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daledo
21st November 2010, 08:43
Got from Michael Moore’s mailing list


How Corporate America Is Pushing Us All Off a Cliff …a letter from Michael Moore

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Friends,

When someone talks about pushing you off a cliff, it’s just human nature to be curious about them. Who are these people, you wonder, and why would they want to do such a thing?

That’s what I was thinking when corporate whistleblower Wendell Potter revealed that, when “Sicko” was being released in 2007, the health insurance industry’s PR firm, APCO Worldwide, discussed their Plan B: “Pushing Michael Moore off a cliff.”

But after looking into it, it turns out, it’s nothing personal! APCO wants to push everyone off a cliff.

APCO was hatched in 1984 as a subsidiary of the Washington, D.C. law firm Arnold & Porter — best known for its years of representing the giant tobacco conglomerate Philip Morris. APCO set up fake “grassroots” organizations around the country to do the bidding of Big Tobacco. All of a sudden, “normal, everyday, in-no-way-employed-by-Philip Morris Americans” were popping up everywhere. And it turned out they were outraged — outraged! — by exactly the things APCO’s clients hated (such as, the government telling tobacco companies what to do). In particular, they were “furious” that regular people had the right to sue big corporations…you know, like Philip Morris. (For details, see the 2000 report “The CALA Files” (PDF) by my friends and colleagues Carl Deal and Joanne Doroshow.)

Right about now you may be wondering: how many Americans get pushed off a cliff by Big Tobacco every year? The answer is 443,000 Americans die every year due to smoking. That’s a big cliff.

With this success under their belts, APCO created “The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition.” TASSC, funded partly by Exxon, had a leading role in a planned campaign by the fossil fuel industry to create doubt about global warming. The problem for Big Oil speaking out against global warming, according to the campaign’s own leaked documents, was that the public could see the “vested interest” that oil companies had in opposing environmental laws. APCO’s job was to help conceal those oil company interests.

And boy, have they ever succeeded. Polls now show that, as the world gets hotter, Americans are getting less and less worried about it.

How big is this particular cliff? According to the World Health Organization, climate change contributes — right now — to the deaths of 150,000 people every year. By 2030 it may be double that. And after that…well, the sky is literally the limit! I don’t think it’s crazy to say APCO may rack up even bigger numbers here than they have with tobacco.

With this track record, you can see why, when the health insurance industry wanted to come after “Sicko,” they went straight to APCO. The “worst case,” as their leaked documents say, was that “Sicko evolves into a sustained populist movement.” That simply could not be allowed to happen. Something obviously had to be done.

As Wendell Potter explains, APCO ran their standard playbook, setting up something called “Health Care America.” Health Care America, according to Potter, “was received by mainstream reporters, including the New York Times, as a legitimate organization when it was nothing but a front group set up by APCO Worldwide. It was not anything approaching what it was reporting to be: a ‘grassroots organization.’ It was a sham group.”

Health Care America showed up online in 2007 (the year “Sicko” was released) and disappeared quickly by early 2008. You can still find their website archived here. As you’ll see, their “moderated forum” allowed normal, everyday, in-no-way-employed-by-the-insurance-industry Americans to speak out. For instance, here’s something Nicole felt very strongly about:

“Moore shouldn’t be allowed to call his film a ‘documentary.’ It should be called a political commercial. We need to fix our health care system, but we shouldn’t accept a Hollywood moviemaker’s political views as the starting point.”

Here’s what Wendell Potter revealed about the insurance industry’s media strategy:

“As we would do the media training, we would always have someone refer to him as ‘Hollywood entertainer’ or ‘Hollywood moviemaker Michael Moore.’ They don’t want you to think that it was a documentary that had some truth.”

Thanks for your perspective, “Nicole”!

Now, how big was THAT cliff? A pretty good size — according to a recent study, 45,000 Americans die every year because they don’t have health insurance.

And here we are in 2010. A lesser PR firm might be resting on its laurels at this point, content to sit back and watch hundreds of thousands of people continue to be pushed off the various cliffs they’ve built. But not APCO! Right now they’ve taken on their biggest challenge yet: leading a giant, multi-million dollar effort to help Wall Street “earn back the trust of the American people.”

We may never know the size of this particular cliff. But we can be sure it’s gigantic. According to the New York Times, one of the things Wall Street’s recession gave us is “the crippling of the government program that provides life-sustaining antiretroviral drugs to Americans with H.I.V. or AIDS who cannot afford them.” Internationally, organizations fighting AIDS and other diseases are “hugely afraid” of cutbacks in funding.

Of course, there are the 101 ways recessions kill quietly. For instance, children’s hospitals are seeing a sharp 55% rise in the abuse of babies by parents.

And that’s just the previous cliff. If APCO and its Wall Street co-conspirators lull us into turning our backs on them again, we can be sure the next cliff — the next crash — will be much bigger.

Anyway, this is all just a way for me to say to APCO: No hard feelings! My getting mad at you would be like a chicken who’s still happily pecking away getting mad at McDonald’s. Compared to the millions you’ve already turned into McNuggets, you’ve actually treated me much, much BETTER! Spying on my family, planting smears and lies about me, privately badgering movie critics to give the film a poor review, scaring Americans into believing they’d be committing a near-act of treason were they to go to the theater and see my movie — hey, ya done good, health insurance companies of America. And, most important, you stopped the nation from getting true universal health care. Good job!

There’s only one problem — I’m not one of those “liberals” you fund in Congress, the ones who fear your power.

