Welcome Bill Moyers, and Host Glenn Greenwald.

Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues

Glenn Greenwald, Host:

Bill Moyers easily ranks as one of America’s greatest journalists. For decades, he has covered vital stories most others ignored, fearlessly defying orthodoxies and amplifying viewpoints that were excluded in most establishment venues. His coverage of the 2008 financial crisis provided the earliest look at how reckless and criminal was Wall Street’s conduct and how steadfast was the resolve of the subservient political class to shield it from accountability. His commentary on how the media suppresses dissenting views that fall outside of the bipartisan consensus — as exemplified by this recent interview with Tavis Smiley — makes him one of the most astute media critics in the nation. And his 2007 examination of the media’s role in selling the Iraq War — “Buying the War” — was the first and still-best examination of that largely ignored topic.

The Lifetime Emmy Award winner and former Press Secretary to LBJ — who resigned from that position out of dissatisfaction with the Vietnam War — has also been a prolific author. His latest book, The Conversation Continues, is his 13th, and it offers the best of Moyers’ work over the last several years. Featuring 47 interviews that aired on Bill Moyers Journal from 2007-2010 — along with substantial new commentary on each from the author — it is genuinely difficult to imagine a book that offers more intelligent and engaging discussion on such a wide array of critical political, financial and cultural issues. It is like an in-depth museum exhibit for almost every important social development over the last decade.

Reading this book is akin to sitting down to watch the very best of Moyers’ interviews over the last several years, while sitting next to the interviewer himself as he provides his own analysis of the interviews and the topics they cover. Having been on Moyers show several times, I can personally attest that there is nobody who conducts interviews as well as Moyers did. He prepares extensively for each, develops an expert-level understanding of every topic he covers, purposely seeks out the most difficult and controversial aspects of any issue, and has a truly unique ability to force his guests to think very hard and deeply even about topics they have spent their careers discussing. The format was deliberately designed to avoid the glib, scripted, trite chatter offered daily on cable news, and instead demanded thoughtful commentary. The result on Bill Moyers Journal was the most substantive, serious and engaging series of interviews found anywhere on television, and The Conversation Continues adds all new layers to those segments. Just as was true for each episode his PBS show, you literally feel yourself become smarter and more enriched with each chapter you read.

It’s impossible to do justice to the book by featuring only a few of the chapters; each one, including (perhaps especially) those relating to topics in which you think you may not have much interest, is truly thought-provoking. His 2008 interview with former Army Col. and Vietnam veteran Andrew Bacevich provides as powerful an indictment of America’s fully bipartisan posture of Endless War as one will find anywhere; Moyers’ insights about how actual exposure to war produces the most powerful reluctance to start them (as opposed to the blithe eagerness on the part of those who have never been in combat) is on-point and still very relevant. His conversation with the brilliant civil rights activist and poet Nikki Giovanni entails everything from how humans recover from a violent tragedy (such as the Virginia Tech shooting which her book examined) to the status of race in America in the Obama age. Controversial figures such as Jeremiah Wright and Howard Zinn are given a respectful though (as with everyone) adversarial platform to enable their true substance to emerge, supplanting the cheap cartoon caricatures which typically define them.

There is The Wire creator David Simon on the drug war, Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater, Robert Wright on God and evolution, the anthropologist Jane Goodall on animal behavior, and two criminologists on mass incarceration of America’s minorities and underclass. There is much more in this incredibly eclectic collection of some of Moyers’ best discussions, topped off by his own voice highlighting what he found most revealing. It was impossible for any engaged and intelligent person not to adore PBS show, and that is even more true of this book.

Please welcome Bill Moyers in the comments. As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and take other conversations to another thread. – bev

 

207 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Bill Moyers, Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues”

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Welcome Bill and Glenn to FDL. It’s wonderful to have such bold truth tellers visit our community. You have both done an excellent and detailed job of showing clearly how government and media lie to us and omit the truth on a regular basis. Right now the oligarchs and the empire are accountable to no law and represent no peoples outside of the inner circle of global capitalists and power elite. You have both uncovered this truth and presented it to use directly with no euphemism. America has been betrayed by Barack Obama and his optimistic rhetoric of hope and “change you can believe in” which was followed up by turning Bush’s most radical policies into an unquestioned bipartisan consensus.

My question for both of you is this: will you take the logical next step with us by advocating and working for a solution to this American dilemma? The solutions certainly aren’t obvious at this point but I would like to see the public discussion move towards working to identify them as much as possible. Will you join us in trying to find the way forward?

I am sure both of you have given the dilemma a lot of thought. What is your current thinking on the fix we’re in and possible ways out?

Finally, I also believe it is pretty clear at this point that both legacy parties are irredeemably corrupted and need to be abandoned immediately. America needs to move beyond the fear of “the greater of two evils” in order to solve the problems we face. If we don’t future generations will be the ones to pay the greatest price for our fear.

How do you feel about the legacy parties? Would you be willing to advocate publicly that we unite populists of all stripes in a new non-partisan populist movement to abandon both legacy parties at the same time and create the space necessary for new ideas and new possibilities to emerge?

Glenn Greenwald May 21st, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Welcome Bill Moyers – your voice is missed from PBS – this book is like a soothing fix for Moyers addicts suffering year-long withdrawal.

RevBev May 21st, 2011 at 2:04 pm

On a personal level. Do you have any idea how much we miss your Journal…you, your guests, and information. Thank you for so many good years.

PeasantParty May 21st, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Welcome Bill and thank you Glenn for hosting.

Bill, have you any insight as to how to stop this gigantic Corporate overtake of the US and our Government?

Jane Hamsher May 21st, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Welcome Bill, and thanks so much Glenn.

The book is wonderful. How was the writing process different without the pressure of a weekly show, and do you think that’s reflected in the content?

May 21st, 2011 at 2:07 pm

So glad to have both Glenn and Bill here – two of my favorite voices, period!

Mr. Moyers – do you have an all time favorite interview you’ve made with some one? And also the interview you’ve ever conducted that disturbed you the most?

BooRadley May 21st, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Glenn, thanks for a terrific introduction.

Mr. Moyers, I hope you and your editors included this writer’s hall-of-fame metaphor” of yours:

“…..Scooter Libby deliberately poured poison into the drinking water of democracy by lying to federal investigators, for the purpose of obstructing justice….”

Begging His Pardon

When she read it, Firedoglake’s emptywheel, wrote:

“When I grow up I aspire to write as well as Bill Moyers:”

Bill Moyers says it beautifully

Mr. Moyers, I also appreciated the terrific coverage you provided of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s reporting on BPA.

I look forward to buying your latest work.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Matthew: I saw a poll earlier this week indicating that 52% of the respondents were fed up with both parties. The NYTimes this week carried a revealing story from Germany about how workaday citizens — neither left nor right — were staging spontaneous peaceful protests against their “political system” because it was out of touch with everyday concerns. Our political parties are just as irrelevant to the touchstone concerns of Americans. Yes, I believe fully in creating a non-partisan movement that challenges both parties to get serious about the quality of life for regular folks. It’s very hard to make a third party work in America because the two parties have effectively rigged the rules to produce that result, but a movement is not only possible but necessary. It will have to be aimed first at the Democrats, because the Tea Party has become the nominating wing of the Republican party while the Democratic party has no organized nominating wing to hold it accountable. How does a movement start? By linking all those people at the grassroots who know they aren’t taken into account, and sustaining continuous pressure at every level. Howard Zinn talks about this in my book — how governments don’t act until people make them.

Jesterfox May 21st, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Mr. Moyers, thanks for being here. We miss you.

Teddy Partridge May 21st, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Bill Moyers, yours must be the most distinctive voice in the American polity today – when I read these interviews, I can literally hear you asking the questions in the remarkable conversational tone of shock, amazement, and optimism you brought to my television for that too-brief time. Please come back!

Until then, though – thank you for this wonderful book to review, re-read and enjoy.

Who are you reading today? What American thinkers and writers are you keeping an eye on? Which political actors are you watching every move? What gives you hope, and over what do you currently despair?

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 2:10 pm
In response to Glenn Greenwald @ 2

Glenn, it’s good to be online with you. Your appearances on Bill Moyers Journal were always a hit. Although I am not sure “soothing” is what we need now, I’m glad you found the book readable.

Glenn Greenwald May 21st, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Bill – You’ve spoken a lot about the way establishment media outlets constrict the range of views that can be heard.

Are you optimistic about the ability of alternative venues – independent journalists, blogs, social media – to subvert their ability to continue to suffocate dissenting perspectives?

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 2:11 pm
In response to Jesterfox @ 9

Thanks for this, Jesterfox. I miss the audience on Friday nights perhaps more than you miss me. I couldn’t see who was beyond the camera but their presence was felt — and I had the sense of people coming in from the dark to gather around the campfire if for no other reason than to feel less alone in the world.

boohoowho May 21st, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Welcome Bill! Thank you for being here and thank you for hosting Glenn.

So many good questions already!

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 2:12 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 11

I am not sure “soothing” is what we need now

This is so true. I think that is why many of us are so interested in seeing the discussion move to focusing more on how to address the American dilemma we find ourselves in…

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 2:13 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 13

I had the sense of people coming in from the dark to gather around the campfire if for no other reason than to feel less alone in the world.

Bill, I have often thought of you as the grandfather of America and this really reflects that sentiment…

Jane Hamsher May 21st, 2011 at 2:13 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 8

How does a movement start? By linking all those people at the grassroots who know they aren’t taken into account, and sustaining continuous pressure at every level.

That’s the challenge — find a way to reach those people. While the internet certainly makes it easier, it’s a challenge to reach into communities and communicate with people who are losing their houses, losing their jobs, up to their eyeballs in debt from predatory lenders who are getting free money from the government. They often shut down and retreat.

We’re trying to build the infrastructure to do that with our membership program, because it’s a very labor-intensive process. It take a lot of time and energy on the part of a lot of people. But there’s no magic pill — that’s just what it’s going to take to build a movement and bring about any kind of real change.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Unless we protect “net neutrality” against the corporate efforts to load it with tollbooths favoring the richest travelers, I am not optimistic. Television is too expensive (and increasingly irrelevant) for alternative voices to find a microphone and established radio outlets are rarely open to dissent except from the right. If the Web and social media are closed off, the oxygen will go out of the conversation of democracy. That’s the big fight right now.

mzchief May 21st, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Welcome Bill, Glenn and salon attendees! Thank you all for being here. :-) I try to reach out and engage a new person every day in the progress of daily life.

