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Arts and Culture

Movie Review:  Michael Moore’s “SiCKO”

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Posted on Jun 29, 2007
sicko
movies.yahoo.com

Michael Moore (left) turns his lens on the U.S. healthcare industry in his latest movie, “SiCKO.”

By Eunice Wong

“SiCKO,” Michael Moore’s latest film, will probably make you laugh.  It may make you cry.  You should leave the theater outraged.  It is a powerful and often humorous indictment of our health insurance industry, riddled with corruption and pitiless abuse of the sick by rapacious, profit-mad corporations.  But it is propaganda.  In “SiCKO,” as in all his films, Moore violates the contract between reporter and audience: to tell the truth.  His inaccuracies and lack of nuance give his detractors a glaring target to strike, making it easy for them to dismiss his message.

Michael Moore is an entertainer.  He reduces complex issues to a vaudeville act with transparent villains and heroes.  His goal is to amuse.  Facts are malleable.  He employs the techniques of advertising and propaganda, the same techniques that have corrupted our news and political campaigns.  Truth and fiction blur at both ends of the political spectrum.  You can believe what you want and discard what you don’t.  This illusion of truth and knowledge is far more dangerous than ignorance.  And although I happen to sympathize with Moore’s concerns, his methods only provoke the rupture of American society into two slogan-chanting camps.

In the film, Moore takes three small boats of sick Americans, including 9/11 volunteer rescue workers, to Cuba.  They receive, at no cost, the medical treatment they have been denied at home.  It’s a triumph of the socialized state.

“I asked [the Cuban doctors] to give us the same, exact care they give their fellow Cuban citizens.  No more, no less.  And that’s what they did,” Moore says. 

The sick Americans, in a montage underscored by swelling cellos and a pensive piano, receive MRIs, dental exams, lung assessments and ultrasounds.  All Cubans, the film implies, receive this kind of care.  This is not true.

“The treatment Moore and the rescue workers receive in the film was done specifically for them, because they [the Cubans] knew it would make great propaganda,” Dr. Julio Cesar Alfonso, a Miami doctor who practiced medicine in Cuba for four years, said in a June 22 interview with The Miami Herald.

“The medical centers in Cuba that treat tourists and government officials and VIPs are very different than the ones that treat the general population,” Alfonso said.  “If you’re a Cuban citizen and need a prescription drug, most doctors either tell you to ask your relatives in the U.S. to ship it to you or recommend alternative herbal remedies.  That’s the degree of scarcity on the island.”

Life is not a Hollywood movie.  A Cuban watching “SiCKO” would recognize this segment for what it is: agitprop.

The United States has sunk to No. 37 on the World Health Organization’s ranking of health systems.  Moore’s camera pans down the list to zero in on the shameful No. 37.  It slides too quickly for most viewers to catch that Canada is No. 30, and the frame stops just short of No. 39: Cuba.

There is, despite this distortion and omission of facts, much in “SiCKO” that is worthwhile. The film is strongest when Moore allows ordinary Americans to tell their heart-rending stories about the abuse they suffered in our profit-driven insurance industry.

Julie Pierce, a middle-aged woman seated alone in her Kansas City living room, struggles to contain her emotions as she talks about her husband, who had kidney cancer.  His brother was a perfect match for a bone marrow transplant.  These transplants can halt and sometimes eradicate the disease.  An insurance company, however, denied the transplant, claiming it was experimental.  Her husband died. 

“He was my best friend, he was my soulmate, he was my son’s father. ... They took away everything that matters. ... You preach these visionary values, that we care for the sick, the dying, the poor, that we’re a healthcare that leaves no one behind.  You left him behind. ... It was as if he was nothing.  And I want them to have a conscience about it and I don’t think they do.”

Moore also interviews those within the monolith.  Linda Peeno, a former medical reviewer for Humana, says: “The very definition of a good medical director was somebody who could save the company a lot of money. ...  The doctor with the highest percentage of denial was actually going to get a bonus.  Any payment for a claim is referred to as a medical loss.  That’s the terminology the industry uses.  When ... you deny their care ... you make a decision that brings in money ... it’s a savings to the company.”
This let-them-die-for-profit ethic is contrasted against the testimony of a British doctor interviewed later in the film.

“We get paid by what we do, so the better we do for our patients, the more we get paid,” he tells Moore in a hospital corridor.  “If the most number of your patients have [desirably] low blood pressure, or if you get most of your patients to stop smoking, or you get most of your patients to have things like mental health reviews, or lower their cholesterol, then you get paid more.”

But, like the nightly news, Moore never allows us to linger too long on catastrophe.  It might depress us, and the point, of course, is to entertain.  When a Michigan woman poses as a Canadian in Windsor, Ontario, to receive medical care, Moore deadpans: “Yes, what Adrian was doing was illegal.  But we’re Americans.  We go into other countries when we need to.  It’s tricky.  But it’s allowed.”  This fragmentation reassures us, as it does on television.  Tragedy is always followed by a good joke.  This discontinuity, while it amuses and diverts, damages our sense that the world is a serious place.

Moore’s manipulative use of music—“SiCKO”  is almost entirely scored—provides the required emotional stimulation.  The music imparts the pace, the mood, the energy of the film.  Sometimes it is exciting and satirical.  Heroic brass blares as the three intrepid little boats of Moore’s sick Americans, flying large American flags, streak southward to Guantanamo Bay, “the one place on American soil that still had free universal healthcare.”  Suddenly canned elevator music and the seal of the Department of Homeland Security cut off the faux action movie.  Sometimes the cue is maudlin, as when the sobbing violins of Barber’s Adagio for Strings underscore Linda Peeno’s harrowing 1996 testimony before Congress about the abuses of managed care. 

“In the spring of 1987, as a physician, I denied a man a necessary operation that would have saved his life, and thus caused his death.  No person and no group has held me accountable for this, because in fact what I did was save a company half a million dollars. ... I had one primary duty, and that was to use my medical expertise for the financial benefit of the organization for which I worked.”

The music inevitably frames Peeno’s words as courtroom drama.  There is no soundtrack in real life.  No violins were playing when Peeno made her testimony.  The music, ostensibly used to enhance the gravity of the situation, only prevents the audience from realizing the full, unadorned weight of reality.

Moore visits Canada, Britain, France and Cuba to compare the wreckage of the American healthcare system with these countries’ fairy tale dreams, in which “Everything is free!”  He discovers that in a British hospital, money comes out of the cashier’s window rather than going in.  Seated in a candle-lit bistro at a table of Americans living in Paris, he is overwhelmed, hands over his ears, by the incomprehensible lunacy of what they tell him of France: free healthcare, free child care, free college education, five weeks’ paid vacation, an extra paid week for your honeymoon, unlimited sick days, government-issued nannies, no, no, make it stop, make it stop!!!

The other countries are painted with broad, rose-tinted strokes.  All the Canadians, British and French interviewed have nothing but praise for their national healthcare.  There are no dissenting viewpoints, no investigations into the economics that make these systems possible.

