“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Trump vs. Truth” 2-12-2017 critique

Mr. British Left “Because Time Warner Pays the Bills” Winger is back. And as spiteful of Trump as ever. Time to critique. And don’t worry, I don’t plan on making a weekly thing of this. I’m planning on making stuff like this just a once in a blue moon deal, because politics is stressful and anyone talking about it will make anyone listening to it stressed out. That and I don’t want to give his youtube vids too many views, so I’ll just stick with 1 video.

Now to be fair, he does bring up good points. How Trump continually exaggerates things and makes up some bullshit to make him seem grander than he really is. His narcissism is greater than most, if not all, presidents from the past. I’ll agree with that. But the disagreements begin 45 seconds into the video.


“He said the election was marred by mass voter fraud with no real proof of that.”

No evidence of voter fraud. John, I expected better from you, considering how in the past you tended to go the extra mile in digging up facts on things that actually matter, and voter fraud matters. But you are likely someone who will never go into that sort of thing, mainly because of Time Warner, but also probably because of your personal preference on believing the Democrats more than, well, anyone else, Republican or Independent. For starters, you never bring up the Project Veristas videos, where they show how voter fraud can be done and more than likely has been done.

Plus, you remember when Jill Stein tried to get a recount done in 3 states, but only succeeded in making that happen in Michigan, where it was discovered that “voting machines in one-third of the election precincts counted more ballots than the number of people recorded as walking in line to cast them.” Not to mention that an illegal alien in Dallas, Texas actually did vote in the election, but was found out and arrested and sentenced to 8 years in prison. Of course, in at least one case, a Trump supporter was also found guilty of voter fraud via voting in two different states.

Plus there’s also this study by Old Dominion University and George Mason University.

My point being that there is evidence of voter fraud. So do some better fucking research John Oliver! And don’t just rely on PolitiFact. Speaking of which:

Trump lies 69.9% of the time.

Now, honestly (I guess that’s a pun in this case), I don’t know how exactly Politifact determines these statistics, but I would say that there’s no real way to determine how much statistically a president (or presidential nominee) lies. But I can state that this statistic can’t be relied upon when you consider the other examples. Politifact states that Obama lied only around 25% of the time, and Hillary Clinton lied around 26% of the time. You have got to be fucking kidding me. The woman who lied about how sick she was until video footage showed how sick she was, when lying wasn’t of any benefit to her at all in that situation indicating just how much of a pathological liar she is, plus all the other times she lied which can be shown easily with any quick Internet or video search (Benghazi, Keystone Pipeline, emails, etc). PolitiFact says she only lied about 26% of the time. Yeah, you know what, PolitiFact is full of shit.

But don’t get me wrong, I know Trump is a liar (pretty easy to tell when he’s lying too, which honestly I’d say is a pro for the American people, not that he lies, but that you can easily tell when he is). As John said, all politicians are liars. What is important is what they lie about. So far from what I’ve seen, Trump tends to lie about petty stuff much more often than he does the stuff that matters. Besides, if he does lie about something important and significant, which shouldn’t be difficult to catch him on if he does and if he lies as often as PolitiFact says he does, he’ll be caught and impeached easily enough.


“How did we get a pathological liar in the White House?”

Pretty sure we were in a lose-lose situation in that regard with the 2016 election.

Trump lied about Obama’s birth certificate. Or so John Oliver says. If I recall correctly, he didn’t lie. He said he hired some experts to check to see if Obama’s certificate is valid. Granted, it ended up being a waste of time (as many rightly stated from the beginning), but I don’t believe Trump ever just flat-out said, “His birth certificate is a fake and I can prove it.”

That aside, John does call bullshit on various things that Trump should be called out (and even made fun of) on. It’s nice that Oliver makes the connection between cable news on television and Trump’s tweets (8:33) The problem is that Oliver is stating that certain issues that Trump is raising are also lies, when in fact they’re not.

Breitbart headlines pointed out, stating that they’re bad, and that Steve Bannon is bad, and that makes Trump bad for using them as a source of information. Well, I decided to take a look into those pages (and I usually don’t read Breitbart).

Headline #1: Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy
The article basically states (with sources from sites such as TheHuffingtonPost, EurekaAlert, LiveScience, and CBS News) that some birth control pills can cause women to increase in weight, gain an unsexy voice, jiggle wrong, choose the wrong mates, makes women sluts, makes men unmanly, gives you fat thighs, and destroys the institution of marriage (the latter subject of which is highly questionable considering it has no source nor any indication of how it got the statistics for the graph they use). Since the article has sources and makes some points (albeit in a blunt politically incorrect and borderline trolling fashion), I’d say it’s up to each individual to go to the site and decide for themselves if Breitbart (or at least the author of the article Milo; yes, THAT Milo) is full of shit or worth considering. Either that or take the time to go into the article in detail on the show and point out why exactly it’s a bad article. And stating that the headline is offensive isn’t good enough you cheeky bastard.

Headline #2: Racist, Pro-Nazi Roots of Planned Parenthood Revealed
Ok, yeah, I find some of the connections this article is making to be a stretch. Something about how the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a Nazi supporter in 1938, supported the idea of creating a superior species in that those who are “unfit” should be sterilized so that they do not make children of their own, and that somehow this belief still lives on in Planned Parenthood to this day. Consider me skeptical, at the very least, of this.

