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Complex Issues & Public Outrage

(Photos by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with two journalists from the progressive magazine MOTHER JONES about Wall Street’s power over Washington and why the public isn’t demanding more regulation of institutions that contributed to the economic meltdown.

Political blogger Kevin Drum argued that laws concerning financial regulation need to be simplified and that the press doesn’t do enough to ensure that Americans are informed about Wall Street’s power.

“It’s not that American bankers are greedier than anybody else’s bankers. It’s that our laws allow them to do things they can’t do everywhere else. We let them take advantage of the system... This stuff is very, very complex, and that is exactly the reason why you need simple rules to rein it in. Because the more complexity you have, the more loopholes there are, the more you can take advantage... One place where I think we should lay some of the blame is the media and the financial media... [The issue] is sort of down in the weeds, and it gets no attention... People don’t see it enough to get angry about it. You can’t get angry about something unless you’re told about it.”

David Corn, MOTHER JONES’ Washington bureau chief, suggested that reforms are necessary but that the details of financial regulation may be simply too complex for the mass public to comprehend or make into an urgent political issue.

“Ultimately, this is about knowledge. This is about information. This stuff is really complicated and convoluted. Try reading any one of these bills and figuring out what’s actually being said... It’s mystifying. These guys who know the rules – they know the language, they have the access, and they’re giving contributions to the people writing the rules – have all the advantages... A Democratic pollster told me, ‘Listen, if 99 percent of Americans can’t understand derivatives, you can’t regulate derivatives in our Democratic process.’ I think there’s a lot of truth to that; people have to understand it. If only the people who benefit from them understand what’s going on, they have the leg up, and there’s no way for average citizens to even enter the process.”

What do you think?

  • Is financial regulation too complex an issue for the general public to mobilize around? Why or why not?

  • Would you like to see President Obama rally grassroots support for more financial regulation? If so, what measures would you like to see him pursue?

  • From National People’s Action to tea parties, many Americans are getting organized around issues of Big Business and Big Government. How are you and your community working for reform?


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    Comments

    Agree with Susan. Congress and Banks in bed will only divorce when citizens of this country rise up and elect persons who will stand up for their rights and the future of America. Keep on voting!

    I watched the first day of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Hearing. What an excellent resource is this blog. Really great comments to.

    If banks are too big to fail. Why don't we make them smaller? Haven't heard the words anti-trust in a long long!!!

    It is also in my believe that total government funding of campaigns would help resolve a lot of the influence of big money. It would mean less interference. parkeren schiphol Furthermore, when the Supreme Court rules that business do not have the same legal rights as people, citizens would then have some influence on the congress. This is true, on the other hand what would any benefit?

    When so many powerful competitors vy for enhanced profits to sustain ultra-high salaries, the more complex the better in order to manipulate the system without the effects of larceny and fraud law to require accountability. Free trade is as much about safe trade (without penalty) as about no constraints. Climates of larceny can only thrive with reduced responsibility and enforcement: hence, Madoff survived 50 years.

    Lauteur Calme opined, in part, "...while U.S. politicians basically rolled the dice in providing subsidized housing..."

    Everyone took note of your opinion - recaltricant to the core...

    TOTAL waste of time to CORRECT your obfuscation for the millionth time...

    I have been trying to understand this global economic mess affecting us ALL. I must admit, and my own daughter brought this up, I have picked the one subject that even the experts have a hard time truly understanding.
    Even so, there is one point that is troubling me far more than anything else. On your January 8th show, quoting David Corn, “What the Wall Street collapse didn’t lead to…a re-evaluation of what finance is supposed to be about and what government’s role might be in advancing a financial system that benefits the citizens at large. Wall Street has become a place, and the banking industry, where you don’t lend money to improve local businesses and industry. You basically create new instruments/devices to make money yourself. It has turned into nothing more than a casino in which they lend money and place bets and side bets and bets on the side bets. So a lot of the action at the end of the day is not providing credit and keeping capital flowing, it’s about how they think they can make more money through more trades.”
    Then Bill Moyers quoted from an article by Kevin Drum, “The financial industry has persuaded us, convinced us, over the last 30 years that the purpose of the financial industry is not to serve companies needing capital or consumers needing credit, but to make money for themselves. In a very fundamental way, this financial lobby has changed America.”
    It’s no wonder that the average American citizen doesn’t even have a chance of understanding this maze of complexity. And to make matters worse, the safeguards that were once in the system, in the form of regulations which separated commercial banks from investment firms, have all but disappeared.
    I don’t know, maybe I’m just getting old, but I am very disillusioned about what America stands for. Freedom? Justice? Equality? Or has that been replaced with money, power, influence?

    The PBS Frontline documentary "The Warning" makes a broader point about the indefensible behavior by Wall Street intelligentsia and in particular Greenspan, Rubin, Summers, and Geitner. This elite group knows precisely why derivatives should be regulated, and the dangers related to the use of excessive credit!

    Thus, the central questions are:

    1.) Why did U.S. politicians and financiers let it happen?
    2.) Why were both so callous about the impending global effects on people?
    3.) Why does the world, including the American tax payer, whose left with the bill time and time again, tolerate such egregious behavior from bankers and incompetence from U.S. regulators and politicians?
    4.) How could U.S. politicians allow this to happen when their duty is to govern?

    It's no wonder some people believe Wall Street is a huge Ponzi scheme and their 401 K savings should be withdrawn and moved from monetary assets into real assets.

    It's quite clear that the U.S. economy depends on consumption, and that bankers, including the Fed (i.e, there's nothing Federal about the Fed. It's a private bank..!) wish to perpetuate the debt burden of U.S. citizens.

    To some degree it's refreshing to see the economic weight of countries shift to China and India, but it's also sad for the U.S. and its tax payers who continue to be exploited by the greed and manipulation of investment bankers on Wall Street!

    As a distant observer, it is astonishing U.S. tax payers have been fooled into thinking the failure of AIG would have been catastophic by undermining confidence in the financial system. In essence, this veil of deception allowed a Coup d'etat of the U.S. Government and Treasury by the banking system elite.

    It is undeniable that politicians in Washington D.C. have been bought and sold for years by financial lobbyists in favor of Wall Street's interests at the expense of U.S. tax payers for many generations to come.

    A most glaring abdication of duty by U.S. politicians indeed! (i.e.,.Paulson, Richard Shelby, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Geitner, Bernake, and both the Clinton and Bush Administrations, etc...).

    One must ask the question who was responsible for supervising and overseeing the behavior of AIG and Wall St. firms while U.S. politicians basically rolled the dice in providing subsidized housing (i.e., Fannie/Freddie via Clinton's State of the Union Address)?

    From the U.S. tax payer viewpoint, the actions of U.S. politicians and Wall St. are totally indefensible and is the apotheosis of utter incompetence, greed, arrogance!

    The smell of this egregious behavior by the U.S. permeates from Shanghai to Dubai!

    Corporations=Enity
    Fetus=non-enity

    The Supreme-being court, along with the Jerks at Justice, the Lame Legislaturers, and our Pondering President have so many 'weaved-webs' that getting back to Meaningful Mainstreet Values is not likely if 'Left' up to the aforementioned!

    Evderyone vote INDEPENDENT in Nov. & turn this train wreck around!

    Nauseously,

    Billy Bob Florida

    Cool! Keep up the good work and thank you for sharing.

    Maybe now that EVERY HUMAN BEING on the planet has been censored BY JUSTICES and only one Big Giant Head can be channeled...

    perhaps that scene from the movie "Chocolat" will come to pass - we'll find the "moral" politician in the display window with chocolate smeared all over his face - finally gorged on and satiated himself with POWER OVER OTHERS...

    The failure of the " Free Press " to bring the issues before the American people for tel a dire warning that the end of our freedom and democracy is near. The consolidation of broadcast and print media with the help of the FCC has turned it for the most part into propaganda.

    Where are the protests, marches, stinging editorials on the loss of our liberty ? Are we too busy with our toys to notice the theft by right wing nuts.

    When we as a people condone the actions of groups that we know are immoral even if they are legal we will then pay the price.

    Usury, theft, kidnapping, torture are all wrong no matter the justification. unfortunately we now have political parties that embrace them. Torture is ok if you get good answers.
    Kidnapping is ok if they were bad guys.Usury is ok if its done by a bank. Theft is ok if done by Wall Street.
    Where and when does it end ? Is it a Republican or Democrat issue ? Or come election time do we stop voting for political parties ?

    Supreme-Court ruling rolls The Founders in their graves and buries the voice of the people with them.

    The Reagan-Bush appointed, Supreme-Court majority has finally handed the conservative Republicans and their big-business and industry stewards a victory of monumental proportions, with their ruling tying First Amendment free-speech rights to campaign contributions. The 5-to-4 ruling is an abomination of the Constitution and rips apart the fabric of The Founders’ concept of democracy.

    Conservative spokesmen say the ruling, sweeping away the Congress’s McCain-Feingold restrictions on campaign contributions (which actually never went far enough), and which allows unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions, restores free speech and equality to that which was always intended by the First Amendment, when the fact is, in the time of the Founders, there was no election machine or industry that was dependent upon the monetized system of influence, or that was any kind of consideration for free-speech protections. The truth of that is in the very words of Thomas Jefferson, spoken against the power and ambition of industry to take government control from the people, which cry out from his grave against the falsehood of all of the conservative-Republican claims supporting the ruling, and which prove the highest court in the land no longer stands to protect the Constitution, but rather, to protect and preserve the power of corporate-industrial America, the people be damned.

    Only Congress can right this abortive travesty and threat to democracy by passing laws banning all campaign contributions and establishing funding for all elections that is wholly public. It should be the highest priority of the president and the Democratic Congress, even above healthcare and banking-regulation reforms. Otherwise, the United States of America, as the Founders conceived it, to be an instrument of the People, is dead and going to hell.

    While we slept, there have been some changes in Our Constitution.

    The United States of America has become the UNITED CORPORATIONS OF AMERICA.

    We the People, became ME THE CEO.

    In order to form a More Perfect Union, became IN ORDER TO FORM A MORE PERFECT DICHOTOMY.

    Justice, became JUST US.

    To insure Domestic Tranquility, became TO DESTROY DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY BY STEALING THE ECONOMY.

    To Provide for the Common Defense, became PROVOKE AN UNCOMMON WAR.

    To Promote the General Welfare, became PROMOTE THE GENERAL WARFARE.

    To Secure the Blessing of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Posterity, became “HOW MUCH FREEDOM WILL YOU GIVE UP--or let us take away from you and your children FOR THE SAKE OF HOMELAND SECURITY--which incidentally we put in jeopardy with our unjust wars.

    Mr. Moyers,
    I have watched your programs over the years and found them to be most informative. You have had several guests on your current program who have talked about the recent financial crises. The gentlemen from Mother Jones magazine and other guests have made statements to the effect that the American people are not outraged by what is going on because we don't understand the complexities of the issues. Well, I would like to suggest that as a member of the media YOU and some of your colleagues produce some programs that would explain, in simple terms, items like derivatives and some of the financial bills that have previously and are currently going through congress. I think folks will be outraged and will rise up! You can't fight what you don't know about!

    In my view, Maria Echaveste, is partially right because Americans have to fight for their dream, but do not have to fight to keep the “American Dream” alive for the nation. More specifically, I believe that if you want your dreams to come true you must work hard, and never give up. For example, Chris Gardner is a perfect example of some one who made his dreams come true, with hard work and determination. Going from poor to successful he is an inspirational man and even has a movie, The Pursuit Of Happiness, made in his honor. Although Maria Echaveste might object that Americans are loosing hope in dreams, I maintain that Americans are dreaming more now because they need hope during our current recession. Therefore I conclude that one must fight for a dream but does not have to fight to keep the “American Dream” alive for the nation.

    In my view, Heather Booth, is right because without a representative and fair government, one’s own personal goals are difficult to achieve. More specifically, I believe that the reason why it is called the “American Dream” is because our country was founded on rights given to the people. For example, if our government turned into a dictatorship, the opportunities that we have in our society today would be unavailable, making us no different from a communist country. Past governments and present political bodies have shown that the American Dream in also under the responsibility of the government as well as the citizen. Our country needs to learn from previous mistakes in other countries in terms of Communism so that they do not take away the chances to accomplish the American Dream. Although what she said is true, I also believe that willpower and determination coupled with a stable government help to achieve the individual American dream. In order to achieve the ultimate aspirations of one’s hopes, one must also be willing to sacrifice other possessions and be willing to undergo adversity in order to prevail. Therefore, I conclude that both a willing government and a willing individual are needed in order to gain success for each person and for our society.

    The Mortenson conversation gave me a brand new insight on what we should be doing in Afghan/Pakistan but made me wonder if that is what Pres. Obama really meant when he said "we will Partner" with Afghanistan and Pakistan soldiers. That, made me remember what someone else wrote about our failure in Vietnam, where we did NOT "partner" with the Vietnamese soldiers, "they" knew we were leaving in 12 months and knew we got a lot more than they did, had better weapons, ... etc.
    Someone else wrote that the defense of the Pusan Perimeter in Korea made it essential, by necessity, to "partner" and even bunk with our ROK Korean allies, a key point our leaders missed, Yes, I too wonder if bigotry has something to do with that, I don't know.
    ----
    The point that Mr. Mortenson made was described, also, by Ray Suarez on a program used in Mexico, to build schools, improve health care and empower women in ways that made me proud to be an American, Mexican-American.
    When we see how badly we were treating our Veterans and how badly things were going over there, I had little hope ... but, Bill Moyers program, and Ray Suarez in the Newshour, give me much hope. OK, it may be wishful thinking, but I want to believe we NOW know the truth, and it will make US free. I am sure. Otherwise, the new soldiers will fail.

    Concerning 'big government', there are some things that if the government doesn't do, then who will?:

    1) Conservation and punishment of environmental polluters:

    - A nation that destroys it's soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

    2) In a society where self-interest prevails, the government needs to promote its opposite--the common good:

    - The hopes of the Republic cannot forever tolerate either undeserved poverty or self-serving wealth...We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we now know that it is bad economics...- Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

    3) And in a society that is preoccupied with short-term value, government needs to remind us that our future depends on not failing to incorporate values into our plans:

    - The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profits. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)


    So for those who are still anti-big government:

    - I believe that in the future the State...will assume a much larger role in the lives of its citizens...Now some people are going to say this is socialistic. My answer to them is that it is "social," not "socialistic." (Franklin D. Roosevelt,1928)

    http://cikehara.blogspot.com/2009/03/when-it-comes-to-imperial-presidency.html

    Bill, thank you for covering these issues in a way few other media outlets do. Sadly, the culture of forgetting and the complexity seem too powerful to fight. I work in finance but support broad, strong regulation in what is these days scandalous act of long-term self-interest. I try to explain to friends and family outside the field about subsidies, moral hazard, perverse incentives - not to mention that we already have entities that are designed prevent "too big to fail" (for example, what ever happened to the FTC after that big AT&T thing? are they still around?).

    I don't think individual efforts, pkrotests and outrage are going to get this job done. If everyone in California called their congressperson and demanded these reforms they still would not happen. Same for New York. What we need is a potent, paid-for political strategy focusing on where the levers of power are pulled and the people who can pull them. It must be coordinated with laser precision on people like Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), lynchpins of the anti-regulation cabal.

    I also don't think President Obama can lead this particular effort, though he can follow it. During the election, then-Senator Obama delivered a robust critique of an the economic philosophy of the last 30 years, a philosophy cut and pasted from the yellowing pages of Ayn Rand novels. It is up to the rank-and-file progressives to mobilize their efforts and "make war" upon those who still hoist the banner of greed and swear fealty to it. We must demonstrate the moral bankruptcy of this movement and of its leaders directly to the people they purport to represent.

    One idea might be a high-profile tour of leading progressives through an area of Georgia where banking deregulation wrought such destruction, Business Week reports that it has become known as the "Circle of Death". This kind of thing would serve multiple uses - galvanizing progressives to action, forcing a debate on our terms with a better chance of actually helping to alleviate suffering. Is it possible you could find support for regulation among the hapless southern conservative? Only if you're crazy enough to think a biracial Democrat could win in North Carolina.

    So I agree - let's take the anger and run with it. But I sure hope there are skilled political operators who can show us some love and coordination, or the movement for financial reform is going to be regarded by historians as mildly less significant than the teabaggers.

    I caught the 1/10/10 show about the banking nightmare and as if I wasn't already mad enough, got livid after the show. To the point where I sat down and wrote a 2 page letter of my outrage. I plan on sending it to as many politicians that have anything to do with reigning in these bastards as possible and most especially those that are receiving any money from the very institutions who got us into this mess to begin with. Thank you for this program and thank you to the Mother Jones reporters for making me get off my ass and do something. I also went out and bought the magazine to further fuel my anger. There are just too many of us in the real world, struggling to make every penny count for these egotistical bastards to continue on as they have done before. AND for our elected officials to stand by, water down the laws or out n' out oppose measures to curb the banks and Wall St. and THEN reap monetary benefits from them...? These people aren't working for me and I'VE HAD IT!! No more panels with more and more questions to the vermin bankers that just prolong the whole mess. I KNOW WHAT THE ANSWERS ARE. LAWS! I am giving as many politicians as I can think of notice that they will not have my vote in the future, and I vote in every election, large and small. Enough is enough. The mass of us that make up this country, and don't have obscene paychecks and bonuses, must rise up and shout to the rafters. We MUST let Washington know that WE are DEMANDING change in the system NOW. and we are not going to forget whose side you chose.

    So you Americans, get off your lazy bums and write, call and email your representatives, your senators, your president. We hired them! We can fire them in the NEXT ELECTION!!

    I am puzzled by all the hopeful comments in the interview about what Obama should do. Haven't you been listening? Obama is a liar & has no integrity & is only impressed with himself with the main stream media still in the tank. However, you were right about Washington being in a bubble. The banksters are stealing all they can until the economic & currency collapse comes. The markets are merely being held up artificially until the banksters have finished stealing the wealth of most Americans. Then we are through.

    Malcolm Kantzler wrote, in part, "And this destructive abuse will continue, unabated until the conceptual America of the Founders is completely dead and gone, along with a uniquely American culture and heritage that will be obliterated by laws pushed aside to allow the invasion of an unacclimated, poorly or uneducated illegal-immigrant horde, whose blindly-granted right to vote, based upon a poorly devised and questionably administered flash-card test, will be cast, subject to manipulation, with the only native knowledge of government they possess, rooted in Banana-Republic abuse, self-service, ineptitude and corruption."

    Uh, I don't believe people from "banana republics" are the first wave of immigrants to the USA in the 20th century who are refugees from "isms" that are completely delusional ideologies in the way of "government"! Privately, I was always envious of the social engineering that seems to have convinced USA "government" to donate its military might to a particular group of refugees to get back their historical land...you would have thought that Russia was a better deal for land reclamation, huh?

    Oh the webs we weave...

    "Disasters" trigger the "better angels" of fight or flight - which DOES include automatic organization of manpower.

    "Complicated" does not work in relief efforts.

    Science, real science, is always helpful in developing a Plan B, C, D, all the way up to Z :-)

    Water floats on water - so if it's an island, you got lots of beaches to float the pallets to...the GOOD people are the first on the scene if it's fast enough, delays increase the chances that the worst in the society gain "power".

    No matter how many well-writ words are sent into cyberspace prophesizing the "end times" for USA, it ain't gonna happen.

    We're NOT stupid, it's all yaddayadda "virtual" dreaming...

    No, the problem for everything, from banking to Afghanistan, is rooted in one place: the electoral system.

    When President Obama, in his December 1 Afghanistan speech, claimed a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan would begin in June 2011, in almost the same breath he announced he is sending another 30,000 troops there, he delivered a cheap shot to the American people, which was regrettably delivered again later by Vice President Biden when he wrote in a broadcast e-mail that the president’s speech came “with a firm commitment to begin bringing our troops home in 2011.” But John McCain, in playing out his war-mongering, opposition role by rote, treated that empty withdrawal promise as legitimate and criticized President Obama’s setting of the meaningless deadline based upon the tried-and-failed concept, “you win a war by breaking the will of the enemy.” That assessment is as far from true as his assessment of Sarah Palin’s qualifications for high office in the 2008 election.

    The will of the South Vietnamese government was not defeated when they and America lost that war, few South Vietnamese had the necessary will, and despite that breaking the communist will was always a voiced objective, as was the false threat that withdrawal would spell the fall, like dominoes, of the region to communism, it was the will of nationalism that overcame South Vietnam and the patience of America.

    In WWII, the will of the German people was not broken. Their ability to wage war was reduced to rubble and their army decimated. There is no such army to defeat fielded anywhere in the terrorist conflict.

    In the trenches of WWI, the will of soldiers on all sides to throw their lives away by rushing machine-gun nests was not broken. They were, on both sides, overcome with lead, and the leaders on both sides eventually decided the costs were just too great to continue.

    The same is true of both al Qaeda and the Taliban. Their will to fight will never be broken. And the fact is that, despite McCain’s eagerness to commit America to another endless war, any war has a limit of worth, which is the limit the president chooses to impose upon the U.S. government and the Afghan regime, based upon the evaluation of the threat as it exists now and is forecast, and based upon the reasoned conformity to real limits of capability and objective.

    The increased 30,000 U.S. troops, bringing the U.S. total to about 100,000, will not achieve the objective of eliminating the Taliban and al Qaeda. Some coalition members have agreed to trace additions, but international, public outcry, particularly within America’s strongest allies, Great Britain and Germany, is already loudly opposed. Perhaps the president realizes this and thus sets a deadline. It may be successful in building up an Afghan army that can permanently reduce the Taliban to a minority political faction, and it seems it is this objective that the president has decided is worth adding to the troops and effort already in place there to obtain. The November 2009 report of Taliban resurgence in Kunduz province, where Afghan police presence was cut, and where U.S. analysts expected the Taliban would not to be a factor in the military planning, is a perfect example of why the U.S. cannot win a guerrilla war there, and why sending more troops will not be enough, and will only provide greater opportunities for Taliban and al Qaeda offensive actions. And aside from proving that intelligence and law-enforcement anti-terrorist efforts, though effective, are still falling far short of where they need to be, the Christmas-day bombing attempt against a Detroit-bound Delta-Northwest Airlines jet, by the self-professed al-Qaeda Nigerian, Abdul Mutallab, is yet another example of how shortsighted it is to wage a military campaign in Afghanistan or anywhere else on the basis of defense against another 911-type al-Qaeda attack, which can and will originate from anywhere al Qaeda or any organized terror exists.

    The Taliban will flow like electricity, along the paths of least resistance to deliver shocks, and then pull the plug to disappear again. Afghanistan will be another case of an enemy that yanks the American chain and, for the most part, cannot be confronted except on their terms. Going after the Taliban as a tactic to attack al Qaeda is as much taking a sucker punch as is attacking al Qaeda with a fielded army. If 30,000 will be sent, then another 130,000 will be needed, and when the time-limit the president has set has been reached and extended or not, what will have been gained? The eradication of al Qaeda? Not likely. Or the Taliban? Again, not likely. The continued support of the American people or Congress? Not at all likely. At best, the Taliban will only be driven underground and reduced to a constant, low level of aggression with occasional but regular spikes in violence, ever a threat to the populace who would dare to betray them and leaders who dare to defy them. But in the end, after America has taken its losses and left, they will still be there to consolidate their influence, because as is now being seen in Iraq, Afghanistan is their land, not America’s to shape.

    All of that, and an era of casual, run-on warfare, with its expanded legions of riddled and shockingly, disgracefully overstretched American military families is the only future that awaits a decision to act against al Qaeda through the Taliban with troops and nation building in partnership with a corrupt, self-interested regime, instead of attacking al Qaeda as organized criminals, with law enforcement, intelligence, limited, precision military action in appropriately advantageous situations, and nation cooperation. Two examples of where the will of the “enemy” was broken to bring victory were not wars fought with fielded armies (if you discount the CIA): the Cold War, which was won chiefly by the spies of intelligence and the guns of economics, and the treaty obtained by Great Britain with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which was brought about chiefly with intelligence, law-enforcement and diplomacy. And in post WWII Germany, there is another example of fringe violence eliminated without war, there to enlighten any who look for it, and, undoubtedly, many others. America’s conflict with al Qaeda should be among them. But after one incompetent, failed, eight-year attempt, the conflict with that Islamist Mafia is set again, through misdirection and misjudgment, to fail to make the list of smartly engaged and settled conflicts.

    The withdrawal promise in the president’s speech was a cheap shot because after his speech, the president, through his cabinet and spokesmen, “qualified” his withdrawal date by saying it would be conditional to conditions on the ground, which means there is no withdrawal promise or commitment, and that, in fact, more troops could and will be sent after that date unless the president actually decides to withdraw or Congress forces him to.

    Presumedly, if a withdrawal ever happens in the baby-boomer generation’s lifetime, the president will begin the withdrawal and set about to morph the U.S. effort into something more akin to the cooperative intelligence/law-enforcement offense, supplemented with special forces as needed, that Vice President Biden and many others preferred, which will mean a two-year delay to get to where the fight against terrorist-criminals should be focused. The trouble is that those two years will cost at least $150 billion and the lives of no less than 1,200 more soldiers.

    When president after president, Republican or Democrat, and war after war, the will of the people and the majority of Congress is ignored, the message is clear, that democracy in America is broken. And the factors that stand between the government and the People are no mystery. President Andrew Jackson, in a spawning industrial, corporate, and banking expansion was warned that, without care, these industries would take over the power of government, a warning echoing Founder and President Thomas Jefferson’s, and most lately echoed by President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning of the dangers of the growing, Cold-War fueled military-industrial complex. And, 100 years before the end of the Great Depression, Jackson found himself in a struggle with the banks, a struggle in which the Democratic party’s roots were sewn.

    Now, from rug-swept high crimes to ceremonial Constitution to shameful abuse of wealth to health care for provider profit to futile war to unrelenting climate change, influence peddlers tied to these factions control the policies that are destroying the future of America, and with global warming, the world. These interests, mostly exercised through the Republican party’s conservative wing, will trade jobs in one industry or another for eventual disaster everywhere. In wars, where they no longer need fear the involvement of their own sons or daughters, they press for conflicts to keep the technology of violence progressing and the military involved to use it. And at the very core of the power that these and other influences have over the People and their representatives, lies the entrenched, enshrined, corrupted, influence machine of elections.

    A clean electoral process is what lies at the very heart of a true democratic system, and that core of freedom and choice is at the heart of the attack for control by the monied, greed-vested entities from corporate to industrial that see Washington as their own personal cache of money and privilege to be raided at will. The control has been theirs because of their steadfast, long-term grip on the system of contributions and gifts that buys the advertising that brings the unenlightened mass vote used as the leverage that delivers influence used to sway law makers to the dark side, and as a result, the American democracy is a sham, a front for disguising the true nature of the elitist democracy that really exists and controls the lives and future of all in the nation. The corruption of campaign finance has become as comfortable as old sweats, so integral to the life of Congress and its members that congressional promotions are based upon fund-raising accomplishments rather than skills that yield intelligent legislation or more enlightened constituent integration with the process of government.

    Until all election contributions by both individuals and organizations are banned, and elections are fully, treasury funded, Americans will never get near their worth from the fund-raising-prioritized time and money-influence-prioritized decisions of their elected officials, and they will never be free of unneeded, unwanted wars, suicidal policies against the thin, fragile veil of air that supports all life and dictates whether climates are to be stable, or the whole slew of influence travesties, ranging from pork spending to government ethics that plagues the relationship between Washington and the voters. And this destructive abuse will continue, unabated until the conceptual America of the Founders is completely dead and gone, along with a uniquely American culture and heritage that will be obliterated by laws pushed aside to allow the invasion of an unacclimated, poorly or uneducated illegal-immigrant horde, whose blindly-granted right to vote, based upon a poorly devised and questionably administered flash-card test, will be cast, subject to manipulation, with the only native knowledge of government they possess, rooted in Banana-Republic abuse, self-service, ineptitude and corruption.

    With the administration’s latest moves to block a promised, “greater-transparency” release of military and intelligence documents, and the president’s anti-Peace Prize choices (which he tactfully acknowledged as one of many conflicting factors in his Nobel acceptance speech) to step up Afghanistan deployments and make America the sole NATO hold-out against signing the Land Mine accord, the hope of a brighter democratic future for America and its people, sparked by the campaign and election of President Obama, has dimmed as the changes crossing the face of Washington seem to be limited to little more than a different elocutionary rhetoric, the lining of a few different pockets, a no-different shortchanging of institutional ethics reform, and different points of fruitless military deployment—a headlong, though more shallow plunge into still-darkening directions.

    Depending on the generosity of the rich and powerful is a fatal tactical error.


    Posted by: D. C. Eddy

    Indeed, nothing in the way of "aid" to the Carribean from the Arabian peninsula...

    So that's what I've done. Any other ideas?

    Posted by: Mary

    It has been proven over and over and over again since Paulson demanded the no-questions-asked "bail out" that the "banking industry" is nothing more than a scheme to EXTRACT unearned wealth - GLOBALLY!

    Just one more idea, sign the petition Boone Pickens is circulating :-)

    Laisses faire is basically a lazy affair that provides financial disasters. Non-sequitur has become a popular way to deceive people.
    It is necessary to beware of any statement that is not consistent with its premises. It does not follow that lack of control provides freedom.
    What provides freedom is efficient systems that make possible more time and money to do what you want to do instead of what you have to do.

    Poverty is not freedom...

    If we want freedom, equity and justice; we have to pay the price. That means the economy has to be adjusted to correct the problem.

    Depending on the generosity of the rich and powerful is a fatal tactical error.

    nd this topic might be best addressed in a fictional format. keep up the great work and we will miss you come spring./lr

    Dear Bill,

    After listening to shows like yours about Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Money, it's begin very clear to me that the real problem is that all of these companies are too big-- too big and powerful for the Government to regulate. Big companies simply need to be broken down for the greater good of the people.

    Thanks,
    Angela

    Thanks to Moyer,Drum,Corn for information. I had read Mr. Drum's fabulous article and Emailed a summary of it to >12 people before your show. After reading it, I contributed to Mother Jones' Investigative reporting fund. I would be willing to march on DC if done when I can take off work. Someone set it up! As other bloggers, I am angry and have lost sleep all year because of the greed, ignorance and complexity around both financial collapse and health care reform. Earlier in the year I began a gradual program to act as I reasoned I could with my dollars. We bought my son's mortgage from Wells Fargo to become son's mortgager; I bought my other son's student loan to become his lender for Med. school; I sold 2 pieces of property to local young people by installment plans, I wrote Fidelity & TRowe about voting my SEP/IRA retirement mutual fund stock options to vote against excess executive pay & bonuses or those that reward short term events only; I refused all retirement investments that involved proprietory investments of derivatives(if I knew about them post 9/08 awareness of issue); I joined my local political party; I am asking League of Women Voters US to adopt financial reform as issue of study, positions, advocacy (June convention will decide); I continue local credit union for checking/CDs, but am asking that credit union why it got $5.3mil. from TARP for home improvement loans; I am initiating a new CD account with a local bank than lends 98% of its deposits to local businesses and private buyers of houses, vehicles (just have to read their FDIC filings first at www.fdic.gov); I read this blog, several articles & books (like Bad Money,Wall Street Journal's Understanding Money, Banks and Wall Street); I sent dozens of Emails to my D.C. Elected officials (My Sen.Corker is on Banking committee,will probably ignore me); I sent letter to the editor calling for reform and repeal of carried interest rule; I hired someone part time; I stopped contibuting to my retirement plan since the money goes to Wall Street and too much to financials within mutual funds. I will just save locally or buy individual stocks and no more into SEP/IRA with someone else's rules. I am evaluating all my mutual funds and am moving out of those with significant purchases in the financial or insurance sector. I await a good tutorial on AIG (not a bank,???why bailed out) (insured against derviative loss??is that valid insurance practice?) So that's what I've done. Any other ideas?

    People until the bankers,wallstreet big wigs, politicians,lobbyist,ceo/cfos to name a few have to look over their shoulder twice maybe three times nothing is going to change.Put the fear into them as they have to us by means of the media,job loss,no retirements,no future and breaking up the american family/dream.That is what it will take making them fear us and voting.We need a new party new direction.The right/left can not find its own ass without a search warrant!!!

    Posted by: wip

    Psychotics and their sociopathic followers, as individuals, all have some kind of phobia. Judging from the media-induced brain lock "breaking news" topics, which are projections of THEIR phobias on to others, we can safely ascertain that the only "thing" that will break their "will" is ridicule.

    Judging from the endless kabuki theatre "hearings" they keep having by one committee or another, it's not "business as usual" so much as it is OBVIOUS that dementia has set in, also.

    The only people who have been brainwashed into following an "authority" that abuses them are those poisoned into masochism through the double-opiate whammy: jesus-on-a-stick and "pharmaceuticals"...

    So I guess that's the "future" we are going to be handing over to the next generations - everyone LOSING their lives in "service" to unrepenting criminals?

    Solution - Print our own "money"...scheesh, what part don't you people understand...?!

    Did the reminder stickies fall off...? They HATE everyone and made up LISTS of people to revenge against - everyone is on one list or another and it's all made up crap - just like "fractional" banking...

    Every "ism" concocted in the 20th century is just THEFT.

    Without a proper man to land ratio (agricultural base) there is NO FUTURE.

    OBVIOUSLY, even the ongoing disasters mean nothing to them - INFRASTRUCTURE in USA has been getting NO FUNDING - either to maintain or to progress.

    Sorry people, but that's just too stupid...and downright insane.

    Again, this blog in no way represents what is really happening among the "stupid people"...

    meth and mortgages and spunking hooligans...there's the "army" of "followers" of the Supreme Being of $$$.

    Bill,
    Thank you for your guests and your outstanding show.
    I watched the first day of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Hearing. Anyone who wants their questions answered by the Commission may leave their questions at their website:
    http://www.fcic.gov/contact/

    The recession: systemic... or psychopathic failure?

    “Bankers” is a loosely defined term that actually, nowadays, includes anyone or any entity having anything to do with activities normally associated with banking, or Wall Street’s investment types, and those who caused and/or contributed to the ongoing recession, and/or who act as though it either never happened or is long gone. These bankers and those who, once their peers, have moved into related occupations, have little upon which to stand when complaining about popular uprisings or witch hunts, or when attempting to defend their professionalism or motivations in the wake of the economy they sank. But these “bankers” also fall very neatly into another definition:


    Superficially charming, tending to make good first impressions on others and often striking observers as remarkably normal, yet self-centered, dishonest and undependable, often engaging in irresponsible behavior [risk] for just the sheer fun of it. Largely devoid of guilt, empathy [obscene compensation] and love, having casual and callous relationships, routinely offering excuses for their reckless and often outrageous actions, placing blame on others instead [regulators, consumers, the system, global factors], rarely learning from their mistakes or benefitting from negative feedback [more and bigger bonuses, getaways], and having difficulty inhibiting their impulses [more and bigger bonuses, getaways, risk].

    This, not violence, is what has been the long-standing, accepted description of that which characterizes a “psychopath,” as first defined by psychiatrist Hervey M. Cleckley, in 1941. Does it sound like psychopathic bankers are capable or inclined to police themselves, as former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan fervently believed? Or that in the process of endlessly compromising their amorality they will adopt non-sociopathic, “learned behavior” on their own? Is Congress listening, or can the truth be heard and the pain seen through the mountain of bankers’ cash in which legislators are buried?

    In answer to their part in engineering the economic train wreck of the era, bankers with psychopathic traits prefer to do as most do who either are or have been aligned with the high dwellers in steel and glass: testify and make media statements diluting the blame and responsibility, avoiding accountability, and remaining blind to the fact that they are leeches who still, for the most part, believe they are entitled to bonuses that dwarf the annual salaries of most working Americans (referred to as “they still don’t get it.”), not to mention the multitudes whom they primarily put out of jobs and homes. These arrogant, high-and-mighty financial magicians pulled scorched and battered rabbits out of their hats and then bled money out of them while claiming that the hats in which the rabbits were assaulted were not theirs to either wear or control.

