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« Michael Winship: Walking Down to Washington | Main | Michael Winship: Dr. Gregorian's 3 R's: Reading, Writing, and Recession »

Expectations for the Obama Administration

(Photos by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, several prominent progressives discussed their expectations of the next four years with Barack Obama in the White House. Bill Moyers asked what issues they hoped to see the new administration address.

Columnist David Sirota answered the question as follows:

“I think first and foremost he’s got to stick to his campaign promise, which he seems to be doing, on the issue of Iraq... I think that is a baseline issue considering he campaigned on that not only in the general election but in the primary. I think, in a more broad kind of way, people want him to be more embracing, which he is, of the role of government in addressing issues of economic inequality [and] income stagnation.”

Author Thomas Frank said:

“We need hearings to find out what went wrong on Wall Street, just like in the 1930s where they had hearings that went on for years... It’s judgment day for Wall Street, and we need really strong oversight... Bring in tough regulators. They’re out there – they know what they’re doing. Bring them in. Turn them loose on Wall Street.”

Princeton professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell, who was affiliated with the Obama campaign, shared her view:

“I think the recovery of New Orleans continues to be the central democratic litmus test of our time, that what does and does not happen in the context of recovery for the Gulf Coast tells us whether or not we value community, what we’re gonna do about environmental injustice, whether or not we’re gonna provide affordable quality housing, and whether or not we truly believe that we are a racial democracy, one in which people of all races get to contribute. So for me the recovery of New Orleans is central. [Also,] the question of American racial health disparities and of poverty and income disparities in American health... And the final is we’ve still got very serious basic civil rights issues, and among them is the question of marriage equality for gay men and lesbians.”

What do you think?

  • What agenda must President Obama pursue for you to consider his administration to be progressive?

  • What are your top priorities for the new administration?


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    Comments

    I forgot, we vermin can't climb ladders, no equillibrium, no gravity, no mass, no celebrity sponsor. We'll be good. Please, Massa! We'll be awful good. We Promises....

    Posted by: Irene

    Where did you disappear to, Irene?


    We watched the Nov. 20 program of Pres. Johnson's conversations with his administration and congressional members, but we had no pen when the address to purchase the tape was displayed on the screen. Please e-mail me that address so we can order it, unless you have an online way to do it. It wasn't seen as available when we searched online. thanks so much

    All the 'experts'appearing on your program tell you the course we are on is going down, and the only
    common element they want to restoreis 'confidence', a word meaning nothing, if there is nothing to restore confidence.

    The problems are obvious as are the solutions, but each of the solutions have powerful lobbys in D.C.
    blocking them. All of the solutions should be treated like they were being put on a national referendum, where they would all pass.

    The first is jobs, bring industry back, then you have jobs, end free trade, the term 'made in America' has to recover the same meaning as 'God bless America', free trade is a 35 year experiment,a dismal failure on the order of Bernie Madoffs investment philosophy, and blue printed, by the way,
    by Bernies buddy, Henry Kissinger.

    Next, send the illegal aliens home, thats easy, a stiff fine, and jail time for hiring one, problem solved, unemployment ended.

    And finally Universal Health Care, also easy, after the Federal law prohibits employers, including Sam, from furnishing health care. All of these would pass on a referendum, its what America wants, and in time, America will have.

    The entire world is in financial trouble, but we better worry about 'us' before we are too concerned about 'them'.

    President Obama better forget about 'kissing and making up with Republicans' and 'turning the other cheek', and start planning to put people in jail, and confiscating the ill-gotten gains. Then we will start recovery.

    Dick in Idaho

    I agree with Thomas Frank 1000%. The government--for decades--has been denying decent regulation over Wall Street--and the Executive branch--and it shows not only incompetence I can't even begin to believe, but it's just plain criminal.

    I've grown to be a pretty strong supporter of Obama, and I understand his administration's reluctance to make such radical moves in such a short amount of time, but the fact is that it needs to be done. Our government has basically been turning a blind eye to corporate corruption ever since FDR left office and the executive branch--with the CIA, NSA, and so on--has essentially become a corrupt branch itself. We continue to have people from the Wall Street Journal and Fox try to smear Obama's humanistic policies, and it's by far the most disgusting thing I've ever lived to watch. It's even appeared to force him into a corner where the best he can do is purchase 38% of Citigroup, leave the bank executives where they are without even being able to try them for their criminal actions, and keep 50,000 troops in a country that hates us.

    But I also suppose that, if we actually want at least 2 terms of a Democratic president who actually has a sense of moral values to fix all the corruption that he clearly wants to fix, then taking the less radical approach is, unfortunately, the lesser of two evils.

    Meaning I doubt the adjective.

    Ah yes, Democracy Now...that bastion of establishment economists! Why even waste your time, Klark? Am betting "Clintonesque" is as specious as the day is long. Wait...even more than that. [Have yet to persuade anyone to download me one talking podcast]

    "But in the long run, the world will support us only if we give something back. Ushering in new technologies that the rest of the world can adopt in order to save the planet is the right sort of gift."
    "Stimulus is for Suckers" by James Galbraith
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2008/12/stimulus-suckers

    In line with Winshp's essay and tonight's show was the appearance of Michael Hudson with Robert Kuttner on Democracy Now today. Hudson touted his terrific Counterpunch article and discussion "Obama's Awful Financial Recovery Plan."(and an accompanying chat archived at that mag. site) Kuttner took a more Clintonesque line as expected, though he also expressed some disappointment, especially with Tim Geithner's plans at treasury. If anyone gets time go over there and hear about "zombie banks."

    What in hell is this morose drivel below, Irene and David H.? Do you two have a mutual suicide pact or what? A man goes out to do a little work and never knows what childish mess he'll find on returning. The moderators won't clean it up and I won't either. No more sentimental pie fights, please! Did they get any goo on you, Mumia and Ellison?

    I can't understand how a person fancies himself a bohemian or radical thinker while clinging to the selfish pragmatism of Obama and exploring strategies for returning to normalcy. (Place Calvin Coolidge link here.) There was something about 1967 that never happened, just a costume party for the ego, and then back to Daddy's value$.

    Mumia W. has the first rung mastered: that the normal state of global corporate capitalism amounts to perpetual Depression for 90%+ of the population. And if it's Friday in Belgium that must be fascism. The second rung of understanding is that the Elite has no further use for a relatively privileged Homeland. Like the Predator-drone murdering particular deviants remotely, they've found that location doesn't matter as long as your personal communication devices remain hot. Foci of hate and resentment can be created, Osama the Spelunker or BillAyers EducationSmartass anime as needed if the newsday is slow or unfavorable. A video game will replace Charles Gibson's head before long, interactive with a pre-determined outcome.The goosed plane skims the sparkling river and the quintuplets sing and dance like Osmonds. It runs 20-some years like a Broadway musical. You can take your second and third wives to see it, and your precocious grandbabies.

    David H. talks about the survival of soul and consciousness. Then he fails to mention the identity of the woman who died at the young age of 56. Maybe his women possess only cat identities and their names, Snowball or Pussy, will be reincarnated upon the next kitten. Even if an identity could survive without a brain, maybe in a dream state, how would it be distinguishable from the links it floated, if its force were fixated upon the superficialities of a particular time and place and not upon enduring good will and justice. Please tell me the woman's name, link to her obit, and locale for I may have even known her. Was it Red Emma or Rosa the Poet? Was it Singing Sue who abandoned revolution for ski holidays or Flighty Michele with a bad back working in a hospice, bad Medtronic wire on her atrial-fib pacemaker?

    Ellison is willing to borrow our future wages to pay speculators for all the houses owed upon. Did you buy a bundle, Mr. Hunt? The third rung follows the money as those paid off outlaws turn the monetary power back upon the payers like firehoses in Montgomery, Alabama. Paying up ain't paying forward. Squatting would be of more value than paying on an upsidedown fraud concerning a stick and strandboard box. Why are people now denied the activity of building their own dwellings? Oh, they can build for approved Habitat recipients on a scale limited by realtors, put the porchmonkeys in their place. Delusions we call "good neighborhoods", where Whitey and wanna be Whitey can load their golf clubs and hire a musclehead in a well lettered van to recycle their feces onto glistening candy turf.

    Rung four: Memories of a larval lair in a dead cat's carcass may not be preserved without a psychic cost. Natural beings do not return to the womb for rebirth. That's an old upper middleclass vampire tale replayed on cable every sprawltopia evening. Yep, the electricity will do the Bagdad wink, the broads will be banned, and the banned will get broad on chicken hormones and corn syrup. The Biggest Loser will arrive in a Sweepstakes van and shit on your steps. Bill Moyers don't even have a cat....
    Maybe understanding begins when Robert Crumb returns from France to draw Moyers guests, with big asses and hopeless genitals leading down mazes, out the biker bar door and around the gas station into Mr. Natural's human-trafficking depot and out the window for another talking hamburger. Talking heads never bite the tube that feeds them, and neither do the attention-seeking bloggers like fleas in their pubic hair. I forgot, we vermin can't climb ladders, no equillibrium, no gravity, no mass, no celebrity sponsor. We'll be good. Please, Massa! We'll be awful good. We Promises....

    Skip all of this if you're looking for something strictly on topic.

    Mumia, I am glad my perspective resonates with one person here. Jacques Ellul said in one of his intros that he believed his writing wasn't wasted if he spoke to but
    one man (and I guess he meant one woman too).

    Today I am going to the funeral of an old bohemian friend. On Sunday she was 56 or 57 years old. Like the rest of our gang she was revolutionary in her outlook. Not at all violent but pacifist; she was feeding homeless cats in her last years.

    I sit and type here (knowing I should write things out first but not doing so) realizing I am a reservoir of thoughts and perspectives set down by so many people who heard the beat of a different drum. Thinking of my deceased friend forces me to look at all the time since 1967 in a compressed panorama. When I think of the influences that came my way I understand now (just as I have suspected at various moments through the years) that it was only Grace that got them into print. Substitute "guides" or karma if you like. Someone takes a gamble and prints a dude, and what is "alternative" takes on the form of something "in stone" as it rests in your hands. You don't see the multifacited, imperfect life of the writer. You see her dreams and/or distallations. It's all right with me. Seems like cosmic justice. That is how we go ahead... slowly.

    Sometimes I wonder how it is I found the time to post whatever it is I discover I put up last...barely have time to block and past what links I relate (after 9 yrs still not having figured out how to split this screen between internet and TextPad). Our media provides a different chapter to this world, that's for sure. Wonder if something like the better "codes" of the original Native Americans can preserve order here someday without the electronic hodge podge...the electronic checks and balances of our minimal "debate" which is purported to sort out matters and contentions (when fewer and fewer will be able to afford laptops, and broadband hrs are rationed out like electricity in Iraq). At any rate, just one night of news or Charlie Rose (or remembering the "financial advisor," that comes on here locally before Colmes, badmouthing Obama without the nerve to say his name) is I guess what enables me to log on to Bill's threads and cry out in protest. Media Matters does a good job, but I never have time to read their links in my email...
    http://mediamatters.org/index

    In this different chapter the meritocracy wars rage. You wanna register something sane up from the grass roots, but it's like you find doctrinaire combines and arm-chair "expert" flim-flam mowers bear'n down on'ya. Did you hear that BBC/"The Strand" piece on the Rushdie fatwa (sp?) and other fatwas this morning? That may be the first talking podcast I get some friend to download for me [hook up and software are slow/old]. Maybe the writers featured ended up at one point or another thoughtlessly procative in what they wrote I dunno...gotta hear the whole thing again to make any kind of judgement (for myself).

    We're like little blips here on these boards with no idea if our ideals will survive in archives or in hearts. Reading Tart last night in "What Survives?"...he was speculating that the personality as we knew it here may end up vastly different after death, more a matter perhaps of, say, the "personality" in a dream state. Yet I think when a remarkable soul dealt with hard realities here creatively, passing on many beautiful and powerful words of encouragement...that very capacity and ability may emerge again...perhaps just as on point, but paradoxically on point in a freer spirit realm that will be (at the same time) even more concrete than the environs of this sojourn.

    Speaking of surviving, maybe under nationalization we'd get some "instruments" that would survive (as Galbraith seems to think is possible).

    Has anyone here read "The Little Prince"? It seems each of you has a rose he loves, a flower that blinds him to everything else. Pull your baobob trees before your planet crumbles.

    David H., as usual your observations are right-on. We can't get back to "normal" because "normal" involved unsustainable increases in debt and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources. We, as Americans, will have to readjust our ideas of what is normal economic growth, and since we have rapidly dwindling fossil fuel supplies, we can expect substantial and persistent economic contraction to continue.

    Anticipatory Industrialization has not been forthcoming. Without appearing La Rouschian or floating 3-legged stool analogies let me speculate upon why this vital effort is retarded. I never like to refer to human nature because I believe it to be malleable. It was predictable though that as money was appropriated by Congress many people have learned that turning up one's hat in the synthetic rainstorm can be rewarding. The powerful remain in a position to tip the dispenser into their own barrels. It is not only taxcuts that are justified by trickledown, but also bailouts, incentives and anticipatory industrialization.

    Because the United States is so failed economically, and in such a poor economic position, it is in a similar situation to the bombed out cities of Europe and Japan after WWII. We lack only the cruel mercy of having what we no longer need pulverized at someone else's expense. In a traditional world our only salvation would be the advantage of the latecomer to up and coming technologies. But having learned that we are sawing off our sitting limb during the 65 subsequent years, we must target and ration even that. Obama mentioned graceful restraint in his Inaugural as an attribute of the powerful worthy leader I doubt he realizes the implications of the concept.

    Phillip (below) is, like me, alarmed by the 50 billion appropriated to underwrite new nuclear power plants in the stimulus package. And this at a time when big capital is repelled by such an unlikely prospect. I'm also skeptical of moneys slated to update the existing power grid and broadband technology. Having recently witnessed the superiority of European Internet and electric, I think we're wasting our credit to catch up with the Joneses. Maybe we're even planning to install outdated solar panels and windmills too late to produce any advantage. China may even be ahead in energy planning because we're so set in our ways by the indoctrinaire powers of vested interests. The American people, for the most part haven't seen beyond the rim of our national toilet bowl, while corporate interests have long been shaping the world to come.

    My reading of Tesla's research and theory along with recent small scale experiments in wireless transmission of energy leads me to expect that grids and hardwiring will soon be obsolete. Wirless devices need not always fit in the pocket but may include vehicles, refrigerators and power tools in the near future. Maybe we'd be better off going slow on the copper and fiber optic and putting our efforts into being first with the new. It's a gamble, you say. But do you not think pouring our future labor into outdated crap would also be risky?

    Jack Martin usually doesn't talk like this says Coley, Irene, Grady and Klark. What is he leading up to? Well, I want us all to slow down, conserve and live smaller and simpler when it comes to the old wasteful ways. There will be two positive effects. First comes the lowered carbon footprint most ecologists predict for necessary strict conservation. You'll no longer be meeting your clone on the beltway speeding mindlessly toward a similar job to yours, only nearer your home. You'd use the utility savings to shorten your workday and walk Grady's new calorie powered transporation network. You'd find yourself no smarter and no more important than the metal scavenger, and no less adept or informed than the former bank president or CEO you'd meet on the trail.

    How'd that old business celebrity get down on your level? That's part two. Big corporate business would be starved and downsized by your lowered participation. Irene mentioned bankruptcy as a good strategy this morning on another page. Quitting paying outlandish medical and credit bills you can't afford would also be a good energy conservation strategy, and help kill off the obsolete mega-firma.

    Anticipatory industrialization might not be the best name for what we need to do. A low energy future might be preferred if people had a higher life quality. The way to get there though is to make a jump to decentralized and sustainable means. Nationalistic competition would be a counter-productive barrier if we had sustainable geothermic, solar, wind, tidal and non-radioactive subatomic energy security. People can change the way they think but the limitations of our bodies and their necessary interactions with a wholesome environment cannot be changed. Clean air and water are superior to medicine and technology used to counteract their absence. Security, stability and leisure are superior to fighting stress in a horror house of time scarcity. Equality whips the shit out of hierarchy every time, because hierarchy hurts most people while marginally boosting only a few.