Headline #3: Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage
Ok, I’m not too keen on the idea that one should be proud to hoist the confederate flag (even though that wasn’t the official flag symbol among several others used during the civil war). That just doesn’t seem right considering that the flag tends to be a symbol of racism and pro-slavery. That being said, the article does make some good point on how ridiculous censorship had gotten (at the time the article was written, 7-1-2015). To quote from the article:

Google blocked digital ads that showed the flag and manufacturers pledged to stop producing it. But Nazi and Communist flags continue to be marketed on many American websites. At the outer fringe of irrationality, film critic Lou Lumenick, in the Washington Post, made a scathing attack on Gone With the Wind, the most iconic American film of the first half of the 20th century. It also resulted in the first award of an Oscar to a black actor. Lumenick did not, as some people stunned by his diatribe assumed, call for a ban on the film. But the attempt by the left to deride people who thought a ban was coming ignored the fact that any liberal denunciation of a cultural work almost routinely leads to a prohibition, so the reaction was perfectly logical.

Flags, statues, church windows, street names, films, novels, even an elementary school in California named after Robert E Lee – all are threatened with being swept into oblivion by a tsunami of destructive liberal triumphalism. The object is to disinherit and eradicate the historical memory and distinctive culture of millions of Americans. It is a second scorched-earth devastation of the South, cultural this time rather than material. This is Obama’s March to the Sea.

Plus the article points out that many people look at the flag considering things other than slavery. The confederate flag means more than that, or something other than that as some would argue. And the hypocrisy of allowing other flags to still be sold out there, flags which promote an idea much worse than the confederate flag does, but not sell this flag. It’s an interesting think-piece, with some caveats.

To further hit on Breitbart and Trump for using Breitbart as a source of news, John Oliver points out that Trump stated that there were swarms of muslims on rooftops celebrating the 9/11 act soon after it happened, but that Bill O’Reilly stated that isn’t factually correct, and then Trump bring up a Breitbart article that supports Trump’s claim. Now, I can’t say for certain of Trump is right or wrong on this, but there were plenty of news sources during that time period which supports this idea, all of which are cited by this article. Sources such as CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Post, CBS, and a former NYPD commissioner. So if you’re going to bash Breitbart, you’re going to have to bash those sources as well.

Ok, yeah, I fully support making fun of Alex Jones from InfoWars. Holy Christ is that guy entertaining for all the wrong reasons. That guy deserves the bashing he receives here on John Oliver’s show, and more. And I do find Trump’s association with that guy a bit worrisome.

More on John Oliver stating that the whole illegal voting theory is BS. I’ve already said my peace on that, and Oliver does nothing to put a crack in any of the sources I cited above. That’s part of the problem with John, there are some sources on some issues that he either just flat out ignores, or seems unaware of, the latter of which seems impossible considering what Oliver’s show has been able to dig up in the past.

John Oliver is apparently under the impression that the mainstream media is more reliable than Trump claims. Nevermind that Wikileaks has shown how far media bias had gone during the 2016 election, nevermind that I’ve pointed out John Oliver’s bias in the past, and nevermind that Time Warner, who owns HBO which thus owns Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, is a Clinton donor and thus a Democrat supporter. The media is biased, whether it be John Olover’s program, Fox, CNN, Breitbart, Democracy Now, and whoever the hell else is out there. Every news/entertainment media outlet is biased to some extent. It’s in my opinion that anyone and everyone should listen to several sources which have different opinions, and make up their own minds with logical reasoning. John Oliver seems to promote this idea, but pretty much implies that you should check every news source, check to see if they’re reliable, but avoid what Trump and Breitbart say at all costs.

That’s all folks.

Revisiting the Sensitive Censorship Issue in Board Gaming.

Some of you may remember in an earlier blog post how I was outraged at the alteration of card art for a game I backed on kickstarter.

Original Art
Original art on game card.
Revised card art; supposedly chainmail added, but it looks more like silk.











Outraged because I was under the impression that the art was changed due to Tristan Hall (the creator of Gloom of Kilforth) caving into the demands of a petty few who took issue with the original artwork. Turns out I was too hasty with my opinion. Tristan has given an update (yes, I’m very late with this, but what can I say, I’m a procrastinator):

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Team America, and a rant about the post-election.

Rated: 4/5

“See, there’s three kinds of people: dicks, pussies, and assholes. Pussies think everyone can get along, and dicks just want to fuck all the time without thinking it through. But then you got your assholes, Chuck. And all the assholes want us to shit all over everything! So, pussies may get mad at dicks once in a while, because pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes, Chuck. And if they didn’t fuck the assholes, you know what you’d get? You’d get your dick and your pussy all covered in shit!”

Hooray, Trump won!

Yeah, this is one of those reviews made for this historic time period to intentionally say I am glad Trump won. I’m not glad he won because I think all of his policies will be great (though I do believe some of them could turn out to be good), but I am glad he beat that corrupt-as-fuck hypocrite Hillary Clinton.  But this review is also made because I am fucking sick and tired of seeing people bitch about Trump, before and after the election.  And all these goddamn protests and threats.

For all the women out that who are saying, “We needed a woman president to show how far women have come in this nation,” fuck you. You don’t need a woman president. You need a GOOD woman president. Hillary would’ve been a terrible woman president and would’ve been a terrible representation of women . And for all the men who are saying, “We don’t need a woman running this country,” fuck you too. Trump isn’t much better in the men’s department. If a female candidate is better than the male candidates, I would vote for them, and you thick-headed numbskull ass-hats should fucking do the same. Because it doesn’t matter if the fuckface candidate is a man or a woman, they just need to be better suited for the position than the other candidate.

And people like Van Jones, who say, “This was a white-lash. This was a white-lash against a changing country. It was a white-lash against a black president in part, and that’s the part where the pain comes.” Fuck you. Statements like that not only falsely suggest that Hillary would’ve helped black communities any more than she fucking did in the past, or more than any other presidential candidate like her has, but it implies that Trump would manage it worse with no good reason to back that up. Besides, there are many in the black community who are sick of the bullshit that’s been going on to make their lives suck (Ferguson and such), just as there are those who seem to be just fucking dandy about the whole thing. Just because some of you are Liberal and only have Liberal opinions that you’re entitled to doesn’t mean others aren’t fucking Conservative and have their own fucking Conservative views. And threatening those who have a view different from yours that you don’t fucking like sure as hell isn’t going to heal the divide.