    The rabbits—American citizens, governments, charities and companies, still suffering and, in the latter case, many gone, are still scarred, battered, and burnt, and they will continue to be all the while the bankers are pocketing their loot and marveling at the wondrous fortune of their chosen profession, where they control Congress, and accountability is less onerous for them than even for the politicians they own (who are quite willing to let their campaign paymasters get away with murder—same story with health-care reform) and where punishment is the comfort of bulging pockets, the opposite of what those they failed and hurt are destined long to suffer, and for whom no tax or penalty that can be mustered could ever be repayment.

    Sure, some top executives were forced out or went down with their companies, but they were richly, life-term endowed with golden parachutes, and a few top CEO’s, like Citi’s Pandit, took no salary in 2009. But that is a meaningless non-sacrifice in their far, far-away universe, where the tens upon tens, up to hundreds of $millions they’ve already been paid have seated them in the cozy lap of luxury for life, with no need to ever work again! Even if these irresponsible banking elitists were all taxed and clawed-back into bankruptcy and ruin, as they should be, there would be not nearly enough to right the treasuries of charities and all levels of government that have been depleted in softening the blows to the people who have been made the jetsam of their wreck, or pay back a measure of justice for those who will never see a bonus or a year’s salary that equals the most modest of those bank bonuses, so rich that they draw easy attention to bankers’ greed and thoughtlessness.

    Now, big-time bankers are taking extraordinary and, in many cases, record profits and pay while talking about lessons learned and revamped risk assessment. But the fact is that there is no such thing as risk in an industry where those in the top floors maintain total separation between the losses of their firms and those in their wallets. Nothing demonstrates the prevailing, obscene distortion of business and capitalist logic better than the contrast of the drained net worth of millions of Americans and thousands of businesses, charities, and governments against the burgeoning pay, bonuses, and multi-million-dollar homes and toys of the privileged few who brought down so many as their personal, financial umbilicals were and still remain severed from the dying and resuscitated bodies upon which they greedily feed through their professionally structured, investor-separated IV lines.

    The worst cases are too numerous and painful to ignore, except for those who pocket the big bucks. A parent holding a foreclosure ruling and a worthless front-door key knows that the party is over. A single mom converting a pink slip into an unemployment claim that’s about to run out of its extension knows the tap is dripping dry. A 65-plus year-old retiree who is forced to go back to what will be difficult, physically tiring work (if it can be found) or face impoverished subsistence or homelessness knows the cherished future, his or her slice of the American dream, has vanished. A business owner who can’t get a loan to expand or provide for the next quarter’s needs knows where an “Out of Business” sign could soon hang and that severe cuts are not a matter of choice.

    Meanwhile, these victims are invisible to the bankers who culpably failed and who now strategize bonus payments and buyouts with taxpayer windfalls, and who see horizons brighter than ever and don’t know about suffering or cuts, except those which they impose on others. One firm after another has demonstrated that, for them, the party is bigger than ever, as the only concern about their payrolls is how to shuffle them while enlarging them so that they won’t draw any more ire than absolutely necessary. If the stuffed pockets of the bankers could at least buy a pound of social justice from which to build a more responsible future, then perhaps one could say it is all worth it. But the evidence seems to be that both bankers and government have learned nothing and will be poised to bring another disaster down upon us in the future, one from which, as it has been going, the bankers and blindly re-elected politicians will continue to not only be immune, but from which the bankers will, somehow, again find loopholes and exclusions in the rules from which they will greatly profit at the enduring expense of many others.

    Business as usual...

    People until the bankers,wallstreet big wigs, politicians,lobbyist,ceo/cfos to name a few have to look over their shoulder twice maybe three times nothing is going to change.Put the fear into them as they have to us by means of the media,job loss,no retirements,no future and breaking up the american family/dream.That is what it will take making them fear us and voting.We need a new party new direction.The right/left can not find its own ass without a search warrant!!!

    Yup, bad math...and even worse "metrics" JUDGING what is right and what is wrong with the "business model"...
    "Pre-meditated" usually gets a stricter punishment, especially when there is OBVIOUSLY no remorse being shown by the criminal.
    Posted by: Anna D

    Good post Anna (Grasshopper)...
    I knew you could do it!
    (:-)>
    Dave

    Tom Hagan, wrote, in part, "The present money and banking system has failed, and some observers think it is inherently unstable, incapable of long term sustainability.
    They describe that instability as follows:
    Fractional Reserve Banking (our present system) requires ever-increasing levels of debt, because banks create virtually all of our money as "debt money" or "credit money" when they lend out principal for loans. But they are owed back principal plus interest, so more money is needed to pay off debts than exists. To stave off collapse, the banks must add constantly to outstanding debt, so the present money system requires an ever-increasing level of debt. But nothing can keep increasing forever in a finite world, and eventually debt must hit an upper limit where total debt can no longer be increased. At that point, borrowers default, banks fail , credit freezes, and the system crashes. Some believe the present crash is different from previous ones: it signals the doomed end of fractional reserve banking."

    I have to respectfully disagree. Fractional Reserve Banking is working exactly as it was planned to work. It is no coincidence that Bernacke, a "Great Depression" scholar, was in the right place at the right time to manage the "crash" - doing that alchemy abracadabra that transforms "debt" into "profit".

    You can't expect "Liar Loan" issuers to tell the truth - scheesh.

    There is NO EXCUSE for concocting the MATH equation that insures that ONLY the labor that BUILT the wealth (in this case, "olympic labor" from 1920 to 1960s and then the assasination of Kennedy) is thrown out of what they built.

    This schtick of lending just enough money to have the house built 80% of the way before the lender yanks the loan goes all the way back to Herod Antipas.

    I think that the only place we have agreement is that with 7 billion people on the planet and the ensuing environmental disaster that we will continue to have to adapt to in the way of basic life maintenance that is just a touch above swinging through the trees like other primates,

    well, yes, agreed that fractional reserve banking is INCOMPETANT and DELUSIONAL as a "business model".

    Still need the force of nanny-justice to drive home the point that the "shareholders" are "consumers" who are too stupid to know when to stop eating.

    I hate to do this, but the Haiti visuals are there for discussion.

    We HAVE a sane man to land ratio in the USA that is still based on a sustainable supply of life maintenance

    that may have DARED to produce enough beauty and luxury to p-ss off the evil twin sister of greed - cheap - enough so as to trigger the timing of the crash to happen quicker than the original plan.

    Yup, bad math...and even worse "metrics" JUDGING what is right and what is wrong with the "business model"...

    "Pre-meditated" usually gets a stricter punishment, especially when there is OBVIOUSLY no remorse being shown by the criminal.

    "...fundamental turning point for our economy." In your insightful show, this one concept struck me; things have really changed in our former democracy/republic. As George W. Bush put it, "I'm for the Haves and Have Mores." Our current leaders are demonstrating by their actions with Wall Street that they are on the Have More camp solidly and profoundly.

    So we know the reality, what will be the future? As a small business owners, we have changed the way we operate. We are being conservative. We don't depend on a handout and do our best to serve our clients. We won't borrow. We don't spend as much. We are hunkered down and very angry. As more people fall into poverty and hopelessness, things are going to change. The guys at the top don't think they can be toppled, but they will be. There will be a turning point, a reckoning, and it is coming.
    Thanks for your show and Mother Jones. At least the Have Less have some information on which to make decisions.

    Dear Bill,

    Thank you for your thoughtful program.

    One concern I have not seen adequately addressed is the size/character of the remaining banks for their consumers. While watching "It's a Wonderful Life" - we all learned that bankers can be like George Bailey or Mr. Potter. The large banks that were allowed to fail, like WaMu and Wachovia, had much more consumer friendly policies and products - free checking, no fee loans, etc. Their greatest sin may have been to have a headquarters outside of New York - away from Geithner, not their loan portfolios, which while probably very bad – were not necessarily worse than the other banks.

    When the government, rather than consumers, chooses the winners and losers - we need to ask ourselves who it serves. In addition to the broader economic impact, banks provide essential services to individual consumers. With the choices that have been made by the government to pick winners like Mr. Potter – in spite of the significant switching costs to change banks, we all need to vote with our feet.

    When WaMu converted to Chase - the only solution I found to their increasing fees and decreasing services was to join a local credit union.

    -Ella

    Interesting, Mr. Stadler. But I prefer to listen to the likes of Wendell Berry when he wrote: "Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand. It is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy."
    We are human beings, Mr. Stadler, not rats or roaches.
    Posted by: Ted Markow

    Justice and Mercy are Human Ideologies that are necessary to support a quality society...

    It is necessary to know what should be before you make it that way.

    It is all about the social structure and its ability to perform the necessary tasks to provide all of its people quality lifestyles.

    Our ability to change things is essential to our ability to survive. We need to be able to do what is necessary to make our social systems what they should be. Otherwise, failure is guaranteed.



    Dear Bill,

    Thanks once again for bringing to light the disparities and the injustices within our society. I, too, no longer trust the large financial institutions and the influence they weild over our legislators.

    After some thought however, it became apparant to me that "outrage", although helpful to the cause, is not really necessary. As far as I see it, the answer to moving our governments representatives and the powerful financial lobby towards positive action is very simple: Fight fire with fire. It's all about the money. Take away the money and you take away the power. So, how do you do that? Again the answer is very simple and lies within our own communities. The answer is Credit Unions; community-based financial institutions that are owned and operated by the depositors. So I say to everyone: Are you truly sick and tired of the dirty deals on Wall Street and Washingtion? If you are, then go to Main Street. There you will find a friendly banker who lends locally and works for you! Yes, it's that simple. I started a divestiture some time ago and will soon completely disassociate myself from Bank Of America where my wife and I maintain several accounts (and I'll be very happy to tell them why I'm cutting them off completely). I hope your listeners will seriously consider this proposal. The process is quick and easy. And it does not involve guns, tea parties or otherwise.

    Thanks for your time. And, please, keep up the good work.

    Sincerely,
    Dan Rose

    Great show Bill!!

    Does anyone see the financial iceberg up ahead?

    With too many players taking advantage of the financial system in the U.S. to scam more short term profits at the expense of the American taxpayer, the economy cannot survive.

    Can anyone NOT see the U.S. collapsing economically like the Soviet Union in the near future?

    Mark Castellano,

    I posted a couple links earlier about Adrian Salbuchi’s conspiracy theory. I don’t know if all this Trilateral Commission and Council on Foreign Relations stuff is true, but what he says about the economy sounds sound to me. Maybe the TC and CFR are just tools like neoconism, the Republican and Democratic Parties, Christianity, nascar and country music.

    This article is the closest to my own theory:
    Welcome to the final stages of the coup...
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larisa-alexandrovna/welcome-to-the-final-stag_b_127990.html

    Eric Blair was not prophetic when he published his story, in 1949, about the Nazi’s fascist hierarchy and tactics. So the next time when up becomes down or wrong becomes right and you hear someone say “Now that’s so Orwellian,” you should correct them by saying “No, that’s so Nazian.” As for picking a pen name that sounds a lot like George Oilwell, now that’s prophetically Orwellian.

    Also, this link shows a pretty good timeline for the mortgage crisis (it would be great if it were to be combine with other timelines that show stuff like the deregulation of our media and other events. This could give us a better look at the larger picture):
    http://motherjones.com/politics/2008/07/where-credit-due-timeline-mortgage-crisis

    The present money and banking system has failed, and some observers think it is inherently unstable, incapable of long term sustainability.

    They describe that instability as follows:


    Fractional Reserve Banking (our present system) requires ever-increasing levels of debt, because banks create virtually all of our money as "debt money" or "credit money" when they lend out principal for loans. But they are owed back principal plus interest, so more money is needed to pay off debts than exists. To stave off collapse, the banks must add constantly to outstanding debt, so the present money system requires an ever-increasing level of debt. But nothing can keep increasing forever in a finite world, and eventually debt must hit an upper limit where total debt can no longer be increased. At that point, borrowers default, banks fail , credit freezes, and the system crashes. Some believe the present crash is different from previous ones: it signals the doomed end of fractional reserve banking.


    If the above is true, then none of the "reforms" proposed in your excellent program will work. It is now conventional wisdom that the cause of the crash was "liar loans", loans extended that can never be paid back. If only the liars had not taken out such loans, goes the cry, or if unscrupulous bankers had not pressed them on vulnerable borrowers, or if only greedy Wall Streeters had not come up with their nefarious enabling "derivatives" (CDOs, etc), if AIG had not collaborated with them, if only Barney Frank had not insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac make sup-prime loans, if only Greenspan had raised interest rates, if only the regulators had regulated more, or if only the regulators had regulated less, we are told, the crash would never have happened. Malfeasances of many different kinds are cited, but all are agreed: what caused the crash was liar loans. Stop these, and we have the problem solved.


    But suppose that's not true. What if the crash was the fate of a money system bound inevitably to crash, because it requires that debt keep increasing forever, and it cannot. In fact, not only did liar loans NOT cause the crash, they actually deferred its onset. Those bad, irresponsible liar loans merely had the effect of delaying the crisis, rather than causing it.


    How so? Suppose as soon as banks ran out of qualified borrowers, they all just stopped lending money, which would happen if all bankers were prudent and all borrowers were honest. The ensuing credit crunch would crash the economy. But if instead, bankers start extending loans to people who can never hope to pay them back, what happens? The day of reckoning is put off for a while, till the liars start defaulting on their loans and banks start to fail as their loan assets go bad. Sound familiar? So if the banks had not issued liar loans, the credit crunch and economic crash would still have come - but sooner. Maybe four or five years sooner.

    So if you think liar loans caused the crash, whether instigated by unscrupulous bankers, or irresponsible borrowers, or inept regulation, think again. You are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.


    Even those who support the present system might instead start seeking an alternative on seeing that what we have now is is bound to fail.

    What we need is fundamentsl reform of the present system, to replace it with someting that can work.

    I urge you to bring Ellen Brown and Michael Hudson on to your show to discuss what might actually work.

    "This is capitalism at it's best. Exploit and defuse. No one said Capitalism was fair. Grow up people Socialism is not the answer.
    Bankers are just following the golden rule. "He who has the gold makes the rules". Its the normal and natural."

    Posted by: William Stadler | January 11, 2010 12:57 PM

    Interesting, Mr. Stadler. But I prefer to listen to the likes of Wendell Berry when he wrote: "Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand. It is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy."

    We are human beings, Mr. Stadler, not rats or roaches.

    Mark Castellano wrote, in part, "A big part of this was done through the passing of federal legislation called the "Commodities and Futures Modernization Act of 2000”. A wonderful piece of short sighted legislation that essentially trumped important legislation like the Glass-Steagall Act, a law that was passed by congress just after the Great Depression to help prevent another one from reoccurring."

    Okay, so passing a "law" is not what you consider a "conspiracy"...whereas I was going with the one size does fit all definition of "conspiracy" - "An agreement to perform together an illegal, treacherous, or evil act".

    So actually getting together to pass a "law" that overthrows another "law" for the purpose of getting rid of said existing "law" that was put in place to prevent treachery and evil

    actually DOES qualify as a "conspiracy".

    No, I am not a "lawyer", hence the better perspective on the meaning of language and justice.

    BTW - Arizona made a lasting contribution to "government" with her citizen, Sandra Day O'Connell (sp.?) having served as a Supreme Court Justice so whatever Goldwater could not contribute, maybe she did? Just speculating...

    But can we get back to MATH?

    Back when I was in grammar school, the math teacher for Grades 5-8 was a Franciscan Nun, with a slight Austrian accent and a weapon underneath her habit - smart considering it was an inner city school in the 1960s and I kinda liked knowing she was fiery enough, and armed!, to defend the kids :-)) That's one 'hood that never had a problem with "drugs"...

    Anyway...when she gave back your test, she would not give a final grade the first time - all she did was mark the incorrect answers and re-direct you to the chapter in the book

    and another additional reference book you had to ask her for permission to use (which is how she could not be obvious about helping you)

    that you could access during "play" period and she give you a week to correct your own answer before she would give the final grade...

    So in that spirit of "mercy",

    ...really?, 600 trillion in derivatives?

    Wrong answer :-))

    The response to the shot across the bow regarding "just war" criteria...?

    "...There will definitely be another 911 on USA soil..."

    Yup, we got ourselves an existential war...

    Hey, who among us hasn't come across the nut job who talked themselves into believing you got the better of them in a deal - in my case it was a buck that was in dispute - and who VICIOUSLY fought for years using anything and everything as an excuse to disparage your charcter, your job, your friends, etc etc....? Revenge for what THEY, and only they, believed was a "cheat" on your part...

    Same kind of nut jobs, same self-deluded perspective on who MUST get the better "deal", and now there is much more than a buck in dispute...

    But maybe not...? 600 trillion could end up being less than a buck's worth, huh?


    Posted by: Robert A. Duams

    STAND UP AND FIGHT.

    ---------------------------

    Not if the politicians can help it!


    http://www.resistnet.com/profiles/blogs/hillary-and-the-un-moving?xg_source=activity

    The writing is on the wall. All guns must be confiscated before the class wars get out of hand. As the disparity between the rich and poor escalate, the poor will start class wars as they have done throughout history when he rich crowd out their very survival through greed.

    The poor have no other alternative-do they? The rich control the gov and only pass legislation to benefit the rich.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class_conflict

    Guns are a populations last line of defense. Look at Afghanistan...they beat Russia with guns. And the US is still having trouble with 'the people' there from their guns. Let's look at what happens when a country has no guns. Burma was a recent example of what happens. A dictator comes to power with plenty of guns, but when it comes to the populace...they cannot be trusted with guns.

    This quote was attributed to George Washington but other authorities say it is a counterfeit quote. Whomever said it...it is gospel.

    "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. The church, the plow, the prairie wagon, and citizen's firearms are indelibly related. From the moment the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. Every corner of this land knows firearms, and more than 99 99/100 percent of them by their silence indicate they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference; they deserve a place of honor with all that's good. When firearms go, all goes; we need them every hour."

    Financial regulation is only complex because institution that are supposed to regulate cannot keep up with a financial system that seems to defy reasonable limits. The “public” are indifferent it seems until those systems that govern their lives affects theirs. Do we ask for responsibility and accountability in our institution that are supposed to serve the its citizens? Do we the public demand justice as fairness? The public ignores that fact that they are at the mercy of those who have no such concern for following rules, but for maneuvering themselves to maximize their profits at the expense of the masses. But it is the masses that fail to ask for justice since they too seek the same advantages. Thus, as with health care, people would rather be at the mercy of insurance companies than their government. These institutions fight it out while millions are without health care or lost their homes or without the means to feed their families. If the public does not care about regulation their representatives, will not. In addition, it is clear that the levels of corruption are high and the ability to police companies it at a low. The imbalance and thoughtlessness abound, the banality of the public and the avarice of capitalism are undaunted even at the precipice of the fall.

    Anna - You have my blessing to use my quotes in your expose; however, I am not sure if I agree in conspiracy theories. My belief is that "a thief is not born, but created through the lack of proper controls".
    I believe that unbridled greed combined with banking law complexity and the repealing of important legislation (the lack of proper controls)has created our perfect financial storm.
    A big part of this was done through the passing of federal legislation called the "Commodities and Futures Modernization Act of 2000”. A wonderful piece of short sighted legislation that essentially trumped important legislation like the Glass-Steagall Act, a law that was passed by congress just after the Great Depression to help prevent another one from reoccurring. Among other things Glass-Steagall prohibited cross-ownership of banks, securities firms, and insurance companies. Commercial banks are now permitted to own insurance companies and engage in securities underwriting through federally regulated subsidiaries.
    The passing of the CFMA of 2000 essentially opened Pandora’s box with our government lawmakers turning over the keys to our financial institutions to do whatever they wanted. The result of this and other irresponsible acts by our government lawmakers is nothing short of criminal and we are all the recipients of their shortsightedness.

    Matt Taibi suggested in one of his savage and darkly humorous Rolling Stone pieces that it is driven by the fact that after years of outsourcing of the industrial base, flattening of everyone in the middle class on down, and other monstrosities, the reality is that there is almost nothing left for these vultures to steal. So is it all some kind of symptom of long term weakness and decline?


    Posted by: James Taff

    Yes - perfect insight!

    Getting the IRS to levy fines if you don't submit to their psychotic institutions of "insurance" is a DESPERATE act of torturers - it's so morally bankrupt that it's amazing that anyone still digs in and exerts energy in PROMOTING it to the status of "LAW"! Good grief!

    Mark Castellano wrote, in part, "Then when the bubble popped took away all of the real estate wealth created during the last 10 years and put those who lost their jobs and their ability to pay their mortgages out on the streets."

    Hi Mark, Do you mind if I use the rest of your post as PROOF of the conspiracy to bring down the infrastructure of the USA? Qui Tam will work in this case..."family values" indeed...

    Point One of the "Just War" discussion is CLEAR...

    "...the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain..."

    600 trillion in "derivatives" - c'mon...that's MATH?!

    "Politicians" and "politics" are NOT in any way, shape, or form a "government" - think about it....

    "The ONLY role of government is to protect the INDIVIDUAL against force and fraud".

    Politicians and their politics ARE the force and fraud which a government must have the power to protect through the rule of law.

    This "lost" decade was a social experiment that stuffed people full of opiates - end time religion and actual mind poisons. THAT crap is also:

    "...the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain..."

    Sorry to bring it up again, but the FACTS are NOT "complicated" - especially as more time goes by...the crimiinal element of the peasant class was armed with guns and let loose on the last Czar of Russia who was worth about 4 BILLION derived from an AGRICULTURAL civilization. That SUSTAINABLE wealth was consumed by mechanists and their rabble mercenary war lords...

    Whatever made anyone believe that such a treacherous class of CONSUMERS would NOT do the same thing everywhere their vile carcasses land in "politics"...? USA is being picked clean by HATRED - how many "lists" are out there...? So many that everyone is either creating a list to get themselves off of another one or still putting someone on a current HATE list (seriously, yesterday was all Reid, all day - that was insulting grammer school crap creating a new "list"). And those are the JOBS still out there getting a trickle of $$ - talk about establishing a rate for the whore (MALE and female).

    It's AMAZING how nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that is really happening in the USA is getting aired on television - and, increasingly, on the internet...the internet has been taken over by the kind of hooligans that I encountered once, about a decade ago, in a PRIVATE life drawing class - when the 5 minute notice was given, the male model relieved himself of spunk as the grand finale. That's all they are doing on the internet now - spewing the spunk - so much for "technocracy"...in "guy" language, farting, crap-throwing (the original biological warfare) and spunking is a ACT of hatred and disrespect - the "beauty" that hooligans supply for and get paid for from the war lords, right? The "social engineering" side of asymetrical, anti-insurgency "battles"...?

    At least we can be free of the ultimate insanity of letting psychos read the Ms. Manners book to the people...

    You don't run out of poppies in AZ and Utah to pick as SYMBOLS of "revolution" - grinding another poppy into the ROCK - hey, I'm getting hooked on how good it feels - of course, I would need to write a BOOK about everything that my chosen symbol represents for me - "...the opiate of the people..."....

    ALWAYS, the "god" men create in their own image is going to be psycho - MONEY as the Supreme Being...? Cosmic insanity...

    Thank you, Bill, for your show last Friday night. It was semi-frustrating to me, because we seem to be unable or unwilling to admit that the worst the Big Banksters could do to our economy has already been done: Our economy has tanked because the credit spigot to small business (aka Main Street) has been turned off. Didn't I read somewhere that the majority of jobs in America are provided by small business? Am I the only person who realizes when small business cannot get loans to do business and/or their customers cannot get loans to purchase stuff that business suffers and people get laid off? So, for those people who are "afraid" to regulate the Big Banksters for fear of what they would do to our economy, I say, forget that fear, it has already happened! Look around you, people! At the very least, the Glass Steagall Act needs to be reinstated in full and in plain language that is not subject to spin or interpretation. That is #1.

    Next, our Senators and Congresspeople need to understand something: the needs of their constituents should override their personal need to be re-elected. Sometimes you just have to take a stand. You know, put on your grown-up clothes and do the job you were hired to do: regulate the Big Banksters; provide decent healthcare reform (not simply health insurance reform)!

    As to derivatives and Credit Default Swaps, if they are too complicated to explain and/or regulate, they are too complicated to be legal. So remove them from the playing field. Now. Before the economy takes another tumble. Furthermore, they are NOT too complicated to explain. One of the NPR shows did a great job of this last year - on the radio, yet! If business had not gotten greedy and started selling CDS instruments without the requirement of indemnity, one of the problems we had (AIG) would not even have raised its ugly little head.

    Corporations need to be reined in. Here's an idea, which would be self-regulating: charge corporations that do business in America to act in the best interest of their stakeholders and make absolutely certain they understand their stakeholders are, first and foremost, the communities in which they do business. Oh yeah, and corporate cash does not equal free speech -- whoever thought of that spin: shame on you.

    So, how do we deal with the obscene need of politicians to amass more and more money for their political campaigns? How about trying a simple idea, like limiting the amount that can be spent on a campaign to some multiple of the annual income of the job? Political consultants, advertisers, lobbyists and bribers will all howl. Get ear plugs.

    While we are at it, how about closing some lobbyist loopholes? How about making it illegal for congresspeople and senators to become lobbyists for a number of years after they leave office? How about 2 years for a congressman and 6 years for a senator? Anyone notice that is the term of office? That seems fair to me.

    Here's another thought that brims with common sense: if a regulator (SEC? Madoff?) will not regulate, they should be required to return the wages they received to do the job. Again, that seems only fair.

    Didn't we rebuild the German economy after WWII? Wasn't the German health care system at least partially a product of that effort? If so, why don't we use the German health care system scheme as a pattern for the US health care scheme?

    I might have wandered off topic in this comment, but there is so much going on right now, I just wanted to get my two cents in.

    And I am being a "stand up guy" when it comes to the economy: I have zero credit card debt and I save. I don't have a 401(k) because the stockmarket is run like a ponzi scheme to my way of thinking. I had an employer-funded pension plan (invested in the stockmarket) that amounted to less than a latte after the stockmarket crashed, so I'll be working well past the age of 70, thank you very much.

    Bill Moyers and staff: thank you for your work.

    We Americans have no one to blame but ourselves. We are the ones who have allowed our elections to become glorified popularity contests (he who has the most money and makes the most empty promises wins) and how do our elected officials get their money, by playing to those who have the money, the lobbyists and special interest groups they belong to.
    We are also the ones that have not insisted that term limits becomes law not only for our president but also for our US congressmen and Senators. Why would they ever vote for this law without our insistence? Their unlimited office life and lack of accountability has allowed most of our elected officials on both sides of the isle to establish their fiefdoms far away from the public eye. Consequently we can no longer say that we have a government “of the people, by the people and for the people”. We have become a government of the lobbyists, of the special interest groups and by our Congressmen & Senators”. We are merely pawns in their own power play game.
    At about the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution, in the year 1787, Alexander Tyler (a Scottish history professor at The University of Edinborough) had this to say about "The Fall of The Athenian Republic" some 2,000 years prior:

    "A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."
    And it was Thomas Jefferson who said the following about our banking industry: 'I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.'
    There is a reason why in 2008 a barrel of oil went from $60 to $147 and then back down to $36 and by the end of 2009 back up again to $81 and it has nothing to do with supply and demand. There is also a reason why the banks created the housing bubble along with private stopgaps like credit default swaps created by the financial industry to protect themselves against the very bubble they created. Then when the bubble popped took away all of the real estate wealth created during the last 10 years and put those who lost their jobs and their ability to pay their mortgages out on the streets. This is what Jefferson predicted would happen if we ever let the banks become what they have become and what Kevin Drum, and David Corn has discussed in this month’s issue of MOTHER JONES magazine and on Bill Moyers news program.
    WAKE UP AMERICA before it’s too late!

    WE are the enemy- the greedy bankers, investors, insurance, congressmen, government authority, etc..

    And WE, the have-nots and middle America are mostly complacent.

    There's a lot of energy and opinion in this forum. And that's feels really good!

    But, this talk is not acting. It's not sticking my neck out (like Moyers is doing). It's not standing up to authority and saying NO. It's not standing alone for my principles. Maybe I don't have principles. Or, "I could get hurt or killed or go to jail or lose money." So, maybe my fear and cowardice dominate.

    Why don't more of us refuse to be manipulated, robbed, coerced, rendered harmless? Most of us don't even realize this is happening. We as journalists don't ask the right questions or do complete & objective reporting. We as consumers don't read contracts. We seem to agree to anything to get what we want. And what we want is mostly superficial... (but, ah to consume). We're indoctrinated to be superficial and not to do critical thinking, in our schools and society too.

    Yet, we are very critical of others... others who display the same greed and pettiness and grasping and violence that we have in us-- but which eludes our conscious recognition of self (keeping us the same, not growing).

    Personally, I admire Moyers for his energy and courage to speak out... to get us charged-up... to stand alone.

    Let's allow Moyers' obvious deep love of America to activate and embolden us. I personally am heartened and encouraged by him and have started doing more emboldened things in my life.

    If your reading this, Thanks Bill!

    Dyck


    It’s been said that whomever wins the presidency gets to enjoy about two days of glory beginning with the inaugural ball and ending when he gets all his furniture moved into the White house. That’s when he gets a knock on his bedroom door and someone lays it out and tells him how it is going to be. We elect Presidents thinking that they will be in charge of the system. Ha!

    Our system of safety nets for the banking and financial sector created during the previous great depression, worked too well. Like revolutions are needed to clean out the bad blood in political systems, depressions are needed to clean out the bad blood in our economic system.

    In 6-12 months, when thousands who currently get unemployment checks no longer qualify, I'm afraid the economy will take another hit. We the people definitely need to mobilize to save America and protect our freedoms.
    Posted by Irene Shutte

    Many people do not understand that there is no freedom in a capitalistic system without money.
    The only freedom people have in a corrupt economic system is to suffer and die. Economics is not a game; it is a life or death reality. The social contract is the glue that holds societies together. The quality of life is dependent on social equity and the efficient distribution of goods and services. Sociopathic materialism and failed social systems are the beginning of the end of a nation.
    Our nation needs to transform not conform in order to adjust to the changing times. Our strength is not in our physical prowess; it is in our ability to do the math and adjust accordingly.
    We need safe guard our rights and freedoms as well as change our systems to support our needs and desires.
    We need a Technocratic system to support both a Republic and a Democratic form of government. We need the best systems possible to support our expansive and diverse nation.
    A Technocracy is a systemic method not an Ideology like a Democracy, Republic, communistic or an Oligarchy.
    A technocracy can support any Ideology from communism to a dictatorship.

    When your guest talk about politicians getting money from big banks, where is that money going, does it go directly into the pockets of the politicians, or does it go towards financing their next election campaign?

    The failure by Congress to legislate a new "fire wall" between commercial banking, Wall Street and big insurance, following repeal of the 1930's law intended to prevent abuses that might prompt another Great Depression, now guarantees sadly that the earlier experiment to privatize banking with the Federal Reserve will be the downfall of this Republic. One can only hope that those who draft the Second U.S. Constitution will take this missed opportunity by Congress into consideration. May God Help Them.

    Would you like to see President Obama rally grassroots support for more financial regulation?

    Yes!!

    Corporately owned Central banking systems are the greatest threat to human right in the world today. Using fractional lending procedures, they create money with “creative” bookkeeping without producing anything of value. Diluting the money supply, devaluing currency and reducing the buying power of existing money they rob people of the value of their savings and work.

    If so, what measures would you like to see him pursue?

    He should restore the government’s sovereign authority to issue America’s money.

    The United States is a sovereign nation with fully recognized authority to issue all the money needed to fund the government and to provide sufficient money for the nation’s commerce.

    What is logic for our borrowing any money?

    The US government can easily eliminate the national debt by simply issuing debt free US notes and substituting them for interest-bearing bonds.

    Inflation will not be created because the money created by the bonds is already in play in the economy. Furthermore, the value of an investor’s assets will not change, but simply change form from bonds to cash. If an investor has a portfolio with $10,000 in stock and $10,000 in bonds and the government substitutes $10,000 in cash for the bonds, the value of the portfolio has not changed: it remains $20,000.

    Our government has the power to lend money like commercial banks. A government owned banking system, The North Dakota State Bank, has served the people in that state very well.

    Our government has the power to issue and spend money directly into the economy without creating debt or collecting taxes.

    America must restore the power to issue the nation’s money to the people and their representatives in government.

    Was the book Game Change by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann the health insurance companies’ last shot at stopping this bill? Obama and Emanuel immediately jumped into action, so it looks like Reid won’t be swift-boated out of his leadership role.

    The timing of this book should finally convince Hugh Hewitt that Halperin is not a liberal.
    http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/10/more-on-mark-halperins-sad-little.html

    Now can the Liberal Media get back to the releasing of the AIG docs and Geithner’s involvement?
    http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djf500/201001111842DOWJONESDJONLINE000371_FORTUNE5.htm

    What has happened to the media? Where is the outrage? This story should be headlines in every print media, on every website and on every television and radio station. The public needs a rallying point or pointman to get a movement going strongly. Throw these criminal politicians out on their butts. Come on America, wake up! Moyers for President!

    seems that if we are waiting for others to step up and solve our problems we end up with more problems. With no one standing in the way, selfish and violent people just seem to get more selfish and violent. Stand up and Make every choice the opposite of selfish and violent and if you don't know what I mean, think about it real hard. What is it to be selfish? What is it to be violent? What might it mean to be the opposite? Don't expect anyone to give you the answers. do the work yourself. Every thought and every act is important. Thinking nothing, saying nothing and doing nothing make us all vulnerable for a meaningless life and that legacy given to our children seems safe but is it? Does a meaningless life create in us feelings and desires that lead us to choose to be selfish and violent?

    http://www.profoundwisdom.info

    Above URL suggests a WEB approach to keeping out of the weeds and preparing ourselves for action.

    Read it and join.

    I feel the solution for most of the issues discussed lies with consumers. Comsumers need to understant that a business has only one source of funds to lobby with and that is the customer. I have long practiced considering the stands taken and causes supported when making purchasing choices. It maks no sense to me to buy from a company that will use a part of the purchase price to my detriment. In the end the value recieved for the money spent will be greater.

    I'm stunned by the naivete of your explanation for Obama's refusal to reign in Wall Street. His embrace of Geithner & Summers & Rubin over Volker speaks louder than all his happy talk about "helping" the "people". Obama's "conciliatory nature" has nothing to do with it - he, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Chuck Schumer and the rest of them are bought and paid for, plain and simple. I think you are unable to admit to yourselves that these "liberal" Democrats are even more corrupt than Republicans.

    Thanks for this valuable, honest and clear insight into the current state of the banking and financial chaos. The next exposure should be a review of SIPC practices - after all everyone in America who invests thinks there is a safety net out there - it is on all the investment firms stationary - but look deeper and think again - American's should be forewarned - this is another scam.

    The country was build on the premise that "one per of shoos fits ALL."
    The forefathers provided us with the premise - "Constitution" to fit ALL.
    The premise of the CONSTITUTION, "proposition upon which an
    argument is based or from which a conclusion is drawn" to create "LAWS;"
    The laws MUST fit - apply to everyone and not one sided special laws for special
    interest groups and others for individuals.
    The forefathers were very clever in their vision when they inserted
    "the ARTICLE V of the Constitution." To day the CONSTITUTION is
    none existence. The comments made by the poster though very good,
    can not be enforced. Only when the "Constitution is Amended " as provided...,
    "to empower ALL the people" to participate in the process can a "REAL CANGE"
    take place - "THE REAL DEMOCRACY!"
    The Rights and privilege to "ONE PER of SHOE that FITS ALL,"
    had been DENIED!

    This is capitalism at it's best. Exploit and defuse. No one said Capitalism was fair. Grow up people Socialism is not the answer.
    Bankers are just following the golden rule. "He who has the gold makes the rules". Its the normal and natural.

