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Chris Dodson
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 02:42 pm:   

I wanted to start a new thread for this since the DOD/e-mail thread has gone in a different direction.

Early in that thread, Richard said: "Chris - if you believe that the Moore debacle is purely a Disney thing, then you're naive. Christ, Eisner came out and SAID he didn't want to upset little bro Jeb - if that's what he's prepared to admit, what else is there under the covers?"

The fact remains, though, that Disney is a corporate entity, and as such, they have a perfect right to spend their money however they want. I mean, if I wrote a book called NIGHT SHADE SUCKS, I wouldn't expect that Night Shade would want to publish it.

Later on, Richard said: " . . .I'm shedding tears for the implications of the move, which are that freedom of speech in the US is being systematically flushed down the pan"

There's a difference between freedom of speech and sponsorship of speech, which is what this issue is really about. Michael Moore still has the right to make the films he wants to make, but Disney doesn't and shouldn't have any kind of obligation to distribute them. I'm sure there's no shortage of distributors who would be willing to back this, and all of Moore's bleatings to the contrary are just his way of promotion.

Chris Dodson
Journal: The Passion of the Chris

P.S. I'd love it if we could keep things civil on this thread. I think we can all agree that these are important issues, and to my mind, a rational discussion without flaming and name-calling is more appropriate.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 04:31 pm:   

Your analogy falls down on its face. Moore didn’t make a movie that says DISNEY SUCKS. He made a move that says The BUSH FAMILY SUCKS. You are now equating the corporate interests of Disney with the Political interests of the Bush Regime.

THIS IS THE PROBLEM.

Let me explain why, using your metephore. If Night Shade was the sole producer of books in this country, or if Night Shade were the largest media company in the world, then there indeed might be a problem with your book. It wouldn't get published at all. Or its access to the marketplace would be so severely limited by Night Shade, and Night Shade’s "commercial interests" that you would never see a dime from the book, even if there was a HUGE audience for it.

What if Night Shade had so much industry power that we could go to Barnes and Noble and Borders and say "Don't carry NIGHT SHADE SUCKS or we won't let you carry any of OUR books. B&N could then claim financial hardship, and refuse to carry your book.

The U.S. has Anti-trust laws to prevent abuses like this!

Doesn't it seem to you that the federal/state government is doing something similar... Using a monopoly in one market (tax codes) to control aspects of another market (film distribution)? The implied threat by the government is conceded by Disney, and you… “Don’t criticize the Bush Family, or we will fuck with your profits. Help squash criticism of the Bush regime, and we will ensure your profits.” Is this really what America is supposed to be about? Is this really the role of federal and state governments?

If there is any truth to the conceit that Disney’s tax breaks hinge on the distribution of this film, shouldn’t there be a massive investigation into corruption and abuse of power in the Florida? I think there SHOULD be (and if there really was a liberal media, there would be hearings into this already).

BUT… 5 companies control the nature and tone of the political debate in this country. Everything that is not Fox, Time Warner, Disney, Viacom and NBC/GE is marginalized and cast as "the lunatic fringe". There is a large portion of the political debate that is marginalized and ignored by the media, and by extension most of America, because it is seen by the corporate gate-keepers as "anti-profit."

You can argue about "free markets" all you want, but without access by all parties to the political debate, Democracy doesn't work. To use a capitalistic metaphor, if there is no competition, "free markets" break. Likewise, if there is no open and honest debate of the issues, Democracy breaks.

This incident with Disney shows that Financial Interests of 5 media companies trump everything... that there is free and open debate as long as that debate doesn't impact the bottom line. It also shows that forces within the government can and will manipulate the bottom line of the media companies prevent criticism. Is this how things SHOULD be? Is this how we WANT things to be?

Do you really think Florida tax policy should be decided on the basis of weather Disney releases this move?
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richard
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 05:45 pm:   

Thanks Jeremy - I think that pretty much covers all bases. Chris, I re-state my case in the nicest possible way: you *are* naive, genuinely.
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Brendan
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 11:01 pm:   

I agree with Jeremy. I think Disney is trying to drown his project because they are in bed with gov. Jeb.

Disney should be boycotted.
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Bob Urell
Posted on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 11:22 pm:   

Michael Moore "open and honest?"
C'mon now. Moore's been caught in so many lies and half-truths in his films it borders on the criminal. Missile factories that turn out to be rocket factories for satellites, banks giving out guns that turn out to be film sets, and so on ad nauseum. In what way has Moore ever been honest? Polemical, sure. Mildly amusing, alright. Honest? Mm, no. Not really.
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richard
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 05:32 am:   

Bob - have you got detail on those misrepresentations? I would have thought the bank-with-guns thing was legally actionable, if you're right.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 06:27 am:   

Bob's not right. He's full of bullshit in this instance.

Jeremy--nice post. I agree completely. And, living in the state capital of Florida, I can tell you--things can get pretty wild. Like being in a local bar and seeing the former secretary of state, drinking if not drunk, watching Tanya Harding versus Paula Jones on Fox TV celebrity boxing.

JeffV
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richard
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 06:40 am:   

Ah,thanks Jeff - Yeah, I kind of imagined.......

Sounds like a fun nightlife down there :-)
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R.Wilder
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 08:08 am:   

" Like being in a local bar and seeing the former secretary of state, drinking if not drunk, watching Tanya Harding versus Paula Jones on Fox TV celebrity boxing."

Was that Madam Harris? If so, I bet she was gleefully drunk, bobbing and weaving with intoxicating lust and wanting to leap through the screen and into the ring to pound both of those women into submission.

