Posts Tagged ‘Michael Moore’

Michael Moore – Capitalism A Love Affair

June 12, 2010

Andy Klein points out that Moore’s movie is the first Hollywood feature to have the word “capitalism” in the title. The most powerful statement of the entire movie is made towards the end of the movie: Capitalism is an evil and one cannot regulate evil. The power of the above statement is rivaled only by a corollary question: WOULD JESUS BE A CAPITALIST?

Capitalism and Communism have been so polarized for a century that any criticism made of one is automatically assumed to be praise for the other. Michael Moore seems to have some third ideology as an alternative to Capitalism but does not say anything more specific than what Roosevelt proposed a year or so before his death.

I never realized that Michael Moore was raised as a Roman Catholic. Michael Moore deals at length with Roman Catholic doctrines of social justice. Moore overlooked one of the most powerful statements by a Catholic bishop in modern times. ”When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint,” said Roman Catholic Archbishop Dom Helder Camara. ”But when I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

Here is a quotation from the official Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church which illustrated the Church’s position regarding the economics of poverty. This is to be found in Article 7 “The Seventh Commandment: You shall not steal,” paragraphs 2401 through 2463. Notice that the seventh commandment establishes the right of private property, for without some recognition of private property there could be no such thing as stealing for everything would belong to everyone. Hence one cannot accuse Catholic doctrine of supporting views expressed by French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in his book “Property is Theft.”

Article 2402 of The Catechism states that “The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence.”

Article 2403 of The Catechism states that “The right to private property, acquired by work or received from others by inheritance or gift, does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind. The universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise.”

Article 2406 of The Catechism states “Political authority has the right and duty to regulate the legitimate exercise of the right to ownership for the sake of the common good.”

Consider the exercise of “eminent domain” when highways must be constructed. Consider the anti-trust laws which prevent any single Corporation from becoming so powerful that it would exercise unfairness in the competitive market place.

The final article that I wish to quote from The Catechism is Article 2441: An increased send of God and increased self-awareness are fundamental to any full development of human society. This development multiples material goods and puts them at the service of the person and his freedom. It reduces dire poverty and economic exploitation. It makes for growth in respect for cultural identities and openness to the transcendent.

Some historic figures shown in archival footage are:
William Black …
George W. Bush
Jimmy Carter
Congressman Elijah Cummins
Baron Hill
Marcy Kaptur
John McCain
Michael Moore
Barack Obama
Sarah Palin
Ronald Reagan
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Wallace Shawn
Elizabeth Warren

“What Michael Moore is really going after is the corporatism that has made profit a goal beyond all ethical considerations. (Whether this is an inevitable result of all stripes of capitalism is a different argument.) And his alternative seems no more radical than an extension of 70-year-old New Deal ideas.” – Andy Klein

Michael Moore is obviously a brilliant man. Brilliant men can violently disagree with one another, as once can easily see from old television debates between two brilliant men such as William F. Buckley, Jr. and Noam Chomsky.

“Michael Moore has produced a jerry-rigged jeremiad about free enterprise..” – JOHN ANDERSON

The movie opens with a long comparison between ancient Rome and modern America. A growing gap between the many poor and the wealthy few is the kindling wood for rebellion. Some people saw “A Tale of Two Cities” as Dickens’ warning to Great Britain that they too might suffer a bloody revolution if they did not to anything to address the grievances of the oppressed and underprivileged. Moore shows a family in Peoria Illinois losing their farm and their heritage. Capitalism involves more taking than giving. Vultures and bottom-feeders feast on Bank of America foreclosures. Profit motive drives many an injustice. Moore finds, in an economic bill of rights proposed by FDR, who died before he could enact it, a blueprint for a way out of this mess. Companies that take out something actually called “peasant insurance” on employees who are worth more dead than alive.

“It’s easy to be No. 1 when you have no competition,” Moore says, referring to the war-torn economies of Japan and Germany.” Duane Dudek. “An exploration of the root causes of the global economic meltdown culminates in what Moore sees as the biggest robbery in American history: the transfer of U.S. taxpayer money to bail out private financial institutions.” – John Del Signore

“Plutonomies” are economies where only the actions of the wealthiest individuals actually matter. What’s different in “Capitalism” is the way Moore actively appeals to gun-toting, God-fearing Americans, with religion playing an especially vital role in the film’s one-sided debate. Moore interviews several Catholic clergy who condemn capitalism as evil and insist Jesus Christ would live outside the system. Father Derik Peterson says that Capitalism is a sin. Moore wants to get his viewers outraged and shake them out of their complacency. You may not always love his tactics, but his intentions are near impeccable. The wealthy used to have to pay a 90% tax rate.

