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I thought I had previously reached the highest level of disgust with Michael Vick’s animal cruelty that I could (my previous posts), but after reading an AP story and one on ESPN, detailing portions of a 17-page USDA report released on Friday under the Freedom of Information Act, I’m even more disgusted and sickened than I ever imagined possible. And that’s saying a lot.
Here are some extremely disturbing details:
- A person identified as confidential witness No. 1 said Vick placed pets in the ring against pit bulls owned by “Bad Newz Kennels” at least twice and watched as the pit bulls “caused major injuries.”
- The witness said Vick and co-defendants Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips “thought it was funny to watch the pit bull dogs belonging to Bad Newz Kennels injure or kill the other dogs.”
- Vick was administered a polygraph test by the FBI in October 2007 and denied taking part in the killing of dogs in mid-April. When told he had failed that part of the test, Vick recanted his story and admitted to helping hang six to eight underperforming dogs.
- The dogs were killed by shooting, hanging, electrocution and drowning, and in at least one instance, according to one of the witnesses, when Vick and Phillips killed a red pit bull by “slamming it to the ground several times before it died, breaking the dog’s back or neck.”
- According to the report, the three men hung the dogs “by placing a nylon cord over a 2 X 4 that was nailed to two trees located next to the big shed. They also drowned approximately three dogs by putting the dogs’ heads in a five gallon bucket of water.”
You need help, Michael Vick, serious help. I only wish all you were ever allowed to lay your hands on again are the pots and pans you’re washing in jail for 12 cents an hour, and never, ever again on any innocent animals. Sick and twisted, you are, mentally sick and twisted.
Nice to read some good news after just watching my boys (San Diego Chargers)lose another game, this time about as far away from home as possible: the UK (Saints 37-Chargers 32) . So the good news is that the Anchorage Daily News has endorsed Barack Obama over the ticket which boasts their own governor, Sarah Palin. The editorial brings up many valid points, most especially who will best handle the monumental task of getting our country back on the road to recovery after the incredible economic mess we are all enduring. But perhaps what should really ring loud and long for anyone considering a vote for the McCain/Palin ticket is in the last paragraph, which I’m copying below. (Emphasis added by me. ;))
Yet despite her formidable gifts, few who have worked closely with the governor would argue she is truly ready to assume command of the most important, powerful nation on earth. To step in and juggle the demands of an economic meltdown, two deadly wars and a deteriorating climate crisis would stretch the governor beyond her range. Like picking Sen. McCain for president, putting her one 72-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time.
While this season didn’t end the way any die-hard Chargers fan would like (sigh), it was great fun to hope for a trip to the big game, and to see San Diego County come together with some serious Chargers Pride. Our team ironed out a lot of kinks this season, from huge coaching changes to injuries and shifting of players, and as trite and cliche as it sounds, everyone better watch out for us next year!
THANK YOU CHARGERS!!!! 🙂
PS As much as I can’t stand Tom Brady and do not like the Patriots, I DO hope they win ONLY so that our Oceanside, CA, hometown boy Junior Seau, can get a well-deserved Super Bowl ring. On the other hand… 😉
Sunday’s the day, and on any given Sunday ANY team can win, so naysayers step aside and allow my San Diego Chargers to exhibit their skills, and play some serious, hard-hitting, play-making football against the New England Patriots. (Sorry, Junior Seau, as someone who pretty much grew up in Oceanside, too, I’ll always love #55, but gotta stay true to the Bolts. ;))
Regardless of the outcome, I’m very excited to see how far our team has come after massive changes with the coaching staff, and a very sluggish start. Here’s hoping that after the game is done on Sunday, San Diego Chargers fans everywhere will be prepping for one heck of a Super Bowl showdown. GO CHARGERS!!!!!
First off, CONGRATULATIONS to my San Diego Chargers (long-time Chargers fans like myself stake claim on the team, hence the “my”) on becoming the AFC West Division Champions! (insert crazy, pathetic dancing) Mind you, a 9-5 record is not where Chargers fans thought we would be at this point in the season, after coming off the incredible season we had last year, but we’ll take it. Our team has been through some tumultuous times this year, from the head coach change to most of the coaching staff changing as well, from Merriman’s suspension to Rivers’ hit-and-miss effective efforts, so to be able to somehow keep it all together and have more wins than losses is something worthy of a bit of pride.
Second, FOX 11 in Los Angeles you are officially dubbed the Scrooge of this holiday season by all Time-Warner subscribing Chargers fans in the Temecula Valley area (Southwest Riverside County…just northeast of San Diego County). For some absolutely ridiculous reason you opted to NOT show yesterday’s Chargers-v-Lions game and instead showed the Eagles-v-Cowboys game! ARGH, which definitely makes you worthy of being added to Santa’s naughty list for life!!! We were seriously in shock when we flipped on the FOX station (something I try hard to NOT do too often ;)) and didn’t see the Chargers game as we have all season on the various LA networks. Was bittersweet to see the constant positive updates online on NFL.com and realize we were missing such a high-scoring game. Trust me, Chargers fans deserve to see some fun after having endured some seriously disappointing times this season, yet FOX 11 decided to keep that fun away from those of us just outside San Diego County lines. Lumps of coal in your stockings, FOX 11, lumps of coal!
Here are some previous Chargers-related posts I’ve done. Fingers crossed that the good Chargers streak continues! Back to the pathetic, celebratory dancing. 😉
Here’s hoping Tony Taylor’s guilty plea might be the nail in the coffin needed to put Vick away. Hey, a gal can dream, right? Of course the flip side would be if his other co-defendants follow suit and plead guilty, somehow hoping this might make it look like Vick had no awareness of what was taking place on his property. I think we’ve all seen such deviousness take place in the legal system before, so who really knows how it will turn out. Here’s hoping the truth prevails and there is some (belated) justice for the innocent dogs involved in all of this disgusting mess.
