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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bill Moyers on Shutdown: "Secession by Another Means"

Posted by on Tue, Oct 8, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Remember when we could watch thoughtful, honest political commentary without the need to distract from the horror by peppering it with jokes? That's kinda what Bill Moyers is—The Daily Show, but without the laughs. And man does he nail it.


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rob! 1
Bill Moyers never went away. Glad you're starting to pay attention to him again.

I just hope he has worthy successors.
Posted by rob! on October 8, 2013 at 9:15 AM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 2
Thanks for linking to this. Here's the transcript from his website, for those who prefer:
BILL MOYERS: And now to the people who refuse to let democracy work. The people who hate government so much they’ve shut it down. Unable to abide by the results of democracy when they don’t win, they turned on it.

Republicans have now lost three successive elections to control the Senate and they’ve lost the last two presidential elections. Nonetheless, they fought tooth and nail to kill President Obama’s health care initiative. They lost that fight, but with the corporate wing of Democrats, they managed to bend it toward private interests.

So we should be clear on this, Obamacare, as it’s known, is deeply flawed. Big subsidies to the health insurance industry. A bonanza for lobbyists. No public option. And as The New York Times reported this week, “Millions of Poor Are Left Uncovered by Health Law.” Largely because states controlled by Republicans refuse to expand Medicaid.

As far as our bought and paid for legislative process goes, Obama’s initiative made it through the sausage factory. Yet even after both the House and Senate approved it, the president signed it, and the Supreme Court upheld it, the Republicans keep insisting on calling the law a “bill,” thumbing their noses and refusing to accept that it is enacted legislation.

Now they’re fighting to prevent it from being implemented. Here was their order of the day on Thursday from the popular right wing blog

“Congressmen, this is about shutting down Obamacare. Democrats keep talking about our refusal to compromise. They don’t realize our compromise is defunding Obamacare. We actually want to repeal it. This is it. Our endgame is to leave the whole thing shut down until the President defunds Obamacare. And if he does not defund Obamacare, we leave the whole thing shut down.”

Once upon a time when I was a young man working on Capitol Hill, it was commonplace that when a bill became law, everybody was unhappy with it. But you didn’t bring down the government just because it wasn’t perfect. You argue and fight and vote and then, due process having been at least raggedly served, on to the next fight.

That was a long time ago. Long before the Tea Party minority, armed with huge sums of secret money from rich donors, sucked the last bit of soul from the Grand Old Party of Abraham Lincoln. They became delusional. Then rabid. Like this:

SENATOR STEVE KING: If Obamacare is ever implemented and enforced, we will never recover from it. It is an unconstitutional takings of God-given American liberty.

BILL MOYERS: That’s false, of course. Just like those right-wing talking points that keep grinding through the propaganda mills of Fox News:

AINSLEY EARHARDT on Fox and Friends: Thanks to Obamacare, doctors will be forced to ask patients about their sex life, even if it has nothing to do with the medical treatment that they are seeking at the time.

BILL MOYERS: Not true.

MICHELLE MALKIN on Fox and Friends: That healthcare plan puts a discount on the lives of elderly people and would result in the redistribution of health away from the elderly and the infirm to other special favored interests and patients.

BILL MOYERS: Again, not true. Nor is this, from the multi-millionaire fabulist Rush Limbaugh:

RUSH LIMBAUGH from the Rush Limbaugh Show: What we now have is the biggest tax increase in the history of the world. Obamacare is just a massive tax increase, that all it is.

BILL MOYERS: That’s just a tiny sample of the lies and misinformation perpetrated by the right with the song and dance compliance of its richly paid mouthpieces. Sarah Palin set the bar for truth at about ankle height with those fictitious “death panels” that she still insists will decide our rendezvous with the Grim Reaper.

SARAH PALIN on Cashin' In: Of course there are death panels in there, but the important thing to remember is that’s just one aspect of this atrocious, unaffordable, cumbersome, burdensome, evil policy of Obama’s and that is Obamacare.

BILL MOYERS: Despite what they say, Obamacare is only one of their targets. Before they will allow the government to reopen, they demand employers be enabled to deny birth control coverage to female employees. They demand Obama cave on the Keystone pipeline. They demand the watchdogs over corporate pollution be muzzled, and the big, bad regulators of Wall Street sent home. Their ransom list goes on and on. The debt ceiling is next. They would have the government default on its obligations and responsibilities.