    Moyers was deeply involved in developing the infamous “daisy” ad that implied that Goldwater’s election would result in nuclear war. The ad officially aired only once, but got so much free airtime and discussion that it easily did as much damage to Goldwater’s campaign as the Swiftboat vets did to Kerry’s in 2004. According to Jason Maoz at Commentary, years later Goldwater said of Moyers, “Every time I see him, I get sick to my stomach and want to throw up.”
    Moyers was apparently obsessed with outing homosexuals after Walter Jenkins was forced out of the Johnson Administration. Not only did he ask the FBI for information on two other LBJ staffers he suspected of being gay, he asked the FBI to investigate 15 members of Barry Goldwater’s staff and dig up any evidence they could find of homosexual activity.
    And then there was the 1964 Democratic Convention. That year, Fannie Lou Hamer led a group of African American “Freedom Democrats” in trying to integrate the Mississippi delegation. Moyers ordered the group ejected from the Convention and prevented them from achieving their goal.
    Worst of all, Moyers was heavily involved in the persecution of Rev. Martin Luther King by Hoover’s FBI. From the report of the Senate Committee investigating the FBI’s spying on Americans:

    David Corn’s and Kevin Drum’s concept of “intellectual capture” is a good one, although not original. That old bogeyman, Karl Marx, described much the same thing some 150 years ago when distinguishing the economic base of capitalist society (i.e. its economic form and relationships) from its superstructure, i.e. its ideological self-image and justifications as found in political, economic, and all other categories of its thought. To paraphrase Marx (and Wikipedia), “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.”

    This is no conspiracy. It’s more analogous to the air that surrounds us and which we must breathe. As Corn and Drum recognize, the Wall Street capitalists’ sheer, raw, concentrated power literally and almost irresistably bends others’ thinking to the system’s needs. Media pundits, small town bankers, professors, artists, clergymen, advertisers – in short all of us – are assiduously cultivated, rewarded, and punished into never straying too far from “acceptable” opinion, no matter what the “truth” of the particular subject or issue in question may be. Those who do are marginalized. Our politicians, middle class or otherwise, and addicted to campaign cash to boot, are no different. We could even eliminate the scandalous pay to play practices, and they would still remain in thrall to power.

    I do agree, however, that all the profoundly disquieting events and practices of recent decades, culminating (for now) in the crash, the colossal looting that precipitated it, and the triumphant reemergence of the perpetrators, feel somehow different in kind and degree from what we knew before (maybe up until Nixon?). Back then the zeitgeist also did not allow any questioning as to who was in charge. The rich still got richer, and so on. But the hacks in Washington were not micromanaged on every issue and sub issue to extract every last dime. The pols were largely delegated the power necessary to serve the elite’s interests and “manage” the rest of us, so long as they delivered, as they certainly did. We did not see this pervasive, strategic, system-wide corruption, thievery, and grinding down of the middle class, all of which have escalated so shockingly in recent decades. Through the myriad ways and means that are under discussion by Bill Moyers and others, these developments have been heartily abetted by our politicians, who at times in the past, and certainly from circa 1940 through 1968, used to turn a more “liberal” face to the rest of us – as did their “masters”.

    I don’t pretend to know what this is all about. Matt Taibi suggested in one of his savage and darkly humorous Rolling Stone pieces that it is driven by the fact that after years of outsourcing of the industrial base, flattening of everyone in the middle class on down, and other monstrosities, the reality is that there is almost nothing left for these vultures to steal. So is it all some kind of symptom of long term weakness and decline?

    What were the five things that we must demand in legislation? It seems to me that is something that should be organized and pushed.
    And what is that 1% rule that I and no one knows aboout. They implied we should know but never told us what it was.
    Answers any one?

    I am a farmer in Illinois and I am running for Congress on the issue you featured last Friday. See my website at www.darrelforcongress.com.

    What do I think?

    I think that when BILL MOYERS JOURNAL airs an entire program describing the corruption of the entire workings of the federal gov't, it has an obligation to air a segment on efforts to enact FENA (Fair Elections Now Act) and the work of groups striving to ensure election integrity w/ hand counting of paper ballots or mechanical lever voting machines. What is the point of discouraging people from working to restore responsive gov't?
    Shame on him and the staff if they don't.

    Correction: I miscalculated the overdraft fee myself. I should have said that $39 is 230% of the $17 overdraft amount.

    A real eye opener for an electorate asleep at the switch.

    The public is the key. Only when enough people are hurting do they stand up and voice their outrage. After a critical point is reached,they become effective in changing the system.

    This is what is needed on a national level.

    In my own area in North Central Massachusetts this happened. Due to a devastating ice storm, people in our city and surrounding towns who were serviced by Unitil were without service or heat for many weeks. This crisis was so devastating it mobilized a giant uproar against the company. Hearings were packed and individuals spoke out. The company management had to answer for their inefficiency, lack of response, and failure to follow up.

    The point I'm making is that when enough people are moved to combine their efforts, they are heard and they get results.

    Hello PBS & Mr. Moyers,
    Mr. Kevin Drum & Mr. David Corn are right about all I heard on the program. Including, Americans are too busy trying to live and make ends meet.

    Here is how "WE THE PEOPLE"
    WIN A SILENT BATTLE FOR BANK REFORM.

    We The People, must slowly begin to transfer our money from the big banks(Bank of America)to a local small bank over a 2-4 month period. DO NOT CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT ALL AT ONCE. The Government will NEED to call a BANK HOLIDAY and close all banks. DO NOT CLOSE YOUR BIG BANK ACCOUNT.

    The big banks will FEEL THE POWER of WE THE PEOPLE and accommodate changes to bring us back to their big bank.
    WE THE PEOPLE OWN THE POWER OF MONEY. The big banks will change their policy and procedures to get our deposits back.
    WE THE PEOPLE, must do this together across the Country. Your money is FDIC insured in most small local banks like a big bank. Check it out by asking. Keep it simple.
    integrity towards progress,
    diravis

    Hello PBS & Mr. Moyers,
    Mr. Kevin Drum & Mr. David Corn are right about all I heard on the program. Including, Americans are too busy trying to live and make ends meet.

    Here is how "WE THE PEOPLE"
    WIN A SILENT BATTLE FOR BANK REFORM.

    We The People, must slowly begin to transfer our money from the big banks(Bank of America)to a local small bank over a 2-4 month period. DO NOT CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT ALL AT ONCE. The Government will NEED to call a BANK HOLIDAY and close all banks. DO NOT CLOSE YOUR BIG BANK ACCOUNT.

    The big banks will FEEL THE POWER of WE THE PEOPLE and accommodate changes to bring us back to their big bank.
    WE THE PEOPLE OWN THE POWER OF MONEY. The big banks will change their policy and procedures to get our deposits back.
    WE THE PEOPLE, must do this together across the Country. Your money is FDIC insured in most small local banks like a big bank. Check it out by asking. Keep it simple.
    integrity towards progress,
    diravis

    Hello PBS & Mr. Moyers,
    Mr. Kevin Drum & Mr. David Corn are right about all I heard on the program. Including, Americans are too busy trying to live and make ends meet.

    Here is how "WE THE PEOPLE"
    WIN A SILENT BATTLE FOR BANK REFORM.

    We The People, must slowly begin to transfer our money from the big banks(Bank of America)to a local small bank over a 2-4 month period. DO NOT CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT ALL AT ONCE. The Government will NEED to call a BANK HOLIDAY and close all banks. DO NOT CLOSE YOUR BIG BANK ACCOUNT.

    The big banks will FEEL THE POWER of WE THE PEOPLE and accommodate changes to bring us back to their big bank.
    WE THE PEOPLE OWN THE POWER OF MONEY. The big banks will change their policy and procedures to get our deposits back.
    WE THE PEOPLE, must do this together across the Country. Your money is FDIC insured in most small local banks like a big bank. Check it out by asking. Keep it simple.
    integrity towards progress,
    diravis

    WE THE PEOPLE OWN THE POWER.
    All we need to do is remove your money to a small local bank over 2-4 month time.DO NOT CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT ALL AT ONCE. We will not win a fight for change, because the banks and politicians will negotiate within themselves. Once they/banks realize WE THE PEOPLE have begun to remove our money to small local banks. The big banks will change their ROTTEN WAYS OF BANKING to accommodate WE THE PEOPLE. WE THE PEOPLE WILL PREVAIL IN A SILENT BATTLE FOR CHANGE AND REFORM.
    start looking for a local bank this month Jan 2010. Small banks will fight for you and your new deposits.
    integrity towards progress,
    diravis

    WE THE PEOPLE OWN THE POWER.
    All we need to do is remove your money to a small local bank over 2-4 month time.DO NOT CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT ALL AT ONCE. We will not win a fight for change, because the banks and politicians will negotiate within themselves. Once they/banks realize WE THE PEOPLE have begun to remove our money to small local banks. The big banks will change their ROTTEN WAYS OF BANKING to accommodate WE THE PEOPLE. WE THE PEOPLE WILL PREVAIL IN A SILENT BATTLE FOR CHANGE AND REFORM.
    start looking for a local bank this month Jan 2010. Small banks will fight for you and your new deposits.
    integrity towards progress,
    diravis

    WE THE PEOPLE OWN THE POWER.
    All we need to do is remove your money to a small local bank over 2-4 month time.DO NOT CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT ALL AT ONCE. We will not win a fight for change, because the banks and politicians will negotiate within themselves. Once they/banks realize WE THE PEOPLE have begun to remove our money to small local banks. The big banks will change their ROTTEN WAYS OF BANKING to accommodate WE THE PEOPLE. WE THE PEOPLE WILL PREVAIL IN A SILENT BATTLE FOR CHANGE AND REFORM.
    start looking for a local bank this month Jan 2010. Small banks will fight for you and your new deposits.
    integrity towards progress,
    diravis

    WE THE PEOPLE OWN THE POWER.
    All we need to do is remove your money to a small local bank over 2-4 month time.DO NOT CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT ALL AT ONCE. We will not win a fight for change, because the banks and politicians will negotiate within themselves. Once they/banks realize WE THE PEOPLE have begun to remove our money to small local banks. The big banks will change their ROTTEN WAYS OF BANKING to accommodate WE THE PEOPLE. WE THE PEOPLE WILL PREVAIL IN A SILENT BATTLE FOR CHANGE AND REFORM.
    start looking for a local bank this month Jan 2010. Small banks will fight for you and your new deposits.
    integrity towards progress,
    diravis

    All "WE THE PEOPLE" need to do is remove your money from BANK OF AMERICA(rob america)and put it in a small local bank. BANK OF AMERICA will change their ways and so will other big Banks. We do not need to waste 10 years fighting for change.The banks will change to accommodate WE THE PEOPLE.
    integrity towards progress
    diravis

    All "WE THE PEOPLE" need to do is remove your money from BANK OF AMERICA(rob america)and put it in a small local bank. BANK OF AMERICA will change their ways and so will other big Banks. We do not need to waste 10 years fighting for change.The banks will change to accommodate WE THE PEOPLE.
    integrity towards progress
    diravis

    All "WE THE PEOPLE" need to do is remove your money from BANK OF AMERICA(rob america)and put it in a small local bank. BANK OF AMERICA will change their ways and so will other big Banks. We do not need to waste 10 years fighting for change.The banks will change to accommodate WE THE PEOPLE.
    integrity towards progress
    diravis

    All "WE THE PEOPLE" need to do is remove your money from BANK OF AMERICA(rob america)and put it in a small local bank. BANK OF AMERICA will change their ways and so will other big Banks. We do not need to waste 10 years fighting for change.The banks will change to accommodate WE THE PEOPLE.
    integrity towards progress
    diravis

    All "WE THE PEOPLE" need to do is remove your money from BANK OF AMERICA(rob america)and put it in a small local bank. BANK OF AMERICA will change their ways and so will other big Banks. We do not need to waste 10 years fighting for change.The banks will change to accommodate WE THE PEOPLE.
    integrity towards progress
    diravis

    All "WE THE PEOPLE" need to do is remove your money from BANK OF AMERICA(rob america)and put it in a small local bank. BANK OF AMERICA will change their ways and so will other big Banks. We do not need to waste 10 years fighting for change.The banks will change to accommodate WE THE PEOPLE.
    integrity towards progress
    diravis

    What can we do Bill?

    Take your money out of the banks, tell them to keep their credit, and only pay with cash.

    =
    MJA

    "The maxim of buying nothing without the money in our pockets to pay for it would make of our country one of the happiest on earth." --Thomas Jefferson to Alexander Donald, 1787. ME 6:192

    When we start indicting the justice department lawyers by allowing regular citizens [via Qui Tam] to bring grand jury actions against such state actors along with the henchmen judges [for corruption], then maybe the congressman will fear the people without their flooding the streets, only to be met by storm troopers who falsely imprison under the pretext of law and order like they did at the last Convention in New York City.
    Let us never forget that Hitler’s Nazis acted under color of public law and everything that our founding fathers did was punishable by death for treason. Just read Hitler’s Justice for a primer on the subject. When your guests start connecting the dots, then maybe our so-called intellectual class [who watches PBS] will also start to get the reality behind the fluff. Only when we start imposing equal application of the law against lawyers [who are the architects of the so-called contracts that ‘keep us free’], will somebody pay besides their victims. Buck Maker
    Houston, TX


    I'll start - is Qui Tam the way to go to bring that case of OBVIOUS conspiracy to destroy the infrastructure of the United States that the Federal Reserve Board concocted?

    And concurrent with that one, the papers should already be drawn up for the case of the IRS being the thug arm for HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES...still can't get over the brass cajones of THAT one - who else but a cabal of PSYCHOS would come up with THAT idea...

    The question was asked about what is THE "tea" of our day in 2010

    (did the ORIGINAL USA tea partyers go to ancient Egypt or Greece libraries to find THEIR symbolic gesture - I thiink NOT)

    and OUR issue is the double whammy of opiates - religion and drugs/booze...

    throwing a poppy under my foot and grinding it to mud...wow - that symbolic ACT sure made ME feel better...NEVER bending the knee in homage to DRUG PUSHERS who must be ingesting too much of their own product because they have FAITH that they are the new age GLOBAL CIVILIZATION LEADERS...interesting so many 'Zona people felt compelled to blog today...what "cloud" technology picked up on the use of "guffaw", "meth and mortgages" in a single sentence...?

    I have a hard time believing you morons are Americans. God help us. The "Royals" are exterminating the middle class. We are long past being able to claim a functioning democracy. How do you like how the corporations are running things?

    IT IS TIME TO STAND UP AND FIGHT.

    Our ancestors blessed us with this sacred constition which through our sloth we have allowed to be abbrogated at each and every line.

    They shed blood and gave their lives that we might live free. We shame them, allowing this great gift to be desecrated.

    STAND UP AND FIGHT.

    I would like some comments on 'REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH'. No not what 'so called' conservatives refer to, but the real redistribution when the poor people contribute to the rich via outrageous interest rates, overdraft fees. What conservatives refer to is really 'RECLAMATION OF WEALTH'.
    Also, why can't we have a more equitable compensation system where everyone benefits. Limit the top salaries, bonuses and other perks to a percentage of what the predominant worker in a company earns. Establish a FACTOR to be applied to salaries which results in an amount not to be exceeded. I.E. Bankers where the predominant salary of tellers (etc.) is $20/hr and the factor is 10, meaning a CEO 's maximum would be $200/hr.
    Raising the CEO's will automatically raise the teller . If the CEO wants $400/hr, the teller will get $40/hr, or conversely, if the teller is raised, the CEO will be allowed a higher salary and perks.

    Here is How WE THE PEOPLE get it done!

    Bank Of America(rob america): everyone with a bank account should close your account and transfer your money in to a small local bank.

    Bank Of America(rob america): everyone with a bank account should close your account and transfer your money in to a small local bank.

    Bank Of America(rob america): everyone with a bank account should close your account and transfer your money in to a small local bank.

    Bank Of America(rob america): everyone with a bank account should close your account and transfer your money in to a small local bank.

    Bank Of America(rob america): everyone with a bank account should close your account and transfer your money in to a small local bank.

    Bank Of America(rob america): everyone with a bank account should close your account and transfer your money in to a small local bank.

    Bank Of America(rob america): everyone with a bank account should close your account and transfer your money in to a small local bank.

    Thank you, once again, Bill, for continuing to expose the corruption that is the District of Columbia. Now that we've heard the problem over and over again (and as much as we've been dumbed down by the corporate entities in question to make it easier for them to steal from us, we probably needed to), it's time to start talking concrete solutions. Job one is to minimize conflicts of interest and put the Sovereign People back in the front of the access line. One feasible solution is to fight for one goal to begin the process. For example, we could fight to reinstate the provisions of the original District charter that PROHIBIT corporations from establishing a presence within DC unless they are serving mercantile or other interests of DISTRICT RESIDENTS. PERIOD. (And as amendment, shut DOWN the godawful REVOLVING DOOR. As long as Congressional members and staffers think they can "earn" their millions by waiting two years to lobby, and using the "consulting" loophole in the meantime, then there is no such thing as PUBLIC service on Capitol Hill.) The founders - for all they did well - were not perfect, of course, and did not realize this needed to be part of our Constitution. But they did create a Charter for the District for THIS VERY REASON. It was replaced by incorporation shortly after (and many would argue as a result of) the Hayes-Tilden brokered election that ended Reconstruction in 1876-77. There's lots more to do after that, and lots of great ideas for doing it here and elsewhere, but if we do not deal first with the issue of corrupt conflicts of interest as the root of all evil, our ability to manage the people WE hire and PAY to represent US will continue to be usurped by these despicable corporate entities. (Meanwhile, the businesses that actually CONTRIBUTE to our economy are being shafted by these greedheads as badly as individuals are.) It is time for us to take back our mantle as the boss of Congress (because we are), and start using our Constitutional power to end this disgusting insubordination. Voting is obviously not enough, as this year has sadly proved.

    With all of the reforms that were supposed to happen this last year and didn't, we have finally seen that Congress does not work for the common people. Congress will never pass reform that helps the hard working, ordinary American because the money in politics prevents it. Therefore, we need to get the money out of politics first before we can do anything about reforms. We need a Constitutional Amendment for publicly funded elections. Start the process in your state by first contacting your Secretary of State to see what you need to do to get the ball rolling. After you do that please contact me at mnhealthcarereform@gmail.com. Working together, we can get the money out of politics.

    Mr.Moyer, I am appalled that our government has so blatantly conceded to Wall-Street and big banking. Thank-you for covering this matter with honesty & integrity-Values many of our gov't officials seem to have lost. Many of the comments & ideas posted herein have merit. Maybe it's time we go back to saving for things we want instead of using credit so much. And, how about using local non-profit credit unions where possible. I think most Americans are very angry with the fat-cat lobbyists & congress, they're just to depressed to fight it. But, I don't believe the financial crisis is over. In 6-12 months, when thousands who currently get unemployment checks no longer qualify, I'm afraid the economy will take another hit. We the people definitely need to mobilize to save America and protect our freedoms.

    Mr. Bill, I just have a small thing to say "THANK YOU AND YOUR GUESTS MR.DRUM and MR. CORN for the thoughtful show". Appreciate it!

    When do economists learn that economics is a dynamic system not a static system?
    When wages are stagnant and prices are increasing people are no longer able to support their government, their families, and the supply side of economics or the greedy rich. It takes a dynamic economic system that provides the people the funds necessary for all of the needs of the society.
    Economics is a tool not a religion...
    Our present monopoly game economics is the pathway to economic disaster.
    Economics is all about the exchange of goods and services.
    What we have now is insufficient funds to provide the development of resources, devastating unemployment and insufficient wages to support the needs and reasonable desires of the people.
    World economics must be changed from the present static trickle down monopoly economy to a dynamic progressive economy that provides the means to provide quality life in a quality environment. Slave labor is the cause of national failure. History is the proof of that truism.
    What we need is a Technocracy based on the best possible system to provide the needs and desires of the people. A Technocracy would use our organizational skills and our technical skills efficiently. Our present static economics and inept government is leading us down the road to destruction.

    Bill,

    Please do me a favor. Read Ron Paul's, END THE FED... David Corn and Kevin Drum were very good at pointing out the symptoms of our broken banking system but failed to mention the enabler of the system's failure. As long the banks can loan money that does not exist we will continue to have an out of control boom/bust economy. The FEDERAL RESERVE prints money out of thin air... It's unconstitutional. Let's END THE FED.

    Again... Please read Ron Paul's book, END THE FED and invite him on your show.

    Thanks,
    Chip Semrau
    East West Exchange Bookstore
    Chandler, AZ

    We would like to participate
    in sending President Obbesoama
    our demand to have banks be restricted from investing
    in the markets. Banks must be held accountable. Are there any groups we could
    get in with to begin making the change?
    Patriotic Democrat
    Bill Gordon

    I forgot to mention that for the last few months there has been a Send A Pink Slip To Congress movement that is designed to get our congress to remember whom they work for. Nearly ten MILLION pink slips have been sent, exhausting the supply of pink paper in the whole USA a couple of times. This, like many other people's movements to take back control of our government, has gotten zero press, nada, nothing, zilch, because the mainstream elite media doesn't report on anything done by "those" people, they who might be right. I saw a reference to "teabaggers" below and I almost wept because the discord and distrust fostered by the elites in their divide and conquer scheme is working so well. The Boston Tea Party that Mr. Moyers referenced tonight were the inspiration for the T.E.A. Party people. Liberal means generous and it is not generous to deride people who also don't know what else to do except use their right to petition for redress of their grievances while that right still exists. Stop putting down TEA Party people and other people from "the Right." And Republicans, too. The Arabs know "My enemy's enemy is my friend." Right now, we the people cannot afford to fight amongst ourselves. And yes, I write similar things on "Right" and "Republican" and "Conservative" forums. If you want to play to win, then you've got to play nice with the people with whom you hold common cause. Otherwise, all efforts are doomed to failure. Don't look to Obama. His picks at Treasury are not about going mainstream, they indicate that he works for the banks as much as Bush did.

    Thank you for a very informational show. I want to do something about this situation. I do not understand derivations, however, I do know that I am willing to call my congressmen. Small that it may be it would be a great start if a lot of us did this. There is a good deal that we as Americans can join together and force our banks to do something about this. I wonder if enough of us took our money out of banks, whatever it takes. I strongly believe that President Obama will do what he can.

    American democracy-a government OF the big corporations, BY the big corporations, and FOR the big corporations. Abe Lincoln would be turning over in his grave.

    -Adeline

    Dear Bill
    Your last show with the Mother Jones writers is shockingly naïve in its conclusions. Though I religiously tape and review your shows [since you were the only place on TV where we got a hint of the truth], you are being upstaged now by Jesse Ventura’s “Conspiracy Theory” which recently ‘outed’ the “Bilderberg Group”.
    At bottom, your commentators offer no solution save prodding Obama to live up to his campaign pledges while forgetting he is a lawyer who was the favorite of the corporate press. Could it be he was a mere Trojan Horse speaking words that the bosses gave him to placate their looting of the Treasury, while knowing he is their Faustian agent in deed, who is only there now because he agreed long ago to be their servant?
    They suggest that only huge demonstrations might help while forgetting that the public has been dumbed-down by their open-border policy to bust the unions and make the workers fight among themselves [over race] for the scraps the bosses throw them. Now the Republicans blame the Democrats for all the illegals and the failure of Homeland Security to do anything about bombs on planes that would have succeeded if only the adverse warriors were smarter. Maybe the agents who let him through were following orders because the bosses want the terrorists to be successful to discredit their dual agent puppet and throw the unwitting electorate back to the Republicans who talk tough while holding hands with the Saudi kings.
    What right minded person would believe that the CIA and FBI don’t talk to each other save the ignorant masses who believe the nightly news? Your guests barely touched on the overt consolidation of the press so that it is no longer free but the mere propaganda arm of the corporate bosses who own such monolith, though they paradoxically agree that such bosses own Congress and the Executive branch too.
    The one glaring lacuna they failed to even give lip service to is the Judiciary which was supposed to be a final check on the tag-team theatre lulling us into thinking there is a real balance of power by the two-parties who drink at the same trough. Obviously these learned men have not studied or remembered their history. In short, the Sherman and Clayton Anti-Trust Acts were supposed to keep them from becoming too big to fail.
    We have been through all of this before during the last Gilded Age that brought the Progressive movement ushered in by the Muckrakers who gave intellectual imprimatur to the novel idea that children should not be forced into dangerous labor and no person should be forced to labor 12 hours every day of the week. Perhaps, the global organization of workers which reached its zenith after the Great Depression leveled the playing field a little more.
    The New Deal gave us 5% guaranteed interest on our savings passbook accounts and from the outset, the various state constitutions gave us Usury law that kept “banksters” from giving zero to savers and charging 30% on credit cards, making the Mob look like choir boys. For a over a hundred years, it was a crime to charge more than 10% interest in Texas before the so-called Contract with America.
    The obvious conclusion is that the Attorneys General and the Judiciary failed to enforce such constitutions and fundamental axioms of good public policy. When the Supreme Court holds that corporations have the right to influence elections by money and that judges can telegraph (and raise millions on how they would vote on such issues) though the corporations have no vote, is it any wonder that we have nothing more than Victorian Mercantilism [otherwise known as Fascism] masquerading as free enterprise?
    When we start indicting the justice department lawyers by allowing regular citizens [via Qui Tam] to bring grand jury actions against such state actors along with the henchmen judges [for corruption], then maybe the congressman will fear the people without their flooding the streets, only to be met by storm troopers who falsely imprison under the pretext of law and order like they did at the last Convention in New York City.
    Let us never forget that Hitler’s Nazis acted under color of public law and everything that our founding fathers did was punishable by death for treason. Just read Hitler’s Justice for a primer on the subject. When your guests start connecting the dots, then maybe our so-called intellectual class [who watches PBS] will also start to get the reality behind the fluff. Only when we start imposing equal application of the law against lawyers [who are the architects of the so-called contracts that ‘keep us free’], will somebody pay besides their victims. Buck Maker
    Houston, TX

    After seeing your program..I hold little hope for our nation...we are not the French...When Marie said "Feed them cake." They had the guts to Guillotine Her...Never happen in America...Go to church Sunday and say a prayer...go home and grab your ankles stick your head between your legs and kiss your country and yourself goodby..we will never be the same again...the conspiracy is to large and grand. the Rep. are going to run Shara Palin..pardon me while I vomit...

    Thanks, Bill, for this great segment with Korn and Drum. I am furious with rage at what these people have done to our country, and I'm totally stunned at the way they got away with it.

    I'm an Obama voter myself, but the rage is there on both sides of the political divide. It doesn't really matter anymore whether Big Business ate Big Government as the Dems would say, or vice versa as the Republicans would say. All that matters is that both are working together to screw the rest of us and it's time we stood up and did something about it.

    I've been waiting, month by month, to hear the news that mobs were converging on Wall Street. I live in NYC and I'd be down there with my pitchfork in a heartbeat....but nothing. Crickets.

    I don't know what is wrong with Obama. He's so tone-deaf on this issue. He could stand up for us and unite the country behind him, but it isn't going to happen.

    We are going to get more of the same, more deregulation, more Wall-Street greed, more Ayn Rand (Alan Greenspan's favorite author), more "greed is good", more bubbles, and another economic blowout. This time, of course, the Democrats will own it lock stock and barrel, confirming everything the teabaggers ever said about Big Government.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

    Anyone up for a march on Wall Street? Let's Roll!

    Bobby
    Ironworkers Local 40

    Divide and conquer works. Your insightful yet horrifying exposure lifted the rock off Congress and Obama and their lobbyist hosts in Washington and Wall St., yet what crawled out of your show was a those-who-would-not-see blindness to a very large and growing movement to do exactly what you, Mr. Corn, and Mr. Drum want done in terms of holding our public "servants'" feet to the fire of public outrage, the very same T.E.A. Party movement that is made up predominantly of people just like you and me. But the divide and conquer tactic has worked like a charm and so you three, who know so much and should know better, have also been duped into believing that this movement of your fellow citizens who are, too, outraged at how Wall St., is destroying Main St., is made up of crazy people. Of course there are extremists but aren't the crooks in government extremists? It is time for us to be liberal enough to respect our fellow citizens as we all take action to conserve the United States of America. Waiting for Godot is not necessary, the game's afoot already so join the party and stop deriding it. You are a hero of mine and yet I was on the TEA Party line. We are one, aren't we?

    Bill M,
    Thank you for providing this provocative forum. It seems what ails us is bipartisan. The ruling political classes are two head of the same beast. Here in Illinois, they decry pay to play politics, but we have nothing on what's happening at the highest levels of our existing political system. Hopefully, new leaders with integrity will emerge. A decade ago, this would have been a hopelessly optimistic wish. Today, with the power of the internet, it's not so far fetched.

    It makes no sense at all to suggest that an economic sector from which a major segment of the human population derives wealth and opportunity is TOO COMPLICATED to regulate. Economics is a human, reason-based activity not a supernatural, faith-based activity. Do the purveyors of such products as derivatives simply tell their prospects to purchase on FAITH?

    Yes. Make it simple. Banks gambling with taxpayers' money must be stopped. President Obama, take on the banks. Its simple, gallant, direct. And it offers Hope.

    Wow! Maybe you have mobilized America, Bill. I'm re-subscribing to Mother Jones. Went to look for other organizations; oddly, Americans for Financial Reform can't take a credit card donation, and doesn't have any local groups I can join or events to attend.

    I'll keep writing my column in our local paper.

    Which political candidates should we support?

    Just finished watching tonight's Journal and am very upset. I didn't realize how disappointed I've become in this first year of Obama's presidency. As was said, people need someone to rally around on this topic, which affects us all in our democracy. I wish so much our president would stand up and say, "We've been taken for a ride and here's what I and you are going to do about it going forward." I know one thing: Chuck Schumer ain't getting my vote next time around. It seems that's all I can do (and it's not enough)....

    Two months ago I emailed the show objecting to your PBS promo that quoted 3 of 4 guests who said the public was aroused and taking action on issues. I believed the public is powerless for many reasons. Your questions to the guests on this program and their responses unfortunately confirm my opinion. The most telling observation was that the media has failed to fully inform citizens of what is going on in Washington. It is a minority that watches PBS or read the N.Y. Times as well as Fox News and the Wall St. Journal. These minorities may be loud but they are still minorities and it is the rest that reelect the business as usual politicians.
    I suggest you do a program reevaluating the dismal vision of the original film of Rollerball. When I watch the film every 5 years, I see another aspect of it being realized.

    Why does Al Quaeda trouble itself attempting to bring pain to the citizens the World’s Greatest Democracy by individual acts of terrorism when the US’s own institutions are so corrupt and ineffective, when its President flouts the Constitution and treaty obligations while swearing to uphold them and too many of its citizens swallow any line fed to them in political advertising even when it should be apparent the message is against their own interests?

    "Reform" is too complicated and too easy to manipulate. Mr. Lehman told us the solution - OVERSITE. He said if ANYONE had been looking; if ANYONE had checked the books, the collapse would not have happened. He suggested to Congress that an impartial overseer check Wall Street's transactions every night.

    The Journal broadcast on PBS 01/08/2010 should make any US citizen's blood boil. But the problem is NOT "How do we reform banks and Wall Street," rather, How do we reform Congress? If we can do this, an honest Congress then can reform Wall street, health and insurance companies, etc.

    Congress will NEVER reform itself, but there is a method for the states to do it. Article 5 of the US Constitution allows a Constitutional Convention to be called by a vote of 2/3 of the states' legislatures, the convention can write ammendments to the constitution, then it takes a yes vote of 3/4 of state legislatures to adopt. Go to Wikipedia and search for US Constitution, Article 5.

    It likely would take a new political party to pull this off; it would have to be centrist to attract both Republican, Democrat, and independent voters. Probably, a name like Reform Congress Party would attract attention. A first goal would be to ban any contributions or gifts to a Congress-person and require a system of public financing for campaigns, a second might be to give the states the power to set Congressional salaries and perks.

    It would be great if Mr. Moyers would bring in a few experts and discuss this in the Journal.

    Concerning "grassroots support for more financial regulation", the following essay concludes:

    - By all but the pathologically romantic, it is now recognized that this is not the age of the small man. (John Kenneth Galbraith)

    http://cikehara.blogspot.com/2009_10_01_archive.html

    Thanks for this insightful discussion. I only hope it gets more play and the attention of more people. I have been fighting my previous bank for unfair fees. I have been very disconcerted to see that many of the agencies I filed complaints have little or no power, or are so constrained that they are ineffective. I've been so burned at the obvious dishonesty and unfairness that I am fighting back where in the past I might have just paid. I only wish I had the energy to go all out in a holy crusade but we are pretty ground down by circumstances so my fight is limited to my own issue - I'm guessing lot's of others are in the same boat.

    Readers, my apology:
    I said "repeal" Glass Stegall and of course I meant "reinstate." I'm so sorry for the error. Julie Stroeve, Minneapolis

    Congratulations for this triumph of journalism and a heartfelt thank you to Moyers, Corn and Drum for their fearless and probing investigation. I too am saddened that relatively few people may see this program, but those who have can keep it alive by sending it to all of the inquiring minds in their collective contact lists. I would also ask that you download a transcript and send it to your representatives with a letter demanding action be taken that is in the public's interest. We have the power to prompt the elected officials into action without having to spend the immoral sums being collected by Schumer and the Top Eight, because we have the power of the internet to spread the word - it is up to us to use it. Let's help Moyers leave a concrete legacy of his service to the public and create a nationwide chain of knowledge and awareness so that members of congress will know that we will tar, feather and hoist anyone in the public square who colludes with the financial institutions to defraud the American worker of their hard earned savings and investments.

    I believe the guests misspoke, when they stated that an overdraft fee of $39 is 10,000 percent of $17. It's actually 300 percent.


    Posted by: Dyck Dewid | January 10, 2010 3:14 PM
    quote:
    CONGRESSIONAL DRAFT is a concept where citizens are called upon to serve in the legislative branch of government (LIKE JURY DUTY). If confirmed they would serve their country for 2 or 3 years as a representative Of The People. Draftees would be paid adequately. They would be covered by reasonable public benefits. They would go through a brief training prior to serving.
    endquote.

    this goes along with something Ive been thinking.

    I think our politicians are too isolated. Maybe we could replace ALL staffers with citizen volunteers.
    There would be no more permanent staff members.

    Its probably a crazy idea but there has to be some way to get politicians working for the people again.

    We should absolutely stop settling for low performance by saying that "all politicians are liars" or whatever.
    We must hold them to high standards.

    We need to hold everyone to high standards. We have so called news media outlets who specialize in
    misinformation. they just want enough information out there with the right spin (for them) so that
    their viewers will stand behind them and their goals. people like David Koch and Rupert Murdoch.
    and Dick Armey.

    Our politicians have no fear of us. they fear the people with money who can 'advertise them out of office'.

    A lot of our politicians (NOT ALL!) seem to care more about staying in office than anything else.

    Thanks for your program, Here’s an excerpt from what I sent to my party’s leadership before I saw it. I’ve been active in the 2004, 2006 and 2008 elections. This is what I need to see my party do before I will work for it again:

    1) Voice strong support for public funding of elections and encourage candidates to help educate the public of why this is crucial for the health of our democracy.
    A. Take a leadership role in promoting and passing a constitutional amendment that will clarify the difference between the “rights” of people and corporations.

    2) Instead of spending your time getting money from wealthy sources, develop the grassroots and listen to them. Get out of your political bubble and learn to work with real people who know how to work with others to solve problems. We’re ALL sick of the polarized political environment which I’m sure delights our external enemies.

    3) Show by your actions that the “rule of law” isn’t just a myth. The words mean what they say, and we the people can say that the Supreme Court (and any court) sometimes gets it wrong. The rich, powerful, people that political insiders want to do them a favor, etc., don’t get different treatment than an ordinary person.

    Press for accountability for all of those laws that have been violated. At the same time, come clean about how the system has worked for many years (since the beginning?), under both Democratic and Republican leadership. Politicians of both parties have covered for each other for years. All played under the operating rules, not the written ones. That was the past. Admit it and your part in it. Promise real change and show you mean it.

    4) Stand for every citizen’s vote being counted accurately. Listen to those concerned about electronic voting machines and election integrity.We deserve to know that the 2000 election was probably stolen and that the 2004 election was even more probably stolen. Demand safeguards and checks and balances be put in place to prevent a reoccurance.This is particularly crucial now to our national security, with the increase of even more money in politics that can be coming from foreign sources who seek to destroy us as a nation.

    The Party can be one that works with and for ordinary people and real democracy. That’s a party I would be proud and happy to work very hard for.