- Toobin: Vick Case Plea Deal Could Lead To More Charges-cnn.com
- “According to the summary of facts filed with the court on Monday, Taylor said that he and the other three co-defendants, including Vick, decided to start a dogfighting venture in early 2001 and that Vick paid for the property in Smithfield, Virginia, used for the operations.”
- C0-defendant In Vick Case Pleads Guilty-sportsnetwork.com
- Vick Dogfighting Case Co-defendant Pleads Guilty-cbs4denver.com
And how disappointing to read about the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s stance on the issue.
“SCLC President Charles Steele Jr. said his organization prefers to focus on Vick’s redemption and plans to honor him for his community contributions at its convention next month in Atlanta. “We need to support him no matter what the evidence reveals,” Steele said.“
I have had nothing but respect for the work the SCLC has done on the civil rights front over the past decades, and respect the right of folks to support the good that Vick has done in the past, but to give so little regard to the possible outcome of the dogfighting charges is something I don’t get, never mind it sends a message to others who condone dogfighting that it’s okay to do so. Yes, people make mistakes in life and should be given a second chance, but be honest about what you’ve done. When Vick admits his wrongdoing and makes redemption, then we’ll talk about support. (***8/7/07 UPDATE: SCLC backtracks regarding “support” of Vick.***)
And this train of thought just blows me away:
““We Support Vick a Human Being Over Dogs,” was the message of one placard to honking passing cars on Northside Drive.”“
Say what?!?! You mean to tell me folks will ACTUALLY blindly support someone involved in dog fighting just because that person is a “human being” (a term I’d use very loosely for dog fighters), and TOTALLY disregard the actions of that “human being” because the victims are dogs?? Then again, these are the same folks in the article who think the NFL should be supporting Vick and attacking PETA and the HSUS. Ah, the mentality of some folks is such a continuous disappointment.
As I’ve said before, if Vick is shown to be innocent of the vile crimes the federal grand jury indictment states he took part in, then I will admit to being wrong. But until that time I am going with the evidence put forth, and the common sense notion (especially in light of Tony Taylor’s guilty plea) that there is virtually no way possible that Vick had NO CLUE, let alone no voluntary action in, the barbaric treatment of animals on his property. Guess we’ll have to wait for the trial on November 26th to find out, unless Vick and his cohorts decided to come clean and tell the truth before then–won’t hold my breath.
Following PETA protests outside Niketown stores and countless calls and emails to the company asking that they cut ties with Michael Vick in light of horrific allegations of his involvement with dogfighting rings, Nike has released the following statement:
“Nike has suspended Michael Vick’s contract without pay, and will not sell any more Michael Vick product at Nike-owned retail at this time.”
As a result, we have called off our planned protests outside Nike stores around the country. Thanks to everyone who wrote to the company about this issue or attended the demonstrations, and thanks to Nike for doing the right thing by ending its association with someone accused of torture.
Reebok has also made the decision to stop sales of Michael Vick apparel, stating:
“While we respect the legal process we find the allegations against Mr. Vick too disturbing to ignore, therefore, we have decided to immediately suspend selling Vick NFL product, both at retail and online through the Reebok website.”
This is great news for anyone who is concerned about cruelty to animals, and we hope that it sends a strong message to the NFL that they need to do the same thing and suspend Michael Vick immediately, pending the outcome of this case. To send a message to the NFL asking them to get on with that, please click here.
Thank you for all you do for animals,
Lindsey Twombly, Outreach Programs Supervisor
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
No big surprise that Michael Vick and his three cruelty-driven cohorts, Purnell A. Peace, Quanis L. Phillips, and Tony Taylor (***UPDATE on Tony Taylor: guilty***), pleaded not guilty in a Richmond, VA., courtroom to federal dogfighting charges today. (Trial date set for November 26th.) Did anyone REALLY think any of these four miserable excuses for human beings would have enough cajones to admit to the atrocities they have committed? Of course not! Here’s my previous blog entry on the subject, which includes a link to a copy of the 18 page indictment. (And yes, defendants should be considered innocent until proven guilty, but can you honestly read that indictment and NOT believe they are guilty? If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to admit it, but until then I’m going against what I usually believe-innocent until proven guilty- and WILL consider these four guilty as hell…so sue me.)
While none of us can bring back the dogs Vick, Peace, Phillips, or Taylor, killed by their own hands on the property or via the incredibly vicious fighting they subjected dogs to, nor undo the damage done mentally and physically to those dogs who survived, we CAN let big business know that we will NOT tolerate such abuses, nor will we give money to companies who continue to support athletes (or anyone guilty of these crimes) with lucrative contracts. (Namely the Atlanta Falcons and Nike). You can follow the links I’m providing below to voice your displeasure OR you can take part in various demonstrations around the country, or start your own. This Monday, July 30th, I’ll be joining what will hopefully be MANY other outraged animal lovers, in a PETA demonstration outside Niketown in Los Angeles. (***Protests canceled. Read more here.***) If you are in the area (and I’m really not since I’ll be driving about 1 1/2 hours to get there), please consider joining us. But if you are not, here’s some information in an email today from Ingrid Newkirk of PETA:
“On Monday, July 30, PETA will hold demonstrations in front of every Niketown store from New York to Los Angeles to call on Nike—which employs Vick as a promotional spokesperson—to sack him.
Already, the pressure is working. Both the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons have taken important “first steps” to discipline Vick by keeping him away from the Falcons’ training camp pending their own investigation of the case. In my view, this is the beginning of the end for Vick’s career.”
So come on folks, let’s get active, get vocal, and NOT let this situation be swept under the carpet and forgotten. Thanks!
NFL quarterback Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons was recently indicted on charges of sponsoring a large dogfighting operation. The indictment alleges that dogs were housed, trained, and fought at a property owned by Vick and that those who did not perform well were executed by “hanging, drowning, and slamming at least one dog’s body to the ground.” PETA will be at Niketown in Los Angeles on Monday, July 30, to demand that the company immediately break all ties with Michael Vick.
