October 4, 2009

Some thoughts on seeing "Capitalism: A Love Story."

Here's the scene in the lobby at the Sundance Theater as we arrived for the 4:35 showing of Michael Moore's new movie:

IMG_0216

"Dump ¢apitali$m/Join the Socialists." And, indeed, the movie was a big promotion of socialism. Capitalism is "evil" — Capitalism is a "sin" — we were told over and over. And if only all the downtrodden masses would see this truth and join together we could have socialism.

***

Amusingly, Barack Obama is presented — outright — as a socialist. We see a roomful of people exulting over the election night announcement that Obama has won and, in context, we're made to think that it's the downtrodden people celebrating that socialism has arrived. I don't think Obama really wants Michael Moore's help.

***

My biggest problem with the movie was that it was such an incoherent mishmash, and it wasn't edgy and funny enough to make up for that. There were whole segments that had nothing to do with problems with capitalism and that Moore seemed to use because he had footage with sympathetic talking heads.

There were some teenagers in Wilkes Barre, PA who had suffered a terrible abuse of their due process rights, and the fact that a for-profit detention institution was involved didn't transform what was a criminal scheme into a broader indictment of our economic system.

And there were the life insurance policies that companies take out on their [low level] employees. Maybe these shouldn't be permitted — and calling them "Dead Peasant" policies was kind of outrageous — but if they are wrong, we can make legislation banning them. We have plenty of regulation in this country that keeps us away from a completely free market, and we can procure that legislation if that's what we want. I was disgusted by the camera trained on the face of a boy who cried over the death of his young mother. The real villain there was asthma. It said nothing significant about capitalism, which made it grotesque exploitation to use that boy in the movie.

***

My favorite thing in the movie was the trashing of young math and science graduates who, instead of applying their talents to the benefit of humanity, went to Wall Street to design the complicated derivative securities that almost destroyed the economy. The closeup on an incomprehensible math equation was, for me, the most shocking image in the movie.

***

Moore shamelessly and repeatedly advocated the violent overthrow of the economic system. It was somewhat humorously or moderately presented — such as through the mouth of a cranky old man who was being evicted from his home — but it came across that Moore wants a revolution. He kept advising the workers — and the evictees — of the world to unite and shake off their chains.

***

The most striking thing in the movie was the religion. I think Moore is seriously motivated by Christianity. He says he is (and has been since he was a boy). And he presented various priests, Biblical quotations, and movie footage from "Jesus of Nazareth" to make the argument that Christianity requires socialism. With this theme, I found it unsettling that in attacking the banking system, Moore presented quite a parade of Jewish names and faces. He never says the word "Jewish," but I think the anti-Semitic theme is there. We receive long lectures about how capitalism is inconsistent with Christianity, followed a heavy-handed array of — it's up to you to see that they are — Jewish villains.

Am I wrong to see Moore as an anti-Semite? I don't know, but the movie worked as anti-Semitic propaganda. I had to struggle to fight off the idea the movie seemed to want to plant in my head.

168 comments:

Revenant said...

What is wrong with companies taking out life insurance policies on their employees? If I died suddenly, the company I work for would take a significant hit to its profits over the next few years. That's the kind of thing life insurance exists for.

Alex said...

BTW,

http://www.deadline.com/hollywood/hollywood-mixes-zombies-comedy-for-1-recipe-9m-friday-25m-weekend/#

It's a bomb. So hardly anyone is seeing it. I guess capitalism survives to fight another day!

Ann Althouse said...

@Revenant I don't think it is wrong, except insofar as it is a tax dodge (from what I have read, not from the movie). It's one thing to insure the big guys who are hard to replace, but why insure ordinary workers who are easily replaced? The reason seems to be a financial game that relies on tax consequences. The movie never explains that. We do get the message that companies are cold-hearted. But as to that, I don't particularly care. Business isn't a commune, and I would rather deal with a business, with its simplistic motives for profit, than with a commune.

Peter V. Bella said...

Moore, like many extreme far lefties, is an Anti-Semite. Contrary to popular belief, Anti-Semitism is not just relegated to the extreme far right.

Over the past few years I have met people from Michigan who have known Moore- some since he was young. None of them have a good thing to say about him. Everyone of them states categorically that he is extremely dishonest, unfriendly, and nasty.

Quixotic said...

Michael Moore is correct. Christianity is an ethics of sacrifice, which is incompatible with Capitalism, which latter depends upon an ethics of individualism or human flourishing. Christianity had it's greatest influence during the Dark Ages, with predictable results.

OhioAnne said...

I confess to not having seen a Michael Moore documentary made in the last decade. During my Master's classes, my teachers had a fondness for his earlier work. I found his treatment of most of those "common" people he filmed to be manipulative and its turned me off to his work since.

Alan M. said...

I would rather deal with a business, with its simplistic motives for profit

It is the "simplistic motives for profit" that explains why for-profit prisons are more likely to have abuses--a point you apparently did not comprehend.

blake said...

Althouse,

If the practice is created or encouraged by tax law, how is that not more the government's doing than a corporations?

To any organization--even a charity--money is lifeblood.

blake said...

Although, let me add, I'm not saying you're suggesting otherwise, just spelling out what seems obvious (to me).

Peter V. Bella said...

"Business isn't a commune, and I would rather deal with a business, with its simplistic motives for profit, than with a commune."

The sole purpose of business is to make maximum profit at minimum expense. Businesses can only be sustainable through profit.

I would bet that the hypocrite Moore laughs all the way to the bank with his profits at the suckers who see his movies, believe his BS, and fall for his frauds and charlatanism.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Althouse wanted to know if the movie was funny, well her description of it kind of sounded funny to me, in a disastrously made film kind of way.

Is this his Plan9 from Outer Space?

lucid said...

I think Moore, like many on the left, is a moral sadist, i.e. he wants to attack, hurt, and control other people whenever possible. But he is high-functioning enough to know that he needs an acceptable social excuse in order to do so. So he uses ideology as his cover. I think Katrina vanden Heuvel is quite similar psychologically. You will never catch either of these people being kind.

Paul Zrimsek said...

The closeup on an incomprehensible math equation was, for me, the most shocking image in the movie.

What? You can go into half the buildings on campus and see incomprehensible math equations. And the occupants of those buildings can come to yours and read things they probably won't understand either. Better quit shocking them!

Treacle said...

i would like to know how we will afford paying for that fat fuck's health care

Fred4Pres said...

I have not seen the film. Sorry, it will be on DVD or cable. But Moore seems to equate Jesus with Marx and that is definitely not the message of Christianity.

And capitalism, with all its flaws, is the system that has provided the most wealth for the greatest number of citizens ever. No other economic model comes close. Even the European models Moore loves are primarily capitalistic (or moving in that direction). The alternative socialist models do not work as well. Communism does not work at all.

JAL said...

I wasn't aware that Moore was a theologian. A parochial school student who thought about serving through the church -- that's what he says. (From the context I am not sure he was actually ever a post graduate seminary student.) He states he is a Catholic Christian (Mmmmm, wonder what the Anchoress' view is ....?)

From a NY Times interview:

Along with a moral imperative, Catholicism also gave a method. Mr. Moore idolized the Berrigan brothers, the radical priests who introduced street theater into their activism, for example, mixing their own napalm to burn government draft records. Their actions were a form of political spectacle that, conceptually, is Marxist—workers seizing means of production and all that—and it influenced some of Mr. Moore's best-remembered stunts.

I wouldn't trust Moore's theology. He seems to think it's the government's, or the insurance industry's, or the business world's job to "feed the hungry?" If something's going to be asked at the Pearly Gates I am sure it's not going to be asked of entities.

What does Michael Moore do? You know -- "walk and talk" test?

Jesus Christ was not a Marxist.

Expat(ish) said...

Ann - No offense to my fellow liberal arts graduates, but when you say:
My favorite thing in the movie was the trashing of young math and science graduates who, instead of applying their talents to the benefit of humanity, went to Wall Street to design the complicated derivative securities that almost destroyed the economy. The closeup on an incomprehensible math equation was, for me, the most shocking image in the movie.

What does that really mean? Do you remember any actual math equations?

I spend six months in an econometrics class learning the equation(s) relating public and private consumption rates for transferable goods/services. Very standard stuff and probably would look like witchcraft out of Numbe3s to you.

Also, is there an advanced standard for math/science guys that doesn't apply to lawyers or civil engineers or school administrators relative to the public good?

-XC

miller said...

I won't pay money to see any MMoore movie. He's despicable and I don't want my money earned through honest work to go to line his wallet.

chickenlittle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickenlittle said...

I think Moore is seriously motivated by Christianity. He says he is (and has been since he was a boy).

Yeah yeah, he also claims to be a life-long member of the NRA and to be pro-gun. Just like Andrew Sullivan claims to be a conservative.

Isn't it obvious that that some people just project the opposite of what they are as a foil?

I'm tired of intelligent people taking Michael Moore seriously.

Seven Machos said...

I'm sure that not-for-profit prisons have no abuse.

