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Oct. 6 2009 - 9:58 am | 209 views | 9 recommendations | 69 comments

Michael Moore’s Problems Are Our Fault

Michael Moore arrives at an LA premiere of his latest film, 'Capitalism: A Love Story' in September 2009 (Kevin Winters/Getty Images for Overture)

Michael Moore arrives at an LA premiere of his latest film, 'Capitalism: A Love Story' in September 2009 (Kevin Winters/Getty Images for Overture)

That quote is the unintentionally revealing tip of an ego iceberg lying below Moore’s public persona of Mr. Aw-Shucks Everyman. Moore clearly sees himself as a liberal Atlas, shrugging under the weight of a ungrateful world. Yet, for all his self-regard and all the attention his work gets, Moore has really only made two films worth watching in his twenty year career: Roger and Me and Bowling for Columbine.via Joseph Childers – Ephemera Etcetera – Liberals to Moore: ‘Thanks, but we got this’ – True/Slant.

The reaction to Michael Moore’s new movie, Capitalism: A Love Story, reinforces a suspicion I started having a few years back: that most of us Americans are much better at being movie and TV critics than we are at being political organizers. When we come out of a film like this, we find ourselves focusing on the flaws in Moore’s moviemaking and not on the film’s content, which just happens to be the reality of our own day-to-day political existences.

We’re not thinking about how to fix our lives, in other words, but how to fix the movie about our lives.

Now, I agree with most of the criticisms of Moore’s new movie. One of my editors at Rolling Stone put it best: “I just wish I could edit him a little.” Moore’s bizarre decision to inject himself into the movie at odd (and sometimes crucial) junctures undermines his ability to be an effective propagandist.

I was particularly struck by the way he very effectively portrayed the sit-down strike at Chicago’s Republic Windows and Doors factory at the end of the movie, i.e. an example of real people with real problems really organizing to lift themselves up a little, and then leaped at the very end of the film to a bizarre non-sequitur in which Moore, a multimillionaire taking care of the artistic problem of how to finish his movie, asked the rest of us to “Join me” (me, Michael Moore) as he unfurled crime scene tape around the Goldman Sachs offices in a purely cinematic action.

I thought that was really strange and I had no idea what the hell he meant. How do I join Michael Moore in this movement? Am I supposed to watch the movie again? Absent of any coherent context or further explanation, the end-of-film injunction was almost comic, sort of like the old, “Me, Al Franken” routines on Saturday Night Live.

But let’s give Michael Moore credit. Most of the movie isn’t about Michael Moore. It’s about what’s happened to this country, how far it’s fallen, in the age of financial deregulation.

Even just looking at the historical context provided by Moore’s own movies, the progression is kind of scary. Back when Moore made Roger and Me, he was describing how blue-collar workers could no longer could find jobs to support themselves. In Bowling for Columbine he talked about the workfare programs we cooked up to keep those ex-employed blue collar workers alive, how brutal and inhumane those programs can be.

In Capitalism: A Love Story we’re now talking about how the compensation for professional jobs we used to consider upper-middle class, like the job of airline pilot, have dropped below subsistence level. This is a portrait of a society steaming toward a feudal structure.

He then shows that the mechanisms we’re supposed to appeal to to correct these problems — the combination of public awareness (i.e. the media) and the elected government (i.e. congress) — have been almost completely corrupted. We have a media that doesn’t pay attention to the fact that airline pilots are giving plasma in order to buy groceries. Even after deadly crashes, they don’t focus on the real causes.

I found most of the content of Moore’s movie horrifying. It was also striking to me that the theme he is addressing here, i.e. the rapid peasant-ization of most of the country, is basically a taboo subject for every other major media outlet in the country. The vast majority of our movies are either thinly-disguised commercials for consumer products (Law Abiding Citizen), remakes of old shows and movies designed to transport us back to the good old days when life was better (i.e. Fame) , or gushy nerf-tripe with no hard edges crafted to serve as escapist fairy tales for stressed-out adults wanting to dream of happy endings (Love Happens).

What we call a “good movie” is usually also escapism, and sometimes even also a nostalgic remake, it just happens to be well-done and expertly directed, with great production values and acting performances (I haven’t seen it yet. but I assume Where the Wild Things Are will fall into this category).

But we’re living in a time of extreme crisis almost nothing on TV or in the movies is designed to get us thinking about how to fix our problems. If anything, most of the stuff on TV is designed to jack up our anxiety level without offering any solutions except the short-term fixes of buying and eating — witness the endless reality shows in which ordinary people slave away and scheme against each other for weeks on end for a 1 in 12 shot at a (pick one) modeling job/date with a non-deformed, non serial-killing person/chance to be shouted at by Donald Trump.

Now that stuff is cynical and monstrous. It is my sincere hope that the people who are producing these programs will someday be tried and executed by war crimes tribunals at the Hague.

At least Michael Moore is getting us talking about the right topics. And while I get that the right way to start a revolution is not to wildly misinterpret the nature of capitalism in a coffeeshop conversation with Wallace Shawn (whose line about the grabber product was the funniest thing in the movie, by the way), well, it’s not really Michael Moore’s job to start a revolution. He probably thinks it is — and this is that “Atlas” complex fellow True/Slant writer Joseph Childers is talking about — but that’s only because nobody else out there, in the major media at least, is doing a freaking thing.

It’s natural for Michael Moore to behave like someone who thinks he’s taking on the world alone. Because he is, sort of. If we want him to stop behaving like this, it’s kind of on us to do something about it. At some point we’re going to have to make a commitment to giving up our escapist entertainments for a while while we fix our actual lives. I’m as guilty as everyone else, spending half my time watching movies and sports. putting off my problems until later. If we all did less of that, my guess is that we might start thinking less like movie and TV critics, and more like citizens — at which point the flaws in Moore’s movies won’t seem so bad at all. We might not even notice them.


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  1. collapse expand

    “We’re not thinking about how to fix our lives, in other words, but how to fix the movie about our lives.”

    I love you for this quote.

  2. collapse expand

    For the reality show competition producers being tried for war crimes, does that include Jann Wenner?

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    Yeah But…but…I don’t think the wall street crooks and banksters will be shaking in their boots over this movie…since they control the white house, the congress, the courts, the federal reserve…not to mention, wall street…

    …..the only thing they don’t control, is the internet content, and what comes out of the mouths of a few talk show hosts…

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    Cynicism is easier and I’m as guilty as anyone. The obvious answer is to move to the developing world where your dollar still buys more, you get universal healthcare and when the locals believe something crazy you can’t understand it anyway. Okay, so maybe that’s not the answer, but you do actually get universal healthcare here in parts of what was called the third world and it’s not bad for most stuff.