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Welcome Glenn and Bill. I have often said that for profit news soon becomes for profit narrative and only taking money out of the system will prevent news companies from becoming beholden to their funders’ and advertisers’ agendas. Even PBS seems like it’s become a virtually wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries. How do we make it possible for news organizations to be able to afford first class coverage of the news, yet again become the independent and indeed adversarial community that it was envisioned to be? Too often it seems like pundits and news people are more interested in getting invited to the right parties than they are in doing their jobs.

DWBartoo May 21st, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Thank you for joining us, Mr. Moyers, and you as well, Glenn.

Bill, I realize that this is old news, but an “inside view” would be most useful, as an historical perspective.

Within days of the Gulf of Tonkin “incident”, word was that in certain Naval Intelligence circles there was much chagrin, an number of officers of sufficient rank were saying that the “incident” did not occur as the Administration was claiming.

Since the entire “incident” was very “strange”, includings Rusk’s “explanation” regarding why Vietnamese “fishermen” would attack a battleship, more than a few doubted the “story”, sadly, the media was not, even then, willing to invest much doubt in “goings-on”.

Do you have any idea when Johnson, McNamarra, and Rusk learned the actual truth of what had occurred?

I have been told that the truth was known within hours, certainly less than twenty-four …

DW

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 2:18 pm
In response to matthewj @ 15

I wish I had a sure way to assure that that larger dialogue grows. I think it’s not likely happen until people “our there” make news, that is, the way citizens have in Wisconsin. Read the reports of the Spanish uprising going on right now — young people, streaming into public places, creating (peacefully) a throng the media cannot ignore there. One of the protesters was quoted in the Financial Times yesterday saying, “Across the Arab world young people are demanding the right to vote. In the West we have seen it is pointless to vote” (because nothing changes.) Before that skepticism becomes despair, that challenge must become repetitive news the mainstream press simply cannot ignore.

SouthernDragon May 21st, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Welcome to the Lake, Mr Moyers.

I’d like to thank you for all you’ve done over the years to bring the truth to the American people. When Bill Moyers’ Journal went off the air there was no further need for a teevee at my house.

May 21st, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Bill – since you’re getting downthread a bit more, I’ll repeat my question:

Do you have an all time favorite interview you’ve made with some one? And also the interview you’ve ever conducted that disturbed you the most?

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 2:20 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 8

Yes, I believe fully in creating a non-partisan movement that challenges both parties to get serious about the quality of life for regular folks. It’s very hard to make a third party work in America because the two parties have effectively rigged the rules to produce that result, but a movement is not only possible but necessary.

Thank you for this Bill. I posted here about 10 days ago presenting a strategy for a united No Confidence Protest Vote in the 2012 election. Some of the discussion has since convinced me that the language needs to have a positive rather than negative connotation, but I do believe it can work.

It will have to be aimed first at the Democrats, because the Tea Party has become the nominating wing of the Republican party while the Democratic party has no organized nominating wing to hold it accountable.

Are you sure this is the best way to go? The left is so afraid of the Republicans I’m not sure it can happen this way. There is a similar disenchanted faction on the right. By uniting with them it becomes less clear which establishment candidate is losing more votes. It also seems like a moment of solidarity as humans and Americans would be good for us. What do you think of attempting to build a non-partisan populist movement? This seems to be inline with much of what you discussed on Democracy Now this week…

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 2:21 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 18

Unless we protect “net neutrality” against the corporate efforts to load it with tollbooths favoring the richest travelers, I am not optimistic. Television is too expensive (and increasingly irrelevant) for alternative voices to find a microphone and established radio outlets are rarely open to dissent except from the right. If the Web and social media are closed off, the oxygen will go out of the conversation of democracy. That’s the big fight right now.

It is encouraging to see this issue being understood clearly by so many…

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 2:23 pm
In response to Margaret @ 20

I don’t see any institutional methods to achieve what you’re seeking, Margaret; the corporate media is responsive only to advertisers and ratings. We need more newspapers based as the Guardian is on a significant trust fund that can provide the income needed for great reporting. Again, it’s the Net where I base my hope. In the l840s we had a highly contentious “media” based on a thousand or more little papers around the country started by individuals who could print their pamphlets and spread them hand-to-hand; they were feisty, defiant, sometimes garish and nativist worse, but they kept people talking; that’s an early metaphor, I think, of what the Net is. There are things to do — like supporting Firedoglake and other sites with a sufficient subscriber base to enable Jane to expand staff and technology and especially reporting. Just as PBS stations used to support themselves by really serving their publics who responded with pledges for serious programming, sites like this one have to count on their constituencies to do the same.

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 2:24 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 22

I wish I had a sure way to assure that that larger dialogue grows. I think it’s not likely happen until people “our there” make news, that is, the way citizens have in Wisconsin.

I agree that this is the only way to move the discussion into the mainstream. I would like to see the discussion in the community that sees the truth move there more directly in the near future. That is something we can control on our own. If we don’t find ways to motive the people “out there” it won’t happen…

msmolly May 21st, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Just want to add my voice of welcome to Bill and Glenn. Mr. Moyers, I rarely missed one of your Friday night shows. Glenn, I never miss reading your columns. Thank you both.

emerson May 21st, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Thanks for being here Bill. You are a long-time hero of mine. There seems to be a fawning Washington press corps these days rather than a challenging journalistic body. How did this change since your WH days, and considering the few media conglomerates controlling the message, is their any way for the press to return to an adversarial relationship with power today?

PeasantParty May 21st, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Mr. Moyers,

What are your feelings on the Chamber of Commerce using a military program to spy on corporate opponents? I feel that this corporate take over of America and its government has crossed lines, especially the military useage of spy tactics for the benefit of corporations. I wish there were something the citizens could do to remove this control from them.

mntleo2 May 21st, 2011 at 2:30 pm

I am so glad you are here Mr Moyers ~ and Glenn:

I am an activist for low income people, I have been for over 20 years. In this time I only see things getting worse. In the so-called “golden years” the low income took it in the shorts, especially after Welfare DEFormed. Now all the talk is about the “middle class” because they are falling down to where the poor are and finding to their horror that they are getting treated the same way.

Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation who wrote Welfare Reform wrote this law because he met some low income moms at a community meeting who were on welfare and (gasp) going to college at the same time. He had no problem with his wealthy friends sitting around the pool collecting their tax-free dividends but with these moms who had fled the Virginia generations of slave-tinged communities to come to DC to get college degrees, well that was a SIN doncha know.

My question is, who and what do you see that will convince people that, “what you do to the least of these you do to Me (also meaning to me “you are doing to yourselves”)? When will we begin to see more of a safety net re-created from the ashes of Welfare DEFormed and who do you know that is working on this? We have done the marching, the lobbying, the “telling our stories”, the conferences, the writing, the small documentaries, you name it. Few are listening while they watch more and more fall. We are all talking about “taking it to the next level” and discussing what that means such as civil disobedience, etc.

Cat in Seattle ~ board member of Parents Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights (P.O.W.E.R.)

CTuttle May 21st, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Aloha, Bill and Glenn…! What a great pleasure to see both of you here at the Lake…!

Bill, one of your Journal interviews, with Nichols/Fein still haunts me today..! That ‘executive’s tool box’ has since grown larger, do you suppose we will ever empty out the the tool chest…?

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 2:32 pm
In response to Kelly Canfield @ 24

I have three children and no favorite among them, and I’ve done hundreds of interviews most of which have touched me one important way or another. The most popular, of course, was 25 years ago with Joseph Campbell on the power of the myth. People still stop me — of all ages — to say it changed their lives. Why, I am not sure, except that Campbell helped us see that religion is its most powerful when it is poetry, pointing to what it is that people experience as transcendent in their lives; it isn’t about being literal. I asked him whether he thought life has meaning, and he said, no–”What’s the meaning of a flea? A flower?” What I think people are searching for, he said, “is the rapture of being alive.” This moment is a gift to be opened and experienced. On the other hand, and on another plane, my interview with Andrew Bacevich — soldier, scholar, prophet — opened so many eyes to the futility of empire and to America’s financial system as a Ponzi scheme, that I remember it vividly. Ditto my interview long, long ago with the late historian Henry Steele Commager, talking about how the transgressions of Watergate exposed the corruption at the heart of power. The interviews in the new book — BILL MOYERS JOURNAL: The Conversation Continues — were chosen because each is unique, whether Jon Stewart on why he does what he does, or Barry Lopez on how to balance Buchenwald and Beethoven as parallel realities of life, or the remarkable nurse/activist Margaret Flowers on why she got herself arrested outside the White House trying to get an SOS on health care to the President. I do these interviews for my own nourishment (political, spiritual, and otherwise). I’ve said journalism for me has been a continuing course in adult education — my own — and I’m fortunate to have had an audience with whom to share what I learn.

compoundf May 21st, 2011 at 2:33 pm

governments don’t act until people make them…

I doubt Americans are up to the task. Vayamos, Madrid!

I have been nostalgic for the Limits to Growth movement of the early Seventies, which was destroyed with the lamest, most manifestly wrong-headed rhetoric of flat-out denial imaginable, e.g., Ronald Reagan (a la Julian Simon) proclaiming that

There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.

This is manifest nonsense in the age of peak oil, etc., but apparently what people want to hear, even today. It is apparent that the love of compound interest (despite its inherent unsustainability) is steamrolling the fears of compound population growth and its inherent unsustainability, in the guise of aggressive resource wars and financial bail-outs. The abject domination of the world and its political systems by financial interests religions has only the seeds of the oligarchs own destruction as a marginally silvery lining.

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 2:33 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 27

Thank you Mr Moyers. I too have come to rely on the web for almost all of my news. I watch Al Jazeera online and read many news sites and political blogs. The web is also an excellent source for science news and as a virtually unlimited reference resource Unfortunately there are also those sites who are using the same kind of model as print and television media and are funded by the same deep pockets as are the more traditional sources. I agree that it’s important to fund good websites like Fire Dog Lake but the deep pockets seem hell bent on controlling the entire message and they are very successful at it. Between controlling the traditional media and tarring all bloggers and web based news sites with the same “tabloid trash” brush, they have really marginalized online media.

Mr. Greenwald, I admire you very much but I have to be honest: I wouldn’t visit Salon at all, ever if you weren’t located there. I won’t ask you to publicly disclose your arrangements or future plans, just mentioned for your information.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 2:36 pm
In response to emerson @ 30

The relationship, Emerson, between the White House press corps and every White House is almost always consensual seduction. There were plenty of reporters and editors in my day who were willing to trade access for caution. It was the reporters in Vietnam — the David Halberstams and Morley Safers and Peter Arnetts — who got the real story. And they were the furtherest from the center of Washington power. Indeed, after I left Washington to publish NEWSDAY, it took me awhile to realize that what’s important for journalists is not to get close to power but close to the truth. I.F. Stone, among others, did that brilliantly and never set foot inside the White House press office while I was there. Google him for a profile in courageous reporting.

papau May 21st, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I join with everyone in saying I do miss your show – and thank you for being on FDL today.

