totally ’70s, or perhaps ‘50s, of you. Besides other than my use of the generic masculine “serviceman”, how chauvinistic of you to assume that I am not female? Incident to the bankrupting effects of the free market deregulation of the airline industry and the ensuing decline of the pilot profession, women have flocked into the pilot occupation in great numbers, just in time to once again inherit a field where they can receive less pay than their male associates in professions of comparable education, skill and training).

Ms. Hearsey, I did not “disregard your observations” but instead found them very insightful, with the one correction that I took advantage of to lay a foundation for a few points that I want to make. (And yes, Grady, I’ve seen the play, and enjoyed it, but for its aesthetic merits; I don’t subscribe to the morose self absorbed absurdity of the Existentialists. For basics, I’m more inclined to the Transcendental Idealism school of philosophy. It isn’t what it appears to be so please look it up before you embarrass yourself in another lame attempt at satire by stereotype - start with Schopenhauer and then work backwards and forwards in history).

Please forgive the wonky nature of some of my posts, but I’m assuming that I my meager pearls, such as they are, are not cast before those who suffer from the unpremeditated original sin of ignorance. (Present company very much included Grady). I know that sounds a bit elitist even to me, but for good or for bad, the nation is just not run by the ignorant masses.

No, it’s not such a perfect democracy, and I would argue “thank goodness.” Certainly, with the same tools that bring us all together here, we actually now live in a world where the “perfect” democracy could be at least technologically feasible, but be careful what you wish for. Yes, it’s certainly technically possible that every citizen in America could be granted the computer access to vote in real time on every governing issue, whether that issue be local, state or national. There you have it, perfect democracy.

Now imagine all of us sitting around doing nothing but voting on computers all day. Even better, imagine all of us trying to get informed enough to cast our votes smartly on the myriad of budgetary, economic, social and security issues that face a nation this size every day, not to mention all the state and local issues. Who’s going to be minding the stores, or making the stuff to go in the stores, or buying the stuff in the stores, including the very computers that we would need to cast our endless votes from? Ultimately, only the indigent and the liesure class would have the luxery of voting, and my guess is even they would get bored after a while.

The practical reality is that we have an "elite democracy" where the third of us who actually vote elect representatives to legislate, litigate and enforce policy that is influenced (and often written) by special interest groups, lobbyists and corporations. At best, and not even that lately, our scanty electorate’s main responsibility is to provide a meaningful check on the extremes elements of our two brands. A vast army of bureaucrats, technocrats and lawyers actually perform the job of running the country. Please don’t take from this that I am complaining about the system. Although this is not “the best of all possible worlds,“ it is what we have and it actually works most of the time.

These ideas are not original to me. If anyone is interested in a painfully realistic view of our so-called democracy, how it actually works rather than how it idealistically works, then I recommend Judge Richard A. Posner’s scholarly treatise, “Law, Pragmatism and Democracy” and I will just associate myself with the basic description of our Republic that Posner lays out in his monumental book.

P.S.

Nice to be watched by you Grady’s spouse. Sorry about “enthuse” but my vocabulary is weak and I’m running out of synonyms for motivate, insight, prompt, encourage, stimulate, and provoke. Grady seems like a smart fellow, and while I enjoy the repartee, perhaps you could get him to contribute less in inspired sniping, more in substance. Post where it is published and I will read your article. As we say in the South, Namasté back atcha.

Ron Rodd: Either advocate for individual taxpayer designation of the use(s) of your contribution, or move to sunny Costa Rica and shut up.

cognitive dissonance- that's the term you 3 are seeking.

Mr. Pilot:
"enthuse" is not an acceptable or meaningful intellectual term. (Grady is my husband.I am co-director of Figgers. I am watching you AAP...) See my pending co-authored article (with Jack Martin) on "A Novel Approach to Politics" Recite the pilot's prayer 10 times as penance. Go in peace, my son.

Mr. Pilot:
"enthuse" is not an acceptable or meaningful intellectual term. (Grady is my husband.I am co-director of Figgers. I am watching you AAP...) See my pending co-authored article (with Jack Martin) on "A Novel Approach to Politics" Recite the pilot's prayer 10 times as penance. Go in peace, my son.

Deer Average AP: If you're actually writing this involved Western Civilization textbook while you're flying the plane someone should report you to the TSA. Just joking. I have to admit I'm receiving a free education from you and others on this blog. (The back lot tutors at the studio mostly liked to play cards, and if you could spell and agreed with him Senator Specter thought it adequate, so I'm catching up at 52.) Most of what you say is correct, AAP, but what is the point blowing your mighty wind on a blog where we are making strategy and calling for needed change? (You are off subject, mostly.) If that rotten potato you're eating has mold with hallucinogenic properties, that's fine, but your head is bigger than the Twin Towers. (James Joyce, now that's a model for reform! Though I know you and your motherlove worship your words.)
It was Hearsey, Tiffany Hearsey, not Hearsay!( Now there I have you, lazy one-note.) You either have not read, or cannot comprehend Sartre's "No Exit." It is the premier existentialist play of modern times, and yet is a morality play rivaling those of Medieval times.
You disregard Ms. Hearsey's observations, plowing right on with your work ethic drivel. It is plain to see that the moderation of this blog page is your little kingdom and that you are threatened by a competent female intellectual. Typical pilot chauvinism!!!!
Ms. Hearsey: Your observation as to the underlying importance of the collective consciousness to reform (rewriting, reinterpretation of folk-myth) is extremely useful to myself and my colleagues at Figgers Institute (formerly Beret Co-op). When we recently presented a live public reading of "No Exit" people stopped us to laugh at the justice in it. One senior therapist suggested the actors read the psychological theory of Carl Jung and explained how powerful the hidden side of our nature can be. She believes we all must harbor a dormant conscience, repressed by out socialization, which is impacted and bringing great pain upon what could be a joyful existence.
I would say to APP and you that one never gets grubbier or more exhausted than in the theatre, and that being an actor (oft rejected, rarely understood)requires a persistent and resilient work ethic for continuance. I am finding my job as a corporate shill much less taxing than performing, though I have a moralist's headache that is about to kill me.
I respect you both AAP and Ms. Hearsey. Nice conferring with you.

Ms. Hearsay wrote: “The ‘American dream’ is, arguably, the most quintessential terms in American pedagogy, dictating the protestant work ethic, that hard work and determination will bring prosperity and happiness.”

Actually, I believe that the concept of the “protestant work ethic” was originally based on the Protestant Reformation’s theological invention of the “individual calling”. Prior to that point in history, work in and of itself, especially work in the mercantile and trades, was considered a menial and money grubbing activity. In other words, occupations were considered necessary evils that actually took people away from God‘s light. The only occupations that brought one closer to God, other than of course that of the divinely righted aristocratic class, were those of the clergy. European conventional social and theological wisdom to that point was that through the prism of the anointed clergy, God’s light was presumably filtered to the common, lowly working folk exclusively during certain proscribed intercessionary worship activities.

The concept of the “calling” essentially newly promoted all work, if done for the greater glory of God and God’s community, as holy and in and of itself as connecting one to God. A dramatic social change took place. Hard work, even the money scheming work of merchants, was seen as almost sacramental. For the first time and place in history it became socially OK to make as much money as one’s hard work and creativity would allow.

Sociologist Max Weber believed that this social change may have been the catalyst that ultimately launched the Industrial Revolution starting in Protestant England and spreading to Protestant America, and that the Industrial Revolution could not have been possible without the radical shift in theology brought about by the Reformation. Weber also believed that the Protestant ideology that made moneymaking socially acceptable also became corrupted over time. The higher motivation of making money for the greater glory of God was left by the wayside and the moneymaking itself became its own reward.

The reason I point this out is not because I disagree with what you wrote (I actually agree with all of the comments in your post). Instead, I point out this difference because I think it is an important distinction in showing where the American Dream may have gone astray in Modernity, and also in a related matter, why the rise of extremist religious fundamentalism may actually be a misplaced aesthetic gut overreaction to the soullessness of rationalist Modernity’s rampant prurient consumerism.

Unless we can deal with the soullessness of even our Middle Class aspirations, and especially since social changes have put the unionizing organizational factors in decline, it will be difficult to inspire a collective ideological organizing enthusiasm for any new transcending systemic social changes. Fear of others and the love of God generally have been the organizing ideological factors in much of our historical social change (more than a quarter of Europe is said to have perished in the Reformation related wars and in the Inquisition). Every man (or woman) getting more for himself unfortunately just doesn’t enthuse much unity of action in our instant gratification society.

Joyce’s character, Stephen Dedalus, famously described history as a “nightmare” from which Dedalus said he was desperately trying to awaken. Well, our history of the collective waking “Dream” that is characteristically American could just as certainly also be portrayed as a nightmare for many. However, the fact that we here, each with our own high tech gadgetry and our own ready access to the internet, can freely share our views on this public forum openly criticizing the supposed pathology of our American nightmare seems to beg for a little ironic introspection on our parts, don’t cha think?

We’ve all grown up spoon fed on the national myths. Now some of us are shocked, shocked to find that our “elite” national founders’ motives were not always exclusively noble and munificent, but this discovery of some clay footing in our nation’s foundation shouldn’t be so much a cause to tear down the house as it should leave us wondering how the national structure has held up so well for so long as to allow us all the means, the motivation and most importantly, the liberty, to have a frank and critical debate about it all here in cyber land. In order to understand why our system isn’t working sometimes shouldn’t we first ask ourselves how and where it has actually worked much of the time to the practical benefit of more people than ever before in the sad enslaving history of mankind?

Let’s face it. In almost any other time in almost any other civilization, most of us here having this lively intelligent discussion would have been ignorant, half starved, sodden surfs and slaves -- meaning few or no possessions and what little discussion that takes place mostly centers around simple, raw, basic, survival issues (give me that half rotten potato you‘re eating or I‘ll kill you). So I guess what I am starting to say here is, after we have discovered and condemned all our social curses, let’s not only count our blessings but let’s see if we can analyze the system itself so as to minimize the present and future curses and to discover what systemic changes can make our mutual blessings continue to multiply.

America has lost its soul, and a nation without soul, will never find its dream.

Bill thanks again for another thought provoking show. My recent experience with a Hospital; well after paying over $4890.00 in cash for a surgical procedure I was told I could not see the surgeon for my follow up visit until I paid a balance due of $290.00
that I did not know I had I was told originally that the amount I paid was for the complete procedure. Who is watching the store? Americans are being cheated abused and violated and it seems nobody cares.
I agree that if my taxes went to help those less fortunate I would not mind but for bail outs of institutions that grossly mishandled funds and employed illegal policies the buck should stop.

The American Dream? Remember, when the middle class disappears anarchy rules. And what dream? I am considered in the top 5% of wage earners, yet I must save every month in order to pay my taxes. This is money that I could use on fixing my house, or going on a vacation(none for 10 years now) or saving money for my grand childrens education. It scares me to death that Obama wants to tax me more!! and my Calif. Governor wants to do the same. For years I have considered retiring to escape the high cost of taxes on my salary. Little of which I have to show for it. I have neighbors who are allegedly suffering from disabilities(that I cannot see) and they thrive. They fix their lawns, install new kitchens, roofs, go on vacations, have two cars and have what appear to be easy lives. I work 12 hour days, and worked harder to obtain my education by financing my college by working as a police officer. Everyday I drive home and see my neighbors working on their lawns from sunup to sundown leaving an uneasy feeling in my stomach that all my strife and effort in my life to make a better living for me was and is a joke. And my neighbors ask me: "Why don't you come over to visit" Are they blind. I am working from 7Am to 7 and 8 PM daily.

Don't get me wrong, If my taxes were helping the poor young mother obtain a car highlighted in Bill Moyers lastest program on corporate american targeting the poor to get rich I would be thrilled. I would receive the direct knowledge that my taxes were helping someone directly. But their is an imbalance here. I see too many people in my middle class neighborhood on disability and they seem fine Physically and psychologically and emotionally. Is this a failure of Calif. institutions of finding cheats among us. Apparently, it is easy to do so given what I see around me. Seems the American dream that hard work is the road to salvation is gone(the old Protestant Ethic). At least for some of us.

I want to help, but our institutions are failing around me. I would rather give my taxes(over 15K) directly to those who are in need. As the mother highlighted in Moyers program.

A Response to Deepening the American Dream

In Jean-Paul Sartre’s play “No Exit” three damned souls must endure confinement with each other in hell. The accursed include a deserter, a narcissist, and a sadist. Grappling with their dire situation, each character desperately tries to overcome the fact that they are cowards, that they are no longer sexually desirable, that they no longer exercise control over others. Each character searches, and fails, to find their self-worth determined not by their own actions and beliefs, by the beliefs and judgments of their fellow sinners. The play ultimately reveals that hell is not laden with medieval torture devices and fire and brimstone. Hell is, in fact, other people. The three characters take part in a tormented dance, each in their own right, searching for validation and decisiveness in the other.

Much like the characters in Sartre’s play, Americans are also entranced in this dance. We are plagued by the same self-debasing convictions. This self-debasement, though, is reinforced not in the confines of hell among sinners, but within a rich and complex outer world. Our society promulgates and promotes a cultural archetype that defines the value of every man, woman and child. This archetype reinforces the ideal that prosperity and success are attained through hard work and determination. As a society, we look to this archetype for validation. This archetype is manifested into the cultural ideological phrase, the “American Dream.”

The “American dream” is, arguably, the most quintessential terms in American pedagogy, dictating the protestant work ethic, that hard work and determination will bring prosperity and happiness. Yet, the term excludes many institutional and socio -economic barriers. For instance, the lack of political representation for the working class and poor, people of color and women; in addition, these marginalized and often oppressed masses are excluded from cultural and societal dialogues, misrepresented or under represented in the main stream media, are bound by an economic system that sustains poverty, and reside in a society that promotes patriarchy. Yet, according to the “American Dream” dogma, the poor and the marginalized are indolent and deficient. This societal invalidation is a powerful force because it creates a culture of despair and demoralization which ultimately lead to complicity and resignation.


We must shatter our cultural illusions and assert and claim a collective consciousness that transcends hopelessness and complicity. To begin that journey, we must destroy our cultural effigy and rip up the pages of our dogmas. It is equally vital that we tear our selves away from our repetitive, destructive dance and transform that energy and momentum into a culture and society that reflects, promotes, and protects, the experiences, the dignities and ultimately, the rights and freedoms, of our multilayered and multifaceted society.

Collateral damager: I have this suggestion. Read the work of Charles Beard and learn what an elitist flawed instrument the U.S. Constitution has always been. You call yourself a practical and principled social engineer, yet you cannot see that the sacredness of great wealth is the main obstacle to our success. "And if them bundled mortgages don't float, Mama gonna get you a 10 year note..." Do you really still sleep with your mantoys in the bed, Rightpalmpilot?

Mr. Howard,

The tone of your last entry seems a little petulant. I’ve got no time for assuaging hurt feelings or for cyber tiffs. You accuse me of being “afraid”, I guess supposing that this will get my “former serviceman dishwasher airline pilot light” ire up. I will freely admit that I have been afraid for my life many more times than I care to relate here. But you know fear is a prudent thing, especially for a pilot, as long as it is prudence that also drives that pilot’s actions. Prudence is also an important part of pragmatism.

You seem to equate being a “pragmatist” with being an immoralist, and perhaps pure pragmatism without an underlying ideology is at least amoral. However, I’m not saying that I’m against ideology. I’m saying that I’m not an “idealist”, meaning that I don’t think that it is useful to let blind ideology govern our immediate actions any more than a pilot should let panic be his first reaction to a wing fire or to bad weather. Pragmatism in this sense means that one realizes that everything, for good or for bad, works as a process, a system, and for anything to change for the good, one must understand and work to alter the process to produce something good, or at least to produce more good with less of the unintended bad. And always keep in mind that even the normative qualities of “good” and “bad” are not the same thing to every ideology of everyone concerned.

Although far from perfect, especially at the beginning, the premier blueprint of the most egalitarian system of government ever known to man, the Constitution, is itself only tangentially idealistic. To the contrary, the Constitution is almost completely about a process of a governing which has as an underlying ideology an aim toward preventing tyranny and promoting individual liberty. What I am saying here is that the Constitutional system of checks and balances, power sharing and the due process protections of individual rights are essentially a pragmatic processes. From the moral perspective, it is the ultimate example of the god in the machine.

Now from my experience and from my own education, I am perfectly willing to build on this premise to explain to you how I think that we can pragmatically change things in order to repair the American Dream. I am also interested in what you and others propose. However, given your stated proclivity to stage guerilla attacks on others’ ideas rather than presenting something useful of your own, I fear we shan’t have a meaningful discussion unless we get over ourselves. What do you say we call truce to the personal zingers and talk about real things?

For any hope of an American Dream, there has to be handling of the overpopulation issue and a full and complete restoration of the Bill of Rights. Those who advocated and allowed torture need to be tried in a Nuremberg-like trial series. They need to be impeached and removed from the offices of responsibility that they held from the presidency on down.

OVERPOPULATION is a big problem that must be addressed seriously and immediately for there to be any hope for the American Dream for anyone. Even your shows fail to address this urgent social issue sufficiently. I would definitely like to see you cover this issue at great length.

We have to have a populace that cares about others and about fairness--not allowing torture and other harm to come to others -- and a populace that will see to it that we tread the slow path back to restoring the Bill of Rights.

We need better politicians who stand for something. Ralph Nader and others just like him need to be voted to be in charge in the presidency and in the Congress for decades and decades for there to be any hope for full restoration of the hope there once was for this to be a fair country for all. When you have a society where people don't mind admitting they don't read, you don't have much hope of any American Dream.

Let's face it: you cannot even have a competent, well run dictatorship with such willful ignorance running amok. So one hopes the nonreaders and nonthinkers are more of a minority than they seem to be in my area and that more people will fight for fairness for all. The Bill of Rights really comes down to an effort to provide fairness for all.

Part of fairness is that all people are valuable and children are not more valuable than the elderly or other adults. Too many lazy parents are foisting their untended, unsocialized children off on society. These children need to be guided and to be protected from these parents and the general public needs to be protected too. Too many in the public and in the media claim an accident or death is only noteworthy if children are injured. This ageism must be taken seriously and not tolerated just as other discrimination is not tolerated.

The discrimination of allowing criminal juveniles to be unnamed has to stop. They must be named if other people criminally accused are named.

All privatization must be stopped and reversed and those responsible for it need to be put on trial for malfeasance of duty as it is in my opinion complete malfeasance and completely at odds with the founders' intent in my opinion.

Well, right there's my email address and you can't even send me a note of acknowledgement. I serve no spam and send no links, but you're afraid.
Never on this blog have I seen substantive simple workable proposals to make our world fairer or more efficient. The closest thing has been the brainwashed free traders who expect Adam Smith to solve it all, and even they are usually debt-ridden business students hoping to hop on the wealth bus. You, former serviceman dishwasher pilot light will have to go first in revealing your master key, because all I can say is I love being outdoors on the trail with all kinds of people, wishing they had health care (not the system we suffer now), decent housing and meaningful work, fair wages and constructive hobbies. Habitat would have been a good experience for me except for religious biases, and Community Exchange (Time Dollars) would have been good if not for institutional and business parasites, and the river keeper would have been a good woman if her husband had not been a developer of waterfront property...... the list goes on. I know pragmatism better than you ever will because I worked with Arlen Specter (the king of sellouts) for 20 years on and off and never saw one good thing come of it. Excuse me while I go water my tomato and pepper patch to refresh my spirit- looks like that thundershower passed over.

Mr. Howard,

Putting aside the personal missiles aimed in my direction as well as some of the Hollywood conspiracy theories, now you’ve actually said somefewthings substantive. Bravo!!

Unfortunately, you assume a bit too much and apparently know too little about the “average airline pilot“ to make your conjectures about my occupation as persuasive as they are just plane off-putting to a whole class of your readers. Work, be it a profession or a trade or just washing dishes, is not something you should criticize if you want to be taken seriously as defending the lowly working classes and wanting to mend the “American Dream.” I’ve had all of these types of work in my life and my supposed airline pilot “ego” is not above admiration for any type of honorable honest labor, even that of recalcitrant financial advisors. Workers, even flying heavy equipment operators, are not the enemies in this class war.

I’m not an idealist so you must forgive me for poking a little fun at your romantic enthusiasm. My experience as a former serviceman leads me to distrust idealists as those who often get other people hurt or killed. I instead subscribe to pragmatic, systemic change. Please don’t tell me what you believe in. I’m more impressed with what you are going to do to the process to make it better. Have you researched your proposals and thought of all the unintended consequences? Are they so outlandish that no one will even listen to them? Are you willing to compromise?

I’ve studied this topic quite a bit throughout my life, and I have actually worked in the field to implement small changes with real people in real life. I say this only to give some background to support my assertion that high minded hyperbole doesn’t change anything.

I can see that you are a good writer and that you are passionate in your beliefs. So now that we are starting to talk like grownups here, tell me what systemic changes you advocate in order to carry out some of your less lofty goals. You show me yours and I’ll show you mine.

P.S.

I laud you for your openness in giving your name and your email address, but I have no desire to jam up my email or my phone line with either the serious folks or the unfortunate nuts who might try to reach me, so I must decline to do the same. I do promise, however, that here on this blog I will try to talk to you like you were standing right here next to me rather than callously or outrageiously as someone hiding behind the anonymity of the ethernet.

In case anyone cares I usually write these posts between discussions with workmates and strangers in airports, or at the Figger's Institute office in Stanley, N.C. while visiting former Beret Co-op members. My speech can be as direct and critical as my issues are urgent. If you can't take the rhetoric, you probably can't face the issues. I am not hiding anything. I am Grady Lee Howard, a 52 year old former actor and political aide, who lives in Dallas, N.C. and mostly travels for a living. The Moyers blog is more real and important to me than anything except my wife and friends. "Gadfly Leap Howard" is a new nickname they've given me at "Sacks of Gold."

