Monday, September 02, 2013

ANS-- --The End Game for Democracy

This is a Bill Moyers article.  He tells it like it is -- our government has been bought.  I've included the comments because some of them are good and the others are typical -- they keep proposing governmental solutions, but it is too late for governmental solutions.  It's difficult to get one's head around that -- to remember that any clever proposal that includes getting the government to change something is no longer possible. 
Find it here:    

The End Game for Democracy

Monday, 02 September 2013 11:15 By Bill Moyers, Moyers & Co. | Video

Bill Moyers. (Photo: Moyers & Company) Bill Moyers. (Photo: Moyers & Company)Bill Moyers: We are so close to losing our democracy to the mercenary class, it's as if we are leaning way over the rim of the Grand Canyon and all that's needed is a swift kick in the pants. Look out below.

The predators in Washington are only this far from monopoly control of our government. They have bought the political system, lock, stock and pork barrel, making change from within impossible. That's the real joke.

Sometimes I long for the wit of a Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. They treat this town as burlesque, and with satire and parody show it the disrespect it deserves. We laugh, and punch each other on the arm, and tweet that the rascals got their just dessert. Still, the last laugh always seems to go to the boldface names that populate this town. To them belong the spoils of a looted city. They get the tax breaks, the loopholes, the contracts, the payoffs.

They fix the system so multimillionaire hedge fund managers and private equity tycoons pay less of a tax rate on their income than school teachers, police and fire fighters, secretaries and janitors. They give subsidies to rich corporate farms and cut food stamps for working people facing hunger. They remove oversight of the wall street casinos, bail out the bankers who torpedo the economy, fight the modest reforms of Dodd-Frank, prolong tax havens for multinationals, and stick it to consumers while rewarding corporations.

We pay. We pay at the grocery store. We pay at the gas pump. We pay the taxes they write off. Our low-wage workers pay with sweat and deprivation because this town – aloof, self-obsessed, bought off and doing very well, thank you – feels no pain.

The journalists who could tell us these things rarely do – and some, never. They aren't blind, simply bedazzled. Watch the evening news – any evening news – or the Sunday talk shows. Listen to the chit-chat of the early risers on morning TV -- and ask yourself if you are learning anything about how this town actually works.

William Greider, one of our craft's finest reporters, fierce and unbought, despite a long life in Washington once said that no one can hope to understand what is driving political behavior without asking the kind of gut-level questions politicians ask themselves in private: "Who are the winners in this matter and who are the losers? Who gets the money and who has to pay? Who must be heard on this question and who can be safely ignored?"

Perhaps they don't ask these questions because they fear banishment from the parties and perks, from the access that passes as seduction in this town.

Or perhaps they do not tell us these things because they fear that if the system were exposed for what it is, outraged citizens would descend on this town, and tear it apart with their bare hands.


Bill Moyers

A broadcast journalist for more than four decades, Bill Moyers has been recognized as one of the unique voices of our times, one that resonates with multiple generations. In 2012, at the age of 77, Moyers begins his latest media venture with the launch of "Moyers & Company." With his wife and creative partner, Judith Davidson Moyers, Bill Moyers has produced such groundbreaking public affairs series as "NOW with Bill Moyers" (2002-2005) and "Bill Moyers Journal" (2007-2010).

For his work, Moyers has received more than 30 Emmys, two prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, nine Peabodys, and three George Polk Awards. Moyers' most recent book, "Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues," was published in May 2011. He currently serves as president of the Schumann Media Center, a nonprofit organization that supports independent journalism.


