• Теги
    • избранные теги
    • Люди110
      • Показать ещё
      Страны / Регионы24
      • Показать ещё
      Международные организации8
      Издания14
      • Показать ещё
      Компании90
      • Показать ещё
      Формат1
      Разное58
      • Показать ещё
      Показатели7
      • Показать ещё
      Сферы2
Билл Мойерс
Билл Мойерс
Билл Мойерс – ведущий еженедельной общественной телевизионной передачи Moyers & Company. Мойерс получил 35 премий Эмми, 9 премий Пибоди, премию за достижения в течение жизни Национальной академии телевидения. Он является почётным доктором изящных искусств Американского института кино за 40 ...

Билл Мойерс – ведущий еженедельной общественной телевизионной передачи Moyers & Company. Мойерс получил 35 премий Эмми, 9 премий Пибоди, премию за достижения в течение жизни Национальной академии телевидения. Он является почётным доктором изящных искусств Американского института кино за 40 лет журналистской работы на радио.

 

...Билл Мойерс – все эти лидеры CFR (Совет по Международным Отошениям) были связаны с «Фондом Рокфеллера».

Развернуть описание Свернуть описание
21 января, 03:57

Lest We Forget: The Big Lie Behind the Rise of Trump

In this web exclusive, Bill Moyers and four historians dissect the big lie Trump rode to power: the Birther lie. Nell Painter, historian and Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University; Khalil Gibran Muhammad, professor of history, race and public policy at Harvard Kennedy School; Christopher Lebron, assistant professor of African-American studies and philosophy at Yale University; and Philip Klinkner, James S. Sherman Professor of Government, Hamilton College discuss the fertile ground on which the birther lie was sown: our nation's history of white supremacy. Credits: Gail Ablow, Producer; Sikay Tang, Editor   TRANSCRIPT BILL MOYERS: I'm Bill Moyers. The most important thing to remember about Donald Trump is that he was the same man at 12:01 p.m. Friday after he took the oath of office as he was at 11:59 a.m. before his swearing in. His character: the same. His temperament and his values: the same. What's different is that in those two minutes Donald Trump was handed the most awesome power imaginable. He now controls the world's most powerful nuclear arsenal. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard are at his command. The FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the IRS, Homeland Security, the State Department, Justice Department, Treasury Department, the Department of Education, the Interior Department -- all of the agencies of the executive branch -- report, ultimately, to this one man. The world awaits his pronouncements, the markets and the media live by and for his tweets. So here's the second most important thing to remember about Donald Trump: He rode to power on the wings of a dark lie -- one of the most malignant and ugly lies in American history. We must never forget it. (MONTAGE) LOU DOBBS (CNN 7/21/09): Up next, the issue that won't go away: the matter of President Obama and that birth certificate. DONALD TRUMP (The View, ABC 3/23/11): There's something on that birth certificate that he doesn't like. TRUMP (The O'Reilly Factor, FOX News 3/30/11): He doesn't have a birth certificate. Now, he may have one, but there's something on that, with maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim. I don't know. CHRISTOPHER LEBRON: I found that as cynical as I am, I couldn't actually believe people would actually run with this story. But then the story had legs. And then people like Donald Trump didn't let it go. And I remember when he was going to prove that President Obama was not American, that he was not able to offer that proof.  And even more amazingly, Trump has been able to not only convince himself for the longest time but has been able to convince a not-insignificant portion of the American people that no matter what documentation President Obama provides, he's not American, which is an amazing thing to have done. NELL PAINTER: The ground was very fertile for the birther lie, and in fact, if it hadn't been, somebody could have said oh no, no, no, the president was not born in this country, he cannot be president -- and it would have fallen to Earth. It never would have gone anywhere. KHALIL GIBRAN MUHAMMAD: If it were true, we would have elected someone who had no right to run for president, let alone to become the first African-American president of this country, but more particularly it expresses the illegitimacy of a person of African descent as a true American, as someone truly endowed with the capacity to govern this great nation. And that lie is just the tip of the iceberg, though foundational for everything else that flows from Donald Trump's lips. TRUMP (SPEECH, 2/10/11): Our current president came out of nowhere. Came out of nowhere. In fact, I'll go a step further: The people that went to school with him -- they don't even know, they never saw him; they don't know who he is. It's crazy. PHILIP KLINKNER: There were a lot of rumors swirling around him that he was a Muslim, that he was raised in a madrassa, but the most common was that he was in fact not born in the United States and that his birth certificate from Hawaii was in fact a lie, that he was born someplace else, probably Kenya, but nobody was really pretty sure about that. The Obama campaign sort of pushed back at this pretty hard. They released a short-form birth certificate. They showed the birth notice in The Honolulu Advertiser at the time, but there was never any real question about this. But nonetheless, this lie began to gain real traction among his opponents. And then once he got elected, then again it really sort of took off because it began to sort of seep into a lot of conservative and right-wing media circles, a lot of attention was paid to people who are going into federal court suing, attempting to either have Obama declared ineligible as president or arguing that he should release his long-form birth certificate. And it really sort of festered there on the right for a number of years until the spring of 2011, when President Obama finally released the long-form birth certificate. TRUMP (SPEECH 4/27/11): I was just informed while on the helicopter that our president has finally released a birth certificate. I am really honored, frankly, to have played such a big role in hopefully, hopefully, getting rid of this issue. Now we have to look at it. We have to see, is it real? Is it proper? What's on it? But I hope it checks out beautifully. I am really proud. I am really honored. KLINKNER: But that really didn't put it away. The number of Republicans who believe that Obama was born outside the United States dropped for a little while but then it popped back up again. Trump at the time was a very big reality media star. THE APPRENTICE open with SOT: "You're fired." 2/9/15 KLINKNER: NBC in particular, I think, wanted to sort of cross-promote one of its biggest prime-time franchises, The Apprentice. So he was on NBC quite a lot. He was on the Todayshow quite a bit.  He'd appear on other NBC shows. But he also appeared on other networks -- ABC's The View, things like that. And the effect was to give Trump really sort of this unparalleled platform to sort of spread this. Whereas people who were doing it before were really just sort of fringe characters, who might get a little bit of time on some TV shows, but really not much at all. So he really took it mainstream. PAINTER: I have said, more than once, that we would not have Trump without Obama.  And that is, on the one hand, we have this current, this running current, of white supremacy -- the assumption that nonwhite people are sort of over there and they're inferior, they don't work hard. Black people are not supposed to be powerful. What is the ultimate defiance of that assumption? The ultimate defiance is the president. LEBRON: There is a strong subset of Americans who are fearful of black empowerment. And I don't mean this in the radical sense; I mean just basic everyday citizenship empowerment. Be able to pick up on that. Then also decades of Republicans and dog whistle politics, Willie Horton ads .... WILLIE HORTON AD, 1988 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: One was Willie Horton, who murdered a boy in a.... LEBRON: ..."super predator" talk, you know, with respect to criminality and law and order, which is basically code for policing black neighborhoods. Somebody like Trump comes in and there's a perfect storm of fear, loathing and a deep history of using policies to suppress blacks' freedom and liberties. And Trump comes on the end of a black presidency and says, listen, this man is giving health care away for free; doesn't that scare you? This man wants to let gay men and women marry. That's not how you should live your life. This black man is doing that. And that's why it's no accident he has stepped into the perfect storm, of basically, white paranoia, white fear, of an era of possible black...true black liberation and justice. KLINKNER: I think it's very much tied in to the discomfort and fear that a lot of white Americans had about the first African-American president. And we've seen this throughout American history, that white Americans have often sort of disregarded African-Americans as not just full citizens, but sometimes full human beings. And so I thought it was interesting that here we have the first African-American president, and here was an attempt to sort of delegitimize him in a very overt way as not actually being American. Not just sort of saying you know he says un-American things, but in fact he is, in fact, not an American. TRUMP (CNBC 5/29/12): Nothing has changed my mind. By the way you have a huge group of people. I walk down the street and people are screaming, "Please don't give that up." JONATHAN KARL (ABC NEWS, 8/11/13): But you don't still question he was born in the United States, do you? TRUMP (TO KARL): I have no idea... Well, I don't know, was there a birth certificate? You tell me. You know some people say that was not his birth certificate. I'm saying, I don't know. Nobody knows. KLINKNER: I think for many Americans, the whole definition of America is caught up with race: that whites are the only people who have the requisite characteristics that would allow them to be full citizens and therefore the political leaders of the country. And that's something that goes back to the first African-Americans who were enslaved in the United States. It goes back to things like the three-fifths clause in the Constitution. It goes back into the disenfranchisement after Reconstruction and the Civil War. MUHAMMAD: When I think about the justification for this lie, I think of an image that comes from a broadside, a pamphlet, just after the end of slavery. It was published in 1866 and it's framed by this image of the Capitol and it's a commentary on what is about to become the Freedmen's Bureau. At the center of it is this black man in tattered clothes, looking like someone who had just left the fields after having picked cotton. He's leaning back with his arm resting just underneath his head. His feet are kicked up, one leg across the other, and it essentially says that if you support the federal government you will be supporting the black takeover of America. And this is a white man's country. This is what the big lie looked like in 1867. And it is exactly the same wiring and visual inputs and rhetorical tropes and frames that frames the illegitimacy of this man who has become president today and what we ought to do about it. KLINKNER: If you're going to tell a lie about somebody, it works a lot better if you focus on somebody who is different from you. They have a different skin color, they attend a different church or house of worship. They come from a different country or speak a different language. It's harder to sort of see them a common citizen. Easier to see them as somebody who's different and therefore dangerous to you and to your country. PAINTER: I would not say white supremacy is a big foundational lie.  I would say white supremacy is a big foundational fact. Because during our colonial period in the United States, they laid the ground work for a society that's divided along racial lines. So in 1964, when Barry Goldwater ran on not approving the Civil Rights Act, he had a large following. It was not a winning following; it was not a winning strategy in 1964. But it said, hey, there are votes here. MUHAMMAD: Barry Goldwater rose to power in 1964, absolutely rejecting the federal government's responsibility in what was then fast becoming the Civil Rights Act of '64 That essentially said the federal government has no right to make white people of the South like black people, and that if the federal government pushed too hard in enforcing such things, it was unconstitutional. That spirit, that rejection of the possibility for civil rights, is exactly what has crystallized in Donald Trump's support on the right, because Obama essentially was perceived to have gotten through an electoral process that was rigged from the beginning. That these illegitimate voters came to the polls -- and, you know, all of them black or brown or yellow, but none of them really white folks, and that's true. A majority of whites voted against Obama in 2008 and an even greater majority of whites voted against him in 2012. I mean, there's something to be said for that, but that is exactly what stoked this notion that our country has been taken over by vandals. By mongrels, by mulattos, by Mexicans, by Muslims, by people who have no legitimate claim to the heritage of this -- what they would say, white Christian nation. TRUMP (PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY ANNOUNCEMENT SPEECH 6/16/15): When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. PAINTER: I don't believe Trump was an accident, because the Republican Party has been seeing and grasping the political power of white supremacy. GEORGE WALLACE (SPEECH 1/14/63): And I say, segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever. PAINTER: And when George Wallace made such a success in 1968, and then into the early 1970s -- hey, there are really votes here. So 1968 and Richard Nixon's Southern strategy -- a purposeful harnessing of white supremacists' assumptions and beliefs. One of the strengths of Donald Trump is that he has had so many Republican officeholders endorsing him. If the Southern strategy had not been such an important current in current Republican ideology, those officeholders would have said, no, no, no, no, no, no -- this person is terrible. KLINKNER: I think in the last couple of decades, we have been sort of building to this moment. There was a backlash by many whites against the civil rights movement, who were upset about the changing status of African-Americans. Adding to that were fears about immigration and changing the demographic character of the United States. Rising numbers of nonwhites, growing political power, greater cultural status for nonwhites in America. And that made them sort of very fearful about all of these sorts of changes. And so when someone comes along and says that, "Here's this person who's ascended to the highest office in the land, but he really shouldn't be there, he's really not legitimate," it plays to their fears, but also, perhaps, gives them a little bit of hope that those sort of fears and the things that they worried about actually haven't quite come to pass yet. MUHAMMAD: This explains David Duke's appropriation of a civil rights movement for white people to roll back a big government intent on grinding them into insignificance, and ultimately this explains why no matter what Donald Trump says or does about women, about Mexicans, about Muslims, about Syrians, it speaks to the heart and soul of that part of America that insists that this may be our last chance to hold on to this nation. And we've seen in midterm elections, we've seen in gubernatorial elections since 2008, the emergence of a class of political leadership that insists at the state level of creating a new class of pro-white warriors. (RALLY, ARIZONA 7/11/15): [Crowd chanting: USA! USA!] TRUMP: Don't worry -- we'll take our country back very soon, very soon. LEBRON: So, what I think has happened with Trump and his ability to hold onto this lie -- I think he got invested in it because there is a cohort of Americans that were going to easily go along with him. One thing I think Trump is actually very good at doing is, he's a very good psychologist. And I think Trump saw that there are certain keynote themes that if you hit on them, you can rally the people, which is what makes him sometimes dangerous, where if you look at old --  I have to say, if you look at old Hitler tapes, for example, the ability to kind of rile the people up around topics about which they feel threatened, and the biggest threat for a lot of people is this black man who from their point of view is taking their country away from them. KLINKNER: If there are any parallels between Hitler and his big lie and Trump and what he's doing is that Hitler's big lie was the stab-in-the-back thesis. The idea that Germany had lost World War I because it was stabbed in the back, not because it lost on the battlefield against the Allied powers; it was because at home, Jews and capitalists and Bolsheviks and socialists had destroyed Germany from within. So that's a big lie that he's been pushing. And Trump, like many other demagogues throughout American history, have identified racial, ethnic, religious minorities as somehow working from within the country to destroy it. LEBRON: Donald Trump is able to stir up the masses because he's able to say this very simple thing that is plausible to a lot of people, but really taps into deeper fears about who is taking what from them. If they're not as prosperous as they think they ought to be, who is doing this to them? It must be somebody else doing it to them, which is also the ironic thing. All of a sudden, the conservative reliance on personal responsibility gets completely off-loaded to this black man who was elected by the people. KLINKNER: It's not just Hitler; it's demagogues everywhere. They get into this symbiotic relationship with their audience. That he throws them red meat and they respond and they cheer lustily. TRUMP (RALLY IN MOBILE, ALABAMA 12/17/16): People who come into our country illegally, they're taken care of better than our vets. Build the wall. Build the wall. KLINKNER: And then he...he likes that, he likes that sort of response that he's getting from the audience, and he feeds off that, and therefore he throws them even more red meat. TRUMP (RALLY 12/17/16): Do not worry -- we are going to build the wall, OK? Don't worry; don't even think about it. MUHAMMAD: If we think about the legacy of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis, it's hard not to see the relationship of a big lie that blames the minority population for a nation's problems. That at the end of the day, this lie at the most granular level, especially in America right now, has always been part of the package of what made America actually great. Because in the end, those people have always believed that they were meant to be in charge. And our political systems, our museums, our classrooms have all advanced this point of view. So the lie is broken down, and the only way to fix it, the only way to put it back together, is to wipe the world clean of these realities. To move these people out of the way, to get them out of the polls, to get them out of our classrooms. To tell them to go back to where they came from, so that we can have nice, neat images, whether they are in our own homes or in our classrooms or in our museums or wherever we find them, that reaffirm to us that the little lies we've always been telling ourselves -- that we're perfect, that we're great as white people -- is still true. Obama's physical presence shattered those little lies. And you need to get the big lie back in place. TRUMP (RALLY IN WEST BEND, WISCONSIN 8/16/16): There can be no prosperity without law and order. MUHAMMAD: When I think about his appeals to racism and this explicit call for law and order and the criminalization of black and brown people, he does remind me of Richard Nixon. But Richard Nixon, for all of his flaws, was a public servant. He was a career politician. And he did some good things and some bad things. It's not clear at all that Donald Trump has ever done anything good for anyone but himself. KLINKNER: We like to think people are rational, but they're not. And when it comes to politics, people are partisan beings. They're very much rooted to an identity as a Democrat or Republican, a liberal or a conservative. And we tend to get our information from like-minded people. So when people like Donald Trump or a Democrat or Hillary Clinton, or whoever it is, tells something that's not true, we tend to hold onto that. Even when it's proven not to be true, we don't want to give up that belief, because it's a partisan belief, and therefore it goes to our identity of who we are or what we believe in, what types of people we associate with. And in many cases, the correction almost makes us want to hold that belief even more deeply, rather than give it up. A very famous political scientist years ago by the name of V.O. Key said that the voice of the people is but an echo chamber. That what comes out of an echo chamber bears a very strong relationship to what goes into it. And when you have people like Donald Trump, when you have prominent people in the media, in politics, that are expressing lies and misperceptions and untruths, the American people are going to say those sorts of things. They're going to come to believe those sorts of things, because that's what they're hearing from the people that they trust. The media also bear a very strong role in this, because they've been giving a platform to people like Trump. They haven't been giving them the types of pushback and scrutiny that they really do deserve. MUHAMMAD: Donald Trump did us a favor, because he shows us how active and significant white supremacy is in this country. I mean, we needed to know it. We needed to see it. We needed to punch a hole in the mythology of post-racialism, because we need to deal with it. I mean, we think about an oncologist -- we don't want our oncologist telling us a little lie that we don't really have cancer. Donald Trump -- he provides us an opportunity, a window, an X-ray into a malignant tumor in our society. Now, the tumor's always been there, but it's grown. And we've tried to address it in ways small and large, and we've won some of those battles. But ultimately, the patient is very sick, it is our nation, and we need to extract it once and for all.   DIP TO BLACK.   CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS: Please raise your right hand and repeat after me: I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear TRUMP: I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear ROBERTS: That I will faithfully execute TRUMP: That I will faithfully execute ROBERTS: The office of president of the United States TRUMP: The office of president of the United States ROBERTS: And will to the best of my ability TRUMP: And will to the best of my ability ROBERTS: Preserve, protect and defend TRUMP: Preserve, protect and defend ROBERTS: The Constitution of the United States TRUMP: The Constitution of the United States ROBERTS: So help me God. TRUMP: So help me God. ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

