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Marion On May - 16 - 2011

My father, a lifelong Democrat and a fervent union supporter, always maintained that even the Left had its limits.

“Go far enough to the Left in your opinions,” he’d always say, “and before long, you’ll find you’re someplace on the Right.”

Since then, and more recently, I’ve heard various people maintain that premise: that the fringes of the Right and Left were really no different in outlook and attitude, and before long, it would be inevitable that they’d find a common meeting ground. Even history is littered with famous Leftwing voices who’ve veered to the Right.

Both the Hitchins brothers – Peter in the UK and Christopher in the US – started their professional lives as virulent Marxists.  David Horowitz, the student radical of the 1960s, is now an ueber Rightwing Islamophobe. The late Eldridge Cleaver went from Black Panther to the Mormon Church, voted twice for Reagan and died in the bosom of the Republican Party, a fully paid-up and much respected member of the neocon club.

Then, we have the Godfather of all political shapeshifters: the Gipper, himself.  Not many people today realise that Ronald Reagan was, one time, a vociferously Leftwing Democrat. By today’s standards, he’d stand proudly amongst many self-proclaimed Progressives, if he’d remained true to the ideals he professed in the 1940s.  In fact, with his film career on the wane, some California Democrats suggested running Reagan as a Congressional candidate in the 1948 election, only to have that idea shot down because the Party bosses reckoned he was too far to the Left.  If you’ve any doubt about Reagan, here’s a clip of a radio broadcast he did in 1948, campaigning for both President’ Truman’s re-election and the election of the then Democratic mayor of Minneapolis, Hubert Humphrey. Hark, at Reagan, the man who busted union power in the 1980s, eloquently arguing against the Taft-Hartley act, which he, rightly, vilifies:-

Yet, in less than 20 years, Reagan, the politician, had only one other politician in the United States, more Rightwing than he – Barry Goldwater – and at some point after 1948, the man who so brilliantly defended all and more of Truman’s proposed progressive policies, actually came to make these remarks about Medicare legislation in 1963:-

The irony behind Reagan’s diatribe against socialism was that Reagan, himself, who came of age as a New Deal Democrat, had formerly been an open admirer of socialism and big government. You have to wonder what happened that made the man from 1948 bridge the yawning gap that brought him to become the ideologue of 1963 and thereafter.

Jumping the shark, crossing the Rubicon, going over to the Dark Side … whatever you want to call it. I think, this week, we might just have seen another icon of the Left dip his toes in the waters of the Right.

Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Moore has left the building.

He has left the building and is meandering dangerously close to the territory inhabited by the Tea Party.

I have always had a love-hate relationship with Moore, since the late 90s when his television programs, TV Nation and The Awful Truth aired on the BBC and Channel 4 in the UK.  Lately, I have trouble believing that he’s less of a genuine spokesman for the working class and more of a token working class relic more at home amongst the affluent radical chic dedicated followers of political fashion.

He’s a multi-millionaire capitalist businessman who rails against capitalism, whilst at the same time flogging his latest book, DVD or film.  He’s the working-class hero who only travels by private jet, the pro-union man who isn’t averse to using non-union labour and not paying for healthcare insurance for them, as reported by ABC News in 2009, as per this link:-

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/michael-moore-snubs-union-workers-making-capitalism-love/story?id=8715559&page=1

He’s Mr Anti-Corporation, but receives funding for his projects from some of the biggest corporations in the country. The man is a walking anomaly.

In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden, Moore made headlines by expostulating frantically against the act on Twitter and later on Piers Morgan’s CNN talk show, where he declared that such an act had meant that America had lost its soul. The tweets then became increasingly more irate, calling the act, at times, an assassination and then, an execution. He also opened the envelope of comparing bin Laden’s death to the justice meted the Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg.

There are loads of arguments against all of the above – bin Laden was not the head of any state, but rather the icon of an international ideology which had hijacked a religion. The Nazi war criminals were state and military leaders who had waged war against the free world, conquered countries and openly persecuted and killed citizens thereof. These people had unconditionally surrendered, and they were dealt with accordingly as state prisoners thereafter. They did not surrender until their titular head, Adolf Hitler, had killed himself; but had anyone of the Allied Forces been able to get to Hitler anyplace and anytime before 1945, it’s almost certain he’d have been swiftly dispatched.

Arguing for the arrest and trial of bin Laden opens plenty of logistical and theoretical cans of worms, as well as revealing the extent of certain people’s short-term memory loss. First, where would bin Laden have been detained? If he were spirited off to any top-secret military fortress, more pejorative myths than not would prevail and many of Moore’s ilk would have demanded to know where the prisoner was being held in the interests of transparency, which seems to be the new word of fashion for the moment. It’s mete to remember that Congress had coniption fits and fell in them at the thought of  several Guantanamo Bay detainees being imprisoned on the mainland United States.

Secondly, where would the trial be held? Once again, political leaders in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, stamped feet against trying Khaled Sheikh Mohammed in those states; and one needs to remember that, not only was bin Laden responsible for 9/11 in the United States, but he was also responsible for the Bali bombings, the Madrid train bombing and the 7/7 suicide bombings in London. It could easily be argued that a trial in The Hague would have been appropriate, but The Hague has power only to impose a life sentence and to determine where that sentence should be served. A living bin Laden, languishing in prison, would forever be an iconic beacon to his cause, and should any illness encroach, he’d suddenly be deemed a sympathy case for release.