I agree with just about everything you are saying – but the need to become the nominating party of the Democratic Party means the “left” must not be fooled again by someone selling “hate the Clintons” and “Obama is to the left of Hillary and more anti-war”, and indeed the left/the base does not seem to have all that much clout, in any case, given the forcing of Gov. Dean out of the race, and the DNC pushing a “we have our candidate” mantra against Hillary. To increase the power of the grassroots we need to combine with others to form a larger group that could actually affect nominations. Blanche Lincoln was opposed by labor and the left, and that was not enough (although I see it as a given that the left must become a supporter of Labor, and Labor needs to stop flirting with the GOP in the way the police and fire unions have been doing for the last few decades).

What is the combination of groups that you see as viable for this Democratic Part nominating control function?

As an aside, the interview 25 years ago with Joseph Campbell on the power of the myth was disappointing for me as it revealed a fellow that I had admired as having no understanding of the power of faith – and the difference between faith and myth. But as a travelogue of myths around the world, Joseph Campbell did give a great interview.

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Woohoo! Now that I’m working again, I’ll be able to buy books again. I think I’ll make Bills’ my very first.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 2:37 pm
In response to compoundf @ 35

All the more reason to fear the politicization of religion which then becomes the pillar of a political party serving the financial interests of elites while posing as patrons of the pious.

Mauimom May 21st, 2011 at 2:38 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 8

Dear Mr. Moyers,

As a “recovering Texan,” I miss your voice and that of Dan Rather. Thank you so much for coming to the Lake.

I’m currently reading Ray Arsenault’s book on the Freedom Riders, having also viewed the PBS documentary. I’m struck both by the courage and determination of those who risked this dangerous action and by the years of “seeding” the ground so these actions could take place.

Thus I wonder, “where are people like that today, willing to risk so much to achieve justice?” And what can we do, now, to prepare the way?

You say

I believe fully in creating a non-partisan movement that challenges both parties to get serious about the quality of life for regular folks

but where does the leadership come from? How are issues winnowed down to a manageable few? Is the only hope for action those “young people streaming into the streets?”

As someone who’s been on this earth almost as long as you and Mr. Rather, I despair over the current times, and wonder what hope & suggestions you can provide.

RFShunt May 21st, 2011 at 2:39 pm

So much to ask.

First, let me say I have precious few heroes left to admire. You, Sir, are one of them.

I’m curious about the documentary you did about the press during the run-up to the Iraq war. It *seemed* like you were getting so much candor from your interview subjects. It was surprising to see egos of that size admitting so much culpability.

In your estimation, were they actually that candid. Or were they actually hiding still more regret for a job poorly done? AND, how did you get them to open up to you? Were they at all eager to? Or did you have work hard for that smidgeon of honesty?

speakingupnow May 21st, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Mr. Moyers,

I just want to briefly say how much I miss your show on PBS. I have yet to find another show with such interesting guests as you provided on Bill Moyers Journal and with your wonderful perspective.

Thank you for the decades of programming you provided for so many people.

GlenJo May 21st, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Bill and Glenn,

Thanks for being here today!

And one quick question for Bill – if you could interview anyone today, who would that be and why.

TIA

Glen

noblejoanie May 21st, 2011 at 2:43 pm

May I add my voice to those here expressing their deep gratitude for your work. I always felt I could trust you, to tell us the truth, to not spare us from whatever that truth might reveal.

Frankly the mainstream media doesn’t seem to care whether we believe them—not sure we’re even their intended audience. By contrast, we always seemed to be your first priority.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 2:43 pm
In response to papau @ 38

Working people; young people whose education hasn’t brought the economic opportunities they hoped for (unemployment is running 2l% for people in their early 20s); high school graduates who aren’t needed; public spirited citizens whose sense of justice isn’t determined by their own individual grievances but by their desire to live in a moral society; public servants (teachers, caregivers et al who bear so much of the burden in America; people passionate about the social contract; poor people who keep getting shove further to the bottom (since the Great Collapse of ’08 the number of Americans living in poverty has spiked to the highest level in l5 years; all those who still believe in the promise of America but know it’s a broken promise. Old-fashioned coalition building, in other words, based on current realities.

RMPatriot May 21st, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Bill, I have so much admiration for you and Glenn because of your passion and the high standards you set.

My question is about the value of running a primary opponent against Obama to get more visibility for the issues we will discuss tonight and call Obama to account where he has gone far astray from his rhetoric and campaign promises. By not having an opponent, the Republicans with all their fraud, propaganda and considerable framing skills will get all the attention. The real criticism that Obama needs to receive that has been so well laid out by Glenn, Jane and others will further recede into the noisy background.

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 2:44 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 40

All the more reason to fear the politicization of religion which then becomes the pillar of a political party serving the financial interests of elites while posing as patrons of the pious.

Spot on. As an atheist, I have gone out of my way to respect other peoples’ faith. I’m silent when they pray, I’m respectful when they observe. However, when the radical right co-opted Christianity in this country to use as a cudgel with which to attack myself and other LGBT Americans’ very right to exist, (all for political gain), all bets are now off. If some of the genuinely faithful get some personally undeserved blowback from the targets of the people who abuse their religion to justify their hatred, don’t blame me. Blame the people who have perverted the message and hijacked the institution.

AdamPDX May 21st, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Hi Bill Hi Glenn

I must confess being a little selfish here, but I’m glad there was no “Rapture” today to interfere with you two being here at FDL today. Sorry about that.

A anti-corporate movement has been mentioned a few times.

That movement is really going to have to be direct action at this point. There so much broken with the election process in the US now. Things are almost too broken to fix with just elections now, aren’t they?

Should we be looking much more closely at what Gandhi and MLK did through non-violent direct action?

carolofcarol May 21st, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Mr. Moyers,

Would you give up your ability to use any and all words that have more than two syllables, if it meant that for the next thirty years, in every White House Briefing, they would have to take one question and one follow up from Mr. Greenwald?

P.S. Mr, Moyers, when I was 13 years old I read and reread your World Of Ideas until the book was falling apart. It woke me up, big time. I can’t thank you enough for your work.

RevBev May 21st, 2011 at 2:49 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 37

As you talk about that group, I am reminded of my early affection for both you and Wiilie Morris (North Toward Home.) Do you think he ever achieved anything notable after he left Harpers? I was so interested in the time, I think, when it seems like you all were great buddies.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 2:50 pm
In response to Mauimom @ 41

You can’t despair because we can’t afford it. Leaders come from where you least expect them, and not today, alas, from politics (with some notable exceptions.) The abolition movement, women’s suffrage, labor unions, the civil rights movement (those people on those buses 50 years ago this month penetrating deeper into the heart of the southern wilderness) — movements brought forth the leaders, who connected their constituencies to others (I think of William Jennings Bryan, Eugene Debs, Bill Bill Haywood (Google the Lawrence Strike). Theodore Roosevelt’s was transformed from a conservative politician into a progressive by Jacob Riis taking him into the impoverished alleys and tenements of lower Manhattan and then by a bevy of women (including Jane Addams, who wasn’t even allowed to vote then) who informed him of the truths of ordinary life. I don’t have a marquee answer to this question, Mauimom; read the Zinn interview in my book, about how you and people like you have to become history-makers, take risks, join with like-minded neighbors in local causes, to bring about the combustion at myriad locations that hopefully then sparks a prairie fire. I’m not idealistic about this; it’s what I’ve learned from history. Gramsci got it right, I think: Practice the pessimism of the mind and the optimism of the will; that is, see the world without rosy glasses for what it is — hard, nasty, and brutish — but imagine a more confident future and get up every morning determined to do something to try and bring it about.

emerson May 21st, 2011 at 2:52 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 37

Thank you, Bill. I know something of Mr. Stone’s tenacity, but I will now take a closer look. Who are some of the other journalistic beacons you respect from those days and these days?

hownow May 21st, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Thanks for joining us Bill.

According to Congressional testimony by the Secretary of State and a Congressional committee, (http://democrats.oversight.house.gov/images/stories/subcommittees/NS_Subcommittee/6.22.10_HNT_HEARING/Warlord_Inc_compress.pdf), the U.S. government is “one of the major sources of funding for the Taliban.” The Taliban uses some of this money to kill U.S. soldiers which means the U.S. is effectively paying to kill its own soldiers. Why do you think there is relatively little mainstream (or other) reporting on this use of public funds?

compoundf May 21st, 2011 at 2:53 pm
In response to Margaret @ 48

the problem is that belief systems are essentially universal in humans, and as likely to be egregiously misleading (and easily disprovable) for economists as anyone else. E.g., compound interest can only grow infinitely in a mathematical imagination, and yet we insist on bailing out a quadrillion dollars in bad debts.

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 2:53 pm
In response to Mauimom @ 41

Yep Mm and speaking of missing the voices of some Texans, the loss of Molly Ivins was one of the darkest hours for modern journalism that I can remember.

Mauimom May 21st, 2011 at 2:54 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 46

Thinking back to 2008 [with embarrassment], I was one of those who believed that Obama would speak for these groups, would end the “give me mine; screw everyone else” attitude so prevalent since Reagan.

Thus it’s been a double blow to discover not just that he failed to do this, but that he’s in the forefront of the opposition to this “community.”

Additionally crushing is the fact that no Democrat [until lately, Trumka and Cornell West]is willing to stand up and tell the truth about Obama and the cowardly, craven Democrats.

It’s left to folks like you and Glenn to lay out the details. I miss you, and i wish you great success with this book, and a speedy return to the airwaves.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 2:55 pm
In response to RMPatriot @ 47

RM, I was hopeful Russ Feingold might do this, and I’ve listened to a lot of suggestions about who might. But most of the progressives I have talked with are holding back because they fear running against the re-election of the first African-American president would so split the progressive/liberal base that it would never recover against a united conservative movement. I don’t know about that. Some environmentalists I know are talking about running someone only in the primaries in the heartland through which that Alberta pipeline must pass to reach the Gulf Coast; they say it could be a “fun” campaign whose purpose would be to reach liberals, conservatives, and nonaligned in those states and create a threat that would require Obama to declare his position on the pipeline in order to get them not to stay home in November. I don’t know how practical that would be (because I don’t know the state rules and regulations on getting on the ballot) but I am almost certain it will be a moot decision by then, because I understand the State Department will render its decision on the pipeline (which requires US approval because it crosses an international border)this fall. But someone wrote me recently — someone I respect — asking: “Where is Eugene McCarthy when we need him?”

