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Bill Moyers: Conversation with an empty union suit…

February 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Are you smarter than a fifth grader?

For AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka that just may be a trick question, as, it seems, was every other question Moyers put to him. Excerpts from Bill Moyers’ interview with the obviously out-classed labor leader:

BILL MOYERS: I’m curious, Rich, about why we haven’t been seeing more public demonstrations from people who have lost their job? I mean, we covered a story early last year in Chicago of workers who sat in, when it looked as if their factory was going to be closed down. Why has there been so little of that? 

RICHARD TRUMKA: Well, you know what? I think some of it is people have been so beat down, that they — we sort of plucked the hope out of them. And what we have to do is restore that hope. They don’t think that there’s anything that they can do. They feel hopeless. Corporations are so powerful, and they control the political process so much that there’s nothing we can do. They’re wrong, of course. And we’re getting more and more people that are willing to start coming out now.

BILL MOYERS: So, what’s happened that unions don’t seem to be fighting back the way they did in the 1930s? 

RICHARD TRUMKA: Well, I don’t think that’s so. I think we are fighting back. You know, first of all, you have a larger array of forces against us. You have a recession right now that’s caused a lot of our members to get laid off, just like other Americans out there. You have a set of labor laws that are totally inadequate, and they’re not even enforced. Now, President Obama’s trying to. But he can’t even get people from the N.L.R.B. confirmed.

BILL MOYERS: The National Labors Relations Board. 

RICHARD TRUMKA: Yeah, the National Labor Relations Board.

BILL MOYERS: There are several vacancies on there, that you want to see filled. 

RICHARD TRUMKA: Of course. And the Republicans, all they do is filibuster. They don’t want him to succeed. And so they keep people, quality people that are needed to make government effectively. They keep them out of the spotlight and off the job.

BILL MOYERS: But the Democrats have 59 Members of the Senate. They have a 78 vote majority in the House. They got the President of the United States. And they can’t deliver anything labor wants from them? 

RICHARD TRUMKA: No, I want to say it a different way. I want to say they haven’t delivered anything. They can. And it’s up to us, and we’re getting there.

BILL MOYERS: But how do you explain that? 

RICHARD TRUMKA: Slowly but surely.

BILL MOYERS: Because you really worked for Obama in ’08. 

RICHARD TRUMKA: Yes, I did.

BILL MOYERS: And yet, so far, one year into his administration, you haven’t gotten anything that I can see that you wanted in ’08. 

RICHARD TRUMKA: That’s not so. There have been a number of executive orders that have provided collective bargaining people. I mean, the people he’s appointed, Hilda Solis is terrific. Even the people in the Commerce and Treasury are far more cognizant of our position. So, he hasn’t been able to pass the big bills yet, but we’re getting there. And we’ll get them done.

BILL MOYERS: What’s happened to the one thing that was most important to labor back in ’08? Obama seemed to promise the Employee Free Choice Act, EFCA as – it’s come to be known, very important to labor. What happened to it? 

RICHARD TRUMKA: Well, it’s still there. We’re still pushing it forward. He still supports it. The Vice President still supports it. A vast majority- at least 59 Senators in the Senate support it. And over a vast majority in the House support it.

BILL MOYERS: So, will you get it? 

RICHARD TRUMKA: I think we will.

BILL MOYERS: You will- you still think you’ll get it. 

RICHARD TRUMKA: Yeah, I do. I still think we will. It’ll take some creative doing. But we’ll do it.

Yeah. We’re doomed.

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The unwatchable Mr. Corn…

January 11, 2010 Leave a comment

David Corn and Kevin Drum mumbling incoherently to Bill Moyers

We watched him and confirmed that progressives are, in fact, unwatchable. Please, take a moment to form your own opinion:

Because your week won’t suck enough: On Bill Moyers’ Journal, David Corn and Kevin Drum describe, in excruciating detail, how every aspect of this disaster we call an economy was engineered in the sausage factory we call Washington.

KEVIN DRUM: If you want to have real change, there’s only one place that can come from. That’s out of Congress. Congress is the only body which is big enough to actually restrain Wall Street. One way or another, you have to take your 13 million or your 15 million or whatever number of people you’ve got. You’ve got to mobilize them to tell their Congressmen that they’re mad as hell. And they’re not going to vote for them if they don’t pass this legislation.

You see, it’s not that Washington is irretrievably corrupt beyond any faint hope of redemption; it’s not that it daily augments the power of Wall Street against you; and, above all, it’s not that the disaster on Wall Street resulted directly from Washington’s pursuit of its own agenda in a secret war against you, and employed Wall Street to effect that war, its just that the Messiah has not “mobilized his base.”

LOL

Okay, fine.

How not to win a gunfight

October 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Show up with a starters pistol…

For your amusement, James K. Galbraith appears on Bill Moyers Journal one year ago looking for a fight with Wall Street, armed with, of all things, a renewed determination to finally – and we do mean REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, this time – impose such regulation as will prevent them from EVER, EVER, EVER, nearly bringing down the global financial system again.

Did we mention he really means it this time?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “How not to win a gunfight“, posted with vodpod

Among his more salient points:

  • Mongo say ‘big government good’: “we have an enormous advantage over our predecessors in 1929. We have the fact that the New Deal happened. And we have the institutions of the New Deal, though they have been badly damaged in the last decade, they are still with us. We have deposit insurance. We have Social Security. We have a government which is capable of acting as the lender of last resort, which can borrow and spend as needed to deal with this crisis. So here in the United States the capacity to handle the crisis exists.
  • Liberal economic thought has not advanced one iota since Dad died: “But what needs to be stressed is that we’ve seen a breakdown of an entire system. The consequence of the failure of regulation, of supervision of the banking system over the past eight years, has been to cause a collapse of trust, a poisoning of the well.”
  • If everyone had the World Reserve Currency they could all print their way out of a depression: “Right now the thing that troubles me most is not the United States. The thing that troubles me most is that the same ideas of deregulation, of free markets, were applied in the construction of modern Europe. And the Europeans don’t have the institutions of the New Deal, a central bank that can lend as necessary.”

(On this point we state for the record that Germany saw its economy decline by nearly five percent yet unemployment barely budged, while the United States, with the reserve currency, and all those nice New Deal institutions, saw it unemployment rate jump by sixty – that’s six-oh! – percent in the past year.)

  • Thank God there is no oversight on the Federal Reserve as they raid the treasury to help banksters: “Mercifully, we have the institutions of government in this country that can act. The Europeans are winging it. They have to go against their charter of the Central Bank, against the Maastricht Treaty and its restrictions on government spending, government deficits. They- that problem is a systemic problem. Our problem is a policy problem. We can solve our problem.”
  • Conservatives and Liberals agree: We need bigger government: “What I mean is the people who took over the government were not interested in reducing the government and having a small government, the conservative principle. They were interested in using these great institutions for private benefit, to place them in the control of their friends and to put them to the use of their clients. They wanted to privatize Social Security. They created a Medicare drug benefit in such a way as to create the maximum profit for pharmaceutical companies. They used trade agreements to extend patent protections for various interests or to promote the expansion of the corporate agriculture’s markets in the third world. A whole range of things that were basically political and clientelistic. That’s the predator state.

–How’s that same old bullshit working for you these days, Jimmy?