December 16, 2008, - 4:08 pm

Hypocrite of the Day: Flabulous Filmmaker & the Auto Bailout

By Debbie Schlussel
I haven’t written much about the proposed auto bailout because I have mixed feelings about it and might write a longer column on it when I get the time.
That said, I have to laugh at the hypocrisy of the calorically-gifted Michael Moore, the filmmaker who has been documented to stiff his workers, underpay them, and refuse to pay them overtime. This has been documented over and over again.
Well, today–in an op-ed column in The Detroit Newsistan–he’s saying that Republicans don’t want autoworkers to make decent wages. Um, take a break from that hot dog and look in the mirror, dude. (I’m not linking to the piece because neither the Newsistan, its insanely jealous and ignorant op-ed page editors Nolan Finley and Richard Burr, nor Michael Moore deserve my traffic–and there’s no point in reading his pap, which is more of the same.)

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I don’t like the behavior of Senators Corker and Shelby. I think it’s disgraceful. And they have a lot of the facts wrong. Still, I think it’s hilarious that he says this is about denying people decent wages, when he’s done the same with his much smaller group of employees. Hello . . .?
I do agree with him that it’s a double standard to bail out Wall Street with no questions asked or strings attached, while they give a proctology exam to the auto industry’s Big Three and their CEOs. The most annoying was Shelby’s questioning of CEOs about how much they drove and how much they rode during their travel to their second grovel trip to Capitol Hill.
But Michael Moore? Come on. He’s railing against millionaires, when he’s a multi-millionaire, himself. He rails against Wall Street, when he’s a huge investor, not to mention, just plain huge.
It’s nothing new that Michael Moore is a gi-normous hypocrite, literally and figuratively–in this case, the literal is his figure, or lack thereof. I’ve written about it numerous times over the last decade, including here and here.
But it’s always important to point it out, since it’s predictably lost on the boneheaded, pan-Islamist editors of the Newsistan, which looks on the verge of deserved bankruptcy and would be, but for a joint operating agreement.

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21 Responses

Debbie: I have a professional colleague who’s a childhood friend of Michael Moore and knows him pretty well. “James” told me that while he likes Moore as a person, Moore’s documentaries are mostly inaccurate and misleading. He told me about how Moore interviewed a pageant winner for “Roger and Me” and ambushed her with a “why are you walking in this parade when workers are unemployed?” question out of the blue. The question took her completely by surprise (he had been asking her nice softball questions) and he included her surprised look in his documentary to make her look foolish.

richardzowie on December 16, 2008 at 5:24 pm

There may be good reasons to save America’s auto industry from extinction. Michael Moore isn’t one of them.

NormanF on December 16, 2008 at 5:52 pm

UAW PRESIDENT: ROB THE PEOPLE’S BANK
It seems like I’ve been writing about saving American jobs forever. Actually, along with thousands of others, we began yelling at the top of our lungs back in 1993 when the vile NAFTA treaty was about to be passed. We warned what would happen and sure as the sun shines, millions of good paying jobs have vanished since unconstitutional treaties like NAFTA, GATT and CAFTA were passed by corrupt Congresses controlled by both parties. Union and non-union jobs went over seas to our enemy the communist Chinese; Americans were left standing in unemployment lines.
I watched a press conference, December 12, 2008. UAW president, Ron Gettelfinger, lashed out at the Republicans (I am not a Republican) for the plight facing his union members. It’s all their fault these unlawful loans got voted down last week. When I say unlawful, that’s exactly what I mean. Following Gettelfinger’s speech, I caught a segment on FAUX News Network between cell challenged anchor, Shepard Smith, and former judge, Andrew Napolitano. Napolitano told Smith, and I’m paraphrasing: We’ve had this discussion before, Shep. Congress has NO authority to take money from the we the people to give to another group of people who want it. Congress has NO authority to make these loans to the private sector regardless of what product they produce.
Gettelfinger doesn’t care about the U.S. Constitution anymore than Lee Iacocca did when he went begging to Congress on behalf of Chrysler decades ago. A dangerous precedent was set back then. Now, everyone can see the madness going on in Washington, DC., because once these thieves in Congress break the law at the demand of the mob, it gets easier to do again and again and again. The Chrysler Bail Out Bust is a worthy read (maybe five minutes of your time) because it provides Americans with the truth about the so-called success of that bail out:
Do Americans care about the big three auto makers? Yes, we care about the workers, but as I pointed out in a recent column: Who was watching the books for these corporations? Where were the stock holders getting those dividend checks when the balance sheet continued to show for years, losses in the BILLIONS every quarter with nothing being done to bring those companies in line and stop the insane spending?
While the president of UAW rants against the Republicans, it’s up to the American people to make their voices heard loud and clear to Congress: Stop breaking the law, no more bail outs. Ron Paul can reintroduce the bills cited above. Demand Congress get them passed NOW. Americans need the money now to make those mortgage payments, put food on the table, and yes, buy that new car. It’s urgent these pieces of legislation are passed and signed into law so the American people can keep the fruits of their labor instead of shipping it to some foreign country and stop this “car czar” nonsense. All it will produce is another bureaucrat drawing a paycheck while running rough shod over private industry.
Complete article
http://www.newswithviews.com/Devvy/kidd419.htm