There is an interview with a doctor in Cuba, Aleida Guevara, the pediatrician daughter of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, in which she wonders why an impoverished island nation is able to provide free healthcare for its citizens while the United States cannot.  Cuba’s massive Soviet subsidies in the 1970s and ‘80s of $4 billion to $6 billion annually, which kept the nation afloat and made this system possible, go unmentioned, as does Cuba’s subsequent decline once these subsidies ended with the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

The star of Michael Moore’s films is always Michael Moore.  “SiCKO” at first seems to be the exception.  His aw-shucks-gee-whiz persona doesn’t shamble into view until halfway through the film.  The first half of “SiCKO” is stronger for his physical absence, allowing us to focus on the personal suffering caused by our dysfunctional healthcare system.

But Moore’s narcissism is given full vent at the end of “SiCKO.”  He tells us, in a voice coy with false modesty, that he sent an anonymous $12,000 check to the man who runs “the biggest anti-Michael Moore website on the Internet” to pay his ailing wife’s astronomical insurance expenses.  This allowed the man—whose insulting blog postings to Moore fill the screen—to keep the website going and “run [Moore] into the ground.”  This would have been an admirable gesture if Moore had kept it anonymous.  But if it were anonymous, it wouldn’t be admired.  And Michael Moore’s films, however important their issues, are ultimately crafted to serve Michael Moore.

“SiCKO”
In theaters June 29
Rated PG-13
Running Time: 123 minutes
Written and directed by Michael Moore; edited by Christopher Seward, Dan Sweitlik and Geoffrey Richman; produced by Moore and Meghan O’Hara; released by Lionsgate and the Weinstein Co.


Eunice Wong is an actor based in New York City.  She trained at the Juilliard School Drama Division and received the 2006 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress.

 


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By cctvdirect, February 24, 2012 at 12:34 am Link to this comment

Despite how true some of his messages are in his movies, the way he uses propaganda and twisting of the truth will ultimately cause him to lose credibility. It is a shame, as there really is a problem with the healthcare and insurance industry in America. If only the movie was not made by Michael Moore.

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By mapol, November 18, 2011 at 12:26 am Link to this comment

As a person who saw “Sicko” when it first came out, and was in the movie
theatres, I believe that “Sicko” is an excellent documentary about what’s really
and truly wrong with the United States’ healthcare system, which is still broken,
even now, and the number of people who’re either uninsured or inadequately
insured is still staggering.  Even with all the grandiose promises of healthcare
reform that was made by this present Administration in Washington,  that’s still
the case, and far too many Americans still pay exhorbitant amounts for
healthcare that’s all too often not adequate, anyhow.

Only the extremely wealthy can get decent healthcare, really, for the most part. 
Moreover, “Sicko” underscores the need for a genuine healthcare reform bill
that entails Single Payer with Universal Healthcare/Medicare for ALL Americans. 
The fact that Obama campaigned for Single Payer while a POTUS Candidate and
then threw it under the bus when he got elected POTUS and took office is
beyond disgraceful, not to mention hypocritical.

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By Eye Laser Treatment, June 8, 2011 at 1:52 am Link to this comment

I presume things will be better after the movie is out, but no doubt there’s a huge omission in the movie as compared to the reality in Cuba, which is ostensibly far worse than what was depicted.

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By Professional Indemnity Insurance, May 3, 2011 at 2:31 am Link to this comment

Sicko touched a nerve in that it shows the government and health care providers are not doing their job. It is only the tip of the iceberg, and I suspect such failures are also present in many other countries ruled by incompetency and greed.

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By Don Simpson, January 4, 2010 at 12:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All of micheal Moore’s movies have nothing to do with reality and moore to do with left wing propoganda. As I canadian I have never, never experienced a 25, 45 minute emergency room wait. I have 5 relatives who work in healthcare and that kind of wait never occurs. Look for reality to be between 3 and 12 hours in you average emergency room even in the best funded hospitals in Canada.
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2005/04/01/emergency-050401.html

Here is a news article about emergency room waits from the leftwing CBC, that presents the reality of the situation.

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By Ron, June 30, 2007 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

Ernest,

I am familiar with Dennis Kucinich, and I have a lot of respect for him. He is one of the most progressive politicians out there, and he has taken a lot of heat, especially within the Democratic party for his positions. I attended the United For Peace and Justice anti-surge rally this past January 27th in Washington, DC when he spoke. He is a very focused, passionate individual, and he could do a tremendous amount for this country as president. I too would encourage everyone to check out kucinich.us.

But Ernest, my friend, please don’t ever say to me again, “if you really want to “do” something”, because I am in the trenches in my respective city everyday. That is why I stress to everyone else in the blogosphere the importance of doing something, not just debating.

So again, I appreciate what you and those in the Kucinich camp are doing. You are part of the fight. However, we still have to do things NOW within our communities to affect a change. We have to have a multifold plan.

There is a sense of urgency right here. For example, our murder rate is on track to surpass 300. So we are working overtime to attempt to help our young men and women in areas like gang intervention, to do the job the city has failed miserably due to lack of interest as well as by design.

Bottom line, in our city, we don’t need more political promises. We need people elbow to elbow doing this thing.

That’s why I don’t care about parties. A bullet doesn’t care who’s democrat or republican. Dirty cops don’t care what your party affiliation is. Sheriffs knocking at your door to illegally evict do not care who you voted for in the last election.

In the collectives and organizations with whom I work, there are anarchists, socialists, democrats, perhaps republicans though I don’t know them, communists and others. But we focus on our common goals, i.e. living wages and benefits for workers, ending the death penalty, much of which your people are engaged with Kucinich.

You see, Ernest, we’re all on the same page, we just have to attack it at many different angles so we can all win. It’s about solidarity. I encourage you to email me to keep me abreast on your work. Perhaps there is a way we can support each other.

Respect,

Ron

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By Max Shields, June 30, 2007 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

#82734 by Non Credo on 6/30 at 12:45 pm

Ok, if you insist. The reason we don’t have comprehensive, single payer health care that meets or exceeds those of the rest of the world’s nations is because we are a capitialistic state that went beserk with privitization. We collectively opened the gate for free market Corporatism. We were fat, dumb and happy and didn’t need or want anyone for anything. We’ve been a hyper-individualisitic society of me-first trying to find meaning through oding on consumption. We go shopping. It’s all that this system provides - malls…malls…malls…

And we’ve known about this crazy trajectory for decades, but we put our hands over our ears and listened to the likes of Thomas Friedman and the holy free market fundamenatlist who put us to bed and woke us up with 60 to 70 hours of, for the most part, meaningless aimless jobs. And our only solace was to shop.

And when jobs became scarce and competition turned off the corporate benefits for those who had them, we started to wonder. Better late than never.

But No Credo, we are the ones that made the choices. And that’s how we got what we got.

Yes, Bush is what you get at the end of our pathological journey, but he’s just a symptom.

Now we can change that. And we can start at the grass roots and start by doing what someone else here has been advocating: find the right kind of leadership - try Dennis Kucinich if you want straight talk and real answers. He’s not about pandering. He’s about solutions.

Again, its all about choices. You can either vote for one of the evil ones or you can vote your conscience. That’s a start.

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By Made in America, June 30, 2007 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Has everyone forgotten that this is the USA, (a capitalist society - not socialist) - a meritocracy where one gets what one earns and wealth transfer in the form of taxes, or free healthcare for that matter is to be loathed.