    Let me first say Bravo to Mr. Moyer. Bill's desire to bring forth open and unfiltered discussion about critical topics facing this country is commendable (a lesson our government stewartship should adopt).

    Secondly, Mr. Corn and Mr. Drum's persepectives were spot on...the U.S. President should take the lead role in setting into place RULES our 'money-belts' should adhere to. Failure to do so, will certainly lead to future economic collaps.

    Who is to blame. Is my Senator or Congressman (woman)part of the problem or solution?

    Finally, citizens of this great country should unit and speak out! Where do I sign up?

    R. G.
    Arizona

    Another excellent program, but relistening to it nearly brought me to tears. There doesn't seem to be any hope.

    If banks (et al) are too big to fail. Why don't we make them smaller? Haven't heard the words anti-trust in a long long long time.

    CONGRESSIONAL DRAFT is a concept where citizens are called upon to serve in the legislative branch of government (LIKE JURY DUTY). If confirmed they would serve their country for 2 or 3 years as a representative Of The People. Draftees would be paid adequately. They would be covered by reasonable public benefits. They would go through a brief training prior to serving.

    The PROS: direct citizen involvement in our government, enhance citizen education and vitality, less chance of war, less tolerance for corruption or ineptitude, no campaigns, no more prima donas who are immune from their own legislation, little or no more big business influences and coercion, no more career self-centered motivation, less legislation, fewer lucrative government retirement packages, much less government expense, etc. etc. etc.. There would be a shift away from the legislation approach to solving all problems. The People's dependence on government would lessen. A return of a more free market system would be enhanced. Save our Democracy from historical fate.

    The CONS: citizen sacrifice to serve, it will be an arduous and dirty fight by our existing, self centered legislative branch of government.

    Some PROBLEMS to solve: Develop the idea and engage the public. Likely basic shift away from legislative approach to all problems. Who would have the leadership and energy and power and vision and knowledge and integrity and funding to spearhead this effort? (I would volunteer, but I may be missing a few requirements.)

    I believe there should have been mention of Ron Paul's bill to "Audit the Fed" or his book "End the Fed" calling for monetary reform. In addition, the mention of the Libertarian movement to abandon Keynesian economics in favor of the Austrian School of economics which favors free markets (free banking), a return to gold standard with a 100% reserve requirements, smaller government which = no regulation not more regulation. Kevin Dunne is right that credit expansion (debt) created the bubble made possible by the Federal Reserve loaning money at 0% to member banks. The member banks then lend 10 times the money they just received from the Fed at sub prime rates to people who don't really qualify otherwise for conventional mortgages. Prices rise (inflation) because of the increase of the money supply, not demand though. The manufacturing of capital goods gets interupted or abandoned for quick profit consumer goods with no demand again. Unemployment is the result. No one can repay their loans. Then come the bail outs. Banks get new, just printed "stimulas" money. Do they lend it out to stimulate the ecomomy? No. They buy treasury securities from the Federal Reserve instead. We have heard from establishment Republicans and Democrats for the last 20 years. We are bankrupt. The collapse of the dollar is right around the corner. Give people with different ideas a chance to be heard on your program. There are grass roots movements well beyond their grass roots beginnings. Ron Paul who has fought 30 years for individual rights, less government, free markets, and sound money needs time on your program. Lew Rockwell,a genius of the Austrian school of economics also needs time on your show. I beg you to air the practical ideas already in place. I guarantee the world and this country will be a better place for it. Keith Keeton

    Great Message. Corn’s reference to the “Stockholm Syndrome” is right on the money (no pun). Equally insightful is Drum, and point that “Time Is Our Enemy”. Considering both points I contend time is our enemy for another reason. The historical phrase not uttered but obvious is Taxation Without Representation. That cry was directed towards monarchs and oligarchs until the only solution was violent revolution.

    I fear history shows that the 99% will not be heard without violence. Likely after enough pain and suffering is felt by red and blue to believe their only option skips politics and embraces a combined revolt. The longer a paradigm shift lingers, the more likely is violence.

    It takes a long time to motivate the rabble. Corn & Drum "get" the rabble - DC does not!

    Charlie, Raleigh NC

    WHERE IS THE ANGER?
    In today’s Notebook program, you asked “Where is the anger?” I believe the great masses of Americans are angry. One simple issue that needs no explanation is excessive executive compensation. Any effort to curb excessive compensation would be very popular with American voters who are enraged that Wall Street “fat cats” who created the current economic problems have not borne any of the pain—because they were rewarded for their incompetent performance with bonuses paid from government bail-out funds.

    CURBING EXCESSIVE COMPENSATION
    If being President of the United States (POTUS) is the hardest job in the nation, then no one is entitled to more annual income. Thus, individual compensation should be limited to $400,000 per year. As POTUS also receives many perks, perhaps a reasonable limit on total compensation and benefits should be set at $1 million per person per year.

    Some employers may choose to continue to spend more than $1 million per person per year to hire the talents and labor of some individuals, but there is no reason why American taxpayers should continue to subsidize and encourage such excessive compensation. All federal and state statutes imposing taxes on corporations and other businesses should be amended to exclude all expenditures exceeding $1 million per person per year from deductable business expenses. If the power to tax is the power to destroy, then measured application of the taxing power should be sufficient to curb excessive compensation.

    Some business moguls, Wall Street brokers, and star athletes may continue to receive excessive total compensation and benefits, but it will be at the expense of business owners and share holders, instead of American taxpayers. To the extent that some individuals continue to receive excessive total compensation and benefits, the above recommended adjustment in tax laws would generate increased revenues for federal and state governments.

    Lawmakers should endeavor to close all loopholes by defining total compensation and benefits to include all salary and wages, bonuses, commissions, health and other insurance benefits, free vacation trips and retreats, stocks and bonds, stock options, derivatives or any other form of security having monetary value, funds paid into 401k and other TDAs, all severance pay, plus funds set aside to cover other deferred compensation and benefits including retirement pensions and health and life insurance. If I missed anything, please feel free to add to my list.

    PRESIDENT OBAMA AND CONGESS MUST DO MORE
    Attacking excessive compensation will hit the “fat cats” in a vital spot, their wallets. But, it is only the beginning. The Obama administration and Congress must follow through with promises made in 2008. It is imperative that the pressures crushing and shrinking our middle class be alleviated in order to restore vitality to the middle class—so essential to the proper functioning of our democratic society.

    A home is usually a family’s greatest asset, so the government must do everything it can to restore and preserve home values. It must reform and regulate the home mortgage business, outlaw predatory lending, prohibit the bundling and trading in mortgage derivatives, and stabilize the home real estate market.

    Moreover, while Democrats control Congress, they must offset the “class warfare” of the Bush-43 years—where wealth was redistributed upward—by replacing the totally unwarranted tax cuts for the richest Americans with substantial tax relief for working class Americans. There is no logical reason why the money that my money earns should be taxed at a lower rate than the money my labor earns. Congress should also eliminate tax subsidies to corporations that export our jobs overseas and encourage businesses that create more jobs here at home. Tax loopholes and subsidies for gigantic multinational oil companies must be replaced by taxes on their obscene excess profits.

    I realize that these reforms will not be easy to achieve, because I do know something about the legislative process. I served three terms in the Michigan House of Representatives and was Majority Floor Leader during my third term. For additional information on my legislative experiences see Backbencher (2002) and Interim Report (2009), both available on the Booklocker.com web site, where a free PDF excerpt of each book is also available for download.

    Finally, our government must revive the American dream and rekindle the hope that all of us have an opportunity to enjoy that dream. I pray that our national leaders will be equal to these difficult challenges.
    Sincerely,
    George F. Montgomery
    6170 Bay Court
    Waterford MI 48327

    An excellent show; can't recall hearing Bill M. this outspoken in his condemnation ever before! I want to respond to the question he repeatedly raised, "What can the people do?" because I think Kevin Drum was closest to the answer when he commented that President Obama has to be the spearhead of the battle to take back our country from the bankers and Wall Street; consequently, he should be the focus of our expressions of grievance. Someone wrote here already that his personal response was to sit right down and write the President a letter. However, what we need is a grass roots campaign. For example, when network TV threatened to cancel the show Jericho, there was a massive campaign of mailing bags of peanuts to corporate headquarters [everyone involved understood the symbolism]. Recently, there's been a coathangers to Congress campaign organized [again, the symbolism was clear]. The symbols are important to getting people involved, as slogans and emblems and theme songs always are, and they make it more difficult to ignore us [because our symbols say that we are an us]. So, while writing my letter to the President [expressing such disillustionment that I may not bother to vote for him, again] isn't a bad idea, we also need a symbolic object,expressing a united front, that when mailed to the White House in massive numbers, he cannot ignore the concrete evidence piled on his doorstep. Will it work? I have my doubts, but it's worth a try. However, history indicates that the people [here, just like everywhere else]are only listened to when they take to the streets in massive numbers, such as during the Depression or the Civil Rights Movement. [No, the anti-war movement didn't end the war in Vietnam.] And Kevin Drum is probably correct that as we get further and further from the collapse, and it appears that we're more-or-less safe, it becomes more unlikely any protest will be mounted -- until next time. Conflict theory tell us, correctly, that change comes more often from desperation than from rising expectations.

    The money-eyed bankers fail to learn from history, or just gamble that it will not happen on their watch, but eventually just like the French and Russian revolutions, there will be a popular revolt in America too. Some of us allready wage our own personal underground war against todays olygarchy/corpocracy.

    Dead on commentary and guests as usual. One question, are you actively training your replacement(s)?
    Take one thing from big business, something they are usually terrible at and fail to do, and come up with a succession plan for this show and others like it. We'll all be screwed if Bill is no longer able to put out a show every week. His and David B's show are the only ones doing work like this on television. Democracy is really at stake here.


    P.S. I had a sage "Captcha" to post this, "impropriety".

    Cut and pasted from the transcript of this show:

    "Moyers said, "During the recent holidays, across the ocean in London, in the very heart of the city, the district where St. Paul's Cathedral and other historic churches nestle in the same neighborhood as the big multinational banks, some financiers were showing signs of contrition. These modern day Ebenezer Scrooges were actually questioning how they earned their fortunes.

    According to the "Financial Times," they were asking themselves how "Financial capitalism has become synonymous with," and I quote, "Crazy risk-taking, with the passing off of toxic investments to unwitting counterparties and the earning of multi-million dollar bonuses, regardless of merit." Talk about mea culpa.""

    See? it's just a MATH problem :-)) And who hasn't gotten their math numbers wrong once or twice in this life? No one is perfect and isn't being merciful what CHRISTIANS are best at?

    Any other FOCUS on identifying and FIXING the problem will make no sense and will only open up the communication lines to be dominated by NUTS.

    doctorcoalcracker wrote, in part, "I forsee the best chance for a revolt will come when those of us are fined for not having private health insurance."

    That's MY poppy-party moment - and I pick my battles VERY VERY VERY carefully....

    Dinosaur "Libertarian" ideology:

    "The ONLY role of government is to protect the INDIVIDUAL against force and fraud."

    Truly unacceptable - war profiteers and mercenaries sending the IRS up your....

    Did it ever occur to anyone that our "representatives" are being man-handled by the same psychos as we all are....? The threat IS "death" - and, even better, "torture" first, right?

    Yet another reason to come together - we are ALL "hostages" to the same TeaM...enough with the divide and conquer schtick.

    Bring a poppy...

    Ever since Ronald Reagan promoted the cause for entrepreneurship and the validity that risk taking entitled the risk takers to unlimited profits their venture produced, it was assumed that the liability for loss provided that entitlement. Since then, risk taking has been encouraged by putting safety nets in place. Certainly no one who has enjoyed the high wire acrobatics of circus performers can argue against the wisdom of safety nets. Safety is the keynote of American society. We all want it. Investors want it too and we’ve given it in the form of “bailouts.”

    Safety nets reduce risk. If the validity of unlimited profits is based on risk, then safety nets limit that principle. Actually, those providing the safety nets are now entitled to share in those profits. Since safety nets themselves usually incur no risk, they should incur no liability, but should be entitled to share the profit from the entrepreneurship they enabled.

    The American public has provided the safety nets. We deserve a share of the profits from Leaman Brothers and all those who have been bailed out. All those exorbitant CEO bonuses have been illegitimate benefits from reduced risks.

    The rewards of success enable market control. A controlled market violates the principle of the ‘free market’ that is supposed to be the righteous savior and dictator of Capitalism. Since Congress controls the marketplace, corporate lobbying is nothing but another form of monopoly.

    There also is the issue of monopolization. Long ago we realized the insidious effects of monopolization and ‘business trusts” that produce cartels. We put restraints and limits on them with “trust busting laws.”

    A principle that was piggy-backed with the concept of entrepreneurship was the “buyer beware’ principle that allows business to transfer risk to consumers. Unfortunately, Ronald Reagan also promoted it too. This isn’t a necessary component of entrepreneurship. But with the help of a faulty public memory of Ronald Reagan’s legacy, deep pocketed lobbyists have seduced Congress into incorporating it as a legitimate principle of Capitalism. This is the most insidious threat to Capitalism and our American way of life. It legitimizes lies, deceit, and psychological chicanery.

    The debit card has been just such a bit of chicanery. Supposedly it prevents reckless spending by limiting its use to available funds. But intentionally exploits immature consumers by doing it in a way that prevents conscious knowledge and wise management of their account balance. A checkbook ledger at least provides that opportunity by providing a running account balance and visual record of purchases. A debit card provides none of that and promoters of debit cards are betting on the immaturity particularly of the lowering average age of American consumers.

    It is an insidious exploitation that deserves controls and punishment.

    ‘Liberalism’ has been given a nasty connotation by Republican proponents for insidious corporate cartels who want to take over our government. They’ve even tried to give government a bad name and Ronald Reagan was both their pint man and line-backer. The truth is that Liberalism is the return to decency, honesty, truth, and good old American patriotism. All the high accolades Cartel promoters loudly sing for Ronald Reagan, ignore his many inconsistencies that were so painfully clear to those who were closer to him throughout his rise in politics. One wonders how a former labor union leader could be warped into the cartel promoter he became. The sorry answer is the power of illicit monopoly money.

    This program has cracked open the lid on public frustration and elicited a wonderful response. As one person commented, one good step toward cleaning up our nation’s folly is stopping corporate lobbying to which we would add limiting or eliminating the need for candidates to accept money for campaigns.

    Your program of Jan 8th should be required viewing by every American with a pulse.
    In the UK, I've read that bankers are threatening to leave the country for Switzerland if the "executive bonus taxes" are levied. Do they think Switzerland will be able to TARP their way through the next, coming meltdown.
    Those that don't learn from their misbehavior are destined to repeat it, sure applies here.
    I am of a mind that my President took his eye off the ball, long enough for the "opposition" to point the country towards Health Care, instead of focusing on the need for banking re-regulation in the simplest wording possible, as priority number 1! Is it too late? I honestly would not even guess. God help us all.

    Congress is BROKEN! There are problems including Health Care, BUT Congress is using this decades old Red Herring to detract from the Collosal FAILURE Congress has been in representating THE PEOPLE!

    Where are usuary laws?

    Can banks charge 30%, 40% or what ever for credit cards?

    Is it more difficult for a family to declare bankruptcy?

    Why are citizens allowed to risk their wealth on lotteries, gambling, etc. but Wall Street is protected by Congress?

    Why did Congress initially cow-tow to Paulson when he demanded $700 Billion in unmarked bills? He was too be the only decider & without Accountability!

    Why is almost all media focused on other than our ROOT problem & that is Congress Is Broken?
    (CIB)

    Why are administration spinners, (ex. Sommers, Geithner)provided a platform on national TV to keep repeating their spin line without being ask serious questions? Ex. Brooklsey Born warned 10 yrs. ago about CDS to Congress with Greenspan, Rubin & Sommers sitting at the same table & Congress removed her & Greenspan gets off with 'Oooooops!'
    Ref. PBS FRONTLINE M. Kirk

    WHY?!! Because reporters with GUTS, as the 2 here have, are regulated to media that plays too those already aware of the grave threat CONGRESS has placed Mainstreet!

    Thanks for the show!

    Billy Bob Florida

    Henry Waxman's book "The Waxman Report" quoted Jesse Unruh, a one time hero of Waxman's, on big money lobbyists in California:

    “If you can’t take their money, drink their booze, screw their women, and then come in here the next day and vote against them, you don’t belong in Sacramento”.

    In my experience, this would mean no one belongs in Sacramento.

    I really like your show, but find few people that watch. I believe that might be because the lack of understanding of terms like derivatives and the use of any abrevations, and complex words leave many not really understanding the true picture. I have been in the stock market for about 40 yrs. and still don't fully under the complete picture of how they are the big problem that is so talked about. So being the unconventional person that I am, I would like to reverse the explaination of a topic that no one seems to understand even Einstein. It is: why doesn't anyone understand gravity fully. I have tested my explaination for over twenty years and now most really understand what I am saying so here it is. Gravity is believed to be a force, when it is an energy (anything that is moving). It is not an attracting force because it must leave the earth and travel away from it, making it go in the direction toward the attracting material. Because other energies such as magnetic (thought to be a force) can be turn on and off shows the idea that they are always there is a false one. Simply gravity is going toward the moon so how could it attract the moon and vice versa. It is the material that does the attracting and not a force. Do this experiment of deductive reasoning. Look a wall of bricks stacked up. Weigh each brick priecisely. Then calculate the angle of the gravity energy that is leaving the earth, then weigh all the bricks in the wall together then add the loss due to the widening angle of the gravity leaving the round earth. With all these calculations, you will find them exactly the same weight. The reason is because the energy of gravity not only is not used or weakened, but if you keep adding bricks the wall will increased by the weight of each brick before it is put on the wall. I also understand how the bricks themselves produce the so called pulling force, but that's another long drawn out subject. What I am trying to explain is that the bricks stacked in line with the direction of the flow of gravity...#1 must move through the bricks, #2 is not deminished in any way or the bricks would weigh less as you stack more on. You really have a great show. I hope to some day see the average person in the street wanting to hear more of the truth about what is really going on in this very fragile World that has been made so complex to satisfy the selfish nature of a few. Thank you.

    We all have the same basic survival instinct in common with one another.

    Some of us do a great job surviving catastrophes and some of us cannot even survive a stretch of hot weather and die.

    So it takes knowledge, dedication and action to be successful at it.

    Remember, knowledge without application is useless.

    Survival is also about comfort...we try to be as comfortable as possible in uncomfortable circumstances. When we get too uncomfortable we can die. It is that simple.

    None of us will be ultimate survivors, we all have to die one day. But the successful survivor extends his or her life beyond an earlier death...a death that was caused by ignorance of how to make that life last longer.

    I heard on TV someone said; "we can look forward to a better decade to come as nothing could be as bad as the last decade."

    What guarantee is there that we have seen the worst?

    Things can get infinity worse than 2000 to 2009.

    But 'wishful thinking' and delusions propel much of society it seems. We can see this predisposition to wishful thinking with all the religious devotees thinking their gods will fix all of mankind's woes. It is said that 98% of the pop believe in a god or an afterlife. What proof do we have of this other than wishful thinking?

    link: (removed due to censorship guidelines)

    I also heard one commentator talking about how good 'god the father' was. (referring to Yahweh of the old testament.) Religions should always remember they run on faith and not on fact. Keeps them in line when they start talking about killing this or that in the name of god or allah. I will address more of the god BS at the end of this post.

    In this day and age where our very survival is threatened in a quickly decomposing world - wishful thinking has no place in one's thinking, if one is serious about living. (Or at least living a healthy, long life. While it has not been discussed much - the trend is for life expectancy foe Americans to decline.)

    Here is a list of threats facing humans from SRT. One person on another forum made a joke about some of the threats. My job is not to censure this list, but I just put it out as one compilation of things one might prepare for. You decide what may apply to you.

    ...but bear in mind what my survival mentor says: "to prepare for the unthinkable one must first think the unthinkable."


    NATURAL THREATS

    Natural Disasters on and from the Earth
    Short Term and Regional
    -Severe Storms, Wind, Lightening
    -Hurricanes, Typhoons, Cyclones, Superstorms
    -Tornados
    -Tsunami/Tidal Waves
    -Floods
    -Fires - Forest/Brush
    -Landslides
    -Sinkholes
    -Drought (Dust Bowl)
    -Earthquake
    -Volcano
    -Animal caused famine (ie. locusts)
    -Disease, Plague, Pandemics coming from nature (ie. bird flu)

    Long Term / Climate Change
    -Global Warming
    -Ice Caps Melting, Oceans rising
    -Ozone Loss/UV Damage
    -Gulf stream changes, climate shift
    -Global Cooling/Ice Age
    -Global Pole Shift

    Natural Disasters from Beyond the Earth and not caused by man
    -Asteroid or Comet Impact
    -Black Holes/Worm Holes
    -Solar Flares/Coronal Ejections/Gamma Burst
    -Alien Invasion, non-intelligent (Andromeda Strain, virus, bacteria)
    -Alien Invasion intelligent life (War of the Worlds Scenario)
    -Religious End of the World (Anti-Christ, Second Coming, etc.)

    MAN MADE THREATS
    Man-made Accidental Disasters
    -Nuclear Reactor Disaster
    -Chemical Disaster
    -Biological Disaster
    -Fires
    -Grid failures, failures in technology that bring down services
    -Climate change caused by mankind
    -Genetic Engineering gone wrong GMO fears
    -Nanobots gone wrong the gray goo, replicants, Blob scenario
    -Artificial computers smarter than man Cylons, Terminator

    Wars, Acts of Terrorism (Intentional Acts)
    -Nuclear weapons
    -Biological Weapons (small pox, anthrax, ricin, etc.)
    -Chemical Weapons (never gas, mustard gas etc.)
    -Conventional explosives/weapons
    -Cyber attack attack by software control
    -Individual levels such as identity theft
    -"Fire sale" attacks which bring down the grid
    -EMP attack or anything that takes out electronic hardware, computers

    Government, Economic
    -Progressive Loss of Freedoms to Individuals
    -Big Brother fears, NAIS for humans, implanted micro-chips
    -Economic Collapse breakdowns, depression, hyper-inflation
    -Social or Government Collapse/Revolution
    -World socialism, World Government take over, World Dictator
    -Conspiracy theories coming true
    -Corporate controlled World

    link: (removed due to censorship guidelines)

    Lets look at Yahweh aka god the father for a moment. If Yahweh is fake, so must be his phony son Jesus.

    Some religious advocates say it is presumptuous of anyone to 'judge' God. But, such persons also judge God when they say God is good? In order to judge something good it must still be judged?

    A God that would refuse to tell the direction for a person to take and then take joy in torturing that person in everlasting agony for a mistake that the person could not avoid is definitely EVIL.

    God was no always so silent with direction. If we go back to the OT we can see God communicated extensively with the Hebrews on an almost daily basis is seems giving the Hebrews 613 commandants.

    link: (removed due to censorship guidelines)

    God directed them specifically with how to design and build things, how to worship him through burnt offerings and penance and who to murder.

    God was very detailed with his directions about unclean women during menses and how the Hebrews should keep their slaves. Lets look at some of what Yahweh was said to have done in the bible.

    "When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property." Exodus 21:20-21

    God approving of slavery? God did not approve of the Egyptians keeping Hebrew slaves, yet is OK for the Hebrews to keep slaves?

    ...not a perfect God.

    If we read further we will see God to be very bigoted and condemning of all other nationalities except his chosen people the Hebrews. What makes the world think such a bigoted God would accept them, when God had such hatred for others he supposedly created?

    I'm sure the pedophiles wished Yahweh was real. They would be thrilled with Yahweh directive on how to fulfill their fantasies.

    "Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." Numbers 31:17-18

    If we go to more modern times and the Christian dogma where God offered his son to be tortured and killed in order for God to forgive our sins?

    What do we do when we forgive another? Do we kill our son or daughter or just forgive?

    How much more a perfect God could have just forgiven us without killing his son? But God seemed to emphasize the killing children in his words to his faithful as we can see in these OT quotes.

    "Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, "Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all old and young, girls and women and little children..." Ezekiel 9:5-7

    "The glory of Israel will fly away like a bird, for your children will die at birth or perish in the womb or never even be conceived. Even if your children do survive to grow up, I will take them from you....The people of Israel are stricken. Their roots are dried up; they will bear no more fruit. And if they give birth, I will slaughter their beloved children." Hosea 9:11-16

    "Suppose a man has a stubborn, rebellious son who will not obey his father or mother, even though they discipline him. In such cases, the father and mother must take the son before the leaders of the town...Then all the men of the town must stone him to death. In this way, you will cleanse this evil from among you, and all Israel will hear about it and be afraid." Deuteronomy 21:18-21

    What happened to this vocal God that seemed to die with the authors of the Old Testament - for no one ever hears a peep from God nowadays except the deranged?

    Did God die with the writers of the OT?

    BTW, if God was a perfect designer, should he have not made women 'unclean' and not have menses and that way God could have saved some breath and cut his 613 commandants to the Hebrew down by one?

    God even commanded the people how to bake bread, (with human excrement) discriminate against the handicapped, kill the faithful of other religions and how much money to pay to rape young women.

    Each day prepare your bread as you would barley cakes. While all the people are watching, bake it over a fire using dried human dung as fuel and then eat the bread. For this is what the LORD says: "Israel will eat defiled bread in the Gentile lands, where I will banish them!...All right," the LORD said. "You may bake your bread with cow dung instead of human dung." Ezekiel 4:12-15

    "No one whose testicles have been crushed or whose penis has been cut off may be admitted into the community of the Lord." Deuteronomy 23:2

    "If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her." Deuteronomy 22:28-29

    "If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him...." Deuteronomy 13:7-12

    Yes, the writers for God's word will be able to show you how the God they claim to be perfect is not perfect and just an extension of imperfect man's mind.

    If you read the bible with an open mind that is logical and rational you will see this for yourself. It is only when we 'make excuses for God' that God is relieved from being a true God.

    In the OT it says God is a 'jealous God' and requires worship.

    "You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their father's wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation" Exodus 20:4-5

    Once someone 'requires' anything outside themselves the persons peace will be disturbed. Yet the popular belief that God is perfect...the two (jealousy and perfection) don't go together.

    In addition such a God would not pass the 'peace test'. If the God did not receive worship the God's peace would be disturbed from having demands and not getting those demands fulfilled.

    Then the God would have its peace disturbed even further by torturing the person for everlasting eternity since that person did not provide the worship the God demanded. Does all this smack of a perfect being, perfectly at peace or just man impersonating God

    See:

    link: (removed due to censorship guidelines)

    link: (removed due to censorship guidelines)

    link: (removed due to censorship guidelines)

    link: (removed due to censorship guidelines)

    You see, many people do with religion and their religious fixations the same as the compulsive gambler does with their fantasy.

    Excerpt From: Gamblers Anonymous pamphlet

    "The dream world of a compulsive gambler." A lot of time is spent creating images of great and wonderful things they are going to do as soon as they make "the big win."... No one can convince them that their great schemes will not come true. They believe they will, for without this dream world, life for them would not be tolerable.

    link: (removed due to censorship guidelines)

    The truth is that which does not change.

    Man made religion is always changing.

    This phenomena of putting a spin on truth goes back to the earliest formations of the church when it was voted on by presumptuous individuals as to how to describe God and the trinity.

    You see it was all voted on and the proponent that had the 'best spin' on it got the credit for Nicene Creed. But in reality no one has a clew about this subject. Want a modern day example of such spiritual sickness, spin and lies?

    "Roman Catholic Church Considers Abolishing Limbo Theory" A commission that met at the Vatican last week is expected to recommend to Pope Benedict XVI that the teaching of limbo be dropped. The Roman Catholic Church may abolish the concept of limbo the place some Catholics believe the spirit of babies go if they die before being baptized

    Snip from: link: (removed due to censorship guidelines)

    But it is impossible to have a rational discussion with most religious devotees when they insist on irrationality as their first line of defense. We are rational beings, logical beings, yet belief in God can only come about through irrational, non logical thought.

    Would a God that created rational, logical beings require such beings to follow irrational fantasy in order to believe in him?

    An example?

    While discussing fossils and ancient coal with a Christian he claimed that fossils and ancient coal are not really old and 'planted by the devil' to trick people from believing in God?

    This also recalls the book of Enoch, a book that was left out of the bible by the powers that decided what went into it when it was first formed. This book described many fantastic claims about how Eve was tricked by the devil masquerading as an angel.

    Would God create such subterfuge as planted fake fossils in order to trick his loved ones only to condom them to burning and torture for all eternity in hell because they cannot find out the rational and logical truth?

    Yes, such an unjust God would if your God is that of a sickly, delusional, religious devotee that believe is such fantasy.

    Even when we discuss the story of Jesus, is it rational for God to have to kill his only begotten son in order to forgive us?

    What do we do when we forgive another?

    Do we kill our mother, son or daughter in order to forgive another person?

    Yet, Christians cling to this fantasy.

    Jesus was never born on December 25 and in fact there is no evidence Jesus was ever born at all. Christians adopted Christmas from the pagan December 25 holiday in order to promote their own agenda, just as they did with Halloween.

    Bible quotes from:

    link: (removed due to censorship guidelines)

    What do you think?

    Posted by: Dwight Blackburn
    "I want Congress to listen to us and get these financial rules in place..."
    "The ship is swamp!" The dreamers can only hope to be safe "while holding
    on a piece of straw." Hot air, political empty promises are here to stay!
    Status quo, poverty, hunger, eviction, homeless, slavery, confiscation etc.
    will continue. "Justice System for ALL" does not exist.
    In the eyes of "Bankruptcy court" the corporations as "persons" are always right!
    The Congress, the Senate and other elected official "will listen to us," only
    when the "Constitution is amended" to empower the people to
    participate in the process. As a gladiators in the world amphitheater,
    we do not have much hope or chance!
    The AIR waves for the last three weeks went on and on for the urgency
    " to thwart plans to kill Americans...". When was such an "urgency applied
    to a broken system that causes the 45,000 unnecessary deaths per year?!"
    The only country that I know is Switzerland that "empowers the people
    to express their will on ALL ISSUES!"

    Mr. Moyers and Staff,

    Thank you, as always, for another excellent broadcast. Your voice and passion will be dearly missed when you retire this year.

    I've been in the financial services industry for 11 years and had been of the impression that the men at the top were solely responsible for it's power-mongering and cravenness, and had also been under the impression that these attitudes were limited only to investment banks. My faith in the industry has been waning steadily since 2005, when I approached my superiors with deep concerns about the solvency of the mortgages we were securitizing as investment-grade instruments, which were repeatedly shot-down as alarmist and misinformed until the Bear Sterns failure in 2008. I read my superiors' and peers' dismissals as inculcated zealotry--many of the underlings in my industry are true believers of the edicts of freemarket economics and view the world solely in terms of it's presumptions.

    As the crash in Autumn 2008 picked up steam, and as TARP and the stimulous package began to materialize, the nature of my industry and it's power over Americans became utterly clear to me. Financial institutions exist to consolidate the power of it's captains, certainly, but it's aims are more insidious than that. These men have successfully enslaved vast swaths of Americans, rendering them castrated by immense debts while blinding them to the facts of their enslavement with so much more "free" credit, fancy jargon, and media hype and spin.

    What's more, TARP, the Stimulus, and trillions given away by the Fed (which are still unaccounted for) were all engineered by inside players in the industry. As a result, these did everything to minimize and eliminate the big banks' risks and did nothing to truly help the American people by relieving their debts and investing in the small business community where more jobs could be most rapidly created when they were most needed.

    I am disgusted with my industry, with it's aims to consolidate it's fortunes and power whilst the very people it preys upon are rotting. I am disgusted, too, with this President and his party--who ran as populist figures, who got my votes as such, and have done nothing in their first year in office that demonstrates any kind of true populism at all. Instead, they've relied on a shell game to distract indebted us while they go about socializing the losses of the capitalist pigs who got us in this mess in the first place.

    Popular outrage is absolutely required, but the political shell game distracts and disempowers us, and the proliferation of cable and internet "news" outlets magnify those distractions one hundred-fold. We, the American people, are hamstrung and unable to see the forest for the trees. How can we save ourselves if we can't truly understand what our enemy is? It is not that I think the American people are incapable of understanding what is happening to them; I think they're being force-fed too much information and being encouraged to misinterpret it in such ways that they can't make any sense of what they're being given to think about.

    Your journalism is essential in support of this cause. More of us need to see this program, and all of the programs you've aired addressing rampant greed in Washington and Wall Street.

    We the American people have to wake up and save our country ourselves. We must relocalize, reinvest in our communities, and stop waiting for Washington to address it's responsibilities and hold the pigs on Wall Street accountable for their greed.

    Citizens get the government they deserve.

    A healthy democracy depends upon the quality a society's education and free press. Both have failed us. One of the most telling things I've seen lately was Jon Stewart's piece of specific examples of how Fox News "dumbs down" its format to seduce the masses. It was a bit disappointing that the press not covering important details of this bank crisis was not elaborated on this Journal piece. I'd like more light shown on WHY the press is failing us.

    Dear Bill, my family's first question to our leaders is "Who is paying for the banks to advertise on TV?", "I recently retired after teaching 35 years in an inner city middle school and want to know why I have to pay $535.00 a month for my Health Insurance?", "Our elected officals seem to have full coverage and full benefits after only serving 6 years in office...Why?" I want my President to stand up for me and stop going along with the Wall Street Fat Cats, The Big Bankers and The Crooked Health Insurance Companies. BIG IS NOT BETTER....Keep it simple and life would be better for all.
    Thank you for all your good and honest reporting that we have enjoyed over the years.
    Tom from South Florida

    Reply top Arthur Zombie:

    I have often watched the Journal and also found it quite partisan at times. But, the banks already have hundreds of lobbyists on Capitol Hill expressing their viewpoint, and the entire Fox network in their pocket to disseminate their views. None of this is about democracy or open debate, it's about money. When working people have as many lobbyists with as much money, I'd encourage Mr. Moyers to have some of the bank lobbyists on the show. Right now Bill Moyers is one of the only lobbyists that that is working for the people, and using PBS, a network primarily funded by it's viewers, as his forum. I think the fact that the "left" (and I find it abhorrent that somehow anybody on the side of free working Americans is described as "leftist") has to resort to partisan outbursts such as the show in question, just shows how weakened American democracy really is.

    Also, all three of them more or less admitted to not understanding how the financial system works. But the results are easy to interpret. Here is a good place to start:

    http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig_03.html

    To re-iterate the issue, of course the financial system is too complex for us to understand. The point was that if the regulatory system is equally complex and full of loopholes it is only a matter of time before another crisis will occur.

    P.S. I've seen a few posts that refer to the bankers as "gamblers". Isn't gambling a process by which the gambler stands to lose something? A rigged game is not gambling. Congress, the "regulatory" authorities & the rating houses were all in on this. Now that's what I call a rigged game.

    PSS Bring the troops home & do a little democracy building in America!!!

    Mr. Moyers,

    Thanks for your shows. I have always enjoyed watching them. It seems to me the person we need to hold accountable is Barack Obama. We had a dysfunctional congress and senate before he became president. We can also expect bankers to look only after themselves. But Mr. Obama ran on a platform of change and won a significant mandate, which he has thus far wasted. It is wrong to assume that people were naive to think he could change things. If they didn't want him to, he wouldn't have won.

    And now, I'm afraid, he has failed the people. He seems to be merely a rhetorician. He has engaged essentially in building himself a legacy at our expense. His attention has been diverted from financial reform to healthcare reform, and even on that issue, he has failed to show leadership. I am afraid Mr. Shelby Steele was right. We saw in him what we wanted to see, and gave him a pass on questioning his credentials.

    It is, I'm afraid, a colossal failure of democracy itself.

    Best,

    Ashwin

    Read Frank Rich’s The Other Plot to Wreck America in today’s New York Times.

