Monday, June 28, 2004

HERE'S AN ADVERTISEMENT (Hey, I'm a capitalist too -- although I do draw the line at evicting little old ladies, running sweatshops, buying Congress, stealing the White House, corrupting the Supreme Court and committing genocide for fun and profit):

Here is a blog for the best travel novel on the planet (you may have to cut and paste to get it to work):

"Travels with Amy" features stories about traveling to Tibet, Egypt, Cuba, China, probate court and Disneyland!!!! Also a story about seeing Michael Moore speak on the Falls Road in Belfast:


5:30 pm, Falls Road, Belfast: No one in Belfast really knew who Michael Moore was. They had mostly just snapped up the chance to get free tickets. But I knew exactly who he was and I wanted to see him. The other Americans I was with didn't even want to chance it. "It will be impossible to get in." I went to there anyway. If nothing else, I could stand in the graveyard next door and listen to Mike speak. I'd be in the presence of good company too -- the hunger strikers were buried there.

"Anyone have any extra tickets?" I asked everyone in line. Fat chance. There are 300 people at least standing in the que waiting to get in to see Michael Moore. But gotta give it a try anyway. I walked up and down the line.

"Hey," some guy said. "My mate couldn't make it. Want my ticket?" Oh God yes. Score! Score! I'm in! No cemetery wall for me! God damn!

"Michael Moore is a real hero in America," I told the stranger next to me. Seeing Michael Moore in Belfast of all places. On my last day here. Karmic Reward!!!!

"My name is Donnie Morrison..." Said the first guy onstage in the outdoor theatre. Oh goodie. He's that excellent poet who spoke at The Rock pub on Thursday. He read a really great poem. Then, "Without further ado..." Mike comes on stage. Standing ovation! i guess the word of who he was had finally spread.

"Now I'd like to finish what I started to say at the Oscars..." Yea! Mike's daughter graduated college and he asked her where she wanted to go. "You can go anywhere in the world for your graduation present. Chose a place."

"Belfast!" she said. "And Derry."

Mike then introduced Gerry Adams. "Back in the time when there was an actual law against having Gerry Adams' voice heard on the BBC, I thought I'd make a show with Gerry Adams' voice played by Charleton Heston or Mickey Mouse." Burst of enthusiastic applause for Gerry.

"When I was in London, they took me to a football game. It made American fans look mild. They were all singing. All the time. Together. On key too! We're all, `What the fuck is this?'"

At a press conference earlier, the BBC asked Mike for his solution to the problems in Northern Ireland. "We just get some priests with garden hoses going through the Protestant areas saying, `I baptize you in the name of the father, the son and the holy ghost' and that would be that. Plus Catholics have more sex than Protestants and get more days off!" Big laugh from the audience on that one. "Everyone should be allowed to practice their own religions without getting punked on."

The American public is actually a very progressive liberal people. They believe in labor unions, pro-choice, etc. They just don't have any leadership. The American public did not vote for Bush and do not like him. They rallied behind Bush after 9-11 even though he ran away at first -- first to Louisiana then to Nebraska."

Once the Iraq war started, "You didn't want to say anything that might hurt their children who are over there." But the economy is in the sink and most Americans plan to vote Bush out in 2004.

"When people hear the truth, that people were lied to again and again and again -- that's how good the Bush White House is that they can put these lies over -- they do not appreciate being lied to." You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time....

"I can't walk down the street in America without people vying to shake my hand." They know they were lied to. Halliburton, the mobile labs blowing up helium balloons -- that the WMDs were mass balloonery.

They work on our fears. "Osama bin Ladin is the big monster. We heard this day after day. Osama bin Ladin is everywhere." Now one Congressman calls him "Osama bin Forgotten."

"You can't scare the world's largest superpower with one man as a replacement for the Soviet Union. So you gotta get a bigger enemy. So the Bush administration came up with the Axis of Evil." They wanted to start with Iraq but North Korea kept fouling it up.

