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Truthdigger of the Week: Robert Reich

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Posted on Nov 11, 2011
Wikimedia Commons / Mike Edrington (CC-BY-SA)

He’s a product of the most influential institutions of our country, has served in three administrations and he even went to Yale Law with Bill and Hillary Clinton. But despite being entrenched within the system for the majority of his career, Robert Reich uses his powers for good, and that’s why he’s our Truthdigger of the Week.

Reich’s pedigree boasts all the right elements for a high-speed career in politics. Dartmouth for undergrad, followed by a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford. Then it was on to Yale Law and, eventually, after he did the usual law clerking, he worked for Presidents Ford and Carter, taught at Harvard and became President Clinton’s labor secretary. And with this Establishment history, Reich has broken the mold by keeping his focus on the needs and concerns of the majority of Americans rather than the interests of the elites with whom he circulates.

On that last note, it’s just that sensibility that Reich brought to his rousing appearance at an Occupy Los Angeles teach-in Nov. 5, drawing high praise at the same event from Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer. Footage of both of their speeches figured high among Truthdig’s greatest hits this week—if you haven’t caught those, have a look here.

Reich was clearly drawing on the sensibilities he honed in writing books like “The Next American Frontier” and “The Work of Nations,” as well as the thrust of a UC Berkeley class he teaches called Wealth and Poverty, when he took the Occupy L.A. audience to school last weekend. Here’s his opening salvo: “Because of Occupy L.A. and the Occupy movement around America, this country is beginning to discuss an issue and a set of issues it has avoided discussing for years. And that is the increasing concentration of income and wealth and political power at the very top of this country and what that has done to the economy and what that has done to our democracy.”

There’s the problem, so what’s the answer? “Nothing good happens in Washington unless good people outside Washington are mobilized and energized and organized to make sure it happens,” he observed. Luckily, in Reich’s estimation, the gathered crowd was proof positive that this kind of mobilization is going on around the country. “You are happening!” he said. Reich took on the income disparity issue, pointing out how our economy is richer than ever, for a select few, and broke it all down, countering some right-wing rhetoric while he was at it: “It is not class warfare. What it is is a recognition that the system has gotten out of balance.” The state of the economy and the state of our democracy are intimately intertwined in Reich’s eyes, and so the goal—even for the 1 percent—should always be “a fair and a just economy and a democracy that works for everyone.”

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Scheer followed up with his take on Reich’s talk, and we’ll let his words take us out for this week’s Truthdigger: “I think we just witnessed a historic moment ... a Jeffersonian moment. It was what, really, the Founders—for all of their imperfections, and I’m aware of them—had in mind when they thought of this whole idea of a constitutional democracy based on the individual.”

Transcript of Reich’s talk at Occupy L.A.:

Because of Occupy L.A. and the Occupy movement around America, this country is beginning to discuss an issue and a set of issues it has avoided discussing for years. And that is the increasing concentration of income and wealth and political power at the very top of this country, and what that has done to the economy and what it has done to our democracy. But it’s more than just a discussion. Because I can tell you, after having spent years in Washington, that nothing good happens in Washington unless good people outside Washington are mobilized and energized and organized to make sure it happens. [applause]

And it is beginning to happen. You are happening. And that gives permission to millions of other people to not only have the discussion, but also to get mobilized and organized and energized around the same issues. You see, when 25 million Americans are looking for full-time work; when millions of other Americans are too discouraged even to look for work; and when even people who have work are watching their wages drop, a lot of people say to themselves, ‘It’s my fault.’ They say to themselves, ‘The reason I don’t have a job, the reason my wages are going down, the reason I can’t pay the bills, is there’s something wrong with me.’ They don’t know that exactly the same problems affect millions of other people. So that it’s not something wrong with them; it’s something wrong with the system itself. [applause]

This economy is, right now, richer than it has ever been. This is the richest economy in the world; it’s the richest economy in the history of the world. And yet what are we doing? We are cutting education, we are cutting child welfare services, we are disregarding environmental problems, we are saying over and over again, ‘All we need to do is cut this and cut that.’ We are getting rid of teachers, we are saying education—we don’t care about any of this anymore. Because—why? Because we can’t afford it? Well, let me make sure you understand. We can afford it. We can afford it; we, the people, can afford it. This economy right now is twice as large as it was in 1980. But most people don’t know that, because their wages, if they have jobs, their wages have stagnated for three decades. In fact, they’ve been going down; if you adjust for inflation, they’ve been actually going down.

Now, where has the money gone? If the economy is twice as large as it was three decades ago, and if most people have not seen a wage increase—in fact, most people, wages are going down and they’re losing their jobs—where did the money go? [shouting from crowd] It went to the top 1 percent. A lot of it went to the top one tenth of 1 percent.

