Movie Review: Lord of War: A Condemnation Of The International Arms Trade

September 20, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Uncategorized 


Lord Of War: Rated B. Director Andrew Niccol. This is the allegedly true story of a Russian immigrant, Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage), who becomes an international arms trader. Jared Leto plays Yuri’s younger brother. Bridget Moynihan is Yuri’s trophy wife. Ethan Hawke plays Yuri’s Interpol nemesis. Eamonn Walker makes a strong appearance in the role of an African dictator. Yuri narrates in voice over much of his story of how he left work at his family’s delicatessen and turned to arms trading to improve his lot in life and the consequences of being successful in that profession. The term Lord of War is pigeon English for warlord.

As the story evolves we learn that Yuri is a master of duplicity with his ability to learn languages, forge documents and bribe government officials. The film shows in graphic detail the consequences of those arms sales especially to warring factions in African nations. There are many scenes with child soldiers with Kalishnikovs, the soldier’s weapon of choice worldwide or three year olds whose arms have been cut off to make a point. In one scene two little black children ask a coked out Yuri if an amputated arm will grow back. There is much blood shed in the film so it may not be for the squeamish. Through it all we see that Yuri cannot turn down a profitable arms deal even after his parents disown him and rebel soldiers kill his brother when he tries to destroy two truckloads of arms to be used in the massacre of a refugee camp full of women and young children. Even his wife leaves him with their son because he won’t give up the arms trade. In the end he even participates in the execution of a competitor.

Yuri condemns the trade but he apologizes for his acts with the explanation that if not him then some one else. The movie makes the point that the biggest arms traders are the U.S, China, France, Russia and Great Briton all permanent members of the U.N. Security Counsel. Often he acts as a middle man or cut out for the major powers. In the end Interpol cannot arrest him because he is a convenient intermediary for these powers.

This film in many ways glamorizes the arms traders’ life surrounding him with beautiful women, wealth and close calls that he always manages to escape. There is no happy ending to this picture as the amoral Yuri loses those things that make life worthwhile like family. In the end he is alone in the world driven by greed. A more realistic ending would be if he was executed by some rebel leader or imprisoned for life by Interpol or perhaps in some third world country. While this was an interesting film on the arms trade the character of Yuri Orlov has little depth nor does he change much during the picture. He is a disillusioned amoral youth in the beginning and a disillusioned amoral arms trader in the end. No one else surfaced as an identifiable person struggling to achieve a meaningful goal in the world. Even Ethan Hawke’s character came off as an impotent law officer trying to enforce the law in an indifferent world where the major powers find it expedient to sell arms to warring countries. This film lacks a powerful central character to indentify with while it seeks to condemn the arm trade. However it is a film worth seeing.

Share

George Bush And The Theatre Of The Absurd

September 8, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Uncategorized 

Almost everybody has noticed by now that when George Bush talks to the public either on television or to a large audience he makes it a practice to talk down to his audience and sometimes he speaks using redundant parables. Perhaps this is a ploy to connect with the religious in his audience although the parables are more simplistic and less apt than those used in the Bible.

Despite the seriousness of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans George Bush was talking like this whole event was caused by a freak storm, of which he and his Administration had no warning. He stayed in Crawford (steadfastly refusing to meet Cindy Sheehan) until three days after Katrina struck the Gulf Coast and although he was within a few hundred miles of the damaged area he merely flew low over the Gulf Coast safe in Air Force One on the way back to Washington at six hundred plus miles an hour. An absurd act.

Then another four days went by before relief in the form of food and water was brought in to those thousands of homeless people on the Gulf coast and New Orleans. This is strange because the media had their camera crews and remote broadcasting trucks everywhere on the Gulf Coast before the hurricane, during the hurricane and after the hurricane. However Homeland Security, FEMA and the other Federal agencies were nowhere to be found. At first the administrators responsible said a disaster of this magnitude was a state or local matter and in the case of Homeland Security it was mainly concerned with terrorism. This Department includes the Coast Guard and FEMA amongst other domestic guardians. Then a new round of the Theatre Of The Absurd began when public opinion polls revealed the public was holding George Bush and his Administration responsible for the disaster caused by the delayed relief effort.

