Tag Archives: Politics

Review: Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story

Capitalism isn’t as well done as Sicko, Moore’s previous film. But it’s well worth seeing for its disturbing insights and information, brought into vivid high relief by Moore’s inimitable style. The film’s main themes are:

  • Capitalism is not the great moral good that we’ve been taught it is since childhood. In fact, it’s an evil system with incentives that inevitably lead to a small number of people amassing vast wealth, while a large majority of workers can’t afford the basics of life. Ironically, although the pro-capitalist religious right has appropriated Christianity to itself, capitalism goes against all the precepts of Christianity and Jesus Christ. Moore backs up this assertion with numerous and persuasive expert interviews, and some shocking facts of which most people are unaware.
  • Capitalism is actually not small-d democratic at all. The hierarchical structure of large corporations is fascist, not democratic. You have no say; you’re a cog in a machine owned and run by others. You do what you’re told or you’re fired. Capitalism was not part of our founders’ vision. There is no reference to capitalism in the Constitution, and in fact many of our founders – including Thomas Jefferson and John Adams – warned against it. Jefferson said, “Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.”

Capitalism makes its main points well, but has some weaknesses:

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The Immigration Issue No One Talks About

256px-Statue_of_Liberty_7Why do so many people attempt to enter the U.S. illegally? The answer is not just that this is a desirable country to live in. That doesn’t explain why, for example, so many Mexicans risk their lives crossing a desert on foot rather than getting a proper visa. Why not come here legally?

I asked this question of a very nice man who has worked at a store in my neighborhood for years, and came to this country by risking his life walking through the Mexican desert. (The trick to survival, he said, is to cross in winter when it’s cooler.) Why did he do it? The answer is simple – there’s no way he could have gotten a visa. Coming here legally was not one of his options.

  • Poor people looking for opportunity cannot get visas to enter the U.S.
  • Desperate people fleeing persecution cannot get visas to enter the U.S.

If you’re educated and have a job waiting for you at a big American company, you can get a visa. But if you’re a poor Mexican who wants to come to this country for the opportunity it offers for education and advancement, forget it. If your life is in danger in your home country, you can die waiting for permission to enter the U.S.

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Experiences of a First-Time Canvasser

First published on DailyKos, 28-Sep-2008.

Until yesterday, I approached politics as a spectator sport. I watched every “game”, yelled at the TV in support of my candidate, and complained bitterly when the best person didn’t win.

But this election is too important to spend on the sidelines. If Obama doesn’t win, I truly am afraid for this country. I’m not sure we can survive four more years of the last eight years. I’m not sure the world will ever forgive us for passing on our best hope.

So yesterday, I did what is practically inconceivable for someone like me who is essentially an introvert. I joined the ranks of Obama volunteers and went canvassing in northeast Philly – a swing area. I knocked on doors and talked to strangers. It was very scary at first, but that evaporated over time. I had fascinating conversations at house after house. I learned a lot about the electorate in this country, and I was able to convince some voters that Obama really can help get this country out of the hole it’s in.

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