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R.Wilder
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 08:10 am:   

Oh, yeah, and Eisner is a pussy punk scrambling to hold on to his golden handcuffs.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 08:36 am:   

Bob,
You mistake my intentions. I'm not advocating for Michael Moore, or his movie, or his viewpoints. Bringing up "disingenuous" points that Moore may or may not have passed on via his movies does nothing to address my point.

a) Should tax breaks in the state of Florida be tied to weather a companies subsidiaries distribute a film that criticize the ruling party? The fact that you accept this as buisness as usual indicates there may be something wrong with our democracy. Where's the outrage? oh. Our corporate masters are telling us this is buisness as usual.

b) Is the concentration of media a bad thing for democracy? Does it lead to a more well informed public or less well informed public? Take a look at the polls that indicate people STILL believe iraq was behind 9-11 and that we found wmd's in iraq. The answer is clear to me.

c) is the current state of affairs how you want your country to be?

Argue about the rhetoric of M. Moore all you want, but at least he's advocating for change. What are you doing? Saying "gee its really not all that bad?" If so, that’s fine. If you like America as is, congratulations. I'm glad your getting over. Me, i just had my state raped by Texas energy cartels while Cheney and the FERC cheered them on, my wife doesn't have a full time job because of the resulting budget deficit which was somehow blamed on the sitting democratic democratic governor, thanks to a complicit/duplicitous press that will say anything if it means getting the FCC to deregulate more. There seems to have been massive amounts of electoral fraud in 2002, but the same media doesn't seem to give a shit, the environment is being spit up and fucked out by a voracious corporate machine that is in bed with the Bush family, who is doing everything they can to increase profits at the expense of my, and my families health. My partner Ben is in Iraq, getting shot at... The president and his cabinet lied to the American people about the reasons he is over there, and the secretary of defense basically authorized the abolishment of the Geneva convention, not to mention the president and attorney general want to selectively abolish the constitution.

And your worried that Michael Moore might have disingenuously implied that Lockheed Martin, who actually DOES makes missiles, who actually IS one of the largest defense contractors in the world, was “actually” building ULV's at the specific factory that Moore visited? You just sound silly, man.

-jl
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Bob Urell
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 12:27 am:   

Hey Jeff. Be nice. Moore's a polemicist and you know it. That you happen to endorse his rhetoric is an aside, and wholly within your purview, but it doesn't change the fact that he's the one who's full of bullshit. However, you are right about the bank being the actual bank in the movie. I'd misremembered the facts about it. The truth of the matter is there were no guns in that bank, never were, but Moore edited the footage of that scene to indicate that there were 500 guns in the bank's vault, when actually they were off the premises, at a gun dealer the bank happened to own. Perhaps I should have researched the incident, but I posted my note right before heading off to work. Sorry. Moore's still a liar though.
Jeremy: Really?
And your worried that Michael Moore might have disingenuously implied that Lockheed Martin, who actually DOES makes missiles, who actually IS one of the largest defense contractors in the world, was “actually” building ULV's at the specific factory that Moore visited?

Yeah, I was one of those soldiers who operated weapons systems manufactured by LM. That wasn't all the disengenuousness implicit in Moore's movie, but I think you knew that. Somehow it just seemed more sensational to tie the manufacture of missiles to the killings at Columbine, as though those two monsters had no responsibility for their actions, they were under the control of Lockheed Martin, right?
Am I happy with the state of the Union? You know better. We've talked about this before. Things suck, but running around bowing in sycophantic unity to a screechy sensationalist seems more like a swing of the pendulum than a true solution. Bush is a liar, Cheney's a liar, Powell, Rice, all of them are liars. As is Moore. Praising the virtues of one liar's attacks on another because he slings the brand of duplicity you buy into is the worst sort of hypocrisy and beneath you from what I know of you.
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richard
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 04:50 am:   

Bob - this is coming apart on you. Moore is a liar because........? Your evidence has just evaporated in your hands, but you still want to believe the guy's no better than Bush et al. And if you think BfC was trying to say that the Columbine killers were under the control of LM, you're missing a rather obvious rhetorical point - to wit, that while we abhor acts like the slaughter at Columbine, we're still perfectly happy to build and sell weapons of far more massive destruction, and to slaughter huge numbers of people in other countries because it suits us politically. Shooting a bunch of kids with assault rifles in Columbine - bad. Unloading thousands of tonnes of high explosive and mines designed to look like toys all over Afghanistan - perfectly acceptable. Timothy McVeigh - bad. Operation Shock and Awe - good. It's this discrepancy which Moore (and lots of others like him) are intent on laying bare.

I'm not a standard bearer for Moore, but I've seen his movies, read his books and spent time at his website - and all I see is an ordinary (and, unusually for these times, compassionate) man trying to change things for the better. The fact that he's done well out of it simply seems to suggest that there are far more Americans out there who share his views than Fox TV and the neocons would like you to believe. I don't find his style especially screechy or sensationalist, and the fact that you do suggests to me a deeper reason for your dislike - ie that what he has to say disturbs you. So instead you fall back on the default position of "oh, they're all alike, you can't trust anyone, I don't want to be bothered with it all." And the slaughter continues...
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Bob Urell
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 05:35 am:   