    Avatar   Craig Clevidence 8 minutes ago
    It's the late Roman Republic. No, not Empire with barbarians at the gates--which really isn't the way it happened anyway--but the first century BCE, when the rich bought elections, generals fought for power and the poor were permanently squashed. Eventually the democratic elements, the Assembly and Senate, became shells and while the forms survived and Rome went on to power as a dictatorship, the ordinary people were slowly (later rapidly) crushed. Maybe the analogy isn't quite the same since we have an empire, if not by that name, and no Caesar so far, but the fading and rot at home is similar.
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  • Avatar   kimc 4 minutes ago
    Mr. Moyers is correct -- it is too late for the government, it's been sold to the highest bidder. The central thing we can do is to make an end-run around the big corporations and produce our own, more effective, economy. Capitalism is the problem, but not all competition is capitalism. (Actually, monopoly capitalism, which we have now, seeks to destroy competition.) Read parrysixte's post below -- the article about Grace Lee Boggs. And this:
    THE WAY we will take back America from the corporations is:
    1) Take our money out of the big banks and Wall St, and don't patronize those corporations any more than you must. (Put your money in member-owned credit unions. Or read "Locavesting".) Wall St cannot be tamed: it must be eliminated. Capitol Markets were introduced into America to fuel industrial growth. They no longer do this – their job is done.
    2) We will start a lot of worker-owned, democratically-run businesses, where the people who do the actual work get the say and share the profit. (Read Gar Alperovitz's new book, *What Then Must We Do?*)
    a) Form locally sustainable economies. Institute "Job Ecology" (business for the sake of jobs.)
    3) We must elect progressive candidates to protect us from the destruction planned by the conservatives.
    4) We will start our own scrip, and gradually replace the old Dollar with the New Community Scrip, which We the People will control with our own banks or credit unions and regulating agencies.
    5) Assume the frame of moral/ethical leadership. (Read George Lakoff.)
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  • Avatar   Craig Clevidence 19 minutes ago
    The most basic problem with our representative democracy is that the voters do not pay for the political campaigns, and our representatives rely on those who do. Unless our representatives are motivated to represent only the voters, our current broken system cannot be transformed. At Renew Democracy, we feel that just as many of the constitutional restrictions on social behavior ensure the primacy of individual rights to protect from the tyranny of the majority by making the rights of the group subservient to the rights of the individual, it is crucial to ensure the rights of the individual voter have primacy in the political process. For this reason we advocate for a constitutional amendment that would empower the American voter and transform the motivations of our representatives. . Here is the RDA proposal
    "The right of the individual qualified citizen voter to participate in and directly elect all officeholders by popular vote in all pertinent local, state, and federal elections shall not be denied or abridged and the right to vote is limited to individuals.

    The right to contribute to political campaigns and political parties is held solely by individual citizens either through direct contributions and or a voter authorized public campaign funding system.
    Political campaign and political party contributions shall not exceed an amount reasonably affordable by the average American.
    The rights of all groups, associations and organizations to other political speech may be regulated by Congress but only as to volume and not content and only to protect the right of the individual voter's voice to be heard.
    The manner and course of lobbying and petitioning of federal, state, and local government officials by all groups and organizations and those who represent them may be regulated by Congress."
    The Renew Democracy Amendment would create a constitutional guarantee of the right to vote and directly elect all candidates for whom they were qualified to vote. It would eliminate the Electoral College and it would restore the power of the individual voter by requiring our representatives to be funded solely by the individual voter. The RDA would create a campaign funding system in which nearly any American could be a politician's largest donor. Read more at and consider signing the wall to show your support for the nonpartisan and powerful amendment proposal.
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  • Avatar   Windenergy 3 hours ago
    Several years ago a group of Black women who had meet with President Obama said, "He (President Obama) has no moral compass." I think the same applies to much of Congress and the Supreme Court. They all seem to be consumed with the welfare of the sacred Business Man. Capitalism is their god.
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  • Share › Avatar   Vaughn Hopkins Windenergy 2 hours ago
    In my opinion, it is capitalism that is the basic problem. Capitalism is inherently going to lead us right back to where we are unless we find a new form of economy. Think for a minute: Why is it legal to bribe members of the government? And, aren't campaign donations always a bribe? If it were possible to eliminate bribery from our government process it might be possible that our present Constitution could work. But, our religious devotion to capitalism has to go first.
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  • Share › Avatar   Windenergy Vaughn Hopkins 2 hours ago
    Yes. That's how I see it. (At least Capitalism must be strictly millionaires and no Billionaires when poverty exists.)
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  • Avatar   parrysixte Vaughn Hopkins 2 hours ago
    See how Detroit's citizen, with Grace Lee Bogg are engaged in The Next American Revolition, "Respiriting" the city, working underneath the failed Political/administrative appaatus,,,rebuilding detroit as MLK' beloved city

    /// The Next American Revolution I
    Grace Lee Boggs

    Grace Lee Boggs,, Detroit-based radical organizer and philosopher. Born to Chinese immigrant parents in 1915 [in their apartment over the family's restaurant], Now 98 she has been involved in nearly every major activist movement of the past eighty years, including labor, civil rights, black power, women's rights, and environmental justice movements.

