Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

"Capitalism : A Love Story" Movie Poster

"Capitalism : A Love Story" Movie Poster

You might think that with a purported “progressive” in the Oval Office and both houses of Congress firmly under Democratic control, Michael Moore wouldn’t have too much to bitch about these days.

But you’d be wrong. And thank goodness for that. Because in the current political atmosphere when liberal and otherwise left-leaning voters might be tempted to assume that everything’s okay and that now’s the time to rest on their laurels and enjoy the fruits of their “victory,” Moore’s message is actually more relevant than ever, and his latest film “Capitalism : A Love Story” shows that he’s not about to sit back and give the Democrats a free pass. He’s doing exactly what everyone else should be doing, namely holding these people’s feet to the fire, and he hasn’t mellowed one bit. In fact, he’s chosen now to unleash his most uncompromising, well-realized, and comprehensive assault on the robber barons of the late 20th/early 21st century and their paid henchmen in the political and media classes. The result is a polemic (sorry, TFG doesn’t really consider Moore a documentarian in the strictest sense and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that) that’s energetic, focused, and mad as hell with a smile on its face. Moore is the happy warrior of the working class and “Capitalism : A Love Story” is his magnum opus, the natural culmination of everything he’s been working towards all these years crystallized into one seamlessly flowing, easily-communicable message : capitalism sucks, it has nothing to do with democracy (or even the US Constitution), we’ve all been played for suckers, our country has literally been swindled out from underneath us, and it’s well past time that we fought back.

And you know what? He’s absolutely right. I may disagree with many aspects of Moore’s proposed solutions, but in terms of identifying the problem he’s spot-on. Runaway Wall Street greed has resulted in a pronounced and rapid deterioration in the quality of life of average Americans, and the honest working man and woman have been left in the dust as the already-filthy rich have fattened their coffers way beyond the dreams of avarice.

Michael Moore doing what he does best

Michael Moore doing what he does best

Moore starts out his latest offering by showing us the human toll that the recent foreclosure mess has taken on people before segueing into his by-now-typical paean to life in the 1950s America he grew up in where one income was more than enough to buy a house outright, send your kids to modest private or parochial school, pay for their college when the time came, take a nice little vacation every year, and have enough left over to enjoy one’s golden years in relative comfort.

Then we go back to the modern day, and learn that pilots are only making $19,000 a year, the unions that once helped fight for our customary way of life have been decimated, whole cities lay in ruin due to factory closings, and Wall Street tycoons are laughing all the way to the bank (that they own) as their complex derivative games turn the stock market into a giant casino that the taxpayers they’ve spent the last few decades ripping off cover the losses for in the form of all these insane “bailouts” that have been rammed down our collective throat in the last year or so.

Nobody comes away from Moore’s equal-opportunity assault clean, with prominent Democrats like Chris Dodd exposed as charlatans and stooges for the predatory capitalist class every bit as much as Republicans. Coming in for special criticism is Donald Regan, secretary of the treasury and later chief of staff for Ronald Reagan (the footage where  Regan, the former CEO of Merrill Lynch,  tells his supposed boss to “speed it up” without even adding the customary “Mr. President” to the end of the command as Reagan is addressing the crowd on the Wall Street trading floor is priceless and lays bare in the most stark terms possible who’s really giving the orders in Washington these days) who slashed taxes for the wealthy while slashing regulations on the financial sector, Robert Rubin, Clinton’s former treasury secretary who deregulated the industry even further before going on to make $115,000,000 running Citibank, and Hank Paulsen, former Goldman Sachs CEO and Bush treasury secretary who arranged the current “bailout” fiasco.

Not getting in the door, as usual

Not getting in the door, as usual

Yes, there are a few honest folks in Washington who do their part in laying the scam bare and sticking up for the interests of ordinary working folks in the face of teh Wall Street juggernaut. Representative Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, in particular, would probably be elected President if everyone saw this film. But they’re few and far between and Moore makes it clear that if we want to end this cycle of legalized theft, we need to do it ourselves.

