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To read more about Episode 207, visit the main episode page.
Michael Moore [00:00:41] Hello, everyone, this is Rumble with Michael Moore. And yes, I am Michael Moore. We have a number of new listeners today, people who are on my mailing list, I welcome all of you, and those of you who’ve become free subscribers to my list and also members of our efforts at michaelmoore.com, I thank all of you for joining. And many of you have been on my list for a couple of decades or longer. So thank you for that. And this is my podcast. I do this once a week, usually on Thursdays or Fridays, and I cover various topics and things of the day in ways that you will not see covered on the mainstream media. I’m not a professional pundit, so I do not participate in the pundit class. I’m not a paid commentator on any of the cable news networks. I do have a lot of thoughts and feelings and things. I’ve lived for a while now. I’ve seen a lot of bullshit and so I try to present a very unfiltered, uncensored view of what is taking place, and so I encourage you, if this is your first time listening to the podcast, to tune in again, it’s free, it’s free to everybody.
Michael Moore [00:02:06] There’ll never be a paywall for people to listen to this podcast. And in fact, if you’re on my mailing list from this point on, I am as I did today, for those of you on the list, I’m mailing you the podcast so you don’t have to go and try and find it on Apple or Spotify or wherever it is. You’re just gonna’ to get every Thursday or Friday an email from me through this platform, which is called Substack. And there’ll just be a play arrow right there, you just have to click on and you don’t have to go anywhere. Just click on it and the podcast starts. So I encourage you to keep doing this. And I’ve really enjoyed this podcast. This is episode number 207 and it was great during the year that our mission was to get rid of Trump, but now, unfortunately, the mission is even larger because we have to get rid of everything that brought us Trump, because Trump didn’t just fall out of the sky. So we have quite a movement in this country, an anti-democracy movement, and some of them are pretty violent. They’re all pretty bigoted, racist. And so our work is not done. There’s a midterm election next year. There’s the election in 2024. And so I don’t think anybody feels like we’re out of the woods from the Trump years. So please listen to this podcast when you can. I do my best to keep it moving along. I won’t take up much of your time during the day and I will bring you really interesting guests. I’ve had everybody on this podcast from Robert De Niro to Todd Phillips, the director of Joker. Tim Robbins has been here. Ru Paul has been here. Daniel Ellsberg, Emily Ratajkowski. So tune in. It’s as simple as just opening up your email when you see one from me.
Michael Moore [00:04:00] And in fact, if you’re not on the mailing list, get on the mailing list by going to michaelmoore.com. That’s it. And you just sign up. The podcast is free. The weekly letter is free. All the other stuff I’m going to have on my Michael Moore site will be free. You have the opportunity to be a paid member. You can sign up for 5 bucks a month and then you get some perks for that. I’m going to do something called Mike’s Movie Night, where I’m just gonna’ pick a movie that we’re all gonna’ watch together online or, you know, virtually. And then I’ll have directors and actors and panels and people to talk about the film after we watch it. So that’ll be fun. So it’s a nice little thing to do if you’re a member. There’ll also be a monthly Q&A session live, like a Zoom Q&A, where you just come on and ask me any question you want to ask me. So looking forward to all of that. There is also a special tier of membership. It’s called the Uranium Enrichment tier. So if you become a member on that level, you’re an Uranium Enrichment member. And we want to be the first podcast and the first Substack to have a nuclear deterrent. So help us do that. Why should governments just be the ones and the corporations that make all the money creating the nuclear weapons have that? I think we need one, too. So sign up, be part of this. And thank you for being here today.
Michael Moore [00:05:29] This is a very special podcast today because I have been climbing the walls since very, very late Saturday night, early Sunday morning. Woke up there to the news in the middle of the night that Kabul had been surrounded by the Taliban. Encircled, I think was the word, and they were coming in to the capital city. And, of course, the American media right in the middle of the night, just, you know, breathless, breathless about the slaughter that was about to occur, and then all of a sudden, it didn’t really occur. And I’ve only seen one report in the media where Taliban soldiers were running around with automatic weapons have killed a person, killed a civilian. Now, this is not to say, oh, hey, way to go, Taliban. Good job, good. You know, that’s that’s how low the bar is. They didn’t kill anybody. But seriously, something seemed different. And we’re going to get into talking about this today on the podcast to my three guests, because I am sick and tired of the propaganda that we continue to get about this. We can’t get the straight truth. You can get it if you read newspapers from other countries or sometimes other news, there’ll be that lone reporter, who just, you know, will interrupt, that’s how I saw this woman journalist, she was being interviewed on CNN, and the CNN anchor was all like, you know, they’re already taking child brides, they’ve entered Kabul, they’re taking child brides, they’re marrying them, raping them. And then she interrupted him and she said, well, I wouldn’t quite put it that way. I’ve been walking the streets of Kabul the last couple of days. There’s no kidnaping going on. There’s nobody being hauled out of the house and being beheaded. We might be talking about a Taliban that’s 20 or 30 years old. This Taliban, this younger Taliban, you know, they grew up with, just like all other young people, access to social media, access to information, access to the rest of the world. And they seemed, they held their first press conference, and we know we’re not used to Taliban press conferences. They announced that they weren’t going to close the girls schools, all the things we were told about how girls, and now, this is listen, I’m not taking anybody’s word for anything because, as you know, we operate by the philosophy of I.F. Stone, the famous muckraking journalist from the 50s and 60s, where he said that no government or corporation should ever be believed. You have to operate with the attitude that they’re automatically lying and that either they or you have to prove they might be telling the truth. All governments and corporations are run by liars and nothing they say should be believed. That should be the first rule of journalism. And then we might actually get to the truth, somewhere along the way.
