Questions

Questions
by The Ox

SPECIAL NOTE ADDED WAY AFTER HAVING POSTED THIS PIECE: Having seen Michael Moore on Jimmy Kimmel last night 10/09/09, I’m horrified at Michael’s whole thing. He totally lied about specifics related to his contact with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and — more importantly — he still clings to notions that hope resides in Obama, that the U.S. is all about goodness in its core. He even went as far as saying that Chavez was wrong in characterizing Bush as The Devil… or a devil in his appearance at the U.N. awhile back. I’m guessing that he wants to be thought of as a Good American Believing in American Values. I’m afraid that can’t be reconciled with doing away with capitalism as per his recent cinematic release. Oh yes, he even suggested that our problems stem from capitalism as it’s currently practiced, not from the nature of capitalism. Jeez!

Questions
by The Ox

Why are people like Marjorie Cohn (http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/22703) pushing for war crimes prosecution of Bush and Cheney (as if Obama isn’t also guilty of the same crimes)? And why are the powers that be at ZNet — Michael Albert and Chris Spannos — posting such misleading declarations? It’s very clear (http://www.zmag.org/zmag/viewArticle/21609) that Obama should also be prosecuted. Why do citizens keep those infuriating Obama/Biden stickers on their gas guzzlers and their poltiically correct Priuses? [By the way, did you know that one out of three people who own a Prius also own an SUV? Does that have something to do with people not having time to read the definitive case against Obama vis-a-vis war crimes?] Is Marjorie remotely interested in U.S. support of Israeli war crimes as per http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8280181.stm? [Ongoing with Obama.] Why not?

And speaking of Obama, why does Queen Noor of http://www.globalzero.org/ give any credence whatsoever to his declarations of interest respecting the elimination of nuclear weapons? Doesn’t everyone, including the relatively uninformed artist formerly known as Prince know that no U.S. president is going to seriously consider such a move? Really, how the hell does one explain the Queen buying into the notion that mass murderers like Sandy Berger and Zbigniew Brzezinski — a couple of the high profile names on board with her project to rid the world of nuclear weapons — are any more in favor of her goal than Obama? Are the aging celebrities hanging with her and her coterie simply to have a better chance at getting laid? Truly, what’s going on?

People who know better — Geez! — I wish you’d get together with me ASAP. I need you ’cause neither Queen Noor nor Marjorie (who must think she’s the Politically Correct Queen or something of the sort) have even snorted in my direction, my having offered to move in solidarity with them…on a basis that would serve their purposes… as per http://oxtogrind.org/archive/364.

[Switch gears.]

I remember Amy Goodman, for all her good qualities, giving Michael Moore a pass when he endorsed Wesley Clark on her show years back. Some said, at the time, that it was because Democracy Now! was raising funds by selling Michael Moore baseball caps. Who knows? I do know that that so-called alternative outlet is not nearly alternative enough for my taste.

But… back to Michael Moore. ZNet, for all its good qualities, has chosen to post a Wolf Blitzer interview with the documentarian which — to put it mildly — places Michael Albert, Chris Spannos and all those responsible for content there in the category of not alternative enough too. If you’ll look at the second video provided at http://www.zmag.org/zvideo/3244 you’ll see Moore serving as an apologist for Obama. Isn’t he a murderer? Isn’t he a deranged killer? Hasn’t he been, at the very least, totally disingenuous regarding our financial crisis… and all else? How can “Christian” (knowledgeable) Moore be excusing Obama’s abominations, not see through the smoke and mirrors? I guess he simply isn’t all that knowledgeable. No more knowledgeable than Obama, albeit winning easily in the Compassion Department.

That said, arguably the biggest weakness running throughout that interview is the lack of a sense of deadline, on the part of both parties, Blitzer and Moore. I mean, how can anyone discuss capitalism and our financial crisis without expressing the overwhelming need for urgency?!!? They both take part in an exchange which assumes that the main problem is that injustice being inflicted on those most unfortunate… without a trace of real pressure concerning what capitalism is doing to the planet. Without significant reference to the fact that capitalism is guaranteeing the end of earth itself… even if the top 1% were to share their wealth with the underprivileged by a huge margin… and ensure infinitely greater democratic participation — so loved by Moore! — for the poor folk.

Now more on Moore et al. [People, including Michael, really have to get a handle on the fact that Penny Pritzker -- Obama's national finance chair during his presidential campaign -- wasn't chosen by him, but that her firmly ensconced capitalist family selected him! And other facts.]


http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/22682
gives us this exchange between Michael Moore and Naomi Klein:

“NK: Coming back to what we were talking about a little earlier, about people’s inability to understand basic economic theory: in your film you have this great scene where you can’t get anybody, no matter how educated they are, to explain what a derivative is.

