I don’t know if you are on Michael Moore’s mailing list. If not, I’d like to pass on a couple of things I received from Michael this morning re: the Aurora shootings and guns in general. It’s quite long, so I have condensed it as best I could:
In modern times, nearly every nation has had a psychopath or two commit a mass murder, regardless of how strict their gun laws are – the crazed white supremacist in Norway one year ago Sunday, the schoolyard butcher in Dunblane, Scotland, the École Polytechnique killer in Montreal, the mass murderer in Erfurt, Germany … the list seems endless.
And now the Aurora shooter last Friday. There have always been insane people, and there always will be.
But here’s the difference between the rest of the world and us: We have TWO Auroras that take place every single day of every single year! At least 24 Americans every day (8-9,000 a year) are killed by people with guns – and that doesn’t count the ones accidentally killed by guns or who commit suicide with a gun. Count them and you can triple that number to over 25,000.
That means the United States is responsible for over 80% of all the gun deaths in the 23 richest countries combined.
People like me will say this is all the result of the U.S. having a history and a culture of men with guns, “cowboys and Indians,” “shoot first and ask questions later.” And while it is true that the mass genocide of the Native Americans set a pretty ugly model to found a country on, I think it’s safe to say we’re not the only ones with a violent past or a penchant for genocide. Hello, Germany! That’s right I’m talking about you and your history, from the Huns to the Nazis, just loving a good slaughter (as did the Japanese, and the British who ruled the world for hundreds of years – and they didn’t achieve that through planting daisies). And yet in Germany, a nation of 80 million people, there are only around 200 gun murders a year.
So those countries (and many others) are just like us – except for the fact that more people here believe in God and go to church than any other Western nation.
So – why us?
I posed this question a decade ago in my film ‘Bowling for Columbine,’ and this week, I have had little to say because I feel I said what I had to say ten years ago – and it doesn’t seem to have done a whole lot of good other than to now look like it was actually a crystal ball posing as a movie.
This is what I said then, and it is what I will say again today:
1. We Americans are incredibly good killers. We believe in killing as a way of accomplishing our goals. Three-quarters of our states execute criminals, even though the states with the lower murder rates are generally the states with no death penalty.
Our killing is not just historical (the slaughter of Indians and slaves and each other in a “civil” war). It is our current way of resolving whatever it is we’re afraid of. It’s invasion as foreign policy. Sure there’s Iraq and Afghanistan – but we’ve been invaders since we “conquered the wild west” and now we’re hooked so bad we don’t even know where to invade (bin Laden wasn’t hiding in Afghanistan, he was in Pakistan) or what to invade for (Saddam had zero weapons of mass destruction and nothing to do with 9/11). We send our lower classes off to do the killing, and the rest of us who don’t have a loved one over there don’t spend a single minute of any given day thinking about the carnage. And now we send in remote pilotless planes to kill, planes that are being controlled by faceless men in a lush, air conditioned studio in suburban Las Vegas. It is madness.
2. We are an easily frightened people and it is easy to manipulate us with fear. What are we so afraid of that we need to have 300 million guns in our homes? Who do we think is going to hurt us? Why are most of these guns in white suburban and rural homes? Maybe we should fix our race problem and our poverty problem (again, #1 in the industrialized world) and then maybe there would be fewer frustrated, frightened, angry people reaching for the gun in the drawer.
Those are my thoughts about Aurora and the violent country I am a citizen of. Like I said, I spelled it all out here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jGtAcDefHg).Those are my thoughts about Aurora and the violent country I am a citizen of. I’m in if you are.
- Michael Moore: It’s the Guns – But We All Know, It’s Not Really the Guns (huffingtonpost.com)
- Guns don’t kill people – Americans do, says Michael Moore (newstatesman.com)
- Tuesday: Michael Moore returns (piersmorgan.blogs.cnn.com)
- Michael Moore speaks out: “I am not going to come on… (geocrises.org)
- Michael Moore gets hot on gun control (politico.com)
It made me think about Michael Moore’s banned cartoon about Black America:
And it was banned because…?
- Michael Moore: “Jesus Was Gay” (weeklyworldnews.com)
- Democracy Now! November 28, 2011 (arizonaatheist.blogspot.com)
- Michael Moore Continues To Show Support For Occupy Wall Street (perezhilton.com)
- WATCH: Susan Sarandon And Michael Moore Talk To Wall Street Protestors (huffingtonpost.com)
OK… It’s the first day of Keith Olbermann‘s Countdown on the Current TV Network, and I am watching him Interview Michael Moore on Obama’s ethical and legal avoidance of the War Powers Act in Libya. I’m thrilled that the first thing Keith did was show that he wasn’t a front for the current Administration… or Democrats in general.
