This letter is not only relevant for what is happening this week with Hurricane Gustav coinciding with the Republican Convention in the US, but also because it offers lessons for the right wing demagogues in Pakistan and the Muslim world who engage in similar rhetoric as some fundamentalist Christian supporters of the US Republican Party. Islamic religious folks in particular blame the victims of natural disasters for their suffering on their "sinful " behavior and wish ill upon all those who oppose or even disagree with their extreme positions in supporting acts of widespread gratuitous violence and terror in the name of "jihad".
Here is Micheal Moore's letter:
An Open Letter to God, from Michael Moore
Sunday, August 31st, 2008
The other night, the Rev. James Dobson's ministry asked all believers to pray for a storm on Thursday night so that the Obama acceptance speech outdoors in Denver would have to be cancelled.
I see that You have answered Rev. Dobson's prayers -- except the storm You have sent to earth is not over Denver, but on its way to New Orleans! In fact, You have scheduled it to hit Louisiana at exactly the moment that George W. Bush is to deliver his speech at the Republican National Convention.
Now, heavenly Father, we all know You have a great sense of humor and impeccable timing. To send a hurricane on the third anniversary of the Katrina disaster AND right at the beginning of the Republican Convention was, at first blush, a stroke of divine irony. I don't blame You, I know You're angry that the Republicans tried to blame YOU for Katrina by calling it an "Act of God" -- when the truth was that the hurricane itself caused few casualties in New Orleans. Over a thousand people died because of the mistakes and neglect caused by humans, not You.
Some of us tried to help after Katrina hit, while Bush ate cake with McCain and twiddled his thumbs. I closed my office in New York and sent my entire staff down to New Orleans to help. I asked people on my website to contribute to the relief effort I organized -- and I ended up sending over two million dollars in donations, food, water, and supplies (collected from thousands of fans) to New Orleans while Bush's FEMA ice trucks were still driving around Maine three weeks later.
But this past Thursday night, the Washington Post reported that the Republicans had begun making plans to possibly postpone the convention. The AP had reported that there were no shelters set up in New Orleans for this storm, and that the levee repairs have not been adequate. In other words, as the great Ronald Reagan would say, "There you go again!"
So the last thing John McCain and the Republicans needed was to have a split-screen on TVs across America: one side with Bush and McCain partying in St. Paul, and on the other side of the screen, live footage of their Republican administration screwing up once again while New Orleans drowns.
So, yes, You have scared the Jesus, Mary and Joseph out of them, and more than a few million of your followers tip their hats to You.
But now it appears that You haven't been having just a little fun with Bush & Co. It appears that Hurricane Gustav is truly heading to New Orleans and the Gulf coast. We hear You, O Lord, loud and clear, just as we did when Rev. Falwell said You made 9/11 happen because of all those gays and abortions. We beseech You, O Merciful One, not to punish us again as Pat Robertson said You did by giving us Katrina because of America's "wholesale slaughter of unborn children." His sentiments were echoed by other Republicans in 2005.
So this is my plea to you: Don't do this to Louisiana again. The Republicans got your message. They are scrambling and doing the best they can to get planes, trains and buses to New Orleans so that everyone can get out. They haven't sent the entire Louisiana National Guard to Iraq this time -- they are already patrolling the city streets. And, in a nod to I don't know what, Bush's head of FEMA has named a man to help manage the federal government's response. His name is W. Michael Moore. I kid you not, heavenly Father. They have sent a man with both my name AND W's to help save the Gulf Coast.
So please God, let the storm die out at sea. It's done enough damage already. If you do this one favor for me, I promise not to invoke your name again. I'll leave that to the followers of Rev. Dobson and to those gathering this week in St. Paul.
Your faithful servant and former seminarian,
Funny - thank you for pointing it out
Thanks. Michael Moore is one of my favorites for his own unique style of satire. He spares no one, but Bushies and the right-wing demagogues are his particular targets.
Thank you Riaz, I really enjoyed reading this letter too. I enjoy the satire of Moore.
With the echoes of the Bush administration's Katrina failure still fresh in the minds of many, the media are completely pre-occupied with the latest Hurricane Gustav coverage in Louisiana. It has seriously disrupted the ongoing Republican party convention in Minnesota. What an unexpected disaster for the Republican party. Let's hope and pray that the people of the Gulf Coast are spared the ravages of Gustav and the worst fears do not materialize.
Here's more from Moore:
Senator McCain Cuts and Runs, Governor Palin's "Labor" Day, and a New Hurricane Called, Um, Ike? Who Writes This Stuff?
Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008
Well, I guess God got my email and answered my prayer. Man, the power of the Internet! He even emailed me back! I'll share that with you in the next few days. Proof there is a God in heaven? Never explain comedy or satire or the ironic comment. Those who get it, get it. Those who don't, never will...