To that end, the final third of the movie is actually a somewhat uncharacteristically optimistic portrayal of some positives that have taken place in recent months : a high-tech robotic equipment company and a bread-baking corporation that are run in truly democratic fashion where the workers all have an equal voice in how the company is run and all take home an absolutely equal share of the profits are both making money hand over fist. A group of concerned neighborhood activists in Miami banded together to prevent a family from being foreclosed on and refused to move for days, causing such a stink that the bank eventually walked away in shame. The sherriff in Wayne County, Michigan, where Detroit rests, has refused to serve any more foreclosure notices. Workers at a door and window company in Chicago locked themselves into their factory when they received three days’ notice that they were all being fired without pay, and after a six-day sit-in they all received $6,000 severance packages.

Sure, along the way Moore serves as our guide as usual and gets up to his usual antics of trying to get into various corporate headquarters and being refused entrance (the scenes where he’s driving an armored car around Wall Street and backing up to places like Goldman Sachs and Citibank and asking for our money back are classic Moore — when no one budges he tries to get inside to make a citizen’s arrest of their boards of directors with equally predictable results), but these antics come pretty late in the game, and rather than making himself the star of the film as has been a frequent and entirely justified criticism of his previous work, in “Capitalism : A Love Story” Moore does a much better job of letting the ordinary folks involved in his portrayal of contemporary America and their stories serve as the real centerpiece of the film. He’s more a tour guide than he is a protagonist, and the movie is all the stronger for his decision to take more of a back seat to his subject matter.

How about some of that bailout money back?

How about some of that bailout money back?

The usual redundant criticism from the usual corners will certainly all be heard in the days to come — that Moore has gotten rich himself by criticizing the wealthy, that his films are one-sided, that he’s out to push an agenda, that he’s a shill for the Democratic Party. The last is refuted pretty easily throughout the course of the film (he’s even notably ambivalent about Obama, excited by the prospect that his historic election represents while fully cognizant of the fact that his largest comparing contributors were all Wall Street giants—he seems to take the pragmatic and understandable view that Obama may want to do the right thing, but that if we don’t demand it, he’ll opt for the politically easy route of pleasing the folks who paid for his ticket to the top instead), and the rest just plain don’t matter, pure and simple. If folks on the other side of these issues want to present their side of the story, they have the entire media apparatus and most of the government in their pockets and are free to do so. In fact, they do 24 hours a day , seven days a week, in what is laughably called “news” programming.

Simply put, Moore is not merely giving us one side of the story. He’s giving us the other side of the story, the one we know to be true from our daily lives but never see reported by the networks.  And he succeeds where so many other left-leaning journalists fail by actually employing a technique that the right uses very well : placing things not in cold logic and concrete numbers but in real, human, emotional terms. He speaks to the head only after he’s proven what the heart already knows to be true. It’s not about the facts and figures with Moore, in the end it’s about the people. This movie plays at the heartstrings, sure, but in the present political climate of town halls and tea parties, it’s refreshing to see purely emotional politics put in service to issues that speak to the better angels of our nature (and yes, I hate that term, too) rather than baseless, irrational, divisive fears.

Mr. Moore goes to Washington

Mr. Moore goes to Washington

As for the most lame-brained fall-back argument his critics employ against him, “If he hates America so much, why doesn’t he just leave it?, ” Moore delivers a poignantly simple rebuke at the end that is the film’s best line and maybe the best line you’ll hear in any movie this year : “I refuse to live in a country like this anymore. And I’m not going anywhere.” After over two hours of succinct and harrowing accounting of our present crisis laid out in terms anyone can understand and far too many people can relate to, it’s enough to make you want to pump your fist in the air. And then roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Given that’s exactly the reaction Moore wants, it’s only fair to conclude that “Capitalism : A Love Story” is an unqualified success —  his best and most accomplished work and a movie no one should miss.  We already know that, given the nature of our highly divided Union these days, Moore will essentially be preaching to the converted with this film and those who would benefit the most from hearing his message will be nowhere in the audience. Our task, then, is to convince others of the truth in what Moore is saying in our daily lives, to take his message to unfamiliar quarters and present it in a way they can relate to without feeling alienated and/or somehow threatened by “socialism” (a position Moore never actually advocates, instead stressing that democracy—real democracy—is the best antidote to capitalism). It’s a daunting task, to be sure, but it’s one we have to undertake if we want to bring about change we really can believe in.

