Michael Moore

'Fascism Is at the Door Step': Michael Moore Asks Bill Maher If People Are Ready to Die to Protect Democracy from Trump

Bill Maher has long been warning that Donald Trump is instituting a slow-moving coup to undermine American democracy.

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Tonight You Should Be at the Nearest Federal Courthouse Denouncing Trump's Supreme Court Nominee

There's no way to put a good face on what will happen tonight at 8pm when Donald J. Trump begins his attempted takeover/coup of our United States Supreme Court. Tonight he will announce his first choice to fill the seat the Republicans have refused to let President Obama fill for the past year.

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Michael Moore: 7 Things We Must Do as Trump Prepares for the White House

1. Must quickly and decisively form an opposition movement, the likes of which hasn't been seen since the 1960s. I will do my part to help lead this as I'm sure many others (Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, MoveOn, the hip-hop community, DFA, etc.) will, too. The core of this opposition force will be fueled by young people who, as with Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter, don't tolerate BS and are relentless in their resistance to authority. They have no interest in compromising with racists and misogynists.

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Michael Moore: Morning-After To-Do List

1. Take over the Democratic Party and return it to the people. They have failed us miserably.

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Michael Moore: We All Know Trump Isn't the Only Groper in the GOP

The rats are quickly jumping from the sinking ship of Trump. But not so fast, dear Republican senators and congressmen. Trump may have verbalized his misogyny, sexism and abuse of women into an open microphone, but over the past decades you ― YOU ― have LEGALIZED it. He may talk of “grabbing”  sexual organs, but YOU have created laws that legally grab control over women’s bodies. Trump may brag about his power over women; YOU, the Republican legislators (and your backers, the Christian Right and rich businessmen), have made sure women aren’t paid the same as men, don’t have paid maternity leave, or can’t get easy access to birth control.

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Michael Moore: Trump Is Self-Sabotaging His Campaign Because He Never Really Wanted the Job in the First Place

Donald Trump never actually wanted to be president of the United States. I know this for a fact. I’m not going to say how I know it. I’m not saying that Trump and I shared the same agent or lawyer or stylist, or if we did, that would have anything to do with anything. And I’m certainly not saying I ever overheard anything at those agencies or in the hallways of NBC or anywhere else. But there are certain people reading this right now, they know who they are, and they know that every word in the following paragraphs actually happened.

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President Obama, Please Come to Flint

Dear President Obama,

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Michael Moore: In Defense of My Friend Bill Maher's Statements on Islam

Bill Maher is a friend of mine. He stood up for me when I was attacked after my Oscar speech (given on the fourth night of the Iraq War, a war Bill publicly opposed while 70% of the country, including the majority of Democrats in the U.S. Senate, supported it), and I stood up for him when ABC fired him and cancelled his show when he attempted to stop the hysteria and fear-mongering after 9-11 -- resulting in the Bush White House publicly ordering him to watch what he says -- or else. When Bill got his HBO show, he went on a 7-year tear against the Bush administration and became one of our most unapologetic and unrelenting voices against the insanity being shoved down our throats.

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Michael Moore: The Obamacare We Deserve

Today marks the beginning of health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act’s new insurance exchanges, for which two million Americans have signed up. Now that the individual mandate is officially here, let me begin with an admission: Obamacare is awful.

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Michael Moore: How My Friend and Current Oscar Nominee Was Held and Threatened with Deportation at LAX

Tuesday night was the Motion Picture Academy-sponsored dinner in Beverly Hills honoring the directors and producers of this year's five nominated films for Best Documentary. The dinner was an occasional tradition my wife and I started six years ago when we took our fellow nominees (we were nominated for 'Sicko') out for a meal to get to know each other. The Academy liked the idea, so this year it is holding dinners during Oscar Week for each of the separate branches' Oscar nominees.

Thus, last night, as an elected Governor of the Documentary Branch, I and my fellow Governors – Michael Apted and Rob Epstein – were co-hosting the nominee dinner for the documentary filmmakers. But one of the nominated directors was not there – Emad Burnat, the co-director of the Oscar-nominated '5 Broken Cameras.' This exceptional, award-winning movie about how Emad's village in the West Bank used non-violence to oppose the Israeli's government's decision to build a wall straight through their farms and village – only to see (and capture on camera) Israeli soldiers shooting unarmed Palestinian civilians – had become the first Palestinian documentary ever to be nominated by the Academy.

While we awaited Emad's arrival from the airport – he and his family had already spent nearly six hours at an Israeli checkpoint as he was attempting to drive to Amman to catch their plane – I received an urgent text from Emad, written to me from a holding pen at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Here is what it said, in somewhat broken English:

"Urgent - I am in the air port la they need more information why I come here 
Invitation or some thing 
Can you help they will send us back 
If you late 
Emad"

I quickly texted him back and told him that help was on the way. He wrote back to say Immigration and Customs was holding him, his wife, Soraya, and their 8-year old son (and "star" of the movie) Gibreel in a detention room at LAX. He said they would not believe him when he told them he was an Oscar-nominated director on his way to this Sunday's Oscars and to the events in LA leading up to the ceremony. He is also a Palestinian. And a olive farmer. Apparently that was too much for Homeland Security to wrap its head around. 

"They are saying they are going to put us on the next plane back to Amman," he told me. 

I immediately contacted the Academy CEO Dawn Hudson and COO Ric Robertson, who in turn told Academy President Hawk Koch. They got ahold of the Academy's attorney who is also partners with a top immigration attorney and they went to work on it. I called the State Department in DC. 

I told Emad to give the Homeland Security people my name and cell number and to have them call me ASAP so I could explain who he was and why they should let him go.

After being held for somewhere between one and two hours, with repeated suggestions that the U.S. may not let him into the country – saying that they may send him back home – the authorities relented and released Emad and his family. 

I texted him to say we would not start the dinner until he arrived. When he got there, he was fairly shaken and upset.

He told us that this sort of treatment is something he is used to "on a daily basis under Occupation." He gave an eloquent and moving impromptu speech, in his usual soft-spoken voice, to his fellow nominees. He said this was his 6th trip with his film to the U.S. this year and that this was the first time he was detained. He said they wanted to see some "official document" that he was an actual nominee. I said, "Doesn't Immigration have Google?" 

The Americans in the dining room apologized to Emad for the way our government and its security police treated him. We then sat down and ate some good ol' American roast beef.

