Who Hijacked Our Country

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Capitalism: A Love Story

This movie isn’t exactly new (came out in 2009), but it finally moved up to the front of our Netflix queue. I think it’s Michael Moore’s most powerful movie yet. Here are some links.

It wasn’t as much of an emotional roller coaster as Sicko. But that’s only because the personal tragedies — and the corporate gaming that caused them — just kept coming, one after another after another, until you’re just numb. After endless scenes of families losing their homes because of the fine print on page 87 of their contract; of financial executives high fiving each other after they’ve made a few more million dollars from other people’s tragedies — all you can do is sit there in a thousand yard stare and go “Huh.”

Here’s just one example: If you aren’t familiar with the term “dead peasants insurance,” Google it. And then imagine a two-hour movie where one wretched horrifying fact like this after another comes flying at you, nonstop.

In Sicko, a former HMO employee told Michael Moore that “People don’t fall through the cracks. It was our job to push them through the cracks.” And in the larger picture, that’s exactly what’s been happening to millions of Americans over the past few decades. Every time another person gets laid off, goes bankrupt, gets dumped by his/her health insurance company, loses his/her home — chalk up another one for the Oligarchy. People are being PUSHED through the cracks; they’re not just “falling.”

After seeing so many families being driven out of their homes, union members fired with Zero notice and not even getting a final paycheck, and on and on and on, all I could think of was — why aren’t THESE people out there protesting and shouting? We get millions of teabaggers out there, mostly middle class and comfortable, all getting their panties in a twist because their taxes might go up or because some lazy parasite might get something for nothing.

Our current administration is trying to make a few tiny inroads against our thirty-year slide into feudalism, and suddenly millions of gullible inbred teapukes are out there screaming that Obama is a Communist Muslim who was born in Kenya and is going to ruin this great nation.

One elderly man who had just lost his home that had been in his family for generations, told Michael Moore: “I’m not gonna get a gun and go around shooting people. But I understand why some people are doing that.”

I understood it too, as I was watching the movie. For a few minutes I could actually relate to those news stories from the 1960s, where Communist insurgents would take over a country (usually Southeast Asia, if those stories were even true) and round up all the rich people and have them executed. Watching the endless parade of desperate Americans who had just had their world yanked away from them, I understood the hopelessness and fury that would motivate suicide bombers. People can really become so desperate, so despondent, that they’re willing to take their own lives if they can take a few of “the enemy” with them. And I couldn’t help wonder — why isn’t this happening here??? The oligarchs may be surrounded by bodyguards, armored vehicles, gated communities, “secure” office buildings — but that doesn’t guarantee anything. What if somebody placed an explosive device inside his briefcase, put on a $4,000 suit and sauntered all business-like into one of those Wall Street offices? Outsiders can’t drive into a gated community, but they can fly over it in a private plane or an ultra-light. They might accidentally crash into — or drop something onto — a private party full of Wall Street VIPs. For that matter, if the Mafia (or any other underworld group) has their sights on you, you’re toast, no matter how many armored vehicles or bodyguards you have. It’s just a matter of when, not if. I’m surprised there hasn’t been enough white-hot fury out there for some sort of organized highly-trained group to zero in on some of these…

[takes a deep breath] Well, that was a bit of a rant, wasn’t it. Time to do a little proofreading, make sure I didn’t…….ooooookay, that last paragraph needs a little rewriting. Wouldn’t want to put something like that out there on the Internet. I’ll look over this later and maybe dial it down a bit.

OK, I’ll click on “Save As Draft” instead of “Publish.” Let’s see, it’s this button over —

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Blogger Dave Dubya said...

My, my, just look at all the anger that Communist Michael Moore has stirred up. And he's a LIBERAL!Just wait until he's feeling Taxed Enough Already. Maybe then he could be in the big league of anger incitement like Beck. If only he hated taxes as much as injustice...

October 5, 2010 at 1:10 PM  
Anonymous tim said...

I've seen this movie. The problem for me watching these tings is it really pisses me off. These days I definitely lean towards socialism. I just happen to think we need a blend. One way or the other won't work for us. Perhaps like all things, moderation.

October 5, 2010 at 4:33 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

I was also very moved by what that guy said when he lost his home. It is amazing how passive most Americans (including me) are about how the poor and middle class in this country are being railroaded.