    The warning I alarm in this post is that we should not fund nearly obsolete technology just so the parties who hold the old expertise and the patents can profit. That is a sick, disproven trickledown solution. What we should do is drop out of consumption as much as we can and demand revolutionary decentralized research originating organic and human scaled power and food production. Why? A minimal energy solution is compatible with the fragile nature of Earth ecology and with our sensitive and vulnerable bodies. We should seek stability, security and leisure over power and wealth. And coincidentally, such a strategy of non-violence will sink the schemes of global corporatism and the deluded wealthy class without attacking anyone. And we'll all become the better for it! So let go your NASCAR and your corporate sports, let go your gas cars and your upsidedown loans, let go your wasted hours sold at a loss, say goodbye to the boss. Equality whips the shit out of hierarchy every time.

    That sounds like John Stewart's trickle-up theory, Ellison. It seems to me to assume that everything was "up and running" prior to the meltdown. To me it was only running on delusion. Once they got the home loan, indeed folks figured they were home free. Things were "running" because they were debt-driven...equity loans, etc. I would like to see some posters here who could just agree on what went wrong. To me what went wrong is that under the classic system mortgage payers had to have access to jobs (and access to raises for those with balloon loans). Under the classic system ownership of a house could not entitle one to unlimited consumption. Under the classic system to have access to jobs employers had to be creating a product. Since most of our "products" came from overseas...our employers had to, in essence (and under the classic theory), be getting profit from the sale of products that could have at least competed (if their makers desired) with what we were importing. The fact that they couldn't of course underscored the "balance of trade" problem.

    I don't think we can get "up and running" per what we conceived as "up and running" before...ever again.

    I read where at least Greider said it...we should have started way back consuming less (and 3rd world nations consuming more). There is nothing classic or rational (even under supply side, trickle down, free markets, etc) about a huge demographic of one nation consuming vast amounts of imports from another nation...based simply on the illusion that: We now have the McMansion mortgage, are living in it, and that is a sign that our employers in this land are the saviest and will continue selling their indispensible products and continue paying us our salaries.

    "Sustainable" is the only thing it seems to me that'll keep us running at all. How it fleshes out will no doubt be better for our sanity, but probably in no way will jive with the glitz-hype of yesteryear. It may not turn out like the small-is-beautiful mental picture that popped in our brains/spirit whenever we saw the word. The beginnings may seem dull. But it'll seem that way in a relative manner, as we will only be in the early phase of emerging from the hyper-glitz era.

    The glitz era burned a lot of folks out (probably just as in the 20s). That's why to me single-payer health insurance would not just save money for the consumer and provide more hands-on caregiver jobs; but a thing I never hear stated is that the hands-on caregiver jobs are exactly what the most burnt out in our land are in desperate need of. That to me, Ellison, is the solution that is really too simple to mention...to enunciate...to deploy. Even people here who aren't bound to the HMOs don't mention its importance in implementing a recovery. It's the same deal with nationalizing banks. Can we really believe the regulators under nationalization won't end up just as corrupt as prior management? When I hear guys like Kuttner and Greenwald I think: of course there are people around who can do the job. But a difficult part of it seems to be that all those who do the job will have to come to understand all this history of bubbles...their intimate nature. That history seems from one angle so dry. Yet to understand it seems totally necessary. How do you accomplish that, folks?

    I can tell you how the Financial System Failure can be fixed and have the Country up and running in 6 months.

    First the Federal Government would pay the Home Mortgage of all American Citizens with loans from American Banks.

    This would put money in the Banks. That is the Taxpayer’s dollars would be spent to benefit the taxpayer in a direct concrete way.

    This would free up a major amount of the income of the citizen.

    Then the citizen could afford first to pay off their Charge Cards and avoid a catastrophe that is about to take place.

    That would leave ample money to pay for an automobile, boat, vacation, travel, and pay the utilities, and go shopping.

    The result would be the Middle Class and the Working Class would be on a sound foundation free of debt and able to spend money in a way as to keep the Financial System humming along.

    But this is too simple for the Government to understand.

    It also involves giving taxpayers dollars back to taxpayers and that will not happen as long as there is:

    A Republican alive because it would give the common man and woman as Congress and the President are found of calling them, Wealth. (remember Trillions of Dollars for Wall Street and the Banks but, not a dime for the citizen)

    The Democrats are just as despicable, as they would not give U.S. us the American Taxpayer our own money back because they see us as unable to make good sound decisions and they think we need them to make decisions for us. They are in fact Elitist who despise the very people they work for.

    I can here both of their reactions clearly: Its too much money…. Yet they have committed Trillions to the Bailout and the Federal Reserve committed to give the financial system 7 Trillion Dollars. So far none of their decisions have solved our problem.

    I'm concerned that any stimulus money is going to the nuclear industry, as I'm seeing reports that there's 50 billion dollars in the bill for nuclear power.


    The argument that nuclear power is a carbon-free energy source, and therefore good for the environment, shows a galling disregard for the potentially catastrophic environmental damage that might result from another accident. We need look no further than three-mile island and Chernobyl to see its more than just a theoretical issue. The insurance companies won't touch it, which is why the nuclear industry has been hiding behind an artificial liability shield, provided by Congress in 1957 - The Price-Anderson Act. The current dollar amounts in the Act would be overwhelmed by an accident anywhere near the scale of Chernobyl.


    There are reasons nuclear power in the US has ebbed nearly to extinction over the last few decades, and those reasons are as valid today as they've been in the past. The true cost of nuclear power makes it a terrible choice for future energy plans, if the liability risks in their true form are taken into consideration.

    At the very least, a complete repeal of the Price-Anderson Act should accompany any government support for the private nuclear energy industry - that would uncover a large part of the hidden costs of this energy source.

    Number 44 is not your friend; he is the friend of the educated, the wealthy, and Big Business, after all he is a Harvard Man and all that means….

    The News Media is full of people including # 44 who say we should not require those spending “TAX DOLLARS” to buy American and hire American. They advocate that we should not “protect jobs” of the American Citizen who is supporting their families. We certainly failed at protecting jobs with millions now unemployed having no job at all. It is evident they do not intend to protect the Citizen who has a job nor the Citizen who lost a job.

    I was not shocked but angered yesterday when I heard # 44 say he did not think we should require the money (tax payer’s dollars) be spent on Buying American Products and Services in order to create jobs and build our Country’s infrastructure.

    He and others, mostly the very same people who crashed our Financial System and caused the increase in layoffs to the tune of millions of jobs, are saying the Federal Government should not protect jobs.

    1. It is the Federal Government’s first Responsibility to Protect the American Citizen and all that means….

    2. We are not so much protecting jobs as trying to create jobs for the millions of Americans that have lost their jobs….

    3. Every Tax Dollar spent by the Federal Government should be to buy products and services from American Small Business and to Pay for American Workers to do the work….

    We the US citizens are the ones unemployed and it is an immeasurable abomination the Foreigners after receiving “foreign aid” since the Second World War would have the gall to tell us we can not put “our” tax dollars into our Steel, Glass, Concrete, and other building materials in order to get a better bang for our tax dollar by not only paying the tax dollars for wages but for the materials of rebuilding our Country. This also applies to the “Equipment”, “Machines”, and “Tools”, used to do the work, transport the goods, and manufacture the products.

    This is not a time to think of the “Bottom Line” and the Rich Foreigner’s Pocket Book… we should think of the misery of the Citizen and seek to

    relieve it by all means possible and if that means paying more for American Quality, that is what we should do.

    I am sick of seeing American suffer at that hands of the Rich.

    We do not owe the World anything, We owe our Citizens everything.

    The fact that # 44 is against using American Made and American Labor for everything needed to rebuild our infrastructure, roads, bridges, water and sewer, electric, gas, that is, all the utilities that make life good. Shows me that he is no friend of the working families and he does not understand the fear in children who’s parents no longer have a job or profession with which to support them.

    How could a president or representative or a senator not feel the pain of the millions unemployed and all of U.S. us who have lost the lions share of our savings through no fault of our own but to the Wall Street thieves, swindlers, and charlatans??? Yet they do not. They set in their Ivory Towers [drawing large salaries and receiving a benefit package that not only covers everything medical but lets them work ½ a year and travel the world and one might think they are above paying their taxes] and do their best to fix a broken system that sees the Almighty Dollar not as a tool but as a God.

    I listened to # 44 speak of change for months and what happens when he becomes president, the Status Quo arrives just in time to say we don’t need change, we need to fix the old system, after all who needs family and friends when we can be Rich with impunity. Yes, they his cabinet want to do business with foreigners while the American Citizen is on unemployment.

    Wake up America, your about to be sold down the river for the sake of Globalization. What am I saying, you have already been sold down the river and the result is Globalization does not work.

    I will tell you the reason why…. No economy will last built on paper. Wall Street and the Banks use to shuffle paper around and now they mostly transfer numbers in accounts. This is not real in that money is manipulated and no real work is done. Only economies, built on real work that produces a product or service of use, can last.

    For 30 years we have worshiped money and the bottom line of business. We have allowed ourselves to be enslaved by employers producing products and services of less and less quality and we have self medicated our empty lives with materialism until we are now sick as a people. We need more then jobs or a quick fix.

    Our Culture and Family Unit has been destroyed by the Industrial and Computer ages. First the Father was taken from his family by the Industrial Age, and then both Mother and Father have been taken from the children by the Computer age. Relationship has been destroyed and Parents are on a treadmill to nowhere and children live in a Cyber World producing only a reflection of relationships. People of all ages overeat trying to overcompensate for the emptiness that is the result of wrong values as a people and a Society.

    How has it felt to see your jobs go overseas to people who do not care about you or your families and try their best to get your jobs while you are unemployed, or underemployed?

    How do you feel, seeing your cities and communities destroyed by downsizing and jobs going overseas?

    How has it felt lately when you have not been able to make a living wage?

    Do you really believe that green jobs will be a reality, or that a livable wage with be a reality, as long as the Dollar is God and the Corporation is the fair haired child of the Congress?

    The Congress and President would rather see you the Citizen unemployed then hurt the feelings so to speak (corporations have no feelings) of the Corporations who want to do business overseas and let you stand in lines to beg for a pittance compared to what you once had.

    Wake up! Only when the Citizen seeks the higher road will the Country prosper. You have the vote to change the Status Quo and you have your numbers to influence the outcome of your lives.

    Do not set still while Foreigners take jobs from Americans and profit off our misfortune… they are not your friends and they do not care if you starve.

    When your Senator and Representative vote to let Foreigners have your jobs and fill your contracts you should do unto them as they have done to you… you should vote them out of office and let them see how it feels to be unemployed.

    I EXPECT Pres. Obama to work with Senator Kennedy & other Senate Dem. & maybe the House cause it is their time now.

    I HOPE Pres. Obama will rise above the hidden agenda battles that put him in office and establish Responsibility & Accountability in govt. and openup the Sunshine required for government to be by & for the people.

    I hope he ask "is it moral, ethical, fair, responsible & accountable to the people," before beginning any task.

    Hey, I had hopes for Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Bush, Clinton, Bush--maybe Obama will rise up & surprise me.

    Billy Bob, Florida
    where Obama sided with the DNP & denied my vote.

    BIRTH CONTROL,SIMPLE

    United States citizens and Barak Obama need to know that the Federal Reserve is not a federal organization and that it's owned by the wealthiest bankers in the world. Americans need to know the wool s been pulled over our eyes since December 1913, when it was created so that those wealthy bankers could charge the US government interest on every dollar. This keeps the federal government in permanent debt for its own money, and the taxpayers trying to pay for it.
    The Federal Reserve must change dramatically. The Federal Reserve needs to be either abolished or nationalized. It cannot stay a private corporation taking the people for a ride. This is the corruption which is at the heart of our banking system. We've been sold a bill of goods that having an independent Federal Reserve would smooth out the bumps of the up and down economic cycles. But in actuality, things have been far worse with the Federal Reserve than without it. There's even quite a bit of evidence that the Federal Reserve helped create the Great Depression to move the monetary power from the mid-western banks to the New York banks. (You can read about this in the book, The Creature from Jekyl Island, by G. Edward Griffin.)

    The US can never get out of debt when a private corporation (The Federal Reserve, which is neither federal, nor a reserve) is in charge of issuing the country's money, and charging the US interest on every dollar it creates. Some of the wealthiest private citizens make a fortune on the US government's money and we taxpayers pay for it. As long as we continue to allow this situation, the US can never get out of debt and become a sustainable economy. Only two ways are possible to change this: either nationalize the Fed so we taxpayers no longer pay private citizens interest on every dollar created, or abolish it altogether.
    In any case, it's hard to clean up the greed and corruption of the banking system, when it's core is founded on those principles. This country went without a central bank until late December 1913, and it's possible it could survive just fine without one again. This might be the ideal solution, but it seems more likely that we might get the Fed nationalized, and that would stop a lot of the corruption.

    Time To Tighten Our Belts

    Dear Mr President,

    One very important factor to consider, is to PREVENT WASTEFUL or UNWANTED SPENDING, even if it is a long term strategy; in the next few weeks you have to FOCUS LIKE A LASER on SHORT TERM GOALS like:

    1] pumping money into foreclosed homes and by forcing all the lending banks to work with their 'former' homeowners to work out a long term sustainable deal, with their toxic mortgages.

    2] encourage ALL KINDS OF SMALL BUSINESSES by way of tax-cuts and / or DIRECTLY giving out loans at small interest rates.

    3] CUT ALL and ANY UNNECESSARY / UNWANTED EXPENDITURE THAT WOULDN'T HELP WITH #s 1 & 2.

    4] Go after all the Corporate Scoundrels who plundered and pillaged the economy in the last decade at the expense of the taxpayers. MAKE THEM PAY BACK WHAT THEY OWE TO THE PEOPLE AND THE GOVERNMENT; freeze their offshore ''tax-haven'' accounts - - - -

    And make it a moral and ethical issue to do these things; IT IS JUST THE RIGHT THING TO DO !

    Good Luck and God Bless You.

    As the First Act, the Stimulus Bill just passed in the House seems a disappointment. Information in the NYT Editorial (Stimulus-January 28) suggests that the bulk of the billions will go to basic relief programs already in place and will be more of a band-aid than a viable longer term solution. At some point, the relief benefits will end and beneficiaries will still need living wage jobs, states will still need tax revenue, schools will still need operating money etc. If one of the goals is the avoidance of state/local tax increases some of the states have not gotten the message. Ours is intent on doing so, and our County property taxes are projected to increase nearly 20%. With the economic realities as they are it appears that Counties will join banks in the real estate business, with homes going for taxes.

    Given all of rhetoric leading up to this Bill I expected something much more transformative and something much more targeted. AFFORDABLE and EFFICIENT mass transportation in heavily populated areas (Northeast Corridor for one) is one of my "musts". The environment simply does not need more highways in these areas. Mass-trans development and construction would provide jobs, save fossil fuel and leave more green space in place to recycle carbon. Re-forestation across the United States could employ a lot of people and go a long way in helping to hold and clean water as well as recycle carbon. College students might be employed to do this in return for college expenses, thereby also helping to make higher education accessible. Pure academic research in colleges, universities, government and other independent organizations, all untainted by business interests would certainly employ people and advance our search for: sustainable energy, amelioration of toxic contaminants in our personal and natural environments, treatments for disease, new methods for sustainable, non toxic agriculture etc. Re-construction of sewer processing plants would both employ and help to restore our rivers, bays and oceans. The list goes on and on. All projects that target more than one goal and that create a new path. I hoped for a paradigm shift.

    This last go-round with Republicans re: stimulus package isn't heartening. Dem base is made happy with non-stimulative pork and Reps feel ripped off being told one thing by Obama and getting something quite different in the bill.

    Contraceptive spending doesn't give banks liquidity or generate jobs, and it looks like to me that Obama forgot who really won when he told the Reps "I won".

    The Rep base is the 30-ish % who have continued to support Dubya. When Dems run against Reps with their base alone, it's always a close race because those who approve of Dems are at the same 30-ish % the Reps are and they keep forgetting that.