I’m me. And that, sadly, is not good for you.

Yours in good health,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com

P.S. It seems to me that APCO’s discussion of pushing me off a cliff should legitimately be part of their Wikipedia page. And why not something about their role in Wall Street’s new PR offensive? So I’m asking everyone interested to write something up that meets Wikipedia’s guidelines and help bring the APCO Worldwide entry up to date. Post it somewhere online and send a tweet about it to @mmflint. I’ll award a signed copy of “Sicko” by noon Sunday to the best entry…and then deputize you to post it on Wikipedia for real and make sure APCO’s minions don’t take it down. Just be sure afterward not to walk near any cliffs!

P.P.S. The late, great comedian Bill Hicks had some thoughts about marketing and the people who do it.

jcocks
21st November 2010, 12:13
That guy is awesome. I wish there were more Michael Moores in the world.

Luke
21st November 2010, 12:38
... seriously, LMAO.
Yes, corporatchiks are a nuisance.
Aparatchiks are not any better though. Actually corporatchiks cannot exist without their buddies forming "governments" and granting them privileges. Perfect symbiosis!

Moore is perfectly blind to that. As many "liberal intellectuals" he ignores the heart of the problem: human "inability" to think for themselves. All he wants is laws and cushions for those "entitled" in one way or another, without getting the big picture: giant con-game we call "civilization".
Just another incarnation of Lenin's "useful idiot" ... just look at his :pleasantry: "solutions".

DawgBone
21st November 2010, 12:45
The fake “grassroots” organizations are similar to the paid trolls that populate progressive websites like Huffington Post. The trolls mysteriously appear a few weeks before important elections and then disappear.

The corporations sell their goods and services through advertising, buy our congressmen with contributions and manipulate public opinion with sophisticated mind-control.

Free-market capitalism at work.

Luke
21st November 2010, 13:47
Free-market capitalism at work.
Excuse me ?
Guess you have no idea what both free-market OR capitalism means.
FYI:

DEFINITIONS AND DISTINCTIONS
FREE MARKET: That condition of society in which all economic transactions result from voluntary choice without coercion.
THE STATE: That institution which interferes with the Free Market through the direct exercise of coercion or the granting of privileges (backed by coercion).
TAX: That form of coercion or interference with the Free Market in which the State collects tribute (the tax), allowing it to hire armed forces to practice coercion in defense of privilege, and also to engage in such wars, adventures, experiments, "reforms," etc., as it pleases, not at its own cost, but at the cost of "its" subjects.
PRIVILEGE: From the Latin privi, private, and lege, law. An advantage granted by the State and protected by its powers of coercion. A law for private benefit.
USURY: That form of privilege or interference with the Free Market in which one State supported group monopolizes the coinage and thereby takes tribute (interest), direct or indirect, on all or most economic transactions.
LANDLORDISM: That form of privilege or interference with the Free Market in which one State supported group "owns" the land and thereby takes tribute (rent) from those who live, work, or produce on the land.
TARIFF: That form of privilege or interference with the Free Market in which commodities produced outside the State are not allowed to compete equally with those produced inside the State.
CAPITALISM: That organization of society, incorporating elements of tax, usury, landlordism, and tariff, which thus denies the Free Market while pretending to exemplify it.
CONSERVATISM: That school of capitalist philosophy which claims allegiance to the Free Market while actually supporting usury, landlordism, tariff, and sometimes taxation.
LIBERALISM: That school of capitalist philosophy which attempts to correct the injustices of capitalism by adding new laws to the existing laws. Each time conservatives pass a law creating privilege, liberals pass another law modifying privilege, leading conservatives to pass a more subtle law recreating privilege, etc., until "everything not forbidden is compulsory" and "everything not compulsory is forbidden."
SOCIALISM: The attempted abolition of all privilege by restoring power entirely to the coercive agent behind privilege, the State, thereby converting capitalist
oligarchy into Statist monopoly. Whitewashing a wall by painting it black.
ANARCHISM: That organization of society in which the Free Market operates freely, without taxes, usury, landlordism, tariffs, or other forms of coercion or privilege. RIGHT ANARCHISTS predict that in the Free Market people would voluntarily choose to compete more often than to cooperate. LEFT ANARCHISTS
predict that in the Free Market people would voluntarily choose to cooperate more often than to compete.
Open to discussion, but at least oxymoron free :)

DawgBone
21st November 2010, 14:05
Excuse me ?
Guess you have no idea what both free-market OR capitalism means.

Actually I know exactly what they mean.

But your quote does define them with a certain style ...

Lost Soul
21st November 2010, 16:35
Moore is perfectly blind to that. As many "liberal intellectuals" he ignores the heart of the problem: human "inability" to think for themselves. All he wants is laws and cushions for those "entitled" in one way or another, without getting the big picture: giant con-game we call "civilization".
Just another incarnation of Lenin's "useful idiot" ... just look at his :pleasantry: "solutions".

Concur. Moore bought Halliburton stocks and wants privately owned firearms banned. He's a tool, and a very rich one at that.

daledo
22nd November 2010, 04:10
Hmmm... some interesting comments on the letter I posted. I watched 2 of his movies Sicko and Capitalism- a love story. I really liked both of them and thought they were very well produced. You do not have to agree with every aspect of Michael Moore's life but I believe that overall he has good intentions. The world is so messed up right now that I really doubt that anyone has a correct picture of reality. We are being sold out to big corporations and they use dirty tactics to get their way is the point of the letter. If you do not agree with that you do not get the TRUE REALITY of today.