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By Tony Vodvarka, June 30, 2007 at 11:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Editor,  With friends like this, who needs enemies?  Ms. Wong needs to be instructed on the difference between black and white propaganda, the latter intending to influence with the truth.  As with Moore’s previous efforts to elevate our barbarian culture, he is once again set upon by self-appointed intellectual elitists.  Desperate to appear so much more refined and so very perceptive, they ignore the cost of attacking one of the few opportunities this nation may have to organize a civilized health system.  Leave the above crap to the Limbaughs and get a life, Wong!
  Tony Vodvarka, Hartly DE

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By Jonas South, June 30, 2007 at 11:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A search on the Web for the good ‘Gusano’ doctor (Gusano: self described class of people; he who does not ‘follow Castro like a slave’.) yields the following:

“Julio Cesar Alfonso, Gusano Doctor. Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn’t Fit

[...Julio Cesar Alfonso, the mouthpiece for the
Miami-based group “Solidarity without Borders” which is hawking the story of the “defector” doctors who abandoned their posts in Venezuela and are holing up in Colombia waiting for US visas. This guy Alfonso
has, since October, been selling the tale of Fidel’s “intestinal cancer” and claims Fidel was diagnosed with it way back in 1997—ten years ago—and that it’s reached a “terminal stage.” ZoomInfo Business People. http://www.zoominfo.com/people/Alfonso_Julio_1076680866.aspx”

The author and editors of Truthdig insult their readers for assuming that we swallow writing such as hers without skepticism. She quotes Alfonso without giving his radical Miami Cuban background. Worse, by describing Alfonso as a doctor ‘who practiced for four years in Cuba’ she would like us to conclude that Alfonso has first hand knowledge of contemporary Cuban medical practice. That is not the case: the 1950s was a long time ago. So much for ‘journalistic impartiality’, which Moore is accused of not having, while the author of this blog is supposed to possess it in great measure.

Actually, Moore is consistently honest and accurate. Recall the scene in 911 when he interviews members of Congress and reveals that not a one of the war supporters sent his children to serve in Iraq. Dramatization was used to make a point, not to obfuscate. I, for one, am looking forward to enjoying ‘Sicko’, simplification and all.

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By GW=MCHammered, June 30, 2007 at 11:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Require all doctors and health care administrators serve one year on a battlefront. Then Americans would know they have dedicated health care professionals minus the corporate sleaze disease.

Too harsh? Then have them spend a year as roadie for Ted Nugent. This from a slavish America that needs a Dog Whisperer to help them manage their ‘unruly’ pet. Give me a break!

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By pogblog, June 30, 2007 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you only see one movie this decade, see *Sicko.* In the kindest, most wrenching, yet funniest way possible, *Sicko* presents the smorgasbord of issues surrounding our USofA wrecked health care system, both emotional and practical.

At 62 & self-employed, I have no health care. It’s very scary. I tell people that the only health care I can afford is a copy of *Final Exit.* You can’t afford to go to a doctor to find out what the lump might be or what the excrescence on your face might be because you can’t afford to get it fixed.

My giga-entrepreneurial supersuccessful Canadian friend pulls his Canada health care out of his wallet & says, “I can go anywhere any time in Canada and get fixed. I’m so proud of this card. You people are crazy.” This isn’t a ‘capitalist’ issue—it’s a ‘why let the middleman soak you’ issue.

The plum nugget I can use from *Sicko* is just to say, “You don’t expect the fire department to make a profit. Do you fume about ‘socialized’ firefighting? If people are sick, they need their body’s fires put out.”

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By cann4ing, June 30, 2007 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

Correction to my previous post.  At the time he persuaded Lorenz to leave Cuba, Frank Fiorini was the head of the Cuban Air Force.  He later changed his name to Frank Sturgis.

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By Max Shields, June 30, 2007 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

Again, the Cuban health care sytsem is well documented. Most health care is preventative; and that is where Cuban care excels.

US physicians have been educated in Cuba. Cuba offers developing nations health care services gratis, sending out “armies” of physicians and nurses to Africa and throughout South can Central America. It is a national mission of service.

Their providers are community located to meet just in time care. They have virtually NO HIV in Cuba - they’ve essentially made it a non-disease there. Cuba keeps its people healthy. In the US poor non-white women have been devastated by HIV.

The cost of health care in the US exceeds all other nations and we have the worst outcomes. Learning from best practices is what is going to make the US health services work for people. Not demonizing countries like Cuba.

For more about Cuban health care:
http://library.thinkquest.org/18355/health_care_in_cuba.html

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By Billk Blackolive, June 30, 2007 at 9:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The man’s work is heroic and in a schizoid nation he gets death threats. I watched him last night at PBS’s NOW, then on Larry King where a 60 yr. old caller-in was sniffing how this is the greatest country in the world and nobody should be putting it down etc.  I thought Mr. Moore was carrying on rather Huck Finn like, but, hell, the man gets death threats….And health care whatever in the empire, when do the politicians get guts to address the world’s largest by far prison industry?  When in some decade down the bloody road it cannot be physically ignored, of course.  Half or more prisoners US of A are non-violent offenders, mostly those getting less respect from lawyers. Legislation has let a DWI who would not have been officially drunk a decade back, be officially drunk now, and, most recently, be repeat offender if he/she has a case back during youth seemingly anywhere. Repeat offender means pay many thousands more and do jail, and do AA, public service, defensive driving or what not, and in the two at minimum years’ probation, it is illegal for said criminal to drink in his/her house, and federales may enter his/her house to determine is the criminal sneaking a drink. I ask the Dear Reader how might a non-skilled worker without a lot of family backup have time to stay free without he/she does some gamble, some crime?  A criminal class is necessary for the world’s largest prison industry.

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By cann4ing, June 30, 2007 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Robert, I didn’t watch the video in its entirety.  One has to be careful to distinguish solid, academic analysis from the disjointed ramblings of a conspiracy theorist.  Mrs. Griggs lost me the moment she sought to link the Kennedy assassination to the Israelis.

If you really want to know what happened on Nov. 22, 1963, go to the library and check out Mark Lane’s “Plauible Denial.”  Lane did more than assemble a compelling set of facts which demonstrate that the CIA and its anti-Castro Cuban contingent killed President Kennedy.  In a libel action brought by Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt against former CIA agent Victor Marchetti and his publisher Liberty Lobby over an article that linked Hunt to the Kennedy assassination, Lane persuaded a federal jury that the CIA killed Kennedy and that Hunt was a part of it.  Lane’s case included the sworn testimony of Marita Lorenz, at one time Fidel Castro’s girlfriend who became a CIA asset after the one-time head of the Cuban Frank Fiorini aka Frank Sturgis, another of the Watergate burglars, persuaded her to flee Cuba by lying to her—claiming that Castro intended to kill her and her son.

Lorenz testified that she, along with Sturgis, Jack Patrick Hemming, Orlando Bosch and Alexander Rorke, Jr. traveled by way of a two-car caravan from Miami to Dallas in November 1963.  One of the two cars was loaded with weapons.  Shortly after arriving at a Dallas motel on Nov. 21, 1963, Hunt showed up; handed an envelope filled with cash to Sturgis.  Hunt remained about 45 minutes.  Within an hour of Hunt’s departure, another individual arrived at their motel room—Jack Ruby! 

