Friday, May 11, 2007

Bush Administration Goes After SiCKO

Bush Administration Goes After SiCKO
by Michael Moore

crossposted from Dailykos

Hello Kossacks, Michael Moore, here. I know you all are aware of the controversy surrounding my recent trip to Cuba with a group of 9/11 heroes for my upcoming movie SiCKO and the subsequent letter I received from the Treasury Department letting me know I'm now being investigated. Well, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you my letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. I just put it in the mail this morning...May 11, 2007

Secretary Paulson,

I am contacting you in light of the document sent to me dated May 2, 2007, which was received May 7, 2007 indicating that an investigation has been opened up with regards to a trip I took to Cuba with a group of Americans that included some 9/11 heroes in March 2007 related to the filming of my next documentary, on the American Healthcare system. SiCKO, which will be seen in theaters this summer, will expose the health care industry’s greed and control over America’s political processes.

I believe that the decision to conduct this investigation represents the latest example of the Bush Administration abusing the federal government for raw, crass, political purposes. Over the last seven years of the Bush Presidency, we have seen the abuse of government to promote a political agenda designed to benefit the conservative base of the Republican Party, special interests and major financial contributors. From holding secret meetings for the energy industry to re-writing science findings to cooking the books on intelligence to the firing of U.S. Attorneys, this Administration has shown time and time again that it will abuse its power and authority.

There are a number of specific facts that have led me to conclude that politics could very well be driving this Bush Administration investigation of me and my film.

First, the Bush Administration has been aware of this matter for months (since October 2006) and never took any action until less than two weeks before SiCKO is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and a little more than a month before it is scheduled to open in the United States.

Second, the health care and insurance industry, which is exposed in the movie and has expressed concerns about the impact of the movie on their industries, is a major corporate underwriter of President George W. Bush and the Republican Party, having contributed over $13 million to the Bush presidential campaign in 2004 and more than $180 million to Republican candidates over the last two campaign cycles. It is well documented that the industry is very concerned about the impact of SiCKO. They have threatened their employees if they talk to me. They have set up special internal crises lines should I show up at their headquarters. Employees have been warned about the consequences of participating in SiCKO. Despite this, some employees, at great risk to themselves, have gone on camera to tell the American people the truth about the health care industry. I can understand why that industry's main recipient of its contributions -- President Bush -- would want to harass, intimidate and potentially prevent this film from having its widest possible audience.

And, third, this investigation is being opened in the wake of misleading attacks on the purpose of the Cuba trip from a possible leading Republican candidate for president, Fred Thompson, a major conservative newspaper, The New York Post, and various right wing blogs.

For five and a half years, the Bush administration has ignored and neglected the heroes of the 9/11 community. These heroic first responders have been left to fend for themselves, without coverage and without care. I understand why the Bush administration is coming after me -- I have tried to help the very people they refuse to help, but until George W. Bush outlaws helping your fellow man, I have broken no laws and I have nothing to hide.

I demand that the Bush Administration immediately end this investigation and spend its time and resources trying to support some of the real heroes of 9/11.


Michael Moore

--Unfortunately, I won't be able to stick around to answer questions this time (SiCKO premieres at Cannes next Saturday and my schedule is crazy) but I want to be sure you know where I stand. I hope you will stand with me. Thank you for your support and I promise to return again soon for a more involved chat. MM

Michael Francis Moore (born April 23, 1954) is an American film director, author, and social commentator. He is widely known for his outspoken, critical views on globalization, large corporations, gun violence, the Iraq War, and the George W. Bush administration.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

New York police officer died from Ground Zero illness: report

New York police officer died from Ground Zero illness: report:

New York - A New York police officer who guarded the destroyed World Trade Center after September 11, 2001 has died of cancer, becoming the second death in the police force of an officer involved in securing the site. Detective Kevin Hawkins, 41, had spent two months at Ground Zero while debris from the 110-storey twin towers was still burning from the attacks by terrorists, who slammed two commercial airplanes against the buildings and killed more than 2,700 people.

Hawkins, a 20-year veteran in the New York Police Department, recently was a security detail for Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He died from kidney cancer just weeks after applying for disability pension as a result of his service at Ground Zero.

The New York Daily News quoted police union leaders as saying that another police officer died from cancer after his posting at Ground Zero. Many police and firefighters were assigned the duty of guarding the burning site immediately after the attacks.

"He fought this disease with the same integrity and strength that he displayed serving our country and our city," said Bloomberg, who was quoted by the Daily News.

Hawkins is survived by his wife and three children.

Proof at last of Ground Zero-lung disease link - News - NY Daily News

Proof at last of Ground Zero-lung disease link - News - NY Daily News:

Rescue workers and firefighters contracted a serious lung-scarring disease called sarcoidosis at a much higher rate after the Sept. 11 attacks than before, said a study that is the first to link the disease to exposure to toxic dust at Ground Zero.

The study, published by nine doctors including the medical officer monitoring city firefighters, Dr. David Prezant, found that firefighters and rescue workers contracted sarcoidosis in the year after Sept. 11, 2001, at a rate five times higher than the years before the attacks.

Sarcoidosis, which can be life-threatening, causes an inflammation in the lungs that deposits tiny cells in the organs, leaving scar tissues that damage them. Some rescue workers and others who were exposed to the dust cloud that enveloped lower Manhattan after the World Trade Center collapsed say they contracted the disease from their work at ground zero.

The study compared the rates of contracting sarcoidosis among fire department employees for 15 years before Sept. 11 and for five years after it. It said firefighters who showed symptoms of the disease on chest X-rays underwent more intensive exams.

After the trade center attack, 26 firefighters were diagnosed with sarcoidosis, the study found. Thirteen were diagnosed in the first year after the attacks, which represents a rate of 86 per 100,000. In the 15 years before the attack, the rate of sarcoidosis was 15 per 100,0000, the study found.

None of the 26 rescue workers, who are in their 30s and 40s, has died of the disease, and about 10 have improved or recovered since their diagnoses, the study found. Two of the firefighters were former smokers, the study found.

Dr. Jacqueline Moline, who directs the largest monitoring program for ground zero workers, which has screened more than 20,000 people at Mount Sinai Medical Center, said several patients in her program have been diagnosed with sarcoidosis.

Mount Sinai plans to publish its own research in the next few months on the rate associated with ground zero work. Last fall, it published a study concluding that 70 percent of ground zero workers suffered from different respiratory illnesses after the attacks.

“We’re all looking to see various diseases that might develop as a result of 9/11 exposure,” Moline said. “We have to be vigilant.” The study was published this week in the May issue of CHEST Physician, a journal published by the American College of Chest Physicians.