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« Michael Winship: Inauguration Day Is Time to Move On | Main | Exchange Between Bill Moyers and Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League »

Is America “Finally Facing Its Demons?”

(Photo by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with historian Simon Schama about his take on American history and what it can tell us about our present and future.

Moyers brought up a prediction Schama had made a few years back that in the 2008 elections Americans “would finally face our demons.” Asked if Americans had done so in November, Schama said:

“I think we did, actually. Even if we were demurring about taking stock of the magnitude of the many disasters buffeting the United States, history in the shape of massive economic troubles happening at the time of a difficult and indeterminate war made sure that we would... America is not impervious to these great moments of philosophical self-examination. We think of it all as sort of TV slogans and spin, the creatures of opinion management, but there have been moments over and over again – Watergate and the aftermath of Kennedy – when we’ve said ‘We are a great democratic experiment. What has become of us?’”

What do you think?

  • Did Americans “finally face their demons” in the 2008 elections? Why or why not?

  • Is the U.S. in the midst of a “great moment of philosophical self-examination?” Explain.

  • Schama named two periods in the quote above that he thinks marked such “great moments.” Do you agree? In your view, what are other such “great moments of philosophical self-examination” in American history?


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    Comments

    I watched you on CSpan, May Jesus have mercy on your soul.

    @Anonymous9, February 6, 2009 3:37 PM;

    Stick around. You can watch America's sunset from right here. I see a beautiful rainbow of red, white and blue; but I know that near as we enter the twilight, the red will flow more than the other colors. It's sad, ugly, beautiful and historic. How privileged we are to live through the demise of a major world empire?

    Our Greatest Problems

    In concert with the World Population
    Immigration
    War
    In concert with the World Global Warming

    How would you face and solve these problems that left alone will destroy us

    Will you be willing to change form completion to corporation

    Will you accept laws passed for the good of the people

    And reject laws passed for the benefit of the rich

    Can supply equal demand and not be driven into excess

    Can self-sufficiency rule the day so we do not become slaves through debt

    So Long America I am off to walk the fields in search of sunsets

    A simpler life in a complicated time, it can be done!

    The following are general ideas which can and would need to be worked out and applied by people who seek a stable secure valued and good life.

    Not by those filled with greed who seek the more more bigger is better life of consumerism and consumption causing indebtedness and material waste.

    I have already stated that I want a simple finance system that would include Banks and Customers. Loans for Homes and Vehicles staying with the original lender and pretty much saving first and then buying what was needed or wanted.

    I would outlaw Wall Street as it is a gamble and feeds on greed. It basically allows the rich to feed on the poor by shuffling paper and manipulating values and then getting out first by convincing the poor to hold long as if the Stock Market was a savings account. Wall Street like Las Vegas is a gamble and the “house” in L.V. is the same as the “rich” on W.S. The citizen seems to realize Las Vegas is not a Savings Account but the Propaganda on Wall Street has managed to convince most of America that the Stock Market is a Savings Account… you can and will go broke thinking this way.

    I would also outlaw gambling in reference to lotteries of all kinds. I know a percentage of people will drink, gamble, and keep prostitution alive and well. That would be the purpose of letting Nevada continue in its tradition. But only Federal Banks would be allowed to deal with and supply the needs of Nevada. That way the Federal Government could find out what it is like to lose over and over.

    All other States would have their own banks and close relationships with customers in the local community.

    Having done away with the gambling and paper shufflers I would hope a leader would arise to show people they were not born to chase dollars and consume material possessions. This leader should also see that we understand that Business and Government is here to serve us and our communities and we should never again be slaves and fodder for corporations.

    Education is very important in helping our communities learn of the values in psychology, philosophy, and literature that give us self understanding and human values. Education also gives us the Math and Science to train our many Engineers in the fields we need so we may coexist with our home Earth and not squander the resources that are limited. Education would give our Souls substance by cultivating all forms of art and music.

    Education of a different type would train our Skilled Craftsman and Skilled Technicians in order to Build Repair and Maintain that which the Engineers provided the plans for. There is as much human pride in creating with one’s hands as with one’s mind and both are equally needed.

    Hopefully they would see the best lived life starts with a family, then being involved in a community, then pursuing a trade or profession that paid their bills and gave them the opportunity to grow as individuals and families in a human way influenced by Good Manners, Ethics, Morals, the unwritten laws of society that encourage lasting relationships between people of all walks of life.

    I fear all my plans and dreams for the citizen will be dismissed when Wall Street once again promises riches without work and the Government continues to think we can police the world when we can’t even run our banks.

    We should bring our warriors home at last and celebrate our veterans and learn to live in peace with the world and ourselves.

    But the cowards and the draft dodgers are afraid we will be attacked and they will cry bitter tears without the protection of those willing to fight while they run and hide and gnash their teeth. In their state of fear they do not realize keeping armies all over the world and navies covering all the oceans will not keep those who hate us from doing what they can to destroy us. We need police and special units to take care of them not Wars.

    We now live in a time when the US has fallen flat on its face and not terrorist but Wall Street did that. We are the problem in our laziness that allowed the Government to turn us into slaves and gave Cart Blanch to the people in the Financial System by not just 100% deregulation but also 100% immunity for any rules, regulations, or laws broken. They were free to do anything to cheat, swindle, steal, all they could then get paid for causing the

    system to fail. Being the type people brokers are how could they help themselves. The help they really need is to do jail time.

    My point is we would not be in the fix we are presently in if we were not an immature people without purpose or vision beyond getting rich………

    Democracy is an old form of government highly overrated as Democracy takes the power away from the voter and gives it to the Elected. The Elected cares not one whit for the voter after the election. This is born out by the 90% of all American Citizens being against the Bailout and almost 100% of the House (Representatives) and Senate (Senators) voting for it against the wishes of the people.

    Guess who was correct: The people, all the money for the Bailout has not turned things around and people are losing both their homes and jobs. How in the hell can Democracy be a good system when you get the lowest quality human being to be Representatives and Senators?

    Yet 96% of the incumbents are reelected time after time, what are people thinking about?

    Moving on to other changes:

    I think the News media should cover more stories of interest about nature, science, the human condition, travel, weather and schedules for events in the local and larger communities of state and country.

    We should have fewer stories about war and violence. I say this because wars and violence happen without being covered but are not prevented by being covered.

    At present we have “World News” so our minds and attention are kept off the very place they need to be… our homes and communities.

    Our leaders and the new media keep us in fear and ignorance, we have no information that is true so we can judge and know the truth. Fear in the masses causes the use of alcohol and drugs to relieve the pain and disappointment of our failed lives. We were from the start of school doomed to be rats running inside the wheel of 24/7 and the God Awful emptiness that means.

    Will people ever be able to choose value and passion over greed and power?

    Let China and India fill the world with stuff….

    Let us [U.S.] mature and see that life is meant to be lived and not be slaves to either Governments, Corporations, Alcohol, Drugs, and most of all not be slaves to our desires and habits.

    Is it not true that a loving relationship with family and friends and coworkers is better then the cold hard touch of material possessions?

    It is true we are at a crossroads and we could change everything for the better. We can work with Nature, we can produce products and services of quality and value, we could cooperate instead of compete, we can even find a solution to the greatest problem of our time. “Population”

    We could at the very least form a Financial System fair to the Citizen and simple enough to be stable and secure. I personally would prefer financial stability to being rich.

    America made a few elitist rich and now millions are in pain and fear, was it really worth the dream, that American Dream Wall Street said we all could be rich, but we didn’t did we?

    Let children play and be children….

    Let men and women live and seek the answers to their own curiosity….

    Let all who can travel and expand their experiences of living….

    I hope America will boycott the Business and Government Mantra that they must spend on worthless and shoddy products and services so the corporations can keep us in Slavery, Misery, and insecure in regards to the next bust.

    Are we ready to get off the Roller Coaster of the past Markets and stabilize our life and the way we do business?

    I do hope so.

    Anonymous9 (and Mumia W.):
    I have hoped that the predation expressed through the misuse of money could have ended without taking civilization with it. (See Jack Martin essay I posted at "Bailing Out Higher Ed ?")
    All the commentators on these blogs, if they are sincere, truth-seeking and honest finally admit after extensive argument and discussion that a new and different existence is at hand. No one can predict or describe it. What we can hope is that people like us (caring and thoughtful) will play a part in determining what is to come. We coexist with the excitement of living at a time of a species-wide and planetary paradigm shift. Here we go, over the FALLS in our barrel!

    Talking with you guys provides great comfort and sustains my sanity.

    Klark Mouvinon

    It is fitting my 50th entry should be an answer to your question “imagine there is no money, I wonder if you can” and I will try to keep it short.

    To me your question is not about there being no money but the deeper question of can 21st Century man and woman live without the support of a society?

    My answer is no.

    The few that hang on will live off the leftovers of society for a while but I rather doubt the climate will sustain them after they have used up the supplies produced by civilization, if I can call it that.

    I can imagine no money meaning I would not have any means to buy the necessities I would need to survive. How long I might trade my belongings for those necessities would be a short time. Then I would be left to forage for myself hopefully not as a thief but as someone trying to use the stuff no one else wanted. [I watched the Vietnamese do this with a fair amount of luck, meaning they took our wooden crates and built footlockers our of them and sold them back to us] I have to say if I had no money I would have had to work for them and built my own, so it seems that money is the tool that allows specialization to move products back and forth without trading.

    Moving on to imagination, I have more then once in my life looked at the mountains and asked myself how long I would last if I were lost in them.
    My answer was feeble and I realized with no food and no tools and the fact that my chances of finding someone like Jeremiah Johnson whom I could apprentice my self to, well you already see my chances would be “none”.

    The biggest reason I would not do well is my age and medical condition plus my ignorance of not being able to live without tools. I will say that my Grandfather if he had an ax with his ability to plant a garden would have been 100 times more likely to survive then I. But without that ax I don’t believe modern man could survive longer then the food in the grocery stores lasted.

    Sorry my imagination lacks the solutions it seems to find so easy for the Citizen of our country, but if you are intuitive enough you will see the

    source is different:

    On one hand I want to see a stable source of security for the American Family and if possible a life of values.

    On the other hand if mankind is so stupid as to let greed rule the day, my imagination wants to say, you’re on you own, you made the mess, you live with it.

    Wholeness of the psychic includes the good and bad, the light and the darkness, so I am not always interested in saving those who use others to get where they are going.

    Have I answered your question, probably not… is that OK? I wonder but I have learned my mind gives up what it chooses and I have leaned to live with that.

    Thank you Mumia W for reading my commentary, I appreciate your time.

    As for you Klark, I wondered if you would find my new entries after my being away for awhile.

    Mumia W. and Anonymous9: People will live on post-civilization, at least for awhile. What do you see ahead. It's kind of "Imagine"- Imagine there's no money; I wonder if you can.

    @Anonymous9, January 26, 2009 4:34 PM;

    Your analysis of contemporary America is quite good. And you are correct that the end is near. The fact that we Americans have convinced the Chinese and the Indians to adopt industrial capitalism spells our doom.

    The simple answer is no….

    The Government is in denial, Wall Street is in denial, the Federal Reserve is in denial, and so too… the Citizen is in denial.

    There are three demons that are affecting our well being and all three are out of control. The first is “population” and its rate of increase. The second is “global warming” and its rate of increase. These two are World Problems. The third is the Failed Financial System called Capitalism. The USA for some time has used capitalism as the main system for Government and Corporations to do business.

    Due to sexual desire being the second most strong instinct (only hunger is stronger) we can do nothing about “population” in a civilized way.

    Due to the cost and denial associated with “global warming” we will act too little and too late.

    Our failed financial system can be changed but not fixed. At present time we are asking the very people and institutions, the banks and corporations, to fix what they broke. They can not.

    We the U.S. have become a nation of gambling… unregulated gambling with a lottery in every state, casinos in many states, Indian gambling on most reservations, and the list goes on. These are bad enough but most are willing victims.

    This is not so in regards to the Federal Government, Wall Street, and other lending institutions. Wall Street is no different then Las Vegas except Wall Street lies about the true chances of the small investor’s ability to make money.