Lorenz, who had only been told that this was a major operation and that she would act as a decoy, had second thoughts.  She persuaded Sturgis to drive her to the airport where she flew back to Miami.

That was Lorenz’s testimony on direct.  Hunt’s lawyer, Edward Dunne, concerned with the impact this had on Hunt’s denial that he was in Dallas, made the mistake of asking Lorenz whether she later spoke to Sturgis about the assassination.  She had.  Sturgis told her she missed “the really big one.”

    “We killed the president that day.  You
    could have been a part of it—you know,
    part of history.  You should have stayed.
    It was safe.  Everything was covered in
    advance.  No arrests, no real newpaper
    investigation.  It was all covered,
    very professional.”

While you are correct that your link is a bit off topic, Robert, considering the Cuba connection to Sicko! it is not as far off as you might have thought.

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By SL, June 30, 2007 at 9:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Miss Wong,how in the world were you chosen to critique SICKO? You totally missed/misreprented (take your pick) Moores message.

To Truthdig, uh,duh!

SkeweredLeft

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By Larry666, June 30, 2007 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

Of course SiCKO is propaganda—so what?  Virtually every message we receive from our politicians and corporate America is propaganda.  We know damn good and well that the people who profit from our current screwed up health care system are not going to give us unbiased information; so why should we hold Michael Moore to some exalted standard of objectivity?  (Do all the conservatives who decry Moore’s methods apply the same skepticism to Fox News?  “Fair and Balanced” my ass!)

Whatever the flaws in the British, Cuban, Canadian, and French systems of health care, they still beat the hell out of having NONE.  Our system values profit over people—and that’s not propaganda, that’s fact.

I suppose Moore could have had some OBJECTIVE roundtable discussion involving academics, pundits, insurance industry flacks, doctors, and politicians; and he could have bored our asses off too.  Instead he chose to tell the story of how we the sick people are ripped off daily by the powers that be.  Wong is wrong: SiCKO is not about Michael Moore.  It’s about how the richest nation on the face of the Earth, which spends more on defense than all other Western nations combined, cannot provide decent health care to ALL its citizens. 

The line which sums up the film best, in my view, was spoken by Moore when he was reflecting on the difference between our health care system and those of the other nations he visited: “They live in a world of we—not me.”

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By lodipete, June 30, 2007 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

The US is #37 on a list of healthiest countries.
This is a disgrace. That “Great American” Sean Hannity and his crowd are now eyeballing “socialized medicine” as a target. These guys are well paid shills for the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. That the US is only 2 rungs above Cuba is astounding. The whole concept of health care in this country is sickening.

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By Gregory Bush, June 30, 2007 at 6:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is one of the most repugnant pieces I’ve read to date on your website. This person is a disgrace and should never be allowed to writeanything on such a website as this again. Perhaps she should stick to her field of “acting”.

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By Brue K, June 30, 2007 at 6:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Trouthout is even better then I thought.  It prints something that it disagrees with. My hat is off to you.  It would be nice if everyone did that kind of openness and examination. We all have blind spots that need a little light. My wife works in the medical field and I know first hand how bad it is.  I have never heard one good thing from anyone who works in that field.  Not one.  If there is one area that need to be looked at very closely and that is the lobbyist in Washington they are the true destruction of way of life in the US or should I say the world.  Just maybe we can make things right if everyone is made to vote but I am sure there is a lobbyist lawyer in Washington who will argue about the freedom of speech.  In my heart of hearts I believe we are all doomed to an environmental slow death just because of the power of the lobbyist. The only thing left to do is buy a gun build a bunker and pray.  When every one is the US is looking for blood after 9/11 it is Michael Moor that stands up at the academy and says his mind and we all thought “how could he.  MM is my hero,  Keep it up Michael I love you

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, June 30, 2007 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

I haven’t yet seen SiCKO.  I will be interested to see if Moore touches on the role our legal system plays in the “illness” of US health care.  Our legal system and insurance companies are bedfellows.  I don’t think it would be fair and balanced reporting to implicate one and not the other.  Bottom line for us working class people is that we pay, no matter what, either in premiums or in taxes and this will not be fixed by people in congress, many of whom have a conflict of interest.

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By Marjorie L. Swanson, June 30, 2007 at 6:25 am Link to this comment

Michael Moore has raised issues that will now be discussed. Damn what an evil man! He has pointed out that while the United States may have the best technology, the best trained doctors, the biggest and best hospitals in the world there is a whole segment of our population that will never be able to use all those wonders. And I especially love the folks that question where all the money for health care is to come from. They don’t seem all that concerned about where the hundreds of billions of dollars come from to fund the occupation of Iraq. Besides, we all know where the money will come from, we’ll borrow it. Cause we ain’t got the sense God gave rhubarb and we think we can borrow, borrow,borrow and spend, spend, spend and the bill will never come due.

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By cann4ing, June 30, 2007 at 12:08 am Link to this comment

nidoog, the fact that Ms. Wong’s article appears in Truthdig does not mean that it was written “for” Truthdig.  E. J. Dionne writes for the Washington Post.  His articles are regularly re-posted at Truthdig.

As to your rhetorical question, whether anyone believes the average Cuban has better health care than the average American, I think the answer would depend on what you describe as the “average” American.  Everyone in Cuba has access to health care.  In the U.S. 47 million Americans have no health care insurance, up 7 million since 2000.  It is estimated that 18,000 Americans die each year due to lack of coverage. 

Cuba is essentially an impoverished third world country, which makes the availability of health care there all the more remarkable.  When Katrina hit, Cuba offered to send scores of doctors with medical back packs to assist the victims in New Orleans.  The Bush regime, which is more about image than the health of our own people, told the Cubans to go take a hike. 

While I don’t doubt that U.S. physicians have access to better equipment, including the most sophisticated MRIs and CT scans, I also don’t doubt that there are no Cubans who will face bankruptcy and the loss of their homes as a result of having to undergo what can amount to inordinately expensive medical procedures.

How expensive?  I represent seriously injured workers.  One of my clients received an award for a work related cardiovascular injury in 2003.  Last year, he suffered a massive coronary.  He was transfered from a hospital in Thousand Oaks, CA to a major facility in Los Angeles where he was in intensive care; died fifteen days after the first hospitalization began.  His widow was exceedingly fortunate that the workers’ compensation carrier was obligated to pay the full amount.  The bills incurred in those 15 days totalled more than $700,000.

Now just how many “average” Americans do you think could afford to pay for that?

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By Robert, June 30, 2007 at 12:03 am Link to this comment

Comment #82608 by Ernest Canning on 6/19 at 10:17 pm

Ernest…this is slightly off topic a bit, but it is related to several topics that are / were of concern to all Americans. This 22 minute video by Kay Griggs goes into so much information that one does not hear or read about in our daily news casts. Some of the topics are surprising to hear about. There are several related videos with Kay Griggs on the link. There is one that is more than 3 hours long. She surely has a lot of information about the US government & the military. She was in hiding for fear of something that might happen to her.

