Typewriter of the moment: Bill Moyers

June 6, 2014

From Moyers's Facebook feed:  Happy 80th Birthday, Bill Moyers! Here he is at 16 years old as a cub reporter at the Marshall News Messenger newspaper in Marshall, Texas, the town (pop. 25,000) where he grew up

From Moyers’s Facebook feed: Happy 80th Birthday, Bill Moyers! Here he is at 16 years old as a cub reporter at the Marshall News Messenger newspaper in Marshall, Texas, the town (pop. 25,000) where he grew up

A newsroom Royal. A lot of good writers started out on those.

Moyers went astray after a while, and got a divinity degree and ordination in Dallas, at Southwest Theological Seminary — but Lyndon Johnson had been watching him before at the University of Texas and University of North Texas, and snatched him up as a press aide.

You probably know Moyers from Public Television.  Yesterday was his 80th birthday — he was born June 5, 1934, in Hugo, Oklahoma.

More:

Advertisements

Can dog whistle politics keep the GOP in power, or is America too smart to stay enthralled?

March 2, 2014

Especially if, by some grotesque misunderstanding, you don’t think you’re in the 47% Mitt Romney wrote off as undeserving of a vote and a life, you ought to listen to Ian Haney López describe what’s going on in GOP and conservative politics.

From Bill Moyers.

Transcript here.

Cover of Ian Haney Lopez's Dog Whistle Politics, How coded racial appeals reinvented racism and wrecked the middle class; Oxford Books

Cover of Ian Haney Lopez’s Dog Whistle Politics, How coded racial appeals reinvented racism and wrecked the middle class; Oxford Books

Moyers’s website describes this interview:

Ian Haney López on the Dog Whistle Politics of Race

February 28, 2014

What do Cadillac-driving “welfare queens,” a “food stamp president” and the “lazy, dependent and entitled” 47 percent tell us about post-racial America? They’re all examples of a type of coded racism that this week’s guest, Ian Haney López, writes about in his new book, Dog Whistle Politics.

Haney López is an expert in how racism has evolved in America since the civil rights era. Over the past 50 years, politicians have mastered the use of dog whistles – code words that turn Americans against each other while turning the country over to plutocrats. This political tactic, says Haney López, is “the dark magic” by which middle-class voters have been seduced to vote against their own economic interests.

“It comes out of a desire to win votes. And in that sense… It’s racism as a strategy. It’s cold, it’s calculating, it’s considered,” Haney López tells Bill, “it’s the decision to achieve one’s own ends, here winning votes, by stirring racial animosity.”

Ian Haney López, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, is a senior fellow at the policy analysis and advocacy group, Demos.

Producer: Candace White. Segment Producer: Robert Booth. Editor: Sikay Tang.

Does revealing the existence of dog whistles help kill the cheap trick?  My fear is that those who hear the whistle clearly understand that they are responding to a racist call, and that is why they respond.  Exposing the racism, or exposing the subtle use of racism, only makes the politicians who use the whistle more appealing to those voter segments, and those policies more appealing to those voters (though they would not admit it).

If you think dog whistles don’t exist, consider the hot controversies surrounding education spending, vouchers to kill public schools, immigration reform needed to boost our economy, or health care reform.  Consider also the birther movement.

After hearing Mr. Haney López’s interview, what do you think?

More: 


You need to watch this: Paul Krugman, ‘Jobs NOW, the key to our recovery’

January 15, 2013

As so often the case, Bill Moyers finds THE expert, who has the real answers.  Hint:  Cutting deficits now could bring economic disaster; Paul Krugman carefully and clearly explains why.

Description at Vimeo:

Krugman's book End This Depression Now!

Cover of Paul Krugman’s book, End This Depression Now!

Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman explains why our top priority should be getting America back to work – if only Congress and the President would stop throwing distractions in the way. He also details the catastrophic impact the economic downturn continues to have on average Americans, as well as avenues of hope and recovery. Krugman’s latest book, End This Depression Now!, is both a warning of the fiscal perils ahead and a prescription to safely avoid them.

Yeah, yeah, I know — this thing is 47 minutes long!  Watch ten minutes now, and come back to it.

It’s only the fate of our nation, and the planet, that rides on this information.

Moyers explained on his blog:

Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argues that saving money is not the path to economic recovery. Instead, he tells Bill, we should put aside our excessive focus on the deficit, try to overcome political recalcitrance, and spend money to put America back to work. Krugman offers specific solutions to not only end what he calls a “vast, unnecessary catastrophe,” but to do it more quickly than some imagine possible. His latest book, End This Depression Now!, is both a warning of the fiscal perils ahead and a prescription to safely avoid them.

