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I’ve always admired Keith Olbermann’s ability to put into words many of the thoughts I am unable to eloquently express. He has outdone himself with this video showcasing the outright lies, hypocrisy, immorality and lunacy of George W. Bush. (Here is the text for this video from 9/4/07).
While the entire video is incredible, it’s the last thirty seconds which especially touch upon the outrage I, and countless other Americans, feel toward this entire Iraq situation; Keith gives a voice to our concerns–our demands. It’s in this last half-minute of time that I can’t help but be reminded of a definite “must see” movie I didn’t think I’d like at all, but found myself loving, “V for Vendetta.” I can see legions of citizens fed up with GWB and his regime’s status quo, figuratively standing alongside Keith Olbermann during this video, as were the thousands of masked citizens in the final scenes of “V for Vendetta” fed up with the fascist “Norsefire” party. Could someone please hand me a
Guy Hawkes Keith Olbermann mask, please?
Found out about this little gem via a MoveOn.org email I just received. Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick, Dick, where on earth did the apparent common sense, common decency, and intelligence you obviously had shades of in 1994 disappear to come the GWB regime? How different the world would be today, and how many thousands upon thousands of lives on both sides of this disgusting war would not be shattered due to death and injuries, if ONLY you had retained some of your correct thoughts from 1994. Shame on you for losing your way, thereby leading others to lose their lives.
I’m feeling a strong need to seek out some uplifting and positive news stories. Maybe it’s just my personal frustration with several things in my own little universe or the bigger frustrations I feel with everything from this inexcusable, disgusting, and sad war to the ridiculous amount of time a not-to-be-named hotel heiress is garnering for being a spoiled brat. Who knows what exactly it is that’s sticking in my craw, but it’s got me having a mad desire to do something proactive to change my mood and hopefully change the mood of some of you as well. So in my sudden quest to seek out something (anything!) that is making this world a better place I decided to add a “Doing Good” regular feature to this blog. Okay, first step taken (truth be told, the first step was popping iTunes on party shuffle since music is usually my panacea for a cruddy mood), next step was to set about the internet seeking out positive sites. Easier said than done, sadly. Ultimately I found myself smack-dab on my MySpace friends list, which is mostly full of causes and bands I support, so it makes sense I’d find my first “Doing Good” subject there: The New Orleans Kid Camera Project(their MySpace page).
I’ll introduce this great organization by posting their mission statement:
The New Orleans Kid Camera Project was created to address the psychological and emotional impacts of Hurricane Katrina on children returning home to New Orleans. Through the use of photography, creative writing and mixed media, children from flooded neighborhoods explore their environment and express themselves, their stories and feelings with their friends. This project provides a venue for growth and recovery. By teaching the children tangible skills and exposing them to new means of expression, we hope to empower them to impact their lives and environment.
Those of you who have been frequent visitors to this blog are well aware that I’m working toward getting my teaching credential, and with my minor being in Visual and Performing Arts, it goes without saying that ANYTHING which involves children in such a productive and creative manner, such as The New Orleans Kid Camera Project, is going to be something I wholeheartedly support. My disgust with the lack of support by George Bush’s administration for those affected by Hurricane Katrina is something that still gets my blood boiling. Just thinking back on those first few days of the catastrophe, with our own citizens being disregarded in the degrading manner they were, the people and animals scavenging for safety and food, the buses and trailers sitting empty, all has me going between sadness and fury in a matter of minutes. And to think apathy on the part of our government still continues–appalling. So to see a group of people in New Orleans addressing the various needs the children in the area are facing, and will continue to face for some time to come, is something which definitely brings a smile to my face and warms my heart.
I hope many of you will visit their site, read their fantastic Philosophy/Visions/Goals page, share in the fine photos and videos created by the children, and especially donate any time/money/equipment that you can. I also hope that everyone’s mood is a bit better now–mine is! 🙂
(***Added 6/15/07:UNSEENAMERICA “New Orleans Kid Camera Project”
310 West 43rd St New York
Admission: FREE. Exhibition from Wednesday, June 6 through Friday, June 29, 2007.