And fuck black lives matter. ALL LIVES MATTER! Black, white, brown, red, whatever fucking color you identify yourself with, you’re a all fucking human being and every one of you fucking matter! Just because some of you had it rough for most of your life doesn’t mean making someone else who’s had it good and making their life rough is going to make things any better. Those who have it good should be helping those who have it bad so they can also have it good. And that can be done without making them fucking suffer for it.

The moment people agree that people like that should go and fuck themselves and become more thoughtful rational-minded people who believe that everyone should be fair and thoughtful to everyone else, and admit that every politician and every corporate asshole are pieces of shit no matter how much you may favor one over the other, that is when the healing of the divide can begin. It can also begin when we can admit that white people also like rap, black people also like mayonnaise, politicians normally don’t keep their word no matter which side of the spectrum they swing, and not every illegal immigrant comes here with bad intentions (some want to actually work and live here and get legalized and eat Mexican food in America rather than in Mexico) anymore than every illegal immigrant comes here with good intentions (some want to do bad things like watching Crash and saying it’s a good movie). It would also help to agree that both Republicans and Democrats are full of shit a lot of the time. Might also help heal the divide if we admit that Star Wars VII wasn’t a good movie.

This whole fucking divide spawned from a desire for entitlements, that some people believe they are owed something, that because some pansy-ass motherfuckers believe that because they find something offensive means that no one should be able to fucking see it as opposed to just dealing with it. I don’t like seeing naked old ladies with their tits drooping down to their wrinkly old vaginas anymore than I like seeing naked old men with their balls drooping down to their feet, but I’m not going to say those images can be banned. Why? Because I’m fucking mature enough to fucking understand that I don’t have to fucking pay attention to it and fucking look the other way to something else. I’m nowhere near the most mature person in the world and I at least know that others should be at least as mature is that. There are things in the world you may not like, but there are other things in the world that most people, if not everyone, doesn’t like.

This national divide didn’t start with Trump and Hillary, it existed (and grew) before either of them made a bid for presidency. This national healing everyone wants doesn’t start by lying to yourselves about how things really are and by believing you should be intolerant to anything that offends you. It begins when you grow the fuck up, know that there are some things in life you have to put up with that you can easily live with, and move the fuck on. I’m not sure when this politically correct attitude of millennials became to big that they felt they don’t have to grow up, but I do know that’s one of the root causes of this divide.

Case in point, if someone posted a negative review for a movie like Scream, a movie that most people like, but someone didn’t like the negative review of it and thought it should be taken down or edited just because they find it offensive and doesn’t conform to their views for no good reason, how should people respond to someone like that? I’ll tell you how they should respond, they should tell them to kiss their ass, and fuck off, and go crawl back into whatever gutter they came from, because reviewers are entitled to their fucking opinions and people are allowed to fucking enjoy them if they agree with them! Go off and make your own goddamn review that other people will like so you can satisfy your own confirmation bias. You don’t get the right to censor something just because you don’t fucking like it.

If there’s a misunderstanding somewhere when it comes to what someone thinks, in that they don’t have their facts straight, be a decent fucking person and try to show them the facts as clearly as you can. The truth can hurt, but lies are going to hurt a hell of a lot more if they’re left to fester. So do yourselves and humanity a favor, don’t lie to yourself about how things really are, and how things really were.

And for those of you who believe Trump will be a worse president than Hillary no matter what regardless of all that’s been said about her and him, do what we’ve done for all other presidents who’ve been elected in the past that we didn’t like. Give him a fucking chance. If he fucks up and is as bad as you think he is, it shouldn’t be that difficult to impeach the cocksucker. It would certainly be easier to do that than to impeach that cunt Hillary if she fucked up. And I honestly don’t know how it is that many of you have been so convinced, have been so certain, that Trump really is THAT much worse than Hillary. I don’t even know how you can say he’s going to be the worst president we’ve ever had compared to everyone else in the past century. I really don’t.

Yeah, I’ve been keeping a lot of that pent up inside me for a while now.

“Maybe feelings are feelings because we can’t control them.”

Oh, right, there’s a movie I wanted to watch and review. Despite this being a small scale using only puppets and not trying to disguise how cheap it is at all, it’s pretty well made and makes great use of explosions, violence, editing, and choreography. I mean, it may have a bit of a cheap look to it, but it’s intentional. They don’t try to hide the fact that these are puppets on strings, they don’t even try to hide the fact that many of the characters are voiced by the same 2 guys. This movie knows exactly what it is. A foul mouthed satire of America’s war on terror which attacks everyone on all sides and doesn’t give a fuck. Even so, some of these scenes are actually quite well-made, especially that assault in France intro (whew, speaking of things that could make people uncomfortable nowadays).

I have a bit of a personal story with this movie. When I was much younger, I made a vow to never watch R-rated movies, because I was convinced that they all contain offensive material that I should never be exposed to. I later came to regret that decision. In hindsight, that vow was made for stupid bullshit reasons. But the main reason I regret making that decision is because I missed out on a lot of fun stuff my friends and family did. My friends went off to watch this movie and others like A Clockwork Orange, and they enjoyed themselves, and I chose not to share in that. And this movie, my sister and dad went to see it with a large crowd, and they laughed their asses off at it, and I missed out on the whole thing, by choice. Years later when I decided to cast that fucking vow off to the side, I got to see the movie with some other friends of mine. Know what happened? We all laughed our asses off and had a great time watching it. From that point on, I realized that it’s stupid to restrict yourself like that. It made me lose out on some great experiences that I can never take part in, and I’m never making that same mistake again.

“So lick my butt and suck on my balls!”

