Dear Mr. Bush:
Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.
Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?
Last Thursday I was in south Florida and sat outside while the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then but it was pretty nasty. Eleven people died and, as of today, there were still homes without power. That night the weatherman said this storm was on its way to New Orleans. That was Thursday! Did anybody tell you? I know you didn't want to interrupt your vacation and I know how you don't like to get bad news. Plus, you had fundraisers to go to and mothers of dead soldiers to ignore and smear. You sure showed her!
I especially like how, the day after the hurricane, instead of flying to Louisiana, you flew to San Diego to party with your business peeps. Don't let people criticize you for this -- after all, the hurricane was over and what the heck could you do, put your finger in the dam? [Edit: this originally said "d!ke". Stupid swear filter...]
And don't listen to those who, in the coming days, will reveal how you specifically reduced the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for New Orleans this summer for the third year in a row. You just tell them that even if you hadn't cut the money to fix those levees, there weren't going to be any Army engineers to fix them anyway because you had a much more important construction job for them -- BUILDING DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ!
On Day 3, when you finally left your vacation home, I have to say I was moved by how you had your Air Force One pilot descend from the clouds as you flew over New Orleans so you could catch a quick look of the disaster. Hey, I know you couldn't stop and grab a bullhorn and stand on some rubble and act like a commander in chief. Been there done that.
There will be those who will try to politicize this tragedy and try to use it against you. Just have your people keep pointing that out. Respond to nothing. Even those pesky scientists who predicted this would happen because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is getting hotter and hotter making a storm like this inevitable. Ignore them and all their global warming Chicken Littles. There is nothing unusual about a hurricane that was so wide it would be like having one F-4 tornado that stretched from New York to Cleveland.
No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race has nothing -- NOTHING -- to do with this!
You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.
> Will no doubt see you around the forums, its been fun.
Certainly has; thanks for offering a good debate.
I put forward my opinion of Michael Moore (and yes, the fat jokes were too much, but it broke up the serious discussion for me a little) and I still stick to it, though I understand there are different viewpoints, as there are with pretty much everything in life. Today though I really have to do more work and guess that you probably do too from what you said below, so I'll leave it at a difference of opinion. It has been an interesting discussion though and if it means anything to you, my thoughts on the matter have changed a little and thanks to some of the things you said I have a broader view on this area. I'm not ready to change my opinion entirely yet, but you never know, perhaps if I pull my finger out and truly look into Mr Moore's work one day I'll be surprised and find that I was wrong.
Will no doubt see you around the forums, its been fun.
Moores letter makes me feel as though he is writing this to get all the people who 'Hate' Bush, yet don't understand the full weight of politics to use Moore as some kind of leader or political hero.
If he made another of his acclaimed documentaries going into great detail about this tragedy, I think he'd get more respect than following the rest of the torch igniters into a hate campaign.
I think Bush is a cretin, and he deserves 90% of the criticism he gets, but sarcasm will lessen the impact of any attempt to bring his failings to light.
EDIT - He is right though. :P
> I can't believe I'm having this discussion! I really have to get some
> work done today! A quick last attempt at explaining what I mean:
Heh. You and me both...I've neglected a ton of work today.
> I am not saying that Bush hasn't made mistakes.
> I am saying that I don't agree with Mr Moore's criticism.
M'kay, fair enough.
> I see what you mean and yes partially. I don't claim to know the
> facts about the decisions made, I don't claim that George Bush is
> right or wrong. All I am saying is that Mr Moore is making his
> verdicts without delving deeply enough. I don't have to understand
> what he's delving into to plainly see that he hasn't gone far enough.
By the same token, does Moore have to understand what Dubya was doing re the disaster effort to plainly see that enough wasn't done? A mischievious sort of point to make I suppose, but as one of your first and main criticisms was that Moore (or anyone else) didn't understand what was involved in a relief operation....
> When we do presentations at this department, we often see
> talks/seminars by people in different areas of research. Even without
> full knowledge of their subject area, its easy enough to see when they
> know exactly what they're talking about and its equally easy to see
> when they're just theorizing based on a few things they read in the
> library five minutes before arriving in the room.