    When Obama won, it wasn't the Dem base that won. "I won" means We The People OUTSIDE the Dem base won. Dem base alone has meant 8 years of Dubya instead of 4 and losses in Congress until just 2 years ago.

    The Dem base has no mandate. We The People, the independents, won. And should Obama forsake those that brung him, all that Dem bravado isn't going to live long enough to see the next mid-term and Obama will lose popular support so fast it'll make heads spin.

    FACT: As gutted as the Rep Party is at the moment, it's still got automatic ballot access in all 50 states, and you can bet somebody is going to fill THAT lucrative vacuum even if 3rd parties rush in to do it.

    I repeat: We The People won this last election, not the Dem base. They and Obama had best keep that in mind if they want We The People to continue to support this president.

    No hiding information! This is our largest challenge - if there was a publication as to what, who, when and how the path of the monies will be dis- tributed. Hopefully only to those who can, in the long-run create a recovery of our lack of confidence in our finances. Purchasing power will only be recovered when that confidence is repaired. Everyone is convinced the 'fat-cats' will walk away from all this even fatter. Those bankers that boasted - of course they didn't know they were being recorded, that they will do just what they want - without recrimination!! These names and their locations need to be printed with red ink on the headlines of all newspapers and on all sites on the WEB.

    As someone who came of age under the Bush administration and whose political conscience developed during this time, I think to consider Obama's administration a success, I'd like to believe it had my best interests at heart. He's given great lip service to transparency in government and if he keeps his promise of honesty I will consider that a step in the right direction (no more imperial presidency). He said in his inaugural address that he was going to "restore science to its rightful place." If he does this, I believe much of his agenda will be successful. The environment, american jobs, health, and quality of life, food supplies, etc. will all benefit and so will the population in the long run. I'd also like to see support of basic civil rights for the gay community, an end to the war, and above all, officials in the Bush administration put on trial for the crimes they perpetrated.

    “The time is ripe for the total USURPATION of the Democratic
    process!”
    I would like to see the “DEMOCRATIC PTOCESS” at the ballot, where everyone is able
    to express their “WILL on ALL ISSUES.” There is no reason why this can not be
    accomplish by a “Constitutional Convention!” The Constitutional Convention was
    the foundation to create the Constitution. I may be naive, but I still believe
    it can be accomplish without USURPATION. It is obvious that the system
    does not work anymore as it was set up. The System has become corrupt and dysfunctional!
    As the “APARTHEID” roads and wall built by ISRAEL...“ is in middle east, we have
    “APARTHEID walls build” between our government and the people, between rich and
    poor, between have and have not, between political religion believers either that be
    democratic, socialism, republican etc. The system operates on status quo, nothing has
    change even with a new president. Oh yes, they will throw a tee bone to keep you calm

    by “worthless printing press economy”! The “NIXONS” Apartheids made sure of that,

    for “the gold standards was replaced with paper.” The do gooders of the past 8 years were

    just as bad. The true “CHANGES” is when it is at the ballot! The dictators should

    be the people by participating in the power at the ballot on “ALL ISSUES;”

    They should direct and decide their destiny.

    Chris: The National Security State(corporatocracy)has been moving our Republic away from Democracy for a long time. The time is ripe for the total usurpation of the Democratic process and a totalitarian take-over...it moves closer daily.

    Congress must move fearlessly to undo the strangle hold of the international bankers and their oil game which has brought this country and the entire world to a state of ecological collapse.
    Our government is spending 45% of the world's arms budget - SHAME, SHAME!!! Why is that!! Do we really need military industries for economic stability! No, of course not! That is the BIG SCAM of all time; what Eisenhower warned about. The few ruling families playing a deadly chess game with the whole world! Most of the senators and many in the House are bought pawns. Congressmen must follow their divine, holy intuition, not the corporations in their states nor the 'bought' pawns/members in Congress.

    It is very simple: Everyone is holy, divine except corporations which are not people or constituents. Everyone needs to know that they are powerful, not weak individuals, and that they are divine with all the love, wisdom, joy and peace of Mother/Father God.
    EVERYONE must act as divine, holy children of God. THAT, OUR REPRESENTATIVES in Congress is YOUR JOB - Call our brothers and sisters into accountability.
    The Congress has failed our country. They failed to stand up and fight for right - the right of your constituents to be righteously represented.
    Our Congress must act quickly:
    First, The Federal Reserve is an illegal organization - never drafted by the people so it must be overturned and a federal bank owned by the American citizens put in place.
    Second, the Congress must stop listening to the oil/coal business. This group has polluted the entire world. If the American Congress refuses to stand up to these criminals no one else can. This is the most important moment in history - get the money changers and oil men out of our government. Get the EPA laws back and prosecute the criminals. If Congress doesn't do more than smile and say "We have HOPE" Mother Earth will do the job and the result will be the destruction of civilization and loss of most of the inhabitants of the earth!
    Third, Congress should overturn the legislation of puppet Nixon which gave businesses legal rights = a business or corporation is not a human being and should not have rights of property, right to sue etc. THIS GROSS WRONG HAS BROUGHT THE WORLD TO ITS PRESENT ECOLOGICAL DISASTER.
    It is so sad that a country which was to be the "Light of the World" was not careful about the LAW and allowed those few greedy elites to change Rule of Law so that they could rule the entire world through the oil game of control. They have enslaved the American people through the Federal Reserve Game and now with the Bushs have learned how to "take" the American Federal Budget - Congress doesn't even try to stop them!!
    WAKE UP Congress WAKE UP and do what is right.

    In spite of the harsh words, I love you grandly,

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

    “I wonder how much $300 billion down the toilet devalues this dollar I have here
    (relative buying power).?“
    Some one posted on one of the blogs that is was around $1100.00 per person.
    I do not have calculator to calculate up to 300 000 000 000 therefore I assume that
    $1100.00 was correct when the person posted the figures.
    If a person consider a family of 4 living on $14000.00 it is 31.5% Therefore the dollars is
    devalue by 31.5% or lost of $4410.00 of buying power. Since the Congress appropriate
    already $850 billion dollars in fact it is close to 100%. One must keep in mind that President
    Obama is asking for additional one trillion dollars. Which means that dollar will be
    devalue up to 200%. or more. A person would not have to buy a toilet tissue paper,
    for we will always have one in our pocket... may be if we can even afford that!
    Obvious convenient formula for confiscation, nationalization and power of a dictatorship,
    a system of government that denied the people to participate in power
    to express their “WILL on ALL ISSUES”!

    My hope for President Obama & this new administration is that our elected officials in Washington will "walk the walk" and not just "talk the talk". I must say that with each passing day my hopes seem to emerge slightly more battered. I am truly dismayed as I listen to new reports that expose the new bail-out package as a growing pork-barrel bill, with millions of dollars targeted for irrelevant items such as contraceptives, and renovating zoos! What is the matter with Washington! When will all of our respective Senators, Represenatives and the President WAKE UP and get down to the serious business of implementing a plan that will address the REAL issues rather than insulting the public intelligence by simply paying lip service to these issues while allowing the tiresome, rampant & lethal greed that has predominated in our government for too long to continue to run amok? I had hoped that with the inaguration of President Obama that our nation would finally be making some concrete moves towards real change, and though the problems that we face as a naton and globally cannot be expected to be corrected in one 4 year term I had hoped that we were going to begin to catch a glimpse of the proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel". I have hope that we might return to a government that is truly "by the people, for the people". Are my hopes unrealistic? the pipe dreams of an idealist? Every time I listen to the news I grow continually disillusioned and dispare further that the voices of the majority of average citizens in this country really matter or carry any weight in Washington. Millions of Americans are in dire straits, when will our voices be heard?

    Thanks Bill for mentioning Sojourners magazine (www.sojo.net) and the "Between the Lines" news section. As the editor of the section, I was very gratified to know that our work had an impact and reached a larger audience. More than that, we hope the harmonies of mission brings about genuine reform of our prison system. It's time.

    Corporate America has sold out the people...bring our jobs home !!

    Obama has warned the cynics about the "ground shifting beneath them" in his inauguration speech. Exactly what ground has shifted? Is it the ground in the factory floors that support our manufacturing jobs? Or is Obama talking about the ground beneath the beach house in the Hamptons? Obama has pledged to put American workers back to work with “Shovel Ready” projects and green industries. He has pledged to re-tool existing industry to meet the needs of this bold new agenda. I think it is clear he intends to shift the ground beneath the beach house and stabilize the ground beneath the steel toed boot.

    Obama has hit the ground running but I think he needs to start sprinting. Industrial leaders in the world like ArcelorMittal are embracing green industries but they are not creating jobs in the US. ArcelorMittal was recently presented with viable options for its current facility in Lackawanna. These options included keeping the building available for new green industries. They still are not willing to sell this facility and they want the building demolished. This manufacturing facility is vital to our economic security.

    Our plant has never been part of ArcelorMittal’s ultimate business plan. How true to form is that plan as I see it? "Buy aging steel mills in the US and close them when the opportunity presents itself. Build new plants outside of the US". American owned industries have been executing the same type of business plan for more then 20 years. This is the same business plan that has executed manufacturing in the US.

    ArcelorMittal recently announced that it will be offering solar solutions in its European markets. This company prides itself on green energy and the good publicity behind it. Why is ArcelorMittal turning its back on a steel plant powered by hydro electricity? Our plant uses energy that is produced cleaner then any of its sister plants in the US. This company has never spent any money at improving its operations at Lackawanna even when they were awarded grant money from the state to create a hydrogen annealing process that would have saved them money and created less greenhouse gases in the process.

    The buildings in Lackawanna that they want to destroy would be more then ideal to house windmill and solar panel industries. Bethlehem Steel over engineered these buildings and its steel mills in the 40’s. This was during a time when the demand for steel was high from war that was brewing throughout the world . Now these buildings will be brought down as we face a new war. The war against corporate greed and the middle class American workers.

    The hill American workers need to take in order to win this war is Capital Hill. Obama is promising a government that works. I can only hope that Gillibrand lives up to her convictions and works for WNY and helps plant the seeds of growth in a region well suited to lead in creating much needed green collar jobs.

    We have a “Shovel Ready” project right here in Lackawanna. The possible success story from this project would help get anyone elected in 2010. Hillary wanted to make sure ArcelorMittal was going to help its 260 workers find new jobs. I am hoping Kristen Gillibrand and our other local elected officials can help create jobs for the 260 workers in Lakawanna that are about to loss there jobs. Help stabilize the ground beneath the steel toed boat and stop handing out money to banks supporting the ground beneath their CEO’s beach houses in the Hamptons.

    Mumia W.: Tell us the 7 words. Are you afraid someone will hack in and put them on Bashful Barry's teleprompter? They aren't the same 7 words George Carlin said on WBAI are they?
    Can the President be impeached for cussing?

    It was good hearing Frank, and I'm glad to find out there's a guy like Serota getting an audience out there too.

    Am only down to Sunday 2:15 PM in my reading here.

    Perhaps there is hope when a "reformed Republican" (Ernie M) is saying pretty much what I'd say, and saying it as well if not better. I vote nationalize the banks, since who knows how much of the dough is offshore...unrecoverable I guess.
    www.motherjones.com/news/outfront/2008/11/outfront-temptation-islands.html

    Then again, they say such expenditures are actually "new money" [just like big bank loans] created out of thin air (let's hope the remainder of TARP's electronic money gives rise to something that will ultimately maintain the value of our currency...something that'll get our full faith and get full credit).

    I wonder how much $300 billion down the toilet devalues this dollar I have here (relative buying power). Or is deflate the right word?

    Thanks for going over the corporate "personhood" thing, GL and Klark. I will have to find once again that Orion Magazine article, and refresh the memory on this issue (orionsociety dot org I think it is).

    This is in REGARDS to '93-year-old who froze to
    death in Michigan'.

    The polices of the new President give us hope that this kind of genocide will cease.

    Only when the people are empower to express their “ WIL on ALL ISSUES” including
    these that you stated:
    1 A new, independent investigation of 9/11. Everything must be uncovered.
    2 Ending of the War in Iraq.
    3 Ending the war in Afghanistan. This war is no more just than Iraq.
    4 Repeal of the Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act, ending spying, ending torture.
    5 End the Fed. Once and for all. The creation of money must be under public control.
    6 Decriminalization of all drugs.
    7 Significantly decrease military budget. War is a racket. It's always a racket.
    and many more will end the status quo, only by amending the Constitution,
    until than we can say the prayer,
    In the name of the SUN
    and to the EARTH and
    from the WATER to the AIR
    That feeds and nourishes our hearts and souls
    that keeps us from temptation
    of hunger and starvation AMEN.

    @ Taylor: I believe for that particular case, it was the Medicaid coverage that was inadequate and made it rather difficult for the mother to find a Medicaid dental provider to care for her kids' abscessed teeth (yes, she had more than one child with rotted teeth she was trying to secure dental care for, ridiculous). Anyway, the main concern is to provide at the very least universal coverage to children (including dental which is often overlooked or insufficiently covered)--especially kids of low-income & impoverished families who can't afford health insurance and/or don't have access to jobs with employer-based health insurance. I agree that people in general prioritize dental care lower on the totem pole of health concerns, but seemingly so do government health care programs, which can be problematic for families who can only seek access to dental care through such programs.

    So far...only down to yesterday (Sunday) at 2:15 PM.

    Perhaps there is hope when a "reformed Republican" (Ernie M) is saying pretty much what I'd say, and saying it as well if not better. Maybe it's best to vote nationalization, Ernie, since who knows how much of the dough is offshore...unrecoverable I guess.
    http://www.motherjones.com/news/outfront/2008/11/outfront-temptation-islands.html

    Thanks for going through the "personhood" origins, Klark. I will have to find once again that Orion Magazine article, and re-jog the memory on this issue (orionsociety dot org I think it is).

    I expect only honesty, the Abe thing from President Obama, nothing more. That's the 'change' America needs most. Only the truth shall set us and keep us equally free.

    =
    MJA

    Dental comments
    How is someone supposed to get dental care for his or her child with the outrageous costs that the thief dentists charge? 2,500.00 a tooth!!! Just so you only have to work twenty hours a week for $120,000.00 a year? Burn in hell!!!

    I welcome an authoritarian style of government like china. assuming that china governs in the best interest of the public and not for themselves or for private institutions. Our gov desparately needs to take over the media. Imagine if they crushed hollywood and replaced all progaming like this bill moyers show. This would create a culture of intelligence, responsibility, participation, and higher standards. we would indeed be a smarter and happier society.

    NUTTY LIBERALS AND RIGHT WING BULLIES! Ive had about enough of these people, why are there no rational politicians. yes we do need to make banks like utilities. yes we do need to curb and regulate these corporate bullies. but no we do not need national health care, rail system or welfare. i dont want my tax dollars going to this huge wave or seniors, obese people, smokers, and hyprocondriacts. i pay for social security and unemployment insurace that i will never use and the gov. has stolen from me. any spending gov should do is to create jobs, and not just any jobs, but jobs that will benifit society in the long run, jobs that are futuristic, like at nasa or green energy. the problem is not gov its the stupid polititians we have, who either work for these private instutional bullies, or nut cases who want to give hand outs to people who dont deserve them.

    I think he must empower the federal regulatory agencies that are supposed to protect us -- by cutting them loose of the red tape, political interference, and special interest control that has hobbled them for decades.

    - Shut down the special interest hotline to the White House by eliminating centralized political review of regulations. Right now, a powerful office (the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, housed in OMB) has the power -- not under any law, just by executive fiat -- to preview and order changes in any draft regulation before it ever sees the light of day. From the days when children were dying from Reye's Syndrome all because the aspirin makers didn't want a simple warning label, to the present, when we are more addicted than ever to foreign oil because the automakers wanted no new fuel economy standards or, at best, only weak and manipulable fuzzy targets, OIRA has allowed wealthy corporate special interests to triumph over the public interest.