18 января, 21:54

Donald Trump, Crime and the American Dream

Donald Trump's record $200 million inauguration on Friday is fit for the ruler of an imperial nation which has over 800 overseas military bases, commands the world seas and rules over the skies with robotic machines capable of eviscerating virtually anybody, anywhere on earth on short notice. The inauguration will also reflect America's new Gilded Age, with the haves celebrating their good fortune, and the have nots protesting outside. In a course I am teaching we are currently reading the book Crime and the American Dream by Steven F. Messner and Richard Rosenfeld (5th ed. Wadsworth, 2013). This is fitting because Mr. Trump embodies the values the authors say result in particularly high crime rates in U.S. society, notably hyper-materialism, and extreme individualism at the expense of community solidarity and welfare. According to Messner and Rosenfeld, a cardinal virtue of American society - its competitive individualistic ethic - leads to great innovation but also a cardinal vice, high-crime rates resulting from lack of concern about the means adopted to achieve the prized cultural end of wealth accumulation. Trump as we know has gained the highest office in the land because he had the money to bankroll his campaign and the stature that led people to listen to him and believe he has a Midas touch that will bring prosperity to the nation. Trump though is a con man. He gained his wealth through unethical and sometimes unlawful means and conned people into believing he was an outsider against the system. His Cabinet consists of millionaires whose first order of business will be to undo any progressive gains made in the last eight years. Crime is a learned behavior and Trump learned from his father Fred who, as David Cay Johnston shows in The Making of Donald Trump, was the target of a federal investigation for profiteering on tax dollars intended to help World War II veterans and partnered with Willie Tomasello, whom the New York State organized crime task force identified as an associate of the Genovese and Gambino crime families. Donald too developed business connections with criminals including the heads of the two largest New York mafia families. His business mentor, Roy Cohn, was chief lawyer for Joseph McCarthy and then to the mafia. Trump said: "I didn't kid myself about Roy. He was no boy scout. He once told me he'd spent more than two thirds of his adult life under indictment on one charge or another." To build Trump towers, Donald bought concrete from S & A concrete which was owned by mafia chieftans "Big Paul" Castellano and "Fat Tony" Salerno whom Trump met with before he was convicted of racketeering. Trump has been party to over 3,500 lawsuits, some accusing him of civil fraud. He made money by employing a demolition contractor that hired immigrants who worked in violation of various labor laws, which Cohn helped cover up by allegedly paying bribes to inspectors. Trump University has been exposed to be a "faux university" which did not employ real faculty but sales people many of whom had no experience in real estate and offered students special access to leads that were actually accessible for free on the internet. Consumer fraud agents in Texas found that students were taught to prey upon homeowners in financial turmoil and to forget foreclosure properties, and to sell real estate without a license which is illegal in Texas. Their report said sales agents posing as faculty falsely approved continuing education credits for realtors though they were not approved, and Trump University violated Texas law in its refusal to pay taxes and in its false branding as a university. To deflect an investigation in Florida, Trump gave $25,000 for the reelection of Attorney General Pam Bondi which led Bondi to back off from investigation. This was equivalent to paying a bribe and violated a law in which charities are forbidden from making political donations. Johnston's book, which includes discussion of Trump's serial tax evasion, was published before the election which begs the question as to how Trump possibly could have won. The Democrats want to blame Russian hackers whom they are clearly scapegoating, while many on the left want to blame the Democrat's turn towards neoliberalism under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and the shortcomings of Hillary Clinton which is more plausible. An added variable, however, is that Trump embodies the values Americans are conditioned to prize; notably wealth accumulation regardless of the means pursued. Ours is a criminogenic society and we have elected a leader who is a successful white collar criminal who never got caught. He gamed the system in business to his own benefit, and then used his moral capital to make a mockery of the election process and political elite Americans have come to loathe. Many of Trump's critics underestimate his appeal, believing the people chose a man "who shredded our values and morals," as liberal talk show host Bill Moyers put it. However in many respects Trump is America. His bullying manner reflects an imperial nation that as Medea Benjamin recently pointed out, dropped 26,000 tons of bombs in a year it was not even engaged in any major land wars; and his shady business dealings are part and parcel of the capitalist system and the vast inequalities and corruption it produces. Crime and the American Dream includes a revealing discussion of Richard Nixon who retained a popular following even after Watergate because people saw in him a man for whom "ideals had to yield to necessity, right to might, compassion to interest, principle to circumstance." They understood how "Nixon, or anyone, could believe himself forced on occasion to cheat a little, lie a little, find an edge, get out front of more favored competitors any way he could - as they themselves had done, or would do - in the unrelenting battles of life." Trump's appeal is similar, though he embodies even more what many secretly aspire to in his achieving unimaginable wealth and in turn fame, the means of doing so being less important. While noble in their cause, the anti-Trump forces face an uphill battle. For a true revolutionary movement to succeed, it would have to effectively challenge the prevailing cultural paradigm that lies at the root of the social pathologies of our society. This paradigm is seductive and accounts for many aspects of our society's success as well as its dark side, which Mr. Trump is iconic of. Jeremy Kuzmarov is author of Modernizing Repression: Police Training and Nation Building in the American Century (Massachusetts, 2012) among other works. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

17 января, 11:12

Three Reasons John Lewis Is Right That Trump Is Illegitimate

All praises go to John Lewis for becoming the first nationally recognized political figure to question the legitimacy of Donald Trump's presidency. He will hopefully not be the last. Lewis dared to say out loud what millions of Americans have been thinking. Lewis--who studied at the American Baptist Theological Seminary; led the first Freedom Rides; registered poor southern African Americans to vote; was almost killed when Alabama State Troopers beat his head in while leading the historic Selma Civil Rights March; chaired the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee; and spoke at the historic March on Washington with Martin Luther King, before running for elective office--is the closest living figure America has to a Nelson Mandela or a Dalai Lama. As Bill Moyers--a man of old-fashioned grace not normally taken to insults and, like Lewis a graduate of Baptist Theological Seminary--wrote after Trump tweeted attacks on Lewis over Martin Luther King's Birthday weekend, "Trump isn't fit to be a carbuncle on John Lewis's posterior." In a manner that only a man of John Lewis's moral stature could articulate, he clothed his critique of Trump's legitimacy in the language not only of politics but of spiritual prophecy. In Lewis's usual soft-spoken, but morally firm, manner, he told Meet The Press's Chuck Todd, " I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It's going to be hard. It's going to be very difficult. I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president... "[W]hen you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something. You cannot afford to be quiet or to be silent. We have to continue to work, continue to speak up and speak out". Lewis critique of Trump's legitimacy was both moral and political. Morally and spiritually, he seemed to be saying that a man of Trump's narcissism, ignorance, bigotry, misogyny, and xenophobia could never have the moral authority to be the leader of the land of the free and the home of the brave. Politically, Lewis focused his critique on Russian efforts to interfere in the American election to aid Trump. "I think there was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians and others that helped him get elected. That's not right. That's not fair. That's not the open, democratic process." If anything , in focusing on Russian interference in American democracy, Lewis didn't go far enough in articulating the reasons why Trump's election is illegitimate. Here are more two reasons: First and foremost, voter suppression, something John Lewis, who spent much of his life fighting for voting rights, knows something about. The NYU's Brennan Center for Justice reports that since 2010, 20 states have enacted new restrictions on voting Since 2010, 10 states have enacted more restrictive voter ID laws (and six states have strict photo ID requirements), seven have laws making it harder for citizens to register, six cut back on early voting days and hours, and three made it harder to restore voting rights for people with past criminal convictions. These restrictions are intended to, and/or have the effect of, disproportionately disenfranchising groups like African Americans, Latinos, and young people who tend to vote Democratic. For example, 25 percent of African Americans lack a government issued photo ID while only 8 percent of whites don't have one. The man The Guardian has described as the "most important investigative reporter of our time--up there with Woodward and Bernstein," Rolling Stone investigative reporter Greg Palast, has done exhaustive research which offers up the proof that voter suppression swung the election to Trump. Palast writes, "Before a single vote was cast, the election was fixed by GOP and Trump operatives. "Starting in 2013--just as the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act--a coterie of Trump operatives, under the direction of Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State [and a key member of the Trump transition team] created a system to purge 1.1 million Americans of color from the voter rolls of GOP-controlled states." Kobach's list is called "Crosscheck" and contains the names of 7.2 million people with the same first and last names who are registered to vote in more than one state. For example, if you have a common name like James Brown, or Jose Hernandez, and that name appears on the voter rolls in both Michigan and Wisconsin, your named could be purged from the voter rolls in both states. US Census data shows that minorities are overrepresented in 85% of common last names. According to Palast, "If your last name is Washington, there's an 89% chance you're African American. If your last name is Hernandez, there's a 94% chance you're Hispanic." According to Palast's statistical analysis, 1.1 million voters were purged from the rolls, overwhelmingly voters of color and the poor. It was enough to swing the Electoral Votes in a number of states from Clinton to Trump. Here are a few examples: Trump victory margin in Michigan: 13,107 Michigan Crosscheck purge list: 449,922 Trump victory margin in Arizona: 85,257 Arizona Crosscheck purge list: 270,824 Trump victory margin in N. Carolina: 177,008 N. Carolina Crosscheck purge list: 589,393 Michigan has 16 Electoral Votes, Arizona has 16, and North Carolina has 15 for a total of 42 Electoral Votes. Trump officially won the Electoral Vote by 306-232. Switch 42 electoral votes from Trump's column to Clinton's and Clinton would have won the Electoral vote by 274-264. And that doesn't even take into account that Trump officially won Wisconsin's 10 Electoral Votes by 22,748 popular votes and Pennsylvania's 20 Electoral Votes by 44,292 popular votes. Without bothering to account for other voter suppression measures, Palast concludes that by using Crosscheck to wrongfully purge voter rolls of minority voters, Trump stole the election. How's that for illegitimacy? And then there was FBI Director Comey's letter, only 10 days before the election, announcing, in violation of longstanding rules, that the FBI was reopening the investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails because emails from her aide Huma Abedin to Clinton were found on a laptop belonging to Abedin's disgraced ex-husband, Anthony Weiner. You can call Comey many things, but stupid isn't one of them. He surely knew that headlines with the words "Clinton," "emails," and "Weiner" could impact the election. Of course the day before the election, after the impact of his announcement was baked into the results, Comey announced that his new investigation had found nothing. Polling guru Nate Silver concluded that the Comey letter swung the election from Clinton to Trump, tweeting "Clinton would almost certainly be President-elect if the election had been held on Oct. 27 (day before Comey letter)." And finally, as John Lewis alluded to, multiple US intelligence agencies concluded that Vladimir Putin personally "ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election," and turned from seeking to "denigrate" Hillary Clinton to developing "a clear preference for President-elect Trump." Putin "aspired to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him." So there you have it, three reasons why Donald Trump is not only morally an illegitimate president, but actually an illegitimate president who would not have won, but for (1) voter suppression, (2) Comey's letter, and (3) Russian intervention aimed at swinging the election to Trump. There's little question that Trump's victory was ill gotten and illegitimate. The only remaining question is whether the Trump campaign communicated with the Russians about their efforts to influence the elections -- which would be a crime -- and whether Russian intelligence has compromising dirt on president-elect Trump. It remains to be seen if there will be an honest investigation to answer these questions. There's nothing that can be done now to prevent Trump from being sworn-in on Friday. But for multiple reasons, John Lewis is right to call Trump's election illegitimate And there's every reason for millions of patriotic Americans to declare that Trump is "Not my President." -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