Bush Is Running Up Against The Principles Of Abraham Lincoln

Bush immediately took to the airwaves saying he,” was going to have an investigation as to what was done right (practically nothing) and what was done wrong (a lot).” This is an absurd statement to make in the midst of a crisis needing immediate attention. He had his picture taken in a hanger with some Coast Guard helicopters while praising the rescue work being done. Meanwhile the news media was showing pictures of dead people floating in the streets of New Orleans and broadcasting eyewitness accounts of how the old, infirm, young and poor were left without food or water for seven days. Then he met with firemen flown in from Oregon to an Atlanta staging area for another photo-op where he is shown in shirtsleeves walking with these firemen in their firefighting gear. He looks like he is rolling up his shirt sleeves to do something as if he was some where close to the disaster and was digging in to help. The fireman have since torn off their FEMA T-shirts and refused any further photo events with Administration officials. Finally he announced that he is sending Vice President Cheney to the devastated area “to make sure every thing that could be done was being done.” Far too little too late and another absurd act. Media reporters and internet bloggers are going wild pointing out all the obvious failures of Bush and his staff to meet this crisis and the subsequent media cover-up by his office. (click here)

This media Theatre Of The Absurd would be funny if so many people were not dead due to his indifference and in competence. His post Katrina actions indicates how unsophisticated he and his administration think the American people are. He and his staff think all he has to do is to make a few appearances like he did when he landed on the Aircraft Carrier Abraham Lincoln off the coast of California and announced the war in Iraq was over when it in fact was just beginning. Apparently he believes his or Karl Rove’s staged PR events will be perceived as the truth. Wasn’t it Abraham Lincoln that said, “You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.” Bush has been a sad joke amongst many people for a long time and that number is growing according to the polls.

The only problem is he has three more years in office and during that time he is the man who is selecting the new Chief Justice and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Judges who will be making decisions affecting every American for as long as thirty years. I am sure many people in New Orleans said; “May God help us because George Bush is not going to do the right thing.” This applies to his other responsibilities to all the American people as well. Bush has demonstrated on many occasions his sociopathic qualities in that the effect of his acts are contrary to the well being of the majority of Americans. Meanwhile The Theatre Of The Absurd Goes On.

Share

In The Bush League With George W. Bush.

September 2, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Uncategorized 

Bush And the Republican Controlled Congress.
The Minimalist Government Sociopaths Who Like Big Tax Breaks For The Rich and Pork Barrel Spending Over Necessities Like Flood Control and Energy Regulation.

On the Gulf Coast and in particular New Orleans we see another failure of the Bush Administration to protect the American public. Weather experts have long known that New Orleans would again have another category five hurricane like Camille in 1969. Last year there was a hurricane
simulation exercise wherein a scenario of a hypothetical storm named Pam with 120 mph winds hit New Orleans. Projected results were very similar to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina. The levees surrounding New Orleans designed for a category three storm failed in the theoretical storm just as they did when Katrina made landfall. Since New Orleans is below sea level it was inevitable that it would be flooded in the event of a storm greater than category three.

Bush Fiddled While New Orleans Submerged.

George Bush was on yet another vacation while Katrina approached the Gulf Coast and weather forecasters knew it was a category five storm in intensity and that it would make landfall somewhere near New Orleans or directly on the city. This catastrophe is another example of the Bush Administration’s failure to plan ahead. The Bush policy is for government not to get involved with local problems even if they have national ramifications. However since the Gulf region refines or produces about twenty percent of the nations oil the interruption to production and refining by Katrina is sending gas prices higher (over $3.00 a gallon in some places). When Bush took office oil was $22 a barrel now it is over $69 dollars a barrel and going higher. This is great for all his Texas and Saudi friends who own oil in the ground some of which was uneconomical to be pumped at $22 a barrel but it is like owning the Homestake Mine at $69 a barrel.