(Tonight at 7:30 pm in the Academy's theater on Wilshire Boulevard, I will host a discussion on stage with all the documentary nominees and show clips of their films. Emad Burnat will be there. The event is open to the public.)

Michael Moore and Chris Hedges on the 'Corporate Coup d’État' and the Govt's Moves to Jail People without Charges or Trial

AMY GOODMAN: Last week, the ability of the U.S. government to jail people without charge or trial was back in court. A group of reporters, scholars and activists, including Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges, are suing the Obama administration over the controversial provision in the NDAA, the National Defense Authorization Act, saying it could allow for the indefinite detention of journalists and others who interact with certain groups. Well, last Wednesday, the Justice Department asked an appeals court to reverse a judge’s earlier decision blocking indefinite detention, saying the ruling would hamper its ability to fight terrorism. The Obama administration has already won an emergency freeze of the ruling while the case is appealed.

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Michael Moore's Repellent Defense of “Zero Dark Thirty"

Editor's Note: The following is Dave Clennon's response to Michael Moore's recent writeup and impassioned defense of director Kathryn Bigelow's film, Zero Dark Thirty, which has relaunched a debate about the use of torture in the 'War on Terror.' Moore's article appears below Clennon's response. 

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Michael Moore: 3 Reasons America Is Falling Apart -- And How We Can Save Ourselves

After watching the deranged, delusional National Rifle Association press conference on Friday, it was clear that the Mayan prophecy had come true. Except the only world that was ending was the NRA's. Their bullying power to set gun policy in this country is over. The nation is repulsed by the massacre in Connecticut, and the signs are everywhere:a basketball coach at a post-game press conferencethe Republican Joe Scarborougha pawn shop owner in Floridaa gun buy-back program in New Jerseya singing contest show on TV, and the conservative gun-owning judge who sentenced Jared Loughner.

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Michael Moore: 10 Things Obama Should Do

Dear President Obama:

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Michael Moore: Election Night was a Rebuke to Neanderthals Across America

This country has truly changed, and I believe there will be no going back. Hate lost yesterday. That is amazing in and of itself. And all the women who were elected last night! A total rebuke of Neanderthal attitudes.

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"President Romney" -- Why Those Two Words Should Scare You into Action This Election

In two months we Americans will go to the polls once again to decide who the president will be for the next four years. We will not be allowed to vote on those who wield the true power in this country. On November 6th we will not vote for the chairman of ExxonMobil or JPMorgan Chase or Citibank or the Premier of China. That day will come, but not this year. 

Now, I know there are a goodly number of you out there who believe there's not a snowball's chance in Kenya that Barack Obama will not be re-elected to the White House. And why would you believe otherwise? After the incredible Democratic convention this week, with the best rock-em-sock-em speeches I've heard from a Democrat's mouth since … since, I don't know when. You can't help but not have a contact high after this past week if you are of the sort who believes in economic justice, peace, and a five-dollar latte. Right now, with the buzz on, you are sitting there thinking that your fellow Americans will turn out in massive numbers, either because they want to continue the Obama era or because they're scared shitless of the barbarians at the gate – or both. You're convinced that the Republicans have blown it with all their talk of the lady parts they want to control even though we now know that they have no idea where those parts are, what they are, or how they work. 

Yes, it certainly looks like the voters will reject this obscenely wealthy man called Romney — Romney of Michigan/Massachusetts/New Hampshire/ Utah/Zurich/Grand Cayman — this man who will not explain exactly how all his wealth was obtained, where he keeps it, or how much taxes he pays on it. He wants to turn the clock back to the '50s – the 1850s – and he refuses to offer any specific plan about what he'll do about anything. He wants to run the country like a corporation but he can't even control one 82-year-old actor on his own convention stage, a Hollywood legend who, in the matter of ten and a half minutes went from Good (walking onto the stage) to Bad (talking to a chair) and then to Ugly (the chair started … swearing?). It was better than the best cat-flushing-the-toilet video on YouTube and it was a gift to all of us who know that Romney is doomed come November. 

Or is he? 

Last week, I said on the HuffPost Live webcast that we had all better start practicing how to say "President Romney" because, living in Michigan, I can tell you that there's trouble here on the two peninsulas and it's not just because Romney is a native son or that we like to watch kids from Cranbrook chase down gay kids and chop their hair off. One recent poll here showed Romney leading Obama by four points! How can that be? Didn't Obama save Detroit? 

No, he didn't. He saved General Motors and Chrysler. "Detroit" (and Flint and Pontiac and Saginaw) are not defined by the global corporations who suck our towns dry and then split town to make more money elsewhere (except, of course, they continued to design and built crap cars, so eventually they didn't make the money at all). These cities in Michigan are about the people who live here, and in the process of "saving Detroit," Mr. Obama had to fire thousands of these people, and reduce the benefits and pensions of those who were left. There's a lot of pissed off people in Michigan (and Wisconsin and Ohio), people who weren't saved even though the corporation was. I'm just stating a fact, and those of you who don't live here should know this. 

The other problem facing us this election (spoiler alert – angry white guys may want to stop reading right now) … is race. We all fear there's probably a good 40% of the country who simply do not want a black man in the Oval Office. In fact, in 2008, Obama lost the white vote. He lost every white age group except young people (18-29). And yet he still won by 10 million votes! The optimistic secret the Obama people know is that only about 70% of the voters in November will be white. So if he can win just 35-40% of them, and then get a massive majority of people of color, he can win re-election. There is no question in my mind that Obama is more popular than Romney and if everyone could vote from their couch like they do for American Idol, Obama would win hands down. As I have said before, we live in a liberal country. The majority of Americans (who do not call themselves "liberal") now support most of the liberal agenda – they're for gay marriage, they're pro-choice, they're anti-war, they believe there's global warming, and they hate Wall Street for what it has done to them and their neighbors.