Mauimom May 21st, 2011 at 2:56 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 52

Thank you. That’s exactly what my husband, a committed civil rights worker who traveled from Ohio to Mississippi to register voters in 1963, has been telling me.

But I’m going to print up and frame your version.

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 2:57 pm
In response to compoundf @ 55

Here’s an example: There are reports of people who were counting on the Rapture occurring today who are now shrugging their shoulders and saying that “god can change his mind”. Such is the power of delusion on the delusional. The same goes for supply side economics. Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, true believers will always say that it does work and it must work, that it’s the people in charge of the policy who failed, not the theory.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 2:59 pm
In response to emerson @ 53

That’s not hard. Glenn; Jane (the model of a courageous publisher), Josh Marshall, Charles Blow (If you don’t read anything else this weekend, read his op-ed piece in today’s — Saturday’s — NYTimes), some of the investigative reporters for the NYT (producing some really strong exposes that, alas, don’t get picked up that often anymore); some of the young people at Alternet (Josh Holland, to name one), and several who are finding a place for long-form journalism in books. Jeremy Scahill is one. By the way, my interview with him is in the new book, and how prescient he was in his book on Blackwater; did you see the long NYT story the other day about how Eric Prince, the founder of Blackwater, has organized a new Foreign Legion (mercenaries) to serve the dictators of the Arab Gulf, often against the interests of the US Government.

bigbrother May 21st, 2011 at 2:59 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 46

AFL/CIO Cheif Trumkka suggested yesterday going independent of parties and play the issues. It seem that a lot of public service and other unions could collaborate with progressive group make a trust fund for a Guardian like paper and start some boycotts and general strikes to get some push back. Big corporate money and their investors can wait out so pressures but others they cannot. Maybe you have a concept to share.

Mauimom May 21st, 2011 at 3:01 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 37

what’s important for journalists is not to get close to power but close to the truth. I.F. Stone, among others, did that brilliantly and never set foot inside the White House press office while I was there. Google him for a profile in courageous reporting.

The only bone of contention in an amicable 1973 divorce with my “practice husband” was who was going to get all the copies of I.F. Stone’s Weekly.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 3:01 pm
In response to Margaret @ 60

Theology asserts propositions that do not need to be proven true to be believed and ideologues promote a world view despite all the evidence to the contrary. I’ve said before the greatest change in American politics in my time has been that the delusional is no longer marginal and now drives the debate, such as it is, in American politics. In religion, economics, and all else, I take heed form the great Swiss historian who said: “Beware the terrible simplifiers.”

CTuttle May 21st, 2011 at 3:02 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 58

Bill, has anybody ever asked you to run…? You’ve got executive branch experience and name recognition…! ;-)

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 3:02 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 58

RM, I was hopeful Russ Feingold might do this, and I’ve listened to a lot of suggestions about who might. But most of the progressives I have talked with are holding back because they fear running against the re-election of the first African-American president would so split the progressive/liberal base that it would never recover against a united conservative movement. I don’t know about that.

Bill, might be a very imprudent observation, but I think you could fill this role well if you were so inclined…

john in sacramento May 21st, 2011 at 3:02 pm
In response to Kelly Canfield @ 24

Not that your asking me, but

I’d just say the most recent favorites for me, were with Wendell Potter, and also Rose Ann DeMoro of the CNA

And I’m definitely going to have to find this book, thanks for writing it Bill

Jane Hamsher May 21st, 2011 at 3:02 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 65

Now THAT’s a great idea.

;)

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 3:03 pm

“Now THAT’s a great idea.”

Well there are at least 3 of us who feel that way! :)

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 3:04 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 62

Trumka’s on to something, but usually at the end of the day, Labor sticks with the Dems. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about the period between the end of the Civil War and the progressive era when working people organized against great wealth irrespective of party. We’ve lived off their battles for a long time now, and as you know, organized labor — in part for reasons of their own making — has lost its punch. I don’t think working people have if they can create a new movement.

RevBev May 21st, 2011 at 3:04 pm
In response to Jane Hamsher @ 68

How great is that…An honest man of ideas and he can do media….Just perfect.

Mauimom May 21st, 2011 at 3:04 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 61

I’d also recommend the writing at Tom Englehart’s TomDispatch.com

mzchief May 21st, 2011 at 3:04 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 65

Hmmm … Very appealing. >:->

emerson May 21st, 2011 at 3:04 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 61

Yes, I wish I could say it was shocking. I also saw Amy Goodman’s report and interview with Jeremy on the topic a couple of days ago. There’s nobody that reported on Prince like Scahill. In that interview, he also said he he could go on for 10 minutes listing the aliases for Blackwater.

BooRadley May 21st, 2011 at 3:06 pm
In response to matthewj @ 66

deleted by author

Sharkbabe May 21st, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Bill, don’t you think Obama – as a sexy, “barrier-breaking” frontman for nothing but more oligarchy and militarism on steroids – is the worst possible thing that could have happened to the progressive movement (such as it is) in this country?

(I can’t believe I’m just diving in and calling you Bill, lol – let me say that you are one of the great heroes of my life)

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 3:07 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 65

Years ago, but I was too embedded in journalism, and too aware of my own shortcomings, to be seduced. I admire the honorable people who go into politics but I cringe at what the system requires of them, especially the capitulation that comes to most in the desperate search to raise money to pay for the advertising and re-election, and the constraints of a media that thrives on simplicity and farce. Imagine, Newt Gingrich reeling, because (for once) he actually told the truth. That’s when you get punished in American politics today.

DWBartoo May 21st, 2011 at 3:07 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 65

Superb suggestion, CTut.

DW

compoundf May 21st, 2011 at 3:08 pm
In response to Margaret @ 60

Then we seem to be in agreement. Two down, 6,799,999,998 to go!

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 3:09 pm
In response to Mauimom @ 72

Oh, yes. Tom’s essays remind me of George Orwell. I think of him as an essayist, in fact, although I don’t think he would too offended if we also see him as a journalist.

bigbrother May 21st, 2011 at 3:09 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 70

That “New movement” needs to include disenfranchised middle class families that were destroyed by the box store movement. It was a big part of the middle class. The little mom and pop businesses were protected by the French. The American consumer need to learn discrestion as money is a vote for something whether offshored jobs of non living wages.
PS And thanks for all the wonderful thinking you have given us over your career. The war machine is out of control.

Teddy Partridge May 21st, 2011 at 3:09 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 37

I continue to find I.F.Stone’s motto — All Governments Lie — sadly useful everywhere today.

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 3:10 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 64

I’ve said before the greatest change in American politics in my time has been that the delusional is no longer marginal and now drives the debate

Yep. We live in scary times when one of the most anticipated “questions” of the (Republican) primary season is when they are asked to come down on one side of the creation vs evolution hullabaloo. (I won’t call it a “debate” because that just further entrenches biblical creationism as being as scientifically valid as biological evolution.) I have to shake my head to prevent myself banging it on the desk.

Jesterfox May 21st, 2011 at 3:10 pm

After Obama, how do you pick a politician you can trust?

After running on change, nothing has changed except some people are now forced to spend money on insurance that they can’t afford to use and the executive branch now claims openly to be able to lie to courts and to start wars without congressional approval.

If you can’t tell the difference between a politician who has the interests of the people at heart and one who is bought and paid for, how do you proceed?

CTuttle May 21st, 2011 at 3:12 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 77

There in lies the root of our problems…! And the very reason we need public financed elections! Something that we’ve just spearheaded here on the Big Isle of Hawaii…!

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I admire the honorable people who go into politics but I cringe at what the system requires of them, especially the capitulation that comes to most in the desperate search to raise money to pay for the advertising and re-election, and the constraints of a media that thrives on simplicity and farce

I am hoping we can build a movement that refuses to stoop to these lows. It will be a long process but I think people are really hungry for it. United we can…

bigbrother May 21st, 2011 at 3:13 pm
In response to Jane Hamsher @ 5

Dear Jane..Thanks for making this happen…you’ve come a long way baby! Grin

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 3:15 pm
In response to Jesterfox @ 84

If you can’t tell the difference between a politician who has the interests of the people at heart and one who is bought and paid for, how do you proceed?

Our current system doesn’t allow for proper accountability after the election (voting them out just allows someone else to pick up where they left off). However, we can try to elect new people not beholden to any of the oligarchical forces including the legacy parties. We might be able to put in people of principle just long enough to change the system.

If that isn’t possible we are headed down a road we do not want to be on…

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 3:18 pm
In response to Sharkbabe @ 76

Sharkbabe, Obama was brilliant in the management of his political career and he was often unsurpassed for his political rhetoric (remember the 2004 speech at the DNC–not a great speech for substance but a powerful and impressive political performance?), but the political, or electoral, culmination of the centuries old fight against slavery and its consequences — the election of a black man as President! — created an apotheosis that masked his inexperience. I don’t know all the reasons (his need to negotiate his way in the world as the son of a single parent in a welter of racial and ethnic encounters, his upward mobility to elite institutions, his seemingly genuine belief in the good will of the people who want to destroy him, or at least his strategy of trying to wait them out) has led to a president who has bought into America as it is — the power of money, the fantasized superiority of the financial class, the national security state, and so on — so that he seems satisfied to head the system rather than lead it. Many progressive things are happening below the radar in government, alright, but he’s no fighter against the principalities and powers.

Jesterfox May 21st, 2011 at 3:19 pm
In response to matthewj @ 88

I don’t know anyone who wants to be on that road, but it is the one we are on.

compoundf May 21st, 2011 at 3:20 pm

the greatest change in American politics in my time has been that the delusional is no longer marginal and now drives the debate

this suggests to me that Bertrand Russell’s “great experiment in Liberalism” has finally given way to anti-Enlightenment impulses, as he suggested it may well do, given that he viewed Liberalism’s balance of individual freedom & social cohesion via law as the potential framework that could dampen the historical oscillations between subjectivism and objectivism (to put it crudely).

