Daily Archives: June 22, 2007

“I’m always a flop at a top-notch affair,
but I’ve still got my health, so what do I care?
My best ring, alas, is a glass solitaire,
but I still got my health, so what do I care?

By fashion and foppery, I’m never discussed.
Attending the opry, my box would be a bust.
I never shall have that Park Avenue aire,
but I’m in such health, why should I care?

The hip that I shake doesn’t make people stare,
but I got such health, what do I care?
The sight of my props never stops a thoroughfare,
but I still got my health, so what do I care?

I knew I was slipping at Minsky’s one dawn,
When I started stripping they hollered “Put it on!”
For once Billy Rose let me pose in the bare
But I got my vitamins:
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H – I’ve
still got my health!”

Thought it would be best to open with a song. For elsewise there’s nothing to sing about. At least not in the accepted sense. I saw Sicko last night, and the facts it deals with will doubtless be very much in dispute in the “Mainstream” media.

It’s “controversial.”

That means it’s absolutely true.

I am sorely tempted to say that Sicko is the best film about health care since Zero Patience and leave it at that. But I doubt many of you saw Zero Patience, and there are great numbers of you disinclined to see Sicko as well. Not because the subject is of no interest to you, but rather because you’ve been brainwashed since childhood into believing the United States of America is The Greatest Country in the World and anyone who criticizes it in any way shape or form is worthy of nothing short of contempt.

I cannot emphasize how strongly enough this has been driven into the trivia-besotted brainpans of the American people — even those who made Moore’s last film Fahrenheit 9/11 the most finacially successful documentary in history. A large hulking figure in baseball cap, frequently given to cheeky confrontational “stunts” — in which he dares to ask the highest authorities to explain themselves (eg. the president of General Motors in Roger and Me, the NRA’s Charlton Heston in Bowling For Columbine ) — Moore lumbers across the American scene in a manner strikingly different than that of soigne meat puppets like Mike Wallace or Anderson Cooper. Invariably his starting-off point is “If the United States is the Greatest Country in the World, why — ?” — which rankles his critics all the more. General Motors’ abominable treatment of its loyal works, the power of the National Rifle Association to block even so much as the slightest effort at gun control, and the mountain of unanswered questions about the Bush family and its wealthy middle eastern allies in the wake of the 9/11 terrorism and the “run-up” to this country’s murderous attacks on the people of Iraq resulting in a full-scale civil war in that accursed country have put these issues in the public eye in a way the “Mainstream” media (concerned only with stoking abstract all-purpose fear, and kowtowing to “celebrities” of no interest whatsoever) has pointedly declined to do.

But it’s among Republicans, particularly those whose mission over the past two decades has been absolute control of the aforementioned “Mainstream,” that Michael Moore has become Public Enemy Number One. Easy to say that Moore-hatred is a “fringe” phenomenon, given to pathetic displays like the “Liberty Film Festival” and “protest demonstrations” such as the one recently staged against Sicko by a group of shills calling itself “Americans For Prosperity”

But they’re simply symptomatic of a larger lack of seriousness in American culture that insists that issues of import are “controversies” with “two sides” to them — rather than several or (clutch the pearls) just one.

What do the American people know of medical practice anyway?
In the past we had ultra-avuncular Marcus Welby, and The Donna Reed Show — where the lead’s status as a doctor’s wife had her regarded as if she were some species of suburban royalty.
Nowadays we have the surly pill-popping House. But at the last that show is no more realistic about doctors and their patients than Grey’s Anatomy which ignores medicine entirely in face of the romantic doings of “Dr. McDreamy,” “Dr. McSteamy” and the man that blogger Joe My God has rightfully named “Dr. McShithead”.

What will the public make of Sicko — even those brave souls inclined to approve of Michael Moore? A mixture of Sacha Guitry,
Bruce Conner and Chris Marker (with a little bit of Preston Sturges thrown in for good measure) Moore is a decidedly unusual figure on the American scene. He doesn’t make “objective” films — thus inspring his enemies to claim that they’re “not documentaries at all.” This is of course ridiculous but film education in this country is as neglected as everything else, thus allowing right-wing shills like ABC-TVs John Stossel of 20/20 to forego “objectivity” in favor of right-wing propaganda. Needless to say the right (always looking into its pocket mirror while speaking ) accuses Moore of being a propagandist, which he is not. Propaganda discourages question of any kind. Moore insists upon it.

