Thursday, February 4, 2010

A critique of the critique of "The Story of Stuff"

I stumbled on this video series that attempts to debunk "The Story of Stuff". I ended up working really hard on this and I hope to also do a video presentation about it.

This link will take you to the first video, and the others can be found there in the playlist:

A critique of the critique of “The Story of Stuff”

Part 1:

In the beginning of the first video, (about 23 seconds in) he puts above her in big red letters: “It has caused 9-year-olds to fear that buying legos will destroy the earth”.

It's pretty clear he is appealing to emotion here. My question to him would be “OK, so while legos are not destroying the earth all by themselves do you somehow deny that continuing to produce plastic toys infinitely is inevitably bad for the environment? Where is this plastic going to go? It's obviously not being recycled. To say nothing for the toxins involved with making them.

At about 52 seconds he uses the same red letters to say “End education, begin indoctrination.” I always find it funny when Capitalists say nothing about the indoctrination that has been used on children in America to believe that Capitalism works just fine and is somehow completely innocent. I imagine in Soviet Russia they said the same thing about the propaganda that was used in America just as the Americans were saying it about the Communist propaganda. It's a hypocritical ad hominem argument.

At about 1:08 seconds in, he goes on his rant about her use of the word linear saying it is somehow “misleading” that we have a limited amount of space for our waste and a limited amount of space for human beings. And that we are going to run out of resources. So he says that argument does not factor in “efficiency and prices”. He makes a good point that microchips and other devices are getting smaller. He fails to address the fact that all of the waste we have made so far is not going to simply “vanish” and in fact the plastic already made will outlive him and the Capitalist system by hundreds of thousands of years. (When I say outlive I mean we will have finally grown out of it as a species, or will have died from when the capitalist system has destroyed this planet through exploitation, war, or both.)
Then he goes on to say that the earth is compacted with tons and tons of resources that we don't even know how to use yet. He doesn't give any examples of what these resources are, or what they could be used for. He just acts as if making this statement alone debunks the idea. I wonder how all those resources thousands of miles beneath the earth he is suggesting we use is going to replace our water we are destroying and other aspects of our environmental resources that are not found deep within the earth. Note: You will notice that at no point did he even address why the use of the word linear was supposedly misleading. He just says it's “extremely misleading” and then does not address why. Our consumption cycle is linear. We are still using finite resources. The excuse that we can still mine his unnamed resources deeper into the earth not only ignores the ecological concerns of what such mining would bring to the table, it does not address the word linear at all.

He then goes on to further use the mythical “price mechanism” as the solution. Quoting: “Prices has to deal with the fact that prices naturally increase as resource become more and more scarce, well then people will ration those resources naturally without centralized planning. That is ignored from her entire argument.”

The reason she ignores this I would wager is because believing the price mechanism is going to solve this issue is asinine. The profit motivated monetary system already seeks to use resources in the most profitable way possible. And profitable rarely equates to environmentally sound. This is why we are still using oil and coal. It is why corporations that make their money on this resources go out of their way to ensure that the market still depends on them for their energy needs. They buy politicians to make this reality. That is why rather then developing electric cars and using geo-thermal, solar and other clean renewable energy sources to power them we are still using the more profitable scarce resource based energy systems. He also fails to address what happens when rationing these resources is not enough? Eventually there is going to be no oil. Many scientists already see this happening.
Later on in the video he points out that we seek alternatives. This is correct aside from the fact that the companies involved have a vested interest in seeing that this takes as long as possible. They want us dependent on their product as long as possible. To hell with the consequences.

At 3:17 he goes after her statistics of how much money is spent on the military. I don't have better statistics to go on here so I won't get into it. However even if we were only spending 20% of our budget on the military, we do know that we spend FAR more money on our military then any country in the world. And that this military is used constantly to secure our domination of resources all over the world. I am sure he would refute this by saying that is all leftist propaganda. But I would suggest he read the book “War is a Racket” by General Smedley Butler if he wants examples of the various conflicts he was ordered to take the United States Marine Corp into for the sake of various corporate interests. I find it a bit too coincidental that all of the things this soldier saw first hand before WW2 are still being suggested to be going on today by all those “anti-war groups”.

At 3:58 he goes into the typical Free Market rant that states that it is in fact not the government's job to take care of us. He takes what Ms. Leonard is saying out of context. In this situation she is referring to the government's duty to protect our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When the government allows pollution, and other destructive policies our right to life is clearly in jeopardy. He then goes on to invoke the founding father James Madison. A slave owner who buckled on the issue of slavery in the Constitution because the southern states would not ratify it if slavery was illegal. This indoctrination of enshrining the founding fathers is one of the most dangerous pieces of propaganda that Capitalists use to glorify and justify their positions. No man who owned another man much less other men in the plural is ever going to be a great defender of freedom. Lets not forget that the Constitutional convention was overseen by delegates chosen from mostly the wealthy people of the colonies. Of course they would write the Constitution to say it's not the government's job to give a damn about anyone but the elite. They were the elite. The Constitution has been framed as a great document of freedom but it was always a document designed to trick us into thinking we were free while the elite pulled the strings from the background. The presence of slavery is the most blatant testimony to this. For more on this you can read Senator Mike Gravel's book: “Citizen Power” wherein he details in great length just how great these “great men” were. If you think this is bunk, explain to me why it is always the wealthiest candidates, or the candidates who take the most money from the wealthiest corporations who end up in power?

At 5:29, he goes after her statement about the fact that of the largest economies on the planet only 49 are countries and 51 are corporations. He explores where she got this information and then says “So what? The fact of the matter is if this is based on sales that means the corporations are providing the goods and services that the people need to survive...and it's a meaningless statistic!”

So at this point he seems to be trying to debunk the idea that corporations having more power then the governments by saying “So what? They are providing the goods and services people need to survive!”. Well, let me say that his use of the word “providing” is to quote him earlier “highly misleading”. If these corporations were providing the goods and services needed to be survive then there would not be a price tag associated with it. What these corporations do is SELL these critical goods and services at the highest profit they can get. And they do not “provide” these services to those who cannot afford to buy them. This is that absurd Capitalist notion that profiting on what people need to survive is somehow a humanitarian act. Leaving out the fact that many of these corporations intentionally destroy economies, and exploit workers to maximize their own profits. Nothing in this segment of his counter argument even addresses the point that Miss Leonard is making. It IS scary that these corporations have more money then many countries on this earth. The power and influence they wield with that money is tremendous. And in many cases even the precious Constitution he enshrines does nothing to stop this power from rendering that document useless in protecting us from that influence. In fact, most Free Market Capitalists oppose any sort of limitation on campaign contributions. In effect it's very easy for them to just “own” our government. Fascism to the highest bidder.

