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Bill Moyers: ‘We’re Almost Out of Time’

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Posted on May 18, 2011
Photo illustration from an image by Colin Grey

(Page 2)

Peter Scheer: Well, so, how do you find the communities? Who are the people who are providing this care? And how do you find, I guess, the people that you are trying to help, at the same time?

Cole Miller: Well, it’s all grass roots. So basically, we put together a couple of demonstration projects to show that people in ordinary circumstances could do it. And then I knew there would be news reports, because we do pretty aggressive media outreach, and we have been able to successfully penetrate quite a bit of mainstream media with these stories. And we knew that people would see it, and like-minded people would get in touch with us. At least, that was my assumption, and that’s exactly what happened. So a community gets in touch with us, expresses an interest in putting together a project, and we assist them in doing it. Now we’re—we’ve moved into phase 3, and it’s kind of an exciting time for us, because I always envisioned this as something where we put together demonstration projects, then we hook up with communities, with like-minded people and we bring children here and get those stories told. Because the basic premise is, if you object, help the victims and tell the story, and a lot will come from that. But I always thought that we would help communities to do that. And then at a certain stage, we would help communities to form it independently—use it as a model. In other words, do it themselves, raise the money themselves. And the first group, Healing Children of Conflict, in Grand Rapids, Mich., a boy whose leg was blown off by a U.S. bomb just arrived there last week.

Peter Scheer: Oh, good.

Cole Miller: So that after all of these years, we have our first—it’s been replicated completely based on our model, for the first time. Now, I … just want to say, really quickly, that we’re in the cross hairs as well. It’s not just the Iraqi people, you know—although they’ve been made to suffer savagely, obviously, things that we can’t even imagine. But the middle class is being destroyed in this country [the United States] before our very eyes. Now they’re going after Medicare; they’re going after Medicaid; they’re going after Social Security. We are being victimized by this war system as well, in a little bit different way. Now, that model—if you object, help the victims and tell the story—could be applied domestically as well as internationally. So let’s just take one instance. Supposing you have a veteran who’s come back and who discovers that there are no jobs for him, or that he’s lost his job. And that a corrupt bank is going to foreclose on his home. So he and his family are about to be evicted from that home. What would happen if some vets who are opposed to the war realize they were duped into it, got together and said, we’re going to get together with some other just everyday citizens who are of like mind, and we’re going to put our bodies between the people who are coming to foreclose on this veteran’s home, and the people who come to take it away from him. Now, if hovering in the background is some phony paperwork, you know, is some fraud on the part of the bankers, so much the better. But that kind of initiative, where you intervene to help the victim and you tell the story—I mean, I think you could get coverage for that in the mainstream media here.

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Peter Scheer: We’re speaking in studio with Cole Miller, who is the founding director of No More Victims, a grass-roots organization that connects American communities with war-injured Iraqi children and their families, and is …

Josh Scheer: … I just want to say, very quickly, part of that is that you can go to NoMoreVictims.org to find out more. And also you’re selling a book too, right, that one of your volunteers wrote, for …?

Cole Miller: It’s “The Lioness, the Rich and the Humvee.”

Josh Scheer: … yeah, the Humvee.

Peter Scheer: There we go.

Cole Miller: This wonderful woman, Beth DeLap, wrote that book after meeting one of the children—Russell, who’s the sister of Sally, who you can see in the Mother’s Day video at the site. That little girl—we brought, we then brought her sister, and Beth DeLap met her and brought her over. So yes, people can purchase copies of the book there; it’d be helpful to us. She’s donated all of the proceeds to help us with No More Victims work.

Josh Scheer: And—one quick question. You’ve been doing this, sadly, for nine years. I say sadly, obviously, for obvious reasons. How many children like the ones we’ve been discussing—how many have you met? How many have you helped, and then how many …

Cole Miller: Well, we’ve helped …

Josh Scheer:  … more are there?

