I felt empty when "Avatar" ended. It was as if I had witnessed an angry man's vision of the world, a man who fails to see joy in a child's smile, but who sees conspiracies around every corner. He is a man who sees his fellow neighbor as evil personified.
"Avatar" proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Cameron is not much of a man. He is a child on a never-ending temper tantrum. Like all members of his extreme political faith, he lives in a fairy tale world, and so it causes rage when that carefully constructed vision of how things should be doesn't translate into reality. Perhaps this explains why he's known to be a tyrant himself and why he's had four failed marriages.
When all is said and done, "Avatar" is more about a man projecting his own self-hatred and self-loathing onto the screen than anything else. It's all about Cameron, the man who doesn't trust corporations, who claims that Western culture is ugly, racist and greedy. Yet, at the same time, Cameron is the man behind "Avatar's" stunning box office records and its release on DVD and Blu Ray which made him even richer than he already was.
As an aside, there is a reason why the DVD has no special features and why the Blu Ray, while slightly better, only has the bare minimum: they are planning to release a special edition of "Avatar" shortly before Christmas. This edition will have all the features we missed the first time around. And Cameron, corporations' main critic, knows full well that fans of his films will buy this second edition as well, which means he will make double his profit. In other words, if he wants a conspiracy, he should look in the mirror.
NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard has a habit of smearing Al Gore, and he cranks up the sleaze again in a May 3 post falsely suggesting Gore misused the money of his non-profit corportation to buy "a $9 million mansion in the luxurious hills of Montecito, California."
Newsmax's Ruddy Goes After Beck For Teddy-Trashing Topic: Newsmax
First it was WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah abandoning Glenn Beck for his ridicule of birthers (like Farah). Now Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy is taking issue with Beck.
In his May 3 column, Ruddy takes issue with Beck's bashing of Theodore Roosevelt as an avatar of progressivism. Ruddy loves his Teddy it appears:
A few words of disclosure here: I am an ardent Theodore Roosevelt devotee and have been a longtime member of the Theodore Roosevelt Association (the membership roster has me listed after another TRA member, Karl Rove).
And my brother, Daniel Ruddy, a historian, is the author of a new book called “Theodore Roosevelt’s History of the United States” (published by Harper Collins). It draws upon TR’s own words to construct a unique history of the United States based on Roosevelt’s colorful insights and provocative views.
Self-interest and a book plug! Still, Ruddy does have an informed opinion to share on the subject (unlike, say, Beck). He continues (with a little gratuitous hit on Barack Obama for good measure):
Roosevelt embraced a progressive agenda, one that called for establishing a “progressive” income tax, giving women the right to vote, creating laws banning child labor, instituting anti-monopoly regulations, and other programs. Many of his positions are accepted by most reasonable Americans today.
The policies advocated by TR were not those of some social engineer who wanted to remake the United States based on a Saul Alinsky radical model.
Remember that TR’s generation was dominated by ruthless “robber barons” who did not hesitate to use devious means to eliminate competition.
While TR wanted sensible reform, he was no socialist. In an excerpt from my brother’s book, TR said: “To say that the thriftless, the lazy, the vicious, the incapable, ought to have the reward given to those who are farsighted, capable, and upright, is to say what is not true and cannot be true. Let us try to level up, but let us beware the evil of leveling down.”
It is difficult to imagine Barack Obama uttering such sentiments.
We'll give the victory in this round to Ruddy since he, unlike Beck, has done his research.
Meanwhile, In Aaron Klein's Book... Topic: WorldNetDaily
We're helping Media Matters take a look at Aaron Klein's new book, "The Manchurian President." We note that Andrew Breitbart, who has criticized birthers, lends a blurb to the book, which devotes an entire chapter to "Issues of Eligibility" and rehashes discredited birther arguments regarding the definition of "natural born citizen." And Simon Maloy looks at the first chapter of Klein's book, which rehashes Klein's previous desperate, thinly sourced claim that "Obama tied to Bill Ayers... at age 11!"
WND Ignores Wacky, Hateful Prayers At Porter's Rally Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 3 WorldNetDaily article by Kathleen Farah (Joseph Farah's daughter) reportted on Janet Porter's "May Day: A Cry to God for a Nation in Distress" this past weekend. As expected, it's a fawning, uncritical account in which Porter is permitted to ponderously explain what the event was all about.