Reception- Thursday June 21, 2007 from 5:00 to 7:30pm
This has to be one of my favorite lines from Michael Moore‘s 5/17/07 email I’m copying below, “There are only two people in need of an investigation and a trial, and the desire for this across America is so widespread you don’t even need to see the one’s smirk or hear the other’s sneer to know who I am talking about.” Gee, ya think? 😉 Here’s my previous post on the topic. Best of luck in Cannes, Michael!
“Sicko” Is Completed and We’re Off to Cannes!
May 17, 2007
It’s a wrap! My new film, “Sicko,” is all done and will have its world premiere this Saturday night at the Cannes Film Festival. As with “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 9/11,” we are honored to have been chosen by this prestigious festival to screen our work there.
My intention was to keep “Sicko” under wraps and show it to virtually no one before its premiere in Cannes. That is what I have done and, as you may have noticed if you are a recipient of my infrequent Internet letters, I have been very silent about what I’ve been up to. In part, that’s because I was working very hard to complete the film. But my silence was also because I knew that the health care industry — an industry which makes up more than 15 percent of our GDP — was not going to like much of what they were going to see in this movie and I thought it best not to upset them any sooner than need be.
Well, going quietly to Cannes, I guess, was not to be. For some strange reason, on May 2nd the Bush administration initiated an action against me over how I obtained some of the content they believe is in my film. As none of them have actually seen the film (or so I hope!), they decided, unlike with “Fahrenheit 9/11,” not to wait until the film was out of the gate and too far down the road to begin their attack.
Bush’s Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, launched an investigation of a trip I took to Cuba to film scenes for the movie. These scenes involve a group of 9/11 rescue workers who are suffering from illnesses obtained from working down at Ground Zero. They have received little or no help with their health care from the government. I do not want to give away what actually happens in the movie because I don’t want to spoil it for you (although I’m sure you’ll hear much about it after it unspools Saturday). Plus, our lawyers have advised me to say little at this point, as the film goes somewhere far scarier than “Cuba.” Rest assured of one thing: no laws were broken. All I’ve done is violate the modern-day rule of journalism that says, “ask no questions of those in power or your luncheon privileges will be revoked.”
This preemptive action taken by the Bush administration on the eve of the “Sicko” premiere in Cannes led our attorneys to fear for the safety of our film, noting that Secretary Paulson may try to claim that the content of the movie was obtained through a violation of the trade embargo that our country has against Cuba and the travel laws that prohibit average citizens of our free country from traveling to Cuba. (The law does not prohibit anyone from exercising their first amendment right of a free press and documentaries are protected works of journalism.)
I was floored when our lawyers told me this. “Are you saying they might actually confiscate our movie?” “Yes,” was the answer. “These days, anything is possible. Even if there is just a 20 percent chance the government would seize our movie before Cannes, does anyone want to take that risk?”
Certainly not. So there we were last week, spiriting a duplicate master negative out of the country just so no one from the government would take it from us. (Seriously, I can’t believe I just typed those words! Did I mention that I’m an American, and this is America and NO ONE should ever have to say they had to do such a thing?)
I mean, folks, I have just about had it. Investigating ME because I’m trying to help some 9/11 rescue workers our government has abandoned? Once again, up is down and black is white. There are only two people in need of an investigation and a trial, and the desire for this across America is so widespread you don’t even need to see the one’s smirk or hear the other’s sneer to know who I am talking about.
But no, I’m the one who now has to hire lawyers and sneak my documentary out of the country just so people can see a friggin’ movie. I mean, it’s just a movie! What on earth could I have placed on celluloid that would require such a nonsensical action against me?
Ok. Scratch that.