When the president refused to buckle to their extortion, they threw their tantrum. Like the die-hards of the racist South a century and a half ago, who would destroy the Union before giving up their slaves, so would these people burn the place down, sink the ship of state, and sow economic chaos to get their way. This says it all, they even shuttered the Statue of Liberty.

Watching all this from London, the noted commentator Martin Wolf, of the capitalist friendly Financial Times, says “America flirts with self-destruction.”

This man is the biggest flirt of all, Newt Gingrich. It was Newt Gingrich who twenty years ago spearheaded the right-wing’s virulent crusade against the norms of democratic government. As Speaker of the House he twice brought about shutdowns of the federal government once, believe it or not, because he felt snubbed after riding on Air Force One with President Clinton and had to leave by the backdoor.

It was also Newt Gingrich, speaker Gingrich, who was caught lying to congressional investigators looking into charges of his ethical wrongdoing. His colleagues voted overwhelmingly, 395 to 28, to reprimand him. Pressure from his own party then prompted him to resign.

Yet even after his flame out, even after his recent bizarre race for the presidency bankrolled with money from admiring oligarchs, even after new allegations about his secret fundraising for right-wing candidates, Gingrich remains the darling of a fawning amnesic media.

NEWT GINGRICH on Crossfire: I’m Newt Gingrich on the right.

BILL MOYERS: On the other day he issued a call to arms to his fellow bomb-throwers, “…don’t cave on shutdown.”

At least let’s name this for what it is, sabotage of the democratic process. Secession by another means. And let’s be clear about where such reckless ambition leads. As surely as night must follow day, the alternative to democracy is worse.…
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on October 8, 2013 at 9:22 AM · Report this
dnt trust me 3

I believe what Bill will go down in history for is his extensive focus on "Man, Myth, and Symbols" history lessons on PBS and in Barnes & Nobles throughout the land. (I got my step-dad the 10 or whatever disc set for Christmas one year - you know how xmas gifts are just some last minute grab). So, I will say say I'm no successor, but I don't think Moyers ever dissected the amazing myth-based early 1500 paintings by Piero Di Cosimo.
Posted by dnt trust me on October 8, 2013 at 9:28 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 4
Bill Moyers is the voice of reason. That is not valued today. It will be our downfall. We listen to celebrity liars, the domestic enemies of democracy. And people don't value the only power they have, which is to vote.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on October 8, 2013 at 9:35 AM · Report this
dnt trust me 5

Peabrain, "We" don't necessarily want to listen to celebrity liars, "You" apparently do listen to them. That is your downfall.
Posted by dnt trust me on October 8, 2013 at 9:38 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 6
@5 The big money in radio and t.v. say you are wrong. Again.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on October 8, 2013 at 9:54 AM · Report this
dnt trust me 7
I'm wrong You're wrong I'm wrong You're wrong Let's do it all day, Pope Shitforbrains.
Posted by dnt trust me on October 8, 2013 at 9:57 AM · Report this
Thank you for linking to this. Moyers is a treasure. I like Jon Stewart but tire of his snark. There's not a newscaster on the major networks I respect. Moyers expresses the reason and intelligence all of the news commentators should strive for.
Posted by mitten on October 8, 2013 at 10:31 AM · Report this
Moyers fills me with despair. The contrast between his patient analysis of how things are supposed to work, and what we're dealing with now, just adds to that pain in the pit of my stomach. It makes me want to disengage from the whole thing, go make a big bowl of popcorn and just watch the demolition derby this country has turned into.

What do we do? Is this our penance for "winning" the Civil War? Are we heading for another? Or is this something more along the lines of a Falangist revolution in the making? The right-wing noise machine is spreading the meme of Obama as monarch, almost as if to prepare the way for violently deposing him. And us.

Whatever, I don't think it's going to work out well for social liberals.

@5, 7: I'm torn as to whether it's better to ignore you or try to encourage you to at least attempt to behave like a civilized person now and again. I mean, I wouldn't want you to strain anything, but I'm sure you could pick things up a notch or two.

Posted by Brooklyn Reader on October 8, 2013 at 10:39 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 10
The allusions to the southern secession of 1860/61 are a bit alarming. During that time, the south was so determined to secede, they sabotaged their own presidential candidate (candidates, actually... they put four candidates up for election; guaranteeing their defeat) in order to give more fire to their supporters.

