Plundering Our Freedom with Abandon – Robert Scheer on RAI (8/10)

PAUL JAY: Welcome back to Reality Asserts
Itself on The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay. And we’re continuing our series of interviews
with Bob Scheer, who joins us in the studio. Thanks for joining us again. So, one more time, Bob is the editor-in-chief
of Truthdig, multi Webby Award winning website. He’s also the author of They Know Everything
About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying
Democracy. So we ended the last segment talking about
how do we get to this saner, more rational kind of society. And maybe you can even contextualize
it a bit in terms of what’s happening with the destruction of democracy, both through
snooping and what’s happening to the electoral system. ROBERT SCHEER: But why are they snooping?
They’re snooping because they say we have enemies everywhere. And why do we have enemies
everywhere? Because we put ourselves up as this nation that can determine everything
for everyone. Okay? And we lost sight of the essential wisdom of the American experiment,
you know, which was our framers, which is do it here, do it for your own people, and
if it’s good, others will follow it. If we have a way of respecting each other, of solving
our problems, if we can develop cohesion, right, it’s what everyone who ever came and
intelligently observed our society, de Tocqueville most famously, and said, they care about each
other or they know how to work with each other. That’s the model, not that we could have–interfere
in Iraq and decide who should be their leader or we can tell you who should run Afghanistan
or how to deal with the Sunni-Shia issue between Saudi Arabia–. We don’t know anything about
that. We’re not particularly good students of the world. We don’t know foreign languages.
We don’t travel very extensively. We’re the last group of people that should really be
sorting it out for the rest of the world. JAY: But ever since the Philippines, it’s
been nonstop. SCHEER: I understand. I’m just saying that
the reason people come here, okay, is that they like some aspects of our quality of life,
our weather, our way of being, our way of producing. You know. And let me just say, I am a great admirer
of this country. You know, I’m a product of two immigrants and families of immigrants
that came here because this is a great place. And I think–I know my parents went to their
death thinking they made a right choice. Okay? And so I am a big believer in the American
experiment, not as something that has succeeded in every respect or has the answer for everyone
else, but there are some very good qualities. So let’s take those qualities. We used to
have at the heart of it the notion that everyone had to have an equal opportunity. Now, let
me qualify the everyone. Yes, we were flawed from the beginning. We had slavery. And after
slavery, we had segregation. And yes, women were denied their full–. We know that. But
let’s just take the key idea, which is that the significant group of the population, okay,
the citizens that were supposed to have found [incompr.] they had to have equal opportunity,
that they had to be able to succeed, that there had to be cohesion. Okay? We would raise
the barn together. You know. And we had schools that would work very early on, including universities,
that would be publicly funded, okay, and that we would have waterways and highways that
would work, and there was a collective responsibility. I read something in Truthdig today that–Chris
Hedges had an interview with people who were talking about–a young hip-hop artist [incompr.]
talking about the failure of the American experiment, and they raised an interesting
question. It takes you very local local, since you like local. What we charge for parking
tickets, what we charge for crime, local crime, low-level, it turns out that in all of these
cities now in America, we’re paying for this whole bureaucracy, many of whom don’t even
live in the city, didn’t really experience the economic downturn [incompr.] because they
had steady jobs, by traffic tickets or by low-level crime fines and so forth. Thirty,
50 percent of the budget of these cities that pays for the police, the fire department,
everything else is coming from people in a regressive tax. People who can least afford
it are paying this. Okay? At the same time, in every one of these American
cities now you have this massive homelessness, disenfranchised people, people who have to
beg for a living. I just tried walking from downtown Baltimore, the train station, to
your studio. I was hit up, I don’t know, 15 times by people wanting money. JAY: Homeless people. SCHEER: I don’t know whether they’re homeless
or not. They certainly are–what they’re doing is begging, and at the train station, two
blocks away, four blocks away, here and there. Well, I live in downtown Los Angeles. You
can’t go anywhere without being hit up all the time. And these people are not faking
it. They’re cut off. They’re cut loose. Okay. You now have a situation where in every American
city the people who are going to be the most successful have mostly turned their back on