Honourable Shorter-than-average- fuse(elage): Thanks for taking my post seriously and realizing I have made a valuable contribution to waking people up.
You present yourself as a pilot (a highly paid and responsible career) but I wonder if it may be only your aspiration. Do your daughters (&sons) and granddaughters (& grandsons)deserve to be airline pilots too (or to be addressed as "el capitan") owing to your achievement? Or would you rather let people succeed or fail on their own merits and efforts within a community with equal opportunity and a real safety net? I don't understand your POV beyond the assumption that your consumer goals are threatened by my critique. Can you go without a Prius or a big vacation a year if it would help out 20 lower income families in gaining access to education or energy production?
Yes, I like words, and I work as a spokesperson for a dubious employer because I recently incurred a big medical debt. Yes, my Moyers writing gives vent to my frustration at having to reassure 100K bank employees each day that their employer is sound, their jobs and retirement secure, when everything I see leads me to believe these things are not so. It is like the airline pilot reassuring doomed passengers everything is OK as they plummet to a fiery death. (I wanna tell them to bail out, but I would be fired.)
As a "pilot" you know the plight of airline employees and why they need a union.
People in unions make sacrifices and pay dues. They demonstrate and take political action. My purpose on this blog is fourfold: 1.To advocate for a march on Washington, on Inauguration Day 2009, by as many informed citizens as possible no matter who wins our suspect elections. 2.To advocate for decentralized worker owned enterprise, especially in the area of energy production.
3.To recommend healthy outdoor activities, along with the necessary infrastructure, that will conserve energy and cause people to interact in a healthful way.
4.To point out the contradictions that lead me to believe 9/11 was a inside job, as indicated by other related crimes and conspiracies which deserve investigation and punishment. (I was wrong on the Hamdan sentence, but they say he will serve a life term anyway. Please look at the shoddy Amerithrax investigation carefully.)
I would think a "pilot" would be right on board with my issues. The urgency I convey is real and is based upon our collapsing environment. Huey Long once said,"All things are possible with time." We have run out of time and now must reform or die. The days of mindless consumption of slave made Chinese goods have expired.
Our plane is about to run out of turbo, Buddy. Are you looking for an alternate runway or just turning through the in flight sales catalog? I'm asking you to wake up and be a man, Average airline pilot, and stop living in an ego fantasy. beretco.op@gmail.com

Howard,

Sorry to single you out because you're not the only one here, but I guess my question is: Do you really talk like this to real people in real life? If so, I applaud your acquaintances for their obvious tolerances. Or is this sort of vitriolic venting reserved only for the safe anonymity of the blog world? Do you seriously see these diatribes as enlightening to your readers? Do you sense that it is in anyway helpful to the world‘s problems? Or instead, does this fulfill a self gratifying need, some sort of demagogic cyber catharsis, damning the whole world while sitting alone in your room with only your computer to see that your spleen is exposed and is dripping with slimy innuendos.

I guess that I appreciate Mr. Moyer’s attempts to get to the source of issues, including the Future of the American Dream. I’m not hopeful that this will save us, but it is a beginning, and perhaps such attempts at illumination of the truth have their own reward. I believe that our best institutions, like the Constitution and its governmental creations, are flexible contraptions that can either save us or enslave us, if we only are willing to make the proper adjustments when they are required.

It’s childish to believe that just because something is not perfect, it must be forever wrong. Nothing is perfect, only correctable for a time until it needs another correction for the unforeseen and unintended consequences that always come with the new circumstances generated by an ever changing world. I’m particularly interested in the opinions of people with something to actually say, but I find watching socio-political masturbation at the internet board masquerade just a little tiresome. Of course, you could say that I don’t have to read it if I don’t want to but that is an immature justification to excuse what can only be poor home training.

These essays of "New Yorker" self-satisfaction repel those of us outside the bubble. The dream Prius in the driveway and daddy's 1959 lunch pail are irrelevant now, for the deeper the crap of the American Dream the deeper the crap of the American Nightmare. Consumerism is death, and reminiscence is denial. (How I resent you comfortable parasites flinging your platitudes at workers. Most of you and your children will soon share a deprived circumstance if you do not wake up soon.)
Ron Suskind in "Way of the World" has documented how President Bush ordered George Tenant to undertake the fabrication of a letter between Iraqi leaders to mislead government officials and the public in the run-up to invading Iraq. An administration that would pervert our intelligence agencies for private gain would also order anthrax mailings (Maybe Bruce Ivins was innocent; maybe he was under orders from above; maybe he didn't act alone. We'll never know...) and allow the 9/11 attacks for the same purposes. You appraise the new I-phone, a cruise to Alaska, the trendy leather purse, but you are trash (detritus to human welfare) if you cannot help overcome the outlaw government our greedy lifestyle has created. You send a driver to jail for life (Hamdan) in a show trial to celebrate American power, but all is hubris as that power evaporates. The next time the military-Congressional-Corporate-
Industrial Complex steps on the gas maybe the "service engine soon" light will come on and China will do a highway drive-by on our ass. Hard time are coming, Moyeristas.

I think that in America we have embraced two forms of “the American Dream“ and both dreams are important to the elements of the collective psychology and mythology of how we have defined ourselves as a culture and a civilization. The first collective Dream Americans share is Abraham Lincoln’s and Martin Luther King’s vision of a society where an individual American, regardless of wealth or ethnicity, is only limited in his or her best ambitions by the measure of that person’s work ethic and personal talents. This version of the American Dream perhaps has it’s first roots in the Protestant work ethic and the Protestant concept of a personal “calling”, but it has been the light in the darkness of a world filled with ethnic and class bigotry and that light has lead generations of industrious immigrants to our shores, immigrants who were not just fleeing oppression, but seeking the freedom to build and create something for themselves and their families and for society as a whole.

The other version of the American Dream was realized by my parents generation. My father and mother were raised on farms in the Midwest. My father left that farm to fight in World War II, and when he returned he married my mother, a woman who lost her first husband to that terrible war. However, unlike the returning veterans after World War I who found only the collapse of the farm sector and the corruption sown seeds of the Great Depression, my father returned to the New Deal, Farm Reform, the GI Bill, the Marshall Plan and numerous institutional reforms in bank and corporate governance policy. These post Depression programs and policies created a fair playing field environment that generated jobs and housing and new industries that in turn allowed the greatest growth in middle class wealth that the world has ever known, and unfortunately, perhaps ever will know. My parents were always amazed and proud that through their own education and hard work, they made enough money as a fairly young couple to raise a large family, own their own home and instill in their children the belief that in America, anything is possible.

These two versions of the American Dream, one fulfilling each American’s best individual aspirations and other fulfilling the aspirations of an entire class of working Americans, are not separate but instead are intertwined into our entire collective image of who we are as a country. Sadly, both versions have been corrupted and even pitted against each other.

The worship of and scheming for individual wealth and fame without regard for personal integrity or social responsibility has replaced the conscientious self actualizing ambitions of Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. The industry self generating productivity of the American Middle Class of the New Deal and the GI Bill has been outsourced to places were the destruction of the environment and the sweat shop enslavement of workers are simply seen as costs to be easily externalized to that country and its people just so that we Americans can have a cheaper can of Coke or better bangs and whistles for the latest electronic entertainment gadget. The spoiling of this part of the Dream is slowly catching up to us, however. Henry Ford wanted his workers to be able to afford to buy his cars. In our current society where quality manufacturing jobs no longer exist, we have become just the credit card generation, individually and collectively in hock to our eyeballs and slowly financing away our futures, all just for those modern high fat and reality show versions of bread and circuses.

Unfortunately, given our lack of both the organizational means (unions are a dying institution) and the strong inspiration to change things, I don’t see much hope for the American Dream anymore. I think that the Dream appears dead and we just have been avoiding the smell of it’s rotting corpse while we just get on with the daily business of living out each of our own individual lives. I hope that I am wrong in this. I hope that something will inspire us to want to get back to these old values. On the other hand, each day I see that while our own little Rome burns, all our numerous 24 hour news media wants to focus on is the chariot between the two candidates instead of asking them what they will do to put out the fire.

Sex, Lies, and the Internet: The Downfall of a Banker, the real American Dream

By Andrew Ross Sorkin The New York Times | 05 Aug 2008

http://www.cnbc.com/id/26031533

Excerpt, "It may seem to be a paradox that Mr. Rattner is out of a job, because on Wall Street, the stereotype is that everyone is having an extramarital affair, wining and dining at fancy hotels on the company’s tab.

When Tom Hudson, the founder of Pirate Capital, was famously fired from Goldman Sachs in 1999 for a dalliance with a 24-year-old trading assistant (whom he would marry and later divorce), he sued the firm, contending in his complaint that he “believed that numerous high-ranking Goldman Sachs partners and employees had engaged in extramarital sexual relations with other Goldman Sachs employees and that such relationships, widely known at the firm, had not hindered the careers of such partners and employees.” The case was thrown out."

One day we will all wake up and each to himself will mumble:

"The white supremacists were right all along."

Gadfly-Leap Howard: You'll need a lot of carp in order to fix the catastrophe being made out of this country thanks to the government. A lot of carp.

Justin Roth: We here at Subway think your idea to market our delicious bread varieties separate from our sandwiches and in much larger loafs is a great one. We cannot compensate you except with a daily puffy coat made from your choice of breads each cold day this winter. We hope to see you each morning at the Staten Island shop. We'd also like to videotape you eating your way out each afternoon when you return home. Here's wishing you oil and vinegar aplenty as you pursue your mission to impersonate a tasty Barack Obama sub in the elections.
Won't the Whitehouse look radical when you squirt out all your mustard graffiti.
I hear tiny carp can remove dead CIA skin from even your most delicate private parts. Loaves and fishes, my man!

The CIA has a secret program where they take a person and put them into a lifelike bodysuit of synthetic skin. The whole suit looks very real, but the fact is that the government is using this method to rip families apart, torture, and spy on people without a warrant. I know this because the CIA tried to recruit me and has been trying for the past few years. First they paint a jellylike substance onto the body then they add layers of synthetic material over the body and heat seal it onto them. Then, they paint it and add hair and texture to the synthetic skin and the whole thing looks very life like. Just think of this election year's political buzzword "change" and also look at Barack Obama's appearance on Saturday Night Live at
http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/politics/video/play.shtml?mea=229116
My family and I are victims of this program and I haven't seen them in several years. Instead, government agents have been contracting with the CIA and using the bodysuit method I described earlier to steal my family's identities.
This is a very serious domestic issue that is not being explored at all by the media. If you go and ask the CIA or the Justice Department specifically about this program, I wonder what they would say.
Again, this is a U.S. government program being used to rip families apart and spy on and torture American citizens. This is extremely serious. Thank you for listening.

Wake up! Stop the dreaming America; dreaming has been our one real problem, while being mentally enslaved as people. 81% of the country believe we are going in the wrong direction but WE keep going anyway. WE deserve it!?

On July 11, you spoke to people about “The American Dream” and their ideals of what it is. The conflicting view of what The American Dream is to people certainly is interesting to me. Truly, we stand united as a people; as one solid and dignified country, however, we all share a different view of what The American Dream is. As you’ve stated, Mr. Moyers, it is what brings us together – a belief in something that we should hope for, or something that America should stand for.
You asked us to share what our personal American Dream would be – and it brought up some very interesting thoughts to my head. I think if you would have asked this question to me when I was ten years old, I probably would have told you every American’s dream is to be rich and famous. Now that I’ve grown older and wiser – and as this great country of ours fights a war – perhaps the views have changed significantly on WHAT the American Dream is.
Some of us watch our televisions, viewing the local news, and are devastated each night to learn of the deaths from war, natural disaster, murder, or suicide. It seems there is no good news anymore. Perhaps in today’s world we shouldn’t be focused on an ECONOMIC view of The American Dream, as we should be on a truly focused view on bringing peace and harmony to this world. As I spoke in my first paragraph – we are a nation, solid and dignified; therefore, we should be a people, who stand together and live without fear of our neighbors.
So, my American Dream is no longer the dream I had when I was ten years old, which was to be rich and famous, but to be safe and to live in peace.

My American Dream: Public Hangings.

Letter to the Editor in Response to, “Deepening the American Dream”

At a glance I was taken in by the headline, “Deepening the American Dream.” I thought to myself, “ha, that’s funny because the American Dream is merely a thing of the past.” I previously thought the concept of the American Dream was about getting married, starting a family, and having a house, preferably with a white picket fence. Happiness and financial matters are of no concern because their amounts are always plentiful. After watching the clip on Deepening the American Dream I realized that I could not be more wrong. The American Dream is beyond a household and delves into businesses and economies. It is the common denominator that needs to be held by all. The people interviewed in the clip mentioned the American Dream being anything from the ideal for the world, social and/or personal change, a myth, to what is shared by all that holds the human race together. The interviewee’s felt that to improve and reinstate the American Dream we need to be transgenerational and encompass the past with our present and future. We need to have the courage to criticize ourselves and embrace change in order to make our ideals our realities. They discussed American’s needing to evaluate what being an American means. We need to be brave enough to elect leaders that will reach out instead of lash out, and rebuild our country on what is ethically correct. American’s need to share a conscience and respect when others are different, while we tear down walls instead of erecting them. My favorite line was when someone mentioned that we need to fight and demand what we want from our leaders. In the past few years I have reluctantly joined the adult world where living is an irritating expense and politics are sickening. We live in a free country yet we are tightly bound by the shackles of our financial situations. The American Dream was affordable when it was feasible. I have never been more scared for a future while we are being told our debt is out of control and our resources are reaching a low. The shallowed pockets of Americans are being made up in the deepening of pockets of the leaders we should be demanding excellence from. I do not feel that as an American I should have to demand anything from the elected officials of this country, but I expect mine and my peers best interest to always be the priority. The American Dream was lost when the line between the rich and the poor reached an infinite length, and when ego trips and power struggles became more important than economic stability and American lifestyle.

How many Moyeristas agree with me that if Bill fails again to directly address pertinent issues (and continues interviewing cronies and shilling books) this Friday August 1st that he will have been a hostage to elite power 192 days.
At least he is not being physically tortured as far as we know. "Every man has his breaking point," says Senator McCain (who is truly broken, a docile pony for lobbyists). ....as Merry Barry, the Kenyan Stallion, carries Israeli lobbyists and nuclear plant purveyors over the capitalist steeplechase. What kind of nag would you be, Bill? A stable companion for some corporate gelding?
(Don't cover the whore's race, for the Bejing Olympics could be next. Holy Steroids, Batman!)
May this blog be our Olympics substitute. Don't watch!

For the American Dream to have a future the American voters will need to unite and systematically vote out almost all incumbents this fall and each national election thereafter until Congress and the Administration begin to listen to We, the People, once again. The 2 major parties need to become non-entities since they have lost any respect for our country and her Constitution. Our initial major demands of Congress must be for term limits(6-8 years max) for Congress as well as the Supreme Court, removal of the Attorney Generals office from the Presidents influence, minimum standards to even be able to run for office, monitoring of wealth accounts for all officials in the government to stop graft and lobbying, and much easier recall abilities for all officials by the voters. There are a great many other ethics and responsibility rules/laws we will need to put inplace but these I have mentioned will do for starters. We must be like good parents over our childish government and take them underhand if we are to remain these United States of America. You would think that being surrounded by the pictures and sculptures of the giants that founded and defended this once great nation the people residing in our government in DC would have attained the greatest respect for what it took to create and maintain this noble Democratic Republic but alas it has been wasted on them. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "We have a republic if we can keep it". Well folks, Can We?

Do not dream; make it happen!

Poet Ana Elsner speaks out

Ana Elsner's poem My Country 'T Is For Thee treats with the sell-out of the American Dream. It was written in 2006 and was first performed by the poet in April of 2008 in front of a large audience at San Francisco City Hall.

Ana Elsner is a poet with a global perspective and a great passion for the human condition. She has dedicated her work to encouraging critical thinking, and to raising the popularity and status of poetry in the everyday consciousness of society.


MY COUNTRY 'T IS FOR THEE


Don't write me in the margins

or skin me for my pelt of woe,

when the bitter tears start welling up

in the tortured and looted eyes of the survivors.

Do not coerce me with your flag-waving patriotism
or bed me down on the altar of your greed and your supremacist self-determination,
when your bullets start hailing down again,
and your Persuaders and your Henchmen
go to work, doling out flimsy professions of self-righteousness
in order to exorcise your secret nagging feelings of collective guilt.

Do not set a place for me
or count me in,
when you hold your banquet of regurgitated vanity and sugarcoated lies.

Many moons have come
and many messengers have gone unheeded.

And there has been a great gnashing of teeth
and a frightful outpouring of lament among your ranks
only to be suppressed and summarily dismissed
at this, your insane Festival Of Loathsome Contingencies.

Even as you boast the tax-exempt plunder,
extorted by your unjustifiable and self-serving attacks on other sovereign nations
and by your brutal military aggression against the people of these nations,

Even as you siphon off your ill-gained spoils of war,
callously paid for with the spilled blood of your own sons and daughters
and with the ruthless degradation of human life;

Even as you whitewash the crimes you have committed in the name of Democracy,

you foolishly barter away the last shred of your credibility.

You made your house a nest of vipers

and with their paralyzing venom

besmirched the very principles and hallowed ideals

you profess to represent.


"My country, 't is for thee,

Traitor to Liberty,

For thee I weep;

Land where my brothers die,

Land of forsaken pride,

From every battle site

Let Mercy ring."


© Ana Elsner

Watch a 4 minute clip of documentary film footage.

Limited Licensing: I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the Creative Commons Attribution license, granting distribution of my copyrighted work without making changes, with mandatory attribution to Ana Elsner and for non-commercial purposes only. Ana Elsner


I dream of an America where every worker receives a living wage, where all children have access to high quality child care and after-school programs, and where all Americans have health insurance.

To rekindle the American Dream we must recognize reality. We must stop policy-making by myth. The new book Connecting the Dots: Government, Community and Family outlines how our myths affect the ability of our families to meet their basic needs: earning an income, feeding and housing their families, obtaining health care and rearing their children. The myth that the private sector is good and government is suspect, if not bad, enabled us to resist the calls for government regulation during the period when the private sector was creating the subprime mortgage crisis.

Myths based on idealized Norman Rockwell family portraits, the “Having-It-All” woman working in a glamorous high-paying job and the lazy, irresponsible “Welfare Mom,” allow us to ignore the fact that during the much-touted days of the 1940s and 1950s, productivity doubled and so did the median family income. American workers are still the most productive in the world, but the increase in productivity has not been shared with the workers since the 1970s. Eighty percent of workers hold manufacturing or non-supervisory service jobs. While CEOs received million-dollar bonuses, the average worker received an increase of 35 cents an hour. In terms of buying power, in 1968 the minimum wage was almost $10 an hour, almost twice as high as it was for the 10 year period between 1997 and 2007. It was finally raised to $5.85 an hour last July, but the full increase scheduled to go into effect next July will only bring the wage to $7.25 an hour.

Most mothers work because their families need the money. Since our myths ignore the reality of why they work or that our economy would collapse if they stayed home, we do not invest in sufficient quality child care. Child care workers will change jobs for as a little as five cents extra an hour. The turn-over rate in child care centers is 30 percent a year, leaving children bewildered about why someone they cared for suddenly disappeared.

When asked what they needed to prevent juvenile crime, most of the police in one study wanted after-school programs more than they wanted additional police officers. An investment in high quality preschool programs for at risk three and four year olds would pay for itself in six years in saved tax expenditures. By 2050, it would save $315 billion a year.

Connecting the Dots details successful approaches for both local communities and the nation. We know how to prevent many of our problems, but we fail to take action partly because we base our policies on myths. For more data check http://www.connectingdots.us


The idea of exploring how myths affect our community life was partly inspired by listening the Bill Moyers programs on the Power of Myth many years ago.

I have tried to place a message on this Blog for two days.

Why has it not been posted? I received a message that it would be.

Could it possibly be censorship? I didn't expect to be censored as long as I was doing my best to raise honest questions.

For more data check www.connectingdots.us

I dream of an America where every worker receives a living wage, where all children have access to high quality child care and after-school programs, and where all Americans have health insurance.

To rekindle the American Dream we must recognize reality. We must stop policy-making by myth. The new book Connecting the Dots: Government, Community and Family outlines how our myths affect the ability of our families to meet their basic needs: earning an income, feeding and housing their families, obtaining health care and rearing their children. The myth that the private sector is good and government is suspect, if not bad, enabled us to resist the calls for government regulation during the period when the private sector was creating the subprime mortgage crisis.

Myths based on idealized Norman Rockwell family portraits, the “Having-It-All” woman working in a glamorous high-paying job and the lazy, irresponsible “Welfare Mom,” allow us to ignore the fact that during the much-touted days of the 1940s and 1950s, productivity doubled and so did the median family income. American workers are still the most productive in the world, but the increase in productivity has not been shared with the workers since the 1970s. Eighty percent of workers hold manufacturing or non-supervisory service jobs. While CEOs received million-dollar bonuses, the average worker received an increase of 35 cents an hour. In terms of buying power, in 1968 the minimum wage was almost $10 an hour, almost twice as high as it was for the 10 year period between 1997 and 2007. It was finally raised to $5.85 an hour last July, but the full increase scheduled to go into effect next July will only bring the wage to $7.25 an hour.

Most mothers work because their families need the money. Since our myths ignore the reality of why they work or that our economy would collapse if they stayed home, we do not invest in sufficient quality child care. Child care workers will change jobs for as a little as five cents extra an hour. The turn-over rate in child care centers is 30 percent a year, leaving children bewildered about why someone they cared for suddenly disappeared.

When asked what they needed to prevent juvenile crime, most of the police in one study wanted after-school programs more than they wanted additional police officers. An investment in high quality preschool programs for at risk three and four year olds would pay for itself in six years in saved tax expenditures. By 2050, it would save $315 billion a year.

Connecting the Dots details successful approaches for both local communities and the nation. We know how to prevent many of our problems, but we fail to take action partly because we base our policies on myths.

The idea of exploring how myths affect our community life was partly inspired by listening the Bill Moyers programs on the Power of Myth many years ago.

Bill
Will you still be a hostage for Friday's show? It will have been 185 days and counting...
Would Obama put you under the jail if you let just one drop of 9/11 Truth leak out? Will he make it (alive) to election day? Will people stand for a third sham election? (Will McCain share power with Mugabe?) Will you march with us to present redress on Inauguration Day? What will your sign or tee shirt say? Can we make everything OK without airing the dirty laundry in public? Put me something on the Archive to answer these...

OLYMPICS: fuggitabowdit!
This 2008 spectacle in China typifies and is an amplification of everything that threatens and sours human existence on this planet. It is a "paper tiger" pasted over repression, threats to privacy, wage slavery, glutted cheap goods from scarce resources, wealthy privilege, corporate hegemony, athletic exploitation and prostitution, perversion of medical science and the indoctrinary distraction diverting human attention and effort from vital issues. The Olimpiad is a moveable corporate storm, callus and destructive, the very epitome of our pending doom. Any wise Orwellian can see language inversion in a slogan which inverts reality,"Human Dream"="Human Nightmare."
Please Moyeristas, if you have even a smidgen of heart or mind remaining, I beg you to boycott and criticize the 2008 Bejing Summer Olympics!

