Tag Archives: Bill Moyers

Revenge of the Conservative Sith?

Thomas Frank, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas? and The Wrecking Crew, interviewed on Bill Moyers Journal a little while back, spoke to Bill about President Obama’s calamitous inheritance and the wave of collective amnesia that seems to have engulfed American politics since the financial meltdown, as well as conservative attitudes towards regulation and government in general.

What’s particularly interesting here, especially from a Canadian angle, is speculation about how the conservative “article of faith” with respect to government being inimical to their so-called “free market” ideology, as claimed by Frank, might play out in the coming years as the Harper Conservatives attempt to wrestle with the enormous amount of additional debt they’ve managed to accumulate through their record-high deficits in order to keep the Canadian economy relatively stable — at least by comparison to many other G8 countries.

Funnily enough, an article appeared this morning in the Globe & Mail by that giddy twaddlepate Jane Taber, definitively stating that “Canadians think the best way to balance the federal books is on the backs of public servants, according to a new national opinion poll.” How convenient…

The poll asked which strategy Canadians felt was most effective to help balance the budget. Thirty-six per cent of the respondents felt that freezing government wages was the best approach compared to 3.4 per cent who felt that increasing personal taxes was the way to go. In addition, 20.5 per cent said that government and program spending should be cut, compared to 7.9 per cent who believe the GST should be increased.

The poll of 1,000 Canadians was conducted between March 6 and March 12. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

“Here we are again,” says John Gordon, the president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada that represents 165,000 workers.

“Every time the government gets into [trouble] they kind of ramp up the rhetoric and the Canadian public starts to believe them …” he said.

In some respects the government is almost too easy of a target and ridiculously corrupt “use it or lose it” departmental accounting practices don’t exactly help matters. Why not reward bureaucrats for saving money and incentivize a culture of conservative spending instead of penalizing them for it?

While no sensible person would object to fiscal discipline in government spending — something the Conservatives have conspicuously failed to exercise since taking office — let’s hope that purported deficit-cutting doesn’t become simply an excuse for reconfiguring the country according to a “conservative” ideology that mistakenly places notions of some imagined “freedom” above principles of socially-responsible government.

p.s. The first part of the Frank interview can be viewed here.

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Filed under Conservatism, STEVEN HARPER Government of Canada

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Bill Moyers’ thoughts on President Obama and his plan for health reform.

“No one’s ever conquered Washington politics by constantly saying ‘pretty please’ to the guys trying to cut your throat.”

By the way, the excellent essay (“Living in a Culture of Cruelty: Democracy as Spectacle”) by Henry Giroux that Moyers references is a must read.

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Filed under Culture Wars, Health Care & Medicine

CIGNA Whistleblower Speaks Out

Wendell Potter, the former head of public relations at CIGNA, one of America’s largest insurers, speaking to Bill Moyers last month in his first interview since leaving the industry.

Watch the entire interview at the PBS website here. Although Potter’s lengthy confessional wasn’t exactly a revelation to many observers, it’s nonetheless highly worthwhile as confirmation of what you suspected to be the awful truth about for-profit healthcare is based on facts, not just fabricated “horror stories” and hysterical paranoia.

So why anyone would want to help perpetuate the status quo in America while at the same time viciously slagging our own system — one that, while admittedly flawed in many respects, consistently delivers better medical outcomes at a lower cost — is entirely baffling to say the least. I guess it just goes to show what happens when rabid ideological zealotry trumps logic, evidence, and plain old common sense.

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Filed under Health Care & Medicine, Wingnuts

Kill the “Zombie Banks”

This segment from Friday’s Bill Moyers Journal is definitely worth watching. Robert Johnson, former managing director of Soros Fund Management and an expert in emerging markets, believes the government’s approach — which he calls “drip intravenous capital injection” — wastes taxpayer money and won’t solve the financial crisis. The Obama administration’s approach, Johnson argues, is too cautious.

Indeed. Nationalize the banks and get it over with. Sack their top management, strip them of their toxic assets and send them back into the market. Call it “restructuring” if that helps get the American people past the irrational fear of nationalization (largely whipped up by vested interests to protect the demonstrably failed status quo).

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Filed under Economy

”So Damn Much Money”

The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government

It’s likely that you won’t learn anything shockingly new here, but it’s still fascinating to listen to Bob Kaiser, the long time correspondent and associate editor of the Washington Post trace the rising influence of the multi-billion dollar lobbyist industry in recent decades.

The rest of the interview can be viewed here and here (or see the whole thing at the PBS website).

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Filed under US Politics

The New Paradigm

Some common sense from George Soros (there’s a link in the video to the other parts of this, btw).

America and the real world…

Connect the dots. Somehow that whole left-right wing paradigm doesn’t seem to matter all that much, does it?

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Filed under Global Economy, US Politics

The Limits of Power

Bill Moyers discusses recent American history former US Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich, professor of international relations at Boston University, former director of its Center for International Relations (from 1998 to 2005), and author of several books, including American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of US Diplomacy, The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War and most recently, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism.

It’s a fascinating discussion and possibly one of the best articulated critiques of American foreign policy (and the current economic crisis) that I’ve run across in a long time. Note that the video provides links to the following parts of the interview or you can watch the whole thing on the PBS website.

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Filed under History