June 11

Capitalism: A Love Story: A Critique

Like many conservatives – or people who call themselves conservatives – I’ve always hated Michael Moore. But recently I’ve felt that I might share a small bit of his animosity towards corporations – not a huge surprise as I’ve even found myself agreeing with the dreaded ACLU once or twice. So when his documentary “Capitalism: A Love Story” came out last year, I thought it might be an interesting view, but then it shortly faded out of my forgetful memory. But when my mom told me she’d recently watched it and that I should give it a go, well, I said, why not. So I downloaded it, the non-capitalist way as Moore would certainly want, and hit the play button on my Microsoft Xbox.

The first issue I realize I’m going to have with this film is the title. Instead of Capitalism, the film more accurately discovers the perils of Corporatism – a totally different monster. The disappointing thing is, I believe Moore knows this differentiation, but he is intentionally misusing terms to sway the viewer against the idea of Capitalism. Sadly, much of the populace is already deluded in this manner – they believe we live in a Capitalist state today. This is very, very far from the truth. In fact, the institution of a Corporation would not even exist in a truly Capitalist society. Corporations are an invention of the State.

Anyways. So the film starts out with some families who are losing their homes to the banks. ‘Nuff said for now.

Moore raises the case of the PA judge who got paid off to put kids in jail. This is a glaring example of Corporatism, not Capitalism! Corporatism, put simply, means the State is in bed with Big Business. Is that not exactly what we have here?

Next he implies that because airlines cut costs on pay and security, crash rates have increased. But I pose the question: in a truly Capitalist society, should not the airline be just as concerned with safety of its passengers, as its passengers are? If the only way an airline survives in capitalism is through consumer confidence, shouldn’t a plane crash equal the death of that airline as well? Still, though, some airlines do crash. Why do these companies survive? Two reasons. Consumer indifference and government bailouts, or, at the very least, moral support in the “interest” of national security. Hello again, Corporatism.

Moore then finds two Catholic priests and a bishop who tell us that… that… Capitalism is a sin? Is this a joke? What kind of pinko priest is this? An economic system can be a sin? LOLFATHER.

We then sit down with WSJ columnist Stephen Moore, who clearly has a good understanding of the principles upon which this country was built, explaining that in Capitalism you are free to do as you wish in business – including fail. But when he mentions the Constitution, Fat Daddy balks at the chance to belittle such a sentiment. He visits the Constitution in the National Archives in DC, where he asininely asks where in the Constitution it states that we are to have a Capitalist economy. Really, Fat Daddy? The Constitution doesn’t say you’re supposed to be fat, either. But it says you have the freedom to be fat – you can make your own choice. Nobody can coerce you to be otherwise – it’s up to you.

Moore then explores a company named Isthmus, which unlike the traditional American business, does not have an owner with employees under them. In this company, all of the employees are the owners. Isthmus has been very profitable and successful. A model company for socialism, right? NOPE. Guess what, Fat Daddy – Isthmus’ owners are agreed to a business contract. How did they come to terms of agreement on this contract? CAPITALISM. We are then given a nice little analogy to our democracy, except there’s one little thing… this country is a representative democracy, and furthermore, a republic. So if you really want to create a company that emulates our country, create a board, give each employee shares, and…. Ah, that’s too deep for you, Mr. Moore. Nevermind.

(As a side note, this is one thing I’ve never understood about socialists. You are free to employ your socialist principles in our CAPITALIST society. Start a worker-owned company. Start a healthcare co-op. Just don’t use the State to violently force me and the rest of the producers into your stupid plan with you.)

Moore then starts drilling the banks (okay, at this point I can get on board a little bit), saying that they are stealing the brightest minds out of college – away from the “common good” (you lost me again, Bozo the Clotmachine). He heads down to the NYSE to ask the bankers for advice, to which he receives the reply “don’t make any more movies” (classic). But when he launches into derivatives and Greenspan, I realize we are really about to make some intellectual progress. But again, this is not Capitalism! The legality of derivatives is regulated by who? The State. If such practices were not given blessing by Congress, if the market was deregulated and shareholders had to in fact decide for themselves whether to engage in derivatives, maybe they would be a bit more scrupulous. And did you realize what the first letter of F.D.I.C stands for? And ohbytheway, the Federal Reserve is the #1 PRIME EXAMPLE of Corporatism in the USA! Ah, if only you knew how close you are, Fat Daddy. Well, you’re kinda close. I guess.