Mauimom May 21st, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Bill [I hope you don't mind the informality], as you travel in promoting your latest book [and otherwise], what do you hear among the American people? Do their questions to you reflect the concerns you’ve articulated here and that we’ve raised in our queries? Are you able to hazard a guess as to why they keep voting against their own interests and being bamboozled by the Right and the Theologs?

wendydavis May 21st, 2011 at 3:21 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 61

I apologize for being late, but I want to add my welcome to you both; I miss your program desperately, Mr. Moyers, and Glenn…your analyses are always great to read. Thanks also for all the reporting on Bradley Manning and the issues surrounding his vile imprisonment.

But Mr. Moyers, I respectfully disagree on Marshal; since he started doing gigs on MSNBC he has changed, IMO. Well, actually just before that.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Well, in the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t write it. My television team (and pull back the camera and you will see me standing on the shoulders of a formidable array of talent) created the content from which my long-time colleague, Michael Winship, the senior writer on the JOURNAL (and coincidentally, the president of the Writers Guild/East) edited the interviews into their present shape, with the help once again of my team. I had fun writing the brief contextual comments at the head of each interview, but like so much today, this was a collegial effort. You’ll enjoy it, though; I honestly believe that. These people were lively, prescient, full of wit, and wise.

Cellar47 May 21st, 2011 at 3:22 pm
In response to Jesterfox @ 84

What do you mean “after Obama”? NO politicians should be trust. EVER!

underemployedlovinit May 21st, 2011 at 3:22 pm

It seems that the more an individual advances his/her formal education the further they distance themselves from humanity? Seems natural enough since most of us just can’t bear anymore of it beyond HS. To steal a line from your favorite president you’ve done a heck of a job Bill. Enjoy retirement.

PeasantParty May 21st, 2011 at 3:23 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 89

I for one had great expectations of the first ever black man to be President. Sorry to say this, but Obama has not left the impression of greatness, nor of upward mobility for those to come behind him. At this point in time, who would want to emulate an Obama in office?

DWBartoo May 21st, 2011 at 3:23 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 77

The “system” can change only when those within the system dare to change, else the system must be changed by other, non-violent, but effective means, which “means” we all are realistically seeking …

By and large, those drawn to career politics in America (and likely, elsewhere) are NOT the most empathic, wise, tolerant, or understanding, many are merely frightened, frightening, self-serving opportunists, even sociopaths … moral compasses are not in it.

The rule of law is under assault by the “pragmatists” and daily reduced (since Bush v. Gore) under the pressure of “expediency” to the point where the law, in the hands of both DOJ and SCOTUS would be a joke, but for dire its implications, in this “looking forward” time. We are in Dred Scott territory in terms of human “cost” with the Robert’s court.

I have not met a single person of true merit and capacity who does not respond as you do … leaving the “field” open to just what we have.

Perhaps the notion of “leadership” must change, that also being part of our mythology?

DW

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 3:25 pm
In response to wendydavis @ 93

But Mr. Moyers, I respectfully disagree on Marshal; since he started doing gigs on MSNBC he has changed, IMO. Well, actually just before that.

I agree. Marshall has really descended into the depths of the veal pen lately. I’ve stopped giving him traffic. I don’t know if it has anything to do with his appearing on MSNBC but it seems to be as Mr Greenwald once said: Some of these journalists appear to be more interested in the access and getting invited onto television than they are in being independent journalists. Unfortunately Josh seems to have joined those ranks.

econobuzz May 21st, 2011 at 3:27 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 89

…he seems satisfied to head the system rather than lead it.

Amen.

Sharkbabe May 21st, 2011 at 3:28 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 89

Yeah – y’know, despite my absolute appallhood (new word i just made up) at what a trojan horse Obama has turned out to be – I do still love it that we have a black prez. Gah, I just hate it that I can’t defend him. Well except from the birthers and Limbots, that’s easy.

Anyway, you’re one of the few people who can still inspire me. I must say I’ve just about given up. The deliberately manufactured tsunami of ignorance that this country has become, it’s so damn vast and relentless. Still I look forward to reading your book. Thanks for being here.

Mauimom May 21st, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Glenn, are you out there?

I’m really curious about what you would like to ask Bill.

And count me in on the “Marshall is no progressive” bandwagon. NB – I mistakenly typed “bankwagon.” Actually, I think that’s what he’s on.

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Perhaps the notion of “leadership” must change, that also being part of our mythology?

This is very prescient DW. I have felt this way for a while now. Leadership has turned into a cult of personality that only distracts the public from the issues.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 3:31 pm
In response to compoundf @ 91

I still think that is the essence of the human dilemma: the individual’s uniqueness versus the necessity of civilization as a restraint on our collective impulses. We forget that civilization is but a thin veneer stretched across the passions of the human heart, and it can snap at any time (See: the Wiemar Republic, the American South (ante-bellum, post Reconstruction), Rwanda, the Balkans, and so on. If you have read anything by the great Yale scholar Immanuel Wallerstein (now retired), you will know how his understanding of society is rooted in equilibrium. “Systems don’t go on forever. They move slowly away from equilibrium, until they get too far away. And that’s in fact where the modern world system is today. The modern world system is coming to an end,” because, he says, “the accumulation of capital” has become so ferocious, so obsessive, so ruthless, that “it’s kind of a crazy system. You run, in order to run in order to run. And it worked brilliantly. It worked very well for a couple of hundred years, but it has moved far away from equilibrium…(into) a structural crisis.” The result is that while the US is a wealthy society, wealth has pooled at the top, and one percent of Americans own over one-third of the wealth (about 20 trillion dollars) while ordinary, regular, workaday individuals are treated as flotsam and jetsam. There is no longer balance and our civilization is coming apart.

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 3:32 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 89

(remember the 2004 speech at the DNC–not a great speech for substance but a powerful and impressive political performance?)

I remember what impressed me most about that speech was the over the top reaction to it. I got in a whole lot of trouble in the left blogosgphere for trying to point out that Obama wasn’t the Progressive savior that so many had talked themselves into believing. There was a lot in that speech that gave away what the man was really like, as if more were needed than his endorsing of and campaigning for Joe Lieberman over Ned Lamont.

wendydavis May 21st, 2011 at 3:32 pm
In response to Margaret @ 99

Thanks, Margaret. Plus the thing about closing the Cafe Reader’s Blogs. That was just wrong. ;o)

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Thanks, but I fear that retirement may indeed be the enemy of longevity. I am exploring some options.

emerson May 21st, 2011 at 3:33 pm

I also thought your commencement address at Whittier struck just the right balance, Bill. What an honor to have you here today. I hope we see you often.

gesneri May 21st, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Mr. Moyers, I just wanted to say I have very much enjoyed reading your comments today and hope to be able to purchase your book soon.

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 3:35 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 107

Seconded. Enthusiastically. I’m not of retirement age but my 28 month forced “vacation” seemed top profoundly affect my general health.

May 21st, 2011 at 3:35 pm
In response to gesneri @ 109

Agreed 1000X –

Blog Here@ FDL Bill Moyers!

wendydavis May 21st, 2011 at 3:36 pm

At another site today, I’m involved in a diary about the ‘Make Me Do It’ FDR quote; Harry Belafonte on Democracy Now helped dispel the notion that Obama even wants us to make him do it.

Anyway, one of my favorite commenters in Switzerland had this to say, and I think he’s spot on:

“I’ve always wondered what “make me do it” actually means.

It clearly doesn’t mean “vote and raise funds en masse for you to pass a given agenda”. Because that happened.

It clearly isn’t “create mass popular support for a given agenda”. Because, from the public option to raising taxes on the rich, that happened as well.

It clearly isn’t “find the votes in the House and Senate”, because again that happened on the PO and the stimulus.

It clearly doesn’t mean “threaten incumbents with primary challenges and attack ads”, because Obama shoots down those moves (remember the “fucking retarded” remark?).

The only case I can think of is the repeal of DADT, where progressive fundraisers rebelled en masse threatening to cut Obama’s balls off over the tax-cut deal, and all of a sudden DADT repeal was moved off the backburner and passed within a week.

In short, make-me-do-it means threats. It means credible threats. But the one thing those Obama supporters who cite the make-me-do-it meme in defense of administration inaction, what they can’t abide is … threats of any kind. So the whole position looks self-contradictory. they’re saying

i. he can’t do anything unless you threaten him with defection

ii. don’t threaten defection because then … he won’t do anything for you.

Personally I agree with point (i) and believe point (ii) is horseshit.”

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 3:38 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 104

“Systems don’t go on forever. They move slowly away from equilibrium, until they get too far away. And that’s in fact where the modern world system is today. The modern world system is coming to an end,” because, he says, “the accumulation of capital” has become so ferocious, so obsessive, so ruthless, that “it’s kind of a crazy system. You run, in order to run in order to run. And it worked brilliantly. It worked very well for a couple of hundred years, but it has moved far away from equilibrium…(into) a structural crisis.”

Bill, thank you for the wonderful quote from Immanuel Wallerstein. Not having read him myself, does he discuss any ways to catalyze the process of returning to equilibrium?

You bringing up this quote now is very interesting as I have been discussing economics as a science and a political system with OhioGringo this morning. I believe a true science of economics must recognize a human economy is a system embedded within the larger system of planetary ecology. This implies that to fully understand the impact of that economic system a biological model must be the root of that understanding.

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 3:38 pm
In response to Mauimom @ 102

I’m really curious about what you would like to ask Bill.

That’s an excellent question. I’d kinda like to know what Glenn would ask Mr. Moyers as well.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 3:40 pm
In response to PeasantParty @ 4

A few. Get involved in one of the several efforts to reverse the Supreme Court’s UNITED CITIZENS decision that treats corporations as persons for the purpose of spending money on elections but not as persons to be held accountable. Look into FREESPEECHFORPEOPLE.org which champions a strong, clear, and straightforward amendment to counter that decision (Don’t believe the folks who say a constitutional amendment is impossible; we’ve changed it many times and we can again). Or Common Cause, Public Citizen, and other citizens’ groups. Press your local politicians — protests, pamphlets, letters to the editor — to say clearly whether they believe corporations are persons. Do some forensic research on how your local Members of Congress have voted the corporate way (can you believe that with deficits rising and oil profits booming the Republicans and a handful of Democrats from energy states refused to end billions of dollars in subsidies for the oil companies? Pool some money locally and run a series of small ads in your local daily or weekly calling attention to how your “representative” voted. I put that in quotes because representative government of, by, and for the people is almost extinguished in America today; it is rather government of, by, and for the rich — that’s what “plutocracy” is: political power derived from wealth and devoted to protecting wealth. Take it on where you can, when you can, and however you can.

jodo May 21st, 2011 at 3:42 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 34

Thank you for being here Mr. Moyers. Your comments about the Joseph Campbell interview/conversation brought back wonderful memories. Wow! What chemistry you had, and the insight elicited.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 3:43 pm
In response to emerson @ 108

Thank you. The graduating class at Whittier — a wonderful small school whose faculty is devoted to teaching — cheered when I quoted from the reason NYT op-ed piece by the 24-year-old Matthew Klein (whom I don’t know) writing about how his generation is feeling so frustrated by the lack of economic opportunity. “Watch out,” he said, “Arab young people are not the only ones who feel anger and despair today.” That’s when the class of ‘ll whooped. They know something the mainstream media and the corporate-owned political class are overlooking.