At 6:20 he tries to debunk the notion that corporations buy politicians by going on a sarcastic rant about unions, environmental lobbies, (he calls wind plants and solar plants nonsense. I guess we should stick with fossil fuels?) and the trial lawyers. Basically he does not in any way deny that corporations get people elected. He just claims that this is fine because well, unions, and these other entities do so as well? He sarcastically states that unions have no power, but we are seeing this becoming more and more true as jobs are automated or outsourced to countries that have no unions. Or are stamped out by companies like Wal-Mart. The unions were relevant when there was a price to pay for not going along with them. This is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Nowadays the trend is to destroy economies until the populace are so desperate they will work for anything. Meanwhile telling us we need to be more “competitive”. Personally I don't feel that environmentalists getting politicians elected to build “wind plants and solar plants and other nonsense” is a bad thing. But if environmentalists were so good at this the Green Party of the United States would be a huge player in American politics. And they are not. Once again he refutes next to nothing with his statement. He speaks aggressively and sarcastically but really says little of substance. Trying to distract from her point. I do not have the statistics on hand but I wager that corporations have a LOT more money to devote to political campaigns then unions run by blue collar workers and environmentalist lobbies/activist groups that are almost completely funded by contributions from the common people. I don't know much about the trial lawyer issue but I fail to see how it is relevant.

At 7:01 with an obnoxious horn sound he brings back his big red letters to say “Trashing the Planet?”. At 7:10 he goes into detail. He says: “Yes we do cut down trees to make life possible for most of the people on this planet, the same is true for mining which has been going on since the roman empire. Waters have been cleaner then they have been in the last couple decades and yes people who eat meat do so to increase their standard of living and also to make life possible for people on this planet...”

So he insinuates that the statement “trashing the planet” is in some way dubious.

Then he goes on to confirm everything she says but says it's all okay because it is done to make life possible for most of the people on this planet. He misses the point. We cannot keep the same standard of living forever on a planet with finite resources. And your not going to find any trees thousands of miles under the earth where you say we are going to get all our resources.

Then he says that mining has been going on since the roman empire. And? So? Does this somehow mean we should continue doing this? There was also widespread slavery in the roman empire, if there was still slavery in the world today could you use that as an argument to justify it? Come on. This logic is absurd.

He then states that the water has been cleaner then it has been in the last couple of decades. I don't know where he is getting his information. But that sounds like BS to me.

Finally, responding to Ms. Leonard's point about wiping out the wildlife he says that we eat meat to increase our standard of living and to make life possible for many people on this planet. He first of all leaves out that a great deal of our wildlife that is being wiped out is due to causes that have nothing to do with the eating of meat. And once again fails to address this point at all. There is nothing vegetarian being pushed in this film so it is a total non-sequitur. Once again, he failed to address anything.

At 7:36 he goes back to his beloved price mechanism to refute the notion that we are running out of resources. I don't really need to debunk this again. You get the idea. However he claims that the price mechanism will handle everything and that nothing needs to be done about it. Again he fails to address the point that those corporations will exploit this scarcity of resources as much as they possibly can, destroying lives and going to wars in the process. I guess nothing has to be done about that.

At 8:12 he states that Miss Leonard's statement “one third of our natural resources have been consumed” is “patently false”. He brings up his picture of the earth and all the miles and miles of unnamed natural resources beneath the earth's crust that are supposed to save us after we have used up all the trees and destroyed all the water along with the other critical resources that cannot be found beneath the earth. He says “Nothing is a resource until we know how to use it” pointing out that oil used to be useless. Once again, he provides NO DATA on what these mystical resources beneath the earth are supposed to be to replace what we are using now. His entire premise is built on hinting that there could be resources to replace the ones we are using now but provides no examples of this. Considering how much environmental destruction is already caused by mining and collecting the resources now, and the wars we fight in the name of owning them I shudder to think of what will happen to the country that is unlucky enough to be a country other then the United States that has whatever this unnamed resource under their soil is. (Provided it even exists). The reason I fear for that country is pretty obvious when you consider what happens to the countries that have oil or other resources we need now. Again, his debunking provides no substance, and relies on his bully-sounding voice to brow beat the audience into agreeing with him. The fact that this guy somehow got onto CNN to talk about this video astounds me.

At 8:39 he tries to refute her statement that “we are undermining our ability to live here (on this planet) by pointing to a chart on life expectancy. Saying that if our environmental practices were harming our ability to live here then our life expectancy would be going down. Aside from all the data we have that many of our environmental policies are linked to an increase in cases of cancer and other deadly diseases, our increase in life expectancy has more to do with medical knowledge and does not take into account the fact that all the medical knowledge in the world will not save us if we destroy the planet we live on.

At 8:49 he gets into the issue that apparently her statistics about deforestation might be incorrect. Again, I don't have better statistics to refute this. However you will note that he says “it should disqualify this video from being shown in schools in America.” once again, terrified that propaganda other then Capitalist propaganda should ever be shown to our children. After all, we worked hard to brainwash everyone into thinking that it is right and proper that a few people should have all the money and the rest of us should do all the work. It's possible she was wrong about the deforestation. He goes on to compare it to agriculture. He fails to address the problems with topsoil we are already having because of excessive agriculture. Or all the oil and energy we use in that process.

At 9:57 he launches into a tirade about water addressing her point about how our much of our water has become undrinkable. He points out that if you looked into water 200 years ago you couldn't drink it or you would become sick, you had to boil it. In his example he does not address that much of the water is not safe to drink now even if you do boil it. There is a big difference between bacteria that is in water and chemical pollution that will still be there no matter how much you boil it. The quote from her data he takes also mentions the fact that the water is now unsafe for fishing and swimming. Once again, that is caused by industrial pollution, and was not an issue 200 years ago. Then he again makes the erroneous statement that water has become cleaner then ever before, and further adds that technology has made it so that more people can drink water then ever before. He leaves out that a lot of this technology is only available to those who can afford it. For example only 46% of the people of Africa have access to safe drinking water. These people cannot afford to improve this situation. So much for the market providing cheaper alternatives to this scarce resource huh?

At 10:26 he puts on that obnoxious horn with big red saying “Marxism for kids!” when she states that the people of the United States “are using more then our share” of the world's resources. I keep forgetting that the word “share” is a four letter word to soulless Capitalists and that the notion we should care about anyone but ourselves is “evil Marxism”.

At 10:36 he states that her statistic about how much of the population of the world we represent in comparison to how much of the world's resources we use (5% of the population using 30% of the world's resources) is another “useless statistic”. He goes on to say “The United States uses resources more efficiently then any place on the planet, we uses resources more productively then any place on the planet, and we happen to feed half the population. We should be using these resources because the rest of the world would be dead if we didn't.”