Further, Lincoln was far more compromising than Obama has been. Lincoln promised the south that slavery would remain legal forever! He promised them they could have whatever they wanted, as long as they abided by the law. And they refused.

The south demanded that ALL newly admitted states be forced to be slave states, regardless of what the new states' population wanted. Lincoln asked them to let the states decide whether they wanted to be slave or free states. That's what the south opposed.

It's sort of ironic now... the war of "states' rights" started because the south wanted to refuse to allow the new states their rights.

I don't think the U.S. today is anywhere near something as drastic as the Civil War. The similarities are creepy though.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on October 8, 2013 at 10:45 AM · Report this
@5, you don't listen to Fox News? I'm not going to believe that.
Posted by GermanSausage on October 8, 2013 at 10:50 AM · Report this
Weird. The road in front of my house still works. If I needed the police they're still there, as is the fire department. The property tax payment was cashed at the banks, which function just fine. No hordes of looters at my house yet...

See, federal government is a necessary evil we endure for specifically enumerated reasons in the Constitution.

If you rely on federal government to pay your rent or eat or make your job possible, unless you're a soldier or customs officer or other actually useful person, YOU are the one with the problem.
Posted by Seattleblues on October 8, 2013 at 11:11 AM · Report this
As for Moyers, he's a fringe ideologue who hates Christianity and a non European model US. He, unlike most of you, has property those nations can loot, so would be welcome there. And he's welcome to leave any old time.
Posted by Seattleblues on October 8, 2013 at 11:15 AM · Report this
Useful? What about the CDC keeping epidemics under control, or the inspectors keeping your food safe? And how come it is a bad thing to do anything to suppress "job creators" but ok to kill the biggest job creator of all? When did the government of the people get turned into an "other" rather than part of who we are as a nation? You might as well say people should get rid of their own heads (the part that governs their body functions) so the liver and stomach cells could be FREE! Wheee for freedom!!! Oops urgh why are all those free cells dying? They should be able to take care of themselves.
Posted by heartfelt on October 8, 2013 at 11:27 AM · Report this
Oh, Goldstein? You can get the hell out of MY country too, you whiny bigoted leftist piece of trash.

Sorry, forgot. Opinionated morons are very welcome in Europe (how else could they run their silly socialist governments?) but only if you have income they can steal. Lets you out, I guess. So the good people of this great nation are stuck with you. Damn.
Posted by Seattleblues on October 8, 2013 at 11:28 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 16
@13: i would vastly prefer it if your ilk left the nation you apparently hate and let the rest of us provide for the general welfare instead of the MIC. sadly, there's no place in the world right wing and christian enough to meet your standards. even Australia would laugh at your mewling.

for the record, Moyers is what used to be called center-left. there are no leftist fringe idealogues in American public life.
Posted by Max Solomon on October 8, 2013 at 11:34 AM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 17
@13, @15, For someone who claims to be a proud American, you seem to hate much of your country and those who live there.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on October 8, 2013 at 11:39 AM · Report this
Incredible video. Well reasoned, fair, historically informed. We need more of this.

And his comparison - secession by another name - is all too apt. I've been inclined to call what the Republicans have been doing for years unpatriotic and more recently, I think it's full out treason.

As @10 said, it does feel a bit like a civil war. The only solace to all this is that the majority may finally recognize that the tea party minority has declared it.
Posted by Centrists Rule the World today on October 8, 2013 at 12:06 PM · Report this
Nope. Free people, adults, understand that government does only what citizens simply couldn't or (as with the military) shouldn't on their own.

IF government is the biggest job creator (it isn't) that's a very big problem. IF government is some omnipotent force in our lives, that's a threat to liberty. If people rely on government to do for them what sane adults do for themselves (feed, clothe, house, provide medical care etc) they should be derided, not applauded.
Posted by Seattleblues on October 8, 2013 at 12:21 PM · Report this
ScandalMgr 20
@19, You just revealed the roots of your Ayn (I'm a Medicaid recipient) Rand-ian philosophy with your heartless diatribe, and you apparently hate the idea of government at all. Well, go suck some listeria and salmonella chicken for those of us who want the government to protect us from predatory capitalists who would sell us such shit.