The difference being that they're there, and you can see 'em doing their presentation. So you can see their body language, which is always a big giveaway, no?
Would you be able to make that same call based on a few paragraphs?
> Yes I agree, they should have been there immediately afterwards, but
> that's not what Mr Moore wrote. He said "to begin with"
> when talking about warning people to get out before the hurricane.
> From his article I had the impression he expected the national guard
> to be there during the storm.
See, I read that as "How come they weren't there anyway?". In other words "How come they weren't there? Oh, that's right; they were in Iraq."
> Doesn't that seem a bit obvious though? That's exactly what I mean
> about Mr Moore's quality of writing. He strikes me as the kind of
> author who sees black people who wouldn't vote for George Bush, then
> sees them dying and assumes that George Bush left them to die for
> that reason. Planes fly in the sky and clouds are in the sky too,
> therefore, wait a minute, planes are clouds! A vastly simplified
> example (so that you don't have to point that out), but he does the
> same thing on a more subtle scale.
Thing is, it's obvious that he started a war for oil. And people have died for that. Moore is, like myself and many many many other people, extraordinarily furious that we as a society have sat back and let a man sacrifice people to the cause of enriching himself. Obvious it may well be, but as the last election showed, something being obvious doesn't mean it's not worth re-stating.
However, to go back to your point; if that isn't the reason for the criminally inept rescue organisation, what is? I'm happy to have that reason disproved, but I haven't seen much in the way of factual evidence to do so, nor alternate explanations for why it was so bad.
> Oh he's HUGELY dramatic about it. That's the whole point; there is a
> reason people prefer entertaining writers over a weighty scientific
> ... and with it a reason that I don't trust what he writes.
But you've just said you're not familiar with what he writes. So, without sight of those books, with their reams of footnotes and supporting evidence, why are you so willing to make a judgement based on a single letter and, perhaps, some hearsay about his previous work when you're criticising him for making a judgement based on years of observation and gathering of facts?
> It sounds like neither of us know how much it is, but that's the
> decision of the senators, not just the President.
It's precisely 2; 1 was prior to his first terms as Presidents' mid-term elections. A republican crossed the house (well...became independant). The second was more recent; John McCain led a joint Rep-Dem effort to resolve a deadlock over nominations.
Now; wanna know how many times the Republican party have assisted the Democrats in voting against the President? It's somewhat less than the 2 I stated above.
Aside from that...nothing. The President has had, until recently, absolute and total control over his party. And, more importantly, he bears responsibility for their actions; that's what a leader HAS to do.
> True, but I do it on a chat forum where nobody cares rather than
> trying to force my opinion down people's throats with biased
Ah, now we get to it! You didn't like the documentaries, ergo you now dislike everything he does? Pardon me, but isn't that rather...unempirical of you?
> The reasons are unimportant in this situation. It may be true, but
> the last thing the people I know would like to hear is that they are
> risking their lives for the wrong reasons and the wrong leaders.
> Having people like Mr Moore running, sorry, struggling to walk,
> around making documentaries about how their best friend just got
> killed for nothing is just wrong, especially when he (under
> discussion) doesn't know all the facts.
Personal insults about his weight? You really, really dislike him, don't you?
So what are you suggesting? That one should keep quiet, for fear of upsetting those soldier? That no-one should raise a voice of dissent? Sorry, but thats absolute garbage. We shouldn't be telling 'em their best friend was killed for nothing? That is EXACTLY what we should be telling not just them, but everyone. Because if we don't...well, you tell me what is to stop it happening again.
> It was pretty bizarre! I had a cartoon image in my head of Bush
> swimming round in an oil bath. As for the rebuttal, I don't since I
> don't know enough facts on that subject.
Heh. Okay, fair enough.
> Do I know enough facts to say whether or not Bush and co are right or
> wrong? No.
> You say that I haven't done my research on the topic. I haven't. My
> point is that Mr Moore hasn't done enough either.