Unlike his past sorties, Moore doesn’t feature himself in Sicko all that much — not appearing on screen at all until a good half hour into the proceedings. Rather he provides an overall narration as we hear first and foremost from those subject to the U.S. stystem — people who thought they had full health coverage and learned otherwise. A man who severed two fingers in an accident was forced between reattaching one, at great cost, or another — at unthinkable cost — rather than save both. A woman whose child died as a result not only of the incompetence of King Drew (so much in the news lately) but Kaiser Permanente — the legalized fraud whose attrition figures may never be known. We see (in more detail than ordinary TV news offers) a Kaiser “patient dump” on Los Angeles’ skid row — where sick people who can barely walk and are often completely disoriented are unceremoniously thrown into the street when it’s discovered they have no health coverage.

A woman who died not long after Moore’s interview relates how she was denied a life-saving operation because the insurer declared she had a “pre-existing condition.” Another lost her husband for the same reason — her “provider” likely disinclined to save his life due to theirs being an interracial marriage. We learn from several “Health Industry Professionals” just what this all means over the long haul as “Managed Care” dog-and-pony-shows like Kaiser, CIGNA and Humana, reap a fortune refusing to treat the patients they supposedly serve — with its companies worked earning bonus after bonus for doing so. Moore traces this back to Richard Nixon, and a segment of “Watergate”-era tape that’s doubtless unfamiliar to us all. But he doesn’t simply blame that old dead crook. He goes on to show that both houses of congress are bought and paid for by the “Health Care Industry” — even Hillary Clinton, whose efforts at creating Universal Health Care for Americans was quickly upended by a multi-million dollar disinformation campaign.

Producer Harvey Weinstein, a Hillary-supporter, wasn’t happy with this last-mentioned bit and wanted it removed. But Moore stood his ground and prevailed. For in the end he doesn’t single the Senator from New York out over any number of others the same way that he doesn’t consider the egregious state “Health Care” nationwide any different from that highlighted by the Washington Post in its much discussed article about Walter Reed Army Hospital and its notorious Building 18.

“Nous sommes tous les juifs allemands,” the May ’68 slogan ran — underscoring that the middle-class was no more special than anyone else under capitalism in the long run. When it comes to medical care in the U.S. it’s the same thing.

Except for Dick Cheney of course.

In contrast to this horror we learn of first rate FREE health care (no quote marks needed) in Canada, England, and that Most Evil of All Empires — France!. In the City of Light Moore discovers a system in which Doctors not only make house calls but do so on a 24-hour round the clock basis. There’s no limit to “sick days,” there are fully-paid vacations. The government even provides housekeeping services that babysit your children and do your laundry.

I can hear the screaming about this bit already. No Paris is not Paradise, as the recent French elections have amply demonstrated.
But it’s not Building 18 at Walter Reed either.

Socialized Medicine — propagandized stateside as tantamount to Soviet-era Communism and The End of the World – is simply an extension of other socialized aspects of our society, like the library and the fire department.

How would it be if the fire department were run as a profit-making entity via “Managed Care”?

Why are we comfortable with other forms of socialism, but not when it comes to our health?

Because we’ve been brainwashed and lied to by an army of business-suited criminals who ought to be in Gitmo instead of all those Geneva Convention elided “enemy combattants.”

Gitmo of course figures in Moore’s much-discussed grand finale — a “stunt” in which he brings seriously ill 9/11 workers to the one place on American soil where free health care is always available.
Unlike his previous films the staging of this “stunt” is far from cheeky — the emphasis being on the plight of the workers (suffering from the effects of the noxious materials they breathed in trying to save people’s lives) and the Cuban firefighters they meet (the doors to Gitmo closed to Moore, he and his friends go to a hospital in Cuba where an inhale casting over 100 dollars in the U.S. is available for a few pesos.) It’s a graceful sequence, not as sensaton-mongering as you might imagine.

But there’s one striking bit in which we’re shown President Kennedy’s address to the nation about Soviet missiles supposedly in Cuba. Inevitably one is reminded of the aluminum tubes BushCo insisted could ONLY be used for nuclear weapons.

We’ve been lied to before, we’re being lied to now, and there’s no doubt we’ll be lied to again.

No wonder the truth is treason.

There’ll be more about this shortly, no doubt, as BushCo continues with a more traditional style of “Managed Health Care” in all its forms

a suivre