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Don't Let'em Persecute Wikileaks, It'll Make Journalists Criminals Around the Globe

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
We have spent our careers as filmmakers making the case that the news media in the United States often fail to inform Americans about the uglier actions of our own government. We therefore have been deeply grateful for the accomplishments of WikiLeaks, and applaud Ecuador's decision to grant diplomatic asylum to its founder, Julian Assange, who is now living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. 
Ecuador has acted in accordance with important principles of international human rights. Indeed, nothing could demonstrate the appropriateness of Ecuador's action more than the British government's threat to violate a sacrosanct principle of diplomatic relations and invade the embassy to arrest Mr. Assange.
Since WikiLeaks' founding, it has revealed the "Collateral Murder" footage that shows the seemingly indiscriminate killing of Baghdad civilians by a United States Apache attack helicopter; further fine-grained detail about the true face of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; United States collusion with Yemen's dictatorship to conceal our responsibility for bombing strikes there; the Obama administration's pressure on other nations not to prosecute Bush-era officials for torture; and much more.
Predictably, the response from those who would prefer that Americans remain in the dark has been ferocious. Top elected leaders from both parties have called Mr. Assange a "high-tech terrorist." And Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who leads the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has demanded that he be prosecuted under the Espionage Act. Most Americans, Britons and Swedes are unaware that Sweden has not formally charged Mr. Assange with any crime. Rather, it has issued a warrant for his arrest to question him about allegations of sexual assault in 2010.
All such allegations must be thoroughly investigated before Mr. Assange moves to a country that might put him beyond the reach of the Swedish justice system. But it is the British and Swedish governments that stand in the way of an investigation, not Mr. Assange.
Swedish authorities have traveled to other countries to conduct interrogations when needed, and the WikiLeaks founder has made clear his willingness to be questioned in London. Moreover, the Ecuadorean government made a direct offer to Sweden to allow Mr. Assange to be interviewed within Ecuador's embassy. In both instances, Sweden refused.
Mr. Assange has also committed to traveling to Sweden immediately if the Swedish government pledges that it will not extradite him to the United States. Swedish officials have shown no interest in exploring this proposal, and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt recently told a legal adviser to Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks unequivocally that Sweden would not make such a pledge. The British government would also have the right under the relevant treaty to prevent Mr. Assange's extradition to the United States from Sweden, and has also refused to pledge that it would use this power. Ecuador's attempts to facilitate that arrangement with both governments were rejected.
Taken together, the British and Swedish governments' actions suggest to us that their real agenda is to get Mr. Assange to Sweden. Because of treaty and other considerations, he probably could be more easily extradited from there to the United States to face charges. Mr. Assange has every reason to fear such an outcome.The Justice Department recently confirmed that it was continuing to investigate WikiLeaks, and just-disclosed Australian government documents from this past February state that "the U.S. investigation into possible criminal conduct by Mr. Assange has been ongoing for more than a year." WikiLeaks itself has published e-mails from Stratfor, a private intelligence corporation, which state that a grand jury has already returned a sealed indictment of Mr. Assange. And history indicates Sweden would buckle to any pressure from the United States to hand over Mr. Assange. In 2001 the Swedish government delivered two Egyptians seeking asylum to the C.I.A., which rendered them to the Mubarak regime, which tortured them.
If Mr. Assange is extradited to the United States, the consequences will reverberate for years around the world. Mr. Assange is not an American citizen, and none of his actions have taken place on American soil. If the United States can prosecute a journalist in these circumstances, the governments of Russia or China could, by the same logic, demand that foreign reporters anywhere on earth be extradited for violating their laws. The setting of such a precedent should deeply concern everyone, admirers of WikiLeaks or not.
We urge the people of Britain and Sweden to demand that their governments answer some basic questions: Why do the Swedish authorities refuse to question Mr. Assange in London? And why can neither government promise that Mr. Assange will not be extradited to the United States? The citizens of Britain and Sweden have a rare opportunity to make a stand for free speech on behalf of the entire globe.
Michael Moore and Oliver Stone are Academy Award-winning filmmakers.

How Corporate America Is Pushing Us All Off a Cliff

When someone talks about pushing you off a cliff, it's just human nature to be curious about them. Who are these people, you wonder, and why would they want to do such a thing?

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Michael Moore Blames Iraq War on Liberals and The New York Times

I know we've been "free" of the Iraq War for two weeks now and our minds have turned to the new football season and Fashion Week in New York. And how exciting that the new fall TV season is just days away!

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Michael Moore Debates Himself Over Obama Winning the Nobel Peace Prize

The following is Michael Moore's follow-up letter to his initial reaction on Obama winning the Nobel Peace prize. The original letter appears below that:

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The Rich Are Staging a Coup Right Now

Update: House votes no on Paulson's bailout

Friends,





Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.




No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:

Michael Moore Fires Back at Lieberman for RNC Comments


(Last night, during his primetime speech from the podium at the Republican National Convention, Senator Joe Lieberman made the following statement: "... if John McCain is just another partisan Republican, then I'm Michael Moore's favorite Democrat.  And I'm not. And I think you know that I'm not.")

Dear Joe:

John McCain IS just another partisan Republican -- so that must mean you ARE my favorite Democrat!

But how can you be my favorite Democrat when you are no longer a Democrat? This is very confusing. I was in the middle of taking out the garbage and, all of a sudden, there you were, trash-talking me in front of thousands of cheering (mostly) white people on TV.

What is it with you and your Republican friends always bringing me up? Can't you stop thinking about me? It's starting to sound like a fetish! Stop it! Four years ago at the last Republican Convention, John McCain, in his convention speech, also trashed me, calling me a "disingenuous filmmaker" because I called all of you out in "Fahrenheit 9/11." The crowd at Madison Square Garden went berserk. McCain didn't know I was sitting above him in the press box, and the crowd wouldn't stop screaming at me, so I flashed them the "Big L" loser sign and, well, nine of New York's finest had to help me get out of there alive.

With all the problems facing the world, why is valuable time being wasted reviewing a movie and attacking a filmmaker? And now you, Joe, tonight. Do you think you're energizing the "base" by attacking me? Better take a look at the scoreboard. While your side has spent years trying to make me the boogeyman, let's see how it's worked:
  • 2006 Congressional elections: Republicans lose 30 seats in the House and 6 seats in the Senate;
  • States That Have Lost a Republican Governor (and elected a Democrat) since 2002: Kansas, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Tennessee -- EACH ONE OF THEM A RED STATE!;
  • Latest Gallup Poll: Obama hit 50% yesterday for the first time for either candidate, 8 points ahead of McCain!

Do you see the trend?

Quitting Iraq Is the Only Brave Thing to Do


November 27 marks the day that we will have been in Iraq longer than we were in all of World War II.



That's right. We were able to defeat all of Nazi Germany, Mussolini, and the entire Japanese empire in LESS time than it's taken the world's only superpower to secure the road from the airport to downtown Baghdad.



And we haven't even done THAT. After 1,347 days, in the same time it took us to took us to sweep across North Africa, storm the beaches of Italy, conquer the South Pacific, and liberate all of Western Europe, we cannot, after over 3 and 1/2 years, even take over a single highway and protect ourselves from a homemade device of two tin cans placed in a pothole. No wonder the cab fare from the airport into Baghdad is now running around $35,000 for the 25-minute ride. And that doesn't even include a friggin' helmet.