Mike then read from his new book, Dude! Where is my Country? "The War on Terror. How can you declare war on a noun!" Your chance in America of dying in a terrorist attack is one million to zero. In 2001, it was one in 150,000. It was one in 5,000 to die in a car accident. "But no incredible programs were revealed on CNN against car accidents. No! A mass psychosis has overtaken the country." We gave up our liberties just because someone gave us an orange alert. "There have been model airplane alerts. Al Qaeda may be setting forrest fires they told us. `Lions, tigers, bears!' Everybody run for your lives!' What happened to our bullshit radar? Their plan is to rule the world. It sounds like a movie script. Ashcroft, Bush, etc. have seized the moment. The have to sell it to us." Well maybe that's not exactly what he said but I was writing as fast as I could.

"In 9-11, they found a product they could sell to the country. Osama. He did it. We'll protect you. All you have to do is give us all your money and all your rights and shut up."

The right wing has to keep the people distracted by war. "Bush plans to run his entire campaign with `I won you a war. And another war. And another war.' As for Osama, they always define him as an Arab. Not as the multi-millionaire that he is. How come they never say, `Watch out for multi-millionaires!' Why don't we round up all the multimillionaires and deport them?"

Mike was on a roll. The Irish audience was starting to catch on as well. "What do you call the doubling of homelessness and joblessness in the last two years but acts of terror? Fear is the only thing we truly need to fear. The right wing believes in something. They're up at the crack of dawn trying to figure out how to screw people. The left needs to get their act together. My hope is that things will get so bad that Americans will vote for anybody other than Bush." 85% of American young adults do not know where Iraq or Israel are but 11% couldn't find America on a globe either."

As to the Northern Ireland question, he came at it from the point of view of basic human decency. "Everyone should have rights. The peace process should not be slowed down or reversed just because we have an idiot in the White House. The lesson of history is that sooner or later the unjust will have to fall."

Mike then asked a very important question. "What will happen to the other side if there are equal rights for everyone?" The other side usually doesn't rise up in rebellion! Women when given the vote didn't rise up and overthrow the government. Justice is always a good thing. "Human beings are good at our core. Perhaps a hand will be extended instead." We must get rid of fear.

"The BBC litany that the IRA must give up their arms is bullshit. What are we asking for here? An election? How scary! `Mike, before you go on tonight, you must denounce the IRA.' So we offered two free U2 tickets to anyone who would bring in their guns. We even called the RUC offices!"

The ultimate evil is state terrorism. Britain, shut the fuck up. Put down your guns. Leave this island. Let the people have free and open elections. "With majority rule also comes minority rights. Full and absolute and protected rights. And we have to give up these show trials of the Columbia Three." They were Irishmen who went to Columbia and were jailed for some totally made-up reason, saying they were IRA terrorists. Actually I think they were just human rights workers or union reps or something totally upright and praiseworthy.

"Think about the people of England and Scotland and Wales. They knew that the Iraqi war was shit. And if you recognize lies all the way over in Iraq, then they should recognize lies here as well."

I even asked a question. "If we don't get rid of George Bush soon, we Americans will be going through what the people of Belfast went through fifteen years ago. We must dump him. The future of our country depends on it. So. How can we evict him? You have to be elected to live in the White House. It's a violation of his lease, the United States Constitution, for him to live there without being elected." Mike's answer was that it was very unlikely that the current Congress would evict -- or even impeach -- Bush. I also threw in a plug for Dennis Kucinich for President. Moore mentioned Wesley Clark...and Dean.

Mike went to Palestine during the First Intefada in 1988. He described it as "one of the most despicable living situations there is." Belfasters, knowing what it is like to be under siege for wanting equality, support the Palestinian freedom movement.

At the end of his talk, Mike got another standing ovation. They also gave him a statuette. "Here I am, receiving the Belfast Academy Award!"