    God bless the people who stay and fight and maybe someday I’ll do like you did and go back, but it’s really difficult to discuss things like healthcare, economic inequality, corruption and the like with large groups of people who think the world is 6,000 years old and that limiting campaign finance is Communism’s enabling act – especially while a profit-driven media ratchets up the white noise (irony intended) in the background. Even the quasi-reasonable, educated crowd throughout places like the Sunbelt tend to only be more amenable to reason as long as you’re not rocking the boat TOO much. Woah there, sure there are problems with healthcare, but let’s not go overboard and do something we’ll regret. America still has the best healthcare in the world! Why just the other day, I seen on the tee vee where some Saudi Prince stepped over four blue collar Americans lingering outside the hospital with distended bellies and IV tubes dangling from their arms to get treated at one of our fine hospitals.

    We’re so far into “you CAN have your own facts” land that Moore’s not just tilting at windmills here, he’s leaving a Michael Moore shaped hole in the windmills and even the people who should be reachable have their ideological center bent so far toward the moneyed interests that it seems like getting anywhere is impossible. When half the country doesn’t vote and the half that does is split between downright mean and crazy people, people like most people here (me included) who count blogging, commenting and donating as their primary form of activism, and then a large, mushy center that doesn’t believe too strongly in anything unless it’s on TV more times than the other options in the month leading up to an election, what can you really do?

    I guess the answer is to get out and do the legwork and really organize a movement. Sounds time consuming, though, and it’s 9,000 miles away. Yesterday’s Daily Show just uploaded. Wheee.

    • collapse expand

      The American public at large has been pretty complacent since the end of Vietnam. Don’t rock the boat, enjoy your 401K, watch more TV, politics and religion are rude topics of discussion.

      We may have to go down to an even worse place economically before people wake up and take to the streets.

      No – wait; people DO take to the streets, but the MSM is slack on the coverage, with the right wing of the MSM poo-pooing (that’s putting it nicely) the lefty demonstrators and saying “Booyah!” to those on the right.

      So the internet is a place to start. I can say that catching clips of the Daily Show and blogging by people interested in facts and cohesive thoughts gives me hope (for an overused term) that momentum is building, albeit slowly.

      Here’s a trick I “discovered” for not watching so much of the boob tune: no cable, and move where the reception sucks.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Yeah, that’s part of the problem for sure – that’s part of what I’m referring to. When you research what’s actually gone on you find out, for example, that there were protests outside insurance offices in something like 150 cities the other day. I’m not bathed in cable news over here and I get most of my news via the internet, but I had to go find this information, which tells me that it’s not exactly widely covered. Meanwhile, every time some sister-fucking Real American and his buddy scribble mustaches on an Obama photo and ride their American flag-sporting Rascal down to the local park to show off their AR-15 and scream about taxes we get to hear about the “tea parties” happening everywhere.

        The whole spectacle really discourages activism and encourages well-funded and well-organized PR maneuvers, but that doesn’t mean that I count posting on the internet as anything other than yet another form of hollow outrage. The majority of people (myself included) are the equivalent of a Milton who doesn’t burn down the building at the end of Office Space. Some people are using it as a tool to organize and inform, but most of us are just two bit Howard Beales.

        Honest to God, after tracking what’s been going on with this legislation for the last six months as closely as any person who works for a living possibly can the only thing I can muster any concern over is making sure their absurd mandate contains an exclusion clause for Americans living abroad. Alan Grayson’s the most impressive thing the Democrats have put out there in months in terms of generating any energy and even he’s seemingly just protesting against the Republicans. I haven’t heard him note how awful the Democratic bill is, just how we should support The President.

        I’m cynical as Hell and I’m gonna continue to take it!

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  5. collapse expand

    I really want to like Moore’s films but I can’t get past the blatantly melodramatic scenes that he insists on including, like shouting “I’m placing you under citizen’s arrest” through a bullhorn to a ^@#* building. He serves a valuable purpose by keeping these issues alive, but his tactics too often make me cringe.

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      I have to agree with you and expand a little: Moore tends to let his own emotions get in the way of telling the story. As much as I appreciated “Farenheit 911,” the downfall of that movie was when he interviewed the mother of a fallen war soldier. His emotions/love for his home town (and country) got in the way, and the result was getting loose with the facts. From what I’ve read here, it’s more like not organizing and presenting enough facts, but i’ll have to watch the flick to judge.

      Moore does bring important topics to the fore. It would be great if he had connected “roger and Me” to this movie, but it doesn’t seem that happened.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  6. collapse expand

    I have a post coming out later today at http://www.thebigmoney.com/ that actually has a fair amount of overlap with your thoughts, but here’s the thing: Moore stopped this movie when it was convenient for him, which was to blame those in power, without asking who put them there. He’s asking us to join him, which is much easier to do than to turn the camera around and say, you know what, we did this to ourselves. He explained how the wealthy abused the power they were given, but not how we gave it to them. For a Catholic, I’m surprised he missed the rather obvious theme of guilt and redemption here. If Moore has any belief at all we’re a democracy, he needed to tell us that we’ve fucked it up, lay on some guilt, and explain how we can start fixing it. And as you say, it ain’t crime scene tape that’s gonna do it. On the other hand, if Moore thinks things so far corrupted that we’re not a democracy anymore, well then, he didn’t go far enough that way either, but in the totally opposite direction.

  7. collapse expand

    The main feeling I have after watching a Michael Moore movie is impotency. I love his storytelling style. I don’t mind his grandstanding because Moore’s usually entertaining and he’s right. I like his enthusiasm and passion for his topics.

    It’s probably my problem but I feel stoked to anger without a productive outlet. I do some volunteering and low level activism but it’s only a drop in the bucket of what could be done.

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    i haven’t seen it yet but can’t wait. tough to get to the theater anymore with a 3 year old at home.

    i was curious to know why you skipped over sicko while mentioning his work? did you not see it?

  9. collapse expand

    Matt, I agree with a lot of what you’re saying here, but I still have to quibble on a few points:

    I think people like me apply the techniques of movie criticism because it is, well, a movie. You don’t get a gold star for goodwill. One of the reasons documentaries have gotten more popular – and thus effective – in recent years is because people (like Moore) realized having Important Content wasn’t a license for half-assery.

    Regardless, my post wasn’t about aesthetics for the most part. It was about content – what content Moore choose, and how he presented and structured it. And he did a piss-poor job of that, period. If this was a legal case and he was trying to prosecute capitalism, then capitalism would’ve walked. This American’s Life “Giant Pool of Money” episode did a much better job explaining the crisis in a reasonable way. As I said in the post, we need explanation and ideas much more than we need scattershot emotionality right now.