Please join PETA campaigner Matt Rice for a demonstration outside Niketown in Los Angeles. All materials will be provided, and we need activists to hold posters. Please contact me at LindseyT@peta.org if you can help or if you have any questions.
What: Michael Vick dogfighting demonstration
The professional sports world is plagued with players who have been accused, charged, or convicted of cruelty to animals, abusing pit bulls, and dogfighting. We need to send a clear message to players and Nike that being a celebrity is not a sufficient excuse for breaking the law and that animal abuse should never be tolerated under any circumstances. Please forward this e-mail to everyone you know!
Thanks for being on PETA’s Activist Network and for everything you do to help animals!
Lindsey Twombly, Outreach Programs Supervisor
Links to send messages to Nike and the Atlanta Falcons
- “Vick Pleads Not Guilty”-cnn.com
- “Vick Pleads Not Guilty in Dogfighting Case”-nytimes.com
- “Michael Vick Pleads Not Guilty in Dogfighting Case”-USAtoday.com
- “Activists Ready to Swarm Court for Vick’s Appearance”-USAtoday.com
- HSUS response to NFL keeping Vick from training camp
- Wayne Pacelle (HSUS) on NFL Following Through
- “Vick a ‘Person of Interest’ regarding pit bull fighting in AZ“-azcentral.com
- “Nike Is Urged to Drop Vick”-latimes.com
- Pit Bull Gear (t-shirt in picture I used above can be purchased at this link!)
- “Dogfighters Are Cowardly Scum” t-shirts at PETA Store at Cafe Press
- “Real Men Love Their Pit Bulls/Ban Mike Vick from the NFL” at Cafe Press
- “conVICKt 7” at moeschwag.com
- “sack Vick” at moeschwag.com
- Michael Vick Chew Toy (article and link)
Here is the code (just copy it all, then paste in your own site) for each of the Humane Society of the United States web badges you can place on your own web site or blog to help spread the word.
<a href=”https://community.hsus.org/campaign/US_2007_dogfighting_nfl2?source=gaba7m” target=”_blank”><img src=”https://wadmin3.getactive.com/preview!www.hsus.org/web-files/Banners/180x150_vick_nfl.gif” border=”0″ alt=”The Humane Society of the United States”></a><br><a href=”http://www.myspace.com/thehumanesociety” target=”_blank”>HSUS MySpace Page</a> | <a href=”http://www.hsus.org/about_us/faqs/humane_index_banners.html” target=”_blank”>Get Web Badges</a><br><br>
<a href=”https://community.hsus.org/campaign/US_2007_dogfighting_nike?source=gaba7l” target=”_blank”><img src=”https://wadmin3.getactive.com/preview!www.hsus.org/web-files/Banners/180x150_vick_nike.gif” border=”0″ alt=”The Humane Society of the United States”></a><br><a href=”http://www.myspace.com/thehumanesociety” target=”_blank”>HSUS MySpace Page</a> | <a href=”http://www.hsus.org/about_us/faqs/humane_index_banners.html” target=”_blank”>Get Web Badges</a><br><br>
I think Michael’s most recent email is one of my favorite emails from him (click here for other Michael-related posts) since it points out the ability the man has to show the “bigger picture” and how one thing does lead to another. Prime example is how he shows the effects downsizing can have on an industry such as the news media, in this case CNN. I love that he stays true to his determination of showcasing the inequities in not only his most recent topic, the health care industry, but also in the work force. His discussion of the semantics of the word “free” is dead-on and points out how opponents to “anything Michael Moore”, choose to attack and dissect the tiniest of points while completely missing the bigger picture/message.
Look for Michael to return to The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer tomorrow, Wednesday, July 18th, for what will hopefully be an actual intelligent, cat fight-free discussion of the important issue of health care reform. Btw, Michael said he’s not expecting roses or make-up sex from Wolf, but I’ll definitely be looking for a telltale twinkle in their eyes. 😉
7/17/07 email from Michael Moore:
July 17th, 2007
The mighty CNN, in a lengthy and sad online defense of their woe-begotten ‘Sicko’ story of last Monday, has admitted that they did indeed fudge at least two of the facts in their coverage of my film and have apologized for it:
1. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN: “To be clear, I got a number wrong in my original report, substituting the number 25, instead of 251.” — My Conversation with Michael Moore, July 11th, 2007; and
2. CNN: “Moore is correct. Paul Keckley left Vanderbilt in late 2006.” — CNN’s Response to Michael Moore, July 15th, 2007.
Furthermore, CNN confirmed that all of our statistics in “Sicko” are the correct numbers from the sources we cited. Although CNN still prefers to use older World Health Organization statistics, we will stick to using this year’s Bush administration stats and more recent U.N. data. (In “Sicko,” we consistently use only U.N. Human Development Statistics unless it’s for studies they don’t do or have recent numbers for.) CNN did apologize for these two factual errors, but no apology seems to be coming for the rest of their errors. These days, to get the mainstream media to admit they were wrong is rare; to get them to admit it twice, as they have with “Sicko,” I guess should be considered a whopping victory. Will they eventually apologize for the rest, or for their reporting on the war? Will the Cubs win the World Series this year?
So the truce has been signed, the peace pipe has been smoked. And the public is left with a much more cautious and wary eye when it comes to CNN. To be fair, this is what happens when you have to grind out “news” 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a staff you have shrunk through layoffs over the years (like all the broadcast networks have done). You end up rushed and having interns do your research. You have robots replace live camera operators. And, if you’re CNN, you are constantly dodging the accusation that you are “too liberal.” So when you do a piece on someone like me, you have to make sure you add superfluous and standard ad hominems attacking me simply to prove that you are NOT too liberal. I get it.