I was absolutely disgusted at the arrogance of this statement. I also find the statements that we use resources more “efficiently” and “productively” then any place on the planet to be dubious at best. The United States manufactures more weapons and more junk then many other countries on the planet. And we use fossil fuels far more inefficiently then any place on this planet. When we “feed half the planet” (which I doubt I might add) we do so with government subsidized goods that we sell at less then the price of production to put farmers and businesses in other countries out of business, destroying local economies when the local businesses can't compete. This gives us a lot of desperate workers to work in our outsourced sweatshop factories. And once again, the statement that we “feed half the planet” again makes it sound like we do this out of the kindness of our own hearts. When my mother provided food for me she was “feeding” me. The grocery store doesn't feed me. It profits from me. And when a large company undercuts my products with prices it can offer because it's products are made by workers in sweat shop factories it certainly is not helping me. Call me crazy but I have a funny feeling that the rest of the world would still be doing just fine if we weren't using these resources.

Then at 10:35 he once again whips out his price mechanism chart to try and refute Annie's statement about how we would need five planets to continue to consume the way we are. Already debunked. The price mechanism sure isn't doing all those people without drinking water any good. But I guess they are better off because after all, if we didn't use 30% of the world's resources the rest of the planet would be dead. I suppose that is true in one way. If the neo-conservative foreign policy of invading countries to take their resources if they won't sell them to us is any indication I guess they would be dead.

At 11:24 he brings back his dreaded red letters to say “Warning: Strawman” to refute Her humorous and insightful statement “This is the third world, which some would say is another word for our stuff that somehow got on somebody else's land...” What Miss Leonard is doing here is not a Strawman. A Strawman is essentially to create an extreme example and then trying to attribute it to your opponent. The reason that this quote is one of our favorites from this film is because it is not only humorous but it also describes very well the attitude of many of the Capitalists in this world. Not that they ever spell it out like that, but actions speak louder then words. And when you follow the actions of people in pursuit of profit and the atrocities they will commit history proves this to be true. Ask the native Americans who were victimized by the “Indian Removal Act” about that.

At 11:30 he starts up the ad hominem again calling her analysis of what we do to the third world in the name of progress a “tired leftist dogma”. He goes on to say: “It's called trade. We give them capital and new technology and they provide us with labor and resources and both parties are better off then they were before.”

I had to resist the urge to using the full word for the acronym BS about this. But if he took some time out of his plush lifestyle from being a lawyer he might visit some of these countries that are supposedly “better off then they were before”. Are they better off? Their new sweatshop lifestyle is slightly better then the starving to death lifestyle they had before. And we definitely get FAR MORE out of the resources we take from them then they get from us in return. I keep forgetting that the masses asking to be treated fairly is “evil leftism”.

At 11:48 rather then addressing what she points out about our original forests being gone he just tries to make fun of her with more red letters and aggressive language failing to address the statistic at all.

At 12:00 he makes a dismissive statement about the depletion of the rain forest that somehow in his mind gets the companies that are participating in this deforestation off the hook by pointing out there is no property rights in the rain forest? I guess that means it's OK that we are destroying this vital resource on our planet that helps keep our air healthy? He also fails to address that one of the major reasons these rain forests don't grow back is many of them border deserts, and they without the trees there they quickly turn into more desert. Replanting them wouldn't do much good at all.

At 12:24 he pulls up his “tired rightist dogma” by replying to her observation that people who do not buy products are not as valuable in this system of self-destruction in the name of profit with his statement that we give these people capital and technology in exchange for raping their countries environments and exploit their people in the workplace. (Not to mention all of the people they put in poverty stateside when they outsourced all that capital to these countries).

So then we get into part 2:

At :22 He begins an absurd straw man argument to try and debunk her statement about the toxic products we make. Once again complaining that this is in the classroom. Maybe he wishes he could be featured in classrooms so he could explain to all the kids why all the various products that are made that are in fact toxic are good for the economy and therefore should not be trifled with. While he is at it he can explain to our kids why he feels that sweatshop factories that enslave children are also a fundamental and necessary part of our world economy. Right....

At 1:32 he kind of repeats his earlier argument, and then adds that we do all this polluting to improve our standard of living. I keep forgetting that what we do in the United States is always justified as long as it improves our standard of living. The standard of living every where else not being important. And the standard of living of future generations also not being important.

At 1:55 in response to her pointing out that we don't know the impact of using these synthetic chemicals in our products by saying we don't know the impacts of natural products either. As if that somehow means that using the synthetics is somehow OK?

He then says that we cannot have a completely risk free society, and that if people want to make a completely risk free product to go ahead and make it. This is such a huge cop out in defense of the selfish sale and production of products with no concern whatsoever for the impact it may have that it makes me sick.

He then says that to try and make a risk free product is very expensive and will require resources from somewhere else. Ah now we get to the crux. That the real reason that we don't make safe products is because it is not profitable. Odd that he suddenly thinks that taking resources from elsewhere is a problem considering his earlier statements about how we “must take those resources or the rest of the world will die.” So when we talk about making products that are not dangerous that is not a priority, but we save half the world by “feeding them” to line our own pockets.

At 2:28 he quotes an actually meaningless statistic about the amount of uranium we have in our bodies in an effort to refute her statements about how our toxic products are getting toxins into our bodies. Once again, refutes nothing. Relying on his aggressive voice and tone to try and bully us into agreeing. Yep, he is a lawyer alright.

At 2:52 he quotes the statistics of how many lives we have saved by putting neural-toxins into our clothing to make them fire retardant. You will note he didn't quote any comparable statistics as to how much damage has been done by the use of these chemicals in these products. Or if any research has been done to find out if there is an alternative that could accomplish this that is not a chemical that is toxic to our brain. Note: He also talks about burning clothing. She was talking about burning pillow cases.

At 3:25 he further goes into this quoting further statistics. He points out that we used to use PCBs that cause cancer. But that now we use another chemical that he claims “were found to be safer”. (Personally I don't really trust most research done by corporations into the safety of their products considering their track record in the past.) He then again harps on the fact that 9 year olds are being shown this video and that it scares the crap out of them. He sarcastically suggests questions if he should show them videos of burn victims to scare the crap out of them in return. Should I show videos of sweatshop child workers to scare the crap out of these children so they stop asking their parents to buy them toys at Wal-Mart? I am sure that would make me an “evil leftist”. His griping about this video scaring kids is an appeal to emotion fallacy.

At 4:28 he goes after her statement about breast feeding. He chides her for pointing out that breast milk has more contamination then any other concentration yet suggests that you should continue to use breast milk anyway. Note that he doesn't say anything to try and refute the point that human breast milk has the highest concentrations of toxic chemicals, or how they got there which is what her point really was about. Yes she said to go ahead and give your babies breast milk. But he just spent all this time saying that supposedly all this damage to us is bunk. And that supposedly she is lying about where this damage is coming from. He tries to say she is a hypocrite and deftly avoids her point in an effort to discredit her without having to discredit the data.

At 5:09 In response to her pointing out that many workers in factories are forced to work there by pointing again to this idea that it is better then not having a job at all. He fails to address the responsibility on the part of the employers who run these factories that knowingly expose their workers to these toxic chemicals in the first place.