And the constitution, if you bothered to read it in its true, is a restraining order against tyrannical government.

Either that or you're a concern troll
Posted by ScandalMgr on October 8, 2013 at 12:45 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 21
@19 - Your opinion is irrelevant.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on October 8, 2013 at 12:49 PM · Report this

And yours, as always, is stunningly well reasoned with a rhetorical style reminiscent if Cicero.
Posted by Seattleblues on October 8, 2013 at 12:53 PM · Report this

What does your receiving Medicaid have to do with anything.

Ayn Rand had a few good notions, a lot of silly ones and a writing style that somehow managed to make the Harry Potter woman look very nearly competent.

And the management of local problems like safe food supply, housing standards and so on are best handled by state or local governments. Ham handed federal solutions both exceed federal authority and rarely work well or cost effectively.

This concludes todays civics 101 class. Please don't run in the halls.
Posted by Seattleblues on October 8, 2013 at 1:01 PM · Report this
@21 She is in rare form today. Perhaps it is that time of the month for her.

Seattleblues dear you know when your menstruating your suppose to go to your tent in the backyard. God is going to be displeased with you.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on October 8, 2013 at 1:29 PM · Report this

Devastating point by point refutation of my stated argument you make there! I stand in awestruck wonder, amazed by your wit and intelligence!

Parenthetically, I have 3 younger siblings. I guarantee you that you'll tire of your childish pronoun games before they even hint at annoying me.
Posted by Seattleblues on October 8, 2013 at 2:21 PM · Report this
@25 apparently not.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on October 8, 2013 at 2:51 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 27
25, but you don't have any "stated arguments." You begin w/ an assumed premise & start from there. How can anyone argue against your endless slander against things you don't like? You have no understanding of what goes on in Europe. All you know is you don't like it. You don't understand the role or history of the US government, and you don't like it. Anything "non-Christian" is perceived as a threat (which is the attitude of the fanatic/extremist.)

Go back to Moyer's statement & refute *that*. You haven't done so. All you've done is pile on ad hominen arguments. Personally, I don't think you're capable of breaking down a rational argument and responding to it. But I could be wrong. Prove it.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on October 8, 2013 at 3:14 PM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 28
@25: Regarding how to break down a rational argument and respond to it, let me give you an example:

The management of local problems like safe food supply, housing standards and so on are best handled by state or local governments.

Many things you perceive as local problems are not strictly local. For example, you mention "safe food supply and housing standards." These are far from local issues.

For example, the food supply typically includes many many items that are imported from other communities, other states, and other countries. Ensuring that food offered for sale is "safe" requires that standards be uniformly set and imposed wherever food is produced, domestically, or where it is imported. Making this a local matter would require every community to have its own food inspectors responsible to set and enforce standards for all food arriving in the community. Do you really think it is more efficient to have one thousand community food inspectors checking lettuce for contamination, or to have a small team checking at the source?

You could respond, "Well, the people checking that food is free from contamination should all be local to where it is produced." But then we run into a question of standards across communities. What if the producing community accepts a higher count of bug parts and fecal coliforms on their lettuce than the importing community? Why should I have to eat shit-covered lettuce just because the farmers growing it have different standards? And isn't it wasteful for every community doing the work to set their own standards for food safety? Surely a uniform national standard, backed by solid medical and public health data, is the way to go.

That is how it is done.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on October 8, 2013 at 3:59 PM · Report this
runswithnailclippers 29
@19 "If people rely on government to do for them what sane adults do for themselves (feed, clothe, house, provide medical care etc)"

OK, please go and perform brain surgery on yourself. Please.
Posted by runswithnailclippers on October 8, 2013 at 4:52 PM · Report this
thelyamhound 30
And the management of local problems like safe food supply, housing standards and so on are best handled by state or local governments.
Why so? Please be specific, and use examples if possible.

Come on, SB. What do you have to lose by answering a direct question with an actual argument in support of your position for (approximately) the first time in your SLOG career?
Posted by thelyamhound on October 8, 2013 at 6:38 PM · Report this
@27-30 She can't. But don't worry apparently she is impervious to such annoyances. How do we know this? Because she never responds to facts, comments with regards to what she believes to be her gender she response to.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on October 8, 2013 at 8:12 PM · Report this

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