Well, I’m on my way to Cannes right now, a copy of the movie in my bag. Don’t feel too bad for me, I’ll be in the south of France for a week! But then it’s back to the U.S. for a number of premieres and benefits and then, finally, a chance for all of you to see this film that I have made. Circle June 29th on your calendar because that’s when it opens in theaters everywhere across the country and Canada (for the rest of the world, it opens in the fall).
I can’t wait for you to see it.
P.S. I will write more about what happens from Cannes. Stay tuned on my website, MichaelMoore.com.
Anyone else feel like the past several AGONIZING years of the Bush administration has been one continuous tweaking of a con artist shell game? Under shell #1 is ANY legitimate concern by Americans (and the rest of the world, too!) regarding anything from the mishandling of Iraq, to the shenanigans Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and crew have been doing in the Justice Department. As soon as there is building interest in shell #1, Bush and crew attempt to throw the unsuspecting victims of this con game off with some fancy sleight of hand, and this time it’s Michael Moore’s trip to Cuba with 10 first responders to the WTC on 9/11, who are now suffering debilitating medical ailments. (Keep in mind the trip was taken in March, yet the letter from the government to Mr. Moore telling him of the investigation was dated May 2, 2007, a mere few weeks prior to his new movie, SiCKO being released…hmmm.) I’m sure shell #3 will probably be some “heightened terror alert” since we haven’t seen that lovely rainbow colored item pulled out of the mothballs for awhile. And it’s always been a favorite of this administration, since it’s so easy to pull the strings of the marionette public and create an artificial sense of fear and panic at the drop of a hat.
Let it be known at the outset that I am a fan of Michael Moore, and applaud what he has done to bring issues to light and have everyone engage in discussions pertinent to the welfare of ALL Americans (health care, our government and its falsehoods, outsourcing, gun control, and many more). That being said, I may not always agree with every move he makes (heck, I don’t even agree with every move I make! ;)), but this is a man who I strongly believe has the best interests of America at heart. Personally I’m pretty fed up with either being chastised or made to feel “unpatriotic” just because I strongly disagree with just about everything the current administration has done, so I can only imagine how Michael Moore must feel having such an enormous spotlight on him 24/7. And yes, I realize he brings it upon himself, but that just makes me appreciate his dedication even more. To put yourself up to the possibility of such scrutiny, ridicule, and hate, shows devotion and dedication to your beliefs. And yes, I even feel that way about those with whom I wholeheartedly disagree. Have strength in your convictions, but also show respect for differing viewpoints. Fine line, I know, but one we all really do need to try and walk–sometimes unsuccessfully.
Another reason I’m a fan of Michael’s is because of what he did for my alma mater, California State University, San Marcos. In October of 2003, Mr. Moore was scheduled to be a speaker at one of our CSUSM Arts & Lectures Series events. Due to the horrific wildfires in our area at the time, the engagement was postponed. By the time it was rescheduled it was close to the 2004 election and Karen Haynes, President of CSUSM, refused to allow Michael to speak saying that there wouldn’t be adequate time to schedule another speaker with an opposing political viewpoint. Thankfully students and community members would NOT let President Haynes control everything, and raised enough funds to have Mr. Moore speak at an off-campus area (Del Mar Fairgrounds) to approximately 10,000 of us (yes, I was there! ;)). Here is one story about the entire flap and subsequent venue change.
While hearing Michael speak in front of so many people with such fervor and determination was exciting enough, it was actually a HUGE surprise he shared with us all that really made the evening spectacular. (And mind you, this is an evening that had Joan Baez as a surprise performer!) The fantastic news that Michael shared with the crowd was that he was creating a “Freedom of Speech” scholarship at CSUSM to give $5,000 to a student who stood up to the administration the most. Due to the number of applicants Mr. Moore found outstanding, he ended up increasing the scholarship amount to $15,000, which was divided between 6 students. Here is a news article about his appearance that night and the impending scholarship.