    And I think it’s a little easy to take Moore’s word that he’s doing it all alone, and compare and contrast him with Hollywood fluff fare. Apparently, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Mark Achbar, Robert Greenwald, Morgan Spurlock, Eugene Jarecki, Charles Ferguson, Alex Gibney, Adam Curtis and Bill Moyers are figments of my imagination. It’s an insult to all these people to say that Moore is the only one doing anything. We only think of him first because he puts himself first – not the message.

    Having said all that, I am glad I watched the movie for at least one new revelation: a sickening 2006 Citigroup memo I’d never heard of, that basically describes the ‘plutonomy’ we’re living under in favorable terms, and points out how the party (for the rich) could end if steps aren’t taken. Everyone should see this document.

  10. collapse expand

    “Because he is, sort of. If we want him to stop behaving like this, it’s kind of on us to do something about it.”

    In other words, Michael Moore needs to keep doing exactly what he’s doing — because he has the ability — he could just do it a little more effectively. Many many people right now are in no shape to do much besides worry about their own future, whether that means next week or next year. This could change when folks have less and less to lose, but let’s face it, if anyone’s going to step and do something extraordinary about the situation, it’ll be a right-wing extremist.

    I appreciate your modesty, Matt, but come on. That “i’m as guilty as everyone else” is just ridiculous. You’ve been fighting the good fight for a decade (and success — with no less than Jann Wenner commenting on ClusterStock in your defense¸— hasn’t changed you), pointing out the absurdity/injustice the middle/lower classes live with but are oblivious to. Still you strike a balance by not indulging groups like the idiotic Truthers an iota and not demonizing the U.S. as a whole. Knowing you and the Daily Show are out there allows me to almost sleep at night.

  11. collapse expand

    Oh, Paul Smalera made a great point that I have to agree with, also. There’s way too much victimology in the film, and not nearly enough acknowledgement of how a lot of the crisis had to do with ordinary people’s greed as much as Wall Street’s. The sickness of materialism and me-first has spread to all classes, and Moore fails to recognize that in any meaningful way.

    Plus, Matt – you can’t tell me you’re happy with how he completely lets Obama off the hook! When he acted as if Geithner appointed himself, that was the last straw for me.

  12. collapse expand

    In reality Michael Moore is having the same problem as a lot of other people are currently experiencing. That problem being that there is obviously absolutely no difference between Bush/Paulson/Bernanke and Obama/Githner/Bernanke with regard to the economic crisis.

    The same can be said for Bush/Gates and Obama/Gates with regard to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Military-Industrial Complex.

    Moore is having a very hard time coming to grips with that reality. As evidenced by the fact that he chose to put the crime scene tape around the Goldman building instead of the Federal Reserve building.

    In short, Bush was a Corporatist masquerading as a free market Capitalist and Obama is a Corporatist masquerading as a liberal Democrat.

    That’s a very bitter pill for Mikey to swallow. And he’s having a hard time getting it down.

  13. collapse expand

    The one truth about modern politics that can never be refuted:

    Revolutionary dudes get politically busy in order to get laid.

    That’s the way the Boomers did it in the 1960s.

    Unfortunately, today’s legions of potential revolutionaries have been zombified by daily addictions to internet porn and X-Box. All hail Madison Avenue!

    So, Matt, here’s the plan: you and Roger go out and recruit a division of hot horny hippie chicks, and you’ll very quickly get an army of dudes to follow.

  14. collapse expand

    Slightly off topic: I haven’t seen the movie, but what is Law Abidiing Citizen a “thinly veiled commercial” for? I’m intrigued, because I can’t imagine what it might be just looking at the trailer.

  15. collapse expand

    “He then shows that the mechanisms we’re supposed to appeal to to correct these problems — the combination of public awareness (i.e. the media) and the elected government (i.e. congress)”.

    See, that’s the problem. To fix public awareness and the elected government is a long-term goal whose ultimate success is not guaranteed.

    At the individual level, what should have come out of this financial mess is for regular people to take a look at their finances and make a point of learning to understand them.

    What I mean by that is to do things like take a weekend to understand your credit card agreements and learn how your payments are calculated or look at your your mortgage papers actually say. In other words, learn to be a savvy consumer so that you don’t get suckered into signing bullshit that will lead to your bankruptcy.

    To publicly shame people isn’t going to do anything for someone that’s thinking of getting another credit card or buying a house. Douchebags will continue to be douchebags irrespective of how much people publicly shame them. That’s why I can’t really commend Moore for doing anything more than capitalizing on the current hatred people have for bankers.

    People can hate and trash the bankers all you want, in the hope that all the vitrol will lead to stricter regulation that’s actually enforced sometime in the distant future. But for the time being, the fact that most people have no freaking clue about their personal finances is nobody’s fault but their own.

    In short, what I’m saying is that I wish all this outrage would turn productive and result in more financial literacy instead.

  16. collapse expand

    I think you are right on Matt! It’s about time that people start seriously debating what went wrong, what is wrong, and what we can do to fix it in this country. Moore does a great job of inspiring this debate; however, we as a society should be considering alternatives to our conception of capitalism in light of the inherent instability our system yields. It should not take a movie to inspire us. Everyone is living with the damage inflicted by the economic collapse; yet absolutely nothing has changed. Government continues to govern in a manner which favors corporations at the expense of individuals. Your Goldman piece played a very important role in bringing this to light.


  17. collapse expand

    “..the combination of public awareness (i.e. the media) and the elected government (i.e. congress) — have been almost completely corrupted.”

    ALMOST??? Try completely, dood! But the fact of the matter is the American populace has been far too completely “Reananized” — proud of their blissful ignorance and far too afraid of seeming “unkewl” to ever actually discuss just how really bad things are.

    How many Americans under the age of 30, or over the age of 40, are aware of just what the minumum wage should actually be?? (Hint: $22/per hour, nimrods!)

    How many Americans are aware of the underpinnings of this financial meltdown? That’s it is really just beginning and sure to get much worse? (And no, it is not about the economy brought down by a small percentage of foreclosures!)

    How many Americans are aware that there are no “free markets” (never existed — just rigged markets and preferential treatment for China)?

    How many Americans understand that everytime an American job is offshored, so too is a chunk of the GDP?

    How many Americans are aware that individual fed tax revenues are down by 21% while corporate fed tax revenues are down by 58% (and 65% to 70% of corporations — starting at the uppermost size levels — don’t pay any fed taxes via “profit laundering” by way of offshore finance centers)?