Michael Moore [00:08:31] I was very outspoken against this war before it even started. I was very alone. Most liberals I knew supported the invasion of Afghanistan. Get in there, get Osama bin Laden. Very little talk about how we had trained and funded Osama bin Laden back in the days when he was fighting the Soviet Union, when they invaded Afghanistan. No talk about that after 9/11. And yes, of course, anybody who is responsible for the deaths of 3,000 people, be they American or anybody should be held accountable and should be brought to justice. And I don’t think many people would disagree with that. But to just overlook what we had done to help al-Qaeda, to help bin Laden, there was a whole bowl of dishonesty being fed to the American people in terms of how we got to this point. So I spoke out against invading Afghanistan. I was, you know, crucified in all kinds of press. Right. Liberal. Well, it didn’t matter. Barbara Lee was the only member of Congress to stand up and vote against Bush invading Afghanistan, 535 members of Congress, in the Senate. 534 to 1 was the vote. Barbara Lee from the Bay Area standing up against this war. So just so you have a sense that back in 2001, in the days and weeks after 9/11, it was not a good position to take. You know, just the whole war thing, kill them, revenge, you know, just boiled to the surface, didn’t have very far to go with the American, you know, mentality we have. And so within a couple of months, we were invading Afghanistan. Of course, bin Laden was on his way out or gone by then. And so that was the whole premise. So there’s no bin Laden to catch, so they just started rounding up anybody they could, brought Afghan civilians, citizens into these black sites in various countries around the world that were supporting the United States. It was an awful time, my friends, remember how hard it was and what I had to endure, just even walking down the street because of the position that I took and trying to warn people that this wasn’t going to end up good. There was nothing to win. And here we are, here we are.
Michael Moore [00:11:00] Do you remember when George Bush said, and this was like literally seconds after we did invade Afghanistan in 2001, he said that, quote, “The Taliban regime is coming to an end.” That’s what he said, the Taliban regime is coming to an end. Well, 4 presidents later and over the course of 20 years and more than 2 trillion dollars of taxpayer money down the drain and 200,000 plus lives lost, mostly Afghan civilians, but also over 2,400 hundred U.S. soldiers, the Taliban is back in power. This was clearly a failed project. There was no nation building and, in fact, there shouldn’t have been. But all their lying and saying that this is what they were doing, they were going to create another democracy. Another democracy. You know, the other one they’re referring to in the Middle East. There was no liberation of the people there. None of this, none of this was true. And as one of my guests here on this podcast today, Vijay Prashad, he wrote in a piece this week for the Tricontinental Institute for Social Research newsletter, and of course, Vijay is the executive director of the institute.
Michael Moore [00:12:20] He [Prashad] wrote these words, “Pessimism must not be laid at the feet of the Taliban alone, but also of those such as the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Germany and Pakistan who funded and supported the Taliban like theocratic fascists there and elsewhere. It suited the United States to see the Afghan women as incapable of helping themselves and therefore to need U.S. aerial bombardment and U.S. extraordinary rendition to Guantanamo.” This government, we, our entire history has never shown that to be a priority, let’s take care of the women, let’s protect the women. It’s about the women and the girls. In a country, where women couldn’t vote for the first 150 years. Once the Violence Against Women Act expired here a few years ago, Republicans in Congress decided not to renew it, to block it. The Democrats didn’t really fight that hard for it. And so this law, I mean, how much clearer can you be, it’s in the title Violence Against Women Act, gone from the United States? So I don’t know if we have any kind of high horse we can sit on when we talk about equality for women. They’re the majority gender, 51 percent of the population, and they hold only 25 percent of the seats in Congress. So please stop it.
Michael Moore [00:13:51] Vijay [Prashad] is the author of an incredible book, “Washington Bullets,” and another book called “The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World.” He was once the Edward Said chair at the American University in Beirut, and he’s now the senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies in China. Please welcome to Rumble, Vijay Prashad. Vijay, thank you so much for coming on.
Vijay Prashad [00:14:18] It’s an absolute pleasure. I’m so glad to be with you and so glad to be bewildered alongside you.
Michael Moore [00:14:24] Yes. Well, this piece that you wrote this week, where I think you refer to: how many more Saigon’s, how many more Vietnam’s? When will we learn our lesson? I tweeted this just one line about how, you know, we’ve just lost another war, the empire here. We’ve lost how many wars now? And that really last, you know, real war that we won was 76 years ago, World War II, and all the wars since then are either some sort of draw or we lose or we invade for like a day and a half and we call it a war and then we claim that we’ve taken over Grenada, which has no actual army.
Michael Moore [00:15:10] But I mean, this is just, I think, to a lot of Americans, regardless of their political position, watching the actions of this week, the press seems to be a lot more upset about the disaster and the debacle. All these headlines, the Fairness And Accuracy In Reporting group put up a [piece that] headline after headline [said]: debacle, debacle, debacle, debacle and [they’re all] blaming Biden and all this. And it’s like, really, I think there’s a little more to the story than that. And that’s why I want to have you on Vijay. So can you just, actually just for younger people, tell us about Afghanistan in the years before the United States was involved and even before the Soviet Union was involved, it seemed like the people of Afghanistan at one point were trying to create their own democracy, had elections, elected a woman, if I believe correctly, as the president, just give us your people’s history short version of how we got to this point.
Vijay Prashad [00:16:18] See, it’s important to know that from around the mid-19th century, the British Empire considered Afghanistan to be a buffer state against the Tsarist Empire, and they invaded Afghanistan twice in the 19th century. Both times faced severe resistance from the Afghans. But in 1880, the British actually were able to get a foothold in Afghanistan. And from 1911, what’s astounding is all the way to the 1990s, for that 80 period, Afghanistan was in a real social contest. When the communists came into the scene in the 1960s, they pushed for land reforms, they pushed for literacy. Some of the most hideous elements of the landlords, the tribal leaders, the clergy, ran off across the border to Pakistan. And these people, they created a base in Peshawar in northern Pakistan. They set up their own institutions and so on. And very early on, they started getting funding from Saudi Arabia. Now, what’s really interesting is in 1986, I remember reading a survey of literacy in these camps, 1.4 percent of the girls were going to school in these camps. This is camps in Pakistan, camps that were receiving funds from the United States government. You know, here’s Uncle Charlie’s war. You know, here’s the US congressman going and being all macho in these camps among the member who basically were not allowing education for anybody, but least of all for women. These people basically opposed the good side of history. They wanted a very conservative worldview to be in place and they had been defeated, Michael, that’s the key thing. They had been defeated.
Vijay Prashad [00:18:11] If not for Jimmy Carter’s presidency and Mr. Brzezinski, his national security adviser, it’s likely that these people may never have actually recovered. They may still be sitting in refugee camps in Pakistan. You know, basically forgotten element in the shunting yard of history, completely forgotten. On the other hand, Brzezinski decided, let’s arm these fellows, send them across the border, let’s give them stinger missiles, let’s give stinger missiles to people who in 1969, took cups of acid and threw it in the faces of women students. So these are the kind of scumbags that the United States pulled out of the gutter, reconstructed them as freedom fighters against communism and set them in motion to cross the border. That’s really the beginning of the Taliban. Taliban, by the way, a word which means students – a deeply ironic use of the Dari and Pashto and Farsi language. They call themselves students because they were students in the refugee camps in Pakistan. They were disgusted by the mujahideen of Burhanuddin Rabbani and others and therefore, they said will fashion themselves as an alternative.