12 января, 19:30

Lest We Forget: The Big Lie Behind Trump's Rise to Power

In this web exclusive, Bill Moyers and four historians dissect the big lie Trump rode to power: the Birther lie. Nell Painter, historian and Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University; Khalil Gibran Muhammad, professor of history, race and public policy at Harvard Kennedy School; Christopher Lebron, assistant professor of African-American studies and philosophy at Yale University; and Philip Klinkner, James S. Sherman Professor of Government, Hamilton College discuss the fertile ground on which the birther lie was sown: our nation's history of white supremacy. Credits: Gail Ablow, Producer; Sikay Tang, Editor   TRANSCRIPT BILL MOYERS: I'm Bill Moyers. The most important thing to remember about Donald Trump is that he was the same man at 12:01 p.m. Friday after he took the oath of office as he was at 11:59 a.m. before his swearing in. His character: the same. His temperament and his values: the same. What's different is that in those two minutes Donald Trump was handed the most awesome power imaginable. He now controls the world's most powerful nuclear arsenal. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard are at his command. The FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the IRS, Homeland Security, the State Department, Justice Department, Treasury Department, the Department of Education, the Interior Department -- all of the agencies of the executive branch -- report, ultimately, to this one man. The world awaits his pronouncements, the markets and the media live by and for his tweets. So here's the second most important thing to remember about Donald Trump: He rode to power on the wings of a dark lie -- one of the most malignant and ugly lies in American history. We must never forget it. (MONTAGE) LOU DOBBS (CNN 7/21/09): Up next, the issue that won't go away: the matter of President Obama and that birth certificate. DONALD TRUMP (The View, ABC 3/23/11): There's something on that birth certificate that he doesn't like. TRUMP (The O'Reilly Factor, FOX News 3/30/11): He doesn't have a birth certificate. Now, he may have one, but there's something on that, with maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim. I don't know. CHRISTOPHER LEBRON: I found that as cynical as I am, I couldn't actually believe people would actually run with this story. But then the story had legs. And then people like Donald Trump didn't let it go. And I remember when he was going to prove that President Obama was not American, that he was not able to offer that proof.  And even more amazingly, Trump has been able to not only convince himself for the longest time but has been able to convince a not-insignificant portion of the American people that no matter what documentation President Obama provides, he's not American, which is an amazing thing to have done. NELL PAINTER: The ground was very fertile for the birther lie, and in fact, if it hadn't been, somebody could have said oh no, no, no, the president was not born in this country, he cannot be president -- and it would have fallen to Earth. It never would have gone anywhere. KHALIL GIBRAN MUHAMMAD: If it were true, we would have elected someone who had no right to run for president, let alone to become the first African-American president of this country, but more particularly it expresses the illegitimacy of a person of African descent as a true American, as someone truly endowed with the capacity to govern this great nation. And that lie is just the tip of the iceberg, though foundational for everything else that flows from Donald Trump's lips. TRUMP (SPEECH, 2/10/11): Our current president came out of nowhere. Came out of nowhere. In fact, I'll go a step further: The people that went to school with him -- they don't even know, they never saw him; they don't know who he is. It's crazy. PHILIP KLINKNER: There were a lot of rumors swirling around him that he was a Muslim, that he was raised in a madrassa, but the most common was that he was in fact not born in the United States and that his birth certificate from Hawaii was in fact a lie, that he was born someplace else, probably Kenya, but nobody was really pretty sure about that. The Obama campaign sort of pushed back at this pretty hard. They released a short-form birth certificate. They showed the birth notice in The Honolulu Advertiser at the time, but there was never any real question about this. But nonetheless, this lie began to gain real traction among his opponents. And then once he got elected, then again it really sort of took off because it began to sort of seep into a lot of conservative and right-wing media circles, a lot of attention was paid to people who are going into federal court suing, attempting to either have Obama declared ineligible as president or arguing that he should release his long-form birth certificate. And it really sort of festered there on the right for a number of years until the spring of 2011, when President Obama finally released the long-form birth certificate. TRUMP (SPEECH 4/27/11): I was just informed while on the helicopter that our president has finally released a birth certificate. I am really honored, frankly, to have played such a big role in hopefully, hopefully, getting rid of this issue. Now we have to look at it. We have to see, is it real? Is it proper? What's on it? But I hope it checks out beautifully. I am really proud. I am really honored. KLINKNER: But that really didn't put it away. The number of Republicans who believe that Obama was born outside the United States dropped for a little while but then it popped back up again. Trump at the time was a very big reality media star. THE APPRENTICE open with SOT: "You're fired." 2/9/15 KLINKNER: NBC in particular, I think, wanted to sort of cross-promote one of its biggest prime-time franchises, The Apprentice. So he was on NBC quite a lot. He was on the Todayshow quite a bit.  He'd appear on other NBC shows. But he also appeared on other networks -- ABC's The View, things like that. And the effect was to give Trump really sort of this unparalleled platform to sort of spread this. Whereas people who were doing it before were really just sort of fringe characters, who might get a little bit of time on some TV shows, but really not much at all. So he really took it mainstream. PAINTER: I have said, more than once, that we would not have Trump without Obama.  And that is, on the one hand, we have this current, this running current, of white supremacy -- the assumption that nonwhite people are sort of over there and they're inferior, they don't work hard. Black people are not supposed to be powerful. What is the ultimate defiance of that assumption? The ultimate defiance is the president. LEBRON: There is a strong subset of Americans who are fearful of black empowerment. And I don't mean this in the radical sense; I mean just basic everyday citizenship empowerment. Be able to pick up on that. Then also decades of Republicans and dog whistle politics, Willie Horton ads .... WILLIE HORTON AD, 1988 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: One was Willie Horton, who murdered a boy in a.... LEBRON: ..."super predator" talk, you know, with respect to criminality and law and order, which is basically code for policing black neighborhoods. Somebody like Trump comes in and there's a perfect storm of fear, loathing and a deep history of using policies to suppress blacks' freedom and liberties. And Trump comes on the end of a black presidency and says, listen, this man is giving health care away for free; doesn't that scare you? This man wants to let gay men and women marry. That's not how you should live your life. This black man is doing that. And that's why it's no accident he has stepped into the perfect storm, of basically, white paranoia, white fear, of an era of possible black...true black liberation and justice. KLINKNER: I think it's very much tied in to the discomfort and fear that a lot of white Americans had about the first African-American president. And we've seen this throughout American history, that white Americans have often sort of disregarded African-Americans as not just full citizens, but sometimes full human beings. And so I thought it was interesting that here we have the first African-American president, and here was an attempt to sort of delegitimize him in a very overt way as not actually being American. Not just sort of saying you know he says un-American things, but in fact he is, in fact, not an American. TRUMP (CNBC 5/29/12): Nothing has changed my mind. By the way you have a huge group of people. I walk down the street and people are screaming, "Please don't give that up." JONATHAN KARL (ABC NEWS, 8/11/13): But you don't still question he was born in the United States, do you? TRUMP (TO KARL): I have no idea... Well, I don't know, was there a birth certificate? You tell me. You know some people say that was not his birth certificate. I'm saying, I don't know. Nobody knows. KLINKNER: I think for many Americans, the whole definition of America is caught up with race: that whites are the only people who have the requisite characteristics that would allow them to be full citizens and therefore the political leaders of the country. And that's something that goes back to the first African-Americans who were enslaved in the United States. It goes back to things like the three-fifths clause in the Constitution. It goes back into the disenfranchisement after Reconstruction and the Civil War. MUHAMMAD: When I think about the justification for this lie, I think of an image that comes from a broadside, a pamphlet, just after the end of slavery. It was published in 1866 and it's framed by this image of the Capitol and it's a commentary on what is about to become the Freedmen's Bureau. At the center of it is this black man in tattered clothes, looking like someone who had just left the fields after having picked cotton. He's leaning back with his arm resting just underneath his head. His feet are kicked up, one leg across the other, and it essentially says that if you support the federal government you will be supporting the black takeover of America. And this is a white man's country. This is what the big lie looked like in 1867. And it is exactly the same wiring and visual inputs and rhetorical tropes and frames that frames the illegitimacy of this man who has become president today and what we ought to do about it. KLINKNER: If you're going to tell a lie about somebody, it works a lot better if you focus on somebody who is different from you. They have a different skin color, they attend a different church or house of worship. They come from a different country or speak a different language. It's harder to sort of see them a common citizen. Easier to see them as somebody who's different and therefore dangerous to you and to your country. PAINTER: I would not say white supremacy is a big foundational lie.  I would say white supremacy is a big foundational fact. Because during our colonial period in the United States, they laid the ground work for a society that's divided along racial lines. So in 1964, when Barry Goldwater ran on not approving the Civil Rights Act, he had a large following. It was not a winning following; it was not a winning strategy in 1964. But it said, hey, there are votes here. MUHAMMAD: Barry Goldwater rose to power in 1964, absolutely rejecting the federal government's responsibility in what was then fast becoming the Civil Rights Act of '64 That essentially said the federal government has no right to make white people of the South like black people, and that if the federal government pushed too hard in enforcing such things, it was unconstitutional. That spirit, that rejection of the possibility for civil rights, is exactly what has crystallized in Donald Trump's support on the right, because Obama essentially was perceived to have gotten through an electoral process that was rigged from the beginning. That these illegitimate voters came to the polls -- and, you know, all of them black or brown or yellow, but none of them really white folks, and that's true. A majority of whites voted against Obama in 2008 and an even greater majority of whites voted against him in 2012. I mean, there's something to be said for that, but that is exactly what stoked this notion that our country has been taken over by vandals. By mongrels, by mulattos, by Mexicans, by Muslims, by people who have no legitimate claim to the heritage of this -- what they would say, white Christian nation. TRUMP (PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY ANNOUNCEMENT SPEECH 6/16/15): When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. PAINTER: I don't believe Trump was an accident, because the Republican Party has been seeing and grasping the political power of white supremacy. GEORGE WALLACE (SPEECH 1/14/63): And I say, segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever. PAINTER: And when George Wallace made such a success in 1968, and then into the early 1970s -- hey, there are really votes here. So 1968 and Richard Nixon's Southern strategy -- a purposeful harnessing of white supremacists' assumptions and beliefs. One of the strengths of Donald Trump is that he has had so many Republican officeholders endorsing him. If the Southern strategy had not been such an important current in current Republican ideology, those officeholders would have said, no, no, no, no, no, no -- this person is terrible. KLINKNER: I think in the last couple of decades, we have been sort of building to this moment. There was a backlash by many whites against the civil rights movement, who were upset about the changing status of African-Americans. Adding to that were fears about immigration and changing the demographic character of the United States. Rising numbers of nonwhites, growing political power, greater cultural status for nonwhites in America. And that made them sort of very fearful about all of these sorts of changes. And so when someone comes along and says that, "Here's this person who's ascended to the highest office in the land, but he really shouldn't be there, he's really not legitimate," it plays to their fears, but also, perhaps, gives them a little bit of hope that those sort of fears and the things that they worried about actually haven't quite come to pass yet. MUHAMMAD: This explains David Duke's appropriation of a civil rights movement for white people to roll back a big government intent on grinding them into insignificance, and ultimately this explains why no matter what Donald Trump says or does about women, about Mexicans, about Muslims, about Syrians, it speaks to the heart and soul of that part of America that insists that this may be our last chance to hold on to this nation. And we've seen in midterm elections, we've seen in gubernatorial elections since 2008, the emergence of a class of political leadership that insists at the state level of creating a new class of pro-white warriors. (RALLY, ARIZONA 7/11/15): [Crowd chanting: USA! USA!] TRUMP: Don't worry -- we'll take our country back very soon, very soon. LEBRON: So, what I think has happened with Trump and his ability to hold onto this lie -- I think he got invested in it because there is a cohort of Americans that were going to easily go along with him. One thing I think Trump is actually very good at doing is, he's a very good psychologist. And I think Trump saw that there are certain keynote themes that if you hit on them, you can rally the people, which is what makes him sometimes dangerous, where if you look at old --  I have to say, if you look at old Hitler tapes, for example, the ability to kind of rile the people up around topics about which they feel threatened, and the biggest threat for a lot of people is this black man who from their point of view is taking their country away from them. KLINKNER: If there are any parallels between Hitler and his big lie and Trump and what he's doing is that Hitler's big lie was the stab-in-the-back thesis. The idea that Germany had lost World War I because it was stabbed in the back, not because it lost on the battlefield against the Allied powers; it was because at home, Jews and capitalists and Bolsheviks and socialists had destroyed Germany from within. So that's a big lie that he's been pushing. And Trump, like many other demagogues throughout American history, have identified racial, ethnic, religious minorities as somehow working from within the country to destroy it. LEBRON: Donald Trump is able to stir up the masses because he's able to say this very simple thing that is plausible to a lot of people, but really taps into deeper fears about who is taking what from them. If they're not as prosperous as they think they ought to be, who is doing this to them? It must be somebody else doing it to them, which is also the ironic thing. All of a sudden, the conservative reliance on personal responsibility gets completely off-loaded to this black man who was elected by the people. KLINKNER: It's not just Hitler; it's demagogues everywhere. They get into this symbiotic relationship with their audience. That he throws them red meat and they respond and they cheer lustily. TRUMP (RALLY IN MOBILE, ALABAMA 12/17/16): People who come into our country illegally, they're taken care of better than our vets. Build the wall. Build the wall. KLINKNER: And then he...he likes that, he likes that sort of response that he's getting from the audience, and he feeds off that, and therefore he throws them even more red meat. TRUMP (RALLY 12/17/16): Do not worry -- we are going to build the wall, OK? Don't worry; don't even think about it. MUHAMMAD: If we think about the legacy of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis, it's hard not to see the relationship of a big lie that blames the minority population for a nation's problems. That at the end of the day, this lie at the most granular level, especially in America right now, has always been part of the package of what made America actually great. Because in the end, those people have always believed that they were meant to be in charge. And our political systems, our museums, our classrooms have all advanced this point of view. So the lie is broken down, and the only way to fix it, the only way to put it back together, is to wipe the world clean of these realities. To move these people out of the way, to get them out of the polls, to get them out of our classrooms. To tell them to go back to where they came from, so that we can have nice, neat images, whether they are in our own homes or in our classrooms or in our museums or wherever we find them, that reaffirm to us that the little lies we've always been telling ourselves -- that we're perfect, that we're great as white people -- is still true. Obama's physical presence shattered those little lies. And you need to get the big lie back in place. TRUMP (RALLY IN WEST BEND, WISCONSIN 8/16/16): There can be no prosperity without law and order. MUHAMMAD: When I think about his appeals to racism and this explicit call for law and order and the criminalization of black and brown people, he does remind me of Richard Nixon. But Richard Nixon, for all of his flaws, was a public servant. He was a career politician. And he did some good things and some bad things. It's not clear at all that Donald Trump has ever done anything good for anyone but himself. KLINKNER: We like to think people are rational, but they're not. And when it comes to politics, people are partisan beings. They're very much rooted to an identity as a Democrat or Republican, a liberal or a conservative. And we tend to get our information from like-minded people. So when people like Donald Trump or a Democrat or Hillary Clinton, or whoever it is, tells something that's not true, we tend to hold onto that. Even when it's proven not to be true, we don't want to give up that belief, because it's a partisan belief, and therefore it goes to our identity of who we are or what we believe in, what types of people we associate with. And in many cases, the correction almost makes us want to hold that belief even more deeply, rather than give it up. A very famous political scientist years ago by the name of V.O. Key said that the voice of the people is but an echo chamber. That what comes out of an echo chamber bears a very strong relationship to what goes into it. And when you have people like Donald Trump, when you have prominent people in the media, in politics, that are expressing lies and misperceptions and untruths, the American people are going to say those sorts of things. They're going to come to believe those sorts of things, because that's what they're hearing from the people that they trust. The media also bear a very strong role in this, because they've been giving a platform to people like Trump. They haven't been giving them the types of pushback and scrutiny that they really do deserve. MUHAMMAD: Donald Trump did us a favor, because he shows us how active and significant white supremacy is in this country. I mean, we needed to know it. We needed to see it. We needed to punch a hole in the mythology of post-racialism, because we need to deal with it. I mean, we think about an oncologist -- we don't want our oncologist telling us a little lie that we don't really have cancer. Donald Trump -- he provides us an opportunity, a window, an X-ray into a malignant tumor in our society. Now, the tumor's always been there, but it's grown. And we've tried to address it in ways small and large, and we've won some of those battles. But ultimately, the patient is very sick, it is our nation, and we need to extract it once and for all.   DIP TO BLACK.   CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS: Please raise your right hand and repeat after me: I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear TRUMP: I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear ROBERTS: That I will faithfully execute TRUMP: That I will faithfully execute ROBERTS: The office of president of the United States TRUMP: The office of president of the United States ROBERTS: And will to the best of my ability TRUMP: And will to the best of my ability ROBERTS: Preserve, protect and defend TRUMP: Preserve, protect and defend ROBERTS: The Constitution of the United States TRUMP: The Constitution of the United States ROBERTS: So help me God. TRUMP: So help me God. ROBERTS: Congratulations, Mr. President. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

08 января, 06:30

An Insider's Guide to Roasts, Toasts, Eulogies and Other Speeches (2000)

Mary Elizabeth "Liz" Sutherland Carpenter (September 1, 1920 – March 20, 2010) was a writer, feminist, former reporter, media advisor, speechwriter, political humorist, and public relations expert. Carpenter was born in historic Salado in southern Bell County, Texas. In 1936, her 24-room residence there was declared a state historic monument. In 1967, a plaque was unveiled to indicate that Carpenter had once lived there. At the age of seven, she moved with her family to Austin. Carpenter stood in the forefront of the Women's Movement when it began and never wavered from her platform. Her projects and causes ranged from supporting high tech to fighting cancer. Often called the "funniest woman in politics", she was in demand as a public speaker until her death. Carpenter was named a Distinguished Alumna of the University of Texas in 1975, and in 1990 was named distinguished alumnae of the Department of Communications. She was named by Governor Mark White to the Texas Women's Hall of Fame.[7] She was given the ProBene Award of the College of Liberal Arts. The Liz Carpenter Lectureship was established in 1984 by a group of her friends, including Erma Bombeck and Mark Russell, who gave a performance at the Paramount Theater to raise funds for it. In the last several years, Mrs. Carpenter's lectureship in the College of Liberal Arts has brought President Bill Clinton, President Gerald Ford, Hillary Clinton, Jehan Sadat, Maya Angelou, Bill Moyers, Jane Goodall, and writers such as Betty Friedan, Nora Ephron, Shana Alexander, and Jean Auel and nationally known humorists such as Fannie Flagg and Carol Channing. The Liz Carpenter Award is given annually for the best scholarly book on the history of women and Texas published during the calendar year. The Award was established in 1992 by an anonymous donor who is committed to the publication of scholarly research on the history of women and Texas. The award honors Liz Carpenter, a sixth-generation Texan, for her commitment to the pursuit of the history of women in Texas and for a lifetime of achievements that qualify her as a maker of that history. She is the recipient of Alpha Phi's Frances E. Willard Award in 1980. She died in Austin, Texas in March 2010. "Liz Carpenter is much more than an American original: she is an American and a Texas original. Her inside stories of our nation's political life over the last half-century are priceless." —Walter Cronkite "No one remains the same person after meeting Liz ...(she) makes Auntie Mame look like a shut-in." —Erma Bombeck "Her combination of wit and wisdom is infectious, encouraging, enlightening. Texas never had a truer daughter. Her zest for life is an example to us all." —James Michener "(Liz is) the tilt-a-whirl at the State Fair with all the lights on and the music. The only difference between Liz and a tilt-a-whirl is that, with Liz, the ride never comes to an end." —Ann Richards "...a human dynamo, P.T. Barnum. She could sell anyone the proverbial Brooklyn Bridge or the Washington Monument." —Helen Thomas "She manages to phrase issues the way people experience them, rather than using all those words that end in t-i-o-n and deaden your brain." —Gloria Steinem https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liz_Carpenter Image: Luigi Novi [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Выбор редакции
23 декабря 2016, 07:06

Books to Read (or Buy), According to Me

The best seasonal present, this year and any year (since 1857), is of course a subscription to The Atlantic. Get…

