Just Above Sunset
July 4, 2004: Many Voices - On Winning or Playing Fair

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From Ted Barlow over at Crooked Timber, Wednesday June 30…


I'm pretty sure that this isn't what Jesus would do

According to the blog Non Prophet, James Dobson’s socially conservative activist group, Focus on the Family, has included Michael Moore’s home address in their daily email to supporters.

What legitimate purpose could this possibly serve?  What have Moore’s neighbors, wife and daughter done to merit the danger that FOTF have foolishly put them in?  Simply disgusting.

UPDATE: Several commentators have noted that this hasn’t been independently confirmed, which is fair.  I’m calling Focus on the Family this morning to see if they can confirm or deny it; stay tuned.

ANOTHER UPDATE: This is for real.  I’ve just spoken to a representative of Focus on the Family who has confirmed that Focus on the Family did, indeed, give out Moore’s home address.  The person that I spoke to didn’t want to be quoted.  I’ve asked the media relations department to see if they have any comment that they are willing to make, and I’ll update with any comment that they have.


I saw no further update.

From our correspondent in Chicago - “The Focus on the Family stuff is really disgusting.”

From our friend who walked away from Hollywood to live in France…


I agree, giving Moore's or anyone else's home address to the angry mob is disgusting, especially considering what the lunatic fringe on the extreme right gets up to when they disagree with someone - i.e. killing abortion doctors and the like.

It's also a rather sad admission of lacking the intellectual capacity to express one's point of view.  Buga-buga.  I can't effectively dispute the veracity of your words, so I'll shut you up by threatening you (and others who might say similarly unpleasant things, a priori) with exposure to the mob, and if possible the certifiable.  If only they could muster even that prescience of thought.  Buga!

There was a similar case in the not to distant past, wasn't there, involving 0'Reilly (yes, that's a zero, not an "O" - how childish)?  I assume that it's generally those on the right who silence people in this way?  My, how dangerous are words?


Well, so far nothing has happened.

From the News Guy in Atlanta...


To go further (and, Alan, if your conservative friend were to read this, I'm sure I'd get an earful of disagreement on this):

Despite certain trademarked phrases, "fairness" and "balance" and the "free marketplace of ideas" are highly regarded concepts, but mostly just by liberals, springing from a judgment that says you should pretty much let everyone express themselves, no matter how much you may intellectually and emotionally disagree with them.  Yes, there are exceptions on both sides to this tendency, but conservatives are still much more likely to be found giving only lip-service to these ideas, and also are much more likely to publish on websites the names and addresses of people they don't like.

It's all part of process, and liberals are much more believers in process than conservatives, evidenced in the Florida recount, in which -- and I know I've mentioned this before, but I just love the theory and have to repeat it whenever I get a chance -- in which one side (guess which) lived according to the principle, "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game," and the other (guess which) lived by, "Winning is not the most important thing, it's the ONLY thing!"


Indeed.  Is this so?

Regarding Rick's "process theory" note this - from the French news service AFP so maybe they just made it all up....

US lawmakers request UN observers for November 2 presidential election
Friday, July 02, 2004 - 2:22 AM ET


WASHINGTON (AFP) - Several members of the House of Representatives have requested the United Nations to send observers to monitor the November 2 US presidential election to avoid a contentious vote like in 2000, when the outcome was decided by Florida.

Recalling the long, drawn out process in the southern state, nine lawmakers, including four blacks and one Hispanic, sent a letter Thursday to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan asking that the international body "ensure free and fair elections in America," according to a statement issued by Florida representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, who spearheaded the effort.

"As lawmakers, we must assure the people of America that our nation will not experience the nightmare of the 2000 presidential election," she said in the letter.

"This is the first step in making sure that history does not repeat itself," she added after requesting that the UN "deploy election observers across the United States" to monitor the November, 2004 election.

The lawmakers said in the letter that in a report released in June 2001, the US Commission on Civil Rights "found that the electoral process in Florida resulted in the denial of the right to vote for countless persons."