At 5:44 she is talking about those workers I talked about earlier who are forced off their land by the exploitation that he earlier said was OK because it is in the name of us maintaining our fat lifestyles. He then goes on to glorify all the supposedly positive changes we have made to the lives of the people we exploit in these toxic factories. He quotes India as an example. You know India the country where many of our white collar jobs are outsourced to people living in improvised shacks that resemble the dwellings many of our homeless live in here in the States? He chides her for supposedly “romanticizing the peasant life” while saying how wonderful we are for offering these people the scraps from our table for their labor that makes us filthy rich. Come on. I would say romanticizing our contributions to these people's lives is like saying that Thomas Jefferson was an OK guy because he was kind to his SLAVES. He also fails to point out how many of these countries got into a state of poverty in the first place. I have already detailed that above so I won't repeat it here. But one has to wonder how much better off these countries would be if they were actually permitted to develop their resources on their own, for the benefit of their own people rather then giving them all to us so as he put it, “they don't die”.

At 6:54 he states that the words “Toxic chemicals” are meaningless. And just making fun of the idea that we are exposed to 4 billion pounds of it. Once again, not addressing data. Just ad hominem, aggressive tone and ridicule.

At 7:06 he says “We don't go overseas to pollute their land, we go to other countries because certain specific products are cheaper if they are produced in other countries.”

He fails to address the point that these other countries are in fact polluted by these factories. And fails to address the aforementioned reasons why producing products is cheaper there. Meaning the exploitation of that workforce the he claims is “mutually beneficial” despite the huge disparity in the wealth that is shared in these situations.

At 7:31 he whines again about it being played in the classrooms and making our children aware of what goes into the products they are consuming.

At 7:49 he tries some more “tired rightist dogma” saying in response to the treatment of workers in places like Wal-Mart are given terrible wages and no health care by stating “All workers are paid based on supply and demand period.” in those dreaded red letters. He is failing to address the fact that what she said is absolutely true. And that more and more companies are lowering the standards of living working for their companies can expect collectively to ensure that none of them have to give reasonable wages or benefits. This is why they outsource in the first place to third world countries, and why they tell us we need to be more competitive if we want those jobs back. And by competing they mean we need to be the lowest bidder when it comes to what we expect for our work. We need to be willing to accept the standard of living that they have forced people in poor countries to live with. Or just choose not to live. He then goes on to say that all cashiers are high school kids. As if every adult worker was fortunate enough to get a college education, or not already of had their job outsourced even if they did have a college education. Being one of those adults, and knowing many of them I know he is dead wrong.

At 8:11 he claims she doesn't understand what it means to externalize costs. I didn't really feel this point was all that important. But he put “STOP!?” in all red letters so it gave me pause.

At 8:56 he describes all the processes involved with making her $5.99 radio as beautiful. Including the fact that it was likely assembled by a 15 year old child worker in a sweatshop in Mexico. He then tries to romanticize the issue by saying that the fact that all of the processes involved with making this radio (that involve the exploitation of the workers and resources of all of the countries mentioned) as this symbol of beautiful cooperation between races and creeds. The oil coming from Iraq was one of the components she talked about. I wonder how the Iraqi people feel about being forced by the United States to contribute their nation's oils to our corporations profits? Oh wait, I do know something about that. They are fighting in an armed conflict to try and convince us and our corporations to get the hell out of their country! That's certainly “beautiful cooperation”.

At 9:22 he launches into a diatribe basically trying to state how wonderful it is that we exploited all of those people, including mentioning that if we weren't using Iraqi oil we would be tanking their economy...Somehow I think that if Iraq was permitted to nationalize their oil instead of being coerced into selling the rights to it to our greedy oil companies their economy would be doing a lot better then it is now. And for all the money it is supposedly generating we still haven't seen fit to get their water and electricity infrastructure working properly. I don't advocate anyone being killed and I support our troops because they are also victims in this issue. However if I were living in Iraq under the conditions of all this “beautiful cooperation” I would not be too happy with it.

At 10:17 he offers his translation of her pointing out that people in third world countries pay for our cheap products through the cheap exploitation of their resources. He says “Translation: We are making it so people can survive there...” leaving out how many people we kill when we take these resources through war, how many people we starve out when we put their businesses out of business and how afterward they are left to work in our toxic factories. To “survive” there is what they are lucky to be able to do after we are finished raping another country for it's resources.

At 10:26 he again pulls out the life expectancy chart to say that it's nonsense that the toxins in these factories produce higher cancer rates even though this has been proven statistically many times. I wonder where he got his life expectancy chart, and I would like to see the life expectancy chart that compares the life expectancy of the average worker in a toxic chemical factory as compared to the pencil pushing lawyers who don't have to handle any toxic chemicals and instead just handle toxic deceptions for rich corporations.

At 10:42 he points out that kids in the Congo are leaving armies in the battlefield to go work and therefore it's OK that these child laborers are being exploited. She had pointed out that they are dropping out of school. I don't know much about the state of education in the Congo, I wager it is pretty bad, but I can see how a child would still have to be dropping out of school to work in these mines too. The issue she was bringing up is that these kids are sacrificing their futures. As I doubt these kids working in these mines are getting a 401k program or any sort of retirement I doubt their future is benefiting much from their work in these mines.

At 10:50 he states that she makes diametrically opposed arguments as she points out that the workers don't get enough money to pay for their own health insurance in the stores like Wal-Mart. Paraphrased he says “Wait a minute does she want third parties to pay for their health insurance or does she want people to be able to pay for their own?” She already made the point that these companies don't offer health insurance plans. (In fact, Wal-Mart actually encourages their employees to go on welfare!) and that their wages are as low as they can get away with. Obviously if their wages are low then they can't afford to pay for the health insurance that the third party in this case meaning the greedy employer won't pay for. This is a lawyer attempting to create hypocrisy where there is none.

At 11:08 he then launches into a story about how it's good that they offer these cheap products as it allows people to buy newspapers and this in turn employs newspaper boys and girls....Uh... or they could pay a decent wage to that teenager when they are selling the products and maybe charge a bit more for them? Hardly anyone reads the newspaper anymore anyway as the internet (Technological unemployment) is rendering the newspaper obsolete. No amount of $5.99 radios is going to fix that. I wonder what solution he has for the people going out of work as that industry dies? Please don't give me the absurd argument that it will mean more jobs elsewhere as the internet renders so many aspects of the newspaper printing completely useless with no replacement.