22 декабря 2016, 23:54

Books for the Trump Years

These are the times that try men's and women's souls. With inauguration day just weeks away, if you must curl up in a ball in front of a fireplace or elsewhere, why not do it with a book or two that we hope can put the upcoming Trump years in perspective and context? We asked some of our BillMoyers.com contributors and past Moyers & Company guests to give us their ideas as to some appropriate material that might help us through the coming months of uncertainty... and incredulity. Bill Moyers, by the way, recommends Sheldon Wolin's Democracy Incorporated and Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death: "Together these two books explain how we got to the Age of Trump." Please add your own recommendations in the comments section. Andrew Bacevich Can mere books provide a proper azimuth when all of our navigational aids have seemingly failed, leaving the country adrift? In our present circumstance, I am hard-pressed to think of any that can do so. Our culture is badly fractured, our elites manage to combine arrogance and ignorance and old convictions -- like belief in a common good -- seem dated and obsolete. Faith in democracy has ebbed. In the eyes of some, "the people" have come to stand for anger, ignorance and bigotry. The imperative of the present moment is to challenge that judgment, to restore a sense of tolerance and a spirit of generosity. I wish I could point to the novel, poem or historical text that might do that, but my imagination is inadequate to the task. Perhaps a preliminary answer can be found in music rather than in literature -- for example, in the great compositions of Aaron Copland during his populist period. Sit in a quiet room and listen to "Our Town" (1940), "Lincoln Portrait" (1942), or above all, "Appalachian Spring" (1944). Then reflect on what America is meant to be and how far we have strayed from the path. Andrew J. Bacevich is the author most recently of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History. Kyle Dargan Though the ideological impasse we find ourselves in leaves me skeptical that those who would benefit most from reading these books would actually open them or open themselves to them, I would recommend George Schuyler's Black No More and Solmaz Sharif's Look. The former is a satirical novel in which the ability for African-Americans to medically become "white" exposes the political and financial elites' use of race as a means of pitting citizens against each other and against their own political and economic interests. Though published in 1931, the novel illuminates how the current manipulation of working-class "white" citizens' sense of identity and security is in fact no aberration but rather an extension of an unfortunate cycle of progress and regression that America has been caught in for the last 150 years. The latter is, as I characterized the book to Sharif herself, an almost cubist collection of poems that refuses to privilege one perspective as she speaks of and speaks back to her experiences as both subject of America's "war on terror" and one who has lost family to warring in the Middle East. Sharif has written that "the political is not topical or thematic, it is tactical and formal," and that sentiment is abundantly clear in this collection that uses erasure (redaction) to bring scrutiny to the censoring motives of the state and reappropriates language from the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. As Americans potentially spend the next four (or eight) years countering a leader who has thus far conducted himself as a domestic demagogue, it is important that we also remain aware of the face we turn toward the world -- and the drones we launch into it. The threat of the coming presidency does not negate the fact America was already in the business of "winning" at the expense, if not demise, of other global populations long before Nov. 8, 2016. Kyle Dargan is a professor of writing and literature at American University. The 32-year-old poet is the author of three award-winning collections of poetry: Logorrhea Dementia, Bouquet of Hungers and The Listening. Tamara Draut I believe that Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian Haney López is a particularly appropriate book for the political reality we find ourselves in today. Following in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump throughout this election used racially charged words to stoke the anxieties and resentment of white working-class voters who are worried about jobs, the economy and the changing face of our country. And while Trump is certainly not the first politician to employ this tactic, he could be the most detrimental to race healing in our country. While on the campaign trail, Trump used phrases like "illegal aliens," "law and order" and "inner city" to signal to white voters that immigrants and people of color are the cause of our country's problems. Trump used this scheme to undermine our democracy and manipulate voters into supporting policies that favor the wealthy while avoiding any substantive conversation about the real issues facing our country. Ian's book serves as a perfect reminder that this tactic has long been in the conservative playbook, that we have been here before and that we must continue to work hard every day to overcome this hate and divisiveness that hurts all Americans. Tamara Draut is vice president of policy and research at Demos Action and author of Sleeping Giant: How America's New Working Class Will Transform America. James Fallows For reasons I fear are obvious, books from and about America's original Gilded Age seem newly compelling. We know, looking backward, that the half-century after the Civil War prefigured nearly every social and economic problem of the current moment. That is: corrupt and mistrusted government; the sudden accumulation of new fortunes based on new technologies; the simultaneous disruption of traditional jobs, industries, communities and whole ways of life; dramatically increased pressure on the environment (including, in the US case, the eradication of the once-ubiquitous Passenger pigeon and near-elimination of the bison); rapid ethnic change driven by migration within the country and around the world; new opportunities for some individuals coupled with newly constructed racial and ethnic barriers; inequalities and injustices on a scale that previous technologies had not allowed. We also know, looking backward, that the original Gilded Age eventually gave way to reforms of the Populist and Progressive Era, and countervailing movements involving organized labor; women's suffrage; muckrakers and civic reform; nascent environmentalists; African-American migration, organization and cultural renaissance; governmental proponents of social insurance programs; and others. Because we know that these things happened, it's easy to forget that not a single one of them happened automatically, or without a serious fight. The reason to go back and read about them is to prepare for the long sequence of comparable fights ahead. What sorts of books am I talking about? Novels like Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser or The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells, about the dislocation of that era. Novelized exposes like The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, or straightout exposes like The History of the Standard Oil Company by Ida Tarbell. Similarly, Justin Kaplan's Lincoln Steffens, a Biography. Historical studies of the rise of the Jim Crow South and the cleavage of the Populist movement on the basis of race, following C. Vann Woodward's old studies on both those themes (The Strange Career of Jim Crow and Tom Watson: Agrarian Rebel). Great biographies of the people struggling for reform in that era, like Michael Kazin's A Godly Hero, about William Jennings Bryan. Analyses of how people a century ago coped with dislocation, from Robert Wiebe's classic The Search for Order to the even more classic The Education of Henry Adams, plus Steve Fraser's recent The Age of Acquiescence. Since this is all an exercise in learning what we can from looking backward, naturally the list includes Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward itself, a popular and influential time-travel book from 1888 imagining how the United States of 2000 might look if its social and economic problems were addressed rather than left to fester. I am peripherally aware of this era, and these books, and many of the themes. My resolution in the age of Trump is to use them as the starting point for more serious re-education on how and whether the struggles of a century ago inform the struggles ahead. James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. Todd Gitlin I still swear by Albert Camus, especially The Myth of Sisyphus and The Plague. In argument and in fiction, Camus is always reminding us that the long arc is a winding way and not a straight arrow. However bleak the outlook, we are responsible for our actions, and no one is exempt. We may choose servility, we may choose resistance, and we must do so in darkness, without guarantees. When we find our fellow spirits, we need to disabuse ourselves of illusions that there is any shortcut out of the swamp. The swamp was a long time in the making and it will be a long time finding our way out. What matters is that we always, every day, ask ourselves what we may do today that we will be proud of tomorrow. Todd Gitlin is a professor of journalism and sociology and chair of the Ph.D. program in communications at Columbia University. He is the author of 16 books, including several on journalism and politics. George Goehl Three books: Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt. For me, the introduction of Lawrence Goodwyn's seminal history of the populist movement of the 800s is one of the most helpful breakdowns of the components of large-scale social movements, and the sequencing of those components. It's a chapter I come back to because it helps me think about the features of democratic movements. Reluctant Reformers: Racism and Social Reform Movements in the United States. Bree Carlson, one of my mentors on all things race, recommended this book to me years ago, and I'm better for it. In a moment in which there is all kinds of confusion about race and class on the left, and potential over-correction around who we organize and the analysis we project, this book is a must-read. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. A lot of people have read this book, and a lot of people have not. Now's a good time to change that. The analysis within The New Jim Crow and the story of Michelle Alexander's own path to getting there is exactly the kind of reading we should be digging into now. George Goehl, a long-time community organizer, is the co-executive director of People's Action and has been described as one of the "intellectual gurus" behind the Occupy movement. Marty Kaplan Artists who live under authoritarian regimes are burdened by an awful threat and a terrible opportunity. The threat is silence -- a sentence executed by censorship, self-censorship, the stupefaction of audiences, imprisonment, torture, exile and death. The opportunity -- the obligation, really -- is storytelling: depicting the price that tyranny exacts on bodies, souls and societies. Sometimes those stories are fictional, scripted, allegorical, dystopian; sometimes they're histories, documentaries, biographies and autobiographies. The most searing nonfictional depiction of tyranny I know is Hope Against Hope, Nadezhda Mandelstam's memoir of Stalin's persecution of her husband, Osip Mandelstam, one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. The book is also a love story, a thriller, wicked satire, a field guide to Russian literature, a survival manual and a tragedy. It may turn out that our Years of Living Trumpishly will bear zero resemblance to Stalin's communism or Putin's kleptocracy. If that's the case, among the reasons may be the fearlessness of artists, and the public's appreciation of the debt that political freedom owes to artistic freedom. I don't know a better book for tuning our antennae to that appreciation than Hope Against Hope. Marty Kaplan is the Norman Lear professor of entertainment, media and society at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Sherry Turkle My suggestion focuses on the possibility that our institutions are fragile and will be under attack and we have to learn from Weimar to protect ourselves from authoritarianism. Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s by Otto Friedrich is very readable and includes the cultural and scientific life Hitler destroyed. The book is a good summary of the post-Treaty of Versailles era and the conditions that led to the rise of fascism, the seeming inability of the moderates to counteract fascism and the methodical destruction of democratic norms. It's a great intro to that part of history while not being overly long -- a plus for most readers. Sherry Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT, and founder and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

16 ноября 2016, 23:37

Be the Change

Be the change In many countries, if the populace voted for an unfit demagogue of unnatural proportions, the population would have to simply sit it out. In many countries, dictators take power and keep it for decades. There are parts of the world where a madman rises to power and the rest of the world watches for a generation before change is made. In the United States, we have elected in our cowardice and our shame an unfit president. I spoke to one of my friends last night who is always the first to be involved in national politics. His students are in mourning, and after comforting them, he is doing what Americans do; he is going back to work. He plans to not watch politics for the next four years. He's hibernating from politics. I understand. You get tired. You get beaten down, and this election has taken the wind out of our sails. Some people say, "That's what Trump wants, for us to be beaten down, for us to want to move to Canada," and I say, "I'm not interested in the least in what he wants." We've spent months hearing what he wants and none of it was good. I'm not interested for a moment in getting inside Trump's head. I'm sure it would be a sordid place to be. I'm interested in what can make America a country of which I can be proud. I travel to Europe several times a year; I'm interested in who we are and how the rest of the world sees America. But our young people are not tired and beaten down. They are protesting as is their right. They are protesting across the nation. Protests are a way of showing national outrage, they are a way of letting the far right know that we will be watching, that we will not hibernate, that they will be held accountable. I support the millennials' right to get out there and mourn collectively. Why do we go to concerts when we can hear music at home? It is to be with like-minded people. I love the millennial energy. I love them blazing toward change and taking the country with them. They know how to crowd source and they know how to mobilize, and they are going to change the world. The movement gathering steam on Change.org to request that the Electoral College follow the popular vote and vote for Hillary now has nearly four million signatures. But it is not being covered by much of the mainstream media. People Magazine and Huffington Post have covered it. It may be a way of venting, a way of processing fear, outrage, and anger, but it is better than hibernating, it is better than crying at home, This administration needs to know that the American people are engaged. And to my hibernating friend? Bears hibernate and then they come out of hibernation, eat some honey and fish and start walking around. If you need to be a bear, be a bear, but come out at some point and be part of the change that is coming. If all the Americans who are outraged wake up every day and be the change we are asking for, we can make America great because what makes America great is a celebration of individual identity of people of all race, religion, ethnicity, gender preference, and ability. It is compassion; it is creating safe spaces and safe cities. I read Bill Moyers and Viet Thanh Nguyen's writings about the end of empire, and it is a time for the end of empire. But conquest is not what makes this a country a place that people flock to, it's inclusion. Jazz was born in New Orleans because it was a city with so many different ethnic identities and musical influences that they comingled and created a new art form. That's America at our best. We're creating jazz for the world, a musical syncopation of flexibility, spontaneity and rhythm. Living together, celebrating, making music, writing stories, building community. We can still do this. The three branches of government rest on the will of the people and are supposed to serve the people. The world will judge us not on how we lie down but on how we get up and fight. Asking the Electoral College for change may be a symbolic ask, but it is part of the Constitution; it is possible, and just because it hasn't been done in our lifetime, doesn't mean it can't start now. Where would we be if Martin Luther King, and Rosa Parks and Cesar Chavez had said, "It can't be done?" Making change in America starts with me. I ask you this, if Hillary had won, would the Trump supporters be pressuring the Electoral College? Of course they would. The progressives are too timid; we must take action. Our lives are at stake as is the life of the planet. Let's step up to the plate and ask for the change for which the Constitution makes room. We the people. We Americans. Be the change. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

15 ноября 2016, 20:44

NOW THEY ASK: Will America Now Have a Pravda? With Breitbart.com’s Steve Bannon now in a seat of Whi…

NOW THEY ASK: Will America Now Have a Pravda? With Breitbart.com’s Steve Bannon now in a seat of White House power, Donald Trump will have a weapon no president has ever wielded, Jack Shafer claims at Politico. CTRL-F David Rhodes, zero mentions. CTRL-F John Dickerson, zero mentions. CTRL-F Stephanopoulos, zero mentions. CTRL-F Sharpton, zero mentions. […]

09 ноября 2016, 21:13

Most Influential Latino Evangelical Leader On How To Get 50% Latino Support For GOP

Bill Moyers once asked Pastor Sam Rodriguez (the president of the nation's largest coalition of Latino churches) who his political heroes are. Sam told him "JFK and Ronald Reagan." Moyers asked him how he could reconcile the two, but there really is no need to reconcile them. JFK and RR [...]

07 октября 2016, 23:13

Is It Possible to Reconcile with Trump Voters?

The last question asked in the October 4th vice-presidential was on a subject all Americans should worry about: "It has been a divisive campaign... if your ticket wins, what specifically are you going to do to unify the country and reassure the people who voted against you?" Democrat Tim Kaine replied that he was confident that Hillary Clinton could unify the US because she is a proven conciliator. Republican Mike Pence asserted Donald Trump would unify the country by making "America great again." If Clinton wins, is unity possible? The latest Huffington Post Poll of Polls shows Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump 48.4 percent to 41.6 percent. Probably the hard-core Trump base is around 30 percent of voters. Two years ago, Pew Research released a "Typology of American politics." The Pew typology distinguished between three classes of voters: the general public, registered voters, and the "politically engaged." In the category "politically engaged" there were three categories of Republicans: "Steadfast Conservatives: socially conservative populists" at 19 percent; "Business Conservatives: Pro-Wall street, pro-immigrant" at 17 percent; and "Young Outsiders: conservative views on government, not on social issues" at 11 percent. The hard-core Trump base is probably composed of "Steadfast Conservatives" and "Young Outsiders" for 30 percent -- roughly the size of the Tea Party movement. In March, Bill Moyers interviewed Dr. Robert Jones, whose organization conducted the "American Values Survey." Dr. Jones said that Trump voters: "... are best understood not as values voters, not even as Tea Party voters, but as nostalgia voters, these voters that are looking back to -- they're culturally and economically disaffected voters that are anxious to hold on to a white conservative Christian culture that's passing from the scene." The Trump voters are united by their skepticism about government: both the perceived failings of the Obama Administration (and, by association, Hillary Clinton) and their negative feelings about immigration. Berkeley Professor Lawrence Rosenthal, , Executive Director of the Center for Right-Wing Studies,has amplified this description. Rosenthal says Trump supporters are a new form of right-wing populism -- a blend of the Tea Party plus the "alt-right" ("a rebranding of classic white nationalism.") They are united by their disdain for immigrants and "elites," including Wall Street, Washington, and Hollywood. They feel "their" country slipping away and believe their children will have a tougher life than they do. (Rosenthal observed that, before Trump, the model for these voters was Sarah Palin, who during her 2008 campaign for Vice President, expressed the same anger and disdain for political correctness.) In an August 15th study for the Gallup organization, Jonathan Rockwell offered a more nuanced view of Trump voters: "His supporters are less educated and more likely to work in blue collar occupations, but they earn relatively high household incomes... no other presidential candidate from either party received greater support from places with high white mortality, high segregation, and low mobility." In other words, the Trump voters live in segregated failing communities. They are angry and Trump has channeled this anger. The New Yorker's George Saunders observed the Trump campaign: "From the beginning, America has been of two minds about the Other. One mind says, be suspicious of it, dominate it, deport it, exploit it, enslave it, kill it as needed. The other mind denies that there can be any such thing as the Other, in the face of the claim that all are created equal... The first mind has always held violence nearby, to use as needed." Trump voters are those who hold the first mind; who are extremely fearful of "the Other." Trump has ruthlessly exploited this base and amplified their fear. New Yorker contributor Saunders characterized Trump as "a fan of winning by any means necessary, exploiting our recent dullness and our aversion to calling stupidity, stupidity." Hillary Clinton will likely become the 45th president. Her biggest challenge will be unifying the country, particularly the hardcore Trump voters. It will be a daunting task. Writing in the Huffington Post , liberal commentator Robert Kuttner lamented that Trump has unloosed "the forces of real hate... Trump will have goons as poll watchers. He will find ways to insist that the election was stolen. He will continue to make more mischief, impeaching the legitimacy of our institutions." All voters should hope that Hillary Clinton is as good at reconciliation as her running-mate, Tim Kaine, says she is. After the election, Hillary will reach out to Trump voters but they won't take her seriously. To bridge the social chasm between her advocates and the Trump folks, Hillary will have to provide real economic change (good jobs and a lessening of inequality). Hillary will have to give them a reason to be hopeful, convince that America really is great. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