One could argue all of the above until the cows come home, and end up conflicting oneself in a welter of confusion to the point where people usually adept in word power suddenly fail to distinguish that “justified” and “justice” come from the same root word, as Laura Flanders found, when the normally inarticulate Ed Schultz tripped her up:-

Moore then twisted his tweets to the tune that bin Laden was actually executed, going back even further in history by saying that even Jefferson Davis and Robert E Lee didn’t get “double-tapped” for their treason.  True, but Moore would have to conflict himself further and lay the direct blame for that non-event at the feet of both Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S Grant, who actually determined the terms of surrender and any punishment thereafter.

It was then that his Twitter meanderings took a slightly different turn, when he tweeted a plaintive, “I just want my country back.”

Sound familiar? Well, yes, but that’s the battle cry of another political demographic altogether. It’s the rallying cry of the Tea Party, and it was last Sunday, Mother’s Day, when I had the epiphanous realisation that Moore and the Tea Party were most probably cut from the same cloth.

During Moore’s lengthy interview with Piers Morgan and afterward in the blog he wrote attempting to explain his actual concern about the events which took place, coincidentally, on May Day, he cited the fact that he was a devout, practicing Catholic, whose religion precluded support for the death penalty in any way. Catholics are also pro-life, being opponents of abortion. We’ve never heard Moore’s opinion about that in any form. It’s easy enough to surmise that he’d more than likely be pro-Choice, like those other practicing Catholics of the Left hemisphere, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi – disapproving of abortion, personally, but not denying any woman a freedom of choice.  Yet there have been noticeable Democrats who’ve been virulently pro-Life. Bart Stupak, anyone?

And why was I reminded instantly of Moore when I read about Speaker John Boehner’s commencement address to the Catholic University graduates yesterday, a speech in which Boehner, another practicing Catholic, totally neglected to address the dressing-down letter he received from an activist group of nuns and Catholic clergy for endorsing a budget that ripped the heart from programs designed to work in the interests of the poor?

Perhaps it was because Boehner and Moore are actually brothers under the skin – sons of sweaty, white ethnic working men, who found solace in church, home and the social programs of the Democratic party, only to rise, like cream, to the top of their demographic, leaving their respective siblings and neighbourhoods to fester and decay. Maybe it’s too uncomfortable for both men to look back or – in either of their cases – to pay more than nostalgic lip service to a background that sometimes appears uncomfortably too close to the surface. Moore appeases this by dressing like an assembly-line worker. Boehner drinks. Neither action is enough.

A few months ago, Moore was the big name who parted the sea of protesters in Madison, Wisconsin, in order to speak out for public sector unions and their personnel, specifically for the right bargain collectively. He made his appearance after the protests had garnered headline news for several days running. It was a cause celebre for the radical chic.  Ed Schultz broadcast from the venue and threatened the President with one term if he didn’t join the picket line.  Joan Walsh rediscovered the fact that she’d been educated at the University of Wisconsin in order to identify with the picketers.  Everyone wanted a piece of Madison, and no one more than Moore.

Yet now we are faced with the President and the newly-invigorated National Labor Relations Board standing up to Boeing for deciding to open a new plant for a new assembly line order in non-unionised Right-to-Work South Carolina, instead of maintaining the work in their unionised Washington State factory because union labour was more apt to strike; we have a President and the NLRB facing down a Tea Party Palin-cloned bitch of a governor as well as the Democratic mayor of Charleston, and where are the celebrity unionists?  Walsh is nowhere to be found. Schultz hasn’t even mentioned it.  No word from Maddow.  And Moore’s too busy telling America that we’ve lost our soul for killing Osama bin Laden.

The “country” Michael Moore longs for was avidly described in his Mother’s Day tweets, a sort of Twitteresque version of kitsch Garrison Keillor.  Moore longs for a time when his dad worked for union rates of pay at the Union Carbide battery factory, when his mother kept the kitchen warm and snug and redolent of fresh cooking, and when all she had to do to solve a childhood problem was serve up a helping of Campbell’s Condensed soup from a can which later became an Andy Warhol art piece, or a serving of pork and beans.  It was an America where Mom taught Mike to read at the kitchen table, and they lived next door to the Catholic church they attended.

The Fifties.

Just like the Teabaggers.

Michael Moore went to parochial school, just like most of us who grew up Catholic in the Fifties and Sixties. For most working class Catholics, that meant Dad working extra shifts in order to afford the tuition. Parochial school means that Mike probably sat in a class of uniformed, little white boys and girls, as segregated as the public schools of the South during that period.  Mike’s neighbourhood was probably inhabited by white ethnic workers, whose household heads worked the automotive industry’s assembly lines.  Their black co-workers lived elsewhere, but not amongst them.

In the world for which Mike yearns, if the girl next door got up the duff at sixteen, she married her baby’s father, and they made the best of it – either that, or she was suddenly sent out-of-town to care for the ubiquitous “Aunt Judy” who’d suddenly fallen ill. She’d finish her sophomore or junior year there, her folks would explain, distractedly. And she’d return to a community she’d think was none the wiser to the fact that she’d spent five months in a home for unwed mothers and had a child she’d given up for adoption.

And in Michael’s rose-coloured Fifties world, rape – that unspeakable crime – really was “hooey,” because anytime a rape occurred, it was invariably perceived to be the victim’s fault; and she had to suffer the consequences.

Osama bin Laden’s death achieved a lot more than a shift in whatever anyone wants to call the dynamics taking place in the Middle East. It also brought to the forefront the shallowness of some of the people who put themselves forth as spokesmen and pundits from the Left.  Ed Schultz conveniently forgets that he implored Progressives not to vote in the 2010 Midterms, and now presumes to tell Moore and other handwringers on the Left that this is irrelevant, that it will cause damage and a rupture which the Republicans will use as a stick with which to beat the Democratic party in being sympathetic to a known terrorist.  Bill Maher conveniently forgets that he went on national television in late November to declare the President a “pussy,” and who, until two weeks ago, was still pushing the familiar Progressive talking point about the President “caving” on tax cuts for the rich.  Now, according to Bill, the President has rediscovered a blackness only Bill Maher could understand – the ghetto gangsta ninjiness that only a privileged, white, affluent Progressive could presume was part and parcel of African American psyche.

