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Truly “MUST SEE TV” was to be had on NBC’s Meet the Press  today, as Colin Powell did as many were murmuring he would: he officially endorsed Barack Obama for President of the United States of America, over his fellow Republican and friend, John McCain.  I don’t think I have been as captivated by a speaker as I was while watching Powell, in a very long time, perhaps since Obama’s stirring keynote speech in 2004 (video) at the Democratic National Convention.  While that speech by Obama made me stand up and take notice of this newcomer, mostly by mere virtue of having no clue who this charismatic speaker was, in Powell’s case today it was the sheer common sense and eloquent, calm, measured way in which he put forth his thoughts (including concern of John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate and possible future president) and my wondering what the outcome would be that had my eyes and ears glued to the set.  Truly, nearly twenty-five minutes of not wanting to even take a breath for fear of missing something momentous.  Terribly sad that I have to categorize common sense as momentous, but the way this election campaign has gone–toward the unbelievably negative, ridiculous, racist and bigoted side–has me grabbing onto any and all shreds of common sense as if they were bits of fresh air amongst the putrid stagnation of negativity and hate.

While I have had intense misgivings about the role Mr. Powell had in our involvement in the horrific continuing disaster known as the Iraq war, I have always continued to harbor feelings of respect for most everything else he has done, especially on the charitable front.  This is a highly intelligent, compassionate man, with foreign policy and military experience matched by few, so to discount anything he might say by mere fact of my disgust with the hand he had in our involvement in Iraq would be shortsighted.  I am hoping that others who will vehemently disagree with the stance Powell took today, will not be shortsighted as well (not holding my breath), and will see that the points he laid out to explain his decision are points that bode well for our country, and for the drastic, immediate change we need at home AND abroad.

Below is a video clip (just over 7 minutes) of the lead up to Colin’s endorsement of Barack on Meet the Press, but I would also highly suggest reading this article on Huffington Post which discusses Powell’s endorsement, and has video of Powell speaking with reporters after the Meet the Press show.

And lastly, I’m sure it’s not just me, but did anyone else sorely miss Tim Russert being the one sitting in that Meet the Press chair and being the one to land this momentous interview?  What a lasting impact Tim has had on so many of us who never knew the man personally, but who miss his gentle, intelligent, and persistent style of being America’s truth-seeker and cheerleader for our political process.  You are sorely missed, Mr. Russert.

Today’s email from the Human Rights Campaign:

 
  Take  action against hate crimes  
 

The hate crimes bill has been derailed.

But we’re not giving up.

We’ve made huge progress already, and we’ll work tirelessly to get this legislation through in 2008.

Dear *****,

As I write this, I am filled with both deep disappointment and gratitude. I am disappointed because our fight for a hate crimes bill has been derailed, but grateful for the historic advances that we were able to achieve this year.

As you all know, we have made momentous advancements this year by moving the federal hate crimes legislation the closest it has ever been to becoming law. For the first time ever, in one year we were able to pass the fully-inclusive legislation through both chambers of Congress – a truly historic feat.

If you recall, the Matthew Shepard Act first passed the House of Representatives back in May as a stand-alone piece of legislation. It then moved to the Senate, where it passed 60 to 39 in September as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) attached the Matthew Shepard Act to the Department of Defense Authorization bill because President Bush had announced that he would veto a free-standing hate crimes bill. By amending hate crimes to this larger bill, Senators Kennedy and Smith thought that we had a better chance of getting the president’s signature. After all, Bush would have to veto the entire piece of legislation – hate crimes AND programs for his war in Iraq – to reject hate crimes protections.

But in a frustrating move yesterday, during the very last legislative step – a conference committee working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill – we received word that the Matthew Shepard Act would be dropped from the final version of the bill. The hate crimes veto threat issued by the White House and organized opposition by House Republican Leadership cost significant numbers of votes on the right. Iraq-related provisions, which many progressive Democrats opposed, cost votes on the left. Moderate Democrats, many of whom voted for the hate crimes bill in May, did not want to test the President’s veto threat and risk a delay in increased pay for military personnel. All of these factors resulted in insufficient votes to secure passage of the bill with the hate crimes provision.

HRC coordinated a major final push to protect this bill. 40,000 HRC activists responded to our call and wrote to Congress. We helped organize a coalition effort with 120 national and local organizations. We held 11th-hour meetings with lawmakers.