A person’s identity is no longer connected with what he DOES but rather with what he OWNS. Jonas Salk could have become wealthy by selling the polio vaccine to some pharmaceutical company, but instead, he placed it in public domain for the common good of all. Ronald Reagan used to do advertisements for Van Heusen shirts. The rich wanted to turn the bull of unbridled prosperity loose. The plot was to destroy unions by the wholesale dismantling of the infrastructure. Sales of antidepressants skyrocketed during recent years. Flint Michigan, the birthplace of General Motors, became a city on welfare.

Wilkesberry PA Child Care. A total of 6,500 children were convicted to feed that profit motive driven penal system. Robert Powell and Judge Conahan were co-conspirators in the Child Care scheme of imprisonment for profit. One teen named Hillary made a Myspace page which criticized the government and went to jail. Problems arise when a for-profit company is given a task which should be done by state and federal government.

Hero pilot Captain “Sully” Sullenberger gives testimony in Congress that pilots earn less money than the managers of some fast-food chains. Starting pilot pay is $19,000 and they must apply for food stamps. When students graduate, they are burdened with loan debts of $100,000. Airlines skimp on safety in an effort to make a profit..

Phil Gramm was the whistle blower on the 2005-2006 Citibank confidential memo which projects that the society will become a plutonomy of the top one percent. With a growing gap between the rich and the poor, the peasants might revolt. Democracy’s majority rule is like two wolves and one sheep voting on what is for dinner.

Isthmus engineering robotics is cited as an example of an employee owned company which prospers and yet is fair to all employees. In one bread factory co-op the average assembly line worker earns $65,000 per year.
Professor William Black points out the problem that too few gifted students are going into the field of science to work for the common good, because more money is to be made in the world of banking finance.

The mathematics of financial instruments like derivatives is so complex that it is difficult to investigate the legality of such codes. Alan Greenspan gave the signal to tap into home equity like a personal piggybank. During the crisis of Iraq and Afghanistan, 10,000 FBI investigators were diverted from the area of financial crime, to home security, just at a time when lender fraudulence was epidemic.

Moore makes Bush look like a fool in one scene by likening Bush to a chicken-little, terrorizing the public with the fear that the sky was falling, the financial sky that is, instilling the fear of a Nightmare on Wall Street; an Armageddon, so that the people would pass laws which grant exorbitant powers without accountability.

Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Washington Mutual – collapsed because of a fundamentally unsound system built upon sand instead of bedrock. Citicorp and Travelers merge to make the largest bank in the world. Insane housing derivatives contributed to the economic collapse.

Fearing marshal law in America proponents of the Iraq Resolution advocated to wave all laws. But our justice system is sworn to defend against all enemies foreign AND DOMESTIC. Is Michael Moore the voice of a John the Baptist crying in the wilderness to make ready for the coming day of judgment? Moore hints at back room deals with Democrats; a conspiracy carefully planned. A.I.G. gave 6.8 billion dollars in bonuses in the wake of the financial collapse.

The carrot was held out to the public that they TOO could be rich some day. Schwarzenegger said he left Europe for America because the socialists ruined a chance for opportunity in Europe.

SONG: AINT NO POWER LIKE THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE.

You have become squatters in your own homes.

Scenes are shown of the Windows and Doors Company sit-down strike. A decision was finally made to pay off workers and hope revolution goes away. “How do they sleep at night” asks one journalist of the architects of this economic collapse.

During a 44 day strike in Flint, Michigan by General Motors workers, FDR sent national guard to fight off the goons and union busters. FDR planned new goals for human happiness: universal Health care, housing, pension. Europe and Japan got those things after the war, during reconstruction. The Italian constitution of 1947 guaranteed equal rights to all women. The suffering never comes to the Bernie Madoffs, but to the poor victims of the Katrina flood. A suggestion is made to replace Capitalism with Democracy. The movie ends with the song: Awake ye workers from your slumber.

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Michael Moore – Capitalism movie

September 8, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeROnVUADj0

Friend: When YOU watch this clip, what does it make you think and feel. Someone asked me the same question today.

Me: Good question….
Obviously if you were Michael Moore, or in the media business, you would feel good about it, optimistic…
and if you were a CEO you would feel not so good.

Michael Moore seems to make a convincing argument in whatever he undertakes. But, hey, people vote with their wallets and their feet. Lots of people want the New York Post with its corny headlines, and 10 Judge Judy type shows, and 15 Reality type shows that is why PBS channels are so small by comparison in their viewership.