On to Part 3:

So at :37, we are talking about the now former (and I am SOO glad it's former) neo-conservative president George Bush Jr. and his statement that we need to go out and shop after 911. He plays a clip of Bush saying that he did want people to pray for those who grieve. Big deal. Then he goes on to say how it is great advice to tell people to shop as they do so in Israel to prove to the terrorists that they can never stop our way of life. The funny thing is, this is the part of the presentation where Annie is addressing the issue of the “golden arrow of consumption” and how the government spends a lot of effort trying to protect it. The real reason that Bush told us to shop is because when people are afraid they are sometimes inclined to save. And the corporations want us to continue to be good little consumers. They don't give a damn about what terrorists think. (And I might note, terrorists don't give a damn that we shop either. Most of them just want our greedy corporations out of their countries, and I don't blame them.) It is an insult to our intelligence that somehow this is all to flip a defiant middle finger at the terrorists. Unless of course we are just saying “HAH! See? You fly buildings into the world trade center! Well I will show you! I will go buy more products at the low prices we offer them for here in the United States thanks to all the raping we do of YOUR COUNTRY! HAH!”

At 1:11 in response to Annie pointing out that we have become a nation of brainwashed consumers, he goes on to glorify our nation by saying that 200 years ago we were a third world country. And that now the United States is the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. (Leaving out that we support our supposedly glorious Capitalist economy by borrowing BILLIONS of dollars from a communist nation, China and that if we ever stopped our entire economy would collapse. That's not vague conspiracy theory. It's proven fact that is debated in Congress regularly). And that we somehow earned this beautiful state of consumer gorging and quality of life. Also leaving out how we got that way. See above for the already repeated stories of how we get rich through the exploitation of other countries and their resources.

At 1:48, he claims that there is no possible way that Annie could of gotten statistics as to how long we keep our products before throwing them out. (She states 6 months) and then just states that it will just be a made up statistic. He offers no proof that she lied. Only says that she did because he himself cannot comprehend how they got this statistic. Since he wasn't able to Google this statistic anywhere to find some un-credible website (at least as far as he says) that might say the same thing she did. So instead of providing counter data he just accuses her of lying. Later at 2:25 he finally goes to her footnotes. He reads from some of it and just says it doesn't mean anything. (He says that a lot when the data is not in his favor...) and then sound bites a single quote from her own notation on it. I will quote it here:

“This statement is not saying that 99 percent of the stuff you buys is trashed. Think beyond your household to the upstream waste created in the extraction, production packaging, transportation
of all the stuff you bought. For example, the No Dirty Gold campaign explains that there is only 2 million tons of mining waste for every one ton of gold produced; that translates into about 20 tons of mine waste created to make one gold wedding ring.”

In other words, she is taking into account all of the waste produced in the production of your products, and pointing out that the vast majority of what goes into making your products is waste. Funny how he left this clarification out of his video, and instead just cuts her off so to speak. If this lawyer was in a courtroom he would of did one of those “Yes or no please.” questions and refused to allow her to elaborate and ran away to say “No more questions your honor.” Unfortunately for him he is in the court of VTV. Where I make my own objections to this sort of manipulative crap and sustain them too.

He later goes on to elaborate further. He says “So lets assume for the sake of argument that that is true. (in reference to the fact that 20 tons of waste is made for one gold wedding ring) So what? We are not running out of landfills and there is no indication here that some of that might not be recycled....”

He says more but I am going to pause him there. We are not running out of landfills? As if landfills are a resource that we can run out of? A landfill is a nothing more then a HOLE IN THE GROUND that we stick garbage in no matter how toxic it is! They contribute in wonderful ways to our water table too! Even one landfill is too damn many! It's the most irresponsible way to dispose of waste we could think of! It ranks right up there with dumping or burying barrels of toxic waste! Then once again, he finishes with his now patented line “It's a meaningless statistic.” After all. We are not running out of LANDFILLS? He states that it gives no indication if some of it could be recycled, but it also gives no indication that some of it can't be recycled. The issue of it being recycled is not covered. But he clings to the hope that since we have been listening to his diatribe this whole time that we will just assume that some or even most of it could be recycled since he has already humiliated this person throughout his presentation. Sorry bud, objection sustained in the court of VTV.

At 3:48, after Annie says “How can we run a planet with that level of materials through put” she gets cut off before she can finish. He then goes on to say that the calculation itself is ridiculous using the aforementioned absurd logic based on the fact that we are not running out I still can't believe that was uttered by an educated human being...and that even if it were true it has no impact on us. 20 tons of waste for a single wedding ring has no impact on us? Does he have any proof that has no impact on us? The original quotes talked about the absurd waste of energy. If we are producing TWENTY TONS of waste to produce a wedding ring that is obviously energy that could be used elsewhere.

At 4:07 Annie is talking about how we consume twice as much now then we did fifty years ago. She goes on to talk about how back in the day most of our grandmothers lived thrift and being responsible with resources was the rule of the day.

He then goes on to talk about the fact that his grandmother was thrifty because she lived through the great depression and was broke. And that apparently we consume more now because we are wealthier. Well that depends what side of this wondrous Capitalist farce you happen to be on. The countries we get most of our labor and resources from in most cases have a standard of living that is as bad or worse then ours was during the great depression. He says that there is a legitimate argument for saving right now, but that there is something wrong with her saying that we should produce less and consume less. The two things are not related. She is saying we are consuming because we are being brainwashed to do so by advertising and social stratification brought designed by the companies to get us to do just that. Look into how they used Freud's nephew who was also a psychologist to help them figure out how to get women to buy cigarettes. And that worse then the fact that there is an impact on us for doing this, there is an impact on the world we live in for doing this.

Ironically around 4:33 Annie goes into a bit of what I was just talking about how this system of creating consumers was designed. His reply is the typical laughable Free Market fanatic answer. “I'd love to find the central planners in a free market society.” So apparently there will be no advertising in a free market? There will be no psychology used to help convince consumers to buy products they don't need? There will be no psychology used to make products a part of social stratification through fallacies such as “style” and the fictional “prestige” we get through owning certain overpriced products? Is he really that naive? Remember that he keeps complaining that this stuff is being shown to kids and I am sure he would much rather our children were being exposed to Capitalist propaganda instead. You know, part of the DESIGN that the elite has built into our education process to convince us that it is right and proper that they should have all the money and we should do all the work? And that if we sell our souls we too can join the special club that gets to sit on their duff most of the day while other people toil for their fortunes? Right...

At 5:07 he once again just tries to make fun of her point about the man she quoted rather then trying to refute it. It doesn't matter if she only quoted one guy. It's pretty damn obvious to everyone who doesn't have their heads up the Capitalist money worshiping rectums that this system was designed from top to bottom to favor those lucky enough to own the means of production and to keep those at the bottom dependent on them for their continued ability to live.

At 5:22, after Annie talks about Eisenhower's economic advisers statements, he breaks in by saying that the only reason for this was that we had to change our production from war goods to consumer goods. Again he just tries to distract from her point. He doesn't address it.