    “Most of us are still ignorant about what Warren Buffett called the ‘financial weapons of mass destruction’ that wrecked our economy…What we don’t know will hurt us, and quite possibly on a more devastating scale than any Qaeda attack. Americans must be told the full story of how Wall Street gamed and inflated the housing bubble, made out like bandits, and then left millions of households in ruin. Without that reckoning, there will be no public clamor for serious reform of a financial system that was as cunningly breached as airline security at the Amsterdam airport. And without reform, another massive attack on our economic security is guaranteed. Now that it can count on government bailouts, Wall Street has more incentive than ever to pump up its risks — secure that it can keep the bonanzas while we get stuck with the losses.”

    Rich asks, “Why was our money used to make these high-flying gamblers whole while ordinary Americans received no such beneficence?”

    As Rich writes, “The window for change is rapidly closing…The contrary voices of Americans who have lost pay, jobs, homes and savings are either patronized or drowned out entirely by a political system where the banking lobby rules in both parties and the revolving door between finance and government never stops spinning.” Will the public hearings of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission connect the dots? “Though bad history shows every sign of repeating itself on Wall Street, it will take a near-miracle for Angelides to repeat Pecora’s triumph. Our zoo of financial skullduggery is far more complex, with many more moving pieces, than that of the 1920s. The new inquiry does have subpoena power, but its entire budget, a mere $8 million, doesn’t even match the lobbying expenditures for just three banks (Citi, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America) in the first nine months of 2009. The firms under scrutiny can pay for as many lawyers as they need to stall between now and Dec. 15, deadline day for the commission’s report.”

    This is the ticking-bomb scenario that truly imperils us all.


    First one must understand money is not only debt, but money is created from debt!!! The amount of money you and I deposit in a bank is a deposit liability to that bank of the same amount we deposit. “Reserve requirements (for a bank) are the amount of funds that a depository institution must hold in reserve against specified deposit liabilities,” says the Federal Reserve on their website,

    Please go to the Federal Reserve Bank website and review Table 1 about half way down the page which sets Reserve Requirements for banks starting December, 2009:

    http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/reservereq.htm#table1

    This table defines the percentage of reserves that must be kept on hand at banks. More importantly, this table defines how much internal money a bank can create based on liabilities (i.e. deposits you and I make) for its purposes (hopefully for making loans to the public). Let’s look at 3 cases.
    ----------------------------------------
    In the 1st case, let’s assume liabilities (transaction deposit type) of $100 and total liabilities in this bank exceed $55.2 Mil. The amount of internal money this bank can create on this $100 (liability or deposit) with a 10% Reserve Requirement is:

    ($100) X (1-0.10)/(0.10) = $900 (Pretty Nice)
    ---------------------------------------

    In the 2nd case, let’s assume liabilities (transaction deposit type) of $100 and total liabilities in this bank total between $10.7 and $55.2 Mil. The amount of internal money this bank can create on this $100 (liability or deposit) with a 3% Reserve Requirement is:

    ($100) X (1-0.03)/(0.03) = $3233.33 (Exceptional)
    -------------------------------------------

    In the 3rd case, let’s assume liabilities (transaction deposit type) of $100 and total liabilities in this bank total less than $10.7 Mil. The amount of internal money this bank can create on this $100 (liability or deposit) with a 0% Reserve Requirement is:

    ($100) X (1-0.00)/(0.00) = $Infinity (Big not Little) (Unbelievable!!)

    Note that case 3 also applies to any bank with any amount of “Nonpersonal time deposits” or “Eurocurrency liabilities”.

    Can I therefore assume that a Case 3 bank with 0% Reserve Requirements on any or all of its liabilities (or deposits) can create as much internal money as needed? If so, there should never again be a bank crisis with a bank with 0% reserve requirements. This type bank will be able to create as much internal money as it needs to pay off any bad derivatives or swaps and curb any runs it might experience on its reserves by it depositors.

    I think I want to be a banker when I grow up!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!

    One point that really stood out for me is the idea that to regulate complex issues it is necessary to write simple regulations that cannot be easily side-stepped by banks and other large institutions. I want Congress to listen to us and get these financial rules in place so that we do not have a repeat of this past year's misery.


    These are all excellent blogs.But what I'm going to say may offend some but...
    The book of Revelation discusses some of these issues. We are headed for a one world government and I know the people with the money are using it to buy power, not mansions and toys. Like someone said on that episode, "they could have those things anytime (been there,done that).
    It's more sinister than even money,if that's possible.I believe it's a precursor of what was promised.All of the circuit is in bed,not just most of them...ALL.

    The Great Frustration . . .
    I think most Americans want to keep it simple. We choose our representatives to act on our behalf. We expect that they will understand the language of bills well enough to support them only when it is in the best interest of the "people." But when the 600 pound gorilla in the room makes it clear he doesn't want his toes stepped on - you dare not step on them. It's pretty easy to understand that money talks and can make or break political careers so our Representatives and Senators have to go along to get along, even when they mean well. When we get mad enough to "throw the bums out" they are replaced by others that are under the same pressure. The system of lobbying and campaign contributions is structured to promote influence peddling. As long as we support this system under the guise of free speech we'll have compromised representation.
    I believe in free speech but I do believe in limiting it under certain when its exercise endangers the masses to benefit the few. We don't allow the shouting of "fire" in a crowded theater because it endangers many people for the amusement of the shouter. Allowing the rich special access to lawmakers via money and its influence is letting the amusement of a privileged few endanger everyone else.
    We should legislate (new) rules for lobbying and contributions. Of course we can't because we have only our legislators to depend on and they are firmly entrenched in this system. Therein is "The Great Frustration."

    Why have our wedge issues been amplified to the point that we want to kick the crap out of each other? This is so Globalization can thrive right under our noses. These teabagging drones are not our enemy, it’s the direct and indirect owners of our neocon media who are.

    Why didn’t the neocon oligarchy steal a third straight election? It’s because they needed someone to take the blame for the economy. Am I the only one who can see this? WAKE UP AMERICA, WAKE THE EFF UP.

    We’re still in time to do something about it, and to do something about it means that everybody in the world--especially in the United States, especially in Europe--should understand the mechanisms behind this. Indentify the people responsible for it and start doing something about it.

    ~ Adrian Salbuchi

    Economy meltdown explained, pt 1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMz4ZUooNYI
    pt 2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qdebDgnZVU

    If our Congress is the root to our problems, then we need to recall every last one of these selfish bastards—today, not tomorrow.

    If you belong to the media, if you’re a journalist, we need you to investigate and report this (follow the direct and indirect owners and board members, not just the CEOs and other greedy executives, of these U$ and European banks, and follow the Bush clan). We need someone to take a stand, state the facts, tell the people. We need someone who isn’t a Democrat or Republican. We need a Thomas Paine to get us all on the same page. We need a united Common Sense.

    Salbuchi wrote this 3 years ago:
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=4034

    I realize that this article isn't supposed to be "journalism" in any real sense but how about just a bit of an opposing viewpoint? That might have helped to counterpoint the tendentious and financially illiterate contributions from Moyers, Corn and Drum. Shoddy work.

    Feet of clay, heart of stone, eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear...
    The talking machines blabber their way day and night destroying everything they do not see and not understanding everything that they do not hear.
    They should be leaders of men; instead they sell themselves to the highest bidder. Their hearts of stone have no compassion and no regrets; they devoir their prey without missing a stroke of their pen. Their feet of clay trod on the innocent instead of the guilty. Their religion is self-indulgence. Their destiny is a world of hurt.
    Stealing from the poor and giving to the rich is the source of their condemnation and they shall perish by their own hand.
    The only salvation for this nation is take back our inheritage from the conservative maniacs and do what is right and good for all of this nation’s citizens.

    If campaign spending could be limited to a reasonable (much smaller than today) fixed amount for every politican, then politicians would not be so susecptible to "bribes" from banks or other special interests. If the politicians re-election was not at all related to their campaign coffers then the banks and special interests would no longer have any sway over the politicians. Somebody please explain to me how we can severely restrict campaign spending effectively.

    To my mind this is the crux of the whole matter.

    Bill, thanks for another informative program, giving us facts that are difficult to find in the MSM.

    It will be a sad day if PBS cancels your program.

    It is not so difficult to find the people who should be held accountable for the financial meltdown of 2009. It seems, however, from 2001 until the present day nobody tries to find anyone responsible for anything.

    There are 2 people in government that bear the bulk of the responsibility for our financial meltdown as well as the presidents of all banks that participated in the approval of mortgages with substandard credit criteria and the packaging and selling of such mortgages as asset backed securities. Additionally, all of these banks had, or should have had, senior risk asset management committees who were equally responsible. In each case they understood the risks and didn’t care as long they increased compensation for themselves and their company

    As for the politicians, 2 of them bear the primary responsibility of these bankrupting financial policies. We need look no further than John McCain’s financial advisor Phil Gramm. Gramm, on Dec. 15, 2000 snuck into a congressional bill an act which prevents the government from regulating investment banks’ credit swaps. Gramm is the one who called Americans whiners and told us that the crisis was in our heads. McCain considered him for the position of Secretary of the Treasury. Equally responsible for our economic crises was the SEC chairman (Christopher Cox) who changed a key regulation in 2004. Under pressure from those who wanted to please their campaign contributing Wall Street buddies the SEC approved a measure that let investment banks lend out 30 times the amount of capital they had backing up their loans. Before 2004 they could only lend out 12 times the amount of capital.

    Everything is relative here. It seems to me that the banking system (and therein I include the investment houses) are functioning extremely well. They are quite efficiently transferring wealth from working people to the the ruling class. This is not something new, it has been the practice of civilizations throughout history. The reserve banking system uses leverage by design to generate wealth at the expense of the economy at large through the the payment of interest on debt. It seems to me, not that the system is broken, but is is functioning too well. It is the country that is broken, and broke, financially, morally and existentially. If it's people were half so interested in achieving a financial democracy as they are in denying health care to the poor and abortion to the downtrodden, then the problem would be resolved quite quickly. Don't blame Obama or the bankers; America has been created by Americans - you have collectively created the country according to your own tastes, through your own choices. Now you have to live with it, the bad as well as the good.

    We have nobody to blame but ourselves until we outlaw private campaign contributions and lobbying.

    This comes from Anthony DeMello's book Song of the Bird:

    A man found an eagle's egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eagle hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.

    All his life, the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet in the air.

    Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.

    The old eagle looked up in awe. "Who's that?" he asked.

    "That's the eagle, the king of the birds," said his neighbor. "He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth -- we're chickens." So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that's what he thought he
    was.

    It just occurred to me that the answer to my last question may be that Washington politicians and regulators are not really representing us, the people, in this matter.

    Big bankers and financiers have manipulated and tricked working and poor people into debt bondage against future income with credit card schemes, consolidation of education loans into high interest debts, and dishonest mortgage fraud. If they can get away with that, what is the essential difference with that and taking a hugh amount of tax money that imposed another debt bondage on people in the form of future taxes we must pay, other than that it includes those who were careful not to be manipulated and tricked. They have devised many ways to take from other others, not just present wealth, but future wealth that hasn't been produced yet. Those who were shown "mercy" and even given more wealth after their destructive behavior are not showing any mercy to those they have hurt so much. Quite a feat to "intellectually capture" so many representatives in Washington that they cannot see the essential truth of the structure of the system. I recently saw a quote attributed to Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Do our representatives in Washington not want to understand at some unconscious level?

    Great show that aired January 8, 2010, with Mother Jones’ Washington Bureau Chief, David Korn, and blogger, Kevin Drum. Moyers wondered what “countervailing power” could prevent titans of elitist banking interests from continuing to erode democratic values and principles with anti-democratic governmental practices, such as banking regulations and obscure tax loopholes that protect only large investors. Moyers and guests agreed that change can only come through Congress; however, I believe that history teaches us that progressive, populist change comes from the People leading Congress, not the other way around. I want to add one more critical point: If we want legislative change to come through the People as democracy promises, then, we must ask what public education and higher education are doing to prepare our People for popular sovereignty and democratic citizenship.

    In contrast to what is needed to strengthen citizenship education today, the No Child Left Behind Act has led to the abandonment of social studies and civics as essential, required curriculum. Yet, studies show that People need to be taught explicitly from a very young age the democratic imagination, sensibilities and skills necessary to become savvy voters and congressional watchdogs. Unfortunately, our current educational system does not train teachers how to become effective civic participants and wary watchdogs of their elected officials; thus, it is not teaching the People or its teachers how to protect their interests against the interests of the titans of wealth and power. In short, we don’t educate teachers and, as a result, we do not educate the People to become literate, effective democratic citizens. So, if change comes through the People and then to Congress, then we better start focusing on how to do a better job of training those who elect Members of Congress. If we don’t educate teachers and citizens how to be vigilant against tyranny, then Wall Street Fat Cats will continue to win and democracy and popular sovereignty will continue to lose. If we want popular sovereignty, we must demand that all teachers be better trained to effectively prepare today’s and tomorrow’s citizens.

    Thanks for having the courage to bring up topics that relate to every other social ill in this country...let’s start by saying...though I loved the fact you are articulating excruciating topics....it all was still in the realm of intellectual ping-pong....there is a simple solution for every single problem in this country if people would stop making excuses that the almighty dollar is the reason we keep falling....as the Nobel Prize winning artist Pablo Neruda said" we must defeat the power of the dollar bill" there are plenty of us out here who have been watching this insanity for years....and a lot of us talking real change....your arguments give us some food for anger...but you keep us playing ping pong with words...as if we don't already know...that since these criminals are exactly that....they should be in jail...instead of the jails of homelessness and poverty we live in...There are solutions. Why is everyone so afraid? How did money and the intellectual mind games of debate that ignore our human needs get so powerful....we are human. We can solve these problems without our country installing a dictatorship on our backs...which it seems we are close to...while our politicians play games and have fun at our expense....some pretty brilliant thinkers have grown up in the past three decades ready for a New Boston Tea Party....if this country was founded on Revolution...then maybe our big money makers are actually shaking in their big moneyed boots....you can always use all that money and force a military dictatorship on democracy like they did to Allende in Chile....is not this all related? I noticed no women were involved in your very highly academic verbal interactions....you get people thinking, but you also made me feel like we are powerless. And believe me,,,, there are a lot of us out here who know the truth. There is a solution for every ill in this society. Other countries think we are inhumane in how we treat humans....why not get down to the real basic truth...we have the power to be honest and live fairly without this criminal activity...the words used in your program...almost kept us as confused as you tried not to do…thank you though for articulating the disgusting issues you bring to light. For me, my friends and I see this all in a more holistic context....we could discuss this forever. The reality is...people will get angry enough to create honesty in their lives and reclaim what is theirs....too many words defeat our power or action...we can do it. We have the courage to change this. How long can you debate issues with academic words when live solutions are right in front of us. We can take back our power. I loved your program....but I feel you needed to give people a sense of empowerment that yes we will change this for we must.
    Let’s get down to honest action as a people and stand up to this disgusting behavior that people in other more progressive countries simply find hard to digest. There is a great quote by a woman writer since women are usually still not being heard....her quote simply says ," life would be simple, but men insist on making it complicated" I am not anti-male and I honor your program. Going in intellectual circles will not tackle what we have to do to eradicate this once and for all. Thank you for bringing this topic to the public. A lot of us are a lot wiser than people in power will admit...perhaps that’s why they keep running away with our money....they might feel a bit scared....this is going to end. A lot of us out here are already making the real moves to change it....enough ping pong....Lets really solve these issues with the blood and sweat of our hands and brilliant minds....get ready people...change is coming. Their time is up and we have been overdue for change for more than the 200 years this country founded itself on brutal enslavement and destruction of indigenous people....maybe that’s the root of all their fear and their excuses....it’s not that hard to solve. Let’s get off this wordy pedestal that keeps us all confused... the millions of us out here suffering for decades that have brilliant humane solutions....we know what’s going on and we have solutions for the everyday American who must work. Let’s stop intellectualizing and simply begin to solve these related problems. We can do it! Thank you Bill, and all your friends, talking last night.


    Corporate ownership of national monetary systems is the most significant threat to human right in the world today.

    The current crises in economic conditions are the natural consequence of the fractional reserve monetary system that the US employs to create its money supply.
    With the exception of coins, America’s money is created as loans that must be repaid with interest. The banking system creates only the principal of the loans and no institution creates money to pay the interest, requiring the banks to continually create more and larger loans, using the new money to service older loans, in an ever expanding pyramid of debt. This pattern of using new money to service older debt is so common in investment schemes as to be given its own name: a Ponzi Scheme.

    For the United States, the resolution to our crisis lies in restoring the sovereign authority of the US to the American people. Our government has full sovereign authority to issue the money needed to run the government and provided all the currency for the economy.

    A government can issue and lend money like the banks, create and spend money directly into the economy as receipts for good and services provided to the nation, stop borrowing money and repay the national debt by substituting debt free US currency for interest bearing US bonds.


    I read this headline in the 1/04/09 edition of the Oregonian: Bernanke puts blame solely on regulators. Funny. I thought it was the bankers who were responsible for the financial crises. After all, they invented potentially dangerous things like credit default swaps and then took unmitigated risks with our money, creating obscene profits for themselves in the process. Let's remember, it was the bankers who decided to operate along the shady, unregulated edges of the law in order to escape scrutiny. Yes, they were eventually caught but Bernanke made the taxpayer bail them out. People also paid for the banker's bad business practices with the loss of their homes, businesses and jobs. The bankers? Well, they were just doing what bankers do - taking advantage of an opportunity.

    Isn't this a little like making the cops responsible for the crimes the bad guys commit? A criminal sees that an area of town is dimly lit and lightly policed so he targets that area and makes off with the loot. According to Bernanke's thinking, the police are to blame for not catching them and the ones who were looted should cover their own loses. The criminals? Well, they were just doing what criminals do - taking advantage of an opportunity.

    That headline could have been a title for an episode on the old TV program, "Twilight Zone". A strange world where no one is held responsible for their actions. The executives of an organization can be irresponsible, behave immorally, unethically and even criminally, get rich in the process and never have to accept blame. Consequences slip easily to innocent bystanders. What fun Rod Serling would have had writing plots for that upside down world.

    But wait. That seems to describe the world I'm living in right now.

    THIS WAS:
    SEC RULES ALLOWINVESTORS TO SELL SHORT ONLY ON AN UPTICK OR ZERO PLUS TICK. IN OTHER WORDS,YOU CANNOTSELL A STOCK SHORT,IF IT IS ALREADY GOING DOWN.THIS RULE IS AN EFFORT TO PREVENT POOL OPERATORS FROM DRIVING DOWN A STOCK PRICE THROUGH HEAVY SHORT SELLING THEN BUYING THE SHARES FOR A LARGE PROFIT(INTERNET)

    David Corn said: in poll after poll for decades now, if you asked people who are you more scared of in terms of America's future, is it big government or big corporations? Big government always wins by a landslide.

    Wait a second, where is the delineation between government and corporations.... THERE IS NONE.

    Big Government is Big Corporations is Big Government is Big Corporations is Big Government is Big Corporations.

    That's what this whole show is about. We have the "United States Corporation of America". Banking, Pharma, Insurance, Medico, all the special interests except those of the people.

    The legal wing of Corporate American Government is in halls of Congress, and marketing is handled by corporate media.

    Wall Street needs to viewed as domestic terrorist and Geithner, Summers, Rubin and all of Wall Street needs to be put on the "no fly list".

    Great Show!

    I've said it here before and I'll say it again: Caucasion Americans will be in the minority in twenty years. The financial duplicity we are seeing and the shifting of the tax burden on the middle class and less financially well off is a deliberate strategy to mitigate the voting power of an increasing ethnic majority. This new majority will be able to vote to their hearts' content, but real policy, as we are seeing, will be driven by the increasingly powerful financial class.

    Peter Schrag nails it at 25:20 and 36:30: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhsW-N7fTho


    RE Mant: Good to see you since Charlie Rose kicked us out of his sandbox and went home with his toys.

    It just seems to me that the teachers of morality have completely forgotten to teach that you cannot worship both God and money.

    You cannot worship both God and money.

    There are many people who put money ahead of people.
    Thats whats wrong. Its simple.

    priorities.

    P.S.: Thank you Mr Moyers for being there and doing your shows. I started watching you when you were doing NOW somewhere around 2002 (or 3?). the things you said helped me a lot.
    Then you dissappeared and I felt kinda lost. then you came back again. I now here rumours that you will be leaving the airwaves again.
    If thats true, I only tell you that you have done extremely well. and I greatly appreciate you.

    have a Good day and be Blessed.

    A great show and great posts. It give me much hope for change to come when I know I'm not alone in the complete BETRAYAL I feel towards our government and Obama. I made the mistake of only listening to the good and not all the bad things that were out there which now seem to be closer to the truth. I am a life long registered independent. From what I have read about the 'birthers', they raise legitimate questions that deserve answers. So now I learn the rampant corruption in this country extends to the Supreme Court as well. Human beings sure aren't perfect, not a single one of us and neither are any of the systems, money, language or anything else we create. Surely, we are intelligent enough to do better than we are, but our history does not support this. We have this money system we are all supposed to live under without even knowing the rules of how it works. And the rules are always changing. Life, as we live it is unfair, unequal and unjust and corrupt because that is the way human beings behave. Obama is a con man, read the bad stuff out there about him. Look for truth everywhere. If the Federal Reserve were audited, it would be abolished for corruption. Seek out and read about all the corrupt politicians currently in office, there are so many. I am educating myself. I take responsibility for my own life, my choices and all my actions. I have emailed my state senators and representative. I have gotten responses. I expect those at the federal level to work on behalf of all the people of this country, not just this state. This year, if they show up in my area--I will be there to hold them accountable. I will write real letters asking my questions and demanding answers, not more BS. My heart hurts for all the suffering people in this failing country because I have been there. I have helped and will continue to help. We are all in this life together. The game of predator and prey must end. Thank-you again for a wonderful program.

    Last nite, you were wondering how to start a public uprising to clean up the mess in Washington. How about a poll of the people to see if they believe as I do in answer to the question, "Do you believe that the curent Congress of the United States is as or more corrupt than any other legislative body in the world" "Also, is this beginning to permeate the Executive and Judicial Branches of the Federal government in Washington?" Perhaps this would focus on what is really the core of our current problems.
    Thank you

    Mr. Moyers:

    You have scheduled a conversation with Greg Mortensen for January 15, 2010. The following text (originally posted on Open Anthropology Cooperative) deals with Morensen's cultural cleansing colonial project in Afghanistan. Hope it will inform your conversation with this cleverly disguised agent of American imperialism in Afghanistan.
    ___

    Everything touched by the American imperial stupor turns to dust. This mindless, bloody and brutal machine has reduced to rubble the state of Afghanistan. In violation of every international standard it destroyed the secular state of Iraq and installed in its place a fragmented theocracy. This rogue Zionist-infested fascist state and its rulers are guilty of crimes against humanity. From the onset, the American imperial presence in Afghanistan has been engaged in a massive culture cleansing project. The imposition of “secular” schools for Afghan girls in Panjshaer is the tip of the iceberg in this project. Christian missionaries and Western liberal feminism are lurking in all corners of the so called reconstruction of Afghanistan. Christian missionary activity including the distribution of Bibles in Paxtu and Farsi (distinguished with blue and green covers) by American soldiers has been documented. Most of the nearly 4500 NGOs in Afghanistan have direct or indirect connections to Christian agendas for Muslim Afghanistan. Virtually all of these NGOs receive subsidies, in one form or another, from the American and other Western governments and are sheltered by the American and NATO military umbrellas. The “Clash of Civilizations” is the foundational premise of the Western presence in poor and helpless sub-industrial Afghanistan. The HTS teams are the American frontline scouts in this brutal and destructive scandal. The program is a crude, simple-minded, and counterproductive attempt at imposing colonial culture with the tips of bayonets and military boots on the people of Afghanistan through “C3”, comparative cultural competence, buzzwords in the so called “military anthropology”, and staffed with incompetent and clueless but expensive (annual salaries of 300-400K) “social scientists” and interpreters (“terps”) from the poverty stricken Afghan diaspora in the United States. Blind leading the blind!

    From the start radical feminism and the American occupation of Afghanistan have manipulated each other for the promotion of their respective agendas in Afghanistan. During February 2005, while speaking in public, the US Marine General James Mattis who commanded troops in Afghanistan stated that “it is fun to shoot some people….Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know , it’s a hell of a hoot….I like brawling…You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil…You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of lot of fun to shoot them” (afghaniyat@yahoogroups.com February 3, 2005). The general was merely “counseled” by the Pentagon for this obscene backwater display of patriarchal feminism. This writer retorted: “Abusing human beings is reprehensible. But this is fascist vulgar rhetoric and for Mattis to speak about women’s rights anywhere is a profound hypocrisy. In no other country are women so abused , exploited, demeaned and vulgarized as in the country he pretends to defend” (Lansing State Journal, February 14, 2005).

    Now comes the Dakota educated, Big Sky Country settler cowboy and mountaineer Greg Mortenson on the shoulders of the “warrior chief”, U. S. Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff, fighting the phony “war on terrorism” with opening a “secular” school for young Afghan girls in the Panjshaer valley. Mullen has armored himself for this occasion by reading “The Book Seller of Kabul” by Asne Seierstad who has been sued in a Scandinavian court by her chief Kabuli informant for publishing lies about women’s lives in Afghanistan. The report of this militarized feminist scam is produced by a Zionist mouthpiece and tutor of the imperial presence, Thomas L. Friedman who thinks “Urdu” is the local language as if the cultural content of Dari speaking Panjshaer valley is interchangeable with the cultures of India, Pakistan, and Nepal where Urdu is a universal language. Imperial hubris thrives on essentializing the dominated. Afghanistan is simply another footprint.

    Cowboy Mortenson is the co-author of “Three Cups of Tea”, a story about mountain climbing in northern Pakistan and his rescue by Balti villagers whom he reciprocates by destroying their way of life through building “secular” schools for their little girls. He drifts into Afghanistan with this deconstructive project by opening 48 secular schools—one and one half school in every Afghan province. Faithful to a vulgarized understanding of secularity Mortenson expects these innocent little girls to have “fewer children” when they grow up. Of course, this design will require classes in sex education and family planning with free contraceptives in the Panjshaeri school curriculum. Everything will be modern, industrial and “up to date” in Panjshaer including young women in high heeled seductive shoes, make-up, contraceptives, abortion clinics, and bikini clad sunbathing teenage Panjshaeri girls on the banks of the Panjshaer River. I am sure Mortenson has plans for shelters all over Afghanistan for abused Afghan women just as in Butte, Lansing, Little Rock, Cedar Rapids, Mobile, Phoenix, and all over Eastern Pennsylvania. And he will look the other way when these Afghan girls end up as the abused, exploited, demeaned, and vulgarized subjects of pornography produced in Rokha, Charikar, and Kabul. Far more importantly, mountaineer Mortenson hopes to reverse the conventional old to young human process of cultural reproduction. Mortenson’s Montana zeal will create an Afghan world in which “the girls will bring home meat and veggies, wrapped in newspapers and the mother will ask the girl to read the newspaper to her and the mother will learn about politics and about women who are exploited”. In this secular colonial model culture will flow from young to old, bottoms up, so to speak, which in practical terms will terminate the culture of present day Afghan mothers and grandmothers. Mortenson will replace the cultural construction of women, femininity, and womanhood in Afghanistan with the nightmares of radical NOW and Eleanor Roosevelt, the original chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission.

    I wonder whether Greg Mortenson, Admiral Mike Mullen, and Thomas Friedman have read the current American imposed constitution of Afghanistan. Here are relevant sections from this document that speak to Mortenson’s project of building “secular” schools in Afghanistan: Chapter 1, article 1, “Afghanistan is an Islamic Republic, independent, unified, indivisible state; chapter 1, article 2, “the religion of the state of Afghanistan is the sacred religion of Islam”; chapter 1, article 3, “in Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam”; chapter 2, article 2, “education is the right of all citizens of Afghanistan, which should be provided up to the level of B. A. (lisans) free of charge by the state”; chapter 2, article 24, “the state shall devise and implement a unified educational curriculum based on the provisions of the sacred religion of Islam, national culture, and in accordance with academic principles, and develop the curriculum of religious subjects on the basis of the Islamic sects existing in Afghanistan”. A bystander would say: By opening the secular school for Afghan girls, Admiral Mike Mullen and mountaineer Greg Mortensen are trampling the Afghan constitution. Never mind. The “warrior chief” gives and the “warrior chief” takes back.

    Greg Mortenson is the founder and CEO of Central Asia Institute headquartered in Bozeman, Montana. Is his institute subsidized by funds from the American government? One of his pamphlets (An introduction to Central Asia Institute, p. 12) contains a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “We cannot shake hands with a clenched fist”. How much American military hardware and how many American soldiers were present at the opening of the “secular” school for girls in Panjshaer? Bagram airbase is about twenty miles from Panjshaer. When Mortenson’s secular school was being opened Afghanistan was occupied by more than one hundred thousand Euro-American soldiers


    "The USGS estimate of 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil
    has a mean value of 3.65 billion barrels."

    http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1911


    Catch 22, greed corruption to oppress the people.

    The truth as always it hurts!

    Bill one of your best programs ever with smart guests. Their solution's however for taking on Wall Street are very weak,and I am afraid hat they will be saying the same thing 2012.Obama is very shallow.
    The notion that we are held hostage by the bankers that has produced the Stockholm syndrome is a real insight and mind blower to me and should be taken very seriously by all of us. In essence the banking industry has not only bankrupted the country , but has made all of us many Americans mentally ill.!!!!!!!!

    . . . thank you for this important report, which confirms what I believe in my heart as the problems in the banking industry. This country needs to replace the people who are back in their positions and doing business as usual. This is worse than terrorism, but in fact is terrorism against the American people. President Obama is our only hope to make a change and break up the big banks and financial reform. The people must start a campaign online to make congress change. I will look for this type of forum that can work. What else do we have to protect us against Wall street?
    Thank you and I commend you, David Korn and Keith Drum for the courage to tell us the truth I pray for your safety because we are at war with the banking industry and they have the money and no morals and seems they will do whatever they need to do to keep their power. . . Patricia Moncada, one American citizen.

    Thanks for doing such a great job in bringing these fundamental issues to the attention of the public in a useful, credible, fact-based and clearly understandable way.

    Also, thanks for reminding us that to get the change we so badly need we must organize--band together and press hard and visibly.

    I have been inspired by your recent programs to take a more active role--this is how movements start.

    Thank you for last night's Journal, as always.

    I am about to be guilty of plagarism. After watching your show and reading all these blogs, I have "borrowed" words to form a letter to send to the President pronto, and I hope thousands of others will do similarly. My "contribution":

    President Obama, please lead our country to meaningful banking and Wall Street reform. We need action, not just hope. Work hard, quickly and decisively.

    What better time, Mr. President, with your unprecedented following, than the State of the Union Address. Your words will be repeated and repeated by a generally anemic media so that the entire nation will fully grasp how Wall Street owns Washington and is essentially practicing domestic terrorism. Already written? Editing won't take long.

    These behemoth banking institutions must be stopped from gambling in the stock markets with our money. Repeal Glass-Steagall!! Too big to fail, but not too big to jail, and should be too big to exist.

    Reign in the derivitives industry. No more 2,000 page bills -- only clear simple language to describe understandable contractual terms.

    And I find it appalling that the IRS has agreed to reduce the tax liability of Citigroup for paying down their bailout loan.

    Thank you for your attention.

    Our agreed goals are jobs, jobs, jobs, fairer higher wages, safety-net extension to protect children and neighborhoods from high foreclosures (govt takeover and rent-back to protect families and communities ???). In addition, the Obama goals in energy, infrastructure, environment, education, security, etc.

    These require economic mobilization to finance what markets cannot finance.

    The need is trillions. Your show talked of regulations and process: we need results not arguments over process.

    superb point of view. I haven't been this riled since 69. I am willing to act, protest, help, meet with others, and contribute to some real solutions.

    What do You suggest?

    "At various key moments in the history of our republic, the country was literally saved by muckraking, crusading journalists. Today there is nobody else doing what Mother Jones does." --Bill Moyers, in large type, in the subscription advertisement I received in the mail today.

    Bill,
    Last night's interview with David Corn and Kevin Drum was exceptional! Those on Obama's e-mail list should demand as a condition of future support that he send them his program for bank reform, so we can threaten our representatives in a unified voice. One way we can act as individuals: Go to moveyourmoney.org, learn which of your local banks are not connected with too-big-to-fail and move your money. There may be other banks or credit unions closer by that are equally protected up to $250K that are not on this list, perhaps because they've taken chances with community lending in hard times. But you're safer there because you might help save the world from these terrorist banksters.

    I'm dismayed to hear that your program and NOW are threatened. Please tell us if this is true. If so, I hope we will be able to watch your interviews online. Yours is the only programming that completes the spectrum on PBS. Thanks again!

    the CONFUSION is over WHAT democracy IS: it is NOT FOR THE PEOPLE; it is EXPLOITATION which is target & harm the PEOPLE for THEIR personal profit & gain. THIS is the "way" democracy WORKS: it was stated by the GOV; it is either THIS or communism as under the USSR. No one wanted THAT.
    Going BACK to 1854: John Beeson's diaries: Ashland Oregon, the "democratic meeting" stated that DEMOCRACY was setting the TRUTH to the side and presenting A DIFFERENT PICTURE as being "true". He wrote "a plea for indians" and in the BOOK "talent worth it's weight in gold" about Talent Oregon it DESCRIBES the meetings and indeed the information is in the Historical records of So Oregon. Ashland Oregon, Medford Oreon, etc;
    A JUDGE intercepted Beeson's letters to editors in Calif; opened them up; and made Beeson a wanted man. He chose exile rather than allow harm to come to his beloved family.
    Democracy is NOT of the people, by the people, FOR the people: it is TARGET and HARM the PEOPLE for THEIR personal profit & gain. Working WITH Corps, banks (called victimization) etc; you will find the PEOPLE have been paying millions of $ for $35.00 in COST; at Fed, St, County, and CITY: this is the BREAKDOWN as given BY FEDS who listed the AGENDA shown locally on the Jackson Co Commissioners meeting shown during the DNC prior to the RNC; the AGENDA was SET prior to WHO was ever even nominated to run for Pres. There IS no 2 party system: it is all ILLUSIONS, THEATRICALS, CHARADES: Forever Deceiving Americans: and now on to globally.
    They have NEVER kept US laws, laws of Congress, or international laws. They are on the BOOKS for LOOKS: and our "judicial" system is BROKEN: cuz our "judges" who want to be called "honorable" have NO HONOR at all.

    I forsee the best chance for a revolt will come when those of us are fined for not having private health insurance.

    Those like myself will protest this fine placed on the poor or low income by first protecting our assets before we refuse to pay the fine and flood the judicial and prison systems with new aged political prisoners if need be.

    doctorcoalcracker

    Bill,

    Some of your earlier work was just brought to my attention, a 1987 Investigative piece called The Secret Government. The entire show is available on Google Video:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3505348655137118430&ei=-LhIS__kI4W0qwLFx6GfAQ&q=%22secret+government%22#

    I started watching it and was hooked for the entire hour and a half. The current generation needs to watch this piece to appreciate what real journalism is about !

    I guess I missed this back in 1987, too busy climbing the corporate ladder. We all took hard hitting investigative journalism for granite in those days; someone once said you never miss it until it's gone! You deserve credit for your ongoing effort to constrain the consolidation of media in this country. Investigative journalism like this piece has become yet another victim of partisan indifference and corporate cost cutting.

    Looking back, I see this 1987 presentation as a sign post rather than an historical record. The sign points ahead in history to the place where we all currently reside. The one event that you could hardly have predicted at the time occurred two years later, the collapse of the Soviet Union. Prof. Noam Chomsky put this event in perspective in a speech last December, America's reach for empire was restricted as long as the Soviets existed as a counter balance, and after 1989 the doors were thrown open to provide America's hawks with the freedom to pursue unlimited military adventures.

    This is still a remarkable piece of journalism 23 years later. Our battered Republic needs to return to journalism like this to insure it’s survival for future generations!

    Is financial regulation too complex an issue for the general public to mobilize around? Why or why not?


    An observation I did not hear either gentleman make in this insightful discussion is that the complexities of the current economic system were deliberately made so impossible to understand that even they themselves, the ones who have invented it, DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT WILL HAPPEN.

    This is a clear argument against employing those who messed up the system to correct it. They can't, even if they want to.