Cole Miller: We’ve helped … well. I mean …

Josh Scheer: … Yeah …

Cole Miller: … incalculable number. And it’s really hard to get good information about the number of wounded. They—you know, we don’t do body counts; it—what is it, how many hundreds of thousands, is it a million, is it a million and a half; we don’t know. You know? And if you ask—like it’s, the mean estimate of the number of people that the United States killed in Vietnam is a hundred thousand. Well, we know it’s somewhere between 2 or 3 million … so it’s always much larger. It’s always much larger. But we have brought 10 children to the United States. They’ve been treated from coast to coast. We’ve brought a couple of the children multiple times; Sally was just here for her third trip to get prosthetic legs this year …

Peter Scheer: And this is all grass roots. This is all …

Cole Miller: This is all grass roots. And, you know, we’re in a privileged position, but see, that’s … it’s much, much harder to do now. I mean, since Obama got elected, he was the progressive’s hope, it was pretty obvious to me that he wasn’t going to end any wars. But people thought that he was going to, and then kind of went to sleep. And with the—that combined with the economic implosion has made it really, really difficult to put these together. We managed to meet all of our obligations to all the kids who were already in process. Now it’s beginning to pick up a little bit again, as people realize that this war system is not going to end simply because we have a smiley face in the White House that can pretend to be a progressive. So I think things are going to pick up, and I really do hope that people will think about ways that they can apply this model domestically. Because, you know, what does solidarity really mean? You know, what does mutual aid really mean? Unless we’re getting out there. And if you do assist somebody who’s being victimized by this system, and tell the story, it can pack a punch. And the other people out there who are frightened of losing their jobs, or who have just lost their jobs, they’re going to be in a lot of need. So the question then becomes, how do we within local communities actually create genuine community, where we look out for each other and we assist each other? And where we actually defy and point an accusing finger at the people who are taking advantage. The people in privileged positions who want to squeeze every last drop of sweat and blood out of the public that they can. And I think …

Peter Scheer: And actually do something about it, actually …

Cole Miller: … and actually do something about it …

Peter Scheer: … not just complain, not just, you know, write a blog post about it, but actually get—help someone, and then get the story out. I think this is a great model.

Josh Scheer: Well, yeah, I’d love to get more foundation support, you know. The problem is that a lot of these—not just human rights groups, but all these groups, is that they—you get these, you know, big foundation checks and everything else, and you know, a lot of these foundations could do probably a lot more for smaller human rights groups that are doing grass-roots stuff, right?

Peter Scheer: But what’s so great about this is … you’re connecting people. You’re not just—you know, it’s not institutional; it’s not, like he’s saying, bogged down in this stuff. But it sounds like you could use some help.

Cole Miller: Well, no, we definitely could use some help. Now, we focus on children who have been hurt by U.S. forces. And for that, I think for a lot of corporate money and probably foundation money too, that’s going to be a bit of a problem. We haven’t had anybody step forward and offer, you know, that kind of assistance to us. We did have an interesting experience with CNN. We went over to—it was a long, you know, all of these projects take a good long while, especially earlier on when it was so hard to move people around in Iraq and get people into other countries. But there was a little boy who was traveling with his family from Mosul to Baghdad to be with the family for Eid. And they passed an American convoy; the convoy opened fire on the car; the mother was burned to death, the boy was burned really terribly, the father was shot a couple of times. We brought that little boy to the United States for medical care, and he was treated in Boston. And at that time, we had two contacts on the inside at CNN, two senior producers, segment producers. One in New York and one in Los Angeles. The one in Los Angeles had already done a couple of segments based on, you know, about No More Victims and its work. And so they were pitching on the inside, and could get no takers. And they were very eager to tell the story, but they just could not get any takers. About a month and a half later, you saw the story of a boy named Youssef—who of course deserved assistance—but he was hurt by bad guys.

Peter Scheer: Oh …

Cole Miller: So, suddenly, he’s all over CNN.


New and Improved Comments

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, May 21, 2011 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment

Eaglemount, May 21 at 9:11 am,

Thanks for that link to sign for a Constitutional amendment to pay for
elections and get rid of Corporate Mammon in the election process,
that I signed.

