It was a big night for fans of Michael Moore in Syracuse last night. Moore spoke to a sold-out crowd of 10,000 at the Carrier Dome. Two large video screens flashed a video of John Ashcroft singing “Let the Eagle Soar” and Michael Moore appeared in jeans, black T-shirt, and a red baseball cap with an American flag on the front.
He seemed genuinely touched by the size of the crowd and mentioned he’d received at least 1000 e-mails from fans who weren’t able to get tickets because of the sell-out.
A FEW ROUGH WEEKS
Mr. Moore said it had been a rough few weeks for Kerry supporters, but supporters of Kerry need to stop “whining and complaining” and have faith that their fellow Americans will do the right thing this November 2nd. He cajoled and teased those who’ve been wringing their hands over the upcoming election. He said Republicans don’t waste a minute of their time worrying. In his words: “You don’t hear Republicans whining ‘Wah! Why did Dan Rather do that?’..do you?” He marveled that Republicans are on a mission and they’re up at the crack of dawn figuring what minority group they can prevent from getting married on that particular day. They work extremely hard because they know they are the minority and they only have two months left in power.
Moore said the only way Republicans will pull off a win in November is if the rest of us stay in bed. Bush supporters realize that America has shifted and that we’re a liberal society. We’re already “there”, and the anger we hear in the voices of talk-radio is present because they know the game’s over.
Mr. Moore suggested that the audience should stop fretting over polls. In his words,, the polls are “full of crap”. When we see polls of “likely voters”, it’s important to remember there are no “likely voters” after 9/11. Moore asked the audience if any of them had taken part in a poll or had received any poll-related calls. You could have heard a pin drop. Moore reminded them that cell phones are never called in these polls and cell phones are so prevalent in use today that, even if we see Kerry moving out ahead in future polls, no one should get excited. Polls simply are not reliable indicators of the democratic turn-out on election day. Moore told the audience to ignore the polls and turn off their television sets except for Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.
ANYONE BUT BUSH
"Bush and Kerry both suck—that’s why I’m voting for Kerry." If that sounds odd to anyone, it’s the way we need to think about November’s election, according to Moore. His point is that now is not the time to whine about the ways liberals disagree with John Kerry. We don’t see conservative Republicans abandoning Bush when he supports any form of stem cell research. They will repeat the “Bush Must Win” mantra regardless of how Bush strays from their agenda. Moore said it’s because they have a lemming mentality and it’s not a liberal’s nature to be a lemming. Liberals are open-minded people. Bush supporters don’t mess around with nuance or facts. Now is not the time to fret about Kerry’s nuances. The day after he wins the election is the time to “beat the shit out of Kerry” if we feel it’s necessary.
Moore said that Ralph Nader has been his friend a long time. He’s done a lot for this country. Moore supported Nader early in the election of 2000 and was dismayed when Nader insisted in campaigning hard in the swing states after he was blocked from the 2000 debates. Moore doesn’t blame Nader for Al Gore losing the election in 2000. Instead, he blames the Supreme Court, Jeb Bush, James Baker, Katherine Harris, and Al Gore, who couldn’t win in his own state and who refused to use Bill Clinton to support his campaign. Moore said, if the spirited Al Gore we’ve seen in 2004 had been running back then, the election in 2000 wouldn’t have been so close. Moore talked about election 2000 and began a sentence with “If we’d counted all the votes…” and then said, “Isn’t that an odd statement in a democracy? Aren’t you supposed to count all the votes?” Moore said both sides played games with the vote-count (ie: counting only in handpicked Florida counties).
Moore’s advice to Ralph Nader is to listen to the people, because they’re speaking clearly. They want Nader to step aside and they want Bush out of their White House. Moore said that John Kerry should speak to the positions of Nader supporters so the hand-wringing over Nader could be minimized.
ADVICE FOR JOHN KERRY
Michael Moore asked: Can you imagine another four years under Bush? Can you imagine what his cronies might have up their sleeves? We’re in deep, deep trouble.
We are less safe now than we ever were—because of George W. Bush.
The Iraq war is immoral and illegal and we need to bring our troops home now. The war is worse than Vietnam. The Iraq war cannot be won--and it shouldn’t be won.
Bush will bring back the draft after he is re-elected.
For those who worry about what will happen if we leave Iraq, Moore asked that they consider what is already happening. It’s obvious that Americans are powerless to stop the uprising and America contributes to the violence by being there to begin with.
Moore stated that he’d vote for the bottle of Evian in his hand before he’d vote for Bush. Then he smiled, pointed to the bottle, and said: “And it’s French!”
There are 40 million functional illiterates in America and many of them gravitate toward Bush, who, like them, is basically a “C-plus”-dumb. Bush is a likeable candidate to many of his supporters because they can relate to him. Bush is the quintessential Ferris Bueller who gets away with nearly everything. Moore compared Democrats to Ferris Bueller’s sister, who got away with nothing.
If Moore gave any advice to Kerry, it would be to keep it simple. Bush has kept it simple. We all have his three slogans memorized.