And you make that claim whilst also saying you haven't done your research? Can I ask why you expect people to accept your claim, but not his?
> I really have to get back to maths though. It has been interesting
> discussing this with you though as we clearly have different opinions
> on research and on Michael Moore, though I notice you carefully hold
> back some of your own opinions, perhaps to avoid people disagreeing.
> I have put forward my opinion of Mr Moore and think he supplies a
> poor representation of the facts, even if he does make articles and
> documentaries that people find exciting.
Likewise; it's been enjoyable. Though I would say your comment about my holding back my opinions is...well, it's not based on anything like reality. Believe me; I give any and all opinions asked for.
> Since this is a (mostly) innocent chat forum where we don't have to
> undergo the same kind of scrutiny Mr Moore puts himself up for, could
> you put your opinion of Mr Moore forward?
Sure; I'll repost the rant I wrote about him a while back. It sums up my opinion of him, and of his critics.
So then; Fahrenheit 9/11. As pretty much anyone with in an interest in either films or politics will know, this is Michael Moore's latest documentary. His documentary films tend to get peoples attention; he won an Oscar for Bowling for Columbine, and he's won the Palme D'Or for this one, so his film are now pretty mainstream. They're certainly available for everyone to watch; I watched it last night at a multiplex cinema. It's not so long ago that Moore would have been dismissed as a cranky, left wing conspiracy theorist. Now he's an award winning documentary maker, so that accusation becomes a little difficult to justify.
Anyway, the basics for the film for anyone who for whatever reason hasn't heard much about it; it looks at the Dubya presidency from start to (hopefully) finish. It looks at how he stole the election (giving us numerous reasons to doubt the result), followed by a brief look at how Dubya spent the first part of his presidency (on holiday), then his reaction to 9/11. Aside from that, we are shown just how easy it is to link all the president's men to some VERY wealthy Saudi Arabians, to the extent that American interests come second to those of the multi-billionaire Saudis. And if that weren't enough, we're also treated to seeing the raw deal given to both the Iraqi's, and to the US soldiers who are being killed daily in order to secure the enormous amount of money being made by Dubya's friends in business.
That's a very rushed synopsis of what you can expect from Fahrenheit 9/11. What's that you say? It sounds incredibly biased? It sounds like Moore is gunning for Dubya and will throw absolutely anything and everything onscreen in order to besmirch his reputation and make him seem like an appalling President? Well...yeah. Yeah it is. Your point being?
Whilst the criticisms of this film emanating from the Right wing of the political spectrum (ranging from "it's unfair to show such a political film in the run-up to an election", to "Michael Moore is fat and ugly") are fairly predictable and easily dismissed, what has surprised me is the slew of anger emerging from the political Left about the film. The central criticism of the left seems to go as follows;
"The film is too sentimental and mawkish, and relies on an emotional connection when it should present the facts in a clearer manner and with more honesty. Not only that, but Moore comes across as partisan and biased"
This seems to be a very odd criticism to make. Relying on an emotional connection? Well, I thought that's what a film was meant to do; give the viewer a catharsis. Sentimental? A big part of the film's message is that Dubya is sending US troops to die unnecessarily. If we're going to show sentiment about something, a rich man sending poor people to die in order to make his friends richer seems like a pretty damned good reason to get more than sentimental; it's a reason to get angry. When a man responded to the worst attack on American soil in a way that was designed to keep a foreign interest happy, shouldn't we be biased against him?
So bearing in mind that this film is doing more to damage Dubya's re-election hopes than anything the Democrats have thrown at him, why are so many of the political Left (supposedly who the Democrats represent) heaping criticism on the film, and on Moore personally?
Probably because they suffer from the major handicap of the Left; they're not capable of relating to the average man on the street. I've debated with people on both sides of the political spectrum, and generally speaking I find those on the Left far more intellectually gifted than those on the Right. However, those on the Right seem to have a better sense of what will get a positive reaction from the group loosely termed "the people".