    How many Americans are aware that President Obama has made the most anti-worker appointments possible? Beginning with the most despicable and anti-American worker scumbag, Diana Farrell?

    Why do clownish Americans conceivably accept the premise the Corporate America must offshore American jobs to communist countries (China, Vietnam, etc.) in order to “compete” (a euphemism for ratcheting up management’s pay and perks to the stratosphere!)?

    Ameritards just aren’t interested and won’t retract their heads from their posteriors until an event has individually impacted them, and then they are usually too far wasted to begin to comprehend…..

    • collapse expand

      The term in the second para. didn’t transmit correctly, it should be “Reaganized”.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      A piece of friendly advice, sgtdoom. Calling people names, whether deserved or not, doesn’t help convert people to your point of view.

      Not everyone is an enemy. Tone down the Ameritards and nimrods and you’ll probably find more allies than you think.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        NO, “not everyone” is an enemy, but today there are a considerable number of Americans who certainly do qualify as THE ENEMY!

        As someone who has performed thousands of volunteer (as in unpaid) hours of political activism, I can definitely attest that a rather large segment of American society qualifies for permanent eradication: they themselves view their fellow Americans as the enemy! They have sold us out, and will continue to sell us out in a minute — they are greedsters to the max!

        Name-calling is the least of their worries as things become worse and worse…….

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  18. collapse expand

    Join us:

    Lets get beyond a film or documentary.

    I think Mr. Moore means to say, Goldman Sachs, Inc is a crime scene, a continuous crime scene that makes light of things like, conflict of interest, professional misconduct, abuse of fiduciary trust, dishonesty in financial matters, hoodwinking the tax payer, and acting in omission or concealment, to convert other people’s money (in this case tax payer funds) into executive wealth or individual wealth for executives who work there.

    Moore’s film stops there. But as the credits have gone up, Goldman Sachs is still a corporate entity, that works night and day, trying to figure out how to deceive its former client (the American tax paying base), and give pretense of prestige while behind close doors, are busy acting to continue the course of cutting the U.S. tax payer, out of, THEIR share of the wealth, GS created, with client (tax payer) funds.

    This is likely a daily, ongoing, enterprise at Goldman Sachs. They probably have years of “professional” experience at it. It would not be surprising if executives and underlings and perhaps third party firms they hire, spend a lot of time and wealth, in this enterprise. Like other companies spend for advertising, Goldman Sachs probably spends an equal or greater amount, in the daily practice of deceiving tax payers, and trying fervently, to deprive them or their partnership-interest, in wealth, GS created, with tax payer funds.

    Executives and paid spokespersons for the corporation, will make light of their white collar criminology and criminally disposed corporate mindset. With Hubris, they may believe, this is enough to help them with their convoluted corporate mission.

    This ongoing, daily crime scene, is what, I believe, Mr. Moore is trying to say, needs to be lawfully and legally prosecuted.

    “JOIN ME”

    He may want people in the common, or legitimate prosecutors to act, to do what he is doing. Declare it a crime scene and conduct forensic accounting.

    Going forward: “JOIN ME.”

    Presume we are the Attorney General. We need a prima facie offense or crime, if we are to proceed in prosecuting the event. Prima facie meaning at first sight, or on first appearance, sufficient enough to proceed in a criminal prosecution; fact which is true on its face, by first appearance.

    Herein, we have the prima facie crime: Fraudulent Conversion. This is the primary offense of Goldman Sachs, top most executives, and many lower level or mid level executives at Goldman Sachs, Inc. It is also the prima facie offense at other large financial firms.

    If we are the Attorney General, we might ask can we add more offense to give the indictment more teeth? It so happens, there are many actionable offenses:

    1)Actual Fraud
    2)Constructive Fraud
    3)Fraud in Factum
    4)Professional Misconduct
    5)Fraudulent Concealment
    6)Intent to Defraud
    7)Fraudulent Conversion
    8)Abuse of the Elderly, where deception and fraud has served to mislead senior adult or adults.
    9)Group activity, group acting in common purpose.

    Fraudulent Conversion is a financial crime, where a financial manager fails to segregate funds from a client (the tax payer being a client, via U.S. government), instead commingles the funds with their own and then by concealment, omission or overt deceit, fraudulent converts other people’s money, into individual wealth for themselves; and for other executives at their firm. See item (F) below.

    In a nutshell, the following are some imperative laws (standing law) stipulating how to deal with undercapitalized firms. These are some of the (more important, “common sense” type) laws, you often hear Tim Geithner skirting around, when he is deceiving the public on behalf of large banks or members of N.Y. banking association. Common Sense Laws = Imperative laws = Required Laws, especially during economic emergency. High officers of the United States, CANNOT declare an economic emergency and forsake to uphold the following imperative laws, without injustice occurring:

    U.S. Code, Title 12, Chapter 16, § 1831 o Prompt Corrective Action (b)(2)(B)(i) and (d)(1)(A). Capital distributions (dividends) restricted.

    § 1831 o. Prompt Corrective Action

    U.S. Code Title 12, Chapter 16, § 1831 o. Prompt Corrective Action (i)(1) and (i)(2)(A)(B)(C)(D)(E)(F) …Restricting activities of critically undercapitalized institutions: To carry out the purpose of this section, the Corporation shall* by regulation or order– restrict the activities of any critically undercapitalized insured depository institution; and at a minimum (emphasis added), prohibit any such institution from doing any of the following:

    (A) Engaging in expansion or acquisition of competing firms
    (B) Extending credit for any highly leveraged transaction
    (C) Amending the institution’s charter or bylaws.
    (D) Making any material change in accounting methods.
    (E) Engage in covered transactions.
    (F) Paying excessive compensation or bonuses.

    = = = = =
    “Join Me”
    = = = = =

    A simple way to interpret Mr. Moore’s closing note, would be to “join” in the prosecution. To put into motion some action. “Join.”

    This can be accomplished lawfully by creating a petition, that common people can use as a template, and send to news agencies, in mass number, protesting the glorifying or mentioning of information, produced by these companies, because of their criminal acts, which petitioner can present, heretofore, have gone under prosecuted. (similar idea)

    We all know how much financial firms depend on GE’s CNBC, to publish and mention their press releases on air. Their press releases are self serving of course. And so people who oppose Goldman Sachs, can direct appropriate indignation at those news outlets, and try to petition in mass number, to bring a stop to their advertising and contaminating the airwaves.

    The petition would ask GE’s CNBC, media outlet and other business media or national media outlets, to stop talking about or mentioning the offending company or companies in question, and name the company or companies, as a corporation, which acts irresponsibly or deceptively as a corporate entity.