1. Kerry is a flip-flopper.
2. Kerry is the #1 Liberal in the US Senate
3. If Kerry is elected president, you’re gonna die.
Moore asked the audience to repeat one of Kerry’s mantras. You could have heard a pin drop. Moore said the only mantra he’s heard so far is “I’m not Bush.” Perhaps that’s enough, but just in case it’s not, Moore had some more advice for Kerry.
In the debates, Kerry should look at Bush and say: “Where is Osama bin Laden? You said you were going to smoke him out and hunt him down like a dog. You were going to kill him.” We’ve all heard the saying: “He couldn’t get elected dog-catcher in this town.” Bush couldn’t even catch the one dog who was responsible for murdering 3000 Americans on 9/11, Moore said, so why should we elect him?
How many times did we hear Osama bin Laden’s name mentioned at the RNC? George Pataki mentioned it once. Michael Moore says his own name was mentioned more (and received more boos) than Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein. Moore said, sarcastically, that he was glad the Republicans have their priorities straight. Moore says he felt a bit embarrassed for John McCain, who didn’t know Moore was in Madison Square Garden when McCain spoke negatively about him at the RNC. After the speech, McCain spoke to Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s Hardball and admitted to him that he had not even seen ‘Fahrenheit 9/11” for himself.
Moore would also like to see Kerry point to Bush and say: “This man is not a Republican. The Republicans I remember had a lot of heart. They were decent, tradition-minded people. What we have in your administration are radicals. You, Mr. Bush, are a radical.”
Moore used the radical example of Attorney General John Ashcroft, who stopped the FBI from looking for weapons-purchase background checks on the 9/11 hijackers in the name of the Second amendment. A crooning Ashcroft crying his tune “Let the Eagle Soar” ran through my mind. I thought to myself: “Let the hijackers soar”.
MOORE’S ADVICE FOR REPUBLICANS
Moore showed a hilarious mock-political video ad from the Bush campaign featuring Max Cleland in his wheelchair. I don’t remember the exact wording, but I’ll try to give you an idea of what it said. That familiar serious-sounding voice behind all political ads says: “Max Cleland CLAIMS to have been willing to give all for his country. However, he only lost three limbs. Max Cleland was unwilling to give his last limb for America.” In big letters, the word COWARDICE appears over the image of Cleland. An image of Bush in the “Mission-Accomplished” flight suit appears. The voice says: “Vote for the man who gave his right frontal lobe for America. Vote for Bush.”
Moore had another idea for a GOP ad.
“58,000 died in Vietnam, but John Kerry wasn’t one of them. If John Kerry truly loved his country, he would have DIED. Vote Bush!”
THE BUSHES: FLIP FLOP KINGS
Mr. Moore explained, in clear terms, that there has been no more supreme flip-flop activity as there has been with the Bushes on Iraq.
-In 1983, they loved Saddam. Gave him lots of support; lots of money. Even after he attacked his own people.
-In 1991, they hated Saddam when he invaded Kuwait. Flip-flop.
-In 1991, just after Desert Storm, Bush elected not to overthrow Saddam and encouraged Shi’ites to overthrow Saddam. Then –Flip Flop- Bush pulled US support and the Shi’ites were massacred by Saddam. Flip flop.
-When Clinton was elected,-Flip-Flop- the PNAC sent a letter to Clinton calling for regime change in Iraq, laying their flip-flops at his door.
-In the 2000 election debates, Bush said he was against nation building and regime change. Flip flop.
-Within 24 hours of the World Trade Center attack of 9/11, Bush wanted regime change in Iraq. Flip flop.
-In early 2001, Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell both said Saddam Hussein was not an imminent threat to the US.
-In late 2001, Bush administration said Saddam Hussein was a threat to the US. Flip-flop.
-2001-2003- Saddam had WMD.
-2004- Saddam had no WMD. We were not attacking Iraq for WMD, we were attacking them so we could liberate them. Flip-flop.
Moore believes the most blatant flip-flop of all was the “Mission Accomplished” stunt.
WE NEED THE TRUTH
Moore says that Kerry needs to tell Bush in front of all America:
“The only position I’ve ever taken is the position that I believed you. I didn’t support a war—I supported YOU.”
Moore pleaded for Bush to tell America the truth.
Moore wants all Americans to be fearless in voicing their own requests for truth from their government. He said he spoke out at the Oscars in 2003, just five days into the Iraq war, knowing he would not be well-received. He said what he said that night because he wanted people like you and me to not be afraid of saying what we believe. He said it was once considered “uncool” for citizens, especially young people, to be involved in politics, but after 9/11, it is not only “cool”, it’s necessary.
Democracy is not a spectator sport. Moore stressed the importance of getting out the vote and doing all we can to participate in this election. He encouraged the audience to sign up for volunteer work in the swing states.
Moore has given up his shot at the Oscar for best documentary because he’d rather try his best to bring “Fahrenheit 9/11” to television screens across America before the election. He doesn’t know if he’ll succeed because of DVD contractual obligations, but he’s going to try.
