Michael Moore says the 'Occupiers' believe capitalism is broken and government only serves the interests of Wall Street. Anderson Cooper spoke with him about the future of the movement and the ultimate goal.
Last night on AC360°, Peter Schiff , CEO of the brokerage firm Euro Pacific Capital, and Princeton University Professor Cornel West had a spirited discussion about the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the wealth gap in the U.S. Tonight at 8 p.m. ET, we’ll continue the discussion when Michael Moore joins the program from the "Occupy Oakland" protests. He’s been an outspoken defender of the demonstrations. Read an excerpt from his latest blog and tell us if you agree with him. What questions do you have for Moore?
I do very well - and for a documentary filmmaker, I do extremely well. That, too, drives conservatives bonkers. "You're rich because of capitalism!" they scream at me. Um, no. Didn't you take Econ 101? Capitalism is a system, a pyramid scheme of sorts, that exploits the vast majority so that the few at the top can enrich themselves more. I make my money the old school, honest way by making things. Some years I earn a boatload of cash. Other years, like last year, I don't have a job (no movie, no book) and so I make a lot less. "How can you claim to be for the poor when you are the opposite of poor?!" It's like asking: "You've never had sex with another man - how can you be for gay marriage?!" I guess the same way that an all-male Congress voted to give women the vote, or scores of white people marched with Martin Luther Ling, Jr. (I can hear these righties yelling back through history: "Hey! You're not black! You're not being lynched! Why are you with the blacks?!"). It is precisely this disconnect that prevents Republicans from understanding why anyone would give of their time or money to help out those less fortunate. It is simply something their brain cannot process. "Kanye West makes millions! What's he doing at Occupy Wall Street?!" Exactly - he's down there demanding that his taxes be raised. That, to a right-winger, is the definition of insanity. To everyone else, we are grateful that people like him stand up, even if and especially because it is against his own personal financial interest. It is specifically what that Bible those conservatives wave around demands of those who are well off.
Program note: Hear from Michael Moore tonight on AC360°. Anderson will ask him about his take on health care reform, the insurance industry, the cost of medical care, and his offer to serve as chief of staff. Tune in tonight at 10pm ET.
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Dear President Obama,
I understand you may be looking to replace Rahm Emanuel as your chief of staff.
I would like to humbly offer myself, yours truly, as his replacement.
I will come to D.C. and clean up the mess that's been created around you. I will work for $1 a year. I will help the Dems on Capitol Hill find their spines and I will teach them how to nonviolently beat the Republicans to a pulp.
And I will help you get done what the American people sent you there to do. I don't need much, just a cot in the White House basement will do.
Now, don't get too giddy with excitement over my offer, because you and I are going to be up at 5 in the morning, 7 days a week and I am going to get you pumped up for battle every single day. Each morning you and I will do 100 jumping jacks and you will repeat after me:
"THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ELECTED ME, NOT THE REPUBLICANS, TO RUN THE COUNTRY! I AM IN CHARGE! I WILL ORDER ALL OBSTRUCTIONISTS OUTTA MY WAY! IF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DON'T LIKE WHAT I'M DOING THEY CAN THROW MY ASS OUT IN 2012. IN THE MEANTIME, I CALL THE SHOTS ON THEIR BEHALF! NOW, CONGRESS, DROP AND GIVE ME 50!!"
Then we will put on our jogging sweats and run up to Capitol Hill. We will take names, kick butts, and then take some more names. If we have to give a few noogies or half-nelson's, then so be it. In our pockets we will have a piece of paper to show the pansy Dems just how much they won by in 2008 - and the poll results that show the majority of Americans oppose the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and want the bankers punished. Like drill sergeants, we will get right up in their faces and ask them, "WHAT PART OF THE PUBLIC MANDATE DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND, SOLDIER?!! DROP AND GIVE ME 50!"
I know this is the job Rahm Emanuel was supposed to be doing.
Last night was my first encounter with Michael Moore. The red carpet was rolled out, the cameras flashing – it was an affair most unusual for a documentary filmmaker.
His debut of “Capitalism: A Love Story” just got out, and Michael was in front of our CNN camera talking about health care reform. His job is never done. His penchant is for the gargantuan – auto companies, school violence, capitalism, health care.
I watched his passionate blows to Democrats who are not standing up for the kind of reform he believes Americans want. He said the health care system in the U.S. “should be what every other Western democracy has.”
And I wondered why he keeps on with his fight. He could be enjoying a nice life in France – universal coverage, the top ranking system in the world. I myself often dream of Paris and brie.
This fight just seems so daunting for anyone who wants more accessible and affordable heath care. Why does the U.S. have such a hard time with something so many countries have managed to figure out? Why are Americans so fearful of tackling health care problems? Is it possible it’s just not in our cards?
Maybe Michael Moore is the eternal optimist – he must believe that if he keeps up the fight, he can bring change. I’m convinced he’s in this for the long haul, but in this case I’m not convinced he can move the masses.
Health care form is not the sexiest of causes. It’s not global warming, AIDS, hunger – it doesn’t seem to attract the red carpet or the limelight. But a change so big might need more than the man in red hat who makes entertainment out of big social issues.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Movies/09/24/lkl.michael.moore/art.michael.moore.lkl.jpg caption="Filmmaker Michael Moore told Larry King Wall Street created a 'invisible virtual casino' with people's money."]
Twenty years ago Michael Moore took on General Motors in the "Roger and Me." Since then he's produced documentaries challenging the nature of big business and decrying what he sees as exploitation of the lower and middle classes.
His new film, "Capitalism: A Love Story," opens this week. He will sit down with Anderson tonight to talk about the film and why he believes capitalism has failed.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/03/auto.poll/art.autobailout.ap.jpg caption="Auto industry executives testify November 19 before Congress."]
The Daily Beast
I drive an American car. It's a Chrysler. That's not an endorsement. It's more like a cry for pity. And now for a decades-old story, retold ad infinitum by tens of millions of Americans, half of whom have had to desert their country to simply find a damn way to get to work in something that won't break down:
My Chrysler is four years old. I bought it because of its smooth and comfortable ride. Daimler-Benz owned the company then and had the good grace to place the Chrysler chassis on a Mercedes axle and, man, was that a sweet ride!
When it would start.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/20/art.kennedyobama.jpg caption="Caroline Kennedy, head of the Obama VP search team, waves to supporters of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama."]
Editor's note: This open letter to Caroline Kennedy from Michael Moore appears on his website. What do you make of Moore's suggestions?
We've never met, so I hope you don't find this letter too presumptuous or inappropriate. As its contents involve the public's business, I am sending this to you via the public on the Internet. I knew your brother John. He was a great guy, and I know he would've had a ball during this thrilling and historic election year. We all miss him dearly.
Barack Obama selected you to head up his search for a vice presidential candidate. It appears we may be just days (hours?) away from learning who that choice will be.
The media is reporting that Senator Obama has narrowed his alternatives to three men: Joe Biden, Evan Bayh and Tim Kaine. They're all decent fellows, but they are far from the core of what the Obama campaign has been about: Change. Real change. Out with the old. And don't invade countries that pose no threat to us.