Is this utter failure the fault of our troops? Hardly. That's because no amount of troops or choppers or democracy shot out of the barrel of a gun is ever going to "win" the war in Iraq. It is a lost war, lost because it never had a right to be won, lost because it was started by men who have never been to war, men who hide behind others sent to fight and die.



Let's listen to what the Iraqi people are saying, according to a recent poll conducted by the University of Maryland:



** 71% of all Iraqis now want the U.S. out of Iraq.



** 61% of all Iraqis SUPPORT insurgent attacks on U.S. troops.



Yes, the vast majority of Iraqi citizens believe that our soldiers should be killed and maimed! So what the hell are we still doing there? Talk about not getting the hint.



There are many ways to liberate a country. Usually the residents of that country rise up and liberate themselves. That's how we did it. You can also do it through nonviolent, mass civil disobedience. That's how India did it. You can get the world to boycott a regime until they are so ostracized they capitulate. That's how South Africa did it. Or you can just wait them out and, sooner or later, the king's legions simply leave (sometimes just because they're too cold). That's how Canada did it.



The one way that DOESN'T work is to invade a country and tell the people, "We are here to liberate you!" -- when they have done NOTHING to liberate themselves. Where were all the suicide bombers when Saddam was oppressing them? Where were the insurgents planting bombs along the roadside as the evildoer Saddam's convoy passed them by? I guess ol' Saddam was a cruel despot -- but not cruel enough for thousands to risk their necks. "Oh no, Mike, they couldn't do that! Saddam would have had them killed!" Really? You don't think King George had any of the colonial insurgents killed? You don't think Patrick Henry or Tom Paine were afraid? That didn't stop them. When tens of thousands aren't willing to shed their own blood to remove a dictator, that should be the first clue that they aren't going to be willing participants when you decide you're going to do the liberating for them.



A country can HELP another people overthrow a tyrant (that's what the French did for us in our revolution), but after you help them, you leave. Immediately. The French didn't stay and tell us how to set up our government. They didn't say, "we're not leaving because we want your natural resources." They left us to our own devices and it took us six years before we had an election. And then we had a bloody civil war. That's what happens, and history is full of these examples. The French didn't say, "Oh, we better stay in America, otherwise they're going to kill each other over that slavery issue!"



The only way a war of liberation has a chance of succeeding is if the oppressed people being liberated have their own citizens behind them -- and a group of Washingtons, Jeffersons, Franklins, Gandhis and Mandellas leading them. Where are these beacons of liberty in Iraq? This is a joke and it's been a joke since the beginning. Yes, the joke's been on us, but with 655,000 Iraqis now dead as a result of our invasion (source: Johns Hopkins University), I guess the cruel joke is on them. At least they've been liberated, permanently.



So I don't want to hear another word about sending more troops (wake up, America, John McCain is bonkers), or "redeploying" them, or waiting four months to begin the "phase-out." There is only one solution and it is this: Leave. Now. Start tonight. Get out of there as fast as we can. As much as people of good heart and conscience don't want to believe this, as much as it kills us to accept defeat, there is nothing we can do to undo the damage we have done. What's happened has happened. If you were to drive drunk down the road and you killed a child, there would be nothing you could do to bring that child back to life. If you invade and destroy a country, plunging it into a civil war, there isn't much you can do 'til the smoke settles and blood is mopped up. Then maybe you can atone for the atrocity you have committed and help the living come back to a better life.



The Soviet Union got out of Afghanistan in 36 weeks. They did so and suffered hardly any losses as they left. They realized the mistake they had made and removed their troops. A civil war ensued. The bad guys won. Later, we overthrew the bad guys and everybody lived happily ever after. See! It all works out in the end!



The responsibility to end this war now falls upon the Democrats. Congress controls the purse strings and the Constitution says only Congress can declare war. Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi now hold the power to put an end to this madness. Failure to do so will bring the wrath of the voters. We aren't kidding around, Democrats, and if you don't believe us, just go ahead and continue this war another month. We will fight you harder than we did the Republicans. The opening page of my website has a photo of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, each made up by a collage of photos of the American soldiers who have died in Bush's War. But it is now about to become the Bush/Democratic Party War unless swift action is taken.



This is what we demand:




1. Bring the troops home now. Not six months from now. NOW. Quit looking for a way to win. We can't win. We've lost. Sometimes you lose. This is one of those times. Be brave and admit it.



2. Apologize to our soldiers and make amends. Tell them we are sorry they were used to fight a war that had NOTHING to do with our national security. We must commit to taking care of them so that they suffer as little as possible. The mentally and physically maimed must get the best care and significant financial compensation. The families of the deceased deserve the biggest apology and they must be taken care of for the rest of their lives.



3. We must atone for the atrocity we have perpetuated on the people of Iraq. There are few evils worse than waging a war based on a lie, invading another country because you want what they have buried under the ground. Now many more will die. Their blood is on our hands, regardless for whom we voted. If you pay taxes, you have contributed to the three billion dollars a week now being spent to drive Iraq into the hellhole it's become. When the civil war is over, we will have to help rebuild Iraq. We can receive no redemption until we have atoned.



In closing, there is one final thing I know. We Americans are better than what has been done in our name. A majority of us were upset and angry after 9/11 and we lost our minds. We didn't think straight and we never looked at a map. Because we are kept stupid through our pathetic education system and our lazy media, we knew nothing of history. We didn't know that WE were the ones funding and arming Saddam for many years, including those when he massacred the Kurds. He was our guy. We didn't know what a Sunni or a Shiite was, never even heard the words. Eighty percent of our young adults (according to National Geographic) were not able to find Iraq on the map. Our leaders played off our stupidity, manipulated us with lies, and scared us to death.



But at our core we are a good people. We may be slow learners, but that "Mission Accomplished" banner struck us as odd, and soon we began to ask some questions. Then we began to get smart. By this past November 7th, we got mad and tried to right our wrongs. The majority now know the truth. The majority now feel a deep sadness and guilt and a hope that somehow we can make make it all right again.



Unfortunately, we can't. So we will accept the consequences of our actions and do our best to be there should the Iraqi people ever dare to seek our help in the future. We ask for their forgiveness.



We demand the Democrats listen to us and get out of Iraq now.

Got Health Care Horror Stories?