Let me know if you have seen or heard of this. I’d like to hear your input.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5061033793024014479&q=kay+griggs

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By cann4ing, June 29, 2007 at 11:48 pm Link to this comment

Re comment #82610 by Ron.  It’s called democracy.  The intellectual interaction of a people.  It is not, as you suggest, precisely what the ruling class wants.  Moreover, the great suffering you describe is the product of a global class war that lies at the core of “partisan politics,” as embodied in the following quotes:

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”—President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

“The greatest challenge we face is the growing gap between the rich and poor people on earth.” —President Jimmy Carter.

“More than anything else, I want to see the United States remain a country where someone can get rich.”—President Ronald Reagan.

The problem is that the Democratic Party, which at one time represented the interests of the vast majority of Americans—the middle and working classes—has been coopted by the corporatists of the Democratic Leadership Council, who compete with Republicans for corporate campaign dollars in order to feed the conglomerated media noise machine.

Free clinics are a positive, but amount to a bandaide solution when it comes to dealing with our severely disabled healthcare system.  Meaningful change will come about only when the American working and middle classes take back the Democratic Party from the corporatists.  Fortunately, there is an immediately available means of doing so.  It is through the campaign of Dennis Kucinich.

If you really want to “do” something, go to Kucinich.us, read up on the details of his position on every issue, join his campaign and begin informing others of what a rare opportunity for real change this man provides.

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By nidoog, June 29, 2007 at 11:38 pm Link to this comment

First of all, I find it hard to believe that anybody writing for Truthdig fits the description of “corporate media punditry”, unless Truthdig got bought by Murdoch and I wasn’t paying attention.  Second, Wong seems to agree with the general premise that America’s healthcare system sucks when she writes “I happen to sympathize with Moore’s concerns”.  I think she is simply stating that Moore does his cause a disservice with how he makes his argument.  Does anyone really believe that the average Cuban have better health care than the average American?  Doesn’t that seem a little far fetched?  I’m glad that Moore does stir up some shit and gets people talking about important issues like this one, but I don’t think that he is flawless as a filmmaker and that one can criticize his approach without being a right winger.

As a last cheap swipe on my part: I would never use an Oscar as a sign of cinematic quality.  One need look no farther than Rain Man, Titanic, Forest Gump or Braveheart to see that.

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By smrivers, June 29, 2007 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment

I am re-posting the ¡SALUD! film website url because it appears as a broken link in my previous post.  Here itr is again: http://www.saludthefilm.net

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By Ron, June 29, 2007 at 11:20 pm Link to this comment

Hello Everyone,

This is a different Ron, not to be confused with Ron who wrote #82558.

If we would all step back and look at the big picture, we would recognize that this kind of engagement is exactly what the plutocracy, the government controlled by the ruling class, wants.

As long as we draw battle lines of left and right, democrat and republican, we allow ourselves to be divided and conquered. This issue has nothing to do with partisan politics. This has everything to do with how the haves treat the have nots.

In a country that purports itself to be the greatest and richest country in the world, it is unconscionable and unjustifiable that every citizen does not have adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care and education.

These are basic human rights. But our attitude has become so foul, that we believe in survival of the fittest. We praise the rich and greedy, and condemn the poor and needy.

But while we debate over what kind of health care system we have, health care statistics, whether Michael Moore is fair, balanced, sensationalist, narcissistic, and whether he is creating credible works or misleading documentaries, do you know what is happening?

PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING AND DYING!!!

The question is, what are WE going to do about it? Guess what? It’s not going to get done by sitting in front of our computers and typing pot shots at each other. It’s going to take action!

Yes, one way is to pressure Congress to do what it has failed to do both unintentionally and intentionally. They are elected officials, and they can be unelected. We know they have been corrupted by lobbyists who represent multinational corporations. But that cannot deter us from doing a full court press on them. We need to form a massive movement to force Congress to hear us.

Another way is creating alternative systems within our own communities such as growing our own food, partnering with dedicated health care practitioners to create free and/or affordable clinics, setting up free breakfast programs for our young and elderly who are often marginalized, and organizing community urgent health care funds so that those who need emergency treatment can get it.

We can do things like this. There’s a big difference between what we can do and what we will do. The only reason we don’t is because we don’t have the will. And it seems we are more willing to talk and complain about the situation than actually doing something about it.

I also propose that when we blog, along with our comments we offer resources that people can go to for information and building. Yes, it is important to vent, but bitch fests get really old, really quickly.

For example, there’s an organization called Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a non-profit organization dedicated to preventative medicine.

There’s the American Community Gardening Association that supports and educates current community gardens, and those who are interested in starting one.

There are free clinics in every city that we can support either financially or through volunteering. There’s even a National Association of Free Clinics.

There are many of us in this country who are extremely giving, who do great work and have incredible resolve despite the obstacles that are put in our path.

It is this kind of spirit that have fostered the kind of change that gave citizens in this nation hope in the first place.

And if you want to know what I am doing, I am a teacher, activist, artist, and in the next month, a developer of youth communities. And I humbly KNOW there is more I can do, because there is MORE TO DO.

Let’s throw away all of our manufactured labels and identities and be about the business of acting like authentic human beings and take care of each other.

Check me out at http://www.awareandoutraged.com if you want to dialogue further.

Take care, and peace and blessings.

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By smrivers, June 29, 2007 at 11:20 pm Link to this comment

Eunice Wong quotes a Cuban doctor who left and now works in Miami, criticizing the film’s portrayal of the Cuban health care system, in the Miami Herald.  Consider the sources.  A new documentary film, ¡SALUD! (http://www.saludthe film.net) examines the Cuban health care system and its worldwide impact, and finds much to applaud.  Check it out.

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By cann4ing, June 29, 2007 at 11:17 pm Link to this comment

Spinoza, Excellent post!

Some important “facts” about this issue are posted at

http://kucinich.us/issues/universalhealth.php

Here are some salient points noted therein.

Citizens of 34 nations live longer than Americans.  The World Health Organization ranked the US 37th in the world for health system performance.  Americans have lower odds of surviving colorectal cancer and childhood leukemia than Canadians. 

Same day access to primary-care physicians in the US (33%) is far less available than in the UK (41%), Australia (54%) & New Zealand (60%).

Americans spend about 50% more than the next most expensive nation and nearly twice as much as Canadians do. 

As noted by Dr. Marcia Angell, in introducing the Conyers-Kucinich National Health Insurance Bill, HR 676, “The underlying problem is that we treat health care like a market commotity instead of a social service.”

As Michael Moore notes, Dennis Kucinich is the “only” presidential candidate who “gets it.”  It is time Americans stopped their absurd method of selecting from amongst those candidates whom the corporate punditocracy tells us are “electable” (i.e. “acceptable” to the corporatocracy) and to focus on the only candidate who represents the working and middle classes on issue-after-issue.  Time for everyone to turn to Kucinich.

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By Spinoza, June 29, 2007 at 10:46 pm Link to this comment

Right wingers and liberals are amazing people.  Dishonesty in argument is their major characteristic.

One person complains that taxes in Canada are 40%. Well they are 30% in the USA and all we get for them is ghastly wars.  And I pay $12000 a year for medical insurance plus all sorts of co-pays.  Can these idiotic people do math?  We in the USA are paying much much more for lousy crap medical care then the people in Canada, then the people in France, then the people in backwards England, then the people in Cuba which is a much poorer country than ours.