When you compare him to Fox News with its talking heads adhering to the Roger Ailes Daily List of attacks that will be made on the left and no connection with the truth, you find the kind of independent thought that we have missed since Keith went off MSNBC.
It is great to hear again a Special Comment, this one giving the definition of his program’s point of view:
“The weakest citizen in this country is more important than the strongest corporation.”
John Dean is here to comment on Justice Clarence Thomas taking gifts and his wife taking funding from a conservative Texas millionaire and seeing how this affects his Supreme Court decisions, like the Walmart/ women employees class action suit which came down against the female employees of the big-time retailer. As Dean said
about the Court, this is a great day for big business.
And Markos Moulitsas (of the Daily Kos) is back as a regular commentator after having been bounced off the tube by MSNBC a year ago for comments that network ( and especially Joe Scarborough) apparently didn’t agree with.
Welcome back, Keith. I’ll be watching.
- Keith Olbermann announces first ‘Countdown’ guests (insidetv.ew.com)
- You’ll Never Guess Who Keith Olbermann’s First Guests Are [Debuts] (gawker.com)
- Countdown with Keith Olbermann returns TONIGHT at 8 PM Eastern (dailykos.com)
- Olbermann Returns Today With New Countdown Show (jonathanturley.org)
- Keith Olbermann’s Revenge and More (iflizwerequeen.com)
- Keith Olbermann on Why He Left MSNBC – and How He Plans to Get Even (rollingstone.com)
- Current bets on Twitter & web video for Olbermann show (gigaom.com)
- How Many Will Watch The Premiere Of ‘Countdown With Keith Olbermann’ on Current TV? (Poll) (tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com)
Until last night, I knew nothing about them… but as I attended the F.A.R.M. program (Food Art Revolution Media) last night it was one of the topics that Melinda and Dan Hemmelgarn discussed last night.
These laws currently exist in 13 states and do things like banning photographers from taking pictures of food processing plants, or writing articles protesting farms that spray their crops with Monsanto poisons, or just discussing in the public press (and no doubt in blogs like this one) the disadvantages of non-organic farming.
The food disparagement movement has major corporate support (Monsanto, Dow, Buckeye Eggs and others) and haul people into court with their heavy economic advantage if the smallest criticism is raised. This has been going on since the 1990’s (a lot of it came out because of films like “Food, Inc.” or the works of Michael Moore.)
to raise safety and health concerns about the foods we eat, such as the levels of mercury in our fish or the levels of pesticides in imported foods. State laws that permit lawsuits against those who question the safety of foods can have a chilling effect on public health discourse. That is not the American way –healthy debate on issues of public concern is how this country does business.
The FoodSpeak Coalition highlights the chilling effect that these laws have on the exercise of free speech. Defamation laws should not intimidate citizens and the press who want to speak out about food safety.
Americans in all states must be allowed to openly debate issues of public health.
I spoke with a woman at the meeting last night whose 5-year work on a book concerning the dangers of chemical spraying on US Agriculture has been filed away indefinitely because she is afraid of lawsuit under food disparagement laws… and West Virginia doesn’t even have such laws. States like Iowa and Florida are affecting the entire country.