Richard:
Phooey.
I had a long post written about Moore. I researched several discrepencies, I verified from a couple dozen sources, I put over an hour of time I should have spent doing homework . But then I came to the realization that you aren't going to believe anything I post here.
Look into it yourself. Do some friggin' research on the man, the myth, the man-myth.
And one more thing: I know they're all the same because I've seen both sides of this coin from close up. Politicians and political commentators and even political comedians like Moore treat us like sheep. They herd us with their polemics and they keep any inconvenient non-conforming datum (ie. "the truth") as far away from us as they can manage. They're not in the business of giving us the facts and letting us decide, their job is to lead us down a carefully prepared path that we might come to the decisions, financial, political, rhetorical, that they've chosen for us. That's why I lump them all together, Richard. A lie is a lie is a lie. Just because you happen to like your fantasyland to the left of mine doesn't mean we're both not dupes of the same class of asshole, the political animal.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 07:11 am:   

Actually, if we're talking about Moore, I'm with Bob on this. I liked Roger and Me, but since then Moore has become an ideologue who rivals Rush Limbaugh. Just because he's saying some stuff I want to hear doesn't mean he's not, as is Limbaugh, a self-promoter first and foremost. I thought he had an interesting point in Bowling For Columbine, but he blunted that point by his bullying stupid baiting of Alzhheimer's aflicted Charleton Heston, who was gracious enough to speak to him at his home. Don't get me wrong--I'm no fan of Heston, but he way outclassed Moore on that particular day.

As to the points Jeremy made --do you want your country to be like this? Would you prefer a well-informed public to one steeped in media-speak, and should a corporation benefit of political ass-kissing...? Well, no I don't want my country to be like is,, but this is the way it''s always been. Yes, I would like a well-informed public, but the majority of people are sheep, always have been, always will be. And of course Disney should be given a pants-down spanking, but all this IS business as usual. Shit, when I was a kid, the governor of Florida was Claude Kirk, who--upon his inauguration--married a Brazillian heiress, bought a state yacht, hired a small private army and dressed them in comic opera unis, and declared that his goal was to create a single city that stretched the length of the Atlantic coast, one he intended to call Jackami. He made Jeb Bush look like Abe Lincoln. My point is, if you want to do something about the state of affairs, then do something. Work in politics. Behind the scenes. Up front. Whatever. But when you do it, understand that things have been this way for so long, we've reached the point where you're going to have to cause a major shock to the system if you want effect any change whatsoever. I spent several years working to effect change in entertainment oversight procedures in Washington state -- my basic concern was that the state was licensing boxers with neurological deficits (they licensed one guy who had been in a coma some months before). I finally got something done, got some people fired, changes a few regulations, but it took a great deal of energy and time. I was harrassed, sued, threatened, I spent entire months doing nothing but writing letters, bearding congressmen, humping my Hollywood contacts to sign peititions, etc, etc. And now the changes me and my allies effected are being threatened. What I'm saying, if you want change, gassing about it on message boards, pumping your fist in the air at a protest, and going Yea Michael Moore and such just doesn't get it done. Making change on even a small level consumes all your time and energy. Talking about issues has some effect in that it puts the ideas out there, but it's hard work without an audience that gets things done. Michael Moore...yeah, he's an influence, I suppose. But his snideness, his grubby cleverness....he puts a predictable passive aggressive psuedo-intellectual face on the left that's easy for the right to dismiss. He performs a service in that he pushes certain ideas, but I don't think he generates real change, I don't see him inspiring people to work for change as much as he makes people feel satisfied that they're right, that their poliics are jim-dandy. I guess I'd rather him be there than not, but it's no big deal one way or another, and frankly, I think if he weren't there, occupying that niche, someone better suited for the gig might come along.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 07:16 am:   

PS -- don't worry about Michael's new movie. The Disney thing will be terrific publicity, the French will give him an award, and Miramax will push the hell out of it. Actually, I've heard the movie is better than the usual Moore product, so maybe I'll have to eat my words to a degree. But I stand by my thesis. Michael Moore's irrelevant.
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 09:03 am:   

Yes, but Lucius, with all due respect, you seem, most of the time, to indicate everything is irrelevant when it comes to issues like this. You, I believe, also thought it was irrelevant whether Gore or Bush became president. I can't be that cynical.

JeffV
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 10:28 am:   

Jeff, I thought in my post I made it clear that I believe that working at change (activism) is entirely relevant, but it takes great time and energy. For an exercise, you might find a law, even a little law like something regarding dog poop on the streets, that you don't agree with and try to change it. You're talking about years of labor. I believe that Michael Moore is, as someone once called him, a stand-up journalist and I have little respect for him. He has some good effect, but given his wealth and potential for influence, he should be doing much more. As for Gore versus Bush, you apparently have much more faith in guys like Gore and probably Kerry than I do, As bad as Bush is, I'm not at all sure that Gore would not have done considerable harm to the economy, the culture and so on. Gore, like Bush, owes his success to a number of corporate and class interests, and he would have had to serve those interests, as did Clinton before him. The harm he did would likely not have been the same harm as Bush has caused, but there would have been significant overlap, I believe. Truthfully, I doubt he or Kerry would have done much different as regards 9/11 and Iraq. What Bush did is a classic American response and Gore and Kerry, being political animals, would have responded similarly, in my opinion. There certainly would have been different impacts on the economy, the environment, but I can't forsee that there would have not have been significant harm done to various sectors of the populace. This doesn't mean that I don't support Kerry or that I didn't support Gore. I do and did. And I do believe they're preferable to Bush. But to my mind, presidential politics is the least important form of politics going. If the American people want to save their ass, their way of life, their constituton, they can't rely on their government -- their government no longer truly represents them. They're going to have to do it themselves -- they're going to have to become political for real and sacrifice and give their time and energy. And that is what makes me cynical, because I see no great will toward that in the public mind. Actually, I wouldn't use the word "cynical" to describe my viewpoint. I would use "radical." The definition of radical politics that I adhere to is the taking of matters into one's own hands. Individuals, obviously, have limited power, but one does what one can and when allies present themselves, one joins with them in effort. This makes me somewhat aligned with the radical right, in that I do not believe that the government of the United States has my best interests at heart, whatever party is in power, and it is in that context that I believe that who is president is less important than one's own political commitments. It's true, of course, that people's lives are drastically effected by who is in power...Jeremy cites his wife's interests, for instance. Perhaps under Gore or Kerry, her situation would improve, though I would hazard that it's not a dead certainty. Political expediency is the rule in Washinton. I trust myself and certain of my friends to do the right thing far more than I do Gore, Kerry, Bush, Clinton, or any other politician. To me, radicalism of this kind is the only effective means of creating change. Of course I, as is the case with most people, don't have the wherewithal to do even a fraction of what I'd like to do, and this means at times it's necessary to rely on the process -- but I do so without faith, with only a guarded positive expectation, one which I'm ready to abandon at a moment's notice. If this makes me cynical in your view, so be it. To feel any other way, in my view, is less than realistic.
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 10:50 am:   