    The obvious analogy is to Pandora's box. Perhaps the only way we are going to get out of this mess is for it to collapse as it surely is going to do.

    I am reminded of an excellent program PBS ran on the causes of the banking failures during the Great Depression. There were a series of collapses, each one being corrected by a massive (at the time) infusion of funds from a wealthy patron. But inevitably there finally came a moment when the problem had reached proportions for which no correction was possible.

    It does seem to me we are on a similar course.

    That was fantastic! I'm trying to address the problem of the complexities that these financial institutions rely on to keep this enormously serious issue on the back burner in Washington. I compiled a list of the Top Ten horrifying investment bank practices. http://jgjonsson.blogspot.com/2010/01/top-10-horrifying-financial-banking.html
    They are in layman's terms for the benefit of friends and family. Some may be a little too watered down, but the accuracy is there, and I hope people can start talking about this stuff.

    Taxation without representation is tyranny. If the bankers can buy the legislators and use them to take our money, then it's time to toss some tea overboard. What's the equivalent of tea these days?

    Posted by: Charles Pfeffer

    Hello Mr. Pfeffer,

    So nice to hear from the Wasp People :-) I believe the strongest symbolic "natural" product, at this point in time, would be poppies. Don't the veterans give one to a person who throws a scheckle into their urn on the public holiday where they set up to do fundraising outside grocery stores...? In this economy, there's "temp" job creation for you - a bigger order of plastic poppies for the symbolic gesture ordered from the manufacturor - no more tea from China :-)

    Suggestion, since it's a faux-poppy, let's not throw them into the waterways - lord knows there's enough "faux" entering the drinking water in the way of undigested "medical" molecules pee'd out by the millions of humans taking narcotics! Fish are so stoned that they have forgotten to reproduce :-)

    Which brings us back to the maintenance of our skin suits....and the math equation:

    More misery for others =
    Morw money for ME ME ME

    As noted in this Moyer's episode, the "average" hockey Mom and Dad have to juggle ALL of the above, so to speak.

    First things first, though, right?

    As soon as "congress" gets back to D.C., cold though it may be, the health care "bill" needs to be stopped for ONE major reason - the IRS is going to be set up as the thug to FORCE people to buy "insurance" from FOR-PROFIT health insurance gangsters.

    For me, that's the final straw. Stealing whatever is left in the way of "discretionary" income to pay for corporate armies and their wars.

    I am referring to the information provided under the topic "Just War" on the Wikipedia website which states, in part,:

    "...four strict conditions for "legitimate defense by military force": the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain; all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective; there must be serious prospects of success; the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition....."

    The IRS is the thug arm of the Federal Reserve Board, which, as we all know, is NOT acting in the interest of ANY nation or civilization currently ALIVE here on earth. They even "sell" their reason for existence as being the REAL "god", having all the absolute sovereign authority of the "god" religionists used to be able to discern (ie., the "god" who did the math for us so that the perfect amount of sunlight to support life reached the earth and no more).

    The heck with derivatives, hedgehogs, banksters and all the ENDLESS details of their massive, predatory THEFT of ALL, and I do mean ALL, "wealth" - past, present and future. They're NUTZ. How can ANYONE, with a single brain cell still functioning, BELIEVE that the "health care" bill is anything OTHER than the ultimate vacumn hose to suck out any $$$ that is left in the hand of a skin suit?! Scheesh, they're PSYCHOTIC, people! Stop beating your heads against the wall trying to TALK to them - they don't TALK to you, do they? They TALK AT you via the media...

    Mr. G.S. Zimmer's post on this blog was a post-doctorate thesis on HOW they have employed psychobbable...I have taken to being in-the-moment RUDE to all the wandering sociopaths drumming up take/consume "business" for themselves invented in their restless brain syndrome hate-thy-stupid-neighbor drug-haze. Saves time to press that RUDE button that IMMEDIATELY strips away the
    "polite" veneer the sociopath wears while doing the "sell" - be it meth or mortgage. The guffaw at the ludicrousness of them IMMEDIATELY reading a pre-prepared line from some slick-biblical Ms. Manners BOOK about MY rudeness in the face of THEIR sociopathic "business" is kinda like the yell that accompanies the adreneline rush of fight or flight - I can't control it. I MUST guffaw at the black humor inherent in such a twist of the hair turning - the self-righetous hypocrite teaching social manners - ugh.

    I carry the business card of a dentist in my pocket and hand it over to them as I walk away :-) EVERYTHING we do to each other is promoting one "special interest" over another.

    But it still all gets back to the skin suit.

    Obama was sold and packaged by the same psychobabble techniques as the Iraq War was in 2002...the "health care" bill is the "war" FOR AND BY TERRORISTS coming back to home turf again - this time with the MENTAL torture of being told (LIE)that there is something in the way of "care" in the big bowl of crazy that's hiding the viper "law" that will give the IRS the POWER, via the FRB, to shake us down for what's left in our cookie jar in the way of PENNIES - to pay for their global-cabal CORPORATE armies and wars.

    They will ALWAYS do whatever they want with YOUR $$$.

    They HATE the "middle class". It's their MISSION to have slaves and slaves ONLY. Put up reminder stickies all around your house to FOCUS on that fact.

    Poppies, my friends. Much better symbolism than "tea".

    Mr. Moyers, the sly old dog, (compliment), left us with a quote from the Brits...love that stiff upper lip approach...and, indeed, it is all a "math" error in the final analysis and probably the best way to re-distribute the numbers back to where they belong - sunlight for all.

    Bill, thanks for the show, its nice to know that there is at least one real journalist still out there. When the foxes are watching the foxes that are guarding the hen house, we're in a hell of a mess. Unfortunately in our case its not just banking. I still stand by the conviction (something repeatedly stated by Obama), that he cannot create real change without a massive grassroots backing. Yes, like many, I am disappointed in the number of foxes he has included in his "team." Where to from here? The corruption is so blatant and thinly masked that the power brokers must just sit back and laugh at how moronic the American public is in its willingness to bicker over "moral issues" and crumbs while our retirements, homes, and pockets are picked... when will we wake up, unite, and create a Democracy by the people and for the people...you tell me.

    Well, Linda, you are on the right track...but a one day strike wont do much good.

    The gov would just make up any shortfall in the bankers massive pay packages and send the taxpayer the bill.

    After all we live in a capitalist country, so the capitalists must be protected at any cost.

    But when I speak of capitalist I am not talking about you or I.

    I am talking about those that control the government through massive in injections of bribe money.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaQNACwaLw

    The hope of striking it rich, within a capitalistic society, is all that most citizen can cling to, as they go through a life of slavish dependence, working until they die.

    Some of these worker drones may have given up the hopes of striking it rich long ago. Their hopes may be more along the lines of retiring in a one room sweat box and being able to afford some canned dog food to eat.

    But the greedy Ponzi capitalists, along with the full faith and backing of the politicians, have taken that little dream away from many of the retirees as well. I often wonder how the old folks get by nowadays with 1/20th of 1 percent on money market funds and if they are lucky, maybe a whopping 1/2% in CD's.

    Do you need any further proof that the bankers are in control of our politicians?

    The banks get 25% on their credit cards...and we get 1/20th of 1%?

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/13/senate-rejects-limit-on-cr...

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/borrowing/creditcards...

    If we look at the data, we can see that only 5% to 6% of the households are making more than $250,000 per year. That doesn't make them all rich, but we can generally say $250,000 a year would be a nice income for most of us reading this.

    And if one is talking millions of dollars per year in income, then the figure is just a couple percent of the households in America.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States

    So capitalism favors 1% to 2% of the population and the other 98% end up as slaves to the capitalists.

    Now, I'm not promoting communism. Even the so called selfless communist governments get weighed down with egocentric leaders. If one is selfless such as ants or bees communism works fine. It is only when human selfishness is injected into the equation that communism fails miserably.

    The reason the ideal of communism fails is because imperfect humans have to apply the perfect ideals. Same goes with our imperfect democratic elected leaders.

    But the problem is not so much that we elect imperfect leaders, the problem is that we have no oversight committee to change the wrongs that they do. Nor do we have punishment for them for doing such wrongs.

    Just look at Bush and the rest. As soon as they leave office, what is said? "Well, they may have done something wrong...but lets just move on."

    Politicians have a free reign to rape and pillage the US and Americans as they wish...because there is NO OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE nor PUNISHMENT for the evils they do.

    Socialism, in its most ideal form, puts society and social issues first.

    Capitalism puts profits and greed first.

    But the way things are set up, social ethics goes out the window, all in favor of the cult worshiping the almighty dollar.

    Social ethics cost money. And spending money for such things is against the capitalists religion. Capitalism is not the religion of humanity, it is the religion of greed, power and money.

    How are you and your community working for reform?


    Tea party threw me out...I joined a Tea party online forum in Ohio Valley. After 3 or 4 posts they banned me.

    Was run by a power hungry lady it seems. She only liked to hear herself talk. Said I was a 'trouble maker' for having an opinion.

    Had to laugh...didn't the tea parties back in the day cause trouble? Lets hope this lady never makes it into politics.

    Anyway, tea baggers are all bark and no bite. Develop some self sufficiency and organize a citizens union to strike the corrupt political system...they you will be really making tea my friends.

    Our world is upside down, when the right way to s sustainable future will bring our world down. The only thing to do to keep the Ponzi scheme going is to do just the opposite of prudent advice.

    What would happen to our economy if we took the advice and did as this reworked 'victory' poster from WW II suggested?

    http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv219/keepitlow456/victorygarden.jpg

    What would happen is our country would COLLAPSE!

    IT'S NOT THAT SIMPLE TO DO A 180...Without compulsive spending and conspicuous consumption funded by unaffordable debt, we would fail as a country. Since our economy if fueled 70% by the consumer, we must stay in debt and consume by any means necessary to keep the Ponzi scheme from collapsing.

    We must make shoddy products that self-destruct quickly - so new products are in constant demand to keep the workforce of drones working. All the while squandering natural resources, but we are increasing the business of the landfills.

    We must not grow our own food. We must buy poisonous food from chemical laden farms. Our concrete jungles could never hope to allow anything else from their inhabitants.

    http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv219/keepitlow456/DSC02545pot.jpg

    Would you rather eat an embalmed potato or a live potato? The store bought 'Green Giant' red potato vs home grown KB potato. Both stored for 7 months in my root cellar.

    And we must squander fossil fuels as fast as possible to keep the economy booming. What would all the tourists traps from Las Vegas to Florida do without the travelers? And the multitude of business that depend on travel along the pilgrimage routes?

    On an a more global level, lets say everyone becomes voluntary simplicity and frugal squirrel devotees. We recycle, reuse, repair and just say NO to buying more crap. If we stop buying all the stuff that America imports from China - who keeps the 1.3 billion plus people in China from starving, so they do not go back to old ways of trying to take over the world?

    We can see we have created a time bomb. Even the highest level brainiac economists can't fix what ails us.

    Our whole system is based on an unsustainable model that will eventually collapse no matter how much money that is printed up by the Fed. (...they don't even need to print money nowadays, all that needs to be done to create billions is to magnetize a silicon chip!)

    Tony Benn's take on things:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnserZOf1-4&feature=related

    Now, let's take a look at how our Ponzi schemed world was built...

    http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv219/keepitlow456/popchart.gif

    We can see the population was pretty steady over the centuries. People lived within natures boundaries. They grew their food, burned wood for fuel and ate the game and fish nature provided...until the age of fossil fuels.

    Whale oil or wood was the prevalent fuel up to that time. As whale oil was running out, coal and liquid coal (crude oil) came on board. Then petroleum / natural gas based fertilizers made cheap food possible.

    Fossil fuels allowed people to move from an agrarian from of life to an urbanized city lifestyle that removed all the hard and dirty work of growing and producing one's own food. Fossil fusels also made possible many areas of life extending improvements to humans. And people spread to all corners of the planet and flourished...but by an artificial and non sustainable means.

    What happens when something is running at an unsustainable pace?

    It must slow down to a sustainable pace - if it is to keep moving forward steadily and sustainably.

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

    When we live out of balance with natures intended means there is a price to pay to come back in balance with nature. And the price usually extracts pain from us in the adjustment process. Now renewable energy will replace some of fossil fuels benefit to mankind. But don't be under the delusion that they are a seamless and fungible replacement. There is NO replacement for crude

    Even if we did find out how to burn water for energy, petrochemicals make up a large portion of crude's importance to mankind. Roughly 9% of every barrel of crude goes to petrochemical use.

    If we stopped burning crude this instant, we would still suck the wells dry, albeit not as quickly, just from petrochemical use.

    So even if we all stop driving, we will just be postponing the inevitable depletion of crude oil.

    A partial list of products made from crude:

    Solvents Diesel Motor Oil Bearing Grease
    Ink Floor Wax Ballpoint Pens Football Cleats
    Upholstery Sweaters Boats Insecticides
    Bicycle Tires Sports Car Bodies Nail Polish Fishing lures
    Dresses Tires Golf Bags Perfumes
    Cassettes Dishwasher Tool Boxes Shoe Polish
    Motorcycle Helmet Caulking Petroleum Jelly Transparent Tape
    CD Player Faucet Washers Antiseptics Clothesline
    Curtains Food Preservatives Basketballs Soap
    Vitamin Capsules Antihistamines Purses Shoes
    Dashboards Cortisone Deodorant Footballs
    Putty Dyes Panty Hose Refrigerant
    Percolators Life Jackets Rubbing Alcohol Linings
    Skis TV Cabinets Shag Rugs Electrician's Tape
    Tool Racks Car Battery Cases Epoxy Paint
    Mops Slacks Insect Repellent Oil Filters
    Umbrellas Yarn Fertilizers Hair Coloring
    Roofing Toilet Seats Fishing Rods Lipstick
    Denture Adhesive Linoleum Ice Cube Trays Synthetic Rubber
    Speakers Plastic Wood Electric Blankets Glycerin
    Tennis Rackets Rubber Cement Fishing Boots Dice
    Nylon Rope Candles Trash Bags House Paint
    Water Pipes Hand Lotion Roller Skates Surf Boards
    Shampoo Wheels Paint Rollers Shower Curtains
    Guitar Strings Luggage Aspirin Safety Glasses
    Antifreeze Football Helmets Awnings Eyeglasses
    Clothes Toothbrushes Ice Chests Footballs
    Combs CD's Paint Brushes Detergents
    Vaporizers Balloons Sun Glasses Tents
    Heart Valves Crayons Parachutes Telephones
    Enamel Pillows Dishes Cameras
    Anesthetics Artificial Turf Artificial limbs Bandages
    Dentures Model Cars Folding Doors Hair Curlers
    Cold cream Movie film Soft Contact lenses Drinking Cups
    Fan Belts Car Enamel Shaving Cream Ammonia
    Refrigerators Golf Balls Toothpaste Gasoline

    From this list we can see that we are massively depend on crude for our non sustainable lifestyle.

    It has been estimated that for the earth to sustainably support its population without fossil fuels a 90% dieoff must occur. I don't know if that is the right figure, but I do know humans could not live as they do unless it was funded by artificial means via fossil fuels.

    http://dieoff.org/

    So if this dieoff happens, of course there will be great amounts of pain in the world. But it is natures intended balancing act.

    It also reminds us that nature does not bow to humans - it is humans that always bow to nature.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrying_capacity

    One last tidbit for you guys to chew on...

    "Kaiser forecast that the yearly family premium for health insurance could reach $30,803.00 in ten years if the 8.7% annual increase of the previous 10 years were to continue."

    http://www.kff.org/pullingittogether/091509_altman.cfm

    And let's go out a further 10 years. Now, the average premium is $70,939.00 per year at an 8.7% annual increase.

    http://www.amazon.com/Super-Size-Me-John-Banzhaf/dp/B0002OXVBO

    Highly recommended. Get it from your library.

    Bill, you have done a great public service by discussing the financial crisis and the need for reform. Your guests are absolutely correct about the banks and how they have led people to believe that only they can deal with these complex derivatives. We need to simplify the system and reinstate Glass-Steagil. As Paul Volker said, the economy did fine before derivatives.

    Congress and the President have sold us out. People need to take matters into their own hands and establish a derivative watch list so that investors can tell which companies are using derivatives and essentially black list them much like socially conscious investors did with mutual funds that invested in South Africa.

    David S. Cook
    Olympia WA

    I will be struggling to write my final 2009 estimated tax check on my retirement pension income this week. How could I not feel like a fool in doing so? This week I listened to reports on how greed and cheating is rewarded at the highest levels, from this report to the the report on the Swiss Banking scandal where the only punishment for massive robbery of our treasury by the rich was a jail sentence to the whistle blower who turned them in.
    Many comments here use a tired old excuse for this behavior not being addressed. Again and again we blame ourselves for ignoring the problems. We should rise up and stop it. Many, many, many of us have over the years done just that with our "nobody" voices. Nobody listened right back. 20 years ago I was writing 10 page letters to banks telling them the folly in sending me so many credit cards. I'm sure they were having a good laugh at those letters. They kept sending those offers and I kept throwing them away. Even acting in concert to demand action from our government is futile. The majority ask for healthcare and insurance companies get rewarded instead. The majority asks for an end to constant war and the wars go on. The majority took a young man at his word that he would deliver positive change for average Americans if we elected him President. We did our part, but where is his honor to his word. So, please stop saying it is because we are silent. WE ARE NOT.

    we need to tell the banks that they need us more than we need them how about a day of not using credit cards april 15th would be good

    This is Treason people! We are a nation at War! While members of our families are fighting and dieing on two fronts The money laundering Pac's of the Banker's have congress so bought off with their bribes to both parties that I wouldn't expect to see anymore than the usual B. S. of congress pretending their angry, while the Fed and Bankers and CEO's feign concern. The fact that our troops are constantly undersupplied, and the question is even asked if we afford to fight is a tragedy! All of the above mentioned people did to our nation's economy something that even Osama Bin Ladin could have only dreamed of.

    It's time for these moronic self promoter's AKA Congress to start taking this national evil seriously or as history bears out time and time again revolutions start this way.

    Also remember taxation without representation? The grandchildren will.

    So thank's congress for the dog and pony show, and the beginnings of the destruction of a nation.

    I agree that the simple regulation of banks is the solution. But it is a simple solution that requires a complex impetus.

    To reverse the mess we must reverse in the sequece of the series of processes that are at the root of our woes. Here are four steps I propose must occur before change from the status quo will happen.

    First, restore unions to a level playing field with manufacturers. This will help to restore jobs, incomes and consumer spending.

    Second, place protective tariffs on goods produced off shore by American controlled corporations. As foreign goods become more expensive to market new domestic makers can grow to meet the demand. If foreign nations retaliate, then our major exports -- heavily subsidized munitions and weapons -- will find it harder to make a profit and turn their assembly lines to churning out domestic consumer goods.=

    Third, break up media giants. No grass roots effort is possible without this step because the media owners -- just eight men control over 60% of the media in the US -- hire only those pundits who serve their interests and studies show that many viewers of those pundits are convinced by what they are being told about who is to blame. A smaller more numerous and more locally owned media, like that which existed during the time of the muckrakers and populist reformers of the early twentieth century, might give people a different perspective on what is happening in America and how they can change it.

    Fourth, all politics is local. Once locally owned media points out to local voters how their local politicians can reform the banks to benefit more of us, then the changes will happen.

    This system we are mired in did not happen overnight or by lucky happenstance. It was thoughtfully and deliberately constructed by early neo-liberal philosophers beginning in the 1950s one step at a time. But that is a history lesson for another day.

    These programs are very enlightening. I wish there would be more focus on directing the American public towards places where we can become involved with making real change happen. I hate burst bubbles, but Predisent Obama is not going to help you or me. He is just another Washington insider. Also, people need to know that the Federal Reserve Bank (who controls the money supply) was conceived by rich industrialists in the early part of the 20th century (including J.P. Morgan) as a way to keep the money in the hands of those who still have it. The Federal government does not want me or you to know anything about this. The Federal Reserve Bank is not a Federal Government agency. Check out Ron Paul's interview with Anderson Cooper at www.campaignforliberty.com if you want to hear something about real change and how it is not going to happen by keeping the same sort of democrats and republicans in power. If I am not mistaken, Ron Paul does not even accept his congressional pay. He is disliked by rebublicans and democrats alike, because he stands for personal liberty as it was laid out in the constitution by our founding fathers. We need a leader who will not lie their way into office as those previously have, including our current president and congress. How come the health care bill was conceived secretly behind closed doors and not publicized on C-Span as President Obama had promised? Without grassroots movement there will be no change. The congressional democrats and republicans have created campaign laws that make it virtually impossible for a third party to enter elections. How convenient! Find more information at www.campaignforliberty.com. You can subscribe to the daily newsletter for free.

    We may not have access to the halls of Congress and to The Money Committee's shenanigans, but we do have access to our President. We CAN assert ourselves into the President's campaign promises and platforms. Obama MUST be pressured into taking a populist position against the investment banks. Repeal of Glass Stegel might be the first step. Fair taxation of investment companies and banks (1% effective rate...give me a break) might be another. We must pressure Obama to fire Rahm first, Tim second, and Ben third. We've waited long enough for the foxes guarding the hen house to actually guard the hen house, after we watched the hen house burn to the ground. This isn't easy, but it IS simple. Obama is certainly smart enough to question the Stockholm Syndrome and the Wall Street protectors. There's nothing sacred about Wall Street unless you actually believe in Wall Street's sacred-ness. I don't. Does anyone? Push back...it's our only hope. J Stroeve, Minneapolis

    Too big to fail..Too big to Jail..As an American I am so angry that "we the people" are held in bondage and held responsible for the big investment firms/banking industry. The funds that are their responsibility are ruthlesly squandered on gambling schemes instead of for the good of those who trust them and subscribe to the faith that banks trust the peoples money to solid investments. As Americans we back these institutions thru government guarantees like FDIC only to realize that we are being duped into some greedy banking members quest to become entangled with the ultimate game of "richest man".When will gov't bring down the hachet and cleve off the tenticles that are pulling the life out of the American people by stealing their financial health to feed their greedy thurst.We Americans need more people like Bill Moyers program to bring visability to the tactics that have weakened The United States and brought poverty to a new level and joblessness to a horrible height. I am sickened every time I read about companies like Goldman Sachs, Merrell Lynch, etc and realize the evils done by them. Then I realize that they are getting away with robbery with the aid of the Fed Gov't. This is insanity at best. How many jobs could be renewed by the moneys that are tossed about by these derivitives and the money games that are entangled in these complex money schemes? How about getting back to basics and making jobs, inovative products and building up Americas' infrastructure the top goal and demolishing the moneymens foolhardy games through Gov't intervention. We need a financial "Manhatten Project".

    Your program last night was excellent and/or was it because it bought to heart what I realized after returning from Vietnam. The government not only manipulates tasks of today but programs future ventures of government rule for tomorrow.
    The BIG QUESTION is the problem of trust and research that is never ending. Who in the world of labor has the time/resources to do the research, wondering if what they read is TRUE?
    Appears to me the next task is how to unnite enough gutwrenching people in one pod to overrule and change what allows us back to REALITY and slow steady growth, good for all AMERICAN Society!

    Thank you again Bill Moyers! Your program last night did much to convert my feelings of despondency into a fired up desire to resume what seemed to be my unnoticed attempts to communicate my concerns to anyone holding "the power" over too many of us. I take great heart from seeing how many of us there are, via the comments preceding mine. Surely we can convey to President Obama our willingness to back strong action on his part.

    As the "instant gratification" society and because we have not made it our business to learn what we should know about how financial superstructures operate nor even be interested in monitoring their actions,we have become too willing to just let things roll over us. We do a lot of complaining but expect "someone" else to "make things better", while refusing to vote "because it doesn't make any difference" or by re-electing the same "benefactors" and obstructionists. Then despite years of this kind of inaction it has become so terribly easy to criticize what we see as Obama's inaction or slow reaction, ignoring the fact that the political/financial web legacies have been the "untouchables" for so long and with today's media also so much a part of the tangle that it will require time to rectify what has become what is massive "mob" control. This situation is what we, the public ie: the "victims" have been either too lazy or too ignorant to tackle and now must recognize that our type of dormant citizenship is outdated.

    We must communicate our ideas as well as our frustrations at every opportunity and let our President know that whatever strong measures he will demand for reform, we will stand with him. Meanwhile, throwing our support to our small local banks, writing and calling on a regular basis our elected officials and the administrators of the punitive, renegade financial institutions that so betray our trust, and reforming our own money habits could go a long way.

    Please know Mr. Moyers how very valuable a catalyst you and your programs are to the thinking and actions of many of us. I hope your programs are viewed in our nation's classrooms.

    I suggest three items that might ameliorate these problems and could be aggressively pursued by a grassroots movement:

    1. . Too big to fail and too big to fight should be too big to exist. Democracy means ruling by all and implies reasonable opportunity and status for all. A mixture of antitrust laws and tax policy would help.

    2. The wealthy and powerful may be entitled to their achievements but their accumulated wealth should not be allowed to be passed on thus propagating a privileged class. Either this is an equal opportunity society or it is a form of aristocracy. Inheritance taxes should be confiscatory.

    3. The fiction that corporations are people should be repealed from existing law. Only people have the right to lobby.

    The political power which the banks hold over the country will form a lasting impression on the minds of our young adults. The lesson is clear. Your hero leader must bend his knee to the high priests of money, and so shall you.

    Subject: Futile rantings from the hinterlands OR Reasons for the formation of a PVC (Political Vaccination Committee) OR Its time for the vigilantes to ride.

    Without a doubt, the greatest threat to the security and well being of the United States is the United States Congress. For a few pieces of silver, a taste of power, and other valuable considerations, Congress has completely broken faith with the American people and has sold its soul, along with mine and my children’s and my children’s children’s. Politicians need my vote to get into the game and my taxes to play the game, but I effectively cease to exist once they are elected and legislation goes to the highest bidder. I cannot afford to compete and I am totally fed up with being the recipient of what little remains after all special interests are satiated. I am totally disgusted with my government and ashamed of my country.

    The current “healthcare reform” fiasco is a classic example. With the US ranked 37th in the world with respect to quality and effectiveness of healthcare, the ONLY sane approach is to review what other nations have done, adopt the best features, and modify or reject the worst. However, after 30 years of deregulation, corporate America has so much power that any reform legislation will first protect these entrenched interests, followed by mutual exchanges of pork, and only then will “reform” be addressed. It will not matter which side triumphs or what compromises are reached; the resulting package will, as usual, be a pork-infested, power-grabbing, deficit-expanding, undecipherable pile of garbage that will perpetuate the status quo and bankrupt the country.

    I came to the last election with 60+ years of cynicism and, for a change, a miniscule spark of hope. Post-election, I saw more of the same: unpunished domestic terrorists, special interest-driven pork-riddled legislation, Wall Street is still in charge, and the gang-rape of the American citizen/consumer/taxpayer continues. To the ideologues of both the right and left: I invite you to take your outdated tired old “isms” and shove them up your outdated tired old “asms”. To the rest of America: please join me in Voting Against The Incumbents, regardless of race, color, creed, gender, or political perversion. VENI, VIDI, VATI - Viva NOTA!!! Like diapers, politicians need to be changed often, and for the same reason - It’s third-party time!

    Lemme see if I understand the prevailing socio-economic principles as they apply to us masses:

    • We are supposed to attend the daycare system for 13 years, where we feel good but emerge semi-literate and totally unqualified for the job our self-esteem says we are entitled to.
    • We must pretend not to notice that dumbing-down to the lowest common denominator has become the rule rather than the exception for public education.
    • We are supposed to be proud of the fact that the US is one of only three countries in the world NOT using the metric system. At long last, parity with Myanmar and Liberia!
    • We must go into major debt to continue our education, thus establishing a financial precedent at an early age.
    • We must work diligently until our jobs are exported to the third world.
    • We must be satisfied with wage and benefit levels that barely (if at all) match the inflation rate, while executive compensation soars.
    • Normal supply-and-demand does not apply to our wages because of offshoring and the lack of immigration law enforcement.
    • We must give back wages and benefits so that corporate incompetence can continue with geometrically escalating executive compensation.
    • We must pretend not to notice that “globalization” also means that the North American standard of living has nowhere to go but down.
    • We must pretend not to notice that executive compensation has soared as a direct function of the degree of globalization – guess whose standard of living is NOT going to decline.
    • For over-priced products that don’t work, we must deal with offshore tech support people who work cheaply but cannot speak North American English.
    • We must pay for social services to illegal aliens in order to assure an endless supply of cheap and exploitable labor for corporate America.
    • Even though corporate America, aided and abetted by our government, has deprived us of jobs, homes, savings, and investments, we must assume responsibility when the economy goes into a slump because we are not spending enough.
    • We must max out our credit cards, put multiple mortgages on our homes, and stay in debt beyond death so that the economy will continue to thrive.
    • We must routinely patronize Vinny down at 6for5 Loans, Inc. in order to survive and keep on spending.
    • We must buy an “American” vehicle to keep the country strong, even though checking out recall notices published on the Internet would suggest that no consumer of sound mind should ever buy a Detroit-built product.
    • We must subsist on over-priced deep-fried fast food washed down by sugar-saturated liquids because total-immersion advertising tells us to.
    • For healthcare, we must pay more and more and more to receive less and less, while executives of the healthcare providers, pharma companies, and insurance companies enjoy astronomical compensation packages.
    • We must watch helplessly as Congress reinvents the healthcare wheel, blatantly catering to corporate interests and the accumulation of power, instead of adopting the best features of the plans developed and proven by more enlightened nations.
    • We must demand and take multiple prescription medications, whether we need them or not, because we are inundated by saturation advertising that tells us to do so.
    • We are supposed to believe that “In case of an erection lasting more than four hours, call 911 and ask for kryptonite” is nothing more than a routine butt-covering warning.
    • We must pretend not to notice that Big Pharma’s purpose with the saturation advertising of ED drugs is to set a performance standard that cannot be achieved without their product.
    • We must hire tort lawyers to go after the pharma companies because “rare” and “statistically insignificant” drug side-effects have crippled us or killed our families.
    • We must tolerate Pro-Life and/or Anti-Gun hypocrites who actively or passively espouse the saturation advertising of prescription drugs, despite the fact that these medications kill or maim far more people than abortions and guns combined.
    • We must pretend that we do not notice that the Fourth Estate is thoroughly muzzled by advertising revenues.
    • We must employ a debt consolidator to intercede with our creditors.
    • We must hire professionals to negotiate with the IRS for the taxes we cannot afford to pay.
    • At age 62, we must take out a reverse mortgage on our home so that we can continue our, by now, habitual profligate spending to the very end.
    • We must helplessly watch our bank accounts, investments, and home disappear while the predators amass incredible fortunes with impunity.
    • We must pay for CallerID, but spoofing can be purchased to circumvent it. A classic example of corporate efficiency: milk one end of the cow while simultaneously grinding the other end into hamburger.
    • We must stoically endure years of CallerID-spoofed telephone harassment because the data mining industry has created and propagated erroneous information about us.
    • After being repeatedly gang-raped by corporate interests, we must assume billions of additional debt to bail out these same corporations while the officers, directors, and irresponsible politicians (AKA domestic terrorists, Al Qaeda fifth column, etc.) whose egregious behavior caused the meltdown face absolutely no sanctions.
    • We must assume billions more in debt to fund the Iraq debacle, which we got into because of Presidential hubris and incompetence.
    • We must pretend not to notice that no one of consequence in Washington appears to have read the history of Afghanistan – probably due to a dearth of Classic Comic books.
    • We must continue to elect bought-and-paid-for politicians who tell us that “We’re here now and there’s plenty of blame to go around, so let’s just move on.”
    • We must tolerate the corporate and political maxim that says “I DESERVE anything I can get and I am ENTITLED to make up the rules I operate under as I go along”.
    • We must contend with ubiquitous corporate and political policy that is based on “take the money and run” followed by “deny, delay, and defend” when the peons become agitated.
    • We must continuously deal with the implications of “Hurry up and get it on the market. We can make billions while our customers test and de-bug it”.
    • We must ignore the fact that regulatory agencies have been replaced with self-regulation, crippled by deliberate underfunding, staffed with incompetents, and/or have appointed heads who quietly mandate policy changes that favor special interests. The SEC is a magnificently glaring example.
    • We do not accept “But everyone else was doing it” from our children, but it we are expected to tolerate it from the banking/financial sector and government regulators.
    • We must contend with sanctimonious egocentric pundits and gurus who pontificate that the recent outrageous financial/banking sector antics are a price we must pay to maintain a free-market system.
    • We must pretend not to notice that our gold has been stolen by corporate America, with a good part of the ill-booten gotty used to buy politicians who then eliminated effective oversight, facilitating further extraction of our diminishing gold. The American middle class, an unwilling key element of this “golden helix”, has now disappeared up its own deposition at the speed of light.
    • We must pretend not to notice that TARP-funded executive compensation makes the mob skim in 1950s Las Vegas look like amateur hour and that none of our astronomical tax dollar input is allowed to trickle down to those who really need help.
    • We must pretend not to notice that the Wall Street rats responsible for the recent meltdown are now in charge of the United States fiscal policy cheese factory for an administration elected on the basis of “reform”.
    • We must sit and watch “reform” legislation being developed by asking the special interests what they require and then spending untold millions of our tax dollars on PR to convince us that the resulting pork-infested, deficit-expanding, garbage-with-a-ribbon is a great and good thing.
    • We must pretend not to notice that “bipartisan legislation” means effectively doubling the pork and doubling the number of special interests satiated.
    • Helpless anger and outrage do not even begin to describe our state of mind, but we are expected to dutifully elect two-faced, pork-hanging, power-grabbing politicians who facilitate continuation and escalation of all the above.
    • Are we gullible, incompetent, or merely insane?

    I hear, ad nauseam, our elected officials and the robber barons who own them depicting each other as ethical, honorable, and sterling examples of rectitude. If the voters, taxpayers, and consumers wrote the code of ethics for these denizens of Fantasy Island, them what are currently being depicted would surely be indicted. The inmates have been running the asylum more than long enough to prove beyond any doubt that self-regulation is an oxymoron!

    Through exhaustive research on the Internet, I have found an obscure reference to The Ancient and Venereal Kees Maagriits, an unsung 15th century Dutch explorer/philosopher, who claims to have discovered and translated a 5,000-year old Sumerian clay tablet: “THOU SHALT IGNORE THE RHETORIC AND FOLLOW THE GOLD, FOR ONLY THERE WILL TRUTH BE FOUND”. The more things change, the more they remain the same!

    Follow some of the gold (la mordida, American-style) via http://www.opensecrets.org/index.php and other similar websites.

    As long as they are being handed out, I would be humbly pleased to accept the Nobel Prize in Economics for the above insightful analysis. It would certainly improve my disposition and I could use the money after portfolio management by Smith Barney in 2000-01 wiped out any chance of a decent retirement (ask me sometime about “expungement”), the gold-stealing antics of the financial/banking industry got the rest this time around, United Healthcare raised my insurance premiums by 773% over 12-1/2 years to help fund a $1.1 billion golden parachute for its former CEO, and I have been harassed for the past three years by 14 different collection agencies over a Chase Visa debt that has nothing to do with me (the data mining/vending industry says I am an AKA for the debtor).

    Dear Bill,
    You've got us geared up to take action, but I couldn't find on your web page a link to existing activist organizations on this banking issue.

    Yes, I am and have been outraged about the power of Wall Street. I am also surprised that there has been no public protests. The average public believes that they have no voice in congress and that they are all crooks. Voting them out will only allow another crook in.
    Should there be organization of a march or direct protest, would like to be part of it. Personally, I refuse to do business with the big banks, instead I support the smaller, local "responsible" banks. Regardless, the large banks don't miss the individual customers but maybe if there was a large collective, they might.
    Yes, would definately support Obama forcing financial reform.