- FDA moves to Govern Global Food Laws (yourdaddy.net)
- Food Fight: Farmers Unite Against Monsanto (bigthink.com)
- Organic farmers file suit to protect themselves from Monsanto’s aggressive practices. (isiria.wordpress.com)
- Organic Farmers Unite Against Monsanto In Battle For Future of Food (singularityhub.com)
- GMO Foods and The Consumer (socyberty.com)
- Recipe for Food Safety (time.com)
- Monsanto Will Soon Be Allowed To Police Itself (fastcompany.com)
- Speak out on Monsanto… Tell the President… (underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com)
- Alfalfa a key battleground in organic farming war (theglobeandmail.com)
- How to identify Genetically Modified foods at Whole Foods… (underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com)
When Wendell Potter, the former CIGNA executive who turned on the insurance industry and is now working on the left, wrote in his new book, “Deadly Spin”, about how he was assigned to keep the Michael Moore movie “Sicko” from having the success of previous Moore films, it came as a shock to many that such garbage would happen in the professional world. Moore and Potter were brought together for the first time on Olbermann‘s show. Taker a look:
- Countdown Introduces Michael Moore to the Health Care Voldemort Who Came in From the Cold (mediaite.com)
- The Fear of Sicko: CIGNA Whistleblower Wendell Potter Apologizes to Michael Moore for PR Smear Campaign; Moore Says Industry Was Afraid Film Would Cause A ‘Tipping Point’ for Healthcare Reform (angryindian.blogspot.com)
- Potter, Moore Call Each Other ‘Courageous’ (odwyerpr.com)
- Wendell Potter Admits Coordinated Smear Campaign Against Michael Moore To Discredit “Sicko” (crooksandliars.com)
- Michael Moore: They Said They Would Push Me “Off a Cliff” (huffingtonpost.com)
- Wendell Potter: My Apologies to Michael Moore and the Health Insurance Industry (huffingtonpost.com)
- Corporate America Is Pushing Us Off a Cliff (thedailybeast.com)
Courtesy of Brave New Films:
In my weekly notice from one of my favorite film directors, he discussed the new release on DVD (and Blu-Ray) of his last documentary, ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’ , and suggests all the places it is available. Oddly enough, one of those places is Wal-Mart, prompting this longish diatribe:
The fact that Wal-Mart is carrying this movie — a movie that specifically exposes Wal-Mart’s past practice of taking out secret “dead peasant” life insurance policies on its employees and naming itself as the lone beneficiary should the employee meet an “untimely” early death — well, my friends, need you any further proof that Corporate America is so secure in its position as the ruler of our country, so sure of its infallible power that, yes, they can even sell a movie that attacks them because it poses absolutely no threat to them?
A sane person would think that Wal-Mart would never carry “Capitalism: A Love Story” because it’s simply not in their best interests to inform their customers of their shady past. After all, many Wal-Mart stores wouldn’t carry “Bowling for Columbine” back in 2003. That was *Kmart* I went after (for selling the ammo to the Columbine killers)! But I guess that was too Mart-y close for Wal-Mart — so no DVDs were allowed of that film on the shelves of some of the world’s biggest retail chain’s stores (the movie studio estimated that cost them $2.5 million in sales).
But seven years later, it’s a new day in America. The corporate coup is complete. Corporations like Wal-Mart now call all the shots, write all the laws, pay off almost all the congressmen and essentially (along with the other Fortune 500 companies and Wall Street) rule the nation. They’ve helped to eliminate consumer choice and the free market while convincing you they are all for “free enterprise” and the “U.S.A.”
More importantly, they’ve snuffed out any criticism or opposition. They’ve even co-opted liberals, like the people who made the wonderful documentary, “Food, Inc.” The last half-hour of this movie includes — I kid you not — an homage to Wal-Mart as the filmmakers swoon over this kinder, gentler company that has decided to — bless them! — put an organic food counter in their stores! Thank you, Wal-Mart! Kumbaya! (And hey, granolaheads, don’t forget to flash a smile on the way out of the store at the “greeter” who can’t afford to see a doctor.)
Yes, Wal-Mart, by selling “Capitalism,” is saying to me: “Go ahead Mike and expose us all you want! Hahahhaha! We’re so convinced that the public has either been dumbed down or made numb enough to not give a lick about whatever it is you’re saying about us and capitalism. We can sell a million of these and it won’t make a damn bit of difference about our ability to rule the world. So knock yourself out, big guy! Hehehehehehe. Go ahead and put your little movie on our shelves. It will never start a revolution.”
Or so they think.
But what if they’re wrong?
But what if they are wrong? They may not be, but perhaps they ARE wrong and we will return consumer choice and end the control of the country by Corporations.
So buy the movie at Wal-Mart… then RETURN IT. Heeheehee.
I watched most of the Oscars last night (I have to admit that from 10 to 11 I left my wife in front of the flat screen and went upstairs to our bedroom to watch Arrested Development‘s two episodes on IFC… just can’t get that show off my schedule) and, wonder of wonders, picked the winner the week before: I knew Hurt Locker was going to take the big one (and I guess 3 or 4 others, including Best Director.)
Then I was reading Michael Moore’s page and he ran the list of the 20 best films he saw last year… none of which were “Oscared”, I don’t think (“Mr. Fox got 2 nominations, but that was it)… and found that I agreed with some of them. They were small films, mostly, without big promotional budgets, but they were awfully good. The list:
1. “Troubled Water” (Michael’s comments HERE)
2. “Everlasting Moments” – A wife in the early 20th century wins a camera and it changes her life (from Sweden).
3. “Captain Abu Raed” – This first feature from Jordan tells the story of an airport janitor who the neighborhood kids believe is a pilot.
