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The Detroit Project...

Jan 9, 2003 — I think anyone who has watched TV recently is aware of the "antidrug" commercials that tie local drug sales wihtin the US back to sponsoring overseas terrorists and guerillas.

Well, as fate would have it, one woman's ideas of filling up your SUV also sponsors terrorism. This concept is known as [link http://www.thedetroitproject.com]The Detroit Project[/link].

Check it out and let loose your own tyraid here. I think she's making a terrible argument and pulling down the name America in the process. Feel free to agree or disagree with me.

Lisboa says:

A news article:

An advertising campaign asserting that those who own gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles are supporting terrorism -- because Iraq, Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich nations that support terrorism benefit -- will begin airing in San Francisco and other major cities Sunday.

The 30-second spots are parodies of the U.S. government's provocative antidrug advertising, which argues that drug money benefits terrorists. The anti-SUV spots were produced by syndicated newspaper columnist Arianna Huffington and a group of like-minded people in the entertainment industry.

"Just 5 percent of SUVs are used off-road, which means that for most of us, SUVs are a lifestyle choice that can be sacrificed when our national security is at stake," Huffington said Wednesday as she showed the ads at a news conference in Los Angeles.

Huffington added that until November of 2001 she owned a Lincoln Navigator that got 13 miles per gallon, but now drives a Toyota Prius, which gets 52 mpg.

At least three television stations have rejected the advertising, according to publicists for the group Huffington formed to create the ads, the Detroit Project. One was KABC in Los Angeles, where a spokeswoman confirmed the ad was not accepted, although she was unable to give the station's reason for rejecting it.

In Washington on Wednesday, Jean AbiNader, managing director of the Arab American Institute, called Huffington delusional.

"If she thinks Occidental Petroleum and ExxonMobil and the car manufacturers are draining money out of the United States to feed the coffers of terrorism, she is not only delusional, but it almost is embarrassing to try to make that connection," AbiNader said.

"We should have a serious debate about energy policy in this country, but this is not a contribution to that debate," he said.

In one ad, a woman says, "I helped hijack an airplane. I helped blow up a nightclub. So what if it gets 11 miles to the gallon? I gave the money to a terrorist training camp in a foreign country. It makes me feel safe. I helped our enemies develop weapons of mass destruction. What if I need to go off- road? Everyone has one. I helped teach kids around the world to hate America. I like to sit up high. I sent our soldiers off to war. Everyone has one. My life, my SUV. I don't even know how many miles it gets to the gallon."

The script for the second ad reads, "This is George. This is the gas that George bought for his SUV. This is the oil company executive that sold the gas that George bought for his SUV. These are the countries where the executive bought the oil, that made the gas that George bought for his SUV. And these are the terrorists who get money from those countries every time George fills up his SUV.

"Oil money supports some terrible things. What kind of mileage does your SUV get?"

Huffington has written several columns critical of Congress for failing to pass the McCain-Kerry fuel efficiency bill and others lamenting the nation's inability to reduce demand for foreign oil. She asked a rhetorical question at the end of her Oct. 21, 2002, column, "Anyone willing to pay for a people's ad campaign to jolt our leaders into reality?"

She said she got 5,000 responses from readers and raised about $200,000 for the ad campaign. She was joined by Lawrence Bender, a movie producer ("Pulp Fiction" and "Good Will Hunting"), Ari Emanuel, a talent agent whose clients include Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz, and others in forming the Detroit Project. The ads were produced by Scott Burns, an ad industry veteran.

Said Bender: "The goal of the campaign is not to demonize people who drive SUVs. Rather, we want to point out how our driving habits at home are fueling oil money to Saudi Arabia -- which funnels some of that wealth to support charities and religious zealots with ties to terrorist activity -- and to Iraq,

where Saddam Hussein invests the profits in weapons of mass destruction."

Eron Shosteck, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade association in Washington, said about 4 million SUVs were sold in the United States. in 2002, about 21 percent of the nearly 17 million passenger vehicles sold. SUV sales in 2000 were about 17 percent of the total, he said.