What I saw for most of my life as the American Dream, has become the American Nightmare. Everything I learned in High Schooll civics has changed. From the way elections contribute the will of the people, to the system of checks and balances that keep our branches of government on an even keel, things have changed to the point where it is not possible to reconcile what I learned in school against the way things are today. The people of my state signed petitions and added intiatives to the state ballot. The people voted, and the sitting government didn't like the results, so they ignored them. Over the last eight years, time after time, the president didn't like our system of checks and balances, so he ignored them. The VP has decided that his office is not part of the executive branch. He doesn't have to say who he has working for him. The attorney General has refused to enforce the law at the request of the congress. Torture has become ok. The right to a speedy trial is no longer a right. And the work I spent my life learning to do, has been outsourced so that a few people can make more money. The American Dream was once something that was there for everyone. The ability of each person to rise up based on their enthusiasm and committment, has changed into a two class system where the middle class is being pushed down into the lower class, and the rich get richer. Each time I read the news, something disappoints me about the way public officials are discharging their offices. The environmental protection agency does not protect, the FDA does not administer, the Constitution lays shredded on the Whitehouse lawn. I fear our children will never know this country as we thought we did in our youths.

To far too many people, the American Dream means that you can consume whatever you like and whenever you feel like it without consequences for yourself or anybody else, especially if that "anybody else" is poor, non-white, and/or not Judeo-Christian.

'The Conditions on the ground' should be those conditions on OUR ground. America is beginning to look more like Saddams Iraq, then 'The land of the Free'.

"Human Dream" What a truly wonderful idea! Thank you!

The theme of the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics is:

"One World One Dream" Check

http://en.beijing2008.cn/

The "American" Dream is irrelevant. Our new era of skyrocketing food and oil prices, the worthless dollar, climate change and daily species extinctions means that we need a "Human Dream," where we recognize that we all as a species will survive or fail based on our ability to fundamentally change the way we live, and what our dreams are.

7/19/08 Charley James says “Is that moral?”…the answer,
“Who the hell cares? It’s legal and it’s profitable.”
That seems to be the underlying theme of ‘most everything done today and William Greider’s observations about the problems confronting America are as unsettling as they are accurate. Indeed, his interview was thought-provoking, intriguing and – most important, perhaps – nailed key issues on the head about how so-called “unfettered” capitalism is bad for the nation and, frankly, bad for capitalism.
As the segment noted, 88% of the nation believes we are on the wrong track. Why? It’s not just because of the war. It’s because of the growing disparity between the rich and the poor; it’s because of the inability of people to afford healthcare; it’s because of the visible split between the powerful and powerless; it’s because of the yawning gap between the have’s and the have not’s.
I’m just old enough to remember enormous prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s which happened despite high marginal tax rates on the wealthy and large businesses, sometimes overly-heavy handed regulation, and banks that were content to take in deposits at 2% and lend it out again at 3%. Yes, there were lobbyists and special interests rummaging around on Capitol Hill, but both ethics rules and personal morality kept members of Congress from being bought off by a couple of seats to an event or a six-figure campaign contribution.
Alright, so those times are long gone. But unless the United States can figure out a way to restore the balance between the rich and poor, those in control and those without influence, and bring a greater degree of interdependence, then the Great American Experiment will fail.
Carla D’Esposito says “I care a real lot” and “I never knew we were EXPERIMENTING, I thought we were being thoughtful and living life, maturing in truth, realizing that this was all pretty real and that if we were corrupt and immature in our actions that there were harmful ramifications to fellow Human Beings ….the experiment is not going to fail, it already has failed, it just has not whip-lashed back upon us fully yet but when it does we better have a bunch of George Baileys( of the Capra movie 'Its A Wonderful Life') out there to manage things when everyone is hysterical….We are no longer chiseling a civilization out of the wilderness any longer, any society has got to be well designed and this foundation has got to be with a Human Being having the Right to housing, not landlords and mortgages….to further this understanding everyone entering the status of ‘Sovereign Adult’ has got to sign a simple statement that they agree to be good .#1. we first need to agree that we all want to be good, #2. we all need to agree that good is good and that bad is bad, #3. we all need to agree that if bad presents itself as good that we recognize this evil and not allow this bad evil to continue, #4. that we keep a running list of 'Good Things' and simultaneously keep a running list of 'bad things' for judicial purposes. We really just need one two-part Law to live by: "Everyone work and be good." Governments are instituted amongst men to secure Rights, through a legislative process, this can be Direct Democracy, and with the military if needs be, protects Rights with the judiciary courts that should be available to the people at a 1:10 ratio, letting the people choose amongst themselves, an honest person who will not be bribed

Where is the American Dream? Swallowed up in Globalization and the infiltration of Banking Industry with Muslim Sharia Law Compliance--please read the following:

We receive many emails asking us for a list of banks participating in Sharia finance. We urge you to visit this website. It lists financial institutions here and around the world and the latest information on Sharia finance.

http://shariahfinancewatch.wordpress.com/shariah-compliant-banks/

Shariah Compliant Banks

Alpha Natural ResourcesAsset Acceptance Capital Corporation

Aviva Plc

AXA

Barclays PLC

BNP Paribas Group

Citibank, N.A.

Credit Agricole, S.A.

Deutsche Bank AG

Dow Jones & Company Inc.

Equity Insurance Group Limited

Goldman Sachs Group

HBOS plc

HSBC Holdings plc

INVESCO Perpetual

Julius Baer Group

Maersk Logistics

Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.

Morgan Stanley

NYSE Euronext

Silicon Graphics, Inc.

Singapore Power

National Security and Financial Risks: Islamists are attempting to impose Shariah Compliant Finance (SCF) on Western institutions to use our own financial strengths against us. The most serious problem with SCF is that it legitimates and institutionalizes Shariah law (i.e., Islamic law), a theo-political- legal doctrine violently opposed to Western values. With $1 -$2 trillion petrodollars annually looking for an investment home, blind exuberance is driving financial institutions to adopt SCF, without even a minimal baseline for legal compliance. This willful blindness, and lack of both transparency and due diligence may cause SCF to be the next sub-prime crisis, but this time with deadly consequences.

Legal Risks: Western financial institutions which adopt SCF may have criminal and civil exposure to claims of aiding and abetting sedition and the material support of terrorism, securities fraud, consumer fraud, racketeering, and antitrust violations, as well as exposure to tort claims for sedition and terrorism, and for the violation of internationally recognized norms of the law of nations.

Terror Financing Mechanism: SCF as monitored by paid Shariah law advisors to U.S. banking institutions must “purify” certain return on investment (ROI) dollars that do not meet Shariah law standards. This money must be donated to Islamic charities - including some that promote Jihad and support suicide bombing. Investment disclosures state that these profits can be as high as 6% of profits of investments. With $800 billion already in SCF assets, the potential for billions of dollars to be siphoned off for terrorism is real. This would be a serious criminal violation of U.S. law.

Consider this example: Shariah Mutual Funds promote themselves as “ethical funds.” To be Shariah-compliant, they donate “tainted” revenues to Shariah-compliant “charities.” A post 9-11 U.S. investor in a Shariah-compliant “ethical investment” is not told that Shariah law also requires imposing Shariah as U.S. law, execution of gays and female apartheid. Is he a victim of consumer fraud? Is this same post 9-11 investor unwittingly funding terror? The government has shut down the three largest Shariah-compliant charities in the U.S. - the Holy Land Foundation, Benevolence International Foundation, and the Global Relief Foundation - after proving they funded terrorist organizations. The American taxpayer deserves answers to these questions. The Center for Security Policy (CSP) is meeting directly with members of Congress, U.S. regulatory agencies and Wall Street financial institutions in order to ensure the enforcement of existing U.S. laws on sedition, disclosure, material support of terrorism, and money-laundering. CSP is committed to revealing the civil liability and criminal exposure of Shariah law and Shariah-compliant finance.

WHAT IS SHARIAH LAW?
Understanding Shariah law is integral to understanding the dangers of Shariah-compliant finance. Shariah law is Islamic law dating back to the 7th century and is today the law of the land in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan and the law under which the Taliban operates. Recent polls reveal that only 10-15% of Muslims worldwide want to live under this all-encompassing system of Islamic jurisprudence that covers all aspects of a Muslim’s life including religious, social, political, and military obligations. However, with a current population of 1.5 billion Muslims, this translates to a huge pool of Jihadist recruits and supporters - a base of approximately 150 - 225 million Muslims. Shariah law authorities, some of whom are now being paid handsomely by Barclays, Dow Jones, Standard & Poors, HSBC, Citibank, Merrill Lynch, Deutschebank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Credit Suisse and others have the power to dictate Shariah compliance as deemed by “scholarly consensus” on matters of finance, family, penal law, apostasy, and war. Examples of authoritarian Shariah law include: requirement of women to obtain permission from husbands for daily freedoms; beating of disobedient woman and girls; execution of homosexuals; engagement of polygamy and forced child marriages; the testimony of four male witnesses to prove rape; honor killings of those, principally women, who have dishonored the family; death to apostate Muslims who chose to leave Islam; inferior status of non-Muslims, and capital punishment for those “slander Islam.”


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


American Congress for Truth
P.O. Box 6884
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
member@americancongressfortruth.org
http://www.americancongressfortruth.org


Every day, American Congress for Truth (ACT) a 501c3 non-profit organization is on the front lines fighting for you in meeting with politicians, decision makers, speaking on college campuses and planning events to educate and inform the public about the threat of Islamofascism. To maintain and bolster our efforts, we need your continued solidarity, activism and financial support. We are only as strong as our supporters. We thank you for helping us carry on this important work.

The American Dream persists as a concept, and it resonates around the globe, because it is the Human Dream: to live free, to worship openly, to pursue your goals to the extent of your abilities, and to vote in peace according to your conscience. America has never fully realized The Dream, but we have always been on the path, making steady progress toward making it equally available to all citizens. What distinguishes the last 8 years is that Progress Toward the Dream has been willfully and cynically derailed. It's our duty as Americans to be "keepers of the progress." It's our duty to vote to put this country back on its upward trajectory. Our children are watching.

The American Dream: the country as a whole needs a cultural change which must take place on many levels.

We have to move to recognize the collective as primary and the individual as secondary. The frontier closed in the early 1900's yet we continue to act as if the wild west is still alive and well.

Social capital (health care, education, family issues), physical infrastructure (bridges, roads, railroads, airports), cultural (national parks, arts, national news organization [think BBC]), financial (social security, raising standard of living, securities regulations, tax reform, ending supply side economics, reducing multi state complexity). All need attention. There are many more that I haven't listed.

We have a long way to go but we have to start soon or we will become a 2nd class country. In some respects (health care) we already are.

Since the Media and the Corporations are working the same Agenda, we must get money out of campaigns. Voters Only Campaign Financing is the answer. It will allow only those who can vote for a candidate to donate, by prohibiting elected officials from taking money from non-electors. It cancels out the People's Vote.

The Agenda is to keep electors un-informed.

Secrecy and clever sound-bytes annul the "People's Rights". Without "Full Disclosure News" of what is happening, we will never have a government "..of the People, by the People, & for the People..."

For example, using "horizon" instead of "time-table"; you can never reach the horizon.
It is a deliberate diversion and should be exposed as such.

Go to http://www.calneva.com/voxpop/voters001.htm.
To see the "Intended Consequences" of making it a felony for representatives to RECEIVE money from non-constituents.

Bob$$$

I am a school bus driver and a biz owner. I drive a bus because of the uncertainty that is present in the airplane business. My idea of the American dream is not to wake up every morning wondering how I am going to make ends meet. Not wondering if I can feed my family this month. Not wondering how I am going to pay for college for my two children. Not wondering how to tell my kids to stay in school when Phds are flipping burgers for a living. Not wondering why our leaders have sold us out to the corporate giants with their reckless trade policies and the useless Iraq war. And lastly not crying because I will never be able to retire.

I want to say I am thankful for Bill Moyers and Lue Dobbs for caring about the Middle Class and the Working people of America.

I was also thankful for learning from William Greider about the repeal of the USURY LAW in 1980 as it explained why so much harm and torture has been reeked on the poor of America.

Ellison Hunt

Slavery in America or The American Dream 07/19/08

The top 1% of the population of the United States requires Slavery to maintain their standard of living. They have for the past 40 years been destroying the Working Class and Middle Class and we the 90% have become a third world nation. How is the possible? The top 10% serves at the beck and call of the top 1%. Ellison Hunt

Also the bottom 90% have no advocate, not the news media, not the two houses of Congress, not Lawyers, and not Employers.

Modern Totalitarianism in America works in subtle ways. It has no flag but the company logotype, and no weapons but paychecks, promotions, and the promise of happiness. Earl Shorris

The corporation or the bureaucracy... becomes a place, the cultural authority, the moral home of a man. The rules of the corporation become the rules of society. The future replaces history, and the organization becomes the family.... As the corporation separates men from each other, making a class of competing atoms, it gains control over them. Earl Shorris

When one person is induced to act for the good of another, we may ask whether the result is fair or just. Are the goods received by the two parties commensurate? When one person controls another aversively, there is no commensurate good, and positive reinforcers may also be used in such a way that the gains are far from equal. Nothing in the behavioral processes guarantees fair treatment. Thomas Moore

A dominant controlling agency or system may hold a set of practices together. A democratic culture is a social environment marked by certain governmental practices, supported by compatible ethical, religious, economic, and educational practices. A Christian, Moslem, or Buddhist culture suggest a dominant religious control, and a capitalist or socialist culture a dominant set of economic practices, each possibly associated with compatible practices or other kinds. A culture defined by a government, a religion, or an economic system does not require geographical or racial isolation. Thomas Moore
Slavery Comments & Quotes

Having reread my thoughts and feelings put down in print from time to time about the prairie and past I find no reason to remain in the misery of city life and working for employers who eat up the soul and spit out the corpse still alive but dead. Ellison Hunt

Slavery, low wages, indentured labor, prisoner / prison labor, working long hours, working in unhealthy conditions, forced to work at a job one is not able or fit to do. Is the good of the whole really worth the destruction of the individual and can a society or culture last when the individual is destroyed?
Ellison Hunt

He was suffering the anguish men suffer when they persist in undertaking a task impossible for them... not from its inherent difficulties, but from its incompatibility with their own nature. Tolstoy

Labor camps, reeducation, Freudianism, early childhood conditioning, behavioralism – all were techniques for pounding the Square Peg of human nature into the Round Hole of Social Planning. Mans Demise Our Post Human Future Francis Fukuyama

We have become “second hand” human beings. The “information age” with its data bases filled with facts on: History, Religion, Academia, every book ever written, every movie ever made, every story ever told. The internet has made it possible to destroy the privacy of every citizen and so is it any wonder that we read less, write less, paint less, dance less, travel less and watch more, eat more, spend more, and choose a life of one entertainment, one material possession, one relationship after another. Earl Shorris

We have few authors of any consequence and fewer artists, and more museums with the art of the past and libraries filled with books filled with every unoriginal thought imaginable. Earl Shorris

Can you imagine what a different world it would be if people could create with out the hindrance of copyrights, registered trademarks, patens and all the other economic road blocks which now exist? Earl Shorris

When educators lose their compassion to principle, to ambition, and to competition, soul has once more been pulverized by a misplaced desire for success. When the individuality of the person is subjugated to general principles of the whole, the soul begins to fade. Principle, futurity, and totalitarianism take over. Thomas Moore

The Road to Serfdom
Political Correctness takes liberty from the individual and gives it to the group! Friedrich Hayek

Our age is not suffering from anxiety but from the accidents, crimes, wars, and other dangerous and painful things to which people are so often exposed. Young people drop out of school, refuse to get jobs, and associate only with others of their own age not because they feel alienated but because of defective social environments in homes, schools, factories, and elsewhere. Thomas Moore

We shall not get far by inspiring a “sense of craftsmanship or pride in one’s work,” or a “sense of the dignity of labor,” or…. Walter Lippmann’s Question is – How men can save themselves from the catastrophe which threatens them. Thomas Moore

“What is now under attack,” said Maslow, “is the ‘being’ of man.”
C.S. Lewis put it quite bluntly: “Man is being abolished.”
Thomas Moore

Democracy in America Volume II 1831
In order for any society to function “it is necessary that the minds of all citizens should be rallied and held together by certain dominant ideas”.
In the US “The majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals who are thus relieved from having to form opinions of their own” Tocqueville

This is exactly why we the citizens have become slaves to the Rich, not owned but paid the minimum survival rate and told what to think.
Ellison Hunt

Escape and avoidance play a much more important role in the struggle for freedom: A person escapes from or avoids aversive treatment. Thomas Moore

Morally wrong or ethically wrong are not so much descriptions as indications of what has aversive consequences. Thomas Moore

We the citizen, the working people, have been set upon by averse treatment and have suffered the most inhuman consequences in the history of our Country. When will this change? I have for some time stated we the people will have to find a backbone and vote Congress both Senators and Representatives out of office, for their interest is in the Wealthy and Powerful. Last night on Bill Moyers Journal on PBS I heard William Greider say that he thought the people would have to think for themselves and be willing to vole out the incumbents in order to prove that they wanted fair treatment and fair representation from their Government (Paraphrased). In any case I felt he and I were in total agreement. Ellison Hunt

I would like to add the following ideas to help the common citizen realize they must depend on themselves and that certainly includes thinking for themselves, for America to survive each Citizen must once again become an individual, interested in the good of all Citizens. You won’t get this from the Wealthy or the Corporations or the Government.
The man who would lead others is evil and those who would follow are fools.
The man who would serve others is misguided and will soon fine his folly.
Since I have presumed to advise the Working Class of America I think the Wealthy deserve at lease a thought…. Ellison Hunt

This, then, is held to be the duty of the man of wealth: First, to set an example of modest, unostentatious living, shunning display or extravagance; to provide moderately for the legitimate wants of those dependent upon him; and after doing so to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds, which he is called upon to administer, and strictly bound as a matter of duty to administer in the manner which, in his judgment, is best calculated to produce the most beneficial results for the community – the man of wealth thus becoming the mere agent and trustee for his poorer brethren…. The man who dies leaving behind him millions in available wealth, which was his to administer during life, will pass away “unwept, unhonored, and unsung.” Bahauddin

Yes, Bonzo was smarter than Reagan. Thank you very much Congress; over thirty years both parties have managed to turn our Federal Government into a bunch of hit men for the new cyndicate: Banks. The mafia has nothing on the suits who receive free media, tax dollars and strong arm protection from the communists who sit in our Capitol. Get with it people: the bail out of Fannie and Freddie just made our market Socialistic: the government now runs our economy. In thirty years we lost the strongest democracy on earth due to greed from all citizens and all parties in US seats of government. What a stealth attack by Wall Street!

REALITY: BECAUSE OF DICK & BUSH, (and the idiots who actually cast a vote for these greedy jerks), our country has been hijacked fleeced and raped... The minimum wage today (compensating for inflation) is less than it was in 1950!...average wealth is where it was at the beginning of the great depression...the top 1% of the richest have seen huge earnings increases, while 80% Americans now have to work hourly jobs...We now have the highest rate of poverty level increases than any other country...Even child mortality has increased while life expectancy has gone down during dick&jr's reign!...We have unprecedented debt to foreign countries and the highest deficit ever in history...more companies have left America during this administration than ever before...43 million + Americans don't have any health insurance now...The bush company has endangered America's very infrastructure, leaving us more vulnerable to terrorists threats, financial collapse, worldwide environmental damage and the list goes on & on...Now he's trying to spin oil drilling - opening up 5.6 million acres of Alaska's coast, insuring the extinction of several endangered animals, including Right Whales (which is the only place in the world they gather and reproduce)...There's been over 4000 kids (younger than you and your friends) TO DIE IN HIS BS WAR!...and over 1 MILLION innocent Iraqi citizens are dead .....

PLEASE WATCH GREG PALASTS' DOCUENTARY ASAP...
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8187301869971500776

AND THEN JOIN THE COUNTDOWN:
http://www.backwardsbush.com/

The sham of propping up public confidence by the President, the U.S. Treasury, and the Federal Reserve will only work for so long, because the guarantees are hollow, words backed up by the "full faith and credit" of a bankrupt government. Politicians and pundits quibble and obfuscate about whether we are in a recession, but the public has no doubt that we are in a destructive period in American history--destruction of wealth, dissolution of institutions, the pain of communities torn apart. I think the Destructive Period is going to play out over the next twenty years, at least, much as the depression did in the 1930s and 1940s. Although a painful time, that period brought opportunity as well, to reshape the nation from "lessons learned." It would seem that we have forgotten the lessons of that period, and now it's time for the American people to step up and do the hard work of citizenship. Are we up to that challenge? Do we care enough about the common good to ignore self-interest for a time? I wonder.

Even as weeds grow in the streets and public infrastructure falls apart, I hope that we have the vision and fortitude to draft a new U.S. Constitution that proscribes the war powers of the President. Representative democracy has failed us, and can no longer be trusted to reflect the will of the people. Corporations and monied interests run the government, plain and simple, and that is not democracy. There was a time during the founding of America when the denigration of the public will was serious business indeed. When we learn not to go along to get along, when we learn what it means to pledge honor, wealth and life in the service of the common good, then we might make progress again.

"From time to time the Tree of Liberty must be refreshed with the blood of tyrants and patriots."

--Thomas Jefferson

My version of the American Dream is that I can once again live free of fear of the government. Since the USDA has started its campaign to microchip and track every animal in the country, imposing horrendous fines for those who fail to comply or who commit errors in their reporting, I have felt that the government is out to destroy my lifelong dream of a small horse breeding farm. Who, after all, is going to buy a horse when it subjects them to unbelievable spying and surveillance from the government with constant threat of fines and government intruders "inspecting" their premises?

Before rural people like me can live the American Dream, the government must get out of our lives, stop bullying and threatening and go back within the boundaries wisely set for it in the U.S. Constitution.

PHILLIPE SANDS ON TORTURE
On last night’s program (18 July 2008) Philippe Sands wished that America would stop torturing its prisoners by returning to the ideals of its constitution and the standards of international law. The problem is that many Americans now believe that our use of torture is justified.

Unfortunately, the only way torture will be stopped is for someone to capture Americans and do the same thing to them as we do to our prisoners; then see what happens.

My dream for the American Dream is simply this: that we adhere to the vision of our founders. Namely,

* Peace and commerce with all nations, alliance with none;
* An executive, legislative, and judicial branch that remains true to the Constitution.

Now, does that sound so hard? Memo to our elected and unelected representatives in Washington:

* You are our servants, not our leaders.
* You have strayed dramatically away from our founding principles and from the supreme law of the land.
* I would like our country back at your earliest convenience.