Now, look. When I talk about this kind of stuff, when you talk about it, many people say, ‘Oh, this is class warfare.’ It is not class warfare. What it is is a recognition that the system has got out of kilter, out of balance. What we want to do is the same thing the progressives did at the turn of the last century, the same thing that FDR did in the 1930s, the same thing that we tried to do in the 1960s and we certainly did with civil rights and voting rights. What that is is to save the system from itself; save capitalism, because capitalism cannot function when so much income and wealth are going to the top. Why do you think there’s not enough demand for the goods and services that are being produced in this country? [shouting from crowd] Exactly! There’s not enough demand because consumers, whose spending is 70 percent of the economy, they’re worried about their jobs; they’re worried about their wages; they’re worried, and so they’re not going to spend. And if they’re not going to spend, who’s going to create jobs, if there are no customers? You see the vicious cycle we get into when so much income and wealth go to the top?

But it’s not just the economy that suffers. It’s also our democracy. [applause] Because when you have an economy in which—and let me just give you some facts, and you probably know these facts already. But we’ve all got to make sure we have the facts together, because they are truth, and we’ve got to speak the truth over and over again. In the 1970s, when I began to look at all of this stuff, the top 1 percent were getting about 9 percent of total income. I thought that was pretty bad, but it seemed to me that, well, maybe that’s what’s needed in order to provide entrepreneurs and inventors enough incentive to continue to be entrepreneurs and inventors. But then, income kept on concentrating more and more and more. By 2007, the top 1 percent was no longer getting 9 percent of total income; by 2007, the top 1 percent was getting 23 and a half percent of total income. And then you know what happened in 2008.

Financial capitalism has taken over from real capitalism. Financial capitalism is taking over from product and services, from people that actually produce goods and services. And that has distorted our entire system. When so much money and so much income are at the top—and by the way, the 400 richest Americans right now have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans put together. When you get that much income and wealth at the top, inevitably some people at the top—not all people at the top, but some of them—are going to abuse their income and wealth and corrupt the political system. I don’t want to mention names, like Charles and David Koch; that would not be nice of me; that would not be fair. But they, each of them worth $25 billion—each of them worth $25 billion, what they are doing is using a chunk of their fortune to pollute and corrupt American democracy. And why are they doing that? Because they want to entrench themselves. They make petrochemicals, they want to stop the environmental movement; they want to create doubts about whether there is, in fact, climate change. They want to cut the budget; they don’t want taxes to be raised; they and other people at the top are using their political muscle to entrench their power and privilege, and we cannot allow that in America. [applause]

We must take America back, because it is too precious. Our democracy is too precious to allow it to fall in the hands of a few people. Now, I know some people say, ‘Oh, this Occupy movement; there are no demands, they haven’t got their act together, they’re not a political movement yet.’ Well, let me assure you: Many of you have been, as I have been, involved in years past with the civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam movement, many other movements in this country that at their beginning, in their first months or even in their first years, we weren’t sure about exactly what the demands were going to be. But we were motivated by a moral vision. A moral vision. [applause] A moral vision of what America could be. And so I say to you, whenever you come across people that say, ‘Oh, the Occupiers don’t have their acts together,’ you tell them there is a powerful and indestructible moral vision underlying this movement. And it is a vision of a fair and a just economy, and a democracy that works for everyone. [applause]


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By heterochromatic, November 16, 2011 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

a perfect society ain’t the likely outcome of an aggregation of quite imperfect
individuals

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By truedigger3, November 16, 2011 at 1:55 am Link to this comment

Re: By gerard, November 15 at 5:02 pm

gerard wrote:

“Have you ever considered that one reason why the “current (low) level of evolution of homosappiens” might be due to the fact that they need to be encouraged more often to step up to the plate, take a crack at the ball, and then run to the next “stage” of evolution?  Otherwise, I don’t see how they are to get there. “
——————————————————————————-
gerard,
They will get there, if they survive that long, the same way some apes evolved to become the current homosapiens.
I am not against education, reforms or striving for something better, however, we have to be mindful of the human nature and construct something that is very idealistic and against human nature. History is very good proof of that.

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By truedigger3, November 16, 2011 at 1:50 am Link to this comment

Re: By gerard, November 15 at 5:02 pm

gerard wrote:

“Have you ever considered that one reason why the “current (low) level of evolution of homosappiens” might be due to the fact that they need to be encouraged more often to step up to the plate, take a crack at the ball, and then run to the next “stage” of evolution?  Otherwise, I don’t see how they are to get there. “
——————————————————————————-
gerard,
They will get there, if they survive that long, the same way some apes evolved to become the current homosapiens.
I am not against education, reforms or striving for something better, however, we have to be mindful of the human nature and construct something that human nature will not

Report this

By gerard, November 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

Truedigger 6:20—“What I meant is that working with the current level of evolution of homosapiens and not base solutions on better evolved homosapiens who are still far away in the future.”

Have you ever considered that one reason why the “current (low) level of evolution of homosappiens” might be due to the fact that they need to be encouraged more often to step up to the plate, take a crack at the ball, and then run to the next “stage” of evolution?  Otherwise, I don’t see how they are to get there.

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By terry p, November 14, 2011 at 6:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have high regards for Robert Reich and, as I said earlier,  really like him. But, he speaks from within our corrupt system and, even though he has the tone of the movement his goal is calming the beast within the occupations and getting in front of it. Calming the beast is a good thing but what we need is more truth from those who are experiencing the wrath of the power of our true enemy.