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By Eaglemount, May 21, 2011 at 9:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s all well and good to comment about an issue that needs the attention of citizens.  It’s even more important to ACTUALLY DO something significant that will allow necessary changes to be made to improve our country.

Here is a link that will interest many of you.
http://signon.org/sign/public-funding-of-elected

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By bogi666, May 21, 2011 at 6:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

doublestandard, it’s mindlessness that USAn’s have been instilled with. The inability, not knowing, stupidity[a chosen state]and/or too lazy to discern and realize thoughts from facts. Mindlessness is institutionalized,recited by the MSM. It originates from government, business and pretend christians which gives it legitimacy.Manufacturing Consent, Noam Chomsky, by instilling mindlessness of the USAn’s has been in affect for 90 years, when it was 1st articulated by Walter Lippmann as a means to manipulate the population to be controlled and ruled by an elitist group.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, May 20, 2011 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

A dismantling is what needs to be done of the corporate construct
that has been taken awry through unregulated Conservative and
Right-Wing Republican greed and it can only
be done by the 70% majority common population as a class and
culture who are not currently being represented in the making and
enforcing of legislated law and order in the United States at all.  It is
time for the majority common population as a class and culture stand
up and be recognized as the class and culture they are, 70% of the
population, the majority population of the United States, the
American Populace Class and Culture.

Report this

By Daniel, May 20, 2011 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@Billee:
I am 27 right now and agree with most of what you said.
I think part of it is, with me and everyone younger
than me, ever since we’ve been politically aware, GWB
was president.  So it was hard to see the flaws in the
system, because everything terrible that happened it
was easy to say “Oh it’s Bush’s fault, and he’s
ridiculous.” But now that Obama is president I think
it’s easier to see the systemic nature of corporate
control.  Hopefully people will start to wake up.  But
I share your worry also.

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By mary m morgan, May 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have listened to May 18th Truth Dig Radio
Am appalled to hear another “Great American Hero” a la Mortenson “saving” what’s left of Iraqi children’s bodies, one at a time, and suggesting that this saviorhood be taken up by other Americans rich enough to fund it.
  How is it possible for Americans to pay for and execute the killing, slaughter and maiming of thousands of children in other lands and then get the opportunity to “feel good” by donating a few bucks to some one-child-at-a time medical miracle?
  I’m very disappointed in TruTh Dig!! I wish all of you, especially Bob would read Madeleine Bunting’s Guardian piece “Exposed Literary Fraud Reveals Lengths Americans Take to Deceive Themselves to Justify War and Intervention”. Band aids will not cure the wounds caused by robot aggression.  We don’t deserve to “feel good” by writing a token check.  “I weep for my country” and also Truth Dig.  Mary M. Morgan

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By ElkoJohn, May 20, 2011 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

I have to agree with RS.
The Federal government is owned and operated by the big corporations.
As such, it is becoming more and more an enemy of the people.
So if we dismantle this behemoth in favor of states rights, perhaps
we and the rest of the world would be better off without the empire of
perpetual war and profits at any cost.

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By John Steinsvold, May 20, 2011 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

An Alternative to Capitalism (which we need here in the USA and pretty quick according to Bill)

Several decades ago, Margaret Thatcher claimed: “There is no alternative”. She was referring to capitalism. Today, this negative attitude still persists.

I would like to offer an alternative to capitalism for the American people to consider. Please click on the following link. It will take you to an essay titled: “Home of the Brave?” which was published by the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:

http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/steinsvold.htm

John Steinsvold

Perhaps in time the so-called dark ages will be thought of as including our own.
—Georg C. Lichtenberg

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Egomet Bonmot's avatar

By Egomet Bonmot, May 19, 2011 at 11:32 pm Link to this comment

I mean Jesus, I look at the same long LONG career of self-canonizing that you do, knit eyebrows and Joseph Campbell and all, and ask myself why the man has never, ever, owned up to his part in LBJ’s dirty tricks department.  It always comes out in dribs and drabs from outside, a Morley Safer interview or an FOIA request, never from Moyers himself.  G. Gordon Liddy owned his history with Nixon and didn’t try to set himself up as a saint.  With Moyers the hypocrisy is rank.