That is my dream of the American Dream.

Very sincerely,
David Thayer

THE AMERICAN DREAM


The basic tenet of the American dream is that you need money to realize the dream. If this is true, then the dream must consist substantially of purchasable goods and experiences. Having the money to buy whatever you want is the dream. The equation becomes simply money = dream. The sinister part of this relationship is that for most of us who are not independently wealthy working at exhaustive, stressful and repetitive jobs so complicates the process that for all practical purposes it destroys the equation. We continue to devote ourselves to making the money despite the toll that it takes on our ability to enjoy the things of this life.

Let’s take a few examples of the things that money can buy. First, a car. The fact that we are working so hard to make the money we need to afford a car to go back and forth to work in means that we will probably make the choice of car based primarily on its affordability, how little of our precious hard-earned dollars it will consume. Unless one is a miser always thinking in terms of outcomes and outlays, there doesn’t seem to be much of the joy and satisfaction one associates with the realization of a dream in this series of choices and events.

Now let’s say we have some room in our budget to add some luxury to the vehicle, some power, sportiness and comfort features for example, or to make the car more unique. These are additions that have the potential to increase our joy in having and using a car. At least temporarily, until the newness of the experience fades with familiarity and mechanical problems and we begin to long for refreshment again. Most purchasable goods have a short shelf life, and this is particularly the case in a land that is flooded with goods and encouraged on all fronts to pursue happiness through consumerism.

Now let’s consider a college education. This purchasable experience would seem to be in a completely different category from a car. But, is it? There was a time when only the wealthy could afford a college education, and that education would often reflect a yearning to explore a great variety of the world’s learning, purely for the joy of learning uncontaminated by any concerns of future employment. In those days a Liberal Arts degree was not an unending source for satire, as it has become today. Today, we get into a college education in much the same way that we approach the buying of a car, thinking much more about outcomes and outlays and “wasting” as little time as possible on the pure joy of learning and expanding our horizons.

There used to be a lot of talk about the dangers of the assembly line back in the Fifties and Sixties, how the factory approach to productivity was infecting every aspect of Modern life. Now, it seems to have actually permeated our culture to such an extent that we don’t even trouble ourselves to question it anymore; we buy our cars and our educations, using all the relevant consumer guides, and never even wonder about the role of joy and satisfaction in this equation. Thoreau, the individual educating himself on a daily basis in his solitary home in the woods, seems as foreign to us now as a medieval serf.

I think we need to remind ourselves that the experience centered on either preparing for a vague and threatening future or on avoiding painful possibilities is the opposite of pleasure, that money, for the vast majority of Americans, is a tool that fits the task of attacking or warding off obscure phantoms but hardens us against the experience of joy that is at the center of any healthy dream.

If America does not soon wake up from the American Dream, the nation will die in its sleep.

The alarm is sounding, America, and it’s time to stretch, look around, and stop sleep-walking through the ruins of a country pillaged by Greed.

Ever since the long night of Reagan presidency, when the holds to corporate plunder were unbarred, we have been savoring the sleepy notion that free people have the right to get as much as they can, however they can, without the need for laws to control what they will do to get what they want. In our Ripvanwinkel state, still dreaming that our piece of the American Pie was just there for the taking, the ants, roaches, and mice were devouring it bite-by-bite.

The American Pie has been eaten. Remaining on the plate are the moldy crumbs and a huge to price to pay – in the trillions, they say – to pick up the tab the bankers, politicians, and insurance companies have left for us. We either pay while we sleep or get up and give up the notion that Greed is Good.

In a state of American Wakefulness, we can force our government to enact laws against unbridled greed. We can refuse to pay the bill for the crumbs we’ve been left and demand that the thieves not only pay for their portions but bake new Pies. We can recognize the simple truth that, just like murder and rape, greed is an instinct that destroys life and nations. Without laws to control the behavior it breeds, there is no limit to the destructive power of Greed.

Who said we have the worst system except for all the rest? America is so much bigger than the rest of the world because it is not provincial but international setting an example to the rest of the world about freedom, individual worth, tolerance and acceptance. This makes our nation unique and great. Two easy examples. If you are from Nigeria and arrive in America, in a short time you can become and exclaim I am an American. How many years would he live in Japan, China, France before he could claim “I am Japanese I am Chinese, I am French”!! If I went into the Gaza strip and offered Hamas fighters a choice of ten thousand dollars or a Visa to the United States, How many do you really think would take the money? We are setting the stage for the united space ship earth where everyone’s interest is in everyone’s interest. That goal is the only survival manual for the world. America is the steward of that goal. No other people, no other nation has the will.

First thing is REAL CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM!! Seems like we have to take the money (profits) out of politics, then take the money(profits) out of health care.

Then write up some formal job descriptions for the President of the United States, Vice President, and all Members of Congress. Require all government employees to take an oath to tell the truth the whole truth throughout their entire service. We need honest LEADERS. Require a 100 day performance review, and make them accountable for their actions.

We should also change the way bills are introduced and voted on in congress. No attachments and favors.

We must hold the evil doers accountable for their actions and clean up our own house first.

Encourage Solar Power for all homes.

Tax incentives for home makers.

Bring back George Baily, and local savings accounts that pay at least 6% safe interest.

Think local, buy local, recycle local.

Its a start....

"Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance. "

From "Hocus Pocus" by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

The American Dream? Hmm... Some may say it is just semantics, but I question the entire concept of the very phrase itself.

The word, being the key to all things and, so inexorably fundamental to what makes us human, and thus, the entire foundation of what is layered upon it, shouldn't we get the terminology right FIRST?

For, are not dreams really just the stuff of escapist fantasies, utopian myths, egocentric idealisms and other otherwise impractical and unattainable "realities"? Is not the very concept of referring to the fundamental idea of what America and Americans aspire to, as but a dream, pretty much setting us up for failure?

In answer to my own self, I ask: Wouldn't it be better to re-pen the term in some more realistic and reasonably attainable fashion? Something that real planners and movers & shakers can manageably get their hands around? Something that really bespeaks a true American Mission Statement, rather than simply echoing idle hopes and desires?

To that end, I propose we try one or more of the following: The American Goal, The American Mission, The American Aim or even, The American Promise.**

** Then again, nix all that and just read Our Declaration of Independence or the Preamble to our Constitution. If you do so very carefully, you will find out how wise and prescient our framers were and then realize, it is all there already, and nowhere was the term dream ever even chanced upon.

A bigger house than needed, lots-o-cash and starring on "Survivor" is the only American Dream I ever hear anyone speak of. Only immigrants from Third World nations who sufferred under cruel tyranny and horrible poverty have a different American Dream. And after a few generations living here, they too just dream of fame and fortune. Many of my peers lust for wealth & power with the same passion and disregard for others as the Sodomites who hadn't yet learned to create wealth out of thin air. Those in this nation who are truly wealthy have family millions accumulated from unjust wars, unethical Wall Street/Banking deals and/or oil/natural resorces stolen from Third World Nations. The rich get richer as they turn paper into gold, the poor stay poor and if Americans don't open their eyes soon; those will be the only 2 classes left. Just like India in the day of Gandhi.

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

I have a son who is 13 and has moderate to severe autism. I am also a teacher of those who have autism in a NC middle school. I see the American Dream as one that people who have autism can lead us to. First of all, the truth behind the autism "epidemic" has to come out.....this is part of my "American Dream", where honesty is looked upon with great reverence and persons with integrity are again admired. Everywhere one turns in this great nation of ours we see crisis.....at this point in time....what are the positives. We live in a world of "spritual" degeneration and who will teach us how to turn it all around?
If one looks deeply into the "epidemic" of autism, one will find the ills of our nation. First of all, we have created those who have autism through our thirst and desire for comfort. We have done this through polluting our environment. We have done this by letting our children be vacinnated with levels of mercury unheard of through greed, convenience and what other hidden agenda those behind vaccinations only know. We have created millions of people who have great difficulty with meaningful communication as well as the lack of social know-how in order to have, for most, meaningful friendship. It seems to me, what they appear to lack is exactly what we appear to lack...a lack of meaningful life. Yes we have cell phones...etc and everyone seems to be communicating...but are we really. It seems more like addiction to idyll chatter and keeping the mind busy.

The American Dream I see is for those who have made the greatest impact on the autism epidemic to set forth and clean up their mess. For corporate America to do as the Walgreens Corporation has done and fully employ many of those with autism and other developmental disabilities for not charity but for the valuable work they can do. By employing these people, they bring meaning to their lives, but their true value is how much they have to teach those without disabilities. They teach heart. To paraphrase Jean Vanier, true community happens when the strong support the weak and the weak support the strong. The strong support the weak through guidance both physical and mentally and the weak support the strong through the “heart”. This is my American Dream, where we look at the lessons of those with autism and other developmental disabilities, come together with them and develop our compassion and love in order to protect ourselves from the ills of today’s world (lack of integrity). Their will be so many of these people with autism in the very near future, what a wonderful world it would be if we built communities to share with them, where they are seen as the strong….the strong of “heart” who have great lessons to teach. Watching Mr. Moyers piece tonight about predatory lending showed me once again how the strong are not supporting the weak, they are preying upon them. We have problems now, wait until our social services system is hit with millions upon millions of those with autism.

It saddens me to say that the American Dream is dead. Our government has proven that it is willing to lie to its own people in order to carry out an illegal war. It suspends and even revokes our rights in order to further its own agenda. Congress is controlled by Big Money and our law makers are more interested in lining their own pockets and keeping their cushy jobs than in helping and protecting the people who put them into office. The price of gas is rising out of control while the oil industry rakes in record profits, and the government responds by converting the bulk of our grain resources into the production of ethanol, which does absolutely no good for the average consumer while at the same time driving the cost of food higher as well. Banks and mortgage companies have been allowed to run out of control for years, financially raping the public while those who were supposed to be protecting us looked the other way. Medical costs are likewise running rampant and insurance companies are allowed to deny even valid claims, leaving people sick and dying. This is the first generation whose children will most likely not live as long as they have, nor will they earn as good a living as their parents did. Every time Big Business gets itself into trouble the government hurries to bail them out but it does nothing to bail out the hard working people who have helped build this country and who are hurting terribly. We send our soldiers into enemy lands and make them serve repeated terms, then we do everything we can to avoid giving them the medical treatment they need. And the worst part is that this is only the beginning of a very long list of what is wrong with our country today. I could go on like this for hours. So what is the solution to all these problems? Damned if I know. That's what our elected officials are supposed to be doing, but apparently they're too busy worrying about padding their retirement funds and preparing for reelection.

My American Dream:

1) Is for Americans to be able identify, tolerate and Own our past collective responsibility to harming others at the same rate we laud, exonerate and exalt our consuming passion of claiming global dominance and national pride.

2) We actively repair injustices that we have created with an attitude of determined humbleness to ensure that they do not happen again.

3) Americans realize the importance of "labor" and working together. This is best represented for me in a 1934 J.P Morgan quote to a group of global financiers:

"Capital must protect itself in every way... Debts must be collected and loans and mortgages foreclosed as soon as possible. When through a process of law the common people have lost their homes, they will be more tractable and more easily governed by the strong arm of the law applied by the central power of leading financiers. People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders. This is well known among our principle men now engaged in forming an imperialism of capitalism to govern the world. By dividing the people we can get them to expend their energies in fighting over questions of no importance to us except as teachers of the common herd."

If we own our past, proceed humbly, and recognize how division is used against us for profit; I would personally be proud of this dream.

Dear Bill,
Thank you for your efforts to bring the horrendous problem of American use of torture to the forefront of our consciousness. In the course of doing research in Tokyo, an elderly Korean gentleman who is a permanent resident in Japan long denied human rights, asked me why my government was now torturing people. He told me that he once thought that the US was a more ethical state than Japan in the early postwar. Now he thinks the US is evil. At that moment I felt immense shame to be an American because of the policies of the Bush administration. We will have no American Dream remaining if we do not stop such policies.
Best,
Laura Miller

My American Dream:

1) Is for Americans to be able identify, tolerate and Own our past collective responsibility to harming others at the same rate we laud, exonerate and exalt our consuming passion of claiming global dominance and national pride.

2) We actively repair injustices that we have created with an attitude of determined humbleness to ensure that they do not happen again.

3) Americans realize the importance of "labor" and working together. This is best represented for me in a 1934 J.P Morgan quote to a group of global financiers:

"Capital must protect itself in every way... Debts must be collected and loans and mortgages foreclosed as soon as possible. When through a process of law the common people have lost their homes, they will be more tractable and more easily governed by the strong arm of the law applied by the central power of leading financiers. People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders. This is well known among our principle men now engaged in forming an imperialism of capitalism to govern the world. By dividing the people we can get them to expend their energies in fighting over questions of no importance to us except as teachers of the common herd."

If we own our past, proceed humbly, and recognize how division is used against for profit; I would personally be proud of this dream.

Who said we have the worst system except for all the rest? America is so much bigger than the rest of the world because it is not provincial but international setting an example to the rest of the world about freedom, individual worth, tolerance and acceptance. This makes our nation unique and great. Two easy examples. If you are from Nigeria and arrive in America, in a short time you can become and exclaim I am an American. How many years would he live in Japan, China, France before he could claim “I am Japanese I am Chinese, I am French”!! If I went into the Gaza strip and offered Hamas fighters a choice of ten thousand dollars or a Visa to the United States, How many do you really think would take the money? We are setting the stage for the united space ship earth where everyone’s interest is in everyone’s interest. That goal is the only survival manual for the world. America is the steward of that goal. No other people, no other nation has the will.

If we preface the "Dream" with the word "American", we are lost before we begin. Our planet,our world is trying to show us there is no American Dream or African Dream or Russian Dream or Arab Dream. If we allow the pride of borders to cause us to pull in our own determined and different directions we will finally destroy the species by pulling it apart, limb from limb, head from head, heart from heart, cell from cell, dream from dream.

If dreams are like links in a chain, then one dream broken and the chain is then useless.

There can be no American Dream unto itself...just trace the historical graveyards of empires and their selfish, arrogant "Dreams."

A video of people all over Austin, Texas expressing their hopes and dreams for America.

The American Dream needs to include room for people whose "dream" is anchored in responsibility to people in general, and to the Earth. Some of us are happy to live more like monks, without our own houses, without family, with bicycles, and in open rental communities that are typically full of young people trying to get their footing, paying off student loans, maybe preparing to buy a home, seeking a partner, or some of us serving as anchors in the neighborhood.
And being in very old buildings, designed with horses in mind, we are not burdened by the "Affordable Housing" laws which for 40 years have meant that this sort of community is no longer built, since the advantages to a developer are better if tenants are tethered to "affordable" income restrictions and percentage restrictions that would make sense if one were investing that rent in a home with that percent of income (30%), an arrangement which would also make more sense, social sense, if the housing were equally "ratable" for tax purposes (like this old style rental housing where local taxes came out of the rent money, collected pro rata, the same rata as single family homes). Instead, the Affordable Housing laws is little by little creating a class whose stance is "how much can I get OUT of the system" ("since we're not granted status as local taxpayers"). People (like me) who pay abouto twice as much monthly for health insurance as for rent are advised to milk the medical system for all we can, regardless of the fact such milking only increases the cost to everybody. Fear makes the norm fleecing the system.
It shocks me to hear political interviewers totally speechless when I voice a need for the shift in the American dream I have outlined. It also shocks me when I hear people who know full well they are beneficiaries rather than contributors who nonetheless find some way to claim they as Americans "deserve" a house, a car, and even a spouse.
Given the rate of divorce, given the rate of single parenthood -- given all that, and given the cost to Earth of increasing population (is it 6 billion we're approaching?), I think good space should be made for those whose "dream" evolves in a way less likely to ruin the planet. There are plenty of such dreams, but people mightily don't want to listen. Such a dream is not good for the real estate business, for one, as long as they push everyone into houses -- or condos at a minimum, nor good for car manufacturers who push us into the biggest cars that our roads can handle.
It would also be good to have parents less invested in their hopes for their children and more able to claim their own contribution to their world, which again means the simplicity of "having children and passing on the American dream" is extremely inadequate. It is a total avoidance of the real questions about what am I here for, right now.

Bill Moyers has now been a hostage (to his anxiety about addressing 9/11 truth) for 178 days, and that's a long time.Tomorrow he begins to examine the other wing of the buzzard (baldfaced eagle), the financial fraud of global monopoly capitalism. I think many of us are sufficiently astute to see that this latest rush to totalitarianism began with the planning of a false flag attack on New York and the Pentagon. (Have we forgotten Rev. David Ray Griffin's book?) The repression we witness and the present financial blanket- hogging by the wealthy class would never been likely without the "big firecracker." (Our flag has disappeared as the dust settles: Maybe we only imagined democracy for 232 years.) No one has even returned to investigate the Anthrax incident, except to exonerate a maligned former government scientist. (Truly high enemies of democracy and the people sent those envelopes of government manufactured toxin that killed postal workers and Congressional staffers. Do you think Sen. Leahy and the others ever forget as they bite their tongues when impeachment is mentioned?) I think if we could link things up to the Bush cabal as torture memos, partisan procedure and oil manipulation have been, we could begin to comprehend the larger conspiracy.
Likely it would be dangerous for public figures like Moyers. Maybe he should team up with Donohue, Mike Moore and others to uncover the truth. (Call it constructive conspiracy.) I'm wracked with depression and melancholy over my country because I can't see how we can restore democracy, solve the energy/climate crisis or progress toward social equity, as we should, before this glaring issue is cleared up and the larger crimes against humanity punished. (Who'd have thought we'd help the Chinese government pursue dissidents?)I would feel like a banal evil aparachnik if I did not restate this issue on the blog from time to time. If you share my sadness and my questions please offer your moral support at beretco.op@gmail.com
I am not a John Birch type conspiracy theorist or a science fiction nut, just an inquiring shareholder in our failing nation who is willing to work and take chances to make things better for all. If you share my sadness and my questions please offer your moral support at beretco.op@gmail.com
My associates and I plan to march on Washington Inauguration day 2009, no matter who is declared president.

I just read the book: Shock Doctrine. No other book has come close to explaining what has been going on. Every American should read this book!! Read it ,read it, read it.

With a rampage corruption, war, devaluation of the currency, deregulation on the financial market, run on the banks, bailing out institution is a reminder that the
“chickens have come home to roost”!
A -“TROYKA”system of government - “political corruption, moral decay and an imperial presidency”! We have“TROYKAS” on local and state level, such as “School Board, Department of Education and DCED, as well as others. Its “purpose” was to provided check and balances. One files a petition, 2nd inspect it for compliance with the law with a “blind eye”, and the 3th approves the finances irrelevant of any violations of the law!
The “TROYKAS” work in harmony for the benefits of themselves! The news report was, there is “run on the bank”! It reminded me that “In early portion of Civil-War one-third of paper money in circulation was counterfeit”! During the news report, the new CEO of the bank states, “ the $100,000 funds are insured”! For funds over $100,000, the depositors will receive 0.50c for each dollar! It is a fact “the Financial system is not sound!
A system created in 1930 of “PURPOSEFUL, DELIBERATE and RATIONAL”, is corrupt! “The Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and a Banking System” created “to serve the public, it turns out it serve themselves”. “The Civil War, the 1930's and 2008 run on the bank” must not be ignored, for it has been a deliberate agenda to “Reclaim the Conservative Value” by “deregulation of the Financial System”!Conservative claim, a capitalism system... “provides, service, benefit and a product... that you get rewarded for it”, turns the “reward” is stolen, - “run on the bank”! “The Republicans claim have championed..., the cost of living has fallen dramatically... for Americans”. Has the cost of living fallen? From $1.00 a gallon gas, it is now selling over $4.00 a gallon. We have been reminded of Constitutional system... that protects “the rights of the people” - a right to loose saving funds by corruption in a saving institution! It is a Constitutional system of political corruption that denies the fundamental right of the people to “EXPRESS THEIR WILL” on ALL ISSUES!

The American Dream is based upon our society and government and that is based upon the constitution. Without honoring the word it is impossible to hold true to the constitution. With such terms as "securitizing", "deleveraging", "redeployment" and the culture of no follow up questions in interviews, what is the American Dream becoming?

The American dream is keeping our nose out of other countries business and start to look within, you see our elected have drifted away from the dream.

We have to get rid of these political parties for they are being used by lawyers and big business as a vehicle to hijack what should be the peoples "government".

Time to refore our political system and start electing people who truly care and believe in building a true democracy ...what we have now is a MYTH.

Let's put American back into the American dream.
When did the "bottom line" become part of the Constitution?
Why is no one concerned with America, her people and her physical treasures?
I cannot believe that old people are starving because of trimming the Meals on Wheels programs or that children go hungry during the summer because of the cessation of school lunch programs?
It is sad and frustrating at the same time.
Why don't we have members of Congress actually representing the people?
Maybe we need to return to the democracy that the Founding Fathers meant.
Whatever can be done needs to be done because the American dream is an illusion.

David Arzouman

Excellent Post!

Often I lift my head up at work and ask myself, what are we doing this for?

I work at a shop built on top of an old landfill. Across the expressway is a fairly new shopping center built on top of an old landfill. Ironic isn't it?
A shopping mall filled with new consumer goods that sits on top of a giant hole filled with consumed goods.

I often look at the trucks travelling up and down the freeway. They are filled with goods that people will use and throw away, or sell at a garage sale. One has to wonder how much overtime was worked just to attain all of those "goods". Then I would say to one of my coworkers "Look, there is a truckload of future yard sales!".

Many of you have thoughtfully posted some excellent points concerning the American Dream. I would much rather build a prosperous American Reality for all of us, and not the kind that involves personal, environmental, social, economic, or spiritual degradation and destruction.

Our system as it exists now is seriously in trouble. It has been gamed for a very few wealthy entities at the expense of everyone else. So where do we go from here? Will we do something about it? Will we just keep doing the same thing until it doesn't work anymore?

We must ask ourselves some fundamental questions about our "Dream". Do they include the following American Paradoxes?

1. American Homeless.
2. American Impoverished.
3. Working Poor.
4. Uninsured Americans.
5. Corporate Welfare but no Social Welfare.
6. Neglected Veterans.

7. Charities: Why does the "richest" nation on Earth need charities?

8. Living in a Union without being allowed to join one.

9. Crumbling Infrastructure while we rebuild others.

The list could go on and on. But I submit to everyone reading this that we will be faced with tough choices in the coming days, weeks, and months; and no one election is going to "change" everything. Our problems are beyond politics at this point. We must truly believe in freedom at the individual level as something much more than the liberty to choose consumer goods and services. Don't you agree?