    - Correct the special interest biases that have been built into the regulatory process. The Administrative Procedure Act created a simple, flexible, and plastic process for agencies to promulgate and implement regulations. No more: ever since the Reagan Revolution, the Gingrich Contract, the Clinton Compromises, and the Bush All-Out War on Regulation, requirement after requirement has been added to the rulemaking process, so that what once took mere months now takes many years to complete. And these requirements don't just take time -- they tilt the very rules of the rulemaking game in favor of wealthy corporate special interests. The chief offender in this regard is cost-benefit analysis, which requires agencies to put a price tag on all benefits (including human lives), treating them as fungible dollars (and even discounting to the present value a life saved many years in the future, so that a life saved 20 years from now is worth much less than a life saved today), and then weighing those benefits against the costs to wealthy corporate special interests of doing the right thing.

    - Formally embrace the Precautionary Principle, which calls upon agencies not to wait forever and a day on having complete and perfect knowledge of a hazard before acting to protect the public.

    With Obama's choice of anti-regulatory scholar Cass Sunstein to be the chief regulatory officer, I already fear that these dreams will not come true, and that Obama is actually no progressive at all. Audaciously, I hope for this progressive future anyway.

    @Dick, January 25, 2009 5:23 PM;

    Thanks Dick. You are correct that we need no physical border fence; enforcement of the border through the legal system is enough for every country in the world except for the United States--which does not actually enforce its borders.

    Obama seems to have big things in store for us--such as building a clean-energy infrastructure, but I can't help but wonder if American citizens will have to compete with foreign laborers for those jobs.

    @Kathleen, January 25, 2009 12:28 PM;

    Despite the rhetoric from Mike Mullen, I suspect that our military is near its breaking point. Probably very few soldiers will say so openly, but I think that we are near the point of having a mutiny in one of the services. The Army in particular is close to its breaking point and has no excess resources for dealing with additional threats to America. If our civilian leaders were to order intervention in Zimbabwe for example, we would likely see a mutiny.

    About a month ago George W. Bush tried to hug some of his troops, and no one wanted to hug him. This is a sign that the relationship between the military and civilian leadership is badly strained. One big misstep, and the relationship breaks down.

    @George Price, January 25, 2009 7:04 PM;

    Congratulations on a great post Mr. George Price. You are entirely correct that Obama should not simply ignore conservatives and republicans simply because he can. If he's trying to unite America, he won't try to make it disunited by thumbing his nose at large segments of the public. Indeed, one recipe for failure is to exacerbate America's divisions.

    This country is about to fall over. It would not require a majority of Americans to obstruct this country's goals. If a few disaffected Republicans decide to make Obama's administration a failure, it will fail and the U.S. will fail with it. This country is so weak that seven words (said by a political leader) are all that are needed to bring this country to and end.

    Republican Conservatives are Americans; they are proud Americans who deserve dignity and respect, and failure to give them respect advances this country toward its demise.

    In response to the comment of our healthcare system letting children die due to dental abcesses- and how this relates to health disparities is absurd. Children have died from dental abcesses from parental neglect. As a dental professional, I know before a dental infection becomes life threatening there is usually significant pain that would warrant some kind of care, even if it is a visit to the ER- not ideal but it happens often. If I dont put my child in the appropriate car seat and the child dies in a car accident, is Chrysler responsible- sounds ludicrous and making the same accusations to the healthcare system is just as insane. I am tired of my profession being blamed for every "health disparity" there is. I sit in my clinic day after day with an empty schedule because people do not keep appointments they make. I have spend thousands on portable equipment and gone to apartment complexes where people live and still have them not show up for an appointment made when it is DOWNSTAIRS from thier apartment. The bottom line is for many, the entitlement mentality has made the services i provide have no value at all.

    I had hope Mr Obama would have not chose to transform himself into the black taskmaster lashing a whip of injustice and death to those least able to defend or voice their inalienable right to life, the unborn.

    Here is why:

    "Re: Mexico City Policy. At a time when the people of Africa are struggling with depopulating effects of AIDS a policy of promoting abortions at U.S. Taxpayer expense is not only reprehensible but an outright return to the colonial pro-slavery practices of abuse, dehumanization, and the devaluation of all human live both born and unborn. No person and no government should ever place itself in the position of determining what and when life begins, ends or is worthy of continuance as such. "

    G. L. Monahan:
    Have you seen "gangs of America" by Ted Nace. I read it for free online, and my sister downloaded it to a CD Rom for me. He tells the entire history of corporations objectively, like never before, and focuses on the American experience.

    Anyway, how can we devolve corporate personhood? Corporations did not always have the powers they do today. At one time there were term limits, size and geographical restrictions. They were restricted to the specific business chartered. Maybe we have a tree of law ripe for severe pruning? This might represent one productive approach to re-regulation, just making businesses smaller, weaker and more specific. Also remember though that it is "limited liability" that prevents legal redress. How perverse it is that corporations (wage- slavers) achieved personhood through the 14th amendment,intended to protect freed slaves, which is also the origin of their unreasonable rights of privacy (secrecy). Keep working on this problem, G.L. We appreciate your efforts.

    CORPORATE PERSONHOOD

    "...the biggest problem is that the avenues to challenge corporate power, to restrain it, to break it up in its present concentrated form, to take it away from the political arena, because corporations are artificial entities. They’re not real human beings. They don’t vote. They don’t die in Iraq. They don’t have children. They are entities that are dominating our politics, our electoral systems, our universities, increasingly, dominate almost everything, even moving into areas that were once prohibited by custom in our country, like commercializing childhood." ... Ralph Nader

    CORPORATE PERSONHOOD is the greatest impediment to real democracy and social justice. It's power is derived from it's ability to enjoy protection under the cloak of the Bill of Rights; specifically, freedom of speech, in the form of advertising dollars and contributions to political candidates. Corporate money talks so loud that no single person can ever hope to compete or be heard.

    I would like to see a national referendum to refute the opinion of the court allowing corporations to enjoy "personhood". If we can do that, only that, we will be on the road to getting back true representation in the legislature. If they can't be considered "persons" then they won't have protected freedom of speech and we can control or prohibit them from interfering in the political process.

    But note: Your representative will probably NOT support such a referendum. It will have to be accomplished by petition.

    1 A new, independent investigation of 9/11. Everything must be uncovered.

    2 Ending of the War in Iraq.

    3 Ending the war in Afghanistan. This war is no more just than Iraq.

    4 Repeal of the Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act, ending spying, ending torture.

    5 End the Fed. Once and for all. The creation of money must be under public control.

    6 Decriminalization of all drugs.

    7 Significantly decrease military budget. War is a racket. It's always a racket.

    These things are absolutely necessary. After that we can talk about things like health care.

    If we believe that the Republicans, and by implication all conservative Americans, are “implacable,” and should therefore be summarily dismissed, written off as losers, and overrun in pursuit of our progressive agenda (because, “after all, we won”), then we don’t understand President Barack Obama’s vision for change or the very dire actual circumstances of our world. Do you think that we can successfully make the progressive transformation that our society, and by its residual impact, the world, really needs while ignoring, further alienating, and leaving behind nearly half of the U.S. population? And even if we could, is the continued polarization and ugly, uncivil hostility that would follow really desirable?

    The kind of changes that we need and that were outlined thoroughly during the Obama campaign, and which have been repeated in this blog, are very substantial and will have great impact on the socio-economic structure of not only the U.S., but the whole world. Even if the disastrous economic developments of the last four months had not occurred, did any serious student of our world really think that the necessary changes could be implemented within a four-year Obama presidency? If you listened to Obama’s acceptance speech on November 5, you should know that he realized even then that our mission most likely will not be accomplished in four years. Rather than espouse the American consumerist creed (which “progressives” are certainly not immune to), “I must get all that I want right now,” or, in its progressively mitigated form, “We must have the change we want right now,” Obama wisely acts based on a long-term, realistic and pragmatic vision.

    I have observed two primary facets of President Obama’s vision for progressive change that I think are worth our paying heed to:

    1.) Inclusive Compassion. Most progressives espouse this ideal, but make an exception when dealing with our conservative opponents. But rather than simply beat conservatives politically into submission, President Obama seeks to transform even those who seem to others to be implacable, or without the possibility of transformation, healing, and redemption. The South African anti-apartheid activist and author of “Cry the Beloved Country,” Alan Paton, said so eloquently, “while there is life, there is hope for amendment of life,” and I think that Obama operates in that spirit, which is also the spirit of the teachings of Christ and many others. I witnessed several conservative family members and others come around eventually to supporting and voting for Obama, and I’m sure many of you readers did also. This is an ongoing process, with tremendous long-term possibilities, if we don’t sabotage it with our paternalism and dismissive, uncompassionate elitism.

    2.) Realistic Pragmatism. This aspect of President Obama’s vision is deeply connected to the first one, and necessitates that the Obama administration proceed with implementing progressive structural change while, in a sense, campaigning, or at least being continually aware of the need to not alienate the electorate. Certainly, a considerable number of moderate conservatives voted for Obama and we should hope that even more will do so in 2012. But they will not get on board with progressive social change if they think that they are not a part of the process and are not given the opportunity to participate. If we patiently show them that progressive social change is really in their best interest and is consistent with deeply held old conservative values of fairness, liberty, and equal opportunity, then this can become a truly inclusive movement and a time of human growth and healing, as President Obama surely desires.

    Do we want a more enlightened, more progressive, and more united American public? This administration, if given the full eight years to serve the people successfully- creating millions of sustainable green jobs, implementing universal healthcare, and bringing an end to all unjust wars while increasing effective diplomacy- can even transform conservatives into progressives. But it will require some patience, creativity, and openness to a new level of “inclusion” from those of us who should understand that better than anyone.

    Regarding Bartolin’s comment: I actually appreciated Lowery’s reference to an old African-American nursery rhyme that far preceded him, many times used in literature and song over the decades, and in oral tradition many years before that: “if you’re white, you’re alright, if you’re brown, stick around (or stay down), if you’re black, stay back”. Though crude, it summarizes perfectly not only what has been the historical nature of race relations in this country, but the insidious effects of this racial hierarchy had within repressed groups over time (e.g. internalized self-hatred, colorism within black communities, etc.). For people who are not familiar with this rhyme in any way shape or form, I see how the spirit or intent of Lowery’s closing line could be misinterpreted (yes, I’ll admit, simplistically it was an ‘inside joke’ to those in those in the know). Yet it's fantastic how he took the original rhyme, preserving wording and structure, and completely turned the message on its head! At least to me, contrary to reinforcing racialization and polarization as the endgame, I think Lowery’s turn of phrase speaks to the embrace of greater equality for everyone, despite the literary vehicle used. When I heard him say that, I just smiled to myself and gave a chuckle: we’re slowly but surely growing up as a nation together, moving beyond these schoolyard taunts of yesteryear, but we have more first steps ahead of us with Obama’s election being one of the great ones, but not necessarily the last, nor the culmination—more an important and wonderful beginning. I have no qualms giving an ‘amen’ to that.
    P.S. and actually I thought the overall tone of Warren’s invocation was more exclusive than Lowery’s benediction closing.

    On President Obamas Agenda,
    If I were King, I would treat members of the opposition in Congress with respect and courtesy, they are the elected representatives of their constituents. But I would not forget they are my political enimies, its one thing to be compassionate to your defeated enemy, but you don't want to put their generals in charge of your army.
    To imply there aren't qualified Democrats to be Secretary of the Treasury, or Defense or whatever, is a slap in the face to all Dems who worked hard to elect the President, and that patronage belongs to them. Can you imagine the Army the Republican Secretary creates beneath him? The 'Great Orator' may be terribly naive. To borrow a phrase from his own Chief of Staff, "The untainted Republican hasn't been invented".
    If I felt the need to support a business with tax payer money, I would also appoint the majority of the Board of Directors, that would be the price. The money would be taken in stock.
    Since the taxpayers are holding the liability, let them also hold the hope of reward.
    On the wars, and terrorism, in the Mid-East, thal is the result of two things, the first is of a hundred years of cheating the native Arabs, who have 'owned' that area undisputably for 1500 years, and the second is supporting the Jews in trying to steal it. Thats why Muslims hate us. And remember the Muslims didn't take it from the Jews 1500 hundred years ago.
    On Gitmo, I would move the 'prisoners', to Leavenworth, and then work out the details.
    There are over a billion Muslims in the world, and at least one percent could be al'Quida inclined. Thats still ten million, 243 more won't make a bit of difference.
    On the enconomy, free trade didn't work, its time to bring Industry home to America, then you have jobs. We also need a single-one size fits all health care system, everybody gets care (the same care) everybody pays, a fixed percent of his taxable income. No thresholds, no exceptions.
    Of the 12 million unemployed, we have over 15 million illegal aliens, send them home. No, they won't come back if there is no job. If you get a $10,000 dollar fine and six months in jail for hiring one, there will be no jobs for them. No fence, no military on the border, just the inevitable solution.

    I hope Mr.Obama will help more of us rise out of poverty.We also need low-income housing restored AND increased,since the homeless and poor have been totally ignored for the past eight years.

    Obama and the Memphis trashman (e.g., US everyman) being provided the same necessities (home, transportation, food, healthcare, etc.) and each, luxuries commensurate only with superlative performance in their respective professions. Otherwise it's all just more Obama-Bushist mirrorspeak like "change" and "democracy"!

    Sandra Bartolin religion and how one worships should be a private matter and should not have any, and I say any influence in government.

    We have the separation for church and state fora reason.

    I don't don't believe in a magical beings who sit in space and rule over us.
    Your entitled to believe in what you want to but don't preach to me, please don't preach.

    I am also sick and tired of the religious right telling me how to live and what is morally right or wrong.

    Enough is enough!Hold the second bailout package. Paulson and Kashkeri did not satisfy congressional questioning or common sense. Either nationalize the banks or find a way to get the original bailout money back. I cannot continue to subsidize anyone doing better than me. It is immoral and injust for the future of my children, who deserve better.

    As a reformed republican and capitalist, I must admit that capitalism has been allowed to go to an exreme that I don't think is sustainable. Putting profit before morality and decency is intolerable. Under no circumstance should blood be traded for profit.

    View From The Mountain Top

    Dear Mr President,

    Now that we helped you reach the mountain top, it seems like you are looking down and trying to 'reach out' to the folks on the other side, who until just recently, were trying to beat you to the top! It is a good gesture; but make sure that they don't pull you down and you end up with neither their support nor ours - -
    Since 1932 and specially after 1980 the 'other party' has continued to abandon the ways of some of their stellar leaders like Lincoln and T.R. and have become more and more rigid and inflexible. We don't need to remind you that it was 'the other party' that colosally mismanaged their duties and responsibilities and got us into all this mess, just as during the Great Depression.
    Over 70% of us, the ''ordinary citizens'' have faith in you and have given you the mandate to end the war and to help main-street get back up on its feet; we don't see how you can even consider giving more money to Big Banks and Wallstreet, when they havn't been forthright and forthcoming about how they spend the first $350 billion and without even a faint improvement in the pulse of the economy !
    They fooled you and the congress once; don't let them fool you again because the shame will definitely fall on you and we will never forgive or forget - -
    Like you have said often, this is the moment ! You M-U-S-T overcome the 'pull and pressure' of the old Corporate Monarchy and boldly strike out in a new direction, where We on Main-Street who supported and shored you up on your tumultuous way to the nomination and the presidency, had hoped that we would have our voices heard, at long last !
    The bail out should be overwhelmingly directed toward LOCAL Small Businesses and Institutions, relief with toxic mortgages etc etc.

    We hope you are enjoying the view from the mountain top, while we are still down here in the valley - -

    While I thought Melissa Harris-Lacewell contributed some stunningly brilliant and provocative ideas during the January 23rd segment, "History as it Happens," one of her comments was shockingly incorrect: questioning the U.S. military’s observance of civilian rule. I have no idea what inspires her questioning of the military’s commitment, but my limited experience with the top military leaders is quite the contrary. In fact, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, has been consistently and proactively outspoken, reminding members of the military to from any public political dialogue so that Americans never perceive the military to be politicized. Indeed, Adm. Mullen and several other top military officers don’t even vote.

    looking at the comments on the obama transition web site, it would seem that the excesses of the war on drugs are at least as much a problem as those of the war on terrorism. indeed they overlap to our detriment in many places, not least of which are columbia and afghanistan. apropos of moyers' and patricia williams' concern about young black men in prison, no other policy change would make as much difference as the decriminalization of drugs. it is for obama what the repeal of the volstead amendment was for fdr. do it.

