Friday, November 14, 2014

Michael Moore's half-hearted defence of Bill Maher

Michael Moore's defense of Bill Maher on the Islam issue (In Defense of My Friend Bill Maher's Statements on Islam) tells us a lot about the leftist mindset on a number of things. Reading Moore makes me think that, if he wasn't already Maher's friend---and a regular on Maher's HBO program---his understanding of the issue would be even less.

Moore on Maher's recent history:

Bill Maher is a friend of mine. He stood up for me when I was attacked after my Oscar speech (given on the fourth night of the Iraq War, a war Bill publicly opposed while 70% of the country, including the majority of Democrats in the U.S. Senate, supported it), and I stood up for him when ABC fired him and cancelled his show when he attempted to stop the hysteria and fear-mongering after 9-11---resulting in the Bush White House publicly ordering him to watch what he says---or else. When Bill got his HBO show, he went on a 7-year tear against the Bush administration and became one of our most unapologetic and unrelenting voices against the insanity being shoved down our throats.

On further examination, the infamous White House threat to Maher apparently never happened, but for progressives it is now an urban legend.

Sounds like Maher convinced Moore that Islam poses a special problem:

...Bill asks, "If I draw a cartoon of Jesus in a dress, will Christian leaders issue a call to assassinate me?" I can't speak to Bill's drawing skills, but it's safe to say that in the USA he can draw whatever he wants. In fact, other than those murdered abortion doctors, a hundred bombed or ransacked Planned Parenthood clinics and a few people like me, there are not many activists or artists who have to worry about Baptists blowing up their homes. Sinead O'Connor was not beheaded for beheading a photo of the Pope on NBC. Your middle name can be 'Hussein' and you can still win the state of Virginia if you're running for President...But if you're a Dutch filmmaker who makes a movie about violence against women in some Islamic countries, or if you're a Danish cartoonist who draws an image making fun of the Prophet---well, you are then either shot to death or you are now in hiding.

So if Bill is taking the same exact position liberals usually take whenever we see free speech being threatened, or women being abused or people forced to submit to fundamentalist dictates, why then is he facing any criticism for speaking out against these wrongs? When Christians do these things we speak up---loudly. So why not speak out when Muslims do it?

Okay so far, but when Moore tries to explain why liberals are uncomfortable about criticizing and mocking Islam, he gets tangled up in liberal misconceptions and misinformation:

We have witnessed, since 9/11, Arabs and Muslims in this country undergoing huge amounts of prejudice, bigotry and sometimes outright violence. This sickens us (as I know it does Bill). So we are extra sensitive to what sounds like, as it goes through the liberal filter in our ears, any "anti-Arab" comments. We don't want to hear anything even remotely anti-Muslim. But we have to be careful that this doesn't stop us from listening to legitimate criticisms about things that go on in the Muslim world.

In fact, according to FBI statistics, there haven't been a lot of anti-Muslim crimes in the US since 9/11 (see this). There are always a lot more hate crimes against black people, Jews and gays in the US than any other groups (see this).

Liberals are intensely fed up with these two wars against mostly Muslim populations (not to mention the indiscriminate drone strikes on at least four other nations). And now the party that won the elections last Tuesday would like a war with Iran. An ignorant American public was manipulated with fear and lies to start and maintain the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars---and that manipulation continues today in order to justify things like the mass spying by the NSA on our entire citizenry. When the Cold War ended (25 years ago today in Berlin), the defense industry went berserk with worry that their salad days were over. A new enemy was needed. Arab terrorists fit the bill perfectly! Not only has the defense industry since thrived, a whole new fake industry has arisen---the Homeland Security behemoth. As our infrastructure, our freedoms and our middle class vaporize, billions are spent as a grossly out-of-proportion response to a few shitty disasters.

On the one hand, Moore agrees with Maher that Islam poses a special problem, while on the other he denies that there is an international dimension to the problem. The 9/11 attackers were trained in Afghanistan, and that's where Osama Bin Laden, who organized the attacks, was based at the time. Are those "lies"? Can anyone really think that the US shouldn't have gone after the Taliban and Bin Laden in Afghanistan? The riff about the "defense industry" is fact-free, ultra-left piffle.

So we liberals don't want to hear another word about an "Islamic threat" or some non-existent Iranian nukes or...or whatever! We know we're being set up to get behind another war effort, another arms race, another diversion intended to make the point-one-percenters even filthier rich---and the rest of us distracted with false fears and hatreds.

Iran isn't trying to make nuclear weapons? The Israelis will be glad to learn that! One still wonders what all those centrifuges in Iran are for.

Moore thinks that the whole Islam issue is nothing but a set-up to make rich people richer!

I have fond memories of Moore's old TV show, but after "Farenheit 9/11"---a shoddy, stupid piece of work---I haven't been able to take him seriously. This only confirms that opinion.

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