If everyone lusted to know what Wm. F. Buckley and Charlie Rose are thinking, and found big boobs boring…. then… you would see more of Charlie Rose’s pie-hole

(By the way, I worship at the feet of Charlie Rose and am unworthy to touch the hem of his garment)

Actually, I have a great thought provoking answer for your excellent question.

Friend: I just mean, what type of reaction does this evoke in you?

Me: Well, I suppose, like Sicko, and Fahrenheit 9/11 it invokes anger, mistrust… just like sex movie are designed to invoke wood… it does what it was meant to do. I mean, Mom and I watched Sicko, and it looks like Cuba and France are smarter than the USA.

I watched Fahrenheit 9/11 and it makes Bush look like a Saudi butt kisser but, my suggestion is to read a bunch of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire…. and see how you feel about Christianity… because Gibbon hated the Church, and felt it contributed to the fall of Rome. Gibbon’s book evokes what he designed it to evoke but, Augustine, in City of God, is arguing the opposite,… saying that it is not the anger of Zeus or Jove (cause by the neglect of the old religion) that is causing the barbarian invasions. So, Gibbon puts his spin on things and achieves his effect, and Augustine puts HIS spin and achieves his effect.

SO, if you lived your life in a monastery, or part of it, you will look at Gibbon and say, Hey, wait you are distorting some things and if you are INSIDE of the investment industry, you will say, well, HEY WAIT, you are distorting some things Michael Moore..

Now, PBS did a series on The History of Money
and it shows the evolution of currency, banking credit
so, those are INSTRUMENTS, financial instruments , that developed, evolved over CENTURIES

Friend1: Yeah, it was great!

Me: … and without that, we would still be trading apples for oranges.

Friend1: I saw 3 of the 4 parts
I’m hoping they show it again!

Me: SO, if one looks at that bigger picture, one says, ok, WHERE is the devil, what is the demon? A knife in the hands of a murderer is bad, and in a surgeon’s hands it is good well but a knife is simply a tool. So, a financial instrument is simply a tool .

20 or 30 years back, we forgot some lessons that we learned, or should have learned and we were greedy, not just Americans, but THE WHOLE FREAKING WORLD because if it was just America, then the problem would not be global.

Me: So, when I watch the sexy flick with short term agenda,…. I become aroused, but when I step back like the final scene of Matrix, where I see reality as pixels, digitized, not analog … then, I see a mammalian panorama, so, I don’t become aroused, but rather I get awe inspired, and I see bondage, degradation, exploitation, etc.

So, whatever issue I choose to look at, first I use a microscope and see all the electrons and the quarks.

Next I use the telescope and see all the distant galaxies and black holes and then, I subjectively synthesize the polar opposites into something, … something that is middle of the road, open minded and fair…objective.

But, after I finally get all done, for anyone to share that… to understand what the hell I am saying, what do they need???

They need a huge foundation in Gibbon, Augustine, Quantum, Calculus, Archeology, linguistics, comparative religions, behavioral psychology… etc. and whatever it took to get me where I am on the slopes of Everest.

If you can climb to the top of Everest, you can send down a snap shot, but a snap shot is just a suggestion of what it is like to risk your live, and stand there.

Friend1: Ok, so I have to admit… like 99% of the time I can follow you but I couldn’t follow that tangent lol

Me: that is why a college student in India smugly told me “oh, World War II could have been settled peacefully, war was not necessary

OK…. when the only tool we have is a hammer, then every problem tends to become a nail.

What is Michael Moore’s tool and what is Soros’ tool
and by tool I don’t mean slang for pecker.. ha ha

Google on “eighth grade existentialism” (and it is a post here)

and you will come to my blog about that day you were reading Camus its kind of the same thing here one of my college buddies from 1968 just got back in touch, he is a hard hitting practical minded lawyer.

He assumes that I was the one who taught him about Ayn Rands philosophy. He is mistaken. He confuses me with someone else…

But, he is a person who came from wealth, and then I imagine, amassed more wealth and power, and retained it. So Ayn Randism is a good tool for him.

… different tact… Rabbi Abraham Heschel said “We must learn to understand what we see, and not simply SEE only that which we understand.”

Me: how do YOU FEEL about the film clip? What does it make YOU feel?

Mom was coughing for 1 year, getting worse and worse, and going to an allergist… who could only see ALLERGIES!