October 5, 2010 at 6:53 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

You don't see more of a widespread, angry, determined reaction to what's going on because hardly anyone is pointing the way to a coherent, rational alternative.

Much of the public is steeped in 30 years of increasingly radical right-wing ideology: free market religion, it's everyone for him/herself, taxes are always too high, government is too big and always wasteful and ineffective, there's no such thing as the "the common good," yada, yada.

During rare interludes when Democrats get their hands on the levers of power, they do little or nothing to systematically dispute and discredit the radical right ideology, as described above. For the most part they try to act against those things in the legislation they support. Some of them mention some of the things in campaign speeches and town halls. But there is no big, coordinated, sustained effort to go out and drive the message home so loudly, clearly and long that every independent and every know-nothing has heard it all 50 times and knows it by heart.

That's what Republicans did to Democrats and their approach. "Tax-and-spend liberals." "Bleeding-heart liberals." "Never met a government program they didn't like." "Prosperity is smothered by the cold, dead hand of government." "It's your money and you know what to do with it better than the government" And so on.

Right now we ought to have a small army of Democratic candidates all over TV, radio, in the papers and in public squares doing what Michael Moore has been doing with his movies. They should be blasting Wall Street, big corporation (especially multinationals), free trade, movement conservatives, Republicans, libertarians, tea partyers and every aspect of all their poisonous crap.

Yet, over the past month, nearly every time I surf to C-SPAN or C-SPAN2 randomly, what do I see? There's Newt Gingrich being interviewed. There's Mitt Romney making a speech. There's Rep. Paul Ryan answering phone callers. There's Rep. Mike Pence giving a talk.

Then, I pick up a newspaper and see headlines such as "Democrats run from Healh Care, Financial Reform." I look on Yahoo! News and see "Few Dems Want Obama Campaign Help."

Is it any flipping wonder the oligarchy is chalking up so many wins and Democrats only win big when people are so PO'd at Republicans they'll vote for anyone else. And then all too soon, thanks to most of the public being ill-informed and politically rootless, plus having the attention span of a carpet beetle, they go right back to voting for Republicans.


October 5, 2010 at 11:57 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Tom, FWIW, I wrote a comment and when I went to publish it got the idiotic Blogger "URI too big" error message. That probably means my comment went down the glory hole, although it might've gone through anyway. It's late, so I will wait and see.

October 6, 2010 at 12:00 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Eat the rich.

Don't you mean memory hole, Dr. Freud? ;-)

October 6, 2010 at 6:20 AM  
Blogger Shalom Patrick Hamou said...


I am inviting you today to

Vote for Your Economy, Now.

When was the last time you were given that opportunity?

We don't intend to replace the prevalent system but to expend the number of your options.

We will add a significant amount of jobs, income and investment.

This is the only election in which the law of the majority is not binding on the minority.

If you don't participate you are still be making a choice:
the choice of relying exclusively on the prevalent system.

Vote Now for the Credit Free, Free Market Economy

On September 10th at 10:00 AM EST
I will post a video on that site explaining the voting process.


October 6, 2010 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Dave: Right, the 2 worst injustices are taxes and the redistribution of people's hard-earned money so that parasites can lie around smoking pot all day.

Tim: I don't think any "ism" works by itself. You're right, a blend; moderation.

J: I agree on both things. Those tragedies were moving beyond words, and it's incredible that people remain so passive after they've gotten fucked over.

SW: That's exactly what Democrats and liberals need and what they're lacking -- a "big, coordinated, sustained effort to go out and drive the message home so loudly, clearly and long that every independent and every know-nothing has heard it all 50 times and knows it by heart."

Republican politicians and strategists are masters of this; Democrats can't seem to get the hang of it.

Randal: Eat the rich -- I knew Motorhead would have the answer.

Shalom Patrick Hamou: Interesting link. I'll read it in more detail later.

October 6, 2010 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Beekeepers Apprentice said...

Most of those "gated communities" don't even have a gate. They have one of those rising arms...like you see in parking garages. The evil twin says "that wouldn't even cause much damage to my truck to blast right through that."

And basically, Ditto to what SW said.

October 7, 2010 at 4:42 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Bee: That's true about gated communities, the few that I've driven through. I always picture them as a locked gate with a security guard demanding everyone's ID, but I haven't actually seen those.

October 7, 2010 at 2:34 PM  

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