More generally, I don't understand how people can simultaneously be for Big Government and be outraged at a lack of due process and freedoms. Do they really believe that more Big Government will lead to better due process and more freedoms?

Finally, it sounds like a movie after Cedarford's heart.

LilyBart said...

"Christianity is an ethics of sacrifice, which is incompatible with Capitalism....."

Yes, but self-sacrifice, with free will. I've read the Bible and nowhere does God direct people to form large, centralized governments to attend to the needs of the poor and downtrodden. He directs each of us as individuals to look after our neighbors and those we come into contact with.

I think a lot of lovers of big government point to the Bible and tell us that Good Christians should support big government because big government purports to take care of people. But actually, big government more often takes money and liberty from people, enriching itself and increasing its own power and influence - it rarely actually improves the lot of the poor.

PatCA said...

"but it came across that Moore wants a revolution."

I saw Dr. Zhivago again this weekend, speaking of movies, and I understood it much better than I did as a child.

When I look at the tactics of the Moores and the socialists and ANSWER et al., I can't help but notice that they identical to those of the narrator of the film, Yevgrav, a Party man who helps destabilize the country so as to make revolution inevitable. I think conditions in our country would make a revolution like that of 1917 pretty much impossible, but yes I do believe some people want it.

SMGalbraith said...

Moore always (well, usually) reminds me of that Mencken quote (paraphrasing):

"The desire to save the world is often a cover for those that want to rule it."

What Churchill said about democracy can be applied to capitalism: It's the worst form of economic arrangement except for all those other forms that we have tried.

daubiere said...

did anyone chuckle at the fact that they had just paid money to a fat rich man and his financial backers (men in top hats no doubt) to sit in a for-profit theater in wealthy madison, wi, to get lectured about the "evils" of capitalism and instructed to "revolt"??

you should have torn the screen down, cut the theater managers throat and given all the box office to the socialists in the lobby. power to the people, right on!

im glad lefties are finally admitting that hussein obama is a socialist. the funniest thing is when they pretend to be offended when someone suggests this.

vw: mingle. do not mingle with socialists.

Kensington said...

I don't doubt the sincerity of Moore's Catholicism; he represents a lot of Lefty Christians who check their brains at the door for the sake of feeling extra good about their righteousness. They seem to think that wrapping their Leftism in Jesus gives them insurance against criticism.

Not that they have a monopoly on that odious aspect of religiosity, but any intellectually honest Christian would have to recognize that Capitalist societies do far more to improve the lives of the poor on the whole than non-Capitalist societies.

You'd think as Christians they'd want to focus on what was actually effective and not merely politically provocative, but that's the Religious Left for you.

I'm guessing those priests he features were all Jesuits, right? *Ptew*

LilyBart said...

Re: Bible / Christianity = sacrifice

The Bible also speaks out against living off the fruits of other's labors. In Paul's letter to the Thessalonians he admonishes, "If a man will not work, he shall not eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

One of the problems with Government charity is that it makes little distinction between people who are truly UNABLE to work and those who are UNWILLING to work.

What about the justice to those who work hard only to the government take a large portion of their income to support those who are able but not willing to pull their own weight? Or worse, to transfer money to people who would fraud the government (ie taxpayer)?

BJM said...

@Jason

I'm thinking it's his "Jaws: The Revenge"

Robert said...

Many of the folks celebrating the President's election WERE happy socialists. I do believe the President is a socialist, to the extent he has any grasp of economics. He is like most lawyers, scared to death of mathematics. As for Moore, Ms. Althouse may find him funny, but he is a jerk. It is a sad state of affairs that he is taken seriously.

Chip Ahoy said...

I don't think it's necessarily hypocritical to say Capitalism is

*eats donught*

bad while making and keeping millions of dollars instead of

*eats pizza *

giving it all away and spreading it around to people

* eats a plate of perigees *

in need, the way he would have government

* drinks a pitcher of beer *

redistribute wealth. Now, if he said, "making money

* eats a piece of cake *

is bad," then made a lot of money and held on to it, then

* eats a bbq pulled-pork sandwich *

that would be hypocritical. I believe Moore is a good

* eats half a chicken *

person, who, strictly judging by appearances, is saying

* inhales a bowl of cocoa puffs *

Help! Stop me, for I can not stop myself.

LonewackoDotCom said...

One of the more shocking Moore quotes was something he posted on his site maybe four or five years ago. Paraphrasing, he promoted the coming utopia with healthcare for all, with the utopia being facilitated by the declining numbers of white people.

Finding that and promoting that (instead of the false choice of FreedomWorks-style/Randroid loopiness) with the goal of discrediting him is left as an exercise. (I'll just wait here).

Florida said...

"Am I wrong to see Moore as an anti-Semite?"

Is mere criticism of Jews anti-semetic?

Let me ask the question this way: Is your cricitism of Barack Obama racist?

Just a few days ago, a parade of Jews came out in force behind the proposition that the rapist of a 13-year-old girl should be let free. Led by Harvey Weinstein, hundreds of Jews signed a petition demanding that Polanski be set free.

Some of these Jews argued that the rape wasn't really rape because it wasn't "rape rape" whatever the fuck that meant.

I noticed a lot of Goldbergs, Applebaums, Cohens and Weinsteins leading the parade of support for Roman Polanski. Lots of Jews ... certainly not all of his supporters are Jews, but they are certainly prominent. Should they not be named?

Should we not take note that they are Jews?

Deserved criticism, or anti-Semetism?

Noted Jew and Pajamas Media blogger Roger Simon noted the Jewish "situation" in one of his first posts on the Roman Polanski affair.

He said, and I quote:

"I’m feeling exploited again, angry at U. S. authorities for bringing this up after all this time and angry at Roman for not facing the reality of his actions. None of this, as my grandmother used to say, is 'good for the Jews,' especially at a time they have far bigger fish to fry."

Is Roger Simon an anti-Semite?

I haven't seen fatso's movie, and there's no way I'd give him one thin dime.

But I will say this, Ann: Criticizing Jews is not anti-semetic any more than you criticizing black people is racist.

You can't have it both ways, Ann.

madawaskan said...

Cedarford is going to Titus himself over this film!

garage mahal said...

Am I wrong to see Moore as an anti-Semite? I don't know, but the movie worked as anti-Semitic propaganda. I had to struggle to fight off the idea the movie seemed to want to plant in my head.

You just can't seem to find any racism whatsoever[!] directed towards the nation's first black president, but Michael Moore "might be" racist because he found some jewish bankers on wall street. Just make it a question[?][?][?][?], and you can literally say anything!

John Kindley said...

You know, I have to admit I was taken aback by the long line of Jewish names defending Polanski in the initial reports. That's just a fact, and an interesting one. It's also a fact, and an interesting one, that a disproportionate number of people convicted of crimes are black. It's also a fact that I've known many Jewish people and black people who I admire very much and who aren't bankers, criminals, or rape defenders.

AJ Lynch said...

Althouse:

That Wilkes-Barre judge corruption case was all over the Philly papers. Even their far left liberal idiotors and calumnists did not blame it on for-profit prisons [to the best of my knowledge].


wv = redigui

Kev said...

(the other kev)

My movie choice this weekend was Zombieland, and it looks like I made the right one.

Moore violates Rule #1 of that movie anyway.

AJ Lynch said...

I read the Michael Moore book where he blamed rich, white guys for everything. I believe it was titled something like "Rich White guys Suck". I read it just to see how & what the other side thinks. The book was lousy.

I just ordered Van Jones book on the Green [backs?] Economy for the same reason. I bet it sucks too.

I bet Meade went to the movie for the same reason- he knew the movie sucked beforehand but he gave it a fighting chance.

Bender said...

Jesus-as-Marxist-revolutionary liberation theology is hardly anything new. It was pushed for a long time down in Central America before JP2 (who knew a little something about communism) gave it the smackdown it deserves.

Mark said...

It's one thing to insure the big guys who are hard to replace, but why insure ordinary workers who are easily replaced?

"Big guys" who are "hard to replace" represent opportunity costs, i.e. people who make big bucks for a company.

OTOH, and especially depending on how the "peasant" dies, there are substantial financial risks to the employer vis a vis contractual commitments to dependents and potential lawsuits.

So no, I don't think taking insurance out for that is inherently evil.

(I did a heck of a lot of traveling to some dodgy places in my time; my employer had a policy on me, and I think it was justified.)

save_the_rustbelt said...

"And there were the life insurance policies that companies take out on their [low level] employees. Maybe these shouldn't be permitted — and calling them "Dead Peasant" policies was kind of outrageous..."

"Janitor policies" have been controversial for years, but no action from Congress.

The biggest problem is that the employees had no notice of the policy, which at the least is wildly unethical.

Businesses used to defend this by claiming the insurance funded death benefits, but that dog didn't hunt.

This is a million miles from key employee executive coverage, a whole different management and tax strategy.

AJ Lynch said...

I thought a insuance policy could not be issued without the approval of the insured??

Maybe Moore got his XXXXL knickers all bunched up for nothing.

chuck said...

