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Posts Tagged ‘bill moyers’

“Folk singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie was born on July 14, 1912, yet his words, music, and mission continue to stir us as if he were a contemporary figure, not just a legendary one. On what would have been his 100th birthday, NPR produced a retrospective on Guthrie that included this insightful quote from Time‘s  Joe Klein, who wrote a biography of the iconic figure in 1980.

“The further we get away from Woody’s birth and death, and take a look at his influence, [the more] it helps us learn about ourselves as Americans… There’s a wild-ass quality to this country that he personified. I go around the country. The greatest fear is that we’re losing that — we’re losing our creativity, our individualism. Woody was an individual, and a militantly individual individual.”

Woody wrote songs about income inequality, political power inequality, undocumented immigrants, poor people and their struggles (think the rising number of homeless and jobless), the dust bowl (think California drought), crooked politicians, corrupt bankers, and much more that is applicable to the circumstances of today, which has been created by rich folks utilizing the levers of political power that their ill gotten gains are able to purchase. Woody’s songs have been recorded by a massive number of singers, ranging from Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Brian Wilson, Billy Bragg, and U2.

One of my favorite Woody Guthrie quotes is his philosophy of song writing

“I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good.

I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose.

No good to nobody. No good for nothing.

Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim too ugly or too this or too that.

Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling.

I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood.

i am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built.

I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and your work.”

In his web-only video essay, “Bill Moyers looks back at the singer-songwriter’s life and work, finding many points of irony and relevance given the current state of our economy and democracy. Is this land truly made for you and me? In this visual and musical journey, Bill asks the question, and puts forth a sobering answer.”

To check out Bill’s video on Woody Guthrie, click on the link below.

Woody Guthrie: What He Still Teaches Us | BillMoyers.com.

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Wall Street investment corporations purchase politicians so that they will enact legislation that redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent. This is true in any number of ways, including debt. Household debt, credit card debt, mortgages, student loan debt, auto loan debt, can all be purchased by Wall Street investment corporations, such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. These corporations take the loans they’ve purchased, and issue bonds against the debt. Then they sell the bonds to rich investors. The payments made by, for example, people who have outstanding student loans, go into the pockets of the rich via these bonds. Wall Street steals billions, perhaps hundreds of billions, via every one of these transactions annually. There are more commissions when the banks purchase home mortgages from lending companies, and then there are billions of dollars more to be made when Wall Street sells the bonds to rich investors. This is why the US government enacted tougher bankruptcy laws seven years ago, and why the government made it impossible to go into bankruptcy on student loans. It’s also why the government doubled student loan interest rates two years ago.

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Bill Moyers says that Eric Holder has a mixed record as attorney general of the United States. Moyers gives Holder an A on civil rights, but an F on the frauds of Wall Street. Bill Black, a former bank regulator, calls the latter, “the greatest failure in the history of the department of justice.”

No banking executives have been criminally prosecuted for their role in causing the biggest financial disaster since the Great Depression.

“I blame Holder. I blame Timothy Geithner,” Black told Bill last week. “But they are fulfilling administration policies. The problem definitely comes from the top. And remember, Obama wouldn’t have been president but for the financial contribution of bankers.”

“While large banks have been penalized for their role in the housing meltdown, the costs of those fines will be largely borne by shareholders and taxpayers as the banks write off the fines as the cost of doing business. And by and large these top executives got to keep their massive bonuses and compensation, despite the fallout.”

But the story gets even more infuriating, the more Black laid out the culture of corruption that led to the meltdown.

“The Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations all could have prevented [the financial meltdown],” Black tells Moyers. And what’s worse, Black — who exposed the so-called Keating Five — believes the next crisis is coming: “We have created the incentive structures that [are] going to produce a much larger disaster.”

According to Black, that’s because the bankers have not been proscecuted for their crimes, thanks to Obama and Holder, and federal law prohibits people with criminal records to be in charge of banks. So the same people that brought the economic meltdown are doing the same thing with a nod, a wink, and a helping hand from the white house and both houses of congress.

Check out Moyers interview with Black by clicking on the link below.

Full Show: Too Big to Jail? | Moyers & Company | BillMoyers.com.