This > http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/49439 < is a link to comments made by Christine Assange. She is on the receiving end of that wrath. Her son, who is probably the most significant contributor to the truth of which the 99%ers are upset, and is now in grave danger of that wrath.

The powerful banksters control the wrath. They are like vampires. They don’t like the light of truth, so stay hide under their mountains of money created fraudulently behind the walls of Wall Street. 

Mr Reich is right about the nature of this movement. It is similar to what some of our founders experienced. But the same shyster crook types want to take over the movement and guide it back into the prisons of austerity. They want to shackle as many 99%ers with debt as possible while they bend all the rules to fit their agenda.

What Mr Reich left out is the most significant and the obvious answers we all look for. That is that the people of this country don’t own their own banking system. The Federal Reserve Banks(Feds) were stolen through an act of congress almost a century ago. Our future is in the hands of the Feds. The American dream is hiding inside and only the .01%ers have it in their possession.

Find out about the Feds(a private counterfeiting corporation consisting of 12 banks) and how we all became their debt slaves in 1913. After signing the bill into law President Woodrow Wilson later mourned that he gave our country away.

Follow the yellow brick road to the banksters emerald city. Read “The Web of Debt” by Ellen Brown. link > http://webofdebt.wordpress.com/.

tp:?)

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By do over, November 13, 2011 at 11:19 pm Link to this comment

We don’t need no stinkin’ economists !

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By truedigger3, November 13, 2011 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment

Re: By gerard, November 13 at 6:20 pm

gerard,

What I meant is that working with the current level of evolution of homosapiens and not base solutions on better evolved homosapiens who are still far away in the future.! That does not mean and I did not call for working with any group or any organization specifically!.

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By heterochromatic, November 13, 2011 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment

a far deeper problem is to worry about how we can profit by positing changing the
nature of human beings as a reasonable way forward.

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By John Poole, November 13, 2011 at 8:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reich carrying a pitchfork? He’s too well off financially to even own one. That also
applies to someone like John Stewart who makes a living poking (with a very dull
pitchfork) the ruling elite by exposing their laughable foibles.  Both Reich and
Stewart work for the king. They have jumped the moat. Fools would consider them
on the side of those who are on the other side of the drawbridge.

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By gerard, November 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

trutdigger3:  “,,, require different more evolved homosapiens and that will not happen for a long time, so let us work with current homosapiens and try educate them and smooth their rough edges.” (preslumably to help them forego their greedy impulses). Then just a bit later you say there is no time for (this and that) and let us “work with” what we have. 

  I would like to know your specific proposals for “working with” Wall Street, whose main interest in life is “working against” the 99%, for that is precisely our problem.

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By castorp, November 13, 2011 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Yes, ma’am … here’s the question: In my opinion, will Obama ever fulfill the promises he made to us in 2008? The answer is this: President Obama, if he is faced with a strong and articulate and powerful progressive movement, President Obama will go along.”

Clearly, either Reich has drunk the Kook-Aid, or he wants the rest of us to drink it.

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By truedigger3, November 13, 2011 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

Re:By sistertongue, November 13 at 10:23 am
(Unregistered commenter)

sistertongue wrote:
“I think we need to look at the fact that a much deeper core problem with humanity is its reverence for profit. ....”
—————————————————————————
sistertongue,
There is nothing wrong with profits as long it is reasonable and were obtained honestly with all due respect and considerations for the employees, environment and society as a whole.
Part of the proftits, through taxation, should help finance an egalitarian society with adequate safety net.
The privately owned Federal Reserve bank, oil, gas, coal, electricity generation and and distribution logging in natural forests should be owned by the Federal government
What you are alluding to will require different more evolved homosapiens and that will not happen for a long time, so let us work with current homosapiens and try educate them and smooth their rough edges.
There is no time at hand for grand theoritical ideas,  philosophies and pies in the sky.
The United States is immensely rich, so I am puzzled that you are dumbfounded when some one says that??!!
Please do some reading about the US economy and its natural, technical and scientific and human resources!.

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, November 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment

Re: sistertongue

Your comment: “And, uh, I am dumbfounded that Mr.
Reich would actually say America is very
rich.  It is not.”

Really…. you’re “dumbfounded” ...huh…..ahem….mmmm…
Wow, that would be news to the rest of the world, would it not..? And us too..! LOL.

“Dumbfounded”, you said. So what are you saying….that we’re a poor country….? Or what….? Wow…..I’m dumbfounded as to what to say to an assertion that is completely true and well documented, easily fact checked and common knowledge…... yet, someone is “dumbfounded” by it.

http://www.aneki.com/richest.html

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By Foucauldian, November 13, 2011 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

sistertongue, November 13 at 10:23 am

You got it exactly right, both in spirit and in detail. 
In fact, Reich contradicted himself more than once on
this score.

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By Foucauldian, November 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

“Financial capitalism has taken over from real
capitalism.”      Robert Reich

So now capitalism is a good thing, so say the editors
of Truthdig.

It’s rather ironic that they seem to support OWS. 
And it’s myopic, too, to suppose that OWS is only
against the bankers.

But since the editors of Truthdig say so, it must be
true.