John McCain said "it's time to take our Republican hats off and put our American hats on." Really? It would have been nice if Sen. McCain had put on his American hat in the three years since Katrina. Just so no one is fooled by all his fake concern for the people on the Gulf Coast, let's look at his record post-Katrina, compliments of Chris Hayes of The Nation:
If (McCain) cared about New Orleans and the Gulf Coast he could have done something these past three years. He could have made Gulf Reconstruction his issue, he could have excoriated his party for pushing federal dollars into the hands of cronies, for providing inadequate resources, for allowing the further destruction of the wetlands that serve as the only natural barrier to storm surges. He could have taken on the insurance companies that have been serially screwing the residents of the gulf. But he was too busy pushing for more troops, and more war and running for president.
Instead this is his record [via Mother Jones]:
Though McCain issued a statement the next week (after Katrina) calling on Congress to make sacrifices in order to fund recovery efforts, he was quoted in The New Leader on September 1  cautioning against over-spending in support of Katrina's victims. "We also have to be concerned about future generations of Americans," he said. "We're going to end up with the highest deficit, probably, in the history of this country."
That attitude was borne out in McCain's actions and votes. Forty Senators and 100 members of Congress visited New Orleans before he did; he finally got there in March 2006. He voted against establishing a Congressional commission to examine the Federal, State, and local responses to Katrina in med-September 2005. He repeated that vote in 2006. He voted against allowing up to 52 weeks of unemployment benefits to people affected by the hurricane, and in 2006 voted against appropriating $109 billion in supplemental emergency funding, including $28 billion for hurricane relief.
So honestly, it's an insult to watch him make a show of concern now. ...
The possibility of a storm (a storm that never hit New Orleans, and was no longer a hurricane by last night) was enough for McCain to essentially cancel most of the first day of the convention. Cut and run? The AP reported yesterday that conventions have always been held when the nation was facing perilous moments. Right smack in the middle of World War II, the Republicans and the Democrats both held full conventions. Thousands of Americans were being killed every week. The Republicans held their convention in Chicago less than two weeks after D-Day. No one faulted them for that. In fact, it made Americans feel good that, no matter what happens, NOTHING stops Democracy. No retreat, no surrender...
So McCain and company used the hurricane for political advantage, to have an excuse to not have Bush and Cheney live and in person in St. Paul (Bush will appear Tuesday night via satellite). And he used the hurricane as a chance to release a potentially controversial story in the hopes that the hurricane would dominate the news and not many would notice. One hour after Gustav hit land, the McCain campaign announced that Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's teenage daughter is pregnant. I don't want to say much more beyond this, as I agree with Barack Obama that "people's families are off limits, and people's children are especially off limits."
I do feel very sorry that this minor, this child, now has to have her privacy sacrificed because her mother accepted an offer to run for VP. Obama's right -- the children are off limits. I remember when John McCain cruelly trashed Chelsea Clinton when she was a child in the White House. He told reporters that she was "ugly" "because Janet Reno is her father." Of course, McCain would like us now to accord Palin's daughter the respect he wouldn't give Chelsea.
This does not mean that a discussion about the stupidity of "abstinence-only" sex ed classes is off the table; nor should we not talk about the right of a teenager to terminate a pregnancy (a right that has been essentially eliminated as the Supreme Court believes forcing a child to have a child against its will is not a form a child abuse), or Gov. Palin's desire to make abortion illegal for anyone who is raped, a victim of incest or who may die if they bring the fetus to term. She's "proud" of her daughter's "decision to have her baby." Uh-huh. Ok...
Word comes tonight that McCain's people lied about Palin being vetted -- the FBI has admitted they did NOT vet her. So McCain has dispatched ten operatives and investigators to Alaska to find out if there's anything else that's about to hit the fan regarding his veep pick, a woman he had run into only once in his life and then called her on her cell phone two weeks ago at the Alaska State Fair. That was it before she made the short list and was selected. McCain's radar -- honed perhaps during his own self-admitted indiscretionary phase of his life -- is telling him there's more to the Palin story. You mean things like her support of the Alaska Secessionist Party or being one of the directors of recently-arrested Sen. Ted Stevens' political action groups? Heck, I dunno. We shall see...
But before everyone gets all smug and self-righteous about the Palin selection, remember where you live. You live in a nation of gun owners and hunters. You live in a country where one out of three girls get pregnant before they are 20. You live in a nation of C students. Knocking Bush for being a C student only endeared him to the nation of C students. Knock Palin for having kids, for having a kid who's having a baby, for anything that is part of her normalness -- a normalness that looks very familiar to so many millions of Americans -- well, you do this at your own peril. Assuming she's still on the ticket two weeks from now, she will be a much tougher opponent than anyone expects. You live in a country that voted for Dan Quayle.
I'll close with this report on ABC tonight by investigative reporter Brian Ross. It shows Republicans in St. Paul taking off their Republican hats and putting on their American hats. In the meantime they should keep those hats ready as a new hurricane was announced today. No, not Hannah. She's already on her way to Florida for Friday. The new one is called Ike, scheduled to hit the Gulf early next week. Ike. He's the one who warned us about the "military-industrial complex."
More to come...
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