    She earned scholarships, graduated from Barnard, and went on to earn a PhD in Philosophy at Bryn Mawr in 1940.. Facing the significant employment barriers of the academic world as a woman of color in the 1940s, she found a job at low wages at the University of Chicago Philosophy Library. And living in a rat infested basement she began an activist's career, which continues to today, working for tenants' rights.
    She successfully melded theoretical studies of reform and revolution with on-the-picket line activism while participating in in nearly every major activist movement of the era.
    Along the way she met and married Jimmy Boggs, a Black from the deep south who was for 30 years a union member and organizer in the Chrysler factory in Detroit. Theoreticians as well as activists, the two were deeply immersed in the passionate discussions about revolutionary doctrine which characterized leftish organizations. [they found the Communist/USSR perspectives badly flawed, inclining toward Johnsonite anti-stalinist thinking.]
    From all of this in time they emerged with a radically different perspective: they saw that thinking about revolution beginning with the Marx and the Russians had come to be centered on a process of rousing the masses to take over existing systems at the top and from there to rework the structure to be more supportive for the people generally [according to whatever structure the proponents advocated].
    The Boggs proposed to do something quite different: not to change the system or its details but to build the entire structure from the ground up. They had come to share Luther King's vision of the "beloved community;" tthey called on Detroiters to expand their humanity, working together to create a more humane, democratic, and meaningful way of life, not just in Detroit but in line with the thinking eg underlying the work of the World Social Forum on the theme "Another World Is Possible," central to the Puerto Alegre forum of 1999 and to the participatory democracy of that city [and others, ...including some in the USA]].
    And perhaps the most important thing about this view imho is not just its thorough, careful exposition - though imo this is indeed revolutionary - but that, having worked out the theory and background, the Boggses and friends put it into action

    ..." we need to go beyond opposition, beyond rebellion, beyond resistance, beyond civic resurrection. We don't want to be like 'them.' We don't want to become the 'political class,' to simply change presidents and switch governments.'