So, he gave her more and more inhalers and stuff, and she got sicker and sicker…

I marched in his office with her and I said, something is wrong here, and someone had better do something about it

But that allergist, a nice guy, but what he sees are allergies

It turned out that her problem had nothing to do with allergies. It had to do with a rare auto-immune disease that was attacking her sinus and her kidneys. The allergist did not know when to stop being an allergist and pick up a different tool.

When a pickpocket meets a saint, all he sees are pockets.

A saint can see saintliness in the worst of sinners, and a sinner can see sinfulness even in the holiest of saints look at that journalist who attacks mother Theresa.

What Jacob Kline is saying in this segment has something to do with what I am getting at.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7kiGyCIgKI

I forgot to cite Abraham Maslow! Thanks for calling this to my attention:

http://www.abraham-maslow.com/m_motivation/Maslows_Hammer.asp

A Zen master once said “Show me the man who has forgotten speech. It is with him that I desire to converse.”…

I already have a step-son, and now you, who cannot understand. I want to talk to one person who DOES understand. I am hoping for a Nyc Labrets or a Calvin John to come along. Time will tell! I must be patient…or I am insane.. hmmm….Skinner, Greenwald and others describe Bush’s Manicheanism. It is obvious to everyone except George what Bush’s hammer and nail are.

http://hnn.us/articles/7202.html

BUT… if you are able to understand Augustine’s and Pelagius’ positions simultaneously, then … you have Hegel’s aufgehoben

http://itself.wordpress.com/2007/12/02/a-question-on-the-translation-of-the-hegelian-aufhebung/

Try explaining to Charles Stanley that Rome is correct, or to Ratzinger that Rome is in error. What happens?

Sometimes I even go so far as to read some of the links I cite:

The Manicheans were a syncretic religious sect led by Mani, a Buddhist-influenced ascetic born in Baghdad in the 3rd century AD. Like Bush, the Manicheans carved the spiritual world up into two categories… Read More—Good and Evil—but, as orthodox dualists, they believed that the forces of Good and Evil were not engaged in some continuous and messianic struggle, but rather that their contrasting presence was the very basis of the spiritual order.

So, IF you can understand, in Ramanand Sagar’s movie version of Tulsidas Ramayan HOW it can be that when the Avatar Ram slays the wicked king Ravanna, the jiva of Ravanna is reabsorbed into the brahmajyoti, then, you are on the road to mediation, which, if you are at an extreme, will seem like “beating around the bush” and it is that fear which drives us to the extremes of right or left.

If you watch the episode in the above link, you will see the reabsorption of jiva at about 17 minutes into the 34 minute clip.

I have had seminars that are like this episode. The many heads which sprout are like the many arguments of your opponent.

++++++++++

Later discussions:

Friend2:
William, it’s an interesting read but I really don’t get what you are saying about Capitalism to be honest.

Me:
Different people put different spins, with different agendas, so, Michael Moore’s film is designed to achieve a certain effect in the average viewer. he asks me MY reaction and I start thinking of Hegel’s aufgehoben, and Jain anekantavada. but, I am conditioned by past experiences to think that way. my point to him that our financial instruments evolved over thousands of years. So, it is short sighted to just point at one company, or one period in history. if you take the 5000 year picture, you come away with a different notion that the 5 year picture. One can be extreme and say that capitalism is evil, or communism is evil, or one can look at the modified capitalism of China and the socialized capitalism of American and Europe.

My friend works in investments he is looking at it from his perspective.

I LIKE Michael Moore overall… I think he means well. He addresses genuine problems. But, he uses the media to every advantage just like the opposition does. Spin and rhetoric depend upon a form of distortion, illusion, maya, to make the rope look like a snake and the snake look like rope.

So when he asks me how the clip makes me FEEL,… I deconstruct it after the fashion that I have been conditioned. So, I see it totally differently than millions of others might but the movie is designed for the average viewer… not someone who is specialized in some obscure way.

Friend2:

Terms like good and evil apply in any meaningful way to economic systems. Economic systems may lead to more or less prosperity for the many or more or less prosperity for the few, but good and evil? No!

I guess it could be sinful if a system willfully deceives people like Madoff. if you know you that the economic instruments you are selling people is likely to lead to their financial collapse,,,that may not be EVIL, but it is wrong. and how could people not know that interest only loans with balloon payments would eventually lead to people’s ruin?

The problem was massive deregulation beginning in the 90s and then ramping up under Bush.

The past eight years were a massive wrong turn in the evolution. about three years ago they changed the bankruptcy laws

If the people in power on Wall Street and Banking and Congress KNEW what was coming… They made it harder for people to go bankrupt and avoid their debt.