    WALL STREET HAS LED THE SMALL INVESTOROS TO BELIEVE THAT DIVERSIFICATION AND HOLDING LONG TERM EQUALS A SAVINGS ACCOUNT AND IS SAFE….

    “Wall Street has led the small investors to believe that diversification and holding long term equals a savings account and is safe.”

    It is worth saying twice. Wall Street Deregulated by Congress was able to lie to the public through all kinds and types of “hype” and sucker the small investor into the market thinking it was a safe place for their savings and pensions and it wasn’t.

    Wall Street is a place where people make money shuffling and trading pieces of paper back and forth with no real work done. It is a house of cards. We the citizens would be better off if Wall Street were outlawed and the rich were forced to find real investments in Commerce and not be able to take the public to the poor house every so many years when it suited them to do so.

    Capitalism whether Wall Street or Corporations unregulated will not stand. At present the Federal Reserve is trying to print “6.8 Trillion Dollars” that it agreed to commit to the Banking System and other Corporations in order to support them.

    The Government is not mentioning the Fed actions and is only speaking about the Treasury money dedicated to the failure.

    Now the Republicans whose memories seem mighty short are trying to tell the rest of the country that what the Democrats are doing will not work. If they the “Republicans” knew anything worth listening to we would not be in a “failed state of government”. They should rather apologize and keep their mouths shut if and until they can be part of solving the problem. We the Citizens do not need their criticism of our efforts but, it seems that their nature is to criticize and find someone else to blame. They have only to look into a mirror to see who is to blame.

    Over time it would seem that republicans are willing to spend any amount of money on War, are willing to incorporate a Salve mentality toward the working class, and do not spending money for their own pay and benefits.

    There is only one ethical reason for the Federal Government to collect taxes, that is to spend the tax dollars for the Good of the People. Many of the needs of the People are too great for anyone to pay for by themselves and this is where Government can step in and raise the standard of living for all Citizens.

    As for fixing the Financial System… the Federal Government should pass a law forcing the Banks to cease and desist from doing anything that they can

    not explain to a 5 year old. That I believe would keep them to checking and savings accounts and loans at a specific rate of interest to be kept by the bank doing the lending.

    I believe it would stop the “side betting” that at present is called many things and hidden in the details by saying it is too complicated to explain… words of a thief if you ask me.

    I could fix complicated by saying do not do this or that thing that is so complicated it can’t stand the light of day. If they persist in continuing to put the Country in Jeopardy… they would be invited to spend time in Jail.

    I could fix too big to fail by immediately breaking up into manageable parts and forcing the managers, accountants, and S & P and Moody’s type regulators to show facts and figures that are provable. If not someone goes to Jail for a long time.

    In order to restore confidence in Government and our Financial Systems we should change to a simple as opposed to a complicated system. One that first takes gambling our of it, next that makes it simple and stable in a way that all people can understand what is happening and know that those who would manipulate and cheat the system would go to Jail.

    No system will work without consequences, especially where people’s money is in jeopardy.

    I wonder if there are enough honorable citizens left to instill ethics in our business community. I wonder if there are enough teachers to instill morals in our children and young adults.

    Only a better more informed Citizen will vote out people who have stayed too long and do not listen to us.

    I hope for the security of our Nation our people will seek and demand honesty in our Financial Intuitions and Government.

    If it is too complicated… don’t do it.

    If it is too big… cut it in half and continue cutting until it is manageable.

    Has there been enough exploration of the source of the conflict between Arabs and Jews? My husband read "The Pirate Wars" by Peter Earle, and he is convinced that Arabs cannot tolerate the existence of other religions or peoples that refuse to be conquered by them. The question of Israel is merely a cover for their desire to conquer everyone, so the only solution to the problem is to wipe out Islam. I think he's nuts, but I can't prove it. Perhaps you can.

    What was it the Declaration of Independence said?
    All men are created equal – yikes!
    (yes we know it should be said men, women, & children)
    And what is my point on this today?

    I heard in the same breath that the President was an extraordinary man….
    (Sorry women and children need not apply.) and that ordinary people….
    Lets stop right there.

    What happened to the Declaration of Independence? Has it become null and void or is this country now filled with elitist intellectuals living in Ivory Towers that worship the Wealthy and see the Citizen as Ordinary!

    Politicians, People in Power both Government and Corporations and God forbid the Intellectuals but don’t forget the Universities all see “us” the Citizen as common – ordinary – without notice.

    We, the People…. Is this not how the Constitution starts out? When did the Documents of this Nation stop in their ability to protect the Citizen and insure the Citizen’s importance?

    Under # 43 our Bill of Rights, our Equality, our Equal Protection Under The Law disappeared under the failure of Congress to protect the Citizen from the tyranny of a Dictator who took us into an unprovoked war and killed our “ordinary and common” Citizens.

    His actions along with a rubberstamp Congress busted our economy and Wall Street imploded, the Banks failed, and Corporations of Insurance and Manufacturing were deemed too big to fail and the Federal Reserve is in the process of printing 6.1 Trillion dollars to keep a failed Capitalistic System not from failing as it already did that but to keep it in existence.

    And the News Media, radio, tv, and print, call the Citizen “ordinary”. The same Citizen that settled this country, built the products of industry, fought the Just War of 1941 to 1945 and won and was prevented from wining the wars of Korea, Vietnam, Gulf & Iraq, by Cowards who are called extraordinary!

    Now we hear talk of “jobs” not skilled work, not craftsmanship, not profession, just “jobs” as if the moronic tax payer wants nothing out of life but a paycheck, a beer, and going to the Mall.

    I submit to you that the Citizen is neither common nor ordinary but a man and woman with dreams, abilities, skills, and the endurance and stamina to see life lived with morals and ethics and love for their family and community.

    When is the last time you heard morals or ethics championed by a Senator or Reprehensive with out motive or gain to be had.

    We have

    Global Overreach
    Militant Religion
    Diminishing Resources
    Ballooning debt
    Republican Fiscal Policy

    Have literally mortgaged the country’s economic health to financial speculation accompanied by and unprecedented level of public and private debt.

    Kevin Phillips

    It seems I am not alone in seeing the excess of the “extraordinary” 21st Century Man who sees the Citizen as “ordinary”.

    Give the Citizen back his equality and equal protection. Give him & her, their Bill of Rights.

    Restore the Dignity of the Individual Citizen and stand back and give them room to work, not at minimum wage but a fair and living wage that in the end helps all men and women and their family live a good life… then the Nation will be strong and said to be fair by other Nations.

    We will again become a Good Neighbor to the Community of Nations in this world. But know this “competition is destructive” we much change and

    become a nation of “corporation” willing to lend a helping hand and encourage a way of life that benefits all life, not just our own.

    A new financial system is needed regulated into a stable system and not the boom and bust of those who saw us as slaves in the past. If we reject the money handlers and choose a fair system that rewards all and not just a few we can afford all the necessities and choose what extras will fulfill our lives.

    Today it will seem an abomination to say that the Stock Market is not needed in a system of cooperation but in the future as people learn how their money was stolen by Wall Street common sense and intelligence may rule a better day then greed and thievery.

    To: Bill Moyers

    David and Frank should mention about the British system, if their government can take care of its people, why can't the United States. We are supposedly the richest country in the World.

    We can talk all we want but if intelligent people don't do anything to better the problem, what can the ordinary people do.

    America is in Denial 01/26/09

    We are a nation of slaves and in fact have always been so. Just as the Jews were not the only victims of the Holocaust… Black People are not the only victims of Slavery in America.

    While these two groups get the Headlines and attention of the Media they in fact are minorities in both situations. What was done to both peoples was despicable and to say it was wrong is an understatement but until the truth is outed we as a people will never share in the fruits of our labors.

    The Federal Government is not a human being not a person and is without feeling. We do not owe it… it owes us. The Corporation also has no rights and along with the Federal Government has sought to enslave the citizen.

    Why is it that the skin color is not important? Because Governments and Corporations are color blind and seek to enslave us to the last man woman and child.

    The South enslaved the Black People, the West enslaved the Yellow People and the North enslaved White People.

    The Red People were considered unfit for work and so were killed outright and their land taken as if there was no one living on it.

    I am amazed that the citizen Black, White, Red, Yellow, Brown, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, an endless list of humanity has not seen that everything the Government and the Corporation does is to enslave them and use them like fodder for the benefit of the Corporations owned by a select few Rich who seek wealth and power at the same time publish all types of propaganda and hype to convince the citizen they have rights and opportunities when they in fact have neither.

    You are enslaved first by a school system whose purpose is to socialize you into being a worker for industry. The second purpose is competition so the brightest can be sent on to university to run the systems of Commerce.

    Once at work you are underpaid and any benefit that can be denied is. Only workers who are unique are paid higher wages and benefits in order to keep them.

    Next, the real enslavement and total control is Credit. Loans that represent Credit Cards, Cars, Education, and the big one, Homes all are used to keep you at work trying to pay for all the overpriced products and services you need to Feed, Cloth, Shelter, Transport, and Educate your family.

    No longer does the Master own you and have a responsibility for you, now you are free to work or fail and if you fail you will be exiled with no appeal for anything more then a life on the streets.

    This is a simple explanation of what is. Everyone is so wrapped up in the pleasure of sex, drugs, rock and roll, consumption of all things physical that you do not care you are nothing more then slaves.

    You have been told you are the greatest culture in the world, the leader, and if you behave some one in the Government or some Corporation will give you a check so you can pursue the pleasure of idiots.

    Wake up! It is not the paradise you think.

    Wall Street promises to make you rich and yet every 4 to 8 years they take you to the cleaners and leave you broke. Wall Street is NOT a savings account; it is a way to legally steel your money.

    You don’t need Wall Street, you need a safe bank. You don’t need loans, you need to find what life is and live it as a free human being. You need to become a responsible citizen, demand your rights and if you don’t get them, vote the incumbent out. You and you alone deserve the fruits of this Government. Make the Rich and the Corporations pay the bills and give you your fair share of a good standard of living.

    Finally, don’t let the naysayers convince you that saving your home (this planet) is not worth paying the upfront cost of getting the new systems in place and shutting down the old systems before it is too late.

    In reality it is all ready too late and the end of mankind is near… three reasons will provide the cause and effect:

    POPULATION China India

    @Gail James, January 22, 2009 5:36 AM;

    I appreciate your very insightful comment and the veracity of the information you presented. I saw Niall Ferguson's program and was very impressed by it although I already knew much of what was in it.

    Ferguson correctly indicates that the U.S.-China relationship, though unsustainable in its current form, is very important to world stability and the world economy. Although Ferguson didn't say so, when that relationship breaks down, our lives as Americans will change forever, and if it breaks down because the U.S. repudiates its debt, be prepared for a quasi-war with China.

    You don't steal $5 trillion from someone without serious consequences.

    The wankers, uh winkers, are not "liberals" but corporate employers who entice and import undocumented or falsely documented labor. Let these employers rectify the inhumane contradictions they willingly created and begin paying a living wage. Immigrants at the turn of the century were treated like cattle,sorted and hurried through the ports because corporations were hungry for cheap labor. Irish-Smirish, Italians or Smurfs,legal or beagle, it doesn't matter when a laboring underclass is demanded by those who really run the US government. I don't think those same meatpackers, landscapers and developers vans and buses will be available to take people back home, even when they wish to go. Often they skirted the border in private boats or were flown over. The fence and the guards are bogus and wasteful,and the Minuteboys are pathetic.

    I am honestly baffled by the equation you make in this podcast between the Mexican illegal aliens and the Irish immigrants of the last century.


    Just because the people in the podcast are anti-Hispanic doesn't mean that they are wrong about illegal aliens.

    My ancestors got here legally. And having weathered the absurd indignities of immigration at that time, they made a legal life for themselves.

    I would be happy to welcome the same exact Mexican immigrants as legal immigrants but we either have to change the law or enforce the law. This "liberal" tendency to wink at illegal immigration does a disservice to both the legal workers (by pushing down prices) and the illegal workers (by allowing Business to exploit them).