    Dear Bill, Your piece on “Obstacles to Financial Reform” Jan 8, 2010, rightly zeroed in on the fact that the impediments to reform are the investment banks themselves. Despite the derivatives business driving us to the brink of disaster, it is amazing there has not been any real reform to regulate this business, notably the credit default swaps which was the kingpin of the global financial meltdown. The investment bankers make a mockery of our system by walking away with billions in bonuses after driving the financial system to a virtual collapse, permitting no oversight of their leveraged trading in spurious derivative instruments. As David Corn and Kevin Drum highlighted in your presentation, Wall Street virtually controls our Congress. The seeds of the next bubble are already being sown by the investment banks, with the acquiescence of legislators, preventing any kind of reform of the derivatives business. If we cannot break this toxic nexus between banks and elected officials, the Congress should at least find ways to sway the industry to self regulate with some transparency of their transactions. As a derivative specialist, I am yet to see any change in the reporting of derivatives activity by the industry and the supervisory organizations.

    Here's a stab at some theory. (I'm no gov't major.) Pres. Obama and 95% of Democratic office holders are center-right politicians. They shy away from even the lunch bucket liberalism of the civil rights, union, anti-war, or [parts of the] feminist movements. They do partly run on issues appealing to those constituencies. But as in thrall to and fearful of the holy financial markets and corporate exigencies as they are, the bills they produce are always watered down to the point of uselessness if not outright harm. Talking vaguely progressive, at heart they identify with and are comfortable with at least the bare minimum, fundamental interests of the wealthy, corporate, and financial elites because they believe at best in only parceling out a modestly greater (and inadequate)share of wealth and power to the general citizenry than do the Republican troglodytes. Putting aside the devious campaign tap dancing and "sellout" aspects of this behavior, it does fit who they are. They are "center-right", i.e. closer to the market and corporation worshipping conservatives than to the great liberal thinkers or practitioners. Push Obama and your congresspersons toward genuine reform, to be sure, but the practical, long term moral would also be for people to try to lay the groundwork for the election of other than center-right politicians, who can never truly be relied upon. If not wolves in sheeps' clothing, they are at the very least something less than the full and loyal friends they purport to be.
    P.S. I once heard the remark on Air America radio that in parts of social-democratic Europe, Pres. Obama's politics would place him squarely on the right of their political spectrum.

    Thank you Bill Moyers for all you have done to inform the public. I am so angry right now at the banks, at Congress, at Obama. At a grassroots level I know I am going to change my bank account. In terms of Congress and Obama, I would not vote any of these people back in. They are not leaders or trusted servants. I will do what I can in a small way. The videos of local organizers are very inspiring. Those are the people to admire, not Congress or Obama. They should have gotten the Nobel Peace Prize. What in the world is going on in our World?

    I was surprised that neither of your guests last night brought up the IRS dealing with Citi to reduce their tax liability in order to coerce them into paying off their bailout money. This type of action, along with the appalling bonuses the banks are handing out, are the things the government should be protecting us from, not promoting. Yet more proof this country has been bought and paid for...on consumer credit!

    It is heartening to read so many thoughful posts.
    Please mobilizie and write the President to urge us through his bully pupit to pressure our Congressional Representatives into serious Regulation of Wall Street.

    Dick Cheney received 30 million a year to start a fake war.

    Chris Dodd next up to the payment window.

    The fact-based reporting and opinion segments you offer are important. Something else the public also needs and in no way receives are political primers. No one ever writes or talks for the broad public about political theory and doctrines or who they historically benefit. I realize this sounds dryly and boringly "intellectual" - the kiss of death for any kind of "show". But I'm sure someone has the talent to incorporate such content appealingly. With no such framework, there can never be a sustained awareness and understanding. Politicians remain free to make progressive noises while delivering craven centrist kowtowing.

    I failed to type the two security words shown...after a lengthy commentary. I hope it did not negate and fail to post what I had to say.
    My main points were that ONE player in the power struggle still remains, unmentioned, in Corn and Drum's interview: the supposedly free Markets: stocks, bonds, commodities, etc. They have been partially crippled by the Big Banks using taxpayer bailout billions to sustain an historically lengthy Bull; and by "Flash Trading" of nearly half the shares daily by mindless computers following the bull trend. But we decades-old traders whose backs are to Wall Street in short positions against this media-driven "happy" Market--still have hopes of producing the "correction" (a sharp Mkt drop) that will spearhead the reform that most of your previos commentaries fervently want. We may be defeated, too, within a few weeks--our small capital squeezed from us--by the billions invested bullishly by bankers, computers, and traders duped by media hype of "recovery". But we're still pinning our hopes are history's proof that the Markets are more powerful, in the end, than Gov't, Banks, or Electorate.

    ".named all the players" Not quite: There's the MARKET. Decades ago (I'm 78) those trying to manage our economy and lives periodically discovered that there was one force bigger than the Gov't, the Banks, and the Electorate: The MARKETS trading stocks, bonds, commodities, etc. They would simply defy forces of imbalance and "perversely" pull everything BACK into balance. After Big Banks' use of taxpayer bailout billions to manipulate history's longest artificial bull market (aided by "happy thoughts" media), we fair-playing senior Market traders have our backs against Wall Street: our massive "short interest", to stem irresponsible building of the banks' investment long positions in a still collapsing economy is successfully being used against us to squeeze the Dow & S+P ever insanely higher. The banks may conquer us, too..as they have Congress, Obama, and the too-desperate Public. But I'm still optimistic enough NOT to think so. The Markets, crippled by mindless "Flash Trading" (still uncurtailed by SEC) have failed to "correct" healthily longer than ever. But the age-old moneypower struggle toward equilibrian is not over. I'm still optimist enough to believe that sane investors will prevail, and that a major Market correction--perhaps within weeks--will spearhead the fervently hoped for reform expressed in all the comments that I've just read concerning your Corn and Drum TV treatise. P.S. I went to Yale, on scholarship, with many of these aging Banker types, and can assure you that most are not "evil"--they're just shallow "rich kids" whose families parked them to play at college until they inherited their grasp on power.

    TOO RADICAL?
    Still think the 250BOYCOTT is too radical?!

    It’s outright delusional to think that the debt and profit making philosophy at the root of the finance industry is impervious too its own rot. We are witnessing the fall of the debt industry as it cracks at the seams with its own gluttonous over indulgence.

    We’ve evolved into a mass addicted society of greedicts who are addicted to their own fabricated status and to maniacal acquisition and enablers who are slaving away at jobs and sacrificing personal health and access to support the habits of the greed addicts.

    We, the ENABLERS, can stop this cycle by taking matters into our own hands. All we need is WORDS! It’s words that form meanings and meanings that frame philosophies and philosophies that structure societies.

    We can structure our own philosophy, we don’t need permission, just our thought s and voices. We can make collective statements without waiting like obedient children for a voting cycle. We know what humans need, we don’t have to be told. We know the difference between balance and imbalance and we know that a system as out of balance as the current global economic system can only crumble.

    It’s time to look ahead, to form a NEW philosophy that embodies what we as the masses truly value. It’s time to stop using our time, energy and attention to service the greedicts. We don’t need to try to bring them down. All we have to do is move our money away from their access (stop enabling) and restructure our method for pooling our money to serve the basic needs and desires of the masses. The greedicts will eventually eat each other or recover from their addiction. It makes no difference what they do once we dissociate ourselves and break our own enabling habits.

    It’ll be easier for us to stop enabling than for them to even realize that they are addicts. We just have to stop martyring our selves, which is a great relief to anyone who has enabled an addict. The personal power and confidence, the clear conscious that comes when we stop enabling is a tremendous relief and an instant elevation of our own sense of freedom.

    The 250BOYCOTT is a bridge the enablers can take to freedom. Freedom from debt, freedom from addict tyranny and freedom from the self imprisonment of apathy. The 250BOYCOTT is a win/win scenario for all humans and a philosophy that is built on balance, stability and sanctuary. All you have to do to join is make a homemade 250BOYCOTT sign and put it on your door or in your window. Then, talk about it. It’s free, it’s legal, it’s peaceful and it offers the POWER OF A SYMBOL to be used freely by anyone who chooses!

    Watch the “Max Trinity Trickle UP Global Economics” series on youtube. Here is a link to Part 2: “The 250BOYCOTT”. It will explain the boycott and how it works. It is spreading so, you might as well check it out and get on board early!
    Part 2; "the 250BOYCOTT
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYbbu-9oYZk

    Part 3:"Democracy Tax"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbq4yEKwUbE
    Do something today!!

    Would you please consider creating a website on the internet of your own to continue informing us after you leave PBS? I just don't know where I'm going to find the high quality of information once you stop airing. Since PBS is apparently shutting down NOW at the same time, I don't believe they're likely to replace you and Brancacchio with an acceptable substitute. I wish you would continue to do interviews.

    If reform is not forthcoming, we as a nation, and a free society are doomed. Once the corporations and super banks own us, it will be all over. forever. there will be no coming back, social revolution or no. If the Wall Street powers the be, that raped and robbed this country blind, destroyed our ecomony, and now author the reforms, (to their own advantage, of course, not ours) HAD HAVE BEEN stripped of their bonuses, AND THROWN IN PRISON, and the banks broken up or allowed to fail, WE would not be still headed down, blindly, the path to ruin.
    thanks=

    Bill,

    Thanks for a great program, as usual. This is a very important issue.

    I agree that this is a topic President Obama could take on and unite the country and bolster his popularity, now that those of us who voted for him are losing hope in his would-be leadership.

    One big problem is, indeed, the media. It has mostly rolled over and died.

    I believe there was a major march against the Iraq war that got all of 5 seconds of air play. I know demonstrations about the Diablo Canyon power plant, years ago, was buried on page 4 of the LA Times.

    The media is owned by, what, 5 powerful conservative corporations? How do we go around them?

    Yes we have the internet and PBS (and you, who are a treasure... but don't let it go to your head :-) but is that enough?

    This nation is declining in all ways.. financially, morally, in social fabric, educationally.

    It is all very sad but if someone could mobilize me (and others), I'd like that!

    Thank you.

    Dear Bill

    I like the show tonight. It was interesting. Yet I am angered by the problem.

    I was reading the book "To Big to Fail" and become very angry with the arrogance of the people running these businesses. I could not finish the book. It has been difficult to watch the news because of the anger created by people arrogance and greed. I wonder what can be done. I have limited time and money to contribute. Yet, I wonder what can be done. Basic questions are not being asked by people or the media. How does one counteract the spin doctors? How can we help the community and stop protecting those in gated communities?

    I could not inherit my mother because of a reverse mortgage. The house is underwater. No bank is willing to lend the money need to pay the mortgage. The house is now in foreclosure. Plus the bank continues to add monthly fees. Where is the justice in that?

    A brilliant show as usual, with your good and incisive questioning, but you did not ask these gentleman the most important question of all. What type of persons would do such a thing to their country for just... more money. I think they are monsters much worse than the so called terrorist that the strongest nation on earth, fears.

    Dear Mr. Moyers, As with previous topics on your program, tonight's program on the control big banks and Wall Street have on our 'democratic' government was excellent! I learned a lot. I am old enough to remember when banks were the trusted place to keep one's savings, even if the interest paid wasn't that exciting. I heard tonight that it is up to us to demand that our elected representatives stand for that which benefits all the people, not just a few. I am proud to be a member of Common Cause, one group that is trying to do just that! Thank you! Barbara Grace Ripple, Hawaii

    I think term limits in congress would help...a lot of these politicians have stayed too long and fight changing the status quo...it's working well for them right. Along with this campain reform and spending limits. I will be e-mailing Obama again to express my disappointment that nothing's been done with banking regulations and he has an extremly intelligent woman in the white house who could mentor him and help simplify the rules so we all understand them. their language and wording used is just another way to screw us. HE NEEDS TO STEP UP AND UNITE US IN THIS CRUCIAL TIME. OR WE WILL SEE IT REPEATED.

    I came to America 27 years ago from the middle east, escaping religious discrimination and dictatorship that deprived the people from their freedom and basic human rights and dignity. over the years in this country, I learned to appreciate and respect what this country has to offer, one thing that I will never take for granted is my freedom of speech and my right to protest. lately I have been saddened by the way our representative and the corporations are working together to rob the country and the people financially in the broad day light, and we are watching and suffering without lifting a finger. I often wounder why nobody is doing anything including me? why we are not using our right to speak and demonstrate to stop these atrocities committed against us? and what is the use of having rights that we do not exercise? these are the rights I dreamed of having before coming here, and millions of people around the world aspire to, and even die to have them.

    face="Arial">  I think we sell the American public
    short when we say that the subject of financial derivatives is too
    complicated for them to understand.
      Wall Street
    wants us to think that.  The fact is that most of them are
    relatively easy to understand. Here are two examples, probably the
    biggest offenders in the 2008 crisis:
     
    Collaterallized Debt Obligations (CDOs):
     A CDO is a
    collection of things like mortgages, bonds, etc.  Shares of
    the CDOs can be sold to different investors that will in turn make
    money when the mortgages and bonds pay interest and are repaid. If the
    mortgages, bonds, etc. go bad, the investors might make less money or
    they might lose their money. If you bought a low-risk share you would
    make less money but if the mortgages and bonds started to go bad you
    would suffer less than the people that bought the high-risk shares that
    paid a higher return. The problem is that many of these CDOs contained
    bad mortgages (sub-prime mortgages) and they went bad when the people
    stopped making payments. It was hard to tell how bad they were ahead of
    time because the sellers of these CDOs were skillful at hiding
    just how risky they really were.  CDOs based on risky
    mortgages, bonds, etc. later became to be one of the things referred to
    as a "Toxic Asset."
      Credit Default Swaps
    (CDSs):
    A credit default swap is basically an insurance
    policy that you can buy to insure against a country, a company, a bond,
    a CDO or just about anything you want to invest in from going bankrupt,
    defaulting, reneging or having a bad credit score. If you own the thing
    you are insuring it is very much like an insurance policy.  If
    you don't own it it is called a naked swap and is really just a bet
    that the bad thing won't happen.
      Now there are
    many variations, iterations, twists, turns and levels of complexity in
    each of these. That's true for most things.  The important
    thing is that the average person can understand the essence of these
    instruments and with that, they will begin to understand their impact.

    Bill, excellent as always, but I think this might show what is happening in a different way:

    Want to show what is going on to all of your friends and enemies? Look at this and share with everybody you know - everybody of any political persuasion. Don't be shy or cautious. Make sure to tell them to keep zooming and out! It keeps changing and giving a different perspective. A picture is worth a thousand words!

    http://www.lcurve.org/

    Your Journal is the brightest light on TV.Your guests tonight made a crucial error. They focussed on the machinations of greed and not on the ferocious greed itself. Our national problem is not so much complex derivitives and bankers writing legislation as it is a lack of character on the part of the people involved.

    What we tend to forget is that "we the people" have a tremendous amount of power collectively. We need to come together and let the government, investment maga banks, the military industrial complex and every politician from out own states that we demand major changes in the corruption that has poisoned the goverment and ruined so many lives of hard working Americans who played by the rules and actually still believed in the American Dream, Sorry it doesn't exist anymore. The destruction this country has inflicted on third world countries around the world provides a lot of reasons for people to hate us. Our government continues to behave like an imperialist empire and we grew up thinking it was a democracy...but that's when gov is run FOR and BY the people right? I need to focus my energy and anger into something positive and am ready march with millions of fellow Americans (it has to be massive) to let these corrupt politicians know in no uncertain terms that WE ARE OUTRAGED AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!! Wall st.greed is poisoning our country along with large Corporations, Health Care Industry and of course the military Industrial complex. I think Isenhower warned us about the last one in his farewell address. I will stop now because I am feeling sick to my stomach about the betrayals we've indured in my life time, that's 59 yrs. I almost envy those that don't care anymore...It's probably easier that way....but I can't accept that it has to be this way I just cannot. Please let me know there are others feel the same.
    Bill thank you for so many great informative programs. I think you would be a great leader who could inspire the masses to take the country back !!! What'd you think?

    Sort of feeling like a cow after watching that report - at least that appears to be how Wall Street, K Street, and the greasy politicians view their fellow Americans. Home grown terrorism appears a much greater threat to America than anything outside its borders.

    'They' get away with it because Americans are simply tired of fighting, tired of the media slant, and tired of wimp ass 'representatives'. I know I am. As a former Marine I have to say this is not the country I thought I was fighting for.

    What these folks really don't get is that the horse they have been riding is almost dead. The rest of the world knows it and is preparing for the inevitable implosion.

    We may put it off for a few years but when the bills come due the rats (the aforementioned) will be the first to scurry off the sinking ship.

    Mark my words.

    At least we might have one final moment of true FREEDOM before we take our last breath.

    We all bow to masters on Wall Street in the meantime.

    A great show. Thanks Bill. Not much hope for the viewer and for the future of our country could be derived from the discussion. President Obama has shown that he will not rock the boat much and a "great conciliator" does not translate to a great leader. He is too much aligned with the"military-industrial complex" that President Eisenhower warned us about. The Democrats and Independents(such as myself) that voted for him must deny him reelection in 2012 unless he starts delivering on the "change" he promised.

    Here's one thing we all can do (grassroots banking & voting with our checkbooks). See this URL for further information: http://www.changeyourbank.info/. Another idea might be buying shares in these large banks and attending their shareholder's meetings to challenge such greedy policies, as the corporate responsibility movement has done with other corporations. Thank You, Bill, for your continued good reporting!

    I enjoyed your program on Wall Street's and the big banks' powerful influence on our democracy. The two writers were amazing in their convictions and knowledge. Like many others, I need to know more about these complex issues. Thank you again for such a needed and informative program.

    Dear Bill:

    Thanks for another informative show. David Corn is right on target when he states " ...this is about knowledge". However, he cut off Kevin Drum when Kevin was giving us crucial information on how the legislative process works or does not work for the American people. The details of the process are important, i.e. how lobbyists interact with congressional aides to write in "obscure language" to protect the interests of the industry. Please give us the details. We, the American public are inteligent and attentive enough to handle it.

    Bill, Kevin and David,
    Thanks once again for bringing some poignant clarity to an important issue which has, unfortunately, been largely successful in hiding in the weeds. As with all your broadcasts, this show on financial reform (or lack thereof) was excellent! Don’t stop!
    Where to begin? As usual, following one of your eye opening and illuminating programs, I find myself in the same dual mental condition…one of sincere gratitude for focusing an illuminating spotlight on an issue that was previously on the gray margins of my awareness followed closely by a state of severe, burning, acute irritation at how and why such an egregious act of greed can be occurring right before our very eyes. Like so many others I know regarding this financial debacle, I feel like a powerless bystander bearing witness to the sinking of a once grand and magnificent ship which has fallen victim to political and moral rot and decay. And the worst part of it is I’m on board too!

    I feel Kevin hit the nail on the head in saying that so many people are uninformed about so much of what is going on around them mainly because they don’t hear anything about it through mainstream media. If only these sort of horrific, far reaching brazen acts of greed were more publicized, perhaps the public would become more infuriated and spurred into action? To be truly effective, as you discussed, the public would need a person or cause to rally around to focus their energy on. Without that, we may just be doomed to remain irritated with no recourse to rectify the problem. Even after actively contacting our politicians and trying to utilize the “proper channels” to implement change, I would say I am disenchanted with the lack of action in Congress. Feels about as gratifying as screaming my concerns into the wind!
    I’m surfing the PBS site right now to try and find any links to grass roots organizations intent on trying to bring some focus to rectifying these brazenly greedy offenses. Thank you again for continuing to keep us all informed! Keep it up!!

    Rooger Lowenstein writing in the NYT has the right idea. If all the people who have underwater mortgages would band together and threaten to walk away from them, that would get the attention of Wall Street.

    Thank you for a very enlightening program. But when will we get over "Obama" his history does not reflect an FDR background. Evidently he has reneged on virtually everything he promised while running his campaign and flagrantly insists on "pay to play" programs. He has blatantly lied, to the public i.e. "I never ran on a single payer health plan". Flagrant, brazen lies. His deception is obvious and greatly disappointing until you examine his history and voting record both in chicago and in washington. The public has been bamboozled again and this only within a year of holding office. I don't see any vision just flimflam. Furthermore, he is a globalist he is only interested in a "new world order" advancing himself, he is a meglomeniacal, personality disorder individual and can resist a flip flop regularly. I am an independent and I did hope that he would make a difference and he will but it will not be for the people that voted him in office, it will serve Trilateral goals and I see him as a failed 1 term office holder.

    I thought your show was hitting on all cylinders tonight! I felt the struggle to come to grips with these nebulous issues. I am a vanilla derivatives trader( stock options ). I firmly believe that all derivatives markets should be visible and transperent! If they were visible and transperent the financial crisis never could have happened. Too many people would see it coming. The banks would not lend to each other because they could not see into each other and were afraid of radioactive waste. They don't want us to be able to see what they are doing. The question is. Now that we know what they are up to. Will they be able to keep it a secret any longer? Or will the market pry loose the info. Everything should be transparent. That would solve all the problems. If we could just get that one thing and just focus on that one thing, then everything else would fall into place. It is like the first amendment. It seems too weak and small to make any difference. And people continually want to go beyond it into restrictive regulations. Keep it simple. Make it transparent. That's all we need. The financial first amendment. Everything else just gets in the way. Focus on one single thing. Transparency is the key.

    Power to the people - put your money in credit unions!!!

    Bill,

    Thanks for trying to wake people up to revolt against their monetary slave masters. But the hopeless message from David Corn and Kevin Drum was that citizens have no power to change the system.

    I believe people can reclaim their sovereign power from the bottom up. The most revolutionary thing that could happen in the world today is for cities, states and nations to repudiate their debts to the central banks and their institutions and launch their own sovereign currencies.

    The North Dakota has the only state owned bank in the nation and they do not have the budget problems of all the other states. Bank of North Dakota was established by legislative action in 1919 to promote agriculture, commerce and industry in North Dakota. The Bank acts as a funding resource in partnership with other financial institutions, economic development groups and guaranty agencies.

    Nations have also been declaring their independent from the international bankers. In her article in the Oped News December 17, 2009 Ellen Brown states that Greece, Iceland, Latvia may lead the way in a revolt against the EU and IMF and cancel their debts.
    http://www.opednews.com/articles/1/EU-IMF-Revolt-Greece-Ice-by-Ellen-Brown-091217-692.html

    “Issuing and lending currency is the sovereign right of governments, and it is a right that Iceland and Latvia will lose if they join the EU, which forbids member nations to borrow from their own central banks. Latvia and Iceland both have natural resources that could be developed if they had the credit to do it; and with sovereign control over their local currencies, they could get that credit simply by creating it on the books of their own publicly-owned banks.”
     
    “After 2000, Argentine local governments issued local bonds that traded as currency. Provinces paid their employees with paper receipts called "Debt-Cancelling Bonds" that were in currency units equivalent to the Argentine Peso. The bonds canceled the provinces' debts to their employees and could be spent in the community. The provinces had actually "monetized" their debts, turning their bonds into legal tender.”

     Ecuador has a particularly interesting angle, in that they are challenging the legality of their foreign debts, seeking to erase indebtedness in that way.

    While states and nations can declare their sovereignty, individuals and communities can also take back their God given power.

    Hundreds of us in Southwest Missouri have formed a Well-Fed Neighbor Alliance dedicated to restore a sustainable local economy driven by locally grown food and locally created products. We believe that “our best security in hard times is a Well-Fed Neighbor.”

    Presently 95% of our food is imported from other states and nations on a daily basis. If the transportation system or economic system ever breaks down the grocery stores will be empty in less than 3 days and we will face famine conditions. In January 2009 we launched a 1000 garden project and by April we had over 3500 new gardens started. Now we are starting a Well-Fed Neighbor Farmer/Consumer Cooperative in the 27 counties surrounding Springfield. With an educated population, business and religious community and a little luck we plan to recreate the “stand-alone” economy of 100 years ago, using the technology we enjoy today. Our belief is that we must make the United States stronger one city, one county, one state at a time with LOCALLY GROWN FOOD and LOCAL JOBS.

    Bill, I hope that you will encourage people to take leadership in grass roots movements to restore sovereign to people.  

    http://wellfedneighbor.ning.com/
     

    Bill thank you for your reporting.I THINK WE SHOULD SHUT DOWN THE BANKS BY WITHDRAWING ALL OF OUR MONEY UNTIL THEY AGREE TO REFORMS. WE NO LONGER HAVE A DEMOCRACY, IT'S ALL ABOUT MONEY, THOSE WHO HAVE IT CONTROL THE MASSES.And they (politicians) all play the game.

    The lack of proper regulation of financial markets has resulted in the greatest transfer of wealth in this country's history. From the middle class to Wall Street. If this is not reversed by the end of the next generation, this country will see riots in the streets that will make the Watts riots in LA look like child's play

    Bill, You are National Treasure! You mentioned in this excellent interview about efforts to organize around this issue of the financial strangle-hold by Wall Street. Can you give me more information?

    All the Best,

    Ron Hayes

    Your program with the Mother Jones writers sets the gold standard for intelligent discussion of the most important issue this country faces. In my lifetime I have witnessed the fall of socialism, communism, mammoth change in China- all with few shots fired. Unparalleled in human history! Unbridled capitalism has revealed its fatal flaws and will collapse under its own weight. What an extraordinary period to live in!

    President Obama, please lead our country to meaningful banking and Wall Street reform. We need more than hope!

    To borrow current slang - time to man-up President Obama. Time to take on Wall Street and challenge those you've put in positions of power to honor their obligations to the rest of us.

    Your comment that President Obama use his email contacts to take a stand and elicit the grassroots help he needs for it to succeed is right on target.

    The problem he faces, as it is with all needed reforms is the short public memory. Let's face it, the public is fickle, has no tenacity, and the reality of politics is that schemers (like Karl Rove) learn how to take advantage of it. Time lapse works against reform. Such schemers know that a well financed media blitz will take advantage of the public "Alzheimer’s" to water down reform bills to nothing.

    The way to combat this is the same way he won the presidency, attack hard, quickly, and decisively.
    We can cut him a little slack time to get his bearings in office, but he needs to get out and away from the protective seclusion of the rich and powerful to get a true bearing.

    It is not that citizens are not upset. It is that you cannot compare FDR's recession to this debacle.

    Nowadays there are social safety nets that take a lot of the "steam" out of the heat that would otherwise be generated politically by this kind of crisis.

    I am teaching the history of the French Revolution in my class right now. If the situation today were as it were then - no social safety net, children dieing in their mother's arms, the rich saying "who cares" to the rest of the country, sure you'd have a revolution.

    But that's not the case. It's not there. Even at its worst, America and Canada are still far better off than 90 per cent of the rest of the world.

    Of course, at its current pace, that wont continue. But that wont be for President Obama or Prime Minister Harper to answer to directly. With any luck Obama will find his moxy and mojo again after the Health Bill gets passed and "lay down the cards". As far Harper, he'll tow whatever line comes out of Washington.

    But I wont hold my breath.

    Writing and thinking as an American who has lived in Canada for 42 years.

    Ok, I'm convinced that maybe I can do something to get real reform going, even though my local Rep. is tone deaf to voters. Other than voting incumbents out of office, what would be an effective step today?

    Its clear that you don't have to strap a bomb on your body to destroy a country or wreck peoples lives. All you have to do is work on Wall Street. Wall street banking is domestic terrorism.

    I have never been so disillusioned. Big corporations and banks own and run this country and Congress does nothing. We progressive are asked daily to contact our representatives to make changes on many issues but nothing happens, nothing changes. As a long time political activist I am choosing to leave the Democratic party and become a green party member. President Obama is a great disappointment and has done great damage to the progressive movement by not standing up for all the issues on which he campaigned.

    The bankers damage done to America is best catagorized as TREASONOUS.

    Thank you for yet another great program. The idea that intrigues me is our President Obama choosing to lead, and what better time to begin than with the next address to the Joint Session of Congress. Mr. Zorn's lines are excellent but to make them believable he should be flanked by his replacements for Geithner and Summers. And announce that he is withdrawing his support for Mr. Bernanke. People may follow this lead or we may not, but we aren't getting out of this mess with the crew we have. Please, Mr President, lead.

    I feel the two Journalists were right on the mark. I think the whole financial system is set up heads the big Bankers and Finance people win, while tales me and mine lose. I do not think that America is in a recession, maybe the people at the top are in a recession, but the people who are out of work, especially ME, are in a depression. I feel let down by everybody. Obama and the Congress are trying to keep the status quo, which is not helping anyone but their rich contributors. I feel the Journalist were right on the mark when they said, “the whole system is rotten to the core.” I also feel they where right when the Journalist mentioned there is no one to turn. Government is in league with the Wall Street. Wall Street gives Washington money. Washington passes legislation to protect Wall Street; against the protection of the people. When Wall Street could not get anymore private investment, they turn to the American common wealth and looted it. Now, I can not even get unemployment! Nothing is getting better. Things are getting worse, and the lack of hope is just crushing. I just want to thank Bill Moyer’s Journal for have this show and not putting any spin on this situation.

    Great Show! I too shall look into buying Mother Jones tomorrow. Messrs. Korn and Drum discussed with clarity the problems of the banking situation. They also gave the solution: We, the people, should rise up and protest.
    When shall we march on Washington? Before the State of the Union or after?

    Barney Frank may have been right to identify primary lobbying pressure as coming from the home front, disputing the common wisdom that it all follows the marching orders of Wall Street and the multinationals.

    Realtors and real estate developers have been making big money (in their small ways) writing those irrational, doomed mortgages. They are the guys who know everybody, and press toward continuing, increasing growth. They are the underpinnings of "growth" in local economies, without which local economies begin to implode (as currently structured).

    Conventional wisdom has it that this is simply true; we *must* grow. If the economy doesn't grow, it can only fizzle. Consequences of infinite growth are simply denied and banished from awareness. This is how the people come to do as your guests describe: believe that their prosperity is measured by Dow Jones.

    Local bankers merely run a delivery service. They are auxiliary participants, not the main drivers. They are, as has been obvious, disposable to Wall Street. Real estate "industry" uses them to provide cover for all the doomed mortgage activity, and complicit in bundling it into the derivatives through which it can be disguised. Once disguised, the toxic product can be moved on to imprudent investors.

    This is not meant to be a screed on realty or other specifics. All sorts of nice people occupy those occupational roles and play their credulous little parts. It is merely to say that Barney Frank may have been telling the truth, as cited early in the show. If so, we ought to take him seriously, even if his own participation turns out to be too self-serving.

    Thanks for a great show. The solution I heard proposed is a massive popular outcry. But people generally don't know where to focus their outrage. Derivatives are too complex to be easily understood and limiting bonuses skirts the real issues. There is one thing you mentioned however that can strike at the very heart of the beast in a way we the masses can wrap our minds around. It could be the basis for a new rallying cry: "STOP BANKS FROM GAMBLING WITH MY MONEY."

    Keep plugging Bill, sooner or later some glitzy celeb.
    politcion may pick up the
    fradulent banking flag and wave it for all to see by mistake. Or on
    purpose al-la Rep.Ryan
    God Bless em.

    As so many know and comment now, the necessary reforms are:

    What Must be Done (and Undone):

    Repeal (or pass new legislation undoing) these toxic laws that enabled the great Wall St. bank/investment houses consolidation and ushered in the casino speculation which caused a near meltdown and now a lingering great recession worldwide (and the enrichment of the fat cats/banksters/fraudsters at the top levels of these financial behemoths):

    Repeal The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which un-did the Glass-Steagall act, which since the Great Depression had put a firewall between commercial banks and investment houses.

    Repeal The Commodities Futures Modernization Act in 2000 and
    reinstate strong transparent regulation of all "exotic" betting speculative financial instruments including derivatives and other new schemes.

    -------

    And some of us, following the right-libertarian lead of Ron Paul and the left-progressive lead of Ellen Brown, promote getting rid of The Fed, and instituting a Bank of the United States owned by the people, not by a few special plutocratic corporate interests.

    Your guests tonight referred to Obama as being in the grip of a sort of "Stockholm Syndrome," that is that he believes that this kind of simple and strong regulation of Wall St. banks would throw the economy into a tailspin again.

    A) It's the contrary - NOT enacting these reforms will result in a worse repeat of 2008, as the same too big-to-fail banks are doing exactly the kind of casino capitalism they did before.

    B) I am more cynical about President Obama, and believe we need a third party to protest the collusion between Wall St. and Washington, which I believe Obama is a quite willing player in, and not "brainwashed" out of core progressive values somewhere in there to be awakened by the populace. I've come to doubt that he had many progressive values to begin with, but was a pretender, sad to say.

    Maybe I am wasting my time but calling my representative to do something about campaign reform and simple banking and wal street regulation plus writing the White House.

    Will a mass switch to local banks have an effect?

    I look forward to my weekly viewing of the Journal with great trepidation because I know when it is done I will be more depressed regarding the state of our country and government than before. Each week you present a show with intelligent guests that so clearly outline problems,be it energy,banking,afghanistan,etc. and even propose solutions yet no one in power seems to listen or even recognize these seemingly obvious presentations. Why aren't any of your guests in positions to initiate change?? There just doesn't seem to be any responsiveness to the overall good for the future of the country.Instead it appears the satisfaction of immediate selfserving interests is of primary concern. It is very disheartening.

    I have to let you that watching you talk with David Corn and Kevin Drum about the slights of hand brought to us by Wall Street was a bit like watching a fire in a fireplace. I was fascinated by the clarity and power of the simple truths talked about openly on your show. I thank God for you and your work. May the Father of light hold you dear and more uplifted than were the soothsayers of old.

    1. We get a weak health care bill. 2. We get weak wall street regulation.
    What next?

    I'm one of the walking wounded here in Michigan; lost my house in November, laid off for over 10 months with few prospects offering more than part-time minimum wage, and looking down the barrel of a wicked winter when unemployment will run out. Oh yes, also quite a bit in debt to several of the big banks discussed, so I must be careful about biting those hands. In fact, I'm quite despondent these days. The banking situation seems overwhelmingly complex and and so rife with corruption and inertia that it will never be resolved with any sort of Frank Capra happy ending. Maybe more like 1917 -- or 1939? Luckily for my family, Canada is not too far away...and for some odd reason, they still seem to like Americans.

    Anyway, thanks Bill and your guests. You are a flicker of truth in the night of this dark decade. But I just don't see how reform can happen. People with money and power never give it up just because it is the right thing to do.

    Bill,
    The problem is not the banks. The banks are doing what they are supposed to do. Maximize profits with in the law. They are supposed to make money for their share holders and employees. People who go into business are there to maximize wealth by individual ingenuity and effort, to enrich oneself and family within the law.
    The problem is not with Wall Street. The Problem is with Washington. People who go into public service are supposed to be guardians of the public trust. You should not be vilifying bankers or Wall Street but Congress and the devolution of our political process in Washington into a blatant money grab. The fact that our electoral system requires tens to hundreds of millions of dollars to elect an individual politician is clear symptom of the corruption that has riddled our political institutions. It is our Congress that has abdicated its sacred governing responsibility to enrich their campaigns and themselves. The villains are not the citizen bankers and businessmen who are fulfilling their chosen roles in the economy. The villains are the elected gatekeepers who are enriching themselves, their staffs, the bloated bureaucracy of Washington by making a Market in the regulations and laws that previous generations have put in place to govern the economy and protect the public good. Glass-Siegel, the anti usury laws, all the protections that a less avaricious and corrupt Washington had erected have been auctioned off to perpetuate the tenure of a political class that is vested only in its self-perpetuation. Until we have campaign finance reform there will be no meaningful reform of economic, social environmental or any other regulation of our economy and society.
    R. W. Schulz

    First of all, I LOVE your programs! The thoughtful, respectful conversations are like soothing balm to my psyche, which is constantly assaulted these days by ranting ideologues and shameless opportunists. Thank you.

    One of the key points I took from this discussion was the importance of simplifying the banking rules to make them clearer and more understandable for all. This is such a common sense notion that I don't see how anyone other than a direct employee or "beneficiary" of big finance could argue against this recommendation. Virtually every citizen, regardless of political affiliation or bias, should be able to support this kind of action.

    Mandating clean, simple language to describe clear, understandable contractual terms, requirements, options, or whatever would be such a positive action for our legislators to take. And even though they might lose some of those banking dollars for their reelection campaigns, such an action would be almost universally appreciated by the voting public, and therefore, not politically risky at all. I just don't see how anyone - even the aforementioned ideologues and opportunists - could oppose such action.