    I believe that George W Bush and Dick Cheney should be questioned as to their role in the current state of America. Not just for the deregulation of specific government control and the crash of our economy, but for the conspiracy and overthrow of a government that the first President Bush had a grudge against. How is Bush any different then Hussein in the carnage caused from the web of deceit? In many ways, he is worse. I hate hypocrisy. What about the mass carnage that is being allowed in America each day, called “freedom of choice” and now experimentation on the most innocent, the unborn? Human’s thought process is amazingly insane. That is why Jesus was born. Love one another. You cannot war and kill the unborn for any reason, loving one another. This is all done in selfish stupidity. It is one thing to have to kill for defense of self, but to suit up and grab painstakingly made “weapons of mass destruction” to go out and hunt other men down is disturbingly evil, yet not only allowed, but encouraged everywhere. Even in societies that claim to be mainly Christian. May God have mercy on us all.

    It is people's interest against special interest.

    China announced Wednesday that it intended to spend $123 billion by 2011 to establish universal health care for the country’s 1.3 billion people.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/22/world/asia/22beijing.html?_r=1

    What can we do? It is not just upto Obama; it is really up to US all!

    1) investigate the corruption on wall street. the way bush's treasury handled the billions already given to wall street banks. where did it go? and get those trials going.

    2) out of iraq. right away.
    money not spent killing arabs will go to #3.

    3) free institute universal health care for every american.

    4) investigate ex president george w bush and dick cheney for war crimes in iraq, illegal wire tapping, torture, and lying and misleading the public to war in iraq. put them in jail.

    5)massive green energy investment and infrastructure building in the usa. fast trains, green cities, recycling, etc.

    6) Get rid of the Federal Reserve Act and the Federal Reserve System of banking. U.S. Government will print its own money from now on. No debt to the Fed anymore.

    Discussions and insight on the economic troubles of the U.S. from many of your guests in the past, although I only started watching your segments just over a year ago, have left me wondering constantly why there always seems to be more behind the banks than what is understood even by some if not most of your guests and at the bottom of all that it seems the real story about our Federal Reserve may take us on a journey into unchartered territory that takes us far out into other areas all over the world. I read a book by G. Edward Griffin about the Federal Reserve. He took from sources like the Library of Congress and a lot of other high standing sources and institutions that were surprising and revealing to me about how the monetary system was intended to work since it's conception around 1910. It would be a dream come true if on The Journal you would be able to discus another topic of high relevance to the Federal Reserve and the Banksters. The history of how The Federal Reserve came to be, the controversy in those times concerning it's first failed attempt at introduction to the country, why we created it, how it issues out money today, what phase(s) did it take on for instance at one point in it's beginning we did still have a gold standard and who and that's a big WHO was involved in it's creation and what history was on record about those involved in it's establishment. I long for the day when I too can read from the library of congress just as people like professor Carol Quigley, who reinforces the same argument as Griffin made in his own earlier book "Tragedy and Hope", did. Griffin's and Quigley's writings are something to look at in the future in connection to your topics on the banks and inflation as they may add treasure loads to your map on the economy and the banks. Please by all means try to build on that map as puzzle pieces are still out there. If there is anything in the writings of these men I mentioned and the sources they used, take advantage; it seems little sources connect the History that these men rigorously researched.

    Regarding the interview with Williams & Harris-Lacewell: This was a good commentary until you (Bill) asked the question, "What do you think about this "God thing?" (Or something there about). Why did you have to screw up a perfectly good commentary by trying to draw out anti-Christian or agnostic viewpoints? I was very impressed with the inaugural program until the very end. I thought when Rev. Lowery said, "help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right" was totally inappropriate in a prayer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. How will we ever have true equality until we put this kind of euphemisms behind us? We must look forward, not backwards. Only then, when we accept the fact that anyone, regardless of race, creed, color or sex, can achieve any height of his her aspirations, without bringing it to great public attention what that person’s race, creed, color or sex is. Those of us who are sighted can clearly see that our landslide choice for president obviously has some African-American blood and do not need to be reminded of this. Those of us who were growing up during the violent times of the 60's do not need to be constantly reminded of the over 200 years of oppression of our Americans of Color. I, myself, am descended from an Oklahoma Choctaw tribe. We need to get past the past and begin a new future here and now and it needs to start with our media and how they try to "present the facts." I am a loyal listener to NPR and also a loyal viewer to PBS, but I'm beginning to get a little "ticked" at the subjects brought up for discussion. Can we not approach subjects that are biased from the get-go? Can't you stick to the problems of our nation as a whole instead of trying to incite to riot? This is why organizations like the KKK and other white supremacy groups continue to thrive in many areas of our country, because they feed off journalists to try to keep things stirred up. We have way more important things to put our words to than what Rev. Lowery chose end what “was” an eloquent prayer, but then turned it into a joke at the end with his little rhymes. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ deserves more respect when we pray!

    Obama should investigate torture, Wall Street, and get the Corporations out of DC...For the record: the so-called "financial disaster" has been a well thought out transfer of wealth to secure long term power...plain and simple.

    Where is the infrastructure??

    Obama promised a lot of infrastructure. But Obama and the Dems offer a pittance in their current bill. Is it Larry Summers? I am very disappointed in any event. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#28820486

    President Obama should first establish a 21st century Pecora commission to fully investigate, trial and get rid of those criminals on Wall Street and also in Wahington, who destroyed US!

    Otherwise there is no trust.

    Raise Taxes on Bsns, drop taxes on citizens, pay 5 billion dollars to some study group to re-work the mechanics of government, lower perscription costs, create a fast train to go faster (like Europe), too many people talking and giving their thoughts, re-design healthcare. I simply want a President who will make effective decisions.

    Adam

    Progressive?
    Reform campaign laws prohibiting accepting corporate funds.
    Reform corporation laws which exclude corps from responsibility regarding the common good and stewardship of Mother Earth.
    Publish the salaries & perks & lifestyles of corporation officers.
    Ditto for politicians.
    Ditto for banks.
    DISCONTINUE ALL tax cuts to financial institutions and corporations & spread the money among THE PEOPLE (who actually are the producers in the economy)
    Treat all peoples and all nations with human dignity.
    linda s

    Let me first congratulate Zora, Varda Burns and J.J. Staples for being the most succinct and incisive posters on this page so far. I respect the Moyers' blogs so much that I always try to read every word in the que before writing anything. (My mission is to try to offer a different pov.) J.J.Staples addressed the mistake of corporate personhood which distorts our entire economic system and belittles every worker. (Maybe limited liability is the reason we have to have unions.) Zora and Varda plead for peace. They mean a withdrawal from unwinnable occupations that serve corporate interests, but also from other business driven imperialism that fosters new conflict. Varda thinks our prison industry is a crime in itself, with 2.3 million held at about 40K each. (That's 9.2 billion plus about the same again in infrastructure.) Zora wants tax reform with the wealthy and business paying their fair share (probably with reparations added). She also wants universal health care and affordable prescriptions.

    If President Barack Obama listened to these three he'd have an outstanding program. All three of my unselfish correspondents advocate de-corporatization. I will add my vote.

    Reagan knew government wasn't the entire problem, but he was a company man who'd been selling soap and light bulbs his entire career. The problem all along under global corporate capitalism has been overgrown, and over-powerful corporations. We will not ever be able to regulate until we pare them down closer to human scale and make them accountable to human and environmental need.

    Real conservatives have never liked anything too big, so they should go for that. They can never have their way in checking government until the reason for government counterbalance is diminished. The excesses of government in curtailing human freedom are usually at the behest of business. Progressives can embrace anything making responsible regulation easier and simpler, and more effective.

    Lincoln said (from scripture) that a divided house cannot stand. Maybe we have achieved a united house from which to progress in a level-headed way. We need to progress toward higher civilization in a common sense way. In the same way a house needs a floor we need to provide a wholesome environment with good, safe food; universal affordable health care; government financed education to bestow needed skills with critical thinking (may lessen need for prisons); decent sturdy affordable shelter; public transportation in every state; and the right both to vote and to have input into government by designation of how our tax contribution is to be spent.

    I doubt Barack Obama is as progressive as caring Americans like Zora, Varda Burns and J.J. Staples,(and me) but maybe we can educate and motivate him.

    What agenda do I think President Obama should pursue in order for me to consider him a progressive?

    First and foremost he needs to get us out of Iraq and cancel contracts for all the bloodsuckers that Bush/Cheney called up. That should reduce the money hemorrhage considerably.

    Second he needs to start hiring for infrastructure projects. That should reduce unemployment and correct the decades of neglect that the infrastructure has suffered from.

    Third he needs to start investigations, if Congress doesn't have enough spine to do so, into Wall Street, into the lack of oversight on the bailout, into the way republicans (the misnamed "party of responsibility") in Congress deliberately abdicated their responsibilities and rubberstamped the last 8 years, into who actually created and implemented the torture policy, and into Katrina for starters.

    Forget the tax cuts. They are primarily geared towards the upper class who don't need them and corporations who don't pay their fair share from the start. Any crumbs they toss the general public aren't going to be enough to make a real difference and I'd rather see it go towards the salary of someone working on our infrastructure.

    I think it was Frank who said there is no point in making nice with the republicans because they are implacable. He's right. Reaching across the aisle is a waste of time right now. I would bet money that they see Obama's reaching across the aisle as a weakness and as vindication for themselves and their beliefs.

    One question though. If Obama's really a progressive why do we have to try to push him to adopting progressive policies?

    The Obama Administration is on the way to reaching my expectations because starting the conversation is the beginning. We have started the conversation about racism in a way we haven’t before. We are talking about wealth inequality and corporate excess. Americans realized that this time political leaders might actually listen to the collective outrage over Wall Street’s reckless disregard for the rest of us.

    My agenda for the Obama Administration: Identify and prevent conflict of interest in the private and public sector and identifying it is the first step. We will never have business practices, health care or public policies representing the public good without ending our cultural comfort with conflict of interest.

    President Obama started the conversation. We are beginning to discuss how tolerance of conflict of interest will create policies that favor profits for a select few instead of the best interests of many. We are at the very beginning of picking up the pieces this era of conflict of interest left behind and now we'll have to fix so many policies never really designed for the public good.

    This is a small step but it is also a huge change.

    One thing missing from the discussion of Obama's direction is how will progressives organize. If Obama is now LBJ who or what will be MLK? All these posts have fine opinions but what will prevent them from being only personal opinions. Labor is one force but it is still a small minority.

    I would like to see...

    Military service not be the only avenue for young volunteers to serve their country. The choices of vocation should be many:

    Revitalize the AmeriCorps VISTA program, C.C.C., Peace Corps and other service programs.

    Add new service programs in health care, education, and city maintenance to name a few

    Pay and benefits should be commensurate with military benefits including uniforms, housing, health care and training in the chosen field.

    Structure public service programs so they could become a career choice.

    The incentive to the volunteer for his and her services for a year or two, should be strong and meaningful enough to entice young people from all walks of life, including the very privileged, to give something of themselves. That is the basic idea. I'm sure many comments can help flesh this idea out.

    Criticism of Patricia Williams and Melissa Harris-Lacewell:

    This "blacks are multiracial, biracial, etc." is bull, because it really means that "whites" are "pure" and Latinos aren't "mixed" but a "race" unto themselves. It protects Latinos from the fact of their sub-Saharan African ancestry (which Anglo blacks politely avoid mentioning). "Half-Breeds" often ruled Indian tribes such as the Cherokee, Creek, etc., but no Indian claims that everyone with a drop of Indian blood is an Indian.

    If "blacks" were one-tenth as "multiracial" as mulattoes like Harris-Lacewell (white mother) claim, they would look like Latinos. The truth is that most Americans (white, black and otherwise) define blacks first by looks and only make exceptions if explicitly told to do so. Latinos aren't defined by phenotype because they are truly "multiracial." "Whites" are usually defined by phenotype (with some exceptions) but that doesn't mean they are "pure" (free of black, Indian, Asian, etc. ancestry).

    Harris-Lacewell is a political scientist who doesn't know history but thinks that she does. Obama would not have been "black" at every point in American history. He would have been "mulatto." He would have been "free colored" (since he would have been born of a free, white mother). Indeed, the term "free colored" was a generic term for non-white that included Indians and part-Indians as well. Early in American history, Obama could even have been a plantation owner, married a white woman, and produced white descendants.

    Harris-Lacewell and the black-identified elites have worked hard to deprive others of the freedom to be free of a forced "black" identity. Look at how they demonized the late New York Times book critic Anatole Broyard (who was born of two Creole parents, not "black" ones). The issue is NOT Obama "choice" (which he sometimes falsely claims was no choice), but the freedom of other Anglos and Creoles with the dreaded "black blood" to make DIFFERENT choices.

    Why do black Americans always seem to need mulattoes to perform great things in the name of the Negro? Those "ordinary black folk" owe a great deal to the white mother and white grandparents who nurtured, loved and educated the mulatto Obama at great sacrifice. (Indeed, the accomplishments of the Mulatto and Mixed-white have been far above those of the Negro from the beginning because of white relatives that the Negro is trying to label "rapists") Are blacks grateful? Hell, no! Why? Because the very idea of "blackness" demands that white relatives be reduced to suppliers of desirable white genes. The ideology of "blackness" demands that the mulatto have a greater loyalty to any Negro on the stree than even the closest white relatives. Obama himself acknowledged that when he criticized his white grandmother for being (rightfully) afraid of an agressive black panhandler (who could have been his "brother"). Harris-Lacewell, who presents herself ALL OVER the media as spokeswoman for "blacks," takes pains to avoid mentioning her white mother.

    Criticism of Patricia Williams and Melissa Harris-Lacewell:

    This "blacks are multiracial, biracial, etc." is bull, because it really means that "whites" are "pure" and Latinos aren't "mixed" but a "race" unto themselves. It protects Latinos from the fact of their sub-Saharan African ancestry (which Anglo blacks politely avoid mentioning). "Half-Breeds" often ruled Indian tribes such as the Cherokee, Creek, etc., but no Indian claims that everyone with a drop of Indian blood is an Indian.

    If "blacks" were one-tenth as "multiracial" as mulattoes like Harris-Lacewell (white mother) claim, they would look like Latinos. The truth is that most Americans (white, black and otherwise) define blacks first by looks and only make exceptions if explicitly told to do so. Latinos aren't defined by phenotype because they are truly "multiracial." "Whites" are usually defined by phenotype (with some exceptions) but that doesn't mean they are "pure" (free of black, Indian, Asian, etc. ancestry).

    Harris-Lacewell is a political scientist who doesn't know history but thinks that she does. Obama would not have been "black" at every point in American history. He would have been "mulatto." He would have been "free colored" (since he would have been born of a free, white mother). Indeed, the term "free colored" was a generic term for non-white that included Indians and part-Indians as well. Early in American history, Obama could even have been a plantation owner, married a white woman, and produced white descendants.

    Harris-Lacewell and the black-identified elites have worked hard to deprive others of the freedom to be free of a forced "black" identity. Look at how they demonized the late New York Times book critic Anatole Broyard (who was born of two Creole parents, not "black" ones). The issue is NOT Obama "choice" (which he sometimes falsely claims was no choice), but the freedom of other Anglos and Creoles with the dreaded "black blood" to make DIFFERENT choices.

    Why do black Americans always seem to need mulattoes to perform great things in the name of the Negro? Those "ordinary black folk" owe a great deal to the white mother and white grandparents who nurtured, loved and educated the mulatto Obama at great sacrifice. (Indeed, the accomplishments of the Mulatto and Mixed-white have been far above those of the Negro from the beginning because of white relatives that the Negro is trying to label "rapists") Are blacks grateful? Hell, no! Why? Because the very idea of "blackness" demands that white relatives be reduced to suppliers of desirable white genes. The ideology of "blackness" demands that the mulatto have a greater loyalty to any Negro on the stree than even the closest white relatives. Obama himself acknowledged that when he criticized his white grandmother for being (rightfully) afraid of an agressive black panhandler (who could have been his "brother"). Harris-Lacewell, who presents herself ALL OVER the media as spokeswoman for "blacks," takes pains to avoid mentioning her white mother.