    PBS Becoming "Public Bashing Service."

    It is one thing to report on incidents of racism and anti-semitism, it is quite another to allow one's resouces to be used as a forum for such incidents. This is all the more so if/when you allow such racism and antisemitism to be published without even a semblence of official response or comment. Such official silence tacitly promotes hate and condones racist and anti-semitic attitudes and behavior -- as the world has had to re-learn too many times.

    PBS and, by extension, Bill Moyers' Journal, enjoy not only the private financial support of numerous people of color and of Jewish Americans, but also of the American tax-payer via its 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. Is the tacit, "benign (malignant) neglect" promotion of racist and anti-semitic ideas/attitudes by Moyers' producers and PBS editors and senior staff the way we want our money and good-will used? We think not!

    vicky: I can tell you must be African American (Black). Only a person who has lived that subculture close up would have the confidence to make the absolute statements and judgments you present here. And only an insider who has overcome poverty and discrimination (a la Cosby) could turn on their own people calling them vermin and crime larvae as you have. Too bad you can't recognize that the majority of poor and uneducated people in this country are white. You might learn to love your siblings again. Say hi to yo' Mammy, fo' me, Homey.

    Thank you. I had a conversation today with friends as to whether we can have the accountability needed to make the change needed in America? The undertones were whether Obama can change it, whether we are up to the challenge of demanding it. My friend came to the conclusion that until we have a manufacturing base, until we leave the consumer bubble base culture behind only then we will know what it is like to create right and hold accountable what does not work. When a carpenter makes a chest of drawers or the cabinets are off by a 1/2 or even a 1/16 of inch, it matters. We have lost that ability to do things right. To make things right. The Ideologues have enticed us into their bubble for so long, reality is the bubble and we are lost outside of it especially a whole generation. Perhaps this is true Perhaps the level of our society where we could appeal to the best, the brightest and the ordinary where we knew what is was to give the 110% because our lives depended upon it. Well, Our lives do depend on it, now.
    Thanks so very much for being the clarion call, to nudge us and to challenge us to fight the fight and be the best we can.

    So the great Moyers wants to know what we'd like to see on Oprahbama's agenda (after speciously explaining away the ills of the inner-city blacks by blaming the never-ending attempts on the part of the majority population to reach down a helping-hand to drag them out of their self-created sociological muck).

    You've said that The Great Community (same root as "communism" or more succinctly perhaps kibbutzunism...) Organizer has seen the prisons full of his surly criminal brethren and seen a reflection of "abysmal schools".

    There's a great tendency in a non-scientifically-rigorous
    society to constantly confuse causal relationships.

    The schools those surly hard-hearted Bro'bama brethern matriculated from were abyssmal BECAUSE THEY WERE FULL OF CRIMINAL LARVA.

    Wake up and smell the postum!

    What would I like to see on Oprahbama's agenda? I'd like to see some sort of program to discourage negro women from spreading their legs almost every time they're in the vicinity of some surly violent criminally-inclined high-functioning retard with an erection and a handsome visage.

    I don't think that will be happening. It's what I'd like to see though. That's the only type of solution which is going to work for them. Caucasians cannot impose such a solution. Since this dark-complected caucasian-posing-as-full-blood-buck is being accepted by them, he can suggest or attempt to impose such a solution for their real problem--THEM.

    They have met the enemy and they is them.

    Gosh, now I've given you an excuse not to post my message--Walt Kelly might rise up from the grave and sue you for copyright infringement.

    Next time you're back-and-forthing with Abraham Foxman, tell him for me "go to hell".

    V.T.G.

    Gail, I do watch the programs you mentioned and do 4 or 5 hours of further research each week. Niall Ferguson is an extremely biased conservative professor. I test everything he says against a variety of others: Paul Krugman, Ravi Batra, Joe Steiglitz and so on...

    I agree with most of your information but only wrote to point out the difficulty of immigrant extracation. Sure governments are starved for money, but lets put people ahead of money. After all it started from the financial top, and the fish rotted from the head. The "success ethic" principle is that people emulate the crooks above them. The Obama Administration is clearly poised to hand out our future dough. I think it will happen. I just want some input for the people about who gets the play money.

    I know you are defending your state and your lifestyle, Gail. Your post was well written and showed genuine concern. I try not to prey upon the weak but choose worthy discussion partners like yourself. You've resisted insulting me and I you, so let's agree to disagree. I'll look forward to reading your future posts.

    I believe that your post was not posted due to conflict of copy rights. It is

    understandable! Never the less the journal did provide link.
    The link provided states,“You must destroy the State's belief that it
    has your IMPLIED CONSENT to regulate your private actions; “
    “DESTROY” - very harsh ed word of retribution! The action
    should be, “Do not destroy it unless you can replaced it with
    something better. “The IMPLIED CONSENT” should be at the
    ballot to empower the people to express their “WILL on ALL
    ISSUES!” To get to the “IMPLIED CONSENT”
    is to amend the Constitution at a “Constitutional Convention!”
    To “appeal a decision to ... a created state court” as you have
    stated is costly, time consuming and not justified, when there is “intent,
    knowledge, recklessness and negligence” to the set constitutional
    standards, with an intent to be violated by turning blind eye.
    As the facts of live are, “The Bell can not be unrung!”
    “Do not go against the government, for you will never win!”
    CBS news of January 22, 09 states, “President Obama takes the
    Oath the second time at closed doors... -Preserve, Protect and Defend”.
    CBS news states, “Obama policy is no different from president Bushes!”
    In fact the oath to “Preserve, Maintain and deffend” is the policy that
    Obama will continue as “statas quo” of “Bsh policy.”
    As your knowleadge of the law is impresive the “SOLUTIONS...”
    for the “FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPALS” should be by the
    “WILL of THE PEOPLE” and not by the will of the state!

    i made two additional posts that never appeared on the blog but were accepted when posted......

    bill?


    wdd

    Irene,

    In response to your note -

    The problem is one of money both at the federal and state levels. As a country and as states the financial wells have run dry.

    * U.S. debt = $10 trillion and is growing

    * U.S. debt along with Medicare and Social Security entitlements for baby boomers = $60 trillion

    * California's debt $40 billion and growing

    * China has given Washington, D.C. their marching orders to get their fiscal house in order and if they don't then they will stop lending to the U.S.

    * Economists are deeply concerned that if China stops lending, then the U.S. would go bankrupt.

    * Enforcing our current immigration laws with employers who hire illegal foreign nationals would have illegals self-deporting since there would be no jobs for them here and they would return to their own country.

    * The U.S. everify program works very effectively for all employers to use to verify legal status of potential employees

    "Fiscal responsibility is the key to saving our states and country from fiscal insolvency. Budgetary cuts are a necessity."
    - President Obama.

    I highly recommend watching television programs, such as, Nightly Business Report (PBS), Bloomberg News, etc. to follow what economists are stating about the economic/financial meltdown. Economist Neall Ferguson just did a PBS television special on the Ascent of Money, which discusses the China - U.S. situation. You can go to youtube and type in Neall Ferguson's name and his videos on this program are available to watch. Also, the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily keeps one informed about the financial/economic mess the U.S. and the world is in.


    “Chris…… again, Liberty is a secured right…… add to that your possession of public
    property owned by all the people of which you are one…….. define possession...”
    When the grass died or turn yellow in a yard and the person was financially unable to pay for
    maintain ace “his liberty secured right” disappear in thin air. He was faced with eviction fine and/or
    prison. When the person went to check the mail, there was in the mail box summon for $600.00
    because “the grass was 6 inches high”. The “secure liberty right” disapir in air! A visit to
    a court house to secure documents “the secure liberty rights” ends at the door steps of the metal
    detector!
    “The Liberty right secured” ended at a school board meetings by “denying
    the people of a community to create a charter school!” Denying the people right and privilege
    to educate their kids as they see, fit and will! Denied the people to express their will of millions
    of dollars for School building. The DECD and PDE turn blind eye and rubber stamp the petitions.
    You state, “It is a basic property right that entitles the possessor to (1) the right to continue peaceful
    possession against everyone except someone having a superior right!”
    The loses of $50 billion dollars by the investor – stolen, peaceful or other wise, they will never
    recover their funds. The only one with the superior right was the one that stole the funds for
    they were, as the song goes “in his hands!” Funds invested in Lehman Brothers or
    Washington Mutual Inc. is not the investors, but the corrupt corporation which has a
    “superior right” with the help of the bankruptcy courts. Breach of contracts, liabilities,
    responsibilities, negligent, intent etc. is ignored, as was the case with the $50 billion dollars
    by turning blind eye by the Federal Security Commission. There are those who believe
    that it is liberty, freedom by electing a Democrat or Republican president or an exsecusanor.
    You state, “Guess who is responsible for all that? We all are because we do not compel
    our office holders to live up to their oaths of office.”
    Wake up “all elected officials from local, state to Federal have total immunity,”
    same as the gestapo and all other dictators and tyrants!
    Only when you amend the constitution you will be able to “compel office holders to
    leave up to their oaths of office!” You will need to repeal many statutes, that gives them
    power to be on rampage and impose and enforce their will upon the people.
    I believe true “liberty, democracy, freedom” is when people are able to express their
    “WILL on ALL ISSUES!” One must speak his mind even if he is, but one voice.

    “Chris…… again, Liberty is a secured right…… add to that your possession of public
    property owned by all the people of which you are one…….. define possession...”
    When the grass died or turn yellow in a yard and the person was financially unable to pay for
    maintain ace “his liberty secured right” disappear in thin air. He was faced with eviction fine and/or
    prison. When the person went to check the mail, there was in the mail box summon for $600.00
    because “the grass was 6 inches high”. The “secure liberty right” disapir in air! A visit to
    a court house to secure documents “the secure liberty rights” ends at the door steps of the metal
    detector!
    “The Liberty right secured” ended at a school board meetings by “denying
    the people of a community to create a charter school!” Denying the people right and privilege
    to educate their kids as they see, fit and will! Denied the people to express their will of millions
    of dollars for School building. The DECD and PDE turn blind eye and rubber stamp the petitions.
    You state, “It is a basic property right that entitles the possessor to (1) the right to continue peaceful
    possession against everyone except someone having a superior right!”
    The loses of $50 billion dollars by the investor – stolen, peaceful or other wise, they will never
    recover their funds. The only one with the superior right was the one that stole the funds for
    they were, as the song goes “in his hands!” Funds invested in Lehman Brothers or
    Washington Mutual Inc. is not the investors, but the corrupt corporation which has a
    “superior right” with the help of the bankruptcy courts. Breach of contracts, liabilities,
    responsibilities, negligent, intent etc. is ignored, as was the case with the $50 billion dollars
    by turning blind eye by the Federal Security Commission. There are those who believe
    that it is liberty, freedom by electing a Democrat or Republican president or an exsecusanor.
    You state, “Guess who is responsible for all that? We all are because we do not compel
    our office holders to live up to their oaths of office.”
    Wake up “all elected officials from local, state to Federal have total immunity,”
    same as the gestapo and all other dictators and tyrants!
    Only when you amend the constitution you will be able to “compel office holders to
    leave up to their oaths of office!” You will need to repeal many statutes, that gives them
    power to be on rampage and impose and enforce their will upon the people.
    I believe true “liberty, democracy, freedom” is when people are able to express their
    “WILL on ALL ISSUES!” One must speak his mind even if he is, but one voice.

    Gail: How much would it cost to remove said illegal immigrants from California?

    Remember also that they have citizen relatives, even in the same household, what the racists call "anchors.
    What is the social cost of these separations?

    Why are the undocumented blamed for being in the gray economy and not receiving sufficient income to pay taxes?

    And if they could be deported, would not unscrupulous employers import more undocumented or falsely documented workers to exploit?

    And if you deny this large number of people health care do you not risk a public health disaster, such as an unchecked epidemic?

    And if some are to stay here should they not be educated in the majority language and values to participate as full partners with us? Lowered wages and squalid living conditions drag us all down.