Thanks for clarifying that. I appreciate it. I understand your general position a lot better.

I do believe it makes a difference if Bush is in power or Kerry is in power--much more than you do.

Not on the prison camp isuse necessarily, but on the types of wars entered into, and issues such as the federal government being extra lax on polluters or selling off federal wilderness areas for a dime to corporations, etc.

JeffV
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 10:53 am:   

Ahh... things could get ugly now. The "Gore no worse then Bush" line -- in the context of a discussion about former Nader supporter Michael Moore, even.

Lucius makes some very good points. Perhaps Moore Isn’t a force of change, and instead a force of status quo. Perhaps Moore support of Nader in 2000 was more informed by its self-promotional possibilities then an actual stand to encourage change. Was the Nader/green party run in 2000 revolutionary, or reactionary? Or simple demogogery?

Jeff's point about Bush vs Gore does brings it all back. Bush (the "end times" whacko that he is) simply accelerated the time-table. Bush increased the rate of killing, and probably decreased the length of the "American Empire" by about 20 years, by proving that the American Military Might is hollow, and empty on the ground. Not because of anything to do with the military, but because, at its core, The COUNTRY doesn’t have the political will to sustain an empire. Its pretty clear that any kind of extended occupation of Iraq, and continued pacification of Afganistan will require a draft. Oddly enough, the imposition of a draft just might accelerate the rate of actual institutional change in America. Will Nader's "it has to get worse before it gets better" attitude be prophetic?

Somalia and Afghanistan are going become the canary that predicted Iraq II... The huge failure that marked the end of American Empire. Politicians like Gore and Clinton were canny enough to recognize the limits of the American "will-to-empire" and act accordingly. Bush was listening to the voice of God, or Allah, or somebody, and decided that anything was possible.

But to answer Jeff's question, no... ultimately Gore wasn't that much different then Bush... They just operate on different time scales. I know this is going to rile people up and get them angry and pissing and moaning about Nader again, but fuck it. I've had it with people who refuse to recognize and acknowledge that things have been "broken" for a long time. When "John-I-Voted-To-Invade-Iraq-Kerry" wins the election, what’s going to change? Anything? The killing will be less blatant... the profit taking a bit less in your face. And all the sheep will go back to their pastures, convinced that everything is finally "OK". Fuck that, and fuck anybody who believes that Kerry’s election will result in anything except a “slower death.”

Lucius is right. Real change takes a lot of work. Most people in this country can't even be bothered to show up at the polls, much less put for any real effort.

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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 11:24 am:   

Jeremy, your time-scale thing is most illuminative of what I was trying to say. And your sheep scenario is in harmony with my own. As for Nader, yeah, I think it has to get worse 'fore it gets better, but I'm not sure Nader's not a demagogue. Fuck 'em all is my basic feeling.

Actually, my feeling is that the American empire is not dead and that while Iraq may be a mistake in that regard, it's not the end. I think America war interests will go deep underground and we will see (or not see) covert subversion on a level unparalleled in history. Black ops like never before. Like a Bigs Bunny cartoon where the carrots are pulled down into holes and munched.

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JV
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 11:26 am:   

That's bullshit, with all due respect. We probably wouldn't be in Iraq, at the very least, if Gore was in office. It's this kind of thinking that will get Bush re-elected and continue the acceleration. What you seem to fail to take into account is what that "acceleration" means in terms of human lives, misery, and devastation to the environment. It's not one life or one family or one environmentally-sensitive area. It's thousands, hundreds of thousands. If even the tiniest action can reverberate in a hundred ways, then the large-scale actions being taken by this administration can and do matter. Otherwise, we might as well all put a gun to our heads and open a window.

Do we need more sweeping change? Yes, but for now the most important thing is to get Bush the hell out of power. And anyone spending political, mental, physical energy on anything else until after November is, to my mind, just as much of a fool as any ultra right-winger out there who would vote for Bush even if he was disemboweling babies on national TV.

JeffV
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 11:26 am:   

Er, I was responding mostly to Jeremy, and not totally at odds with him, but Lucius posted before I did.

JeffV
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Bob K.
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 11:48 am:   

>And anyone spending political, mental, physical energy on anything else until after November is, to my mind, just as much of a fool as any ultra right-winger out there who would vote for Bush even if he was disemboweling babies on national TV.