    Irresponsibly, for example: in failing to segregate their debts in our society, such that it creates, too much burden to the common people. Irresponsibly, might be, failing to segregate their debts and go to bankruptcy, so as to not impose on Americans in the country, who have paid their bills on time, or to impose on Senior Citizens in their community who have already endured the abuses of the Savings and Loan period and should not be punished a second time, for the financial sins of firms like, Goldman Sachs, Inc — IE: corporately irresponsible in their management practices. Socially and professionally reckless. A nuisance corporation.

    The petitioner can conclude with a statement about how traditionally such criminal enterprises or insolvent companies get thrown out of our society and in petition above, petitioner believes the company (or companies) named above, is such a social offender.

    Therefore the petition is made clear and no profanity need be used, so it may have a better change of being considered respectfully, and thus, begin to bring the company into more professional scrutiny which might lead eventually, to Attorney General acting to prosecute the company for their graft and deceptive practices. It could also result in closing off Goldman Sachs, Inc, from mention in the media.

    In this way the public can act, to protect the public, from offender agencies, which, fraudulent convert tax payer funds into executive wealth or lie about this business practice or pay “consultants” to lie about it.

    = = = = =
    “Join US”
    = = = = =

    What say ye Matt? You want to help write a petition like that. … Its functional. Its grass roots. It is as potent as grass roots can be, without brandishing wheat harvesting cleave.+=-) And people can send it along, any time they hear the foul name. Copy and paste, click. Functional.

    • collapse expand

      See also:

      U.S. Code Title 12, Chapter 16, § 1831 o Prompt Corrective Action (f)(2)(F) The appropriate Federal banking agency shall* carry out this section by taking 1 or more of the following actions … (F) Improving management. … (i) New election of directors. Ordering a new election for the institution’s board of directors. (ii) Dismissing directors or senior executive officers. Requiring the institution to dismiss from office any director or senior executive officer who had held office for more than 180 days immediately before the institution became undercapitalized.…

      *The term ’shall’ above in this legal context, is used to denote a mandate. Legal mandates denote required action and if not performed result in an attempt to defeat imperative laws.

      When applying weightier provisions of 12 USC 1831 o Prompt Corrective Action, the law seeks to apply lessons learned from careful study of Savings and Loan problems. The Savings and Loan problems also, stem from real estate boom of that time. ["Imprudent Real Estate Lending" http://www.fdic.gov/bank/historical/history/vol2/panel3.pdf Page 57, paragraph 4, "The banking problems of the '80s and '90s came primarily,… from unsound real estate lending."] It is helpful to note the real estate boom and lending fiasco appears to have started in the United States. U.S. Banks tried leveraged buyouts (LBOs) and Latin American loans. But the largest growth in lending was in new loans for commercial real estate.

      The weightier provisions of 12 USC 1831 o, were made into law as a result of this time consuming study. The laws were adopted and signed into law, to protect American people from financial lapses and misdeeds of executives, boards of directors, and yes CEOs made Treasury. They were designed to protect Americans who are not in office, from: fraud, incompetence, investment mistakes, bad faith acts, youthful experiments, guile and chicanery – emitting from large and small corporations, and specifically, financial firms.

      These many failures and short comings which manifest during the Savings and Loan era, were problematic because the FDIC was to guarantee depositor funds at such institutions that were being poorly managed, or, mischieviously managed. They were also problematic because the government did not have shielding from offenses, or repetition of many offenses from the most mischievous of the actors.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      For the love of capitalism, fill in the blank … _____________.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      It implies that one thinks the system works, because only a working system would accept the results of a petition. Petitions are the Free Speech Zones of the internet.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        “It implies that one thinks the system works, because only a working system would accept the results of a petition. Petitions are the Free Speech Zones of the internet.”

        How do you arrive at that conclusion? On the contrary: Petitions, can imply or actually state, offensive behavior. Irresponsible corporate behavior. Graft and the like, in support of banning a certain company or in support of recognizing them is corporately irresponsible, or corporately criminal in their denials and unfair business practices. Petitions can also be used to expand a social concern, push for prosecution of the greater offenders (of which Goldman Sachs, Inc is one) and present fair warning to higher offices, such as Attorney General offices throughout the country. This last depends on how committed people are to bringing about justice or prosecution, and “imply” that if the Attorney General will not prosecute or acts to protect the offensive, criminal acts, he/she is acting irresponsibly, in that role, a type of dereliction being possible, such that, it leaves the common feeling bereft and forced to absolute despotism, to seek justice outside of that traditional office, which has traditionally served its employer base, which is the tax payer (the 99 percent). Petitions can also be used to gather intelligence, about how an office or representative, is going to act, when confronted with documents and testimony, in belief or conviction, denoting a crime has occurred, and that high up corporate executives have acted in that offense with high up government officials.

        The intelligence gathering result (as for a group of people who are thinking about joining a patriotic endeavor such as freeing the nation from tyrants), can mainly and peaceable be accomplished after a concerted petitioning campaign has been extended by a large number of the populace. Then and mainly then can we (the 99 percent) say with certainty, if the Attorney General or our representative, believes, they works for us, (as the payer of their paycheck), or for someone else (like the top 1 percent). There are other intelligence pieces of information that can be gathered in this focus, such as, observing the reaction of our representatives.

        That is to say in addition to writing GE’s media network and other media outlets: Petitioners can also be lawfully encouraged to CC (to send copy of the petition) to their representative, and their state’s Attorney General asking the offenses such as Fraudulent Conversion making definition of same, or Constructive Fraud, be taken seriously, and be prosecuted under federal statutes, as criminal offenses, committed by a small group of high-government officials and their former colleagues (outside of our government – in the private sector), and as such, merits recommendation by that representative or states Attorney, for High- Prosecution; stern reaction from the United States Attorney General (due to the fact that high government officers have been essential to perpetrating the crime, defined above), etcetera.

        Petitioners can ask a second time, the offense be taken seriously, and prosecuted as such graft, involving two or more persons, yet being effective only if the criminal enterprise manages to occupy a higher office in government. Without this key office, the offense could not take place. With this high office acting, overtly, in the offense, it brings the offense Fraudulent Conversion up to a substantial level that merits being taken seriously; and higher level of criminal prosecution.

        This moves the concern of the common, beyond their representatives and into the judicial branch. Moves for the high office of Attorney General for the United States, to act in accordance with the mission and charter of that office. That is to say, the common is acting to petition law enforcement and the judicial branch, as well as the legislative branch. As such, moves beyond media outlets and their representatives. Becomes broader in scale.

