Tyrant. Liar. Racist. And a hole in one.
By Mark L. Taylor
The Commoner Call (9/24/18)
This past weekend I saw Michael Moore’s new documentary film Fahrenheit: 11/9. You will find a detailed review of the film below, so I won’t go into a lot of detail here other than to say it is an extraordinary film — in my opinion, his best — that lays out the path of how this nation has come to the dangerous crossroads with fascist totalitarianism we now confront.
As Moore explains, it is not hyperbole to talk in such terms and his film lays out the case. While much of the press coverage of the film focuses on Moore’s take on Trump, the orange one comprises only about 20 minutes of the 2-plus hour film. Instead, Moore focuses on how we have come to this risky passage and the thoroughly bipartisan nature of the venal, short-sighted and cynical abandonment of citizens by their government. And make no mistake, the treacherous road to Trumpism was not solely paved by Republicans.
“Our side, we go for the head wound. Your side, you like to have pillow fights. And that’s why we’ll win.” — American fascist leader Steve Bannon
Last Friday (9/21) Moore was interviewed for almost an hour by Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman. Each segment is worth the time but I was especially struck by something Moore shared that is not in the film. Early in the process of writing the script Moore sat down with former Trump adviser and far right strategist Steve Bannon to better understand what the hell happened in the 2016 election. What he told Moore stood out and explained the far right’s greatest strength and the crippling weakness of most of those on the left. It is a message that liberals and progressive need to hear, understand and take into their bones.
Moore quotes Bannon:
“Well, I have a very easy answer for you. Our side, we go for the head wound. Your side, you like to have pillow fights. And that’s why we’ll win. Even though I agree with you”—as he says to me, and as I show in the film—there’s more of us than there are of them. He’s not afraid of that, because they’re fighters, and they will stand up, and they will fight for the things they believe in. And they know we will back down, and we will compromise, and we will say, “OK, Obamacare is OK, even though it’s not really universal healthcare. Yeah, we’ll go along with that. You know, we’re just happy that our kids can be covered until they’re 26.” And we just rationalize all this stuff.
To illustrate the point Moore shows a devastating video clip montage of major democratic party politicians and leaders over the years talking about “compromise”. One after the other, over and over … and over, they trumpet compromise with the republicans. They have become a hollow party of pillow fighters and will be of little use against what will probably be a violent far right takeover — in fact their empty rhetoric will be the fascist’s greatest asset — when we (soon) find ourselves at the crossroads of freedom or fascism.
Make no mistake, as Bannon matter-of-factly declares: “We go for the head wound.”
“And they know that about us, and they know how to defeat us with that. They have no intention of going away. And this is the angry white man party. And they know their days are numbered, because this nation right now is almost 70 percent either female, people of color or young adults between the ages of 18 and 35, or a combination of those three things. That’s America. They know it. They know their days are numbered, and they’re going to try to grab whatever they can, before—”
All but one of the segments of the Democracy Now! broadcast is linked below. If you only have time for one, watch the 12-minute segment directly below. If you don’t have time to watch to the whole segment, jump in at the 56-minute point of the hour-long broadcast for the segment on Bannon.
Moore’s core message is that it is time to get active. We are already in a fight that we are behind and this fight will determine the future of our children, the safety of our communities and this nation’s path for decades to come. It is far, far later than most people realize and our constitution will not protect us. Moore speaks frankly about letting go of hope — it’s too passive and leaves our future up to others. Barack Obama has taught us the danger of “Hope and Change” in the hands of a cynical hero. Moore’s segment on Obama facilitating the ongoing lead poisoning of children in Flint, Michigan and the follow-up military attack on Flint that got no national coverage is devastating and a warning about the folly of depending upon the leadership of the democratic party to rescue us. No, this one is up to us.
Please, get to a theater and watch Fahrenheit: 11/9, then get active.
Time is short.
(Commoner Call column by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free to use with link toe www.thecommonercall.org )
Michael Moore: Are We Going To Be Like the “Good Germans” Who Let Hitler Rise to Power?
Democracy Now! (9/21/18)
In his new documentary “Fahrenheit 11/9,” filmmaker Michael Moore interviews the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor, Ben Ferencz, who describes President Trump’s policy of family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border and the large-scale detention of immigrant children as a “crime against humanity.” Moore also looks at the rise of Hitler in Nazi Germany and compares it to the rise of Trump in the United States.
