Archive for July 19th, 2007

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

CNN Throws in Towel, Admits to Two Errors, and States That All ‘Sicko’ Facts Are True to Their Source (or something like that)… Moore Realizes All This is Huge Distraction and Then Spends More Precious Time Thanking Paris Hilton for Seeing ‘Sicko’… Meanwhile, More than 300 Americans Die Because They Had No Health Insurance During the 8-Day Gupta-Moore War…

Friends,

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 [UPDATE: Michael’s appearance on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer has been postponed. More details soon.]. 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.

Yours,
Michael Moore
mmflint@aol.com
www.michaelmoore.com

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!

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January 29, 2005  (Please note the date.)

Polls Show Iraqis Want U.S. Troops Out

“Majorities of Iraq’s Sunni Arabs (82%) and Shiites (69%) favor U.S. forces withdrawing either immediately or after an elected government is in place,” according to a new Zogby Poll.

The Washington Post notes similar surveys: “Public opinion polls show 80 percent want the Americans out of their country. In the election campaign, one common theme among candidates was the withdrawal of occupying forces.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times says President Bush is following his “strategy of lowering expectations” about Sunday’s vote. Bush “was expected to speak publicly about the vote from the White House on Sunday.”

I can’t even post this article – the corruption just continues to trickle down.  To quote an acquaintance: “The balance of power in government (executive, legislative & judicial) is just a whisper in the wind.”

If you can stomach it – read the article in the Washington Post.  (There are rumors but no “factual evidence” that some covert agents died as a direct result of this serious breach of conduct.  But, hey – they’ve already proven that life matters little to any of them – unless it is their own.)

Say “When.” 

The ramifications of this order are mind-boggling.  If looked at with just a bit of a tweak, this order means that Congress cannot end the Iraq War because doing so might threaten the national security and stability of Iraq; if such legislation is enacted, all Congress-persons and Senators who vote for such action are subject to the confiscation of their personal wealth and property; the Executive Branch may ignore said legislation because it threatens national security and will cause instability in Iraq; the impeachment (or threat thereof) of the President and/or Vice President would also threaten our national security and the stability of Iraq; and if you protest the war, the President can take your “stuff.”

Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, as amended (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.)(IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.)(NEA), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, find that, due to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by acts of violence threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq and to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people, it is in the interests of the United States to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 of May 22, 2003, and expanded in Executive Order 13315 of August 28, 2003, and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13350 of July 29, 2004, and Executive Order 13364 of November 29, 2004. I hereby order:

Section 1. (a) Except to the extent provided in section 203(b)(1), (3), and (4) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(1), (3), and (4)), or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the date of this order, all property and interests in property of the following persons, that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of United States persons, are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported,

withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense,

(i) to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of:

(A) threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; or

(B) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people;

(ii) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such an act or acts of violence or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or

(iii) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.

(b) The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section include, but are not limited to, (i) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order, and (ii) the

receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

Sec. 2. (a) Any transaction by a United States person or within the United States that evades or avoids, has the purpose

of evading or avoiding, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

Sec. 3. For purposes of this order:

(a) the term “person” means an individual or entity;

(b) the term “entity” means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization; and

(c) the term “United States person” means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.

Sec. 4. I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 and expanded in Executive Order 13315, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.

Sec. 5. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that, because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets

instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render these measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 and expanded in Executive Order 13315, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1(a) of this order.

Sec. 6. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government, consistent with applicable law. All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order and, where appropriate, to advise the Secretary of the Treasury in a timely manner of the measures taken.

Sec. 7. Nothing in this order is intended to affect the continued effectiveness of any rules, regulations, orders, licenses, or other forms of administrative action issued, taken, or continued in effect heretofore or hereafter under 31 C.F.R. chapter V, except as expressly terminated, modified, or suspended by or pursuant to this order.

Sec. 8. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right, benefit, or privilege, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.

GEORGE W. BUSH

THE WHITE HOUSE,

July 17, 2007.

# # #


Everything’s Terror In The United States Of Hysteria
Even though there’s been no actual terror in six years and you’re more likely to get struck by lightning

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
Thursday, July 19, 2007

As soon as news filtered out of a steam pipe blast in Manhattan yesterday evening, everyone’s first thought was terrorism, proving once again that in the six terror free years since 9/11, the Bush administration has created a United States of hysteria – and handed the terrorists a victory they could never have achieved alone – changing our very way of life.

Investment banker Heiko Thieme summed up the situation yesterday, telling the media, “Everybody was a bit confused, everybody obviously thought of 9/11,” following a underground steam pipe explosion that sent smoke billowing into the late afternoon New York skyline.

Yesterday’s events, though tragic for those injured and the one person that died, were reminiscent of last year’s incident in Washington D.C., where huge swathes of the city as well as schools and other buildings were evacuated and shut down after a construction drill was mistaken for gunfire in the Capitol Hill area.