Vijay Prashad [00:19:22] In fact, there are minor differences between the Mujahideen, who were fully backed by the United States, Saudi Arabia and the Pakistanis, minor differences between them and the Taliban, backed by the Pakistanis, backed by the Saudis, and I think if we’re honest, backed by the United States. So this is a long battle to fashion a kind of modernity for Afghanistan. The Afghans don’t need saving. They have this dynamic within their own country. People have been fighting for literacy, fighting for land reform, fighting for women’s emancipation. The real issue before us is for the last 50 years, the United States decided to put its extraordinarily heavy finger on the scales and tilt on behalf of some of the most disgusting people that Afghanistan has ever produced.
Michael Moore [00:20:12] And they are?
Vijay Prashad [00:20:13] Well, these include, on the one hand, the people affiliated with the Jamaat-e-Islami, who became known as the Mujahideen. It’s a term I totally reject, you know, because they call themselves fighters of God. These are the people that the United States government at the time essentially called freedom fighters. Now, let’s put this in some context for people who are listening. You know, around the same time as the United States government decided to support, fully support, these men who threw acid in the faces of women students, at the same time, the U.S. is supporting these people. United States officials, including Dick Cheney, later vice president, called Nelson Mandela a terrorist. You can’t start the story from Biden. You can’t start the story from Trump. And I know what it’s like in the United States. The Democrats hide behind the curtain and say, we’re actually really good. I mean, I don’t think so, because in the case of this particular 20 year war, it’s an utterly bipartisan war, started by George W. Bush, prosecuted further by Barack Obama, deepened by Donald Trump. And now we have Joe Biden. Everybody is implicated in this political class. As you said, only Barbara Lee voted against this war.
Michael Moore [00:21:31] And back in 2001, you’ve got all these liberal publications supporting the invasion from The New York Times to The New Yorker magazine. For the Iraq war, you had 29 Democratic senators voting for the war, voting to give Bush the war powers. You know, the Democrats are not to be excused for this because they either support it, they’re funded by large campaign contributions from people who support it, and rarely been able to have the courage to stand up and say, I’m sorry, I’m not participating in the United States invading this country.
Vijay Prashad [00:22:09] It’s a question of this feeling that the United States can do no wrong, that the United States is always benevolent, and that if anything were to go wrong, it’s not the fault of the United States. And so here we have a case where the U.S. simply doesn’t accept, that there’s this idea U.S. is benevolent, doesn’t commit war crimes, doesn’t accept that it does anything wrong. Well, how are you supposed to learn? If I know Washington, D.C. correctly, Michael, they’re basically, they’ve put the engines on and are ready to go and invade Venezuela, ready to go and invade Cuba and so on. Forget, you know, the city on the hill. You look like a gangster at the edge of town.
Michael Moore [00:22:52] What do you want to say to people, especially American people who are listening to you right now in terms of what you think they need to hear, especially after what they’ve heard and seen this entire week?
Vijay Prashad [00:23:02] People need to really reassess their belief when important officials talk about things like human rights, human rights violations, that the United States needs to champion human rights, and so on. It’s ok. You can lecture a country about its human rights. I think that’s perfectly acceptable. But to go to war in the name of human rights when most of us know that these wars are actually not about human rights, this is the raw exercise of power. Sometimes it’s about control of resources, but most of the time it’s a raw exercise of power, to tell basically your, you know, your enemies or the people that you feel threaten you, that they have to stay in their place, they have to park in their lane. It’s worthwhile that people in the United States understand that their tax dollars are going towards the exercise of raw power through a massive military machine which is polluting the planet, destroying the planet. For what end? You know, not so that somebody who’s unemployed in Ohio can get a raise, but because, you know, the wealthy bond holders and people like that can maintain their wealth so that, you know, people like Jeff Bezos can continue to fly into space.
Vijay Prashad [00:24:12] I mean, there’s something just vulgar about the way in which U.S. power is exercised. Young working class people sent to go and fight in Afghanistan, not to actually defend their communities. You know, when people say thank you for your service, service to whom? If you want to help people, my friends, at this moment, you should tell your government to remove all patent restrictions on vaccines, so that vaccines can be freely delivered to the 7.9 billion people in the world. Not sending, you know, 2 or 3 warships to sit off the coast of China and now create saber rattling provocations against a vast and important country like China. Wake up when you’ve got a congressional election before you put forward a candidate who’s against this kind of nastiness and challenge the Democrats. You see, Democrats don’t often get challenged from the left. I’d like to see each safe Democratic district have a left challenger. More money was spent over these 20 years in Afghanistan than is in Mr Biden’s infrastructure bill. You should think about these things. There are choices being made by citizens of the country when they don’t go out onto the street and say, not in my name.
Michael Moore [00:25:25] Yes, I couldn’t agree more with you, what you’re saying here. I can see the results. I can see the end game of this and it’s not pretty. And I would hope that most people, especially the Americans listening to this, would heed your advice to get involved, get busy. I don’t think it’s gonna’ happen with us just running milquetoast Democrats who don’t have the courage to stand up for what’s right here. I think in their gut, most Americans are sick of this and they’ve lost their sons and daughters. I want to say to young people who might be considering joining the military to think twice until this country decides it’s not going to use you as cannon fodder. It’s been quite a week, and I really appreciate you coming on to share your feelings and your thoughts and your history of Afghanistan and sadly, our role in it in the last 20 or 30 years. So thank you for that. And please come back on another time here on Rumble.
Vijay Prashad [00:26:29] Thanks a lot. And I hope one day you and I can walk the streets of Kabul and we can together eat some of the finest street food in the world. Thanks a lot.
Michael Moore [00:26:39] Thank you. I will take you up on that offer. You had me at street food, so I’ll be there. Thank you very much.
Michael Moore [00:29:13] Well, my next guest today here on Rumble is retired colonel Ann Wright. The United States Army. She was once also a United States State Department official. She was in Kabul, Afghanistan, when the United States reopened its embassy in December of 2001 after what we we were told by George W. Bush was the fall of the Taliban. Ann, though, a couple of years later was one of three State Department officials to publicly and heroically resign in response to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Colonel Wright said at the time, quote, Your job as a colonel in the United States Army and in the State Department, your job is to implement the policies of an administration. If you strongly disagree with any administration’s policies and you wish to speak out, your only option is to resign.