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 3:43 pm

I put that in quotes because representative government of, by, and for the people is almost extinguished in America today; it is rather government of, by, and for the rich — that’s what “plutocracy” is: political power derived from wealth and devoted to protecting wealth. Take it on where you can, when you can, and however you can.

This is why we love you Bill. You are one of the few voices with a national platform willing to speak this truth.

PeasantParty May 21st, 2011 at 3:43 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 115

Thank you so much for the response! I am ready for that task, and yes the weekly paper letter to the Editor regarding our representatives is an excellent idea!

You are respected so greatly from all of us here at FDL. Please continue to come and be a part of this community.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 3:44 pm
In response to matthewj @ 113

Over in England,according to the Guardian, some folks are rediscovering the economist Schumacher: “Small is Beautiful.” Check it out.

econobuzz May 21st, 2011 at 3:44 pm
In response to PeasantParty @ 119

x2

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 3:45 pm
In response to jodo @ 116

Thank you for being here Mr. Moyers. Your comments about the Joseph Campbell interview/conversation brought back wonderful memories. Wow! What chemistry you had, and the insight elicited.

I agree. This interview was my introduction to both Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers. I was absolutely enthralled with both the subject matter and the enthusiasm for it…

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 3:46 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 117

They know something the mainstream media and the corporate-owned political class are overlooking ignoring.

Please forgive the correction but that is what I firmly believe. I have no doubt they are perfectly aware but it doesn’t suit the official narrative.

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 3:46 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 120

Thank you Bill. I will check it out soon…

PeasantParty May 21st, 2011 at 3:48 pm
In response to matthewj @ 122

I watched that interview and was stunned! I wanted see Campbell because of his theory of the “Hero’s Journey”. He explained that and so much more about religion and theological viewpoints that it made this Southern raised, Bible belt person decide that faith and religion were two completely different creatures.

mzchief May 21st, 2011 at 3:48 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 120

DawG I loved that book and wrote research papers based on it in high school.

The Rich Are About To Get Very, Very Rich: Study Finds Global Millionaire Wealth Set To More Than Double By 2020” (May 20, 2011)

This reads to me like the intent to double down on the present approach by transnational corporations. I think the financial elite are crazed with greed and have quit thinking. I don’t think the international financial structure has even a couple of years left in it for a variety of reasons.

gigi3 May 21st, 2011 at 3:48 pm
In response to Margaret @ 36

I strongly 2nd your last comment. Glenn Greenwald is the ONLY reason I ever visit Salon.

Mauimom May 21st, 2011 at 3:48 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 117

As the parent of a 2008 college grad who only recently found employment, and a 2010 grad who’s STILL unemployed, I can assure you it’s not only the kids who are feeling frustrated about the “lack of economic opportunity.”

We parents are having our savings drained and our emotions overwrought as this drags on and on.

Both we and our kids continue to suffer. I am grateful for the recent spate of articles covering the graduates’ plight [it is commencement season], but find it startling that so little attention is paid to the worrying and increasingly impoverished parents.

BooRadley May 21st, 2011 at 3:49 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 120

Great catch.

Sharkbabe May 21st, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Bill, I just think the re-balancing of all this is going to involve a world of pain for absolutely everyone – like the whole human project has never seen. I wish I had your ruthlessly elegant rationality and compassion, and I aspire to it. It’s a struggle every day not to be sucked into the anger and darkness myself. Thank you again.

Teddy Partridge May 21st, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Please buy this book, or borrow it and read it.

It’s a remarkable journey, just as Glenn explained. I will treasure my copy.

DWBartoo May 21st, 2011 at 3:50 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 104

Civil society is under direct assault, the mask has slipped from the powers that be, the masters of the universe, those who have sought to justify total selfishness for 500 years, and what is revealed is the ever-grinning face of death …

What is happening did not come about by accident, nor is it simply good thoughts and plans gone awry, it is intentional, deliberate, and heartless.

There may be no grand “conspiracy” but there certainly are some “aligned interests” which state secrets will keep hidden as long as the public is cowed and fearful.

The real crime, for such it is, is that everything is santimoniously being done in the name of the people and democracy.

Empires do not, generally, end well, and our “belief” in our unique “exceptionalism” is merely that, but it is our proudest boast and always rallies the populace for the beginning of the next war.

Perhaps we should consider that endless, everywhere war will come to the “Homeland”, and we will learn, first-hand, its horror?

Ah, yes, that’s right, it can’t happen here.

I think we suffer from a severe lack of imagination, along with an excess of hubris.

DW

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 3:50 pm
In response to PeasantParty @ 125

It remains the single best interview I can remember ever seeing by a long shot. The interview itself almost felt like a Hero’s Journey…

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Now that I have a book budget again, I’m making it a point to.

john in sacramento May 21st, 2011 at 3:51 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 120

Haven’t read any of the Guardian pieces, but that title reminds me of this youtube by David Harvey at the RSA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOP2V_np2c0

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 3:52 pm
In response to wendydavis @ 112

Yes, yes, yes, Wendy. Frederick Douglass told us that power concedes nothing without a struggle. And one of my heroes, Robert LaFollette (a Republican, by the way) thought of democracy as a “daily struggle”. When Rahm Emmanuel, the White House chief of staff, dissed the very progressives and liberals who had been crucial to Obama’s election, I hoped every progressive and liberal interest group had walked out en masse from the the next White House meeting where they are routinely fed small scraps from the leftovers of the previous evening’s dinner for bankers and corporate moguls. If they had, I can guarantee you that Obama would have called Emnmanuel on the carpet for threatening his re-election. To my knowledge, Obama was silent, and once again liberals and progressives were escorted humbly out the White House gates. They don’t seem to learn from the conservatives, who don’t know the words “Pretty, please.” That’s why the Republican Party today is a right-wing party and Democrats remain in hock to their bankrollers.

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Perhaps we should consider that endless, everywhere war will come to the “Homeland”, and we will learn, first-hand, its horror?

We will certainly learn this lesson the hard way if we don’t learn it through more sane means and quickly. The good news is that the people are waking up. The bad news is that they are not organized and easily fall prey to divide and conquer (left vs right, etc) strategies. Our challenge is to organize a united populist anti-empire, anti-oligarchy movement. Are we up to the task? I certainly hope so…

RevBev May 21st, 2011 at 3:54 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 132

And W is making millions by giving lectures where the press is excluded…Nothing open there. Let alone the huge questions why anyone would want to listen to him? And we’re giving SS protection to a criminal. The wheels have come off…..

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 3:55 pm
In response to mzchief @ 126

After you finish reading Charles Blow’s NYT piece today, go to http://www.inequality.org and look at the short video (produced by the splendid Institute for Policy Studies) on inequality. Then ask the working people in your circle — especially the conservatives — to take a look with you, have coffee, and talk over what together you can do about what you’ve just seen.

PeasantParty May 21st, 2011 at 3:55 pm
In response to matthewj @ 133

True! The unapologetic TWOOPH!

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 3:56 pm
In response to RevBev @ 138

It’s not that the wheels have come off. It’s that the entire vehicle has been hijacked. Democracy in America — representative government – is a series of narrow escapes, and we may be running out of luck. We don’t have much time. America is fast becoming a society divided between rich and poor with little pity for the latter.

msmolly May 21st, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I am just reading and reading (this discussion) and have gone to the NYT to read Charles Blow’s op-ed and will buy the Kindle edition of this book for my iPad.

It has been a wonderful Book Salon.

Where is Glenn?? He hasn’t said a word!

emerson May 21st, 2011 at 3:58 pm

For convenience: Charles Blow’s column today.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/21/opinion/21blow.html?ref=charlesmblow

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 3:58 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 136

That’s why the Republican Party today is a right-wing party and Democrats remain in hock to their bankrollers.

That is certainly a compelling argument, but I’m not sure it’s the only reason. I think we would be in a similar place even if progressives did have a backbone. The the base on the right has more appearance of having power over the Republicans is simply because they have been propagandized into demanding policies that benefit the empire and the oligarchy. They don’t see much action on their wedge issues, only on economic issues.

It is a useful game. They make it look like these policies are supported by the people and thereby obscuring the fact that these policies would go forth regardless of what the people want…

msmolly May 21st, 2011 at 3:59 pm
In response to emerson @ 143

Great minds. I just linked it in my comment above yours.

Hey, where is Glenn? Was hoping he would chime in, too.

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 4:00 pm
In response to matthewj @ 137

The MOTU learned the lesson of Vietnam vs The Persian Gulf War very well. Now they are directing the narrative to take the horror out of war. Dead bodies on television mean war is humanity behaving inhumanly but if they show video from a bomb hitting it’s target or an airstrike from a distance, suddenly it’s less like the reality of war and more like an action movie or the new third person shooter.

econobuzz May 21st, 2011 at 4:00 pm

With respect to Blow, he states that this may be the summer where we see more clearly that the working class has developed a lingering sense of disillusionment with the right wing. Hopefully, they will also develop a sense of disillusionment with our leader as well.

RevBev May 21st, 2011 at 4:00 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 141

Thank you….thanks for your work. I am sorry you did not want to comment on Willie Morris; he definitely was a contributor to my early interest in politics. Another day….he cast a long shadow.

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Since there has been much discussion about economic (in)equality today I thought I would link to The Equality Trust. It’s a UK site presenting the evidence that shows how even the richest of the rich are actually happier and have better quality of life in a more equal society. Very interesting…

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 4:02 pm
In response to Margaret @ 146

The MOTU learned the lesson of Vietnam vs The Persian Gulf War very well. Now they are directing the narrative to take the horror out of war. Dead bodies on television mean war is humanity behaving inhumanly but if they show video from a bomb hitting it’s target or an airstrike from a distance, suddenly it’s less like the reality of war and more like an action movie or the new third person shooter.