    The presense of uncitizens is so large it is a fait accompli, a diffusion, a mass migration for survival. I admit I am in North Carolina, but I see recent immigrants and interact with them daily. This is a national situation not peculiar to California. (A friend in NJ claims some Hispanics are returning south due to our downturn, but I can't say this is so.)

    Sadly, this influx was driven by an economy of scarcity, aggravates an economy of scarcity, and is not easily rectified because of an economy of scarcity. (We are in the same boat: Earth.) I think we have to ask how we can overcome this economy of scarcity, both here and in point of origin countries. Any ideas, Gail?
    Mister Moyers hasn't any either, nor do I, except empathy for the less fortunate.

    Bill,

    Analysis of the latest Census data indicates that California's illegal immigrant population is costing the state's taxpayers more than $10.5 billion per year for education, medical care, and incarceration. Even if the estimated tax contributions of illegal immigrant workers are subtracted, net outlays still amount to nearly $9 billion per year. The annual fiscal burden from those three areas of state expenditures amounts to about $1,183 per household headed by a native-born resident.

    The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Californians - A Report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform:

    http://www.fairus.org/site/DocServer/ca_costs.pdf?docID=141

    In case that website link doesn't work, here's another:

    http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServerpagename=iic_immigrationissuecentersffec

    These costs are paid for by California's taxpayers and is a financial burden on the state's budget and solvency. This is why so many Californians and businesses are leaving California. California's gold rush is over.


    Chris has been around on this blog for a year saying: Amend the Constitution; let the will of the people be fully expressed. He has few specifics.

    The pointless debate between Boomer Chris and Boomer William Duff is like a City Paper cartoon. (It should be drawn by R. Crumb with boobs and truckin'.) I visited Duff's (right from the Simpsons) web page where he threatens to defend his property with guns and with lawsuits. (I thought people on that side hated lawyers, litigation and frivolous filings?)

    Chris recently complained about a $300 fine for unregistered junk cars.

    Both these fearful penny ante property holders, about the same age, are correct in their anxieties.

    I am virtually propertyless and live beside a junkyard, so I sympathize with them. Where we diverge is in thinking the Constitution has any real impact on our deprivation and lack of return on hard work.

    Obama may signal our 5th American Revolution:
    1.Independence from England- 1775-1781
    2.Implementation of a propertied men's Constitution- 1787-1789
    3.Civil War- 1861-1864 brought on by industrial and commercial shift in business, followed by enhanced corporate personhood during reconstruction/robber baron era
    4. Great Depression- mid 1920s-1945 brought on by the shift to "supply elicits demand" from "demand elicits supply" in economic rationality. (Minds were colonized as people were told what they "needed" but soon exhausted their repressed incomes and credit in the mania.)
    5.Global Financial Implosion-Present Times- Complete discrediting of Global Corporate Capitalism as opaque and above human scale. Characterized by acceptance of a new type (Obama)of leadership. Echoes from the Great Depression but more substantive and pervasive. (No frontiers of mind or geography remain.) Growing scarcity of essential resources pushing price, with an overabundance of generalized labor repressing wages, while the ecology is becoming unstable through human overuse. It becomes clear something's gotta give as the people sober up to the truth.

    Revolution #5- All the old assumptions about property accumulation and unilateral use, the sacredness of contract between elite peers, the use of violence to keep or secure resources, an inviolate social contract (from constitutional recipe) are out the window.
    As Obama says, it will take every hand to patch things along as we develop sustainable energy and wholesome food production for all. Public health will become our greatest security issue. Family planning and counseling, along with contraception must be made universally available to give reproductive freedom (and privacy of body), and therefore to manage population by self-interest.

    You can see why I called these cartoon characters Boomers. They are standing in the muddy road back there in the 1970s, and are totally oblivious to our 5th Revolution. (The following was developed after telephone communication with Jack Martin and Coley Whitesides, though I am not a member of their think tank.)

    Chris…… again, Liberty is a secured right…… add to that your possession of public property owned by all the people of which you are one…….. define possession:

    WEBSTER: Possession is a property interest under which an individual is able to exercise power over something to the exclusion of all others. It is a basic property right that entitles the possessor to (1) the right to continue peaceful possession against everyone except someone having a superior right; (2) the right to recover a chattel that has been wrongfully taken; and (3) the right to recover damages against wrongdoers. Possession requires a degree of actual control over the object, coupled with the intent to possess and exclude others. The law recognizes two basic types of possession: actual and constructive.
    Duffey v. Rafferty, 15 Kan. 9 “mere priority of possession gives precedence where no better title can be shown as belonging to either." Meaning; where a man stands no other man or group of men can lawfully charge him rent on that place nor force him to move against his consent and so long as the man does not obstruct the liberty of another there can be no lawful State or Local regulatory interest that can alter that fact

    then compare the definition of property ownership:

    WEBSTER: A right of ownership is associated with property that establishes the good as being "one's own thing" in relation to other individuals or groups, assuring the owner the exclusive right to dispense with the property in a manner he or she sees fit, whether to use or not use, exclude others from using, or to transfer ownership.

    Upon such comparison you will notice an element common to both of exclusivity where no better title exists. Since the people own the public land equally, and since I am one of the people, no one could have better title of public land than I do when I am in possession of it . That is the basis for my claim that I have a right to be where I am when on the public property. Without that property Right I could have no Right to Liberty.

    Now define what a “right” is……. I did that in an earlier post but I will do it again here:
    Natural right: A natural right is the concept of a universal right inherent in the nature of living beings, one that is not contingent upon laws or beliefs.
    Do you get the element of exclusivity common to all three definitions? Is a pattern developing for you as it does for me? If it is, I wonder where the office holders got the authority to decide how my property is used without getting my consent and without me harming anyone or anything? That should be a question you and everyone asks. I can assure you office holders cannot or will not answer it. I wonder why.
    Respecting your kelo rebuttal, I can only guess that you are thinking the Supreme Court has authority to make new law and that it is infallible or that is it the last word in any case. Neither are true. While it is true that imminent domain provides government with the capacity to force an owner to sell his land to the state at a fair price for a “necessary government purpose” it does not extend to anything that is not a needful government purpose as kelo does……. As such, the decision of the Supreme Court in Kelo is a nullity. You see, the Judiciary only has the capacity to decide a controversy “in pursuance of the constitution”, it has no authority to make new law…… Obviously the Kelo decision is not in pursuance of the constitution and therefore the Supreme Court is both fallible and is attempting to make law from the bench. More proof of the fact the Supreme Court is attempting to make law comes to us in the more recent case of Heller, a second amendment case, where it finally agreed that keeping and bearing arms is an individual right secured by the constitution but then stripped the exclusive element from the Right by saying the State could regulate its use by license……… this is a contradiction at best. Another nullity and attempt to make new law none of which is in pursuance of the constitutional authority or mandate…
    Does anyone see that “collectivist” ideology creeping around here? Someone doesn’t’ want you to have a Right of action secured by the constitutions and many office holders are assisting them.
    To assume the Supreme Court is the “last word” or that any office of government is infallible in just intellectually dishonest. It is a dishonesty that is responsible for unlawfully restraining or taking away the lives of millions of Americans. Don’t believe me? Check out the cattle herding going on daily at your local municipal court where by armed criminal action Americans are being revenue Farmed to death…… or ……….. Take stock of how many prisoners in local, state and federal jails are there because they actually harmed anyone or thing and contrast that to those who have. You will be amazed if not shamed.
    Guess who is responsible for all that? We all are because we do not compel our office holders to live up to their oaths of office. Further, we are too busy enjoying ourselves to be bothered with educating ourselves so we KNOW these facts I am providing are true. We are satisfied to support any “GOOD IDEA” law our office holders or special interest groups can make a plausible case for
    Like I said Chris………… Wake Up! That goes for the rest of you too.
    William Duff
    www.williamduff.com

    In the post of January 18, 09 you express your one sided believe and opinion based
    on a landmark case, “Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can
    be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.”
    [Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436, 491.]
    You also stated, “I possess the land where I stand and where my AUTO is and there
    is no better title existing than my possession.“ I stated the fact of the other side
    of a land mark decision “of right to be where you are,” that were “not secure”. Such was the case in
    “KELO v. NEW LONDON,” as well as the ordinance and other statutes. Statute that are created
    for special interest groups. These were points of view that you choose to ignore.
    “Chris, and many others would have us believe that our Liberty and Property Rights...
    are contingent.” I never attempted to indoctrinate any one of my believe. I do state the facts
    that are true! I do differentiate between Rights, Permission and Privilege.
    I have a right to Buy property, a house, to buy an AUTO, but I do not have a privilege
    to live in my house, to park on my property till I accommodate the privilege class
    with registration plate, insurance inspection, taxes nor that I have privilege to express
    my “WILL on ALL ISSUES.” As you can see “the Rights do not ceased to exist,”
    as you have stated. The privileges did “ceased to exist,” have been suspended, denied,
    by “do gooders who impose there will on others.”
    “Chris, if you are an American in possession of the Birthright, wake up!”
    It should not matter if “I am an American in possession of the Birthright”. Though I have
    been born in USA I do consider myself just a person like any person born elsewhere.
    I lived in Europe, before the war, during the war and after the war.
    I have seen Fascism, Socialism, Communism and corrupt capitalism. I am awake.
    I am for true democracy, to be able express my “WILL on ALL ISSUES!”

    SUBJECT: Bill Moyer's interview with Simon Schama

    COMMENT: Given the extraordinary social transition into which whether by design or choice we Americans are currently fully immersed, I'll suggest PBS should re-post a full video of this important interview to replace the current twenty minute "teaser."

    I'll further suggest that beginning the airing of the first of this series on January 19 in the midst of all the Inaugural festivities was perhaps not too well considered, and that this series needs to be soon re-offered beginning with the first episode many of us perhaps will unfortunately have to miss to view tonight's festivities.

    Sincerely,
    A loyal viewer - age 70+, BTW

    I hope we're facing our demons. Many, many thanks to a couple of my heros: Clay Jenkinson and Bill Moyers. For the past eight years or so, it has been extremely hard to find the small voice of reason. You had to go to the right places and listen at the right times. It's inauguration day. Thanks, Bill, for your part in this day.

    J. T. Gould listened to "I'm a Born-Again American" at least 12 times in 36 hours. J.T., anything you can download on an iPod you can download on your computer. But it seems to me the appeal of the song would have been extinguished by this time. My take is completely opposite of yours. I find Carradine's song uninspired and uninspiring, even insulting to my intelligence. It is a typical country song that follows the form of self-deprecation and low intellect wordplay. Worse still, it equates patriotism with religion, faith-based. The most caring and loyal US citizens question governmental actions and dissent when they disagree. This is another canned relic that pre-empts original and independent thought. Mature thinking people contemplate and reflect, investigate the motives of the producing entity, before they slap a bumpersticker on their car or go out wearing a sloganizing tee shirt. I feel sorry for people like J.T. Gould who are so obedient to suggestion that they'd eat crap in a rich media guy suggested it. I don't see Norman Lear with buds in his ears getting down to Carradine's tripe. To him Carradine is just another product he controls, like the Declaration of Independence he bought. If one believed the message of that document the words would be important but the actual parchment and ink would not matter. We have the means to disseminate words endlessly today. Speculation on the price of an historical document, and private ownership of it are perverse. To worship such a fetish is foolish. Look at the career of Norman Lear who can't get a hit anymore because he's behind the times, and Carradine, well, I'll respect his suffering. Read the silly and superficial words of their song. Do you really want to live with such bullshit as your mantra?

    Bill,
    Chris, who posted 1-19 a rebuttal to my 1-18 post is a glaring example of America in Decline and the deplorable condition of our public school system. For generations now our youth have been taught that we have an ordered society and the State or Fed make all the rules that order it.

    While it is true that the State and Fed do have the power to make rules concerning the “peoples” business it is still not true that they can make rules beyond that limited scope. Our own private enterprise is and never has been the collective peoples business unless some harm to another arises therefrom. All our constitutions reflect that fact.
    Chris, and many others would have us believe that our Liberty and Property Rights that are natural Rights are somehow contingent upon a State opinion. A Right is not contingent upon the opinion of anyone or group other than the owner of that Right. Here is what Princeton University law dictionary tells us:
    Natural right:
    “A natural right is the concept of a universal right inherent in the nature of living beings, one that is not contingent upon laws or beliefs.”