Johnny V on December 16, 2008 at 5:56 pm

Michael Moore is a huge bafoon. Only crazed liberals take him seriously. However the big 3 bailout is a by-product of free trade. It won’t be long before China or India will mass produce electric cars. Without the legacy costs, regulations and no labor rights in China or India those cars will be dumped in America. Who wants to see members of their community out of work? These are people who went to work and did the right thing and because of trade policies, corporate incompetance, union leaders and politicians, they are reaping what has been sown.

californiascreaming on December 16, 2008 at 5:57 pm

A bailout for Detroit is a bailout for the UAW. Chapter 11 is necessary if the Big Three are to ever straighten out the American auto industry. The union wages and benefits are unsustainable. It adds too much to the cost of vehicles that no one really wants in the first place.
I don’t appreciate the CEOs kowtowing to Congress. The idea of them driving to DC for PR purposes is disgusting. How idiotic–CEOs all fly in company jets. Just because they are failures doesn’t mean they have to grovel. They should have educated Congress and the nation and explained how the unions and onerous regs and requirements make it almost impossible for them to be successful.
A bailout just prolongs the agony. Michigan should have diversified long ago.

lexi on December 16, 2008 at 6:27 pm

I just read the good news that the Detroit ‘newspapers’ are reducing home deliveries to only a few days p/w. We are all waiting for the day that deliveries and sales totally stop.
I think there is a general perception that the health of the banking industry is central to the economy as a whole, while the health of the American auto industry is of importance to a specific sector of the population, rather than the country as a whole. Having said that, I don’t think there is really much scrutiny at all of the auto industry; it is all window dressing & sooner or later they will get what they are asking for.
I am uneasy about the tendency of some conservatives to put primary blame for GM etc.’s predicament on the unions. I am not a fan of the unions, and there is no doubt that their benefits are excessive and inappropriate. Nevertheless, the industry, itself must take blame for putting out cars that, on the whole, are inferior to Japanese cars, with scattered exceptions. The Japanese have more efficient production processes, economy of resources, etc., even apart from more reasonable wages. Although certainly not true of this website, there are some conservative talk show hosts casting virtually sole blame on the unions, while at the same time GM is one of their sponsors.
They will get a bailout with no supervision, & keep getting money until sometime when the bubble bursts and it is clear to everyone that union or not, these companies cannot compete. Even with the bailout, not many people would make a long=term investment in an American car now, with all the negative publicity that has occurred.
Of course I would have wanted to see real supervision of the bank bailout, if it had to occur. They are getting everyting they want, making a few symbolic gestures if that much, and the semi-socialist government is taking over the least profitable enterprises, leaving the more efficient ones in the private sector, just like socialism everywhere.