Yes, but hiding it from us now will not prevent it from finding its way here eventually. Things are going to get really bad if we don’t find a way to make them better first…

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 4:03 pm
In response to matthewj @ 150

Yes, but hiding it from us now will not prevent it from finding its way here eventually. Things are going to get really bad if we don’t find a way to make them better first…

I’m aware but that wasn’t my point.

mzchief May 21st, 2011 at 4:03 pm
In response to matthewj @ 137

These spring to mind as helpful tips on resisting the dividing-and-conquering:

10 Steps to Defeat the Corptocracy” (Alternet.Org, May 21, 2011)

Disinformation-Fighting Toolkit” (Washington’s Blog, May 20, 2011)

mzchief May 21st, 2011 at 4:03 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 139

Thank you! Will do.

Elliott May 21st, 2011 at 4:04 pm

As we come to the end of this great Book Salon,

Bill, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending your afternoon with us discussing your new book.

Glenn, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues

Thanks all,
Have a great week!

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 4:04 pm

“10 Steps to Defeat the Corptocracy” (Alternet.Org, May 21, 2011)

I have found Bruce Levine’s writing very compelling and have his book Get Up Stand Up on my reading list right now…

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 4:05 pm
In response to Margaret @ 151

I’m aware but that wasn’t my point.

Yes, sorry. I was just elaborating…

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 4:05 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 141

We don’t have much time. America is fast becoming a society divided between rich and poor with little pity for the latter.

I think the Randians want a Somalia right here on the continent of North America. They are going to learn to their chagrin that their gated communities won’t keep the other 95 percent of the population out. Not if it comes to that.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 4:05 pm
In response to matthewj @ 113

Here’s what Wallerstein says (in a dialogue with the remarkable Grace Lee Boggs — now in her 90s, long-time organizer/intellectual, a remarkable American (www.boggscenter.org or boggsblog.org)–

WHEN A SYSTEM GETS SO FAR FROM EQUILIBRIUM THAT IT JUST DOESN’T WORK ANYMORE, THERE’S NOTHING THAT CAN PUSH IT BACK TO EQUILIBRIUM. THAT’S WHEN THE SO-CALLED FREE WILL FACTOR COMES IN; THAT’S WHEN EVERY LITTLE ACTION ON OUR PART HELPS TO DETERMINE THE END. WE DON’T KNOW THE END. IT’S REALLY TERRIBLY IMPORTANT TO UNDERLINE THAT WE DON’T KNOW WHO’S GOING TO WIN THE STRUGGLE OF THE NEXT TWENTY TO FIFTY YEARS OF WHAT SYSTEM WILL REPLACE THE PRESENT SYSTEM. WE DON’T KNOW. WE MAY WIN. WE MAY NOT WIN. THERE’S NO CERTAINTY ON THAT; IT ALL DEPENDS ON US. BECAUSE WHO WINS IS A MATTER OF THE ADDITION OF EVERYBODY’S EFFORT IN EVERY MOMENT IN EVERY PART OF THE WORLD. THE OTHER SIDE HAS A LOT GOING FOR IT. THEY’VE GOT MONEY. THEY’VE GOT GUNS. SO THEY ARE NOT GOING TO GIVE UP EASILY. ALL RIGHT. AND THAT’S WHERE WE ARE. WE’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A BIG STRUGGLE ABOUT HOW TO REPLACE THE PRESENT AWFUL SYSTEM IN WHICH WE LIVE WITH ONE THAT IS BETTER. THAT’S WHY WE SAY, ‘ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE.’ I UNDERLINE THE WORD POSSIBLE. IT’S POSSIBLE. IT’S NOT CERTAIN. IT’S POSSIBLE. THAT’S WHAT’S UP TO US.”

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 4:06 pm
In response to matthewj @ 156

:)

emerson May 21st, 2011 at 4:06 pm
In response to msmolly @ 145

I owe you a drink, msmolly. I think it could be ultimate respect Glenn holds for Bill. Maybe he wants to give Bill as much “air time” as possible. How about Glenn for another Book Salon next?

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 4:07 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 158

Thank you for that Bill. It is not the certainty we all long for but it does offer a ray of hope and encouragement.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 4:07 pm
In response to Margaret @ 146

One of the travesties of modern America is that the government and the media have colluded to disguise the human and financial cost of war, and that “collateral damage” has no face and triggers no feelings.

DWBartoo May 21st, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Thank you, Bill Moyers.

It is always a pleasure, indeed a joy, and an education to hear and see you.

I thank you for all that you have done and ARE doing to improve the world and the lives of the human beings who inhabit it.

DW.

DWBartoo May 21st, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Thank you Glenn and Bev, as well.

A most fabulous book salon!

(I hope we may do it again … sometime)

;~DW

RevBev May 21st, 2011 at 4:10 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 162

Yep, NO body bags….And Prince always looks so clean and preppy….The center will not hold, Im afraid.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 4:10 pm
In response to RevBev @ 148

I didn’t see this post, and many others. Willie Morris had a great influence on my life. We didn’t know each other when we were classmates at the University of Texas. But when I was cast adrift from Newsday and he was editor of Harper’s, he called me out of the blue and offered me the cover of the magazine if I would travel the country “Listening to America.” Several thousand miles and many months later that was the title of the edition and a book based on it, and I was back into journalism in a way I would never have been without Willie’s instinct. His “North Toward Home” is my favorite of all memoirs.

wendydavis May 21st, 2011 at 4:11 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 136

Folette! Yes!

I think that the largest problem with Obama is that so many Dems are so captive to him, and willilngly defend anything he does; *everything he does*.

I’m daily accused at the other site I blog, a Centrist Dem one, of giving aid and comfort to ‘The Enemy’ essentially, for bringing to the site (often) in-depth criticism of Obama’s policy, especially war, crap fin-reg, and Rule of Law issues. I plead with the people there to put on Justice’s blindfold, allow me to read to them these deeds without authorship, and see if they object then.

They, of course, won’t play by my rules. ;o)

But I think until the captured-by-Obama electorate grasps that it’s a class war, not a blue/red war, attrition will rule the day: jobs, health care, food, civil rights…

Thanks so very much for being here, and Godspeed!

msmolly May 21st, 2011 at 4:11 pm
In response to emerson @ 160

How about Glenn for another Book Salon next?

I agree. I think FDL has Glenn lined up to do a members’ event in the near future.

Glenn has tweeted a couple of times about this Book Salon, which may have brought in a few new folks. Bravo.

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Thank you so much Bill! This was a most wonderful unexpected surprise. I will be looking forward to seeing where life leads you next…

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 4:11 pm
In response to Margaret @ 157

To elaborate: It’s true that comfortable people don’t revolt. The Plutocracy’s job is to keep a balancing act going. To keep the public just comfortable enough to not want to revolt. But those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Their greed is too great. They’ll never be able to hold themselves in check in order to allow the rest of us enough to be just comfortable enough to remain docile. And it’s always the most innocuous, unexpected thing that triggers the backlash. Most of the straws that have been the “one too many” have been tiny straws indeed.

RevBev May 21st, 2011 at 4:13 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 166

Oh, Wow. Thanks for your thoughts….I love the book, its story, the time. Thank you. I am such an admiring fan; come back.

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 4:13 pm
In response to Jesterfox @ 84

I don’t know that we can ever trust any politician unless we resolve to punish him or her if they don’t remain true to what they told us in the campaign they intended to do. Forgiveness is okay for sin, but not for political betrayal.

RFShunt May 21st, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Mr. Moyers

Thank you for your comments and especially for the reading recommendations. And thank you for all that superb journalism over the years.

compoundf May 21st, 2011 at 4:14 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 104

thanks for the citation and studious response. I’ll definitely take a peek at Wallerstein (provided his papers are online: one of the most galling trends is for the public to fund academic research through federal grants only to be denied access through a privatized system of publication that charges outrageous fortunes for access. At one point, the editors of Cell at UCSF even complained about the subscription prices of their own damned journal. At the same time, pharmaceuticals gladly use the research to sell their products at outrageous prices back to the very public that provided the basic research, always wailing about the high costs of R&D. I literally cannot download my own papers anymore without paying $20-$30 each, which infuriates me as both an author and taxpayer.).

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 4:14 pm
In response to Margaret @ 170

To elaborate: It’s true that comfortable people don’t revolt. The Plutocracy’s job is to keep a balancing act going. To keep the public just comfortable enough to not want to revolt. But those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Their greed is too great. They’ll never be able to hold themselves in check in order to allow the rest of us enough to be just comfortable enough to remain docile. And it’s always the most innocuous, unexpected thing that triggers the backlash. Most of the straws that have been the “one too many” have been tiny straws indeed.

This is why we must try and find a path to changing the system before a revolution happens. The American Empire is not going to allow a peaceful revolution to be successful without a fight. Even if the revolutionaries don’t use violence, the state will (even if they use agent provocateurs to keep up the illusion that they are not the aggressors). A revolution in America will not be a peaceful happening. All peace lovers must start acting now…

Bill Moyers May 21st, 2011 at 4:15 pm
In response to Glenn Greenwald @ 2

It’s 7:15, so I’ll sign off now. Thanks to all of you for participating, and apologies to those I didn’t get to. I am flattered to be in the same digital loop with Greenwald, whose work is a force in my life and our world. Next time: I get two hours to ask him questions!

Goodnight.

tuezday May 21st, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Bill, I want to add, I too terribly miss your Journal and thanks for being here this afternoon.

Glenn, can’t wait for your webinar.

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 4:15 pm
In response to matthewj @ 175

Agreed. Wholeheartedly.

mzchief May 21st, 2011 at 4:15 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 158

The folks that want to push the present zero-sum game of wealth extraction appear to be nihilistic materialists. I think they have vastly underestimated how rapidly self-destructive their approach is and not just from an environmental viewpoint. I am rooting for the folks who declare “I have enough and let’s share.”

Thank you for a great salon everyone!

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 4:16 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 176

Goodnight Bill and thank you for being here and thanks to you Glenn for hosting. Outstanding book salon!

Margaret May 21st, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Speaking of time, it’s 6:18 CDT and so far no people shooting up out of their shoes heavenward, though I think my neighbor may be a zombie…

gordonot May 21st, 2011 at 4:18 pm
In response to matthewj @ 118

Apologies for raising what many consider an old war horse, but what about the truth of JFK’s assassination?

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 4:18 pm

I don’t know that we can ever trust any politician unless we resolve to punish him or her if they don’t remain true to what they told us in the campaign they intended to do. Forgiveness is okay for sin, but not for political betrayal.

I really like this quote Bill. I agree that there needs to be accountability, but I also think we can still forgive them as forgiveness is really more about regaining peace in our own heart. That said there is certainly no place for accountability-free forgiveness.

