Week of August 4, 2004

Aug 4, 2004 at 4:00 am
Eat This
Taste tested: I don't think Rose Martelli's view of the Eats Bridge is very accurate ["Bridge to Nowhere," July 28]. First off, all the tables were covered with linen tablecloths. I got a large meal for $15 and I didn't expect to be served on china. Did you really think the city would allow glassware on a bridge? Think about it. And do you realize the volume of food that has to be served in such a confined space? Not your typical kitchen setup. And you might think twice about calling fellow St. Louisans semi-toothless drunks, since most of the people at this event read your newspaper.

One last thing: Do you think you need a reservation for brunch so they know how much food to cook? It's not rocket science. Remember, the city is just trying to get more attractions downtown.
Tom Tworek
Webster Groves

Stage Fright
Now tell us how you really feel: William Stage, you are such an asshole. "Is Saddam guilty?" [Street Talk, July 21] Ask the millions of people he butchered who are lying in some fuckin' sand-covered hole. What kind of fuckin' moronic question is that to be asking these empty fuckin' heads? You are guilty of being a fuckface, William.
Chris Crusciel
Creve Coeur

Moore's the Pity
Lies, lies, lies: I know a lot of readers consider Michael Moore a hero, but a hero should not be someone that manipulates the truth [Letters, July 21].

Before I go any further, let me say that I am not one of those extremist conservatives. In spite of the fact that I think Dubya has done a poor job in office, I also believe that even a clown like him should be defended from slander. Even many liberal writers believe Fahrenheit 9/11 was a farce. In researching Fahrenheit 9/11 I've found nine major flaws. Owing to space constraints, I'll supply the two most egregious:

Flaw No. 1: Michael Moore makes the claim that Iraq under Saddam Hussein never hurt an American. I agree that Iraq wouldn't directly attack the U.S. in some sort of absurd invasion from the movie Red Dawn, but he has harmed Americans and he planned attacks on Americans. On November 15, 1997, "the main propaganda organ for the Saddam regime, the newspaper Babel (which was run by Saddam Hussein's son Uday), ordered 'American and British interests, embassies, and naval ships in the Arab region should be the targets of military operations and commando attacks by Arab political forces.'" (From "Fifty-nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11," by Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute, accessible at http://i2i.org.) In addition, "Iraqi forces fired, every day, for 10 years, on the aircraft that patrolled the no-fly zones and staved off further genocide in the north and south of the country," (From the New York Times, December 1, 2003.) Saddam Hussein also provided safe haven to terrorists who killed Americans, like Abu Nidal; funded suicide bombers in Israel who certainly killed Americans; and ran the Iraqi police, which plotted to assassinate former President George H.W. Bush.

Flaw No. 2: Michael Moore makes the claim that the Taliban visited Bush when he was still governor of Texas to discuss a future project involving Unocal. That meeting never happened. However, the Taliban did meet with the Clinton administration during the visit. (From "Un-Moored From Reality; Fahrenheit 9/11 Connects Dots That Aren't There," by Matt Labash in the Weekly Standard, July 5, 2004.)

Flaw No. 3: National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice is depicted in the movie telling a reporter, "Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11." The scene deceptively shows the administration directly blaming Saddam and his regime for the attacks on 9/11 by taking her comments out of context. Now read the entire statement made by Ms. Rice to the reporter: "Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11. It's not that Saddam Hussein was somehow himself and his regime involved in 9/11. But if you think about what caused 9/11, it is the rise of ideologies of hatred that led people to drive airplanes into buildings in New York." (From a November 28, 2003 CBS News interview.)

Flaw No. 4: In the film, Moore leads viewers to believe that members of bin Laden's family were allowed to exit the country after the attacks without being questioned by authorities. The September 11 commission, on the other hand, reported that 22 of the 26 people on the flight that took most of the bin Laden family out of the country were interviewed and found to be innocent of suspicion. (From Sumana Chatterjee and David Golstein's "Analyzing Fahrenheit 9/11: It's Accurate to a Degree," Seattle Times, July 5, 2004.) The commission reported that "each of the flights we have studied was investigated by the FBI and dealt with in a professional manner prior to its departure."

Flaw No. 5: Moore claims that James Bath, a friend of President Bush from his time with the Texas Air National Guard, might have funneled bin Laden money to an unsuccessful Bush oil-drilling firm called Arbusto Energy. Bill Allison, managing editor for the Center for Public Integrity (an independent watchdog group in Washington, D.C.), on the other hand, said, "We looked into bin Laden money going to Arbusto, and we never found anything to back that up." (From Chatterjee and Golstein.)

Flaw No. 6: The movie claims that the Bush administration "supported closing veterans' hospitals." "The Department of Veterans Affairs did propose closing seven hospitals in areas with declining populations where the hospitals were underutilized, and whose veterans could be served by other hospitals." (From Kopel's "Fifty-nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11.") But Moore's film fails to mention that the department also proposed building new hospitals in areas where needs were growing, and also proposed building blind-rehabilitation centers and spinal-cord injury centers. (From an October 24, 2003 news release by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, www.va.gov.)