4. “Che” – A brilliant, unexpected mega-film about Che Guevara by Steven Soderbergh.
5. “Dead Snow” – The scariest film I’ve seen in a while about zombie Nazis abandoned after World War II in desolate Norway.
6. “The Great Buck Howard” – A tender look at the life of an illusionist, based on the life of The Amazing Kreskin starring John Malkovich.
7. “In the Loop” – A rare hilarious satire, this one about the collusion between the Brits and the Americans and their illegal war pursuits.
8. “My One and Only” – Who woulda thought that a biopic based on one year in the life of George Hamilton when he was a teenager would turn out to be one of the year’s most engaging films.
9. “Whatever Works” – This was a VERY good Woody Allen film starring the great Larry David and it was completely overlooked.
10. “Big Fan” – A funny, dark film about an obsessive fan of the New York Giants with a great performance by the comedian Patton Oswalt.
11. “Eden Is West” – The legendary Costa-Gavras’ latest gem, ignored like his last brilliant film 4 years ago, “The Axe”.
12. “Entre Nos” – An mother and child are left to fend for themselves in New York City in this powerful drama.
13. “The Girlfriend Experience” – Steven Soderbergh’s second genius film of the year, this one set in the the post-Wall Street Crash era, a call girl services the men who brought the country down.
14. “Humpday” – Two straight guys dare each other to enter a gay porn contest — but will they go through with it?
15. “Lemon Tree” – A Palestinian woman has her lemon trees cut down by the Israeli army, but she decides that’s the final straw.
16. “Mary and Max” – An Australian girl and and elderly Jewish man in New York become pen pals in this very moving animated film.
17. “O’Horten” – Another Norwegian winner, this one about the final trip made by a retiring train conductor.
18. “Salt of This Sea” – A Palestinian-American returns to her family’s home in the West Bank, only to find herself caught up in the struggles between the two cultures.
19. “Sugar” – A Dominican baseball player gets his one chance to come to America and make it in the big leagues.
20. “Fantastic Mr. Fox” – A smart, adult animated film from Wes Anderson that at least got two nominations from the Academy.
I must say that I agree with Michael about “Che”, “The Great Buck Howard” and “In The Loop”.
Michael Moore makes a really good observation on his site:
In testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, Furchtgott-Roth argued:
As configured, the three plans under consideration today would cause job loss and impede job creation, increasing the probability of bankruptcy. They would encourage American firms to move abroad, taking jobs to other countries.
But Franken countered that people in other countries with national health plans don’t go bankrupt for medical reasons.
Take a look at this video and see what I mean:
Of course France and Germany and such are SOCIALIST plans and not the kind of thing that Americans (who pay the most for the least) would want to even think of.
I received this e-mail from Michael Moore. Perhaps you did, too. If not, read on… he makes a good point:
Saturday, October 10th, 2009
Last night my wife asked me if I thought I was a little too hard on Obama in my letter yesterday congratulating him on his Nobel Prize. “No, I don’t think so,” I replied. I thought it was important to remind him he’s now conducting the two wars he’s inherited. “Yeah,” she said, “but to tell him, ‘Now earn it!’? Give the guy a break — this is a great day for him and for all of us.”
I went back and re-read what I had written. And I listened for far too long yesterday to the right wing hate machine who did what they could to crap all over Barack’s big day. Did I — and others on the left — do the same?
We are weary, weary of war. The trillions that will have gone to these two wars have helped to bankrupt us as a nation — financially and morally. To think of all the good we could have done with all that money! Two months of the War in Iraq would pay for all the wells that need to be dug in the Third World for drinking water! Obama is moving too slow for most of us — but he needs to know we are with him and we stand beside him as he attempts to turn eight years of sheer madness around. Who could do that in nine months? Superman? Thor? Mitch McConnell?
Instead of waiting to see what the president is going to do, we all need to be pro-active and push the agenda that we want to see enacted. What keeps us from forming the same local groups we put together to get out the vote last November? C’mon! We’re the majority now — the majority by a significant margin! We call the shots — and we need to tell this wimpy Congress to get busy and do what we say — or else.
All I ask of those who voted for Obama is to not pile on him too quickly. Yes, make your voice heard (his phone number is 202-456-1414). But don’t abandon the best hope we’ve had in our lifetime for change. And for God’s sake, don’t head to bummerville if he says or does something we don’t like. Do you ever see Republicans behave that way? I mean, the Right had 20 years of Republican presidents and they still couldn’t get prayer in the public schools, or outlaw abortion, or initiate a flat tax or put our Social Security into the stock market. They did a lot of damage, no doubt about that, but on the key issues that the Christian Right fought for, they came up nearly empty handed. No wonder they’ve been driven crazy lately. They’ll never have it as good again as they’ve had it since Reagan took office.