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By terry p, November 13, 2011 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By prisnersdilema, November 13 at 12:09 am

“...try a speech that starts like this…

“Our government is in the hands of a group of wealthy but criminally insane sociopaths,
who will stop at nothing, in their drive to destroy this country and turn it into a totalitarian
Empire…they will lie cheat, steal and murder anyone who gets in there way, hiding the
details from the public, by using bribery and violent coercion to prevent the people from
regaining control of their government…”

————————————-

My sentiments exactly ...but, I don’t think Mr Reich would then be able to attain any position in the empire, of which he is a high level part, that would enable him to pass down what little help he might manage to grapple if your statement was his thesis and an example of his diplomacy:?)

I think his speech was good cheer leading for the Democratic party but far from a realistic change maker. He made a few very good points but left out the real target. That’s what to do about the ‘private’ 12 Federal Reserve Banks. We should be the owners but we are the slaves as of 1913’s Federal Reserve Act.

tp:?)

PS:read “Web of Debt” by Ellen Brown

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By terry p, November 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve always liked Robert Reich. But I think he might be getting out in front of the movement to calm the beast within for the system. And we know who is in charge of the system. It’s Wall-Street & the banksters.

He’s also promoting the Democratic Party which has failed us by joining the Republican Party in compromise. The Democratic party has been bought and paid for. He did mention that but seems to think we can trust it to make adjustments. I don’t think so. Fool me once shame on you. I lost count of the betrayals of this administration. Shame on us if we buy into that sales pitch again.

Not once did he mention The Federal Reserve, which is exactly where the problem is. It keeps bailing out the banks instead of the 99%ers.

Not one time did he mention Public Banking or nationalizing banks too big to fail. He did touch on regulation and accountability. That carrys a little weight. But again who do we trust to do that?

He didn’t remind the people of the Federal Reserve Act when our banking system was hijacked in 1913.

Although, he did raise single payer health insurance. That was significant. But, he wants to trust the Democrats to fix that? We already went down that road and got Obamacare.

And, he did mention a couple of those too big to jailsters - the Koch brothers.

I wished someone had asked him what the benefits of a Public Banking system would be. It makes me think the questioners were picked. The # 1 demand by OWS is to nationalize the Federal Reserve.

It was a good speech. It could have been better.

tp

PS: Read “Web of Debt” by Ellen Brown.

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, November 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

Re: ITW

Your comment: “Thanks for fighting the good fight
against ignorance and dogma, whether from the right
or the left.”

Did you notice how some of those on “the left” are
the Bachmann type of “leftie” (and the nastiness is
unmistakable).

Michelle Bachmann:
”“If you look at China, they don’t have food
stamps,” she said. “They don’t have the modern
welfare state, and China’s growing,” she exclaimed,
adding: “And so what I would do is look at the
programs that LBJ gave us with the Great Society and
they’d be gone.”

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2011/11/does_michele_bachmann_want_the_u_s_to_be_more_like_china_.html

Apparently Bachmann wants to be like Communist
China….........LOL!

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By sistertongue, November 13, 2011 at 10:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think we need to look at the fact that a much deeper core problem with
humanity is its reverence for profit.  It is, in fact, quite a pathetic reason to give
for living.  I highly recommend a book by a man named Lewis Hyde, called “The
Gift.”  He is an academic from Harvard and the book discusses at length and
through many different perspectives, what happens to the sacred when we
choose to commodify all aspects of our lives. 

This is a more meta - level approach to an analysis and critique of the utter
debauchery of this country (which, is, of course, based upon the equally
debauched philosophies and practices of the Romans and Greeks).  I think it is
the only discussion we should be having, as the continued juvenile games of
throwing sticks and stones at the rich, or cheering for the reds or the blues like
we are still in Junior High School, is NOT going to change, nor even reveal, the
true reasons we are in this mess.

And, uh, I am dumbfounded that Mr. Reich would actually say America is very
rich.  It is not.  We are the biggest debtors on the planet and all those dollar
bills they are pumping out of the treasury are worthless.  Something is very,
very wrong with that man’s “facts.”

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, November 13, 2011 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

prisnersdilema - I think you’re absolutely right about the “he/we don’t have any political power.” In spite of this, I’d much rather people listen to Robert Reich’s perspective than that of the Nordquists, Limbaughs, Roves, etc..

I also must say, in today’s bought-and-paid-for news Media, Mr. Reich (or any other honest thinker) would never be able to use your “beginning paragraph.” It simply states the truth, something the powerful don’t want the populace to hear.

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Alan Lunn's avatar

By Alan Lunn, November 13, 2011 at 7:15 am Link to this comment

The core problem has to be identified; and it is
beyond ideology, or should be: The reason we have no
voice—no representation—is that the voice of
the “corporate person” is louder in Washington. We
have a bought government and the people we send there
are slaves of the bribery system.

This means that there has to be an amendment to the
Constitution that effectively and finally stops the
auction of politicians. Every politician has to raise
$1500/day, minimum, to remain on the Hill. They spend
more time raising money than they do on legislation
or listening to people. We need a completely public
system of raising campaign dollars.