So it isn’t just about basic education. It’s that complexity is being used as a weapon against democratic control over the economy. This was Greenspan’s argument–that derivatives were so complicated that lawmakers couldn’t regulate them.

It’s almost as if there needs to be a movement toward simplicity in economics or in financial affairs, which is something that Elizabeth Warren, the chief bailout watchdog for Congress, has been talking about in terms of the need to simplify people’s relationships with lenders.

So I’m wondering what you think about that. Also, this isn’t really much of a question, but isn’t Elizabeth Warren sort of incredible? She’s kind of like the anti-Summers. It’s enough to give you hope, that she exists.

MM: Absolutely. And can I suggest a presidential ticket for 2016 or 2012 if Obama fails us? [Ohio Congresswoman] Marcy Kaptur and Elizabeth Warren.”

What the hell is wrong with Naomi and Michael expecting something sufficiently hopeful from Elizabeth Warren? How did they manage to forget how she got into her position as “chief bailout watchdog” for Congress? What do they figure is her real/ultimate function vis-a-vis the Treasury Department? They talk as if she’s on assignment from God, OR actually an independent entity slated to serve the public interest.

Look at what Ralph Nader had to say about Elizabeth Warren’s approach:

“Well, there’s a proposal crafted in part by Elizabeth Warren, who’s head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, to make sure that the Wall Street firms behave themselves. And she’s a professor of law at Harvard Law School. That’s a very well-drafted bill. There are some proposals to strengthen the organization of financial consumers, bank depositors, insurance policy holders, etc., that needs to be put in there. But the overall bill to repeal the Clinton-era repeal of Glass-Steagall, to repeal the Franklin Delano Roosevelt reforms—you have to repeal the repeal of those reforms, which set the stage in 1999 and 2000 for the rampant, wild speculation with other people’s money by investment banks and banks—Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America and others, Goldman Sachs, of course.”

None of this lets Ralph off the hook, by the way. Check out what I have to say about him below, in spite of the fact that there are TONS of things I love about him. I mean, when someone talks insanely they’re talking insanely no matter how much you love them, yes?

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/09/23-6 and http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/21/ralph_nader_on_the_g20_healthcar e (Common Dreams and Democracy Now! respectively) plug Ralph Nader’s new work of fiction, “Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!”

What the hell is Ralph doing putting a notion like that on the table? Sure, he’s absolutely spot-on in underscoring that we need to apply our imaginative selves to the task of coming up with solutions. Yes, I’m all for him using the fictional approach on that count. However, what overrides that important fact/contribution, is that he’s pushing the idea that we need money to solve our problems. AND that we actually might be able to count on reps from The Powers That Be Company to shell it out. What the hell is he doing compounding ignorance with ignorance? Nothing wrong with forcing them to contribute to institutional changes, but… appealing to their better natures?

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/25/nobel_peace_laureate_wangari_maa thai_if
gives us a Democracy Now! Juan Gonzalez interview with Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai, which includes the following:

“PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It is true that for too many years mankind has been slow to respond or even recognize the magnitude of the climate threat. It is true of my own country, as well. We recognize that. But this is a new day. It is a new era. And I am proud to say the United States has done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution in the last eight months than at any other time in our history.

JUAN GONZALEZ: That was President Obama. Your sense, that last statement that he made, is that accurate? In the last eight months the United States has done more than its whole history?

WANGARI MAATHAI: Well, I’m not sure. I don’t know. I do not have the data. He must know. But what was significant is for him to admit that, indeed, the United States now is not going to use science as an excuse and is not going to say that perhaps it is not human-induced greenhouse gases that are causing the trouble. And that has been very significant, because that was the major excuse in the past. And we hope that this will influence the senators to agree that, indeed, we can no longer shovel this issue aside.”

What the hell does Wangari Maathai mean in saying, “Well, I’m not sure. I don’t know.”? Why does she choose to not address the fact that Obama has been totally disingenuous respecting his statements/stances vis-a-vis the environment?
Does anyone require definitive documentation for that statement? Obama’s “proud” of what the U.S. has done? He actually said that? And the Nobel Peace Laureate from Kenya swings with that? “He must know.” Wow. That’s on a par with her later statement about Obama being “a great inspiration to Africa.” Oh, my God. What happened to the horror associated with Africom?

I cannot tell you how much I respect Naomi Klein, Ralph Nader and Wangari Maathai. BUT… there’s a serious lesson here. For one, those who want to see institutional changes come about sooner rather than later would do well to avoid them like the plague for the moment.