Funny, I've said this over and over again for months: "What would it take for people to really turn against this jerk? Would he have to gut a baby on TV?" I suppose it's a logical leap.


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Bob
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 11:49 am:   

Er, step.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 11:59 am:   

Jeff, I think we would be in Iraq if Gore had won. We certainly would have been in Aghanistan, and there would have been a great deal of pressure to do more, once Bin Laudin was not found. Perhaps we wouldn't have invaded, but we would have bombed the living shit out of the place at the very least, and I think the invasion was, inadvertantly, more humane than that alternative, because at least it ended the enbargo which was killing thousands and thousands of Iraqis, most of them children. Maybe it's no more than a different style of horror, but at least the kids have half a chance, maybe.

Where I differ with you is this: the world has gotten so complex and interconnected, any move we make is going to cause thousands of deaths somewhere. It's fucked, but that's how it is. I agree it's important to defeat Bush, but more important to my mind, is--if Kerry wins-- to hold his feet to the fire and not go baaa-ing off into the evening. I also disagree that Jeremy's attitude will be a major contributing factor to a Bush win...what follows is why I think the asshole has a chance. It;s an email from someone with whom I went to high school. 99% of my high school class feels this way.

This is from my son, of whom I am VERY PROUD!

Please pass it along - including to all the blaming politicians.

Best regards to all,

Geoff

Ok we hear it every day everyone trying to blame someone else for the 9/11 attacks, in this election year who should shoulder the blame seems to be a central theme. I think that for all the posturing from politician‚s one central thing stands out. Why are we blaming each other? I think former Mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani said it best when he was called in front of the lynch mob known as the 9/11 committee.

"The blame should clearly be directed at one source and one source alone, the terrorists who killed our loved ones," -Rudolph Giuliani

When are we going to realize that by arguing and dividing ourselves we only play into the hands of those that use terror as a weapon?

"Our enemy is not each other, but the terrorists who attacked us," -Rudolph Giuliani

With heroes in such short supply these days I may just have found a new one.

Usually I don't ask people to spam the world but this one time I would like everyone to take a moment and send this to everyone in their address book. I think it's time to remember that this is not about politics but about standing together as Americans.

-Steven Kirkland
ŚŚThey that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin
--
It's this simplistic stupidity that will carry the day for Bush, if it does. Also a factor will be Kerry's choice of VP. He better choose someone dynamic. Edwards, for instance. If he makes the wrong choice, he's dead. Left wing apathy is not, IMO, going to be a big factor. If it is, that's on Kerry for being a lousy candidate.
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Brendan
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 11:59 am:   

I strongly agree with Jeff here. Gore would have definately been better than Bush, as would Kerry be.

It is easy to say "well Gore would have done the same thing," but that fact is he didn't - and I don't think he would have.

Bush has a Religious Right Armagedon agenda that Gore never had and I don't believe Kerry has either.

I do have problems with Kerry, but I want to see Bush, Rumsfield and Cheney unemployed if not jailed - and so I will vote for Kerry, not Bush, and not Nader.
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Brendan
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 12:04 pm:   

I hope Kerry chooses someone a bit differenct for VP, and not another senator. Maybe Bill Richardson, governor of NM - or Sean Penn - or I don't know. I am just a bit sick of the senators.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 12:33 pm:   

If he chooses Bill Richardson, he loses. He needs someone dynamic, someone who can generate enthusiasm. Whoever you get, he's gonna be a political whore.

Nobody's saying Gore would have done the same as Bush, we're saying he would have done different shades and degrees of damage. There isn't a single electable candidate who would be other a politician, i.e. a liar, a fraud, a duplcitous self-serving creep, and if the American people want their country to be a certain way, they better get off their ass and do something about it.
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richard
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 12:40 pm:   

Lucius - you're right about activism, and the need to get out there and get things done - but isn't Moore a functional prism for that? Most of what he writes is peppered with suggestions on how to effect small scale change yourself, get the machinery of grassroots democractic process grinding again etc. He also leavens it with absurd trumpet calls like "Oprah for President" - but even there I think he's tapping into a groundswell of feeling at grassroots level, and what that feeling says is that conventional politics is dead. There's a general sense that the world politicians live in has nothing to do with the life of ordinary working men and women - and vice versa. People probably *would" elect Oprah if the political machinery wasn't set up against it - it may sound absurd, but look at California where you just got a fictional robot superhero as governor. And it's not much different in the UK where electoral turnouts are at their lowest ebb ever. Christ, more people voted for the Pop Idol final than in the last general election.

To these people, "political" is a dirty or at best irrelevant/pseudo-intellectual word. "Radical" will sound even worse - probably implying some kind of Red Brigade terrorist cell. And to be honest, you can't really blame them - the left doesn't have a great record for hard-headed, down-to-earth connection with ordinary people. In fact, it's the right who have learnt to do the man-of-the-people, voice-of-reason, you-know-it-makes-sense straight emotive approach. By hijacking that, Moore, with his "look, I'm just an ordinary guy like you..." line, seems far more are in touch with the way the majority of people think, and therefore far more likely to get through to them. He seems prepared to take that emotive approach, apply it to left/liberal politics, and maybe in that way (help) mobilise the huge tranche of politically disinterested Americans against encroaching neocon psychosis.

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Brendan
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 12:44 pm:   

Well, sure there is truth to the concept of different shades and degrees of damage. But, if you have the choice of being beaten with stick or being worked through a meat grinder and turned into a sausage . . . Most people would rather be beaten with a stick - because you can still function afterwards.