The GOP deception is that the people are not up to
governing. It’s an old and even ancient theory. That
means that government always belongs to the rich who
can buy it. You will never have a true voice of the
people until you own your own government. This means
there has to be massive pressure from beneath. We
can’t do that unless Americans across the political
spectrum unite on the issue of money in government.

Obama, in 2009, told 13 of the nation’s biggest
banksters, “My administration is the only thing
between you and the pitchforks.”

We are those pitchforks and it’s time to start
poking. And thank you, Robert Reich, for always
carrying a pitchfork.

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, November 13, 2011 at 12:09 am Link to this comment

It doesn’t matter what he says because he doesn’t have any political power…

Do you really think that the one per centers are going to do anything? They own us, and
they can dispose of their property anyway the see fit.

Speeches are fun, but they offer little more than a circle jerk for anger….Reich is living in
the past, when there was a political system that responded, to somewhat normal political
times…But what we have now is far, far from that…it just doesn’t work anymore….

So what’s it going to take before you realize were on then way to the oven….Forty, fifty
percent unemployment?

Each day the economic news more closely resembles Zeno’s pararadox…we make up
half of our losses from the previous day but never seem to get there all the way?

And why is this Mr Reich? It’s time to switch from poetic sounding adjectives, to
unmodified verbs.

Instead try a speech that starts like this…

Our government is in the hands of a group of wealthy but criminally insane sociopaths,
who will stop at nothing, in their drive to destroy this country and turn it into a totalitarian
Empire…they will lie cheat, steal and murder anyone who gets in there way, hiding the
details from fhe public, by using bribery and violent coercion to prevent the people from
regaining control of their government…

Are you up for it Mr. Reich?

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By Inherit The Wind, November 12, 2011 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment

Outraged, MrFreeze, and Leefeller.  Thanks for fighting the good fight against ignorance and dogma, whether from the right or the left. I have always admired Reich.

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By John Poole, November 12, 2011 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree with David J. Cyr. A guy like Reich is slick but inauthentic. Another double
agent working mainly for himself.  Unfortunately, Reich’s type is very prevalent-
someone who can feign genuine compassion for the exploited.

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By gerard, November 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment

It hadn’t occurred to me that “purity” had anything to do with the subject at hand.

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By heterochromatic, November 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

——My uneasiness with Scheer and Reich as “teachers” giving a “teach-in” at
Occupy LA is based on their (and my) “history.”  That sad history of our failure to
prevent the murderous inequality and injustice everywhere evident today is
adequate proof of our acquiescence to its domination. I therefore surmise that we
have little to nothing to “teach” the Occupiers. ——-


nothing can be learned from the insufficiently pure, no matter how much
knowledge they possess.

it’s a brave new world out there…...

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, November 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment

Teaching does not need be indoctrinations, there may be a handicap in using the word teach in the typical sense, but learning can can come from being taught as well as other ways. Solving problems can come from learning things, one way of learning could be by teaching.  Of course there are other ways to learn things, learning from experience is always a good one, well only for those capable of learning.

Teaching can be a sharing of knowledge and ideas, and used to solve problems,  but again only for people inclined to learn.

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By gerard, November 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

My uneasiness with Scheer and Reich as “teachers” giving a “teach-in” at Occupy LA is based on their (and my) “history.”  That sad history of our failure to prevent the murderous inequality and injustice everywhere evident today is adequate proof of our acquiescence to its domination. I therefore surmise that we have little to nothing to “teach” the Occupiers. 
  We should support them in trying to find new answers to the problems we failed to solve.  We should provide for their safety. We should try to understand “where they are coming from”—which is not the same as previous history dictated.  We should, therefore, listen and learn from their struggle to create new structures, and help them bring their conclusions to life, help them make enormous changes as carefully and peacefully as possible. 
  I consider it gross conceit to imagine that our “lectures” help them much. Sad, but probably true. I post this as a partial answer to MrFreeze’s question ... “who exactly do you think should take up the shield and sword etc.?”  Support, yes. Guidance, no—unless we have some creative laser beams to shine toward the future. The past is effectively killing everybody on earth!

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By Outraged, November 12, 2011 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

Robert Scheer is spot on, quote:
” “I think we just witnessed a historic moment ...
a Jeffersonian moment. It was what, really, the
Founders—for all of their imperfections, and I’m
aware of them—had in mind when they thought of this
whole idea of a constitutional democracy based on the
individual.”

Thank you Robert Reich, an excellent speech. More and
more, not less and less the people are mobilizing.
They are from all walks of life.

“In New York on Wednesday, police circled the
veterans as they stood in formation in front of the
New York Stock Exchange, chanting, “We are veterans!
We are the 99 percent!” and “Corporate profits on the
rise, soldiers have to bleed and die!”

By the stock exchange, Josh Shepherd, a former Navy
petty officer 2nd class who was next to Olsen when he
was injured, read the oath members of the armed
forces take to defend the U.S. Constitution.

“We are here to support the Occupy Wall Street
movement,” he then declared.”

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2011/11/03/thousands-of-veterans-join-occupy-wall-street

Of course there are those who feel that veterans shouldn’t be honored in any way. Like Sen. DeMint:

“The Senate, which has blocked Obama’s jobs plan as a whole and in several pieces, voted 94-1 to approve the veterans provision. Only Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) opposed the bill, saying the government should not “privilege one American over another when it comes to work.”