Vince

Earl Hodaddy: you must have some blistering debt in your malebox to harp on entitlements while the FED prints play money to hand out to Freddie, Fannie,commerrcials like imploded Wachovia and Wall Street goons like Morgan. If they can print script for Big Daddy capitalists and defrauders why can't they pump a little drop for grandma and grandpa and all the brokebacked Joes and Jills who slaved to enrich them?
Sure our country is broke, but it is the failure to regulate the market or manage the military-industrial complex that is to blame, not the poor schmoes at the bottom who had SS and FDIC deducted from their checks every week for 20,30 or 40 years. Lets pay the people first and let butt sniffing dogs (speculator -investors) go begging for biscuits. If we can't keep that promise, our system is truly sewage, just like the free market!
Maybe this is the biggest Depression coming up, with Hyperstagflation to shame Weimar Germany, but screw the dollar and the capitalist market when our people are hungry, cold, desperate and unemployed. And screw the global monopoly Capitalists who are to blame! Never again!

The American tragedy has replaced the American dream. The American tragedy is the result of our choice to ignore the warnings of America's founders regarding the need to keep both government and corporate power on a short, tight leash. Now they have us on a short, tight leash.
America's founders very clearly said that if this country should see a day when government utterly disregards the will of the people, we have both a right and a responsibility to remove those in office by whatever means necessary. At the most, we politely march in the designated protest areas while the media ignore dissent. Braver people in a braver time would have stormed the White House by now, and I guess we would, too, but we were told that this wasn't allowed.

I think we are being swindled beyond all beliefs here in America. Most people still believe that the way to solve our governments issues is to just vote. Well the first problem of that is the government is not ours. I think they run as Democrats and Republicans to us but once the swear in as an elected official in front of us they then go to DC and swear into the party of green. I don't mean earth saving green either. People think that in the last election when the republicans were ousted and the democrats took office that change was in the air. That is another part of the swindling. Those republicans who were voted out didn't really lose. They have an escape parachute called Lobby world. They just merely walk down the street to the corporation of their liking and become a lobby for them. Then they get a healthy raise and then walk back into the congress or senate and keep the swindling going and going. Its a wonderful system they have going there. Too bad we out here are just sheep who take whatever bs they give to us. That is how the American dream is gone and dead. You can still buy a house and pay on it for as long as your mortgage is but do you really ever own the house? Don't pay the taxes on it for a year and see what you really own and really pay 30 years for. Its so sad that we have a group of young people who just started here where I work. They thought they were doing so well because they all got a starting salary of $50,000 a year. They were equally excited after the first paycheck when they realized that to make $50,000 a year means to really make $28,000 a year after all the taxes have been paid. Its all a big swindling and there is so much for them to lose to ever give it up.

Prepare for a nightmare! The Government Debt of four (4) government retirement trust funds (government employees, military, railroad and social security) overshadow all other government finances. As of the close of 2007, in hard numbers the net value (assets – liabilities) equaled some −$20 trillion . . . and currently growing about −$1 trillion a year. Reference the government budget to see that assets of these trust funds are included, but not liabilities. For comparison the Gross National Product (GNP) for fiscal 2007 is a mere $13 trillion. Other government fiscal problems are inconsequential—the Public Debt (excludes intra-government) $5.3t (7/08) and $0.7t Foreign Trade Deficit (07). A booklet is available which provides calculations and hard numbers covering 1975 thru 2007.
R. Earl Hadady

At every turn America’s faith in consumerism is being tested. The challenge in accepting this comes from our own material successes with consumerism, fostering a false belief that the profit motive is well-suited to deal with problems beyond its scope, in such areas as justice, health, education, or environment. Nor do competition and profit provide for enlightening art and culture. This realization is not necessarily bad. We have the option to re-examine our thinking and grow. At the core of American thinking are two interrelated concepts: freedom, and the “American Dream.” To most Americans, “freedom” pretty much means freedom to pursue the American Dream. If we can see where we have entertained counterfeits of these ideas, and put them on a truer foundation, then perhaps we can find more than mere hope, but also meaning and purpose.

Ask any American what they are fighting for during war and the answer is as predictable as the kick following a doctor’s mallet on the knee: “freedom.” It’s a reliable presidential mantra, and the license for much cultural detritus that presumes the title of “art.” We are told that “people want freedom” as we invade Iraq, and as we pursue the American Dream. But “freedom,” like “terrorism,” is an abstraction. You cannot really defend freedom any more than you can fight terrorism. To identify what we are actually defending, we must look at choices, at how we exercise our freedoms—in other words, what dreams do we nurture and pursue?

The American Dream is fueled by unrelenting messages that we need more: more technology, pleasure, food, more pleasure from food; more horsepower, glamour, sex, more pleasure from sex; more luxury, entertainment, convenience, time, credit; more speed, computing power, information; more clothes, fame, hauling capacity, security; more of thousands of different/new/upgraded/repackaged products that we managed to do without before (and therefore more storage, or landfill); more drugs to solve our problems (or more problems if the pharmaceutical giants happen to have the drug for it); more fun, flavor, land development, cable channels…there’s no end to this list, so we must also have more life, longevity, presumably to prolong the consuming. One could easily conclude that consumerism is the theme of the land, a type of continual digestion masquerading as progress. And we can’t stop—we’re to process everything just to keep the economy turning, even immediately after the 9/11 tragedy according to the President.

So while we do the consuming, the economy—like an autonomous entity, perhaps a type of god—also feeds off of our sacrifices. We suffer this strange inversion, assuming the ends justify the means. But never having identified the ultimate ends of our consumerism, we ask double-duty of our means, that they also serve the function of life goals and purposes, a pattern with no end in sight. Is not the American Dream pretty much about achieving our means of survival—food, shelter, transportation? And when these are met, when we have established the survival of the physical-man or human animal, do we then proceed with our development of the inner or spiritual man, or rather do we try to squeeze even more from our means, more upscale restaurants, bigger house, more luxuries/conveniences, ever more titillating pleasures, etc? Is everything to be subsumed under the needs of the human animal, even things intended for the liberation of the inner man? For example, how many see education’s primary function as one of economic competitiveness? A lover of wisdom will be required to explain himself at every turn. The pleasure-seeker and the materialist have our unspoken approval.

How much is our freedom about the support, development, and liberation of our virtuous aspects, and how much of it is about the baser, sensory stuff to which we are enslaved? Does living in a free country matter if we are lead around by our appetites? A more enlightened perspective suggests we identify the sources of our goals and desires, and whose interests they serve; if they arise from ignorance, habit, the ceaseless drone of marketing or other forms of cultural brainwashing, then regardless of the vast array of consumer options to “freely” satisfy those desires, we cannot call that freedom. Look, for example, at all forms of advertisement from the perspective of what is continually being petitioned and reinforced in you, and what corporations would like you to be dependent upon, and be. Who is this composite ideal consumer? What portrait emerges to fulfill those values, an American “Renaissance Man,” or someone a bit more medicated, luxuriated, inebriated, distracted, and complacent? Whose dream is that? If we are really to be a land of free men and women, we must first win our freedom from the incessant drone of such limiting and debasing programming. Until then, we’re on a shaky pulpit preaching freedom to the world.

If we could momentarily dispense with the agendas defined by nation, race, political party, corporation, gender, or any other group in need of defending, perhaps we could see that in chasing down the American Dream, we’ve lost sight of the Dreamer, who has become mostly a physical surface, something on which to apply various creams and lotions. The marketplace advertises no equivalent balm for the conscious, evolving being within that skin, a character conditioner to complement the various skin and hair conditioners. When things go so out of balance, something equally extreme will always come from the opposite direction to restore balance. Maybe it’s just a coincidence that a “Let’s Make a Deal” culture would have to contend with Communism, and an “American Idol” culture would have to deal with anonymous pseudo-religious terrorists willing to “martyr” themselves. Or maybe there’s more to the principle of “equal and opposite reaction” than we suspect. I still believe ours is the rightful system since it is at least theoretically based on a requisite condition for human spiritual evolution, freedom of choice. But there is a catch: we must make the right choices. We can continue to let our mundane aspects monopolize choices, and continue to find demons to war against so we need not look hard at our own unsustainable ways. But we could go a long way toward defeating our enemies by preemptively striking-down the demons in ourselves. We may then find that these other threats never show up to begin with. “A great nation,” Lao-tzu tells us, “is like a great man: He thinks of his enemy as the shadow that he himself casts.”

Meanwhile, the American Dream is quickly becoming the World Dream, judging by how eagerly so much of the world is racing after our example. This review of the American Dream is not “anti-Americanism”—clearly we are simply talking about the state of humanity. Given the innovative capacity of the American people, I would only wish that we could apply that spirit in more balanced and enlightened ways. So as we enter into a new era, characterized by the rapid surge of China in pursuit of a familiar dream, let us leave that dream for that nascent nation. If America really wants to “stay ahead,” it must make the next move on behalf of the rightful evolution of humanity. Instead of trying to peddle ever faster in first gear, let’s actually shift gears. Let us grow from our former, adolescent ideas of freedom into a deeper, truer vision of freedom—rather than only consider what is satisfying and pleasurable for a free man, let us ask what is suitable and necessary to free man, and let us dream a new American Dream around that question.

I agree with you, Mr. Pease, but, hell, we haven't seen a drop of Iraqi oil. Can anyone correct me on this? What is wrong with this picture?!

I suspect that for most people (and most people are not rich) the dream is a life that is easier and more satisfying than the reality they are living.

I think the writers of our Constitution had a dream and they proscribed a way to achieve the dream. The foundation is a method of governance whereby We the People choose representatives who will carry out the will of the people. There will be checks and balances to insure that the rich and powerful are not able to operate in a manner that is adverse to the will of the people. There will be Freedom of the Press that will keep the citizens informed when the Government tries to act in ways that is adverse to the well being of the people. Our Constitution gave hope to the common man that the people would hold ultimate power and that the combined wisdom of informed citizens would dictate policy through their elected representatives.

The polls show what the people of the USA think about their Government; they give them a grade of 'F'. Americans feel betrayed by the politicians who they elected to be their champions.

The American Dream has died because the American Government is no longer a Government Of the People, By the People, and For the People. The American Government is Of Big Business, By Big Business, and For Big Business. Main-stream media (now owned by Big Business) has become a propaganda tool of the Rich and Powerful.

The only hope I can envision is another Great Depression that will awaken our politicians to stand up for the American People against the special interests of the Rich and Powerful. I think that will happen as the World has reached peak oil production at the same time science has alerted us to the fact that oil, gas, and coal are causing global warming. If our Government acts to prevent global warming by switching our energy needs from fossil fuels to solar and wind power instead of waging war for oil and drilling everywhere that would create many jobs right here in the USA. That would be a win for the American people and restore hope and dreams of a better life.

My American dream is an old one: the idea of a society that offers equal opportunity to all to grow, change and succeed. That was the dream for generations of young people and millions of immigrants who left rigid societies to come to a new world where there were no guarantees of success only of the opportunity to achieve it. Underlying that idea of opportunity was the willingness of a society to accept change, whether social, economic or technological. The results of this were an ever widening sharing of wealth, rights and power. That widening seems to have stopped and to have been replaced with a society that increasingly seeks to protect itself from change. Today we seem to have a government on all levels that works not to widen opportunities through change but to ally itself with those segments of the population that most fear change. We have a media that spends far more time in discussing blame than in discussing how to change and move forward. In a rapidly changing world this would seem to be a recipe for disaster. In the past, capitalism and democracy went hand in hand because in this country they both worked to promote change. Capitalism, based on ideas and money, not social standing, allowed the best to rise to the top. Democracy promoted the development of human capital. Now we seem to be in a time when institutions have become far more concerned with the protection of individual turf areas than in changing to meet the future. Both presidential campaigns have made the idea of change a centerpiece. Unfortunately, with both allied to to powerful groups who resist change, at this point, it remains merely lip service. My American Dream is that we can change enough to keep the Dream alive.

What a truly insightful and intelligent post, Mr. Shillock. I, too, see a bad moon rising. Once upon a time there was an attainable, identifiable standard of living we baby boomers once enjoyed. This reality, of-course, has been shredded by individual and corporate greed, excesses, government corruption, and widespread apathy. Our socio-economic obesity has bred with globalization and given birth to a 21st Century mutation. We cannot maintain this standard of living for very much longer. The rubber band will snap, and it's going to hurt when it does. Sadly, most Americans could care less, and the rest of us realize there is little we can do. The American Dream today is just the ability to feed your kids without ending up in a homeless shelter at the YMCA. sheltersurvive.

Whatever one’s view of the American Dream it is fundamentally socio-economic. All the highfalutin talk about liberty, rights and justice is little more than public relations honored in the breach; elevated and noble rhetoric to cover our grubby, relentless striving for economic betterment and social status. As long as the socio-economic escalator continues its ascent we will fare okay. If it stops then all the diversity that we verbally pride ourselves in tolerating will issue in conflict. As the USSR held its diversities in check through force America has held its diversities in check through economic betterment or at least the rational expectation of some improvement if one works hard, etc., aka The American Dream. But the escalator has been slowing for most of the 20th century as increasing amounts of America’s wealth are taken from most Americans and transferred to the upper two-percent or so. With the accelerating advent of globalization in all its forms (political, economic, technological…) the Dream has receded for most Americans and gone into reverse for many—especially since 1980. The collapse of the USSR and the emergence of China and India as viable market-states put one billion or more laborers into the global workforce. They are driving down incomes in America and so-called developed countries generally. This will continue until surplus labor is absorbed. The arrogant if not “racist” notion that we Americans can continue increasing our standard of living by inventing and producing more intellectually demanding “high-end” products is a self-flattering delusion. We are not smarter than people in other countries—perhaps dumber if we think so. Advances in telecommunication, saliently the Internet, have enabled the ever more rapid diffusion of knowledge; the notion that Americans have a singular capability to appropriate it is ridiculous. In retrospect the American Dream and American reality as experienced between the end of WWII and about 1973 was based on that fact that America was the only super economy after WWII and had a monopoly position for that golden period. Now the rest of the world is catching up. Ironically perhaps that was supposedly what Americans wanted and fought for. What could be called the triumph of global capitalism has been an American Dream that is coming true. It’s ironic because during the cold war we were economically dominant, now we have competitors, and along with our own capitalists and corporations they are threatening to beat us at our own game, threatening the American Dream.

Making Dreams come true is a major investment in money, time and energy.
It is essential that social systems are human dream orientated and designed to work efficiently. It is necessary to have the right solutions to social problems and the means to do what is right and good.
Using all our resources to support our society is essential.
It is necessary to conquer greed and corruption, apply justice, wisdom, courage and temperance to our actions and work together to meet our goals.
We have to be both conscientious and benevolent.
There are universal truisms, sources of wisdom and concepts of what is good.
The Bible is designed to provide the necessary guidance to the best possible human destiny. Dreams need to be consistent with people's best interests.
Fortunately, God is benevolent and offers ways to accomplish our wothwhile dreams.

Psalms 127
Unless the Lord builds the house; its builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain....
Psalms 128
Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways.
You will eat the fruit of your labor.
Blessings and prosperity will be yours....

The Good Book is there to guide the way to righteousness (being right). Without it we flounder and create our own destruction.


Michael Guzzo goes to the root of the dream. It is said that part of this initial statement of the dream relied on Locke’s reference to "life, liberty and Property." The wisdom of substituting happiness may be revealed by James Adams who coined the phrase the American Dream in his 1931 book The Epic of America.

The American Dream is "that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position."

The problem with "property" is revealed in The Great Gatsby and Death of A Salesman.

It is a dream in which our group identity does not matter, only the content of our character. It is a world of wisdom (knowing the right thing to do), and a world of virtue – doing the right thing.

The American Dream could best be described as the ability to fulfill our destiny as our nation's name indicates. This means we are called to truly become united as the United States of America by recognizing what being truly united means. That awareness is within each us as our equally shared connection to the whole as endowed by our Creator. This is not just a dream for America it is what we are each being called to understand in order to both survive and thrive.

Our native as well as European forefathers and mothers understood that freedoms can be granted and even legislated in laws and treaties but not enacted upon in real honesty until they are understood as our shared "unalienable rights". These as stated included "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" as rights that come from not transferring their ownership to someone else as slave to another.

The freedom to use our mind in tandem with another's is why Thomas Paine understood the common sense wisdom of a vast landscape no longer answering to the tyrannical rule and laws of an island. The spirit of any law dictates that we need to recognize the laws we make up within our own minds that keep us from living in harmony with each other. These rules are often ones that also tell us that it is hard for us all to "get along with each other"...equally. The intrinsic understanding of this insists that we know what "getting along with each other means" so that one person doesn't seem to loose and another gain. It ideally as an American Dream does not mean having a separate island like self-serving agenda but rather a unifying intent that fosters the ability to work together as one.

The irony is that we are all one already. Our illusional mythic belief in island bodies, minds and separate thoughts perpetuates a nightmarish dream of fear based isolationist separatism and not the visionary hopeful American Dream of a unified nation. This American Dream now also includes a unified world of nations with our United States serving as both the chartering and host site for globally united nations.

Our true Declaration of Independence was and still is from the overbearing tyrant within each of us that sees conflict as more desirable then harmony and fear a more important reason to act then love. When our forefathers declared our rights in guarantee of our freedoms they also believed we each equally had the potential to responsibly handle those freedoms without a king, emperor or ruler dictating to us or lording over us. That American Dream continues to stir us out of our separate sleep to recognize our ability to inclusively envision inside our mind a better life and peaceful world for all. It is in recognizing this as our shared purpose that the dream becomes fulfilled as a fully awakened reality for all.

The American Dream could best be described as the ability to fulfill our destiny as our nation's name indicates. This means we are called to truly become united as the United States of America by recognizing what being truly united means. That awareness is within each us as our equally shared connection to the whole as endowed by our Creator. This is not just a dream for America it is what we are each being called to understand in order to both survive and thrive.

Our native as well as European forefathers and mothers understood that freedoms can be granted and even legislated in laws and treaties but not enacted upon in real honesty until they are understood as our shared "unalienable rights". These as stated included "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" as rights that come from not transferring their ownership to someone else as slave to another.

The freedom to use our mind in tandem with another's is why Thomas Paine understood the common sense wisdom of a vast landscape no longer answering to the tyrannical rule and laws of an island. The spirit of any law dictates that we need to recognize the laws we make up within our own minds that keep us from living in harmony with each other. These rules are often ones that also tell us that it is hard for us all to "get along with each other"...equally. The intrinsic understanding of this insists that we know what "getting along with each other means" so that one person doesn't seem to loose and another gain. It ideally as an American Dream does not mean having a separate island like self-serving agenda but rather a unifying intent that fosters the ability to work together as one.

The irony is that we are all one already. Our illusional mythic belief in island bodies, minds and separate thoughts perpetuates a nightmarish dream of fear based isolationist separatism and not the visionary hopeful American Dream of a unified nation. This American Dream now also includes a unified world of nations with our United States serving as both the chartering and host site for globally united nations.

Our true Declaration of Independence was and still is from the overbearing tyrant within each of us that sees conflict as more desirable then harmony and fear a more important reason to act then love. When our forefathers declared our rights in guarantee of our freedoms they also believed we each equally had the potential to responsibly handle those freedoms without a king, emperor or ruler dictating to us or lording over us. That American Dream continues to stir us out of our separate sleep to recognize our ability to inclusively envision inside our mind a better life and peaceful world for all. It is in recognizing this as our shared purpose that the dream becomes fulfilled as a fully awakened reality for all.

The only way the american dream is going to survive is if people in this country start taking back the constitution and our human and civil rights. this will have to be in the streets and by voting. The green party needs to be the alternative of breaking the grip of the dimocrats and the repugnants have on our the government of this country. the dims and repugs have sold out the american dream. the american dream cannot also be built on the backs of poor people around the world and here in the usa.
cynthia mckinney is the presidential nominee of the green party and everyone should support her now that the dims and repub have eroded many of our rights.
matthew
galveston tx

When American voters elected enough Democrats to Congress in order to rein in the Republican dictatorship, there was a sigh of relief. Yet, those same Democrats have become traitors to the American Dream. They are equally guilty of stealing the American Dream from everyday Americans. There is some hope, if a President Obama can get a Democratic Congress to go along with his plans to restore the American Dream.
But, that is the only hope.

My American Dream is dead and I am on the edge of giving up. Congress and the President literally INSULT the memory of the founders of our country and the citizens that lost their lives in the revolutionary war and every war after.

Our Constitution is sacred and yet last week, the very Democratic Congress we elected to bring change, passes a law that gives amnesty to the President and the telecommunications company for violating the illegal wire tapping. The justice department and the executive branch conspired with telecommunications companies to break the law and now Congress, including the Democratic elected, join the conspiracy against the American people to protect the law breakers and further allow illegal wire tapping. Our Justice Department has abandoned us, our Congress is legalizing illegal acts, and our Executive branch is literally breaking laws left and right, who is to protect us? Who is protecting and defending the Constitution? The Free Press is no where to be found and the American people are in very serious trouble and we are truly living “taxation without representation”.

What action would Thomas Jefferson propose to defend our constitution? Is it possible he would suggest another violent revolutionary war to defend the principles of the Constitution?

Until we have a government that protects and defends the Constitution of the United States of America the American dream is dead as are the hopes and dreams of not just all Americans but everyone around the world.

I have never been more saddened at our country and I am truly on the edge of giving up hope.

One way to look at the American Dream is through the prism of some of this nation's greatest authors.

The American Dream is Gatsby, is Huck, is Raoul Duke. It is a striving and a battle for those things which Humanity can never fully put their fingers on, cannot grasp, but know in the soul to be essential, self-evident, and better than any coin or any grand applause.

As Thomas Paine said, "The cause of American is in a great measure the cause of all mankind." It is our cause, and in a greater sense, out duty, to see America become the bloom of Humanity as it was (or even if it wasn't) aimed to be.

As a nation we have a choice--we can die alone, floating in our own individual pools, or we can clasp Jim's hand, put tires to highway 60, and blaze into the sun of what America and Humanity can and ought to be.

To me the American Dream is the recognition that to be American is not a monolithic ideal. It is the appreciation, respect and love of a milieu of cultures. It is not tolerance. You tolerate bad manners. You love others... despite their manners. It is the respect that the hopes and dreams of the Natural Nations of this land are as important as the Anglo's. Is is the appreciation of the hopes of the Ghanaian and Ugandan and Angolan and that they are as important as the Argentine, the Brazilian and Peruvian American. It is the love of the dreams of Nordic tribes, peoples of the Pacific and peoples of Caususes and that they are as important as the Chinese, Phillipine and Taiwanese of America. The American Dream is in my estimation the very definition of confidence in the protection of government and living the inspiration of one's faith.