Next time out, we’ll return to our little halloween countdown, but for now, we all need to get off our butts, get out and see this movie, and then get down to business.

"Hey! Listen! Did you hear me? Shut up and listen! I've got something to say about this new 'Bruno' movie and you're gonna hear me out!"

"Hey! Listen! Did you hear me? Shut up and listen! I've got something to say about this new 'Bruno' movie and you're gonna hear me out!"

Transcript from this evening’s Bill O’Reilly television program — note that  our transcriptionists have fixed Governor’s Palin’s “folksy colloquialisms” in an attempt to actually make this discussion look something like standard-variety English.

O’Reilly : Hey folks, Bill O’Reilly here with a very special guest to discuss a big problem facing our country today. That problem is “Bruno.” This is filth. This is degeneracy. This is a rotten, fagg—err, maggott-infested apple spoiling everything else it touches. With me is another recent TFG guest, the great governor of the state of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Welcome, governor. Nice to see you again.

Palin: Thanks so much, Bill, it’s such a pleasure to be here, talking with you, as opposed to dealin’ with the mainstream media that really—well, they just have a way of slantin’ things, you know?

O’Reilly : Boy, do I ever. You’re preaching to the choir here, Governor! (laughs)

Palin : It’s just like, ever since I started my fight, you know? My fight for traditional American—

O’Reilly : Traditional American values.

Palin : Exactly, Bill. Exactly. It’s like I can’t get a word in edgewise without—

O’Reilly : The far-left loons jumping in and either cutting you off or hopelessly distorting your message.

Palin : Right, Bill. That’s it exactly. All I’m trying to do is —

O’Reilly : Get your message out there on your own terms without interruption or obfuscation.

Palin : And it’s so wonderful that there are some of you out there, Bill, who still understand that and still —

O’Reilly : At least believe in letting you finish your sentences and say what you have to say in your own words. Which brings me to this evening’s talking point : “Bruno.” Now this guy, this Baron Cohen guy, first off he’s not American. Yet here he is, on our screens, exposing the youth of this country to his FILTH, his DEGENERACY, his ASSAULT ON OUR VALUES that we hold so dear.

Palin : And I just have to say, Bill, that you know —

O’Reilly : Oh, I know. I know exactly where you’re going because I absolutely agree with it. This is pure, unfiltered SLEAZE. This is what’s wrong—everything that’s wrong— with our media, our society, this whole secularized, Godless, tasteless—

Palin : Well, all of it, really, Bill. This portrayal of trying to make this degenerate que—homosexual look somehow funny and cute and sympathetic and clever at the expense of ordinary, decent, God-fearing Americans. It’s just so—

O’Reilly : Wrong. Go ahead and say it. I sure will. It’s WRONG, Mr. Baron Cohen, do you hear me? What you’re doing here is SICK and IMMORAL and WRONG. Here’s the—have we got the image?

"Bruno" Movie Poster

"Bruno" Movie Poster

O’Reilly : There it is. There it is. Tells you everything you need to know, doesn’t it?

Palin : Right, Bill. It’s all right there, just kind of like—flaunting its degeneracy, you know? Darin’ you to be offended.