Missing from Farah's article: anything anyone actually said during the event.
Right Wing Watch, however, did the job WND wouldn't and captured some of the prayers -- none of which apparently involved Porter repenting the lies and hate she's spewed at President Obama.
Instead, we get WND columnist Ted Baehr repenting for the movie "The Runaways" and Porter praying again that Christians will gain control over the entertainment industry and take dominion until Christ returns. We also get a healthy dose of anti-gay venom from Peter LaBarbera.
We can't understand why WND wouldn't want to see any of that appear on its website.
P.S. Right Wing Watch also reports that not only did attendance at Porter's rally fall way short of expectations, forcing speakers to beg for money from the audience to defray the cost of staging the shindig, the evangelical Christian ministry that had been offering production and transmission services for Porter's radio show has pulled the plug, due to Porter's embrace of Christian dominionism (as illustrated by her prayer to take over the entertainment industry for Christ).
LeBoutillier: Health Care Vote 'Dirty,' 'Rigged' Topic: Newsmax
John LeBoutillier wrote in his May 3 WorldNetDaily column:
But the change was not the change people thought they were getting. The trillions spent on corporate bailouts and a useless stimulus, plus the dirty way the healthcare vote was rigged actually have increased the level of despair.
LeBoutillier offers no evidence to back up his claim that the vote was "dirty" and "rigged."
Man With Gun Near Obama Read WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Sean McVey -- the man who was arrested last week after being found armed and impersonating a police officer at the Asheville, N.C., airport from which Presdient Obama's plane was taking off -- had more than a passing acquiantance with WorldNetDaily.
Joseph Sean McVey posted items on his Facebook page in 2009 that were highly critical of President Barack Obama, including a link to a story that says the president must be stopped "or the United States of America is going to cease to exist."
In addition to the screen captures -- an image of whatever is on a computer screen at a given time -- another individual with access to McVey's full Facebook profile said it was common knowledge that McVey was not a fan of Obama. This person indicated the posts in question have been removed from public view.
The screen captures show that on Feb. 24, 2009, McVey provided a link to a story on worldnetdaily.com titled "Stop Obama or U.S. will cease to exist."
In the story, conservative activist Alan Keyes -- whom Obama defeated for a U.S. Senate seat in 2004 -- promotes the widely discredited notion that Obama was born in Kenya and thus is ineligible to be president. Keyes also is quoted as saying, "He is going to destroy this country, and we are either going to stop him or the United States of America is going to cease to exist."
The story cited in the article is a Feb. 21, 2009, article by Drew Zahn repeating Keyes' statements in a Nebraska appearance:
"Obama is a radical communist, and I think it is becoming clear. That is what I told people in Illinois and now everybody realizes it's true," said Keyes, who ran unsuccessfully against Obama for the state's open Senate seat in 2004. "He is going to destroy this country, and we are either going to stop him or the United States of America is going to cease to exist."
Keyes also reasserted his belief that unless the question of Obama's eligibility to serve as president is answered definitively, America may face the startling crisis of an executive branch run by a "usurper."
"I'm not sure he's even president of the United States," Keyes continued, "neither are many of our military people now who are now going to court to ask the question, 'Do we have to obey a man who is not qualified under the constitution?' We are in the midst of the greatest crisis this nation has ever seen, and if we don't stop laughing about it and deal with it, we're going to find ourselves in the midst of chaos, confusion and civil war."
Keyes, who stated he refuses even to refer to Obama as president, labeled the man in the Oval Office as "somebody who is kind of an alleged usurper, who is alleged to be someone who is occupying that office without constitutional warrant to do so."
Congratulations, Alan Keyes and WND! It appears you've helped inspire someone with a loaded weapon to approach the president of the United States. Are you proud?
For Graham, Protesting Ariz. Immigration Law = 'Pro-Amnesty' Topic: Media Research Center
An April 30 TimesWatch post by Tim Graham expressed dispproval that the New York Times covered "another tiny left-wing protest of 'dozens' against Arizona’s new immigration law." That's not surprising. But the headline is: "Hyping 'Dozens' of Pro-Amnesty Protesters - At a Chicago Cubs Game."