"Every year Americans buy SUVs for safety, comfort and functionality. "She (Huffington) is entitled to her opinion. She's wrong. Our view is she is outvoted 4 million to one," Shosteck said.

Said Huffington, "With all of the talent, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit Detroit has exhibited in the past, we have no doubt that they can make more fuel-efficient, cleaner cars that help us reduce our oil addiction."

The ad campaign can be seen at [link http://www.thedetroitproject.com]www.thedetroitproject.com[/link].

E-mail George Raine at graine@sfchronicle.com.

[link http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/01/09/BU214316.DTL]http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/01/09/BU214316.DTL[/link]

Doofman says:

The only point I will make now is that, strictly as a matter of comparison and parody, there is no doubt that buying oil from Saudi Arabia supports terrorism more than a teenager buying pot. If you just lay the two commercials side by side, the oil one is more correct. The anti-drug ads were TOTALLY ridiculous and these ads are at least, by comparison, less so. Other than that, I have nothing to say now about the absolute relevance of these new ads.

styfil says:

I drive a 1985 Toyota 4-Runner (suv). Does that mean I can get on the alumni terrorist donation fund board? or does that simple make me a gold member?

Alternative route: [link http://www.ott.doe.gov/biofuels/]McDonalds Gas Station[/link]

DataBind() says:

This woman lacks any notion of scientific or logical analysis. Her argument is nothing but knee-jerk reasoning and full of so many fundamental logic flaws that I lack the interest to plot them all.

Lisboa says:

Question: If you don't consider drug cartels and their militia/guerillas terrorists, what exactly are they?

I think the drug concept is better founded than this spin off....Just my opinion though.

Wirehead says:

Lisboa - Agreed. Any fool knows just exactly how drugs get into the states. There is so much money involved that the people who benefit will stop at NOTHING to maintain their profits.

I also agree that there is some connection between oil money and terrorism - but FAR smaller than this nitwit would have us believe. If you look at the worldwide profits of oil vs. the profits of drugs and compare what percentage of that cash goes directly to killing somebody and/or their whole family, the picture would be quite clear. Additionally, the fact she glosses over is that we don't get all, or even a majority, of our oil from other countries. Yes, we import more than we should, but we produce at least the better part of what we use, whereas virtually NONE of the cocaine/heroin/opium/hashish etc etc comes from the US. You can't hide a coca field big enough to do much with in the US. Afghanistan, Iran, and half the other nations in the Middle East along with China and some East Asian countries like Vietnam and Thailand are responsible for the vast majority of drug production - and a large percentage of those countries have large terrorist factions operating in them and funded by some of that drug money.

In addition, completely aside from real terrorists i.e. those with a political statement to make who are willing to use violence to make it, there is also the factor that people in the drug trade are generally much more willing to use violence to defend that trade than any other industry. When was the last time you saw an attendant at Amoco blow away some schmuck with an AK-47 for driving off without paying for his gas?

This lady should just go home. Her ads will do nothing to further an intelligent energy policy - all they (might) do is cause yet more trouble for an already floundering auto industry in the US.

Addtionally - AM General, manufacturer of the Hummer, recently demonstrated a hybrid version of that vehicle which not only more than doubled gas mileage (to an admittedly still crummy 18 MPG) but also vastly improved performance. 0-60 time went from 14 seconds or so to approximately 9 seconds - better than your average midsize car. AM General is an American company (or was until Mercedes-Benz bought its parent company, Chrysler, about a year ago).

DataBind() says:

Driving SUV's actually helps get rid of the terrorists -- if I can manage to block out the Earth's sunlight with pollution from my car, then the terrorists won't be able to grow the drugs they use for financing their terror.

Doofman says:

My point about the drugs was very specific. Virtually ALL of the marijuana that is consumed in this country comes from North America (with half of it being homegrown). Now, the last time I checked, there wasn't all that much terrorism in the good ol' NAFTA countries (although you never can tell about those Canadians.) Simply put, oil supports terror "of global reach" more than pot. Other drugs are a different story, I'll grant you, but even with those, MOST of the people in the drug trade are far more concerned with making money and killing each other than with killing Americans (which is what "global reach" is code for anyway.)

styfil says:

"MOST of the people in the drug trade are far more concerned with making money and killing each other than with killing Americans."
doof, I think thats a bold remark to make. Unless you are a big Cartel leader how could you know what they want? would it be more advantagous for a cartel to hinder the us to make drugs easier to import/export...
doof, I would like some real numbers on that marijuana consumption and growth. is it actually 50% thats grown in the us or are you making it up?