Until the last month or so, I have not appeared on a single national TV show for nearly 2 and 1/2 years. After the attacks I had to endure three years ago, from a media intent on questioning my patriotism because I dared to speak out against the war when none in the media would, I decided I had had enough and would simply concentrate on making my next film. I had no desire to participate in networks that were complicit in the war because of their refusal the challenge the commander in chief.
I have to admit, though, I do feel kinda bad taking it all out on Wolf Blitzer. It’s not like he’s the official representative of the mainstream media. I mean, he’s from Buffalo, for crying out loud! He said to me at the end of the show last week to please come back on “anytime you want.” I will take him up on that offer and appear again with him tomorrow (Wednesday). I’m not expecting a dozen roses or make-up sex — I only want a promise that there will be no more distorted distractions so we can have a decent discussion about the REAL issues like why 18,000 Americans die every year because they don’t have a health insurance card. More than 300 of them died this week. As Ehrlichman said to Nixon in “Sicko”: “The less care they give ’em, the more money they (the insurance companies) make.”
THAT’S the only thing we should be talking about. How profit and greed are killing our fellow Americans. How profit and private insurance have to be removed from our health care system. CNN should join me in asking why our 9/11 rescue workers aren’t receiving medical care. Somebody should send a crew to Canada to find out why they live longer than we do, and why no Canadian has ever gone bankrupt because of medical bills. And all of the media should start saying how much it costs to go to a doctor in these other top industrialized countries: Nothing. Zip. It’s FREE. Don’t patronize Americans by saying, “Well, it’s not free — they pay for it with taxes!” Yes, we know that. Just like we know that we drive down a city street for FREE — even though we paid for that street with our taxes. The street is FREE, the book at the library is FREE, if your house catches on fire, the fire department will come and put it out for FREE, and if someone snatches your purse, the police officer will chase down the culprit and bring your purse back to you — AND HE WON’T CHARGE YOU A DIME FROM THAT PURSE!
These are all free services, collectively socialized and paid for with our tax dollars. To argue that health care — a life and death issue for many — should not be considered in the same league is ludicrous and archaic. And trust me, once you add up what you pay for out-of-pocket in premiums, deductibles, co-pays, overpriced medicines, and treatments that aren’t covered (not to mention all the other things we pay for like college education, day care and other services that many countries provide for at little or no cost), we, as Americans, are paying far more than the Canadians or Brits or French are paying in taxes. We just don’t call these things taxes, but that’s exactly what they are.
See you all when I’m back on CNN tomorrow — where the discussion will be not be about whose statistics are right, but rather about the guy without insurance who died while I was writing this letter.
P.S. Oh… I forgot to tell you about Paris Hilton. Apparently cooped up for too long at home since getting out of jail, she decided to head out for a night on the town. But where does she go? Clubbing? Cruising down the Strip? No! She and her sister decide to go see “Sicko.” Now THAT’S news! So, no more bad words about Paris Hilton!
(***Added 7/11/07: Click here for videos of Michael on Larry King Live and The Situation Room on 7/10/07. Added 7/10/07: Scroll down past the video below to read an email notice sent out this morning about Michael being on CNN and other shows today/Tuesday!***)
Shout-out to Health Care For All for sending out a bulletin which alerted me to this GREAT video of Michael Moore unloading (as many of us would LOVE to!) about many things (not just the health care system in the U.S.) while on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. Watch the fireworks between Michael and Wolf below, then click on this link to read more on Michael’s web site, especially this link which sets the record straight on some of the misinformation in the Gupta story shown prior to Michael’s interview.
As a side note and in regard to Lou Dobbs’ comment regarding Michael Moore in the last 5 seconds of the video, you can kiss my “left wing promoting” lily white fanny, Lou! Nice journalistic objectivity…not!
Added 7/10/07: Just got following email this morning from Michael’s webmaster. I also added the Michael Moore/Jon Stewart clip (mentioned in the email) to my VodPod on this blog.
Tuesday, July 10th, 2007
Today, Michael Moore will be on CNN again for Part Two with Wolf Blitzer, (Did you see Part One? And our response?), a new appearance on Larry King Live with Dr. Sanjay Gupta (appearing, we assume, to apologize for his factual errors), and a rerun of Mike’s appearance on Jon Stewart from 13 days ago.
Those of us who maintain Michael’s website have started a truth squad. Watch for our daily reports on how the media lies, distorts and carries the water for Big Pharma and Big Insurance.
We’ll leave you with this analysis of how the mainstream media deals with Michael Moore.
One movie I am surprised I’m finding myself saying to skip (or at least wait for it to come out on DVD), is Evening. With such a stellar cast (Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Natasha Richardson) one would expect much more–but don’t! What an ABSOLUTE disappointment this movie was. There was definitely fantastic potential on so many fronts, but the movie sorely missed the mark with such things as overacting, forced drama, incredibly bad dialogue on far too many occasions, characters I was never made to care for, and camera shots that had no rhyme or reason. I think if I tried really, really, really hard, I “might” be able to string together 10 decent minutes of the nearly 120 minute film.
I won’t spend time explaining the crux of the movie to you (it’s just not humane treatment to be that bored twice in less than 24 hours!), so if you want the studio’s low-down on the flick click here. I will say that the scene between the Meryl Streep (older Lila) and Vanessa Redgrave (older Ann) characters was one of the better, as was the acting on the part of Hugh Dancy (Buddy) when he finally unburdens his heart with the younger Ann, played by a way-too-thin Claire Danes. Mind you, there was some incredibly ridiculous, superfluous dialogue during that encounter, but the acting by Dancy during that scene (and unfortunately that scene only) was one of few times I felt any emotion during the film. And trust me, certain times of the month I can cry at the drop of a hat (Yes, more info than you ever wanted to know, but hey. ;)), however this movie couldn’t even come close to tapping into that enormous reserve of female hormone-induced emotions…tsk-tsk…not even the hint of a watery eye.