Michael Moore [00:30:17] After her resignation, she joined me as part of my sixty-two stop tour across the country, we did it in 42 days, called the Slacker Uprising Tour. And this was in 2004. And Ann and I and a whole bunch of people from Joan Baez to Tom Morello to REM, just joined us as we toured the country, went to college campuses, packed basketball arenas, and we rallied nearly a million young people to oppose the Bush regime and to help awaken a new political generation in America, Colonel Ann Wright, I’m so happy that you are here to join me on Rumble today.
Ann Wright [00:31:03] Well, Michael, it’s a real pleasure to be with you and I certainly remember the 2004 Slacker tour, that was really a monumental effort on your part to bring together lots of voices of dissent against the Bush policies.
Michael Moore [00:31:20] Well, thank you for that. It was a whole bunch of us came together. It was pretty epic. It was stunning to see the crowds that came out and it was good to see us laying some groundwork in terms of being able to fight the Bush administration in its second term. But Ann you have been such a strong and vocal advocate for peace, part of Code Pink and you’re part of Veterans for Peace. You have watched the news this week, as have most of the people around the world with the so-called fall of Afghanistan, and I’m just curious, because you actually served there so you you have some history knowing Kabul and knowing Afghanistan what happened not just this week, but in terms of how did we get to this point?
Ann Wright [00:32:08] Well, when I was in Afghanistan in December of 2001, re-opening the embassy, we never, ever had a suspicion that the U.S. would be in Afghanistan for 20 years. So no matter why it [the U.S.] went in there, it was not going to be welcomed by all elements of Afghan society. And certainly that was what happened and whatever mission it seemed to be having as its goal, it’s another one of those issues that the U.S. has of being a warmonger, going into places thinking there is a military solution to conflicts with other countries.
Michael Moore [00:32:49] And what did you think this week when what you saw starting last Sunday?
Ann Wright [00:32:54] I think my intelligence was better than the professional intelligence folks of our government. If indeed they kept saying that the Taliban might be in charge in a year or might be in charge in nine months, or you could just read on the map day-by-day. As the Taliban was taking more provincial capitals, that Taliban force was moving very quickly and as as we saw that government troops were surrendering rather than fighting the Taliban. And it wasn’t a real surprise to me because I’d heard as many people had heard, that the government military many times had not been paid, that they weren’t well-equipped in terms of food and supplies. And the central government in many ways was not supporting its own military forces.
Michael Moore [00:33:47] They referred to it as how the Taliban over the last month or so were taking control over these different regions. But taking control made it sound like that there were these big battles going on. There were no battles going on. It seemed like the Taliban had gone in and had been for the last year and a half since Trump signed the agreement with them, had been going in region by region and negotiating with the leaders and the people there of how can we do this transition once the Americans are gone? What’s really going on here? Because it just it does seem different and it’s clear that people couldn’t wait for the Americans to leave.
Ann Wright [00:34:24] Well, I think you’re right. I think there is a difference. I think even the Taliban says that they have matured in their approach. I think they they have become very adept at social media. They are looking for international assistance. They have gotten the word that if you have a huge number of human rights violations, you’re going to you’re going to be in international trouble. And while there have been instances and there are reports that some Taliban in various parts of the country actually have lists of people that they say they are looking for, but the senior Taliban says that they have a general amnesty for government workers, for the Afghan military and police. And now they’re saying as long as everyone abides by Sharia law, that everything’s going to be fine. Of course, women are very concerned about the Taliban, whether they are going to go back to their old ways of saying that all women should be in burkas, that they have to be accompanied by a male member of their family, which has happened apparently in some some of the cities or towns, that there have been instances when Taliban have told women, you can’t be out on the street unless you have a male member of your family with you.
Ann Wright [00:35:45] So there’s a split in how the senior Taliban that’s been negotiating with the United States for over 18 months and did come to an agreement with the U.S…What’s with the Taliban without the government of Afghanistan with which is, you know, that’s not a good way to do negotiations. But President Trump was hell bent to get an agreement, as was his promise during his campaign. So he was willing to go ahead and negotiate just unilaterally. But this agreement says that the U.S. will not interfere with the internal workings of the country, that it will have a positive relationship with the Taliban. The Taliban says that it will not allow the soil of Afghanistan to be used for terrorist groups, but this agreement is very interesting and it’s going to be fascinating to see if the U.S. follows through or whether the U.S. will try to destabilize the Taliban through its CIA militias that are still out there. So we’ll see whether the militias are going to allow the Taliban to rule or whether there is going to be militias going after the Taliban to include CIA sponsored militias.
Michael Moore [00:37:04] So what’s your guess here? What’s what do you think is going to happen?
Ann Wright [00:37:07] Well, I hope for the sake of the people of Afghanistan that they get some peace, then the Taliban has the challenge of how do they govern. They’ve been in charge of provinces through the southern part of the country. And whether they can do that on the national level and without the funding that the US has been pouring into the Afghan government. So it’ll be interesting to see whether or not the Taliban can present itself in a manner that makes the international community feel comfortable with it. So it will release the funds that it will need to actually do the governance that the people of Afghanistan deserve.
Michael Moore [00:37:48] Let me ask you this. You know, back in 2001, when you were in Kabul, you’re still in the State Department there in 2002, 2003. You saw a lot. You heard a lot. You came to your own conclusions about things. What did you know then from your own observations of what was not going right, where you said to yourself, I think if we did this a different way, we could prevent a bad outcome here. What lesson is it that we as Americans can learn from this?
Ann Wright [00:38:20] When we went into Afghanistan, I was fully expecting that we would stay maybe a year, year and a half at the most and then get out of there because we knew the history, what the lessons were there from other nations that had invaded Afghanistan. We know what doesn’t work, and yet we just keep doing it. And one of the main things is that we keep invading and occupying countries and then are shocked when the local people somehow don’t agree with what we, the U.S. Have in store for them. The U.S. does not learn these lessons. And I think one of the main things is, is that people who make money out of war don’t want us to learn any lesson other than war is good for the economy. And that certainly has been for our war mongering corporations in the United States. War is good for the merchant class, for the commercial class of the United States.