Terrorist:: the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion
just in case ;)

Wirehead says:

Doof - I don't care WHO they are concerned with killing. The fact is that, intentional or not, innocents get killed. Whether it's crossfire or deliberate targeting is irrelevant. Oh, and regarding your comment on "no terrorism in NAFTA countries" - ? Wasn't it just a few years ago when Mexico went through, what, 5 presidents in like, a year? All who died due to assasination by the drug lords? Vicente Fox must hold some kind of record for staying alive in office by now.


Obviously if you're talking about your buddy who's growing a pot plant in his old gym socks (no doubt fertile ground and productive of a particularly fragrant variety) then we're not talking about huge international shipments of cash that terrorists will then use to finance personal armies and/or weapons of mass destruction (we won't even get into the mental deficiencies of the sort of people who grow their own pot because the depth of the subject defies description). You also ignored the fact that hashish and hash oil are made DIRECTLY from marijuana and are the two drugs most commonly associated with terrorism. Hell, the ORIGIN of terrorism has to do with hashish - Hassan the Assasin used it to convince kidnapped kids from the streets that if they went out and killed who he told them to they would be guaranteed a spot at Allah's foot in heaven, or wherever the hell those people think they're gonna go.

And BTW making a distinction between marijuana and other drugs and then saying that the homegrown pot trade doesn't hurt anything is sematically identical to me making a distinction between foriegn oil and US-made synthetic oil like Mobil 1. It's beside the point. You're talking about a microscopically small amount of money compared to the REAL drug trade. I'd wager (though there are obviously not much in the way of statistics) that not more than $50,000,000 a year goes to "homegrown" pot - and that's highballing it. The volume of production that is possible in other countries simply can't be done here. In columbia there are coca fields (*and* marijuana fields) that are literally miles on a side. You can't get away with that long enough to even get sprouts in the US.

Oh, and I think that your assertion that "...Virtually all of the marijuana that is consumed in this country comes from North America..." is ludicrous, unless you mean to include central America. How do I know? I know someone who, in the mid 80's, hid up to 3 TONS of pot in their garage for months at a time while it was slowly sold off. Where did that pot come from? It was brought in in cigarrette boats (the offshore racing boats, not boats shipping cigarrettes, goofball) just like in Miami Vice. That pot did not originate in North America.

I also question the statement that "...half of it being homegrown". Where did this statistic come from? I've certainly never heard of it.

As a last point, the most worrisome part of your statement is "...are far more concerned with making money and killing each other than killing Americans...". Are we only to worry about them if they try to kill *us*? What about the innocent people who get caught in their gunbattles, or who are simply slaughtered because they live too near a coca field and might report it? Don't they have just as much of a right to live as we do? That kind of callous disregard for the welfare of others simply because they are not part of your particular group, clique, state, nation, or pottery club is exactly what resulted in over 80% of the living Jews being exterminated like lice. No one did anything about it until it was almost too late because it was all happening "over there" and no Americans were involved.

Wirehead says:

As a last point, this idiot woman has just as much right to spew forth her own brand of insanity as the next yokel, but I'd like to see some libel/slander lawsuits from Amoco, BP, Conoco, Exxon, Standard, Hess, and every damn independent gas station owner there is. I suspect that given the total lack of hard science underlying her fleabrained assertions, that most of those suits would be won.

Not that I wish her any harm, understand. "Just to show her, by God!".

"Stupidity is the only *natural* capital crime in the Universe. It always kills itself off." - Robert Heinlein (emphasis added)

Wirehead says:

Just to lighten the atmosphere somewhat, here's what I think of terrorists:

[link http://www.theonion.com/onion3734/hijackers_surprised.html]http://www.theonion.com/onion3734/hijackers_surprised.html[/link]

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