Michael Moore makes stop in Grass Valley | TheUnion.com

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Michael Moore makes stop in Grass Valley

Michael Moore is giddy.

The famous (or infamous, depending on one’s position on the political spectrum) documentary filmmaker, political activist, social commentator and author told a packed house at the Nevada Union High School auditorium that the Occupy movements cropping up around the country are deeply satisfying.

Moore said the majority of Americans support the movement’s central position of corporate greed and money having undue influence on national politics.

“This movement is six weeks old and it’s already getting 59 percent support in this country (according to a poll),” he said to applause. “Think about that. In the first six weeks of the feminist movement, did it have 59 percent of America’s support? No. This is incredible.”

Moore poked fun at the national media for being confused about the movement and needlessly attempting to identify a leader of the movement.

“The movement only works if everybody tries to lead,” he said. “There are no dues-paying members, no monthly meetings in the basement of the Unitarian Church.”

Moore said the true organizers of the movement are the leaders of the financial institutions like Goldman Sachs, Citibank and Bank of America.

“They put their boots on the necks of the American people for just a couple minutes too long,” he said to raucous applause. “It wasn’t enough for them to be normally greedy, they had to have more.”

Moore said the leaders of such institutions are “the true terrorists of our lifetime, as they have ruined lives and killed many Americans.”

He called the United States government the servant of Wall Street and said that is why protests have focused on New York City’s financial sector, as opposed to Washington, D.C.

“What can the servant do for you?” he asked rhetorically.

Moore, who typically reserves his most scathing satirical punches for the Republican Party, did not go lightly on Democrats in his speech that lasted nearly two hours.

He said politicians from both sides of the aisle have accepted enormous contributions from corporate lobbyists and the entire political system was broken, irrespective of party affiliation.

He criticized President Barack Obama for not having the “courage of your convictions to stand up and fight,” saying he extended too many olive branches to Republicans in Congress during his first term.

He said historians will look back upon this era of American history and wonder why citizens thought they were living in a democracy. He used the familiar statistical breakdown of 1 percent versus 99 percent, saying the richest 400 Americans have more combined wealth than 150 million of the poorest Americans.

“The top 1 percent deserve exactly 1 percent of the say in how the country is run,” he said. “That’s how democracy should work.”

The crowd was largely receptive to Moore’s speech, although a handful of hecklers appeared, with one audience member asking Moore how it felt to be in the one percent.

Moore, who was in town promoting his book “Here Comes Trouble,” said it felt good to be back in Nevada County, where he has a history of involvement in local issues.

His sister, Anne Moore, is a Nevada County resident and was involved in a controversial battle with the Nevada County Public Defender’s Office in 2001, where she was employed at the time.

She resigned her office and went public with allegations of a hostile work environment, inadequate legal representation for the poor and overall mismanagement that led to her boss’s firing and an overhaul of the entire agency, according to previously published reports.

Anne Moore was awarded $231,000 in damages by a California Superior Court, which ruled the county failed to protect her from retaliation after she exposed widespread misconduct.

Michael Moore, who had a cable television show called “The Awful Truth” at the time, once featured the turmoil involving Nevada County and his sister on the program.

Moore said he has a “few good ideas” for a new documentary film but would not reveal subject material or a timeline.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, e-mail mrenda@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4239.