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Sicko Fever

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  • Robert Sterling
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 2, 2007
      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist


      Mike's Letter
      Friday, June 29th, 2007

      Today is the Day for "Sicko"


      This is it! Two years in the making! The day that our new
      film, "Sicko," arrives in theaters all across North America! Click
      here to see where the nearest one is to you.

      After you go, let me know what you think. Oh, and send us a photo or
      a video from your cell phone to show us what it looked like at your
      theater. We'd love to post a photo from each of the 440 movie
      theaters showing "Sicko."

      To read more about the movie, you can go to www.michaelmoore.com.

      Here's what this morning's review in the L.A. Times said: "It's
      likely his most important, most impressive, and most provocative
      film." Okay, what do they know? I prefer to trust the assessment of
      E! Television Online: " 'Sicko' - the best movie ever? Maybe."
      Maybe? MAYBE?! When will they ever give me a break?

      It's been a weirdly funny week. First Larry King bumped me for Paris
      Hilton. Then today, when CNBC invited me to the floor of the New
      York Stock Exchange for an interview, the stock exchange said I was
      barred from the building. On top of that, Tony Blair is gone, Cheney
      says he's no longer answerable to anyone's elected government, and I
      simply don't want an iPhone. Just another week in America.

      Hope you enjoy the movie!


      Michael Moore



      The Right Sharpens Knives for 'Sicko'
      By Jay Diamond
      June 27, 2007

      Editor's Note: With Michael Moore's new documentary, "Sicko," set
      for nationwide release, the usual suspects on the Right are
      sharpening their knives for both Moore and the notion that a
      national health insurance program should cover all Americans.

      In this guest essay, radio personality Jay Diamond writes that Sean
      Hannity and other right-wing voices are trying to scare Americans
      with horror stories about "socialized medicine" while ignoring the
      valuable services performed by VA hospitals and Medicare:

      Do a search on "Hannity 'Sicko'" or "Romney 'Sicko''' on any search
      engine and you will find an assortment of You Tube excerpts of Sean
      Hannity recycling talking points off the panicked presses of the
      Heritage Foundation, CEI, AEI, Manhattan Institute, etc., bearing
      dire warnings of the health care terror Michael Moore and other evil
      progressives are preparing to inflict on America.

      But in all their truculent and fear-mongering invocations of the
      purported evils of "socialized medicine," there is curiously
      something that Romney, Hannity, and all the other American rightists
      consistently omit; and in that deliberate omission is an important
      lesson in the way America's hard right works their deceptions.

      They never mention that there are more individuals right here in the
      United States who receive their health coverage on what you
      call "socialized medicine" than there are people in the entire
      country of France.

      Add up all the people on Medicare and the Veterans Administration.

      Hey Sean, Hey Mitt, Did you forget about those interesting little
      nuggets....Medicare and the VA ?

      Or is it that you repeat the brainlessly transparent talking points
      your handlers stuff in your hands assuming nobody will realize that
      salient fact?

      If right-wingers love the troops so much, why do they pick them
      specifically to be tormented with this horrible "socialized

      Why do rightwingers hate our troops....to punish them in such an
      evil fashion...putting them at risk of the evil "socialized
      medicine"? Why, Why?

      While we're at it, can you tell me something about what kind of
      health care we inflict on all the ardent rightwingers in Congress
      and the Senate? Yup, you guessed it.

      How come all the wonderful, "Freedom" loving dedicated rightwingers
      in Congress....every last one of 'em...how come they don't give back
      their "socialized medicine" in indignant protest or at least self-
      preservation!? How noble they are to suffer so!

      And, "Mitt", I dare you to answer this....Do we see in the day-to-
      day reality of the way Medicare works any of the perils you
      guarantee in your polemics that would afflict the poor victims of
      public health care? We don't!

      Medicare works fine and you know that. And the Medicare
      beneficiaries know that too. Compare it to any for profit HMO!

      And knowing this, you persistently repeat the lies....purposefully,
      as a scare tactic, and as rank propaganda.

      You deliberately set out to mislead people by repeating material
      falsehoods. Fine work there....very patriotic indeed. The Founders
      would be so proud of you!

      Our boys dead in Iraq can rest in peace now knowing they died at age
      18 to save grandma from "socialized medicine" and to restore what to
      you is, no doubt, called "freedom".

      Moreover, since you're so busy sounding the alarm sirens to "save"
      us from this "socialized medicine", then how is it you're not
      writing even one column describing the "horrors" of the already
      existing Medicare and demanding that the Congress and the President
      restore "freedom" to Americans by abolishing this blight of Medicare?

      And why don't I see you, or any of your Republican colleagues
      scampering for President, also denouncing Medicare even as they
      inveigh against the godless assault of "socialized medicine"?

      Why are they....and You....silent in the battle to save America from
      Medicare and the VA!?

      How can that be....that you make terror speeches about "socialized
      medicine" and never even hint at the existence of Medicare and the
      VA right under our noses!!? I'll tell ya how!!

      Because you know....and every single Republican in Congress knows it
      too....as do the other Republicans vying for the '08 nomination,
      that the minute even one of 'em would be dumb enough to say they
      were going to "save" the millions of millions of moms and pops and
      grand-moms and grand-pops all over America from this dastardly
      Medicare that is stealing their "freedom", that it would be the end
      of them!

      Don't believe me ?

      What happened when Bush tried to play games with Social Security
      when he was feeling tumescent after his "mandate' which gave him all
      that "political capital"? Need a reminder?

      No one....NO ONE !...Not even the hardest line right-winger in
      Congress would dare to say he was going to abolish grandma's
      Medicare to save her from socialism! Wanna bet!

      And guess what....neither would you....because you haven't and you

      You know better than to make that mistake. You know that if you dare
      to call Medicare what it is....what Republicans called it back in
      the mid 1960's when it was being debated....that people would do two
      things: They would stop the rote association of socialism with
      everything evil and threatening in life, thereby ending the power
      over them of individuals like yourself working malignant hidden
      agendas, and...better still, never fall for that crap again.

      That is why neither you, nor any Republican will ever associate
      Medicare or VA health care with the your detested "socialized

      Because you know well, that you can scare the spit out of
      them....trick them....fool them.....hustle them....with your dire
      invocations of "socialism" right up until the minute that somebody
      telling the truth shows up to remind them that they already
      HAVE "socialized medicine", they LOVE their "socialized medicine",
      and that you want to euchre them out of it!

      How proud the Founders must be looking down from Joe McCarthy's

      And how proud you must be right down here on earth.....or is it

      It's what we make it!

      Jay Diamond is a radio commentator. He can be reached at



      Dr. Doom
      Release Date: 2007
      Ebert Rating: ***½
      Jun 29, 2007
      by Roger Ebert

      If you heard the story, you remember it. A few weeks ago, a woman
      bled to death in an emergency room, while her husband and a
      bystander both called 911 to report she was being ignored. They were
      ignored. She was already in the E.R., wasn't she?

      Her death came too late to be included in "Sicko," Michael Moore's
      litany of horrors about the American health care system, which is
      run for profit, and insurance companies, which pay bonuses to
      employees who are successful in denying coverage or claims.

      But wait a minute. I saw the movie almost a year to the day after a
      cartoid artery burst after surgery and I came within a breath of
      death. I spent the next nine months in Northwestern Memorial
      Hospital, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and the Pritikin
      Longevity Center, and still require the daily care of a nurse. I
      mention this to indicate I am pretty deeply involved in the health
      care system. In each and every case, without exception, I have been
      cared for by doctors who are kind, patient, painstaking and expert,
      and by nurses who are skilled, wise and tireless. My insurance has
      covered a small fortune in claims. My wife and I have also paid
      large sums from our own savings.

      So I have only one complaint, and it is this: Every American should
      be as fortunate as I have been. As Moore makes clear in his film,
      some 50 million Americans have no insurance and no way to get it.

      Many of the insured discover their policies are worthless after
      insurance investigators reel off an endless list of conditions and
      procedures that are not covered, or discover "pre-existing
      conditions" the patients "should" have known about. One woman,
      unconscious when she is put into an ambulance, is billed for the
      trip because her insurer says it was not pre-authorized. How could
      she get authorization when she was out cold on the pavement?

      We also learn a lot about drug companies and HMOs in the film. It is
      an item of faith in some circles that drug companies need their
      profits to finance research and development. Out of a dollar of
      profit, what percentage would you guess goes to R&D, and what
      percentage goes to advertising and promotion, multimillion-dollar
      executive salaries, corporate jets, palatial headquarters, bonuses
      and stockholders?

      Moore plays 1971 tapes from the Oval Office as Nixon discusses the
      original Kaiser plan for an HMO. "It's for profit," he says
      admiringly. Have you ever understood exactly what benefit an HMO
      provides while it stands between you and the medical care system and
      acts as a toll bridge? Do its profits not depend on supplying as
      little health care as possible, at the lowest possible price?

      Moore visits the countries of Canada, England, France and Cuba, all
      of which have (1) universal health care and (2) a longer life
      expectancy and lower infant mortality than the United States. In
      France, he drives with one of many doctors kept on full-time house-
      call duty. Of course we have heard all about "socialized medicine,"
      which among many evils denies you freedom of choice of hospitals and
      doctors. Hold on: That's the free-enterprise HMO system.

      Moore sails to Cuba with three boatloads of sick people, some of
      them 9/11 volunteers who have been denied care for respiratory and
      other problems because they were -- well, volunteers. Unlike firemen
      and policemen, they had no business being there, I guess. One woman
      is on $1,000-a-month disability, and needs $240 a month for her
      inhaler medication. Moore's gimmick (he always has one, but this one
      is dramatic) is to take her to a Cuban hospital where she finds that
      her medication costs five cents in Cuba. At least that R&D money is
      helping Cubans.

      Moore's original purpose in sailing south was to seek medical care
      for his passengers at the Guantanamo Bay prison base. He is turned
      away, of course, but not before observing that accused al-Qaeda
      terrorists get better (free) medical attention than 9/11 volunteers.

      It's a different Michael Moore in "Sicko." He still wears the
      baseball cap, but he's onscreen less, not so cocky, not going for so
      many laughs. He simply tells one story after another about Americans
      who are sick, dying or dead because we have an undemocratic, profit-
      gouging health care system. Moore's films usually make conservatives
      angry. This one is likely to strike home with anyone, left or right,
      who has had serious illness in the family. Conservative governments
      in Canada, England and France all support universal health care; the
      United States is the only developed nation without it.

      Yes, nitpickers can find fault with any attack on our system. There
      are four health care lobbyists for every congressman. But there's
      room for irony when the owner of an anti-Moore Web site can't afford
      to maintain it when his wife gets sick. And room for tears when a
      claims investigator for an insurance company tells Congress she
      knows she was her company's instrument for denying clients care they
      needed that might have saved their lives.

      Cast & Credits

      The Weinstein Company and Lionsgate present a documentary written
      and directed by Michael Moore. Running time 122 minutes. Rated PG-13
      (for brief strong language). Opening today at local theaters.


      Moore's `Sicko' is incredibly persuasive
      Health care documentary shows that in U.S., it's all about the
      By John Hartl
      Film critic
      MSNBC contributor
      June 25, 2007

      "Who are we?" might be a better (if less jazzy) title for "Sicko,"
      Michael Moore's two-hour meditation on the sickly qualities of
      American health care.

      In retrospect, the entire movie seems to be moving toward that
      plaintive, deceptively simple question. As Moore searches for a
      definition of our national identity, the question generates
      remarkable resonance because it transcends so many boundaries and
      political positions.

      In a country so wealthy and seemingly progressive, why should anyone
      be forced to sacrifice body parts because they can't pay their
      medical bills? A man loses his life savings because he has a series
      of heart attacks. A suffering woman is thrown into the streets
      because she has nothing. A group of 9/11 survivors fail to get the
      care they need for various pollution-related problems.

      Moore builds his case largely by demonstrating that even Americans
      who have health insurance are at risk. They can be denied coverage
      for any number of fine-print reasons, and they can be victims of a
      quota system. Some agents are told to turn down a percentage of
      requests no matter what the reasons. As for the 47 million Americans
      who have no health insurance, good luck.

      He also shows, in vivid and refreshing detail, how other countries
      deal with the problem. In France and England, coverage is virtually
      free for all citizens. In Cuba, three 9/11 survivors approach
      Guantanamo Bay (figuring that detainees get the best health care)
      and finally find relief at an astonishingly receptive Havana

      Moore doesn't say a lot about taxes, and he concedes that Canada has
      a poor reputation because of long waits for medical appointments.
      But he rounds up plenty of Canadians who couldn't be happier with
      their system. Clearly, many other countries have found a solution
      that works far better than the crippled — and sometimes literally
      crippling — U.S. system.

      It's this human toll that makes the strongest impression. As he did
      in "Fahrenheit 9/11" and his Oscar-winning "Bowling for Columbine,"
      Moore connects the dots by showing the impact of political decisions
      on individual lives. When a man who has lost two fingertips is told
      that he will have to come up with $12,000 to restore one of them and
      $60,000 for the other, he uses his partially mutilated hand to
      illustrate the choice he was forced to make.

      What comes through loud and clear is the emphasis on dollars in the
      current American system, which Moore traces back to President Nixon.
      Moore claims his Web site was flooded with bureaucratic horror
      stories once he announced his intentions for "Sicko," and many of
      them involved bankruptcy or battles with insurance companies.

      In foreign countries, he insists, money is simply not allowed to
      become part of the equation where health is concerned. The emphasis
      is on treating citizens equally, regardless of the seriousness of
      their illnesses or injuries.

      The situation in other countries may not be quite as uncomplicated
      as Moore claims. But he does suggest that the entire system is
      healthier when payment is not required or expected. And who could
      argue with that?


      Published on Thursday, June 28, 2007 by CommonDreams.org
      Sicko and the 2008 Election
      by Nicholas Freudenberg

      Even before its national release this Friday, Michael
      Moore's "Sicko" has contributed to a renewed debate on the U.S.
      health care system. The film focuses on Americans who do have health
      care coverage and shows in painful specifics how insurance and drug
      companies profit by withholding needed care.

      Already the film has provoked elected officials, the media and
      ordinary people to again consider what America want from our health
      care system. As I left the New York City theater where the film
      previewed, a young African-American woman sitting behind me called
      her friend to ask, "Can you believe it, in France and Cuba people
      don't pay for health care?"

      With "Sicko", Michael Moore has provided an opportunity to make
      health care a key issue in the 2008 Congressional and Presidential
      elections. But if progressives want to use this election to ask why
      the US ranks worse than most other developed nations on longevity,
      mortality, obesity and other measures of health, they will need to
      extend the discussion beyond health care.

      In fact, most health researchers agree that improvements in health
      care can make only modest improvements in overall well-being. Every
      year, the decisions that food, tobacco, alcohol, automobile, and
      firearms industry executives make about advertising, pricing and
      opposition to government oversight contribute to hundreds of
      thousands of preventable deaths and illnesses. In recent decades,
      chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and stroke,
      all associated with the unhealthy behaviors and environments that
      corporate America promotes, have become the main causes of death. In
      that same period, and especially since 2000, business interests have
      radically transformed the role of government, shifting resources
      from protection of public health to protection of profit.

      One consequence has been an epidemic of obesity as the food industry
      spends billions to persuade Americans to eat and drink more high
      calorie, low nutrient products. A recent study published in the New
      England Journal of Medicine predicted that if current trends on
      obesity (and its consequence diabetes) continue, our children and
      grandchildren will have shorter life spans than we do.

      To avoid this future will require redefining the relationship
      between business and government. And here "Sicko" offers important
      lessons for progressives. Moore doesn't waste his precious time with
      his audience in wonkish prescriptions for health care reform.
      Rather, he asks basic questions: What do Americans want from their
      government? Who are we as a people? What lessons can we learn from
      other countries? By focusing on core values, Moore suggests a way
      that Americans can discuss these issues that goes beyond sound
      bites. By showing how profit distorts the health care system's
      ability to meet people's needs, he encourages people to consider
      alternatives. By emphasizing democracy as the solution to special
      interests, he roots the discussion in American ideals.

      To expand this discussion to include the most fundamental causes of
      ill health, we need to ask some other questions: Do American's want
      to turn over responsibility for their children's health and
      nutrition to McDonald's, Coke , RJ Reynolds and Budweiser? Do we
      want to entrust the care of our parents and grandparents to Merck
      and Pfizer, who promote drugs they know to have lethal side effects?
      Should Ford and General Motors be able to persuade the Senate to
      water down auto safety and pollution control regulations that are
      still weaker than those in Europe and Japan? Do we want a Supreme
      Court that values corporate profits more highly than public health?

      If the answer to these questions is no, then voters will need to
      elect a new Congress and President in November 2008. Moore's "Sicko"
      shows that it is possible to engage the American people in
      considering these questions. By making the well-being of Americans a
      central issue, progressives can put health on the ballot in 2008.

      Nicholas Freudenberg is Distinguished Professor of Public Health at
      Hunter College, City University of New York and founder of
      Corporation and Health Watch ( www.corporationsandhealth.org). His e-
      mail is nfreuden@... .
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