I’d imagine this movie would be uncomfortable for people to watch nowadays especially after the election. Because this president is so much more bloodthirsty than any other we’ve ever had (sarcasm). But you know, of all the things that seem to have changed that would make me view this movie differently, make me laugh at it less or make me laugh at it more, that would even be considered a satire, it wasn’t the stereotypical Middle Eastern portrayals (which is clearly done for parody purposes, just in case some of you forget what a satire is and forget that making fun of stereotypes is a joke and is ok to laugh at), or that America is gun-ho about blowing shit up, or their portrayal of Italians, or Koreans, or how actors are just as hypocritical as everything else (bunch of FAGs).

“My acting is what got a thousand people killed! Jesus! It’s happening to me again!”

No, that’s not what took me by surprise for this viewing. The story about the apes beating a kid to death before they all were gassed and killed; boy does that ring some bells.

Guess that kid is going to grow up into an actor who sings about AIDS on broadway before moving on to save the world from North Korea.

For everyone who finds this movie too offensive and too unsettling and too uncomfortable to watch, that’s fine. There are some satires that people can’t take, like those who can’t take Blazing Saddles.  There’s plenty of alternative for them to watch.  For everyone else like me, we’re going to enjoy ourselves and laugh our asses off while we watch dolls fuck each other, and hope that a sequel is made that will bring more of it all.

“Now take your weapons of mass destruction and get the FUCK OUTTA HERE!”

Censorship!? Sensitivity!? A rant against both in Gloom of Kilforth


So, background.  Gloom of Kilforth is a fantasy sword & sorcery setting board game designed by Tristan Hall, a project that was successfully funded on September 27, 2015.  The gameplay mechanics and art style interested me greatly, and there aren’t enough board games in that genre that manage to do both (the best fantasy board game I’ve currently played is Magic Realm, made all the way back in 1979).  The main thing that won me over into backing that game is the passion the creator has for it. 8 years this has been developed, tested, modified, updated, tweaked, and improved during all that time. No way is someone that passionate over a game that is destined to be weak sauce. The final thing that brought me on board was the fact that this is a kickstarter exclusive game. It won’t be funded any other way, and won’t be brought onto store shelves. It’s a labor of love from beginning to end, with plenty of positive reviews along the way. It gained my admiration and my pledge.

Over a year later, Tristan made an update, stating that the files were sent to the presses, to see if they could begin printing the cards, rulebook, box, etc.  But then game one word in one section of the update that took me completely by surprise.

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Critique of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver – 9/26/2016 Episode


I used to enjoy John Oliver. I liked how he covered various topics that deserve to be covered that a lot of mainstream news wouldn’t cover. I liked some of the causes he took up to try and make the world a better place. And sometimes he was funny. I didn’t always agree with his more liberal (that’s not the right word to use for people like him, let’s just say democrat) stances, but I was willing to overlook those for everything else. But nowadays it’s just gotten way to politically biased, too skewed, and too condescending when the same complaints he makes can be turned on him. I’ve had enough, so now I’ve gotta get this pent up rage out of me.

The only positive I’ll give this episode is its covering of the Wells Fargo thing that’s been going on. But there were 2 other topic he covered that finally angered me enough to where I just had to respond. Probably going to stop watching his show if his next episode doesn’t shape up. And I know what some of you are thinking, “Oh come on, it’s a comedy show, he’s a comedian, he can be biased and unfair.” Which is true, but that doesn’t mean someone can’t call him out on his biased bullshit.


So he begins with the whole Charlotte incident, with police shooting a black man (so this becomes a #blacklivesmatter thing now), and the riots and looting that erupted from that incident. Oliver’s first point is that the police are not being transparent about the incident, not releasing the video, and makes a case for this by being biased, in that he only shows a portion of the interview with Charlotte police chief Kerr Putney to make his case. Transparency vs. releasing the videos to the public. Oliver stated that it’s hypocritical to claim to have a transparent status while not releasing the police footage, which is a fair point. But it’s also fair to mention that the chief stated they would only show the footage to the victim’s family, and not to the public, at least not right away (the footage was later released and is pretty much exactly what the chief said it was, bodycam footage that didn’t show anything the public hadn’t seen already). Now, I’m not sure if I agree with that or not, but it’s a fair gripe on Oliver’s part.

Where he takes a stance I disagree with is his response to a statement made by Rep. Robert Pittenger (Republican).

“The grievance of the mind is uh the animus, the anger, they hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not. I mean, yes, it is a welfare state. We have spent trillions of dollars on welfare, but we have put people in bondage, so that can’t be all that they are capable of being.”

Oliver replies, “Wow, that is some toxic stuff,” and goes on to state that this is racism being put on display here.

My reply to Oliver’s reply, is it racist if it’s true? Is North Carolina a welfare state? Is the black community being put in bondage by the system to where they rely on welfare? Are they jealous of the white community’s status? Because I have to tell ya, I’ve seen some convincing arguments that that is the case.

Dinesh D’Souza, for instance, argues that Democrats make laws and environments where they make black communities reliant on welfare and government-run programs to where they are no longer dependent and can’t live without it.

Hell, this same argument was made in the 90s in the film Higher Learning (1995).

And from other sources:

So no, you can’t just brush off Pittenger’s remark as just being racist and hateful when it’s just stating the obvious which fucktards like you, Mr. Oliver, choose to ignore.

Anyway, that’s one of two points Oliver covered that ticked me off. The other point is Hillary vs. Trump. To my surprise, he covered some of Hillary’s scandals. The problem is that he didn’t go anywhere near the depth with them as he did with Trump in the past, not even close. He brought up the Whitewater scandal, the Benghazi scandal, and a fictionalized Swiss File Transfer scandal that he made up just for a joke on the show. It’s funny he should fictionalize money/file transfers from a corporate entity, considering that’s pretty much what the entire film Clinton Cash covers.