07 октября 2016, 21:43

Hillary Waffled on Consumer Bankruptcy and Main Street Took the Hit

Linda Tirelli - a bankruptcy attorney in White Plains, New York - has a case load of approximately twelve hundred clients and they're ordinary folks: first responders, retirees, teachers, construction workers. Most are in bankruptcy because they're unemployed or underemployed; collateral damage from 2008's financial meltdown. Their situation, according to Tirelli, is made far worse because they would like to stay in place while trying to put their lives together but changes to the consumer bankruptcy code in 2005 have made that all but impossible. Hillary Clinton, as New York's Senator, should have stepped up to the plate and fought the change because the old code provided for something called judicial modification; a provision that that allowed a bankruptcy judge to force banks to modify a homeowner's mortgage. Hillary didn't and almost three years after the bill's passage the housing market tanked and took the world's economy with it. Tens of millions of homeowners were sucked into the maws of the foreclosure machine, chewed up and spit out; in the process losing equity, credit, sleep, health, not to mention self-respect. Much of this agita could have been ameliorated, according to Tirelli: Homes might have been saved if following Obama's election the administration supported judicial modification and it would have cost the taxpayers NOTHING, zip, zero, zilch. If the banks and servicers felt the pressure that a bankruptcy judge could modify a mortgage loan on a primary residence then they would have considered doing more modifications on their own; avoiding the cost of having lawyers argue their case in bankruptcy court. I've written about Tirelli for American Banker and Huffington Post; she's a go-to source for news and among her noteworthy feats was the outing of foreclosure fraud by Wells Fargo in 2014. That bit of rock-kicking got her named lawyer of the year by 4,000 of her colleagues, members of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys Together with fellow lawyers - and on their own nickel -- Tirelli recalls traveling to DC, pre-2008 election, to surf the halls of Congress, peeking and poking around for a friendly face who might help restore judicial modification to the bankruptcy code. Tirelli, a registered Republican, found those friendly faces in the guise of the two Democratic presidential contenders, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton: The former, all gung ho for the idea; the latter, well, a staffer in Hillary's office - all smiles - promised to forward the information because, as he told Tirelli, the Senator "knows how important the issue is to consumers." So, in 2008 Tirelli went all democratic, voting for Obama but as the financial tsunami drowned Main Street the new President's support for judicial modification turned out to be just another promise with fingers crossed behind back. The first two versions of the TARP bill tried to float this life preserver but the renewed nexus of a financially empowered Wall Street and friendly faces like Timmy Geithner at Treasury conspired to send judicial modification to never/never land. Ironically, the 2005 reform bill did allow a homeowner to save a second home or rental property. Back Asswards, as Tirelli puts it: It's not a coincidence that the rules changed such that I can save your vacation property before I can save your primary residence. Let's face it, the majority of homeowners don't have the luxury of owning a rental or secondary property so they made damn sure that we couldn't do judicial modifications on primary residences. It would have hurt Wall Street but it would have saved homeowners. Hurting Wall Street was not on Senator Clinton's agenda in 2005. She sang a different tune as First Lady. After reading a 1998 New York Times op-ed by Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren, Hillary summoned the Prof to a meeting and listened intently to a passion fueled sermon about the impact of changes to the bankruptcy code on middle-class families who fall on hard times. Efforts to change the code were led by lobbyists for the credit card industry who feared that high carb profits would continue to take a hit when drowning-in-debt consumers sought refuge in Chapter 7 (which was, as many critics pointed out at the time, the logical end to a relentless marketing campaign to convince Americans that better lives could be led through the unbridled use of plastic). Elizabeth Warren sensed the danger early on and explained to Hillary that changes to the code would preserve the credit card industry's bottom line but it came at a high cost. Warren made her case using the example of a divorced mother with kiddies, pointing out the level playing field sought by the credit card industry would make hubby's cash fair game for the snatching and eliminate the sacrosanct nature of child support and alimony. Not good for a divorced mom who wants to keep family in hearth and home. According to Warren, First Lady Hillary "got it." So much so that she implored husband Bill to kill the piece of bankruptcy reform legislation that sat ready for his John Hancock. Bill acceded to Hillary's wishes. It was his last act in office; pocket vetoing the bill in 2000. Fast forward to Senator Clinton: 2001, who now supported the proposed changes to the bankruptcy law. The bill was essentially the same but Hillary had a changed and as Elizabeth Warren told Bill Moyers in a 2004 interview the Senator's political priorities now seemed to fall in synch with her new constituency: Wall Street. Senator Clinton, together with 36 other Democrats including Senator Joe Biden, voted "yea" for the reform bill in 2001 but the Congressional numbers didn't add up for passage. It would take a new election to turn a recalcitrant Congress into an enthusiastic one, passing the so-called "Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act," in April of 2005. While placing added burdens on regular folks seeking a safe harbor to escape from debt, Mega-Industries that screwed up badly like fraud-laden Enron, Adelphi, Worldcom and Global Crossing could still flock to bankruptcy court as they figured out next moves. The new consumer bankruptcy code raised fees for filing (a real encouragement if you're already broke) and to ramp up the shame factor (something that the debt-collection industry loves to exploit) you had to pay for taking a kindergarten-style financial literacy review which seemed to financially benefit only the companies that were offering the course No longer would the bankruptcy court provide a reprieve for hard-pressed debtors seeking the traditional "fresh start" while trying to hold on to a primary residence. True to form, Senator Sanders voted no whenever the bill came up for a vote. In the August, 2007, Presidential primary debate with Barack Obama, Hillary offered mea culpas for supporting the bill in 2001 (she abstained in 2005). Hillary has since remained silently weak-kneed on the issue of consumer bankruptcy and in the current campaign has avoided discussing any real alternatives for underwater homeowners who remain subject to the not-so-tender mercies of mortgage servicers and third-party investors (Trump has remained silent as well). Even Treasury's half-hearted modification program, HAMP, will be rolling up by year's end and there's been little in the way of suggestions regarding a replacement. In 2014, Senator Warren, citing failed efforts to ameliorate the housing crisis took the Obama Administration to task claiming that efforts to reverse the foreclosure damage done by Wall Street was the equivalent of trying to put out a forest fire with an eye dropper. Like a downed fighter with the best corner men money can buy, Wall Street has picked itself back up, gotten back into the ring, dusted off the derivatives and damn any regulatory torpedoes are headed full speed into new revenue streams including housing, putting aside any talk of bad old days coming back. No, they'd like you to believe it's a thing of the past - a legacy - but stats prove otherwise. It's still a problem and something that Tirelli is keen to talk about. There are still millions of homeowners in foreclosure and Hillary sat idly by while the 2005 bankruptcy reform act stripped judges of their power to modify mortgages. As far as I'm concerned - unfortunately - my business will continue to boom. I can only imagine the conflicts that went on in Liz Warren's head when arriving at the decision to bite the bullet and support Hillary. If Secretary Clinton becomes President Clinton - and if Warren allows her voice to be drowned out by Wall Street's chumminess with the new Prez -- then the bitten bullet may prove to be a dum-dum with splinters ricocheting off Main Street sidewalks and targeting ordinary Americans. Joel Sucher is director/writer and co-founder of Pacific Street Films and is currently finishing a comic novel, The Insufferable Business of Documentary Filmmaking. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Выбор редакции
20 сентября 2016, 23:11

With debates looming, progressives fret about lowered expectations for Trump

The upcoming debates "threaten an effect on democracy more like Leopold and Loeb than Lincoln and Douglas," Bill Moyers says.

14 сентября 2016, 22:32

To Endorse, Or Not To Endorse--That Is The (Wrong) Question

Public figures and political organizations are wringing their hands: Do we publicly throw our weight behind a fear-mongering demagogue or do we suck it up and endorse a "career politician" who can't seem to earn voters' trust? But what if "endorsement" is a political red herring? "Endorsing" suggests approval, but for a lot of us that option is closed. But, hey, we still have to choose--we must choose because democracy itself is at stake today. By this we mean that Big Money has come to dominate our political system and voting rights are under attack. As democracy itself is in jeopardy, in this election here's what we strive for: to act strategically--weighing the long-term consequences of the choices available today. We start with the following assumption: that none of the huge challenges our nation faces--from deepening economic inequality to racial injustice to climate change--can be met without core democracy reforms, including restoring the Voting Rights Act and public financing of elections. We also assume that these foundational reforms can't happen without a broad, deep citizens' movement pushing, pushing, pushing the future president. Isn't this what Bernie Sanders tried hard to get us to understand from the beginning of his campaign? He stressed the importance of continuing the fight the day after Election Day. History lessons often help in a crisis, so what can we learn? Consider Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom professor Peter Dreier describes as "cautious, even conservative" before being pushed to act. FDR famously declared to a group of activists in the 1930s "You have convinced me, now go out and make me do it." And so they did, introducing decades of advancement for all classes, especially the poorest. Or, consider the Lyndon B. Johnson era. Before his presidency, Johnson had voted against every single piece of civil rights legislation over his two decades in Congress, notes Ari Berman in Give Us the Ballot. Yet, he pushed through the most important Civil Rights legislation since Reconstruction and then the War on Poverty, helping to cut the poverty rate in half in just over a decade. Johnson understood that only citizen pressure could give him the muscle to act against Southern opposition: So he said to Martin Luther King, "Ok you go out there, Dr. King, and keep doing what you are doing, and make it possible for me to do the right thing," Bill Moyers recounts. It was only after King, John Lewis, and company marched in Selma and met brutal repression, creating a political crisis, that LBJ was able to act. Lesson? Previous voting records aren't always indicators of a president's policy positions. Much depends on what we citizens do. This insight focuses the mind on building a powerful citizens' movement. And when it's not there, what happens? After President Obama's election, the activism his campaign sparked fell apart, as we failed to build a powerful citizens' movement pressing the president and Congress to pass foundational democracy reforms. So, a key strategic question for us: Which candidate today is likely to respond to pressure representing majority opinion on strengthening democracy? After all, 85 percent of Americans want fundamental changes in the way we fund our elections. Some claim that Clinton and Trump are equally as (un)likely to correct our deep "democratic deficit." We strongly disagree. Clinton and the Democratic Party's platform declare support for virtually every major democracy reform now pursued by dozens of national citizen organizations. (See the Field Guide to Money-Out-of Politics) Reforms include voting rights, removing barriers to voting, public-and-small-donor financing of campaigns, and ending political gerrymandering, as well as beginning the process of a constitutional amendment to establish that only real people (not corporations) have constitutional rights. Trump, on the other hand, has expressed no concrete plan or even desire for campaign finance or voting rights reform. Instead he's implicitly suggested intimidating voters on Election Day. Of course, legislation isn't the only thing we have to think about to be strategic. The president has the power of appointment with huge consequences. Most obvious is the Supreme Court vacancy. Obama's nominee, Justice Merrick Garland, will likely not be confirmed by the end of this year. So either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will shape the ideological composition of the Court for years to come. Vital issues from money in politics to voting rights to environmental regulation all hang in the balance. And then there are cabinet appointments. Often under-the radar administrative positions often dictate significant policy shifts. Think of Ronald Reagan's cabinet appointments, and, for example, his choice of Anne Burford to head the Environmental Protection Agency. There, she actively diminished the EPA's power, cutting its budget by over one-fifth and rolling back environmental protections. Given the extreme ideological position of the GOP on climate change, it's not paranoid to expect a similar tactic if Trump is elected. Or, imagine what New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would do as Attorney General? Back in April, we both gained a deep sense of the power of united citizens as we marched with Democracy Spring from Philly to D.C. and participated in its historic sit-in for money-out-of-politics, voting reform, and a constitutional amendment. After deep discussion, Democracy Spring took a bold step by advocating that its members strategically vote for Clinton. This is not an endorsement, Democracy Spring makes clear, but part of a strategic plan. At a moment of national crisis, each of us has to make us a choice, asking which candidate's presidency could give us the best shot at achieving real democracy? As with Democracy Spring, we, too, see only one strategic choice. With Clinton, there is at least hope for building a "movement of movements"--a true Democracy Movement to "make her do it"--that is, to give her the shove and the necessary muscle to follow through on her promises. As Bernie has reminded us, as FDR and LBJ have shown us, the real fight for democracy will begin the day after the election. Being strategic involves one's own vote, and beyond: It means being able to look oneself in the mirror the morning after the election and ask: Did I do enough to create the possibility for foundational reform? Until November, therefore, we will be doing all we can to register voters, persuade the disengaged to vote, and help get people to the polls on Election Day. We hope to see you out on the streets and at the polls with us. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