the public schools, the most sacred American institution. You know, if you go back to Jefferson
or anyone, it was a notion of public access to ideas, to books, to education. We have lost that idea. We have a tiered system.
And you go to the good school, you’ll get ahead. You go to this school, you won’t get
ahead. You know? I have a son who’s been teaching in the largest school in Oakland, California,
for the last eight years, you know, and he can tell you, here’s a school expected to
solve all the problems the rest of society has ignored, you know, the effects of segregation,
broken homes, the going away from industrialization to jobs that don’t pay, etc., and you don’t
even have the resources in the school to do that. You know, breakup of the family, everything
else. So if we got back to a notion of what excited
de Tocqueville in writing about America or any of the other visitors, it was a social
network, social network, and that opportunity was built into the network, a certain classlessness,
the idea that anyone could sort of get ahead, survive, succeed. And we’ve lost that. And
we’ve lost that because our resources have been taken off to foreign adventure. Our focus,
our preoccupation has been what is going on with the surge in Iraq or what is going on,
you know, stuff that we have very little ability to control, don’t know what to do. And we’ve
taken attention from what should we do here, between here and the train station. What are
we doing with our local communities? What are we doing with our schools? Our whole focus. JAY: Lost it when? SCHEER: We lost it because of the Cold War.
We lost it because of hysteria. But increasingly it got–what’s the right word? It got distorted
in absolutely bizarre ways, where now we say we have–at least we used to think there’s
an enemy we can somehow deal with, like the Soviet Union [incompr.] we could negotiate,
we can have understandings. We now have an undifferentiated enemy called terrorism, right,
that will, like the rain, like snow, always be with us, right? I mean, there’s always
going to be some people that are angry. Now, you can do something. We can get people angry
with us by dropping drones and killing their family members. You could be rational about
it. But there’s always going to be nonstate actors that are angry with somebody about
something and are going to do terrible things–seize a bus, blow up something, and so forth. Okay? Instead of having a rational discussion about
how can we minimize our involvement with all that, which is real, because we are sticking
our stick in the eye of all of these things–religious fanaticism, nationalism, what have you. You
know, we’re somehow off on this crazy crusade to get as many people angry with us as we
possibly can. It’s the only rhythm or logic to our foreign policy. How can we–you know,
just think of the whole drone campaign, calculated to get huge, extended families ticked off
with you, I mean, furious, ’cause you killed their cousin or their nephew or somebody,
and they’re going to remember that for 50 years. It’s going to be passed on, family
members. That’s what we did. You take the–how did this all start, the
war on terror? Afghanistan. Okay? You take that. Now, I mean, maybe people watching this
don’t want to know, but think about it. What are the basic thing to know about the war
in Afghanistan? That Afghanistan was not our problem. Now, nobody I ever knew walked around
and said, hey, life would be really better if we could bring democracy to Afghanistan. JAY: But it was about trying to bring down
the Soviet Union. SCHEER: No. What it was about was some people
playing a game of politics. Zbigniew Brzezinski–and I knew him. My kids went hiking with him and
my son went hiking with him. I had dinner with him at his house. His wife [crosstalk] JAY: I interviewed him. He still brags about
it, sucking the Soviet Union into Afghanistan. SCHEER: Yeah. Oh, no. He told in an interview
with [incompr.] He says, well, so what? We get some riled up Muslims. What is that compared
to our humbling the old Soviet Union? ‘Cause he was a Polish refugee, and his whole preoccupation
was with the Soviet Union, which, okay. But then he drags the United States–and he wasn’t
alone; there were plenty of hawks who followed him, Republican and Democrat. JAY: Jimmy Carter. SCHEER: Well, he started with Jimmy Carter,
but, you know, then it was Ronald Reagan after that, and absolute madness that somehow the
life experience of Americans will be enhanced by this focus on Afghanistan. Instead it was
just the opposite. It got destroyed by this focus, because suddenly we had, first under
him, when he was national security adviser to Carter, but then under the Reagan folks,
we went, our CIA, recruiting every lunatic they could find in the world to be called
a so-called freedom fighter, give him Stinger rockets, and go fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
It was an exercise in absolute madness that still haunts us. Okay? Instead of learning that lesson and saying,
wait a minute, maybe it is not for us to figure out how people should live in Afghanistan,