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There is a straight forward relationship between tax cuts for the rich and growing income and wealth inequality. The conduit for financial inequality is the political markets. Tax cuts for the rich allowed them to corrupt the federal and state governments to the core. The rich used their ill gotten gains from Reagan’s tax cuts to purchase legislation in the political markets that redistribute income and wealth from people like you and me and “Aunt Millie” to the CEO’s and shareholders of corporations, namely the 1 percent. This legislation included free trade treaties that shipped jobs overseas, reducing labor costs while increasing profits. The legislation included privatization scams, deregulation schemes, and actions toward war, such as in Iraq, and Afghanistan, both of which are extremely profitable to the one percent. The rich also purchased the No Child Left Behind Act, which benefited only the major publishing corporations of educational books and tests, such as McGraw-Hil, and the McGraws have been neighbors and best friends of the Bush’s since the Great Depression. Yes, that’s precisely how corrupt President George W. Bush was. There are a ton more legislation that has been purchased by the one percent to redistribute income and wealth to themselves from the 99 percent, but I don’t have that much space. That’s why the economic and political markets are a rigged game.

The press has been a tool of the 1 percent, used to mislead and lie us into wars, deregulation, free trade agreements, privatization, anti-labor union tirades, as well as poisoning ourselves with GMOs by claiming they’re harmless, regardless of what all independent studies show. Yes, they lie to us a lot.

All of this corruption has sent the Dow Jones higher, as well as the NASDAQ and other financial markets. All of which benefits the 1 percent.

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From the Economic Policy Institute:

“The vast majority of Americans primarily rely on their earnings from work—not investment income, not government support payments—to get by. That’s why we can’t address inequality without addressing wages. And what has been happening to wages is not pretty. The pay of most workers has been stuck for decades even though productivity and earnings at the top are escalating. Between 1979 and 2013, productivity grew eight times faster than median worker pay. Americans are working harder, more productively, and with more education than ever, but are treading water, as an enormous and ever-increasing share of income growth goes to corporate profits and executive pay. Just in the last decade—between 2002 and 2013—inflation-adjusted wages were stagnant or fell for the bottom 70 percent of wage earners. This widespread wage stagnation, which afflicts even the college-educated, hurts economic growth, curtails the aspirations of lower-income families, and constricts middle-class incomes.

The central economic policy issue today is the challenge of generating broad-based wage growth. Broad-based wage growth is the key to addressing income inequality, ensuring social mobility, reducing poverty, boosting middle-class incomes, and enjoying stable economic growth.”

These are brave and accurate economic words from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), but dealing with these matters is a political problem, which is how income has been redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent during the last thirty-four years.

It’s also a misinformation challenge as the corporate press dutifully lies to us about how our income and health is being redistributed from the 99 to the 1 percent, but that’s another story.

Free trade treaties are written and approved by congress and the president with an eye toward jacking up the profits reaped by major corporations (which are tools through which the 1 percent redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent), and for shipping jobs overseas.

The primary US export is American jobs. The difference between the old and higher US wages and the new lower overseas wages is redistributed to the 1 percent via higher profits, surging share prices, and mounting dividends. The rich get richer, while the middle class sees a reduction in jobs, pay, tax revenues for schools, fire, police, road maintenance, and more, and all of that “more” is negative, for the 99 percent.

Currently, the Obama regime is negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the largest income redistribution treaty of all time, and it’s being negotiated with an eye toward exactly that. Obama is being helped by the entire Republican Party, and many Wall Street Democrats such as Senator Ron Wyden, an always loyal and corrupt servant of the 1 percent.

Don’t believe me? Check out the video below.

The point here is the challenge of meeting the needs of the nation, of creating US economic vitality, as EPI pointed out above, is an issue of money in politics because with such obvious economic decline as experienced by most of the 99 percent during the last 34 years, President Obama (along with the help of key Republicans and Democrats in congress) is planning on doing the same old thing in ramming the TPP through congress.

Albert Einstein reportedly said the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.”

Obama and the congress people who support the TPP are not insane, nor are they stupid, they’ve merely been corrupted by big money, such as Wall Street and the Koch Brothers.

And that’s the big challenge facing the 99 percent today, because money in politics is precisely why the government has been redistributing you and your children’s future, as well as your income, and tax dollars to the 1 percent over and over again for thirty-four disastrous years.

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