Michael Moore [00:39:18] So if we haven’t learned our lesson, how many more times are we going to have to watch the helicopters fly into the American embassy somewhere to get as many Americans out as possible and skedaddle out of there?
Ann Wright [00:39:31] Well, I think this will keep happening until, we the citizens of the of the United States, stop electing officials that think war is good. And right now, we’re facing two possible military conflicts. And it’s on the newspapers every single day that China is our military enemy. China is definitely an economic, I wouldn’t call them a threat, but they’re an economic competitor. But what is happening now is that the political class of the United States is preparing the United States for some sort of military conflict with China. If our political class thinks the Chinese are going to back down, we’re all in big trouble. We need to, as a citizenry, we have got to really put pressure on our congressional delegations saying no to war with China, no to war with Russia, and no to war with anyone. Let’s use diplomacy to resolve conflicts that we have with other countries.
Michael Moore [00:40:37] Yeah just listening to that and thinking about how insane would it be to get into a military conflict with China or Russia or Iran, Venezuela. Go down the list. How absolutely insane that would be? But it feels like sometimes it’s all we know. We have to keep the money rolling and we have to protect our so-called American interests elsewhere. So I don’t know, I don’t know if we have learned our lesson, but I’m counting on a whole younger generation that sees absolutely no sense to war and will not support and will be politically active to oppose any of this going on.
Michael Moore [00:41:15] What do you think of Joe Biden? I mean, do you think that we got a better shot there with him when it comes to this sort of thing?
Ann Wright [00:41:21] Well, not really. I mean, his administration from the very first days were calling China our enemy. I mean, granted, there are international economic rules and things like that the Chinese have broken, and not to say that the U.S has clean hands on some of the stuff that it’s pulled on other countries economically either, but it started during the Trump administration and it’s just continuing on steroids under the Biden administration, both on China and on Russia. But they are purposely antagonizing China with naval operations and with a huge number of aircraft that were flown into Guam last week. We are also are doing everything we can to antagonize China by selling weapons to Taiwan, which we have done over the years. But we’ve done it quietly. We’ve now sent in the highest level of U.S. diplomats that have been into Taiwan in 40 years. And it’s purposefully just to antagonize China. And it appears to me to see if we can’t somehow trigger a Chinese military response that then the U.S. can respond to, which is so very dangerous for all of us because China has nuclear weapons, so very quickly this could could escalate into a horrific disaster for our world.
Michael Moore [00:43:01] Ann is retired colonel in the US Army and a veteran. I’ve received a number of letters from fans this week, people who are veterans. And they’re very worried about their fellow veterans, of how they’re taking the news this week in this kind of overwhelming dark sense of what did we go there for, what did we die for? They believed the US government, they believed in the policies. They went there. And now you know this because you’re very active in the Veterans for Peace. And so the statistic that can’t be said enough that somewhere between 17 and 20 of our veterans every single day commit suicide. But I also want to say to them that I do believe you didn’t, either your friends didn’t or your son or your daughter, they didn’t die in vain.
Michael Moore [00:43:59] If we as Americans stop the madness, stop this from happening again for those of you who are coping with your mental health, coming back from a war that you knew on some level had nothing to do with defending your neighbors and your family and your friends and your fellow citizens of this country, that if we did lose you, if we took from this a sense that we are going to do what you told us, what you said we should do in a few minutes ago, be active politically, stop the next war, don’t wait for it to happen. History will write that we became a peaceful people. We became a people that believed in talking to the other side. We learned an important lesson. And we’re sorry that people had to die for us to learn a lesson that was so obvious. And yet sometimes that’s what it takes.
Ann Wright [00:44:51] Well, I think you’re exactly right. And, you know, these questions that veterans have are reminiscent, of course, of what veterans from the war on Vietnam had 50 years ago. What was it all about? We had tens of thousands of people with injuries that both physical and emotional that the families are dealing with. And if you think about how much all of this not the cost is the key part, but it is interesting that right now we’ve already spent 300 billion dollars for medical care or the 20,000 U.S. casualties, the injuries…
Michael Moore [00:45:32] The ones who came back without an arm or a leg or…
Ann Wright [00:45:36] Yeah and they say there will be another 500 billion that will be it in the in the short term. So it is very important that people think about all of this. Is it really worth all of what war costs? And you and I believe no.
Michael Moore [00:45:52] And if a veteran of that war is listening right now, what do you say? Because what I want to say is, brother, sister, your loved, your respected, you believed in your president – you should be able to believe the president when he says something if you’re in the military.
Ann Wright [00:46:08] For veterans that are listening, we certainly hope that you have the opportunity to, if you need some emotional support, that you call up some buddies, that you you talk about this with friends, that you don’t hold it to yourself. If you can just be with some other people, hang in there, don’t get despondent, keep hanging in there. Don’t give up, don’t give up.
Michael Moore [00:46:34] And if you need to talk to somebody and you don’t have somebody to talk to, there’s a suicide prevention line, a helpline that you can call. And I’d like to give it out right now. Wherever you’re listening to this podcast, if you’re on my platform, if you’re on my Substack, I’ll put the link and the number for you to call, to talk to somebody. 800-273-8255. Seek help, it’s there. Know that you’re loved by millions and millions of people. If you’re listening to this and you’re a veteran, I’ll do my best to make sure that we don’t give up on you. It’s not your fault.
Ann Wright [00:47:11] Well, Michael, as a veteran, I want to thank you for your continued support to the veterans, maybe not through the wars that we get into, but you certainly are a great supporter of the men and women that with the best of heart, do what they think they’re supposed to do. And we really, we thank you very much for your support for them and your encouragement of people not to give up. Don’t let these emotions get you down, that there is help out there and we do love you. So thank you again for this opportunity to talk with you.
Michael Moore [00:47:48] Thank you, Ann, thank you for what you’ve done for the country. Thank you for what you’ve done for peace. It’s just we’re not used to hearing former retired colonels of the Army use the words warmongers. So it’s it’s just a little uplifting to hear the truth so bluntly spoke. But that’s who you’ve been and you still are and we love you for it. So thank you very much. Colonel Ann Wright, retired United States Army, for all that you’ve done and for helping us understand this week in Afghanistan a little bit better.
Ann Wright [00:48:19] Thank you, Michael. Thank you.