How would you like to be in my next movie? I know you've probably heard I'm making a documentary about the health care industry. (But the HMOs don't know this, so don't tell them -- they think I'm making a romantic comedy.)

If you've followed my work over the years, you know that I keep a pretty low profile while I'm making my movies. I don't give interviews, I don't go on TV and I don't defrost my refrigerator. I do keep my website updated on a daily basis (there's been something like 4,000,000 visitors just this week alone) and the rest of the time I'm … well, I can't tell you what I'm doing, but you can pretty much guess. It gets harder and harder sneaking into corporate headquarters, but I've found that just dying my hair black and wearing a skort really helps.

Back to my invitation to be in my movie. Have you ever found yourself getting ready to file for bankruptcy because you can't pay your kid's hospital bill, and then you say to yourself, "Boy, I sure would like to be in Michael Moore's health care movie!"?

Or, after being turned down for the third time by your HMO for an operation they should be paying for, do you ever think to yourself, "Now THIS travesty should be in that 'Sicko' movie!"?

Or maybe you've just been told that your father is going to have to just, well, die because he can't afford the drugs he needs to get better -- and it's then that you say, "Damn, what did I do with Michael Moore's home number?!"

OK, here's your chance. As you can imagine, we've got the goods on these crooks. All we need now is to put a few of you in the movie and let the world see what the greatest country ever in the history of the universe does to its own people, simply because they have the misfortune of getting sick. Because getting sick, unless you are rich, is a crime -- a crime for which you must pay, sometimes with your own life.

About 400 years from now, historians will look back at us like we were some sort of barbarians, but for now we're just the laughingstock of the Western world.

So, if you'd like me to know what you've been through with your insurance company; or what it's been like to have no insurance at all; or how the hospitals and doctors wouldn't treat you (or if they did, how they sent you into poverty trying to pay their crazy bills); or if you have been abused in any way by this sick, greedy, grubby system, and it has caused you or your loved ones great sorrow and pain, let me know.

Send me a short, factual account of what has happened to you -- and what IS happening to you right now if you have been unable to get the health care you need. Send it to michael@michaelmoore.com. I will read every single one of them (even if I can't respond to or help everyone, I will be able to bring to light a few of your stories).

Thank you in advance for sharing them with me and trusting me to try and do something about a very corrupt system that simply has to go.

Oh, and if you happen to work for an HMO or a pharmaceutical company or a profit-making hospital, and you have simply seen too much abuse of your fellow human beings and can't take it any longer -- and you would like the truth to be told -- please write me at michael@michaelmoore.com. I will protect your privacy, and I will tell the world what you are unable to tell. I am looking for a few heroes with a conscience. I know you are out there. Thank you, all of you, for your help and your continued support through the years. I promise you that with "Sicko" we will do our best to give you not only a great movie, but a chance to bring down this evil empire, once and for all.

In the meantime, stay well. I hear fruits and vegetables help.

Michael Moore to the Disaster President

Dear Mr. Bush:

Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina, and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted.

Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.

Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do, like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?

Last Thursday I was in south Florida and sat outside while the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then, but it was pretty nasty. Eleven people died and, as of today, there were still homes without power. That night the weatherman said this storm was on its way to New Orleans. That was Thursday! Did anybody tell you? I know you didn't want to interrupt your vacation and I know how you don't like to get bad news. Plus, you had fundraisers to go to and mothers of dead soldiers to ignore and smear. You sure showed her!

I especially like how, the day after the hurricane, instead of flying to Louisiana, you flew to San Diego to party with your business peeps. Don't let people criticize you for this -- after all, the hurricane was over and what the heck could you do, put your finger in the dike?

And don't listen to those who, in the coming days, will reveal how you specifically reduced the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for New Orleans this summer for the third year in a row. You just tell them that even if you hadn't cut the money to fix those levees, there weren't going to be any Army engineers to fix them anyway because you had a much more important construction job for them -- BUILDING DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ!

On Day 3, when you finally left your vacation home, I have to say I was moved by how you had your Air Force One pilot descend from the clouds as you flew over New Orleans so you could catch a quick look of the disaster. Hey, I know you couldn't stop and grab a bullhorn and stand on some rubble and act like a commander in chief. Been there, done that.

There will be those who will try to politicize this tragedy and try to use it against you. Just have your people keep pointing that out. Respond to nothing. Even those pesky scientists who predicted this would happen because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is getting hotter and hotter making a storm like this inevitable. Ignore them and all their global warming Chicken Littles. There is nothing unusual about a hurricane that was so wide it would be like having one F-4 tornado that stretched from New York to Cleveland.

No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race has nothing -- NOTHING -- to do with this!

You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.

Yours,

Michael Moore


P.S. That annoying mother, Cindy Sheehan, is no longer at your ranch. She and dozens of other relatives of the Iraqi War dead are now driving across the country, stopping in many cities along the way. Maybe you can catch up with them before they get to DC on September 21st.

17 Reasons Not to Slit Your Wrists

Dear Friends,

OK, it sucks. Really sucks. But before you go and cash it all in, let's, in the words of Monty Python, "always look on the bright side of life!" There is some good news from Tuesday's election.

Here are 17 reasons not to slit your wrists:

1. It is against the law for George W. Bush to run for president again.

2. Bush's victory was the narrowest win for a sitting president since Woodrow Wilson in 1916.

3. The only age group in which the majority voted for Kerry was young adults (Kerry: 54 percent; Bush: 44 percent), proving once again that your parents are always wrong and you should never listen to them.

4. In spite of Bush's win, the majority of Americans still think the country is headed in the wrong direction (56 percent), think the war wasn't worth fighting (51 percent), and don't approve of the job George W. Bush is doing (52 percent). (Note to foreigners: Don't try to figure this one out. It's an American thing, like Pop Tarts.)

5. The Republicans will not have a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate. If the Democrats do their job, Bush won't be able to pack the Supreme Court with right-wing ideologues. Did I say "if the Democrats do their job?" Um, maybe better to scratch this one.

6. Michigan voted for Kerry! So did the entire Northeast, the birthplace of our democracy. So did six of the eight Great Lakes states. And the whole West Coast! Plus Hawaii. OK, that's a start. We've got most of the fresh water, all of Broadway, and Mt. St. Helens. We can dehydrate them or bury them in lava. And no more show tunes!

7. Once again we are reminded that the buckeye is a nut, and not just any old nut – a poisonous nut. A great nation was felled by a poisonous nut.