++++++

Next day:

Me: The link to the Ramayan episode is the scene where the avatar god-man Ram slays the wicked demon Ravan, who stole his wife Sita. It is an exploration of how seeming opposites, Republican/ Democrat, communist/capitalist, Jesus and Ayn Rand, are actually interconnected and mutually dependent.

When Ram (God) tries to kill Satan (Ravan), a wise man explains that Sita (virtue) is captive in the heart of Satan, and God, is in the heart of Sita, so, if God destroys Satan, God destroys purity/virtue/Himself/ and countless worlds. This episode in the Ramayan is a metaphorical way to try and be balanced, and stay in the middle, rather than to be swept to the extreme right or extreme left. It’s like, judo, or koan practice in Zen, or playing “devils advocate” when elevating a saint.

Plus, if you ever DO have 30 minutes to watch that Ramayan episode where ram kills Ravan, Hindi with English subtitles,.. you will be amaze at two things,… the monkey army who helps ram (but remember the Neanderthal who lived beside humans for 50,000yrs) and then the very concept they have of missile warfare and also, that differences are settled by force… but then, reason offers a more permanent solution

But, in a weird way, what you had actually asked me was HOW IT MAKES ME FEEL/THINK, and I accurately gave the answer, but how I think is very different, illustrated by that old St. Johns video clip of professor Kline, as a young man with a confused student. I had Kline for a teacher when he was an old man
but that 10 minute clip is the essence of a St. John’s education.
Yeah, what the professor said at the end was right on. and an important question about ethics and economics the old Socratic/Plato question “gain is good” “might makes right” and then, the counter arguments.

BUT, whenever you have a chance, tell me how YOU feel about Moore’s movie clip. I would definitely watch anything that Moore ever makes, just like I would watch any episode of family guy i mean, he is a style and tradition like Lucy ball, and Jackie Gleason, abbot and Costello, Laurel and Hardy.

Friend1: lol I’ll try, but I don’t have 30 min for anything, even eating lol. Well, I enjoy Moore’s style from an entertainment standpoint

Me: yes, I know the pressure you are under.
There is a big BUT (not butt) lurking behind your statement

So lets hear the BUT.

You are to be much admired, and envied… I wish I had your gifts of social charisma, plus aptitude for numbers and business… but I am stuck with my gifts

Friend1: Yeah…BUT what irritates me is a lot of people take what he creates as canon.

Me: Well, that is EXACTLY what I was arguing… it is spin, rhetoric and some people just give up and become extreme right or extreme left instead of hovering dialectically in the middle way, with thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, the dialectical process, which is Socrates which is all Plato’s dialogues and liberal arts on Paltalk, a very devout Catholic lawyer/judge was whining about how everyone else has it all wrong in the church, but then how they are wrong to PUT HIM IN A BOX, since they don’t know his heart so i pointed out how HE HIMSELF puts everyone in a box/pigeon hole… but when he does it it is virtue
well, he got pissed, took even higher moral ground… argued some more, judged Pharisaical some more so I quoted that verse of Jesus “UNLESS you become as that little child, you shall IN NO WISE OR MANNER enter into heaven” and then I asked him IF he is making progress in approaching closer to that goal of becoming like that child.

Well, a child doesn’t judge and profile and I pointed out that IF one truly feels confidence in their faith and beliefs, and truly believes that with God all things are possible, then they will obey Paul and “not enter into vain and idle disputation” so, in the end the guy was crying almost and saying “Oh, I must apologize for having offended you and I MUST have offended you for you to say such mean things to me.”

And then I said, “you don’t GET it..” this is what I DO, it is called Socratic method… WHATEVER you argue, I prick your balloon and rain on your parade,… to keep you centered, and me centered

But, he will never get it… nor others like him, because they have a psychological need to constantly confront others and construe victory or unilateral agreement as the touchstone of their own correctness

Friend1: Well yeah…it’s a very natural reaction to defend one’s correctness…even if they truly know they don’t possess any in a particular situation

Me: But, you see, in Proverbs “he who digs a pit for others shall fall into it himself”. Whenever we profile and stereotype, we are digging a pit for others to fall into or we shove them into it. But as we sow, so shall we reap. An old Zen master said ‘the difference between heaven and hell is the breadth of one hair.”

This kind of WordPress blog, is so versatile, I can password protect,.. and one may re-read and add the reactions of many, over a period of days or weeks, and our understanding morphs, evolves, as we invest long periods of attention, discussion, re-reading, rather than just always “shooting from the hip” and its over in 5 minutes.