The American Dream will always be alive as long as The Constitution's principles are followed by those in power. However the attitude of many of the wealthy, most of the elected officials, (I don't know of any poor ones) and most Corporations seems to be to move their agenda ahead with little or no regard for what the Constitution suggests, or the laws of the land imply. It is becoming a "just work around them" and/or "get away with what you can" type of attitude. The Bush administration's meddling in the Public Attorney's office and the deliberate exposure of a CIA operative shows how far these officials are willing to stray. Even more worrisome is how far the rest of the government will allow them to stray.

Perhaps once again the majority of Americans have a system of "taxation without representation" since it appears that many of their elected officials haven't got a clue, or a care, about the real needs of the people. Sometimes I wonder if they are even aware, ( with the exception of Senator R. Byrd's for his pleas to his fellow Senators to vote against the war ) of just what their sacred duty is to the people or to America. The elite's collective concern for the American people seems to be approaching "throw them a few crumbs" or more arrogantly, "let them eat cake"!

To change this and keep the American Dream alive, the people must take great care, that they are electing those who will honorably serve the nation. They should also take the first opportunity to dethrone those who forget for whom they serve.

Politicians sell themselves to the voters the same way corporpate America sells us tooth paste and automobiles. The American dream is no different. It is an idea that is sold to the masses to pacify and manipulate in order that the public support needed in a quasi democracy will back the privilege class's desires. In short, America has become the embodiment of greed and the pursuit thereof by all. This is the definition of the American Dream in my opinion.

Our country stands for freedom and values that will keep us free and strong.

When we, as individuals, seek to act a victim, or to look for only the frivilous to make our living, (such as reality shows on t.v., manipulating others for self gain)instead of wanting to help others through medicine, teaching, enriching, protecting, serving, we will forgo the very thing that allows us to live in this magnificent country.

As a 38 year, now retired teacher of the public school systems, I am proud to say I have had innumerable children that I have had the priviledge to instruct. Those who I have found most successful were not necessarily the most intelligent, nor the wealthiest, but those who learned, and practiced the character traits that our founding fathers had and incorporated into our constitution.

The American Dream is the opportunity to live an honorable life. Each of our elected leaders should strive for this as well.

The future of the American Dream is in overcoming the obstacles to be. How can we achieve this? By understanding our barriers and putting forward the true sense of our selves.

The American dream has changed over the years as the population has changed. I am a baby boomer and I can remember in college saying I did not want the American dream of a home, white picket fence and 2.3 children. I was focused on civil rights, women's rights and changing the landscape of intellectual ideas. I wanted a career, a chance to define myself, provide for myself and contribute to my community.
As I have aged, I have achieved some of my American dream and struggled along the way with other aspects of my dream. The challenge of turning hope and wishes into reality takes a toll but at least I had opportunity to try.
Currently we are living in an American nightmare and the young people around me are discouraged. Obama has awakened some hope but unless they see the American people change the course of our path I fear that the very act of creating dreams of what this country can be will disappear, along with opportunity and creativity.
My American dream is for our society to move beyond the small-mindedness and greed that has characterized the last eight years. American needs to take a place at the world table and maybe we need to have the American dream, at least in part, reflect concern for this planet and for the generations to come.

what a trite question. it sure is good for your windbags pretending to be thoughtful, but most of your guests are obviously plying their agendas. America is a country based on common history and common heritage, and people who refuse to assimilate to that are not and will never be Americans. How about you stop wasting our time and public braodcasting tax dollars.

Perhaps there never really was an American Dream, but an American Hope.

The American Dream, in my opinion, has always been and, I believe, continues to be an idea of hope. It is the hope that one's economic progression can can spread and, indeed, improve from generation to generation. It is the idea that the achievement of a comfortable existence can cut across class and social lines. The old rigid class monarchical structure that was much of the world history is not, at least ideally, cemented in the American system. Our system allows for the possibility or at least the incremental hope that one can, irrespective of class and, in more recent history, race, achieve a better life. It is the hope that the ossification of a rigid class system will not prevent that achievement.

The ideals of that hope, though, walk hand-in-hand with the freedoms and Constitutional protections our form of government provides. The security that prevents the threat of government usurping those freedoms without just cause makes, in my opinion, our American Dream possible. It allows the individual the opportunity to devote his or her energy to that personal improvement and to that pursuit of happiness making the expenditure of the adrenaline imperative of basic physical survival unnecessary. Our Constitutional protections ALLOW us the luxury to develop our own happiness. I believe, the American Dream is not possible without one ensuring the other.

The American Dream's future is still alive and well. Like America, it isn't what it is, but for that which it stands. When the American voter starts voting for those that will uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, then the dream lives. JFK said, "Ask not, what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country".

The American Dream is not about money but rather living in a country that aspires to such lofty ideals. When one's actual living conditions come close to those set forth in the Constitution, that, is living the American Dream.

If the voters vote with their wallets interests, rather than for those with America's interest at heart, they are no better than those in government that vote for special interests rather than America's interest. The dream is never closer to reality than when you are in the voting booth. That in itself, is a dream many people around the world, can only dream about.

You actually brought to the discussion two conservatives who sounded quite sensible by comparison to the representatives of the Bush administration. I certainly would welcome less government by the likes of Bush, Cheney, Rice, and less judicial "governing" by the supreme court (to the point of even defying american voters by decreeing the current president).

The american dream that brought me to this country, like so many others before me, is imprinted on the base of the Statue Of Liberty. The last eight years have been a betrayal of that dream, not only for previous and aspiring immigrants, but for citizens who trusted that their elected representatives would act in the best interest of all people, not exclusively those of the rich and powerful. Instead of facilitating the promise of the american dream, the administration is the very opposite of safeguarding the civil liberties so prized in the constitution: it is spying on its own citizens, building prisons at home, creating a wall at the border, and exporting military terror to other countries.

In order to achieve the American Dream, Americans must have the attitude of the immigrant. The American dream of most second, third, etc. generations of Americans is to do as little work as possible to gain the most benefits. Most immigrants know they must work and pray hard for a better life.

Old Americans must get off their bottoms and work for a better tomorrow. Most Americans talk about doing or wanting work, but work we must do; most work is honorable and imparts dignity.

What is the work that we must do? First, American’s must get beyond their fear of looking stupid due to ignorance. Read, talk to people, and read some more. Without knowledge of the problems, Americans can’t solve them. Second, Americans must work hard at what ever they do to gain a good reputation and see the inequities in the living wage. Third, Americans must talk and gain a relationship with their political representatives, especially if they’re corporate junkies.

If enough Americans start on the path above, the people will regain *their* respect of the government and begin to sway the politicians. Without the politicians seeing the caring and interest of the American people, they will flock to the lobbyists who really care about themselves.

I grew up believing the American Dream meant having the access to bettering onself and the possibility of achieving those things you wanted. The dream may not always be achieved, but I was led to believe that the opportunity for that dream was out there. Is that still true today? For some, yes, and for others, it's not so clear (the poor, poorly educated, and immigrant people have incredible barriers that don't exist for wealthy families).
The other part of the dream that no longer exists, I feel, is the belief that this country is the country our founders intended to establish. I no longer trust our leaders or many of the individuals who theoretically "represent" us in government. Other countries no longer admire us: we torture, openly pollute, ignore the right to citizens' privacy, and insist on implementing policies based on whether that policy will make money, not on whether it is best for the people. I wish that our "leaders" would not just cave in to what is politically expedient, but would have the guts to champion what is right.

We need no 'American Dream'. What we desperately need is humility.
We need to understand that we are only one small part of existence on this magnificent stage of earth. We need to acknowledge our interdependence with all other humans, with all other species, and with the vast natural gifts of this extraordinary planet.
We need to understand that we are all in this together and that our survival will depend upon our ability to place ourselves in proper perspective and then learn how to dwell within natural boundaries. Or not.
Humility would be good. Especially for Americans. Not dreams.
Mary in Iowa

IF YOU ASK ME , SAFTEY ,

IS TAZZERS FREE , TO TRIGGER HAPPY ,

EVERYBODY , IM FREEDOMFREE ,

PARENTAL GUIDENCE , MAY BE NEEDED SEE ,

IF YOUR HAVING , A PROBLEM FREE ,

A PLEASURE IT BE , TO FREE YOU FREE ,

LAUGHS , CRYS , WELL LETS SEE ,

IF YOU CAN SMILE , FOR AWHILE FOR FREE ,

WALKING IN PLACE , WOULD ENERGIZE YOUR MIND ,

TO RACE AGAINST TIME , LISTEN AND FIND ,

A DESIGN , IS YOUR FEET ,

ANOTHER HEART BEAT , AND THE SUNS HEAT ,

HEAT FUSTRATION , COMPLICATION ,

RESERVATION , OF A LESSER NATION ,

DONT WAIT BLINK , IF YOU CANT THINK ,

ABOUT WHAT TO DRINK , GO BACK TO THE SINK ,

THINK?? ,

IF SICK AND HAVING , COMLICATIONS ,

WITH MEDICATIONS , LEAVE THE PHONE ON ,

NO COMMUNICATION , IS MORE FUSTRATION ,

TO SURVIVE , IN THE HUMAN NATION ,

33 BE , THE VARIEATION ,

WHILE RETRANSFORMATION , OF THE WORLDS GENERATION ,

GIVING RANKS ,

GIVING THANKS ,

GIVING YOU BACK ,

GIVING YOU FACTS ,

GIVING THE TRUST ,

GIVING DONT FUSS ,

GIVING RUSH ,

GIVING TO YOUR FRIEND ,

GIVING BACK ,

GIVING PACK ,

GIVING AWAY ,

GIVING OK ,

GIVING YOU ARE RIGHT ,

GIVING MY WAY ,

GIVING A TREND ,

GIVING I SAY ,

GIVING SEND ,

GIVING TO WIN ,

GIVING BACK ,

GIVING AGAIN ,

GIVING THE END .

What is the future of the American Dream? Whether we like it or not we have to Define what that Dream is. I Believe that the American Dream is leaving to succesive generations something a little better than we have found it. We have in the past been sucessful or we have lost ground depending on how we as a Nation defined that dream. The Human spirit has guided our actions, for good or bad. Last night two conservatives told their view of that dream. Some I actually agreed with. Our challenge is to go beyond the Last 200 years and build upon it. For some that means to learn how to live in Harmony with the earth. Some to learn how to live in harmony with each other but, the Framers of our system of goverment have given us tools to achieve our collective Dream. We need to dialogue with one another that is the nature of this great experiment we call America. We are all looking at things through a wonderous multifacited Prism. Each seeing the world a bit differently we need many perspectives to make a great nation. Thank you for offering to us so many views of my Dream.

The American Dream has become the American Nightmare. What we were taught as children was obviously a carefully constructed fantasy meant to lull us into acceptance of a brutal empire and our complicity within it.

Can that dream be reclaimed? I don't think so. We will have to settle for a very different equation, one in which we are part of a complex global system, mediated by innumerable factors.

Though I have succeeded in America beyond my wildest dreams in terms of accomplishments and recognition of a sort, I still do not have the basic financial and physical well being I assumed were going to be mine after college -- 38 years later and with a lifetime of professional work behind me, I cannot contemplate retirement. Now, I have to think: how will I survive my elder years in anything but poverty and misery?

If so many people had not pursued an American Dream defined by the acquisition of wealth, we might not have found ourselves in this American Nightmare of economic, social, intellectual, ethical, environmental and governmental collapse.

We need our dreams. The tragedy is they have been stolen away.

I am not a pessimist; quite the contrary. I'm still imagining an American Utopia thinkers introduced me to as a young adult. I just don't think we can get there from here.

Why does bill Moyers perpetuate the myth that "George Bush won" the elections of 2000 and 2004? This is just undisciplined, sloppy journalism. Disappointing.

What's the future of the American dream?

I've always understood the "American dream" as being a "universal dream." And therein, lies the problem with the "American dream."

First, for me, the universal dream is living in a society where rules and laws are created on behalf of the public good/interest. It is where government works on behalf of the public good/interest and NOTHING ELSE!

Secondly, the universal dream is a dream which materializes when one has been given opportunities to explore and discover exactly what it is one wants to do with one's life!

Several important factors for contributing to the reality of a Universal dream, include living in a society where education is free and access to affordable, quality healthcare is guaranteed by the government; there is no "war on drugs" or "war on terrorism" and no military industrial complex, among other things. In addition, any American dream revolves around the concept of "work to live" and not "live to work." That means an extremely strong and robust labor class to challenge and counter corporate rule.

Next, any universal dream encompasses the desire to some day plant roots and create a home for for him/herself. If creating a home (whether you own or rent) becomes cost-prohibitive, then the dream remains but a dream.

Finally, the problem with the American dream is that's it's mutated into a dream driven by a consumer driven culture, which believes that buying "things" is the solution to any problem. The republicans have mastered this insidious philosophy and injected it into mainstream America even though it won't help the typical American get any closer to their dreams.

I'm always struck by whomever it was that coined the expression, "American dream," given that so many Americans or immigrants who came to this country experienced a nightmare rather than a dream. And when you look at how this nation arose, in particular it's slavery roots and its decimation of native Americans, one is appalled at the notion that "American dream" is somehow so special and unique it applies only to America.

We need to get away from nationalistic fervor and sentiment. The "American dream" is not a dream shared by all Americans and why Bill Moyers doesn't even bother to explore and challenge the meaning of the American Dream, is disappointing. But maybe this project will do that.

If the American dream is defined as a "home with a white picket fence, 2.5 children, a woman scrubbing the kitchen floors and satisfying her man, one dog and one cat, Americans living and working in "little boxes, made of ticky-tacky and they all just look the same" then I want no part of the American dream.

Bill Moyers, why don't you do a program on just what exactly IS the American dream and how has it evolved over time. And who coined the expression, "American dream?" I guess I can google it but I'd like to see more of an exploration of exactly WHAT the American dream is. Obviously, the American dream differs for each and every American.

6201 Sun Vista Drive
Austin, TX 78749
(512)899-8718
leonhardtthomas@att.net
12 July 2008

Dear Mr. Moyers,

Your conversation with Mickey Edwards and Ross Douthat left me with a sense of unease. I thought of wolves in sheep’s clothing as I listened to their intellectual posturing that failed to state the real reason that conservatives court the votes of the working Americans – they are the majority of eligible voters. Are the conservatives really concerned about the welfare of those working class Americans? Their actions of the past say a loud, resounding no. In mentioning those conservative constitutional values, your guests failed to mentioned their overarching value best summed up by Herbert Hoover’s reasoning for not helping those working class Americans as the Great Depression began to devastate those workers and their families:

"Every time the government is forced to act, we lose something in self-reliance, character, and initiative."


As I heard Mr. Douthat minimize the effect of wage stagnation with the observation that things are cheaper now. I wonder when he last shopped for bread, milk, cereal, eggs, and other grocery staples? The cost of a gallon of gas has finally caught up with the cost of a gallon of milk and the effect of the two on the budget of a working class family cannot be fathomed by the privileged few who are paid by the think tanks of America. Home electronics and clothing are cheaper today than twenty years ago because they are made in Third World countries where wages and benefits are even lower than in this country. The cost of housing and energy are also higher and have a more deleterious effect on working class Americans than those making $100,000 or more a year.

"Every time the government is forced to act, we lose something in self-reliance, character, and initiative."

Your guests, while giving lip service to our constitutional freedoms, invoke a leadership that was against social security, medicare, and integration. We need our constitutional freedoms (it has been recent Republican presidents who have scoffed at them – Watergate, Iran-Contra, Iraq, FISA) and who have done their best to avoid enforcing and supporting laws about conservation and the welfare of the working people and their families.

In recent years, I’ve not been happy with the leadership and actions of either party or branch of government with their cozy financial relationships with moneyed-special interests, but based on actions and not words, I would rather take my chances with the Democrats.

Sincerely,

Thomas W. Leonhardt

There is no American Dream. There is only the dream of an American Dream.

If something is not done about population growth, immigration, the disparity between rich and poor, and environmental warming... you won't need to worry about the so called American Dream.

The people coming here ought to go home and fix the problems that drove them here. Not come here and cause the same problems they ran away from.

When everyone comes all we have is a mob and no quality of life at all.

Think about it or not as population and global warming will destroy man in any case.

That is my story and I am sticking to it.

Mickey Cantor recognizes that conservatives have lost their way but doesn't really understand why.
The reason is they live in the past when America was small towns and farms.
In your conversation, all three of you skipped over what's tearing us apart.
It goes back to that Republican Icon, Reagan. His contribution, "government is the problem" and taxes are evil is a great sales pitch designed to fracture a society and keep the rich getting richer.
Too many people still live in a distorted dream where taxes are low but government pays for all the good stuff we want. They never seem to ask themselves where the money is supposed to come from.
How many of these "go it aloners" actually can go it alone. Of what use is a gun in the home if there's no food or fuel. How can America's technology rely on home schooled, religiously oriented people, while science is surging ahead in China and India?
Unless this country gets a radical shakeup similar to one delivered by FDR, we will become the richest third world flop on the block.

I was thoroughly engrossed by the program last night. Especially when Bill joined in the discussion, not as an anchor, but as a discussion member. Great television.

I am a former Goldwater Republican, so it was a real pleasure to have Mickey Edwards bring to the discussion the definition of the Goldwater conservative.

Thus, I saw my American Dream given full expression once again: Not less government, but a more responsive, responsible government that respects human rights and the people's welfare over the entities of governance and commercial rights and welfare.

That, simple singular oversight grants every person the freedom to follow their bliss.


I think much of the "American Dream" is based on our using more than our fair share of the earth's resources. I wish the American Dream would someday evolve so that we strive to live within the limits of nature to sustain us, while consuming no more than the other citizens of the earth, leaving behind a world that can survive into the future for the children of Americans and non-Americans alike.

Is the American Dream still attainable?I've posed this question over and over in my mind too many times.Look around this country and listen to the people going through very tough circumstances in their lives.It is sad and disturbing.The gap has widened among the haves and have-nots.Where is the country heading to?At the rate,that we are leading,is too scary to think about.I hope and pray that our country, can turn it around and change, before it is too late.

I totally agree with the first comment from Dan Bednarz, that for Americans to create a "Just World," we must include "ecological realities like where does
Stuff comes from on this finite planet? Is the fuel we use to heat or cool our homes going to be dirty?" Is so-called "clean coal" going to spew mercury and toxic grit into our Air supply? Is Oil worth the cost of Human Sacrifice in the Millions? How many oil spills can our Oceans take? Or will we follow McCain's insane vision of 45 nuclear power plants? Thus making billions for a few, and requiring perpetual war to prevent terrorists from stealing Our Deadly Waste! And what about the U.S. Weapon of Mass Destruction, Depleted Uranium which kills our Soldiers and Innocent Civilians while poisoning the Planet!
In the midst of this nightmare there are a few million who hold a Vision of clean, safe Energy from the sun, wind, oceans, hemp, geothermal, etc. We must demand of those in our government to support the joint efforts of Rep. Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich to pass The Industrial Hemp Act of 2008, allowing Us to Grow Hemp for food, fuel, fiber, paper, plastics and oxygen! Both men also stand for our God given right to Medical Marijuana: Genesis, Chap. 1, Verse 29. We must also demand that Congress protect us from Monsanto type agendas of starvation by use of poisonous pesticides, petrochemical fertilizers, and sterile, bioengineered seeds. See Frontline's documentary "Suicide Seeds" and demand it be shown in Congress!
On my car there is a bumper sticker which says "No Justice - No Peace" with a quote from Rev M. L. King,Jr, "True Peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the Presence of Justice."
In my Vision for a "Just World," We, The People will have Organic food, free from artificial flavors and colors that come from coal tar and petrochemicals. Our food will be free of MSG, aspartame, growth hormones, and thousands of synthetic additives "generally recognized as safe..." We will grow Organic Gardens All Over the World! We will eat "all natural," whole grains and animals raised compassionately - obesity and diabetes will dis- appear. We will respect the World's Rivers and Oceans, and stop dumping waste into them, killing the coral reefs and other living ecosystems. These "ecological realities" were addressed 30 odd yrs ago in E.F. Schumacher's book: "Small is Beautiful - Economics As If People Mattered." My Vision would make it mandatory reading for Big Business and Govt. Not only must we choose wisely "where stuff comes from," but we must also be responsible for where all our stuff goes on Space Ship Earth!
If we all shared Mahatma Gandhi's Vision of "Enough for everyone's need, not everyone's greed," we might succeed!

The American Dream will only be renewed if our leaders can be honest with us again. A society that has lost trust in its government will not survive. I believe we have a chance to renew faith in our Government, but it must come in the next 2 years by our Federal (and State) governments being straight forward and honest in all dealings once again - Republicans and Democrats.

(Perhaps the following somewhat tongue in cheek suggestion might be a way to redirect mainstream media in covering the American Dream.)

“JOURNALISTIC ETHICS 101”
Or, If God had sent Commandments to Editors and Reporters instead of Moses


An intelligent, energetic, relentless, ethical, and suspicious press is important, probably critical, to a democracy, especially the news magazines and papers which traditionally can devote more time to accurate fact finding. To see yearly losses in the numbers of those types of publications does not bode well.

On the other hand, if they want their readership to rise up in support of a viable free press, journalists need to realize that, as a group, they have “earned” over the past couple of decades a growing reputation for laziness and ethical lapses or appearance thereof due to their frequent coziness with the subjects of their investigations, their unwillingness to admit mistakes and their fear of embarrassment or loss of access or privileges. Such antics tends to make the general public as cynical about what journalists are writing as what the politicians, PR flacks and investigatees happen to be spouting.

To regain support by the public, journalists, both the reporters and their bosses, must first regain trust. Here are a few suggestions. They seem to be what the journalists must have been sleeping through in Journalism school.

1. THOU SHALT UNDERSTAND THAT NOT EVERYTHING DESERVES TWO POINTS OF VIEW. If someone declares the sun will rise in the west, it is not sufficient to simply quote someone else who dutifully says it will rise in the east. That does not make the resulting report “fair and balanced.” A true journalist has an affirmative duty to either point out the obvious that there is not the slightest history of that ever happening or, better yet, do some investigative reporting quoting from astronomy textbooks to note that the sun does not “rise” at all. It merely appears to do so because of a spinning earth. Either way, the reporters and editors ought to exercise common sense by mentioning it is patently impossible to for it to even appear to rise anywhere except by looking due east in the morning. In court, this is called taking “judicial notice.”