O’Reilly : And I guess he’s supposed to be this Austrian, this gay Austrian, this flamboyantly—not that there’s anything wrong with that in and of itself, mind you—

Palin : Gosh, no. Just because I tried to ban a book at our local library to help gay teens with their self-esteem and prevent things like gay tenn suicide, that doesn’t mean that I have anything against—

O’Reilly : Of course not. But the far-left loons will take that as some kind of proof that you’ve got this problem with fagg—-with homosexuals, you know? And they’ll seize on that, and distort it, and take it all out of context.

Palin : Exactly. While I may not support same-sex marriage—

O’Reilly : No real American does—

Palin : Or civil unions or domestic partnerships or equal employment or housing opportunities for these que—for the gays and the lesbians—

O’Reilly : That doesn’t mean you have anything against them.

Palin : Oh, gosh, good heavens, no. I mean, I may not approve of that lifestyle choice, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think these people shouldn’t be allowed to, like, continue living. Somewhere else. Far way from us normal people. Because, you know, the AIDS—

O’Reilly : Exactly. And where is that in “Bruno”? Where is any mention of AIDS?  That his degenerate behavior runs a high risk of—-

Palin : Exactly. It’s about us, protecting Americans, keeping our children safe.

O’Reilly : And here “Bruno” is, making it all look like fun and games and no mention of what this is doing to our families or to the health of his own kind of people.

Palin : And that’s it exactly, Bill.

O’Reilly : By opposing this, by speaking out, by saying enough is enough, we’re actually doing more for these flaming fagg—these homosexuals than their own kind are doing for them. Because this stuff, this “Bruno” stuff—it’s a death sentence. This reckless flamboyance — it’s a death sentence, sure as I’m sitting here. If you’re out there watching this, and you’re que—you’re gay, or you’re lesbian, following the example of this “Bruno” nutcase, this Baron Cohen lunatic—this will get you killed.

Palin : And if the mainstream media would only—

O’Reilly : Let you get your message out, without interrupting you or twisting your words to suit their ends—

Palin : That’s right, Bill. That’s so right. And the way he makes ordinary Americans, hard-working, God-fearing, hete—normal people—the way he makes them llok like these sort of crazed redneck zombies is—

O’Reilly : Really, it’s not fair. It’s a stacked deck. It’s not honest. This movie is not an honest documentary. It’s almost like it’s a comedy or something, like he thinks it’s funny. This is why he’s first in line if I’m in charge to go to the ove—to go someplace where he can be separated from normal folks and think quietly for a good long time about what he’s done.

Palin : So right, Bill, so true, so—

O’Reilly : American. Because this what this is all about, this culture war, this war for the soul of this country, it’s about America. And securing our future. And keeping this safe for white, stra—for, good, honest, ordinary, hard-working folks. To hell with the dancing queen here and whatever he wants, this is still my country. Still our country. And I’ll be damned if I’ll see it go down to a bunch of qu—degenerates. Deviates. Sexual predators who would do harm to our children.

Palin : And that’s what this fight is, and I’m trying my best, doing what I can, to stand up to this, to say “no,” to get this filth off our screens and out of our theaters. And it’s not about censorship, it’s not about saying that he can’t make this kind of movie—

O’Reilly : Just that it shouldn’t be distributed or screened or put out there in any way. If he wants to make it — FINE. If he wants to try to destroy this country —FINE. But there needs to be boycott of anyone, of any theater, that would show this FILTH. This GARBAGE.

Palin : And if only the mainstream media would —

O’Reilly : Just shut up and let you talk, they’d see that what you’re saying is what I’m saying and that this has nothing to do with censorship or banning anything or any of that stuff the far-left loons want to accuse us of. It’s about PROTECTING our CHILDREN and our SOCIETY from GARBAGE. Governor, I’ll let you have the last word.

Palin : Well, I’m just wondering I didn’t see this movie and I never will and we’re trying to get it kicked out of the theater in Wasilla even as we speak. So I’m just wondering if you actually, you know—

O’Reilly : If I saw it? No. God no. Of course not. I don’t need to see it to know what I’m talking about. I don’t need to have any understanding at all of what I’m talking about to be an expert on it—on this or any other subject.