I agree about dynamic, I just don't find Edwards terribly that way. I would rather have a famous actor or what have you; - someone who did not vote for this stupid Iraq war.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 01:00 pm:   

Well, good luck on the famous actor. Frankly, I'd vote for Tom Cruise, because I think he's a better actor than Bush, Kerry, Gore et al. Which shows how lame they are. As far as Edwards being dynamic, it's a compared-to issue.

Richard, he's not without value, I just believe he's a self-promoter. If he wasn't, I think he'd do more. And basically I think his audience is the choir. Whatever, I don't want to shoot him. or anything. I just don't like him. And I have seen no sign of his mobilizing anything.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 01:03 pm:   

More from my high school class. The last, because I just wrote and asked them not to send me this drivel any longer. But this is what the left has to go up against:

"Brain washing, a course taught at the Naval Academy was quite effective. You have done well Geoff, unless your son does not have a TV or read the NY times. Over exposure to repeated slanted media, newspapers and leftists is enough to weaken the resolve of the most motivated and committed. No media person would have written as has you son. Positive, and good are NOT NEWSWORTHY. Information which portrays America bad light is “good” (odd but true) This cultural clash …..quite frustrating.

Now, I am proud of your boy. He is on target. You can rest assured he will not become a media misquided member of the “elite intellegencia”…..responsible for negativeism, committed to defeat. Reganism was a new thinking approach. Regan bestowed upon America the POWER OF OPTISIM. This is a viewed by the media and elite enteligencia as a dreaded disease, for which, all media have been successfully inoculated. Mecically safe, and secure, the media will never promote a positive spin progress or anything worthwhile. The difficult and brave investment in the Middle east is too risky for the weak at heart. Without a sure thing, a high probability of success commitment is short lived amoung those who avoid risk, despite the enormous payoff if successful. Turning around the middle east and 2,000 years of suffering. We must persevere, despite the naysayers, and your son is a shinning light in the dark light of the modern press. The media says “we have nothing to fear but perseverance itself, it might bring success””……enough for now….thanks Jeff,

Duncan
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Brendan
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 01:07 pm:   

Well, I was half joking about the actor. Just a response to the "dynamic" idea. But Americans do apparently vote for famous actors.

A Kerry/Cruise ticket, hmm.

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Jorge
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 01:51 pm:   

Is Martin Sheen competing?
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Minz
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 02:29 pm:   

Well, well, well, where to begin:
First, Gore same as Bush: ALL YOU NADER SUPPORTERS CAN GO FUCK YOURSELVES, JUST LIKE YOU DID TO THE REST OF THE COUNTRY.
Gore would not have put together an administration whose members had been writing position papers on invading Iraq in order to gain control of their oil reserves. We would not have gone into Iraq. I can't deny Gore is a politician, and he may be a lesser of two evils, but at the very least he's a MUCH LESSER EVIL, like choosing between Hitler or Vichy: BIG DIFFERENCE!!! (And in truth, I fantasize about Gore having the opportunity to use the bullypulpit of the presidency post 9/11 to ram green policy down the throats of congress and done some real good: the core problem isn't that we have fundamentalists who hate us, that'll always be the case. We'll go into Afghanistan and root 'em out. But the real problem is that we're dependent upon their oil: no oil, no money, no operations on foreign soil. So therefore all cars will be electric by 2020. 50% of our energy will be renewable resources by 2010. And congress and big business would've had to take it, because Americans were actually awake, pissed off and listening. It could've changed the world for the better. Yes, it's a naive pipedream, but it's my naive pipedream.)

Lucius said: This makes me somewhat aligned with the radical right, in that I do not believe that the government of the United States has my best interests at heart.
Wow, now who's spouting ditto-head speak. C'mon Lucius, you're buying their rhetoric--you're breaking my heart. The government is even bigger, and spending more of your money, under Bush (even if he's puttin the bill on credit, we will be paying for it some day). The smallest government since Ike happened on Clinton's watch. It's been more than 25 years since the Republicans actually stood for smaller government.

I concede that Moore is a polemic, and I'm glad the Left has one to spout against the likes of Rush et al. But I must say, it's disturbing that the comparisons some folks are making are to Bush & Co. The correct analogy should be comparing him to Rush, i.e. radical polemic commentators. I would never have compared Clinton to Rush as fellow polemics from the opposite sides. Clinton was a politician who was actually trying to accomplish things in office based on public opinion, not standing up for a specific extremist viewpoint and letting that dictate policy regardless of anything so silly as scientific fact or public opinion. Bush is a polemic, and it scares me that he can flamboozle so many folks into buying his aw-shucks BS.

I don't have time to write more, and get into a deeper analysis, but I will repeat: FUCK RALPH GODDAMN NADER. (And I met and worked for the man going door-to-door canvassing for toxic waste cleanup and consumer advocacy back in the 80s. I admire him, and do respect folks for taking a stand for what they believe, but the damage he's done by giving Bush the election, and no matter how you choose to spin it that's what he did, is beyond reprehensible. And I do hold him responsible for it--he said he wouldn't run in swing states, and then went ahead and did so, and started the whole nonsense that Bush and Gore are the same thing. Horseshit. Yes, there are similarities, but there are HUGE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THEM.)
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Minz
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 02:34 pm:   

Oops, pardon my profanity. Not sure how that slipped out.
Ahem.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 02:49 pm:   

There is the fire and passion I'd been waiting for. I appreciate your position, Minz, but respectfully disagree with it. Save you bile for the 45% of the voting population that actually voted for bush. Save your bile for the Democratic controlled senate that actually passed the war resolution. Save your bile for the DLC’s “leadership” that managed to lose the senate, and even more seats in the house in 2002, all without Nader’s help.