Not to mention, just because the Clintons weren’t prosecuted on those scandals doesn’t mean they aren’t guilty of any wrongdoing, anymore than the idea that the justice system is fair.

By the way, a documentary also covers at least one bad thing Trump did in great detail, which I’m surprised Oliver hasn’t brought up yet, but it’s worth noting so that I can make it clear that I believe both candidates have major faults.

John Oliver then brings up the e-mail scandal which is still ongoing. He goes into it to some extent, but not enough. He failed to mention how she lied about the emails, how she released all the emails, but then more are found, how it demonstrated her lies about the Benghazi incident (“It was because of a youtube video! What difference does it make!”, said before an email showed that she knew it was a premeditated terrorist attack). And of course he mentions that, “She wasn’t charged with any criminal wrongdoing,” failing to mention the controversy with the head of the Department of Justice meeting with Bill Clinton and the potential conflict of interest that brought about, the silence from those who worked with/around her on her emails, the hindrance from other politicians, and how at the very least, even if there wasn’t any intentional criminal intent, that such negligence, lack of knowledge, and faulty memory would make her a poor choice for president. Besides, I’d like to see just how excusable of their innocence he becomes if Trump doesn’t get prosecuted for something he should be prosecuted for. I doubt he would be as lenient.

“It’s bad, but it’s not as bad as it looks.”

Blow it out your ass. Oliver didn’t cover a single goddamn thing from Clinton Cash. Plus, when he does bring up the Clinton Foundation, he fails to bring up a point brought up in the Hillary: The Movie documentary which mentions that the Clinton Library, located in Little Rock, has only released 0.5% of the documents contained with it, which goes against the Freedom of Information Act (much like the email scandal).

And Trump lies more than Hillary? Don’t make me laugh.

Don’t get me wrong, Trump has many faults, a lot of which are highlighted justifiably in past episodes of The Tonight Show with John Oliver, but it’s hypocritical to just cherry-pick the lighter wrongdoings of the side you favor. If you’re still going to favor Hillary over Trump, be aware of the ugliest things both sides have done, not just the worst of one side and a few fluffy things from the other.

The Path to 9/11 Review/Analysis Part 3

Continued from part 2.

Something else to consider. Aside from the bullshit reasons for trying to keep the film off the air, and the reasons for keeping the film off of DVD/Blu-Ray distribution (so far succeeding on that front), it would be a good idea to bring up the criticisms the film is facing. Historical criticisms, and criticism on a little something else.

In the opening credits of The Path to 9/11, it states the film is based on the book The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, and Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It by John C. Miller, Michael Stone, and Chris Mitchell. In the closing credits, the film states it’s also based in part on the novels 1000 Years for Revenge by Peter Lance, and Relentless Pursuit: The DSS and the Manhunt for the Al-Qaeda Terrorists. The first bit of criticism starts with the authoring of the screenplay, mainly in regards to it unfairly ripping off one of those books, and “whitewashing” it (not in the sense of replacing characters with white actors mind you).


1000 Years for Revenge
So according to Peter Lance, author of the book 1000 Years for Revenge (which will be referred to as 1K-R from here on out), Cyrus Nowrasteh approached Lance stating that ABC wanted to use his book 1K-R as the main source for The Path to 9/11. Peter Lance instead sold the book rights to director of NBC Kevin Reilly. In July 2005, Lance found out about Cyrus’ involvement with the film project, which at that time was being filmed under the unofficial title “[Untitled] History Project,” something that Blocking the Path to 9/11 confirms.

Now, in July as the cameras began rolling on what ABC first called “the History Project,” something told me that I should get a look at Cyrus’s script. When I turned to the first page of “Night One,” I saw that Nowrasteh had lifted much of my book, scene by scene, dialogue for dialogue. He’d even titled the first two hours, “The Mozart of Terror,” the name I’d coined for Yousef.

But beyond the hijacking of 1000 Years, what was most galling, was how Cyrus, hungry for some book on which to hang his story, had now embraced The Cell, the very book he’d bad-mouthed to me and elevated John Miller, who was about to take a job as chief FBI flak, to a lead character.

Worse, he’d taken the hapless Det. Lou Napoli – who had
ignored Ronnie Bucca’s warnings and failed to follow the WTC bombers and turned him a lead member of the FBI posse out to stop bin Laden – a bullpen of real and fictional characters now led by John O’Neill.

Unable to legally acquire my book, Nowrasteh had simply appropriated it and used what he wanted from it and then set up The Cell with its pro FBI slant as the “based on” underlying work for his re-telling of “History.”


Finally, after months of negotiating with ABC, Larry Stein called me in December of 2005 to say that my former network had agreed to pay a settlement of $250,000.00 to acquire the mini-series rights to 1000 Years For Revenge.

But the deal contained a “non-disparagement” clause and gag order. In order to keep me from telling the real truth behind their distortion of my work, ABC would hold off paying me the final $50K until a month after The Path to 9/11 aired.
Source 1
Source 2
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Claim: The Path to 9/11 rips scenes and dialogue from 1K-R, and is based more heavily on that book than on The Cell.

Response: Well, ABC did respond to and settle with Peter Lance in response to his claims, which should say something in of itself. That being said, when reading the book The Cell, I’ve noticed plenty of narrative elements from that film that indicate that the miniseries was heavily inspired by that book. For instance, the book puts a lot of focus on an ABC news reporter (one of the author’s of the book, who is also a significant character in the miniseries) who got in past security (he knew some of the fireman and policeman) right after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing to get a glimpse at the inside while firemen and bomb disposal units were doing their work inside. He shows up at other points, such as when the blind sheik gets arrested, interviews Bin Laden, and shoots footage from ground zero during the actual 9/11 incident. This is a character that 1K-R does not focus on.

