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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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