The opportunity to parade SWAT teams, sniffer dogs, police with assault weapons and armed FBI tactical units wearing flak jackets did not go to waste on that occasion and the reaction was another damning indictment and a realization that the “terrorists” have won – they have changed our way of life and turned us into spineless scaredy cats who immediately panic at any loud noise.This is akin to the Vietnam vet who, returning home from conflict, nearly had a heart attack every time a bus backfired. In that case, the soldier had every justification to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder – he had seen his friends die and had had people shooting at him every day, but can average Americans really cite the same excuse, or has the simple formula of constant fearmongering on behalf of the Bush administration turned the nation into a legion of mentally damaged jellyfish?


The Fear: It certainly looked like a scene from 9/11, but how much does rampant government fearmongering play into the mindset that every loud bang is a terror attack, when there hasn’t been one in the U.S. for six years?

In reality, you’re more likely to get killed by peanut allergies, accident causing deer or lightning strikes than acts of terrorism. To equal the danger that Americans place themselves in every day by driving their car down the highway, there would have to be a 9/11 every month. To reach the same level of risk that one undertakes in boarding an airline, you only have to travel eleven miles in a car.

Reports of suspicious packages that routinely turn out to be dirty diapers or packs of sandwiches have doubled since 9/11, swamping police and bomb disposal teams and distracting them should there be any real threat.

There hasn’t been a terror attack inside America for nearly six years and yet everyone’s first thought whenever something’s amiss is that it’s terrorism, when in every case since 9/11, be it Corey Lidle’s errant Cirrus SR20 plane striking a Manhattan apartment block or the ridiculous farce of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force advertising campaign, nothing is going on except the runaway paranoia generated solely by our government’s promise that a new attack in inevitable and imminent.

Those responsible for inoculating America with this collective paranoia is of course the U.S. government, who have done their utmost to beef up “Al-Qaeda” to a level of influence they could have never achieved without the added relentless PR drive of the Neo-Cons and the sycophantic sensationalist media.

This climate of foreboding creates the very kind of society the “terrorists” hope to master, where freedoms are casually violated as some kind of token sacrifice to the Fear God, all at the behest of a government that continues to function solely on the unifying force of an imagined outside threat.

 

We’ve been asking the question “Why Clinton and not Bush?!” This article explains it very clearly – along with why we won’t be seeing any real change any time soon.

by Butler Shaffer

Why do the Democrats, with control of both the House and Senate since last year’s elections, continue to twiddle their thumbs over the policies and practices of a corrupt president? Yes, they did spearhead a bill through the House that requires a withdrawal of troops from Iraq by April, 2008, a measure that media propagandists dutifully offered as having some significance. But those who take the time to carefully read legislation realize that this was but another empty, cynical gesture; the latest expression of “bipartisan” meaninglessness designed solely to placate an increasingly disgruntled booboisie. Even in the unlikelihood of the bill being signed by the president – assuming a similar proposal passes the Senate – there does not appear to be sufficient Congressional support for it to override his veto.

But Mr. Bush’s signing or non-signing of such legislation would not restrain his continuing the mayhem and slaughter visited upon Iraqis who do not fully appreciate their “liberation.” The bill contains a number of provisos, such as the keeping of a sufficient number of soldiers to help train Iraqi troops, to protect U.S. government properties, and to fight terrorists. The judgment as to when such conditions exist, and what numbers of troops would be necessary to deal with such problems, would, of course, remain in the hands of Mr. Bush. In other words, this bill would leave the president in precisely the same position he now enjoys, with this added benefit: he could rationalize his policies in terms of carrying out the express will of Congress!

Serious critics of both Mr. Bush and the Democrats ask why the latter do not undertake the impeachment of the former. Nancy Pelosi, whose every word and gesture belie the allegedly oppositional role of the Democrats, announced, immediately after the 2006 election results, that the impeachment of Mr. Bush was not a matter the Democrats would pursue with their newly-gained power. “Why not?”, many asked, particularly since Congress had been eager to impeach Bill Clinton for his far-lesser offenses. Should a man who lied America into an unprovoked, criminal attack that has thus far produced a million deaths, be more favorably treated than a man who lied about his sexual behavior in the White House? The few intelligent minds remaining in this intellectually benumbed society continue to ask this question.

If one takes the trouble to examine the matter from the perspective of the machinations that dominate all political behavior, the answer becomes apparent. Though Republicans and Democrats have their personal and minor policy differences, they are in agreement on one basic point: their “bipartisan” support for the preservation and aggrandizement of the power of the state. They understand – as do members of the mainstream media – that their principal obligation is to serve the well-being of the political power structure that long ago laid uncontested claim to the ownership of modern society.

The interests of Democratic and Republican officials alike are best served by the maximization of political power. If “government” is defined as an agency enjoying a monopoly on the lawful use of force within a given territory, what politically ambitious person would not want to enjoy as much of that power as he or she can muster? And since such a purpose not only suits the interests of the ruling establishment, but defines its existence, a symbiotic relationship between these two groups is easily fashioned.