Plus The Cell mentions that Ramzi Yousef (the one who was mainly responsible for carrying out the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing) looked upon the towers across the Jersey shore after his bombing failed to topple both of them. Keep in mind that The Cell was written before 1K-R (in fact, Peter Lance mentions the book in his footnotes, though he also mentions that it’s a book that “told only one side of the story” (Introduction, p.2).

And from what sections I have read from the book, I agree, scenes are lifted from the book and put into the movie, which fully supports Lance’s claim.

Anyway, when all is said and done, the above issue is more of an issue with giving credit where credit is due, which isn’t something that the final product in of itself should be bashed for. The main objection Peter Lance has against The Path to 9/11 is less the fact that they took his work without permission (ie plagiarized), and more that they distorted “facts” that Lance laid out in his novel that he not only wanted in the film, but that he says Cyrus claimed to have also wanted included in the film. I’m not sure if Lance’s claims on Cyrus intending to include such information is true or not, only they know the truth about that, and I haven’t seen anything from Cyrus that confirms or denies these claims. But I can take a look at the events Lance wanted included in the screenplay.

Claim: “the story of FBI special agent Nancy Floyd who’d almost stopped Yousef as he built the first WTC bomb in 1992 only to have her career tanked by superiors in the NYO”Source

Response: The 1K-R novel focuses on 3 major characters, Ramzi Yousef, a firefighter named Ronnie Bucca, and then FBI agent Nancy Floyd. Ramzi aside, Nancy and Ronnie had reduced roles in the film compared to 1K-R, which disappointed Lance as he feels their stories must be told in greater depth, especially since he has made them central characters in his nonfiction novel. That being said, Nancy Floyd’s character is in the film, she appears roughly 15-16 minutes in. Interestingly enough, her character was also in the film Path to Paradise (played by Marcia Gay Harden), but she is not mentioned in the novel The Cell. That in of itself does support the claim that The Cell doesn’t tell all sides of the story.  Anyway, the film pretty much shows about as much of Nancy as 1K-R described, except the part of her career following the trial of Yousef.  In the novel, it states that Nancy didn’t receive any reward, had an OPR investigation done on her, and she was left hung out to dry.  Most likely because she bad mouthed her superiors (who pretty much deserved it), and that bad mouthing was recorded on an audio device and used in the trial hearings by the defense.  Should the film have included that moment?  Probably, considering how much screwing over was done.  But that’s hardly a good enough reason to say that this film shouldn’t be seen.

Claim: “the Ronnie Bucca tragedy. An ex-Green Beret and firefighter with the FDNY’s elite Rescue One, Bucca later became a fire marshal and had top secret security clearance via an Army Reserve M.P. unit where he was posted at The Defense Intelligence Analysis Center at Bolling AFB in D.C.”Source

Story details: http://peterlance.com/wordpress/?p=1182

Response:As far as I can tell, Ronnie Bucca isn’t mentioned in the film (or in The Cell for that matter).  And as far as I know, he was a man who fit the above description who had taken it upon himself to do his own personal investigation following the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and might have come across information that could’ve been useful towards avoiding the 9/11 incident.  But honestly, that message is already included in the movie.  The CIA and FBI side of the story is already enough to show that things were happening that the government should’ve taken more seriously, but didn’t, and Ronnie’s story wouldn’t have added much to that.  That being said, there is another story that should take much higher priority than Ronnie’s in terms of what the film tries to accomplish, and that’s Able Danger, a U.S. organization that had proof of at least 4 of the hijackers, that they were planning the 9/11 event, and had this information available in the year 2000, but the higher ups ignored them.  It’s the most unbelievable part of the whole story, but that wasn’t included in the film.  For what reason, probably because it wasn’t mentioned in either The Cell or 1K-R.  Peter Lance would include it in his later book Triple Cross, but it was probably too early to get into that particular plot development.  It’s worth looking into.

Anyway, all of that aside, I’d like to lay down an alternative viewpoint regarding Peter Lance’s involvement with the project, and his book’s influence. I don’t doubt that he and Cyrus met and talked about it, and I don’t doubt that his book was influential in the role of the film. What I do doubt is the extent of his victim role. He claims he was less in it for the money and more in it for getting the story told, for getting the message out. And yet, he decided to sell the right to his book to NBC instead, and hoped they would get an alternative film/miniseries done that would be faithful to his work. His argument against ABC, claiming they were ripping off his book with their screenplay, is true in that Cyrus also wanted as much of the whole story told as possible, but they could no longer secure the rights to the book Cyrus (may have) recommended. At the time, ABC was shooting the film under the title “Untitled History Project”. They didn’t want Peter Lance bringing this up publicly and exposing the project while they were still filming, so they went ahead and gave him money and told him to shutup. This is because, according to the documentary Blocking The Path to 9/11, it was given that unofficial title for security and safety reasons for the cast and crew. I mean, think about it, what would happen if word got out that they were making a 9/11 docudrama during the filming process? The source above states he wrote a letter to ABC citing his objections and claim of slander in October 2005. ABC relented and gave him a settlement with the gag order in December 2005. The filming of The Path to 9/11 finished in the summer of 2006 (as stated in the documentary Blocking the Path to 9/11). That was likely the primary reason for the gag order, yet Lance speaks out as if big bad Disney ABC were flexing its muscles solely just because they didn’t want any badmouthing. That being said, I wouldn’t doubt that was another reason for the gag order. Plus Disney has a bad habit throughout its history of ripping off sources for a watered down version of a story without citation (Aladdin vs. the original version of The Thief and the Cobbler, The Lion King vs. Hamlet and Kimba the White Lion). The security risk for the cast and crew should not be ignored in any case.