This is a cause of much frustration among the Left; they can present a clear argument with evidence supporting it that cannot be faulted intellectually speaking. Then a Right wing person makes a few rabble-rousing (and usually inaccurate) statements, and the majority of people tend to gravitate toward that point of view. Which is, understandably, annoying. However, generally no effort is made to make Left wing arguments accessible; another criticism of the Left is that, in general, they love to show off how clever they are (and I hold my hands up to this one as well...). If you're looking for long words (I almost wrote "polysyllabic words", which sorta proves my own point for me), and obscure cultural references, then the political Left is for you! If however you're looking for something that is simple, direct, and doesn't cause confusion, then look no further than the political Right.
Michael Moore is the first man to successfully break that mould; he presents Left-wing arguments, but he does it without showing off the extent of his vocabulary. He appeals to people on an emotional, gut level. And yes, he does this at the expense of giving a full explanation of all the issues involved (in other words, he keeps it simple and accessible). He doesn't tell lies, but he does present evidence in a way biased toward his point of view. This seems to be his great crime in the eyes of some on the Left; he's not being intellectually rigorous enough for their liking.
Maybe it's just me, but I find that to be an incredibly selfish criticism. Basically they're saying "Well, it's too simplistic for me personally, ergo it's wrong." What kind of ego must one have to have to demand that everything be pitched at your particular level? Isn't that as elitist as Dubya and his Neo-Conservative government are accused of being? This in itself is another point that is worth addressing; most of the Left have a habit of referring to the general public as "the mob", "the rabble", "the herd", etc. Of course, so do the Right, but at least they're sensible enough to do it in private. The Left, an altogether more honest bunch, tend not to be so shy about their disdain. The reason for this condescension? Well, because the public have been swayed time and time again by the lies and half-truths of the Right, and have failed to grasp the significance of the arguments of the Left. Therefore, any difficulties the world faces today that were caused by Dubya, are the fault of the people for being easily swayed and easily led (because it CAN'T be the fault of those on the Left for presenting a self-congratulatory and convoluted argument that plays brilliantly to anyone else immersed in Left wing politics, but reads like treacle to anyone who isn't).
It's worth making clear that this attitude simply has to stop; would you vote for a group who look down on you and will treat you as morons if you cannot instantly grasp the thrust of what they are saying? No? Neither would I. No-one likes to be made to feel stupid, and the Left in general need to stop giving in to this sense of petulant unfairness that their arguments are not being accepted.
Also, the simple fact of political debate these days is that it's polarised; no effort is made by the Right wing to give a balanced argument. Yet some on the Left wing seem to think that an argument is only pure if gives absolutely all of the evidence both for and against it. Neither wonder the Right wing are in the ascendant in the US and UK; all they have to do is wait for the political Left to bore the senses out of the general public, then they come in with a handy scapegoat for all of life’s problems (usually some brand of foreigner or other) and a soundbite or two, and voila; the Right have popular support whilst the Left sit fuming impotently.
Moore has done nothing more than tailor the presentation of his arguments so that they're better received by the general public. For the first time, the left can be sure that the general public will actually give due consideration to their arguments. For too long, it has been easy to dismiss the Left as being preachy, whining, boring, dryly intellectual elitists. Michael Moore gives the Left a voice that appeals to the public, and they would be foolish in the extreme to try and silence it.
I am not saying that Bush hasn't made mistakes.
I am saying that I don't agree with Mr Moore's criticism.
> You're dismissing his argument for not being researched properly, yet
> you've dismissed it yourself without doing any research of your own.
> Aren't you doing exactly what you accuse Moore of doing?
I see what you mean and yes partially. I don't claim to know the facts about the decisions made, I don't claim that George Bush is right or wrong. All I am saying is that Mr Moore is making his verdicts without delving deeply enough. I don't have to understand what he's delving into to plainly see that he hasn't gone far enough.
When we do presentations at this department, we often see talks/seminars by people in different areas of research. Even without full knowledge of their subject area, its easy enough to see when they know exactly what they're talking about and its equally easy to see when they're just theorizing based on a few things they read in the library five minutes before arriving in the room.