And just last week, a reasonably well-known Progressive academic from the West Coast, in a heated discussion on her Facebook page, declared that cognitive linguistics demanded that in a debate or a discussion, anytime a question or a point was raised with which the speaker found contentious or disagreeable, the speaker had the innate right to ignore totally the question or opinion, to blank it out entirely, to ignore it and move on, because to acknowledge disagreement encourages what the speaker perceives to be a negative idea.  That’s not cognitive linguistics, that’s pure Tea Party philosophy – in a nutshell, the debating technique of Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin.

But as for Michael Moore, I have a pretty sneaking suspicion that a lot of his reaction to the events unfurling was purely capitalistic – for the promotion of Brand Moore, as evidenced by his tweet of May 10th:-

Wow, 30,000+ new Twitter followers in the past week. Now at 832,000! Can we kill OBL again this week? See, newbies–that’s how we roll here.

Again, like their brethren on the Right, that’s ultimately what it’s all about, isn’t it? The corporate Sermon on the Mount and the feeding of the sheeple.

53 Responses so far.

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  1. audadvnc says:

    Cartoonist Ted Rall about “Obamabots” on The Young Turks:

    “These are the kinds of debates and discussions that should be taking place on (progressive sites)…. I’m not that far left, and big percentages of the country agree with me…. the discussion needs to be a little broader.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrckgM6Ilfc

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Thanks for posting this. I went from the link to the article he talks about in it, on his website, “Rise of the Obamabots”. I like Ted Rall; he pulls no punches, tells it straight and bitingly.

  2. KQuark says:

    Marion I certainly don’t agree with Moore on OBL but this complete hatchet job on him is over the top in my opinion.

    Yes I think things like Moore’s Hitler analogy is way off base because Hitler had committed suicide which in essence stole the gratification of the allies bringing him to justice by killing him. Yes I see the hypocrisy of those on the left more than most when they live the same lifestyle or use the same tactics as those on the right. Yes I also think the left today is further left than the left in the past especially on national security issues. Like the right would not welcome Reagan today the left would call JFK and FDR war criminals for the actions they took to keep this country secure. However Moore has brought to light many ills of our modern society that have prevented us from progressing the last 30 years.

    I think you have to judge a person on their whole body of work instead on a few issues. In fact I think that’s exactly how many Democrats are unfair assessing President Obama.

  3. agrippa says:

    The left -- marxism, kropotkin, proudhon, Bakunin -- was a set of ideas that I flirted with as a college student. But, I was, at the end of the day, a realist. None of those ideas were ever going to come to fruition without a ‘revoutionary situation’. We did not have one then and we do not have one now.
    I had to live in the real world; and, make a life and living in that place. Not easy at times.

    I did not go to the right; I do not believe a word of the rhetoric, and I took note of the deeds. What matters to me is knowing possible from impossible; keeping my wits and never becoming the prisoner of my passions. At the end of the day, I could never be either a leftist or a rightist.

    The left -- Bolsheviks, for example, and the right -- Nazis for example -- have, at least one thing in common: Both consign mortal human beings to categories. And, kill them at the proper time.

    As for moore: I consider his work a polemic. Polemics driven by passion; not by reason. Polemics are useful under certain conditions. But, then, you have to try and govern. Governing is a tough trade.

    • KillgoreTrout says:

      A rabbi (can’t remember his name) once said that the only difference between Hitler and Stalin was that one had a small mustache and the other had a big mustache!

    • escribacat says:

      agrippa — What you said. You’ve described my political past, evolution, and present attitude.

  4. AdLib says:

    Let me begin by saying that I don’t agree with Moore’s position on all of this and at the same time, I am against executions and assassinations.

    Like a number of people here, I was a bit off-balance about what happened with Bin Laden. My first reaction was disbelief and great relief, this was an accomplishment. The man behind the deaths of thousands of Americans and possibly many more in the future was dead.

    As the initial reports surfaced that he had a weapon when he was shot, there was no issue for me about his being killed in self-defense. I watched those who gathered at the WH cheering and celebrating out of a detached curiosity, I have never celebrated the death of anyone (much as I may have imagined Bin Laden being killed, especially right after 9/11). It was a bit of an oddity to me but I didn’t judge these mostly young people for their jubilation, the Boogey Man that they grew up fearing from childhood had been slain, I understood the motivations that a release from years of fear could bring.

    Then the word came that Bin Laden wasn’t armed, that his wife tried to stand in the way of the SEAL team when they came upon him, she was wounded and he was shot to death.

    We don’t know what those moments were like. We have been told that the SEALS were instructed to accept a surrender, perhaps that’s for public consumption, perhaps it’s true.

    Where I disagree with Moore is that he doesn’t know what the order from Obama was nor was he there at that moment. Would Americans have been any less jubilant if Bin Laden was captured alive? I doubt it though I would suggest that there would be a great deal more anger and fear out there.

    That is not a reason to have preferred Bin Laden be killed but just an observation.

    We can also only imagine the shitstorm Fox would be generating throughout the 2012 election, attacking Obama for everything connected to Bin Laden’s NOT being killed and being “pampered” or some other propaganda.