We are being ripped off royally. Capitalism sucks.

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By ib, June 29, 2007 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I just got back from seeing Sicko and I loved it. Extremely well done, and yes it was amusing, but this will make it palatable to the masses.

For work I have lived in both England and France and as an American I was able to get the medical care I needed without going broke.

I now have to have dental surgery and the entire procedure will cost me 70,000, I have already been informed by my insurance company that it is not covered.  I make a decent salary, but this is a large chunk of change.  Only in America!!!!

By the way Wong you are wrong!!!!!!!!

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By Max Shields, June 29, 2007 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment

#82588 by nidoog on 6/29 at 8:48 pm

Your comments are way off the point. The point isn’t the quality of his film making which most critics have applauded (if you need awards start with Canns, then the Oscars). I’ve never heard anyone complain about his ability to entertain.

The point is communication. Moore, like it or not, has a gift and it is through his gift that he conveys his commentaries.

Wang can’t see the forest for the trees. Her complaint is centered around Moore’s comparing other national health care systems to our own. Other than the free market fundamentalist and the powerful insurance companies, it has been thoroughly acknowledged and documented that the US has the worst health care system in the developed (and in some cases developing) world in terms of cost, access, and outcomes.

So, if you think Moore’s approach is ill-advised or that he is not as gifted a movie maker as others think he is, fine, that’s you’re opinion - but I’m sure millions world-wide will see the film and come out with some enduring feelings and thoughts. No doubt the propaganda from the right will follow and Ms Wong is just the beginning of that throng that will try to marginalize a national crises by pointing out some flaw in a film that highlights the real problem.

In the mean time, sit back and enjoy the movie.

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By cann4ing, June 29, 2007 at 10:27 pm Link to this comment

nidoog, you could not be more wrong.  This was an attack on form at the expense of substance.  Using cinematic techniques to enhance a presentation is a far cry from “propaganda.”  Indeed, Sicko! is an effort to speak speak truth to power.

Just as Moore readily admitted that Fahrenheit 911 was a polemic, I have no doubt that he would readily concede that Sicko! is as well.  A polemic is a controversial argument, especially one that refutes established opinion or doctrine. 

Fahrenheit was a polemic intended to dispel the misperceptions about the reasons we invaded Iraq that were the product of a calculated propaganda campaign in which a master narrative was created to convince the American public that an already disarmed nation which had been devastated by thirteen years of economic sanctions and periodic bombings constituted such a clear and present danger to history’s most powerful military force that the only recourse was a pre-emptive invasion.  Sicko! is a polemic designed to overcome years of laissez faire propaganda that is intended to convince Americans that a system designed to enrich the few at the expense of the health of the many is superior to socialized medicine where the primary decisions on grounded upon medical need.

This is fundamentally distinct from “propaganda.”

“All effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these slogansd until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand….Propaganda had to be continuous and unvarying in its message.  It should never admit a glimmer of doubt in its own claims, or concede the tiniest element of right in the claims of the other side.” —Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

“See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”  George W. Bush, 2005.

Ms. Wong did not produce a cinematic critique for a Hollywood periodical.  She sought, instead, to attack Moore’s cinematic methodology in order to launch an attack on Sicko! without ever once addressing the merits of Moore’s core argument that the health of our people should not be seen as a commodity!  This cheap trick is typical of corporate media punditry which will do anything to evade exposing the moral bankruptcy of crony capitalism.

The fact that this “hit piece” was posted on a web site called “Truth”-dig is, to say the least, disappointing.

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By nidoog, June 29, 2007 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment

These comments really bum me out.  Is it possible for a filmmaker, journalist, writer, or cartoonist to create a bad piece of work about a subject you support.  Of course!  Eunice Wong is not attacking Moore in this critique, she is attacking his work.  Even when she accuses him of serving himself, it is in the context of his film.  Jean-Luc Godard has been quoted as saying that “Moore doesn’t know what he is doing” and I hardly think that Godard serves The Administration or Corporate America.

How can the left attact propaganda tactics used by Fox News and then get angry when someone busts a lefty when they use the same techniques.  So much for thoughtful debate.  Jeez…

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By Dave, June 29, 2007 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wong is wong, wong, wong.

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By Expat, June 29, 2007 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment

Unbelievable!  This is not rocket science…any American who makes less than $50,000 a year is totally screwed when it comes to medical care.  That by the way is one hell of a lot of people.

$800 for five stitches in a thumb on a Friday night in the hospital emergency room in Newport, Oregon.  Unemployed with no heath insurance, go figure.

I am now living in Thailand on a modest retirement income and have access to excellent medical insurance and care for $18 a month.  Every Thai citizen is covered by medical insurance for free.  Thailand is an emerging third-world country.

Stories aside (and they are uncountable) the richest country in the world has no reason, only excuses, for the abysmal lack of medical care.

We Americans have only ourselves to blame; we have utterly failed to hold our elected representatives responsible for this travesty.  This has been going on for more years than I can remember.  We have allowed these self-serving dickheads to distract us with myriad other issues.  And it will just go on and on forever…unless we take them to task and demand once and for all ENOUGH.  Do our bidding or lose your very cushy job.  Fire the bastards!  If in the course of their first term they don’t perform, fire the bastards!  Only you can do this.

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By ocjim, June 29, 2007 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

Eunice,
I think you are quite overwrought about what you call propaganda in Moore’s documentary. I have not seen “Sicko” but have seen the other two. I was smart enough to recognize the spectacle and the propaganda in both and I would excuse Moore’s propaganda/entertainment techniques because that is what it takes to get large audiences. The issue of our broken health care system—as were the two issues before them—is vastly important and it is a problem that the powerful HMOs and drug companies won’t allow us to solve in an effective way unless we wake up. Hopefully Moore will wake up the sleeping public who allowed extremely corrupt politicians like Bush and Cheney and an expert propagandist like Karl Rove to capture our country. I applaud Moore for his excellent messages and the entertainment value of his documentaries as well. I would ask Eunice if she is underestimating the American public in their capability of seeing the propaganda content of Moore’s documentaries.

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By Ron, June 29, 2007 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think Moore brings a good issue to the limelight in this film.  Socialized healthcare does seem like part of that “common good” brought up in the Constitution, but I think we all agree how futile it is to bring up that documentin this society.  Socialized healthcare is a double-bladed sword, we should remember.  How long does it take the government to mail out a driver’s license?  A laminated business card with a Polaroid picture of yourself?

We shouldn’t be dying for health care, especially when the rich and healthy don’t care.

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By Max Shields, June 29, 2007 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

“When I was in law school, our professors would note an old saw that all serious lawyers should avoid.  It goes like this:  “If the facts are with you, argue the facts.  If the law is with you, argue the law.  If you have neither, attack your opponent.””

In Latin it’s called Ad Hominem, or the ad hominem fallacy. When you can’t dispute the truth (in this case US broken and dispicable health services) then attack the presenter (Moore).