One utterly ridiculous scene during the movie actually sums up the entire experience perfectly for me. The scene had the incomparable Vanessa Redgrave traipsing through her house in her delusional state, chasing down a butterfly (sorry, but I was actually embarrassed for Ms Redgrave!), and all I could think of was the Lunesta commercial where the butterfly lands on your face, thereby somehow, miraculously aiding you with your sleeping issues. Well folks, I’m here to tell you that you can skip the drugs and just head out to see Evening–you’ll be lulled into a nice, restful sleep within minutes.
SiCKO finally opens in my neighborhood today, so I plan on hitting a showing. (And yes, escaping triple-digit temperatures during this miserable heat wave by spending some time in an air-conditioned theater DOES help sway my decision! ;)) According to Michael’s most recent email, it’s CRUCIAL to give SiCKO your support in the theaters this week, so with the additional 200 cities added I’m sure there is a screen with SiCKO on it near you–please do YOUR best to attend! Click here to find a location near you.
Here’s a link to previous Michael Moore/SiCKO entries, and below are the most recent emails from Mr. Moore:
- Today is the Day for “Sicko” June 29, 2007
This is it! Two years in the making! The day that our new film, “Sicko,” arrives in theaters all across North America! Click here to see where the nearest one is to you.
After you go, let me know what you think. Oh, and send us a photo or a video from your cell phone to show us what it looked like at your theater. We’d love to post a photo from each of the 440 movie theaters showing “Sicko.”
To read more about the movie, you can go to www.michaelmoore.com.
Here’s what this morning’s review in the L.A. Times said: “It’s likely his most important, most impressive, and most provocative film.” Okay, what do they know? I prefer to trust the assessment of E! Television Online: ” ‘Sicko’ – the best movie ever? Maybe.” Maybe? MAYBE?! When will they ever give me a break?
It’s been a weirdly funny week. First Larry King bumped me for Paris Hilton. Then today, when CNBC invited me to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for an interview, the stock exchange said I was barred from the building. On top of that, Tony Blair is gone, Cheney says he’s no longer answerable to anyone’s elected government, and I simply don’t want an iPhone. Just another week in America.
Hope you enjoy the movie!
- An Awesome First Night for “Sicko” Saturday, June 30th, 2007
Thank you so much to the hundreds of thousands of you who went to see my movie last night and this afternoon. The studio tells me that we are on track to have the second largest opening weekend for a documentary in the history of the movies! (“Fahrenheit 9/11” was first.) Many theaters have been selling out. The Bush administration’s investigation of this movie is certainly not keeping people away. Thanks for all the pictures you sent me of people packing in to see “Sicko!”
The movie is making impact big and small. I thought you would enjoy this story about a family that Aetna was forcing to pay a $65,000 hospital bill that the insurance company was supposed to cover! Check it out.
The critics, too, have been more than kind. Can I show you what a few of them said?
“It’s as uplifting and heart-rending a thing as you will see at the movies all year. And it speaks of Moore’s enduring faith — his angry, nettled, exasperated belief that ‘despite all our differences, we sink or swim together.’ ” — Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle
“The weight of evidence Moore marshals for taking the profit motive out of medicine is overwhelming. In a summer of dumb, shameless drivel, Moore delivers a movie of robust mind and heart. You’ll laugh till it hurts.” — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“‘Sicko’ is a beyond brilliant, nonpartisan expose’ on American politics that should be mandatory for every student in America. Some rich person — like maybe Angelina Jolie — should sponsor a program where DVDs are sent to families or free screenings are held at local churches.” — Caroline Kepnes, E!
For more of this, click here.
There’s a moment in “Sicko” when the former British MP, Tony Benn, says, “If we have the money to kill people (with war), we’ve got the money to help people.” That line always gets the loudest applause in the theater. It is estimated that, before Bush’s War is over, we will have spent two trillion dollars on it. Let me say this: I NEVER want to hear again from ANY politician that we “don’t have the money” to fix our schools, to take care of the poor, to provide health care for every American. Clearly, the money IS there when we want to illegally invade another country and then prolong a disastrous occupation. From now on, we have to demand that our tax dollars be there for the things we need, not the things that make us one of the most detested countries on earth.
If you haven’t seen “Sicko,” go see it tonight. I want this film to have as much impact as it can. How well it does in terms of attendance this first weekend will determine how many other towns get to see it. It’s all about the “first weekend box office” with the studios these days. If it does well in the 400 theaters it’s in, they will put it in more theaters next weekend. And trust me, the White House and their friends in the pharmaceutical and health insurance industries know this, too. It’s no surprise to me that an original master of “Sicko” was stolen and widely distributed on the internet before the film’s release. I’m one of the few people in the movie business who doesn’t believe in prosecuting teenagers who want to share music or films (although I make my movies to be seen on a big screen and that’s how I hope people see them!). I called up Mr. Bush’s FBI last week. I wanted to know if they had asked themselves the first question any cop would ask about this particularly unique theft:
“Who has a vested interest in destroying the first weekend of Michael Moore’s new film by stealing his movie’s master copy and placing it on the internet?”
Needless to say, they showed little interest in investigating who’s behind this. That’s ok. I realize what’s at stake for them and I accept that this is a battle with serious consequences. The drug and insurance companies have dumped over a half billion dollars in the pockets of Congress and the White House in the last 10 years. This movie may end up being their worst nightmare.
But here’s the good news: There’s more of us than there are of them. So, it’s up to the rest of you to help me help this movie have a great opening weekend. If over a half million people come out to see it by tomorrow night, the studio will take that to mean it should be in more cities and more theaters. Let’s make that happen. And I promise you, if you go, you’ll see a movie unlike any other you’ve seen this year. Last night, the industry polled the people coming out of “Sicko.” 93% said they would “strongly recommend ‘Sicko'” to their friends and family. The pollster said he’d never seen a number that high (the norm for most movies is about 45%). It was a heartening piece of news.
Thanks again and see ya tonight at the movies!