    Again, this doesn’t justify killing an unarmed man. However, whether its the SEAL team coming upon Bin Laden or a SWAT team coming upon a serial killer, they know they are facing a mass murderer who has nothing to lose. They may indeed err on the side of self-protection, the moral question is, if Bin Laden or a serial killer MIGHT be a threat to the lives of one of the team apprehending him, should they err on the side of letting one of theirs be killed or not? It is a complicated scenario but though I oppose killing, I also believe that the lives of those enforcing law come first before the one who has taken lives.

    I think the flaw in Moore’s argument is the preponderance of assumptions he has made about things he can’t possibly know for certain. Also, his judgment of American society is very narrowly constructed, it does not allow for the possibility that people would have been just pleased if he had been captured alive.

    As for his minority opinion on this turning him into being a Republican, I think the divergence of Moore’s opinion with the majority is just that. I don’t see how a difference of opinion on one issue can be fairly extrapolated out to tainting all of his political opinions and views.

    Moore is far from perfect. He does have an ego and he can go out on the wrong limb at times. However, in appraising anyone’s character, one should view that person’s words and deeds in totality.

    And I don’t mean, as with Reagan, that if one was reasonable years ago, that counterbalances their transition to becoming more extremist.

    But in the case of Moore, he was an early campaigner for HCR (“Sicko”) and was active and vocal throughout the process. He attacked the loss of the public option and no push for single payer and I and many other folk were right there with him. He campaigned for reigning in corporate domination of our nation (“Capitalism, A Love Story”) as he always has since “Roger and Me” and has been very activist about that as well.

    How does being anti-corporate, pro-single payer/public option and anti-gun (“Bowling for Columbine”) square with being an extremist Republican?

    The problem with a lot of the discourse out there, and I am guilty of this at times too, is that because of the polarization, there is too often a binary approach to other’s opinions. As Bush put it, “You’re either with us or against us.”

    We do that on the Left, they do it on the right. Consider how quickly the Right turns on any Repub that doesn’t toe the party line. Dems have more diversity so a greater tolerance is allowed but still, go too far from the party line and you may find yourself accused as being no different than a Republican.

    I think it’s most constructive to have a palette that has many shades in it when painting a picture of other people. It is easy to do a charcoal drawing of someone one disagrees with, black and white, their opinion upsets me so they are like the others whose opinions upset me.

    Instead, coloring in the nuances of a single opinion with the shades of all other opinions they have as well as their actions, past and present, would seem to give a richer and fuller portrait of who they really are.

    Moore is of course a capitalist. He does have an ego as most remarkably successful people do. He is wealthy, popular and influential.

    He may have those superficial things in common with some Republicans (and other Dems) but that’s about where it ends, IMO. His conviction to his beliefs doesn’t seem to be in question. Whether all of his opinions are on the money is always up for debate but I will take all bets that if Jeb Bush runs for president, Michael Moore won’t be donating to his campaign.

    • Marion says:

      No, he’ll donate to Nader again.

      What about the fact that Mr UnionMan doesn’t hire union labour whenever he’s making a film? More important, that he doesn’t pay these non-union employees health insurance? And what would you say if the ex-SEALS whom he hires for his security detail were provided by a contractor like Xe?

      • AdLib says:

        Just to be clear, Micheal Moore voted for Obama in 2008. Also, I can name a number of well known Progressives who contributed to Nader. I don’t see how the dots are connected through these two things and being a Republican or anti-Progressive.

        In 2000, Nader was seen as the true Progressive as opposed to Gore who was running away from Progressivism at the time. The case could be made that Nader’s supporters were a higher percentage of Progressives than Gore. I even considered him at the time, before turning back to Gore when the race seemed to be getting close. Otherwise, I too believe that having more parties and candidates for President is better for us and our democracy and efforts to support that are not categorically Republican.

        Nader of course turned out to be an egotistical fanatic so I’m glad I didn’t end up supporting him but I support what he represented.

        As for 2004, the Repub plan to boost Nader and keep him afloat as a drain of votes from Kerry was almost as despicable as Nader’s greed in lapping up their money.

        If you are equating Moore’s intentions on donating to Nader in 2000 to Republicans propping him up in 2004, the logic escapes me.

        Add to that, in 2004 Moore actually begged Nader not to run:


        So, your proposition on this has no visible means of support.

        As for your charge that he doesn’t use union labor whenever he’s making a film, that is simply RW propaganda which you’ve mistakenly accepted as fact:

        Michael Moore Snubs Union Workers in Making ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’

        By RUSSELL GOLDMAN (@GoldmanRussell)
        Oct. 1, 2009

        Michael Moore used some non-union crewmembers when union workers were available in the production of his latest film “Capitalism: A Love Story,” a documentary that argues the capitalist system allows for greedy corporations to exploit working-class people.

        “For all of the different jobs on the movie that could have used union labor, he used union labor, except for one job, the stagehands, represented by IATSE,” said a labor source unauthorized to talk about Moore’s decision not to hire members of The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

        In a statement issued to ABCNews.com, Moore’s agent, Ari Emanuel, said the filmmaker wished the union included more documentary crew people — but he did not deny that IATSE members were snubbed in favor of non-union employees.

        “The sad fact is that documentary/verite theatrical films and the talented people who work on them are too often treated as second-class filmmakers, when they are among the most creative, talented and hardworking, and often produce our finest films,” said Emanuel.

        “Nothing would make Michael happier than for documentary filmmaking to get its due respect, and to have unions pursue the documentary film crews with the same energy they give to bringing feature crews into their membership and making it a viable option for them,” he said.

        “This is a Writer’s Guild, Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild film, as all of Michael’s films are. He is a proud, dues-paying member of all three of these unions,” said Emanuel.

        http://abcnews.go.com/Business/michael-moore-snubs-union-workers-making-capitalism-love/story?id=8715559

        As for your proposition about Moore hiring ex-SEALS that were provided by Xe, that too sounds like propaganda, could you please provide links that corroborate this?