Given the early history of Christian communities, I don't find it odd that Christianity could lead someone to socialism. I would go further and classify Communism as a Christian heresy, which I think accounted for it's moral appeal and widespread acceptance. OTOH, I think the traditional Christian understanding of human nature is much closer to reality than anything Marx dreamed up.

Joe said...

I can't figure out how taking out an insurance policy on anyone is a tax dodge.

While my company would be nuts to take out a policy on me, they'd be insane if they didn't do it for two non-management guys I work with. If one in particular were to pass to the great beyond, we'd be royally fucked.

MikeDC said...

My favorite thing in the movie was the trashing of young math and science graduates who, instead of applying their talents to the benefit of humanity, went to Wall Street to design the complicated derivative securities that almost destroyed the economy.

I find this a shockingly uncritical acceptance of socialist nonsense.

You're mixing intent and results. Certainly the scientists and mathematicians who went to wall street didn't intend to destroy the economy. Rather, it's still obviously true that applying their skills on Wall Street has the potential to vastly improve capital markets. More economic growth. Less poverty. And so forth. That seems to be a pretty clear "benefit to humanity".

Likewise, the scientists who seek to "better humanity" through pure knowledge have led to the development off all sorts of things we generally consider pretty injurious to humanity. Atomic bombs? LSD? A little known today but fairly ugly history of meticulously researched, statistically advanced eugenics studies.

I'm not saying science sucks or high finance is without sin, but a moment's thought gives the lie to the emotional propaganda (service to mankind vs. economic destruction) that really seems to be the sum total or Moore's "striking" point here.

Jen Bradford said...

Florida, you are misrepresenting Simon's complaint, which was that surviving the Holocaust was being presenting as a mitigating factor in the Polanski case. This preceded what you chose to quote:

"Suffering from the Holocaust is not an excuse for bad behavior – or perhaps even, as is more accurate in Polanski’s case – allowing your personal demons to be an excuse for that behavior."

It was not a question of his having garnered support from Jews in Hollywood.

Benjamin said...

"My favorite thing in the movie was the trashing of young math and science graduates who, instead of applying their talents to the benefit of humanity, went to Wall Street to design the complicated derivative securities that almost destroyed the economy. The closeup on an incomprehensible math equation was, for me, the most shocking image in the movie."

Mr Moore makes an equation shocking to someone who admittedly doesn't understand it. Effective propaganda. He could have just as easily made a line of incomprehensible contract law shocking to the audience (I'd use a line from someone's mortgage or credit card contract).

Why do you believe Moore here and assume that doing complicated mathematics on Wall street isn't beneficial to humanity?

Imagine all the great books that might have been written if so many great young writers didn't waste their talents on law. On the other hand, I'm sure many have been saved from injustice because a great writer became a lawyer instead.

While acknowledging that quantitative analytics was one of several contributors to the current economic crisis, it still does benefit society and the economy in many ways.

VinceP1974 said...

I wont speak for the Jewish religion but for the CHristian all I gotta say is, if God wanted Christians to outsource charity to government he would have told to have the poor see the Roman Empire for theri assisance.

What Moore is doing is trying to destroy somethign by its own values.

I refuse to let Leftists pain me in a corner because they think that somehow I am compelled to conform to their misguided understandi9ng of biblical christianity.

Also the Founders of this country were quite explicitly contemptuous of welfare at the Federal Level and socialism and they rejected them outright.

edutcher said...

Real simple; if the big, fat Communist pig gave a damn about the less fortunate, he wouldn't be a big, fat pig - he'd just be a Communist.

PS Just for funsies, what did Meade think? I somehow get the impression he wasn't as wowed as Althouse.

reader_iam said...

The sole purpose of business is to make maximum profit at minimum expense.

No. At least not the way that was expressed (and in some cases, at the very least not...).

It's also rather, um, ahistorical, depending on what businesses you're talking about, where, when, how and by whom.

vf: concons

I kid you not, and, well, I'll be damned.

LonewackoDotCom said...

Speaking about liberation theology, CISPES is back through things like this.

I'll just wait right here while we wait for the AthouseInstyPlex to take effective steps against such activities. Waiting... waiting... waiting... OK, I give up.

Quayle said...

Of course Christ's highest path has a basic layer of socialism, as the book of Acts records.

And I could support any current advocate of socialism that calls for more voluntary sharing.

But I will never support people that want to use the powers of government or the coercion of the mob to compel people into giving to others.

And I can’t support a return to forms of government planning and control of production that not even 20 years ago were so thoroughly discredited that only a stooge or fool would attempt to resurrect them.

Moore seems just like such a fool.

reader_iam said...

Am I correct in gathering here that people are stating that "key man" insurance has expanded rather broadly?

Seriously: Links requested (and, please, not back to Michael Moore). I was very familiar with the concept in the mid-80s to mid-late-90s, but have had no reason to look into it since then.

I wouldn't be surprised, necessarily, to learn of an expansion, unnecessarily or otherwise. (I'm also not opposed to "key man" insurance: It makes absolute sense in a number of scenarios.)

I don't typically ask others for links, much less to provide research for me (rather otherwise is the case, which no one of good faith here, or elsewhere or, most importantly, in real life can dispute). But in this case, I'd appreciate documentation-pointers and -backups for points being put forth.

Seven Machos said...

How could Jesus Christ have been a communist when he (ostensibly) wanted nothing to do with secular politics?

Bertrand Russell wasn't much of a political or moral philosopher but he sure nailed the communists when he pointed that communism is a nothing more than a modern, secular formulation of Christian doctrine.

You people who think Christianity is like communism have it woefully and stupidly the wrong way around.

Allison said...

For a great serious read on liberation theology, the marxist interpretation of Christianity, read Ratzinger:

http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/ratzinger/liberationtheol.htm

Mutaman said...

If you are going to call someone an anti-Semite, can you at least back up your slur with a few supporting facts. Disgusting!

Steven said...

Hmm.

The insurance companies are not in business to lose money. They're making damn sure that the premiums exceed the payouts on any form of insurance. They spend plenty of money telling companies how to make workplaces safer specifically to reduce payouts. And if the companies don't cooperate in making things safer, they have every financial incentive to leak that information to the media, unions, and OSHA to put other pressure on the companies in order to reduce payouts.

So, if a company buys "Dead Peasant" insurance for one of its workers (even as a tax dodge), the result is to give a large and powerful outside business a financial reason to pressure the company that bought the policy to keep that worker alive.

Florida said...

"Florida, you are misrepresenting Simon's complaint ..."

I'm not really trying to make a representation about Simon's complaint - other than to note he is making one against Jews.

I'm merely noting that Simon is a Jew and he is criticizing other Jews for, as you correctly point out, abusively using the Holocaust as an excuse to rape children.

My reminder to Ann is that merely because Simon advances this notion does not make him an anti-Semite, any more than her criticizing the President makes her a racist.

And criticizing Goldman Sachs doesn't inherently make you an anti-Semite.

Calling someone an anti-Semite; calling someone a racist; these are fighting words designed to shut down deserved criticism.

Won't work.

Seven Machos said...

Mutaman -- Why were the several facts cited insufficient for you?

LonewackoDotCom said...

I just chanelled Gogol, and I'm here to report that he's relieved that probably only 0.01% of Moore's audience gets the reference.

froogal said...

To the author of this review of Michael Moore's film: I wish you were a better writer. Your bad usage in almost every line was such a distraction that I couldn't continue reading. Would you like to get some writing help? If you continue writing such long blogs, it would be a mercy to your readers.

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seven Machos said...

Froog -- You should have kept reading. The stuff at the end was tremendous writing. Anyway, how come nobody reads your blog? I'm sure it's not the quality of the material.

EDH said...

Florida said...

Criticizing Jews is not anti-semetic any more than you criticizing black people is racist.

Althouse’s allusion to Moore presenting “quite a parade of Jewish names and faces” in a “movie [that] worked as anti-Semitic propaganda” makes me think she was calling-out Moore's invidious cinematic technique depicting Jews, rather than the substance of Moore’s criticism of any member of that group.

Plus, there is another crucial difference hidden in Florida’s comparison.

Actual racists use Obama's race to impugn him before their audience.

Conversely, it sounds as if Moore here is using cinema to identifying certain malefactors in order to impugn the race, in this case Jews, before his audience.

rcocean said...

I agree with Althouse. If large numbers of Bankers have Jewish names we shouldn't criticize them, no matter how much they deserve it. When faced between billions in lost Tax dollars and "uncomfortable" levels of what "seems like" anti-semtism, we should always choose what's most important.

And I think we should let Madoff go free, because otherwise it might make people uncomfortable.

GaspodeWoof said...

If Moore "cherry-picked" the bankers so that way more of them were Jewish in his film than the real-life proportion of Jewish bankers, I'd suspect him of anti-Semitism.
Similarly, there's nothing wrong with noticing that some of the movie types sticking up for Polanski are Jewish. But since Polanski, being Jewish and a movie guy, may well have had a high proportion of Jewish friends in film making, it would be wrong to draw the conclusion that Jews are "soft on rape." If Polanski had been an Irish-American poet, it would similarly not be surprising if he were defended by a proportionate number of Irish-American literary types; and that would by no means indicate that the Irish are "soft on rape," either.