whether they should grow opium or whether they should follow this guy are this warlord
or have the border here or something, let them work it out, let them work it out with
Pakistan, let them work it out with India, let them figure it out, maybe this is not
something we really know about, no. We said, let’s make that exercise in stupidity a model
for what we do everywhere. Let’s figure out how the Iraqis should live and how the Iranians
should live, you know, and the Syrians should live. Let’s go everywhere, muck about. Then
let’s decide, oh, that guy down in Venezuela, he’s no good, you know, that Chávez guy.
Get rid of him and so forth. This is nuttiness everywhere that you’re going to meddle. And at the same time, you can’t solve the
problem of the people living in cardboard condos in downtown Los Angeles who can’t function.
Alright? And what do they need? Medical or something. They need a job, they need training,
they need clothes, they need a shower. You can’t solve this problem right in the heart
of your city, your major cities, right, you can’t make your public school work, you can’t
give people opportunity, you can’t deal with your enduring racial tensions and racism,
you know, you can’t make progress in any of these areas. So you do, like a lunatic, you
say, I’m not going to deal with that; I’ll go solve the problem of Iraq. JAY: But it’s not just lunacy. And they’re
not trying to solve a problem in Iraq. They’re trying to make money. The current situation
is making money for a very top stratum of people, historic amounts of money in historically
few number of hands. It’s not total lunacy. It works for them. SCHEER: Yeah. But the reason it is total lunacy
is because the American people were sold a bill of goods. Remember, they were told this
war in Iraq–remember, they were asked, questioned senator, how are we going to pay for this?
Remember? And the answer by those geniuses the neoconservatives: oh, the oil will pay
for it. Well, it hasn’t. It hasn’t, because the costs are so high, ’cause the oil gets
interrupted, because they want the oil for their own needs to take care of [incompr.]
The fact is, it’s a great loser. These foreign interventions, yes, they benefit a few companies.
They don’t benefit the whole economy. JAY: No, but they benefit enough people who
have their hands on the politicians who have power. SCHEER: Yes, but there should be other people.
If we had listened to Warren Buffett, if we had listened–there were plenty of sensible
businessman. Apple did not need the invasion of the U.S. Armed Forces to sell, right, iPhones
in Baghdad. Right? It interferes with the sale of iPhones in Baghdad. JAY: Absolutely. There’s plenty of evidence
that much of the economy suffers from these wars. SCHEER: Not just much. The most startling
example is China, okay? Because when you and I were coming up, growing up, the great phobia
in this country was not terrorism; it was the Chinese communists. We’d already kind
of made our agreement with the Soviets, right? We’d had detente beginning in the early ’70s–you
know, actually earlier; you can go back to Eisenhower bringing Khrushchev to the United
States in the ’60s and the Nixon-China, the debate in the kitchen and so forth. But the
real fear was, oh, these Chinese communists, they’re really radical. They’re wild. They’re
crazy. Right? We can’t do business with them. Mao, they’re little red ants, you know, and
they’ll conquer everywhere. And then these Vietnamese, they’re part of those Chinese
communists, and it’s going to be terrible, and we have to fight them and everything.
Okay? The reality is that cost most Americans, including most American businesses, right,
because we were being cut off from what was then thought to be almost one-quarter of the
world. JAY: I agree with you. I guess what I’m saying
is that those businesses that suffer from this foreign policy–and even I agree with
you. The majority of the economy, as it hits ordinary people, suffers. The political dominance
is not there. The political dominance is in war machine making, fossil fuels, the sections
of Wall Street, too, that make money out of all this. Like, it’s not like there’s some
Chinese wall between Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. Many intersecting things here. So
my point is is then where is real change going to come from? SCHEER: Wall Street–. JAY: Just real change is going to come from
where? ‘Cause it’s not going to come from Apple. Even I agree with you. Apple does not
benefit from this. SCHEER: It’s not just Apple. I mean, there
are–Goldman–. JAY: From the whole sector. SCHEER: Look, much as I dislike Goldman Sachs,
much as I hold them responsible for a great deal of mischief that hurt people and cost
a lot of money and enriched some people, well, Goldman Sachs also knows how to do business
in communist China. They know how to float loans for communist China. JAY: Well, it was a Communist Party. But it’s
capitalist China with some kind of party that calls itself communist. SCHEER: But they know how to do it. And what
we need to recognize, it’s not either-or; it’s in that respect either you’re going to