And yes, I own countless works from Mr. Moore: “Stupid White Men” and “Dude, Where’s My Country?” in my reading library, along with “Fahrenheit 9/11”, “Roger & Me”, “Bowling for Columbine”, and “The Big One” in my media library, and looking forward to catching Michael’s upcoming flick, “Sicko“, as soon as it hits theaters this June 29th. And yes, I realize not everyone shares my opinion of Mr. Moore, but it’s my blog and my opinion, AND I truly believe there are far more folks who agree with Mr. Moore than disagree with him. 🙂 It will be interesting to see how this Michael Moore/Cuba/Bush administration story plays out. Heck, even an online betting site is wagering odds on how far this situation will go!
I’ll leave you with Michael’s open letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson. Take care, folks.
Friday, May 11th, 2007
Open Letter from Michael Moore to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
Secretary Henry Paulson
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20220
May 11, 2007
I am contacting you in light of the document sent to me dated May 2, 2007, which was received May 7, 2007 indicating that an investigation has been opened up with regards to a trip I took to Cuba with a group of Americans that included some 9/11 heroes in March 2007 related to the filming of my next documentary, on the American Healthcare system. SiCKO, which will be seen in theaters this summer, will expose the health care industry’s greed and control over America’s political processes.
I believe that the decision to conduct this investigation represents the latest example of the Bush Administration abusing the federal government for raw, crass, political purposes. Over the last seven years of the Bush Presidency, we have seen the abuse of government to promote a political agenda designed to benefit the conservative base of the Republican Party, special interests and major financial contributors. From holding secret meetings for the energy industry to re-writing science findings to cooking the books on intelligence to the firing of U.S. Attorneys, this Administration has shown time and time again that it will abuse its power and authority.
There are a number of specific facts that have led me to conclude that politics could very well be driving this Bush Administration investigation of me and my film.
First, the Bush Administration has been aware of this matter for months (since October 2006) and never took any action until less than two weeks before SiCKO is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and a little more than a month before it is scheduled to open in the United States.
Second, the health care and insurance industry, which is exposed in the movie and has expressed concerns about the impact of the movie on their industries, is a major corporate underwriter of President George W. Bush and the Republican Party, having contributed over $13 million to the Bush presidential campaign in 2004 and more than $180 million to Republican candidates over the last two campaign cycles. It is well documented that the industry is very concerned about the impact of SiCKO. They have threatened their employees if they talk to me. They have set up special internal crises lines should I show up at their headquarters. Employees have been warned about the consequences of participating in SiCKO. Despite this, some employees, at great risk to themselves, have gone on camera to tell the American people the truth about the health care industry. I can understand why that industry’s main recipient of its contributions — President Bush — would want to harass, intimidate and potentially prevent this film from having its widest possible audience.
And, third, this investigation is being opened in the wake of misleading attacks on the purpose of the Cuba trip from a possible leading Republican candidate for president, Fred Thompson, a major conservative newspaper, The New York Post, and various right wing blogs.
For five and a half years, the Bush administration has ignored and neglected the heroes of the 9/11 community. These heroic first responders have been left to fend for themselves, without coverage and without care. I understand why the Bush administration is coming after me — I have tried to help the very people they refuse to help, but until George W. Bush outlaws helping your fellow man, I have broken no laws and I have nothing to hide.
I demand that the Bush Administration immediately end this investigation and spend its time and resources trying to support some of the real heroes of 9/11.
Someone might need to get the paddles for me because I think my heart stopped the minute I realized I was actually applauding something George W. Bush had done. I’m all for giving credit where credit is due, so (deep breath) kudos to you, GWB, for doing something for the animals. Now can you get the government (FDA and USDA for a start) to get things straightened out with our pet food supply and our human food supply? Of course my “to do” list for you is much longer, but we’ll start there–for now.
Click HERE to read the press release from the Humane Society of the United States regarding the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act being signed into law.
May 3, 2007
Today, President Bush signed into law a bill that will help law enforcement rid the United States of dogfighting, cockfighting, and other forms of animal fighting.