Michael Moore [00:49:16] Ok, everybody, we’re now going to talk to somebody who I’ve known for many years, used to actually work with me, worked on my website, did research and work on my film “Capitalism: A Love Story.” And now he works for The Intercept, a great online publication. And his name is Jon Schwarz. And he wrote just a few days ago in The Intercept that the war in Afghanistan was not a failure. And we’re all so much sorrow and tragedy this week and everybody watching the images and everything. But Jon came to our rescue to tell us that it was not all bad. And that, in fact, it was a huge win, this war for the greedy defense contractors and their shareholders, they profited big time from the occupation, from this 20 year war, and they all have blood on their hands. Jon writes, defense stocks outperformed the stock market overall by 58 percent during the Afghanistan war. Welcome to Rumble, Jon Schwarz.
Jon Schwarz [00:50:30] Yeah, well, as you say, lots of people were feeling pretty bad looking
Michael Moore [00:50:34] And you just wanted to cheer them up.
Jon Schwarz [00:50:36] Yeah, exactly that. That there is a bright side.
Michael Moore [00:50:38] Yes. It’s not all lose, lose, lose, lose. Sometimes it’s lose, lose, lose, lose, win.
Jon Schwarz [00:50:46] Yeah, that’s exactly right. And lots of people lost the Afghanistan war. America overall lost. Certainly Afghanistan lost. But Lockheed, General Dynamics, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, they all won for sure.
Michael Moore [00:51:02] Now, for the people that don’t know these corporations, you know, because nobody drives a Raytheon down the road, nobody stops by their pharmacy to pick up their Northrop Grumman. Tell the audience exactly what some of these companies that you just mentioned, what they do for a living and how they contribute to our American democracy.
Jon Schwarz [00:51:26] Yeah, well, they are called generally sort of defense contractors. And when you hear that term, you should think of this interesting fact – that two things happened in 1949. The first one was that 1984 by George Orwell was published and as a sort of satirical joke, Orwell named the ministry of the totalitarian government that was involved with war, the Ministry of Peace. And then also in 1949, what used to be the Department of War in the United States, renamed itself the Department of Defense and all of its contractors became rather than war contractors became defense contractors. So that’s what these five companies do. They are defense contractors. They make planes, they make bombs, they make missiles. They do all kinds of contracting to train people, to use the bombs and the missiles. And Boeing makes the least amount of money from the government, its revenues from the government total 30 percent of the money that it brings in every year. Now, of course, any company knows, like if you have a customer that provides 30 percent of their revenues, like you will collapse if that customer disappears. That’s the least – these other companies, Lockheed, I think it’s 80 percent. Raytheon makes 94 percent of its money from the government. Northrop Grumman, it’s 87 percent.
Jon Schwarz [00:53:05] So these companies, for all intents and purposes, actually are part of the government. The difference between them and the Social Security Administration is that the Social Security Administration doesn’t have stockholders that make tons of money. It doesn’t have executives that make, you know, 17 million dollars a year. So these are sort of the lords of war. That’s what they would have been called 100 years ago. And 100 hundred years ago, people understood very well that these companies, these kinds of corporations are dangerous. It really is in their financial interest for there to be war. And as we were just discussing, like everybody lost this war, but they won.
Michael Moore [00:53:46] So 15,000 dollars if back in, say, what, 2001? If you had 15,000 dollars and you invested in stocks in these companies that make all these weapons for our Pentagon, how much have you made from, say, that day in September of 2001 to this past Sunday?
Jon Schwarz [00:54:10] Right. You know, the interesting thing is, like the internet has all kinds of calculators that you can use to look at the return on any stock you want. And so you would now have 97,000 dollars, almost 100,000 dollars would now be in your portfolio. If you just put that money into the broader stock market, the S&P 500, you would only have 61,000 dollars. So as you say, it’s almost a 60 percent difference. They outperform the broader stock market by almost 60 percent. So as any professional money manager would tell you, like, that’s a huge difference. That’s a huge amount of money. And so it just pays it pays to invest in these companies when there’s war.
Michael Moore [00:54:55] So who has 15,000 dollars in 2001? I mean, obviously, if you’re stacking the shelves in the grocery store, if you’re driving a bus, a city bus, if you if you have any basic jobs that Americans have, I don’t think they have 15,000 dollars extra to play around with in the stock market. So clearly the people that had that money were in the upper middle class or wealthy people.
Jon Schwarz [00:55:23] Yeah, I forget what the exact numbers are, but it is something like the top 10 percent, the richest 10 percent of American households own 90 percent. It’s something around there. And of course, it gets more concentrated as you go up the scale. So most of that, at least, a hugely disproportionate amount of that 84 percent is held by the top 1 percent and then even more disproportionately by the top 0.1percent. So in absolute numbers, this is a lot of people, you know, this is millions of households. So lots and lots and lots of people benefited from this. And that’s part of the reason why America has so many wars.
Michael Moore [00:55:59] That means, though, that everybody knows somebody that’s got that kind of money. And that means tonight, those people who benefited during this 20 year war are sitting at home knowing that they benefited. I mean, how do you turn away from that?
Jon Schwarz [00:56:16] Yeah, I mean, you would think you couldn’t turn away from it, but at least as far as I can tell, it turns out to be very easy. Almost all the people of the top 10 percent turn away from that, it is just a fact that the cost of war are mostly borne by the bottom 90 percent of Americans, the least rich, the least privileged. And there are all kinds of benefits, direct financial benefits for the richest people in America.
Michael Moore [00:56:44] Oh, yeah, right.
Jon Schwarz [00:56:45] It is about Dwight Eisenhower on his way out the door like, his presidency is over in 1961, and he gives his famous military-industrial complex speech, where he’s like, hey, listen, by the way, look, I’m not going to be president anymore, but watch out for this.
Michael Moore [00:57:03] And he was right.
Jon Schwarz [00:57:04] And he was absolutely right. I don’t think that the people running America sit around in a room with each other and they go, great, like, let’s start another war and make tons of money. It’s just that from their perspective, the downsides of war are much smaller than they are for regular Americans. And certainly the people in the countries where we wage war and the upsides are much, much bigger, whereas for regular people they are non-existent.
Michael Moore [00:57:30] And generally it’s not their son or daughter that’s being sent over there in a uniform to fight that war.