    IF “It's all about hope and change” than it is all about “LIFE, LIBERY...”
    The link to Mr. Duff web page,
    “READ THIRD: SOLUTIONS “ states,
    “these principles to actions taken against you by governments and
    their subdivisions and agents is that You must DESTROY the State's
    belief that it has your IMPLIED CONSENT to regulate your
    private actions; your choices is to replace” with something better!
    “You've got to essentially create a dictator or a czar or an authoritarian!”
    The choice of “desire to CREATE - to have dictators with extralegal power”
    should be ONLY by the people power and not the Congress, Senate or the President.
    If by now “you very much understands the rules of the establishment,
    the rules of the status quo,” they shall continue till they are replaced!
    As the facts are stated, "Make more loans?" he asked. "We're not going to change
    our business model or our credit policies to accommodate the needs of the public
    sector as they see it to have us make more loans."
    "We can get $70 million in capital," their CEO said. "So, I would say the price of
    poker, so to speak, has gone up." And, so to speak, “he's playing with our chips!”
    It is not a coincident that you are “looking at society that crumble before you
    eyes.. and it will continue to crumble!” “The evil things that these people had
    been up to” is so obvious!
    As Mr. Duff states, “wake up” he is “Recognizing the coerced and
    fraudulent nature of this... consent, you must rescind all powers
    of appointment with the local, state and federal governments,
    including all admissions you have given..” and time replace
    it with “something better is now!” Hope and change will be only
    when people are empowered to express their “WILL on ALL ISSUES”
    as only “dictators with extralegal power!”

    Our nation is a nation of laws, not of men. This statement is either True or the U.S. is a paper tiger; Corporate smoke and mirrors.

    Dear President Obama, The world is watching. If you want to elevate the integrity of the United States in the eyes of the world, you must enforce the law. The integrity of our nation of laws depends on you holding men accountable to the law.

    If you, Mr. President, do not, the world will see you as disrespectful of our Constitution as the previous administration.

    Enforcement can not be substituted by rhetoric.

    In this time of "Everyone has an opinion", it is too easy for us at home to express our thoughts.
    However, I will take advantage of your invitation.
    I would like to see government cars that are either hybrids or flex fueled. I would like to see a Victory Garden at the White House that emphasizes locally grown food and then hopefully to the utilization of Farmers' Markets. I would like to see a "Green" overhaul of all government buildings and schools. I would like to see instead of war bonds, education bonds. IMO education is what needs to be overhauled and the graduation rate needs to be 100% for ALL school districts. I would like to see affordable health care. I would like to see a difference in foreign policy. I would like to see private contracts cancelled...yes, Blackwater can stay home. They are too scary anyway. I would like to see CEOs earn their big salaries and pay big taxes on those salaries. Better yet, don't pay the big salaries.
    This is only the tip of the iceberg. So much is wrong with this country. And I would like to see my tax dollars go elsewhere than funding a war in Iraq.

    re: corporations. In Canberra (OZ) we have a law of corporate manslaughter. We also have subsidised drugs. Free health care. An education system that does not force the young to join the military, we do not have mass transit, and most guns are banned. You americans are a weird mob

    Time to act Mr. President! March 13, 2007 Obama:
    "Nobody Is Suffering More Than The Palestinian People"

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17631015/

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2451908450811690589&ei=waxlSb7SHI6cqALgzqndBw&q=occupation+101&hl=en&dur=3

    Thank you so much for the Sirota and Frank interview. Although I am a passionate believer of Obama, their remarks helped ground me in the all important area of our national economy.

    Thank you so much for the Sirota and Frank interview. Although I am a passionate believer of Obama, their remarks helped ground me in the all important area of our national economy.

    Time to act, Mr. President! March 13, 2007 Obama:
    "Nobody Is Suffering More Than The Palestinian People"

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17631015/

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2451908450811690589&ei=waxlSb7SHI6cqALgzqndBw&q=occupation+101&hl=en&dur=3

    NUTTY LIBERALS AND RIGHT WING BULLIES! Ive had about enough of these people, why are there no rational politicians. yes we do need to make banks like utilities. yes we do need to curb and regulate these corporate bullies. but no we do not need national health care, rail system or welfare. i dont want my tax dollars going to this huge wave or seniors, obese people, smokers, and hyprocondriacts. i pay for social security and unemployment insurace that i will never use and the gov. has stolen from me. any spending gov should do is to create jobs, and not just any jobs, but jobs that will benifit society in the long run, jobs that are futuristic, like at nasa or green energy. the problem is not gov its the stupid polititians we have, who either work for these private instutional bullies, or nut cases who want to give hand outs to people who dont deserve them.

    Build an electrified, high speed, transcontinental passenger rail system. Less funding for hghiways and more for mass transit. Most European trains run at speede in excess of 125MPH (200KPH).

    In addition, electrify all, inner city busses and trains. Fund this huge undertaking, in part, by increasing taxes and parking fees on private cars in urban centers. Increasing taxes on fuels impact the poor, rural dwellers and farmers disproportionately. Parking fees put the burden where it belongs and will help to increase ridership. It should cost at least ten times as much to park downtown than it does to take city transit.

    No urban location should be more than a 10 minute walk to public transportation, and no one should have to wait more than 15 minutes at a scheduled bus or train stop during normal working hours. Public transportation in Europe, Japan, and the UK is already that good in most areas.

    It is important to note that by using electric power instead of bio or fossil fuels many options are open to generate the power in an environmentally safe manner. Some of us can remember the trolleys and electric busses that ran in many cities up until "big oil" bought them out in the early Fifties.

    Please Mr. President, Regarding funds to banks: install usage policies with weekly assessment reports, which states banks MUST use the bailout funds to re-write home mortages for citizens to make smaller payments, thus keeping their homes. And if a mortage-home-owner has been laid off, offer a grace period of up to a year before the monthly payments re-start.
    These banks who are holding the money until the resession eases, keeps CEO's salaries high, but hurts the average US citizen. ENOUGH !!!!

    Obama got it all and he can loose it all and more if he let himself influenced by bad elements,
    goones,greed, lust etc. If he turns out just talks and no action he would be the worst president of all-even worst than GWBush.

    When I say he has it all means he has it all. People worked for him, got him elected, cried happiness tears, now is the time for Obama to do it and show it to all people that when he was talking on campaign trail and after that, he meant business. Everybody knows what the priorities are. Do not waste time on it just start taking one by one and solve it and show it to the world that USA has this one President who can deliver on his promises. This will regain USA some respect and its Leadership role in the world.Until that happens to me he is just another President who is good in talking.

    Obama got it all and he can loose it all and more if he let himself influenced by bad elements,
    goones,greed, lust etc. If he turns out just talks and no action he would be the worst president of all-even worst than GWBush.

    When I say he has it all means he has it all. People worked for him, got him elected, cried happiness tears, now is the time for Obama to do it and show it to all people that when he was talking on campaign trail and after that, he meant business. Everybody knows what the priorities are. Do not waste time on it just start taking one by one and solve it and show it to the world that USA has this one President who can deliver on his promises. This will regain USA some respect and its Leadership role in the world.Until that happens to me he is just another President who is good in talking.

    Moyers and crew just provided me a sleepless night, with as much foreboding about future corruption and abuse as when I heard Bush’s “For Us Or Against Us” speech. The unchallenged glee with which Thomas Frank would advise Obama to learn from one of the most corrupt politicians of our age (Tom DeLay) makes it clear that reasoned governance is neither desired nor probably is it even possible any longer in America. Instead, each side will weld its force as long as it remains in power, ratcheting corruption until topping even the numbness of our age. The casual support of nationalizing American banks, as though that or laissez faire lending are our only options; labeling universal health care an economic stimulus (perhaps we should add butterfly catching and government supplied cookies and milk for PTAs across the continent); the open expression of big government as the solution to our problems reminds one of Tocqueville’s warnings of the most dangerous form of placid government, for, not by the people, and those early steps to socialist tyranny – paid lip service by Moyers’ guests – that Hayek clarified in his “Road To Serfdom”. Eventually some government bureaucracy will make the hard choices of who succeeds and who fails in the harshest of ways, not so desirable to present intellectuals placing equality above freedom, replaced by those Joseph Goebbels of our future who suffer no hesitation serving “the greater good”, “the holy cause”.

    There are so many issues. Few of which can be addressed in 100 days. Let us have patience, patience, patience. In the mean time, we can post our ideas here and across the web promoting our personal agenda. We must keep the pressure on in spite of the snails pace of accomplishment.

    CORPORATE PERSONHOOD was never mentioned in constitutional law or any subsequent legislation.

    It is an assumption of the court. It was established as precedent in a railroad tax case in the late 19th century. We must refute the assumption of the court by legislation. Or, better yet, hold a national referendum on the issue.

    Williams & Harris-Lacewell offered interesting insight into race and the election of Obama. The complexity of racism and its many forms is overwhelming.

    I'm weary of what I consider a stupid question often asked by "talking heads". It's asked in various derivatives of; "Does this mean racism is over in the US?" President Obama's election is a wonderful step forward. Consider the probable outcome of the election under any of these alternate scenarios.

    1. Barack Obama chose an equally qualified VP (as Biden) who was an African American? Take it step further, a person with dark skin and an accent.

    2. Barack Obama himself was less physically attractive and/or dark skinned.

    3. Instead of VP candidate Palin's teenage daughter having a child out of wedlock, one of Obama's daughters was older and in a similar situation. How would Fox news or any media outlet responded?

    I celebrate that this man was elected on the content of his character. I hope and pray daily that our nation continues striving to love all our neighbors as we love ourselves.

    Thanks for the Great program.

    Why, Oh why, as some others have suggested are we not prosecuting white collar crime and perhaps regaining some of the monies stolen? For instance, the people at Standard and Poors, Moody's and Fitch have admitted publicly that they misrepresented ratings (because everyone else was doing it). Wouldn't they be guilty under RICO racketering laws - its obvious they colluded. Go get 'em Obama! May be the American people could recoup some of what's been stolen. As an aside, I heard years ago that the Mafia was moving into the banks. It was touted as easier and more lucrative than other criminal acts. Bobby Kennedy would have got 'em!

    Please, Mr. President, stay safe. You and your family relate well to your "fellow Americans" and I hope you are able to continue to do so without compromising security, without living in a "bubble".

    Remember how many people have faith in you and your promises and who want you to succeed. Move boldly to bring about the changes that you promised... the people who voted for you are still with you and counting on you to fulfill those promises.

    Please, please, dump Geithner. Choose someone of integrity, not someone whose background is less than stellar. We, the people, need and deserve public servants who will serve, not dictators with greedy special interests.

    Please encourage whistle blowers to expose "waste, fraud and abuse" in our government. People who speak up about crimes and abuse of power should not fear recrimination. The government needs to clean it's own house first.

    Now, would someone at Bill Moyers Journal please make sure that Obama gets a copy of all the contributions to this blog!

    For all the hoopla made by PBS that it is the unique, one-stop-shop for facts that will enable discriminating viewers to make up their own minds about what's real and what's not, it merely offers a more elaborate rehash of the establishment media's spin on the news IT wants you to hear.

    For example, one searches in vain in PBS's two-hour special Heat for scientific, peer-reviewed criticism of the claim made by global warming enthusiasts that climate change is man-caused, which happens to be the only point of view 'religiously'-embraced by the establishment media. Is this what PBS means by “unique” journalism?

    Tonight's broadcast by Bill Moyers is yet another example of how PBS – like its establishment-media cousin – merely functions as the 'front office' for the Democratic political machine. What was the lead news story of the day? I'll tell you: President Obama reverses Bush's abortion-funds policy! This fact wasn't even mentioned, let alone discussed by Bill Moyers' articulate guests. What would have been interesting – and fair! – would be to have an equally-distinguished advocate of the opposing view, such as Helen M. Alvaré (associate professor of law at George Mason University), debate the merits of the President's decision. And with respect to all the “god talk” during the Inauguration that Bill Moyers alluded to, why not ask someone like Alveda King (niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) to explain what is the shared experience of 'people of faith' who actually participated in the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s? Moreover, an interview with Alveda King would have thrown important light on the reasons she now regrets her two abortions.

    This story had GREAT potential and it started out so well, i.e. quoting bank presidents who have robbed us blind. Then the guests, Pete and Re-Pete were introduced. A "refreshing" couple of interventionists, pimping the idea of nationalizing and over-regulating our banks and economy.
    Bill, shame on you, treat the banks like utilities? Has that been successful? Really?

    Why have a conversation with a couple of guys that barely disagree? Why not bring in some different points of view? I would've enjoyed watching and listening to these guys have a discussion with Dr. Ron Paul.

    Paulson's 1st demand for $700 billion in unmarked bills showed Mainstreet the Wolvws of Wallstreet were in the hen house.

    I commented to many blogs that the Banks would take the money, clean up their balance sheets & head to the most secure regions of business. NOW Moyers has a couple of guys that see what HAS happened & think they should get a pat on the back when ---Most of Mainstreet saw what WOULD happen--future tense.

    The circus has moved on so all that is left for "the shows" is to tell what HAS happened.

    Pres. Obama might get us out of this mess, but it will be by pulling us up by our boot straps.

    Kennedy's health plan is what Obama owes for his election more even than Oprah. Hillary lost to Kennedy's health plan, not Obama.

    The point that Obama may be pulled away from the liberal demands is a real concern for extream left wingers, but Centrist hopefully will help get past Congress & Corp. greed & save us all!

    May God bless all in America & esp. the Obamas!

    Billy Bob, Florida where the DNP & Obama denied my vote until after he had the nomination locked

    Although Obama's task might seem complicated and even impossible, dealing with the economic crises, the environment, unemployment, collapsing industries, growing homelessness, rising poverty, conflict in the Middle-East and terrorism, etc., at the root of it all is the fact that self interest groups - or simply, bandits - have infected every aspect of our society. Thus, his one most important task is to rid us of the greedy bullies that now dominate this country.

    It's funny to read all these left-wing "wish lists". You guys really believe that government is going to "give you stuff for free". I remember the young woman who, on election night, said "Now I don't have to worry about how I am going to pay my rent or how I'm going to put gas in my car." Ha ha. Bush...and now Obama both drive the bus in the wrong direction. Only difference...Obama will step on the gas a little harder.

    I would like to see Universal Single Payer Health implemented.Would like to see some facts about the impact on private insurers. How many jobs and where are they located? offshore? How much in shareholder equity? How much in insurance industry debt? How much in buildings and equipment?Just why is it too much to wipe out a piece of the insurance industry to be replaced by a system which would not only provide better health care but improve our competitive position internationally.We have not only allowed but fostered the destruction of large swaths of our manufacturing industries to be replaced by cheaper imports leaving us poorer but Governmental policies have facilitated it.

    I truly appreciated the conversation with Sirota and Frank. It was a reality check, grounding us after the high of the inauguration. I think Obama is the best any nation could have. But much too much is expected of him.

    What we are witnessing is the last stumbling steps of the old, unjust order. He is expected to solve the economic crises, the environment, unemployment, collapsing industries, growing homelessness, rising poverty, conflict in the Middle-East and terrorism.

    Regarding the economic crisis and the bail out packages, these money-spending policies will not work. This is not a Roosevelt New Deal. The times are very different although the present situation resembles that of the 1930's. This is the end of the Age, and order (or disorder) it is not a passing storm. There is a better, more just and fair way to live. It will help people to see sharing as the only way to restructure the world economy.