While oil prices are a major concern to all Americans the unnecessary misery and suffering caused by inadequate levees in New Orleans is far more profound. In 2005 the Army Corp of Engineers requested $78 million for flood control projects in and around New Orleans and got $30 million from the Bush Administration, which was ultimately raised, to $36.5 million by Congress. Even if the Corps of Engineers received the full amount requested this year it probably would not have saved New Orleans. Over the years politicians in general have neglected this threat that could have been corrected if adequate planning and funding was provided since Camille, the last category five hurricane to hit the area since 1969. Now the Corps of Engineers is telling us they could not meet this threat for lack of funding and the government is saying there was insufficient revenue to allocate spending for this matter.
Bush was not solely responsible for the lack of
funding over all those years but he has not provided leadership in this area and his policy of giving huge tax breaks to the top 2% of taxpayers certainly did not help.

Bush’s modus operandi seems to be let the catastrophe occur (like 9/11) than we will respond with lots of spending that will benefit big business. There is little forward thinking in this government and this has been acutely demonstrated in Iraq.

Instead Congress passed and Bush signed a massive energy bill (15 billion) that does nothing to make the U.S. energy independent but did provide huge tax breaks for the major oil companies. No new laws requiring greater gas mileage were passed.
Congress also passed massive pork barrel legislation this year that included such appropriations as:

A tattoo removal program in San Luis Obispo County, California ($50,000);

The Fort Union Trading Post Bike Trail in North Dakota ($500,000);

The Center on Obesity at West Virginia University ($2 million); and

An effort to combat “goth culture” in Blue Springs, Missouri ($270,000).

Therapeutic Horseback Riding in Apple Valley, California ($150,000);

The recovery of Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse ($500,000); and

Washington State’s dolphin replacement (replace them with what?) project ($4 million).

The list of these projects goes on and on while money for flood control or the development of alternative energy sources is shortchanged. Even legislation mandating higher gas mileage based on existing technology, which would eliminate the need for imported oil and vastly reduce or eliminate the trade deficit, was not passed.

Washington fiddles while this country burns or is flooded and this is a direct consequence of the Republican leadership in the White house, Senate and House. Now we stand by and watch, as the White House cannot marshal a meaningful disaster relief response to the devastation of Katrina. The Jesus freaks in Jesusland got the government they voted for and now the slightly less than fifty percent of the country that didn’t vote for Bush and the majority of the country who did not vote for the controlling party in the
Senate have to suffer the consequences along with their brethren who were more concerned about curtailing stem cell research, gay marriage and a woman’s right to choice than electing a government responsible to the American people instead of the lobbying interests in Washington.

Brazil changned it’s capital to a more central location so the interests of a greater number of people in the country would be served rather than just those in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. If we had a new federal District of Columbia in a place like New Orleans for instance this catastrophe would never have happened. Perhaps this would get rid of the Washington mentality that they are so remote from many areas of the country the public doesn’t know the magnitude of their betrayal.

Share

In The Bush League With George W. Bush.

September 2, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Uncategorized 

Bush And the Republican Controlled Congress.
The Minimalist Government Sociopaths Who Like Big Tax Breaks For The Rich and Pork Barrel Spending Over Necessities Like Flood Control and Energy Regulation.

On the Gulf Coast and in particular New Orleans we see another failure of the Bush Administration to protect the American public. Weather experts have long known that New Orleans would again have another category five hurricane like Camille in 1969. Last year there was a hurricane
simulation exercise wherein a scenario of a hypothetical storm named Pam with 120 mph winds hit New Orleans. Projected results were very similar to the consequences of Hurricane Katrina. The levees surrounding New Orleans designed for a category three storm failed in the theoretical storm just as they did when Katrina made landfall. Since New Orleans is below sea level it was inevitable that it would be flooded in the event of a storm greater than category three.