The truth is that Arnold Schwarzenegger has been more forthcoming about his indiscretions in a single week than Moyers has been over his whole career.  At the very least, he owes PBS subscribers a one-hour special entitled “Bad Stuff I Did.”

He’d bring the house down.

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By Gail, May 19, 2011 at 11:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you for having Nomi Prins discuss the IMF and Bill Moyers talk about democracy.

Of most concern are the neoliberal free trade agreements that are destroying democracy and contain much more than trade that allows big business and mega-banks to dictate numerous areas of policies to leaders around the world that destroys democracies.

Please consider having Public Citizen’s Global Trade Director Lori Wallach on your radio show. There are three free trade agreements coming before Congress very soon: South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Additionally, the Trans Pacific Partnership is also a free trade agreement coming up in November 2011.

These free trade agreements are part of the financial/economic meltdown that gets little media coverage.  Additionally, these free trade agreements are part of destroying the wealth of nations and their democracies.

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Egomet Bonmot's avatar

By Egomet Bonmot, May 19, 2011 at 11:06 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Virginia but I’ll keep things heavy for now if it’s all the same to you…

How about this for a compromise:  Everyone get a look at Moyer’s cabinet memo to LBJ (recently made public under FOIA request) outlining Moyers’ plans to investigate and root out suspected administration homosexuals, as well as prominent homosexuals in public life, Hollywood et al.  Let the man speak for himself.  Deal?

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 19, 2011 at 11:05 pm Link to this comment

Even after all these years of fine work some people just won’t let someone’s past go.

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Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, May 19, 2011 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment

Egomet Bonmot:

oh for gosh sakes troll, lighten up on Bill Moyers.

Grow up.

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Egomet Bonmot's avatar

By Egomet Bonmot, May 19, 2011 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment

Moyers did his part for democracy as hatchet man for LBJ, bugging Martin Luther King’s hotel room to glean private dirt on the man and working to get journalists like Morley Safer kicked out the States for unfavorable coverage.  The man is despicable.

Google Slate’s “The Intolerable Smugness of Bill Moyers” or any of a hundred other articles for the facts.

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By Cliff Carson, May 19, 2011 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

I can’t get out of my mind the statement “We have brought back ten”  and that is in nine years!

The depravity we Americans allowed our government to do to the people of the the Middle East is almost impossible to measure.

And no mention of the DU was made in the Article.  That Radioactive poison scattered there by our Military has tripled the amount of “monster” births in Iraq and will continue to do so for the next several million years assuming that our civilization lasts that long.

It will take an omnipotent God to forgive us for our cruelty.  I can’t bring myself to forgive the horror we have visited on innocent people.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, May 19, 2011 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I found it interesting that everyone involved in the conversation with Moyers glossed over the most important point he raised - that is, that facts no longer have any bearing on what people in this country believe or on what political opinions they hold, according to a study he cited.  We are living in what has been called the “post factual age.”  We believe that we are entitled to our own facts as well as opinions.  We reject facts that do not support our beliefs.  In other words, political pundits like those here at TD are only and always “preaching to the choir.”  The idea that if you could reach more people you could change their minds is quite out of line with the conclusions of this study.  Another recent study showed that not all people who get their news from Fox are undereducated, incurious, or stupid.  There is a large segment of educated, socially involved people who tune into Fox to have their “facts” verified.  To blame Fox News for “disinformation” is putting the cart before the horse.

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By Artful Dodger, May 19, 2011 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: D R Zing

Yes. Bill Moyers is a great man. But he worked for a miserable son-of-a-bitch. Perhaps that is why Mr. Moyers left politics and dedicated his life and career to journalism at its best. He certainly saw firsthand what an evil person can do when he manipulates journalism at its worst.