But — do you ever see them looking all gloomy and defeated? No! They keep on fighting! Every day. Our side? At the first sign of wavering, we just pack up our toys and go home.
So, at least for this weekend, let us celebrate what people elsewhere are celebrating — that America now has a sane and smart man in the White House, a man who truly wants a world at peace for his two daughters.
Many, for the past couple days (yes, myself included), have grumbled, “What has he done to earn this prize?” How ’bout this:
The simple fact that he was elected was reason enough for him to be the recipient of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
Because on that day the murderous actions of the Bush/Cheney years were totally and thoroughly rebuked. One man — a man who opposed the War in Iraq from the beginning — offered to end the insanity. The world has stood by in utter horror for the past eight years as they watched the descendants of Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson light the fuse of our own self-destruction. We flipped off the nations on this planet by abandoning Kyoto and then proceeded to melt eight more years worth of the polar ice caps. We invaded two nations that didn’t attack us, failed to find the real terrorists and, in effect, ignited our own wave of terror. People all over the world wondered if we had gone mad.
And if all that wasn’t enough, the outgoing Joker presided over the worst global financial collapse since the Great Depression.
So, yeah, at precisely 11:00pm ET on November 4, 2008, Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. And the 66 million people who voted for him won it, too. By the time he took the stage at midnight ET in the Grant Park Historic Hippie Battlefield in downtown Chicago, billions of people around the globe were already breathing a huge sigh of relief. It was as if, in that instant, one man did bring the promise of peace to the world — and most were ready to go wherever he wanted to go to achieve that end. Never before had the election of one man made every other nation feel like they had won, too. When you’ve got billions of people ready, willing and able to join a cause like this, well, a prize in Oslo is the least that you deserve.
One other thought. The Peace Prize historically has been given to those who have worked to throw off the yoke of racial discrimination and segregation (Martin Luther King, Jr., Desmond Tutu). I think the Nobel committee, in awarding Obama the prize, was also rewarding the fact that something profound had happened in a nation that was founded on racial genocide, built on racist slavery, and held back for a hundred-plus years by vestiges of hateful bigotry (which can still be found on display at teabagger rallies and daily talk radio). The fact that this one man could cause this seismic historical event to occur — and to do so with such grace and humility, never succumbing to the bait, but still not backing down (yes, he asked to be sworn in as “Barack Hussein Obama”!) — is more than reason enough he should be in Oslo to meet the King on December 10. Maybe he could take us along with him. ‘Cause I also suspect the Nobel committee was tipping its hat to all of us — we, the American people, had conquered some of our racism and did the truly unexpected. After seeing searing images of our black fellow citizens left to drown in New Orleans — and poor whites seeing their own treated no better than the black man they had been raised to hate — we had all seen enough. It was time for change.
Thank you, Barack Obama, for giving us the opportunity to redeem ourselves. Now for the tasks ahead. We need you to do all that you promised to do. We need it. The world needs it.
My prediction for the future? You become the first *two-time* winner of the Nobel Peace Prize! Yeah!
“I went through eight years of fighting one of the most disastrous presidencies this country has ever seen. And you know what, folks? I’m not doing this alone anymore. If you’re going to sit on the bench and just wait for my next movie to come out, or watch Obama have to fight all these crazies (alone), I’ve got better things to do.”
– Michael Moore quoted in USA Today entitled “‘Capitalism’ filmmaker Michael Moore isn’t feeling the love.”
So what happens when the Director of “Capitalism, a Love Story” (which opens Nationwide tomorrow) asks a question of our one and only Socialist Senator (and my hero) Bernie Sanders of Vermont?
This is what happens:
“Obama keeps turning around and looking for the millions behind him, supporting him, and there’s nobody even standing there, because he chose to take a half measure instead of the full measure that needed to happen. Had he taken the full measure–true single-payer, universal healthcare–I think he’d have millions out there backing him up.”
– Michael Moore interviewed by Naomi Kline in The Nation.
I picked this up reading Preserve Protect and Defend, the blog run by Two Crows.
From Michael Moore’s SICKO: the interview with Anthony “Tony” Neil Wedgwood Benn
“Keeping people hopeless and pessimistic – see I think there are two ways in which people are controlled – first of all frighten people and secondly demoralize them.”
Here’s the trailer:
Looks like he’s in rare form…