Thursday, November 3, 2011

Michael Moore's Wall Street Strikeout

Has Michael Moore jumped the shark? I don't really know, but I think he's about to effect a massive strikeout of Casey-at-Bat proportions, or, at least, of hypocritical proportions.

More and more Moore ... he's becoming worse than a parody. He's aping his boy crush, Julian Assange - remember him? Moore donated $20k of his own funds (pocket money, really) to Assange's defence fund. Moore's money is Moore's money, and he can do with it what he likes, but whilst he might champion Assange as a freedom fighter for transparency, the blunt fact remains that Assange was fighting extradition to Sweden to answer two charges of rape.

If that wasn't bad enough that a self-proclaimed Progressive voice of the working class was seen to donate funds for the defence of an alleged rapist, he spent an hour on Keith Olbermann's Countdown with Keith, sniggering and giggling about the rape charges being "hooey".

Nice talk from representatives of the Left, that political demographic which purportedly is a bastion of defending women's rights. I have no problem believing Moore is a misogynist. In fact, I find it funny-peculiar that his sentiments echoed then were much the same as Britt Hume's recent comments regarding Herman Cain's alleged victims. Both men, fathers of daughters, should know better.

Most recently, Moore's been scouring the country (but staying close to the cameras of Occupy Oakland, where the action is, pimping his book and hating on Obama. His latest excuse for the loss of the House in 2010 and all the problems incurred in government because of that has been purely the President's fault - that, basically, young voters stayed home in 2010 because they were tired of "Obama's bullshit."

This is an old trick of Moore's. You see, he never takes the blame for anything. Even in 2000, after the Bush debacle, enabled by Moore who spent that election cycle urging people to vote for Nader, he refused to admit that Nader voters, most of whom were from the ueber or fashionable Left stratosphere, split the Democratic vote. Gore lost Florida by 495 votes. Nader got 15,000 Florida votes. No Nader no Bush. Simple. Yet Moore tried to sweat his way out of that accusation in a newsletter, whining that those people who had voted for Nader would only have written in another third party whackjob or stayed at home.

And "stay at home" is the message he's pushing now. Stay at home. It's not worth voting, because voting has accomplished nothing.

Who's spouting bullshit now?

Moore must have really thought he'd landed the golden goose of opportunity when this protest movement coincided with the launch of his latest book; but lately, his continuous presence on political talk shows and his self-appointed stint as the face of and spokesman for the Occupy movement seems to be branding him more and more of an Assange-style grifter (or, rather, grifteur par excellence) and less of anything professional.

Someone should tell Moore that dressing in short pants and a perennial baseball cap and talking in an naselly high-pitched whine like an eternal ten year-old neither ingratiates you with the youth of today nor anyone older. To paraphrase the late, great Molly Ivins, only a fool or a shallow celebrity would think Michael Moore were sincere.

And since South Park put up a brilliant five-second parody of him, complete with the white, overhanging fish belly, I'd say Moore's reign is nearing an embarrassing end.

Today, Chris Hedges was arrested, along with sixteen other people, for moving the Occupy Wall Street movement (or, rather, part of it) outside Goldman Sachs building. You'd think a fame whore like Moore would have been there, along with the cameras which were rolling. After all, didn't he rail against the likes of Goldman Sachs and the corporations in general in his last film, appropriately titled Capitalism: A Love Story.

I guess capitalism is a love story, as far as Moore is concerned, especially since he's so morally righteous as to preach to the congregation about the sins of the financial flesh and then copulate with the perps behind the pulpit.

For example, crony capitalism was a big pet peeve of Moore's in his last film, but he has no qualms about the public subsidizing his ventures through their taxes, as do the people of his home state:-

Not averse to contradicting yourself with nary a thought of any conflict of interest, eh, Michael?

But there's a reason Moore didn't show up to lend moral support and, at least, shout from the sidelines at Hedges. And that's a big conflict of interest with Goldman Sachs. Just like Moore's conflict of interest with Boeing. Or Halliburton.

Fellow film-maker, Gavin Pollone, tells us about Moore's indirect involvement with Goldman Sachs vis-a-vis the Weinstein Company and how Moore benefitted directly from TARP, whilst openly condemning it:-

In 2005, the Weinstein Co. set up financing of about $500 million to fund production and distribution. The investment vehicle was created and syndicated by a little firm called Goldman Sachs. One of the films that was produced by TWC using funds from that investment was Moore's documentary Sicko. Given the success of his previous film, Fahrenheit 9/11, which he made with Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Moore was able to command a terrific deal for himself.

By 2010, TWC had burned through the capital raised in the Goldman Sachs deal. Investors were forced to restructure their arrangement, meaning some suffered a devaluation of their investment. Goldman also lost some money it put in TWC, but it could handle the loss in part because it was a recipient of the government's TARP bailout. Some unlucky investors might never get back the money they put into funding TWC.

Not unlike other bad investments set up by Goldman Sachs and others during this period, some people did make out quite well, while others, often lower on the food chain, suffered. One of those who did quite well using the TWC funds was Moore.

While I don't know for sure what Moore received on his movie, given his previous success, it likely was several million dollars. Sicko, produced by TWC but released in 2007 by Lionsgate, did not perform as well as Fahrenheit, earning $36 million at the box office. But pegs Moore's net worth at more than $50 million, and Moore is suing TWC for $2.7 million more in profits from Fahrenheit. (Reports at the time of the lawsuit said Moore already had received $19.8 million from TWC for that film alone.)

If Moore really wants to be seen as someone outside the circle of those he is protesting, it would be great if he would disclose how much he has made off his TWC-backed movies and why he was willing to associate himself with financing set up by Goldman Sachs. Further, journalists should start showing more backbone in testing the veracity of statements made by those who use the media to disseminate a holier-than-though message.

There are many reasons our country is in financial trouble, and some do relate to misdeeds by Wall Street executives. Calling attention to such misdeeds and issues of income inequality is a good thing. But the true fault of what put us in this situation resides with the government that gave leeway to those who contributed to political campaigns and provided jobs to those who ran between the various administrations and the private sector. Having a hypocrite blowing hard about groups of people in whose number he himself should be counted diminishes the impact and validity of the message.

Bottom line: All the time Mike's been railing about income inequality and corporate cronyism, he's been a big beneficiary of it, via taxpayers' money - the very people Moore effects to challenge and some of the biggest fools who think he speaks for them.

He doesn't.

Boeing. Halliburton. Now Goldman Sachs. Three strikes against Moore's veracity and sincerity.

I'd say he's out.

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