- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 28, 2003

They’re still at it.

Barbra Streisand and film director Michael Moore have taken simultaneous potshots at President Bush, indicating that Hollywood’s penchant for politics remains robust and persistent.

“Has this new era of secrecy, lies and deceit in the government and corporations started to infect our states, our cities, our communities, our core values and beliefs?” Miss Streisand said in a statement on her Web site (www.barbrastreisand.com.) posted yesterday.

She accused Mr. Bush of cutting funds to AmeriCorps and inner city schools. She also said the president invaded Iraq based on “faulty intelligence of exaggerated threats.”

Miss Streisand continued: “The country sees their leader not telling the truth. These actions send a message that you don’t have to mean what you say, that you don’t have to care about other people, that you can do whatever you have to do or say whatever you have to say to get ahead.”

Americans are not necessarily cowed, however, by Hollywood activists.

The town of Millinocket, Maine, is striking back at the Tinseltown elite who support the creation of a 3.2 million-acre Maine Woods National Park. Residents believe that the proposed logging and development restrictions will destroy the local economy.

They’re holding a mock “film festival” today featuring their home movies, free “Moxie” soft drinks and pretzels to draw attention to their cause, and they have invited film actors who serve on the park’s “advisory panel” to attend, including Jeff Bridges, Harrison Ford, Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins, Holly Hunter, Robert Redford, Ted Danson and Meryl Streep.

“We are putting a human face on this. This park would be an economic catastrophe for us,” said town Manager Gene Conlogue yesterday. He had not yet received RSVPs from any of the stars.

“They’re probably hiding in Hollywood, behind that big sign,” he said.

Why do some stars get politically meddlesome?

“Well, some of these people have been politically active for one cause or another for years. Mike Farrell, for example, has been against the death penalty forever,” said one Hollywood screenwriter familiar with West Coast politics, referring to the TV actor and antiwar activist.

“And some of them are just jerks,” the writer continued. “They like how they look on camera when they’re being all sincere. Michael Moore won an Oscar because he made a good movie. But he really needs to know when to shut up on the microphone.”

Meanwhile, things got acrimonious indeed with film director Mr. Moore, who vented his rage yesterday in a letter to Mr. Bush addressed “Dear Lt. George Bush,” also posted online (www.michaelmoore.com).

“It’s not the lying and the doctoring of intelligence that has me all upset. It’s that you’ve had control of Iraq for over two months now — and you couldn’t even find the time to plant just a few nukes or vats of nerve gas and at least make it LOOK like you weren’t lying to us.

“You see, by not faking some evidence of weapons of mass destruction, it shows that you thought no one would mind if it turned out you made everything up.”

The lack of “fake evidence,” Mr. Moore wrote, “is a slap in our collective American face. It’s as if you are saying, ‘These Americans are so damn apathetic and lazy, we won’t have to produce any weapons to back up our claims.’”

In a postscript, Mr. Moore added, “anarchy still reigns” in Iraq, “and movie theaters showing ‘immoral’ Hollywood movies have been forced to shut down. And, hey, this isn’t even west Texas.”

Americans jab back at celebrities, who don’t know when to hush, by boycotting films or recordings, as the Dixie Chicks found out after criticizing Mr. Bush on the eve of the war in Iraq. The country group was boycotted and reviled by fans, which in turn spawned a public debate with country singer Toby Keith, who supported the war with his tune, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.”

The spat was rigorous enough to inspire a new TV special, now airing on CMT, a country music channel.

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