At 5:51 after Annie is basically taken a hammer to the issue that our entire purpose is to produce consumer goods, he goes on to talk about how Eisenhower sent the National Guard to make sure that black kids could go to school. (Note, though I support equality for blacks and I hate segregation, deploying troops against the citizenry actually violates that Constitution he was enshrining earlier. In addition one thing a politician does will not excuse anything else they have done. Bush did some good stuff too. That doesn't get him off the hook for lying to us to take us to Iraq so his friends could make money there. I remember some people enshrine Andrew Jackson for getting rid of the Federal Reserve at one point. They tend to forget he also signed into law the Indian Removal act that was basically the policy of manifest destiny. What Eisenhower did or did not do for black children in the name of their right to an education (By the way, the Free Market also does not advocate public schools either...nor are they mentioned in the Constitution as is so often pointed out by greedy Capitalists) has no bearing whatsoever on his economic policies.

6:15 Annie asks how “they” meaning the elite got us to jump on board with this so enthusiastically. He repeats that our economy is not centrally planned. We have already debunked this obviously.

At 6:34 after Annie lays out “planned obsolescence” and “perceived obsolescence” he says “If people wanted their products to last forever they would just pay a ton of money for it. But instead they buy affordable products and just wait for technology to improve. But competition ensures that everyone gets the best product.” Right... this is why Wal-Mart is doing so great right?

People are now competing to figure out how to make the perfectly planned to be obsolete product. They are also flooding the market with these products and rarely do you have any alternative. I have tried to eliminate most products that use shoddy practices in their construction and quality. In order to do it I realized I would have to build most things myself because they are simply not offered. It is not in the best interest of the industry to make quality products the norm. It is far more profitable to condition us as consumers to expect less and less quality so that they can in turn sell more products to return customers. It's simple. If I build cars that last for 30 years then that means my customer does not come back for more for another thirty years. However if I build cars to last for only 10 years, then I get more return business and therefore more profit. As more cars are sold. He says that “people can get the product that they want” which is crap when you consider that people go to stores and decide from the choices they are offered. Most consumers cannot conceive of what they want outside of the limited boundaries that our retailers and advertisers tell us exists in the first place. He then goes on to claim that she “made up” the concept of planned obsolescence as if this obvious and well known concept of profit making through offering products that will bring more sales as they break down doesn't exist.

The whole concept of planned obsolescence is realized in the phrase “They don't make them like they used to...” which has existed I would wage longer then Annie Leonard or this arrogant lawyer have even been on this earth. And why don't they make them like they used to? Because they figured out that they can sell more products by luring the consumer to the cheaper product for instant gratification all the while knowing that they are going to be selling another one to the consumer soon. And I have noticed that as time goes on the shelf life of products is not increasing, it's decreasing at a rate that is obviously calculated.

7:46 the issue of how quickly our computers are obsolete comes up. He points out that you can upgrade a computer with smaller components. But as someone who is already looking at upgrading mine I realized that the patchwork of replacing a few small items is not going to keep me state of the art enough to handle the software. They design the software beyond the specifications of what the current computers can handle. This is what forces people to upgrade their operating systems, so that they can handle bigger and better software. The gaming industry is a perfect example of this collusion between the software providers and the hardware providers. As I considered maybe just upgrading my video card I realized that I would have to update my processor too, then in order to upgrade that I was going to need a new motherboard. By the time you are done truly upgrading your computer you do end up basically buying everything but the case all over again.

8:19 Annie talks about how industrial designers in the 50s wrote in their journals about how to design products to be obsolete to optimize profits. Now rather then denying that planned obsolescence exists, he calls it “weighing the costs” and erects a strawman by saying “Would people really by an everlasting gobstopper if it costed a million dollars?” This extreme example does not address Annie's point at all.

At 8:54 Annie explains the consumer Psychology in “perceived obsolescence” how we are convinced through the fallacies I mentioned earlier like “style” that our functional items are no longer desirable. He then cops out with “We live in a free society, only the government can force people to buy something they don't really want.”

Again I point to the women the cigarette industry were convinced that they needed to smoke. I would also point out that quite intentional design of cigarettes to be addictive as a further example. As a lawyer I wonder what he thinks of the lawsuits that were successful against Tobacco companies for doing that. However without chemical addiction I can tell you that they do find ways to coerce people into buying products they don't necessarily want or need.

Again I call to the example of fashion. I remember very distinctly what motivated me and many of the other kids as far as what clothing we choose to wear. I remember very distinctly how important it was to wear “Guess Jeans” and how much lower on the social totem pole you would be if you were wearing “Wrangler” or “Rustler” jeans. The difference between these two jeans was a tiny label. (And maybe a $40 to $50 difference in price) But kids would be brutal to anyone who did not keep up with the “golden arrow of consumption” that Annie talks about. If your jeans weren't cool enough, your shoes, etc. you would catch hell for it. Maybe even be physically assaulted for it. In lower income areas like the ghetto I grew up in the obsession with this was so high that some kids were actually killed for their shoes! So why did I want Reebok tennis shoes? Because of the social status I got for wearing them. And for how much more peace I got from the rich kids who had them when I didn't. Did someone put a gun to my head and make me go buy a pair of Reebok's? Obviously not. They did something far more insidious. They didn't force me directly, they made me think it was me who wanted them all along.

Hiding behind “this is a free society” to justify this intentional manipulative behavior is very weak.

9:46 after Annie basically laid out what I explained above in much less words using visual elements including people laughing at a girl for not wearing the “in shoes” he says “I have never heard anything so ridiculous, that's just a demonstration that our capitalist society is working...”

How he gets that what we have just pointed out is a system “working” is beyond me, but then he invokes the Fascist clause by saying “In the Soviet Union you didn't have any choices, you only had one choice and that was what the government gave you. In American we have millions of choices for every type of product you could possibly imagine! And that makes our society great!”

So, we are coerced through advertising and social stratification, and humiliation if we do not comply to purchase the products that are pushed as the most “prestigious” to the point that some kids shoot each other over their shoes and this is proof that our society is great? Yes, we have millions of choices of various products that are designed to be obsolete as fast as economically possible. The over production of which is destroying our environment. Annie is not suggesting that we should have no choices. But the system this guy is calling “great” creates an illusion of choice when in reality the only choices you have are what is most profitable for the people on top.

I don't advocate a Communist system. However I don't see how a system that forces us to be whores to the privileged few so I can be treated like a human being is great either.

At 10:18, Annie points out that we are exposed to more advertising now then people used to see in a lifetime. He goes on to say “I hope so fifty years ago people only had three channels on their television if they even owned a television.”

The amount of channels on the television was not increased so that we could have more advertising brainwashing us to buy products. In theory they were added to allow us more options for what to watch. Though I have a feeling that many people did invest in the television development knowing it would be a powerful tool to get people to buy their products. He didn't address her concerns at all. Again. Just tried to deflect and mock her. Objection sustained again in the court of VTV.