        Petitions can also be escalated into paper format, as a second stage of action, to bring it outside from the internet if that is preferred because of the impression you mention (expat) being quarantined to a free speech zone online. Do you have support for this idea btw (asking in good accord)?

        Taking the petitions outside the internet, exemplifies a practical action, functional, as statesmanship (being proud for the country and the commoner in that country), which adds a dimension to the grass roots activity. Action is also functional that elevates the seriousness of the offense and makes such petitions, many fold, requesting that the matter of prosecuting Goldman Sachs, Inc executives, be carried forward to the United States Attorney General with recommendation that this high office, bring the matter to criminal prosecution, because of the substantial nature of the offenses.

        That the offense itself, and in partnership (silent agreement) with large banking corporations, would traditionally be in bankruptcy court by now, makes it a beacon cluster of mischief that merits this very high prosecutor to prosecute the offense as group activity, and treat them as criminal elements, with prison terms being sought by the United States Attorney General.

        Petitioner can present in vigor and with veracity, that such offenses will likely occur again, in their lifetime, if such offenses are not criminally prosecuted. Give example of the Savings and Loan problems which also stemmed from “bad lending practices,” (same offense – absconding tax payer money, acting in the prima facie offense of converting tax payer funds, into executive or individual wealth, relying upon falsehood and bad faith acts, concealments, and omission to perfect the criminal acts – buying off people who have an interest in helping them perfect the high-finance-crimes) such that it presents a threat to the common. What news agencies often call “systemic risk,” is actually a threat to fundamental freedoms and rights to pursue happiness, of common people in the country (an affront to same) a threat – a very real threat that only prosecution and prison to offending agencies, directors and board members, can cure.

        Petitioners can add another element in the second phase: Proof of conflict of interest. We have proof of this, when noting the conflicted interaction that occurred during that time. [ Paulson’s Calls to Goldman Test Ethics http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/business/09paulson.html Paulson, Goldman CEO spoke often in heat of crisis
        http://www.reuters.com/article/ousiv/idUSTRE57728L20090809?sp=true ]

        Petitions can also add several platforms, from which their concern is authentically and firmly based. Such as
        a) Transcript of representative in Congress, giving testimony that he or she believes, he, and others, were lied to. (Amounts to Lying to Congress. This adds an element of seriousness to the offenses and conflict of interest in question.)
        b) legal statutes denoting the offense in question/ case law where similar acts in U.S. History have been prosecuted
        c) other documents, when presented as testimony or support, serve to produce ACTUAL EVIDENCE (in a court of law) of the offense in question. Testimony of an offense by a Congressional representative, becomes evidence in a trial. And it is such evidence, as is sufficient to secure convictions.

        When added to other documents like phone records and known deceits – and explaining that there are probably other deceits that have not been discovered due to concealments and efforts to destroy records, which are commonly part of these specifically criminal enterprises, the known deceits and known offenses (as defined above), and known conflicts of interest, need to be taken as serious in their actual appearance; on their face.

        Petitions can be effective, if a massive number of people are writing their own, or using a template to draw ideas from. The key is “join me.” The key is to organize ourselves in prosecuting this crime scene. Bringing together the function and initial stages in assembling men, to bring about justice, either by OUR lawful stewards whom WE pay salaries of (PAID IN FULL), or by new guards as our forefathers wrote about, line 8 of the original Declaration.

        “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces…”

        “JOIN US”

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  19. collapse expand

    I’m not sure what fixing or fighting the system hand in hand with comrades can do when a huge number of comrades are feverishly foaming at the mouth to be the monsters of capitalism MM loves to mock. We live in a world where women fork over huge money for purses with letters on them and if they can’t afford it buy fake ones in order to look like they can. Everything is for sale and is it really the seller’s fault? Sexual titillation, bigger cocks, high cheekbones. Pharmaceuticals because people are idiots about health. Maybe we deserve soulless capitalism. I look forward to the film that makes fun of men who pay for fake tits on screen, women who buy those tits and everyone else who thinks salvation can be purchased. They (we) are the ones at the root of it. Though, yeah, Goldman and other similar creepies are a hoot to mock.

  20. collapse expand

    as if you didn’t know, Mr Taibbi, you inspire people. People who are probably much smarter than they sound in the comment section of your posts. the fact is, if at least 70 percent of Americans continue to be somewhat comfortable (with OMG almost 10 percent of our population jobless and only living off unemployment, their spouse, their parents), we’re much better off than most of the world and should be happy to enjoy celebrity gossip and reality TV. Just trying to keep it in perspective here. A lot of happy idiots running around and [insert god here] bless em that they’re not violent.

    • collapse expand
      deleted account

      Pardon the fuck outta me, but where did you get your stats Mikey? 70% of us are happy idiots content to take it up the ass while we eat peanut butter and jelly for the fifth time this week and ride our Big Wheels to work? You need to get out of the house once in awhile and off the damn computer. People of all socioeconomic groups, including the clueless, are petrified. That in turn makes them/us really, really mad. You apparently are still tuning into the MSM for your news and entertainment. They WANT us to think the majority is okie doke with the status quo. Witness the above post where people demonstrated outside insurance offices in 150 cities and there was nary a mention on any media outlet bigger than a bread box. Witness also the shortage of bullets this country is experiencing. I really don’t think there’s going to be a big bunny slaughter anytime soon, do you?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  21. collapse expand

    I haven’t seen the film yet but appreciate this “fair and balanced” review stating the good and the bad. Moore doesn’t always get it all right, but he gets enough of it right and there isn’t a single low to middle income worker out there who isn’t a flaming retard Republican who won’t recognize himself.

    I’m almost afraid to see this checkup for the American way of life. The American dream of “anyone can make it” has probably been dead for about forty years for the vast majority of workers. (According to Krugman, middle incomes have been flat for that length of time.) All the while the top 1%-10% have gotten wealthier and greedier.

    And yet, every average joe character in teevee land, no matter their source of income, lives in a gorgeous, expensively attired apartment or house, and never wants for anything.

  22. collapse expand

    I don’t think the anguish is necessary. The public is slow to awaken, but it will awaken. There’s a critical mass point when the reality of the shit being piled on the heads of the underclasses will break through the denial/distraction containment system (which is already trembling under the strain and leaking around the patches), and fury will erupt.

    The way things are set up, a huge third party populist movement could eventually break out. The question is what form that movement will take. As I’ve said before, my concern is that anti-Semitism will be coming along for the ride.