    Fortunately, we are not alone, help of an extraordinary kind is on the way. Check out this remarkable story which just reached the world press on January 22, http://www.einnews.com/article.php?nid=12047

    Melissa Harris-Lacewell states the recovery of New Orleans is a central democratic litmus test of our time, and the recovery of the Gulf Coast will tell us whether or not we value community and environmental justice. Rebuilding a community destroyed by natural disaster is usually a focal concern for governance, but in the 21st century science and the laws of Nature should take precedence. Historically human communities built on the costal path of hurricanes and floods do not last. New Orleans is below sea level and sustained unnaturally through dykes and man-made barriers. Nature is always stronger than anything man can build, thus there is no guarantee the dykes can survive another major environmental incident. Global warming and its impact on climate is now scientifically established. The cost of energy infrastructure and the need to reinvigorate and reinvest in hundreds of American cities may make the decision to rebuilt New Orleans and Gulf communities unwise. This does not mean the citizens of these areas are not entitled to absolute environmental justice. We need to embrace a new paradigm where respect for Nature’s laws takes precedence, yet our citizen’s needs remain central.

    I hope that we see a sense of community, integrity, and honesty. I have high hopes for this administration.

    The commentary by guests this week delighted me. I felt I was home with friends.

    I had not been a great supporter of President Obama, but I think he might be a great president.

    Enjoyed your discussion with David Sirota and Thomas Frank. Seemed to include a nice balance of "wishful thinking, hope, skepticism, and reality. Can't believe that after 350 billion dollars, there is still so much discussion and question regarding where all this money went and if/how it will solve the economic crisis. I thought one of the most important comments within the discussion related to how banking used to be seen as a "tool" of the economy. This coincides with my thinking exactly and hopefully will become much more pervasive. Banking and finance used to be a "tool" within our economy. Under the last administration it has "become the economy". That condition needs to change. Simply throwing money at the existing model will not result in any long term solution. At the risk of sounding regressive and "last century", we need to get back to a much simpler, more basic, sustainable system. Our new president said it very eloquently on Tuesday. "It's time for everyone to get to work". Easy, quick, wealth appears to be over for the time being. That includes, and maybe even starts with, Bankers. Good luck Mr. President. Please be open minded but not too willing to agree to proven failed ideologies for the sake of consensus.

    I think it is essential to get the corporatocracy out of Washington DC...that should be a top priority for Mr. Obama. Democracy has been usurped by special interests and no longer represents the will of the people.

    The unemployment rate for Black men in Milwaukee, WI is over 60% and has been this way for over 8 years. I'd like the president to address this problem soon! Poverty on this level is a disaster: homicide, depression, REAL pain and suffering! It's ironic when others are angry because their unemployment rate is a mere 8%! Black Americans saw this economic melt down coming a long time ago, and if they'd been adequately or fairly incorporated in the U.S. economy the recession or depression would have been alleviated. This is the perfect example of white supremacy and hypocrisy I know of!

    I think Obama should establish priorities that he must address immediately.
    First, the health care system. Universal health insurance for all,, not involving any private insurance. It should be under medicare, for every american, one payor, (the government), and a fixed cost to the individual, or as a function of his /her income, but no more than 1% of that income, to include medecine. All Amricans deserve that.
    Second.the economy. stop giving money to the banks. Bank of America is run by crooks, I made a mistake and they are charging me 19.5% a month for a loan I made by error. Usury laws shuld be enforced in all the states.
    For those who cannot find work, have the government establish a form of WPA. Put all to work, at say 30 dollars a day rebulding our infra structures, but no privatization. Some main bulevards in Tucson, Arizona , for instance, resemble streets in Manila, Philippines, with pot holes 6 inches deep.
    Establish a public transit system . Every large city should have a subway, and trains for anywhere should be available. In Europe, Germany , France etc, fore instance, one can take a train from anywhere, to anywere. Again no privatization.
    the third category should be education. More male teachers, paticularly in Hihg Schools. Trouble making students who do not want to learn, should be allowed to quit school, after 14.. Then adujlt edujcations sytems should be available, at minimal costs, making better use of all those empty building such as schools.For lower grades, establish standards, and a dress code. Those students who excel should be recognized and given the opportunity to attend special schools. Shouild one, for instance, manifest a talent for science, he/she should immediately transfer to a special school emphasizing sciences.etc.
    another, regarding education.,It should be free higher education available to everyone who can pass the exam. If for instance, there are 20000 spaces at a university, tests should be administered and the best 20000 should immediately be admitted, FREE. again, no privatization. If we take the privatization route, we would accomplish nothing. It will not work and be just another boondaggle, costing ten times what it should be and accomplishing nothing positive, except perhaps make some crooks, a la Dick Cheney, rich.
    And finally, get rid of this free trade business. If shoes must be fabricated in India where labor costs are low, then import duty should be inposed to allow american factories making shoes, to compete. If Microsoft insists on exporting jobs, then duty should be imposed, to create american jobs. The majority of american institutions teach nothing and should be made accountable.
    We must not be so snobbish as to ignore the progress that other countries have made since WWII.
    conclusion:
    a: helath care for all
    b: education for all
    c: work for all
    ghet rid of privatization somehow, to maintain our democracy.

    The problem with Laissez faire capitalism is that it allows these wallstreet wizards to create such chaos without any protection. What we need is guided capitalism. one in which the purpose of competition is to produce benefits to society and humanity, especially in the areas of space exploration, life extention, and environmental conservation.
    the role of government should be to protect us from the bad guys and to use the media to create a culture of responsibility.

    mike and roger, you contradict yourselves
    " Actually, big government is the problem" and then you say..."When it comes to banking there has to be regulation The big investment firms never should have been allowed to issue securities such as credit default swaps and mortgage backed securities without the utmost of scrutiny, oversight and regulation"
    If there was no gov, there would not be regulation. The failure is that regulators are not doing their jobs. Probably because these big private institutions get the gov to work for them and not us

    I am very concerned that the economic recovery plan proposed by President Obama during the election campaign and transition phase is being weakened by Congressional negotiations for tax cuts over infrastructure investment. Tax cuts don't produce manufacturing, jobs, income, tax payments or an improved and safer environment for We, the People. Let's make the economy issue #1, let's keep the promises made to voters, let's focus on jobs, investment and the future - NOT tax cuts!

    I would like to see President Obama address both the issues of climate change and the economy by building a 21st century high speed rail system comparable to the one Europe has had for over 40 years. Our over reliance on the private gas car has been a disaster, not just because of wars for oil and high gas prices sucking the income and life blood from suburban workers, but mainly because 500 million cars worldwide have contributed almost a third of the greenhouse gases now responsible for climate change, and the destruction of the environment. Will Obama insist on electric cars and hybrids that Detroit could have built over 30 years ago? Will he start working not only on connecting up the energy grid, but also our weakest link, our incredibly weak public transportation network? Thomas Frank was indeed on to something also-- Obama has been very cautious, may not be willing to really use his power, may be too conciliatory in choosing Clinton retreads. If you want to look at why, in other words his personal psychology--Obama may be too obsessed with pleasing everyone, an identity that appears strong, but deep down wants to please a father that he never really had. Everyone who never really had a father knows this about him--it may indeed be difficult for him to ever really take charge without trying first to please others--get all of those 80 votes instead of just the 60 he needs, for example, or to ever stop reaching for the approval of the other side across the aisle, a dream of pleasing an invisible father...

    First things first.

    Impeach Roberts, since he VERY OBVIOUSLY proved that he has never read the very Constitution that he TOO is supposed to uphold!!!

    I think that the program of January 23rd was the best one by Bill Moyers that i have ever heard, and I have been listening for years.The first segment was so much on target and the last comment about 1 in 100 people in jail startiling.

    After listening to the interview with David Sarota and Thomas Frank I see I do have some ideas for the Omama Administration:
    #1 Send the message (however need be) that the Taxpayers money was NOT a Gift from American tax payers but a Loan to be repaid in ______years; and in retrospect any MISUNDERSTANDING is now being confirmed re: the Loan in what ever way is appropiate.

    #2 I suggest All the appointees in the 15 Cabinets will also recruit another younger True Legal BALANCED THINKING PERSON Hired or even a Senior Law Student Volunteer(?) to "balance" the Outlook and thinking with that of the elder appointees whose wisdom is of a very different era.

    #3 When I heard tonight that 1 of every 100 Americans is in Jail I decided the URGENCY of our Education Cabinet appointee finding his/her help with Re-Organizing the "no child left behind" etc. NEEDS to recruit thinkers who can "think outside the Box" and educators ASAP!!!

    #4 And the National Education Director NEEDS to CREATE a branch of the Dept. to bring Education into the Jails and Prisons as part of the required life style for accumulating points towards release if appropiate etc.---maybe not Academic Education for all, but some form of education that will nurture and encourage the neglected person.

    With Gratitude for Bill returning to TV after his retirement I remember with such sadness,
    Sincerely,
    Sally

    I would like to see the Obama administration tackle renewable energy in a new and innovative way, namely to promote the development of algae as a source for biofuels, both biodiesel and ethanol. Relying on traditional crops, such as corn, soy, switchgrass and the like only puts pressure on food prices and limits the arable land for food products. Algae is the fastest growing plant on earth - it's where our oil originally came from - it's carbon neutral, that is, it doesn't increase the amount of greenhouse gases when consumed. If the auto bailout were tied to development of more efficient vehicles that could use 85% to 100% biofuels, it would help that industry increase it's employment as would the refinement and distribution of these new fuels. The addition of Dr. Chu as Secretary of Energy is encouraging and hopefully his scientific expertise will lead this administration to develop new sources of energy that will reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil; increase employment opportunities at home, and; stimulate our economy as a result. Algae could be the Rosetta Stone that helps get this country moving again.

    Great Program! I'm of the opinion Obama is more of a "centrist" than we expect. But perhaps he's just following Doris Goodwin's LIncoln dipiction as playing for time until he feels the country will be ready for a more aggressive progressive agenda. I agree with your guests that right now he's altogether too "Clintonesque."

    I'd like the Obama administration to appoint a 500 member research team of experts of all sorts to redesign the working mechanisms of our national government. Give them 5 billion dollars to do the job and three years to do it. The Boeing Corporation 40 years ago spent 1 billion using hundreds of engineers to design the 747. They started with detailed interviews of their customers. We should start with detailed interviews of our citizens and design a better way to finance, budget and serve our national needs. Our nation is at least as important as a good airliner.

    Good Evening,
    Their are many issues that of course are all of a "priority nature." I don't think that this fact makes today any different from yesterday or any different from tomorrow for that matter. Fact is, the lower & middle classes have been living in a recession for decades..
    No, if we are going to be true to our patriotic heritage, then we must get the money out of politics. This is no small task, since money has dominated from the beginning's of our "young democracy." Depressions, recessions and social struggles are nothing new. At least the last time, we can say, "the banksters jumped." No, we are long overdue for publicly funded elections and very strict lobbyist reforms. Anything short of that as a starting point and we will only kid ourselves and dictate more of the same for our children's future. If that's the case, then I for one will personnally feel that I have failed as an American.
    Regards,
    Mike Perry

    Excellent show, as usual. You mentioned that 1 in 100 citizens are in prison or in jail, and I know from personal experience that thousands of undereducated youth are soon to join those ranks. If the Obama administration does not pursue and prosecute war crimes, it will send the absolutely wrong message that the ruling elite political class are above the law. I know from working for years with incarcerated youth that they will take that message to heart. It will not bode well for them or the country.

    Well, as US talks, China Does. Our leaders sucks...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/business/worldbusiness/23yuan.html?em

    I'm finding the commentary on this site almost as interesting as the show - sure the knee-jerkers are there on both sides, but suddenly, the vast majority has become those which objectively claim ideals of both philosophies, and my hope for America is restored. Never expected that to happen.

    I think this is a shift of the discussion away from the postmodern place that argued wealth was more important than freedom. The libertarians (with whom I nearly always agree) can cry big-government all they want, but when their free market is making up the rules that run the government, and providing the manpower for it, hasn't the government already been drowned in the bathtub? I'd have to say the libertarian blindness for capitalism sounds right on paper, but the past 20 years certainly haven't proved it to be good on the ground.

    I would like President Obama to direct the salvation of New Orleans by having a 21st Century levee system set up, similar to that in Holland, along with reconstruction of the wetlands which will protect the city BEFORE major construction is done. 21st Century solar and wind energy can be part of the green building that takes advantage of its climate. Basically, New Orleans can be a pilot project for other cities' own planning.

    During his inaugural address, Pres, Obama urged America to "put away childish things". And to that end, my sincere hope is that our nation will come to have a revolution, not in bloodly ambition for power, but a revolution in our collective consciousness. All the knowledge we need to put us on a path to unimaginable prosperity is already at hand. However, we much question, not the depths of our ignorance, but the very dogmas concerning knowledge, and our understanding of life itself. For if we cannot do this, without bias, or understanding that truth's path transcends the granite on which false perceptions are built, we will continue on this sea of infinite relativism-a lost "Sorcerer's Apprentice!

    I would like President Obama to direct the salvation of New Orleans by having a 21st Century levee system set up, similar to that in Holland, along with reconstruction of the wetlands which will protect the city BEFORE major construction is done. 21st Century solar and wind energy can be part of the green building that takes advantage of its climate. Basically, New Orleans can be a pilot project for other cities' own planning.

    You hit the nail on the head Mike. Well said...

    Jeff,
    It boils down to who is more competent and qualified to spend the people's money - the people or the government?

    The US government has not proven itself to be efficient with the people's money - be it the war in Iraq or LBJ's war on poverty. You put a dollar in and get a dime back.

    After a couple years of idealistic service people in government realize the goal of government agencies is to preserve themselves and increase their budgets and pay. The taxpayer has to stay vigilent that the government does not become another Lehman Brothers or Merrill Lynch itself. When the majority Americans, and its getting close, began to depend on government for their livihood then the party is over. President Obama, during his campaign, has made people believe the government will find solutions to nearly all their problems. Actually, big government is the problem.

    When it comes to banking there has to be proper regulation since banks can literally generate money through lending the same dollar over and over. The big investment firms which have now gone belly up never should have been allowed to issue securities such as credit default swaps and mortgage backed securities without the utmost of scrutiny, oversight and regulation.

    Progressive Agenda Items:

    1. Strengthen civil rights and protections.
    2. Stengthen the independent oversight and enforcement powers of the FDA, the FTC, the SEC, and the EPA.
    3. Shift the enforcement focus of the IRS to the wealthy and to corporate entities.
    4. Dismantle "Der Homeland Security."
    5. Work with Congress to divert significant DOD spending into non-military R&D and manufacturing activities.
    6. Work with Congress to implement a new tax code that will shift the burden to all players in the FIRE sector and will shift revenue sources from incomes to assets.
    7. Work with Congress to replace Congressional health insurance and pension plans with Social Security and Medicare.
    8. Change IMF, World Bank and US trade policies so as to grow the economies of deindustrialized nations.

    I'm disappointed in Melissa Harris-Lacewell's list of progressive priorities, which failed to acknowledge the importance of green action. Restoring the greatness of New Orleans is a pipe dream. Katrina was not an anomoly. More and worse hurricanes will strike the Gulf Coast. The toxic Mississippi Delta, disapearing wetlands and rising tides mean that we need a graceful and humane exist strategy, not retrenchment.

    To envision a progressive future, unfortunately, we must factor in the driving reality of climate change.

    For the sake of this nation and the world I want President Obama to dedicate his administration to human development of all people. Isn't the reason we are so bogged down with an economic crisis, two wars, huge prison populations, drug abuse, child obesity, corporate greed, etc. because we haven't made the full development of human potential our top priority? If not now, when will we acknowledge that consumerism, economic domination of other peoples and military power are bogus social ethics maintained by, and for the benefit of the few.....at the ultimate expense of the many. It's time for us to grow-up and be socially responsible, to insist that our educational system be a top priority.

    Really enjoyed the program tonight. I'm just a working stiff, which is the majority. I don't know how a country sustains itself, when the majority is priced out of leading a decent life. For me, it's all about jobs, affordable housing and healthcare.

    Gosh. Moyers and the two guests swept away by the Obama Administration. What a surprise!

    I admire the new president and am pulling for him to succeed. However, to say that there was a rubber stamp for the Bush Administration by the Legislative Branch is just inaccurate.

    The issues the Obama Administration is going to have to deal with are the same issues that the last administration dealt with. So far, the change has been symbolic; it will continue to be symbolic because the president has to deal with reality...unlike you guys.