I remember how Mort Sahl did lampoons of St. Bill and LBJ. I can’t help wondering what St. Bill’s role was in the Kennedy murder. To quote:

In fact, prior to the appointing of the Special Commission, Deputy Attorney General D. Katzenbach wrote in a memo to President Lyndon B. Johnson Aide Bill Moyers on November 25, 1963: “The public must be satisfied that Oswald was assassin; that he did not have confederates…” [2]


I know St. Bill and Valenti had been complicit in quashing a very impugning documentary about the JFK assassination on the Discovery channel. There were some bits of the expose that implicated LBJ’s involvement. Whenever I see the pious looking face of St. Bill on TV I get a sour belch. This St. Bill couldn’t understand the anti-war movement of the time. Finally, he cut his losses late in the game by resigning as LBJ’s press secretary in 1967. Whenever I see him lecture on the evils of our tyrannical government, I feel like I am being preached to by the town drunk, who just got religion after being caught for statutory rape. He is a really creepy man if you think about it hard enough. I will keep pointing out the evil in this man for as long as Truthdig makes reference to him as some sort of liberal saint. Recall that the Catholic Church had elevated many inquisitors and torturers to beatification and sainthood. Color me a hagiophobe.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 19, 2011 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

We have seen that the predatory nature of business run by those and attractive to those who have no compassion or interest in their posterity. Just remember Daffy Duck and the magic lamp—-“Its mine, mine, mine!!!”

As had been chronicled by others, since the the 1980’s, maybe 1970’s have found that corporate culture has been aligned to the psychopathic personality. If you aren’t one you can be lured to act like one as they continually advertise that the only way to get rich and have the “American Dream” is to be as ruthless as can be. Ayn Rand certainly championed it. She considered such people to be her supermen. Plunderers of modern society, where might makes right and wealth is for the rich. A dangerous and destructive ethos if there ever was one ever advertised as the best of all possible worlds. Totally antithetical to our ethos of “Out of Many One.”
Remember when you hear the term “state’s rights” it is a code for the Neo-Confederates in our midst. They are strong and are part of the Dominionist movement to gut our present country and rebuild it in their own twisted image.

Bill Moyers understands just how bad our position is today. How close we are to losing even the damaged gov’t we do have.

For me it is difficult to end on a positive note. Suffice it to say we haven’t lost yet. But the time is running out and once they collapse the economy it will be way too late since they will be out in the open and they will be the only ones with the organization and the support of the gov’t run by their own people. Then all bets, and the Bill of Rights, are off for us. Most will give up their freedom for a near normal life. (All the tropes will be back in place, but there will be no protections for us, our lives, our freedom will be conditional and we may not know where the leash ends.) The rest will be hunted down or allowed to starve or will be enslaved. That’s the way I see it. Just don’t know when the hammer will drop.

I thank TruthDig for all it does. Just wish I had some extra money for them.

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By MeHere, May 19, 2011 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

Billee

Excellent observations.  Most of the younger crowd seems to accept the present
working and lifestyle conditions as being normal—the idea being that, if this is
life in the US, it must be right.

I would only add that creating one’s own business doesn’t change the situation.
It just involves a different set of concerns and uncertainties which also make
people work themselves into extreme fatigue.

As a result of this malaise, not even retirees can relax—certainly not the
average retiree. As if dealing with old age and the health issues that develop
were not enough, they cannot trust the institutions that hold their savings or
the corporate health care system.  And they are faced with the onslaught of a
fast-changing technology that often makes them feel helpless.

Yes, it is a disturbing situation.  At this point, probably only nature can change
our situation, when the acceleration and expansion becomes unsustainable.

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By yossarianblues, May 19, 2011 at 6:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The study regarding facts to which Moyers refers: http://articles.boston.com/2010-07-11/bostonglobe/29324096_1_facts-misinformation-beliefs

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By JJW, May 19, 2011 at 4:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After the exposure of NYTs’ Judith Miller one would think they’d at least try to clean house but, no they get even more in bed with criminal politicians and CEOs.

Thank goodness I terminated Comcast cable.