Palin : I’ve always felt the same way, Bill. And that’s why the mainstream media —

O’Reilly : Is always cutting you off and selectively taking what you say completely out of context to make you look uninformed or ignorant.

Palin : Exactly. It’s not my fault I look, you know, maybe a little unprepared or uninformed—it’s theirs.

"Hi! Thanks Fer Comin By My Good Friend Trash Film Gooroo's Blog!"

"Hi! Thanks Fer Comin By My Good Friend Trash Film Gooroo's Blog!"

Editor’s Note : While we’re certainly pleased to have such a distinguished guest as our first celebrity columnist here at TFG, we cannot be held responsible for any unorthodox spelling, punctuation, or syntax on Governor Palin’s part. As she has proven since her arrival on the national stage, the governor has a very—-unique grammatical style, and she agreed to appear in our humble little corner of the internets (whoops, that was the other intellectually challenged Republican’s phrase) only under the condition that we agree to let her communicate directly with you, the American public, without any editing or “mainstream media filtering,” as she put it, on our part. Here, then, is the governor of Alaska —

Howdy friends, it sure is good ta be able to sit down and have a little chat with all a you good people even without the filter of the main stream media gettin in the way of me communicating my message directly with you, the people of our great country that I love so much and thank the troops for all their hard work and sacrifice for our freedom for.

Now, when my good friend Trash Film Gooroo first asked me ta maybe think about writin a column for his blog, I admit I was kinda nervous. Sure, I’ve spoken in front of thousands, and delivered speeches, and even kicked some butt in that VP’s debate last year that I don’t care what anybody in the main stream media says, you and I know I won. Big. But a movie review? That was new ta me. So I gues what I’m tryin to say here is, this may not be the kinda review you would expect to read or I may not talk as directly about one little topic as people might be thinkin, but I’m just gonna talk about this my own way, directly to the suck— err, voters, without the filter of the liberal main stream media.

So as ya all know, last Friday was a busy day for me and Todd and the kids, what with that little announcement that everybody’s makin such a big fuss about, but by Saturday things had calmed down a little bit, and it was the 4th of July and I just wanna thank our troops for all their hard work and sacrifice for God and country and our freedom. So while other people were out seein fireworks or watchin parades, I thought a myself—what would a maverick do on the 4th of July holiday? No politics as usual, somethin really different, because I’m just not wired that way to do the politics as usual stuff. I’m wired different. Like a maverick.

So we thought, hey, why not go ta the movies? We could take the whole family . Except Bristol, who was out speakin at a conference on teen abstinence. I don’t know what else was goin on at that conference, but they had a great lineup, including Keith Richards lecturing on the benefits of drug-free living, John Goodman talking about the importance of a healthy diet, and Pete Rose talking to our youth about the dangers of gambling. I think I heard something about maybe even Mike Tyson showin up to talk a little bit on how to treat women with respect. So it sounds like quite a lineup of experts on their various topics. I think it was called the annual conference of HA, which stands for Hypocrit—-err, I ferget the name.  But hey. The rest of us had the day off, though, so I thought, hey, what would a maver—sorry, I’m repeatin myself, we decided ta go ta the movies.

Now, in our household, we try ta decide things as a family, and when I said “hey, should I work hard to fight for all our children’s future from outside government after we go see a movie?,” the answers were four “yes”s and one “hell yeah!” And the “hell yeah!” sealed it.

So, what kinda movies do we like? Okay, yeah, sometimes I like a romance or a “chick flick,” and of course the kids love comedy, but Todd, the “first dude,” is an action guy, and ya know, I admit it, I love action too, and so when he suggested we see the new “Transformers” movie, I just couldn’t resist. All that tranformin and changin reminded me of how I fight every day to tranform and change our state and our country that I love so much. I knew I wouldn’t be doin my duty as a maverick if I didn’t see “Transformers,” since I’m in the business of transformin this county for all our children’s future.