At 10:30 she points out that when you think about it that the entire point of an ad is to make us unhappy with what we have. He says in rebuttal that the point of an ad is to make people aware of goods and services. He leaves out that advertising is psychologically designed and has been for a long time to compel people to believe that their products will in some way enhance the status of the consumer. He uses an example of a life saving drug that is no good to anyone if nobody knows about it. Why can't our doctors tell us about these lifesaving drugs? You know, the paid professionals who are actually responsible for our health? Personally I would rather the person who makes money by making me healthy inform me about this stuff then a drug company who makes money whether or not their drug is the best possible solution for me. He then implies that doctors only know if drugs exist through commercials on television. As if this is a vital tool to the medical industry. I certainly hope that doctors are not convinced of the validity of drugs based on the advertising on TV. I would hope that they actually review peer reviewed studies and research into the drug's validity and possible detriments. If the way McDonalds markets it's junk food without any mention of the possible health detriments included is any indication of what advertising does for consumables then I definitely don't want television advertising telling me what drugs I need.

At 10:57 Annie lays out the various ways that advertisers go after our self image by convincing us we need their products to be valid human beings worthy of not being ridiculed or looked down on thanks to our nifty clothes that we for some reason will not feel make us feel valid when the new clothes come out in four years or less, he says “So if you believe that then don't shop. No one is forcing you to shop.”

The fact that this guy is a wealthy lawyer who probably doesn't remember what it is like to not have money for the latest fashions kind of shows here. If he came from rags to riches that only makes this worse. We have already exposed this issue that he is desperately hoping we will miss. I honestly wish these points about fashion were taught at my school growing up. Would of made life a lot easier. Because of my parents divorce I got exposed to the snobby rich kids when I lived with my dad and the desperate poor kids when I lived with my mom. The consumer values we teach to our kids at a young age are brutal.

Part 4.

At :20 she points out that we have more stuff then ever before in the United States. He pipes in with “But I am sure she is going to tell us this is a downside.”

At :35 after she points out that national happiness has been in decline since this consumer mania was manipulated into existence we go back to the “tired rightist dogma” of how this is all part of “personal responsibility”.

Then he goes on to say that apparently the happiness decline came from the environmentalist movement getting a foothold in our culture. And that people started to feel ashamed of our standard of living and that we were destroying the earth. Note: He doesn't address these things that environmentalists have been suggesting are true. Apparently now it's the people who informed us of the problems with our greedy society who are fault for our state of discontent. The problem is, that is totally baseless. The vast majority of our consumer society doesn't care about anything but more consuming. If the environmentalist movement had such a foot hold again the Green Party would be electing Congressman and maybe even Presidents. He then goes back to that poor 9-year-old kid and his legos being upset that he could destroy the planet. Finishing by saying “This video makes people unhappy.”

So now the logic here, is that environmentalists who are trying to warn us of the dangers of our current practices that could in fact destroy the world and are already doing so are bad people for informing us. We should just leave the brainwashed consumers alone. Let them replace their cellphones every three months or so and throw the olds ones in landfills. (Remember, we are not running out of landfills!) and happily line up to buy another one! How dare us point out to people that this is not a good idea! So, when people are unhappy when the world is no longer inhabitable and we start dying who's fault will it be then?

At 1:24 we talking about how some analysts suggest that we have less leisure time then any time since feudal society. He goes on to say that sociologists apparently are more accurate at reporting how much free time people really have. I wonder if he talked with any sociologists on the sociology utilized in advertising? He claims that people under-report their free time and that supposedly we have more free time then we have had in 50 years. I don't really agree with his logic here. But once again we are quoting statistics against statistics.

At 1:52 after Annie has pointed out that what we do most of the time with our leisure time now is watch TV and shop. His rebuttal is “As opposed to breaking our backs plowing fields and starving to death.” At this point it seems like he is just rambling replies in an attempt to further brow beat us into agreeing with him. Nothing in his point addresses the concerns that Annie is suggesting.

At 2:02 After Annie points that we shop far more then Europeans do, he dismisses this by saying he hopes so, as we are wealthier. As if it is necessary to hope that just because our nation is wealthy that we must be shopping. OK so what if we are not? He says “he hopes so” as if we are going to die if we don't. Sounds like a good little consumer to me.

At 2:27, Annie lays out in epic detail the work-advertising-consumption tread mill. Again he invokes this sacred “standard of living” that apparently the pursuit of which the ends always justifies the means for. He completely misses the point that our perception of what a good “standard of living” is in the first place is created entirely by a system that is meant to keep the masses forever seeking an unobtainable goal. What if the fashion industry told us that the least expensive clothing was in style? Or better yet, what if fashions lasted decades instead of a couple years at most? What if our standard of living was actually judged based on what we have done and are doing for the benefit of all mankind rather then just what we do for the profits of corporations that we work for and consume from?

At 2:51 she is talking about how the size of our houses has doubled since the 1970s. All he can respond with is “She acts as if it is a bad thing that our house size doubled.” how about “How is it a good thing that our house size doubled?” Well the only people it is good for is the people who make money on building bigger houses. And don't even get me started on how the social stratification system rewards people for having big houses. They are a status symbol that the entire “Lifestyles of the rich and famous” TV show profited from. Nobody ever uses every room in this absurdly large mansions. And when you consider that the cost involved with owning and maintaining such a home could house so many more people then the owner of a mansion it is further a “bad thing” as it is a waste of more of those finite resources. Including the wood that we cannot get by digging deeper into the earth's crust.

So at 3:27, the issues of landfills is addressed. And this guy replies again with “we are not running out of landfill space!” and “our compacting technology is increasing every day.” He is not even addressing all of the toxic trash that gets dumped into these landfills. And how landfills are the lamest solution to waste ever invented. The only sort of waste that is safe to dispose of his way is organic, and bio-degradable. Which we obviously are not doing. He of hints of going down of the Capitalists side of the climate change argument and I am glad I didn't have to go through that as I am not a scientist who has any qualifications in that field and neither is this lawyer, or the vast majority of amateur critics who waste endless time arguing about this. All of the solutions presented for climate change other then the tax suggested would cure a lot of other problems like acid rain and smog. So it's a win win situation for everyone anyway.

At 3:49 we are back to talking about the semantics involved with the word “toxic”. He says you can't say something is toxic unless you know the quantity. He had earlier quoted that some levels of toxic chemicals are deemed “safe”. I generally don't buy that. In many cases studies that prove that certain levels of things are safe are fudged so that we will allow them to sell a product that is somewhat more dangerous because it is cheaper and more profitable.

At 4:05 after an explanation of the dangers of incinerators and their release of dioxin, he goes on with “So what? A large hazard does not equal high risk!” That statement doesn't make too much sense. That's like saying “Big gun does not equal big caliber and therefore big hole in your body when I shoot you with it.” He goes on to claim that if you lived next to the incinerator that there is a very low risk from dioxin. He offers no sources or statistics to back his claim. I guess we will just have to take the word of this lawyer that his knowledge of the effects of dioxin when released into the atmosphere from his long years studying to be a lawyer will be sufficient.