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By surfnow, May 19, 2011 at 4:28 am Link to this comment

DR Zing:
I agree. It’s tough to get passed Moyers’ butt kissing of LBJ. He hated JFK and I’ve never believed it was coincidental that Kennedy was taken out in Johnson’s backyard. However, Moyers is of course right about the current state of our democracy, and internet neutrality is one of the most vital issues today. I also agree about the lies behind our wars- the War with Mexico was a total war of imperialism; and the super-patriotism behind WWI was sickening.However, the danger today is from the changes brought about by Rumsfeld-Bush- a totally volunteer military run by corporations- this is something very new , very unique and completely anti-democratic and dangerous.

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., May 18, 2011 at 10:08 pm Link to this comment

Always love to hear Moyers; a giant among us.

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D.R. Zing's avatar

By D.R. Zing, May 18, 2011 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment

This is a great interview.  I thank TruthDig for posting it. Bill Moyers is indeed a legend, and the way he ended the interview by pointing out the importance of individual journalists—and the importance of TruthDig itself—showed his brilliance, his poise, his integrity, his style.  God, I love him. 

But let’s be clear here about something else too. Lyndon Baines Johnson was a sorry son-of-a-bitch.  He stole his Senate seat from an honorable man named Coke Stevenson. LBJ was the original rat fucker, the original dirty dick, the master of dirty tricks, a vile despicable human being who manipulated his way into the Kennedy administration even though he was in no way qualified by intellect, disposition or even national popularity to be in such a position.

There are no words in this comment that LBJ did not use on a regular basis. 

Look at your dog. That Labrador Retriever knows just about as much as LBJ did about Vietnam when the bastard took office. Tens of thousands of Americans and perhaps one million Vietnamese lost their lives because LBJ was too goddamn stupid to realize McNamara was an idiot. Defecate in a jar and call it an LBJ memorial.

He turned his back on Martin Luther King when King needed him most. 

He was as diabolical as Karl Rove when campaigning and as stupid as George W. Bush when it came to foreign policy.

He showed Republicans and Democrats how to play dirty in the modern era. 

He only supported civil rights because he manipulated it into a way of furthering his political career.

He may have had seeds of a decent human being in him, but those seeds rotted in a vile pot of politics and ruthless ambition.

Don’t take my word for it. Read the man who spent his life studying LBJ, Robert A. Caro. His books on LBJ are:

Path to Power
Means of Ascent
Master of the Senate, which won the Pulitzer for Biography by the way. 

And all of Mr. Caro’s fans are waiting patiently for his last and final book about the LBJ presidency. 

Yes. Bill Moyers is a great man. But he worked for a miserable son-of-a-bitch. Perhaps that is why Mr. Moyers left politics and dedicated his life and career to journalism at its best. He certainly saw firsthand what an evil person can do when he manipulates journalism at its worst.

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By Billee, May 18, 2011 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

What concerns me (as a middle aged person who grew up in a suburb and has
lived in NYC for twenty years and connects with a lot of 20 and 30-
somethings) is the alarming degree of obedience presented by these new
generations. They shut up and do internships that basically use them for slave
labor, most do not get passionate about politics (uncool), are easily duped and
seduced by corporate hype and seem to not register any deep authenticity that
would lead them to rebel against established authority. I find this very
disturbing. I think they have been born into this corporate culture, know
nothing of how this country was before, and know slavishly serve with a level of
cluelessness about their rights being violated that unnerves me. They accept
corporate bs as if it is normal. I see it time and time again. The new trend is to
work them until at least 9pm. They get very little in return in terms of salary or
benefits. They are just being drained. Life will get worse in the US as those who
knew what it was like before the 1980s die off. When you could go to work,
come home and spend time unwinding with your family or just by yourself. Now
it’s all about working yourself into absolute frightening fatigue,worrying you
will get sick (no health insurance) and trying to block all these worries by
magical thinking, i.e. magical thinking. I am glad I am not young now. this
country is so sociopathically corporate that trying to maintain a middle class
life here has become unsustainable. If you lose your job, that’s it. Unless you
are resouceful enough to create a business of your own. Not everyone is capable
of that. And yet, cost of living prices continue to soar. I am not optimistic

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By SteveL, May 18, 2011 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment

Heard the broadcast.  Main slime media has always been bad. Egbert Roscoe
Murrow good, Walter Cronkite most trusted but the rest not so good.

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