Moore read a letter from a soldier-Nicholas Frey of Arizona- to the audience. He will soon release a book of letters he has received from American soldiers. He lets them do all the talking in the book. Moore also promoted the Books for Soldiers website, which is a wonderful program where you can purchase the books the soldiers want to read. Moore stated the most popular fiction writer requested by the soldiers was Stephen King. The most poular choice of our soldiers for non-fiction was Michael Moore.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11 DVD –ADDITIONAL FOOTAGE
The crowd in Syracuse was treated to a world-premiere of two clips from the new Fahrenheit 9/11 DVD.
The first clip was a pre-invasion clip of citizens in Iraq. Moore prefaced it by saying that even though John McCain didn’t see the movie, he said he strongly disapproved of Moore’s use of citizen’s images in the film. There was about 20 seconds’ worth of footage showing Iraqi children seen flying kites. This kind of footage really bothers the right wing because it puts a human face on war. Moore now wishes he’d put a hell of a lot more of the same kind of footage in his film.
In the lead-up to the war and during the bombing (which was proven grievously inaccurate in its targeting), CNN and FOX kept a steady drumbeat with their theme music and their Iraq war graphics. What CNN and FOX never showed you was the fact that human beings were indiscriminately killed by errant bombs. Our media has failed us by not doing their job. After the Dan Rather incident, the mainstream media will be afraid to do anything.
Each and every American has blood on their hands. This government is our government and we are liable for what they do. Moore wishes he’d put a hell of a lot more footage of Iraqi citizens in his film, because it drives home a point that Christian conservatives love to avoid. When Moses came down from that mountain, there were no asterisks next to the commandment “THOU SHALT NOT KILL”.
The second clip showed Iraqi citizens outside the Abu Ghraib prison awaiting the fate of their loved ones inside. Seeing truckloads of young Iraqis, many of them mere children, being transported to the prison was disturbing. More disturbing was the chaos. It’s clear our own soldiers are in peril, not knowing who they can trust in this urban hand-to-hand war. One mother cried that her sons were arrested for possessing guns, but they were only sheep-breeders protecting their livestock from the lawless thugs traveling freely about the land. Another family of six women were distraught because their only breadwinner and support was languishing in the prison. Another man showed a permission slip to visit his relative—good for only April 2005. A mother grieved that her son was arrested and had been detained 4 months for possessing a cell phone.
The best part of the night was Moore’s artistic reading of the book Bush read to the classroom in Florida on 9/11, “My Pet Goat”, which is an rather bizarre children’s story about a goat who gores a car-robber.
When asked what he thought about being called a hypocrite because he defends the poor and has become a millionaire, Moore admitted it was the supreme irony of his life to have become rich by doing what he does. He reassured people that he’ll continue to do good with the money he makes, a value he learned as a child in his Irish-Catholic family.
When asked if Hillary Clinton becomes president, who will be first lady? Moore laughed and said he’d apply for the job.
When asked what Moore thinks when he is called anti-American, he asked “what could be more American than questioning your government?”
When asked what he thought about when he was called a traitor, he simply said, “I’m an Eagle scout and I’m overweight.”
Note: There were a mere 15 protesters at the Carrier Dome who, in my opinion, got a larger share of the coverage in the media than they deserved.
At Raw Story, blogger John Byrne has apparently broken a revealing story about the questions surrounding the sexual orientation of California House Rep David Dreier. It's looking like Dreier's quite possibly a gay man-- not that there's anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld would say. The problem is that it's possible that Dreier's been living a double life, giving gay rights the old-school Republican stiff-arm in Congress while he may have been offering a different stiff body part to his extremely well-paid chief of staff Brad Smith. An LA Weekly report takes the story a step further.
Here are just a few comments I considered to be total Bushit from today's press conference:
Bush:But I understand what -- what mixed messages do. You can embolden an enemy by sending mixed messages.
Unlike your clear message: "Bring 'em on."
What about those 23 rationales for the Iraq war?
They were 'mixed messages galore' for the American people.
Bush:I think it shows what's possible if you believe -- if you have certain beliefs in which you won't waiver. And I believe people yearn to be free.
He sounds like Peter Pan trying to revive Tinkerbell.
Hello--operator? Someone get this guy on the line with reality.
Question from press to Bush: Do you believe, given the situation on the ground in Fallujah and other northern cities in the Sunni Triangle, that elections are possible in four months?
Bush: I do. Because the prime minister told me they are.
Really? Because Allawi says so? What a damned wimpy answer.
Bush: Imagine a world in which Saddam Hussein were still in power.
Hmmmmm. Okay. Iraq may not have been on the brink of civil war and the world might have effectively worked in concert with the US to remove him without 1040 American deaths and thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths and untold American treasure.
Question from Press: If General Abizaid says he needs more troops and the prime minister says he does not want more troops, who wins?
Bush: Well, let me talk to General Abizaid.
Geezuss, another wimpy answer from a supposed commander-in-chief. Who's the boss? Why couldn't Bush give a straight answer?
Bush: A few people, relative to the whole, are trying to stop the march of freedom.
Yeah, and a few people have kicked our ass so far, relative to the number of Iraqis willing to step forward to march for their own damned freedom.