        The thing is, I could use the same style of extrapolation to represent you as a conservative Republican, though I know you are not one.

        Republicans disliked Nader and all that he stood for (except when he represented damage to Kerry), have disdain for Michael Moore and attack those who opposed the killing of Bin Laden in favor of capturing him.

        Based on those points, I could unfairly extrapolate that you have turned into a Republican, which we both know is totally untrue.

        This is why I stressed before, cherry-picking particular choices and opinions from anyone can allow them to be easily mischaracterized, taking in a person’s words and choices holistically gives one a far more accurate view of who that person really is.

      • jkkFL says:

        Are we authorized to sit in judgment? Do we want to? Do I care?? Not so much- I’d rather hear from Both sides..
        As AdLib so skilfully pointed out, we have become us-them; black-white.
        The Hardest lesson I ever had to learn is ‘there is more than one way to do something correctly’.
        …and there are more colors in the pallete..
        Moore may hire some non-union workers, but having been connected to SAG and AFTRA, I can damn sure guarantee he did not use non-union workers in major roles!

        “For all of the different jobs on the movie that could have used union labor, Moore used union labor, except for one job, the stagehands, represented by IATSE,” said a labor source unauthorized to talk about Moore’s decision not to hire members of The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.”

        Sometimes it pays to do a little research…
        H/T abc news/money

        • bito says:

          jkk, good research, and as too IATSE, I know there is a love/hate relationship with them with many trades, they can be ‘overreaching.’

  5. Khirad says:

    I’ll tell you why they aren’t saying anything. Because the only Washington people care about is DC. 😛

    [That’s a bit of tongue-in-cheek snarkiness — all native Washingtonians have a bit of a complex about the East Coast provincials who think they’re all that and a bag of chips]

    By the way, who brought all those Boeing contracts to the Evergreen State? Democrats. Warren Magnuson and Henry M. Jackson.

    It would only be fitting to lose jobs from Seattle’s Boeing after losing the NBA team they inspired, the SuperSonics. [suck it OKC-boo!]

    Yeah, Boeing’s kinda a BFD in Washington. Before Microsoft, Starbucks, Costco and Nordstrom was Boeing.

    That Reagan clip was surreal. I knew he’d been a Democrat, but never knew he was a lefty.

    Don’t get me started on Moore. He’s served his purpose, but I don’t take him to be some sort of personal hero.

    He completely effing lost me on the bin Laden thing. Maybe if he’d taken care of himself he could have become a SEAL and done it right himself.

    • Marion says:

      Actually, it’s Washington who are fighting Boeing about them taking union jobs away from a unionised state and relocating the work in a Right-to-Work state. The only person jumping up and down with glee who’s a Democrat is the Blue Dog Democratic mayor of Charleston.

      Theh President and the NLRB are the ones fighting Boeing’s trying to avoid union labour. I don’t see any celebrity Lefties lending voice. And certainly not Moore.

      • choicelady says:

        Marion -- I’d not heard a WORD about this Boeing in Charleston move. What can we do to help??? Good on the Prez for standing against it, and YES everyone else should be on board.) Can you tell us what unions are impacted? We can at least send money and letters in support of their staying union in a union-supportive state.

      • KQuark says:

        I have always said the professional left is much better at criticizing than fighting for causes they supposedly support. This is one of those cases for sure.

        Only when it’s anger driven reactionary support like in WI does the left support causes and that support fizzles out in the end more than not.

    • AdLib says:

      Always remember…Reagan was an actor. The thing about actors in general (and there are exceptions to this) is that they crave acceptance and adulation.

      Such motivations can easily convince one to rationalize a complete reversal of opinions, if that delivers what’s most desired.

      And actors can act in their own lives too, choosing roles to play and seeing one role just as ethical as an opposite role, after all, playing a role is what their most accustomed to.

      That’s why I didn’t find it terribly surprising that Reagan held more moderate views in his past.

      However, with the rise of McCarthyism, being on the Left became less popular so how unusual is it that around that time, Reagan became a Right Wing virulent anti-communist…who by the way, named names and seemingly happily, betrayed many in Hollywood.

      A perfect symbol of the unprincipled GOP, no wonder they have such love for him.

  6. funksands says:

    Can a capitalist pig with a typical yearning for the “good old days” still believe in the importance of re-building a labor-centric, more-liberal nation?

    Probably.

    Does this make him a turncoat or an individual with motives that don’t always fit the narrative?

    I think Obama is a moderate conservative that is still my best chance to see liberal legislation enacted on a federal level. I do not by definition then call him a liberal.

    Michael Moore is film-maker and celebrity that believes passionately about liberal and working-class issues while providing lip service only to some. I do not by defintion call him a conservative or a saboteur.

    • kesmarn says:

      Funk, you’re confusing the issue with your uncanny ability to tolerate complexity in humans! 😆 What have you got against pigeonholing and stereotypes, you free thinker, you?

  7. invient says:

    I would like to know what would make someone go from a democrat to a republican… did some one take an Ayn Rand novel pass it through a blender and force feed Mr. Moore?

    I am slowly changing from a democrat/liberal to a libertarian socialist, I’ve started reading Karl Marx and Rosa Luxemberg…. am I about to turn into a republican again?… 😛

    As to the question of OBL, I would’ve brought him back to NY and use the “eye for an eye” in sharia law and drop him from the height of the towers, followed by a large mass of steel and concrete…

    BTW, Great Article!