Bush Fiddled While New Orleans Submerged.

George Bush was on yet another vacation while Katrina approached the Gulf Coast and weather forecasters knew it was a category five storm in intensity and that it would make landfall somewhere near New Orleans or directly on the city. This catastrophe is another example of the Bush Administration’s failure to plan ahead. The Bush policy is for government not to get involved with local problems even if they have national ramifications. However since the Gulf region refines or produces about twenty percent of the nations oil the interruption to production and refining by Katrina is sending gas prices higher (over $3.00 a gallon in some places). When Bush took office oil was $22 a barrel now it is over $69 dollars a barrel and going higher. This is great for all his Texas and Saudi friends who own oil in the ground some of which was uneconomical to be pumped at $22 a barrel but it is like owning the Homestake Mine at $69 a barrel.

While oil prices are a major concern to all Americans the unnecessary misery and suffering caused by inadequate levees in New Orleans is far more profound. In 2005 the Army Corp of Engineers requested $78 million for flood control projects in and around New Orleans and got $30 million from the Bush Administration, which was ultimately raised, to $36.5 million by Congress. Even if the Corps of Engineers received the full amount requested this year it probably would not have saved New Orleans. Over the years politicians in general have neglected this threat that could have been corrected if adequate planning and funding was provided since Camille, the last category five hurricane to hit the area since 1969. Now the Corps of Engineers is telling us they could not meet this threat for lack of funding and the government is saying there was insufficient revenue to allocate spending for this matter.
Bush was not solely responsible for the lack of
funding over all those years but he has not provided leadership in this area and his policy of giving huge tax breaks to the top 2% of taxpayers certainly did not help.

Bush’s modus operandi seems to be let the catastrophe occur (like 9/11) than we will respond with lots of spending that will benefit big business. There is little forward thinking in this government and this has been acutely demonstrated in Iraq.

Instead Congress passed and Bush signed a massive energy bill (15 billion) that does nothing to make the U.S. energy independent but did provide huge tax breaks for the major oil companies. No new laws requiring greater gas mileage were passed.
Congress also passed massive pork barrel legislation this year that included such appropriations as:

A tattoo removal program in San Luis Obispo County, California ($50,000);

The Fort Union Trading Post Bike Trail in North Dakota ($500,000);

The Center on Obesity at West Virginia University ($2 million); and

An effort to combat “goth culture” in Blue Springs, Missouri ($270,000).

Therapeutic Horseback Riding in Apple Valley, California ($150,000);

The recovery of Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse ($500,000); and

Washington State’s dolphin replacement (replace them with what?) project ($4 million).

The list of these projects goes on and on while money for flood control or the development of alternative energy sources is shortchanged. Even legislation mandating higher gas mileage based on existing technology, which would eliminate the need for imported oil and vastly reduce or eliminate the trade deficit, was not passed.

Washington fiddles while this country burns or is flooded and this is a direct consequence of the Republican leadership in the White house, Senate and House. Now we stand by and watch, as the White House cannot marshal a meaningful disaster relief response to the devastation of Katrina. The Jesus freaks in Jesusland got the government they voted for and now the slightly less than fifty percent of the country that didn’t vote for Bush and the majority of the country who did not vote for the controlling party in the
Senate have to suffer the consequences along with their brethren who were more concerned about curtailing stem cell research, gay marriage and a woman’s right to choice than electing a government responsible to the American people instead of the lobbying interests in Washington.

Brazil changned it’s capital to a more central location so the interests of a greater number of people in the country would be served rather than just those in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. If we had a new federal District of Columbia in a place like New Orleans for instance this catastrophe would never have happened. Perhaps this would get rid of the Washington mentality that they are so remote from many areas of the country the public doesn’t know the magnitude of their betrayal.

Share