Despite the anger we all feel that we fell short so close to the finish line, we cannot lose sight of the fact that we did succeed in moving hate crimes legislation the closest it has ever been to hitting the President’s desk for signature. And rest assured, the Human Rights Campaign is not done fighting. We are not giving up on efforts to find another legislative vehicle, in the second half of this Congress, to move the Matthew Shepard Act. Yes, we made historic advancements, but we will not be satisfied until we get a President who will use his or her pen to enshrine into our federal law books that violence against the GLBT community will not be tolerated in this country.

We have been a leader in the fight for hate crimes legislation for over a decade, and we’re not about to let this setback deter us. We will not rest until these protections are law.

We also can’t lose track of the bigger picture for 2008. On top of working to advance this bill and the rest of our equality agenda, we are already mobilizing around the 2008 elections. We are investing major resources to:

  • Elect local pro-equality officials who will be tomorrow’s national leaders,
  • Expand our majority in Congress – so that we will have the votes we need to thwart roadblocks like this – and
  • Elect a leader in the White House who would NEVER veto a bill protecting Americans from hate crimes.

These are the moments when your support counts most. Together, we’ll find the right path to victory. We know it is there.

Warmly,
Joe Solmonese
Joe Solmonese
President

I’ve been meaning to post the video clip below since becoming aware of it about a week or so ago, but this nasty cold has me being on the lazy side. The video is the product of the witty, irreverent, right-on-the-money, and totally talented drag superstar Jackie Beat penning the lyrics to this hilarious parody performed by Rosie O’Donnell and Roseanne Barr opening night (11/6/07) of the New York Comedy Festival.

For those who haven’t heard of Jackie Beat you really DO need to check her out. Mind you, she may not be your cup of tea (not for the faint of heart and definitely not rated G ;)), but I enjoy the daylights out of her ability (technically his ability, Kent Fuher) to create some insane, fantastically funny, and quite often politically-biting lyrics (as is evidenced with the lyrics below and with her thought-provoking blogs on her MySpace page) and belt them out donning some of the most lavish make-up, wigs, and outfits you’ll ever see. I’m hoping to catch the incomparable Ms Beat soon after finally getting my fanny moved up to LA. Enjoy!

Rosie and Roseanne “I Got You Bitch” at Lincoln Center

I GOT YOU BITCH!

lyrics by Jackie Beat

ROSIE: They say we’re nuts and full of crap
Just one false move and we are gonna’ snap!
ROSEANNE: We’re big & loud, well-known and rich
Girl, do the math, to men that equals Bitch

BOTH: Bitch! I got you bitch, I got you bitch

ROSIE: Gay marriage causes such a scare
But you’ve changed husbands more than your underwear
ROSEANNE: If adopting children is so divine
How’s about I give you some of mine?

BOTH: Bitch! I got you bitch, I got you bitch

ROSIE: We need healthcare for everyone
ROEANNE: And to bring home, every daughter and son
ROSIE: When you’re under attack, I will be there so fast
ROSEANNE: Girlfriend I’ve got your back, I’m prepared to kick ass!
ROSIE: And when your voice cannot be heard
Just stand your ground and give them all the bird
ROSEANNE: Cuz what good is a voting booth
If we can’t stand up here and speak the truth?

BOTH: Bitch! I got you bitch, I got you bitch

ROSEANNE: I call you when things ain’t right
ROSIE: But not too late it’s a school night
ROSEANNE: I read you my blog you missed
ROSIE: It’s half past two, my wife is pissed!
ROSEANNE: I needed you, you disappeared
ROSIE: Frankly Roseanne, this is getting weird!
ROSEANNE: There’s no need to be so rude
ROSIE: Here we go, another feud!

BOTH: Not with YOU, bitch!

Today would have been John Lennon’s 67th birthday, and has been chosen to be the day of the Imagine Peace Tower unveiling in Reykjavik, Iceland (LIVE unveiling times and links listed below). I remember the night John was killed and one of my friends at work being so utterly devastated by the news. What an impression this man had on so many lives, and continues to have. In celebration of the work and efforts John put forth for peace, I’m including the video and lyrics of my most favorite of songs; John’s Imagine. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone could put aside their hate, their religious differences, their bigotry, their cynicism, and truly attempt to live in peace for at least today–just one day? Perhaps it’s an unrealistic expectation, but couldn’t each of you reading this make a vow to be peaceful and invoke peace around you for just 24 hours? You have to start somewhere, so why not in your own tiny universe?