be smart or stupid. It’s going to be, you know, worry about the longer-run cost, worry
about where you’re headed, where you’re going. The model of–okay, in China, let’s see it
as a market. Let’s sell them cars instead of invading. Let’s sell them products. Let’s
do exchange. That turns out to be a very wise model that would have been embraced by Adam
Smith or Ricardo or [crosstalk] JAY: As crazy as the Afghan war was, they
could have done it in Afghanistan. They could have–if they even did what they said they
were going to do in Afghanistan. SCHEER: Okay. But to conclude this segment,
because I appreciate you’re taking this time, let’s just think of what would be the way
out of that trap and how did we get in the trap. We get into the trap because of the
very thing that George Washington warned about, the impostures of pretended patriotism. We
get into it because we haven’t avoided foreign entanglements. So we see we get crazed with
hysteria–oh, they did that to us. They’re the enemy. They’re going to get us. They’re
going to blow us up. They’re going to–you know, irrationality. Nationalism has an irrational
side. Warmaking appeals to people. There’s a culture that supports warmaking and stupidity
and simplicity, right? And we feed into it. It requires some courage to resist that. If
you want a great hero of our history that is not [incompr.] but if we had listened to
him, we could have avoided so much mischief. And that’s a guy named George McGovern. Okay?
George McGovern, a senator, right, from South Dakota. Right? And he came to be ridiculed.
He’s the one who ran against Richard Nixon. You know. And I remember one time I was with–on a cruise
ship of all things–the Nation magazine has these cruises, and we were both speakers on
this cruise. You know. He was now an old man. And on this cruise, it’s misty at night. We’re
on our way to Newfoundland, and the water is sweeping over the bridge. And I’m sitting
there having a coffee with George McGovern. And I said, you know, Senator, I have great
respect for you. But one thing I didn’t understand. You ran against Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon
had not seen combat in the Navy. He’d been an honor guard or something. You know? Like
John Wayne, like, [incompr.] hadn’t really seen. I said, you won the Distinguished Flying
Cross for having all of these bombing runs over Germany, and you saved your crew with
a crash landing, and you did these heroic things. And yet when you ran, you were supposed
to be the peacenik who wanted to endanger the country, you were supposed to be the peacenik
who wouldn’t make us safe, who would betray us. You were the warrior, actually, who had
helped make us safe. The people criticizing you, they were the chicken hawks. They hadn’t
fought. I asked George McGovern, I said, why didn’t you bring up your war record in a vigorous
way when you were being attacked as this appeaser? Why didn’t you talk about your winning the
Distinguished Flying Cross? And he looked at me and said, I didn’t do it because it
would have been unseemly. Now, what he meant was he did not want to
feed the fans if hysteria. Okay? He did not want to play that card, because it is a dangerous
card, because why believe the warrior all the time? What if the warrior is wrong? What
if the warrior’s leading you into another war? He didn’t want to use that authority.
He wanted to use logic. He wanted to use common sense. He wanted to talk about the real costs
of war rather than the rah-rah hysteria. The problem is and the reason the framers
of our Constitution were against empire is once you get into this war mode, enemy here,
and once you give up minding your own business, once you have this whole thing, we have to
figure out who those people and this enemy and make this alliance, these foreign entanglements
that every one of the founders of this nation, the prominent founders, warned against, foreign
entanglements, every one of them, okay, because they had studied the experience of England,
France, Rome, once you get into that, hysteria becomes the norm, ultra-patriotism. Oh, yeah,
you know, red or dead, fight them, win, we must win. Right? You know. And you never look
at the consequence. And the example I use when I think of how
I wasted so much–and I use the word advisedly, wasted–so much of my life arguing about why
are we in Vietnam–I wrote a pamphlet, how we got–how the U.S. got involved in Vietnam.
I wrote so much about it. I edited Ramparts. So much I had to do. Why are we there? Why
aren’t we negotiating a way out? Why don’t we get out? And so forth. And oh, no, you
can’t get out because you’ll lose everything. We’ll lose freedom. We’ll lose our integrity.
No one’ll respect us. You know, communism will triumph. It was just nonsense. You knew
it on the face. I had been in Vietnam. I’d been in Laos. I’d been in–. I had tried and
actually been in China, certainly been in the old Soviet Union. I said, that’s not true.
They’re not going to be able to conquer, nor do they want to conquer you. They’ll probably
become more like you. You know, that was the counterargument. But look what happened in Vietnam. We suffered