Dogfighting and cockfighting crimes are rampant in the United States, with individuals arrested every week in scores of locations under state laws. The vast underground networks generate pervasive animal cruelty, drug trafficking, illegal gambling, public corruption and even violence and murder. The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act, which passed Congress with large bi-partisan support, will give law enforcement a stronger tool to crack down on this illegal activity.
“Animal fighting is a barbaric and inhumane practice, and it is fitting and appropriate that we now have a national policy condemning and criminalizing this form of organized animal cruelty,” states Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, which has led the national battle against animal fighting and been the primary advocate for this federal legislation.
The law takes effect immediately. It provides felony penalties for interstate commerce, import and export related to animal fighting activities, including commerce in cockfighting weapons. It will make it much harder for criminals who engage in dogfighting and cockfighting to continue their operations. Each violation of the federal law may bring up to three years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine for perpetrators.
Cockfighting is outlawed in every state except Louisiana, although there is mounting pressure in that state to ban the practice. Many states still have misdemeanor penalties for cockfighting. The federal law slaps felony penalties on interstate cockfighting trafficking, and this should provide an enormous deterrent for the tens of thousands of people involved in this criminal industry.
The law will have a devastating impact on major breeders of fighting animals, who depend on customers from all over the United States and abroad. Dog kennels rely on transporting their fighting dogs across state lines and across the world to customers. The new law should substantially curb the transport of fighting animals across state and U.S. borders. The HSUS is already seeing some major breeders of fighting roosters cutting back on production.
The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act will help end the export of fighting animals to other countries. Selling roosters to customers in the Philippines and other nations can be lucrative for American cockfighters. The new law puts increased pressure on the airlines to stop shipping roosters to cockfighting hot spots.
The new law had been introduced by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) in the House, and by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in the Senate. It had also been endorsed by more than 500 groups, including all major humane organizations, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and more than 400 local law enforcement agencies covering all 50 states.
George W. Bush’s veto has elicited some powerful statements from six US military leaders. You know, the ones that actually SERVED in the military. The ones that have a clue what is going on in Iraq. Service members who are the exact opposite of our “Commander-In-Chief”.
From the blog of our Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi:
May 2nd, 2007 by Karina
“With this veto, the president has doomed us to repeating a terrible history. President Bush’s current position is hauntingly reminiscent of March 1968 in Vietnam. At that time, both the Secretary of Defense and the President had recognized that the war could not be won militarily – just as our military commanders in Iraq have acknowledged. But not wanting to be tainted with losing a war, President Johnson authorized a surge of 25,000 troops. At that point, there had been 24,000 U.S. troops killed in action. Five years later, when the withdrawal of U.S. troops was complete, we had suffered 34,000 additional combat deaths.”
– Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, USA, Ret.
“By vetoing this bill and failing to initiate an immediate and phased withdrawal, the President has effectively gone AWOL, deserting his duty post, leaving American forces with an impossible mission, suffering wholly unnecessary casualties.”
– Lt. Gen. William E. Odom, USA, Ret.
“The rhetoric of Congress not supporting our troops is pure ‘hogwash’. The real non support of our troops is the Presidential Veto. Vetoing this Bill sends a message to our troops, that the President will fund them to fight but is not concerned about returning them to their families.”
– Maj. Gen. Mel Montano, USANG, Ret.
“The President vetoed our troops and the American people. His stubborn commitment to a failed strategy in Iraq is incomprehensible. He committed our great military to a failed strategy in violation of basic principles of war. His failure to mobilize the nation to defeat world wide Islamic extremism is tragic. We deserve more from our commander-in-chief and his administration.”
– Maj. Gen. John Batiste, USA, Ret.