Nader is a boogey man that distracts people from the fact that 45% of the Americans who bothered to vote actually voted for Bush. Part of the reason they did so? The Incredibly biased media that ran a slam campaign against Gore.

To get back on topic, save your bile for Disney, and the other Media companies who got a ton of FCC deregulations, and apparently, tax breaks, as payback for their trashing of Gore.

I understand the rage you feel Minz... I feel it myself, as anyone who has read my posts here can attest. But I blame someone else. "Nader" is just to easy: "Nader" doesn't explain the Iraqi war vote, nor the 2002 elections. There is plenty of “blame” to go around.

I’m not going to poke at this wound anymore. I’m just as pissed off and angry as you. As Lucius points out, posting here doesn’t change anything, and probably isn’t going to change anybodies opinions.

Perhaps I’ll see you on the streets of NY, at the “counter-convention”? Maybe getting my head bashed in by the cops will take away some of my spit and vinegar.

Seriously, Peace -- out.
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Minz
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 03:03 pm:   

I must admit, if I knew it wasn't going to be such a close election, I would've probably voted for Nader, and you're right, there's plenty of blame for all those idiot Bush supporters (sadly, a number of them are in my family), but the numbers are there in b&w: without Nader in the race, Gore carries the election. This would have been much better than Bush winning.

As for the counter-convention, it's going to depend upon whether I decide it's worth even trying to get into the city, since I commute right into their fargin convention, i.e. Madison Square Penn Station. With the heavy security (train inspections slowing everything down, and cell phone towers being shut off) my wife and I are wondering how difficult it's going to be to even get into the city for our jobs, much less the protests. Could you point me in the direction of a website for the organizers, so I know what little frickin corner they've wedged us into, away from the cameras, and all those freedom-loving GOP MFers?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 04:37 pm:   

Clinton, Minz? Don't bring up that Levinksi-schtupping, NAFTA-supporting, welfare-trashing asshole to me in any good context. That worthless motherfucker paved the way for Bush. As for buying somone else's rhetoric, if I bought anyone's rhetoric, I paid for it back 25, 30 years ago, and if you're ingenuous enough to think Bill Clinton had the little people in mind while establishing his "legacy,": you need a month in rehab, Jack, because that son-of-a-bitch did more to set back...Fuck, it's not worth it. I'm glad all you people are so goddamn prescient that you know what Gore would have done. I mean, you must actually believe these jerks when they give their little speeches. I think that's very sweet and trusting. Heart-warming. Obviously, the lessons of history are lost on you. When Lyndon Johnson promised he would bring the boys home from Viet Nam while running against Bomb 'em Barry, you must not recall what happened after LBJ and Ladybird took up residence in the White House. This country's imperalism is fueled by the broken promises of its presidential candidates. Gore was a senator, man. A Washington slag who would have mated with a scorpion if it stroked his ego the right way. Sure, one is gona be worse than the other. So what? The system is broken. The lesser of two evils was not supposed to be the choice of a free people. I didn't vote for Nader or Bush. I voted for that big pussy Gore. That doesn't mean I believed in him, though I did prefer him to Bush, but I don't think he was the ANSWER and I don't think the differences between he and Bush are HUGE. Once he got into the office, who knows what he would have done? I don't, and I bet you don't either. You just like to think you do. Blaming Nader's fun, and, yeah, he's an asshole, but if Gore had run even an average campaign, he would have won going away. He couldn't carry his own goddamn state, for Christ's sake. He ran away from your boy Bill's record, he chose that dipshit Leiberman for a VP -- man, that really helped the ticket. Sure Nader was a bummer, but the real bummer was whoever ran Gore's campaign and Gore himself. I further said that while I didn't know if Gore would have gone into Iraq (and I don't know), then he would have had to escalate the bombing, kept the embargo, and what's that do for you? It doesn't do much for my national pride.

Callling me a ditto-head...fuck you. That pisses me off. I know what I've done in politics the last 25 years, and I ain't nobody's boy. I've put time and energy and money when I've had it into the mix. I've been threatened, harrassed, and in Honduras I've had some truly unpleasant people with violent reputations trying to persuade me of the error of my ways. I can point to a few small accomplishments. They may not be significant according to your lights, but they've had some good effect. Does that satisfy me? Hell, no. In the past six months, an article I set up about human rights abuses and cocaine and the US involvement in the region of the Mosquito Coast has been bounced from Esquire and then from Outside Magazine by upper management. Same shit that happened to Moore, except I'm not making claims that I can't prove like he does in his 9/11 movie, I'm playing to Eurotrash groundlings and rich liberals who love good dish. I can prove every damn thing in it. I turned down the chance to make the money for this article -- which would have been real helpful -- because I wanted a journalist with some serious prominence to put his muscle behind it. So I turned the materials and my contacts over to him and it all came to naught anyway. It's a great piece. It speaks of the involvement of US oil companies and Red Lobster in the exploitation of the indigents and had some real resonance with everything that's going on now. So that's what I'm up to, the ditto-head. I'm working on the problem in my own little way. How about you? What's your involvement, what's your recent activist credentials, or do you just make these noises?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 05:42 pm:   

PS I meant to say I;m NOT playing to Eurotrash groundlings and rich liberals...

