I love Michael Moore, because the man is a real American. There was a time in the early days of the blogosphere when most liberal bloggers ignored him - he made liberals "look bad," he "isn't our kind." I wasn't one of those bloggers, maybe because he is my kind -- a fighting liberal from a blue-collar family. (It's just hysterical when Sarah Palin calls this dyed-in-the-wool Michigander a "Hollywood" liberal.)
He marched with the Wisconsin protesters yesterday and spoke at their rally. He gave a wonderful speech called "America Is Not Broke", and we all should memorize it so that the next time a Fox News-loving person starts spouting the party line, you can set him or her straight. From PoliticusUSA:
“America is not broke. Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you’ll give up your pension, cut your wages and settle for the life your great grandparents had. America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It’s just that it is not in your hands.”
He then called the great conservative redistribution of America’s wealth a heist:
“It has been transferred in the greatest heist in American history from the workers and consumers to the banks and portfolios of the uber-rich. Right now, this afternoon, just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined. Let me say that again, and please, someone in the mainstream media, just repeat this fact once. We’re not greedy. We’ll be happy to hear it just once. 400 obscenely wealthy individuals, 400 little Mubaraks, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer bailout of 2008 now have more cash, stock, and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined.”
“I have nothing more than a high school education, but Gov. Walker, back when I was in school, every student had to take one semester of economics in order to graduate, and here is what I learned. Money doesn’t grow on trees, unless it’s a palm tree. It grows when we make things. It grows when we have good jobs with good wages that we use to buy the things that we need, and guess what? That creates more jobs.
“It grows when we provide an outstanding education system. An educational system that then grows a new generation of entrepreneur, inventors, scientists, thinkers. The people who will come up with the next great idea for this planet, and those ideas create jobs, and the jobs produce tax revenue, but the few who have the most money don‘t want to pay their fair share of the taxes.”
Moore spoke about how the rich tax dodgers crashed our economic system. “They’d rather invest it in a gambling casino known as Wall St. betting for or against the stock market or against your home mortgage, and the entire population suffers because that wealth has been removed from circulation. What’s so cynical about this is that the very people who don’t pay their taxes crashed our economic system. They created the unemployment which has cost us tax revenue and states like Wisconsin have ended up with a so-called budget crisis, but Wisconsin is not broke.”
"What are three biggest lies of the last decade? Let’s repeat them. Number one, Wisconsin is broke. Number two, there’s weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and number three, the Packers needs Farve to win the Super Bowl. The nation is not broke, my friends. There’s lots of money to go around, lots, lots. It’s just that those in charge have diverted that wealth into a deep well that sits in their well-guarded estates. They know. They know. They have committed crimes to make this happen.”
Jason Easley and Sarah Jones wrote:
Moore did something brilliant. He shifted the narrative. Republicans want the Wisconsin story to be about the budget. Early on, Democrats were focused on the issues of liberty and collective bargaining. Moore broadened the message and created a third narrative about how decades of pro-corporate and pro-wealthy economic policies have redistributed the nation’s wealth from the people to a small group of super-rich haves. This is the story that terrifies both conservative politicians and the network of billionaire wealth that owns them.
Wisconsin isn’t only about freedom, unions and collective bargaining. At a deeper level, Wisconsin is about the systemic redistribution of wealth that the Republican Party has overseen since 1980. It is about creating an economic caste system where the rich always stay rich and rest of us are destined to serve them. Conservatives have expertly hid their true motives for years with distractions like the culture wars, and sometimes shooting wars like in Iraq. While America was focusing on the terror alert level, George W. Bush was picking up the mantle of Ronald Reagan and redistributing wealth.
If Republicans and their puppet masters are successful in breaking the back of organized labor, then millions of Americans will be returned to a form of economic serfdom that was once thought to have been banished decades ago.
Wisconsin is the battle field and unions are our last line of defense, and nothing less than economic liberty, and the American Dream hinge on the outcome.