Seven Machos said...

If Polanski had been an Irish... poet

An interesting thought experiment...

Alex said...

Cedarford, rcocean and Florida = 3 birds of anti-semitic feather flock together. How touching and sweet!

Life in the Fifties said...

Jesus is a compassionate conservative.

He said that we are our brother's keeper. He did not say the government is our brother's keeper.

Jesus did not wait for the government to pay for insurance, He healed the sick Himself, sometimes in spite of government (Pharisee) rules and regulations.

rcocean said...

ALEX is not only anti-semitic but hates blacks. Its true folks, Alex, is a a racist. His written any number of things that are hateful toward African-Americans.

Its well known, he''s a friend of Cederford. And you know what that means.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

Corporations aren't taking out policies on employees because they want them dead. So far as I can tell it's a tax dodge. They're using whole life policies, and as the balance increases they can borrow against it. And the benefits are tax-free. So the practice seems to be an artifact of the tax laws defined by the government that Moore wants to put in charge of everything.

In a zero-tax environment this would be a losing strategy, since on average the cost of the premiums would exceed the death benefits--at least if the insurance company has any actuaries worth their pay. Insurance companies aren't in the habit of paying out more in benefits than the collect in premiums.

Gary Rosen said...

There's no question Moore is antisemitic - when he was fired from Mother Jones in the '70s he gratuitously Jew-baited the publisher, Adam Hochschild. Also no question the Democrats are now more antisemitic than the Republicans:

http://tinyurl.com/ce9bf2

Shanna said...

Glad to hear Zombieland did well, because i really liked it.

edutcher said...

GaspodeWoof said...

Similarly, there's nothing wrong with noticing that some of the movie types sticking up for Polanski are Jewish.

You're telling me Whoopi Goldberg is Jewish? :)

Michael Hasenstab said...

Michael Moore is organized as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation, isn't he? You know, so he can personally re-distribute the profits from his movies to the earnest believers at the theater entrance who were recruiting people to join to the Socialist Party.

And Moore's homes, one in Colorado, another in Manhattan and a third in Michigan, they are places of comfort and shelter for the dispossessed who have had their jobs taken by the greedy capitalist management types, aren't they?

Good thing that that the part-time theater ushers, popcorn makers and Milk Dud sellers all get a piece of the profits where Moore's films are screened. And full healthcare benefits.

The man absolutely lives his life the way he thinks everyone else should live theirs. What a hero!

DaveW said...

Here's a link to a story about so-called 'dead janitors policies'.

My wife is the corporate financial reporting manager for a $10bil+ insurance company. This abuse has been going on for around 10 years now. It is not at all like 'key man' insurance which has been around a long time and is completely understandable.

This is a case where more regulation is needed. Insurance is very heavily regulated now but there are some big holes - insurance companies are mostly regulated to verify that they keep sufficient cash/assets to cover the liabilities for their policies.

Another area in need of attention from regulators is insurance companies not honoring their contracts with their customers. I was talking to a couple at Mass yesterday that are from New Orleans and are still fighting to collect on their flood policy from Katrina - that's 3 years ago! And many around here are still battling to get paid for damage from Ike a year ago.

Paul Zrimsek said...

On reflection, I'm less shocked by Althouse's shock than I was initially. Moore is said to be good at manipulating audiences, and being able to shock them with things they have no business being shocked by would go along with that. Perhaps the Equation was accompanied by sisnister music, like in an attack ad. ("The Black-Scholes model. Wrong for options, wrong for America.")

Florida said...

Let's play WordGames!

Althouse: "I found it unsettling that in attacking the banking system, Moore presented quite a parade of Jewish names and faces. He never says the word 'Jewish,' but I think the anti-Semitic theme is there."

Notice in this indictment there really isn't a shred of proof presented. Althouse "feeeeeeeels" like it's anti-Semetism, but she can't really prove it other than to note that the villians have Jewish names. Are the villians really villians? Are they deserving of the criticism laid on them?

How does one go about attacking these members of the banking system without using the names Goldman or Sachs?

Wordgame: "I find it unsettling that in attacking the Obama Administration, Althouse presents quite a parade of non-White names and faces. She never says the word "Ni**er," but I think the racist theme is there."

See how easy that was? No real evidence of racism is needed ... all one need do to find racism on Althouse's blog is to see a parade of non-White faces criticized in her posts and to "think that racism is there."

What an unintellectual little game she plays. She joins Maureen Dowd, who hears "boy" end every sentence criticizing Barack Obama.

LoafingOaf said...

I don't plan to pay to see this movie (I suppose someday I'll stumble across it on cable). I don't rush out to pay money to see propaganda documentaries from HEzbollah's favorite American filmmakers who are openly in support of the enemy in the war against Islamic Jihad and who use their propaganda with that agenda in mind. This is a man who openly supported the Baathist-Jihadist insurgancy in Iraq -- as Chrstopher Hitchens pointed out, he's not anti-war, but pro-war on the other side.

So, I don't know if his new movie is anti-Semitic. It wouldn't surprise me, though. Didn't he once try to prevent one of his movies from being shown in Israel? And that anti-Semite ex-president, Jimmy Carter, did admire him eough to make him his personal guest at the Democratic Convention. The Jihadists have been endorsing Jimmy Carter's recent works as well as Michael Moore's.

tjl said...

Moore may have a point. Jesus did say that it's easier for a camel to pass through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter heaven.
But Moore would never pass through a needle's eye and being rich isn't the only reason.

Patm said...

Michael Moore an anti-semite?

Well, of course.

Patm said...

"Christianity is an ethics of sacrifice, which is incompatible with Capitalism....."

This is answered here:

"...communism works in very small enclaves, in monasteries, for example, where everyone involved is entering willingly, is voluntarily looking to be denuded, is eager to “give stuff up” in an effort to attain something quite different from worldy “stuff.” Communism does not work, though, in a large-scale national situation whereby people are expected to sublimate themselves, their instincts and their ambitions for the good of the party. Socialism does not work.

There is an enormous difference between a few dozen people voluntarily giving up their worldly goods for communal living, and forcing people to participate in such a society against their will. The first brings freedom for those who choose it. The second, historically, has brought tyranny, poverty, slaughter and the gulag."


http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/theanchoress/2007/08/08/totalitarianism-incompatible-with-monasticism/

New York said...

Think it was Felix Salmon who wrote an article for Wired on the "formula that blew up Wall Street".

But the quants and financial engineers were well aware of the limitations of CDS-based hedges.

It's the CEOs, traders, rating agencies, and "the system" etc. that all had different ideas, as has been written about extensively in the past year.

Regarding the "anti-semitic" touches and Christian themes: probably it's just an intentional way to try to stir up controversy so as to get more people to see the film.

rdkraus said...

My favorite thing in the movie was the trashing of young math and science graduates who, instead of applying their talents to the benefit of humanity, went to Wall Street to design the complicated derivative securities that almost destroyed the economy. The closeup on an incomprehensible math equation was, for me, the most shocking image in the movie.

I don't think they should be trashed, people do what they perceive to be in their best interest (even most, if not all, people who say otherwise).

The the larger problem is a real one. That is that many of the best and brightest in America have been going into occupations that, generally, do not create wealth. This includes lawyers, most CPA's, most of the people on Wall Street (which, even as a free-market libertarian type, I recognize as in large part a dog and pony show - they serve an important role, but the money they make is far in excess of the value they add to society).

No, it's not that we don't need other "workers," but we need more of our best and brightest to be creating wealth, that means mostly making things people want and need. Alot of what we think of as wealth, really isn't. Creating wealth is to the benefit of society. Not only in and of itself, but because it pays for all the other things like medical care, arts, music, security, police, welfare, etc.

I regret not knowing this earlier in life.

ricpic said...

The notion that all men are brothers is a crock.

LoafingOaf said...

Notice in this indictment there really isn't a shred of proof presented. Althouse "feeeeeeeels" like it's anti-Semetism, but she can't really prove it other than to note that the villians have Jewish names.

Um, she states in her post that she doesn't know if Moore was intentionally trying to plant anti-Semitism in people's heads. Her job as a writer is not to hide her honest reactions to the film just because people like you don't want anyone saying anything negative about Michael Moore.

Are you saying that when one is reviewing a documentary (or any other work of art) they cannot comment on how it made them feel? The purpose of a film is to manipulate the emotions and feelings of the viewer. Michael Moore carefully crafts every second of his films with that purpose in mind.

Crimso said...

"My favorite thing in the movie was the trashing of young math and science graduates who, instead of applying their talents to the benefit of humanity, went to Wall Street to design the complicated derivative securities that almost destroyed the economy. The closeup on an incomprehensible math equation was, for me, the most shocking image in the movie."