The bipartisan commission, they stressed, determined "that the 'disenfranchisement of Florida's voters fell most harshly on the shoulders of black voters' and in poor counties."  Both groups vote predominantly Democratic in US elections. ...


Ah, yes, monitor the process.

Just like a bunch of Democrats to think up that one.

Did it not occur to these folks that if they get a bunch of UN people to monitor this election where the voting is done on the new electronic touch-screen voting machines, the UN inspectors can only call up data files from the system servers.  There is nothing else to examine.  “Recount” is meaningless.  There is one data set, and that’s that.  Maybe if more votes are recorded than there are registered voters – as happened out here in the last election with these machines in Orange and San Diego counties – then questions might come up.  But what are you going to do about it?  Throw out all the votes?  Some are, really, after all, valid – maybe most of them.  Or maybe not.

And how are you going to tell if someone hacked into the system and changed the votes?  Maybe all but two voters in Ohio DID vote for Ralph Nader.  Could you prove otherwise?  The systems are pretty open and use well-known 4GL application languages.  In tests folks have breached these systems, changed data, and left without a trace.  It’s not hard.

And why did I use Ohio as an example above?  The President of the company (Diebold) that sold his machines to the State of Ohio, in his formal presentation, said, flat-out, his goal was to deliver the Ohio electoral votes to Bush. He’s a Bush “Ranger” – one of the Bush top campaign fund-raisers.  (To be fair he did later say that he probably shouldn’t have said what he said about the electoral votes – because people could take it the wrong way and, well, his audience at the meeting to select a vendor was mostly Republican guys, and he REALLY wanted to make the sale.)

Anyway, the Democrats can worry about fairness and process, and rule of law.

You don’t win that way.  Perhaps you save your soul… but you don’t win.


Back to the Focus on the Family people publishing Michael Moore’s home address….

Our friend in France, by the way, was probably thinking of something that appeared in Just Above Sunset on October 5, 2003 – Liberals cannot take a joke (Fox News gets CNN) or are conservatives mean-spirited?

That’s a riff on this news item:


CNN's Tucker Carlson Angry Over Phone Flap
Mon Sep 29,10:54 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Conservative CNN commentator Tucker Carlson's snide humor backfired on him - and his wife. While defending telemarketers during a segment on "Crossfire" last week, the bow-tied co-host was asked for his home phone number.  Carlson gave out a number, but it was for the Washington bureau of Fox News, CNN's bitter rival.

The bureau was deluged with calls.  To get back at him, Fox posted Carlson's unlisted home number on its Web site.  After his wife was inundated with obscene calls, Carlson went to the Fox News bureau to complain.  He was told the number would be taken off the Web site if he apologized on the air.  He did, but that didn't end the anger.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Carlson called Fox News "a mean, sick group of people."

Fox spokeswoman Irena Briganti said Carlson got what he deserved.  "CNN threw the first punch here.  Correcting this mistake was good journalism."


This led to a dialog between Hollywood, a friend in Montréal (he likened revealing the Carlson home number, so people could make obscene and threatening calls to the wife and kids, to terrorism) and the News Guy (who worked for years for CNN).  You could read it if you like.

I’m not sure the Focus on the Family people want to terrorize Michael Moore and his family. If you click on that link you’ll find they are pretty benign folks. Their mission: To cooperate with the Holy Spirit in disseminating the Gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible, and, specifically, to accomplish that objective by helping to preserve traditional values and the institution of the family.

Perhaps they’ll just ask Michael if he wants to pray with them.

But perhaps not.

Angry Christians can be… difficult.

Remember the Church in Spain way back when?  They too had to deal with people who didn’t get the message of Jesus and the Church quite right. 


As Inquisitor Franciso Peña declared in 1578 - “We must remember that the main purpose of the trial and execution is not to save the soul of the accused but to achieve the public good and put fear into others.”

Words to remember, no?


Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....