12 сентября 2016, 16:04

We, The Plutocrats vs. We, The People

The following is a condensed version of a speech that Bill Moyers delivered at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, on July 8, 2016, and is crossposted at TomDispatch.com. Sixty-six years ago this summer, on my 16th birthday, I went to work for the daily newspaper in the small East Texas town of Marshall where I grew up. It was a good place to be a cub reporter -- small enough to navigate but big enough to keep me busy and learning something every day. I soon had a stroke of luck. Some of the paper's old hands were on vacation or out sick and I was assigned to help cover what came to be known across the country as "the housewives' rebellion." Fifteen women in my hometown decided not to pay the Social Security withholding tax for their domestic workers. Those housewives were white, their housekeepers black. Almost half of all employed black women in the country then were in domestic service. Because they tended to earn lower wages, accumulate less savings and be stuck in those jobs all their lives, social security was their only insurance against poverty in old age. Yet their plight did not move their employers. The housewives argued that Social Security was unconstitutional and imposing it was taxation without representation. They even equated it with slavery. They also claimed that "requiring us to collect [the tax] is no different from requiring us to collect the garbage." So they hired a high-powered lawyer -- a notorious former congressman from Texas who had once chaired the House Un-American Activities Committee -- and took their case to court. They lost, and eventually wound up holding their noses and paying the tax, but not before their rebellion had become national news. The stories I helped report for the local paper were picked up and carried across the country by the Associated Press. One day, the managing editor called me over and pointed to the AP Teletype machine beside his desk. Moving across the wire was a notice citing our paper and its reporters for our coverage of the housewives' rebellion. I was hooked, and in one way or another I've continued to engage the issues of money and power, equality and democracy over a lifetime spent at the intersection between politics and journalism. It took me awhile to put the housewives' rebellion into perspective. Race played a role, of course. Marshall was a segregated, antebellum town of 20,000, half of whom were white, the other half black. White ruled, but more than race was at work. Those 15 housewives were respectable townsfolk, good neighbors, regulars at church (some of them at my church). Their children were my friends; many of them were active in community affairs; and their husbands were pillars of the town's business and professional class. So what brought on that spasm of rebellion?  They simply couldn't see beyond their own prerogatives. Fiercely loyal to their families, their clubs, their charities and their congregations -- fiercely loyal, that is, to their own kind -- they narrowly defined membership in democracy to include only people like themselves. They expected to be comfortable and secure in their old age, but the women who washed and ironed their laundry, wiped their children's bottoms, made their husbands' beds and cooked their family's meals would also grow old and frail, sick and decrepit, lose their husbands and face the ravages of time alone, with nothing to show from their years of labor but the crease in their brow and the knots on their knuckles. In one way or another, this is the oldest story in our country's history: the struggle to determine whether "we, the people" is a metaphysical reality -- one nation, indivisible -- or merely a charade masquerading as piety and manipulated by the powerful and privileged to sustain their own way of life at the expense of others. "I Contain Multitudes" There is a vast difference between a society whose arrangements roughly serve all its citizens and one whose institutions have been converted into a stupendous fraud, a democracy in name only. I have no doubt about what the United States of America was meant to be. It's spelled out right there in the 52 most revolutionary words in our founding documents, the preamble to our Constitution, proclaiming the sovereignty of the people as the moral base of government: We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. What do those words mean, if not that we are all in the business of nation-building together? Now, I recognize that we've never been a country of angels guided by a presidium of saints. Early America was a moral morass. One in five people in the new nation was enslaved. Justice for the poor meant stocks and stockades. Women suffered virtual peonage. Heretics were driven into exile, or worse. Native people -- the Indians -- would be forcibly removed from their land, their fate a "trail of tears" and broken treaties. No, I'm not a romantic about our history and I harbor no idealized notions of politics and democracy. Remember, I worked for President Lyndon Johnson. I heard him often repeat the story of the Texas poker shark who leaned across the table and said to his mark: "Play the cards fair, Reuben. I know what I dealt you." LBJ knew politics. Nor do I romanticize "the people." When I began reporting on the state legislature while a student at the University of Texas, a wily old state senator offered to acquaint me with how the place worked. We stood at the back of the Senate floor as he pointed to his colleagues spread out around the chamber -- playing cards, napping, nipping, winking at pretty young visitors in the gallery -- and he said to me, "If you think these guys are bad, you should see the people who sent them there." And yet, despite the flaws and contradictions of human nature -- or perhaps because of them -- something took hold here. The American people forged a civilization: that thin veneer of civility stretched across the passions of the human heart. Because it can snap at any moment, or slowly weaken from abuse and neglect until it fades away, civilization requires a commitment to the notion (contrary to what those Marshall housewives believed) that we are all in this together. American democracy grew a soul, as it were -- given voice by one of our greatest poets, Walt Whitman, with his all-inclusive embrace in Song of Myself: Whoever degrades another degrades me, and whatever is done or said returns at last to me... I speak the pass-word primeval -- I give the sign of democracy; By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart of on the same terms... (I am large -- I contain multitudes.) Author Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has vividly described Whitman seeing himself in whomever he met in America. As he wrote in I Sing the Body Electric: -- the horseman in his saddle, Girls, mothers, housekeepers, in all their performances, The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their open dinner kettles and their wives waiting, The female soothing a child -- the farmer's daughter in the garden or cowyard, The young fellow hoeing corn -- Whitman's words celebrate what Americans shared at a time when they were less dependent on each other than we are today. As Townsend put it, "Many more people lived on farms in the nineteenth century, and so they could be a lot more self-reliant; growing their own food, sewing their clothes, building their homes. But rather than applauding what each American could do in isolation, Whitman celebrated the vast chorus: 'I hear America singing.'" The chorus he heard was of multitudinous voices, a mighty choir of humanity. Whitman saw something else in the soul of the country: Americans at work, the laboring people whose toil and sweat built this nation. Townsend contrasts his attitude with the way politicians and the media today -- in their endless debates about wealth creation, capital gains reduction and high corporate taxes -- seem to have forgotten working people. "But Whitman wouldn't have forgotten them." She writes, "He celebrates a nation where everyone is worthy, not where a few do well." President Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood the soul of democracy too. He expressed it politically, although his words often ring like poetry. Paradoxically, to this scion of the American aristocracy, the soul of democracy meant political equality. "Inside the polling booth," he said, "every American man and woman stands as the equal of every other American man and woman. There they have no superiors. There they have no masters save their own minds and consciences." God knows it took us a long time to get there. Every claim of political equality in our history has been met by fierce resistance from those who relished for themselves what they would deny others. After President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation it took a century before Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 -- a hundred years of Jim Crow law and Jim Crow lynchings, of forced labor and coerced segregation, of beatings and bombings, of public humiliation and degradation, of courageous but costly protests and demonstrations. Think of it: another hundred years before the freedom won on the bloody battlefields of the Civil War was finally secured in the law of the land. And here's something else to think about: Only one of the women present at the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1848 -- only one, Charlotte Woodward -- lived long enough to see women actually get to vote. "We Pick That Rabbit Out of the Hat" So it was, in the face of constant resistance, that many heroes -- sung and unsung -- sacrificed, suffered and died so that all Americans could gain an equal footing inside that voting booth on a level playing field on the ground floor of democracy.  And yet today money has become the great unequalizer, the usurper of our democratic soul. No one saw this more clearly than that conservative icon Barry Goldwater, longtime Republican senator from Arizona and one-time Republican nominee for the presidency. Here are his words from almost 30 years ago: The fact that liberty depended on honest elections was of the utmost importance to the patriots who founded our nation and wrote the Constitution. They knew that corruption destroyed the prime requisite of constitutional liberty: an independent legislature free from any influence other than that of the people. Applying these principles to modern times, we can make the following conclusions: To be successful, representative government assumes that elections will be controlled by the citizenry at large, not by those who give the most money. Electors must believe that their vote counts. Elected officials must owe their allegiance to the people, not to their own wealth or to the wealth of interest groups that speak only for the selfish fringes of the whole community. About the time Senator Goldwater was writing those words, Oliver Stone released his movie Wall Street. Remember it? Michael Douglas played the high roller Gordon Gekko, who used inside information obtained by his ambitious young protégé, Bud Fox, to manipulate the stock of a company that he intended to sell off for a huge personal windfall, while throwing its workers, including Bud's own blue-collar father, overboard. The younger man is aghast and repentant at having participated in such duplicity and chicanery, and he storms into Gekko's office to protest, asking, "How much is enough, Gordon?" Gekko answers: "The richest one percent of this country owns half our country's wealth, five trillion dollars... You got 90 percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own. We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip. We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it. Now, you're not naïve enough to think we're living in a democracy, are you, Buddy?  It's the free market. And you're part of it." That was in the high-flying 1980s, the dawn of today's new gilded age. The Greek historian Plutarch is said to have warned that "an imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of a Republic." Yet as the Washington Post pointed out recently, income inequality may be higher at this moment than at any time in the American past. When I was a young man in Washington in the 1960s, most of the country's growth accrued to the bottom 90 percent of households. From the end of World War II until the early 1970s, in fact, income grew at a slightly faster rate at the bottom and middle of American society than at the top. In 2009, economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez explored decades of tax data and found that from 1950 through 1980 the average income of the bottom 90 percent of Americans had grown, from $17,719 to $30,941. That represented a 75 percent increase in 2008 dollars. Since 1980, the economy has continued to grow impressively, but most of the benefits have migrated to the top. In these years, workers were more productive but received less of the wealth they were helping to create. In the late 1970s, the richest 1 percent received 9 percent of total income and held 19 percent of the nation's wealth. The share of total income going to that 1 percent would then rise to more than 23 percent by 2007, while their share of total wealth would grow to 35 percent. And that was all before the economic meltdown of 2007-2008. Even though everyone took a hit during the recession that followed, the top 10 percent now hold more than three-quarters of the country's total family wealth. I know, I know: statistics have a way of causing eyes to glaze over, but these statistics highlight an ugly truth about America: inequality matters. It slows economic growth, undermines health, erodes social cohesion and solidarity, and starves education. In their study The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett found that the most consistent predictor of mental illness, infant mortality, low educational achievement, teenage births, homicides, and incarceration was economic inequality.   So bear with me as I keep the statistics flowing. The Pew Research Center recently released a new study indicating that, between 2000 and 2014, the middle class shrank in virtually all parts of the country. Nine out of ten metropolitan areas showed a decline in middle-class neighborhoods. And remember, we aren't even talking about over 45 million people who are living in poverty. Meanwhile, between 2009 and 2013, that top 1 percent captured 85 percent percent of all income growth. Even after the economy improved in 2015, they still took in more than half of the income growth and by 2013 held nearly half of all the stock and mutual fund assets Americans owned.  Now, concentrations of wealth would be far less of an issue if the rest of society were benefitting proportionally. But that isn't the case. Once upon a time, according to Isabel Sawhill and Sara McClanahan in their 2006 report Opportunity in America, the American ideal was one in which all children had "a roughly equal chance of success regardless of the economic status of the family into which they were born." Almost 10 years ago, economist Jeffrey Madrick wrote that, as recently as the 1980s, economists thought that "in the land of Horatio Alger only 20 percent of one's future income was determined by one's father's income." He then cited research showing that, by 2007, "60 percent of a son's income [was] determined by the level of income of the father. For women, it [was] roughly the same." It may be even higher today, but clearly a child's chance of success in life is greatly improved if he's born on third base and his father has been tipping the umpire. This raises an old question, one highlighted by the British critic and public intellectual Terry Eagleton in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education: Why is it that the capitalist West has accumulated more resources than human history has ever witnessed, yet appears powerless to overcome poverty, starvation, exploitation, and inequality?... Why does private wealth seem to go hand in hand with public squalor? Is it... plausible to maintain that there is something in the nature of capitalism itself which generates deprivation and inequality? The answer, to me, is self-evident. Capitalism produces winners and losers big time. The winners use their wealth to gain political power, often through campaign contributions and lobbying. In this way, they only increase their influence over the choices made by the politicians indebted to them. While there are certainly differences between Democrats and Republicans on economic and social issues, both parties cater to wealthy individuals and interests seeking to enrich their bottom lines with the help of the policies of the state (loopholes, subsidies, tax breaks, deregulation). No matter which party is in power, the interests of big business are largely heeded. More on that later, but first, a confession. The legendary broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow told his generation of journalists that bias is okay as long as you don't try to hide it. Here's mine: plutocracy and democracy don't mix. As the late (and great) Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, "We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Of course the rich can buy more homes, cars, vacations, gadgets, and gizmos than anyone else, but they should not be able to buy more democracy. That they can and do is a despicable blot on American politics that is now spreading like a giant oil spill. In May, President Obama and I both spoke at the Rutgers University commencement ceremony. He was at his inspirational best as 50,000 people leaned into every word. He lifted the hearts of those young men and women heading out into our troubled world, but I cringed when he said, "Contrary to what we hear sometimes from both the left as well as the right, the system isn't as rigged as you think..." Wrong, Mr. President, just plain wrong. The people are way ahead of you on this. In a recent poll, 71 percent of Americans across lines of ethnicity, class, age, and gender said they believe the US economy is rigged. People reported that they are working harder for financial security. One quarter of the respondents had not taken a vacation in more than five years. Seventy-one percent said that they are afraid of unexpected medical bills; 53 percent feared not being able to make a mortgage payment; and, among renters, 60 percent worried that they might not make the monthly rent. Millions of Americans, in other words, are living on the edge. Yet the country has not confronted the question of how we will continue to prosper without a workforce that can pay for its goods and services. Who Dunnit? You didn't have to read Das Kapital to see this coming or to realize that the United States was being transformed into one of the harshest, most unforgiving societies among the industrial democracies. You could instead have read the Economist, arguably the most influential business-friendly magazine in the English-speaking world. I keep in my files a warning published in that magazine a dozen years ago, on the eve of George W. Bush's second term. The editors concluded back then that, with income inequality in the US reaching levels not seen since the first Gilded Age and social mobility diminishing, "the United States risks calcifying into a European-style class-based society." And mind you, that was before the financial meltdown of 2007-2008, before the bailout of Wall Street, before the recession that only widened the gap between the super-rich and everyone else. Ever since then, the great sucking sound we've been hearing is wealth heading upwards. The United States now has a level of income inequality unprecedented in our history and so dramatic it's almost impossible to wrap one's mind around. Contrary to what the president said at Rutgers, this is not the way the world works; it's the way the world is made to work by those with the money and power. The movers and shakers -- the big winners -- keep repeating the mantra that this inequality was inevitable, the result of the globalization of finance and advances in technology in an increasingly complex world. Those are part of the story, but only part. As G.K. Chesterton wrote a century ago, "In every serious doctrine of the destiny of men, there is some trace of the doctrine of the equality of men. But the capitalist really depends on some religion of inequality." Exactly. In our case, a religion of invention, not revelation, politically engineered over the last 40 years. Yes, politically engineered. On this development, you can't do better than read Winner Take All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, the Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson of political science. They were mystified by what had happened to the post-World War II notion of "shared prosperity"; puzzled by the ways in which ever more wealth has gone to the rich and super rich; vexed that hedge-fund managers pull in billions of dollars, yet pay taxes at lower rates than their secretaries; curious about why politicians kept slashing taxes on the very rich and handing huge tax breaks and subsidies to corporations that are downsizing their work forces; troubled that the heart of the American Dream -- upward mobility -- seemed to have stopped beating; and dumbfounded that all of this could happen in a democracy whose politicians were supposed to serve the greatest good for the greatest number. So Hacker and Pierson set out to find out "how our economy stopped working to provide prosperity and security for the broad middle class." In other words, they wanted to know: "Who dunnit?" They found the culprit. With convincing documentation they concluded, "Step by step and debate by debate, America's public officials have rewritten the rules of American politics and the American economy in ways that have benefitted the few at the expense of the many." There you have it: the winners bought off the gatekeepers, then gamed the system. And when the fix was in they turned our economy into a feast for the predators, "saddling Americans with greater debt, tearing new holes in the safety net, and imposing broad financial risks on Americans as workers, investors, and taxpayers." The end result, Hacker and Pierson conclude, is that the United States is looking more and more like the capitalist oligarchies of Brazil, Mexico, and Russia, where most of the wealth is concentrated at the top while the bottom grows larger and larger with everyone in between just barely getting by. Bruce Springsteen sings of "the country we carry in our hearts." This isn't it. "God's Work" Looking back, you have to wonder how we could have ignored the warning signs. In the 1970s, Big Business began to refine its ability to act as a class and gang up on Congress. Even before the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, political action committees deluged politics with dollars. Foundations, corporations, and rich individuals funded think tanks that churned out study after study with results skewed to their ideology and interests. Political strategists made alliances with the religious right, with Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority and Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition, to zealously wage a cultural holy war that would camouflage the economic assault on working people and the middle class. To help cover up this heist of the economy, an appealing intellectual gloss was needed. So public intellectuals were recruited and subsidized to turn "globalization," "neo-liberalism," and "the Washington Consensus" into a theological belief system. The "dismal science of economics" became a miracle of faith. Wall Street glistened as the new Promised Land, while few noticed that those angels dancing on the head of a pin were really witchdoctors with MBAs brewing voodoo magic. The greed of the Gordon Gekkos -- once considered a vice -- was transformed into a virtue. One of the high priests of this faith, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, looking in wonder on all that his company had wrought, pronounced it "God's work." A prominent neoconservative religious philosopher even articulated a "theology of the corporation."  I kid you not. And its devotees lifted their voices in hymns of praise to wealth creation as participation in the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth.  Self-interest became the Gospel of the Gilded Age. No one today articulates this winner-take-all philosophy more candidly than Ray Dalio. Think of him as the King Midas of hedge funds, with a personal worth estimated at almost $16 billion and a company, Bridgewater Associates, reportedly worth as much as $154 billion. Dalio fancies himself a philosopher and has written a book of maxims explaining his philosophy. It boils down to: "Be a hyena. Attack the Wildebeest." (Wildebeests, antelopes native to southern Africa -- as I learned when we once filmed a documentary there -- are no match for the flesh-eating dog-like spotted hyenas that gorge on them.)  Here's what Dalio wrote about being a Wall Street hyena: ...when a pack of hyenas takes down a young wildebeest, is this good or bad? At face value, this seems terrible; the poor wildebeest suffers and dies. Some people might even say that the hyenas are evil. Yet this type of apparently evil behavior exists throughout nature through all species... like death itself, this behavior is integral to the enormously complex and efficient system that has worked for as long as there has been life... [It] is good for both the hyenas, who are operating in their self-interest, and the interests of the greater system, which includes the wildebeest, because killing and eating the wildebeest fosters evolution, i.e., the natural process of improvement... Like the hyenas attacking the wildebeest, successful people might not even know if or how their pursuit of self-interest helps evolution, but it typically does. He concludes: "How much money people have earned is a rough measure of how much they gave society what it wanted..." Not this time, Ray.  This time, the free market for hyenas became a slaughterhouse for the wildebeest. Collapsing shares and house prices destroyed more than a quarter of the wealth of the average household. Many people have yet to recover from the crash and recession that followed. They are still saddled with burdensome debt; their retirement accounts are still anemic. All of this was, by the hyena's accounting, a social good, "an improvement in the natural process," as Dalio puts it. Nonsense. Bull. Human beings have struggled long and hard to build civilization; his doctrine of "progress" is taking us back to the jungle. And by the way, there's a footnote to the Dalio story. Early this year, the founder of the world's largest hedge fund, and by many accounts the richest man in Connecticut where it is headquartered, threatened to take his firm elsewhere if he didn't get concessions from the state. You might have thought that the governor, a Democrat, would have thrown him out of his office for the implicit threat involved. But no, he buckled and Dalio got the $22 million in aid -- a $5 million grant and a $17 million loan -- that he was demanding to expand his operations. It's a loan that may be forgiven if he keeps jobs in Connecticut and creates new ones. No doubt he left the governor's office grinning like a hyena, his shoes tracking wildebeest blood across the carpet. Our founders warned against the power of privileged factions to capture the machinery of democracies.  James Madison, who studied history through a tragic lens, saw that the life cycle of previous republics had degenerated into anarchy, monarchy, or oligarchy. Like many of his colleagues, he was well aware that the republic they were creating could go the same way.  Distrusting, even detesting concentrated private power, the founders attempted to erect safeguards to prevent private interests from subverting the moral and political compact that begins, "We, the people." For a while, they succeeded. When the brilliant young French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville toured America in the 1830s, he was excited by the democratic fervor he witnessed. Perhaps that excitement caused him to exaggerate the equality he celebrated.  Close readers of de Tocqueville will notice, however, that he did warn of the staying power of the aristocracy, even in this new country.  He feared what he called, in the second volume of his masterwork, Democracy in America, an "aristocracy created by business."  He described it as already among "the harshest that ever existed in the world" and suggested that, "if ever a permanent inequality of conditions and aristocracy again penetrate the world, it may be predicted that this is the gate by which they will enter." And so it did. Half a century later, the Gilded Age arrived with a new aristocratic hierarchy of industrialists, robber barons, and Wall Street tycoons in the vanguard. They had their own apologist in the person of William Graham Sumner, an Episcopal minister turned professor of political economy at Yale University. He famously explained that "competition... is a law of nature" and that nature "grants her rewards to the fittest, therefore, without regard to other considerations of any kind." From Sumner's essays to the ravenous excesses of Wall Street in the 1920s to the ravings of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Fox News, to the business press's wide-eyed awe of hyena-like CEOs; from the Republican war on government to the Democratic Party's shameless obeisance to big corporations and contributors, this "law of nature" has served to legitimate the yawning inequality of income and wealth, even as it has protected networks of privilege and monopolies in major industries like the media, the tech sector, and the airlines. A plethora of studies conclude that America's political system has already been transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy (the rule of a wealthy elite). Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, for instance, studied data from 1,800 different policy initiatives launched between 1981 and 2002. They found that "economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence."  Whether Republican or Democratic, they concluded, the government more often follows the preferences of major lobbying or business groups than it does those of ordinary citizens. We can only be amazed that a privileged faction in a fervent culture of politically protected greed brought us to the brink of a second Great Depression, then blamed government and a "dependent" 47 percent of the population for our problems, and ended up richer and more powerful than ever. The Truth of Your Life Which brings us back to those Marshall housewives -- to all those who simply can't see beyond their own prerogatives and so narrowly define membership in democracy to include only people like themselves. How would I help them recoup their sanity, come home to democracy, and help build the sort of moral compact embodied in the preamble to the Constitution, that declaration of America's intent and identity? First, I'd do my best to remind them that societies can die of too much inequality. Second, I'd give them copies of anthropologist Jared Diamond's book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed to remind them that we are not immune.  Diamond won the Pulitzer Prize for describing how the damage humans have inflicted on their environment has historically led to the decline of civilizations. In the process, he vividly depicts how elites repeatedly isolate and delude themselves until it's too late.  How, extracting wealth from commoners, they remain well fed while everyone else is slowly starving until, in the end, even they (or their offspring) become casualties of their own privilege. Any society, it turns out, contains a built-in blueprint for failure if elites insulate themselves endlessly from the consequences of their decisions. Third, I'd discuss the real meaning of "sacrifice and bliss" with them. That was the title of the fourth episode of my PBS series Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. In that episode, Campbell and I discussed the influence on him of the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who believed that the will to live is the fundamental reality of human nature. So he puzzled about why some people override it and give up their lives for others. "Can this happen?" Campbell asked. "That what we normally think of as the first law of nature, namely self-preservation, is suddenly dissolved. What creates that breakthrough when we put another's well-being ahead of our own?"  He then told me of an incident that took place near his home in Hawaii, up in the heights where the trade winds from the north come rushing through a great ridge of mountains. People go there to experience the force of nature, to let their hair be blown in the winds -- and sometimes to commit suicide. One day, two policemen were driving up that road when, just beyond the railing, they saw a young man about to jump. One of the policemen bolted from the car and grabbed the fellow just as he was stepping off the ledge. His momentum threatened to carry both of them over the cliff, but the policeman refused to let go. Somehow he held on long enough for his partner to arrive and pull the two of them to safety. When a newspaper reporter asked, "Why didn't you let go? You would have been killed," he answered: "I couldn't... I couldn't let go. If I had, I couldn't have lived another day of my life." Campbell then added: "Do you realize what had suddenly happened to that policeman? He had given himself over to death to save a stranger.  Everything else in his life dropped off. His duty to his family, his duty to his job, his duty to his own career, all of his wishes and hopes for life, just disappeared." What mattered was saving that young man, even at the cost of his own life. How can this be, Campbell asked?  Schopenhauer's answer, he said, was that a psychological crisis represents the breakthrough of a metaphysical reality, which is that you and the other are two aspects of one life, and your apparent separateness is but an effect of the way we experience forms under the conditions of space and time. Our true reality is our identity and unity with all life. Sometimes, however instinctively or consciously, our actions affirm that reality through some unselfish gesture or personal sacrifice. It happens in marriage, in parenting, in our relations with the people immediately around us, and in our participation in building a society based on reciprocity. The truth of our country isn't actually so complicated. It's in the moral compact implicit in the preamble to our Constitution: we're all in this together. We are all one another's first responders. As the writer Alberto Rios once put it, "I am in your family tree and you are in mine." I realize that the command to love our neighbor is one of the hardest of all religious concepts, but I also recognize that our connection to others goes to the core of life's mystery and to the survival of democracy.  When we claim this as the truth of our lives -- when we live as if it's so -- we are threading ourselves into the long train of history and the fabric of civilization; we are becoming "we, the people." The religion of inequality -- of money and power -- has failed us; its gods are false gods. There is something more essential -- more profound -- in the American experience than the hyena's appetite. Once we recognize and nurture this, once we honor it, we can reboot democracy and get on with the work of liberating the country we carry in our hearts. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