Witches!!! Burn them!!!! Seriously, though, the Khmer Rouge would have executed you for knowing simple, comprehensible math equations. Let's face it, in order to get the system Moore wants, we're going to have to kill a LOT of educated people. Some have estimated perhaps as many as 25 million, though that estimate is about 35 yrs old, and so will have to revised upward. Notice I used that rhetorical trick of saying "some" without citing anyone specifically? Not a trick here. "Some"=Bill Ayers, friend of Barack Obama. If that doesn't scare the shit out of you then nothing will. I'm sure the good professor has changed his opinion since.

New York said...

The the larger problem is a real one. That is that many of the best and brightest in America have been going into occupations that, generally, do not create wealth.

Yes. And the reason for that is that the best and brightest of India and China (and other places) are suddenly entering those occupations en masse.

Roger J. said...

I find it inconceivable that a person would pay money to see a Michael Moore flick. Aint capitalism grand!

John said...

I love how leftists think it is perfectly okay to tag any critic of Obama with beign a racist. But, Moore makes a Christian based anti-capitalist documentary railing on the "big money wall street people" (no dog wistle there) and the Left is shocked to Althouse dares to think that there might be anti-semetic undertones to it. Do the resident lefties understand that they sound like performance art?

Republican said...

Why is the theater allowing Code Wacko to set up in their lobby and take up space and attention?

They must support the views held by the Wackos. No?

Teddy B. said...

An incoherent mismash, huh?

***

Kind of like your post?


***

Rambling and not very interesting.

Jason said...

Christ on a crotch-rocket... Moore is just an absolute moron.

The primary reason corporations have historically taken out life insurance policies on rank and file employees is to recover the cost of lifetime medical benefits.

The company has a legitimate insurable interest, from day one, on every employee who participates in that plan. It's a perfectly legitimate deal and it enables companies to offer far better benefits to workers than they otherwise would.

What happens when ignorant shysters like Moore and know-nothing attorneys who confuse law degrees with education in the insurance field, in their thumb-sucking ignorance, hire PR firms to label these policies 'peasant insurance?' Well, they'll do precisely what Walmart did: Drop lifetime medical benefits for employees. They essentially go Galt on employee benefits, and dump them back on the state when they leave the company, or modify their hours downward so they can't qualify for full-time benefits.

Good going, libtard lawyers! You just screwed untold thousands of workers and their families!

These well-meaning idiots, who have no clue about the advanced applications about the life insurance contract, who can't spell COLI, BOLI, Keogh, or NQDC, have no idea of the harm they're causing.

Well, maybe they do, and that's the point.

Bloody morons.

Florida said...

"Are you saying that when one is reviewing a documentary (or any other work of art) they cannot comment on how it made them feel?"

I'll answer your question with an question: If I feel
that Althouse's blog is racist ... does that make it so?

I argue that it does not make it so, and extend that argument to her accusation that Moore is an anti-Semite.

Althouse: "Am I wrong to see Moore as an anti-Semite?"

That's a pretty clear declaration of what she believes. She is accusing Moore of being an anti-Semite based on the fact that a lot of Jews work in the banking system and are subject to criticism.

I'm saying that Althouse opens herself to indefensible charges of racism if she alleges anti-Semetism merely because she claims "the theme is there" but has no other evidence.

It is trivial to apply her fauty logic game
to her own blog and thus "determine" that she is a racist.

I'm reminded of Alinsky: "If you can't attack the message ... attack the messenger."

traditionalguy said...

Some random observations:The wonder of the Obama's new Socialist Experiment in the USA is that it has us going socialist and into poverty while Germany is suddenly leading all of Europe into the Capitalist direction and much greater wealth. The Capitalist and the Socialist BOTH use capital, which is accumulated monetary investments. But Socialism takes the capital and declares that it is now owned by someone else.But Capitalism maintains the legal ownership in the investor who sent the monetary investment and pays a "Profit" back. Voila, investments of money are never sent to a socialistic place, and are instead sent to capitalist places. The results are great wealth all around for all living in a capitalist place(until it becomes embarrassingly unequal at its highest levels) while there is suddenly great poverty all around for those living in a socialist place where everyone is equally doomed under the curse of poverty, and profits are illegal. Therefore, safety of capital invested here has been the reason the USA has lead the world for 150 years, until this great reversal is completed by Comissar Obama. No other analysis works, except for the small possibilities for directly attacking and stealing at gun point from the production stream, like the Somali Pirates do and like the Apparatchiks of the socialist dictatorship always do.Even Sarah Palin is smart enough to have figured all this out, and she will allow us to revert to doing the capitalist thing. The Christian teachings are that this Present Evil Age will be replaced by a kingdom of love and mercy under Jesus's rule after his return. (this is often misquoted as the "end of the world") In the meantime people can become good people instead of bad people by hearing and believing the proclamation of the good news of God's substitutionary sacrifice of his son Jesus on the cross dealing forever with bad men's sin problem, thus empowering men everywhere to repent and become good men. Until the return of Jesus, the Christians are in a holding pattern, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom to all nations and peoples so that many more will be ready to welcome Jesus as King ( E,g., there are25,000 new Chinese accepting Christianity a day). It very well may please Moore that the Great Day also means that the last shall become first and the first shall become last. But it may not please Cedarford that Jesus will return as a Jew to rule his kingdom from Jerusalem.

ricpic said...

The one thing the world owes the Jews is not so much monotheism as the message that God is a jealous bastard who can belch fire and brimstone at any moment for any reason or no reason at all. This keeps folks on their toes. The Christian so-called advance in the understanding of God, that he's a big lovey dovey, has led to our present delusional infatuation with socialism.

Fred4Pres said...

The one thing the world owes the Jews...: Bagels. Bagels, when they are made right, are really, really good.

EnigmatiCore said...

garage wrote, "You just can't seem to find any racism whatsoever[!] directed towards the nation's first black president, but Michael Moore "might be" racist because he found some jewish bankers on wall street. Just make it a question[?][?][?][?], and you can literally say anything!"

I think this is a fair criticism of Althouse's post. It infers, however, that the reflexive painting of critics of Obama as being racist is similarly misguided.

As commenter Florida put it, you can't have it both ways.

Fred4Pres said...

I would add to that pastrami and kosher pickles. And cheesecake (although that might not be completely Jewish).

Skipper50 said...

Don't know if the movie is anti-Semitic, but anti-Semitism has become rather acceptable of late in media, on campuses and even in politics. Heck, even the P.M. of Israel thought it important to offer evidence of the Holocaust at the U.N. Does that still need to be proven, for God's sake?

rocketeer67 said...

He said that we are our brother's keeper.

Um, no. He didn't.

As to the notion that Christianity demands socialism, I can only observe that Jesus was a carpenter. Presumably he wasn't giving furniture and cabinetry away.

I also don't recall him compelling charity under threat of jail or force.

Synova said...

My imagination or did a whole bunch of never seen before Moore defenders show up without a clue?


"On reflection, I'm less shocked by Althouse's shock than I was initially. Moore is said to be good at manipulating audiences, and being able to shock them with things they have no business being shocked by would go along with that. Perhaps the Equation was accompanied by sisnister music, like in an attack ad. ("The Black-Scholes model. Wrong for options, wrong for America.")"

For what it is worth, this was my initial and immediate assumption. I expect Althouse to report on the movie as a performance, consciously. It could well be that she thinks that brilliant young people have some sort of societal obligation to do good in the world... those sorts of service jobs that Michelle Obama talked about... but I wouldn't *assume* so or assume anything about what made that part of the movie her "favorite" unless she explicitly said so.

jacksonianlawyer said...

The fact that one would go to a Michael Moore movie anticipating some semblance of "coherency" is utterly mind-boggling to me.

Congrats for further contributing to the financial well-being of this total hypocrit.

Sucker.

Hoosier Daddy said...

garage wrote, "You just can't seem to find any racism whatsoever[!] directed towards the nation's first black president,

Of course garage is absolutely right. Racism has to be the reason for opposition to Obama because if he were a white boy with a real name like William or John, all the reichwingers would be solidly supporting his policies.

Scott said...

"Of course Christ's highest path has a basic layer of socialism, as the book of Acts records."

Christ also said, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Mark 12:17) Christ seemed to regard the political world as unimportant to mankind's salvation. His charity was (and to many of us, is) demonstrated on a private and personal level, unlike the Pharisees, who made sure that no good deed went unobserved by the community.

Leftists conflate socialism with Christianity in order to justify socialism, not to fulfill the Christian ideal. I don't regard Church leaders who seek power through politics as being spiritually enlightened. Rather, spiritually enlightened Church leaders speak with an authority and power that transcends politics. Pope John Paul II and Bishop Desmond Tutu come to mind.

Paul Zrimsek said...

It's pretty easy for Moore to agree with Jesus about what to render unto whom: he believes that everything is really Caesar's.

Shanna said...

The one thing the world owes the Jews...: Bagels. Bagels, when they are made right, are really, really good.

Oh, I wish we could get good bagels here!! Toasted with lots of cream cheese, put on when it's warm, not a tiny little packet with the bagel. One thing Atkins killed was bagel shops in the south.

LoafingOaf said...

Florida:
"Are you saying that when one is reviewing a documentary (or any other work of art) they cannot comment on how it made them feel?"