- “Sicko’s” Successful Weekend Puts My Movie in 200 More Cities Beginning Today! Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007
The results are in from the weekend — and they are amazing! “Sicko” more than doubled what industry insiders had predicted it would do for the weekend and, as I predicted, it did indeed have the second largest opening weekend in film history for a documentary (after F911). It also had the second highest per screen average for the weekend (after the Pixar animated film, “Ratatouille”). All this in spite of the fact, as Variety wrote, it’s not been a very good year for documentaries at the box office. According to Variety, there have been 29 docs released in theaters in 2007, and they have grossed less than two million combined. What does it say about the state of affairs for non-fiction films if, in just three days, one film more than doubles what all 29 of them did together? I’ve decided I want to do something about this. I see so many great documentaries and it’s a shame that most of you don’t get to see them. Later this year, I will announce a new project that will help other filmmakers get the distribution they deserve.
Of course, if you live in Lincoln, NE; Bangor, ME; Reno, NV; New Haven, CT; Columbia, SC; or Oklahoma City, you didn’t get to see “Sicko” this weekend either. But thanks to the massive turnout in the 440 theaters who had it, the studio has decided to expand “Sicko,” TODAY (Tuesday, July 3) to 200 more theaters! And this Friday, they will add another 100 cities. Those of you who went to see it in the last few days have made it possible for others around the country to see my movie. Thank you.
So this will become the make-it-or-break-it week for “Sicko.” Will you help me? Here’s something you can do right now. Go to your address book icon on your computer and send a brief note to all your friends and associates about why they should see “Sicko.” Then organize a group of your friends to go see “Sicko” some night this week. I promise you that you won’t be disappointed. After all, what’s the worst that could happen — a pardon or a commutation from the President of the United States?
On Sunday, Canada celebrated the 45th anniversary of its free, universal health care system — with its built-in bonus of living longer than we do. Why do they have this and not us? We’ve already taken their Stanley Cup from them for good. Let’s demand we get to live as long as they do, too! What good is a dumb ol’ Cup if we aren’t around long enough to use it?
The letters you are sending me are powerful and profound. Thank you for sharing with me thousands of more stories about the criminal way our system operates. One woman wrote to say her dentist just gave her this choice: have all her teeth pulled, or pay him $30,000 to fix and rebuild them. She told me she’s made the choice to give up her teeth — a choice she was forced to make only because she lives from paycheck to paycheck in middle class America. This is a crime.
Go to your address book on your computer now and send out that e-mail to everyone you know and tell them to find their way to the theater this week. This film stands the chance of igniting a movement. Let’s not let this moment pass.
The following Action Alert was obtained from the FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting) website (after first hearing about it from a Health Care For All/OneCare Now.org bulletin) via their use of a Creative Commons license. I’m including below a couple of additional video links relating to the news report mentioned, but if you’d like to read the transcript or see the video of the CBS News report in question first, click here. And if you are so inclined after viewing and reading, please take part in FAIR‘s Action Alert.
CBS’s ‘Sicko’ Spin
Americans Don’t Want Single-Payer Health—Except They Do
On the June 22 broadcast of CBS Evening News, reporter Jeff Greenfield’s critique of Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko relied on a single premise: that the U.S. public and its political leaders do not embrace Moore’s preferred solution (a single-payer system, where medical care is provided by private doctors and hospitals but paid for by the government). But that argument is at odds with the available evidence.
While noting that Moore’s film “features affecting stories of personal suffering at the hands of indifferent corporations,” Greenfield argued that even though presidential candidates “have all talked a lot about changing the health care system…no one, Democrat or Republican, has come close to advocating the kind of government-run national health system Michael Moore proposes.” This is incorrect; Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D.-Ohio), a presidential contender, supports the very same approach, as do dozens of congressmembers who have co-sponsored H.R. 676, a bill that would provide single-payer coverage in the United States. Ironically, Kucinich appears on the screen next to Moore as Greenfield made this false claim.
Greenfield elaborated on this storyline, claiming that the U.S. does not have universal health coverage because “Americans are just different.” He went on to quote Paul Ginsburg of the Center for Studying Health System Change: “We’re much less willing to have government make decisions for people than is the case in Canada and Europe. It’s a cultural difference.”
That assessment is contradicted by recent polling. In a recent CNN poll (5/4-5/6/07), 64 percent of respondents supported the idea that “government should provide a national health insurance program for all Americans, even if this would require higher taxes.” And a recent CBS/New York Times poll (2/23-27/07) found 64 percent support for the idea that the federal government should “guarantee health insurance for all,” and 60 percent supported paying higher taxes to provide such coverage. Additionally, 50 percent believed “fundamental changes” to the healthcare system were necessary, and another 40 percent thought the country needed to “completely rebuild” the system.
If Greenfield meant to say that political elites are slow to act on public opinion, he’s surely correct (and this would apply to many other political issues as well). The same is true of elite media outlets, which have dismissed and maligned single-payer healthcare for years. Imagine what the polls would like if there were a serious discussion of the issue, instead of dismissals from the likes of Jeff Greenfield.
ACTION: Tell CBS Evening News to correct Jeff Greenfield’s assertions about public opinion and single-payer health coverage. You could also point out that Dennis Kucinich—a proponent of such a system—is in fact a presidential candidate.
CBS Evening News
Also send your comments to CBS Public Eye:
(***Added 6/25/07: Interesting article about how Michael is planning on showing SiCKO trailers on the outside of buildings near HMOs and hospitals tonight, Monday, June 25th! Btw, ALL sneak screenings on Saturday night were SOLD OUT! Way to go!***)
Michael Moore’s new documentary on the pathetic health care system in the United States, SiCKO, is having sneak preview screenings tomorrow night (Saturday, June 23rd), in select cities across the country. I’ll include a hyperlinked list of theaters after the latest email sent from Michael. Also, here’s a Mother Jones article about SiCKO’s screening in Washington D.C. on 6/20, along with a video of Michael taking questions afterward. And don’t forget that SiCKO opens nationwide on June 29th!
