07 March 2011

America Is NOT Broke Wisconsin Speech: Activist Michael Moore

Michael Moore in 2004Image via Wikipedia
From Denny:  Sounds like Michael Moore has been listening in to the conversations at our house - or hijacked my keyboard strokes. :) Seriously though, great speech and ALL true! You can read the transcript or listen to the video he posted onto YouTube.

Moore spoke at a rally against Gov. Walker's decision to deny collective bargaining rights to the teachers he has decided to fire. First the public workers lose their rights, then the rest of us across the country watch our wages drop like a rock to ten cents an hour like in a third world country.

Women are now supposed to make exactly what men make for the same job since President Obama passed the new equal pay law when he first entered office. Since then the economy took a nose dive into another Great Depression that economists are afraid to label as such but the middle class knows it to be true. Almost 21 million people are out of work, whether long term or short term since Big Business started sending our jobs overseas. The big joke for tourism to India: "Visit India, Visit Your Old Job."



As a result of massive job loss there is also massive home foreclosure to the tune of 21 million of which Obama has done nothing to alleviate. He instituted a federal program to help homeowners and then foolishly - or calculatedly - placed the very same greedy banks in charge of said program. The fox guarding the hen house has repeatedly refused homeowners access to those funds, with only less than 10 percent receiving some of the funds to help them pay their mortgages at a reduced level.

The real dirty little secret going on in America is how many men have lost their jobs. Employers kept the women who are making only 75 cents to the man's dollar for wages. So, yes, women are now often the major wage earner in the house, often the only one with a job - but a job at a reduced pay level that cannot pay the bills since the loss of a husband's job - so homes go into foreclosure. Employers get what they want: cheaper labor here and overseas. It's the new dirty little secret: keep women from truly equal pay by getting rid of the men from the same jobs.  Now two groups suffer.

Employers are so greedy they want more and more cheap labor. They have found out much of the overseas labor cannot properly address an American market and have unstable political regimes. Employers find themselves bouncing back to American workers again but are so addicted to cheap labor they are working feverishly to bust the unions so they can dictate just how cheap a wage they really want to pay.

Where is President Obama on this Wisconsin union-busting tactic from the puppet Republicans for Big Business? On the sidelines, as usual, waiting to see who wins so he can swoop in like the typical political opportunist he is and claim victory and how much work he did. When will this president ever lead? When will this President ever start looking like a Democrat?

As the people in Wisconsin are saying, "We are really proud of our State Senate Democrats. This is the first time we've seen any politicians stand up for working men and women since the 1970's." And they have a huge point here. It has been over 30 years since the Democratic Party left the middle class worker in the dust, chasing after minority issues to the exclusion of the majority who still needed them to enforce the laws. When will the national Democratic Party stand up and finally start acting like Democrats again, promoting Democratic values and agenda? Or will the Democrats get so infiltrated with corporate politicians they will look like Republican Lite as Obama does? The average Democrat, and now Independent, is simply not going to vote in another corporate politician.

Thank you, Michael, for a great speech!



Michael Moore's Speech delivered at the capitol in Madison, Wisconsin on 5 March 2011 :

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's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.

Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer "bailout" of 2008, now have more loot, stock and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can't bring yourself to call that a financial coup d'état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.



And I can see why. For us to admit that we have let a small group of men abscond with and hoard the bulk of the wealth that runs our economy, would mean that we'd have to accept the humiliating acknowledgment that we have indeed surrendered our precious Democracy to the moneyed elite. Wall Street, the banks and the Fortune 500 now run this Republic - and, until this past month, the rest of us have felt completely helpless, unable to find a way to do anything about it.

I have nothing more than a high school degree. But back when I was in school, every student had to take one semester of economics in order to graduate. And here's what I learned: Money doesn't grow on trees. It grows when we make things. It grows when we have good jobs with good wages that we use to buy the things we need and thus create more jobs. It grows when we provide an outstanding educational system that then grows a new generation of inventers, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists and thinkers who come up with the next great idea for the planet. And that new idea creates new jobs and that creates revenue for the state.

But if those who have the most money don't pay their fair share of taxes, the state can't function. The schools can't produce the best and the brightest who will go on to create those jobs. If the wealthy get to keep most of their money, we have seen what they will do with it: recklessly gamble it on crazy Wall Street schemes and crash our economy. The crash they created cost us millions of jobs. That, too, caused a reduction in revenue. And the population ended up suffering because they reduced their taxes, reduced our jobs and took wealth out of the system, removing it from circulation.

The nation is not broke, my friends. Wisconsin is not broke. It's part of The Big Lie. It's one of the three biggest lies of the decade: America/Wisconsin is broke, Iraq has WMD, the Packers can't win the Super Bowl without Brett Favre.

The truth is, there's lots of money to go around. LOTS. It's just that those in charge have diverted that wealth into a deep well that sits on their well-guarded estates. They know they have committed crimes to make this happen and they know that someday you may want to see some of that money that used to be yours. So they have bought and paid for hundreds of politicians across the country to do their bidding for them. But just in case that doesn't work, they've got their gated communities, and the luxury jet is always fully fueled, the engines running, waiting for that day they hope never comes. To help prevent that day when the people demand their country back, the wealthy have done two very smart things:

1. They control the message. By owning most of the media they have expertly convinced many Americans of few means to buy their version of the American Dream and to vote for their politicians. Their version of the Dream says that you, too, might be rich some day – this is America, where anything can happen if you just apply yourself!