12 сентября 2016, 16:04

We, The Plutocrats vs. We, The People

Saving the Soul of Democracy Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com Sixty-six years ago this summer, on my 16th birthday, I went to work for the daily newspaper in the small East Texas town of Marshall where I grew up. It was a good place to be a cub reporter -- small enough to navigate but big enough to keep me busy and learning something every day.  I soon had a stroke of luck.  Some of the paper’s old hands were on vacation or out sick and I was assigned to help cover what came to be known across the country as “the housewives' rebellion.” Fifteen women in my hometown decided not to pay the social security withholding tax for their domestic workers.  Those housewives were white, their housekeepers black. Almost half of all employed black women in the country then were in domestic service.  Because they tended to earn lower wages, accumulate less savings, and be stuck in those jobs all their lives, social security was their only insurance against poverty in old age. Yet their plight did not move their employers. The housewives argued that social security was unconstitutional and imposing it was taxation without representation. They even equated it with slavery.  They also claimed that “requiring us to collect [the tax] is no different from requiring us to collect the garbage.”  So they hired a high-powered lawyer -- a notorious former congressman from Texas who had once chaired the House Un-American Activities Committee -- and took their case to court. They lost, and eventually wound up holding their noses and paying the tax, but not before their rebellion had become national news. The stories I helped report for the local paper were picked up and carried across the country by the Associated Press. One day, the managing editor called me over and pointed to the AP Teletype machine beside his desk. Moving across the wire was a notice citing our paper and its reporters for our coverage of the housewives' rebellion. I was hooked, and in one way or another I’ve continued to engage the issues of money and power, equality and democracy over a lifetime spent at the intersection between politics and journalism. It took me awhile to put the housewives' rebellion into perspective.  Race played a role, of course.  Marshall was a segregated, antebellum town of 20,000, half of whom were white, the other half black.  White ruled, but more than race was at work. Those 15 housewives were respectable townsfolk, good neighbors, regulars at church (some of them at my church).  Their children were my friends; many of them were active in community affairs; and their husbands were pillars of the town’s business and professional class.  So what brought on that spasm of rebellion?  They simply couldn’t see beyond their own prerogatives.  Fiercely loyal to their families, their clubs, their charities, and their congregations -- fiercely loyal, that is, to their own kind -- they narrowly defined membership in democracy to include only people like themselves.  They expected to be comfortable and secure in their old age, but the women who washed and ironed their laundry, wiped their children’s bottoms, made their husbands’ beds, and cooked their family’s meals would also grow old and frail, sick and decrepit, lose their husbands and face the ravages of time alone, with nothing to show from their years of labor but the crease in their brow and the knots on their knuckles.  In one way or another, this is the oldest story in our country’s history: the struggle to determine whether “we, the people” is a metaphysical reality -- one nation, indivisible -- or merely a charade masquerading as piety and manipulated by the powerful and privileged to sustain their own way of life at the expense of others. “I Contain Multitudes” There is a vast difference between a society whose arrangements roughly serve all its citizens and one whose institutions have been converted into a stupendous fraud, a democracy in name only.  I have no doubt about what the United States of America was meant to be.  It’s spelled out right there in the 52 most revolutionary words in our founding documents, the preamble to our Constitution, proclaiming the sovereignty of the people as the moral base of government:   “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” What do those words mean, if not that we are all in the business of nation-building together? Now, I recognize that we’ve never been a country of angels guided by a presidium of saints.  Early America was a moral morass.  One in five people in the new nation was enslaved.  Justice for the poor meant stocks and stockades.  Women suffered virtual peonage. Heretics were driven into exile, or worse. Native people -- the Indians -- would be forcibly removed from their land, their fate a “trail of tears” and broken treaties. No, I’m not a romantic about our history and I harbor no idealized notions of politics and democracy.  Remember, I worked for President Lyndon Johnson.  I heard him often repeat the story of the Texas poker shark who leaned across the table and said to his mark: “Play the cards fair, Reuben. I know what I dealt you.” LBJ knew politics.  Nor do I romanticize “the people.” When I began reporting on the state legislature while a student at the University of Texas, a wily old state senator offered to acquaint me with how the place worked.  We stood at the back of the Senate floor as he pointed to his colleagues spread out around the chamber -- playing cards, napping, nipping, winking at pretty young visitors in the gallery -- and he said to me, “If you think these guys are bad, you should see the people who sent them there.”             And yet, despite the flaws and contradictions of human nature -- or perhaps because of them -- something took hold here. The American people forged a civilization: that thin veneer of civility stretched across the passions of the human heart. Because it can snap at any moment, or slowly weaken from abuse and neglect until it fades away, civilization requires a commitment to the notion (contrary to what those Marshall housewives believed) that we are all in this together. American democracy grew a soul, as it were -- given voice by one of our greatest poets, Walt Whitman, with his all-inclusive embrace in Song of Myself: “Whoever degrades another degrades me, and whatever is done or said returns at last to me... I speak the pass-word primeval -- I give the sign of democracy; By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart of on the same terms... (I am large -- I contain multitudes.)” Author Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has vividly described Whitman seeing himself in whomever he met in America. As he wrote in I Sing the Body Electric: “-- the horseman in his saddle,Girls, mothers, house-keepers, in all their performances, The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their open dinner-kettles and their wives waiting, The female soothing a child -- the farmer’s daughter in the garden or cow-yard, The young fellow hoeing corn --” Whitman’s words celebrate what Americans shared at a time when they were less dependent on each other than we are today.  As Townsend put it, “Many more people lived on farms in the nineteenth century, and so they could be a lot more self-reliant; growing their own food, sewing their clothes, building their homes.  But rather than applauding what each American could do in isolation, Whitman celebrated the vast chorus: ‘I hear America singing.’” The chorus he heard was of multitudinous voices, a mighty choir of humanity. Whitman saw something else in the soul of the country: Americans at work, the laboring people whose toil and sweat built this nation.  Townsend contrasts his attitude with the way politicians and the media today -- in their endless debates about wealth creation, capital gains reduction, and high corporate taxes -- seem to have forgotten working people. “But Whitman wouldn’t have forgotten them.” She writes, “He celebrates a nation where everyone is worthy, not where a few do well.” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood the soul of democracy, too.  He expressed it politically, although his words often ring like poetry.  Paradoxically, to this scion of the American aristocracy, the soul of democracy meant political equality.  “Inside the polling booth,” he said, “every American man and woman stands as the equal of every other American man and woman. There they have no superiors. There they have no masters save their own minds and consciences.”  God knows it took us a long time to get there.  Every claim of political equality in our history has been met by fierce resistance from those who relished for themselves what they would deny others. After President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation it took a century before Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 -- a hundred years of Jim Crow law and Jim Crow lynchings, of forced labor and coerced segregation, of beatings and bombings, of public humiliation and degradation, of courageous but costly protests and demonstrations. Think of it: another hundred years before the freedom won on the bloody battlefields of the Civil War was finally secured in the law of the land.  And here’s something else to think about: Only one of the women present at the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1848 -- only one, Charlotte Woodward -- lived long enough to see women actually get to vote. “We Pick That Rabbit Out of the Hat” So it was, in the face of constant resistance, that many heroes -- sung and unsung -- sacrificed, suffered, and died so that all Americans could gain an equal footing inside that voting booth on a level playing field on the ground floor of democracy.  And yet today money has become the great unequalizer, the usurper of our democratic soul. No one saw this more clearly than that conservative icon Barry Goldwater, longtime Republican senator from Arizona and one-time Republican nominee for the presidency. Here are his words from almost 30 years ago: “The fact that liberty depended on honest elections was of the utmost importance to the patriots who founded our nation and wrote the Constitution.  They knew that corruption destroyed the prime requisite of constitutional liberty: an independent legislature free from any influence other than that of the people.  Applying these principles to modern times, we can make the following conclusions: To be successful, representative government assumes that elections will be controlled by the citizenry at large, not by those who give the most money. Electors must believe that their vote counts.  Elected officials must owe their allegiance to the people, not to their own wealth or to the wealth of interest groups that speak only for the selfish fringes of the whole community.” About the time Senator Goldwater was writing those words, Oliver Stone released his movie Wall Street.  Remember it? Michael Douglas played the high roller Gordon Gekko, who used inside information obtained by his ambitious young protégé, Bud Fox, to manipulate the stock of a company that he intended to sell off for a huge personal windfall, while throwing its workers, including Bud’s own blue-collar father, overboard.  The younger man is aghast and repentant at having participated in such duplicity and chicanery, and he storms into Gekko’s office to protest, asking, “How much is enough, Gordon?” Gekko answers: “The richest one percent of this country owns half our country’s wealth, five trillion dollars… You got ninety percent of the American public out there with little or no net worth. I create nothing. I own. We make the rules, pal. The news, war, peace, famine, upheaval, the price per paper clip.  We pick that rabbit out of the hat while everybody sits out there wondering how the hell we did it.  Now, you’re not naïve enough to think we’re living in a democracy, are you, Buddy?  It’s the free market. And you’re part of it.” That was in the high-flying 1980s, the dawn of today’s new gilded age.  The Greek historian Plutarch is said to have warned that “an imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of a Republic.” Yet as the Washington Post pointed out recently, income inequality may be higher at this moment than at any time in the American past. When I was a young man in Washington in the 1960s, most of the country’s growth accrued to the bottom 90% of households.  From the end of World War II until the early 1970s, in fact, income grew at a slightly faster rate at the bottom and middle of American society than at the top.  In 2009, economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez explored decades of tax data and found that from 1950 through 1980 the average income of the bottom 90% of Americans had grown, from $ 17,719 to $ 30,941.  That represented a 75% increase in 2008 dollars. Since 1980, the economy has continued to grow impressively, but most of the benefits have migrated to the top.  In these years, workers were more productive but received less of the wealth they were helping to create. In the late 1970s, the richest 1% received 9% of total income and held 19% of the nation’s wealth. The share of total income going to that 1% would then rise to more than 23% by 2007, while their share of total wealth would grow to 35%. And that was all before the economic meltdown of 2007-2008. Even though everyone took a hit during the recession that followed, the top 10% now hold more than three-quarters of the country’s total family wealth.  I know, I know: statistics have a way of causing eyes to glaze over, but these statistics highlight an ugly truth about America: inequality matters. It slows economic growth, undermines health, erodes social cohesion and solidarity, and starves education. In their study The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett found that the most consistent predictor of mental illness, infant mortality, low educational achievement, teenage births, homicides, and incarceration was economic inequality.   So bear with me as I keep the statistics flowing.  The Pew Research Center recently released a new study indicating that, between 2000 and 2014, the middle class shrank in virtually all parts of the country.  Nine out of ten metropolitan areas showed a decline in middle-class neighborhoods. And remember, we aren’t even talking about over 45 million people who are living in poverty.  Meanwhile, between 2009 and 2013, that top 1% captured 85% percent of all income growth.  Even after the economy improved in 2015, they still took in more than half of the income growth and by 2013 held nearly half of all the stock and mutual fund assets Americans owned.  Now, concentrations of wealth would be far less of an issue if the rest of society were benefitting proportionally.  But that isn’t the case. Once upon a time, according to Isabel Sawhill and Sara McClanahan in their 2006 report Opportunity in America, the American ideal was one in which all children had “a roughly equal chance of success regardless of the economic status of the family into which they were born.”  Almost 10 years ago, economist Jeffrey Madrick wrote that, as recently as the 1980s, economists thought that “in the land of Horatio Alger only 20 percent of one’s future income was determined by one’s father's income.” He then cited research showing that, by 2007, “60 percent of a son’s income [was] determined by the level of income of the father. For women, it [was] roughly the same.” It may be even higher today, but clearly a child's chance of success in life is greatly improved if he’s born on third base and his father has been tipping the umpire. This raises an old question, one highlighted by the British critic and public intellectual Terry Eagleton in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education: ”Why is it that the capitalist West has accumulated more resources than human history has ever witnessed, yet appears powerless to overcome poverty, starvation, exploitation, and inequality?... Why does private wealth seem to go hand in hand with public squalor? Is it... plausible to maintain that there is something in the nature of capitalism itself which generates deprivation and inequality?” The answer, to me, is self-evident.  Capitalism produces winners and losers big time.  The winners use their wealth to gain political power, often through campaign contributions and lobbying.  In this way, they only increase their influence over the choices made by the politicians indebted to them. While there are certainly differences between Democrats and Republicans on economic and social issues, both parties cater to wealthy individuals and interests seeking to enrich their bottom lines with the help of the policies of the state (loopholes, subsidies, tax breaks, deregulation).  No matter which party is in power, the interests of big business are largely heeded. More on that later, but first, a confession.  The legendary broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow told his generation of journalists that bias is okay as long as you don’t try to hide it. Here’s mine: plutocracy and democracy don’t mix. As the late (and great) Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” Of course the rich can buy more homes, cars, vacations, gadgets, and gizmos than anyone else, but they should not be able to buy more democracy. That they can and do is a despicable blot on American politics that is now spreading like a giant oil spill. In May, President Obama and I both spoke at the Rutgers University commencement ceremony.  He was at his inspirational best as 50,000 people leaned into every word.  He lifted the hearts of those young men and women heading out into our troubled world, but I cringed when he said, “Contrary to what we hear sometimes from both the left as well as the right, the system isn’t as rigged as you think...” Wrong, Mr. President, just plain wrong. The people are way ahead of you on this.  In a recent poll, 71% of Americans across lines of ethnicity, class, age, and gender said they believe the U.S. economy is rigged.  People reported that they are working harder for financial security.  One quarter of the respondents had not taken a vacation in more than five years.  Seventy-one percent said that they are afraid of unexpected medical bills; 53% feared not being able to make a mortgage payment; and, among renters, 60% worried that they might not make the monthly rent.  Millions of Americans, in other words, are living on the edge.  Yet the country has not confronted the question of how we will continue to prosper without a workforce that can pay for its goods and services. Who Dunnit? You didn’t have to read Das Kapital to see this coming or to realize that the United States was being transformed into one of the harshest, most unforgiving societies among the industrial democracies.  You could instead have read the Economist, arguably the most influential business-friendly magazine in the English-speaking world.  I keep in my files a warning published in that magazine a dozen years ago, on the eve of George W. Bush’s second term.  The editors concluded back then that, with income inequality in the U.S. reaching levels not seen since the first Gilded Age and social mobility diminishing, “the United States risks calcifying into a European-style class-based society.” And mind you, that was before the financial meltdown of 2007-2008, before the bailout of Wall Street, before the recession that only widened the gap between the super-rich and everyone else. Ever since then, the great sucking sound we’ve been hearing is wealth heading upwards. The United States now has a level of income inequality unprecedented in our history and so dramatic it’s almost impossible to wrap one’s mind around.  Contrary to what the president said at Rutgers, this is not the way the world works; it’s the way the world is made to work by those with the money and power.  The movers and shakers -- the big winners -- keep repeating the mantra that this inequality was inevitable, the result of the globalization of finance and advances in technology in an increasingly complex world.  Those are part of the story, but only part. As G.K. Chesterton wrote a century ago, “In every serious doctrine of the destiny of men, there is some trace of the doctrine of the equality of men.  But the capitalist really depends on some religion of inequality.”  Exactly.  In our case, a religion of invention, not revelation, politically engineered over the last 40 years. Yes, politically engineered.  On this development, you can’t do better than read Winner Take All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, the Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson of political science. They were mystified by what had happened to the post-World War II notion of “shared prosperity”; puzzled by the ways in which ever more wealth has gone to the rich and super rich; vexed that hedge-fund managers pull in billions of dollars, yet pay taxes at lower rates than their secretaries; curious about why politicians kept slashing taxes on the very rich and handing huge tax breaks and subsidies to corporations that are downsizing their work forces; troubled that the heart of the American Dream -- upward mobility -- seemed to have stopped beating; and dumbfounded that all of this could happen in a democracy whose politicians were supposed to serve the greatest good for the greatest number. So Hacker and Pierson set out to find out “how our economy stopped working to provide prosperity and security for the broad middle class.” In other words, they wanted to know: “Who dunnit?” They found the culprit. With convincing documentation they concluded, “Step by step and debate by debate, America’s public officials have rewritten the rules of American politics and the American economy in ways that have benefitted the few at the expense of the many.” There you have it: the winners bought off the gatekeepers, then gamed the system.  And when the fix was in they turned our economy into a feast for the predators, “saddling Americans with greater debt, tearing new holes in the safety net, and imposing broad financial risks on Americans as workers, investors, and taxpayers.” The end result, Hacker and Pierson conclude, is that the United States is looking more and more like the capitalist oligarchies of Brazil, Mexico, and Russia, where most of the wealth is concentrated at the top while the bottom grows larger and larger with everyone in between just barely getting by. Bruce Springsteen sings of “the country we carry in our hearts.” This isn’t it. “God’s Work” Looking back, you have to wonder how we could have ignored the warning signs.  In the 1970s, Big Business began to refine its ability to act as a class and gang up on Congress.  Even before the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, political action committees deluged politics with dollars. Foundations, corporations, and rich individuals funded think tanks that churned out study after study with results skewed to their ideology and interests. Political strategists made alliances with the religious right, with Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority and Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, to zealously wage a cultural holy war that would camouflage the economic assault on working people and the middle class.  To help cover-up this heist of the economy, an appealing intellectual gloss was needed.  So public intellectuals were recruited and subsidized to turn “globalization,” “neo-liberalism,” and “the Washington Consensus” into a theological belief system.  The “dismal science of economics” became a miracle of faith.  Wall Street glistened as the new Promised Land, while few noticed that those angels dancing on the head of a pin were really witchdoctors with MBAs brewing voodoo magic.  The greed of the Gordon Gekkos -- once considered a vice -- was transformed into a virtue.  One of the high priests of this faith, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, looking in wonder on all that his company had wrought, pronounced it “God’s work.” A prominent neoconservative religious philosopher even articulated a “theology of the corporation.”  I kid you not.  And its devotees lifted their voices in hymns of praise to wealth creation as participation in the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth.  Self-interest became the Gospel of the Gilded Age. No one today articulates this winner-take-all philosophy more candidly than Ray Dalio.  Think of him as the King Midas of hedge funds, with a personal worth estimated at almost $16 billion and a company, Bridgewater Associates, reportedly worth as much as $154 billion.   Dalio fancies himself a philosopher and has written a book of maxims explaining his philosophy. It boils down to: “Be a hyena. Attack the Wildebeest.” (Wildebeests, antelopes native to southern Africa -- as I learned when we once filmed a documentary there -- are no match for the flesh-eating dog-like spotted hyenas that gorge on them.)  Here’s what Dalio wrote about being a Wall Street hyena: “…when a pack of hyenas takes down a young wildebeest, is this good or bad? At face value, this seems terrible; the poor wildebeest suffers and dies. Some people might even say that the hyenas are evil. Yet this type of apparently evil behavior exists throughout nature through all species... like death itself, this behavior is integral to the enormously complex and efficient system that has worked for as long as there has been life... [It] is good for both the hyenas, who are operating in their self-interest, and the interests of the greater system, which includes the wildebeest, because killing and eating the wildebeest fosters evolution, i.e., the natural process of improvement... Like the hyenas attacking the wildebeest, successful people might not even know if or how their pursuit of self-interest helps evolution, but it typically does.” He concludes: “How much money people have earned is a rough measure of how much they gave society what it wanted...” Not this time, Ray.  This time, the free market for hyenas became a slaughterhouse for the wildebeest. Collapsing shares and house prices destroyed more than a quarter of the wealth of the average household.  Many people have yet to recover from the crash and recession that followed. They are still saddled with burdensome debt; their retirement accounts are still anemic.  All of this was, by the hyena’s accounting, a social good, “an improvement in the natural process,” as Dalio puts it.  Nonsense.  Bull.  Human beings have struggled long and hard to build civilization; his doctrine of “progress” is taking us back to the jungle. And by the way, there’s a footnote to the Dalio story.  Early this year, the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, and by many accounts the richest man in Connecticut where it is headquartered, threatened to take his firm elsewhere if he didn’t get concessions from the state. You might have thought that the governor, a Democrat, would have thrown him out of his office for the implicit threat involved.  But no, he buckled and Dalio got the $22 million in aid -- a $5 million grant and a $17 million loan -- that he was demanding to expand his operations. It’s a loan that may be forgiven if he keeps jobs in Connecticut and creates new ones. No doubt he left the governor’s office grinning like a hyena, his shoes tracking wildebeest blood across the carpet.   Our founders warned against the power of privileged factions to capture the machinery of democracies.  James Madison, who studied history through a tragic lens, saw that the life cycle of previous republics had degenerated into anarchy, monarchy, or oligarchy. Like many of his colleagues, he was well aware that the republic they were creating could go the same way.  Distrusting, even detesting concentrated private power, the founders attempted to erect safeguards to prevent private interests from subverting the moral and political compact that begins, “We, the people.” For a while, they succeeded. When the brilliant young French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville toured America in the 1830s, he was excited by the democratic fervor he witnessed.  Perhaps that excitement caused him to exaggerate the equality he celebrated.  Close readers of de Tocqueville will notice, however, that he did warn of the staying power of the aristocracy, even in this new country.  He feared what he called, in the second volume of his masterwork, Democracy in America, an “aristocracy created by business.”  He described it as already among “the harshest that ever existed in the world” and suggested that, “if ever a permanent inequality of conditions and aristocracy again penetrate the world, it may be predicted that this is the gate by which they will enter.”  And so it did.  Half a century later, the Gilded Age arrived with a new aristocratic hierarchy of industrialists, robber barons, and Wall Street tycoons in the vanguard.  They had their own apologist in the person of William Graham Sumner, an Episcopal minister turned professor of political economy at Yale University.  He famously explained that “competition... is a law of nature” and that nature “grants her rewards to the fittest, therefore, without regard to other considerations of any kind.”  From Sumner’s essays to the ravenous excesses of Wall Street in the 1920s to the ravings of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Fox News, to the business press’s wide-eyed awe of hyena-like CEOs; from the Republican war on government to the Democratic Party’s shameless obeisance to big corporations and contributors, this “law of nature” has served to legitimate the yawning inequality of income and wealth, even as it has protected networks of privilege and monopolies in major industries like the media, the tech sector, and the airlines.   A plethora of studies conclude that America’s political system has already been transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy (the rule of a wealthy elite).  Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, for instance, studied data from 1,800 different policy initiatives launched between 1981 and 2002.  They found that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”  Whether Republican or Democratic, they concluded, the government more often follows the preferences of major lobbying or business groups than it does those of ordinary citizens. We can only be amazed that a privileged faction in a fervent culture of politically protected greed brought us to the brink of a second Great Depression, then blamed government and a “dependent” 47% of the population for our problems, and ended up richer and more powerful than ever.  The Truth of Your Life Which brings us back to those Marshall housewives -- to all those who simply can’t see beyond their own prerogatives and so narrowly define membership in democracy to include only people like themselves. How would I help them recoup their sanity, come home to democracy, and help build the sort of moral compact embodied in the preamble to the Constitution, that declaration of America’s intent and identity?  First, I’d do my best to remind them that societies can die of too much inequality.  Second, I’d give them copies of anthropologist Jared Diamond’s book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed to remind them that we are not immune.  Diamond won the Pulitzer Prize for describing how the damage humans have inflicted on their environment has historically led to the decline of civilizations.  In the process, he vividly depicts how elites repeatedly isolate and delude themselves until it’s too late.  How, extracting wealth from commoners, they remain well fed while everyone else is slowly starving until, in the end, even they (or their offspring) become casualties of their own privilege.  Any society, it turns out, contains a built-in blueprint for failure if elites insulate themselves endlessly from the consequences of their decisions. Third, I’d discuss the real meaning of “sacrifice and bliss” with them.  That was the title of the fourth episode of my PBS series Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth.  In that episode, Campbell and I discussed the influence on him of the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who believed that the will to live is the fundamental reality of human nature.  So he puzzled about why some people override it and give up their lives for others. “Can this happen?” Campbell asked. “That what we normally think of as the first law of nature, namely self-preservation, is suddenly dissolved. What creates that breakthrough when we put another’s well-being ahead of our own?”  He then told me of an incident that took place near his home in Hawaii, up in the heights where the trade winds from the north come rushing through a great ridge of mountains.  People go there to experience the force of nature, to let their hair be blown in the winds -- and sometimes to commit suicide.  One day, two policemen were driving up that road when, just beyond the railing, they saw a young man about to jump.  One of the policemen bolted from the car and grabbed the fellow just as he was stepping off the ledge.  His momentum threatened to carry both of them over the cliff, but the policeman refused to let go.  Somehow he held on long enough for his partner to arrive and pull the two of them to safety.  When a newspaper reporter asked, “Why didn’t you let go? You would have been killed,” he answered: “I couldn’t... I couldn’t let go.  If I had, I couldn’t have lived another day of my life.”  Campbell then added: “Do you realize what had suddenly happened to that policeman? He had given himself over to death to save a stranger.  Everything else in his life dropped off. His duty to his family, his duty to his job, his duty to his own career, all of his wishes and hopes for life, just disappeared.” What mattered was saving that young man, even at the cost of his own life. How can this be, Campbell asked?  Schopenhauer’s answer, he said, was that a psychological crisis represents the breakthrough of a metaphysical reality, which is that you and the other are two aspects of one life, and your apparent separateness is but an effect of the way we experience forms under the conditions of space and time.  Our true reality is our identity and unity with all life. Sometimes, however instinctively or consciously, our actions affirm that reality through some unselfish gesture or personal sacrifice. It happens in marriage, in parenting, in our relations with the people immediately around us, and in our participation in building a society based on reciprocity. The truth of our country isn’t actually so complicated.  It’s in the moral compact implicit in the preamble to our Constitution: we’re all in this together.  We are all one another’s first responders.  As the writer Alberto Rios once put it, “I am in your family tree and you are in mine.” I realize that the command to love our neighbor is one of the hardest of all religious concepts, but I also recognize that our connection to others goes to the core of life’s mystery and to the survival of democracy.  When we claim this as the truth of our lives -- when we live as if it’s so -- we are threading ourselves into the long train of history and the fabric of civilization; we are becoming “we, the people.” The religion of inequality -- of money and power -- has failed us; its gods are false gods.  There is something more essential -- more profound -- in the American experience than the hyena’s appetite.  Once we recognize and nurture this, once we honor it, we can reboot democracy and get on with the work of liberating the country we carry in our hearts. Bill Moyers has been an organizer of the Peace Corps, a top White House aide, a publisher, and a prolific broadcast journalist whose work earned 37 Emmy Awards and nine Peabody Awards. He is president of the Schumann Media Center, which supports independent journalism. This essay is adapted from remarks he prepared for delivery this past summer at the Chautauqua Institution’s week-long focus on money and power. He is grateful to his colleagues Karen Kimball and Gail Ablow for their research and fact checking. Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Выбор редакции
12 сентября 2016, 08:55