Happy Birthday, John, and thank you for all you did!

Imagine

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Yoko Ono: About the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER

Watch the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER Unveiling LIVE at
20:45pm GMT, 3.45pm Eastern, 12.45pm Western (times right)
Also viewable on Icelandic TV: RUV (here) and Channel 2 (here).
After the broadcast, click here to view our specially made tribute video.

Check back later – we will post highlights soon after the event.

OCTOBER 9TH – UNVEILING DAY
Please join us at http://www.IMAGINEPEACE.com at

Oct 9th 11.45pm Anchorage
Oct 9th 12.45pm Los Angeles
Oct 9th 01.45pm Guatemala
Oct 9th 02.45pm Chicago
Oct 9th 03.45pm New York
Oct 9th 03.45pm Montreal
Oct 9th 04.45pm Rio de Janeiro
Oct 9th 07.45pm Reykjavik
Oct 9th 08.45pm Liverpool
Oct 9th 09.45pm Europe
Oct 9th 10.45pm Baghdad
Oct 9th 11.45pm Moscow
Oct 10th 12.45am Karachi
Oct 10th 01.45am Dhaka
Oct 10th 02.45am Bangkok
Oct 10th 03.45am Shanghai
Oct 10th 04.45am Tokyo
Oct 10th 05.45am Sydney
Oct 10th 06.45am Vladivostok
Oct 10th 07.45am Suva
Oct 10th 08.45am Auckland
Oct 10th 09.45am Kiritimati

Information from the Imagine Peace website:

 

Dear Friends

Make sure you visit www.IMAGINEPEACE.com on October 9th, John Lennon’s birthday, for the unveiling of the incredible IMAGINE PEACE TOWER on the isle of Videy,Reykjavik, Iceland.

Please visit the site, have a look around, IMAGINE PEACE and send your wishes to join over 495,000 others buried in capsules around the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER, dedicated to my late husband: musician, poet, artist and peace activist, John Lennon.

Please join us on October 9th at www.IMAGINEPEACE.com
Wherever you are, we will all be together that day.

With the deepest love,

yoko ono

—————————————————————————

Visit www.IMAGINEPEACE.com to send your wishes to the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER and join the biggest online peace demonstration on October 9th.

The website contains over 160 pages, loads of easter eggs, and is being augmented every day. Explore, have fun, participate, IMAGINE PEACE and join Yoko Ono and thousands of others at www.IMAGINEPEACE.com on October 9th for the unveiling of the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER, when we will be uploading photos and videos of the days events as they happen.

————————————————————————–

The IMAGINE PEACE TOWER is an artwork conceived by Yoko Ono in memory of John Lennon.

It is dedicated to peace and bears the inscription IMAGINE PEACE in 24 languages.

Its construction and installation is a collaboration between Yoko Ono, the City of Reykjavik, Reykjavik Art Museum and Reykjavik Energy.

The work is in the form of a wishing well from which a very strong and tall tower of light emerges. The strength, intensity and brilliance of the light tower continually changes as the particles in the air fluctuate with the prevailing weather and atmospheric conditions unique to Iceland.

Every year it will light up between October 9th (Lennon’s birthday) and December 8th (the day of his death).

In addition the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER will be lit on New Year’s Eve, during the first week of spring and on some rare special occasions agreed between the City and Yoko Ono.

—————————————————————————-

A dream you dream alone is only a dream
A dream you dream together is reality
Yoko Ono

Imagine all the people living life in peace
John Lennon

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?

Keith Olbermann Special Comment from 9/4/07

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.

Cheney in 1994 on Iraq

guitard_cover.jpgLast night I read an incredible, thought-provoking, straight-from-the-heart blog entry by Candye Kane and just knew I had to share it with all of you this 4th of July. I immediately sent off an email asking for her permission to repost it here and was very pleased when she graciously responded with permission to do so. The thoughts she shares, the feelings she expresses, and the desires she has, are those which I hope speak to as many of you as they did to me. As much as I abhor this current administration and the horrific choices GWB and his right-wing, closed-minded, power-hungry cronies have made, I DO love my country and all that it CAN be. I think Candye has put into words the hopes and dreams we would all like to see come true.