Ms Wong is transparent. And yes, EJ Dion has proven on this blog to be one of the thinnest tools of his self-proclaimed liberalism I’ve yet to encounter. He ought to take his own advice and “grow up”.

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By cann4ing, June 29, 2007 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

When I was in law school, our professors would note an old saw that all serious lawyers should avoid.  It goes like this:  “If the facts are with you, argue the facts.  If the law is with you, argue the law.  If you have neither, attack your opponent.”

The issue is not Michael Moore or his success as a documentary film producer.  It is not even about his sarcastic wit, though it is often quite hilarious.  The core issue presented by Sicko!, the one Ms. Wong deliberately avoids, is the sorry state of the U.S. healthcare system and its spiraling costs, 31% of which go to healthcare insurance companies, whose CEOs literaly are making a killing—that was the core point of Linda Peeno’s 1996 Congressional testimony.  So what if Moore utilized music as part of a cinematic technique to dramatize it! 

Only in the thorougly corrupt, crony capitalist U.S. system would the right of a few to riches outweigh the healthcare needs of the many.  As to comparative statistics, they can be found at Kucinich.us and amount to a powerful statement.

The article notes that Ms. Wong is an Actor who trained at Juliard.  That may qualify her to comment on Sicko’s aethetics, but it hardly qualifies her as an expert on healthcare whose post should take up space at Truthdig.  Her article, like those of E. J. Dionne, is a testament to mainstream mediocrity.  Shame on Peter Scheer for including it at this site.

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By Spinoza, June 29, 2007 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment

Only one person liked Ms. Wong’s review, A right winger. I wonder why?

What is it about right wingers that they are so unpleasant, are so proud of their greed, have no sense of fair play. Accutually on thinking about it, fair play is the major difference between a left winger and a right winger.  The architypical right winger is the school yard bully.

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By RAE, June 29, 2007 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

When the rich and powerful have the ways and means to jam one’s “horn” down one’s throat, it leaves the little guys no choice but to blow it themselves.

Michael Moore doesn’t go to all this trouble and expense only to have his message completely buried within the chaos and cacophony of what is today’s American dream. If the only way to get the jackasses’ attention is to bludgeon it over the head with a 2x4, then so be it. Moore’s films are 2x4s, not politically correct pap.

No matter how much “spin” Moore has given his “facts” he doesn’t come close to the tornado of BS the BIG PHARMAs and other indicted agencies mount on the general public.

The cat is now out of the bag. But I predict that those rich and powerful that I mentioned above have such a deathgrip on America’s economic levers that very little will change… some cosmetics perhaps, but the little guy will continue to get a royal screwing because that is the ONLY way the rich and powerful can retain the absolute control they’ve achieved. They’ve got the money and the guns. The game is already lost.

As an aside, I love this quote from Dr. Wong’s review:

“You can believe what you want and discard what you don’t. This illusion of truth and knowledge is far more dangerous than ignorance.”

Was she talking about Moore’s film, OR THE RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD? If the shoe fits…

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By Mary, June 29, 2007 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Umm… If his movie is one sided then he probably doesn’t talk about the tax burdens of those who live in those countries. My brother in-law in Canada pays 40% in taxes and healthcare is often the highest cost burden in many of the Canadian provinces. Where is this money for national healthcare going to come from?

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By Kyle, June 29, 2007 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is terrible review. Really, really bad.

Let’s assume that the reader has seen a Michael Moore film before and understands that it’s BOTH entertainment AND argument. Then, let’s not tear him apart for using a soundtrack. It’s a movie. It’s a side of an argument that is going to frame things in that light. The omissions of the truth are worrisome, but that legitimate point gets lost amidst your diatribe.

The bigger, far more important point that the author completely misses is the role this film will play in our society. It is far more important that this film cause conversation and even argument while leaving a strong impression than it is for it to be completely accurate. Why? Because this is only one piece to a huge puzzle that is our national health care system.  If we want to fix it, we need people to be outraged and care. Which people? Not just academia. Not just college students who can find fault with this film. REAL PEOPLE who VOTE and live all across the US.

The author misses the point - this is not about creating a documentary showing an objective history of the industry, it’s about getting a large, mass audience outraged and motivated to actually create change.

I love TruthDig - but how can this review be your lead article? And how can this author be the reviewer? Terrible.

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By Mark Harris, June 29, 2007 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The stories of Americans denied care or driven into financial distress by medical bills is appalling. Fact: This kind of thing doesn’t happen in Canada or France or other countries with a national system. Isn’t it telling that Ms. Wong says nothing to refute the many examples of how poorly the for-profit system in the United States works. Instead she tells us that Moore manipulates us by using emotional music as soundtrack! Are we supposed to take this as serious criticism?

The fact that other countries with national health systems might not actually be perfect does not refute the larger argument Moore makes in this movie. SiCKO argues powerfully for the concept of health care as the right of every citizen. Ms. Wong sounds like she just doesn’t like that idea.

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By THOMAS BILLIS, June 29, 2007 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ms Wong if you do not like Mr Moore state it and move on.Using one source A Cuban Dr in Miami is quite a job of indepth reporting.Of course the other side of the issue the HMOS and the Pharmcology industry have been as factual as Mike Moore was in his documentary.Ms Wong you have taken nit picking to a degree unheard of{criticizing the violins}.You of course have a right to criticize Mr Moore but please not as a stated supporter.

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By KMarx, June 29, 2007 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I knew that corporate and federal propagandists would strike out as soon as possible. Question Ms Wrong: Who is feathering your nest:

The Administration

Corporate America

All of the above

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By xshenma, June 29, 2007 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I would like to know what’s Ms. Wong’s the other side of story aganist Moore’s ‘only tell one side of story’in SiCKO?? How much she knew health insurance industry in America?? My suggestion to her: do some homework, then talk…

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By I know that I know nothing, June 29, 2007 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh, the comedy of it all.  A tawdry, self-important actress reviewing a documentary by America’s #1 ‘progressive’ money-making machine and complaining basically that it is not authentic enough!  Do I detect a smidgen of success envy?

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By ECONOMISTA NON GRATA, June 29, 2007 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Genocide, ethnic cleansing, devine destiny… Pick one….

As it relates to Moore, it all depends where your standing…. I’m going to see the film tonight….  I’m in favor of universal healthcare and a single payer system.  There is nothing that Moore can do to change that….  I also advocate Draconian campaign finance reform, single payer as well.  Until we deal with that the progressive agenda ain’t goin nowhere… 

Have a great weekend…

Econolicious

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By anya, June 29, 2007 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There’s some smart thinking here, including the idea that “Moore’s working-class Messiah complex blinds him from recognizing that he has become too much of a firebrand to be an effective documentarian.” Well worth a read:

http://www.unboundedition.com/content/view/1191/50/

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By Yossarian, June 29, 2007 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Say whatever you want about the way Moore presents his points with entertainment, but I happen to know personally of a mid-60s woman who is a relative of a Cuban friend in Miami who WENT BACK to Cuba to get the much needed healthcare she was denied here.