‘SiCKO’ Sneaks Across America This Saturday!
Thursday, June 21st, 2007
Would you like to go to a sneak preview of my new film, “Sicko,” before it opens on June 29th? Well, if you live anywhere near the 32 cities listed below, this Saturday night, June 23rd, our movie studio is going to hold sneak screenings of “Sicko” in 43 theaters across the country. I’d love for you to be one of the first to see it so, if you’d like, you can click here and order tickets now. We’d love to see you there.
Also, if you live in the New York City area we are opening the film tomorrow (Friday, June 22) exclusively at one theater, the AMC Lincoln Square for a first week run. The interest in the film is very high and theaters have been asking us to open it as soon as possible. Alright, already! It opens tomorrow in NYC, the sneak previews are Saturday around the country, and we open nationwide next Friday, the 29th.
Last night we screened “Sicko” for the members of Congress and the Senate in Washington, D.C. Earlier in the day we testified during a briefing in Congress called by the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers, Jr. I brought with me some of the people who appear in the film to tell their stories — and it was a powerful moment.
I will write again next week, before “Sicko” opens nationwide on the 29th. I’m so excited, after spending the last couple of years working on this film, that you all will finally be able to see it.
P.S. Catch the sneak preview of “Sicko” in these cities this Saturday night, June 23rd:
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Tampa – St. Petersburg, FL
Kansas City, KS
Minneapolis – St. Paul, MN
St. Louis, MO
Las Vegas, NV
Order tickets online here: http://www.michaelmoore.com/sicko/about/sneak/
From the SiCKO web site:
Sneak preview screenings of ‘SiCKO’ are happening this Saturday, June 23rd! Click theater names below the order tickets online or to contact your local theater for details.
(***ADDED 6/5/07: 2-part videos of Michael’s appearance on Oprah are included below for those who missed the show.***)
From a Michael Moore email:
Michael Moore on Oprah Tuesday
Michael Moore will appear on Oprah tomorrow, Tuesday, June 5, and will present, for the first time on television, scenes from his new film, “Sicko.” Oprah will interview Michael about the movie and the attention it’s receiving before its release (opening day everywhere is June 29). The theme of Oprah’s show is the one film you must see this summer — “Sicko” — and the one book you must read (Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”). Oprah loved Michael’s film and wants to make health care for all one of her main missions this year.
So set your recorders for Oprah tomorrow, Tuesday!
And here’s Michael’s 5/25/07 appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher–two of my faves! 🙂
***ADDED 6/5/07: 2-part videos of Michael on Oprah today.***
I cannot WAIT for the release of Michael Moore’s SiCKO on June 29th! I’ll include a trailer for SiCKO, along with the email he sent out after the movie premiered at Cannes. Click here for the scoop on the ridiculous U.S. government’s investigation of Michael related to SiCKO, and here is a post including Michael’s email prior to Cannes. See you at the theater on June 29th!
Here’s Michael’s response to the Bush administration and the investigation.
Is there a doctor in the house?-VillageVoice.com
“The other thing that makes Sicko Moore’s strongest film in years—if not ever—is its steadfast refusal to turn health care into a polarizing political issue, except to say that pretty much all American politicians, regardless of rank or affiliation, have left us to fend for ourselves.”
“Well, when a reviewer for Fox News (!) calls a Michael Moore film “brilliant and uplifting,” as was posted online after the world premiere of “Sicko” at the Cannes Film Festival, you know Moore is onto something.”
“America’s Health Insurance Plans President Karen Ignagni said that the film might encourage the government to provide more funding for health care for the uninsured.”
A Letter from Michael Moore: ‘Sicko’ is Socko in Cannes!
May 23rd, 2007
Well, as you may have read by now, our premiere of “Sicko” at the Cannes Film Festival has been an overwhelming success. The 2,000 people inside the Lumiere Theater were alternately in tears and laughing during the two-hour film — and when it was over, they gave it a standing ovation that seemed to go on for nearly 15 minutes! Many came up to me and said (and critics seem to agree) that this is my best film yet. I don’t know about that, and it seems weird to compare any of these movies in the first place. But I do feel safe in saying that I am very, very happy with this film and I can’t wait to show it to you when it opens on June 29th.
Cannes is a crazy place. There are film lovers here from nearly every country in the world. And then there are the people in “show business.” These dark forces have virtually ruined this art form (invented by the French and nurtured to brilliance by the country I call home). There are so many bad, awful films now and less and less people are going to the movies. Many who run Hollywood believe that the American people are too stupid to enjoy a film that respects their intelligence.
At the press screening for “Sicko,” the Wall Street Journal reported that hardened reporters and critics wept. Even those who have been harsh to me in the past, or who have not agreed with my politics, were moved. Aside from my stated desire that “Sicko” ignite a fire for free, universal health care (and a larger wish that we, as Americans, do a better job of treating each other with a true sense of solidarity and respect), I continue to hope that I can make a contribution to the art of cinema and give people a good reason to get out of the house for a few hours.
At my festival press conference, the only negative word came from the Canadians. Two critics didn’t like all the nice things I said about their health care system. Yes, Canadian health care has its flaws, but when I asked the two critics if they would exchange their health care cards for mine, they said “No!” Of course they wouldn’t. Canadians live longer than we do and their infant mortality is not as high as ours. Their system is underfunded because their leaders have been trying to push for more American-style health care.
The rest of the week has been good and I am now on my way back to the U.S. The New York Post reported Sunday that the Bush administration, in addition to going after me for filming scenes in or near Cuba, may now go after the 9/11 rescue workers I took with me to get the medical care they were denied by our own government. I couldn’t make up irony like this if I wanted to, and I will do whatever is necessary to defend the human right of these true American heroes to receive the medical attention they deserve.