The Big Question
Was The Path to 9/11 wrong to have that 3 minute sequence that shows how they failed to capture Bin Laden? There are claims that this incident did not happen, that they never got that close, and that Bill Clinton did everything he could to capture/kill Bin Laden, and even went so far as to draw up an invasion plan for Afghanistan that could be used after his presidency had ended so the next president could utilize it to finish what he started.

Claim: No event like the scene portrayed in the movie with them getting that close to killing/capturing Bin Laden ever happened.

Response: Hank Crumpton says otherwise, according to this 60 Minutes interview done in 2012. Hank Crumpton is a former CIA officer.

Claim: Bill Clinton did everything he could to capture/kill Bin Laden during his presidency, from 1998 and onwards.

Response:He did everything he could so long as it wouldn’t hurt his political chances.  This is backed up by the novels, and by documentaries such as National Geographic’s Inside 9/11, and On Native Soil.

Claim: Bill Clinton was responsible for the drawing up of the invasion plan into the Middle East for dealing with the terrorists and Bin Laden just before his presidency ended.

Response: I thought I remembered seeing this scene depicted in the film. Apparently I thought wrong, unless I overlooked it somehow. But anyway, more accurately, Clinton had an official draw up an invasion plan for the next president to implement since he didn’t want to do it during his last year in office. They could’ve included that, and to be honest, I kinda wished they did too. But even if they did, the haters would still probably hate, claiming that the film would’ve made Clinton look like a pussy for not invading during his last year with those invasion plans, forcing the next president to go along with it. In any case, the message remains the same even without this event. Clinton wanted to deal with Al Qaeda, but was iffy when it came to actually doing so on various occasions (not all occasions mind you, some various ones). And if there was a chance things could go wrong, he didn’t want to be viewed in a worse light than he already was with the whole affair scandal and the botched bombing run. So he handed the responsibility over to the next in line, who didn’t act on it. Either way, both sides share the blame.


Response to Frank Vyan Walton’s post “ABC shelves Path to 9/11 DVD. Yay!”
Boy does this blog have a lot to get off of its chest on how much is despises The Path to 9/11, and pretty much Republicans in general. Aside from bringing up the “intellectual theft” that was discussed above, he brings up these issues which I will respond to, especially since he thinks these are good enough reason to keep this movie off the shelves:

Claim: The film essentially defamed John O’Neill, Richard Clarke, George Tenet, Madeleine Albright, Sandy Berger and Bill Clinton by manufacturing failures of inaction on their part which didn’t take place and ignoring many successful aggressive anti-terrorist actions.

Response:See above in response to the claims “Bill Clinton did everything he could…” and “No event like the scene portrayed in the movie…”  As for John O’Neill, what are you even talking about?  Did you even watch the movie?  I’d say they did the opposite of defaming him.  Same goes for Richard Clarke.  Sandy Berger, that piece of shit deserved to get defamed after stealing and destroying classified documents (Source), nevermind the fact that he was involved in at least one of those “close call” incidents according to Tom Kean in the documentary Blocking the Path to 9/11.  As for the others, in what way, may I ask, were they unjustly defamed?

Claim: The rival book (as compared to 1K-R) “The Cell, ” is essentially a “Disney-ized” version of similar events brought up in 1K-R, but was so white-washed it was “Like telling the story of John Dillinger’s take down without mentioning FBI agent Melvin Purvis.”

Response:That’s true, up to a point.  Yeah that book left out Nancy Floyd, and Ahmed Shah Massoud.  But you know what else?  1K-R doesn’t cover ABC reporter John Miller to the extent that The Cell does.  It also goes too far into conspiracy theory territory when it brings up Flight TWA 800, stating that Yousef may have been involved with bombing the plane, when it wasn’t a bomb at all that took it down.  In fact, The Cell goes into great detail on how panicked everyone was about that flight, the conspiracy theories that abounded, and how the FBI stayed on that case longer than it should to make sure a logical scientific explanation was put forth after much time and research to explain how it exploded and why it went down the way it did (the building of a computer simulation was involved).  Plus Peter Lance is way too hard on the FBI, citing their failures.  Look, there’s negligence by the higher ups, then there’s the whole “in hindsight” logic that Lance constantly uses.  The Cell offers another perspective, on how the FBI agents on the ground were scrambling and doing the best they could with what they had even though they were underfunded and understaffed (particularly in the arabic translation department).  That they could’ve done their jobs better if they were better financed, had more staff/support, and more cooperation and understanding between their higher ups and other agencies such as the CIA.  Both books have their pros and cons.


The blog states that the below “facts” were not included in The Path to 9/11. I will respond on if they were or were not actually included in the film, and if they were not, if they should have been (discussing if they were in fact factual).

Claim: Bill Clinton personally authorized each and every aggressive action suggested to stop and/or contain Osama Bin Laden (Source)

Response:If that’s true, then he sure dropped the ball on that didn’t he?  Anyway, the film did say the attacks were authorized, it was the matter of actually pulling the trigger that became questionable, especially when civilians were around the target.

Claim: Under Clinton the CIA had standing orders to Kill Bin Laden (9/11 Commission Report)

Response:Well yeah, that’s true, and the film supports this.  But there’s a difference between having orders to kill bin Laden, and actually taking the necessary steps to kill bin Laden.

Claim: No U.S. military personnel were ever on the ground in Afghanistan prior to 9/11 and ever had visual contact with Bin Laden (Source)

Response:The “visual contact with Bin Laden” part could be true, but not having military personnel on the ground is not, unless by military that doesn’t include those who were on the ground attempting to capture/kill Bin Laden along with Ahmed Shah Massoud.  In which case, then yeah, no military, just FBI or CIA agents.