Back to the families in foreclosure. We find out that they’re losing their homes because their payments are increasing too much every month (clearly ARM mortages, though that’s not stated). At this point it becomes blatantly clear to me why Moore’s movies have any success: his viewers are probably the same mental giants that sign ARMs. And clearly there are enough of them to go around these days. Read the contract, folks. It’s not just a catchphrase.

We learn that a large number of “hot shots” are getting special loan rates from banks. Who are these hot shots? All politicians! This is the most schizophrenic documentary ever. You’re exposing political corruption in an attempt to show how our economic system should be more regulated? And who writes these regulations? POLITICIANS? For Pete’s Sake, Michael Moore, did Capitol Hill bribe you into making this thing?

Cut to George Dubya Bush reading his bailout-begging script to the country. Good job, Big Mike, something that actually matters. But here again, uh, well I shouldn’t even have to say it at this point. But I will. THE ESSENCE OF CORPORATISM.

Okay, I admit. At this point I don’t really feel like watching more, even though it’s just getting good and there’s still 45 minutes left. Eh, I’ll watch it, but I’m done critiquing. If you ever have the (mis?)fortune of watching this, just replace every time he says “capitalism” with “corporatism”, and you’ve got a darn good expose-ay (how do you make the “cafe” e on a Mac?).

To put it simply, true (free market) Capitalism is based on contract. That means that businesses can only interact with consumers in terms both parties agree to. Moreover, the State never sets the terms of a contract – it only adjudicates disputes. This is why we have the judicial system – to preempt the need for preemptive market regulations.

So, does Moore take issue with “United States Capitalism”, or with true Capitalism? If it’s the former, then Michael, I wholeheartedly agree – but you should have made that clear. If the latter, though, then Mr. Moore: you are either a dastardly deceiver, or a dimwitted dunce.

Finally, Mr. Moore: which type of economy allows you to make these documentaries and profit off of them?

And to bring this to a more recent note: for the past month or so, every day I drive down the street, I am reminded of the stupidity and apathy of the American people. Why? Because BP is still in business, and moreso, because its prices are still equal to every other gas station’s. This is ludicrous! If enough Americans cared to make a statement, that we won’t stand for corporate recklessness – that because of the damage this company has done to our country, we will no longer do business at your establishment – BP’s gas prices would drop every day, until they were practically giving it away. A stunning example of why the Corporate State is perpetuated – indifference. And to top it all off, they’re not even American in the first place – they’re called British Petroleum, for goodness’ sake!

Oh America. Politically, economically, and intellectually, you are doing exactly what Ghost the Radio Host was screaming the other day:

YOU’RE THROWING YOUR CHILDREN INTO WOOD CHIPPERS! YOU’RE THROWING YOUR CHILDREN INTO GIGANTIC WOOD CHIPPERS!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

UPDATE: I had to comment on the end of the movie: it was stupid. Although it criticizes the bailouts a bit more, it then praises Bernie Sanders (socialist), Obama (socialist), FDR (socialist), his “Second Bill of Rights” (socialism), Europe’s socialist policies, and says we need to give up capitalism for “democracy” (socialism). Eh, I should have known.

[Mr. Moore,] what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

January 30

HOPE

I wrote this post on HOPE for my friend Danny at Waking Ideas.

So, a little over one year into the Obama presidency, and here we stand. The depression has deepened, the homeless and jobless rate is skyscraping, but The Administration insists the worst is over. The war is expanding into new territories, even though we stretched our military too thin years ago. Civil liberties are being taken at a record pace, for any reason our rulers can find to take them. We’re spending money we don’t have like it’s going out of style, to the point where other countries are refusing to lend to us anymore, and for good reason. Picking up in almost every way where the Bush administration left off, Obama’s approval rating is below 50% and dropping fast, and America’s praise for his colleagues on the Hill is barely half that high.

And therein lies the hope.