    • collapse expand

      Unfortunately, the ‘movement’ if there is any at all, looks like it will take the form of an act of domestic terrorism by the right (instigated by the pundits). This will then cause a severe backlash to any anti-government movement, no matter how peaceful. That nice, populist movement is too comfortable and fragmented. Have you taken your money out of the bank yet?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Actually I don’t think it will be a ginned-up bullshit tea party uprising, and I don’t think any Beck/Fox/Limbaugh/Palin-inspired looney will stop it. It will be a real-deal reshaping of the political landscape, led by a populist third party, simply because the public will be in a blaming mood, and will no longer believe the current parties can or will fix the problems they were involved in causing.

        And the evangelical and ultra righties aren’t going to fare well politically. They wed themselves to the deregulated capitalism and class entitlement and authoritarianism that’s responsible for the mess, and they’re sure to catch a share of the blame and the hostility.

        After the Great Depression, the public mood swung left and became politically socialist. I expect that to happen again with a new populist movement. I think that’s why the right is coming unhinged — they smell it coming, and they’re willing to burn the house down first if they can, rather than lose power and dominance. I think they’ll totally fail in their efforts and will become marginalized with the emergence of a new, more socialist-leaning movement.

        But “socialist” doesn’t mean irreproachably virtuous. When emotions run high along with protectionist sentiment, and scapegoats are sought and blame starts being passed around, racism and bigotry can flourish.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          I hope you’re right about a third party. Are you working toward that goal? I’m not, nor is anyone I know working on or running for or getting excited about a viable independent party. Granted, working my ass off to get Obama elected has left me a bit jaded. You seem to think people will get fed up. I don’t think anything will change. The powers that be are incredibly entrenched. As I see things, between Bush and the collapse of the economy, we’ll be lucky to get back to the state of union circa 2000 (post-Internet bubble).

          In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            I don’t think anyone has to work toward it as a goal. It’s the kind of thing that will happen organically and spontaneously, no matter if people are working toward it or against it. Deprivation, hardship, and hunger have a way of turning even hard shell right wingers into socialist-leaning populists.

            In response to another comment. See in context »
  23. collapse expand

    Now that stuff is cynical and monstrous. It is my sincere hope that the people who are producing these programs will someday be tried and executed by war crimes tribunals at the Hague.

    Let’s get that on a ballot.

  24. collapse expand

    Buy opium from Afghanistan

    Gene Tinelli

    Our current strategy for Afghanistan seems to have boiled down to three risky options.

    Going all in by increasing troop strength and nation building will result in more casualties and be hobbled by a corrupt and incompetent Afghan government. We tried that at the beginning of our war in Vietnam. It failed.

    Prolonging the status quo without a troop strength increase keeps us in a prolonged, slow-bleed situation, increases the number of “accidental guerillas,” makes our forces targets of opportunity and has no successful end game. We tried that in the middle of our war in Vietnam. It failed.

    Finally, scaling back to engage simply in counterterrorism operations and giving the Afghan army/police a much larger role will give control of the countryside to the Taliban and reduce us to occupying cities. We tried that at the end of our war in Vietnam. It failed.

    It appears that our thinking is locked into only lose-lose options and that the game is out of our control.

    In the 1983 movie “War Games,” we are locked into a super computer-directed doomsday scenario game that can’t be stopped, the end result of which will destroy the world in a nuclear holocaust. The lead character, David (Matthew Broderick), who accidentally started this mess, realizes the only way is to create a paradigm shift and give the supercomputer a new game to play (tic-tac-toe), which ultimately teaches it the concept of futility, which shuts down the original deadly game. Better to play a nice game of chess.

    How can we change the game in Afghanistan?

    People like to make money, and the supply and demand cycle of the free-enterprise system is the most efficient and least dangerous way to do this.

    To quote Fredric Bastiat, “When goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will.”

    Let’s make the Afghans an offer they can’t refuse. Buy their farmers’ opium and sell it to international pharmaceutical companies who need opium base to make analgesic medications.

    Opioid-based analgesics (e.g., Oxycodone) have been in short supply because pharmaceutical companies have difficulties getting enough legal raw opium to make these prescription medications. This results in more human suffering.

    Afghan farmers are one of the world’s largest illegal suppliers of opium.

    Our present policy is to poison their poppies, increase opium’s price and leave the profits to those who would create terror and fanatical oppression.

    We could change the game by setting up a free market system to buy raw opium and sell it to pharmaceutical companies. The reasonable and stable prices Afghan farmers would get should entice them to be our allies in a saner social and economic system and, since money usually trumps ideology, many insurgents would follow the money. Everybody from tribal leaders to the American government could get a cut of the profits. Rather than our military personnel going into the mountains to set up remote bases, those Taliban and Al-Qaida who would abhor this would have to come out of the mountains to try to destroy this system, an ideal situation made for our Predator pilotless aircraft and United States military snipers.

    Buying Afghan opium is a capitalistic paradigm shift that even filmmaker Michael Moore would endorse. The only losers would be those who still support our anachronistic war on drugs policies.

    We are currently lost in an Afghan game of futility and we must step out of the self-made box in which we’ve put ourselves. As Walt Kelly’s character Pogo said: “We have met the enemy — and he is us.”

    • collapse expand

      You are hopelessly lost in the morass and approaching the situation in a typical predatory capitalist fashion.

      The fact of the matter is that when Zbigniew Brzezinki (back in the Carter administration) began moving Islamic fundamentalist extremists to the northern border of Afghanistan (with the help of his Saudi buddies) to entice the Soviets into Afghanistan, he was unleashing the absolute forces of ANTI-PROGRESS.

      (The ’stans, once under Soviet dominion, have also contributed to this anti-progress movement, along with the Western and Saudi-supported Mujehedin (now Taliban) and al Qaeda).

      Now as bad as the old Soviets were, they were still a force for progress, of sorts.

      Now we also have, over the past thirty years, the monumental ANTI-PROGRESS forces of Wall Street.

      So now we have to humongous forces for ANTI-PROGRESS, with no end in sight —- nor any countervailing forces.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  25. collapse expand

    Great post, Matt. As per usual, I agree with most of your assessment here. To put it in other words – the echo chamber regarding this film deals with “style” and not content and the reasons for that do say a lot about our society.

    I highly recommend reading the New Yorker review of the film. This review is indicative of many I’ve read. Try to punch a whole or two in the logic (and fail), critique style, and ignore any real assessment of capitalism. There’s nothing better than some Ivy League dick with a journalism BA accusing Michael Moore of cookie-cutter Marxism just because they took an introduction to Philosophy course in college and read “introducing Marx” once. The point is they don’t understand our economic system, don’t want to, and no documentary no matter how well done is going to force them to do so.

