Moyers & Company

Going to Jail for Justice

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In December 2008, during the closing weeks of the Bush White House, 27-year-old environmental activist Tim DeChristopher went to protest the auction of gas and oil drilling rights to more than 150,000 acres of publicly-owned Utah wilderness. But instead of yelling slogans or waving a sign, DeChristopher disrupted the proceedings by starting to bid. Given an auction paddle designating him "Bidder 70", DeChristopher won a dozen land leases worth nearly two million dollars. He was arrested for criminal fraud, found guilty, and sentenced to two years in federal prison -- even though the new Obama Administration had since declared the oil and gas auction null and void. On this week's Moyers & Company (check local listings), DeChristopher -- who was released less than a month ago -- joins Bill to talk about the necessity of civil disobedience in the fight for justice, how his jury was ordered to place the strict letter of the law over moral conscience, and the future of the environmental movement. Bidder 70, a new documentary chronicling DeChristopher's legal battle and activism, opened May 17. DeChristopher is co-founder of the grassroots environmental group Peaceful Uprising. Also on the show, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Gretchen Morgenson tells Bill that, five years after the country's economic near-collapse, banks are still too big to fail, too big to manage, and too big to trust. Stockholders' reaffirmation of Jamie Dimon as JP Morgan Chase's chairman and CEO this week -- despite a year of accusations and investigations at the bank -- is further evidence, she says, of an unchecked system that continues to covet profits and eschew accountability, putting our economy and democracy at risk. Morgenson also discusses how behemoth companies like Apple manipulate the system and avail themselves of the biggest tax loopholes money and influence can buy.

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