I'll answer your question with an question: If I feel
that Althouse's blog is racist ... does that make it so?


No, it doesn't make it so, but you can post about why you feel that and others can decide if they agree.

Althouse: "Am I wrong to see Moore as an anti-Semite?"

That's a pretty clear declaration of what she believes. She is accusing Moore of being an anti-Semite based on the fact that a lot of Jews work in the banking system and are subject to criticism.

No, she's saying that Moore's lecturing in the film about how un-Christian capitalism is was followed by a heavy-handed array of Jewish villains in the film, and that made her feel an anti-semitic theme in the movie. I haven't seen the movie so I don't know if I'd feel that, too. But you are purposely misstating the basis of her concerns with resepct to anti-Semitism in the film, and you're purposely mistating that because you want to pretend she offered no evidence.

I'm saying that Althouse opens herself to indefensible charges of racism if she alleges anti-Semetism merely because she claims "the theme is there" but has no other evidence.

She did offer evidence! Read her post agan.

I can't know if I agree or not until I see the movie for myself.

MC said...

"My favorite thing in the movie was the trashing of young math and science graduates who, instead of applying their talents to the benefit of humanity, went to Wall Street to design the complicated derivative securities that almost destroyed the economy. The closeup on an incomprehensible math equation was, for me, the most shocking image in the movie."

Wait a minute here. Before those securities blew up weren't they all about making subprime loans more profitable and less risky, which therefore allowed more loans to made to poorer people? Is that not to the benefit of humanity in principle, even if in practice it was disastrous?

Why are science and engineering automatically regarded as being to the benefit of society, but financial services aren't?

MikeR said...

"Notice in this indictment there really isn't a shred of proof presented."
The complaints against Anne's antisemitism comment are fascinating. Wasn't it perfectly clear what she was doing, noting an unsettling impression that she got? I suggest reading it again.

Darcy said...

Have no intention of seeing the movie, but the review and comments are fascinating.

Well done.

And I'll bet Meade's review would be a hoot. Did he make it through? :)

DeWayne said...

Two points:

Jesus taught how to deal with the poor, choosing charity over redistribution, and noting that the poor would always be with us.

Also, I would rather deal with a profit motivated business than a control motivated tyranny or oligarchy.

Father Martin Fox said...

Christianity does not fit well with any political-economic theory -- one of the insights one draws from examining the entire history of Christianity and its relations with government and society, which have ranged from being hated and hunted, to the maximum of Christendom.

"My kingdom is not of this world," the Lord said, and he appears to know what he was talking about.

rdkraus said...

Wait a minute here. Before those securities blew up weren't they all about making subprime loans more profitable and less risky, which therefore allowed more loans to made to poorer people? Is that not to the benefit of humanity in principle, even if in practice it was disastrous?

No, it is not to the benefit of humanity to give people loans they can't pay back.

Flexo said...

Indeed, one of the reasons that Jesus was rejected at the time was because He did NOT fit the expectations of a political-revolutionary Messiah.

Fred4Pres said...

In these dark times, all I can say is this: Screw 'em.

MBS said...

Quixotic, it’s just ridiculous to say that Christianity is compatible with Socialism. Christianity is not compatible with a system of government that takes money and property away from one group of people at the point of a gun, and gives it to another group of people that the government deems more worthy, after of course taking a chunk of that money and property for itself. Jesus asks us to look into our hearts and give to the truly poor and needy. He does not ask the government to force us to give to government agencies who don’t always do the Lord’s work. Are you really trying to argue that a Socialist government will take money from the citizens and distribute that money in accordance with the Scriptures? That’s just laughable.

Track-A-'Crat said...

Very selfless of you, Ann. I'm not sure that there's anything that could make me sit through that mess.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And there were the life insurance policies that companies take out on their [low level] employees. Maybe these shouldn't be permitted — and calling them "Dead Peasant" policies was kind of outrageous — but if they are wrong, we can make legislation banning them

Probably been said in the above comments already, but COLI has been dramatically altered as of 2006. The employee has to be notified in writing about the policy, he has to provide written consent and is notified that the employer is the beneficiary. The tax benefits have also been drasticaly reduced.

Michael Moore is lying and making a big deal out of a non issue. Today, anyone insured under this type of agreement is fully informed and has to give consent.

E. COLI, Company Owned Life Insurance on Executives is a very common and world wide practice. Directors, Partners in the business, privately held stock in large amounts, key employees( which is usually a split dollar arrangement)...these are all very valid reasons to insure the life of the employee.

bearbee said...

We do get the message that companies are cold-hearted.

How is that different from government?

Business is profit motivated.

Government is power motivated.

Both rely on luring the public but one can create wealth and the other takes wealth.


vw - riapper: but not riapper-riapper

Henry said...

If you just want to count years of application, Christianity seems most aligned with Feudalism.

Which is pretty much what Socialism gets us. Do your work. Get your beer.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Michael Moore is lying and making a big deal out of a non issue. Today, anyone insured under this type of agreement is fully informed and has to give consent.

Correct. More to the point, there also has to be an insurable interest. Key man insurance has a purpose but I'm at a loss as to what benefit the company has in insuring Joe who works in the mail room. I'd be curious to see what justification a life underwriter
would have in permitting that kind of issue.

JoeShipman said...

I was a brilliant math guy on Wall Street and I got out partly because of the "math abuse" -- I recognized that the mathematical complexity and sophistication of the models was completely wasted because of the stupidity of the underlying assumptions about economic behavior and the unreliability of the input data.

Albert said...

Hypocrite = Michael Moore.

traditionalguy said...

The best financial advice a Christian follows is not to lay up his treasure here on earth where men break in and steal and everything is corrupted by rust and deterioration over time (even Ted William's head) but instead to lay up one's treasure in heaven where it is safe eternally. I.e., to personally care for needs of widows and orphans and to contribute to the costs of sending out missionaries. Does anyone wonder what the Congress plans for the Feudal Custom we call the Federal Estate Tax?

Michael Hasenstab said...

"My kingdom is not of this world," the Lord said, and he appears to know what he was talking about.

Thank you, Fr. Martin Fox. Insightful, as always.

Leland said...

Wow, I remember the Wilkes Barre, PA juvenile prison scandal. Two corrupt judges abused their authority.

So an abuse by government authorities is now an example of how Socialism is the way to go?

From the stories I could find now, the judges used extortion to get the money. I don't know if that is true, but I can't find anything contrary. The companies our PA Child Care LLC and Western PA Child Care LLC. I'd love for someone to show me where these companies or employees were found guilty of anything. I say that, because the whole affair was very ugly, and I'd like to see the people involved thrown in jail more so than Polanski. If you think I'm being light on Polanski, read what the judges did.

Paddy O. said...

"The system of liberal capitalism and the temptation of the Marxist system would appear to exhaust the possibilities of transforming the economic structures of our continent. Both systems militate against the dignity of the human person. One takes for granted the primacy of capital, its power and its discriminatory utilization in the function of profit-making. The other, although it ideologically supports a kind of humanism, is more concerned with collective humanity and in practice becomes a totalitarian concentration of state power. We must denounce the fact that Latin America sees itself caught between these two options and remains dependent on one or other of the centers of power which control its economy."
~Medillin Conference 1968, considered one of the primary documents of liberation theology.

Gustavo Gutierrez, father of Liberation theology, writes, "In the contemporary intellectual world, including the world of theology, references are often made to Marx and certain Marxists, and their contributions in the field of social and economic analysis are often taken into account. But these facts do not, by themselves, mean an acceptance of Marxism, especially insofar as Marxism embodies an all-embracing view of life and thus excludes the Christian faith and its requirements… There is no question at all of a possible acceptance of an atheistic ideology… Nor is there any question of agreement with a totalitarian version of history that denies the freedom of the human person.”

Liberation theology is about a preferential option for the poor by the church, based on Kingdom of God principles, in contrast to the examples set by governments. The use of marxist language, and indeed marxist leanings, comes from the shocking fact that for far too much theology there just wasn't any consideration of the poor, except as a "pie in the sky" waiting suffering. Which is wrong. Jesus said to help the poor, and we are to become the kind of people who voluntarily let go what we have to help others. Voluntarily. Ourselves. We don't become the kind of people who take from others to give to others, keeping a slice for ourselves in the process.

After all, tax collectors were ranked among the worst sinners in Jesus' day, and his response to them was saying they had to give back the money they took.

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teresa said...

Moore should follow Christ's advise to the rich, young ruler: sell all his property and give it to the poor. I'm sure he'd turn away disapointed just like the rich, young ruler since he'd have to give up his Manhatten penthouse. I always love how the way of the Lord is mainly applied "to thee but never for me."

virgil xenophon said...

Long-time lurker here, who just had to rise to the same bait as did MikeDC and several others here about the implicit elitism cum soviet-style proto-communist, statist, viewpoint expressed by Ann in her comments about math & science guys doing the bidding of wall street, rather than something "to the benefit of humanity."

To wit: SOooo---just *who* gets to define/decide exactly WHAT actions "benefit humanity?" And exactly *who* would have the power to enforce that said "Vision of the Anointed" (to use Thomas Sowells term) upon their fellow citizens?