At 4:32 she points out that we export disposal to other countries. He replies by saying that New York City exports it's disposal to New Jersey. He doesn't address the various toxic dumps that we make all the time into the ocean and other places that find their way to other countries. I don't have any hard data on landfills we have built in other countries but I do recall an oil company that is currently in the biggest environmental lawsuit in history for intentionally dumping waste into the Amazon jungle.

At 4:50 we are talking about recycling. He states that recycling is good only if it's voluntary. As if people should still have the right to be pollute and destroy the environment if they feel the need. He then goes on to glorify how J.D Rockefeller was apparently the greatest recycler of all time because he came up with all these ways to sell waste products. A recycler does so regardless of any profit attained. One of the examples he gave was how gasoline used to be a waste product and he turned into a sell-able product. So, never mind about all the pollution caused when we burn gasoline. This is another absurd attempt to make Capitalism look like a humanitarian act. Then he goes on to say we all live in recycled homes. Not sure the relevance there. Maybe he was just trying to fill time or distract us from the sheer idiocy of saying that Rockefeller was a great guy for find a way to market the waste product of a pollutant by suggesting we use it to further pollute.

At 5:31 Annie points out that recycling will never be enough. He repeats her statement with a question mark. At 6:12 we are talking about juice packs. He tells us that juice packs were a great invention that helps prevent kids from spreading germs and getting sick. I have no idea how juice packs accomplish this task. It's just a container. And like any other container it's only going to spread illness if other kids use it. And sticking a straw in your mouth someone else used is not any better then using the same cup.

At 6:19 we are defining what “True Recycling” is. She brings up that some things are not able to be completely recycled. He goes too the footnotes and among other irrelevant things suggests that Annie is declaring war on little kids drinking out of juice boxes to avoid spreading germs. This is so absurd I shouldn't even have to debunk it. However the point she is getting at is there is likely better solutions to solving this germ spreading issue that I have never even heard that juice boxes were supposed to handle until just now.

At 7:14 he puts a Soviet flag on the factory, and starts playing the Soviet national anthem. He puts up a set of various all red letter quotes that I will address one at a time.

At 7:27 she points out that there are so many points of intervention in this system. He puts “So many points of intervention?” as if that is somehow some insidiously evil thing to say. She goes on to give examples of how activists have intervened to try and make the situation better. I guess this scares him because people might threaten his precious Capitalist rights to destroy our planet and exploit it's people. Don't panic man.

At 7:37 he puts up this big red letter protest to the concept of “Blocking Landfills!” as if this precious cheap way of disposing of this suicidal system's waste by not disposing of it at all is a sign that we are about to become Communists.

At 7:41 he puts this huge alarm up at the words “TAKE BACK OUR GOVERNMENT?!” as if her suggestions that we kick the corporations out of our government where they never should have been in the first place is this horrible idea. I guess he only believes in that Constitutional republic if it happens to be continuing this status quo that undoubtedly gets him a lot of clients in his lawyer business.

At 7:56 he posts “Works of the world unite!” in an attempt to make this whole thing sound Marxist. After all any unification of the working class to try to improve their own standard of living is some insidious evil plot. Wait... didn't he just spend the this whole waste of time talking about how everything we do to try and improve our standard of living is great? Oh wait... he only meant for people in the upper echelon. Those people that Ayn Rand worshiped. The “productive” ones as she called them.

For some reason at 8:04 he puts up “There is a new system of thinking” which after he made all these Marxist comparisons is an attempt to lead the viewer down the path that the United States has worked so hard through propaganda to put us down anytime the idea of “sharing” or “working together to make the world better” gets brought up. That any such talk of equality is evil.

Around 8:18 he is at this point just outright attacking what she is saying. Annie laid out what she was really about. And it was about green living, sustainability, renewable energy, etc. So she says “Community living? Like a gulag?” totally hoping that the paranoid fear has taken hold so that he can just say what she is saying to the viewer while hoping we don't hear what she actually said. We are now moving towards total despicable behavior from him at this point. And intellectual thuggery.

At 8:27, she speaks of the “old path” in reference to the path that leads right to destruction and he says in more red letters “The old path=Capitalism and prosperity” leaving out that Capitalism just like the final stages of Communism's corruption leads to prosperity only for the privileged few. And servitude for everyone else.

At 8:40 he describes her “new path” as “New=road to serfdom”. After all this time we have pointed out that the workers exploited are basically the new “serfs” and how that system is just creating more and more “serfs” he tries to say that our critical attention to this problem and trying to cure it leads to serfdom. He has basically let go of all logic at this point and is reverting to the pre-programmed propaganda responses that Capitalists throw at Communists. It's funny that both of these systems are total failures and watching them tell the truth about each other is always entertaining to watch.

Finally he demands that we remove this stuff from our schools. He states that the entire thing is factually wrong. When a great deal of the subjects discussed are controversial and no “right or wrong” has truly been decided. He asks people to circulate this critique. Which had a couple of good points but the vast majority of it was as I just proved total intellectual garbage. The fact that this guy got on CNN because of these videos further proves how useless the mainstream media is. It doesn't surprise me though because the same corporations that own the media do not stand to do too well if presentations like Annie Leonard's are shown to our children to teach them about advertising and over-consumption.

In conclusion, I feel this man is just another mouthpiece for the Capitalist system. He is no better then the people who were just as brainwashed in the Soviet union to believe Communism is without fault. It is not evil or wrong to care about other people. And doing so does not make one a Communist. But I am starting to notice a trend when it comes to rabid free market apologists that not caring for other people is a trait that many of them share. He relied on personal attack and aggressive tone to get the effect he needed when the facts were not in his favor. He intentionally misleads the audience all the while claiming that Miss Leonard does. And I am going to see to it that my own critique of his critique is as widely distributed as this piece of trash he is touting as the truth.

In the court of VTV I find this man guilty as charged.


  1. Great critique VTV.
    watching the video didn't sway me at all, he was constantly missing the point in her claims, and making them look "evil". Of course the icing on the cake was when he associated all of it with communism...sigh, give me a break!

  2. This meta-critique is ridiculous. Although I do disagree with some of his claims, this video should never be shown in schools. It's full of propaganda. I'm not saying the critique video should be shown either. They're both propaganda - but at least the Capitalist one makes actual *sense*.
    You don't understand half of the points that Lee Doren makes, making the exact same mistake you claim he does. You don't understand how the world works. At least he has a bigger idea than you do. Most of her definitions *were* wrong. He refuted her leftist organization statistics with the statistics provided by the government. Many of Annie Leonard's comments were phrased in a way that would make a 9 year old think that every corporation and government is out to get them.

    Annie Leonard makes me want to vomit. However, at least you *try* to use logic. But it's faulty.

    However, one agreement with you. The Communist music at the end was a ridiculous.