“This administration and the previously Republican controlled legislature have been the most caustic agents against America’s Armed Forces in memory. Less than a year ago, the Republicans imposed great hardship on the Army and Marine Corps by their failure to pass a necessary funding language. This time, the President of the United States is holding our Soldiers hostage to his ego. More than ever apparent, only the Army and the Marine Corps are at war – alone, without their President’s support.”
– Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, USA, Ret.
“Almost 5 years ago, Congress trusted the President enough to give him the power to transform Iraq. Bush violated that trust and deceived us with a misuse of force. Today, the President violated the trust of the American people, our troops, and their families by vetoing this bill and not choosing to do what is right. He has let us down.”
– Brigadier General John Johns, USA, Ret.
Check these out:
- Eyes Wide Open
- Iraq Veterans Against the War
- Joan Baez Unwelcome at Concert for Troops-WashingtonPost.com
VERY powerful video put to John Fogerty’s “Deja Vu”:
Not sure how many of you have heard of a FANTASTIC, MUST READ book called “The Freedom Writers Diary .. How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them”, but you may have seen a trailer for the movie, “Freedom Writers” based on the book and out in theaters now. The movie stars Hilary Swank, and for you Grey’s Anatomy fans, Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey. I don’t know how closely the movie will follow the book, but I am hoping it stays true to it.
So let me back up and explain just why this book strikes such a chord with me. The first reason is a no-brainer: it’s about my passion, teaching! And not just about teaching, but about REACHING your students. One would think that all teachers do that, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. The main thing drilled into us during the credential courses I’ve been taking is that you MUST meet your students where they are. In other words, not every student is going to come to you with the same amount of knowledge, the same socioeconomic situation, the same family make up, and so on. And in this day and age ALL of that comes into play with how you will best serve your students with teaching strategies to help them not only achieve the stated-adopted standards (and hopefully EXCEED THEM!), but more importantly for helping them grow as social beings. Erin Gruwell saw the diverse and special needs of her students, was creative with her strategies, and more than succeeded in her endeavors. I am truly in awe of this woman.
The second reason I have a special place in my heart for this book, this project, this teacher, and these students, is that I had the good fortune to meet Erin and a couple of her students from the book. I was attending the California K-16 Partnerships & Student Success conference at California State University, Long Beach, in June 2002, and Erin Gruwell was the closing Keynote Speaker. I had heard bits and pieces of her story, but hadn’t seen the coverage of it on many national television shows. Boy, was I caught up on everything that night! You could have heard a pin drop when Erin was speaking, and at various points you also heard more than a few folks sniffling and saw lots of dabbing away of tears, especially when they showed parts of the Prime Time Live segment done on the Freedom Writers. What was especially touching was when some of the students were in the audience and she had them stand…talk about getting a HUGE round of applause!
After the closing speech there was a reception in CSULB’s exquisite Japanese Gardens. What an incredible location for getting to meet some incredible people, including Erin and several of her students. Getting to chat with these students and seeing the incredible strides they had made gave me goosebumps. One of the best surprises of the evening was talking with the mothers of some of the students, and boy did the moms have some great stories to tell me of their chaperoning duties on trips with the students! Of course the most inspiring being their trip to Europe where they visited Anne Frank’s home, and also the concentration camps in Germany and Poland. You really need to read the book to fully understand how incredible this was. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE read the book. I’m sure your local library has a copy of it if you don’t want to spend the money, although you can get it on Amazon.com for less than $12. I would just love for you to have the joy of the book in your heart like I have, especially before seeing the movie adaptation since the movie may or may not be a good thing.
The entire experience that night, from hearing Erin speak, to getting to meet her and having her sign my book (along with one of her students :)), from meeting other future educators and feeling energized about teaching, to hearing the mothers’ perspectives of the effect the Freedom Writers have had on one another, and to ultimately being reminded that all of this is precisely why I’ve chosen the path of an educator: to change lives. It was all truly one of the most incredible and memorable experiences of my life. Hmmm, think it’s time to take the book out and give it another read. And Erin, I’ll make sure to pass the baton as you have. 🙂