It is just such sloppy, uncritically unconscious thinking that leads me to believe that the formulation: "Liberalism: Logic's Retarded Cousin"
is as close to a mathematical certainty akin to 1+1=2 (in base 10) as exists in this or any other of a limitless number of parallel universes--be they physical or psychic.

Quayle said...

Here is a relevant quote from one of the talks given at the Mormon's worldwide conference this weekend. [The speaker is one of the top 15 leaders of the Mormon church who formerly was associate general counsel of NationsBank Corporation.]

“Reactions [to the unethical conduct that contributed to our recent economic downfall] have focused on enacting more and stronger regulation.”

“Perhaps that may dissuade some from unprincipled conduct, but others will simply get more creative in their circumvention.

“There can never been enough rules so finely crafted as to anticipate and cover every situation.

“And even if there were, enforcement would be impossibly expensive and burdensome.

“This approach leads to diminished freedom for everyone.

“In the memorable phrase of Bishop Fulton J. Sheehan, “We would not accept the yoke of Christ, so now we must tremble at the yoke of Caesar.”

“In the end it is only an internal moral compass in each individual that can effectively deal with the root causes and well as the symptoms of societal decay.

“Societies will struggle in vain to establish the common good until sin is denounced as sin, and moral discipline takes its place in the pantheon of civic virtues.

“Moral discipline is learned at home…

Lee Reynolds said...

The problem with Michael Moore is that he is fundamentally dishonest. Well actually that pretty much applies to anyone who is a communist/socialist/(latest euphemism).

These are people who believe in tyranny plain and simple. All of their plans and schemes result in tyranny, and are intended to. It is no surprise that they call themselves "liberals."

If you want to understand Michael Moore's personal pathologies, watch Michael Moore Hates America. He reminds me of Lenin, who was also motivated by hatred and resentment.

Finprof said...

1. Having exposed the MM film's anti-Semitism, Althouse should turn her findings over to Sullivan, self-appointed chief prosecutor of movie anti-Semitism ever since the Passion of the Christ was released. Well, at least when he ignores the issue, Althouse should have some fun skewering him with a "j'accuse!" of her own...

2. Christianity has been a "perfect match" for: two Roman Empires (three, counting Charlemagne), Dark Ages feudalism (St Augustine's essays on the here as trial for hereafter, the Crusades), Renaissance entrepreneurship (Medici banl Florence), the Ancien Regime (2nd estate), mercantilism (corn law britain), capitalism (Calvinists realizing wealth indicated Election), colonialism (the Puritans), socialism (Bismarck), national socialism (Germany/Italy/Spain), and even communism (liberation theologists, unite!).

rcocean said...

Sully likes Michael Moore and his movies - which makes him an "anti-semite".

Jacq said...

Capitalism is a sin? Socialism violates all but two of the ten commandments. Consider:

1. You shall have no other Gods (not the State, not Obama, none)
2. You shall not make yourself an idol (deliver us...obama)
3. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God (see "Capitalism: A love story", or anything by Jeremiah Wright)
5. Honor your father and mother (don't ration their healthcare)
6. You shall not murder (apparently translated from the original hebrew as: you shall not ration healthcare)
8. You shall not steal (need I say more?)
9. You shall not bear false witness (see the New York Times, Der Spiegel, Pravda, or any other font of socialist propaganda)
10. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor (Income inequality, anyone?)

I don't see anything in there about confiscation of your neigbour's wealth. In fact it looks to me like you need to leave your neighbour the hell alone.

Troy said...

Moore celebrates President Obama as a socialist because President Obama IS a socialist--in practice if not in name. Based on what I've read and heard about Moore's latest (I haven't yet seen Moore's film), it's the one thing he managed to get right. Euro-style soft socialism and its nanny state, big-government-is-good government variants are nothing new on the American political scene. Elements of it pre-date Marx. The problem? President Obama campaigned as a traditional, left-of-center Democratic Party liberal. He isn't.

hello? said...

Critics of Capitalism have failed to address the basic human need for that adorable ring I saw at Tiffany's today in the Socialist model.

Socialism means settling for what everyone else has. No thank you.

Alex said...

We live in a stupid reality where people use capitalism every day and then nod their heads when a Michael Moore says capitalism is evil and horrible. We are too dumb to survive.

portle44 said...

Christian or not Michael Moore's supervening ideology is that he is a hypocrite.The limousine liberal writ large (no pun intended)Listening to him complain about capitalism is like listening to Ahmadinejad complain about anti-Semites except that Imawhackjob has more sense than to do that.After a few more box office meltdowns Moore might genuinely have something to complain about which is something to look forward to

rcocean said...

We live in a stupid reality where people use capitalism every day and then nod their heads when a Michael Moore says capitalism is evil and horrible. We are too dumb to survive.

Well it certainly applies to ALEX. Of course, ALEX criticized Obama because he hates blacks - which makes him stupid and a racist.

Kirby Olson said...

Most Protestants believe in the separation of church & state.

Socialists want their messianic faith to be right at the center of government.

scott said...

Still not convinced that the life insurance on employees is bad. It was government that set up the system in the first place and then when companies use it to the full extend of the law they are ridiculed. Companies invest large sums to train employees as well as pay into their life insurance and health insurance. Why shouldn't they protect themselves from that loss? It is not costing anyone but the company for the insurance and it hurts no one. Seems to be a win win for everyone. No one hurt why not?

Paddy O. said...

"Most Protestants believe in the separation of church & state.

Socialists want their messianic faith to be right at the center of government."

So do most Catholics. For both traditions this is a somewhat recent development.

ak said...

"I would add to that pastrami and kosher pickles. And cheesecake ..."

And the Marx Brothers.

LargeBill said...

Anyone who pays a penny to watch one of Moore's movies is as much a part of the problem as Moore himself. If people stopped funding his nonsense, he would in time go away.

RebeccaH said...

I'm not persuaded by Michael Moore's apparent Christianity. My own brother pronounces his own Christianity every chance he gets... and he's a rage-disordered paranoid schizophrenic who hates the government, hates civil society, and... well... hates everybody.

Laika's Last Woof said...

"Am I wrong to see Moore as an anti-Semite?"
Yes, for now.
The point in your favor: there's a lot of anti-Semitism out there.
The John Birchers viewed Communism as a Jewish-led conspiracy to destroy Capitalism. Conversely Nazis portrayed Jews as greedy Capitalists holding down the workers.
More recently the Left has become obsessed with the idea that Jews control American foreign policy, through Project for a New American Century, a Neoconservative think-tank, or just "The Jewish Lobby", a shadowy group of puppetmasters who ... well, you get the idea.
With all these crazy theories floating around, some contradictory, it's pretty clear Judaism is a lightning rod for nuts with conspiracy theories.
Moore is certainly a nut with a conspiracy theory -- re: Farenheit 9/11 -- so he's just the type who'd choose among The Tribe to round up the usual suspects.
BUT ...
Conservatives are accused of racism, however innocent they might be in the traditional conception, simply for voicing concerns over such difficult political issues as welfare dependency and the national debt.
In a linguistic fait accompli that would make Orwell weep words like "welfare" and "National debt" have been transformed by the Civil Rights Movement into "racial code words" -- to oppose welfare dependency or a rising National debt doesn't just make one a Conservative. It makes one a racist.
"Racial code-words" are the modern Left's equivalent of the "teat of Satan" -- just as a mole on a woman's body was evidence of witchcraft, especially if she was politically inconvenient, so now voicing concerns about things like the effect of a big healthcare program on the national debt is proof of racism.
Rather than stoop to the level of the self-serving sanctimony of race-obsessed hypocritical Liberals we should hold honorably to our Conservative principle of "innocent until proven guilty" and give Moore the benefit of the doubt.
People who gave Mel Gibson the benefit of the doubt until he spilled the beans in a drunken rant also did the right thing.
Racists will eventually reveal themselves. Until then don't point the finger until you have some solid evidence or you're no better than a Liberal.

Vaelin said...

Being brought up the way I was, I cannot see Christianity and Socialism existing together. If you open the bible and read it -a defining Christian ideal- then you are constantly bombarded with stories depicting man as a flawed being.

The 'moral' of many bible stories is that redemption is available provided you recognize and strive to overcome these flaws, or that not succumbing to the flaw makes one divine. But the assumption is that you have failed, and will continue to fail. That necessitated the divine sacrifice.

This idea of a flawed man is completely congruent with the core concept of capitalism. Socialism at it's heart assumes man to be pure -man will do what is best for the greater good if only he is allowed to do so, even at his personal expense. It makes very little accounting for flawed people who work the system for their personal perceived best interest... that flaw is supposedly not in MAN, but in the capitalistic SYSTEM that should be replaced with socialism.

While it is true that Christianity values sacrifice, and acting in the benefit of the greater good it does not assume man will do so without a carrot and whip (heaven/afterlife and hell/death). Which is why Communism with all the carrots and whips, is much more compatible with Christian beliefs, although it's much more old-testament than most Christians prefer.