They have conveniently provided you with believable examples to show you how a poor boy can become a rich man, how the child of a single mother in Hawaii can become president, how a guy with a high school education can become a successful filmmaker. They will play these stories for you over and over again all day long so that the last thing you will want to do is upset the apple cart -- because you -- yes, you, too! -- might be rich/president/an Oscar-winner some day!

The message is clear: keep your head down, your nose to the grindstone, don't rock the boat and be sure to vote for the party that protects the rich man that you might be some day.

2. They have created a poison pill that they know you will never want to take. It is their version of mutually assured destruction. And when they threatened to release this weapon of mass economic annihilation in September of 2008, we blinked.

As the economy and the stock market went into a tailspin, and the banks were caught conducting a worldwide Ponzi scheme, Wall Street issued this threat: Either hand over trillions of dollars from the American taxpayers or we will crash this economy straight into the ground. Fork it over or it's Goodbye savings accounts. Goodbye pensions. Goodbye United States Treasury. Goodbye jobs and homes and future.

It was friggin' awesome and it scared the shit out of everyone. "Here! Take our money! We don't care. We'll even print more for you! Just take it! But, please, leave our lives alone, PLEASE!"

The executives in the board rooms and hedge funds could not contain their laughter, their glee, and within three months they were writing each other huge bonus checks and marveling at how perfectly they had played a nation full of suckers. Millions lost their jobs anyway, and millions lost their homes. But there was no revolt (see #1).

Until now. On Wisconsin! Never has a Michigander been more happy to share a big, great lake with you! You have aroused the sleeping giant know as the working people of the United States of America. Right now the earth is shaking and the ground is shifting under the feet of those who are in charge. Your message has inspired people in all 50 states and that message is: WE HAVE HAD IT!

We reject anyone tells us America is broke and broken. It's just the opposite! We are rich with talent and ideas and hard work and, yes, love. Love and compassion toward those who have, through no fault of their own, ended up as the least among us. But they still crave what we all crave: Our country back! Our democracy back! Our good name back! The United States of America. NOT the Corporate States of America. The United States of America!

So how do we get this? Well, we do it with a little bit of Egypt here, a little bit of Madison there. And let us pause for a moment and remember that it was a poor man with a fruit stand in Tunisia who gave his life so that the world might focus its attention on how a government run by billionaires for billionaires is an affront to freedom and morality and humanity.

Thank you, Wisconsin. You have made people realize this was our last best chance to grab the final thread of what was left of who we are as Americans. For three weeks you have stood in the cold, slept on the floor, skipped out of town to Illinois -- whatever it took, you have done it, and one thing is for certain: Madison is only the beginning.

The smug rich have overplayed their hand. They couldn't have just been content with the money they raided from the treasury. They couldn't be satiated by simply removing millions of jobs and shipping them overseas to exploit the poor elsewhere. No, they had to have more – something more than all the riches in the world.

They had to have our soul. They had to strip us of our dignity. They had to shut us up and shut us down so that we could not even sit at a table with them and bargain about simple things like classroom size or bulletproof vests for everyone on the police force or letting a pilot just get a few extra hours sleep so he or she can do their job -- their $19,000 a year job. That's how much some rookie pilots on commuter airlines make, maybe even the rookie pilots flying people here to Madison.

But he's stopped trying to get better pay. All he asks is that he doesn't have to sleep in his car between shifts at O'Hare airport. That's how despicably low we have sunk. The wealthy couldn't be content with just paying this man $19,000 a year. They wanted to take away his sleep. They wanted to demean and dehumanize him. After all, he's just another slob.

And that, my friends, is Corporate America's fatal mistake. But trying to destroy us they have given birth to a movement -- a movement that is becoming a massive, nonviolent revolt across the country. We all knew there had to be a breaking point some day, and that point is upon us.

Many people in the media don't understand this. They say they were caught off guard about Egypt, never saw it coming. Now they act surprised and flummoxed about why so many hundreds of thousands have come to Madison over the last three weeks during brutal winter weather. "Why are they all standing out there in the cold? I mean there was that election in November and that was supposed to be that!

"There's something happening here, and you don't know what it is, do you...?"

America ain't broke! The only thing that's broke is the moral compass of the rulers. And we aim to fix that compass and steer the ship ourselves from now on. Never forget, as long as that Constitution of ours still stands, it's one person, one vote, and it's the thing the rich hate most about America -- because even though they seem to hold all the money and all the cards, they begrudgingly know this one unshakable basic fact: There are more of us than there are of them!

Madison, do not retreat. We are with you. We will win together.



Follow Michael Moore on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MMFlint








Note: A big thank you to blogger friend Sara for drawing my attention to this speech. (Please leave a blog address you want your comment to link.) With Mardi Gras season - and now pollen season - in full swing here in Louisiana I've got some watery eyes just trying to read my posts in draft. :) Thanks for helping me out on the research!









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