8. Eighty-eight percent of Bush's support came from white voters. In 50 years, America will no longer have a white majority. Hey, 50 years isn't such a long time! If you're ten years old and reading this, your golden years will be truly golden and you will be well cared for in your old age.

9. Gays, thanks to the ballot measures passed on Tuesday, cannot get married in 11 new states. Thank God. Just think of all those wedding gifts we won't have to buy now.

10. Five more African Americans were elected as members of Congress, including the return of Cynthia McKinney of Georgia. It's always good to have more blacks in there fighting for us and doing the job our candidates can't.

11. The CEO of Coors was defeated for Senate in Colorado. Drink up!

12. Admit it: We like the Bush twins and we don't want them to go away.

13. At the state legislative level, Democrats picked up a net of at least three chambers in Tuesday's elections. Of the 98 partisan-controlled state legislative chambers (house/assembly and senate), Democrats went into the 2004 elections in control of 44 chambers, Republicans controlled 53 chambers, and 1 chamber was tied. After Tuesday, Democrats now control 47 chambers, Republicans control 49 chambers, 1 chamber is tied and 1 chamber (Montana House) is still undecided.

14. Bush is now a lame duck president. He will have no greater moment than the one he's having this week. It's all downhill for him from here on out – and, more significantly, he's just not going to want to do all the hard work that will be expected of him. It'll be like everyone's last month in 12th grade – you've already made it, so it's party time! Perhaps he'll treat the next four years like a permanent Friday, spending even more time at the ranch or in Kennebunkport. And why shouldn't he? He's already proved his point, avenged his father and kicked our ass.

15. Should Bush decide to show up to work and take this country down a very dark road, it is also just as likely that either of the following two scenarios will happen: a) Now that he doesn't ever need to pander to the Christian conservatives again to get elected, someone may whisper in his ear that he should spend these last four years building "a legacy" so that history will render a kinder verdict on him and thus he will not push for too aggressive a right-wing agenda; or b) He will become so cocky and arrogant – and thus, reckless – that he will commit a blunder of such major proportions that even his own party will have to remove him from office.

16. There are nearly 300 million Americans – 200 million of them of voting age. We only lost by three and a half million! That's not a landslide – it means we're almost there. Imagine losing by 20 million. If you had 58 yards to go before you reached the goal line and then you barreled down 55 of those yards, would you stop on the three yard line, pick up the ball and go home crying – especially when you get to start the next down on the three yard line? Of course not! Buck up! Have hope! More sports analogies are coming!

17. Finally and most importantly, over 55 million Americans voted for the candidate dubbed "The #1 Liberal in the Senate." That's more than the total number of voters who voted for either Reagan, Bush I, Clinton or Gore. Again, more people voted for Kerry than Reagan. If the media are looking for a trend it should be this – that so many Americans were, for the first time since Kennedy, willing to vote for an out-and-out liberal. The country has always been filled with evangelicals – that is not news. What is news is that so many people have shifted toward a Massachusetts liberal. In fact, that's BIG news. Which means, don't expect the mainstream media, the ones who brought you the Iraq War, to ever report the real truth about Nov. 2, 2004. In fact, it's better that they don't. We'll need the element of surprise in 2008.

Feeling better? I hope so. As my friend Mort wrote me yesterday, "My Romanian grandfather used to say to me, 'Remember, Morton, this is such a wonderful country   – it doesn't even need a president!'"

But it needs us. Rest up; I'll write you again tomorrow.

Fahrenheit 9/11 is the Ultimate Republican Buzzsaw

Dear Friends,

I had dinner recently with a well-known pollster who had often worked for Republicans. He told me that when he went to see "Fahrenheit 9/11" he got so distraught he twice had to go out in the lobby and pace during the movie.

"The Bush White House left open a huge void when it came to explaining the war to the American people," he told me. "And your film has filled that void – and now there is no way to defeat it. It is the atomic bomb of this campaign."

He told me how he had conducted an informal poll with "Fahrenheit 9/11" audiences in three different cities and the results were all the same. "Essentially, 80% of the people going IN to see your movie are already likely Kerry voters and the movie has galvanized them in a way you rarely see Democrats galvanized.

"But, here's the bad news for Bush: Though 80% going IN to your movie are Kerry voters, 100% of those COMING OUT of your movie are Kerry voters. You can't come out of this movie and say, 'I am absolutely and enthusiastically voting for George W. Bush.'"

His findings are similar to those in other polls conducted around the country. In Pennsylvania, a Keystone poll showed that 4% of Kerry's support has come from people who decided to vote for him AFTER seeing "Fahrenheit 9/11" – and in an election that will be very close, 4% is a landslide. A Harris poll found that 44% of Republicans who see the film give it a "positive" rating. Another poll, to be released this week, shows a 21-point shift in Bush's approval rating, after just one viewing of the movie, among audiences of undecideds who were shown "Fahrenheit 9/11" in Ohio.

My pollster friend told me that he believes if Kerry wins, "Fahrenheit 9/11" will be one of the top three reasons for his election. Kerry's only problem, he said, is how many people will actually be able to see it before election day. The less that see it, the better for Bush.

But 20 million people have already seen it – and the Gallup poll said that 56% of the American public has seen or plans to see "Fahrenheit 9/11" either in the theater or on home video. The DVD and home video of our film, thanks to our distributors listening to our pleas to release it before November, will be in the stores on October 5. This is very good news.

But can it also be shown on TV? I brought this possibility up in this week's Rolling Stone interview. Our contract with our DVD distributor says no, it cannot. I have asked them to show it just once, perhaps the night before the election. So far, no deal. But I haven't given up trying.

The only problem with my desire to get this movie in front of as many Americans as possible is that, should it air on TV, I will NOT be eligible to submit "Fahrenheit 9/11" for Academy Award consideration for Best Documentary. Academy rules forbid the airing of a documentary on television within nine months of its theatrical release (fiction films do not have the same restriction).

Although I have no assurance from our home video distributor that they would allow a one-time television broadcast – and the chances are they probably won't – I have decided it is more important to take that risk and hope against hope that I can persuade someone to put it on TV, even if it's the night before the election.

Therefore, I have decided not to submit "Fahrenheit 9/11" for consideration for the Best Documentary Oscar. If there is even the remotest of chances that I can get this film seen by a few million more Americans before election day, then that is more important to me than winning another documentary Oscar. I have already won a Best Documentary statue. Having a second one would be nice, but not as nice as getting this country back in the hands of the majority.