    Here is what the Supreme Court Said in a landmark case on the Subject:
    “Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.” [Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436, 491.]

    Our Constitutionally secured Rights to Life, Liberty and property are such Rights. Ordinances or Statutes such as those Chris has cited for us destroy those Rights because a Right, just like property ownership, includes the element of “exclusivity”. It should be manifest that when the element of exclusivity is removed from the Right it ceased to exist as a right and takes on the character of a permission or privilege. Permission is what the English, Russian, Chinese and Japanese people have. That is not the basis for the Great American Experiment. Individual Self Government is what the Framers secured for us.

    This is why I objected to a Brit publishing the American History. It is highly doubtful that Shamas sees or is willing to address that element of our society since he is encoded with the collectivist bug that all socialist societies have for their foundation.

    It is all too true that a barrage of this collectivist mentality has been thrust on us for many generations and that it has become easy for many of our people to accept but it is no less a virus that can and will bring American freedom to its knees if people like you don’t shout these principles from the bully pulpit. This is the problem in America and most of our troubles emerge from its viral infection. I would greatly appreciate seeing you address this on your show..

    As for Chris, if you are an American in possession of the Birthright, wake up

    You all can learn more about these fundamental truths at www.williamduff.com . At the very least, read my articles: “ The American Birthright” and “Seeking Liberty”. And then work to take back your birthright. As I am doing.


    there is much to share on this subject but this is the best i can do in a short writing

    wdd

    1/20/09
    I listened to I'm a Born Again American at least a dozen times in the past 36 hours. Norman Lear is to be commended for the creation and execution of the video which says and demonstrates so much. I don't have an iPod and don't want to purchase one. Can I get the music some other way? BTW, why is MA's long rant repeated four times?

    I watched Simon Schama tonight 1/19/09 on pbs and decided he was a waste of time. Simon needed my bracelet and pink polish the way he waved his hands, held his nose in the air, and spoke with such a fake, haughty accent. No man or woman would have behaved so grossly. America's future, like the world's future, is in God's hands. I hope we're not too stupid to think we're God because "it ain't so." For someone who is supposed to be educated, you're not! You lack manners, "tolerance," intellect and understanding. You mocked religion and faith tonight in the most perverse manner. You openly ridiculed a belief important to many people of all genders, not just "religion." You are no more than a stand up comic, pathetic man - needing the pathetic attention of a media gone wild with perversion. No wonder no one cares about "hooking up" with analogue boxes and getting ready for the big February 2009 date to "convert." The slogan "kill your television" is made for Simon and Bill shows with the embarrassing condecendence displayed this evening. You mock stuff you don't understand. You really are a loser, Simon. Learn to be polite. It must be hard for someone so full of himself - when he's full of poop. You attacked religious beliefs AND personal values held by many people tonight. Time to hang it up Simon....

    No. America has not faced its demons. Certainly not through the 2008 elections. Electing Obama was an easy call for anyone with a shred of foresight, and yet, he still only won 52% of the vote.

    The way America will face its demons is when we begin to suffer the consequences of eight years of Bush presidency.

    What is truly amazing to me is that an utter scumbag, an utter moron like Bush could not only be elected to the highest office of our land, but be elected for a second-term after a clear demonstration of his incompetence and corruption during his first term. It says a great deal about the generally poor quality of the American public.

    Yes, I believe many Americans are beginning to face the music, but it has nothing to do with Barak Obama. As Ralph Nader correctly said, the only thing difference about Obama is that he is half African-American. Otherwise he is fully owned and controlled by the banks and corporations.

    Many are starting to realize that their government has gone rogue. It no longer resembles the one talked about in the Constitution. They are starting to realize that yes, the government did play a part in carrying out the 9/11 attacks. That yes, the government and media did intentionally lie about the WMD in Iraq. That yes the Gulf of Tonkin was staged, that yes, the Warren Commission was a cover-up, that yes, the Federal Reserve is bankrupting America.

    Many Americans realize that it is time for change, and they are making that change happen, and Obama has been sent in to stop that. Don't be fooled. He's worse than Bush.

    Bill, I usually love hearing your viewpoints on all aspects of life, but I have to say that, this time, I feel insulted. Your guest seemed to be equating Americans who are upsetby this very REAL problem of illegal aliens, to those, like the woman from the 1800's he spoke about, who thought of Mexicans as vermin! Please, that is so unfair, and not based in reality! I agree with Mike, at the top of these comments, and many others, that...no matter how open and loving our hearts, or how liberal we may be, facts are facts. Should we continue to allow our beautiful country to be infiltrated by such a tremendous number of illegals, especially when there is the drug cartel factor? Yes, my family were immigrants from various points in Europe, but here's the difference, they came through Ellis Island! I wouldn't want this many of ANY nationality flooding our shores, and most especially where there is crime attached to it.

    Mr. Duff states,
    “I possess the land where I stand and where my AUTO is and there is no better title
    existing than my possession. “
    An Ordinance No.A-822 In part states, ”Does not have thereon a current license plate
    and/or current validating sticker and/or a current inspection sticker; A person Violate
    any of the provision... will be sentence to payment of $300.00.” It is stated as
    “Junk Vehicle ordinance.” It does not matter if the “AUTO” is new, made out of gold
    or in “your possession!”
    You state, “No other man or group of men can lawfully CHARGE him RENT on
    that place nor force him to move against his consent and so long as the man does
    not obstruct the liberty of another there can be no lawful State or Local regulatory
    interest that can alter that fact!"
    The $300.00 fine is more than a “rent” and it does “alter the fact!”
    You state, “Constitutional Republic that secures liberty,... Property of the individual people...”
    “Property of the individual taken under the mere pretext of a public purpose, right to be where

    you are” were not secure in “KELO v. NEW LONDON!”

    PA statute “§7-701.1. Referendum or public hearing required...!“ The “referendum”
    has been by-pass and replaced with “hearing required” that gives the authority
    unlimited power through the convenience of SPECIAL Local Government Unit debt Act,
    the Bankruptcy Act, The Authority Act etc. to obtain funds - confiscation for their interest.
    These are statute created by the Legislators that by pass “Constitution requirement of the
    Constitutional standards”!
    To believe that this is a “Constitutional Republic ...” or that there is “equal justice for ALL,”
    as was in the past is far fetch from the truth. We do have a ramped corruption, depression,
    Socialism, fascism, dictatorship for the benefit of one class and oppression for others.
    Very much like Israel and Gaza. It was demonstrated with the $850 billion dollars bail out
    with no accountability!
    I do not believe by changing the figures in Washington will change anything.
    The true change is when the people are empower to express their “WILL on ALL ISSUES!”

    I watched your program, America the Future, Simon, where you had an Englishman who wrote a book on America. One of the segments, you had a man saying, "If you are here illegally, get the hell out". A lady said, "they bring disease, murder people". You then responded but you missed the point. I live in Utah. We have an estimated 200,000 ILLEGAL Spanish Speaking mainly Mexican invaders here. I attended a meeting with the US Attorney who said these people are responsible for 90% of all identity theft, responsible for Meth in one out of four of our households, have marijuana plants in our forests planted by their drug cartels worth more than the wheat crop planted annually. It is estimated the ILLEGALS send back to Mexico $80 Billion annually and cost the American tax payer $300 Billion annually or half of what the total cost of Social Security. We have 1 million LEGAL immigrants here annually that is leading to the non-whiting of America that I have no problem with but the estimated 850,000 ILLEGAL immigrants, I and all of us here including the Spanish speaking LEGAL immigrants has a problem with. Come to Salt Lake City, see the billboards with Wanted posters on Spanish Speaking surnames, read the paper with the "shooter suspect now in Mexico". You cannot walk the streets of Salt Lake without having shaved head, white T Shirted Spanish Speaking young people surrounding you. I sat in a doctor's office, while a girl who spoke English with an accent, told the receptionist she did not have an insurance card, the receptionist called and said, Yes, you have been approved for MEDICAID, she translated to the fellow, about 40, in SPANISH. He looked to be her father, she was probably an ANCHOR baby. I have insurance that costs me $4000 a year and with the deductable, they pay nothing. I have to pay for every visit and if it is preventive, the health insurance company does not pay a dime. If an ILLEGAL has no insurance, he or she gets a 20% discount. I am pissed off.
    We have 8 English speaking TV channels and 8 SPANISH speaking channels here in the Salt Lake Area. Store signs in Spanish, Government agencies filled with Anchor Babies. Bill, you need to understand this problem, get out of your Ivy League environment and see how we have been invaded. When Obama comes out with the $Trillion stimulus package to rebuild the infrastructure, we damn well better not have ILLEGALS taking the jobs. This has nothing to do with the 1 million Legal immigrants even though it appears broke, the 850,000 ILLEGALS needs to be fixed. The lady had it right, "they do bring disease, they do murder and rob here in Utah". Get it right Bill, I like your program. You are breath of freshair verses Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, and the other Corporate bought and paid for media Idiots.

    Having watched this interview, I thought Simon hit it entirely on the mark. The U.S. I do not think embraced change in this new President, otherwise some Dems would not have voted Rep. It is the twisted logic of the U.S. manifest destiny that some espouse will free the world that is at the core of civil unrest in the U.S. and around the world. The only way forward for ANY country is to keep Religion and Politics separate, Houses of Worship are for Religion and the Government Offices are for Governing, otherwise we stay in the 17th Century of fuedal ideology, where the church and state are in collusion to brainwash and steal from the masses, all the while calling it Democracy. PLEASE ! ! There is no Democracy in this day and age only corrupt capitalism.

    Immigration? The program failed to mention the lack of safety to Americans with our open borders with Mexico. Besides Mexico being the illegal drug supplier to the U.S., last year more Americans were killed by illegal aliens than those killed in our current two wars and on 9-11. The open borders mentality by the U.S. government must end.

    If that's not enough to cause concern, the U.S. Joint Forces Command has reported that Mexico's government is on the verge of a sudden and rapid collapse into a narco state. The U.S., which shares a 2,000 mile border with Mexico, would be the obvious destination for massive refugee flows if its neighbour descended into civil war.

    In recent weeks, the Department of Homeland Security proposed the idea that the federal government will have to entertain a possible “surge” of military and police personnel to the border as a serious possibility. The plans call for aircraft, armored vehicles, and special operation teams to deploy to trouble spots along the border, and perhaps into Mexico may be needed.

    Here is the report:
    http://www.jfcom.mil/newslink/storyarchive/2008/JOE2008.pdf

    Bill

    I found some of Shamas comments distressing. Honestly I think the last thing we need in America is a Brit teaching us American History. Our history is far too perverted as it is. Those comments about Jefferson and the original sin are as infirm as the claimant and most certainly intellectually dishonest. Wasn't it the British that sold some 20 million slaves into America? Weren't slaves considered property at that time? Wasn't it after the defeat of the South in the war of northern aggression that slaves were emancipated?

    In any event, as much as that upsets me the collectivist rant that America is a Democracy is much worse still. The experiment here was and always has been about individual freedom. Our constitution was written to "secure the Blessings of Liberty", the blessings of liberty were carefully defined by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, those being Life, Liberty and Happiness (meaning by enlarge the Right to own property)

    Certainly there were elements of democracy but that only applies to the "Peoples Business". Our individual business was and is not the (collective) peoples business. If it were we wouldn't have any rights as that would be an impossibility. A Right is associated with an element of exclusivity. When you take the attribute of exclusivity out of a Right the Right disappears and a privilege appears in its place. This is not my opinion it is the law of this land as echoed in: "Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them. [Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436, 491.]. Again, when anyone, without your permission, determines your use of your Life, your Liberty or your Property they destroy the exclusivity in the Right thus Abrogating it.