the most ignominious, humiliating defeat in our nation’s history in Vietnam. Alright?
This was their worst-case disaster. We didn’t negotiate an agreement. We didn’t compromise
like we’re trying to do now with Iran. Right? We didn’t bring in other nations, as we’re
doing with Iran, you know, to help negotiate. No. We can’t do that. We can’t have agreement.
You know. So forth. But finally we’re forced to ’cause of the Tet Offensive failure and
all this. So what happens? We have a chaotic–. JAY: They did achieve something in Vietnam.
They proved to the world and the adversaries that America’s willing to kill millions of
people and tens of thousands of its own people to achieve its objectives. So even if we pulled
out, we’re willing to spill rivers of blood if that’s what it takes. SCHEER: But that wasn’t the–. No. I understand
what you’re saying, but that wasn’t what the argument was, because we said to them, look,
alright, you showed your resolve. You have to understand I’m talking about maybe debating
and speaking about this issue and traveling to Vietnam and all this stuff, whether it
was with Ramparts or after. You know, I devoted a good chunk of my time to this thing. I wasn’t,
of course, the only one, but I look back on it. The argument was–look, ’cause we made
that argument. Okay, you’ve shown you have resolve and you’ve shown you’re willing to
napalm the whole country and you have shown this. Okay. Why not have the seven-point peace
plan, or why not negotiate this? I mean, and we were arguing for very limited things. Why
not sit down with them or why not be–. And you know, there were negotiations, but they
kept resisting it. We can’t give them this, we can’t [incompr.] Okay. So the fact is they had to get out because
it was just all falling apart. They lost militarily. That’s what happened. Saigon was collapsing.
You had to lift people off the roof of the Embassy. It could not be a more brutal, you
know, shameful, ignominious defeat militarily from the point of view of the hawks. My goodness,
that’s the U.S. Embassy, and we’re airlifting people off the roof of the Embassy or the
nearby building and we have boat people. It’s terrible. I mean, it’s all chaotic and suffering
and everything. And, God, our image in the world is going to be destroyed, and these
communists are just going to go off to the races. They’re going to control. Now, exactly the opposite happened. America’s
image in the world improved immediately, because much of the world didn’t understand what the
hell we were doing there, why we were doing it, and they were relieved that we were getting
out. And these two–it was–Vietnam was supposed to be an extension of communist China, communist
Vietnam. They were supposed to go on to conquer everything around them. Quite the opposite
happens. They go to war with each other. They go to war with each other. And then they both
decide this war thing is really not working very well, and they embrace, ah! Capitalism.
They embrace it not because they were conquered, but because they found, hey, that kind of
state capitalism works better for us than a totally militarized society. We’re good
at it. We know how to do it. And we’ll make jeans and we’ll make these things, right,
and assemble computers. And that’s what they’re doing. And I remember going back to Vietnam. And
I went back to China. But I went for Microsoft, of all people. The company, they had a site
called Mungo Park. It was–. And they said, we want you to go back and trace your steps
in this country. And they sent a whole crew with me and everything. And we went. And it
happened that while we were there, there was a civil war in Cambodia, so we got in the
middle of that and this whole thing. And it was startling to me, because what was
the big issue in Vietnam when we went back? The Nike expansion and how it’s interfering
with farming in that area. Like, you could be having that argument in San Diego. You
know. And everybody was dealing with American products. And there were American tourists. And one of the POWs was our first ambassador,
former congressman Peterson. I interviewed him right there, the Embassy. And it was startling.
And even McNamara came back while I happened to be there and discuss what was the war all
about. And McNamara very famously said that he could be considered a war criminal because
of all that if we weren’t such a powerful nation. And he said that he couldn’t make
sense of the war in that movie Fog of War. But there’s the scene right there around there. So it played out exactly the opposite. Defeat
made you stronger. It ended your crazy obligation and involvement with a country in which you
were bleeding this country dry, but it was also hurting us at home. And yet we didn’t
draw the obvious conclusion. Instead, we’ve over the years continued with more foreign
entanglements and madness. JAY: Okay. Well, that’s what we’re going to
talk about in the next segment. We’re going to talk about Bob’s book The Pornography of
Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America. Please join us for the continuation of Reality
Asserts Itself on The Real News Network.