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By Monica, June 29, 2007 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mrs. Wong—I bet a million bucks that you have health insurance…

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By carlito paquito, June 29, 2007 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment

Rabble Rouser or Crazy are two of the most over used name callings when possibly making any sense.  e.g.,when my daughter asked me in 1999’ why Arizona was the only state not to accept MLK a National Holiday, I pledged I would do all I can to bring some national attention to that fact, after economic pressure, i.e. business conventions began pulling out and four years later I paid homage/tribute to MLK and my daughter.  Read all about it.http://www.tucsonweekly.com/gbase/Arts/Content?oid=oid:47367

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By Dale Headley, June 29, 2007 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So, Ms. Wong’s opinion of the Cuban health care system comes from a Cuban in MIAMI!  Talk about propaganda.  Either she is unbelievably credulous, or she is in bed with the insurance industry.  And she doesn’t sound stupid.  Wong pretends - mildly - that she is in sympathy with Moore’s stated objectives; but then she goes on to say not one word about the dysfuctional health care system. Ms. Wong clearly had one objective, and one objective only, in her review: to discredit Moore’s entire movie.  This review starts out masquerading as being fair and balanced, but then it becomes more and more a shrill diatribe against Moore, foreign countries, anything but the cynical health care industry.  She “exposes” the fact that the Cuban government subsidizes its health care.  Right!  and that’s what Moore is trying to point out: that we should be doing exactly the same thing.  Her use of the word “subsidize” reveals her true motives: “subsidize”, like “socialized medicine”,  is a right wing code word meant to imply communism.  Ms. Wong is clearly a right wing mouthpiece seeking to protect the health care industry’s obscene profits.
      Granted, Moore’s film is slanted to a particular point of view; that is pretty much the definition of a documentary.  The only duty of a documentary is to refrain from lying.  So, if Ms. Wong has some kind of proof of any of what she implies are Moore’s lies, she should claim the award ($10,000, if I recall correctly) that he has offered for such proof. 
      My idea of an honest review is Richard Roper’s on “Ebert & Roper”.  He acknowledges its one-sidedness, but points out that there is nothing wrong with that.  Dollars to doughnuts, Ms. Wong did not give a similar review to that phony documentary ABC ran that tried to blame 9-11 on Bill Clinton; or to Mel Gibson’s blatant attempt to demonize Jews in his film about Jesus’ crucifixion.  Of course she didn’t.  Right wingers believe it is their exclusive right to skew facts (or make them up).
      Michael Moore is a true American hero.  I wonder what Ms. Wong has done for America lately?

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By scarabeus, June 29, 2007 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The truth is, films ARE propaganda. It’s ignorant to hope or think they are not, unless you live on another planet or in your head. Except for a few rare purely observational documentaries (that philosophically speaking raised exactly this type of debate), everything one sees on the silver screen is filtered from a specific point of view, most often, the director’s.

Quote #1: “This illusion of truth and knowledge is far more dangerous than ignorance.” Pardon? What will follow next, “the meek shall inherit the Earth?”. Or “ignorance is bliss”? Hmm, you’re probably a Matrix fan…

Quote #2: “In “SICKO,” as in all his films, Moore violates the contract between reporter and audience: to tell the truth”. Wow. And how about you, Eunice? Let’s say that it is true that privileged people receive better medical treatment in Cuba. I think that’s true (everywhere not only in Cuba). But you quote further down this respectable doctor from Miami. Have you checked your source of information? Who is actually Dr. Julio Cesar Alfonso? Where is your contract between the critic and audience? What’s your role?

Last but not least, Moore gets people in the theatres to watch something else that the next inventive device to perform and autopsy or exorcism. Yeah, indeed, I’d love more of a subtle message myself. Yes, we need more elegant voices of reasons. But where are they? Oh, nobody actually finance them? Right… Ok, then, let’s just use what we have so far, not letting aside Mr. Moore’s shortcomings, but concentrate on what matters to talk about: health care. The next wave of better filmmakers hopefully will arrive after Mr. Moore opens the door for them.

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By Homer Hewitt, June 29, 2007 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Sicko” is a great, much needed documentary. It is mind boggling that a person’s health care should depend on where employed. Or that health care depends on profit
making corporations. Universal, single payer has to be the way.

Impolite afterthought. Should Mr. Moore’s next documentary be “Obesity in America”?

homer http://www.altara.blogspot.com

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By hakko ace, June 29, 2007 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I would like to comment on The Cuban segment as i think i know a little about it with relatives who live there, one of whom is a surgeon. You quote a Miami Doctor who states that there is a scarcity of medicines on the island. This is an artificial weakness born as a result of decades of US embargo and economic sanction (even as it maintains a gulag there). The doctors and the training they receive are first rate, however, and i’m sure the doctor you quoted was trained at no coast to himself and is now “cashing in” here in the States.

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By me, June 29, 2007 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey, you’re a fine one to complain about something being one-sided. This movie review provided some good counterpoints to the movie, but overall, it was appalling in its relentless criticism of Moore and his efforts.

Moore has done what no one else has. OK, it has faults. But you seem to demand perfection, and complain like mad when you don’t get it. That’s totally unreasonable.

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By William Wilkison, June 29, 2007 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve not seen the movie, nor will I waste my money on this “tripe”.  However, one thing I noted that was patently absent in your writeup was WHERE all the whiz bang technology in Cuba came from.  If not the instruments (MRI, CAT Scans, Ultrasound, and on and on), then certainly the scientific research that made these modern marvels possible occurred largely in the United States technology centers.  And, while some of these technology centers may not have been here at home, the basic technology came from here, or from one of our partners in countries like Japan.

The technology for the"chips” that make all these instruments and their medical power possible are/were invented and made right here in the good ole greedy US of A by greedy corporations.  (Yes, Gordon Moore of Texas Instruments invented the transistor which has made all of the chip technology we have today possible).  And, the microchip itself, produced through a blindingly complicated process of chemistry and physics came from (sorry Mike) right here at home.

So, before “castigating” America, perhaps it would be good for Mr. Moore to look around and learn a little more.  Even the fancy digital equipment he uses to produce his diatribes of ignorance got their start right here in the US of A.

And, by the way - a personal comment - looking at Mikey, looks like he needs some medical intervention of his own - he’s a great candidate for later in life adult onset diabetes .......... but then, if he gets it, I guess he’ll blame George Bush, or anyone else before recognizing that he, and he alone, is ultimately responsible for his own health.

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By Enfant Prodige, June 29, 2007 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No, the Cuban health system is not perfect, but you forget to mention the reason why they can’t get their hands on prescription drugs or why the end of Soviet subsidies has meant a decline in service: the ridiculous United States embargo…

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By felicity, June 29, 2007 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

Eunice, you need to watch more television - the ‘news’, sit-coms, ‘reality’ shows, and probably the most important, advertisments so you’ll know what appeals to American audiences.  Then you’ll be able to get why Moore made the movie he made.

Skirting the truth?  Appealing to base, but reliably effective human emotions?  How could Moore stoop so low!  Moore knows what sells.  Putting out a product that won’t sell what you need bought is a waste of time and money.

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By Claustholer, June 29, 2007 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Typical “shoot the messenger” review.

Oh gee.  Michael Moore used a little drama to make a point.  Boo hoo.  “Journalists” of the world are outraged.

Until they get sick too.

Now you can go back to sleep, secure in the comfort that MM is the problem, not ostriches like you.

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