    Here are 7 principles of the rule of law that everyone should be testing every act by every government agent, agency or branch against:

    1. The sovereign decrees the law . Whether that sovereign be the Fed, State or Individual; "The very meaning of 'sovereignty' is that the decree of the sovereign makes law. [American Banana Co. v. United Fruit Co]"

    #2 is stated above in miranda v arizona

    3.Natural right: A natural right is the concept of a universal right inherent in the nature of living beings, one that is not contingent upon laws or beliefs.

    4. The Blessings of Liberty as secured in the preamble to the Constitution for the USA

    5. Individual property ownership is the exclusive province of the owner. " WEBSTER: A right of ownership is associated with property that establishes the good as being "one's own thing" in relation to other individuals or groups, assuring the owner the exclusive right to dispense with the property in a manner he or she sees fit, whether to use or not use, exclude others from using, or to transfer ownership."

    6. 6. All public property is the property belonging to the people collectively. Governments and their agents are merely trustees of that property. "City of Chicago v Collins et al., Supreme Court of Illinois.

    7. 7. Possession of public property by one of the people is evidence of quasi-ownership where no better title exists. As such, Title to public property is no better in one or a group of the people than in any other of the people. Possession is a means by which right and title is measured . Respecting the public right of way, I possess the land where I stand and where my auto is and there is no better title existing than my possession. This is a necessary element of liberty. There can be no liberty without a right to be where you are. Your Liberty right is as authoritative as ownership." Duffey v. Rafferty, 15 Kan. 9 “mere priority of possession gives precedence where no better title can be shown as belonging to either." Meaning; where a man stands no other man or group of men can lawfully charge him rent on that place nor force him to move against his consent and so long as the man does not obstruct the liberty of another there can be no lawful State or Local regulatory interest that can alter that fact"

    Having said all that..... it should be manifest to everyone that we have agreed not to harm one another and that of course is the check and balance against the law of this land as stated above...

    In any event America is not a Democracy........ certainly it has an element of democracy within the bounds of the "peoples business" but America is a Constitutional Republic that secures natural Rights to Life Liberty and Property of the individual people........ The Framers of our constitution did not trust democracy so they put the power in the hands of the people...... but as Ben Franklin suggested.... it appears we are having a hard time keeping it. I suspect the constant British influence that has plagued this Country from the outset has a hand in that confusion as well......... did the revolutionary war ever really end in the minds of England? hmmmmm.

    wdd


    Simon Schama is an immigrant, and may have been in illegal status at some time. So what did you expect? Put yourself in the shoes of those who come here out of need, and ask what you might do in the same circumstances. Most Americans have become so spoiled they have to hire someone to fill out their taxes, and most people make under $50K.Compare that to doing the paperwork and paying the fees to emigrate to a new country. Most of us wouldn't do it. We're a nation of chislers and corner cutters. That's what happened to the economy. Now the newer immigrants are leaving.

    After viewing this program I tried to sign the "Born Again American" pledge. When I entered my last name(Dietz)I was accused of using a word that no one wanted to see. This experience did not make me feel very "born again"!

    I agree with Ms. Armstrong.

    I think that we may be on the verge very important re-examination of political policy that I would hope would be based on an honest re-examination of history.

    I think the Israeli Professor Ilan Pappe (Exeter University) offers us useful history in order to understand the conflict: Part I:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2378048083114640496&ei=LJhlSanAEJyyrQL6_ozhDg&hl=en

    Part II:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1045070103971656266&hl=en

    Part III:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=9069594734659501057&hl=en

    Part IV:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3343805094273077232&hl=en


    When you have time, the acclaimed movie (winner of many awards including
    Best Documentary): Occupation 101:

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

    Once we understand this, we will have an epiphany which I think would go a long way for the advancement of humanity.

    While watching Simon Schama accuse Andrew Jackson of ethnic cleansing when he removed the Cherokees over the Mississippi so others could claim Georgia's gold, I was reminded of the parallels between Cherokee removal and Palestinian removal. In 1948, 700,000 Palestinians were removed from their lands in order to create the State of Israel. For 28 years Israel occupied Gaza and still controls traffic in and out of Gaza.

    On November 4, 2008, Israel invaded southern Gaza, killing six people. Hamas began firing rockets to protect the people of Gaza and now Israel has retaliated resulting in over 1,000 deaths and 5,000 injured.

    I strongly support the recommendations for a lasting peace by Rabbi Lerner, Sister Chittister Professor West and others in the January 14, 2009 New York Times.

    My grandmother was born in 1881 & we all lived in the heart of the South, but I never knew anyone that had owned another human being.
    I wonder just how many Americans actually owned slaves? I have never heard a 'journalist indicate interest. Even 1 slave owner is too many!

    I wonder if there are as many Wolves-in-Wall Street as there were slave owners?

    Or, prehaps, they are not as bad because they did not discriminate by race, religion, sex--anyone with money was included!

    How does 95%+ blacks support the only black & it not be possible that race was the determining factor?

    The truth, the whole truth, and the complete truth is not addressed by politicians, pundits, or so called 'journalist'.

    America's demons lurke in dark & not in the sunshine, because if Mainstreet America saw what Paulson, Greenspan, Cox, Senators Kennedy, Kerry, McGovern, Biden, Edwards, etc. are doing then they would be stopped!

    But Sunshine is not in our government nor commercial America.

    No Sunshine is our demon!

    I am a faithful viewer of Bill Moyer's Journal. However, this week while watching the program with Simon Schama I turned off the program during the topic of immigration.

    America is the most welcoming country on the face of the planet. Last year alone, America welcomed over 1 million legal immigrants. The issue about illegal immigration is not about race but about corporate and business greed - just like the financial & economic meltdown.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and ethnocentric special interests have given financial contributions to our elected officials to look the other way to keep our borders open and then it is the American taxpayers who get stuck footing the bill for because corporations and businesses want cheap labor.

    As an American taxpayer, I am sick and tired of paying for corporate welfare. This latest Wall Street & banking financial - economic meltdown is just another example of letting corporations and businesses run wild while our national debt and borrowing from China continues to soar. Additionally, Social Security and Medicare are probably now having to be cut because of the reckless spending by our elected officials. All tax paying Americans deserve better than this.

    California is a prime example - illegal aliens are costing Californians $20 billion annually and the state is severely in debt. Other states look at the financial mess in California and have passed tough laws aimed at reducing illegal aliens in their state in order to financially survive.

    Race? I think not. Americans have elected a black President so race should no longer be an issue. However, the age old greed and corporate welfare has led to the vitriol is this country towards our elected officials who only care about being re-elected - not what is best for Americans and this country.


    Of course Prof. Shama was delightful.

    I would only add that there is great irony here, for us pro-lifers. We see the legal fight against abortion as the same as it was against slavery.

    In the South in the 1800s, one didn't have to own a slave if one didn't believe in slavery, but one could.

    The abolitionists began with the religious Congregationalist' and Friends' idea that all men and women are equal under God, and so none could be enslaved.

    Today, one doesn't have to have an abortion if one doesn't believe in abortion, but one can. The religious argument is that all human beings are equal before God, from the moment of conception, and so none can be killed.

    But President-elect Obama does not want to do what the abolitionists did with slavery and make abortion illegal. On the contrary, he wants to make it a Constitutional right, like the Southerners wanted to make owning a slave a Constitutional right.

    The irony is that he is an African American.

    We have definitely not even begun to face our demons. We were told after Korea tha we now were recognizing our "limnits," we were told after Vietnam we finally were accepting our "limits," now after the debacle in Iraq, the pundits, including Simon Schama, are telling us the same. I have the greatest respect for Mr. Schama and Bill Moyers, but where in the national discourse do we hear anyone, including Simon Schama and Bil Moyers, ask: Why is it that we have to keep "learning" the same lesson over and over? The reality is that the hubris that led to the invasion of Iraq is the same sense of exceptionalism that led to the Monroe Doctrine, Manifst Destiny, the destruction of Native American cultures, the Roosesvelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, the overthrow of democratic govenrments all over Latin America in favor of dictatorships, including the Pinochet genocide, the deposing of the Mossadegh government in favor of the Shah's dictatorship in Iran for which we are still paying, and of course Vietnam and Iraq. Again, we are being told Iraq was a "mistake" and we have learned that we are now ready to accept "limits" that we have never acknowledged. The evidence that we have learned anything would be a recongition that American entitlement is deeply rooted in our history and that we have to transfrom our cultural identity. Until we do that, we will set our narcissism on the shelf for a while, regroup, and continue to try to control the world in some other way at the cost of more lives, blood, and treasure.

    We have definitely not even begun to face our demons. We were told after Korea tha we now were recognizing our "limnits," we were told after Vietnam we finally were accepting our "limits," now after the debacle in Iraq, the pundits, including Simon Schama, are telling us the same. I have the greatest respect for Mr. Schama and Bill Moyers, but where in the national discourse do we hear anyone, including Simon Schama and Bil Moyers, ask: Why is it that we have to keep "learning" the same lesson over and over? The reality is that the hubris that led to the invasion of Iraq is the same sense of exceptionalism that led to the Monroe Doctrine, Manifst Destiny, the destruction of Native American cultures, the Roosesvelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, the overthrow of democratic govenrments all over Latin America in favor of dictatorships, including the Pinochet genocide, the deposing of the Mossadegh government in favor of the Shah's dictatorship in Iran for which we are still paying, and of course Vietnam and Iraq. Again, we are being told Iraq was a "mistake" and we have learned that we are now ready to accept "limits" that we have never acknowledged. The evidence that we have learned anything would be a recongition that American entitlement is deeply rooted in our history and that we have to transfrom our cultural identity. Until we do that, we will set our narcissism on the shelf for a while, regroup, and continue to try to control the world in some other way at the cost of more lives, blood, and treasure.

    We have definitely not even begun to face our demons. We were told after Korea tha we now were recognizing our "limnits," we were told after Vietnam we finally were accepting our "limits," now after the debacle in Iraq, the pundits, including Simon Schama, are telling us the same. I have the greatest respect for Mr. Schama and Bill Moyers, but where in the national discourse do we hear anyone, including Simon Schama and Bil Moyers, ask: Why is it that we have to keep "learning" the same lesson over and over? The reality is that the hubris that led to the invasion of Iraq is the same sense of exceptionalism that led to the Monroe Doctrine, Manifst Destiny, the destruction of Native American cultures, the Roosesvelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, the overthrow of democratic govenrments all over Latin America in favor of dictatorships, including the Pinochet genocide, the deposing of the Mossadegh government in favor of the Shah's dictatorship in Iran for which we are still paying, and of course Vietnam and Iraq. Again, we are being told Iraq was a "mistake" and we have learned that we are now ready to accept "limits" that we have never acknowledged. The evidence that we have learned anything would be a recongition that American entitlement is deeply rooted in our history and that we have to transfrom our cultural identity. Until we do that, we will set our narcissism on the shelf for a while, regroup, and continue to try to control the world in some other way at the cost of more lives, blood, and treasure.

    “We are a great democratic experiment. What has become of us?”
    What do you think?
    We have become modern slaves, oppressed and exploited by the pundits, autocrats
    and hypocrites by imposing their will and believe on others.
    Did Americans “finally face their demons” in the 2008 elections? Why or why not?
    I am not sure if they did face their demons. But, I am sure that status quo
    of ramped corruption and depression will continue!
    The “domestic enemies of the Constitution” are the pundits - hypocrites
    that take the oath on pretense to protect the Constitution and impose their Rules, Laws and Will on others''!
    We have Rules, Laws, Justice system that turns blind eye on a Rampage Corruption with no end in site!
    Is the U.S. in the midst of a “great moment of philosophical self-examination?” Explain.
    It should be. But regrettably, no, it is not! It has not even started the examination.
    The Country would be in a “philosophical self-examination” when a constitutional
    convention is establish to take place, to address the issues, and to amend the constitution,
    to empower the people to express their “WILL on All ISSUES”!
    The CBS did reports that there are over “32 millions that can not read fifth grade level!”
    When multiply by 4 in one family, it equals to 120 millions. If one takes in consideration
    that many with high school education have difficulty in understanding the concept
    of what they are reading, is indication that the “no child left behind” never worked,
    let alone to conduct philosophical examination!
    The intend was to extort more money from the taxpayer!
    The educated, capable are not even concern for the “philosophical examination”
    for the system is set for their interest and benefits!