Huh? How does protesting a law critics say could lead to racial profiling equate to being "pro-amnesty"? Graham doesn't explain -- heck, he doesn't even mention the word "amnesty" in his item outside the headline.
We know "amnesty" is being tossed around by right-wingers to frighten people about all those brown people, but sheesh, Tim, try to focus the scare tactics a bit, would ya?
Do WND Columnists Want Return of Prohibition? Topic: WorldNetDaily
We noted earlier WorldNetDaily columnist Ellis Washington's citing of the repeal of Prohibition as a "progressive" idea that leads to the "promotion of excessive drinking," apparently another "progressive" idea. But strangely, Washington is not the only WND columnist who is apparently longing for the return of Prohibition.
Dave Welch uses his May 1 column to display that he learned the wrong lesson from Prohibition. He likened immigration laws to Prohibition, claiming both have been inadequately enforced:
Rewind the clock with me to 1923, Washington, D.C., at an event named the Citizenship Conference. The conference included delegates from Congress, federal law enforcement, national movement leaders and clergy. The topic: lack of enforcement of the 18th Amendment, otherwise known as Prohibition.
What we now know that they did not was that it was indeed soon to be repealed. Prohibition has been much maligned and the victim of historical revisionism, but that entirely aside, there are some fascinating principles we can learn from the speeches given at the conference. They were printed in a book titled, "Law vs. Lawlessness" (Fleming H. Revell Co., 1924).
Welch goes on to quote "federal prohibition commissioner" as saying, "The 18th Amendment was the result of a great moral and religious fervor. The spirit which actuated the sponsors of this law certainly must be kept alive after the law has been written into the statute."
It seems the only lesson Welch learned from Prohibition is that it would have been a success had it been totally enforced. Given the large numbers of Americans who violated Prohibition by consuming alcohol despite its illegality, total enforcement would have resulted in the creation of a police state. Because Prohibition didn't stop demand for alcohol, it led to the rise of organized crime and gangsters like Al Capone.
Welch then lectures: "The fundamental issue in the breakdown of law starts in the heart of the individual as we either conform to or reject the laws of God as given us through His creation and his revealed, written word." But Welch offers no evidence that Prohibition was divinely inspired; in fact, it can be argued that the opposite is true.
McCain, Ruddy Falsely Suggest Obama Will Let All Bush Tax Cuts Expire Topic: Newsmax
In an April 29 interview, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy joined Sen. John McCain in falsely suggesting that President Obama will allow all of the Bush tax cuts to expire this year.
In the posted clip, Ruddy said that the expiration of the tax cuts means "an automatic rise in taxes for almost every bracket by about 10 percent," asking McCain if there is any hope in Congress of "keeping the Bush tax cuts, at least getting the Democrats to compromise and keep them for a while longer?" McCain responded that "it appears as if we are going to see dramatic increases in taxes on most of the, quote, Bush tax cuts."
In fact, Obama's proposed fiscal year 2011 budget keeps the Bush tax cuts for all except those making more than $250,000 a year.
McCain also baselessly asserted that "There's some $60 billion in new taxes on lower-income Americans just as a result of Obamacare." Neither the clip nor the accompanying article notes McCain providing any evidence to back up his claim.
Bozell's Movie Money Fallacy Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell makes the mistake of equating a movie's popularity with its quality in his May 1 column trashing the film "Kick-Ass."
Bozell cites positive reviews of the film claiming it would be a hit, then adds:
The “shrewd” people took a super-beating. The shock merchants ended up shocked. On the first weekend, it finished barely ahead of the family cartoon “How to Train Your Dragon,” and then by the second weekend, it finished a distant fifth, behind the smash-hit dragon cartoon.
John Q. Public’s reaction? The movie is pure junk.
Bozell then mocks one review who claimed that despite the disappointing box office, "Kick-Ass" "was a 'genuine success story' because the movie was produced and financed independently when no studio would touch it, and it would eventually turn a profit. This is like predicting the Dodgers would win the World Series, and when they don’t, they’re still successful because they didn't finish in last place."
The problem is that a movie's quality has no relationship whatsoever to its box office take. As we pointed out when MRC NewsBuster P.J. Gladnick embraced the same fallacy, "Citizen Kane" did not make a profit on its initial release, and nobody's calling that film "pure junk."