Claim: Bill Clinton specifically ordered Joint Chiefs Chairman Hugh Shelton to develop a plan to put Special Forces on the ground in Bin Laden’s camps, but it was the Pentagon who balked – not the White House. (Source)

Response:Alright, yeah, I don’t recall the film having that bit in it.  I don’t think it mentioned the Special Forces idea in general, aside from a brief discussion where they remark that a president has never declared a war during the last year in office, which is essentially what deploying Special Forces means.  But yeah, they could’ve included that, but they didn’t.  Again, I seriously doubt that this is grounds for keeping this film hidden away.  Consider a scene during part 2 where they ask Condoleezza Rice on a few occasions for assistance with retaliating against Al Qaeda, and retaliating against the USS Cole attack, but their pleas are once again ignored, only now by another administration that seems to give less of a damn despite the warning signs.

Claim: The Development of the Armed Predator, under Clinton, to address the logistical problems which plagued Special Forces in Afghanistan

Response:The Predator and discussions of arming it is included in the movie, during the Clinton Administration period.

Claim: The fact that the Armed Predator, though ready, was not even discussed for deployment by the WH until Clarke’s “urgent” meeting finally took place on Sept 5th.

Response: Ok.  The whole Predator scenario was put in the movie, mentioning how they wanted it to become armed so they could’ve taken out Bin Laden when they had the chance (budget).  And again, I think they included enough of it in the movie.

Claim: Richard Clarke’s urgent Jan 2001 warnings about Al Qaeda to Condi Rice and call for an immediate Principles Meeting which was ignored for 9 months.

Response:Well, I’d say they condensed this whole thing in a scene where he meets with Rice, who ignores him and has him re-assigned to another sector (Cyber-Security).

Claim: The Bush Administration doing nothing in response to the U.S.S. Cole bombing once Al Qaeda had been confirmed as the culprits in early 2001.

Response:That’s true.  But Clinton didn’t really do much either.  Both administrations failed their because the Yemenis wouldn’t assist them.  Hell, they hindered them.  And neither administration wanted to get too aggressive with investigating it or else risk rising tensions and potential war with Yemenis.  This is covered in The Cell by the way.

Claim: The Midnight Ride to Condi’s Office by Tenet, Cofer Black and Clark to warn that something big “10 on a scale of 1 to 10” was coming, which was ignored. (Source)

Response:There’s already plenty of instances in the film about pleas to the higher ups falling on deaf ears.

Claim: The August 6th President’s Day Brief. (Source)

Response: The film did not focus on either president enough to have an actor portray them, only relying on news footage. There was no reason to give Bush such special attention compared to Clinton. That being said, one could argue that this should’ve been mentioned second-hand by some participant of the brief, such as by Condoleezza Rice or some such person.

Claim: George Tenet’s personal briefing of Bush in August at the Crawford ranch to reemphasize the PDB and make clear that “They’re Coming Here”

Response:Just how many of these “pleas falling on deaf ears” instances do you fucking want in this movie?


Oh, and one other thing mentioned by Walton:
“I myself regret that “Path to 9/11” won’t be available on DVD since I actually missed it’s original airing – I also love a good comedy.”

Sounds to me like he’s implying that he didn’t actually make an attempt to watch the fucking movie. Probably would’ve helped his case if he did, just like how it would’ve helped those asshole politician’s cases if they themselves also saw the movie before opening their cunthole mouths against it.

One last thing.
I mentioned in part one of this film analysis that several politicians who rallied against the film had not seen it. It’s worth noting that they claim to have requested a copy of the film, but were denied by Disney ABC. That may be true, and ABC probably should’ve given them copies of the film for the sake of calming the shitstorm that erupted. But they didn’t. I can think of a few reasons why, the main one being why should a studio give out a copy of a film before its release date at the risk of having it leaked online or have bootleg copies floating around? I think they were hoping they would just wait and watch the damn show when it aired, and then bring their arguments afterward, which is how it should be in my opinion. Was this the right decision? In hindsight, maybe not, but there are factors to consider just from a business standpoint alone. The film did eventually air, and at that point many of the arguments turned out to be bullshit, so they shut their mouths. But that still didn’t stop behind the curtains political pressure from going against Disney which went against ABC to shelve the film and keep it locked in the Disney vault for the foreseeable future. And this is a crime against film.


PS: Still haven’t finished 1K-R. Working my way through it. But I used the index to go to various pages in an attempt to counter some of the above claims. If I made any mistakes, or if my responses are not solid, by all means, leave a statement in the comments section and I will address it.

End of Review/Analysis (hopefully).

Follow-up comment regarding Democracy Now

So in one of my recent posts, I bad-mouthed Democracy Now and Amy Goodman for their brief report that mentioned George Zimmerman in a contorted and biased manner. As I said earlier, independent news can be biased too, just like mainstream news such as Fox and CNN. That being said, bias has its uses. Democracy Now always rallies behind the lesser man/woman, the protesters, those who are not on the side of Republicans or big corporations. Democracy Now always supports them, even to a fault. But because they always support them, that also means they cover them when they should be covered, while other media isn’t on the ground with them, covers them in their own biased fashion, or ignores them altogether. It is at times like this that I have to have some amount of appreciation for them.

In this case, this regards the whole Dakota Pipeline ordeal, and how the protesters are sick of it all, tired of how peaceful protesting isn’t getting them anywhere, and finally fighting back (Ghandi’s way doesn’t always work it seems, he never protested against something like this, big oil companies). The protesters actually managed to succeed in driving off the construction crews and the private security team after a clash that resulted in some injuries, and a lot of mace.

So while I dislike bias, I just have to live with the fact that all news media will be biased in one form or another, because the news is made by people, and people are biased. Which is why it’s a good idea to listen to several of them for different perspectives. Fox is biased, but so was Jon Stewart. CNN is biased, but so is Democracy Now, and ABC, and NBC, and MSNBC (especially them). All other news companies, independent or otherwise, have a level of bias. Learn from them, but learn accordingly. Things are almost never in black and white, there’s plenty of grey to go around.