"Transformers : Revenge Of The Fallen" Movie Poster

"Transformers : Revenge Of The Fallen" Movie Poster

Anyhoo — we took the whole family except Bristol, even my eldest grands—-err,youngest son, Trig, who’s a special needs child, not that I’d ever mention that just to score cheap political points by exploitin my family situation. That would be so politics as usual. And I’m just not wired that way. I’m a fighter and politics as usual just wouldn’t be what a good point guard does. A good point guard knows when ta pass the ball to secure her team a victory, like I just did the day before when I did what was best for my state and the country I love so much and celebrate our freedom this July 4th and I just want to thank God for our troops one more time, they all sacrifice so much for our freedom. They’re our real heroes.

So anyway, Trig is a special needs child, and the reason I mention that is not because I want ta sound grand and special or anything like that or use him like some political prop. The world needs more Trigs, not fewer. And Trig needs ta see more movies, not fewer.  So we took him ta see “Transformers” with us, not fewer.

So my family’s been through a lot, what with the liberal main stream media constantly investigatin these spurious ethics violations and unfounded allegations and just plain crazy rumors flyin around, so I figured we deserved ta go all out — large tubs a popcorn, hot dogs, Twizzlers, and large sodas for all of us. The total bill for our afternoon at the movies was $84.50 charged to the Alaska taxpa—-err, my Visa card.  And if anyone says I didn’t pay for this myself they’ll be hearin from my lawyer.

So anyway, we sat down and the movie was a lotta fun, there was good old Optimus Prime and those two fun-lovin, abstinence-practicin teenagers and it was just so nice ta see a movie as a family because family is the most important gift God gives us in this life and I just thank God every day for my family and of course for this great country and all our troops who sacrifice so much ta keep us safe and free.

Now, I don’t wanna give away too darn much about the plot, that’s no fun! You wanna see all the suprises fer yerself, don’cha? And not have some crazy no-fun reviewer give it all away. But I gotta say two things that bothered me —

1. The movie seemed ta imply that the Transformers had been on Earth many thousands a years ago. Now, I get it. They need a neat plot twist ta make things interesting. But anyone who’s read the Bible knows the Earth is only about 6,000 years old. And man and dinosaurs were here at the same time. So this movies seems ta contradict the Bible by sayin the Earth is older than it really is. So we kinda had a little conflict there.

2. A lotta people are makin a big stink about these sapposedly black “hip-hop” kinda Trasformers with gold teeth who can’t read. All I gotta say is, lighten up, people. I got in touch with the black voters who love America who voted for me and John McCain last year, just a little kinda informal chit-chat, and  ya know what? They both said it was a lotta brew-ha-ha about nothin. We got a little laugh and little chuckle outta it I gotta admit, all this politically correct main stream media bias. It all seems so silly. And anyone who’s read the GOP platform knows that white people are the victims of alla the world’s racism and discrimination, not black people. Even today our President is black but we won’t talk about who he beat because we don’t like ta dwell on the past in my household. It’s all about our future. And our children’s future. And fighting for all our children’s future from outside government.

So anyway. We had fun. How did it all end up in the end? Well, I couldn’t tell ya. I did the maverick thing to do—I left the movie with 30 minutes to go. Sticking around to find out how things end? That would be easy. That’s the quitter’s way out. This way I can fight for the best ending possible from outside of the movie.

Anyway, thanks so much for readin what I had to say and for carin about this country. I’ll just take this opportunity ta say how much I love this country and all our children and love ya all even more from outside government than I did when I was in there and it’s just so great to be a point uard on this winning team fightin for all our children and our troops who I’m so thankful for who sacrifice so much and are our real heroes. Never forget that, no matter what the main stream media tells ya, I’m here every day to fight for God, county, all our children’s future, our troops, and our sacred American way of life.

This is Sarah Palin signin off from Alaska, be sure  ta catch me on my book tour when I come through your town, it sure would be a heck of a thrill ta see ya.