In defending the new Arizona anti-immigration law in his April 29 Newsmax column, Lowell Ponte falsely claimed that the Hispanic group MEChA "advocates Mexico's re-conquest of the Southwest."
In fact, MEChA leaders have pointed out that the group has never advocated "a separate nation," and described the MEChA founding documents' reference to "Aztlan," mythical Aztec homeland, are a spiritual and not literal concept.
Ponte also goes on a weird attack of Los Angeles Catholic Bishop Roger Mahony:
The Roman Catholic Cardinal of Los Angeles Roger Mahony, whose flock is 70 percent Hispanic, denounced Arizona's law as a path to "German Nazi and Russian communist techniques" of police harassment.
A cynic might ask, If the millions of illegal aliens flooding across our borders were Protestants who threatened to change the balance of power in a majority-Catholic United States, would Cardinal Mahony passionately defend Protestant illegals with the same fervor?
Ponte concluded his column by ominously declaring, "We have entered the post-constitutional, Demo-repressionist Orwellian twilight of American history."
Ellis Washington's Strange Concept of 'Progressive' Ideas Topic: WorldNetDaily
Ellis Washington's May 1 column is a sequel to last week's column in which he bashed Franklin Roosevelt for, among other things, "turn[ing] legalized thievery into art form under the Marxist guise of 'redistribution of wealth,' fair-share egalitarianism and social justice. It's not surprising to see that Washington ups the crazy quotient by going far beyond labeling FDR a Marxist.
Washington begins by ranting that Americans must "Obama's fascist policies, which are designed to become FDR's welfare state, part 2." He goes on to list "the extremist ideas created or exploited by the progressive movement to create this welfare state":
1. The creation of racism offenses. (Jim Crow discrimination; President Woodrow Wilson used the State Department to purge all black people from federal government; NAACP, Al Sharpton, La Raza)
2. Continual change to create confusion. (Trotsky's "Perpetual Revolution"; Alinsky, Ayers, Obama's "Change We Can Believe In")
3. The teaching of sex and homosexuality to children. (Freud; Alfred Kinsey; the 1960s Sexual Revolution; The Stonewall Riots of 1969)
4. The undermining of schools' and teachers' authority. ("Separation of church and state")
5. Huge immigration to destroy identity. (GWB's amnesty policies of 2006; Obama's desire to give amnesty to 30 million illegal aliens)
6. The promotion of excessive drinking. (FDR's repeal of Prohibition)
7. Emptying of churches. (Marx called religion "the opiate of the masses"; LBJ's 501(c)3 churches)
8. An unreliable legal system with bias against victims of crime. (About 1900 Positive Law replaced Natural Law jurisprudence; Incorporation Doctrine; Living Constitution; "social justice" replaces "equal justice")
9. Dependency on the state or state benefits. (FDR's New Deal; LBJ's Great Society)
10. Control and dumbing down of education and media. (Progressives' creation of the public schools; advent of the state-controlled media)
11. Encouraging the breakdown of the family. (Progressivism, feminism, communism, no-fault divorce, countercultural revolution, gangs, drugs, abortion, pornography, pathology, etc.)
This is such a muddled mess we're not even sure where to begin. Regarding the first item: Is Washington saying that racism is progressive, or that laws against racism are? The examples he cites, of Jim Crow and the NAACP, are competely contradictory.
Identifying "Huge immigration to destroy identity" as a progressive concept is also contradictory, since the severe limits on immigration enacted in the 1920s -- which essentially barred immigration to the U.S. from anywhere but northern Europe -- was motivated in no small part by eugenics, which has also been described as a "progressive" idea.
"The promotion of excessive drinking," as exemplified by "FDR's repeal of Prohibition," is completely bizarre -- so much so we'll have more on this in a future post.
"Emptying of churches" is similarly bizarre, since nobody's forcibly blocking anyone from going to church, something neither Marx's calling religion "the opiate of the masses" or a federal law that costs churches their tax-exempt status for making political endorsements from the pulpit (which is what Washington's reference to "LBJ's 501(c)3 churches" is referring to) does.
Washington's illogic, however, doesn't keep him from engaging in the de rigeur wild smear of Obama:
Obama's mentor and likely author of his memoirs, the terrorist Bill Ayers, to this day brags about destroying America by any means necessary. As predicted, President Obama is quickly codifying Ayers' terrorism megalomania into public policy, which even many liberals are beginning to see is unsustainable on every level.