2. THOU SHALT PRINT FIRST THE QUESTIONS NOT ANSWERED. When politicians and PR flacks answer questions that were never asked or don’t answer at all, either keep asking the original questions until answered. Or, better yet, print as part of the story the questions that were not answered.

3. THOU SHALT NOT JUST PRINT PRESS RELEASES. All statements of politicians, self proclaimed authorities, self anointed messiahs, CEOs and PR flacks of any sort should be assumed to be either deliberately false or at least ignorantly wrong until proven to be true by verifiable evidence established beyond a reasonable doubt through outside reliable sources.

4. THOU SHALT HONOR REQUESTS FOR PRIVATE CONFIDENCES EXCEPT WHEN IT COMES FROM A PUBLIC OFFICIAL. The only statements made by insiders that should be protected by reporter privilege should be those made about the organization itself, not about outsiders who happen to be criticizing the organization. In other words, government sources should be free to label themselves, but never others. Otherwise, it fails the “sniff test.”

5. THY NEWS DEPARTMENT SHALT TELL THY MARKETING DEPARTMENT TO STUFF IT WHERE THE SUN NEVER SHINES. Ownership, including major stockholders of media entities as well as all major campaign contributions made by paper owners and their reporters within the past 12 months, at a minimum, ought to be regularly revealed at the start of each article or news broadcast. It's called disclosure of potential conflicts of interest. Beside, if reporters can’t find crimes committed by their owners, then they aren’t doing their job.

6. THOU SHALT NOT SEND THY ENTIRE PRESS CORPS TO COVER ONE SEX TRIAL. Like education, often the public needs to hear news not involving bleeding, bedrooms or loud booms, whether they want to hear it or not. Either that or at least confine such B,B&B “news” to the entertainment pages.

7. THOU SHALT NOT COVET THY COMPETITORS’ ACCESS TO POWER. All perks of any sort given to reporters should be considered automatic conflicts of interest and reported in any story by the recipient reporter. Pundit columns should always be clearly marked as solely the opinion of the pundit. Perhaps their expertise, if any, or lack of it on a subject should also be disclosed. In fact, the total number of reporters and staff working on the particular story should be reported at the bottom so that the public can decide how well a subject is covered. Better yet, the amount of time spent on a particular story should be reported.

8. THOU SHALT ALWAYS REVEAL WHEN THE OFFICIALS ARE ANGRY OR ARROGANT. It should be reported as news who is excluded from access to politicians and news sources. Who interviewees refuse to talk to speaks volumes all by itself, not to mention revealing the ethics and moral courage (or lack thereof) of the interviewees who duck reporters. As a group, all reporters should refuse to interview anyone who attempts to pick and chose who will be doing the interviews.

9. THOU SHALT NOT DECEIVE THE PUBLIC. Being first with a report is never ever as good as being right about the report. And, being right about a report is never as good as being complete. Moreover, Journalism will never be a genuine “Profession” unless reporters are both licensed to practice like doctors, lawyers and accounts and risk losing such a license when they disobey Journalism ethics. Those reporters convicted or fired can be free to write of course. It just should not be with the title of “Reporter” anymore.

10. THOU SHALT CONFINE EDITORIAL OPINIONS TO THE EDITORIAL PAGES WHERE THEY ARE DISCLOSED AS SUCH. Nuf said.

We could go on to discuss the lack of context, lack of followup to find out what happened later on a story, lack of “track record” disclosure as to how many things the reporter or pundit has stated in the past that proved to be completely wrong, lack of information for the reader on what has been deliberately edited out of the story, lack of disclosure of how much (or more accurately, how little) time was spent on the particular story counting research, lack of respect for the reader’s intelligence and usually lack of any revelation of at least the admitted bias the reporter/pundit might have. All those could be an indictment of how Journalism seems to be practiced these days. However, Moses was content to settle on just ten commandments. Either that or he got tired of carrying or lost the rest. Maybe someone should investigate.

The increasingly desperate situation of which Mr. Moyers speaks has been evident for many years now to anyone caring to look. Yet, little happens except a perpetual worsening.

Why isn't there the fully justifiable outrage there should be? Did we lose the battle decades before in the schools and colleges where reverence for democratic concepts should be created and inspired? It is not just that democracy has been hijacked. It is that few seem to care anymore or understand the importance of the frustrating struggle.

While Mr. Moyers points out a tiny handful of successes, I am reminded of the sad slogan long recognized in the environmental and historic preservation battles we have been fighting as well:

"Every victory is temporary. Every defeat is permanent."

Yet, fight on we must for the alternative is truly frightening.

A Universal Dream

I am of the universe and I have a dream that Oneday mankind will have the wisdom to know, teach, and practice nature's simple truth of equality, the truth of everything, the unifying universal truth that All is truly One. And on that One equitable day, humanity will erase inhumanity, wrongs will be made right, justice will become equal, differences will unite, nations will become a nation, and the lion’s tail will become the lion himself. That Oneday simply and beautifully, my dream of equality will become reality, and the lion truly and eternally set free.

=
MJA

Excellent program last night.
The word "power" was used often. It lead me to wonder, what would happen if the word "servitude" replaced the word "power" and "servant" replaced "leader" when we discuss government. Would a change in behavior take place in our representatives and ourselves?. Would this mere change in verbage help to enpower us, excite us, the people in America, who are the true government of America?
Our representatives are there to "serve", why do we allow them to come into "power". What feeling of omnipotence does the word "power" invoke in you?
If we don't do something to diminish the omnipotence of power hungry in Washington,
my husband and I think it's time for the formation for a lobbiest group in Washington to represent the needs of the American people.

What is the American Dream? It is the equal opportunity to pursue happiness and the freedom to decide for one’s self what Happiness looks like. And, inherent in that freedom is the collective respect that all others have the same rights as they.

I believe in the POWER OF THE PEOPLE. We must focus on our common goals and not our differences. When THE PEOPLE stop buying into the divisive, fear mongering rhetoric that serves only the elite, which diminishes our power, and rediscover our COLLECTIVE POWER, with which we changed the world in 1776. We will get back on the path to realizing the ideals on which this country was founded. That ALL humankind has equal value given by their creator, and have the God given right to self-determination. We must return to a Government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Only WE THE PEOPLE can mke that happen.

Some learned writers hold the Constitution as a fetish. Look at current practice: It is a jury-rigged mess tuned for material injustice. In 1788 the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation were discarded by an elite eager to get paid.(bonds, notes, new lands, trade advantage, slavery) The Declaration, where the American Dream originates as "the pursuit of happiness", has not been in force since ratification (an elite-engineered counter-revolution).
Natural abundance meant the Beneficiaries could recruit enough crumb-catchers for the last 219 years to keep their wealth machine running. Now an overpopulated, damaged and depleted world means the Beneficiaries must mine humanity like coal to keep their perks.
A psychologist acquaintance attempted a radio show on WBAI last year, "The Pursuit of Happiness". It could not gain anything but criticism in the New York market. The well meaning practitioner blamed unhappiness on mental problems. She opened the vent to a raging ocean of fear and resentment underlying the calm surface of imposed economic discipline. This happened in a country where a high percentage (40% or more including doctors and other helping professionals) are taking prescribed mood altering drugs. We are environmentally depressed, not organically depressed. Medication for materially caused depression is insanity.
Anyway, our nightmare will soon end by coming true. Already there is a consumer bank failure in California, and an informant tells me Wachovia (4th or 5th larget bank) is billions into insolvency. How can the public be taxed to recover the losses of the Beneficiaries? We are over 11 billion now in national debt and the expected demise of lenders and banks will at least double the figure. Like France in 1789 the very weight of elite borrowing and gambling will collapse the economic system. Then we will discover that our sacred fetish (Constitution)was only a sub-prime business contract after all. Will their be any human rights or civil rights when the Beneficiaries mobilize violence to collect taxes?
I think not! The American Dream was only a marketing ploy from its conception.
Our fate is either the death camp turned inside out for Beneficiary advantage(oh! Those strong fascist families, mimicked by the Sopranos on HBO, where Tony must take his meds before performing the duties of a "good earner")or direct seizure of power by the masses. (A "punctuated jump in cultural evolution would be necessary for any positive outcome but maybe we can do it.) I submit to you that the COOs, CEOs, tycoons, experts and political servants paraded before us are little more than "capos" and camp commandants. Money is their only meaningful credential.
Thanks Bill Moyers (still a hostage to truths he dare not voice) for bringing on the "extraction ideologues" in order to show us they are only human. They have failing hearts and wrenching rectums of fear just like we taxpayers.(They fear us.)
Say no to unauthorized expenditures by demanding tax payment designation (according to the payers choice) at the Inauguration in January. If the Beneficiaries refuse then comes the chaotic bloodbath. So the American Dream runs like a horror movie in my subconscious nightly. beretco.op@gmail.com

I expect a shift to occur that will move our vision of the American Dream from believing in a dream to participating consciously in a more perfect union, returning to or discovering for the first time the "united states" in our selves and in our country, reclaiming our position as the light at the vanguard of the human race.

According to William Catton, author of the book Overshoot, the American Dream is a form of cargo cultism. As children we are educated and socialized in institutions inculcating the beliefs that political rhetoric, human ingenuity and free enterprise have made us an exceptional and materially wealthy people. We’re poorly, if at all, informed of our relationship to the earth’s ecological systems and its resources. In other words, we don’t really grasp where stuff comes from, especially energy, and that we live on a finite planet. Indeed, one of the speakers trots out the now ironic catechism that America is the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.

America was founded by Europeans who expropriated what they took to be an “empty” continent of limitless resources and bounty. They drew down these resources while telling themselves that they were “creating” wealth.

Bill never discusses the ecological basis of life; look at the comments by his admittedly learned guest on the American Dream. Not a one evinces any ecological insight; it’s all rhetoric, some better than others, but rhetoric all the same. Such cargo cultism will not heat your home, feed your family, or prevent you from becoming ill, or create a just world because it ignores the ecological realities that ultimately set the parameters of human existence.

Phil Gramm's condescension about the American People's "whining" about the economy typifies the Conservative/Republican attitude of "I've got mine, go get your own".

It's all part of the forty year assault on the protections erected after a Republican worldwide depression.

The Supreme Court neutered the only hope us working folks had in the Democratic Party with their onerous 1976 Buckley V Valeo decision that legalized the corporate takeover of our political system.

Nothing will change until "We The People" change the rules back to make America work for all of us again.

FDR said, "extravagant advantage for the few, ultimately depresses the many."

Conservatives and The Republican Party have hated him for it ever since, and worked relentlessly to take us back to "The Guilded Age".

We're almost there.

I have always had two problems with the notion of an American Dream, and those problems wrap around the words themselves. Why a dream that is exceptionally "American"? What do we Americans aspire to that is not desired and deserved by all people everywhere? Doesn't this exceptionalism keep us isolated from the rest of the world in a time when we must learn to see ourselves as global citizens instead?
And why a "Dream"? Dreams are nothing but passive wishfulness. Dreaming about owning a home (the classic cliche of the American Dream) does not make it happen. Have we become a society of dreamers rather than doers, who think of lotteries and casinos as places to invest? We can dream all we want about a better life and a better world, but dreaming won't make it happen. Personal commitment and action will.

If the American dream isn´t reclaimed within the next 10-20 yrs...then America will be a 2nd class society. The signs are already there to see in: education, health care..etc, What made it so bad was the corporate unconsciousness and responsiblity towards society in favor for its stockholders. For example, this is evident in the privatization of the war in Iraq where stockholders of these companies are making big bucks.

My American Dream is: an America that I can believe in. I'm tired of the lies and corruption. I’m starting to feel like it’s too late.That’s saying something from an optimist.

Mickey Edwards clear definition of conservatism, and his unwillingness to include the whole Republican party base as conservatives, was refreshing. And it reminded me of where I think the American Dream went wrong.

During the Reagan and neo-con era we the people bought the idea that commerce, and indeed big profits for big companies, would somehow "trickle down" to us all. Perhaps, at that time, we equated prosperity with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Perhaps we just wanted to get rich.

We and our representatives changed laws so businesses could make unbridled profits with fewer and fewer legal constraints and liabilities. We made deregulation the rule. Perhaps we forgot why we had regulations. Today corporate CEOs make over 400 times what the worker on the line makes. Speculators drive markets high and then into the ground. Here at the bottom, life is just not as secure or predictable as it used to be. Looking around, I see more of my friends working longer hours, and they are less wealthy than their parents.

But Mr. Douthat tells us not to worry--all is well. The rich are richer and there are now more of them. As for the working poor, the trinkets and beads we buy at the stores where we work--stores that do not pay liveable wages--are more affordable than ever! This helps ease the pain when commodities of real value: homes, college education, healthy and safe food, health care and pharmaceuticals are not within our reach. Yes, more have become rich, but even more of us have moved into the ranks of the working poor. This is not the dream for America of either Thomas Jefferson or Henry Ford.

By the way, I live in Oregon. Only one in ten of the people who complete the long registration process for Oregon's death with dignity actually take the medication that is prescribed. One of my dearest friends did chose to follow through. She had a wicked cancer and was given only weeks to live at the time of her diagnosis. But instead of weeks she lived six months. She relaxed knowing that the pain would never be too great to bear; as her body began to fail she still enjoyed nightly canasta games with friends, social events, and she finished two books. While dieing she put her life in order, and ENJOYED EACH AND EVERY DAY without the fear of a terrible ending. When she knew that it was her time she called us all together. While her best friends sang hymns in the living room, she died gracefully in her own bed. I am proud of Oregonians for supporting the freedom of the individual. People do not choose death with dignity because they are depressed! The freedom to choose death with dignity can help relieve the anxiety and fear of an upcoming painful death.

My American dream is that:
we give a bigger voice to those such as Bill Moyers who provide thoughtful, intelligent, and respectful dialogue such as tonight's with the two conservatives; that we do a better job of providing interesting and good educational experiences for young students through all levels so they have the knowledge to participate in government and also have the belief that they can make a difference; that leaders in the government and in businesses stand up for what is right with their beliefs and with the law so that they provide models for good governance and citizenship, not models of selfish, money driven behavior to discourage hope and participation in the government; that we put enough resources, effort, thought, planning, determination, and enthusiasm into supporting education, employment, science, good laws, and responsible business so that our country and the rest of the world IS a better place.

My sincere thanks to Bill Moyers and the many others at PBS who provide this forum.

The American Dream:
I find it hard to believe that my life pales in comparison to Homer Simpson; he has me beat on the American Dream. He has a two car garage, three children, a stay at home wife, a big back yard and a hammock. The American dream is very simple... a slice of the pie. Sure, he bought it in 1989, but why can't I have it now?

Thank you for creating this important discussion. I think it is important to see America within the context of the changing world. I see America as a "ship" that is navigating the "ocean" of a global economy. There are huge problems and opportunities because of the internet, NAFTA, and other expressions of global economy: International terrorism is possible for small groups, our jobs are being exported to other countries, but also we are more connected to ideas, people, and resources from all over the world. We need, as a nation, to re-define ourselves and our priorities in terms of this new international access.
One specific problem is that we are plagued by Super Stores, Mega Banks and Mega Companies. By plagued, I mean that they are so large that they run over and deplete our communities. I think these mega-businesses have been created in order to be able to compete with internet purchases within this new international economy. Some of these companies are so powerful that they put our small businesses out of business, so that, for competition, the only thing that is large enough to attempt to counter-balance (regulate) them is our federal government. I don't want government to interfere with my private rights, but I do think we need a government big enough to regulate these mega-corporations that are effectively monopolies. I don't think there is currently an even playing field for capitalism as we have thought of it in the past. I think, as a country, we need to stop in-fighting and see ourselves within this larger context, and find ways to use our assets (our political system and physical resources)to keep our communities and rights healthy and on a human level.

I am afraid that the American dream is slipping away extremely quickly and surrepitiously by our own government representatives at almost every level (who have been influenced by 'Corporate America'. We are a nation of x-gen immigrants who believed that the US will provide a good life to those in the present and to future generations. Why is it that an 'American Citizen' whether alien or natural citizen doesn't deserve job security and health coverage without being bankrupted, foreclosed/evicted, reposessed, sickened, homeless, and shamed. I don't want this for myself, my kids, my neighbors, my community, 'my country'. Corporate American should not be allowed to hide behind tax cuts/incentives/rebates/lobbyists. They should pay their share of taxes.

I am appalled that most manufacturing jobs are almost gone; what is more embarassing is that the business bottom line (whether small or big business) is exporting/importing raw materials and finished goods back and forth to other countries, like China, India, SE Asia, C. America, etc. and stripping Americans of jobs- corporate businesses are shrugging off the payroll taxes (matched social security, federal taxes) and letting Americans loose without financial security (pay), 401k, pension, health insurance.
And everyone on Capitol Hill are crying over the cost of war -- must raise taxes, must give out stimulus checks for the amount is laughable because it may be 3 or 4 fill-ups of gas.
An American citizen/resident would be proud to be able to have a job which yielded a decent living wage, have a roof overhead, and be able to care and feed themselves. Stop exporting our jobs overseas; don't belly-ache about corporate business: local-state-federal government are doing the outsource/offshore, too. Look at the way our homeland security/passport books are handled.
The US economic picture is very broken through corrupt business practices and regulatory bodies 'not catching the problem', and the FED. reserve board allowing this situation to escalate over the last 10 years.
Stop attacking the home buyer because of the predatory lending institutions and their crafty practices that have artificially inflated home prices, and the mortgage securities buried in the mutual funds that have been chopped up 20 ways, and are systemically distributed throughout making the US stocks shaky and the US dollar weak. Are there are no longer qualified people to perform basic SEC, accounting, ethics oversights. This is outside Sarbanes/Oxley, this is a practice of greed to apply percentage of profit versus risk, at the expense of the American home buyer. BTW, I believe 'owning a home' is one American dream.
It is wrong to use religion and science as a distraction tactic.
As a grateful American public, we should be able to support and care for our brave soldiers and their families and not just abandon them-- that is morally wrong.
Bring back manufacturing and jobs back to the US. Let the American people help repair the physical infrastructure (
roads, bridges, levees, parks.
Let the American people help restore our natural resources and protect ourselves and future generations when global warming prevents us from drinking clean water, breathing clean air, and being able to feed our nation-- and of course, free our dependence from oil. We should be encouraged by the likes of Pickens, and initiate change -- he plans the biggest wind farm ever, and he is a maverick for promising the assemblage of the turbines for the American people.

Give us our jobs, dreams, and US pride back.

There is no future in The American Dream with a country divided by religion. It’s plain as day all across this country with every religious group suggesting to have the higher moral ground to that of religious groups a block away especially when they’re claiming spiritual communications with god.

I wonder how god will judge Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Paul Crouch, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Farwell, Robert Schuller, Ted Haggard, John Hagee and that PoS g. w. bush for segregation within their own ministries.

I'm 56 years old. For at least the last 35 years the phrase "American Dream" has troubled me. The older I get the more I have come to believe that the "American Dream" is "that phrase which is appropriated by someone to advance whatever agenda they are selling today".

What's the Future of the American Dream?
Our country is headed in the wrong direction. If "We the People" do not realize what is at stake in this election, perform our due diligence and select the proper public servant to be our president. The future of the American dream has already been given away to the very people we cuss at every day. Our country must be governed "by the people, for the people" I am a middle-aged man that has endured more financial hardship than I care to discuss. My wages have shrunk by 75% in the past 6 years. Including a 15% cut in pay last week because of a "sluggish economy" and the lack of work in the automotive industry. Although I have lost my house, my 401K, and I'm losing my car, I have as much pride for my country as anyone. I am a veteran of the armed forces. I still sing the national anthem with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I don't blame the government for my hardships. I blame myself. I also hold myself and the people of our nation responsible for the government officials we now have. We are the ones that voted for them and lost control of our government. We must get it back! We all know what "Mr. Bush" has done with has saber and pen. He is there because "We the People" blindly followed... What's the Future of the American Dream? I want it to be bright and hopeful, however I am saddened to say that the American dream is on life support and dying. It belongs to the already wealthy, large corporations and their lobbyists. If "We the People" want our American Dream we dammed well better ALL learn about what is a stake this November. We ALL better take this one personal. We all need to be involved. Everyone that is able needs get educated and must to vote. The Future of the American Dream is in our hands and we better all stand up and fight for it. I sure as hell I'm going to...

The "American Dream" simply stated is:

"My children will have it better than me."

Our challenge in the future is to learn that "better" doesn't mean "more".


Thank you for another great broadcast conversation Mr. Moyers.

The American Dream is just that -- a dream -- wake up America. This is NOT the greatest country in the world. See beyond your own brainwashing, then there will be the dissolution of the U.S.of A, replaced with a world for all of us, where no one is more privileged than any one else.

In watching tonight's program I am once again reminded that the treasure that is Bill Moyer's Journal is one of the last places in this vast media saturated society, where intelligent, civil discussion can be found.

I am a life long liberal and union organizer, and I can tell you after watching these two gentleman espouse their version of conservatism. and I could be assured that they could implement such a government, I would be more comfortable voting for them, rather than the position of the moment being spouted by Obama.

Dear Mr. Moyers,

When the history of Democracy is written for the 1960 to now and beyond Era is written, the Journal will be required video text material.

Tonight's show of July 11th 2008 leaves me with an emotion that Lou Gehrig must have felt. As being the Luckiest Man in the World because I live in the Greatest Democracy ever as demonstrated by your show.

My deepest thanks!

Honestly, I was wholeheartedly encouraged by the balanced discussion of the conservative movement in such an unbiased way. I have proudly named myself as a Liberal even as the term was demonized by the far right. One of my favorite Republican foils (friends) has often told me that I may be a Libertarian more than a Democrat (semantics). Both commentators earned my respect because they defined the values that they hold dear with solid arguments. I may not embrace those points of view, but I still must concede they have intellectual validity. The one thing that raised my ire was this. In the current economy , while the working man has suffered from stagnation in real wages that rivals the dark days of the 1920's even as wealth expanded in the upper class exponentially, the working class should consider into the equation that the costs of consumer goods (those things that the rich don't consider as essential) have decreased for the the average American. You ship our jobs over seas to countries that have even lower wages. The standards for worker safety, dignity and environmental responsibility are extremely lax. Now you expect us to rejoice in the comfort that even though our wages are stagnant, at least WE are not at the bottom of the food chain. So let's see, I can buy cheap goods that help to maintain a somewhat elevated standard of living based on the exploitation of a lesser valued human population, and all the while the Gatsby's bathe in Champagne. I truly hope that the American dream isn't for sale at the Dollar store closeout aisle.