The deadline to submit the film for the documentary Oscar was last Wednesday. I told my crew who worked on the film, let's let someone else have that Oscar. We have already helped to ignite the biggest year ever for nonfiction films. Last week, 1 out of every 5 films playing in movie theaters across America was a documentary! That is simply unheard of. There have been so many great nonfiction films this year, why not step aside and share what we have with someone else? Remove the 800-pound gorilla from that Oscar category and let the five films who get nominated have all the attention they deserve (instead of the focus being on a film that has already had more than its share of attention).

I've read a lot about "Fahrenheit" being a "sure bet" for the documentary Oscar this year. I don't believe anything is truly a "sure bet." And, in the end, I think sometimes it's good for your soul to give up something everyone says is so easily yours (ask Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps why he gave up his spot in the last race to someone else equally deserving, and you'll know what I am talking about).

I have informed our distributors of my decision. They support me (in fact, they then offered to submit our film for all the other categories it is eligible for, including Best Picture – so, hey, who knows, maybe I'll get to complete that Oscar speech from 2003! Sorry, just kidding).

Don't get your hopes up for seeing "Fahrenheit 9/11" on TV before the election. In fact, I would count on NOT seeing it there (you know me, I'm always going after something I probably shouldn't). Get to the theaters soon, if you haven't already, or get it from the video store in October and hold house parties. Share it with everyone you know, especially your nonvoting friends. I have included 100 minutes of extras on the DVD – powerful footage obtained after we made the movie, and some things that are going to drive Karl Rove into a permanent tailspin – more on this later!

Thanks for all of your support. And go see "Super Size Me," "Control Room," "The Corporation," "Orwell Rolls Over in His Grave," "Bush's Brain," Robert Greenwald's films and the upcoming "Yes Men." You won't be sorry!

Yours,

Michael Moore

Letters From the Troops

As we approach the holidays, I've been thinking a lot about our kids who are in the armed forces serving in Iraq. I've received hundreds of letters from our troops in Iraq -- and they are telling me something very different from what we are seeing on the evening news.

What they are saying, often eloquently and in heart-wrenching words, is that they were lied to -- and this war has nothing to do with the security of the United States of America.

I've written back and spoken on the phone to many of them and I've asked a few of them if it would be OK if I publicized their letters and they've said yes. They do so at great personal risk (as they may face disciplinary measures for exercising their right to free speech). I thank them for their bravery.

Lance Corporal George Batton of the United States Marine Corps, who returned from Iraq in September (after serving in MP company Alpha), writes the following:

"You'd be surprised at how many of the guys I talked to in my company and others believed that the president's scare about Saddam's WMD was a bunch of bullshit and that the real motivation for this war was only about money. There was also a lot of crap that many companies, not just marine companies, had to go through with not getting enough equipment to fulfill their missions when they crossed the border. It was a miracle that our company did what it did the two months it was staying in Iraq during the war.... We were promised to go home on June 8th, and found out that it was a lie and we got stuck doing missions for an extra three months. Even some of the most radical conservatives in our company including our company gunnery sergeant got a real bad taste in their mouth about the Marine corps, and maybe even president Bush."

Here's what Specialist Mike Prysner of the U.S. Army wrote:

"Dear Mike: I'm writing from the trenches of a war, not knowing why I'm here or when I'm leaving. I've toppled statues and vandalized portraits, while wearing an American flag on my sleeve, and struggling to learn how to understand... I joined the army as soon as I was eligible -- turned down a writing scholarship to a state university, eager to serve my country, ready to die for the ideals I fell in love with. Two years later I found myself moments away from a landing onto a pitch black airstrip, ready to charge into a country I didn't believe I belonged in. My time in Iraq has always involved finding things to convince myself that I can be proud of my actions; that I was a part of something just. But no matter what pro-war argument I came up with, I pictured my smirking commander-in-chief, thinking he was fooling a nation..."

An Army private, still in Iraq and wishing to remain anonymous, writes:

"I would like to tell you how difficult it is to serve under a man who was never elected. Because he is the president and my boss, I have to be very careful as to who and what i say about him. This also concerns me a great deal... to limit the military's voice is to limit exactly what America stands for... and the greater percentage of us feel completely underpowered. He continually sets my friends, my family, and several others in a kind of danger that frightens me beyond belief. I know several other soldiers who feel the same way and discuss the situation with me on a regular basis."

Jerry Oliver of the U.S. Army, who has just returned from Baghdad, writes:

"I have just returned home from "Operation Iraqi Freedom." I spent 5 months in Baghdad, and a total of 3 years in the U.S. Army. I was recently discharged with Honorable valor and returned to the States only to be horrified by what I've seen my country turn into. I'm now 22 years old and have discovered America is such a complicated place to live, and moreover, Americans are almost oblivious to what's been happening to their country. America has become "1984." Homeland security is teaching us to spy on one another and forcing us to become anti-social. Americans are willingly sacrificing our freedoms in the name of security, the same Freedoms I was willing to put my life on the line for. The constitution is in jeopardy. As Gen. Tommy Franks said, (broken down of course) One more terrorist attack and the constitution will hold no meaning."

And a Specialist in the U.S. Army wrote about the capture of Saddam Hussein:

"Wow, 130,000 troops on the ground, nearly 500 deaths and over a billion dollars a day, but they caught a guy living in a hole. Am I supposed to be dazzled?"

There are lots more of these, straight from the soldiers who have been on the front lines and have seen firsthand what this war is really about. I have also heard from their friends and relatives, and from other veterans. A mother writing on behalf of her son (whose name we have withheld) wrote:

"My son said that this is the worst it's been since the "end" of the war. He said the troops have been given new rules of engagement, and that they are to "take out" any persons who aggress on the Americans, even if it results in "collateral" damage. Unfortunately, he did have to kill someone in self-defense and was told by his commanding officer 'Good kill.'


"My son replied 'You just don't get it, do you?'

"Here we are...Vietnam all over again.
"

From a 56-year-old Navy veteran, relating a conversation he had with a young man who was leaving for Iraq the next morning:

"What disturbed me most was when I asked him what weapons he carried as a truck driver. He told me the new M-16, model blah blah blah, stuff never made sense to me even when I was in. I asked him what kind of side arm they gave him and his fellow drivers. He explained, "Sir, Reservists are not issued side arms or flack vests as there was not enough money to outfit all the Reservists, only Active Personnel." I was appalled to say the least."