Recently the people of Massachusetts, the most liberal state in the nation, rattled the Democrats’ cage when they elected a Republican senator, a clear and outright rejection of the anti-capitalist, anti-free-market, anti-freedom policies of Obama and his party. Because of popular outcry, the government healthcare takeover bill has been severely weakened and even has a good chance of failing, forcing Congress to go back and take a fundamental look at what they are trying to accomplish and work towards it slowly instead of ramming something through. Ron Paul’s initiative to, for the first time ever, audit the Federal Reserve, the keeper of America’s fiscal policy, is growing wings. The man himself can be seen on news programs almost daily, a surprise but yet an encouragement to people like myself who support his platform.

Even if it is, for now, a bit overshadowed by the faux/pseudo-libertarian neocon movement, the true libertarian party is growing, its ideology spreading. Americans are starting to reject the Republicans and the Democrats, realizing they are just two wings of the same party. An intellectual the likes of Peter Schiff who, four years ago, was being laughed at for his economic outlook, is now running for Senate with a great shot at winning, and there we can take hope in the gradual restoration of sound money policies and Constitutional values. The libertarian ideology’s threatening effects to the establishment can be seen in the removal of people like John Stossel and Lou Dobbs from the airwaves. Andrew Napolitano will probably be next. But we must take hope that it’s too late to chill a movement that’s already taken hold.

It has become clear that Obama, his administration, and much of the Congress have lost touch with the American people. But there is hope. When the banks and corporations are bailed out before the people, they start to call Obama’s false populist promises for what they are: lies. Civil disobedience against the State is making a comeback, in a way that would make Thoreau proud. The number of thought insurgents is growing every day. Baby roots of iconoclasm are growing in our culture. The paradigm is shifting. The curtain is being torn, and the man behind it may finally have to show his face soon.

People are waking up. The insurgency is alive.

Category: economy, healthcare, politics, war | Comments Off on HOPE
October 19

central planners: the smartest people in the world

central planners are the smartest people in the world. the central planner of the U.S. – Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Fed – knows exactly what I, as well as 300 million other people, are going to do with our money!

or not. earlier this year, I had a discussion with a friend about how, later this year, we would see inflation due to the massive amount of money that would have to be printed to compensate for the trillions in bailouts and other imaginary money the Fed was going to create. he argued that central economic planning was a good thing because it evens out the highs and lows in the economy, so that we don’t have depressions, and recessions aren’t so bad, etc.

theoretically, he was right. it would be great to be able to smooth out the economy! the problem is, nobody on this earth could ever understand the spending patterns of even a handful of other random people, yet alone of 300 million. throw on top of that the fact that central planners must be totally incorruptible – that is, they must never make decisions that would unfairly benefit themselves or anyone else. if such a human being exists, I assure you, they will not be working a government job.

until the U.S. economy was centrally planned, the value of the dollar had not really deviated since it was created. however, since the Fed was reinstated in the early 1900s, the dollar has lost 95% of its value. tell me – is the Fed doing its job?

recently, the DOW hit 10,000. great! within the same week, gold hit an all-time high against the dollar. to give a quick economics lesson, gold is still the “unofficial” international standard – when gold rises in USD, the value of the USD has dropped, since it requires more USD to purchase the same amount of gold. what this means is that the actual value of the DOW today as compared to another year is roughly equal to (today’s DOW * (gold then / gold today)). the value of the DOW today, only 5 years ago, would be only at 4,000 (it was actually at 10,000 then). the dollar has lost 60% of its value in half of one decade. yes, all this to say two words: massive inflation. tell me – is the Fed doing its job?

basically, the concept of central planners means that they not only know how I should spend my money (better than I do), but that they know how I will spend my money (better than I do!). and on that notion, I would have to disagree. I hope you would too.

[Bailout and Stimulus] spending will only stimulate sectors of the economy that are failing. This is like trying to rid the world of gravity by throwing things up in the air. – Ron Paul

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June 11

Audit The Fed, pt. 3! … then ABOLISH it!

previously I have made posts on HR 1207: Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009 [GT] [OC] and S 604: Federal Reserve Sunshine Act of 2009 [GT] [OC], “To amend title 31, United States Code, to reform the manner in which the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is audited by the Comptroller General of the United States and the manner in which such audits are reported, and for other purposes.”