c f on December 16, 2008 at 8:21 pm

LOL … “Just plain huge … ” Michael Moore-ron is nothing but hot air and exhaust fumes … not even worse our time.
Jimmy Lewis
SCS, Michigan
Blog: http://rougerevival.blogspot.com/

Jimmy on December 16, 2008 at 8:51 pm

There is one argument not being made about the bailout of the auto industry which may be the most important. If any of the big three go bankrupt, the taxpayers (that’s you and me folks) are on the hook for their pension plans.
True, when the government takes over the pension payments will be reduced (When my pension was taken over by the government my future benefits were reduced almost 50%), but it will still be super expensive even if they are “fully funded” since everyone knows they have been underestimating the cost and what is required to fully fund them.
Also, when pensions are reduced people will have less money then what they planned on for their retirement. This will make more elderly people require government programs to survive and put an extra strain on Social Security (as if it needs one).

i_am_me on December 16, 2008 at 10:11 pm

That picture is priceless. Is it a still from Team America? That flick ripped so many celebs it was…really good.

Richard on December 16, 2008 at 10:55 pm

It is true that the Government would be liable for reduced pension plans if auto companies couldn’t pay them. However, if the government really wanted to, it could sharply reduce the pensions, and it could also compel companies to pay higher premiums to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. Companies have a habit of sticking the Government (i.e. us, the taxpayers) with pensions, and then, a few years later, surprise! They becoming healthier, but no longer have the pension obligations, having stuck it to the Government. Happens all the time!

c f on December 16, 2008 at 11:02 pm

You know, it is just like a conservative hypocrite to make fun of Michael Moore’s weight! Back in 1995, when Al Franken put out his book Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, there was such an outcry among right-wingers it was unbelievable: “How dare those liberals attack Rush over his weight! How can they be so mean and hateful? They should be ashamed of themselves!”
The lesson: it’s alright to make fun of other people’s weight, just as long as they are liberals. Yeesh!!

Ribelin2000 on December 17, 2008 at 2:22 am

And it’s funny how things change over time, when we don’t remain mired in the early 90s. Rush has lost weight, while big Al Franken has gained weight, and probably weighs more than Rush. His mouth is certainly bigger.

c f on December 17, 2008 at 3:08 am

In a brilliant stroke of artistic justice, the movie “An American Carol” rightly portrayed slob Michael Moore as the Scrooge type villain who opposes all that is traditional and right about America and who needs an education on reality. While some of the movie was over the top stupid, the barbs on slob Michael Moore are choice–making it a worthy watch for all who would like to personally spit on Michael Moore’s fat smelly carcass.
Debbie, on the Detroit Newspapers, –you were RIGHT AGAIN–in predicting their demise years ahead of everyone else I had heard. Nice call and more evidence that DS knows her stuff.

BB on December 17, 2008 at 10:12 am

Debbie, I look forward to and appreciate your articles, but I’m unclear about why you would have “mixed feelings” about a taxpayer bailout of a specific industry. Case in point: I’ve been in the oil and gas business for 30 years and have witnessed several deep business cycles, including massive layoffs and financial failures during that time. Our industry is currently in one of those down cycles, with crude prices plummeting from $140+/bbl to around $40/bbl, with layoffs and business failures beginning. Many companies in our industry do not make it through a down cycle, but do you honestly think there is the remotest possiblity that Congress would even consider helping out a “mean old oil company”? NOT! Nor, should they. Free enterprise and a market economy means to me – “survival of the fittest”. Debbie, keep educating us on the issues!

oilman on December 17, 2008 at 10:27 am

QUOTE:”You know, it is just like a conservative hypocrite to make fun of Michael Moore’s weight! Back in 1995, when Al Franken put out his book Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, there was such an outcry among right-wingers it was unbelievable: “How dare those liberals attack Rush over his weight! How can they be so mean and hateful? They should be ashamed of themselves!”
I think the distinction comes from the fact that Rush bathes more frequently than just when he happens to get caught in a cloudburst outdoors… LOL