Jon Schwarz [00:57:37] I can’t even remember the last time a US president had had children in the military. Now, Biden is different, like he did have a son, his late son, who did actually serve in the military. And so who knows, I mean, perhaps that’s one reason why he was willing to bite the bullet and say like enough is enough and I’m going to end it now and I’m going to take the political hit. And you can understand when you understand the role that money plays in war, you can see why the U.S. media freaks out about this, because number one, the people on TV who are hosting cable news shows are very rich. They have these stocks in their portfolios. These companies also are constantly advertising on these shows. If you’ve ever read The Washington Post, you know, one of the strangest things about it is that every Sunday there’s probably like a full page ad from Lockheed. So, of course, they are solicitous of the views of these defense contractors. And this is something that lots of countries, lots of people generally understood. Again, 100 years ago after World War I, particularly if you’re like, hey, why don’t we just have a gigantic bloodletting, this nightmarish waste of human life? And they’re like, maybe it has something to do with all the people who made money off of it.
Michael Moore [00:58:52] When we talk with the people that made money off of a 20 year war, it’s not just the stock market either, is it? It’s a it’s all this, I remember we filmed once in one of these…It was a government thing for contractors who wanted to get in on making some money off Afghanistan and Iraq. And I interviewed all these contractors, subcontractors, some subcontractors, people that, you know, all the things that we needed to build over there…a lot of people got in on this to make some money. And then, of course, there’s the drug trade that how much of our heroin comes from the poppies grown in Afghanistan that never gets talked about, because I would think it’s a significant piece of this who’s making some loot off this war.
Jon Schwarz [00:59:45] Yeah, that is one of the most untold stories of American history, because it’s kind of hard not to miss the fact that wherever our military goes, the drug trade follows like.
Michael Moore [00:59:56] Right?
Jon Schwarz [00:59:57] People have totally forgotten this by now.
Michael Moore [00:59:58] It was true in Vietnam?
Jon Schwarz [00:59:59] Yeah, it was true in Vietnam.
Michael Moore [01:00:00] Central America?
Jon Schwarz [01:00:02] Yeah in Central America. Cocaine from Central America during the wars of the 1980s. And when the war in Afghanistan began, you could have predicted, you know, tons and tons of drugs are going to be coming out of Afghanistan. And you would have been right. And when you are running a war, you need allies on the ground. Those allies are going to be going to tend to be people who don’t care that much about human flourishing. And allying with with drug dealers is going to be the quickest way to accomplish your short term objectives. And that’s what happened in Vietnam. It’s what happened in Central America. It’s what happened in Afghanistan. And the CIA was just handing over bags full of cash to the Karzai family. And Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, his brother was the main drug dealer in the country. It’s just a fact that we don’t talk about it. War is extremely profitable if you are correctly positioned. And it’s one of the main reasons why humanity has so much of this. As Chalmers Johnson said, it’s profitable and it generates demand for more.
Jon Schwarz [01:01:10] So what can we do as citizens to remove the profit motive from war? It seems like to prevent another Afghanistan or Iraq or whatever in the future, that we have to cut this thing off like the head of a snake almost. If we, the citizens of this country don’t do something about the profit motive here, if we ignore it, this isn’t going away. Because it seems, I think to the average person, especially somebody listening to this right now, thinking, well, I can’t do anything about this – what are you talking about?
Jon Schwarz [01:01:42] Yeah, well, there is a simple, although extremely difficult solution and it’s very straightforward. Like all these companies should be nationalized. They should all be part of the government. As I said earlier, they might as well be part of the government because almost all their money comes from the government. But if they are part of the government, then the people running them are not going to be making 20 million dollars a year. If there’s a war, they’re going to continue to be making their civil service salaries of 150,000 dollars a year, which is a lot of money, but it’s not 20 million dollars a year. And they’re not going to be any shareholders who have the incentive to push for war. There’s a guy named Stephen Semler at a place called the Security Policy Reform Institute who calculated that the difference in the money that the top 5 contractors, the top 5 defense contractors were making from the U.S. Government, all the contracts it contracts in 2001 were worth like 72 billion dollars and by 2020 it was up to 168 billion dollars. Obviously people are going to want war under those circumstances. And if all of this money is all internal to the government, that it’s not going into individuals’ pockets, then it just makes the decisions based on do we actually have to do this? Do we have to have a war rather than, you know, like look at this gigantic pile of money…I would like some.
Michael Moore [01:03:02] That’s a great idea about turning them into companies that are not owned for profit. The only problem there, I guess, would be that if you’ve got a government in there and the government owns the the weapons building industry, very easy for them to just dump a bunch of money into that and build more bombs.
Jon Schwarz [01:03:20] Yeah, it would be, but hopefully if it was sort of the same organization, the government paying out the money as was taking the money in that things would be a little bit more sensible. And I would say like this, this was in the 20s after World War I – a 100 years ago, this was a very popular item on the liberal progressive agenda, was nationalizing all these companies like this. And that’s just been forgotten. But we should dig that out of history and give it another shot, because if we don’t, the same things are going to continue happening over and over again.
Michael Moore [01:03:54] And I would think if anybody listening to this, if you own stock in these companies, if you’ve owned that stock for the last 20 years and you’ve made an average of what Jon’s calculation was there, of what the stock was worth 20 years ago, what it’s worth today and you’ve got a profit of maybe on that 15,000 dollars of 75,000 more, that maybe there’s some good you could do with that money. Maybe there’s a way to achieve some sort of redemption for having profited off this misery. And I’m not pointing a finger or anything. And it’s easy for me to say because I don’t own any stock. I’ve never. I don’t. I’ve never believed in it. Never understood the stock market. I come from a different class of people, nobody ever owned a share or stock. You know, I don’t know, am I on my high horse now talking down to people saying you could use the money you’ve made off the misery of this war?
Jon Schwarz [01:04:50] I think I think every American should be thinking about this kind of thing when I think about the last 20 years and obviously we’re coming up on the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks very soon. Just the amount of human misery that has been generated by our actions is stupendous. It’s more than can really fit into 1 person’s imagination. But if you have been in that position, then I would say absolutely, yes. Like there can be tons of refugees from Afghanistan and you can very easily take some of your money and at least help them to a modicum of safety after we’ve helped tear their country to shreds.