I'm getting too pissed off to deal with this stuff anymore. I'm off for a while.
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S. Hamm
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 09:07 pm:   

Lucius,

After reading the e-mails from your classmates, I am even more impressed by your work. And believe me, I was plenty impressed before I knew you went to a remedial school.

Sammy
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Sheepish Minz
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 11:00 pm:   

I apologize, Lucius. I was deliberately trying to tease you about the big gov't thing, though I didn't realize how much it'd get under your skin. I am sorry. Obviously I need to reconsider my policy against using those stupid smiley faces so people will know when I'm merely cracking wise. Anyone who's read more than one of your posts knows your beliefs, convictions and commitment, and would never call them into question. I was merely kidding you.

The only real point with the joke was actually very close to one of yours: namely, both parties are for big government feeding at the trough of tax dollars, and that the Republicans merely pay lipservice to the idea of smaller government, when that hasn't been on their agenda for a very long time. (Heck, I used to consider myself a Republican until I realized they had completely abandoned the conservative ideal--less government, more of it handled at the state level, fiscally conservative policies, etc. Granted, I wasn't even voting age at the time, but I considered myself a Republican. Then Reagan came along . . . ) You're right, Lucius: the system is majorly flawed, and too many elections these days are about picking the lesser of two evils. Which means maybe Nader had the right idea: smash the system. But practically speaking, all it led to was the Bush White House.
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Brendan
Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - 11:34 pm:   

Well, I do agree with Lucius's point about how Gore would have probably left the Iraq imbargo in place etc.

You are right, it would not have done much for my pride either.

Still: first things first: Get rid of Bush and then try and somehow improve things from there. No easy task.
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Forrest
Posted on Thursday, May 20, 2004 - 07:38 am:   

Just wanted to chime in briefly - this has been a really interesting debate to watch from the sidelines.

I voted for Nader in 2000. I make no apologies for that. Cry me a river, build a bridge, and get over it!

Now, with my rear view mirror up, I am voting for Kerry. Not because I think much of the man, but because, like Brendan, I want to see a change in ADMINISTRATION, not just a change in the presidency. Paul Wolfowitz has to be the reincarnation of Hitler himself, and John Ashcroft is, I swear, trying to bring Jim Crow back from the dead in the guise of homeland security. The Constitution is being undermined by Bush and his minions, and if that document fails, we're screwed. Just screwed.

So this time around, I'm voting for Kerry. Is he bad for the country? Probably. But not nearly as bad as Bush. The difference is in the fact that Bush would never appoint the people that Kerry might appoint. Personally, I would have liked to have seen Edwards, Kucinich, or Dean win, but I'm sure there are places for them in Kerry's administration, or at least people with their beliefs and convictions. You can argue on and on about their differences - they have them, of course - but would you rather keep going with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, Ashcroft . . . need I go on with the neo-con Rogue's Gallery?

My only fear is that Kerry will win the presidency and appoint dolts to positions of authority, thus screwing up our chances of seeing the democratic party progressing into, well, progressivism. They're not there yet, not even close, but the potential remains.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, May 20, 2004 - 08:26 am:   

Jim, no apology necessary. It's I who should and do apologize. I just get crazy about this stuff and it's time for me to do some work and get off this topic and go back to something on the board that makes me happy: football. :-)

In closing, I will say I absolutely agree with Forrest. I thought Gore was a complete jerk, but I voted for him because I hoped his appointments would be better people than those Bush would appoint. The same holds true with Kerry. It's a pretty flimsy hope. The system is still trashed. But it seems that you just need to try and elect someone who'll do the least damage.
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Brendan
Posted on Thursday, May 20, 2004 - 08:54 am:   

Well, Dean does have some electoral votes, so hopefully those will be have some influence for the Democratic platform. Frankly, he was the one I was hoping would get the nomination.
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Bob Urell
Posted on Thursday, May 20, 2004 - 02:23 pm:   

I voted for Bush. I thought, at the time, that I was making the choice of the lesser evil. I served in the military under his dad, so perhaps that played some part of it. I don't know.
I don't really think I can say I wish I'd voted for Gore. He is, as I said, as Lucius so eloquently said, a career politician, and therefore just another asshole. He wouldn't have done much different, there'd just be a different spin on how and why he did it. He probably wouldn't have invaded Iraq, but he would have bombed the hell out of them. I don't know how much of Clinton's propensity for firing missiles into foreign nations made the news over here because I was over there firing missiles into foreign nations by the order and at the behest of our Criminal in Chief. Gore was Clinton's bitch and he would have mimed his daddy in a time of crisis.
Either way, this time around I'm voting for Kerry. I can't believe I'm saying that, because I truly feel that we're left with the choice we had last go round: evil or Evil. Same-same. However, Bush has had his four years to fuck up what little remains of our Constitutional rights, so I guess it's time to pass the torch on to a different rich white neo-aristocrat.
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TR
Posted on Monday, June 21, 2004 - 07:45 pm:   

Hitchens on Fahrenheit 911
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 21, 2004 - 08:19 pm:   

Hitchens used to be good reporter. Now he's a puffed-up old Brit mummy who get's paid for jumping down from the fence where he sits and going, Nyah, nyah! Almost every sentence he uses to criticize Moore could be turned around on him. He, like Moore, has become a ideologue. Of course Moore's an asshole. Of course his's movie is going to be filled with a priori arguments and misleading assumptions, but so is Hitchens' piece on the movie. I'm not particularly interested in seeing the movie, nor in reading any more of Hitchen's pot-calling-the-kettle-black "commentary."

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