HR 1207 now has over 200 cosponsors (208 as of today)! it is also getting lots of well-deserved attention in the news. here’s one: Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed Bill Hits 207 Co-Sponsors House Minority Leader Boehner joins bi-partisan coalition supporting Federal Reserve transparency.

The Fed is literally a conglomeration of private banks which loans money at interest to the American people, for its own profit. it has the power to flood or drain the economy’s money supply. it has recently bailed out numerous special interests (which it won’t name, even to Congressional oversight committees) with billions more of our taxpayer money. it has recently hired a lobbyist to combat the Audit The Fed movement, because it knows that once we find out how it has been mishandling our money they will all be out of jobs and hopefully behind bars for treason.

there are also these other Congress bills acting on The Fed. HR 1348: Federal Reserve Sunshine Act [GT] [OC], and S 513: Federal Reserve Transparency Act [GT] [OC], “To require the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to publish information on financial assistance provided to various entities, and for other purposes.”

HR 833: Federal Reserve Board Abolition Act [GT] [OC], “To abolish the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks, to repeal the Federal Reserve Act, and for other purposes.” now, I don’t think the majority of the people understand the significance of these bills. these are historical.. these are Andrew Jackson-esque! why is this bill important? Fed Would Be Shut Down If It Were Audited, Expert Says.

keep the heat on. keep contacting your Representatives and urging them to support these bills, using the techniques I described in the first two posts, linked in the first paragraph above. and if they won’t, vote them out! there is no reason to keep the Congress from having monetary oversight over We The People’s money; the Constitution specifically grants Congress with this power, and so any Representatives against this bill are in direct violation of their sworn oath. I end this post, as many others, with some insight from the old men with psychic powers:

If the People only understood the rank injustice of our money and banking system there would be a revolution before morning!
– Andrew Jackson

If the American People ever allow the banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks, and corporations that grow up around them, will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. I sincerely believe the banking institutions, having the issuing power of money, are more dangerous to liberty than standing armies! Already they have set up a monetary aristocracy that has the government at defiance. The issuing power [of currency] should be taken from the banks and restored to Congress and to the People, to whom it belongs!
– Thomas Jefferson

Your republic will be as fearfully plundered and laid waste by barbarians in the twentieth century as the Roman Empire was in the fifth; with this difference; that the Huns and Vandals who ravaged the Roman Empire came from without and your Huns and Vandals will have been engendered within your own country, by your own institutions.
– Thomas B. Macaulay

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May 22

S 604: Audit The Fed, pt. 2!

this is a sister post to HR 1207: Audit The Fed

great news… well over 1/3 of the House is now co-sponsoring HR 1207! this means it has a great chance to pass. but now we’ve got to get cracking on its companion bill in the Senate! S 604, Federal Reserve Sunshine Act of 2009 [GT] [OC], is that bill. and it currently has no co-sponsors! time to change that. here’s how:

  • go to faxZero, which lets you send 2 faxes per day for free. put your name and email into the “Sender Information” box (it’s important to use a valid email, as you will be sent a confirmation which you have to click before the fax will be sent).
  • download this pdf. attach it to the “Fax Information” section in faxZero, and enter the Confirmation Code.
  • find Senators which are NOT currently co-sponsors of this bill (here are Virginia’s Senators).
  • go to your Senator’s official website and find the contact page. find the fax number for their Washington D.C. Office, and copy and paste it into the “Receiver Information” box in faxZero after putting their name into this section.
  • HERE ARE NAMES AND FAX NUMBERS FOR VA SENATORS:
    • Senator Mark Warner at 2022246295
    • Senator Jim Webb at 2022286363
  • click “Send Free Fax Now”! you will receive a confirmation message in your email – click it. congrats! you have just contacted your Senator about one of the most important issues facing our government today…
  • send another one to your other Senator. then, tomorrow, send two more. keep sending until every Senator in the nation gets the message!

UPDATE: there is another Senate Bill “to require the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to publish information on financial assistance provided to various entities, and for other purposes”: S 513.