If "Continual change to create confusion" is a bad thing, then we can take comfort that Washington is reliably crazy, hateful and wrong.
NewsBusters Eager to Blame Obama for Oil Spill Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters is suspiciously eager to blame President Obama for the massive oil spill off Louisiana -- as opposed to, say, the oil company that operated the drilling rig that exploded.
In an April 30 post, Noel Sheppard repeated a claim by right-wing radio host Mark Levin that "it took the Obama administration eight days to do anything about this oil spill," adding, "why AREN'T so-called journalists asking WHY it took the Obama administration so long to respond to this environmental crisis?"
But Sheppard and Levin are lying. In fact, not only did federal officials, led by the Coast Guard, take a leading role in the initial emergency response to the explosion, as early as April 23 the Coast Guard was "focused on mitigating the impact of the product currently in the water." Complicating things was the fact that BP, the oil company that operated the rig, underplayed the extent of the spill -- due to "a self-policing system that trusted a commercial operator to take care of its own mishap even as it grew into a menace imperiling Gulf Coast nature and livelihoods from Florida to Texas" -- leading to an initial limited response to it by the government. Once the extent of the spill was clear, the feds moved in with full force.
Nevertheless, Sheppard -- eager to portray this as "Obama's Katrina" -- highlighted a New York Times editorial that was, in Sheppard's words, "pointing a finger straight at Barack Obama." Sheppard overlook the fact that the editorial also stated that BP "seems to have been slow to ask for help." That suggests to us that if the Obama administration had moved swiftly and taken control of the cleanup operation from BP early on, Sheppard would be portraying it as a socialist takeover of the oil company.
Sheppard went on to whine that Obama's weekly media address was about something other than the spill: "Wow! Our nation is facing possibly its worst oil-related disaster in history, and our President is concerned about campaign finances." Sheppard later sneered, 'Obama is currently speaking at a commencement address to the University of Michigan. Is that also more important than dealing with this crisis?"
In none of these posts does Sheppard address the culpability of BP in the spill.
Meanwhile, Rich Noyes also repeated the Times editorial, adding that "The last time a major disaster threatened the U.S. Gulf Coast, journalists dropped any pretense of objectivity and openly scorned what they saw as the ineffective response of the Bush administration to Hurricane Katrina." Noyes ignores that, unlike the oil spill, the impact of Katrina was immediately clear, and there wasn't an oil company trying to hid the full extent of the disaster from the government, hindering a full federal response.
WND Hides Facts on 'Riot Police' Incident Topic: WorldNetDaily
An April 29 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling misleads about an incident in which "riot police" were called in to deal with protesters at a speech by President Obama in Quincy, Ill. Schilling writes:
After Obama's motorcade arrived, a Secret Service agent instructed protesters to move across the street. The crowd began singing "God Bless, America" and the National Anthem. Quincy Deputy Police Chief Ron Dreyer ordered police in full riot gear to march up the street and stand between the tea partiers and the civic center.
Snipers were also spotted on the rooftop of the building.
The tea partiers complied when they were told to move across the street, behind a sidewalk and into a parking lot.
Except that's not quite how it went down. From the local newspaper, the Quincy Herald-Whig, which was in a much better position to know the facts than Schilling (key section emphasized, via Dave Weigel):
There were a few tense moments when the crowd moved west down York toward Third Street after the president's motorcade arrived. A Secret Service agent asked the crowd to move back across the street to the north side.
When the crowd didn't move and began singing "God Bless, America" and the national anthem, Quincy Deputy Police Chief Ron Dreyer called for members of the Mobile Field Force to walk up the street.
The officers, mainly from Metro East departments near St. Louis and dressed in full body armor, marched from the east and stood on the south side of York facing the protesters.
Schilling falsely suggested that the protesters immediately complied with the police to move. In fact, they didn't, thus necessitating the show of force with the police in riot gear.
Of course, any public event involving the president involves a significant presence of law enforcement, whether or not the crowd is made up of, as the headline of Schilling's article states, "tea-party grandmas." After all, the makeup of a crowd can't be completely determined in advance.
Why doesn't WND want the president of the United States to have adequate security?