From a 40-year-old veteran of the Marine Corps:

"Why is it that we are forever waving the flag of sovereignty, EXCEPT when it concerns our financial interests in other sovereign states? What gives us the right to tell anyone else how they should govern themselves, and live their lives? Why can't we just lead the world by example? I mean no wonder the world hates us, who do they get to see? Young assholes in uniforms with guns, and rich, old, white tourists! Christ, could we put up a worse first impression?"

Remember back in March, once the war had started, how risky it was to make any anti-war comments to people you knew at work or school or, um, at awards ceremonies? One thing was for sure; if you said anything against the war, you had better follow it up immediately with this line: "BUT I SUPPORT THE TROOPS!" Failing to do that meant that you were not only unpatriotic and un-American, your dissent meant that you were putting our kids in danger, that you might be the reason they lose their lives. Dissent was only marginally tolerated if you pledged your "support" for our soldiers.

Of course, you needed to do no such thing. Why? Because people like you have always supported "the troops." Who are these troops? Most of them are our poor, our working class. Most of them enlisted because it was about the only place to get a job or receive the guarantee of a college education. You, my good friends, have always, through your good works, your contributions, your activism, your votes, supported these very kids who come from the other side of the tracks. You never need to be defensive when it comes to your "support" for the "troops" -- you are the only ones who have always been there for them.

It is Mr. Bush and his filthy rich cronies -- whose sons and daughters will never see a day in a uniform -- who do not support our troops. Our soldiers joined the military and, in doing so, offered to give their lives for us if need be. What a tremendous gift that is -- to be willing to die so that you and I don't have to! To be willing to shed their blood so that we may be free. To serve in our place, so that we don't have to serve. What a tremendous act of selflessness and generosity! Here they are, these 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds, most of whom have had to suffer under an unjust economic system that is set up not to benefit them -- these kids who have lived their first 18 years in the worst parts of town, going to the most miserable schools, living in danger and learning often to go without, watching their parents struggle to get by and then be humiliated by a system that is always looking to make life harder for them by cutting their benefits, their education, their libraries, their fire and police, their future.

And then, after this miserable treatment, these young men and women, instead of coming after us to demand a more just society, they go and join the army to defend us and our way of life! It boggles the mind, doesn't it? They not only deserve our thanks, they deserve a big piece of the pie that we dine on, those of us who never have to worry about taking a bullet while we fret over which Palm Pilot to buy the nephew for Christmas.

In fact, all that these kids in the army ask for in return from us is our promise that we never send them into harm's way unless it is for the defense of our nation, to protect us from being killed by "the enemy."

That promise has been broken. It has been broken in the worst way imaginable. We have sent them into war not to defend us, not to protect us, not to spare the slaughter of innocents or allies. We have sent them to war so Bush and Company can control the second largest supply of oil in the world. We have sent them into war so that the Vice President's company can bilk the government for billions of dollars. We have sent them into war based on a lie of weapons of mass destruction and the lie that Saddam helped plan 9/11 with Osama bin Laden.

By doing all of this, Mr. Bush has proven that it is he who does not support our troops. It is he who has put their lives in danger, and it is he who is responsible for the nearly 500 American kids who have now died for no honest, decent reason whatsoever.

The letters from the friends and relatives of our kids over there make it clear that they are sick of this war and they are scared to death that they may never see their loved ones again. It breaks my heart to read these letters. I wish there was something I could do. I wish there was something we all could do.

Maybe there is. I would like to suggest a few things each of us could do to make the holidays a bit brighter -- if not safer -- for our troops and their families back home.

1. Many families of soldiers are hurting financially, especially those families of reservists and National Guard who are gone from the full-time jobs ("just one weekend a month and we'll pay for your college education!"). You can help them by contacting the Armed Forces Emergency Relief Funds at http://www.afrtrust.org/ (ignore the rah-rah military stuff and remember that this is money that will help out these families who are living in near-poverty). Each branch has their own relief fund, and the money goes to help the soldiers and families with paying for food and rent, medical and dental expenses, personal needs when pay is delayed, and funeral expenses. You can find more ways to support the troops, from buying groceries for their families to donating your airline miles so they can get home for a visit, by going here.

2. Thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed by our bombs and indiscriminate shooting. We must help protect them and their survivors. You can do so by supporting the Quakers' drive to provide infant care kits to Iraqi hospitals -- find out more here: http://www.afsc.org/iraq/relief/default.shtm. You can also help the people of Iraq by supporting the Iraqi Red Crescent Society -- here's how to contact them: http://www.ifrc.org/address/iq.asp, or you can make an online donation through the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies by going here: http://www.ifrc.org/HELPNOW/donate/donate_iraq.asp.

3. With 130,000 American men and women currently in Iraq, every community in this country has either sent someone to fight in this war or is home to family members of someone fighting in this war. Organize care packages through your local community groups, activist groups, and churches and send them to these young men and women. The military no longer accepts packages addressed to "Any Soldier," so you'll have to get their names first. Figure out who you can help from your area, and send them books, CDs, games, footballs, gloves, blankets -- anything that may make their extended (and extended and extended...) stay in Iraq a little brighter and more comfortable. You can also sponsor care packages to American troops through the USO: http://www.usocares.org/.

4. Finally, we all have to redouble our efforts to end this war and bring the troops home. That's the best gift we could give them; get them out of harm's way ASAP and insist that the U.S. go back to the UN and have them take over the rebuilding of Iraq (with the US and Britain funding it, because, well, we have to pay for our mess). Get involved with your local peace group -- you can find one near where you live by visiting United for Peace, at: http://www.unitedforpeace.org and the Vietnam Veterans Against War: http://www.vvaw.org/contact/. A large demonstration is being planned for March 20, check here for more details: http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?id=2136. To get a "Bring Them Home Now" bumper sticker or a poster for your yard, go here: http://bringthemhomenow.org/yellowribbon_graphics/index.html. Also, back only anti-war candidates for Congress and President (Kucinich, Dean, Clark, Sharpton).

I know it feels hopeless. That's how they want us to feel. Don't give up. We owe it to these kids, the troops we support, to get them the hell outta there and back home so they can help organize the drive to remove the war profiteers from office next November.

To all who serve in our armed forces, to their parents and spouses and loved ones, we offer to you the regrets of millions and the promise that we will right this wrong and do whatever we can to thank you for offering to risk your lives for us. That your life was put at risk for Bush's greed is a disgrace and a travesty, the likes of which I have not seen in my lifetime.

Be safe, come home soon, and know that our thoughts and prayers are with you during this season when many of us celebrate the birth of the prince of "peace."

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