Link to Story, Transcript and 12-Minute Video
Michael Moore vs. Donald Trump In “Fahrenheit 11/9”: New Film Warns Our Democracy Is At Immediate Risk
Democracy Now! (9/21/18)
“Fahrenheit 11/9”—That’s the name of the new documentary premiering today by Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, a stunning retelling of the 2016 election and its aftermath. 11/9. That’s November 9, the day Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election. In the film, Michael crosses the country, documenting not only the rise of Trumpism but also the teachers’ strikes sweeping the nation, the “blue wave” of progressive candidates in the 2018 primaries, the rise of student activism after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and the water crisis in his hometown of Flint, Michigan. Moore spares no one in the wide-ranging documentary, which takes aim at the Democratic establishment, The New York Times and other mainstream media outlets, the Electoral College, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and even himself. Michael Moore joins us in our studio to talk about the film and much more.
Link to Story, Transcript and 17-Minute Video
Trump Warned Michael Moore Not To Make A Film About Him In 1998 Roseanne Show Interview
Democracy Now! (9/21/18)
We continue our conversation with Michael Moore about his interaction with Donald Trump on Roseanne Barr’s talk show in November 1998. Moore had released the film “Roger & Me” nine years earlier. Trump was upset to learn the two would be appearing together and threatened to leave, Moore says. Michael Moore negotiated with Trump, asked him not to leave, and promised not to “go after” him over real estate dealings and charges of racism—and now says he was “played.”
Link to Story, Transcript and 7-Minute Video
Michael Moore: Democrats Made Fatal Mistake In Not Taking Trump More Seriously In 2016 And They Are Doing It Again
Democracy Now! (9/21/18)
In July, 2016, Michael Moore wrote a column titled “Five Reasons Why Trump Will Win.” In it, Moore wrote, “Donald J. Trump is going to win in November. This wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full time sociopath is going to be our next president. President Trump. Go ahead and say the words, ’cause you’ll be saying them for the next four years: ‘PRESIDENT TRUMP.’” He went on to list the five reasons why Trump would be elected: Trump’s focus on the Midwest, “The Last Stand of the Angry White Man,” “The Hillary Problem,” “The Depressed Sanders Vote” and what he called the “Jesse Ventura Effect”—people voting for Trump simply to disrupt the system. We talk to Michael Moore about his predictions and how Democrats failed to take Trump more seriously.
Link to Story, Transcript and 20-Minute Video
Review: Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9” Aims Not At Trump But At Those Who Created The Conditions That Led To His Rise
By Glenn Greenwald
The Intercept (9/21/18)
“FAHRENHEIT 11/9,” the title of Michael Moore’s new film that opens today in theaters, is an obvious play on the title of his wildly profitable Bush-era “Fahrenheit 9/11,” but also a reference to the date of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 election victory. Despite that, Trump himself is a secondary figure in Moore’s film, which is far more focused on the far more relevant and interesting questions of what – and, critically, who – created the climate in which someone like Trump could occupy the Oval Office.
For that reason alone, Moore’s film is highly worthwhile regardless of where one falls on the political spectrum. The single most significant defect in U.S. political discourse is the monomaniacal focus on Trump himself, as though he is the cause – rather than the by-product and symptom – of decades-old systemic American pathologies.
Personalizing and isolating Trump as the principal, even singular, source of political evil is obfuscating and thus deceitful. By effect, if not design, it distracts the population’s attention away from the actual architects of their plight.
He sets his sights on his real targets: the U.S. political establishment that is ensconced within both parties, along with the financial elites who own and control both of them for their own ends.
This now-dominant framework misleads people into the nationalistic myth – at once both frightening and comforting – that prior to 2016’s “Fahrenheit 11/9,” the U.S., though quite imperfect and saddled with “flaws,” was nonetheless a fundamentally kind, benevolent, equitable and healthy democracy, one which, by aspiration if not always in action, welcomed immigrants, embraced diversity, strove for greater economic equality, sought to defend human rights against assaults by the world’s tyrants, was governed by the sturdy rule of law rather than the arbitrary whims of rulers, elected fundamentally decent even if ideologically misguided men to the White House, and gradually expanded rather than sadistically abolished opportunity for the world’s neediest.
But suddenly, teaches this fairy tale as ominous music plays in the background, a villain unlike any we had previously known invaded our idyllic land, vandalized our sacred public spaces, degraded our admired halls of power, threatened our collective values. It was only upon Trump’s assumption of power that the nation’s noble aspirations were repudiated in favor of a far darker and more sinister vision, one wholly alien to “Who We Are”: a profoundly “un-American” tapestry of plutocracy, kleptocracy, autocracy, xenophobia, racism, elite lawlessness, indifference and even aggressive cruelty toward the most vulnerable and marginalized.
This myth is not just false but self-evidently so. Yet it persists, and thrives, because it serves so many powerful interests at once. Most importantly, it exonerates, empowers, and elevates the pre-Trump ruling class, now recast as heroic leaders of the #Resistance and nostalgic symbols of America’s pre-11/9 Goodness. …