    • choicelady says:

      invient -- another term that might fit your world view would be “social anarchist”. That would be someone who wishes to make agreements with others to do something (run a steel mill, build a community garden, whatever) without direction from outside, be they business or government. But once the pacts are made as a long-term community or short-term project group, they are kept and honored. In sum -- that’s how the world worked for about 600 years, from the end of feudalism to the rise of industrial capitalism. People in communities, whether residential or productive or guilds any other kind, controlled their own process of production, the product, and the price of what they sold. They determined the land uses, what would be grown, how and where it would be exchanged and what price (barter standards generally) would be fair. They were loyal to one another, not exploitative, and they sanctioned efforts to ‘get one over’ on others. It did not limit initiative, but it did curtail greed.

      Both socialism as we know it and capitalism as we see it are hierarchical, make decisions for others outside the group, and exist with a hierarchy of rewards and privileges. It does not need to be that way. We are taught about kings and queens, aristocracies because we are the product of capitalist 19th century teachings. We do not learn about the high levels of self sufficiency and relative autonomy in most towns, villages, and other social constructions because that would undermine the very idea of hierarchy and privilege -- and we can’t be having THAT, now, can we? Such ideas about self direction, self governance, worker ownership, etc. would undermine both capitalism and socialism. Wow.

      Food for thought.

    • foodchain says:

      This is a general comment: Our minds seem to want to categorize and sort everything. When I think of art, I think about how artists (I wish I was one) attempt to NOT categorize, label, but rather create a new way to look at something, each for our own.

      I easily make stereotype images, but what I hear from so many on this site is the desire to not do that. I cherish this and feel safe because of it. Further:

      I think Obama IS a black man; I think the cultural anger towards him influences him greatly—not because he is afraid, but because he does not want further division.

      I think many, many things happen behind the canvass we view, and I think the news does a poor service in helping present the canvass.

      When I like someone, I do give large thoughts, compassion, “soft eyes”. I like Michael Moore. But I do think the bridge of metaphors to unite is better than the gulf that divides.

  8. whatsthatsound says:

    Well, well, well, I see that Marion has written her article again. I pretty much knew this was coming. I mean, the president’s actions must be defended at all costs, and in Marion-world, that means Attack The Messenger.

    I think it’s great that you know so much about Mr. Moore! His views on abortion, his desire to distance himself from his roots, and even rape! When did he tell you all these things? Over lunch? I doubt he’ll be lunching with you anymore after this piece though….

    • KQuark says:

      Allot of us, in fact most Americans agree with what the president authorized and I made my case for killing Bin Laden as well.

      That being said I think Marion did manufacture a hatchet job on Moore.

    • kesmarn says:

      WTS, you are the master of logical analysis. And I love it.

      For the record: none of us need to worry retrospectively about the poor Catholic daddies of the fifties having had to pull 80 hour work weeks to keep the kiddies in Catholic elementary schools. They were commonly tuition-free because the nuns taught for nothing and the parishes were gigantic and could support the schools with relative ease. They provided amazing educations to kids from all sorts of backgrounds. Minority kids included. Surprise, surprise. Pesky damned facts!

      I actually saw the Moore/Piers Morgan interview, but apparently even though it occurred on the same day, it wasn’t the same one Marion saw. The one I saw showed a Moore who was disappointed that there couldn’t have been an arrest/trial scenario with bin Laden — which in his view would have spoken volumes about America’s reverence for due process. But not a guy who felt that the SEALs had done an evil deed. He seemed relieved that Biden was no longer in the picture. Not necessarily jubilant, but relieved.

      I haven’t read every tweet from him since May 1. Who the hell has time?? I saw some referring to Mother’s Day and other topics. He doesn’t seem obsessed by the bin Laden affair.

      Nor is he obsessed with the fifties. When Moore refers to the fifties, it’s usually in the context of saying that the unions made it possible for one wage earner to support a family then. Period. I don’t see him pining for McCarthyism, A-bomb terror, legitimized rape, or pregnant teen brides. I don’t remember a single instance it which he said that everything about the fifties was perfect and we should all hop in the time machine and dial the “Way Back” knob to Eisenhower. That’s the TeaBag schtick.

      If Moore is in the same camp as the Tea Party, then Dubya is the Marxist-Hippie King of Texas. Because — haven’t you noticed — he’s left-handed?

      P.S. Oh — and why is it the case that everyone on the left needs to be flat broke in order to have any street cred? Sure Moore has made money. Why shouldn’t he? After all, he didn’t make it selling derivatives. Practically the only place I’ve ever heard that criticism launched from has been the Limbaugh camp. Perhaps more proof that the further left you go the more likely you are to end up on the right?

      • whatsthatsound says:

        Good points, Kes. I went to Catholic schools in the late sixties and seventies. Granted, Vatican II may account for some of the difference between my experience and what OP describes, but like you point out, it was free for my mom ( a widow on a VA pension) and in high school I attended with numerous AA students, an Asian student and an Iranian student.
        Just a fact; sorry if it’s inconvenient.

        Furthermore, I find it a little odd that OP seems to hold a double standard for people like Arianna, and others like Moore. If one starts out as a right winger, one HAS to remain one regardless of how one presents oneself, because a leopard doesn’t change its spots, she tells us. However, if one starts out as a left winger, but then criticizes a Democratic president, that person is halfway down the slippery slope that leads to Reagan’s Morning in America! No WONDER it’s so difficult to elect a progressive president! We can’t hold on to our progressive kin, but the righties get new members all the time! We’re scroooooed!

        • kesmarn says:

          Yes, WTS, apparently the right is the great black hole that sucks everyone into itself. No one ever escapes.