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1111/68199.html#ixzz1dW7J0P3I

What a scumbag, sadly scum like DeMint have other traitorous alliances.  They’re traitors outrightly. They ABSOLUTELY do not defend the Constitution of the US, they have their heads so far up someone’s ass they can’t see straight.

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By Leefeller, November 12, 2011 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

The simple fact I have never found any person whom I agree with 100 percent, except myself, which seems to elude others when they show their closed minded ignorance about themselves.  Seems many people love to throw out the baby with the bah water!

I have not read Reich’s books, but I have heard him speak and he appears to speak for the common good, the populous which I feel apart of.  The fact I may not agree with all of everything he may happen to say, is not a problem for me because I believe absolutist agreement is not potentiality possible. 

Good choice for TDer of the week, I expect to see Elizabeth Warren here in the future, another person I may not be a 100 percent in agreement on about everything.

After reading some of the posters comments below, some of whom I do not agree with for their usual short sighted and myopic vision of the world as Truth turns a blind eye or sensibility turns into nonsense.  I find the petty reasons for ragging on this weeks Digger of the week absolutely nothing new!

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By heterochromatic, November 12, 2011 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

truedigger, thank you for your opinion.  I’m enclosing some flowers so you may
stay sweet.

http://pigroll.com/img/hide_and_seek_world_champion.jpg

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By mrfreeze, November 12, 2011 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

Since many of you on this thread have a “thing” about Reich (that thing being you criticize without having read his works or listened to his seminars).....who exactly do you think should take up the shield and sword for all of your “causes?” I’m sincerely curious…...where’s the beef?

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By IMax, November 12, 2011 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

It would be tremendously useful if Mr. Reich and Mr. Scheer would speak out against the rampant violence and open destruction we’ve been seeing emanating from the ‘Occupy’ crowds.

The means are not justified by the end. Not speaking out amounts to tacit approval.

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By do over, November 12, 2011 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

heterochromatic wrote: “do over-you’re speaking from the 19th century. “

It shames Reich to be valued below his own estimate of his worth, yet, that is where he unknowingly sits as he pontificates about how to keep the past alive.

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By the worm, November 12, 2011 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

Dr Reich has been shafted by two Democratic Presidents - first, his long-time
friend Bill Clinton, then, Barak Obama who he consulted with prior to election and
who then shunned him in favor of Wall Street.

Dr Reich’s values and insights certainly ‘justify’ his nomination as ‘Truth Digger’ of
the week.

But, in light of Dr Reich’s experiences with Clinton and Reich,

Dr Reich’s rejection by both Clinton and Obama and Clinton and Obama’s
subsequent embrace of Wall Street and the wealthy belie Dr Reich’s statement
about the “whole idea of a constitutional democracy based on the individual”.

Unless, of course, you believe as the Supreme Court and Mitt Romney propose:
“Corporations are persons”.

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By the worm, November 12, 2011 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

Dr Reich has hinted at the electoral “problem” facing all of us - Dr Reich predicts a
“passionless election”.

The ‘race’ will be passionless, because the two parties will have ‘nominated’ two
people who represent no one and who no one wants to be represented by.

The two party system was long ago recognized to be a ‘locked job’ - by the
corporate structure and existing power base.

What did the two parties do to “protect” the two party system ?

The two parties cooperated in passing legislation in most States that makes it very
very difficult to establish a viable third party. Because such legislation was in both
their interests, it was easily done; and, it was easily done, too, because it served
the needs of the powerful and the corporations, who owned both parties, but who
might not own a third party.

So, now, we all suddenly recognize the need for a third party, but are faced with a
fait accompli - the great State-by-State legislative barriers to establishing a third
party.

Yes, legal barriers to a third party.

“It’s the law.” So, a two party system is going to be sold as a question of “Law &
Order”.

A core value of any Democracy is respect for “Law & Order’.

It is at he heart of the national decline we’ve been witnessing.

Unfortunately, more and more (now, probably most) Americans realize the law has
been rigged by those who make it.

And those who make the law have turned the laws against the middle class and for
the wealthy and the rich – yes, effectively re-distributing wealth, but also
diminishing respect for the “Law and Order” and the very government that is
supposed to represent us.

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By Argy F, November 12, 2011 at 7:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have always liked Robert Reich in the way I like Paul Krugman & Elizabeth Warren.

Reich isn’t at the level of Chris Hedges or Noam Chomsky or Naomi Klein - but
hey - everyone can’t be SPECTACULAR and giving Kudos to the GOOD is a right
and proper thing, imo.

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By Pete, November 12, 2011 at 6:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Robert Reich.

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By truedigger3, November 12, 2011 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

Re:By mrfreeze, November 11 at 11:13 pm

mrfreeze wrote addressing me and “do over”:
“truedigger3, do over, you’re both talking out your a**es about Reich. Do a little homework and review your economic history…..”
————————————————————-
mrfreeze,

Since you are mentioning history, then history is very clear about Robert Reich. He is a bullshitter and all talking no walking and as a matter of fact, many times, walking in the opposite direction,  just like the rest of them, aka Bill Clinton and Obama etc…..
I guess you had to much koolaid and it is affecting you brain and judgement.