    BILL MOYERS announced to his guests that he was a former top aide to President Johnson – a fact they may have known. However, it came as no surprise that Bill did not mention that he monitored the FBI's bugs on Martin Luther King's hotel room and distributed the tapes to select members of the Johnson administration as well as the press. (Andrew Ferguson, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1996, pages 74-75.)

    WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF WASTING TAX-PAYER MONEY FUNDING PBS, TO LISTEN TO THREE RADICAL LIBS? THERE IS NO FEED-BACK JUST, LIBERAL BS. FRANK AND DODD ARE THE "CROOKS" IN TODAYS SOCIETY.THOMAS FRANK, YOUR "LOVE" FOR BO IS QUITE SCARY!!!

    For Liberals like Thomas Frank to believe Democrats won on principle is like believing Bush won 2000 on his genius. Democrats won on Bush fatigue, the way Bush won on Clinton fatigue. Thomas, puulease, gloat a little less. It won’t endure. Remember the national transformation after 9/11? It lasted as long as the bumper stickers.

    Barack Obama: African-American, yes; Black American, no.

    If the U.S. stopped prosecuting and incarcerating pot smokers, dealers, and growers; and legalized, enabled, and taxed marijuana use--we'd have enough extra money (always a good thing) to fund two small regional wars and an invasion in South America--more than enough to occupy our blood thirsty warrior class who seems to need so badly to jump into aimless, self-destructive, unwinable wars, such as Vietnam, Iraq, and the mother of all unwinable wars--invading Afghanistan--where over all of history their record at home is Afghani Homeland Protectors 87- Invaders 0.

    Congress has as many "criminals" as Wall Street--maybe more since the likes of Barney Frank never seem to get caught! In fact, Frank wrote into the TARP bill a provision helping one of his home-state banks. This was a $12 million infusion into OneUnited, a bank that was under investigation by regulators for poor lending practices and executive-pay abuses. Suggest that Congress cleanse itself before it burdens citizens with paying billions for its excessive favors to its buddies. Obama's promised "transparency" will meet many challenges within his own party.

    just as President Obama asked the nation to be patient,I only hope the media can do the same before passing judgement.

    I would have enjoyed your program today except for one thing, the consistent referral to the President of the United States as "Obama" by you and your guests. Addressing President Obama by his surname is minimizing and disrespectful...Please afford The President the respect he deserves. Thank you.

    SIMON SCHAMA (in last week's episode) epitomizes all that gives the word elitist a bad name: Condescending speech and body language, dismissing religious faith as mere 'fervor' (which you also seem to applaud), schizophrenia with regard to horrific violence (it's OK to kill innocent children inside the womb, but not outside of it – unless it's the result of a botched abortion), exalting in the reckless retelling of history to suit one's own purposes, and giving 'progressionists' like Barack Obama a free pass on nearly everything.

    No wonder there appears to be no way to comment directly on Schama's over-the-top views.

    Elections must be reformed in order to achieve any other improvements. Suggestions for this reform follow.

    REFORM ELECTIONS

    The problems:
    1. No issue receives honest consideration free from the biases imposed by moneyed lobbyists and interests.
    2. Elected officials spend the time they should spend doing their jobs on fund raising and campaigning. The cost of elections is outrageous. Only rich people are able to run for public office without fund raising.
    3. The electorate never has easy access to real and true information about the candidates on which to base its vote.
    4. Elections that have been manipulated to bypass and/or ignore the votes of the electorate are completely undemocratic.

    The solutions:
    1. a) Absolutely criminalize: -For any elected official to profit in any way from their position or to hold or accept any other profitable position while in office. –For anyone to give money or favors of any kind to any elected official for any reason.
    1. b) Require elected officials to publically post issues under consideration and review public response.
    2. a) Publically fund elections, and ban campaigning in any other way (including use of personal funds.)
    2. b) Make the FCC require the networks to provide free air time to candidates for limited debates and ads consisting solely of the following;
    3. a) Appoint an absolutely unbiased and highly qualified committee to compile information from candidates’ voting records and any available information on a pre-determined set of issues (revised yearly.) Include candidates’ statements of their current positions on each issue, clearly defined as such. Present this information in written and other media, readily available to the public, and in easily digestible formats.
    3. b) Criminalize all other forms of campaign tactics.
    3. c) Allow candidates limited free air time to address any of the above that slips through the cracks.
    4. a) Retool all voting machines so that they cannot be manipulated to fix elections. This includes a paper trail at the very least. Make this a part of a public works program to employ the unemployed. Have a contest among engineering students and any interested parties to design the most infallible voting machine possible.
    4. b) Require a re-vote where it becomes obvious that the election has been manipulated either intentionally or otherwise, such as in the case of Dade County Florida’s confusing butterfly ballots in 2000.
    4. c) Change the law that allows the Supreme Court to appoint a President when an election is in question.

    just as President Obama asked the nation to be patient,I only hope the media can do the same before passing judgement.

    For me to consider Mr. Obama to be progressive he will have to kill the Bush tax cuts immediately and make policy decisions that help a majority of Americans and not just the wealthy and the corporations.

    The top priorities should involve oversight of the bailout money and litigation for misuse, the return to a currency worth something beyond confidence, the dismantling of the privately owned and illegal Federal Reserve Bank, Investment in infrastructure in order to get people working, nationalizing the health care industry to help our businesses compete and our citizens thrive, and developing a free online university where any American can learn about anything their heart desires without having to bankrupt themselves. All of this can happen while we pull our military out of Iraq.

    I'd also like to see the previous administration tried for their crimes against humanity- especially in cases where policy decisions padded the pockets of the policy makers.

    Jake James

    Mike what if your wrong and they are right?

    I think the banks have stolen 300 billion plus of the our money and are laughing at us, the Congress and quite frankly it seems to me that Paulson just emptied to coffers and gave huge handouts to his friends on wall street.

    I would like a national health care system that worked, I pay over $500 a month for my insurance and I get 10 minutes once a year with my doctor for that.

    To sit there and say the last 20 years have worked is absurd. We already going over the cliff, the question is how will we land?

    I'd also like to see myself employ spell-check more frequently so I don't read like an illiterate turd.

    I liked Sirota and Frank. They hit the nail on the head. I would like the Administration to focus on "FIX HOUSING FIRST". Forget ot jail all the bankers and get housing moving again. It will put thousands back to work. The banks will be fixed by this, not throwing money at them!

    ...I'd like to Obama put an end to the illegal institution called the Fed that is not actually a government institution but an international coalition of foreign bankers.

    ...I'd like to Obama allow businesses that can't compete to be allowed to fail and stop dragging the economy people down.

    ...I'd like to see Obama discontinue training armed force units NOT training in the US (Posse Comatitatus).

    ...I'd like to see Obama put and end to concentration camps being built around the US.

    ...I'd like to see Obama make NAFTA go away.

    ...I'd like to see Obama encourage more people read the Constitution and know that it only takes 30 minutes to read and it's about more than Freedom of Speech.

    ...I'd like to see Obama allow a third party.

    ...I'd like to see Obama discuss the industrial push the use RFID to infringe upon our privacy - and thus it would be great to see Obama stand for stopping this exchanging liberties or privacy for a false promise of security or convenience.

    ...I'd like to see Obama make a stance against a National ID card and against the use of micro-chipping of humans that has already begun.

    ...I'd like to see Obama stop deluding people that Obmama will fix all their issues.

    I would like to add, with regards to our prison system, that is part our corporate structure, is a privatized prison system that preys on the lower classes and is considered a growth industry with no oversight or accountability over the billions of our tax dollars that are being used to sustain this industry. While destroying people's lives who have been deeply deprived of rights, education, monetary advantages and mental health services, are held, costing each tax payer $40,000 per year per person. Just imagine what could be done if these individuals were given a chance in life. We did away with welfare because we thought it was too expensive but spending $40,000 per year per inmate for millions is OK?

    I was inspired by the representation of women on the Bill Moyer's show. It is beyond black or white-it is about being a human being. I am a white 44 year old, professional woman. I too went to the Inauguration.

    For the first time, in my life, I feel represented. Obama's election is beyond race. It is about what is right.

    It is about kindness to our fellow humans and other inhabitants of this planet.

    Ms. Harris and Ms. Williams, to me, optimize the place I want our nation to go. Obama's elecetion did not just represent the Africain American but all Americans-black, white, yellow or whatever skin color-with a drive to change us as America for the better.

    This is our home and we must make it so.

    The home of the free, the proud, and the brave. Keep up your great work-you do not go unnoticed!

    Thanks MR.Moyer for your desire to ask questions that many other whites may shy from. It helps.

    Mary Abe
    A proud American(who happens to be white)

    Habeas corpus does not refer to the body of a suspect or defendant, as Patricia Williams implied in the wonderful discussion with Melissa Harris-Lacewell.

    It is subjunctive and means a prosecution or enforcement officer is being requested to show "you have the body."

    The right of habeas corpus limits the power of those in authority. It says that before you charge someone with murder, you have to have proof (a body) that at least there has been a death.

    Unless we institute "Health Freedom" (http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/) and a dramatic reduction in the military industrial complex no endeavor will be sufficient to solve the country's medical, economic, environmental, and political problems.

    I think it has become abundantly clear that business cares not a lick for free mkts etc, but only for credit no matter where it comes from, and is perfectly happy to be operated as a recipient of govt relief. Indeed that hasn't meant they are at the same time willing to give up selfishness, but you can conclude that American business's connection to the individualism of Adam Smith is a gigantic myth, and that it is really an appendage of modern monarchy not far removed from National Socialism. There is a peculiar attitude among Wall St types that if govt subsidizes consumer buying, it will push up the price of stocks. Just how it will do that except by creating inflation is no way clear. But many of them are Keynesians, and want to believe that no matter what is spent it will "stimulate" economic activity, but it is only at the expense of inflation, and thus its effect is to redistibute capital via depreciation from its current holders to those who are the recipient of the handouts. This may or may not be unfair, but it ought to be clear that in itself it is not necessarily physically productive, on the one hand, and that it is offset by the tendency of inflation to raise the value of assets, thus not financially productive either. One of Keynes' students said that such expenditures would "multiply" in the economy, which grew into the belief that it would thus stimulate other activity, while David Hume had said more than 150 yrs earlier that such inflation will create activity alright, but that it will not spread in the absence of real productivity. Both the present gentleman should know that the period prior to 1933 saw an immense "rationaliation" of American industry and finance, under the aegis of the Progressives, including Hoover, which applauded the trusts, no less than the objective of full employment, and a very good case can be made that this was a major cause in preciptating the Depression, as it has again now. This is the third time I'm going to say here, that it was not free mkt policy that caused this recession, or probably depression, but the overwhelming desire for all Americans to take the easy way out and put security before hard work. It permeates every aspect of this society, but it is nowhere more perncious than in our policy of easy money and deficit spending.

    Most ppl seem to believe that we can grow our way out of this and thus pay off all the debts at the current prices, which is inherently an inflationary belief, in other words, that we should blow up the bubble again. But the bubble was burst by the lack of productivity to sustain it. The situation will not improve until there is productivity. So in the absence of productivity or some deus ex machina, prices deflate. This is not inherently bad, but the problem is that it creates conflict over who should sustain the loss: debtors or creditors. The answer is both, but the devil is in the details. It is fair to say tho that the rich benefited far more from the run up in prices, because they held equities and assets, and that they should shoulder most of the loss. This shift in wealth has also prevented the poor from affording not only the houses, but the goods they make, so sales dropped, increasing umemployment. But creating more money, if that were possible, which, thank God, it is not, would just increase this deficiency. None of this has to do with fear or animal spirits or lack of credit or confidence. We have enough money. The problem is who has the money, what good it will do there, and what incentives there are to make it work better, in other words, in the structure of our industries, trade relations, and financial system. Those few (I hope) who seem to think we can just sweep our debts under the rug and be done with them are just plain silly, if not exhibiting evidence of some psychological deficiency. Too, this crisis was caused by easy money more than lack of regulations, and concentrating on the latter is like trying to stem crime by putting more cops on the beat and building more jails. The remedy seems plain enough to me. First, tax the rich to help the poor, and balance the budget as much as possible. Second, move interest rates to levels that will encourage those left with money to invest in the productive enterprise we need and agree to refinance mortgages, while shutting off the possibility of creating more asset bubbles. This policy should have been followed in the spring of 2007. I realize no one will like it. The Republicans for the most part want fewer taxes, and the Democrats want to give everyone a handout, but it has to done for the ultimate good of all.

    Unless we can change corporate rights that are those of nation state status, ban legal corporate bribery and stop depending on fabricated wars for profit as the foundation of our economy, Obama will not succeed. The corporate dictatorship that has a firm grip on our spending priorities is still very much in place.

    Sirota and Frank were and are wrong on so many crilevels, I hardly know where to begin. While there is always a criminal element on wall street...the same is true of government (i.e. Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, the FED,etc). And only GOVERNMENT has the power to cause this kind of foul up. The crisis in the 30's was also caused by bad government policies (especially at the FED). And why don't these guys just marry Obama...I mean what ever happened to objective journalism. Whatever happened to common sense. Obama will fail because he is WAY too much like Bush. Big government all the way.

    Leadership! While listening to Thom Franks and David Serota I was reminded of a brilliant book by Ronald Heifetz, Leadership Without Easy Answers. LWEA outlines the basic paradigm for successful leadership. Aiming for a higher outcome or behavior; a pressure to move toward that higher ideal; a safe environment in which to work under pressure toward the higher goal. You just talked about Lyndon Johnson and his major successfu leadership on voting rights and civil rights. One of Heifetz's major examples.

    It would be illuminating to have a segment on your show about the mechanisms of leadership (as applied to Obama, of course). Second, a section on the mechanisms of community building.

    How Obama ran his campaign was revolutionary. How we lead needs to be revolutionary. We need to look at the mechanics of how we do these things.

    PS: Great guests, great ideas, great interviews. I always watch when I can.

    I just listened to Sirota and Frank. Their gushing fawning adoration of Obama along with their call to plunge headfirst into socialism was both embarrasing and scary. There command of the facts and their assumptions leaves a lot to be desired. Instead of two fawns it would be nice to have a buck in the mix.

    I do agree there should be an investigation on what went wrong with Wall Street - if it would be objective and not just a Democratic party show trial.

    I think Clinton's Community Reinvestment program forcing banks to make questionable home loans along with Barney Frank's and Dodd's protection of Fannie and Freddie are major culprits in the financial seizure that happened.

    Hang onto your hats - its going to be a wild and bumpy ride until 2010 when the majority in Congress is likely to change.

    David Sirota and Thomas Frank took my breath away with their poignant, funny and timely commentary.

    A Modest Proposal -- nice with your shirts, ties and smiles. Predatory Financial Animals, Credit Card MBA's, Wall Street Maggots. These predatory sociopaths have HURT/Destroyed people I know. Quarterly reports -- Draw and Quarter them. Publicly execute them. Provide a negative incentive. Let them be the prey. Do not torture/just eliminate. Swiftly

    For pharmacutical commpanies that have extensive information on the deadly side effects of their drugs on sale in the USA the CEOs should be held responsible for these deaths and receive jail time for their indifference if found guilty.

    I want people to give him some space and time to work. The incredible mess GWB has left is going to take some time to even begin to redress. If every progressive organization pushes its agenda at him, it's just going to make the job harder for him to do what needs to be done. Have confidence in him and let him work!

    I would hope that as a constitutional lawyer, President Obama would recognize that a corporation isn't a human being possessing the same inalienable rights as I do. Unlike a corporation, which can be everywhere and nowhere simultaneously, I have a limited lifespan and must reside in a particular place, where corporation can ruin the neighborhoods and towns in which they operate with impunity. If I wrong those around me, I am liable not only civilly, but criminally and directly: if a corporation kills somebody, the responsibility can be diffused so that no one is held accountable. I have a lifespan limited by the demands of my physical body, but a corporation can outlive its founders. How can something that doesn't share my level of personal responsibility enjoy the same rights that I do (and in practical terms, more rights than I have)?

    I would like to see the troops come home and an end to these wars. I would also like to see more fairness and equality in the tax codes, can corporate America actually pay their fair share of taxes?! Also can we have health-care for everyone, and price controls for prescription drugs.

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