Flaw No. 7: Even readily available figures are exaggerated for effect in Fahrenheit 9/11. The claims have a basis in reality, making them believable, but are false nonetheless. In the film, Moore asks Craig Unger, author of House of Bush, House of Saud, "How much money do the Saudis have invested in America, roughly?" to which Unger responds, "Uh, I've heard figures as high as $860 billion." The Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy reports that worldwide Saudi investment approximated $700 billion -- a figure much lower than Unger alleges the Saudi government to have invested in the U.S. (From "The United States Must Not Neglect Saudi Arabian Investment," by Tanya C. Hsu; www.irmep.org.) The Institute reports that 60 percent of that $700 billion -- roughly $420 billion, less than half of what Unger "heard" -- was actually invested in the United States by the Saudi government.

Flaw No. 8: "Moore's film suggests that [President] Bush has close family ties to the bin Laden family -- principally through Bush's father's relationship with the Carlyle Group, a private investment firm. The president's father, George H.W. Bush, was a senior adviser to the Carlyle Group's Asian affiliate until recently; members of the bin Laden family -- who own one of Saudi Arabia's biggest construction firms -- had invested $2 million in a Carlyle Group fund. Bush Sr. and the bin Ladens have since severed ties with the Carlyle Group, which in any case has a bipartisan roster of partners, including Bill Clinton's former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt. The movie quotes author Dan Briody claiming that the Carlyle Group 'gained' from September 11 because it owned United Defense, a military contractor. Carlyle Group spokesman Chris Ullman notes that United Defense holds a special distinction among U.S. defense contractors that is not mentioned in Moore's movie: the firm's $11 billion. Crusader artillery rocket system developed for the U.S. Army is one of the only weapons systems canceled by the Bush administration." (From Kopel.) "There is another famous investor in Carlyle whom Moore does not reveal: George Soros. But the fact that the anti-Bush billionaire [Soros] has invested in Carlyle would detract from Moore's simplistic conspiracy theory." (From Kopel.)

Flaw No. 9: Not revealing relevant facts is dishonest enough. But to paint the Bush administration as sympathetic and friendly to the Taliban prior to September 11 is not only dishonest, but maliciously so. Moore shows film of a March 2001 visit to the United States by a Taliban delegation, claiming that the administration "welcomed" the Taliban official, Sayed Hashemi, "to tour the United States to help improve the image of the Taliban." But the administration did not welcome the Taliban with open arms. In fact, the State Department rejected the Taliban's claim that it had complied with U.S. requests to isolate bin Laden. To demonstrate even further the administration's contempt for the Taliban and its illegitimacy, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher -- on the day of the terrorist regime's visit -- said, "We don't recognize any government in Afghanistan."

I agree Bush may be the worst president in recent history not named Reagan. I also agree that we should not have entered Iraq, but if you attack someone use facts, not fiction.
Tony Arakkal
University City

Blame the Republicommunists: I do not want to run this topic into the sunset; however, I really felt that Michael Szerzinski's letter really exposed the Republicommunist mafia cult problem we have in this country, particularly whenever a Michael Moore or Amy Goodman or Terry Gross or Peter Jennings presents the truth.

Szerzinski accurately portrayed the religiously brainwashed and fascist-politically indoctrinated tactics the Republican cult uses to sabotage the liberal philosophy, which hasn't often been responsibly in agreement nor represented rationally by elected representatives and their actions. What is wrongly being referred to as "conservative Republicans" is really "conservative anti-conservatives," because a conservative promotes and protects traditional values and philosophies, and the only conservation the Republicommunists are practicing is their right to upend our traditional values and to circumvent our U.S. Constitution. Further, Republicommunists rail on "liberals" and "liberalism." No wonder they do, since Republicanism is anti-Democracy: Liberal comes from the Greek root word "libris," which means freedom. Other words derived from libris are "liberty" and "liberate," words equally detested by Republicommunists.

A republic is not a democracy. A republic, the first of which according to historians was the terrible Roman Empire, is a government form of tyranny that rules over the people. A democracy is not a form of government, because a democracy is a legal and political organization that protects the best interests of society with neither exclusionary prejudices nor elitism, and which protects the weaker minority from abuses by the stronger majority and which protects the ignorant majority from abuses by the knowledgeable and powerful minority in political, religious, business and special interest organizations. Unlike a republic, there are no leaders in a democracy, only administrators of the democracy who are held accountable to society and to the values and obligations ideally of a constitution and bill of rights.

Republicommunists, on the other hand, rely heavily on their cult followers believing in what they are told, rather than seeking knowledge and being aware of what they see and hear in the news, which is the chief reason everything the Republicommunists say is always contradictory to what they previously have said and to what they will say when adjustments in their rhetoric is necessary to encourage popular support.

I will just finish by saying that it is historic record that all Republican U.S. presidents after the end of World War II have been responsible for the deaths of over 2 million innocent civilians in foreign countries around the world, chiefly by using our Criminal Insurrection Agency (CIA) to overthrow semi-Democracies (such as Iran) and Democracies (such as Guatemala) to install tyrannies who support the international and multinational commercial communist corporation cartels, whose only interest is in making economic prostitutes out of the world's workers and consumer slaves out of the world's societies, which is the true underlying basis for the fascistly political propaganda, hatred, prejudice, and utter dishonesty of the Republican mafia cult. This is not an issue of polite discussions; the whole world is being subverted, international sovereignty of the world's nations is being infiltrated, and the world's natizens are being enslaved by worldwide Republicommunism.
Ronald Kinum
St. Louis

A Law's a Law
Mystery solved! Thank you for informing us that prophets are outlawed in the city of St. Louis ["Knowledge is Power," Unreal, June 30]. Perhaps this is why the Veiled Prophet wears a veil.
Joseph J. Kuciejczyk
St. Louis