Some moments from the conversation:

ON JACK LEW, NOT KRUGMAN HIMSELF, AS POSSIBLY THE NEXT TREASURY SECRETARY
“I probably have more influence doing what I do now than I would if I were inside trying to do the court power games that come with any White House, which I don’t think I’d be any good at… What the president needs right now is he needs a hard-nosed negotiator. And rumor has it that’s what he’s got.” Watch this clip.

ON SAVING VERSUS SPENDING
“We’re awash in excess savings. And if you decide to save more, it’s not actually going to help society… If there’s one crucial thing to understand about all this it is that the global economy, money moves around in a circle. And my spending is your income, and your spending is my income. And if all of us try to spend less because we want to save more, we don’t succeed. All we end up doing is creating a global depression… the thing that all the evidence of history says works in a situation like this is the private sector won’t spend, government can step in and provide the spending that we need in order to keep this economy afloat.”

ON THE POWER OF JOB CREATION
“The only obstacles to putting people to work, to having those lives restored, to producing hundreds of billions, probably $900 billion a year or so of extra valuable stuff in our economy, is in our minds. If I could somehow convince the members of Congress and the usual suspects that deficit spending, for the time being, is okay, and that what we really need is a big job creation program, and let’s worry about the deficit after we’ve had a solid recovery, it would all be over. It would be no problem at all… All the productive capacity is there. All that’s lacking is the intellectual clarity and the political will.”

ON WHAT SHOULD BE OBAMA’S ECONOMIC PRIORITY
“[Obama’s] policy priority right now should be doing whatever he can to at least move in the direction of the kinds of policies that we want for full employment, that we need for full employment. And that the obsessions of Washington about a grand bargain on the deficit are really pretty much beside the point right now. That, if given a choice between doing something that will help the economy in the next two years, and something that will allegedly settle our budget problems for all, you know, for all time, which it wouldn’t, that he should go for the stuff that will help the economy now…

Great Depression

In the Great Depression, people listened to Franklin D. Roosevelt urge full employment, on their radios; this statue is part of the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C. – Photo credit: Koshyk

We happen to have a very intelligent man as president. He’s for real. And he does understand. You can have real discussions with him. And I think he understands that, although things have improved some… it’s a glacial pace, compared with the way we should be… We cannot allow ourselves to be blackmailed into spending cuts, partly because blackmail should not be part of how the U.S. operates, and partly because spending cuts would be disastrous right now. So Obama’s right to say he doesn’t negotiate. I’d like to know exactly what he will do if it turns out that there is not a quorum of sane people in the Republican party.”

ON THE LONG-TERM DAMAGE OF A BAD JOB MARKET
“We have pretty good evidence on how long does it take to make up for the fact that you happen to graduate from college into a bad labor market. And the answer is forever… You’ll miss years getting onto the career ladder. By the time you get a chance to get a job that makes any sense, you know, that makes any use of your skills, you will already be tarred as somebody, ‘Well, you’re 28 years old and you haven’t held a responsible position?’ ‘Well, yeah, I couldn’t because there were no jobs.’ It just shadows your whole life. And it’s very clear in the evidence from past recessions, which have been nowhere near as bad as this one.” Watch this clip.

ON COVERING BOTH THE ECONOMY AND POLITICS
“If you write about economics right now and implicitly adopt the perspective, ‘Well, let’s get reasonable people together in Washington and reach a solution here,’ you’re paying no attention to reality. And, of course, if you talk about the politics without talking about the economics, you’re also missing everything. So how could I not be writing about both?”

More:


“Growing up in East Texas, we didn’t have any money for books” – Moyers on Banned Books Week

October 4, 2012

Since the death of Radio Free Texas, banned books take on even more importance in the history of freedom and free thought, in Texas.

This is the state where, still, even the governor and the State Board of Education carry on unholy crusades against books and ideas, like evolution, racial equality, and voting rights.  Moyers knows what he’s talking about.

More:


UFOs? GOP says ‘you gotta believe’ – Primer on Voter ID laws and their gross injustice

August 3, 2012

Quoted completely from Bill Moyers’ site; he makes the case clearly:

Moyers & Company | The Hollow Defense of Voter ID Laws

UFO Sightings Are More Common Than Voter Fraud

August 2, 2012

by Hamed Aleaziz, Dave Gilson and Jaeah Lee, Mother Jones

We’re proud to collaborate with Mother Jones in sharing graphs and charts that reveal truth about voting obstacles. Scroll down for stats and facts related to efforts to restrict voting, the prevalence of voter ID laws, what discourages new voters and the the pervasive fiction of voter fraud.