    "We want and need to create the alternative world that is now both possible and necessary. We want and need to exercise power, not take it."
    She set forth these views in her recent book: "The Next American Revolution." {Univ of California Press] [see also her autobiography 'Living for change." Grace Lee Boggs Univ of Minnesota Press]
    But this was not abstract thinking; Beginning specifically and actively along these linesin 1992; she, with Jimmy Boggs, Shea Howell, and others, co-founded "Detroit Summer," which intended to "rebuild, redefine and respirit Detroit from the ground up," beginning by organizing youth.
    "Detroit summer"...Some specifics..
    Over time it has developed parallel and interrelated activities loosely linked: Arts, Media, Culture; Community Organizations; Education [Schools and Community]; peace zones[ restorative not retributive justice; Food Security - Urban Gardens and Farms; Local Businesses: Sustainable Economics; Recycling; Youth & Activism. . Activities in general aim to strngthen the commuity as well as to overcome specific challenges..Murals turn depressing deteriorating walls into images celebrating a vibrant locality.
    A Restorative justice movement replaces arrest and incarceration in cases of many crimes; keeping juveniles out of the criminal justice system and rsolves conflicts in th community without the toxicity of revolving door criminal activity Children are not locked into rows of desks in sterile classrooms; reminded, under the evils of "teach to the tests" of their own ineffectivenes; they are given activities and places in the community where they can both learn and feel the satisfaction of knowing that their work has value and that they themselves are productive parts of the community.
    For instance, one group undertook to study their community to see where there were needs for improvement..In due course they identified youth obesity as a community problem...but they didn't stop there, they went on to create vegetable gardens, some on rooftops, to improve sources of healthy foods..
    One of the tenets of the Boggs respiriting' of Detroit is: "Using new methods of local,small-scale production (such as 3-D printing) to produce our own clothing, housing, transportation, etc." .
    3-D printing technology makes it possible for small shops, using 3-D printers [some of which are literally small enough to fit on a desk-top], to produce a tremendous range of objects - literally from jewelry and dental implants to museum-quality pieces to jet engine parts to automobiles. [More information in notes below.] An active community of users, designers and manufacturers has grown up along with these developments. [ But there is more at work here than just a new way of producing needed objects.
    A Revolution in Work
    We may be seeing here something like the revival of the craftsman, the apprentice, the small workshop...of "work" as opposed to the slave-labor "job" of pointless repetitive mind-numbing --day after day existence too often under the supervision of petty tyrants and at the mercy of unseen financial interests. Now the craftsman will have te satisfaction of seeing his skills succesfully deployed and will enjoy his work not endlessly resent it... We may be seeing the end of the assembly-line factories typical of the 20th century. And this leads on to A major theme in the ongoing work in Detroit; the evolution of the 'beloved community' sketched out by MLK. With people engaged in 'Work;' not regimented in 'Jobs;' with communities oriented to neighborhoods not projects, hunanizing schooling, bulding community oriented restorative justice... finding their ways to provide the supporting services.. will approach a version of King's vision..
    3-D Printing Overview detailedled discussion... continued in Part II
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  • Avatar   Eric Hodgdon 6 hours ago
    Bill your message lacks, I'm sorry to write. Bill, press harder for the harder decision you and the other long-time Democrats still avoid - the Revolution which is sorely needed.
    You write "They fix the system..." and it's a system which can never be fixed not to be fixed. And, it's a system with too much baggage to bother fixing. The US Constitution is from too long ago and fraught with Imperial tendencies since its conception and implementation. It must be scrapped, and you, Dear Sir, must be one of those pushing for the new, and publicly declaring so, and every day until it is so.
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  • Share › Avatar   Vaughn Hopkins Eric Hodgdon 4 hours ago
    I think what holds back so many people from calling for a new Constitution is the knowledge that we would be more likely to get a much worse document than what we now have. The religious extremists are a large percentage of the population here, and a much larger percentage of the political activists who would be involved with any new Constitution. The "conservatives" are an even larger percentage. Add to that, that any group charged with writing the new Constitution would quickly be bribed by the oligarchs to write an even worse one. If there is to be a better Constitution it will have to be imposed by force by a militant minority - and that too is not good.
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  • Share › Avatar   Daniel LaLiberte Vaughn Hopkins 2 hours ago
    I tend to agree that revolution will be dangerous at best, and some would respond that continuing on is even worse, while in-place repairing seems impossibly slow if not impossible. So we are between a rock and a hard place, as the saying goes. Are there other alternatives?
    One possibility which seems increasingly more likely to succeed is that we create a new system that supersedes the current system by making it irrelevant and obsolete. This should be a system that is beyond the borders of any one nation, and that is founded on the equal rights of each and every individual on the planet. No group of individuals, no organization, no corporation, and no government should be allowed to grow so powerful that their inevitable corruption threatens to destroy all of us, or any of us. It is not so difficult to design such a system, and I believe it will eventually be implemented, and it is already starting to happen.
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  • Share › Avatar   Kir (Politicoid) Daniel LaLiberte 2 hours ago
    Indeed! Revolution very rarely produces even neutral results. Populist uprisings almost always end in failure.
    As for a system, capitalism really is that system. It evolved in line with human nature and is a powerful and generally effective method of resource management.
    As for a hyper federal government, I advise against it.
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  • Share › Avatar   Daniel LaLiberte Kir (Politicoid) an hour ago
    Capitalism is too effective, in the sense of cutting to the bone, and thus too powerful. It is very effective at motivating innovative self interest, but often to the exclusion of the mutual interest of society as a whole. It is inherently self-serving, but there is nothing wrong in trying to better our individual lives, or the lives of the people we work and live with. The problem is that other people are affected, possibly negatively so. Small scale capitalism is probably the best compromise, as long as we can prevent it from doing anything irresponsible or growing out of control.
    But this same concept applies not just to capitalism and corporations, but to any organization. It is not just about capitalism as an economic system, but any organization that can grow more powerful by any means. There is an inherent competition any time we subdivide forces and set one upon another to decide which is "best". And it is not that competition is bad, but that its success results in too much concentration of power.
    Above the lowest levels of organization and government, there is no question in my mind that we absolutely must manage things at higher levels as well, particularly global levels. And the organizations of people that do that management must be democratically controlled, for the benefit of all. We have severe global issues to contend with, and we must act quickly to avert or minimize global disasters. How else are we going to do it? The question should not be whether we need to do this - we absolutely do - but how are we going to do it effectively while simultaneously preventing any organization from becoming too powerful. see more
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  • Avatar   Rdzkz 8 hours ago
    Yes, and do not forget that the one spokesman elected to stand up for us PresObama does not but installs B$CEOs in us federal government jobs and presses hard for the TPP to get thru in secrecy.
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  • Avatar   ganymede1 2 hours ago
    Mr. Moyers, There's a lot of despair going on right now in light of the ongoing Syrian tragedy and the corner that our President has boxed himself into. Let's hope that Congress nixes the planned assault on Syrian. I'm beginning to think the only way out of our insoluable impasse is to appeal to the small number of oligarchs who still have some human impulses to open up a discussion on how to reform our out of control capitalistic system. The greed of most of these kleptocrats is our biggest problem and reformation is desperately needed. The only other avenue is revolution because otherwise we will destroy ourselves along with the rest of the world.
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  • Avatar   JustAMaverick1 2 hours ago
    Capitalism and the monetary system are the key reasons for what is happening today. It is going to get worse as well. Our entire economy is, as I am sure many of you are aware, based on a unlimited growth paradigm. That is by it's very nature on a world of limited resources a system that is doomed to fail. We are now starting to reach it's limits.
    Someone in a comment below argued that capitalism is a fairly effective system for resource management. I couldn't disagree with this point of view more. It would take too long to explain why here....but if you have netfllix watch Zeitgiest Forward,,,the latest of the three, and it explains it extremely well.
    Bill Moyers is one of the few real journalists left. He has the pulse of the state of this nation and is correct, democracy has flat-lined and without some real effort is doomed to die with a whimper. Unfortunately this seems to be our fate. Such a nation as ours, with our access to information at virtually everyone's fingertips...yet dumb as a stump. Sheep to the pains me to say it, but I see little difference between them and most of this nation.
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  • Avatar Bruce • 37 minutes ago
    Been deteriorating since at least LBJ dictatorship in 1965.
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  • Avatar John Cable • 42 minutes ago
    Next time Bill, show some emotion!
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  • Avatar Dr Susan Reibel Moore, Sydney • 2 hours ago
    Dear Bill Moyers, Here in Australia I can't watch you on tv, which I did in America in 2007 when I was there for 3 months for my 50th high school reunion. The trip is very expensive and long; so now that my parents' generation is gone except for one person, aged 101, I rely on virtual reality. In another life I was at Harvard, where I met my Aussie husband.
    Being able to read you this morning before I drink my breakfast coffee has been a real treat. I knew things were bad in Washington; but they're worse than I realised. Here, we're awaiting a federal election on Saturday that could ultimately bring me to my native land on an educational mission. I'm an international writer and teacher; and in the 90s I worked part-time in the same Think Tank office as our probable new Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, a very good guy! Mostly, since we had school-aged children, I worked at home.
    This message comes with all of my good wishes, and my thanks for your enormously important work over a lifetime.
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  • Avatar acupuncher • 2 hours ago
    the only way to take back our country is to Vote OUT the Incumbent Every Single Time We Vote... Then The Politicians Will Know That They Are On A Short Leash And Bound To Do Our Bidding While They Have There ONE TERM CHANCE...
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