    I am contacting my Senators and Congressman to see where they stand on this issue. And for what it's worth to them, they'll know where this voter stands.

    Thank you so much Bill for your continued great work! I am one of those folks who called my state attorney general's office when the banks staged their 'coup' along with cooperation from Paulson and Bernanke. Their office acted like I was some conspiracy theorist and said that wasn't their jurisdiction. Now some Washington elected officials use that same term. I noted Michael Moore had no problem with it in his movie "Capitalism". I continue to petition my legislators and lately have been pushing the 'move your money' movement. We Do need a leader in this and indeed I agree it needs to be Barack Obama.

    Another great discussion, as usual. But I was surprised that when David Corn wondered at the lack of of an outpouring of voter rage at congress, no one made the obvious point that in our current system, the voters have nowhere to turn. To threaten to withhold one's vote is an idle threat. Throw out one hog, and the replacement is another hog with it's snout firmly tucked into the same K-Street trough. Tweedle Dum is replaced by Tweedle Dee. In the words of the Who's Pete Townshend, "Meet the new boss, just like the old boss."

    We voted for change to the extent the system permits. The vote for Obama was a vote for change. The vote that gave the majority in both houses back to the Democrats was a vote for change.

    Where's the change? Obama's financial team is the Goldman Sachs alumni association - to a man architects and enablers of our current financial calamity.

    Dodd supposedly a leading populist and heir to Kennedy's mantle has for over a decade been a major recipient of finance industry funds and a major enabler (guilty bystander at best) of the financial debacle. He also voted to authorize the War in Iraq and and dismissed single payer as a non-starter at the outset of the health care reform debate.

    The Dump Dodd campaign in CT has been a vote for change. Now that Dodd has decided not to run in the face of it, will Blumenthal or whoever replaces Dodd be an agent of change? I hope so, but I'm not holding my breath.

    Where's the change? We haven't seen enough change to fill the bottom of a panhandlers cup.

    "If the American People ever allow the banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers occupied. The issuing power of money should be taken from the bankers and restored to Congress and the people to whom it belongs. I sincerely believe the banking institutions having the issuing power of money are more dangerous to liberty than standing armies." Thomas Jefferson

    The main reason most Americans are NOT outraged at Wall St. is because their own greed. So many Americans have been conned into investing their life savings and future in Wall St.'s success, baited by speculative fantasies, and they are frightened to death if Wall St. fails, so, they will support anything to support the "bet". Vegas should have it so good. Remember, the "Great Depression" in large part was caused by average Americans who borrowed themselves to the hilt to "cash in" on the stock market cornucopia.

    Bill,
    Thanks again for the service you do. The debth of your discussion and courage to point out the emperor's lack of clothes is such a breath of fresh air.
    I watch your show regularly and feel like like one of the totally discouraged, silent citizens. To watch healthcare and banking reform totally deflated makes me furious and powerless. Normal politics does not seem to provide the change I am looking for. I really am looking for some leadership and guts from Pres. Obama.

    PS
    Your website is an invaluable resourse. thank you so much for maintaining and improving it
    PSS I'll be getting a Mother Jones tomorrow.

    Reading all of the comments on this topic one can see that many people feel a sense of outrage. Will and Arial Durant wrote "when the power of the many poor rivals the strength of ability in the rich, then the unstable equilibrium generates a critical situation, which history has diversely met by legislation redistributing wealth or by revolution distributing poverty'. I submit that the USA is at that point. It also appears obvious that our legislators are not going to redistribute the wealth. Mass movements brought significant responses in the 20th century; the Vietnam protests and the Civil Rights movement. The latter demonstrated the power of nonviolent civil disobedience. I do not believe a '"Martin Luther King" for the Economic Rights of the Common Man has yet arisen. If one doesn't come soon I fear we could fall into something more like the Vietnam Protests. In either case the price will be great for us common people. However if we don't do something radical and nonviolent our nation will be lost to the Bankers and the other super wealthy people. The current behavior of big bankers is inflamatory. Eventually "somethings gotta give". When people have nothing else to lose, they strike out with violence against their tormentors. We need a non-political leader to head up a grass roots movement which frightens the Big Bankers and people like them and which congress cannot ignore. Will any of the wise bloggers above volunteer, or perhaps the writers on tonights show, or will we just continue to talk.

    I concur.
    Corn and Drum identified critical points of major public opportunity, and simultaneous legislative failure, in the present congressional and Obama- Administration pretenses of "financial system reform"; two of which are:

    1. The opportunity of restoring the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 or its equivalent - which by one simple and easy-to-understand rule can prevent any single financial institution from simultaneously providing both commercial banking AND securities investment services; for reason of the incompatibility of incentives and motivations related to financial risks inherent in the two services.

    2. The opportunity being lost for President Obama to lead bold, epochal financial system reform, utilizing his unprecedented public following. Rather, he uncritically and unapologetically indulges the legislative self-interests of the financial industry, tightly enjoined against meaningful reform by the primal advocates for banking deregulation and bail-out with whom he has surrounded himself in Timothy Geithner, Lawrence Summers, et. al.

    Jim Marks
    Unaffiliated upstate NY voter looking for candidates with spine in 2010 and beyond.

    Only when the middle class is about to be entirely eliminated and enough people have felt enough pain and suffering will the "People" organize and revolt against the powerful
    banks and politcians in bed with one another. In the meantime the "people" are distracted with just trying to stay afloat. How much time left until we sink? Slowly the air is being deflated from our life rafts. Many have all ready sunk below the surface or even drowned in debt/foreclosure. The rest of us better start preparing patches because the cruise ship has just hit the tip of this financial iceberg. Unfortunately most of have passage in steerage and Wall St./bankers are the navigating financial pirates. We the "People" are walking the plank complacently and letting the sharks have their way with us, bleeding us of our hard earned lives. Mutiny is in the air and soon our leaders will have to jump ship or we will push them overboard. The S.S. Wall Street will then only sink. The treasure chest called democracy belongs to the people. Don't let it be looted for much longer or it will be lost forever.

    Mr. Moyers, Thank you for your discussion of the banking nightmare. The gentlemen from Mother Jones, are exactly correct in their assumptions. Us mice out here in the Hinterlands,(Iowa), in small towns understood several years ago that big banks were not in our best interest. Now they will not loan money,and are not interested in our business or whether we deposit money. They only want to make large loans to the huge corporate farms, and then the rate usurious. We do understand that the banks must be stopped from gambling in the stock markets with our money, that the federal gov't insures. It is ridiculous. Banks cannot be investment firms. It must be stopped. They are not interested in making money off of loans, when they can do leverages and make much more. The banking system is broken, and a lot more people realize that, than, I think you do. We need to start a revolution against banks. From small town Iowa.

    Dear Bill & guests:
    As usual, a super program; thanks so much for the Journal and especially for this particular one.
    About lack of public anger:
    it seems to me that there are at least two problems here. One is Obama's failure to be a figure about whom public anger can coalesce.
    Another is that things are not (yet) bad enough. The depression saw unemployment at 25%--and even when they add under-employment and no-longer-looking, economists don't seem to estimate more than 20%.
    On the other hand, this current "recession" is in one respect worse than the depression: the cost of living is a lot higher.
    Do you suppose that another problem is that so few people remember the depression? I was born in 1933, so I just "remember" it from what others have told me, but the next generation (people in their 40's and 50's) have a much more attenuated sense of what life was like in the 1930's.


    I vote (often) in Switzerland where the popular referendum influences government more than it ever has in this country (i.e. minarets). Your remark that Goldman Sachs "threatened" to pull out of England and relocate to Switzerland might just provoke such a referendum. Why should the Swiss people--who are astutely aware of international image problems--allow that company to open a business or expand its business there? Goldman Sachs makes more sense in Afghanistan. I say call their bluff, make that outfit move far, far away. And yes, I vote in the US as well, use a credit union and a local bank and would urge President Obama to listen to what the country needs.

    Thanks to Bill Moyer's Journal for enligtening the American public regarding the corruption that is the engine of our political system. Change will not happen on its own. We must act. We have very few champions in Washington. The included URL points to perhaps the one and only.

    The deregulation of finance, and what Kevin Phillips calls the 'financialization' of the economy, and the development of the 'rentier' class, may be a good old-fashioned land grab. Someone will end up owning all the real estate assets individuals and small companies have lost and will lose, getting them for pennies on the dollar.
    Deregulation means the regulations placed on these dealings in the history of American banking, and further back into banking globally over centuries, would be modified to someone's specifications, the restrictions prohibiting predatory lending removed, enabling, legalizing predation.
    The social implications of millions of Americans (and other countries' citizens) losing their homes, THE American Dream, losing the savings they thought they were investing in the down payment, those mysterious 'points,' and all the other costs of making a house a home, are complex and will be long-lasting. Many will grieve, stressfully, over their loss. Many will never recover. Marriages will end. Families will split up. They will crowd into other houses with friends and relatives, and strangers, trying to get by until they can recover, by whatever definition they can design. Then family members will decide it's too crowded and move out, moving in with other friends, relatives and strangers. The possibilities of what can go wrong are infinite. Child abuse, spousal abuse, elder abuse, child neglect, disease, unplanned pregnancy, sexual abuse, drug abuse, depression, aggression, ad infinitum. All because some people decided to deregulate, and some others decided to grab the assets of millions of homeowners. And politicians, bought and sold, accommodated the crime, deregulating, and softballing the aftermath. Americans will have to get a government of their own to combat the government of the bankers. But they can't afford one like the bankers bought, and will continue buying.

    I was a charter subscriber to Mother Jones, back in the '70s, when it was a magazine only for kooks and lefties. Glad to see the rag get some coverage on PBS.

    I don't see Obama developing a spine anytime soon, but it's nice to think a few of us might try to help him with it. But, honestly, money buys power, and he's now owned, as surely as Bush was and Clinton before him.

    Bill, as usual your guests were outstanding and I'm thrilled with the response to tonight's program. I only wish there was more that I could do to help galvanize the Washington powers to stand up for the folks who they're supposed to represent. I'm getting a much clearer picture of where we are and how we got there--now, how to we get to where we ought to go. It's simplistic to think that we can just vote the bums out. I voted for Obama and I still believe he can make the difference if he believes he has enough of the public to back him up.
    Great program as usual--please keep pouring it on. I'd love to help.

    I read in a recent essay on the World Trade Organization that many of our loan agreements with developing nations require that they accept our credit default swaps as payment for resources we take from them. If this is true, it's no wonder that we can't get any regulation of these rip off devices. Imagine if we had to pay good money for the resources we're extracting from our South American trading partners.

    I think the only way to take away access by money to those in power is to pass campaign finance laws in federal and state elections. How about making campaign finance laws our rallying cry and the focus of a march on Washington?

    I am 72 years old and glad that I am because the future of the U.S. looks so bleak.

    When I was young, I remember hearing that our government is the best money can buy...and so it seems. It seems to me that the U.S. is socially heading toward "third world" status, where there are only the rich and the poor and the government doesn't care about the poor.

    I had hoped that Obama was the sign of change, but it seems to be same old, same old.

    Dear Bill,

    Thank you for all of your efforts to educate us over the course of your career! You will be sorely missed by the McElroy Family and I suspect by millions of others. I wanted to comment that your work "Inside the Banking Crisis An Anthology" will serve as the basis of an undergraduate class I am teaching this semester on family finances. From James Galbraith to Simon Johnson and more recently Taibbi/Kuttner to Drum/Corn your guests are spot on! For me, there are two people I would like to hear from before you leave: Elizabeth Warren again and Naomi Klein... This would scratch my progressive itch so to speak, but then again your track record in picking guests is second to none!

    Thank you for your voice, modesty and curiosity over the years; You are a national treasure!

    Sincerely,

    John M McElroy

    Thank you once again for in debth coverage of an important issue. I'm going out to find a Mother Jones tomorrow!

    I voted for Obama and hoped for change regarding healthcare, foreign policy, and banking regulation. I am disappointed in his lack of taking a stand against many of the interests he spoke about during his campaign... I know - campaign promises!

    Still, I expected a leader who would speak out against " watered down" legislation and regulations. Public discussion could start at the White House. E.G. FDR

    Great report and interview! This interview helped clarify my belief that our congressmen are in bed with the Wall Street greed machine financiers. I am outrage at the legalized corruption that goes on in Washington. I am writing my congressman to demand change! Keep up the good reports like this one!

    Bill, like Elizabeth Williams, I too, despair for my country.
    I fear that wall street will continue to destroy the sanctity of our nation. They are able to go to Switzerland with their money but we have to stay here in chaos. They seem to be unpatriotic, disloyal to their country and insensitive to the very people that enable them to make the profits that they make. We have to find ways to regulate our congressmen and let wall street know that "their slaves" are aware of what they are doing. We can be powerful "serfs", willing to challenge them before they destroy the homeland and possibly the world economy. Thank you for your report. Please continue your most magnificent work!

    Dear Bill,

    I am sitting here six blocks south of the Empire State Building listening to your discussion with David Corn and Kevin Drum. I was surprised when both of your guests mentioned Paul Volcker in such a positive light. After all, it was Paul Volcker who influenced the Fed's role as lender of last resort to limit contagion in the financial system that presaged the actions of the Federal Reserve in the recent financial crisis.

    Volcker's involvement in persuading a group of large banks to bail out the Hunt Brothers and the FDIC's bailout of Continental Illinois both sent the wrong signals to the financial community in terms of how far the government would go to discipline the market. So, to look to Paul Volcker to reign in the derivatives industry is not evidence based.

    I suggest to you, that given the high unemployment rate, the rate of wealth destruction and the lack of stewardship of our country's resources that change is coming in the form of a disorderly populous rage that will be visited upon all of us as suddenly as Treasury Secretary Paulson presented his Draft Proposal for Bailout Plan to Congress. The social fabric is being held onto by the vanishing middle class as the threads slip through their fingers and the bankers keep jumping up and down.

    I would encourage anyone (and it appears that it is everyone who is posting here) who would like to move this nation towards real change and a return of the Constitutional rights that are being gradually and fully denied to the American public take an interest in getting involved with movements such as the one led by U. S. Representative Dr. Ron Paul (Texas) and the Campaign for Liberty. Why must we always accept the status quo for our choices of candidates to be elected to public office? Too many are enchanted these days with "style over substance", hence President Barrack Obama. Why should we accept the fact that our president may not have been born a United States citizen? It is unconstitutional - and that should not be trivialized.

    Today I read the Huffington Report Blog dealing with “Moving My Money”. After eight days 8,000 citizens have responded by moving their assets from big banks to smaller banks and credit unions. Tonight I watched your segment on “Complex Issues and Public Outrage” and was compelled to respond. The presentation was clear and demonstrates the need to act now! Tonight I am sending an e-mail to the White House and to my congress persons notifying them that I want action on banking reform. I and other citizens demand action if our politicians expect to be re-elected. I will not be silent and allow the big bankers to get paid for taking advantage of me and other Americans on January 18th.

    Financial reform is not too complex for the public and we are ready to act! I plan to become a one woman force sending requests to all my e-mail, Facebook and Twitter friends and their friends requesting that they move their money and e-mail the White House and their congress persons, and demand that we take a stand and break up the big banks now! We are ready to support a leader who has the key to mobilizing the people. Bill Moyers is a mighty voice in the media. Thank you for empowering and motivating the people!

    Cellestine Cheeks

    Dear Bill, thank you for addressing this painful revelation regarding our Oligarchy of big money interests. David Corn is right people are hurting and just trying to deal with their immediate concerns but I can a sure him , while I have not personally been hit financially I am mad an others are too. Because no terrorist could have hurt us more than the treason exhibited by these speculators who continue having access to our FED and markets. Give us a voice away to be heard.

    Bill, The show tonight identified "Crony Capitalism". Politicians and corporate heads have broken current laws and need to go to jail. President Obama does not need to create more bureacracy nor new laws, he needs to name names and send people to jail.


    http://seekingalpha.com/article/181306-deciphering-current-thinking-of-pimco-s-bill-gross?source=hp_wc

    Dear Bill, David and Kevin

    Thank you for the information presented concerning the financial 'industry'. I hope our Senators & 'Representatives' & President are emailed your presentation along with all of these comments from 'their' citizens!

    I truly believe not only are banks too big, but also the corporations. Both are in bed together. The government is making their beds with our money.

    Whatever happened to antitrust? Back in the 70's, my company was split up 3 times because it was 'too' big. The only 'anti'trust now is lack of trust.

    With the 8-11% unemployment that will strangle this country over the next 3-5 years, there will be social unrest.

    When people feel abused for a long enough time by their employers, government and no longer feel financially secure social backlash will take place. Especially when they have the time = no job.

    I'm amazed at the media talking about the financial situation and every night I hear 'it's getting better'. People need to know the truth and be reminded that a rise in the Dow or SPX for 3 months in a row doesn't mean things are getting better. They need to listen to the 'bears' once in a while.

    People have to be drilled with it isn't going to get better. Unemployment will stay at 8-11% for the next 3-5 years. It doesn't mean things will get better if the Dow goes up 100 points or 4000 more jobs were created in one month.

    Every time I hear the media say we gained jobs during a month scares the hell out of me. Every night the public should be told the total jobs lost to date, total people looking for jobs, total people that gave up, total new people looking for work and typically how long it will take to re-employ. I hate to introduce too much fear, but we're at the point of complacency that's worse than paranoia.

    Everyone is putting their head in the sand when they hear we 'gained' jobs or that the market is going up or corporations are making money..that's without employees.

    Corporate 'America' and the public still view the future day to day or long term as month to month.

    Until we get back to LONG term thinking and investing, the banks and corporations will continue to ruin this country with their greed. Thanks for your attention to a boiling problem!! Pete

    it's seem to me that they're are two different worlds in the USA. the rich and all the rest....the latest at the service of the first...with the show tonight it look like the american nation is the proverbial cow watching the train go by while sitting on the side of the track...your nation is on decline and there is nothing you can do about it....may be it is time for you to switch televion channel for the international one and see wath is going on in the world...a lot of american would be very surprised to realize wath is going on in the rest of the world...
    Richard Berube Montreal

    President Obama needs to rally his grassroots organization Organizing for America to work on real reform of the financial sector. I work with OFA and have been disappointed with some of the President's choices, especially with his appointment of Timothy Geitner and Larry Summers.
    Kevin Drum's suggestion of rallying citizens for real regulation of the financial sector as part of the State of the Union address would be a way of reigniting passion for change.
    Thanks for all you do to inform the public. I just wish more Americans would want information.

    Public outrage does exist but it is not heard. I write, I call. I voted for change and what I voted for changed before my eyes.

    The American people face an increasing burden of corporate welfare in the form of fees, bailouts and handovers. These companies do as they please to us and those in power, from our elected officials to the Supreme Court, are so comfortable with what they have and what they're doing that the rest of us do not matter.

    They call this the ownership society. If you're not already an owner, you'll be rowing the ship.

    It is clear that we have become the United States of corporate America. We are not observing a situation where one company has a heavyweight champion in DC that looks out for its patron, a la LBJ and Brown & Root, or Cheney and Halliburton, but entire industries with phalanxes of paid minions who control the Congress. There will be no substantial change until it becomes possible to get elected without the need to spend wheelbarrows full of cash. We need a constitutional al amendment limiting political campaigns to no more than 90 days long. The Congress is never going to vote in favor of it, so it will have to be submitted to the people for ratification. The problem with that is we would presently have to depend for leadership on a president whose single major financial contributor is Goldman Sachs, and who has already played more rounds of golf during his tenure than his predecessor ever did. Obama clearly enjoys being president, and he is not likely to buck the system.

    Another simple reform that would bring profound change would be to reverse the Clinton-era dismantling of Glass-Steagall. That will have to be done by the Congress, and that, too will never happen, as long as it takes so much cash to get elected.

    Bill , another great show !I just want to mention two things . 1. Vote out all incumbents it is clear they do not represent " We the PEOPLE ". 2. Arianna Huffington is suggesting taking our money out of these Banks that are to big to fail , And put your money in your local Bank . This will send a message to the Banking industry .

    With all of the things that seem to be wrong with our country today (big banks, federal reserve/treasury, coporate greed, military/industrial complex, congress for hire, etc. I would like know why we cannot get behind somebody like Representative Ron Paul, who in my opinion based upon limited knowlege is the straightest shooter in Washington. Why can't or shouldn't we audit the Federal Reserve like he has submitted legislation on? It seems like a good a place as any to start exposing financial corruption. Democrats and Republicans of today are cut from the same cloth. We need real reformers, such as Dr. Paul, who are principled, have integrity, and are not able to be bought at any price.

    Bill,
    Your Journal is a tremendous public service. It has seemed to me for some time that we no longer have true representation in our legislatures. In New York where I live, I know this is the case. Yet we are still taxed as though we were represented. On the wall of my dining room is the portrait of my ancestor who threw tea in the harbor at Boston over this issue, then fought in the revolution that followed. Taxation without representation is tyranny. If the bankers can buy the legislators and use them to take our money, then it's time to toss some tea overboard. What's the equivalent of tea these days?

    Thank you for taking on Wall Street. Please help us to organize behind your ideas. I just e-mail Schumer, but I'll just a standard response, he doesn't read anything from the citizens who elected him.

    These gentlemen, I'm afraid, are doing a disservice to their cause. I can't begin to itemize all the contradictions and problems in their commentary, but the problems we encountered and STILL have to face, begin, and for the most part end, with the fact that EVERYONE has been writing blank checks for stuff we can no longer afford. It didn't take any particular subversives to do that, just ordinary cupidity. It is simply due to an ever increasing desire to incentivize ppl via the extension of credit, which grew to the point where like Bernie Madoff's pyramid scheme, it became essential to keep things going at all. But doing this must at the same time contract the working economy, because in the process wealth is shifted increasingly to the unproductive. The various market and derivative casinos have no more to do with this than Las Vegas or your state lottery except as they further skew the distribution of wealth. Seeing prices go up perversely encouraged ppl to gamble more. And this has been exacerbated by the desire for cheap goods from overseas, which cannot but lower wages here until the trade balances. Mr Bernanke's idea about it seems to be to look everywhere, but directly in its face, unless he means to include in new "regulation" the raising of fractional reserves to 100%, ending the artificial manipulation of interest rates and the preferential tax treatment of securities income and home ownership, depreciation, etc., as well as, the erection of trade barriers against countries which manipulate currency.

    Isn't it ironic that we will rake a politician over the coals and force resignation for a personal indiscretion - that only harms himself and his family - and do nothing when they do real harm to the American public and our system of government? We all need to wake up!

    Bill,
    Thank you for your consistant reporting on the "heart" of the issues.
    I believe we need to mobilize and MARCH ON WASHINGTON. Please link me up with any group that is willing to go NOW.

    Kudos to Mother Jones. Count me as a new subscriber.

    The operative question as posed by Mr. Steinmeyer is "How do we now take action?"
    We can postulate in these responses all the live long day; but the question remains HOW DO WE NOW TAKE ACTION?

    I have been outraged for some time about big bankers and big business doing anything they want. Helplessness is a general state in my house! I do continue to support public television, public radio and organizations that are doing the right thing and I will continue to wright my representatives though they are in Oklahoma where Big Oil is king.

    This was a great show--we need more like this! We need more outrage by the everyday citizen. I hope to hear more from any grass roots group with the stamina to take on big banking. Many individual voices will eventually be heard.

    The operative question as posed by Mr. Steinmeyer is "How do we now take action?"
    We can postulate in these responses all the live long day; but the question remains HOW DO WE NOW TAKE ACTION?

    I watched with concern and growing resentment the show tonite detailing the reasons for the imminent failure of Congress and the Obama Administration to pass financial reform in spite of the debacle of greed and gambling on the part of the banking industry of just a year ago.

    It appears we have learned nothing and are going to leave the door open for them to do it to us again!.

    I'm mad as hell and don't want to take it anymore - where do I sign up to fight them?

    Thanks again Bill for another important discussion. I tape all of your programs so as not to miss any. You and your program participants present information we may never otherwise have the opportunity to hear as most news/television programs have lapsed into gossip, sensationalism, and political partisan monologue.
    Also like Jerry Raitzyk, I can't seem to find the links you mentioned that would lead to non-partisan groups where we can add our support.

    Thank you for taking on such difficults subjects. I am surprised that those in control of the United States have not managed to shut you up. I was so hopeful when Obama was elected as I, for the first time,worked hard to get out the vote but it is beginning to look like he has been bought also.

    Dear Bill,
    Thank you for an inciteful discussion about our financial crisis. The key statement made in the course the discussion is that congressmen want to be reelected. They need money to run a campaign and obtain it from powerful interests. "He that pays the Piper calls the Tune". May not our economic crises largely have its basis in campaign financing? Let's consider outlawing all paid Political Advertising and restrict campaigning to a series of live televised debates. Assuming that the media remains honest and focused we might come closer to a system of democracy based on the public's needs rather than one based on labor and corporate power.

    Great program tonight. I too would like the links to what I can do..an individual to push the politicians and President Obama to pass bank reform. I hope President Obama watches Bill Moyer's Journal!!!! Thanks SO much!!

    Bill Moyers, you're the greatest! Thank you for all you are doing for us!

    Nicole-Marie DeSpain said it all--what an eloquent and thought-filled statement! Thank you Nicole Marie. I'm going to copy it an pass it out--hope that's okay.

    My one comment: you referred to government and big finance as "an ungodly marriage." This is extactly how Mussolini defined fascism: the union of government, the military, and business. Ungodly? It's a marriage made in hell.

    By the way, I learned a lot of tremendously important facts about America over the past 50-75 years by reading Thom Hartmann's "Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture."

    I strongly advise everyone to read it. And, I strongly recommend that Bill bring Thom on for a discussion of that book. We'd learn a lot about tonight's topic and about our country.

    Mr. Moyer:
    I love your show even if tonight's topic stirred my anger up again to the boiling point again. The Democrats and Mr. O'bama have made me despondent because the system has been broken by both parties and given up to the monied interests in this country. We knew almost immediately because the clowns who helped create this mess were immediately appointed to the cabinet. We, the people, are nothing but pawns who get trampled on by the bankers, corporate America and the military industrial complex. I despair for my country. Please continue your show Mr. Moyers because we need you.

    Bill, thanks for all you do to keep us informed. Bankers still focus on stockholder and CEO value rather than customer value and you show how and why. Love your show and maybe Obama will see you and change his ways!

    Ron

    I just wrote a personal thank you note to Mr. Moyers in which I enclosed my check to support his amazing program. I can't find any address for sending this, and I really would love for him to know just how much I admire his willingness to ask the hard questions and have the truth-tellers on his show. Can someone please let me know where to send my envelope? Thank you so much!

    I think it has to to complex. The less people understand it, the less people will care about it. it take a weekend seminar to actuality absorb the information.

    I would like to see president Obama take strong personal leadership to support meaningful reform of our financial institutions. We must seperate investment banking from commercial banking. We must make all trading open and regulated just to name a few things that must be done. Why can't the media put the pressure on? Write constantly on the subject, get the administration pumped up. The power of the press is so important.

    Stories such as this give hope to we out here in the trenches that our country does have a chance to survive. All we need as a people is knowledge and truth. Many are worried if a democracy can survive or not since we don't even trust the information we get from the media or congress or business etc. As always there are a few brave souls to call attention to reality and maybe they can now be heard with todays communication channels. I hope so for for our countries sake.

    Thank you folks for the courage to put the issues on the table as well as solutions that may work. How do we now take action??

    I can not believe that hedgefunder and not paying income tax on their income but are paying capitol gains- they are using the money of others -and using it poorly, they are not putting their money at risk. They are earning income and paying at half the rate. The only thing I find more unbelievable is that we are not rising up against such blatant thievery. We are becoming a numb society.

    I was listening to your program. At least some people talking how banks looting the people. I was talking to many people about dormant accounts. Lot of people got caught this law. Specially old people savings account are looted by banks name of this law. We are still doing research work on 2005 law. Asked Obama to take action.

    I believe total government funding of campaigns would help resolve a lot of the influence of big money and if the Supreme Court rules that business do not have the same legal rights as people, citizens would then have some influence on the congress.

    Bill,

    I just watched your program with the two guys from Mother Jones which I subscribe to and love. I am a "baby boomer". You have the statistics and know that for the past, How many years, the needs of the baby boomers has literally driving the US economay. Everyone has marketed to us and our needs for years. All of a sudden, we have been left out of the equation. I am furious about the lack of re-regulation of our baking industry at the hand of our new president who held so much promise. I am ready to rally in the streets but noone has asked me to. Please organize an effort so the baby boomers can rally en masse for this huge issue. I am the manager of an independent living senior housing community. I talk to the sons and daughters of my senior residents everyday. We need leadership. We need to march. We have the reason...give us the agenda and date to march on Washington and I'll be there with lots of other "baby boomers". Love your program.

    The ROOT CAUSE of the financial meltdown and a host of other of our social ills is that our marginal income tax rates were dropped from 91% to 35% in recent years, allowing rip-off artists to keep too much of their plunder.

    What a great show! Thanks for the detailed discussion on the shenanigans of Wall Street and the bankers. I learned a lot from the explanations of Mr. Corn and Mr. Drum.
    However I think the subject is very complicated and difficult to understand and create a movement around.
    I wonder if you, Mr. Moyers could get some time with the President and show him the comments of Mr. Corn and Mr. Drum and ask him about his thoughts and responses to their recommendations. Then use those responses on another show. I would love to hear his responses to what they believe he should be doing about the Wall Street gang.
    Thanks for your great shows that help to educate me and others. I always learn something from your shows.

    Thank goodness at least a couple of the other posters out there took away from the program that we can't give votes our votes to those who are takign the money (and that's all of them in the major parties - right?). Only our votes put us above the banks, but only if we use them in our best interests and forget party loyalties, and more than that, our loathing of the "other" major party. Neither of the major parties are loyal to the people and we need to drop them for the new parties and independent candidates if we want things to change!

    I don't see how a pep talk from the President could accomplish anything. He's not going to rally the people to stop voting for members of his party, right? What is he going to rally the people to do that can change how business is done in Washington, if it doesn't come with the condition, "If you don't follow through on this, you're fired."

    It's amazing there isn't more outrage over banks, the bonuses, the need for regulation.

    Why not list the salaries of top bank excutives at banks around the country. We could then move our money to banks where the excutives aren't quite so well paid. These bank folks are paying themselves huge bonuses while not making loans to small businesses. So, maybe if we move our money to smaller banks (those not too big to fail)they would loan the money out. And, maybe those big banks would shrink down to normal size!

    Bill, I enjoy your reports and this one is very important. But, you didn't ask some important questions; like, what would the consequences be of tough regulation of the banks? Would the banks migrate to some other country, would credit dry up? What?

    It's not just the banking problem. And it's not just the health care reform problem. And it's not just the war in Iraq. And Ad nauseam.
    It's that the American Public isn't taking their job seriously -- not even close.
    They complain bitterly about their representatives in Washington (and in their state capitol) but they sure do re-elect them again and again. Remember when Strom Thurmond couldn't even lift his hand to push the voting buttons on his desk in the Senate (his staff had to move his hand and fingers for him; he didn't know what was happening). Who would continue to elect such a person? The American Public, that's who.
    Seems to me until we find a revolutionary leader to stir the hopes and fire in our bellies, we will continue to be the beneficiaries of what we do.
    The only fear we need to fear is ourselves.

    Bill, where are the links to groups that are organizing against the banks and financiers???

    Enjoyed the comments by David Corn and Keith Drum on the financial crisis
    They were right on the money and expressed my sentiments as to why we put in place those who helped create the financial bubble...

    Always great programing
    Never miss it
    Thank you for being on PBS

    Congress and Banks in bed will only divorce when citizens of this country rise up and elect persons who will stand up for their rights and the future of America. I always vote and make sure everyone I know does.

    David Corn is right---It's the big, moneyed bankers vs us little guys. I understand the banking issues, I think they are total crooks, I have written my Congressional representatives and even participated in phone banks. What difference does it make? NONE!
    It's extremely frustrating and I'm just waiting for a 2 million person march on Washington to express my fury. Maybe we should all cut up our credit cards and mail them to Congress. I'm tired of expressing opinions to people who don't pay attention!!!

    I was truely sorry to see Byron Dorgan leave national politics. The current Democrat Party is painfully short of true Progressives that are willing to stand up against powerful special interests. The party hasn't been the same since it was put on the Right Wing fast track by the DLC in the mid 1980s. As the late Ted Kennedy said at a 2007 National Press Club appearance where he was asked about the large number of Corporate Democrats currently in the party; "America doesn't need two Republican parties".

    I received my bi-weekly Ralph Nader email newsletter today and he also lamented Byron's departure from public service. Byron had railed against many former legislative changes that eventually led to the current disasterous state of our econmy. He was rarely driven by partisan justification and he was willing to take on his own party when required. One primary example of this is his losing battle during the Clinton Administration to keep Glass-Stegel as law. Nader summarized by saying Byron's ultimate disgust with the current Democrat party played heavily in his decision to leave national politics!

    According to Ralph Nader; "He is not the only progressive Democrat in the Congress who is saying, What does President Obama really stand for ?"

    Mr.Moyers,
    Thank you for this topic.My husband and I lost faith in Obama when he surrounded himself with Summers,Geitner,et all.
    We listen to the likes of Schummer parsing words and protecting their sources of money!At this point we would vote everyone out.We understand why Dodd is out!!
    We wish we could coalesce people and make the powers that be- that the individual voter is who is to be listened to.
    Mary Eisenstein

    I consider our current state of crises to be much more than a financial one, and brought about not just from the general public's great lack of understanding and access to Wall Street's world of derivative configurations and sly trades.

    America was created and has continued to grow largely through the multifaceted exploitation of others.

    Sometimes, I almost give up and believe that the American public has become corporations' subjects instead of holding the position of independent citizens. Our government for too long has been a pawn beholden to the corporate King. As have we - the public.

    The reasons that lie behind the build up to America's, (or any other empire's), collapses are great in depth and complexity.

    Yet, one doesn't need to be a math genius or elite university member to see that America's current collapse is mostly a culturally derived one, with the financial sector merely being a symptom of this.

    We, as a nation with growing imperialistic notions, have allowed grotesque abuses of all kinds to flourish.

    It is time to begin valuing education, not so one can earn a higher wage, but understand themselves and all that encompasses our world, and the impact that our daily decisions and behavior have on one another, and as a whole.

    One doesn't look to Wall Street as a exemplar in ethics. But why not? Why is our idea of trade so full of imbalances? Why have we allowed an economy built on indifference and exploitation to prevail?


    Americans' need to face the challenge of honestly reviewing this nation's real histories running right up to our current state. One of unmatched consumption and disrespect of others, including the land and its natural resources and native inhabitants.

    We need to individually hold ourselves accountable to others' needs and rights. And most immediately we need to demand and see to accountability from our government. An accountability to ethics, to the actual carrying out of the ideologies of democracy, and to the protection and further creation of just laws.

    It is hard to tell the bank ceo's from the past five presidents' top administrators. For it is an ungodly marriage. And one that needs to come to an end.

    Yes, ethics are as complex as derivatives, but are greater in value.


    Sincerely, Nicole~Marie DeSpain


    What a bogus argument. If derivatives are too complex and benefit only those that understand them, get rid of them. Getting rid of derivatives and limiting leverage would go a long way toward solving the problem. We got by just fine without derivatives up until the finance industry took over the country. The pols are just afraid of losing a big source of funding for their campaigns and these pundits can't see the forest for the trees. They're caving to the oligarchy just like they did on other issues like the wars and health care.

    Hey is this Bill Moyers of the Backbone Campaign?

    Bill I think this is the central issue of the day.

    Maybe we have wars to take care of our Defense Industry.

    That notorious leftwinger Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of this in his second inaugeral address.

    But the size of the banks invalidates any argument for a free market. They are too big to fail, and too big to control.

    I fantasize having a law that no financial institutional outside of the federal government could have more than 2% of the bank world (I'm too ignorant to know what that is: gnp?, $ in circulation?, total bank deposits?)

    Our founding fathers were afraid of a national bank as becoming too powerful. Now we have a handful of banks we can't even regulate...

    My credit union is going for floating it's Visa rate...

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