16 thoughts on “Plundering Our Freedom with Abandon – Robert Scheer on RAI (8/10)

  • great series- but Bobby does seem to be getting a lil' testy….
    (always nice to see someone tagging the "Zbig"……..)

  • D & R party will never give up power willingly if they did there would be a full accounting of what they have done right & if you had done what they have especially with their personal finances or being involved in allowing or not check/balancing torture or other war crimes of which they are responsible as they hold the purse strings etc., you would lie cheat steal bribe anything but to give up the power/$/resources they have already stolen or given away to those who bribe their party.

  • Instaed of saying we maybe he should say D & R or the wealthy because what has gone on has had almost nothing to do with the masses it's why D & R get less than 1/2 of all people to the polls while illegally controlling the process giving them no one real to vote for & no none of the above option so that WE can end this criminal organization(not governenment that is the facade like the Federal Reserve meaningless label at this point).  We did not do this a large group of corrupt people have & they are using our system to hire/promote only criminals or people they have blackmail on it's why there is something called the blue line why do you think that is allowed?  Why don't the D.A.'s or Judges do anything about it(because they know what part they are supposed to play they all know they are working against the public & to protect the established order especially to protect one another unless they can't then they give them days or weeks to come up with an alibi/or work out a better deal for that person based on what they know about the other corrupt behind closed doors.  They have unionized police arresting people they work for at Walmart/McDonalds etc. for trying to unionize or protest not being able to so think about the real context of the situation we are in would you it surely would help if you saw the D & R party & those that are helping them in any way for what they truly are & that it isn't so easy to change things in a peaceful manner when a couple million people are being paid to use advanced weapons along with the injustice system to attack any possible uprising for true justice/freedom.  We know who decided to direct our people to build an empire at gun point D & R along with them/those that bribe them getting all the spoils while we get the blame/debt/pollution/austerity.  The D & R party are acting like we are playing king of the hill & might makes right some day someone with a heart is going to step in & help this futile fight out of respect for life & out of disgust for what those with choice have chosen.

  • We don't walk into any trap the D & R people do & it's on purpose can't you tell they are the only ones along with those that bribe them that have had any real choice any real life so please do not say we mistakenly did this or that it's far to obvious they(not really them they just give the order to other people then they & those that bribe them profit off of it pretending it was a mistake or what we-horse shit had to do) walk into supposed traps on purpose that always cost the poor or disenfranchised while they actually literally profit.