And for those of you who haven’t heard of Candye Kane, tsk-tsk-tsk. Okay, I’ll cut you a little bit of slack since she’s a local talent I’ve had the good fortune of knowing about for some time, but Candye’s reach goes far beyond her SoCal background with worldwide fans of her distinctive, enjoying-the-heck-out-of-life persona and musical abilities. I HIGHLY advise you to click on her MySpace page, hit up her web site, catch her on her current “Guitar’d and Feathered” tour, Google her if you’d like, then hightail it over to iTunes, Amazon.com, or Ruf Records, and buy, buy, BUY all the Candye Kane music you can afford! I’ve got “White Trash Girl” playing on the computer right now and am enjoying the heck out of Candye’s powerful voice, the fun lyrics (track #13…enough said! ;)), and the energized mood her music puts me in. It’s admittedly hard to actually sit still at the computer to type this out when her music is infusing my body with the desire to get up and dance around!

Candye’s life story is one I think even the most imaginative of authors would have a hard time coming up with, and her music can’t really be pigeonholed into any one category, so check her out for yourself. You can thank me later! 😉 Happy and safe 4th of July, everyone!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here’s her fantastic blog entry, reprinted with her permission. Thanks, Candye!

  • Tuesday, July 03, 2007

    Happy no more war, light up the smog free sky w/fireworks 4th!

    Tomorrow is the Fourth of July and I am here in Lincoln, Nebraska. This is corn field country where people actually stop for you when you get a flat tire, drive you through the Mcdonalds on the way to pick up the new tire, pay for lunch and then insist on changing your tire for you on the side of the freeway while the whole band stands aghast, watching. (This actually happened!) This is plain-spoken people country where they look you in the eye, with a firm handshake that they mean, and do what they say they will do. This is the heartland part of the US where young boys and girls go off to war because they really believe in our Grandparents vision of a democratic, honest country that would never condone torture. This is the part of the country where young soldiers go off to war not only because they want to see the world and get a shot at a good education but because they were brought up to respect the flag and the people whose blood spilt for it.

    I am not a real patriot. There are a lot of problems in this great country of ours. We are stuck in the quagmire of this losing war in Iraq; we will leave our huge deficit to our kids and grandkids; The President has an imaginary friend who gives him advice (that, or he hears voices in his head.) Our government seems to virtually ignore global warming and is so gluttonous from the big money they get from oil lobbies that they spend zip on research for new energy resources. They would rather worry about keeping hard working Mexicans out of the USA and worry about whether two men might choose to marry and live in a committed relationship. The health insurance problem is vast, not only because we poor people have to choose between paying our phone bill or getting a check up, but because a woman of my size can be denied health insurance even with low blood pressure and low cholesterol, just based on my weight. Yes, it’s a mess here, my friends.

    Still, I am happy to be an American. Why? Because in my neighborhood growing up, there were black people, Mexicans and white kids. There were Catholics, Jews and Mormons. (I have been all three!) We didn’t all agree about everything and we spent a lot of time fighting with each other but I learned early that people come in all sizes and colors. Here in America, there are mosques and churches of all kinds, synagogues and Krishna temples. There is Eckankar and Paganism, self-realization and even the dreaded scientology. There are women who walk around in cut offs and halter-tops, butches with beards and rings in their noses, women wearing Islamic head coverings and Amish dresses and bonnets at the same rest stop. There are hookers who hang out on my street and sell their wares to men who drive by in their souped up Toyotas with their stereo so loud it makes my I,U.D. vibrate. There are surfer boys, retired Marines, lesbians, Jehovahs witnesses, Rastafarians and Samoan Christians all on the block where I live.

    I love America because my government sucks, but I have the right to write about it and talk about it and write letters to my congressperson and my local paper. I have the right to protest and hold up signs and yell and scream at rallies. I don’t have every right that I should have. I should have the right to marry whomever I want and I should have the right to be treated the same way under the law as any married couple, heterosexual or otherwise. Poor people and regular folks should have the right to run for office and it shouldn’t be about money. But I still believe in an America that will eventually try to right its wrongs. (Not the ones that can’t be righted; we can’t bring back the buffalo or give the Native Americans back all their land. We can’t take back our historic mistakes like slavery, refusing shiploads of Jewish children and women during WW II and Japanese interment camps. Some wrongs are so horrific they cannot be reversed or fixed.)