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By David J. Cyr, November 12, 2011 at 6:07 am Link to this comment

Reich has the same soft-sell seduction job in the corporate party that Kucinich has. Devious dissembling Democrats, who keep hope alive for those who — though lacking any evidence — still faith-based believe they can transform the corporate party from within… to get all good things from (D) evils done.

Well intentioned people do not change the corporate party. The corporate party changes the intentions of the well intentioned who enter it… turning their good intentions into stalwart activist service to the corporate-state.

The corporate party’s progressives have been murdering movements since the days of the Populists’ non-corporate People’s Party (over 120 years). The corporate party’s Democrat machine has a perfect record of accomplishments. Whenever Democrats infest a movement the movement ends up incorporated into the corporate-state’s population control.

If Democrats had done good when they could have there’d be no Occupy Movement now. Democrats didn’t do the good they could have when they could have because they had no intention to. If they didn’t have their scary hairy knuckle dragging Republican partners performing within the corporate party’s theater, the Democrat’s “progressive” performers wouldn’t be able to fool half the sheeple all the time.

The progressive liberals could possibly become good people, if they weren’t Democrats. Democrats are dedicated to herding populist (people’s) grassroots movements into the corporate party’s slaughter house pen.

Voter Consent Wastes Dissent:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=498&Itemid=1

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By EmileZ, November 12, 2011 at 12:03 am Link to this comment

I saw this guy on one the the early episodes of “Need To Know” (Moyers is coming back, yeahhh!!)

He was trying to give young people good advice about dealing with the jobs market (if I remember correctly). It was pretty much the same old stuff they were pumping out during the Clinton years about being adaptable and such. He didn’t really formulate any strong criticisms of anything particularly the lack of manufacturing jobs or seem to acknowledge that not everyone is going to be suited for high tech highly specialized type careers.

I formulated a pretty negatative opinion of Mr. Reich based on this. I had not paid particularly close attention to Washington during the Clinton years, so I was unfamiliar with his role (or lack of one) in formulating policy.

Since I watched that program, I have noticed that he wrote a book and was voicing some criticisms/suggestions that were more to my liking.

I liked very much what he had to say at occupy L.A.

It wasn’t quite infused with the bitter rage that I so love (and I believe is both necessary and appropriate), but that’s OK I suppose since Mr. Scheer gave a good dose immediately afterwards.

P.S. I am not saying that I think Mr. Reich needs to change his tone.

P.P.S. Congratulations Mr. Reich!!!

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By mrfreeze, November 11, 2011 at 11:13 pm Link to this comment

truedigger3, do over, you’re both talking out your a**es about Reich. Do a little homework and review your economic history….........and please do tell us all who you think are the “great” economic/public policy thinkers of this “age of American exceptionalism.”

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By heterochromatic, November 11, 2011 at 11:05 pm Link to this comment

do over-you’re speaking from the 19th century.

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By heterochromatic, November 11, 2011 at 10:30 pm Link to this comment

remember everybody we don’t know but think we don’t like is unethical except
when we learn something that surprises us.

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By do over, November 11, 2011 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment

Reich is stuck in the 20th Century.  He is speaking nonsense when he says, “It is not class warfare. What it is is a recognition that the system has gotten out of balance.”

Reich still believes that the current system is salvageable, Occupiers believe the current system is too corrupt to save, that it must be transcended, and a new system established for life in the 21st Century. Reich is outdated.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, November 11, 2011 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment

Robert Reich will support hopey changey for president. With calls of “feeling disappointed” but….... bullshit line. Mark my words.

He knows it, I know it, you all know it. You just hate having the truth put in front of you all.

He is a Democratic Party operative. You do not get to that place without being OKed by those corporate powers that own the Democrats.

Now there is some truthdigging that will never earn a Truthdigger Of The Week Award.

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By mackTN, November 11, 2011 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

Agree with enthusiasm.  And I appreciate Robert Reich speaking out on behalf of
the 99% and for sharing his wisdom with us.

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By Glendon Wayne, November 11, 2011 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Flail The Banana       empirePie           November 11th, 2011

We lament poor ‘others’ as they decline to banana status
not wishing to confront the Euro sleaze that brought them to their knees
We bought with the tune of the FOX - y sleaze,
the sneeze of economies on their knees

Is this the empire? .... kneed by the right bend
printing the popular lucre that we love
trusted and loved world wide?
from “ski in the desert Dubai’
to Mongolian Mountains
where piles of our cash are coming in faster
than any Trump could stash

We lament their decline to banana status
not wishing to confront our quantitive easing bubbles
the bubbles of play at play
as fast cash algorithms feed on the play of the market
and bankers continue to brea
so Middle America and all the awakening 99% can be left adrift

Say do you think we’ve been sold short shrift?

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By Rixar13, November 11, 2011 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment

But despite being entrenched within the system for the majority of his career, Robert Reich uses his powers for good, and that’s why he’s our Truthdigger of the Week.