Rich V. said...

Ann, you bet the names & faces of the villains are jewish. The "new left" in this country is deeply anti-semitic. I'm not sure why, as many of those who began this movement were jews.

Paul Chiari said...

Do as I Say, Not as I Do at http://www.TheseSelfEvidentTruths.com succinctly expresses my opinion of Michael Moore and his Hollywood friends.

Pat said...

Dead Peasant life insurance policies? Is there anybody so brain dead that they don't realize how stupid this is? Life insurance is a terrible investment in the aggregate; they have to pay for all those offices and employees, after all. It is only because life insurance makes some sense on an individual basis that anybody buys the stuff.

TycheSD said...

This is my first post on this blog.

I saw Moore's film on Saturday. My take was that Moore was condemning capitalism as evil because of what the current form of capitalism has done to regular people in this country and indeed the world. The priests that Moore interviews come right out and say that capitalism is evil. But Moore's big hero is FDR, someone who is widely credited as having "saved capitalism."

I did not detect anti-Semitism, although that's not to say that Moore isn't. The parade of Wall Street institutions that Moore indicts included Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, but Merrill Lynch was there (are they Jewish?). Bank of America and Citibank were BIG evil-doers - the biggest next to Goldman Sachs. And, Goldman Sachs was condemned because of the close association between the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations and Goldman Sachs - and the great deal they got because of it, which Moore discusses.

Moore shows a Time Magazine cover with Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan and Larry Summers on it, http://static.seekingalpha.com/uploads/2009/9/13/saupload_world_committee.jpg implying that these are definitely bad guys. Moore must realize that Summers is a major player in the Obama administration. Moore is giving Obama time (according to what he said on Bill Maher's show), but he is clearly hoping that Obama will be the new FDR.

TycheSD said...

To Rich V and others who claim the left is anti-Semitic:

First of all, Rich, the people of the "new left" are not the same as the liberal hawks who left the Democratic Party and became neocons.

Second, many on the left have long been critical of U.S. foreign policy as it pertains to Israel. For some reason, in this country, it is heresy to object to this foreign policy and to criticize Israel's policies, and people who do are labeled anti-Semitic. That doesn't mean they are.

Revenant said...

For some reason, in this country, it is heresy to object to this foreign policy and to criticize Israel's policies, and people who do are labeled anti-Semitic. That doesn't mean they are.

It doesn't mean that they aren't, either. Personally I have yet to hear a compelling explanation given for why critics of Israel focus on Israel and ignore -- or, in many cases, make common cause with -- so many other, worse states, such as Syria, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

One explanation I've heard is that the United States gives Israel a lot of money. Well, yes. But we give Egypt quite a lot of money, too, and Egypt's behavior is clearly worse than Israel's. Yet the left is curiously lacking in anti-Egypt rallies. But not at all lacking in anti-Israeli Egyptians. :)

chuck b. said...

Revenant said, "If I died suddenly, the company I work for would take a significant hit to its profits over the next few years."

Really? Is your value to your employer bound up in posting Althouse comments all day?

So many people here with such very important jobs. Posting comments. All day, every day. Day after day. For years.

It's hard to believe many of you can't be replaced. Or substituted for, more cheaply.

TycheSD said...

Revenant said...
"What is wrong with companies taking out life insurance policies on their employees? If I died suddenly, the company I work for would take a significant hit to its profits over the next few years. That's the kind of thing life insurance exists for."

The "dead peasant policies" Moore discussed in his film were taken out on people like Wal Mart employees - not your store manager types, but your clerk types.

Jason said...

As I wrote before: The reason companies purchase life insurance policies on rank and file workers is to recoup the cost of benefits over a lifetime. If they can't recoup the cost of benefits, they will simply cut back on benefits. OOPS! They already have. Good work, dipshit lawyers and libtards! Way to stick it to labor!

Is there anybody so brain dead that they don't realize how stupid this is? Life insurance is a terrible investment in the aggregate; they have to pay for all those offices and employees, after all. It is only because life insurance makes some sense on an individual basis that anybody buys the stuff.

Pat... your knowledge of the subject is only Suze Orman deep. Bankers love life insurance as an investment. The smarter bankers really love it. Banks buy tons of BOLI (Bank-owned life insurance), and it's an important source of tier one capital for them.

I reckon they probably know a bit more about investing and cash flow management than you do.

From their perspective (and from YOURS, too, you're just too boneheaded to realize it!) it's BETTER than a lot of fixed income alternatives. NO MARK TO MARKET RISK! Cash values don't fluctuate downward, like they do with zero coupon bonds. Tax-deferred growth. Tax-free death benefit, eventually. They are better than government bonds for reserves (money they don't intend to spend). Returns on par whole life have been historically competitive with other fixed-income vehicles of comparable safety, no? (Trick question. Because WL cash values never go down, once dividends are credited, there is really nothing else comparable except for annuities and insured GICs (same same, when you think about it), and tax benefits make after tax returns much stronger than, say, a government security, and on a par with munis. Except munis fluctuate.

No, I think the CFOs of almost every bank in the country probably know their stuff better than you do, Pat.

Jason said...

The legislative and regulatory environment has changed since publication, but this is the best write-up on so-called 'janitor insurance' I've seen:

http://houston.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2002/06/17/focus5.html

In a nutshell, it's a way to let businesses accumulate reserves to fund retiree medical benefits. No way to build reserves? No retiree medical benefits.

Score another win for libtards!

Revenant said...

So many people here with such very important jobs. Posting comments. All day, every day. Day after day. For years.

I'm wondering how slowly a person has to read and type, for my output to look like I post "all day, every day". :)

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

As far as the math and science guys, basically what they were about is refining prices. Nothing really wrong with that except that that is something that you get out of a capitalistic system; so it's important for Moore that you find nothing attractive in it.

Are you a Jewess who does not agree with Shylock "But ships are boards, sailors but men; there be land rats, and water rats, water thieves and land thieves – I mean pirates – and then there is the peril of waters, winds and rocks?" To be a banker is to calculate risk and a corollary, price, which is useful, even necessary to people for allocating their resources.

1smartmother said...

From what I've seen of Moore's behavior, he is probably only a Christian as long as it suits his interests. As for Christianity equalling Socialism, people please read the entire New Testament. Jesus WAS NOT A COMMUNIST/SOCIALIST!! Did the early Christians live together communally? Yes, by their own choice. But Jesus never said everyone MUST live together communally. He knows better than anyone about Free Will. Christians must follow His Way in whatever circumstance they find themselves in this world; rich, poor, master,slave, etc. Read it.

James said...

From an ex-altar boy: Whenever I encounter priests or super-Catholics like Moore advocating share-the-wealth schemes I wonder why no one ever asks them when the Vatican is going to sell off a big part of their priceless collection of art and donate the proceeds to the poor.

tryanmax said...

I'm tired of Libs having it both ways on the religion thing. On one hand, the left vehemently denies that the U.S. is a Christian nation while at the same time appealing to Christian principles to push the socialist agenda. Here's a question for those who think socialism is the Christian thing to do: how well has Christianity fared in the average socialist nation?

Author said...

The difference between Christianity and collectivism is that Christian "charity" is voluntary. It is strongly pushed, but it is optional and scalable.

A university professor of mine recently stated that Marxism is about making things better as people cooperate. I corrected him: Marxism is involuntary cooperation, whereas genuine capitalism is founded on voluntary cooperation, and involuntary cooperation is an oxymoron ... like "consensual rape."

Bert and Nena said...

It is not Moore's fault that Jewish babby-boomers with a Long Island bloated sense of entitlement are ruining the world. Don't kill the messenger!

MikeMan said...

First, for Moore's movie. You neglect to mention that he presented Jonas Salk - who was Jewish - as a hero. He also seemed to praise Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders - who is also Jewish.

I have to wonder if you're under the assumption that Timothy Geithner or Henry Paulson - who are vilified in the movie - are Jewish. Neither one is.

As for the Polanski creeps, will you shut the fuck up with the Jewish thing? I looked at that whole petition to free Polanski. Most of the signers were not Jewish. Many seemed to be of the pretentious non-Jewish European filmmaker type, so why don't you go single them out? Why do you feel the need to turn the "Polanski issue" into a "Jewish thing"? It's not, and yes, if you feel the need to point out his ethnicity when it has nothing to do with anything, it is anti-Semitic. Michael Moore didn't do that in his movie. But you guys are doing it in your posts.

Reliapundit said...

1 - capitalism is man vs man.

socialism is the opposite.

2 - capitalism is not a profit system; it's a profit-loss system; sometimes you lose.

lib utopianists want to guarantee outcomes and that's the root problem. remember: the founding fathers wrote PURSUIT of hap9nness, not happiness. happiness cannot be guaranteed. outcomes cannot and should not be. when we trey to then we distort the market and eventually the bill comes due....


3 - all the things moore criticizes were fomented by liberal policies: the mortgage crisis was created by fannie mae, the cra etc.

the problem isn't unfettered free markets in which big bad corps run amok; the problem is liberal government policy.

utopianist policies.