Jon Schwarz [01:05:30] I think all Americans should be conscious of this. This is reality. There’s a very interesting story that everybody should know and is almost been completely consigned to oblivion. But I want to be sure to get it in there tonight, which is that part of the story of the 1968 election, this was Nixon versus Hubert Humphrey – was that Lyndon Johnson was actually making a genuine, sincere attempt to end the Vietnam War. And the Nixon campaign was deeply worried about this. They were scared there was going to be what they considered to be an October surprise that Lyndon Johnson would announce that the war was ending and this would help get Humphrey elected. And Nixon, like this is proven, people used to call this conspiracy theory. Absolutely it’s not, it did happen. Nixon went to the South Vietnamese government and possibly the North Vietnamese government and said, look, do not agree to these peace terms because I’m going to be president and know, like, I’ll get you a better deal. And it worked. You know, there was no peace. The Vietnam War did not end. It went on for years and years and years after that. And in the end, the terms were exactly pretty much what was available in 1968. So 1000s of Americans died, probably 100,000s more Vietnamese. And people in other nearby countries, particularly Cambodia, died. Nixon truly, absolutely betrayed the United States and betrayed everyone fighting in the Vietnam War because it would help him become president. Anyway, the point is – this thing some people know this story, almost no one knows this: which is that one of the reasons the Johnson administration found out that this was happening is that the news had reached Nixon supporters on Wall Street and they were making trades based on their knowledge that the war was going to continue. And, you know, there really are no words for how disgusting that is. Oh, what a wonderful opportunity to make some money off of a continuing war. But that really did happen.
Jon Schwarz [01:07:37] And the most amazing part of it to me is that Lyndon Johnson knew about this. The people around him knew about it. And we actually have the recording and the transcript of a conversation between LBJ and his top advisers, including Clark Clifford, who is a person who’s been totally forgotten now. But he was the secretary of defense back in 1968. So they knew this was happening. And he said, I think that some elements of this story are so shocking in their nature that I’m wondering whether it would be good for the country to disclose the story and then possibly have a certain individual, meaning Nixon, elected. It could cast his whole administration under such doubt that I think it would be inimical to our country’s interests. So that is the Democrats all over, like Richard Nixon is truly betraying this country and the Democrats are like, we know this is happening, but we can’t tell anybody else.
Michael Moore [01:08:36] So obviously that didn’t happen.
Jon Schwarz [01:08:38] Yeah, they’re like we need to we need to make sure the Republicans get away with it. Because if Americans found out how this country really works, watch out.
Michael Moore [01:08:48] Is that tape exist? Is that in some archive or…
Jon Schwarz [01:08:52] It absolutely does and I will give it to you guys. And, you know, you can put it in the notes of the show.
Michael Moore [01:08:57] Oh, good. Good. Yes. Let people listen to this, ’cause it wasn’t just Nixon that taped conversations in the Oval Office. Johnson did it to and and there’s some wild ones. So I didn’t know about this one. But thank you for sharing that with us. And I will put it here on our podcast platform page. So, well, Jon, I really appreciate you writing this article this past week about the financial winners of the Afghanistan war. Something to always keep in mind whenever anybody starts suggesting that we attack another country, that, you know, our our safety probably is not really in jeopardy when they start talking this talk.
Michael Moore [01:09:43] But certainly our country and our young people, the ones they want to send off to war, they’re in deep jeopardy. And I just take the position now that whenever they start talking that way, don’t believe them. Don’t believe them. People have been saying this week, all week, you know, we haven’t kept our word. We left these Afghan people behind who are helping us. Nobody will ever trust us again. Good. Exactly right. Citizens of the world get the memo: You see us coming, do not trust whatever it is that we’re saying why we’re there? And don’t expect the outcome to be very good because our so-called word, we can’t even keep it to the soldiers that are fighting for us. Our word. When they come home from the war, they can’t get the health care that they need. Our word. No, I’m out, I’m done, and I will, I’m sorry, I thought I spoke loudly when they tried to send us to Afghanistan. I did. And I think it was very hard to get on any shows after I’d said a few things about not going to war in Afghanistan and a lot of liberals and Democrats going after me for my opposition to the war. Never again. That’s what we always have to keep in mind, not to be fooled by the people that stand to make a lot of money off us. All right, Jon, thank you so much for this. I appreciate the work you do. Keep doing it.
Jon Schwarz [01:11:19] Yeah. Thanks. Thanks for letting me talk about this. One last thing that I guess I really would urge people to keep in mind. When you hear everyone blaming people in Afghanistan, blaming them for being corrupt and you saw something that someone was claiming that the president who fled Afghanistan, the U.S. backed president who fled Afghanistan, had like 170 million dollars in cash and bags like, oh, look, you know, look how corrupt this guy was. And I look at that, like, you know, like, how could he have that much money? Like, he should only have that kind of money if you’re a former American president. Right. So we are absolutely in many ways as as corrupt as Afghanistan. And we created the corruption. So let’s let us not blame them. Let us look at our own…
Michael Moore [01:12:07] No, it just showed that he studied us well and we wrote the book on this. Onward. Thank you very much, Jon Schwarz, for participating in today’s podcast.
Jon Schwarz [01:12:19] Ok, I hope I can come back before too long and talk about more horrible, horrible things.
Michael Moore [01:12:25] Bring us, bring us more good news, if you can next time. All right, well, that is our episode here today on Rumble. I appreciate all of you participating in it, joining, enlisting. Please share it with others. If you are not signed up yet on our email list, all you got to do is go to michaelmoore.com and it’ll pop right up, sign up free and it’ll come to you once a week along with my letter to you once a week, where I will talk about, analyze, discuss, dissect what’s going on and what we can do about it, not just bitching and moaning about it, but what you and I can do about it, because we have a lot of work ahead of us here.
Michael Moore [01:13:15] And I know we’re all tired, we’re exhausted. We’re still in some crazy form of lockdown, but we can’t let this be taken from us and whether it’s Covid or climate. Or the continuing attempted at the coup. This is our country and we have to protect it, for those of you listening to this around the world, thank you for caring about us. I know part of your caring is because we are a threat to the planet just in general. And we Americans have to fix this because you can’t fix it. But your support and your listening to this is greatly appreciated. And we are doing our best to make the world a better place for all of us, not just Americans, but all of us.
Michael Moore [01:13:59] So thank you. And I will see you again here on Rumble with Michael Moore next Thursday or Friday. I’ll see you on Sunday with my weekly letter and next week with the next episode of Rumble with Michael Moore. I’m Michael Moore. Thank you to my executive producer, Basel Hamdan, our editor and sound engineer. Nick Kwas, our research assistant, Harrison Malkin, and everybody else who’s worked on this with me to make this happen. Much appreciation and much thanks and love to all of you who have signed up this week to be the initial founders of this online effort with this letter, with this podcast and the other things we’re going to be doing. Thanks, everybody, and we’ll talk to you soon.