I think the American Dream is active in a half dozen European democracies. They have learned from our successes and failures and have taken the lead from us in putting the American Dream into practice in their countries. I'm a universalist and I am proud of them -- I look overseas for quality of life solutions and hope for our earth.

As a Canadian, I think that its past time for Americans to stop dreaming and wake up. The Titanic has already hit the iceberg, and you keep repeating reveries of American exceptionalism.
Americans, like those who built the Titanic, believes that America is unsinkable.
I don't know if democracy will ever come to the US, but few people observing the American political process from the outside mistake it for a democracy.
The American government is a wholly owned subsidiary of Corporate America, with a political in which the 2 wings of the Capitalist Party, Republicans and Democrats, is legitimate.

The American Dream has receded so far into shadow, it is hard to believe that it may yet be attainable. I dream of an America that honors the differences of race, creed, and belief among its citizens, rather than these being the differences that cause the smaller minded to vilify and hate their fellow Americans. I dream of a nation in which disagreement takes the form of rational discourse, that remembers the spirit of "I do not agree with your words, but will defend to the death your right to speak them." I dream of an America in which no person goes to sleep hungry, in which honest, hard-working people are able to provide for themselves and their families rather than breaking their backs to subsidize the luxurious lifestyles of robber-baron CEOs who could not care less about the people who toil for them. I dream of a country governed by men and women whose primary concern is "How can I best serve the people I represent?" rather than "How can I best serve my own interests, and what lies need I tell to get re-elected?" I dream of an America that follows the principles of tolerance, respect for others, and the Golden Rule. I yearn for a country that, when its leaders lie, cheat, steal, and behave in ways that would land us "lesser folk" in jail or subject us to public censure, would be grounds for their automatic and permanent removal from office. But most of all, I dream of the sweet land in which I was born and raised, in which people loved and trusted one another despite any and all differences and stood together as Americans.

I have written once before when Bill Moyers was so biased as to lose all credibility. Now he has sunk to a new level, surpassing the worst of the tabloid paparazzi.

I have lost a hero to me and my father. Bill Moyers lacks any objective standard desired by any true journalist. He is yet another reason why we are truly lost as Americans. I can only hope for an abrupt end to this brand of trash journalism.

I feel this concept of "The American Dream" is an abstract, which often undercuts the true brilliance of the forefathers dream for our nation. The brilliance I speak of is rooted in simplicity rather than ideology. "The American Dream" is a marketing slogan that by our nation's heart can not be defined. If you take a look at our name, "The United States of America", you will notice only one proper noun. This noun is the name of a continent rather than a nation. This is indicative of the simple practicality which drives our country. We are simply a united nation of people, who elect government to serve our interests without interfering in our lives. I do not mean to make a commentary on limited government in that statement, as we the people have the choice for where that line is drawn. If we feel they should provide health care, it by no means defiles some lofty expectation of our values anymore than us choosing to leave them out of health care. So often we get hung up on seeking a higher calling for our republic, and in my opinion lose focus on the practical genius of self government. None of us need share any common vision for our nation to work. As long as the government responds to the needs of the electorate we are fulfilling the edict of our forefathers. When the government no longer serves this purpose we needn't look to some divine imagery, we simply need to return to the practical purposes which has guided our nation for over 200 years.

I more and more enjoy the program, but not always the ignorance even of some bloggers. The program July 11 was so good and great. The conversation, questions, discussion, serious and true ideas was wonderful. I wish country could have more serious discussion in "this way". So many quotes I cannot even start.

Well Capt. Badass,
I am sorry you want to throw the old people under the bus!
"Then, after that, all the people in America who were in their teens to 40's would be like..."By the way...no more old people. We've had enough. We love you--we'll miss you when you die. But honestly, you can't keep up with what's going on. You don't know what the internet is, you still think attack ads are cool, and you're starting to make the Supreme Court house smell like peas and Bengay..
( a form of racism agism?)
All the old fogies I know spend a LOT of time on line and are really skilled at it!
I am watching the Learning Channel's Ashley SHow. It is appalling, this bikini designer & her young cohorts, out of money, preparing for Hollywood fashion week, SO UNPROFESSIONAL! Now I understand why the expensive gowns seen on the red carpet don't fit very well. They are designed by the seat of their pants, not skillfully! When I was that age I was VERY skilled. At 69 I am even more skilled!
I have ALWAYS lived with integrity, if I hadn't I might be more comfortable financially!
But from the perspective of wisdom; we were closer to Utopia 45 years ago thanwe are now. America has been regressing for 30 years!

I would love for America to stop being such a divisive place, and that we, the people, could look at each other as humans rather than dollars to be made or dollars to be lost. We are so lucky to have the freedoms and opportunities we do, but our society doesn't seem to be fostering the concept of respect for our fellow Americans, nor for the global community. It's my opinion that freedom and opportunity is wasted if it's not coupled with social responsibility and realism. We need more than money to fix the problems in this country. We need to care about one another and to encourage our citizens to be the best people they can be, in a way that comes natural to them.

As a union conservative (yes there are labor union members who think for themselves) I thought the show tonight was unusually well balanced. You made Reverend Wright look moderate and let Ross Doulthat look great.

All this gobbledy gook about who is conservative, neoconservative, liberal, liberal-conservative, blah blah blah is wasteful and juvenile. I'm reminded of the story of the little old lady who was asked if she considered herself a good christian. Her delicious reply - "Gosh, I don't know. I guess you'll have to ask my neighbors."

Do away with the labels, vote your conscience, and perhaps we may yet see the triumph of statesmanship over politics.

WHO IS THAT KID inthe yellow tie? Oh Ross Doulet. Your site isn't too forthcoming with the names of your guests....
I am highly offended by his statement that I should settle for low wages because "goods are cheaper" as a result of 30 years of Republican ideas! I don't do cheap!
Re: "family values", I can't afford nearly enough time with my FAMILY, 4 Grandchildren that I only see once or twice a year. No I can't afford to live near them, fully employed younger people can afford higher property taxes.
I don't give a diddly, about CHEAP STUFF from Walmart. I want to pay a man to raise my storage shed from 4' high to 8' high so that I can keep some chickens and store wood for my wood stove. I need to repair my 25 year old diesel rabbit, I need to replace my blk & decker electric lawnmower. The old one lasted for 20 years , this one burned out in 7!
It is a hard job for a 69 year old woman to cut the entire lawn with a weed whacker!
As an artist there is a lot of painting I am NOT DOING while I am weed whacking!
And as an Artist how is it that I was able to make a good living until 1989, with a small single owner entrprenurial art business, and now that the USA population has doubled and there are all those rich upper middle class people, I barely survived until my Widow's Pension kicked in when I turned 60.
The buyers have beentaught to want CHEAP CRAP by the TV advertising. Truth has been distorted and the cognitive dysfunction has clouded people's ability to look at a painting and see truth and want to buy!
Cartoons are in!
It's tragic!

Hired by greed mongers,the political and coporate policies of these United States have now shifted from "we the people" to "we the powerful" and have poised this great country for a great fall. Like other nations before us-Greeks,Romans, Egytians and the Brits-our people have let this nation down. I seriously believe we've lost the control to shape our lives and our own destiny. And so the American Dream will be a reality only in the past.
Eternal vegilence was always the price of good government.

THE AMERICAN DREAM.. 1492.
CAN YOU OR ANYONE REALLY ACCEPT THE TRUTH OR IS THIS A DREAM, COME TRUE FOR THE INDUSTRIAL USA. THE POWERS TO BE... WHOM BUILT THIS WAGE SLAVE ENVIRONMENT AS WELL AS THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE AND THE DOW JONES. THE POWERS TO BE.. HAS THE WORKING CLASS, OVER A BARROW, & AS WAS, THE TIOLET PAPER SHORTAGE AND OR THE DREAM.. OF A GAS SHORTAGE OF YESTERYEARS,A MINOR DREAM, COMPARED TO $150-$200 @ BARREL OF TODAY. EVERYTHING IS UNREGULATED FOR THE RICH AND REGULATED FOR TAXPAYERS ONLY, WHOM ARE..NOT WELL TO DO!!! AS DREAMS ARE... THIS REALITY IS.. THE GOVERNMENT IS HELPING THE UNREGULATED BANKS, UNREGULATED LENDERS, UNREGULATED REAL ESTATORS, AND ITS' LOBBYISTS.. TO OUR CONGRESS AND ITS SUCCESSORS AND NOW: THE FINAL THEATRE AND APPROVED ACT OF CONGRESS, IS THE WAR AGAINST TERROISTS, WHICH NOW BANKRUPTS THE GOOD CITIZENS OF, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, BUT AFFECTS, ONLY THE TAXPAYERS, BUT THE UNREGULATED ARE UNTOUCHABLE..AGAIN AND AGAIN. IS THE WRITING ON THE "WALLS" OR DOES ANYONE CARE, BUT (THEY KNOW) IF THEY SAY OR DO ANYTHING, THEY MAY BE CONSIDERED AN UNFAITHFUL AMERICAN. OF COURSE, THE AMERICAN INDIANS (WHO ARE THEY,AMERICANS?) CAN NOT SAY ANYTHING ANYMORE, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US??? OR ARE WE ALL AFRAID OF OUR GOVERNMENT, OF AND FOR THE PEOPLE OF THESE UNITED STATES, AND ALL THAT FALSE-SENSE OF AMERICANISM? LET THIS GOVERNMENT START ANOTHER WAR, SO WE DO NOT HAVE TO THINK ABOUT US-WORKER-BEES-OF-AMERICA... THE YOUNG, THE OLD, THE DISABLED, THE UNWANTED, THE UNAMERICAN DREAMER.. WHOM IS NOT BELIEVING THEIR GOVERNMENT, COULD OR WOULD CREATE THE NEVER ENDING AMERICAN DREAM: "CAPITALISM, AT ITS BEST" THE TRUE AMERICAN DREAM, BIRTH DATE: 1492 OR IS IT JULY 4, 1776,THE FINAL ep·i·logue DEATH DATE:2008 TO INFINITE. NO END...IN SIGHT. THANK YOU MASTER BILL MOYER. THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE!!! AN AMERICAN WARRIOR, WHOM SAID THE TRUTH, FOR US.

Dear Bill,
I believe that the American dream has turned into a big American question mark. In my opinion, a large section of the American population bases their dream on the amount of things they can acquire. Consumerism has taken the place of what once was a simple need to be comfortable and without need. Hence the question mark. We buy and we buy; most of the time just moving ourselves further from level and lending more fuel to profiteers fire.

My younger nephew is struggling to pay for a state university education and will owe thousands in loan re-payments when he's done, if he even makes it to graduation. My Dream is that my nephew's children have access to a free college education as do my cousins in Germany. My older nephew could not go to college and struggles to make ends meet because of low pay, inadequate medical coverage, high rent, food and gas prices. Even though another family member has always taken extremely good care of their health, they are diabetic and have heart disease, and the cost of the last hospital visit was over $102,000. My Dream is that my nephews' children are not genetically burdened with disease and have access to free health care in a country that successfully controls health care costs, as does Germany where my cousins live. My elderly parents both survived World War II and in fact my father served and was wounded in France, where he risked his life to preserve the American Dream. Mom and Dad are both very disappointed in the way things have turned out for their grandkids. My Dream is that their great-grandchildren will once again live in a country which offers real opportunity and doesn't crush but rather nurtures their dreams.

The American Dream, I think there are approaching 300 million American Dreams, one for each of us, we're all going to be different. But for me, I believe the American Dream is best stated by the elderly as they look back on their lives. They talk of simplicity, family, faith, helping others, etc. We still have the freedom to pursue those things.

Mr Moyers..We have your book "A World of
Ideas" 1989, there are 2 notes to George and signed by
"Tuli" could you tell
me who Tuli is? hard to remember today since that was so long ago..appreciate it...Alberta Abbott
abbottganda@verizon.
net

The "American dream" has been outsourced to China and India, as we watch their standards of living rise at our expense. That's what globalization has been about, allowing corporations to do business wherever they like and trade wherever they like with no regard to civil rights, labor laws or environmental standards. We have succeeded in making corporations far more powerful than individuals or countries. And capitalism doesn't care about ethics, morals or compassion, so until the U.S. and other governments find the balls to rein them in like the trust-busting of 100 years ago, we will watch the "American dream" shrink along with our living standards. A modern definition of the "American dream" also needs to include sustainability, but poorer Americans will have a harder time adopting more climate-sustainable habits because they are more expensive, just as many poorer people have bad diets because fast food is cheaper than good food.

I have called myself part of a group of people who call themselves CATHOLIC WORKERS. I have been amongst these people for almost 20 years now,(since 1990).
One of the basic drives amongst these people is to make the world an easier place in which to be good and to do this with direct action and not just conversation or writings.

I have found in my journeys that more and more people I meet are more than satisfied with letting their speaking and writing define who they are, rather than letting their acts have the majority say in the matter of their lives. In fact they often work much harder to seperate themselves from their actions which, often, fail to support their words.

I see examples in this as we choose our leaders in this election year. I see so little information in news sources that speak directly of comparing actions to words amongst those who desire to be leaders in this society.

When I have discussed this issue with some they respond with a Biblical reference saying " not by acts alone". I do not disagree with the intent of this statement in its' context. I usually respond with the statement " not by flour alone do we make bread".

And so our lives are lived not by acts alone. Not by truth alone. Not by tolerance, not by patience, not by compassion, not by empathy, not by mercy or love alone.

You must decide how much of these to put into your life in order to create the sustenance for a world and the lifes' bread for your own sustenance.

For me an Indian from southasia,
It is the Frankness which american leaders used to show. NOT NOW.
also Genuine broadness of heart in GIVING

So much of what we do is in reaction to what is - an attempt to fix. In general, leaders and polity alike are largely unpracticed at articulating and / or pursuing visions or dreams.

I think that the American dream is to build institutions and communities that allow individuals to pursue what is deeply personal and meaningful to them without becoming alienated or marginalized. We've bumped up against this dream, but it is still largely elusive. Maybe sometime in the next 25 - or even 250 - years we'll get this right.

The American Dream, at 74 I feel that I've lived what I thought was the American Dream. I have been blessed by God in every way. To avoid the draft (in 1956 when there were no wars on) I joined the Navy. I had no intention of staying in but ended up a 22 year career as a Navy scientist after receiving a PhD. I left the Navy started a company with my wife, sold the company years later and we retired a relatively wealthy couple.

But, after many years of conservative living we built a beautiful mansion to enjoy our last years. Now we realize even though we ascribe to a low carbon lifestyle (we drive a Prius) we still have an awesome carbon footprint. I've realized that the "American dream" (we spent most of our life as responsible, frugal, consumers) led us to become, in our retirement, wasteful consumers. We now realize that we must "downsize" our consumption and return to a simpler lifestyle with as small a carbon footprint as possible.

I believe that we, like so many Americans pursued, and sacrificed for wealth. Not such a bad goal which enabled us to give very generously to charity and to help our children and provide for their future. But, at the end of our lives, we've succumbed to the consumptive live style only to realize that we were happier with a simpler more frugal lifestyle. I suppose the moral of this story is that happiness doesn't come from having more stuff than your neighbor but in using whatever riches you gain to help your fellow man and to live in a way that respects the earth and the Creator who put us here.

I really think that was the "American Dream" of most of our forefathers. I think our modern world seems to have placed greed on a throne and placed consumerism as an abiding theme of our lifestyle.

The dream still revolves around the original "of the people, by the people, and for the people." We the people have allowed others to turn our nation into "of the wealthy, by the wealthy, and for the wealthy." Wealthy can be replaced by special interest. The dream is that we awaken enough to become serious about our situation to pay attention to what is actually said, check to eliminate the half truths, and lies, and vote with conviction to regain the country. The wealthy and special interest groups would return the country to the late 20's and 30's era if permitted. They would benefit, we do not wish to return to a destroyed country or an uneducated country.

It has become self-evident that The "American Dream has become the "American Nightmare" for many of our citizens.
It takes grim determination to mold dreams into viable realities. Then, once they are realities; it takes grim determination to sustain them. Entropy is the way of nature and without sufficient energy to sustain a system; it fails. Finances are our source of energy. we are wasting our energy on foolish agendas and disasterous policies. We have the technology and resources to make dreams happen but instead; we waste our time Bickering over semantics and squabbling over resources.

"The trouble with life isn't that there is no answer, it's that there are so many answers."
Ruth Benedict

This sounds like some pretty sorry comments, just give up. We are helpless victims.What can we do at the hands of a big corrupt government? Well I don't agree! I think this sick screwed up government is our fault! This president has done things that any other country would not put up with.We need to tell Obama that the constitution DOES matter!80 % of us want change, HELLO, we want change!!! We as a people have not done our duty as americans. We need to take a lesson from jewish americans. They are envolved, they have a voice, they make things happen.We need to listen up, we need to get envolved and stand up and complain,make some noise, donate to causes we believe in and things will change !

Th American Dream can still be excerpted from the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

As long as the opportunity to achieve those dreams remains a right for all Americans, the dream will persist.

John Lennon once sang "The Dream Is Over"...

I used to believe the myths and tall tales spun in my high school history and social study classes... But they can't be reconciled with the executive, legslative, and judicial branches of government not acting as check and balance but instead moving in lockstep to corporate influence and agendas.

They can't be reconciled with a corporate media that does not question or provide in depth information but instead simply tracks he said she said in mindless "reporting" of major issues like the destruction of habeus corpus, the right to privacy and other liberties, war and peace, recession, and more....a news media hell-bent on gossip and "entertainment" and instilling fear rather than contributing to an informed electorate.

I can't reconcile the tall tales and myth of the American Dream with the reality of my neighbors' lack of curiousity and awareness, with their fear of anyone different from themselves, with their endless pursuit of things.

The myth of an American Dream is now wrapped in a flag made of mindless acceptance of anything military, and the lack of will to engage each other to overcome fear, to question and to demand accountability and change.

However, recently , for a just a moment I allowed myself to imagine that Barack Obama truly would be an example of integrity, the willingness to question, the courage to overcome fear, the insistence on accountability under a rule of law that applied to everyone.

But then he voted this week for a bill granting immunity to corporations and those who acted outside the law to spy on us, to invade our privacy. Then I saw the smirk on the face of George Bush as he signed that law that rapes the 4th amendment to the Constitution of all its promise.

And now I say, there is no hope. The Dream is indeed over, John.

If nothing else, the dream remains under construction like Pennsylvania's Interstates. Conceptually, Machiavelli, JS Mill, Locke and even Plato never felt some form of Utopia would be a achieved. Though of the forms, the most flexible to achieve the greatest good (utilitarianism) would be accomplished under the umbrella of a Republic. Its ability to move in various directions remains the greatest feature to keeping the dream alive. It is this alone that sustains my hope given current conditions.

The American Dream is a well-constructed delusion that changes with the times.

I don't think being ushered onto reservations was the dream of Native Americans, and I don't think that being forced to work on plantations were the dreams of countless Africans who were brought here by force. Likewise, I don't think that being recruited to die in profitable wars is the collective dream of modern Americans. But that's what we've been sold. And we seem to be buying it.

I think it would be cool if the American Dream was to have integrity and not tolerate anything less. I also think it would be cool if we could just call George Bush out and be like...."No way, man. This (point around the room) is not how it's going to be. You need to pack your bags, and go do some jail time, cuz we're not doing this."
Then, the population would be like.."Oh, and you know what else? We're gonna count our own ballots from now on. You guys can't be trusted, and we're tired of your crap. So move on out." Then, after that, all the people in America who were in their teens to 40's would be like..."By the way...no more old people. We've had enough. We love you--we'll miss you when you die. But honestly, you can't keep up with what's going on. You don't know what the internet is, you still think attack ads are cool, and you're starting to make the Supreme Court house smell like peas and Bengay...So, why don't you go home and learn some Sudoku, because your political career is over." Then, we'd throw a huge going away party for all the old people, and we'd wish them the best of luck and happiness in their retirement.
The next day, we'd sober up and start making America awesome. We'd elect a group of individuals who represented all the colors of America and we'd release all the potheads from jail and tell them to make snacks for Voting Day--which would become a national paid holiday. Then, we'd just have, like, tailgate parties with no booze outside of all the voting booths in America. And there would be face painting, and free hotdogs paid for by the American dollars we are no longer using to pay for the war on drugs/terror. We'd laugh and talk about issues, and make a big deal out of not being a bigot-loser. And things would just start to fall into place. We'd offer Bill Moyers a job as the Press Secretary--and we'd ask him to keep doing the awesome job he's always done on reporting the truth--with integrity.
Then we'd appoint a real supreme court, consisting of a lot more people, and make lobbying a crime. Oh, and we'd cut the ropes that currently tie together corporations and the government. We'd be like..."Whatever, if you can't stop polluting the Earth, and using up all our limited resources, then you're not allowed to be a company any more. You know why? Because we're all in this together. Just because you're rich and greedy does not mean that you can kill our fish and pollute our skies."
Then, we'd invest all of our money into education, technology, and green jobs.
That would be a way cooler American dream.

The American Dream is a full restoration of the US Constitution so that all people are empowered to become better via the classic virtues and under the shelter and embrace of life, civil liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It is contingent on moving far away from a nation at war of preemption, aggression and of ideology (war on drugs, war on terror, etc.) and on fettering corporations so that they do not have the same and full rights of individuals and so that they are forced to serve the public good. It's a return to valuing science,evidence, wit, wisdom, logic and reason and rejecting hate in speech and action. It's a return of tolerance, generosity, humility and kindness.

I fear that it's entirely a dream and not going to be within the grasp of the US again. I fear we are now a de facto constitutional dictatorship and a national surveillance state.

I don't see any comparison with the Founders' vision and reality and the extant iteration of US government and citizens' rights and opportunities.

I mourn for what was and what might have been, if the government had upheld its oath to protect, defend and support the consitution and had done the will of we, the people, instead of the will of the corporate interests and the wealthy.

Post a comment

THE MOYERS BLOG is our forum for viewers' comments intended for discussing and debating ideas and issues raised on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL. THE MOYERS BLOG invites you to share your thoughts. We are committed to keeping an open discussion; in order to preserve a civil, respectful dialogue, our editors reserve the right to remove or alter any comments that we find unacceptable, for any reason. For more information, please click here.

THE MOYERS BLOG
A Companion Blog to Bill Moyers Journal

Your Comments

Podcasts

THE JOURNAL offers a free podcast and vodcast of all weekly episodes. (help)

Click to subscribe in iTunes

Subscribe with another reader

Get the vodcast (help)

For Educators    About the Series    Bill Moyers on PBS   

© Public Affairs Television 2008    Privacy Policy    DVD/VHS    Terms of Use    FAQ