Bill Moyers: We, the Plutocrats vs. We, the People: Saving the Soul of Democracy

National treasure Bill Moyers describes the rise of inequality and America's descent into plutocracy, reflecting wisdom acquired over six decades of thinking and writing about American politics.

08 сентября 2016, 17:18

War vs. Democracy

The paradox of democracy is that it depends on the integrity of those who have the most to lose if an election goes the wrong way -- you know, the people in power. That's a particularly thorny dilemma when the "fourth estate" -- the speakers of truth to power, the public's counterforce against political hackdom -- are basically corporate wimps who view their job as the voice of public relations for the status quo, the defenders of our conventional beliefs, e.g., that God's in his heaven and America is the world's oldest, greatest, most secure democracy. But in 2016, even the mainstream media are trembling with uncertainty. As Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis recently wrote: "Now 16 years after the theft of the presidency in Florida 2000, and a dozen since it was done again in Ohio 2004, the corporate media is approaching consensus that it is indeed very easy to strip millions of legitimate citizens from the voting rolls, and then to hack electronic voting machines and computerized central tabulators to flip the official final outcome." I'm sure the party to thank for this late mainstream awareness that our computerized voting system is painfully vulnerable is Donald Trump, who has dragged the election process into territory more puerile, racist and reptile-brained than even the corporate media can tolerate. Change is coming, apparently, whether we want it or not. Bernie Sanders and the progressive revolution were neatly, efficiently stiffed by the Democrats, but the "alt-right" nationalists and white supremacists surprised the hell out of the Republicans and now their man is leading a charge up Stone Mountain, promising to make America great again, or at least free of non-European immigrants and the cruel constraints of political correctness. Two months before the election, I feel the need to pause and look in several directions at the shortcomings of the process we celebrate with such self-adulation. In an interview with Rabbi Michael Lerner at Tikkun, Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, points out: "The magnificent work that the Bernie Sanders campaign did and the momentum they built and the public support that they demonstrated and mobilized is a wonder to behold and it has forever transformed the political landscape. But it was essentially sabotaged by the Democratic Party as it has always done since George McGovern won the Democratic Party nomination, and the rules of the game were changed so that a grassroots campaign could not win the nomination again -- in part by creating super delegates and Super Tuesdays, but that's not the end of it." It is in this context that I bring up the concept of election reform. For democracy to be real, three rights must be protected: the right to vote, the right to have your vote counted, and the right to vote for a candidate who actually represents you. And as usual, all three of these rights are under assault. Of course they are! Those in power work hard to create a social structure in which they will remain in power. As Bill Moyers wrote: "It is now the game: Candidates ask citizens for their votes, then go to Washington to do the bidding of their donors." Vote suppression takes many forms. The Jim Crow era is long dead, but today we witness the spread of harsh voter ID laws in many states, the closing of voting precincts or miserly allocation of voting machines in low-income and college neighborhoods, and the disenfranchisement of ex-felons (most of whom are men and women of color, thanks to the "new Jim Crow" that is the prison-industrial complex). As U.S. Rep. John Conyers and Barbara Arnwine pointed out several months ago in The Nation: "Whereas voting rights were ascendant in 1966, voter-suppression tactics are spreading in 2016. Whereas Congress was moving in the right direction in 1966, in 2016, it's often conspicuously absent. "The challenge this year -- the 50th anniversary of the implementation of the (Voting Rights Act) -- isn't just protecting free and open access to the ballot; it is also rekindling the fire that forced federal action on voting rights." And then there's the absurd spread of eminently hackable electronic voting machines, which, as Wasserman and Fitrakis pointed out, has finally reached the attention of the mainstream media. The Washington Post, for instance, recently noted that "computer experts . . . have long warned that Americans vote in a way that's so insecure that hackers could change the outcome of races at the local, state and even national level." At least this last matter has an obvious solution: "nothing less than a full and secure hand-count of paper ballots done at the precinct," as Victoria Collier points out. This is "something the American public is likely to support, if given all the facts. What's missing, however, is the political will and public resources to carry out this kind of fully verified election. "Apparently, in the United States, we can conduct multiple trillion-dollar wars around the globe, but counting our own ballots on election night is simply an overwhelming proposition." And that pretty much sums up the state of American democracy. We believe in the concept, but at the level of elections, we don't actually have one right now. We have endless war instead. It's impossible to have both. --- Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. Contact him at [email protected] or visit his website at commonwonders.com. © 2016 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, INC. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

03 сентября 2016, 17:42

How Clinton's 'Trump Is Crazy’ Strategy Could Backfire

LBJ used the same “frontlash” strategy in 1964. He won in the short term. But in the long run, it proved an illusory triumph.

18 августа 2016, 16:30

150 Years of American Literature & Art: A Retrospective Anthology (2000)

The early issues reprinted material pirated from English authors such as Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, and the Brontë sisters.[4] The magazine soon was publishing the work of American artists and writers, and in time commentary by the likes of Winston Churchill and Woodrow Wilson. Portions of Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick were first published in the October 1851 issue of Harper's under the title, "The Town-Ho's Story" (titled after Chapter 54 of Moby Dick).[5] In 1962, Harper & Brothers merged with Row, Peterson & Company, becoming Harper & Row (now HarperCollins). In 1965, the magazine was separately incorporated, and became a division of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune Company, owned by the Cowles Media Company. In the 1970s, Harper's published Seymour Hersh's reporting of the My Lai Massacre by United States forces in Vietnam. In 1971 editor Willie Morris resigned under pressure from owner John Cowles, Jr., prompting resignations from many of the magazine’s star contributors and staffers, including Norman Mailer, David Halberstam, Robert Kotlowitz, Marshall Frady and Larry L. King: "Morris’s departure jolted the literary world. Mailer, William Styron, Gay Talese, Bill Moyers, and Tom Wicker declared that they would boycott Harper’s as long as the Cowles family owned it, and the four staff writers hired by Morris—Frady among them—resigned in solidarity with him.” — Scott Sherman[6] Robert Shnayerson, a senior editor at Time magazine, was hired to replace Morris as Harper's ninth editor, serving in that position from 1971 until 1976.[7][8] Lewis H. Lapham served as managing editor from 1976 until 1981; he returned to the position again from 1983 until 2006. On June 17, 1980, the Star Tribune announced it would cease publishing Harper's Magazine after the August 1980 issue. But, on July 9, 1980, John R. MacArthur (who goes by the name Rick) and his father, Roderick, obtained pledges from the directorial boards of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Atlantic Richfield Company, and CEO Robert Orville Anderson to amass the $1.5 million needed to establish the Harper's Magazine Foundation. It now publishes the magazine.[9][10][11] In 1984, Lapham and MacArthur—now publisher and president of the foundation—along with new executive editor Michael Pollan, redesigned Harper's and introduced the "Harper's Index" (statistics arranged for thoughtful effect), "Readings", and the "Annotation" departments to complement its fiction, essays, reportage, and reviews. As of the March 2011 issue, contributing editor Zadie Smith, a noted British author, writes the print edition's New Books column. Under the Lapham-MacArthur leadership, Harper's magazine continued publishing literary fiction by the likes of John Updike, George Saunders, and others. Politically, Harper's was an especially vocal critic of U.S. domestic and foreign policies. Editor Lapham's monthly "Notebook" columns have lambasted the Clinton and the George W. Bush administrations. Since 2003, the magazine has concentrated on reportage about U.S. war in Iraq, with long articles about the battle for Fallujah, and the cronyism of the American reconstruction of Iraq. Other reporting has covered abortion issues, cloning, and global warming.[12] In 2007, Harper's added the No Comment blog, by attorney Scott Horton, about legal controversies, Central Asian politics, and German studies. In April 2006, Harper's began publishing the Washington Babylon blog on its website,[13] written by Washington Editor Ken Silverstein about American politics; and in 2008, Harper's added the "Sentences" blog, by contributing editor Wyatt Mason, about literature and belles lettres. Since that time these two blogs have ceased publication. Another website feature, composed by a rotating set of authors, is the Weekly Review, single-sentence summaries of political, scientific, and bizarre news; like the Harper's Index and "Findings" in the print edition of the magazine, the Weekly Review items are arranged for ironic contrast. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harper%27s_Magazine