    What a wonderful, fascinating, erudite and brilliant man! Knowledge and intellectual curiosity do not conform to national boundaries - they are a broader a human trait and transcend convenient packaging. As to immigration, well... the world is getting more crowded... and we will need to address all this somehow. I personally think that it's inappropriate and mean spirited to treat anyone maliciously, but yes.. we DO need some sensible policy, and just allowing ANYONE ready access work and rights as a citizen simply because they WANT/NEED it or have hungry families back home doesn't seem either correct OR appropriate either. So how to be gracious and compassionate without giving up the keys to the store. We'll work it out! But no.. just letting anyone who is HERE or who feels like coming in? Uh uh.

    I want to focus on positivity, possibilities, being grateful, and finding sensible and workable SOLUTIONS, not just griping, closing my heart, and treating people with suspicion,contempt and unfettered paranoia. We can (and will!) do better. I try to employ the "Golden Rule" (do unto others, etc...)and I think it makes tremendous sense.

    As I near my 80th birthday, I realize that I have a lot of history to look back on, but I wonder what I can do about the future. Your discussion with the Brit Simon Schama was thought provoking. I admit to agreeing with correspondents who think the Brits have been given a pass merely on the basis of their accent and attitude of superior knowledge. I disagree with a lot of what Prof Schama said, but I really liked his visit to the vacant house on the prairie. It does tend to get right to the heart of what we U.S. citizens think of ourselves. But we are so much more than that. I am of both German and British descent and am a native born Texan, so you may find it hard to pinpoint my prejudices. My father's parents were German immigrants who came to America in 1901 to join other relatives. My mother's family on both sides were here before we were the United States of America. I have seen and heard the folks who were not born in the U.S.A. and did not come legally. I understand their need, as in sending what little money they earn back to Mexico to support their family, but I do believe that people who demand all kinds of handouts from me and my fellow citizens should follow the same rules my father's folks did. This is an issue we have been facing for some time and have not yet resolved.

    As for the financial fiascos that have gotten us into a mess that rivals the times when I grew up, we have been brought up short and even our outgoing president has been doing a philosophical about face.

    Mr. Obama? This is really great. He is, in fact, an African American on his father's side. No one can deny that the Africans who were brought here and sold into slavery were mistreated from the time they were shanghaied to the day they died without control over their lives. Even my cousin George W's slaves weren't freed until his death. I well remember the separate schools, separate seating areas in movie houses, separate water fountains, etc. I was in college when my fellow citizens were finally being recognized as equal in law and in fact. I thought it was about time.

    I guess what I am saying boils down to this, Brother Moyers. We don't need some Brit prissing around and telling us when it is or isn't time for us to delve into introspection. We already done it. We are an evolving nation. Shoot, we almost nominated a woman to represent one of our political parties as candidate for president of the United States of America. Or hadn't you and the Brit noticed that?

    After listening to your conversation with Simon Schama I have to agree that we have, in some sense, “faced our demons” and made some breakthroughs when it comes to race in this country. And yet, some attitudes remain deeply ingrained within us, often out of the grasp of our perception. I have heard Barack Obama described many times as our first black president. Or our first Afro-American president. Or a black man with a white mother. All of that is something of which to be proud. But, never once have I heard him described as a white man with a black father.

    I have seen this many times with mixed-race children. Even when by outward features a child appears “white,” he is most frequently identified by the race of the nonwhite parent for reporting purposes. It is as if that old "If he has one drop or black blood...." syndrome is alive and well. Our drive to continue to classify by race tells us something about our racial bias that remains to be overcome.

    Freedom Rings!

    It is terribly incorrect to find flaw in Jefferson's work on equality as One could or must never find flaw in Dr. King's Jr. work either. It was only the narrow aim or focuses of both men or of both times that cause some to see it as missing the mark of total equality. That target of nature’s absolute equitable truth, the truth that is still greatly missed today.

    For Jefferson, his focus or aim was intent on freeing this country from the monarchal inequitable tyranny of England and the King. That he did not battle the wrongfulness of slavery at the same time was only the extent or limitation of his own being. And equally no wrong should ever be judged of Mr. King's efforts to equate only black and white, only a small fraction of equating all of nature herself. Both men gave their lives for equality for freedom for mankind for America no matter how narrow there work may seem. Their focus helped create The Democracy of freedom we enjoy but still struggle with today. No wrong can or should ever be attributed to such profound works as theirs. America owes them both more than adoration and appreciation for the partialness of equality they fought for and we enjoy today.

    But now today what is our aim; is it still the same? Is it not time to move on to the greater whole, to equate not only all of mankind but to justly unify mankind with nature herself? Surely the Earth cries out for equality too. Have you not heard or seen the pain mankind has ignorantly and tyrannically subjected the rest of the kingdom to? Hello, can you not hear the desperate cries for help? Now is not the time to question the past great works of equality, but to move beyond the great freedoms of Kings and of King and of the Kings we inequitably think we still are. Now is the time to equate all things, as All is Nature is The Earth is The Universe is God is Truly One. Only then will true freedom RING!

    Thank you Mr. Jefferson and Dr. King Jr., I adore you so.

    =
    MJA

    The most memorable moment for me was Schama standing in the abandoned house on the high grasslands as a kind of symbol for what is now broken in the american psyche and spirit. I have stood in these ruins for a long time because I live on the high plaines, grasslands, which for me represent the belly of America. The long beautiful body of America is stretched out with her feet rightfully in place in the east and her beautiful face is the west. It is the grasslands where her flat belly, filled with the water of the High Plains Acquifer resides. Schama knows about this landscape because of his own knowledge of the Lithuanian Buffalo and what its disappearence into the forests, like our buffalo from the plaines, marked a disgraceful moment in the birth of our nation. Our view of creation, our own and other is neglectful of the rememberance of landscape and memory which is what Schama, the Jewish historian is most concerned about. As a citizen of the great plains I have been concerned about the total rape and ruination of the Ogallala or High Plains Acquifer and how all across the Great Plains we see the ruins of houses and whole towns.

    Mr. Moyers gives us another biased one sided show. When will PBS ever have a host that explores the other side of the immigration issue that is held by most of America?
    We are not a nation of immigrants, we are a nation of citizens and laws that are being swamped by a tidal wave of immigrants, both legal and illegal. Many (not all)of the new immigrants see no need to assimilate and are not encouraged to do so as my ancestors did. They are encouraged to demand rights and to take whatever they can and not give back, they are not future citizens but rude guests that come with religous and territorial grievances.They are colonizers.
    You bring up how Franklin was worried about the number of germans, he should have been, they made up nearly half of the population of his time and spoke a different language and would have caused a divided country. Why shouldn't America be allowed to continue to be an English speaking country. Nearly every country in the Western Hemisphere is Hispanic. Is there no room for a non hispanic country in the wetern hemisphere or should all English speaking white people be snuffed out and made to dissapear from their own country?

    I love people from all other countries, I love Canada and Mexico ( I particularly love Mexican immigration laws)and Nigeria and new Zealand, but I am an American, not a hyphenated American, and prefer to live in a country with others that share my history, culture, values and language. I suspect all other peoples no matter where they are from feel the same, but I am demonized if I claim this right as a white Christian American.
    I am glad the ethnic cleansing of the Indians by Andrew Jackson was brought up. When I was born 90 percent of America was white, but in a few years it will be less than 50 percent, is this not ethnic cleansing by massive immigration gleefully and sanctmoniuosly applauded by Mr. Moyers and his frequent Gloabalist fanatics? At what percentage of the popilation will we be able to voice a concern? 30 percent. Ten percent, one percent???

    Mr Moyers, I hope a bus pulls up in front of NPR full of smiling immigrants willing to work for half your wages and your children have to leave their community that is no longer theirs to go find work in another region where they speak their language and the gated and fenced communites you live in become outlawed and you have to live with the world you have helped create. You are still stuck in the sixties trying to defend the Immigration act of 1964 you helped foster this mess onto America.

    We are becoming a nation divided. If I am wrong I am just a bigoted old cranky man. But if I am right you are playing with fire and our country will be divided into a nightmare you helped foster and did nothing to stop.
    E Pluribus Unum from many one, not from one many.

    Mr. Moyers, I really like your program. However, I take issue with your remark -- after showing the video of Texans who opposed illegal immigrants -- that people resent immigrants. I do not believe that to be true. We resent ILLEGAL immigrants. Come to Los Angeles and see the costs of so many illegals to our schools and hospitals, and severe problems with gang fights,killings, drugs and graffiti. Didn't you hear the Texas man who told the group looking for work, "Show us your papers and we'll find work for you." They are against ILLEGALS.

    I was very disappointed in the comments during the Simon Schama interview about immigration. It was clear that both of you were so blinded by your own pre-conceptions about prejudice that you did not listen to the words of those you interviewed in Texas. Those who live near the border with Mexico are NOT apposed to immigration or to Mexicans or others of foreign origin. They are, however, tired of paying for people who drain our communities by breaking the laws of our land to illegally come here and take advantage of our services. No other viable country continues to supply ILLEGAL immigrants with services. No one wants to see families suffer from poverty. However, look at the economic crisis in California and you will see the cost to American tax payers of continuing to support law breakers. What the people of Texas did say was that they apposed illegals being allowed to stay here, they never said that they apposed legal immigration.
    Americans have always wanted to be the "care takers of the needy". At some point someone needs to make educated decisions about how to spend tax dollars so that we can stay solvent.

    Simon Schama possesses no special credentials or expertise (except documentary making) to examine US history and politics. His opinion is no better than mine, or David F.'s or the Other Katherine Harris's or a thousand other commentators writing on this blog. A British accent won't cut it anymore. Schama has made some terrific films of fine arts critique, but I found his new clips sentimental and superficial, in effect, insensitive in their grade school political correctness. I am not an opponent of immigration and I am fascinated by the Black Church (especially as a component of social progress) but Professor Schama seems incapable of presenting our cultural history with any greater intuition than a Hallmark greeting card. (When I receive one I feel insulted.) Correspondents could at least compare his new commentary to that of Allistair Cooke and see an unflattering difference. Having said this I would continue to seek Schama's take on fine arts subject matter. Well, maybe his new film is just that, mediocre fine arts. The choice of Schama to expend Moyers' scarce and golden time slot may betray commercial mindedness or even senile sentimentality. I am assuming Bill Moyers still makes those choices, but I may be mistaken.

    Simon Schama in my opinion is an utter fool. His view on illegal aliens is backward.

    Maybe he needs to only look at his own country to see what irresponsible immigration has done there; They are losing their culture to that of the Muslim culture.

    And might I add that America was made up of LEGAL Immigrants.They followed the laws of our country, did it the right way and assimilated. This is not the case today. Whomever wants to can enter this country illegally and demand rights they are not entitled to while marching on our streets waving a foreign flag and stomping on the American flag. I would be shot if I were to go to some other country and behave in that manner.

    It's clear Simon is a history revisionist who is backward in his thinking.

    I am an unashamed anglofile and always perk up when someone with a British accent is holding forth, whether it be Eddie Izzard or Simon Schama. (whom I hadn't known of...)

    Having just re-viewed Izzard's ten-year-old DRESS TO KILL viedo taped in San Francisco, and then serveral hours later, the Moyers JOURNAL episode with Schama, I think they both come from a similiar perspective....

    I.E. that we Yanks are the product of an innovative, violent and somewhat absurdist society, where our size and relative isolation has inculcated in us the myth that we're not really connected to the rest of the world and that we can somehow maintain our physical and culteral boundaries against the 'assaults' of changing racial demographics and newly emerging ideologies.

    But change happens whether we like it or not, and as a nation founded by people fighting for change, it has become one of the strongest underlying forces in American society. I welcome Schma's perspective and feel it often takes an "outsider" to see us more objectively than we can ourselves.