          I believe Moore actually likes and respects our Prez. But in a sense, he has either consciously or sub-consciously assumed the prophet’s role (in the original meaning of the word) of holding up the higher standard (for himself as well as others) and urging all of us to heed our better angels. Unlike others, I don’t see an attitude of self-righteousness in Moore. Sometimes indignation, but never an assumption that he himself is our moral superior.

          That I see in Palin.

          But anyone on the right seems to be exempt from criticism-- or, more accurately, even evaluation-- in this series.

    • Khirad says:

      While I agree with you on the second paragraph, I don’t get where you’re coming from with the first. At least, not with this article, that is.

      I’m willing to have the “debate” over not killing bin Laden though. Because, it’s a pretty friggin’ silly one, honestly. Even Juan Cole thinks so.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        Khirad, the only place I’m coming from in the first paragraph is standing up for a commentator’s right to hold a differing, and critical, view of any type of presidential action, without being slammed.

        It’s beyond ironic that OP uses the same tactic she despises in others. If anyone calls Obama Bush-lite, she’s upset, but then here she is calling Moore Reagan-lite. Sorry. Uh uh. Unfair.

        • Marion says:

          Maybe because I see the real reason behind a lot of the gratuitous criticism that people from his side of the political coin have levelled at this President isn’t so very different from the reasons the Right level criticism at him as well -- just a bit more subtle. And if you say that isn’t so, you’re in denial.

          I’ve been critical of the President when I’ve felt criticism is warranted, but I don’t parse every word and I certainly didn’t project my own ideals on his tabula rasa as a candidate. Funny, how people who purport to be Progressives or Liberals or whatever tranche of the Democratic Party or the Left find it so easy to find gratuitous fault with a President who is genuinely working for the betterment of the country as a whole within the confines of the bad hand he was dealt, yet whenever a celebrity icon is criticized, these selfsame people act as if they or a loved one has been personally insulted.

          Michael Moore came from the working class. So did a lot of us. He worked hard and made good. But a capitalist who speaks out against capitalism and corporatism whilst reaping its benefits does not speak for me.

          Michael Moore, as I recall, traipsed the country in 2000, telling all and sundry that Gore and Bush were much the same and that people should vote for Nader.

          That worked out so well for us, didn’t it?

          If you don’t mind, I’m sticking with the President on this one. He’s got less of a personal brand to sell. The alternatives, Moore included, are pretty chilling.

          • whatsthatsound says:

            Nevertheless, that is still having it both ways. I have no issue whatsoever with you criticizing Moore, or KO, or Maher, etc. I take issue with the extrapolations you make with nothing other than your own certainty that they are right.
            The first time I ever made a critical comment on one of your pieces was when you asserted that Arianna Huffington, because she was Greek, must therefore be racist because you assured us that Greece is the most racist country in Europe.
            Your article was about stereotypes, and there you were stereotyping.

            Were you to steer clear of the embellishments, the putting of thoughts into the heads of the people you write about (such as what you write about Moore’s view of the 50s), I would not rush to defend those you assault. I have no great love for Moore, or KO, or Huffington or Maher. They don’t speak for me, and I am well aware that they are fallible. But what I am nearly certain of is that not a single one of them would recognize themselves in the pictures that you paint of them in the pieces you write. As they are not here to defend themselves from your ad hominems, the least I can do is voice my disapproval.

    • bito says:

      WTS, I grew up in the Midwest, as did you, not only does that cover all my views and feeling it describes my life to a ‘t’. I have absolutely zero doubt that you MUST be the same way , just as all people in New Jersey belong to ‘the Mob’, all elections in Chicago are rigged and all people in California are surfers and have limos.
      (hint: We used to kid my Mother in the morning, while she was making our lunches,dressed in a robe and her hair askew “Where’s your frock and pearls, Mrs. Cleaver?” We knew fiction from reality in the 50’s)

      I am simply appalled that Mr. Moore, no throughly appalled, that he has diverged from the pure librul position! Any statistician of any merit can plainly see a huge trend with Mr. Moore’s views that he is turning hard right, I think the Monkey Cage has a graph/study on how “right” he has become lately.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        Well, bito, as you know by now, Marion knows EVERYTHING about the people she doesn’t like -- and it’s so weird how none of it is very flattering, isn’t it?

        But really, one could do this with ANYONE, even her own paragon, Barack Obama. I read an article recently about his mother ( a book about her is coming out), and she confessed that she felt hurt that there was so little devoted to her in “Dreams of My Father”, and that also she was a bit nonplussed to see him embrace his African American-ness over his multicultural upbringing, in her view.

        Now, in a Marion hit piece, you could easily use that to say that he doesn’t like white people, and that he secretly hates his “white half”. Would it be true? Of course not! It would be a classic ad hominem attack, such as we see so often in these pieces.

      • KillgoreTrout says:

        How can statistics exemplify a trend in any one person’s views?

        I don’t think he is becoming a right winger, I think he just moving slightly from the far left views he had a couple of years ago. He’s always been a bit hubristic and exaggerated in his views.

  9. Parsifals says:

    A compelling argument that capital(ism) does corrupt. It certainly influenced Reagan, Heston, and perhaps now Moore. It influences those around me and those I can see from a distance with or without a telescope.

    But it doesn’t make it easier to swallow or digest.

    • KillgoreTrout says:

      I don’t have a problem with actors, directors and movie producers making huge sums of money. They aren’t really harming anyone. It’s the atavistic capitalists that I have a problem with, like Reagan.
      Capitalism is probably the best economic system there is, but it requires checks and balances. Regulation! Unregulated capitalism is pure jungle law. And obviously, that is NOT good.