The lack of accountability for elected “representatives” is one of the glaring flaws in our system today. There simply isn’t any means in the current system to hold them accountable for their actions in office. Voting them out is not an effective means of accountability.

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Next time: I get two hours to ask him questions!

Thanks again Bill. I will be looking forward to this! :)

gordonot May 21st, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Almost 200 posts and nobody wanted to ask about JFK? Some truths will remain forever opaque.

Teddy Partridge May 21st, 2011 at 4:21 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 176

Thanks for your time today, sir.

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 4:22 pm
In response to gordonot @ 182

Apologies for raising what many consider an old war horse, but what about the truth of JFK’s assassination?

I was referring to a specific truth in my response to Bill.

I think the truth about any conspiracies that actually occurred may come to be known in time if we bring down the imperial oligarchy. If not it may never be known. Either way, I’m not sure it’s helpful to the cause to place too much emphasis on them right now as they are divisive topics. We need unity and solidarity right now…

BooRadley May 21st, 2011 at 4:24 pm

x2

gordonot May 21st, 2011 at 4:25 pm
In response to matthewj @ 187

Yeah, the trouble is my own mind gets divided then. I have to compartmentalize the part of me that yearns for that truth to out and that makes me suspicious of people that don’t. Especially people purportedly on the left.

Then again, I’m a union man, so…yeah…solidarity forever.

mzchief May 21st, 2011 at 4:25 pm
In response to Margaret @ 181

You can “float like a })i({” (although I tend to agree with Bill about the “sting like a bee” regarding his point about political betrayal). What would Abbie Hoffman do?

CTuttle May 21st, 2011 at 4:25 pm
In response to Bill Moyers @ 176

Mahalo Nui Loa, Bill…! For all your contributions and endeavors…! *g*

Please don’t be a stranger to the Lake…!

emerson May 21st, 2011 at 4:27 pm
In response to matthewj @ 184

That’s a marketer’s dream: Moyers hosting a weekly Book Salon on FDL.

PeasantParty May 21st, 2011 at 4:29 pm
In response to emerson @ 192

ZOOM! ZO-MG! Definitely. ;-)

kairossue May 21st, 2011 at 4:49 pm
In response to wendydavis @ 112

I loved your final quotes. I’ve informed Obama folks, by phone and in writing that under no circumstances will I support him in any way shape or form and indeed will work against him, so DO NOT contact me again. They of course have; I’ve thrown away their missive. I’m intrigued by Matthewj’s post on no confidence protest votes in 2012; have hardly read all the post but I’m certainly looking for some alternatives. Particularly the kinds of alternatives that might encourage “progressive Christians” to gather around for alternative goals and strategies.

Mr. Moyers, you are probably long gone by now, but blest art thou among men! I have adored your work for many years, grieved your “silence” and thoroughly enjoyed finally getting around to your interview on TruthDig earlier this week, just as I am finally getting around to this thread.
One remark noted above is that we can’t afford our despair in these times.
I’ve been seeking ways to be engaged without despair or rage; still haven’t found it yet, but I do appreciate your challenge to step up to the plate and find a way for myself to work alongside with others.

I shall try to get through all the wonderful comments here and elsewhere at the Lake today.
Blessings to all,

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 5:03 pm
In response to gordonot @ 189

Yeah, the trouble is my own mind gets divided then. I have to compartmentalize the part of me that yearns for that truth to out and that makes me suspicious of people that don’t. Especially people purportedly on the left.

Then again, I’m a union man, so…yeah…solidarity forever.

Look at it this way: the only way you’ll ever know any truth that is there to know is to first bring down the empire. First steps first is all…

matthewj May 21st, 2011 at 5:08 pm
In response to kairossue @ 194

I’ve been seeking ways to be engaged without despair or rage; still haven’t found it yet, but I do appreciate your challenge to step up to the plate and find a way for myself to work alongside with others.

Have you tried compassion? Compassion for future generations can be a great motivator. Compassion for the unimaginable state of mind that brings our leaders to such great greed and violence can help ease the rage.

Studying Buddhist insights and meditation has taught me a lot about reigning in our mind and emotions and placing them in service of higher intentions…

liberaltothecore May 21st, 2011 at 5:14 pm
In response to kairossue @ 194

Your beautiful words speak for me, kairosue. I feel the same way as you about Obama and most of the Democrats now in power. Mr. Greenwald and Mr. Moyers are 2 of the most wonderful and articulate spokesmen for our country, which is now teetering on the edge of annihilation. Hope is hard to come by, when we have been betrayed by those who would seek to exploit us. If at least we had the choice to vote in the primary for a progressive, we could have hope. But hope is in short supply right now.

bobash May 21st, 2011 at 9:38 pm

I didn’t get to participate in this salon real time but very much enjoyed reading the dialogue after the fact. Many thanks to Bill Moyers for his lifetime of contributions and for his latest book. Thanks to Glenn and Bev for making this salon happen.

Petrocelli May 21st, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Mr. Moyers, please come up to Toronto and visit with us. We’d love to have you and perhaps U of T could host you for an evening or two.

seabos84 May 22nd, 2011 at 7:00 am

Since I was an 18 your Boston College freshman in ’78 on financial aid cuz our family was on welfare, I’ve MARVELED at the complete, total, stunning inability of lefties to make the kind simple economically selfish arguments in FAVOR of community investment that the right wing liars make AGAINST community AND in FAVOR of pigs at the top staying on top and staying pigs.

Oh – by the way – did anyone notice the ronnie raygun & the compassionate conservative schticks winning for the 33 years AFTER Prop 13 in ’78?

I don’t know the messaging answer – but it also isn’t my job. I’ve been busy as hell for decades making sure I don’t end up back on welfare, working for slimeballs at places like Microsoft during the dot.bomb when I was lucky, so, I’m NOT in the mood for the excuses for lame ass messaging against right wing liars when there are:

- 100′s of 6 figure a year Democratic Pooh-Bahs from sea to shining sea,
- 1000′s of staffers doing media and communications and press and public relations,
- TEN$ OF MILLION$ in salaries

all to produce a whiner class whining that lying thieves are mean meanies, aren’t nice, are thieves, aren’t nice, are taking things which aren’t theirs, and aren’t nice.

Ummmm. No shit?

Most of us accept that it takes money to make money. Most of accept that you have to take some of today’s surplus harvest & sock it away – invest it – or you’ll have no seeds next year and you’ll starve. Most of accept that the we MUST make a surplus to have something to trade to fix the family roof and have a stash to take care of the sick and the young and the elderly who took care of your ass when you were sick or young.

Some how the pro-community people can’t remind and can’t persuade us average putzes that without that transportation network and that power network and that functioning market regulation network … there will be NO surplus for our family or for our community! Some how the pro-community people can NOT persuade and can’t remind us average putzes that allowing the community surplus to used and abused by pigs on pyramids and on pyramid schemes isn’t investment – it is pigs taking our surplus for their fucking pyramids and their fucking pyramid schemes.

Millions of people show up to work everyday and clean the bathrooms and keep the infrastructure running – and without those clean bathrooms and that running infrastructure, we’d be wallowing in our waste and in our refuse and who the hell would need google or windows or an airplane ride or shopping trip with their friends ??

This high school teacher is working the pacified northwest to bring my fellow teachers to the realization that the firefighters had this year – we must STOP helping people who hurt us.

Which Side Are You On?

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

R.Murphy
Seattle

p.s. BTW – THANKS Bill!! (and Glenn and Jane.)

seabos84 May 22nd, 2011 at 7:18 am
In response to seabos84 @ 200

My rant is missing … a few steps.

All our work is needed to create the surplus to fund the health support and the retirement support and the education support various community members at different phases of their lives. Just as humans will ALWAYS place different values on different baubles, different skills and different jobs will be worth different values in the market. Oh well.

Those at the top of the organizations should be the best at managing resources for the community, or for their organization in the community. Those jobs will require more pay than us grunts get – BUT – that extra pay should be based upon managing optimal solutions for the organization’s working stiffs AND the organization’s customers AND the funders of the organization. They all need each other.

What I’ve seen for decades is that those at the top are the best at getting to the top, the best at staying on the top, and the best at grabbing surplus to insure that they can stay on top. Who needs a poli sci degree – read The Prince, 1984, Julius Caesar & Richard III & King Lear.

So how come the pro-community crowd can NOT make the economically selfish arguments that there is a minimum investment in social fabric that must be made so that there is enough surplus for tomorrow’s crop? IF us serfs can’t produce enough cuz the pigs stole it all for their pyramids, THEN the pigs ain’t getting any more pyramids and the serfs ain’t getting any more scraps.

rmm.

juliania May 22nd, 2011 at 8:04 am

Late to the party as usual, but my thanks to all – my local librarian will receive an urgent request from me, love that title Mr. Moyers! The conversations you initiated online with your first Now programs still in my mind stand out as the premier format for discussions online – much gratitude to you for showing how it could be done in style. As you continue to do.

Firedoglake and Glenn Greenwald also keep the ball rolling in informative posts along with readership participation, even as the playing field narrows. I do look forward to reading your book. Thank you again.

janeeyresick May 22nd, 2011 at 9:04 am

I think Bill Moyers gave me an answer that I have been struggling to find as a person, a citizen and a writer/blogger.

Practice the pessimism of the mind and the optimism of the will; that is, see the world without rosy glasses for what it is — hard, nasty, and brutish — but imagine a more confident future and get up every morning determined to do something to try and bring it about.

I actually laugh now at how much I truly believed in Obama to be a change agent. I have found that the dregs at the bottom of the cup of evaporated hope is cynicism, a bitter and poisonous brew. Bill Moyers allows me see that I probably have many bitter brews ahead but I cannot fear refilling the cup.

Thank you. Mr. Moyers.

David F., NA May 22nd, 2011 at 11:28 am

It’s great to see that our hero hasn’t been goofin’ off. Wow, it’s only been a year. It seems much longer. If it wasn’t for Moyers I’d probably never know what a conservaDem was. I/we owe him so much.

sadlyyes May 22nd, 2011 at 7:33 pm

i love Bill Moyers and Glenzilla!!!!

thatvisionthing May 23rd, 2011 at 1:41 am
In response to seabos84 @ 200

pigs on pyramids

heh :-)

(mighty unkind to pigs though)

klynn May 23rd, 2011 at 5:22 am

I got to lurk on this book salon from afar…

One of the best book salons ever. Thank you Bill Moyers. You are a wealth of wisdom for our country.

I hope we gather up your insights from today and do a follow-up salon on your many insights shared today.

I am with CTuttle and Jane…I would cast a vote for you with pride and joy.

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