BLOCK THE VOTE

Since 2001, nearly 1,000 bills that would tighten voting laws have been introduced in 46 states.

24 voting restrictions have passed in 17 states since 2011. This fall, new laws could affect more than 5 million voters in states representing 179 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

In the past two years, 5 battleground states (Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) have tightened their voting laws.

As of April, 74 restrictive voting laws were on the table in 24 states.

Sources: Brennan Center for Justice, NAACP


CARD-CARRYING AMERICANS ONLY

Since 2011, 34 states have introduced laws requiring voters to show photo ID, and 9 states have passed photo ID laws, affecting 3.8 million voters.

2.2 million registered voters did not vote in 2008 because they didn’t have proper ID.

*Does not include laws awaiting DOJ clearance, blocked by courts, or not in effect until after 2012. Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

Last year, 12 states introduced laws requiring birth certificates or other proof of citizenship to vote; 3 passed.

Only 48 percent of women have a birth certificate with their current legal name on it.

Texas’ new ID law permits voters to use concealed-handgun licenses as proof of identity, but not state university IDs.

Sources: Brennan Center for JusticeGabriel R. Sanchez, Stephen A. Nuño, and Matt A. Barreto


DISCOURAGING NEW VOTERS

80 percent of the 75 million eligible voters who did not take part in the 2008 election were not registered to vote.

In 2008, more than 1/3 of voters cast ballots before Election Day. In 2011, 5 states passed bills to restrict early voting.

States with Election Day registration have 7 to 12 percent greater turnout than states without. Last year, 5 states introduced bills that eliminate Election Day registration.

12 percent of minority voters report registering through voter drives, twice the rate of white voters. In 2011, Florida and Texas passed laws making registration drives much harder to organize.

Florida state Sen. Mike Bennett, a supporter of the tougher voter registration law, said, “I don’t have a problem making it harder. I want people in Florida to want to vote as bad as that person in Africa who walks 200 miles across the desert. This should not be easy.”

Source: Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project


LOCKING OUT EX-CONS

4 million Americans who have completed prison sentences are ineligible to vote. 38 percent of disenfranchised voters are African American.

13 percent of African-American men cannot vote due to criminal records, a rate 7 times the national average.

The United States and Belgium are the only democracies that disenfranchise citizens for lengthy or indefinite periods after completing prison sentences.

To regain their voting rights, released felons in Iowa must provide the address of the judge who convicted them and a credit report showing they have paid off their court costs. “They make the process just about impossible,” said a 40-year-old ex-con who’d stolen a soda machine as a teen.


IN SEARCH OF STOLEN VOTES

dog voting

While defending its precedent-setting photo ID law before the Supreme Court, Indiana was unable to cite a single instance of voter impersonation in its entire history.

A 2005 report by the American Center for Voting Rights claimed there were more than 100 cases of voter fraud involving 300,000 votes in 2004. A review of the charges turned up only 185 votes that were even potentially fraudulent.

In support of a voter ID law, Kansas Secretary of State (and the legal brains behind a slew of anti-immigration laws) Kris Kobach cited 221 incidents of voter fraud in the state between 1997 and 2010. Yet those cases produced just 7 convictions — none related to impersonating other voters.

Last December, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus declared that Wisconsin is “absolutely riddled with voter fraud.” In fact, the state’s voter fraud rate in 2004 was 0.0002 percent — just 7 votes.

In 2008, John McCain said fraudulent registrations collected by ACORN were “one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” The Congressional Research Service found no proof that anyone improperly registered by ACORN tried to vote.

Federal convictions for election fraud, 2002-05

  • Voting while ineligible: 18
  • Voting multiple times: 5
  • Registration fraud: 3

UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS

Dog and UFO

Between 2000 and 2010, there were:

649 million votes cast in general elections

47,000 UFO sightings

441 Americans killed by lightning

13 credible cases of in-person voter impersonation

Special hat tip to craigconnects.org

Additional sources:

  • A 2005 report by the American Center for Voting Rights…: The Myth of Voter Fraud by Lorraine C. Minnite
  • 13 credible cases…: Justin Levitt, Loyola Law School

From the show

Related Features:

So there’s the case in a nutshell — a large, meaty nut’s shell.

More: 


Bill Moyers: Democracy and plutocracy don’t mix

December 4, 2011

The really good news is that Bill Moyers will be back in January, with “Bill Moyers and Company.”

Details at Bill Moyers.com, where you can see this vintage critique of current politics (even though it’s a year and a half old).

Bill Moyers Essay: Plutocracy and Democracy Don’t Mix from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

Moyers broadcast this in his farewell performance on Bill Moyer’s Journal, April 30, 2010

Text of his remarks below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »


%d bloggers like this: