- Please send as far and wide as possible.
Editor, The Konformist
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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@... .