    However, just like women fought for the right to vote, and people fought in the 60’s for freedom and civil liberties for every American regardless of skin color, I believe someday we will get back to the noble American ideals of our forefathers and mothers. The America that our Grandparents loved and fought for; The America that valued honor and believed diversity made a country stronger just like the statue of liberty inscription said. An America that really does take care of its poor and its meek and huddled masses; An America that doesn’t just fill us with fear while lining their pockets but cares about each citizen, poor and rich, gay and straight and strives to protect each of us. That’s the America that I am reminded of when I am here with the good people of the Midwest.

    There are good and bad people in every city in the world and I am not naïve enough to think otherwise. But I want to be the kind of American who helps my neighbor fix a flat and pays for lunch while doing it. I want to be the American that holds out a hand to someone who is suffering. I want to get my childhood vision back of an America that was good and noble, honest and true. A country where your vote counted and you didn’t just have to vote for the evil guy or the other evil guy. A country where we would never hold people in prisons without due process or overthrow the Geneva Convention as antiquated and out of date. I believe in an America that is compassionate and cares about our planet and all its inhabitants, realizing that we are all one in the great cosmic universe. So, when I sing that National anthem tonight at my show in Lincoln, I will envision that America and these salt of the earth American kids who are dying to defend her. I will envision us all as one human family protecting and caring about each other in a pollution free, peaceful world with polar bears and hybrid cars and health insurance affordable to us all!

    Happy no more war, light up the smog free sky with fireworks 4th of July!

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

Secretary Paulson,

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.

Sincerely,

Michael Moore

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:

Military Leaders Against the President’s Veto

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:

VERY powerful video put to John Fogerty’s “Deja Vu”:

CODEPINK

TIMZ

Unfortunately most of us eventually become numb to the news reports and the statistics we hear each day about how many more individuals have lost their lives in Iraq. We never really take the time to find out more about the person behind the headlines. Hopefully a new online memorial, the Iraq Veterans Memorial, will bridge the gap between the statistics and the reality, between the flag-draped coffins and the memories left behind. Please take a few moments to check out this unique way of getting to know some of those who have died in this senseless war.

If you would like to take a more active role in voicing your concerns about this war, one group you may want to check out is MoveOn.org. If you are curious about the staggering losses suffered during the past four years, AntiWar.com has a constantly updated list.

Here’s hoping we will not be meeting again for a 5th anniversary of this horrific mistake.


Those who know me are well aware of my passion for live music of all sorts. That being said, I will admit that while my taste in music would easily be described as eclectic, rap has never really been something I could just pop in the CD player and listen to for hours on end. Give it to me in the infectious, body-moving sounds and beat of Ozomatli, or in the politically infused lyrics and rhythm section of B-Side Players, and I’m fine. Give me rap with nearly-naked women shaking and rubbing their body parts all over the place, and sorry, but no matter how important the rapper’s message might be, you’ve lost me.

Maybe that’s the difference for me: the message and how it is delivered. To that end I’d like to share with you a local talent (San Diego area) who not only has a message to share, but feels strong enough in it to do something I could never do: appear on anything FOX news-related! (UGH!) Tommy Hanna (AKA TIMZ in the music world), is an American-born rapper of Iraqi and Chaldean descent and someone whose music I first ran across due to his Super Chargers 2006 video (yes, I’m still in mourning over my Chargers NOT being in the Super Bowl…sigh). TIMZ recently released his debut album, “Open for Business” and is getting a lot of attention for his video/song “Iraq”. Definitely powerful stuff, definitely a strong message.

I’m including not only the video of “Iraq”, but also his recent appearance on George Bush’s media outlet (AKA FOX news), if you’ve got the stomach to watch Chuck Norris stumble through his attempt at being an interviewer. There’s also a story on the local ABC news affiliate, KGTV 10, and yes, I must also include “Super Chargers 2006″…part of the healing process for Chargers fans everywhere. 😉

In preparation for tonight’s State of the Union, I feel the need to post the link to my previous entry on George W. Bush (Worst joke ever=GWB) which included three videos—one especially powerful and thought-provoking. I would like to think that something in GWB’s speech will have me feeling differently about the man and his politics, but unfortunately I doubt that will happen. I suppose the only way that will occur is if he decided to do the right thing and announce he was stepping down. Hey, a gal can dream, can’t she? Unfortunately it is only in dreams where we can return to life those who have perished in this senseless war.

***Added some post-State of the Union thoughts in the comments below.***

Here is the joke that IS George W. Bush,

and here is the reality that is, unfortunately, George W. Bush.

And for that, I am truly sorry.

Peace.

Sniffin’ out the info

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