  • Maybe Robert Scheer was having a bad  day when this was taped.  He rambles on from one topic to another, never finishing anything–it all sounds to me like babble.

    He posits something, then follows it immediately by contradicting what he just finished putting forward.  And he constantly confuses the propaganda and rhetoric that the power-elite tries to get us to believe with the actual objectives of US power.

    As Chomsky says, "power already knows truth."  Most of what those in power in the US have done throughout its history has been extremely rational and makes perfect sense (as Scheer himself commented at one point, before contradicting himself again).  You just have to follow the money and the projected power–it's (almost) all good for these people–it's the US domestic population that suffers and, in the foreign case, it's whomever is unlucky enough to  be on the receiving end of US "democracy promotion"  (or whatever they decide to call it) that really suffer–with their lives.

    Finally, I for one am getting really sick and tired of his rosy, bucolic "Founding Fathers" schtick–sorry Bob, but the US was never intended to be a democracy and it never has been.  Scheer needs to read and listen again to his colleagues, Chomsky and Hedges, especially on that latter point. 

    Robert Scheer has been wonderful, occasionally brilliant;  I have long admired him and given serious consideration to his views.  Even his immediately-prior segment of this (part 7, I think) was pretty good.  But this was just rambling, contradictory, apologetics for American savagery from before the founding to today.  No, they Do know better–they know Exactly what they're doing.  We are the ones who don't have a clue.

  • Apparently, there is revisionist history being circulated that it was the domestic anti-war protest movement that "lost" the Vietnam war.

    I don't believe it.  The original premise for the war was flawed to begin with, but a lot of high-up people in government do believe that it was public protests.   This accounts for the premature repression in public protests and right to assembly by the NSA and Homeland security.. Why else are they militarizing the local police departments?

  • Robert Scheer predicates an "essential wisdom" of the American experience, but his basis is an acceptance of a history of the US that is a mythology.   Some would like to call these myths "American ideals", goals for which we strive but have not accomplished.  Though I am of about the same generation as Mr Scheer and am as he a first generation American, I credit myself with greater realism.   No society is perfect, but the American experience is too far from perfection to justify Sheer's views.   I am reminded of another interview, Paul Jay's interview of John Kiriakou.  In telling us about his formative influences, Kiriakou revealed the his idealization of America, received especially from his immigrant mother who escaped from the then horrors of Europe.   Such emotional foundations undermine a rational understanding of American history, and the view of a French observer, de Tocqueville, expressed in 1835, about how Americans "work together" (according to Scheer), does not help either.   I have found the long series with Scheer unenlightening about more than Robert Scheer and am disappointed.

  • War does benefit the whole economy because it increases public deficit spending. Government bonds are about the only profitable investment right now and that is predicated on increasing deficit spending. Apple is sitting on €180 billion in cash because there is nowhere profitable to invest, they are already drowning in profits. This a crisis of over accumulation. The state then borrows this mass of profits and spends them unproductively on the war machine. If the govt ever stops deficit spending capitalism will grind to a halt once again. We should all be working less hours for more pay. This will force technological advance while increasing the free time and subsistence of the working class. It's the only way out of the crisis that doesn't end in fascism

  • Scheer keeps saying "We" went into Afghanistan. ":We" would never have thought of doing such a thing. It was the ruling elite/military/CIA that wanted to go in, in order destabilize the middle east and eventually take over. Come on, Robert. Do you still believe Oswald killed Kennedy? Have you read the books, or did Peter Jennings wrap it up for you? Nobody on the Left seems to want to grow up. Why are we talking about elections when the most qualified pres will face assassination?

  • I love Robert Scheer, he knows so much, he is s humanist – but rather naive and in denial of some important things. Counting on Buffet's and Apple's good intentions… Paul Jay contributes reality check in a best possible way.

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