We’ve also received word that the HMO and pharmaceutical industries are gearing up to fight “Sicko.” We received so many great whistleblower letters while we were making the movie from employees of these companies. We’d like to hear from you again! Send us the internal memos and any other plans you run across at the company copying machine or internet server. It will help to stay ahead of whatever they are up to, and it will also give us a chance for a bit of fun at the industry’s expense.
I will soon have a special section of my website devoted to “Sicko.” Until then, we’ll move forward toward our June 29th release date. Hope to see you all there that weekend!
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.
…is the collective sigh of Chargers fans everywhere. Thanks for the great season, though, Chargers. You made SO MANY of us SO PROUD!
Two other things:
- Ellis Hobbs, karma is a bitch, babe. 😉
- Go Saints! (Hey, my number #1 Chargers and #2 Seahawks are out, so now it’s up to my #3 Saints with San Diegan Reggie Bush, and former Chargers Drew Brees and John Carney.)
I’m no sports authority. Heck, I couldn’t really even explain the different plays and logic used in playing football, or the specifics of what each position really entails. But thankfully none of that is really needed in order to call yourself a fan of any particular National Football League team. In my case all it takes is living in San Diego County for about 35 years (save two years spent in Los Angeles), and being inducted into the religion known as “San Diego Chargers Fandom” by my step-dad over the past 30 years. (And yes, he also subscribes to the religion of “San Diego Padres Fandom.”)
I remember Sunday afternoons, back in the late 70s-early 80s, being a mixture of Star Trek reruns and San Diego Chargers, me plopped on my tummy in front of the TV with my head propped up with my hands, and my step-dad sitting in the recliner behind me. Yes folks, these were the days prior to cable TV in our neck-of-the-woods, and long before anything as wild and crazy as hundreds of channels being available to you. Back then something like that could only be imagined on something as far out there as some Star Trek episode. And no, my step-dad was never able to get me to be a fan of Star Trek. He was, over time, able to get me involved in the craziness of talking back to the TV, arguing a call with a referee who for some unknown reason is unable to hear you via the television, and of course indulging in the overly-used practice of giving a “high five” to someone. (You really need to click that link to read about the history of high-fives…pretty funny.)
Of course there did finally come the day when my step-dad initiated me into the REAL world of football and took me to an honest-to-goodness San Diego Chargers game. Been beyond hooked since then! Yes, memories of spending cold nights in front of the bowling alley at Camp Pendleton (step-dad is a retired Marine) in order to get tickets when the Chargers were in the playoffs in the early 80s. (The military has their own ticket agency which sells reduced price tickets to various events for military folks and their dependents, and the Camp Pendleton office was in the bowling alley.) I remember a Monday Night football game so unbelievably cold (well, cold for SoCal!) I had to wear thermal underwear, but it was all worth it because we beat our rivals, the Oakland Raiders that night…”We are the champions” by Queen, blasting through the stadium PA system.
Then there was THE playoff game to beat all playoff games, the Miami-San Diego 1981 season playoff game which went into overtime and had Kellen Winslow being carried off the field from exhaustion. I remember I had to work that day and was SO disappointed I’d be missing the televised game. I kept calling home for updates. Who would have known it would last as long as it did and that I’d be able to watch at least the overtime section. Un-be-lieveable game!
So many fond memories of Air Coryell, Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow (I waited on him one time and MAN did he look good in a suit! ;)), Chuck Muncie, Charlie Joiner, John “JJ” Jefferson, Louise Kelcher (man, oh man, the stadium would rock with choruses of “Loooooooouuuu-ie”, which unfortunately sounded like we were booing!).
Also memories of Chargers placekicker, Rolf Benirschke, surviving his horrific near-death battle with ulcerative colitis, and of being in the stadium crowd on November 18, 1979 when he first returned. He didn’t play, but was honorary captain that day and looked so tiny when burly Louie Kelcher helped him out onto the field. There was nary a dry eye in the stadium that day and the applause and cheers were truly deafening. Happy to say that the annual blood drive with the San Diego Blood Bank, which started back in 1979 to help Rolf with all the blood he needed during his illness, has continued to this day. They’ve even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest drive in one day, at one location! Also happy to say that I’ve taken part in it many times myself over the past twenty-eight years.
The days of Air Coryell have long since passed, but Chargers fans have had a few moments of shining glory. While our trip to the Super Bowl for the ’94/’95 season was a thrill, the game itself on 1/29/95 was a total bust. Best memory from that season was when the Chargers shocked the football world by beating Pittsburgh IN Pittsburgh for the AFC Division Title. After that game ended, and without ANY planning or notice, fans from ALL OVER San Diego county (and probably from beyond the county borders) found themselves heading to the stadium. Reports said there were about 70,000 people that showed up, cheered, celebrated, and enjoyed. And yes, I was there! I was married at the time and my husband and I looked at each other after the game ended and decided, what the heck, let’s go cheer the team when they arrive home. When we drove into the stadium parking lot people were cheering, celebrating, high-fiving each other, there was even one of those huge dragon costumes you see during Chinese New Year celebrations, dancing on top of a bus with drummers along side it. The MOST incredible vibe you could even imagine was felt that night, and when it was decided that the stadium itself would be opened up for the fans to celebrate each and every seat was full, with many standing in the aisles. And yes, the team did NOT disappoint, various players and coaches came onto the football field and addressed the jubilant crowd. We got our fannies spanked in the Super Bowl game, but not even that could ever tarnish the incredible memories from the night that all of San Diego seemed to be magically drawn to the stadium to share in their collective joy.
So many great players, so many great times tailgating, so many ups-and-downs, but mostly so many fantastic memories! I’m not quite ready though, to only have memories, so am hoping that this record-setting season our team and players are having will continue on–all the way to the Super Bowl! Oh, and to my step-dad (who will be at the Chargers/Patriots playoff game) I say, “Thanks for the Sunday memories.” Go CHARGERS!