    At the end of the day and all the actual stylistic and ideological problems aside, I think Michael Moore is a good thing. If you told me ten years ago there’d be mass produced documentary that says some bad things about capitalism in America I’d say you were crazy. While angry liberals, Moore and company included (see the list of the commenter – though I think Adam Curtis does fit in there because he really knows his shit), will never actually change America, at least they’re pushing debate in the right direction.

  26. collapse expand

    We’re fiddling while America burns.

  27. collapse expand

    Wait a minute. You guys want to debate Michael Moore’s fuckin’ mis en scene….?

    Jesus H. Christ, I don’t think he’s ever implied an aspirationt to be Elia Kazan or Otto Preminger, has he? Get a grip!

    I suspect he’s simply trying to stoke the public consciousness (perhaps as likely that of the red state, mouth-breathing, God N’ Guns welfare pukes who consistently vote agains their own economic interests as anyone else’s) of the gang rape this nation has been enjoying lo these past 16 years or so.

    And that CITIGROUP memo…….whoa. Reading it about made ole Oz hurl the N’awlins BBQ shrimp dinner his beautiful, sweet, wonderful, beautiful wife just made him.


  28. collapse expand

    Wait a minute. You guys want to debate Michael Moore’s fuckin’ mis en scene….?

    Jesus H. Christ, I don’t think he’s ever implied an aspirationt to be Elia Kazan or Otto Preminger, has he? Get a grip!

    I suspect he’s simply trying to stoke the public consciousness (perhaps as likely that of the red state, mouth-breathing, God N’ Guns welfare pukes who consistently vote agains their own economic interests as anyone else’s) of the economic gang rape this nation has been enjoying lo these past 16 years or so.

    And that CITIGROUP memo…….whoa. Reading it about made ole Oz hurl the N’awlins BBQ shrimp dinner his beautiful, sweet, wonderful, beautiful wife just made him.


  29. collapse expand

    As always, Matt, you’ve delivered by far the most complete and accurate commentary I’ve seen on a subject.

    Of course Michael Moore feels like he’s alone. When a lot of us are taking on lonely battles, we definitely feel like we’re alone, and if we don’t act like we’re at least slightly egotistical about how much we are doing or the fight we’re taking on, we’re going to go insane. That’s natural.

    I met Moore recently and I told him it was an honor to meet him, but really it’s an honor to meet anyone who takes on these fights, or to be one of those people. But it certainly doesn’t feel like it when you’re the one fighting, as I’m sure many of us can attest.

  30. collapse expand

    I like what you write. I have read your articles and books. I have read the article on goldman Sachs and the latest on Naked Shorts, having bought copies of rolling stone, something I have not done in a ling time. I am driven crazy by your articles and this blog because of your failure to investigate how we have been coopted into the kind of complaisance that has resulted from that DAMN 401K law and we have been pushed into the stock market against our wills for our retirement. If you want to know why there is no out cry against this kind of stuff look to that law and its consequences.

  31. collapse expand

    I just can’t help falling deeper and deeper in love with Mr. Taibbi. Well done, man. And even with all the influence you so obviously have…you manage to deliver interesting, relevant, well-developed pieces without much ego or narcissism. :) Love, love, love, love you!

  32. collapse expand
    deleted account

    Moore’s movie got more than a few people – even people who haven’t seen it yet – talking, and thinking for a change.

    I believe that’s enough by itself to warrant calling it a successful effort.

  33. collapse expand

    Moore – the liberal, liberals love to hate.

    I think people feel if they hate “Moore” it shows how “serious” and “rational” they are. By hating Moore they show that they are not of the so-called Chomsky-loving wingnut crowd, but the more serious “Tom Friedman” sort. The pragmatic, realpolitik, types. The type that though believing in peace in their hearts, has no trouble finding good reason to lob cruise missiles at the next convenient “enemy” (also often known as the “cruise missile left”). The same people that think NPR is giving them the hard hitting truth.

    I’m not saying that Moore isn’t oft full of crap, but you are dead on in pointing out how a flawed response is better than no response, and frankly it takes a few screws loose these days to get jazzed up enough to make a difference.

    So, have at it Moore, `cause those disparing you aren’t doing diddly to make the world better (nor am I for that matter but…). Same goes to you Matt – it’s damn nice to hear liberals saying it how not only it is, but how it feels.

  34. collapse expand

    Matt, you’re a good-hearted guy who happens to write about particular financial flashpoints; you’re a specialist who explains various Wall Street esoterica. Michael Moore is a good-hearted guy who happens to make movies about the evolution of the economy; Moore is a generalist who connects the dots to form a broad image of our society. What you refer to as Moore’s ego is simply Moore placing himself in the big picture. Moore’s call to action at the end of ‘Capitalism’ stems from his realization that each one of us is part of the picture and if we want a different picture, we each must see/speak/act. The ‘Rolling Stone’ editor you quote can dream on, dream on…and you should thank your fellow editors at ‘Rolling Stone’ for supporting your own shtick.

  35. collapse expand

    Television viewers are not monolithic, and so do not think as one simply because they are served up a fresh batch of trash every day. Allow me to defend reality program consumption using the paraphrased Russell Simmons defense (with which I totally agree): these shows are on based on a market that demanded them. They are a reflection of culture, they are not shaping culture. To say so is to devalue our choice and the nuances within our massive, majority population. If there’s any difference between watching Judge Judy, and watching Sunday football, please do illustrate it for the world.

  36. collapse expand

    It’s such a uniquely liberal thing to get tripped up on writing things off that don’t live up to certain stylistic standards. (Especially for us kids of the 80s, who get embarrassed too easily.) Republicans aren’t distracted by these things as much, because they have no style.

  37. collapse expand

    It does seem troublesome that people have a difficult time seeing around these problems, to some solution. The problem sits deeply within us, it is not altogether something that has been done to us by others.

    I think solutions here will not come from people on TV. We have to reexamine ourselves, and what it truly means to be living amongst other human beings.

  38. collapse expand

    White America is like a child. A child with power but a child nonetheless.

    Mike Moore’s movie, this piece and the comments are just another exhibit in a seemingly endless string of examples demonstrating this fact.

    Ever since the white American working class sold out the Black American working class with slavery, the whites have been getting their asses kicked by the rich. Was so in 1700. Is so in 2009.

    Too bad Mike and Matt spend a lot of film and ink on everything but this lone fact.

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    About Me

    I'm a political reporter for Rolling Stone magazine, a sports columnist for Men's Journal, and I also write books for a Random House imprint called Spiegel and Grau.

    For Media Inquiries: taibbipress@rollingstone.com

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    Contributor Since: March 2009

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