Thumbs up ^ Robert Reich…

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By heterochromatic, November 11, 2011 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment

——“But despite being entrenched within the system for the majority of his career,
Robert Reich uses his powers for good, and that’s why he’s our Truthdigger of the
Week.”——


and if he says or does something we don’t like, he’ll be a class enemy again, and
we’ll say we knew it.

we’ll always have been at war with Reich.

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By litlpeep, November 11, 2011 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

It most certainly is class warfare; it has been since 1971.  Plenty of scholars and now even a few reporters have shown that history in compelling fashion.  The filthy wealthy class has waged war on the US for all these four decades, with the increasing help of Washington, D. C., clerics of power, who arrange, with the filthiest of the wealth, to facilitate that war in “reputable, legislative, judicial, and administrative politesse.”

It is time to counter attack.  The Occupy movement is the human wave at the forefront of this counter attack.

It is time now to mobilize the broad former middle class to organize the institutional transformations for sustaining this counter attack, and for transforming the attack into the institutions of equity, integrity, and decency, that our silly Washington, D. C. clerics and the sugar daddies on Wall Street have desecrated without fail.

Whose side is next to yours?  To what wheel is your shoulder?  How shall we celebrate the small victories that lead to the larger Beloved America that Martin Luther King, Jr., envisioned.  Or, perhaps better, our own envisioned better neighborhoods?

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By truedigger3, November 11, 2011 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

Robert Reich is bullshit artist. He was the labor secretary for Bill Clinton and he and his boss were the prime sellers and movers of NAFTA and globalization that resulted in the loss of millions of US jobs and moving them off shore or to Mexico.
Bill Clinton opposed NAFTA during the election, but the minute he got elected, he reversed his position completely just like Obama after he got elected!!.
When Bill Clinton repealed Glass-Stegall law that seperated commercial banking from investing banking which set the stage for Wall St. Shenanigans and the current economic crisis, Robert Reich didn’t utter a single word of protest or warning.
Yeah, he talks beatifully, just like Obama and the rest of the Democrats but in reality there is no difference between them and the republicans. They are all Wall St. water carriers and servants.
Talk is cheap but actions is what count.

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By mrfreeze, November 11, 2011 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

Michael Cavlan RN - A simple answer to your comment:

All you need to do is read Reich’s “Locked in the Cabinet” to know that he NEVER drank the koolaid. Sure, NAFTA and all the rest happened, but do you think for one moment the “labor” secretary was going to have influence over that situation?????? It was inevitable, like Einstein discovering E=mc squared..

Unlike so many of the “experts” out there, Robert is one of the few I’d like watching my back in a good bar fight…..ok, he’s not tall enough to watch my back but….

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By vince remus, November 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

How can Robert Reich be so oblivious about the American History
and pretend that the founders wanted movements such as OWS to
blossom in the constitutional democracy they instituted?

The Founders wanted an island of wealth surrounded by a sea of
misery. The covert desideratum of building an island of wealth
lead to a rebellion in 1786 under similar conditions to OWS.

see shay’s rebellion:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shays’_Rebellion

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By Michael Cavlan RN, November 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

My God.

Robert Reich. Labor Secretary under the Clinton Administration.

NAFTA, CAFTA, GAATT, WTO anyone?

But this is a fine piece of the bait and switch. I will give the elites props for their cleverness.

Bet we can guess who Robert will provide political cover, along with the talk of “disappointment but….” line.

Give you a clue.

Hopey Changey

As in hope for Goldman Sachs and the other Wall Street cronies. The change, well not so much.

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By Henry, November 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How can Robert Reich be so oblivious about American History to
assert that the occupation is the kind of movement the Founders
wanted when they planned for the constitution democracy?

The founders wanted the constitution to create an island of
wealth surrounded by a sea of misery. This covert desideratum
was welcome by protests in 1786. see shay’s rebellion
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shays’_Rebellion

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By jal, November 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reich was already a DIFFERENT person when he was a student at Dartmouth,
1964-68. I worked in a printshop in Hanover NH and dealing with Reich you soon
saw him as a future “comer.” and quite different from many of the many silver-
spoon students.

You noted his short stature, but he was truly a Big-Man-on-Campus. He filled
long slots on WDCR the campus radio station and was in the middle of many
student activities. Never pretentious but ALWAYS very enthusiastic.

Born in Scranton, he also had an opportunity to experience the internatonal elite-
track. I’m gratified that he hasn’t allowed himself to be changed and still identifies
with the average American.

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By gerard, November 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

Quote:  “Reich has broken the mold by keeping his focus on the needs and concerns of the majority of Americans rather than the interests of the elites with whom he circulates.”
  I think it would be very helpful if a great many people could know the specifics of just what character traits or life experiences account for Reich’s “keeping his focus on the needs and concerns of the majority etc.”
  It’s a sure thing that the 99% have no clue as to just what factors enter into the thinking of highly privileged elites that prevent them from getting trapped in greed and thievery.  If it’s “empapthy”, let us know more about that illusive word:  What is it, how do you get it, is it learned or inate, how come it’s so rare, etc.?  Millions of vitally imporant and still unanswered questions!  Could Robert Reich perhaps help us out with knowledge gleaned from his own life experiences?  That would be valuable indeed.

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