    In regards to Mr. Schama’s comments about Obama, I might urge that Mr. Schama-and numerous others- apply some criticism in evaluating the man and his actions. I'll offer some notes of observation. Obama does not appear to be motivated by anything other than the ability to realize his own personal ambitions. Obama also does not in any way identify as an African American(so perhaps we should stop calling him this). I am also quite frightened by the mass commercialization and commodification of Obama.
    There are those amongst us of true talent and ability, but because of the issues of oppression and prejudice which still inhabit our collective house, this talent has been quite often not allowed to grow and develop. But I will work to see that it does, and that it does emerge and thrive, and that humanity confronts its future rather than stagnating at some decided place in time. (And I urge others to do-or continue to do-the same.)

    Americans did not “finally face their demons” in the 2008 elections. The wealthy elites again forced all voting Americans to elect the status quo candidate who raised the most money. The selection of Barak Obama by Wall Street (and its politically well-placed friends) was a deliberate attempt to impair freethinking and progressive Americans from skeptical criticism of the autocratic Executive Branch, entrenched Congressional hacks, and a political/electoral system that is fully beholden to the economic interests of the few.

    The U.S. is NOT in the midst of a “great moment of philosophical self-examination." Until Americans can intelligently discuss the history and ethics of economics -- domestically and globally -- we cannot engage in meaningful thought or action for the future. The business of America is business. Until this fact is fully vetted in our political, religious, cultural, and media outlets, we will continue our circular path of "innocent" denial followed by tragedy.

    I consider the “great moments of philosophical self-examination” in American history" to be those involving progress in human rights and environmental awareness such as socialist labor movements in the US, John Brown's rebellion, the Civil Rights / War-on-Poverty movements, and the women's rights movements. I think attributing cultural change to incidents concerning U.S. presidents arises from a historical minimization of courageous, grassroots actions.

    It's ironic that you, a champion of media reform, are the victim of many years of media distortion. For you to be supportive of Israel is to ignore the fact that hundreds of thousands of indigenous Palestinians were forcefully removed and often killed to make way for this U.S. and British exercise in colonialism. You fail to even mention the causes of the immediate rocketing.Israel failed to meet the conditions of the June ceasefire. They did not dramatically reduce the 18 month, war crime blockade and Israel killed 6 Gazans on Nov. 4 and 2 more later in the month. Please continue to champion media reform and check out some alternative media so you will know the facts that don't make it to the mainstream media or your program.Check "If Americans Knew" and "Occupation 101".

    I loved the show's finale with the song "I'm a born again American" I haven't felt that way in a long time. It feels good even for me... white and non-religious! EH

    There is a feedlot of swillage from left and right. "feather footed through plashy fen passed the questing vole."

    I feel that many of these posts really are saying "why don't we have coherent strategies we can understand and get behind?"
    Obama, who demonstrates he is not intimidated hearing opposing views, may be the one, by virtue of the above, who can identify a good strategy and execute it PS Scharma may see us clearer than we ourselves can.


    There is a feedlot of swillage from left and right. "feather footed through plashy fen passed the questing vole."

    I can appreciate some of Mant's remarks. Schama is more on the side of journalistic history than deep thinking about culture and society. The one thing about many British commentators on America is that they are usually more cognizant of their role as a British commentator of things American than a sincere deep thinker of American history and culture. They are performers who feel that they can slide on intellect because they think a British background offers them some cache. Schama is simply more likable than others of the same stripe. Deeper insight is usually offered by non-British non-Americans, because of their more separated histories, thus greater intellectual and social distance. The Germans, the French, and the Spanish are more interesting, on the whole.

    Much of what Schama has regurgitated is junior high social studies. He is misguided if he thinks that America has begun to face its demons; it has just purchased entry into the showdown that is about to happen.

    The moneyed elite in this country shook in their Gucci loafers during and after the Civil Rights era, but by the 1980s they had shuffled the economic playing field to ensure their stranglehold of power in America. That playing field is currently being torn apart due to its faulty foundation and hasty, rickety construction. The demons are just about to rear their heads. If our journalists are half as good as journalists should be, we will be reading all about it in the headlines, because all the real stuff that has been going on for the past forty years has found its way to the surface, as toxins usually do, and the etiologies are impossible to ignore any longer.

    I disagree with your guest about immigration...not because I am worried about the racial composition of a future America, but that as a shinning light, we are rapidly descending the the status of a third world nation economically...

    When I graduated from UCB, in the early 1970's, the argument made to Americans was that we needed to help out the developing world...We were to raise their standard of living up to our level...It appears that the opposite is happening...

    The American public was sold upon universal citizenship, NAFTA, world food programs and rising health of the world's population...What did we get after 40 years...collapsing US economy, high unemployment, losses in hard assets and savings and a president who wanted to privatize SS...

    There was a time in this country (agricultural and industrialization) where unskilled labor could be readily trained for assembly line work with no social safety net what so ever...

    Those days are gone...We have to make a decision...If we want free access to other nationals in the US, then we will have to eliminate American citizens safety net or everyone working in the US's access to a safety net...The alternative, is to closed our borders to the poor from other countries, because the low wage labor jobs are reducing opportunities to our young and unskilled labor force...Not everyone has the inclination, patience or intelligence to acquire a higher education, and if they did, would we have the jobs to employe them...

    Just my thoughts that things have been going south since LBJ try to provide guns and butter in the 1960's...

    Thank you for the comments about Andrew Jackson. He was trying to practice genocide on many of my ancestors. To some members of my family, he is a "Hitler" for the atrocities that killed so many of our aunts and uncles, and grand parents.

    Forgive me, but even this wonderful work of Mr. Schama does not sway my belief that we all "...compete for a common limited supply of dwindling resources" (amos hawley). In fact, under the eyes and in the arms of discerning Social Policy & Planning, illegal immigrants are NOT humans first and immigrants second. Returning them to the governments of other nations only further supports the underlying premise that our own citizenry is human, too. What's next? "Let (us) eat cake" and "Let us pray" for some greater global good like re-arranging deck chairs on a ship that's going down?

    We must ask ourselves: how much of our society's disregard for the earth--as well as the disregard of all of this planet's technically advanced societies'--would be positively affected if the solstices and equinoxes became occasions for major, earth-wide celebrations? On a par with Thanksgiving or Christmas--but much more powerful, for the solstice and equinox ceremonies would not be limited to one nation, or one religious body, but commemorated by every nation at the same time all over the world. If we could establish this connection between man and earth, if we could legalize it and institutionalize it, if we could bring it to consciousness in the public media of television and print, if it were accepted in the everyday talk that people make with each other, would we not then go a long way in establishing an even larger understanding of the earth's time in our collective social unconscious: how nature is expressed in cycles and how we too live within, and depend upon, these cycles? And, if this general principle of cyclic time and reverence for these changes of season and the earth's passing face became accepted social norms routinely ingrained in the mind of humankind, would this attitude not then affect the political and legal decisions that we make and the ways that we live our lives? Would we not then have a deeper and truer understanding of the real significance of, and thus solutions for, "the issues"--such as destruction of forests by lumber companies and use of pesticides--which we now regard as merely economic or medical or political?

    If we want to change the way the human species lives on this planet, if we wish to make this a real basic change in the consciousness of men and women, and not just a continuation of our same "dealing with the present issue" approach, if we can imagine a world-wide planetary society in which there is a wholeness and unity so that all aspects, from our inner, individual beliefs to the outer institutions that come out of those beliefs, are in harmony, then I believe a most important step that we can take is to bring about the acceptance and implementation of a new, world-wide calendar. If we change time, if we change the ways human beings perceive time, we change human societies.
    www.circleoftheearth.org

    Mr Moyers,
    It is absolutely astounding to me the portrayal that some of the "brightest minds" give in the debate on immigration as far as how and what most Americans think and feel on the subject. I call it the slander of America. While I believe the majority of Americans welcome and have no problem with immigration, the opposite is true with ILLEGAL immigration. Yet legal and illegal is lumped together and if America has a problem with our laws not being followed racism and fears of losing culture is thrown out as an answer to opposition.
    Never in our history have we had an influx of illegal immigrants in the 10's of millions in our country. Just think, we are at war in 2 countries and we have millions here that we don't know WHO they are. Unbelievable! It is very disappointing to hear people make a correlation between past immigration and the problems that we have with ILLEGAL immigration today. There is none.
    If you want to be objective also look at the American side of it. Public records of cost, hospitals, schools, the bills with the loop holes that Congress constantly tries to sneak in, the billions collected by the IRS of mismatched SS#. Anyone illegal in this country can not work and pay taxes unless they are committing fraud. Since when are these things something America should not be concerned with? As if this is not enough reason to be upset.
    We have special interest fighting for the rights of illegals that have committed crimes.
    I blame the governments and business, it's called pure greed. The US Chamber of Commerce doesn't want their constituents to have to verify workers for government contracts.
    Laws can not be broken if they are never followed and if they are never followed, then why make new ones?
    Not too much on the screen at election time was because the media didn't want it, not too popular with business.
    The house just voted for an SCHIP bill that has no verification that the funds will be used for only citizens. If we shouldn't deny medical care for children then why are American children denied medical care when they have no insurance?
    Where is the outrage? Where are the investigative reports in main stream TV?

    Unfortunately, I missed the part of the interview about the black church, but I found it inspiring.

    The incidents of national introspection he cites are, in my opinion valid, but there have been others. While I was too young to be truly engaged by that of the JFK assassination, there was the MLK Jr. and RFK ones and that of the Kent State and even the Jackson State massacres, not to mention the entire Vietnam War. Somehow, they did not actually produce any enlightenments or epiphanies.

    Still, Watergate touched an even larger segment of the population. In the case of my family, it brought my father around from hating my opinions to respecting my judgments, forged from those previous events, and supporting me in my long struggles for increased social consciousness, social justice, environmental conservation, and community activism.

    I went from being a black sheep to a family hero in those tumultuous days though, I must say, my eldest brother acquitted himself honorably when ordered to parade armored personnel carriers through the streets of New Haven on May Day, 1970. No one was shot until 4 days later in Ohio.

    For his failures in Watergate, I have always been grateful to Mr. Nixon.

    Thank you, all, for your program tonight.

    Once again you have chosen to ask a real intelligence to comment of the realities of what life has been like in "These United States!"

    Thomas Jefferson was intelligent but he was also a racist bigot and slaveowner who fathered children that we might never know how many!

    Unfortunately, many people in this country, especially members of the Religious Right, who think that Jefferson was a Christian---mistakenly, he was a Deist--- claim that the newer Immigrants have no right to be here.

    Amazingly, Mr. Mant, who commented first, is obviously one of those who forget their own Immigrant heritage. He may have been born here like I have, BUT he refuses to really listen to the Intelligent Voice of Simon Schama, who correctly stated the REALITIES OF
    OUR AMERICAN HISTORY.

    The man speaks clearly and appropriately---- I pray that our President-Elect will this show!!! Mr. Schama spoke well of Mr. Obama, and also explained things that need to be a part of our thinking in the RE-Creating of "these United States."

    Thank you for showing this episode, and thank you also for the possibility of making sure that President Obama will see this Program.

    The e-mail by RE Mant shows just what a long way we still have to go. I am an immigrant and a Jew who came here from Germany over 40 years ago to the country that gave me my first passport ever. If you've been designated as a "stateless alien" in the country of your birth, a citizenship means something that Mant can't possibly know about. To quote another Englishman, George Orwell,"To see what's in front of one's nose is a constant struggle." Those of us who came from somewhere else (and didn't we all at some point?) can love this country and see its blemishes and possibilities from the perspective of "somewhere else"...as, by the way, can our new president-elect.
    This was an inspirational and interesting interview. Thank you for what you do, Bill Moyers.

    I am really tired of hearing ppl with English accents over here telling us what Americans should do about this or that. I admire British historians by-and-large, but to the best of my knowledge no one in the profession considers him either a serious British or American historian. I do not know what Ivy League schools see in such ppl, but I'm sure that it isn't scholarship. It is a shame the Founding Fathers didn't add a provision to prevent the foreign-born from becoming pundits. Afro- and Jewish-Americans do have one thing in common: no matter what consideration is extended to them, it will never be enough.

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