> As answered elsewhere; the Guard are there for disaster relief. In
> other words, they should have been deployed immediately after the
> disaster. They were not.
Yes I agree, they should have been there immediately afterwards, but that's not what Mr Moore wrote. He said "to begin with" when talking about warning people to get out before the hurricane. From his article I had the impression he expected the national guard to be there during the storm.
> As the loss of life is mainly among poor black people who tend to
> vote Democrat, doesn't that rather back up the suggestion that Dubya
> cares less than he should about their fate?
Doesn't that seem a bit obvious though? That's exactly what I mean about Mr Moore's quality of writing. He strikes me as the kind of author who sees black people who wouldn't vote for George Bush, then sees them dying and assumes that George Bush left them to die for that reason. Planes fly in the sky and clouds are in the sky too, therefore, wait a minute, planes are clouds! A vastly simplified example (so that you don't have to point that out), but he does the same thing on a more subtle scale.
> Oh he's HUGELY dramatic about it. That's the whole point; there is a
> reason people prefer entertaining writers over a weighty scientific
... and with it a reason that I don't trust what he writes.
> Would you like to discuss the amount of legislation that was blocked
> because of Republicans crossing the house to support the Democrats
> over the last 4 years? I'll give you a clue; it's not very much.
It sounds like neither of us know how much it is, but that's the decision of the senators, not just the President.
> You even start to use some of the sarcasm you criticise Moore for.
> Yet you expect them, and your tone, to sway the reader. Aren't you
> therefore doing precisely what you criticise him for?
True, but I do it on a chat forum where nobody cares rather than trying to force my opinion down people's throats with biased documentaries.
> Could it be that the pain it causes is, in part, due to the
> unpleasant acknowledgement that the war they are fighting is being
> fought to enrich the leaders of one of those countries?
The reasons are unimportant in this situation. It may be true, but the last thing the people I know would like to hear is that they are risking their lives for the wrong reasons and the wrong leaders. Having people like Mr Moore running, sorry, struggling to walk, around making documentaries about how their best friend just got killed for nothing is just wrong, especially when he (under discussion) doesn't know all the facts.
> why aren't you giving me a rebuttal of any of what has been said
> regards the War in Iraq and the resultant increase in profits for the
> likes of Dubya's supporters? It has indeed cost lives. And it's
> costing lives now in New Orleans. Yet you don't seem to see any
> connection. Instead, you conjure up a bizarre image and try to duck
> the question.
It was pretty bizarre! I had a cartoon image in my head of Bush swimming round in an oil bath. As for the rebuttal, I don't since I don't know enough facts on that subject.
Do I know enough facts to say whether or not Bush and co are right or wrong? No.
You say that I haven't done my research on the topic. I haven't. My point is that Mr Moore hasn't done enough either.
I really have to get back to maths though. It has been interesting discussing this with you though as we clearly have different opinions on research and on Michael Moore, though I notice you carefully hold back some of your own opinions, perhaps to avoid people disagreeing. I have put forward my opinion of Mr Moore and think he supplies a poor representation of the facts, even if he does make articles and documentaries that people find exciting.
Since this is a (mostly) innocent chat forum where we don't have to undergo the same kind of scrutiny Mr Moore puts himself up for, could you put your opinion of Mr Moore forward?
> White girl?
> That's amazing coming from someone who was, not so long ago, shouting
> at me to kill myself in front of my child. Yeeeaahh..real admirable
All of which means...what, exactly? Was that just you saying something in order to fill the space? If so, might I suggest you go back to rocking from side to side in the corner and yelling "Daddy has a REAL good present for his little girl!" every few minutes? It's less time consuming, and at least it'll generate sympathy for you. Rather than the contempt you seem to cause with effortless ease.
> I'll get back to this farce later..
I'd be delighted if you would; your increasingly convoluted justifications for why you're allowed to hurl accusations around, but no-one else is, never fail to make me smile.