Mistress_dee on December 17, 2008 at 11:44 am

I live in a town with two Ford Plants. I am teacher and in a union. I have no use for them. My point is that I have neighbor who is a Ford employee and when they were having problems and made workers stay home they earn 95% of their salary FOR NOT WORKING. I believe like others have already said the only way out is Chapter 11.

truthseeker on December 17, 2008 at 12:06 pm

As a former Paint Dept employee of Ford, let me tell you this about final assembly plants: most workers receive 10 or more vacation weeks per year; many workers intentionally use up their 12 per year sick days, and milk long term disability (payable to anyone making subjective claims of alcoholism or drug addiction); all workers – other than management – receive at least 8 days off with pay at Christmas, and a further 18 days during the Summer maintenance shutdown; enjoy Employment Insurance – without having to look for another job – during shutdowns; enjoy wholesale prices for auto purchases; etc, ad nauseum.
Trust me: the average UAW worker works 130 days per year, and is paid for 260. The UAW cried foul when it was claimed that the payout is $70 per hour of work. BS.
Did I forget to mention the Jamaican UAW worker who applied for Long Term Disability, from Jamaica, 2 winters in a row? Or the dude on LTD who took the opportunity to peddle drugs on the parking lot (those are no-go areas for cops, and are good places to buy stolen property).

supercargo on December 17, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Responding to c f: first of all, I had no idea that since 1995, it suddenly became OK to mock someone’s weight. When did this happen? And how? Secondly, I have seen both Limbaugh and Franken on TV recently, and believe me, there is NO WAY that Franken is now fatter than Limbaugh! I mean, Rush may have lost a hundred or so pounds a few years ago, when he was hooked on Hillbilly Heroin (Oxycontin), but he looks to have gained some of the weight back since. But, hey, keep up the hypocrisy there!

Ribelin2000 on December 17, 2008 at 5:12 pm

It looks like the parasites have finally killed their host. Good riddance, UAW.

lexi on December 17, 2008 at 5:27 pm

I knew that liberals were’t playing with a full deck of cards, but really? Ribelin2000 (s/b maybe 1850, when such ideas might have had merit) asks when it became OK to mock someone’s weight? I guess when Al Frankfurterken wrote a book called Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Slob. Sounds to me like the dirty slob is the one mocking Rush’s weight. And you are following right behind, utterly disregarding the fact that the Florida hack authorities basically admitted their charges had no merit and couldn’t stick. But like liberals in general, you don’t let facts bother you. While attacking Rush for phony charges, you also manage to show your contempt of Appalachians. I guess they don’t live on the East or West Coast. If Al Franken lost weight, it was probably from expelling so much saliva when he talks.

c f on December 18, 2008 at 12:02 am

It’s EXTREMELY HARD to have sympathy for the Auto Industry and the UAW as a whole, when time after time, I have come across uneducated people making more than I do, have a pension, great health benefits and stand around all day pushing a button.
I’m sorry, but is it really worth $100,000 a year for you to make more money than the average person with a Bachelor’s Degree? Is it right for you to show up for work drunk or high and still have a job when the day is done if all you do is get a little bit of counseling? That’s if they catch you, that is.
I have lived in Michigan my whole entire life and working for “THE BIG THREE” has always been synonymous with easy money for little work.
Sure, you guys have put in some hellacious hours in the past when the economy was good. Sure, some of you have had some risky jobs that are hazardous to your health. But overall, the general consensus was that if you got in the auto industry, you were golden. Until recently that is.
Is it fair that I am a college educated and a woman and HAVE NEVER made as much as my auto working counterparts that are male even though I suffered through 4 years of college? Is it fair that I have to pay sticker price for a car and WILL NEVER get a discount because my family members were never employees? Is it fair that you get to be “bailed out” because of mismanagement and excessive wages to all employees – from the bottom to the top?
Do I want to see the automakers survive? Absolutely. But then again, I live in Michigan. If they go down, we all will!

Leilani on December 22, 2008 at 10:13 pm

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