      • invient says:

        In the past they called the study of economics, the study of political-economics. There was not a distinction between the two, because they both influence each other and thus you would only see part of the system by studying only one.

        I do not know enough about capitalism and its counterpart socialism to determine IMO which is best… but surely unregulated capitalism is just as bad as state-socialism…

        • KillgoreTrout says:

          I don’t think it’s possible to have any pure economic system. Our’s has always been a mix of capitalism and socialism. But, for the past 3 decades, the regulation has been disappearing.

  10. ADONAI says:

    I like Moore’s books and movies. His public speaking gigs are always entertaining and informative. But he’s not a politician, so I don’t get that bent out of shape about him.

    I disagree with him though. This country makes decisions to execute criminals everyday. Just because we had to fly to Pakistan to get this done is irrelevant. Dude HAD to die.

    But I would have loved to have seen him brought to New York and tried. I’m not saying it would have been easy, but it would have been such a profound message. Far more than busting into his house and shooting him in the eye. But it’s not like he didn’t have it coming. And yes, if Russia had reached Berlin before Hitler killed himself, they would have done it for him. And we wouldn’t have said a thing. Again though, trial by law is always a more powerful message. But circumstances dictate whether that is possible or not.

    Fear should never enter the equation. “Home of the brave”, anyone? We openly mock and threaten Muslims on national fucking television everyday, yet putting a “terrorist leader” on trial will be the deal breaker?

    And while I understand his position on invading Pakistan airspace and operating on Pakistani soil without their permission,”Boo-Hoo”. If I were President, I would have went into Pakistan after his ass 8 years ago. They say the White House told no one in Pakistan because they were afraid of OBL being topped off. Seems like that was the right decision. I think I would have called Musharraf though. Personally. Told him what was about to happen and stress that we will roll until the job is done, then leave. Do not make it harder than it needs to be. No one will benefit from that.

    Just to let him know we were on to him and that he’d best stay out of the way. His help would be nice bu tit is not necessary. Nor is his approval. How many people do you have to kill before you’re taken seriously? How many countries have to put you on their shit list before you understand?

    The Tea Party only has one problem, their long term message. The Tea Party may have been the best or worst thing to happen to the country. Besides putting a deep split in the Republican Party, it has given other Americans a blueprint for getting their message and their voice to a national audience. But it has also made certain difficult policy decisions even more difficult by introducing a proxy third party. Not a true third Party. It is still very much influenced by Republicans.

    The President’s approval rating is at 64% and climbing. Republicans are very much in danger of losing their temporary control of the House. So they’re panicking. The fact they have no viable Presidential candidate and the election season, for all intents and purposes, has started, must be given them daily fits. Everyday they don’t have a counter to Obama for President is another day they lose 1,000 votes to him. Those votes add up quick.

    So let the commentators comment. Let the pundits….. pun? Let the activists be active. One thing we always seem to find out at the end of every election is just how little they actually mattered.

    • KillgoreTrout says:

      Adonai, I think SEAL TEAM 6 saved us a lot of anger, political posturing, time and boatloads of money. Not to mention the huge media circus a trial would have caused. I for one, will not miss any of that.

      • Marion says:

        On your last point, DEMOCRATS in Congress conspired to ensure that prisoners from Gitmo NOT be imprisoned on the mainland. Ever. And DEMOCRATIC Senators from New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia conspired to ensure that no civil trial be held within their borders for KSM. How the heck could or would any authority decide how we would legalistically deal with an Osama bin Laden trial?

      • jkkFL says:

        KT and Caru; I agree with you both. Not sure where that puts me; but I damn sure need more evidence than I have now- on both subjects.
        MediaPeople, DC, and judgmental people everywhere, have prevented GITMO from closing- there is NO way he could have been tried in the US, IMO.
        Michael Moore is a movie producer- ie: he’s a bit of a drama..king??
        He saw a good opportunity for real footage get mowed down in Pakistan. He’s having a producer hissy-fit, nothing more..
        I am one of those lefties that is 1cm from being right; so I need a lot more evidence before I declare him a turncoat.

    • Caru says:

      “Let the pundits….. pun?”

      That actually sums them up perfectly.

  11. Abbyrose86 says:

    I agree with Caru, that was very well written. Provided much food for thought.

  12. choicelady says:

    Wow. I so hope you’re wrong, Marion. I’ve known Moore since before he was famous in a major way. I used to be able to write to him and get a real reply. Now -- nothing. I hope his yearning for the 50s is more like mine: not the inequalities and stultifying repression but for the works of the New Deal in action AFTER the Depression and WW II. Far more income equality, more meaningful political engagement, more shared participation in economic growth. At least for white males…

    I just hope that you’re wrong for this one time -- that he’s NOT going over to the dark side (though his rejection of union labor on his film is HORRIBLE) but is expressing what some liberals, especially in the faith world, feel, and that is that despite the manifest problems, we as a nation would be more moral had we captured rather than killed OBL. I don’t share that view, but I do understand it. It’s passionate idealism. If that is Moore’s basic premise, I can disagree without distrusting.

    However, you have opened my eyes, and I will keep watching. If he does go to the Right, it will be a huge loss, a sad day indeed. He was -- and I hope is -- one of the few authentic voices for working men and women, for unions, for shared prosperity. If he moves away from his own core principles, that will be terribly sad for him, and for us.

    • Sabreen60 says:

      Someone once said if you go far enough to the left you end up on the right. Unfortunately, there seems to some fairly well known individuals who are now heading in that direction. If fact, I sent Michael Eric Dyson an email (something I don’t usually do) because I’ve become tired of him, Tavis Smiley and Cornell West.

  13. Caru says:

    That was rather well-written, Marion. Nice job. :)


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