Because the state and its de facto owners thrive on the exercise of force, any circumstance that enhances the power of government will be embraced and eagerly pursued. This is the meaning behind Randolph Bourne’s classic observation that “war is the health of the state.” It also explains the well-orchestrated fervor over global warming or any other dire threat du jour. Likewise, anything that diminishes state power will be resisted by all who have a vested interest in the exercise of such authority. At its base, this is what accounts for the refusal of the political establishment and its news media to acknowledge the existence of Ron Paul’s candidacy. Paul is persona non grata to these forces for one reason alone: his insistence upon drastically reducing state power.

Because, as Acton reminded us, power is a corrupting influence and, as such, its excesses can dissipate the public sanction upon which its continued exercise depends, the state must occasionally perform cosmetic surgery upon itself in order to restore its image. Thus, civil liberties groups may be successful in getting the courts to enjoin some minor prohibition (e.g., a statute criminalizing flag-burning), not out of any innate defense of individual liberty, but to create the appearance that the state is a force that can be tamed by a reasoned dedication to principle. In such ways does Boobus Americanus get lulled into the passive mindset that allows state power to retain its popular image as a latent but controllable system.

But what events or conditions are appropriate for this cathartic exercise? If there is a growing popular disaffection for governmental excesses, to what ritualistic remedies might the establishment resort without, in the process, posing a threat to the power base upon which it is is dependent? The exercise of monopoly powers can often prove embarrassing to the state which must, for the sake of not looking foolish or unprincipled, resort to superficial hygienic measures.

When Bill Clinton’s social life became an embarrassment to the establishment, his impeachment had the aforementioned cleansing consequences without, in the process, threatening the power structure. Lying about one’s sexual behavior – particularly when conducted in the inner sanctum of state power (i.e., the Oval Office) – is not an activity that is either essential to, or enhances, the exercise of state power. Thus, Clinton could be impeached, and public respect for the presidency restored without, in the process, depleting the coercive authority of the state. For the same reason can the likes of “Scooter” Libby, Lynndie England, Jack Abramoff, et al., be offered up in sacrifice to the purgative needs of the state.

The Iraq war – both as to its genesis and conduct – has likewise proven an embarrassment to the established order. The lies, deception, forged documents, and corporate-state financial corruption that have defined this undertaking, have sent public respect for President Bush as well as Congress into free-fall. The state cannot long endure such humiliation. But what can be done about it? Impeaching Bill Clinton was relatively easy, because state power was not threatened in any way. But in the case of George W., his malefactions go to the essence of power. He has dismantled any semblance of constitutional government, with its “separation of powers,” into a “unitary presidency” which, in any other society, would correctly be labeled a “dictatorship.” Nor does Mr. Bush make any pretense to the contrary, referring to himself as “the decider” and having, on more than one occasion, expressed his preference for a dictatorship, “just so long as I’m the dictator.”

President Bush feels not the least bit constrained by such niceties as the Bill of Rights, nor of the power of Congress to legislate regarding matters of which he disapproves. He will sign legislation and then state his intentions to selectively enforce, or to ignore altogether, statutory provisions enacted by Congress. He has also announced his intentions to attack – with nuclear weapons, should he desire to use them – any nation he has unilaterally selected as “terrorist.” Should even the slightest squeak of protest be offered to his despotic practices, he will play to the peanut gallery by invoking “the troops,” or “terrorism,” or the phrase that his would-be successor, Rudy Giuliani, has made the entirety of his campaign: “9/11.” He has elevated himself, with little or no objection from most Americans, to the status Louis XIV once declared of himself: “I am the state.”

Don’t think that any of this has gone unnoticed or unappreciated by either the owners of the political apparatus, or the politicians and government officials who are allowed to play on it. With only token objection, Mr. Bush has greatly expanded the exercise of arbitrary, unrestrained executive power and, in so doing, ended any pretense of a system of constitutionally-defined government. With the idea of an imperial presidency so readily accepted by most Americans, the owners and managers of the political order are reluctant to advocate any actions that might threaten this newly-gained source of power.

We have already seen, in the so-called Republican “debates,” how eager so many of their presidential hopefuls are to emulate the war-making practices of Mr. Bush. Nor do most of the Democrats show any dispositions for a restrained American state. I can imagine Al Gore drooling over the prospects of becoming “the decider” of matters related to global warming, or Hillary Clinton envisioning herself as the “dictator” of health care to the American people.

The thought of impeaching Mr. Bush thus poses a major dilemma to all members of the political establishment. If the deceit, corruption, criminality, and downright stupidity of his administration have so embarrassed the system as to endanger its continued approval, is it possible to rehabilitate its image by any means short of impeachment? But since his impeachment would necessarily implicate the over-grasping for power that the rest of the political order would love to exercise on behalf of their own ambitions, dare any such hearings be undertaken?

Thomas Jefferson got it right when, in 1819, he observed: “Experience has already shown that the impeachment the Constitution has provided is not even a scarecrow.” Those who seek or want to hold onto their existing power are not about to condemn the man who has done so much to extend its reach.

July 17, 2007

 

Butler Shaffer teaches at the Southwestern University School of Law. He is the author of Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival.

Copyright © 2007 LewRockwell.com