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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.”

“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.

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“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 Francesca, September 1, 2007 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment
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Bravo!  Very brave stance against the abominably manipulative self-aggrandizing Moore propaganda machine.  Remember what Orwell said about telling the truth and seeing what’s in front of our noses in a time of universal deceit?

I’ve noticed that the detracting commentators have said little more than basically how dare she attack Moore, peppered between ad hominem attacks (“She’s an actor!  She’s Canadian!)  The equivalent of basically the old leftist maneuver of putting hands over ears and singing “la la la corporate America, la la la.”

This film especially seemed transparent to me when even the token Republican on The View was for some reason plugging it.  They were of course showing the most, typically Moore, emotionally manipulative scenes, but I never noticed the Schmalzy music. Good Job.  (Notice Moore, good propagandist that he IS, never follows a consisitent thesis-interview him and he doesn’t know what his point is-instead he manipulates you emotionally.  I really pity these Moore sycophants who won’t see this.  I myself have been a hard Leftist like Moore, and I remember how tiring it is hiding from the truth and always setting others up because I didn’t have any real arguments.

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By John, August 15, 2007 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a Canadian I was amazed at the interviews in the emergency rooms resulted in people saying ” ive waited 25 minutes”, “15 minutes”, “45 minutes”. I have been into Canadian emergency rooms in Toronto, Hamilton, in Barrie and Belleville and the shortest I have ever waited is 5 hours. Typically ive waited 7 or 8 hours. My grandmother had to wait in pain for more than a year for her hip replacement and my mother more than 4 months to start cancer treatment. I know 5 people who have had to go to the United States for their cancer treatments because the wait times were too long here. My sister went to Buffalo, New York to get her MRI because they wanted her to wait 6 months in Ontario. The only reason Canada can afford our health care is because we have tons of oil in the West and tax that industry heavily and we still run it badly. Its not a terrible system, but Moore makes it seem like it is the ideal, even though we often need to use the U.S system because our sytem has long waiting lists.

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By Jaki, July 27, 2007 at 11:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sorry, Ernest.  I did notice.  I also noticed that my response was indirectly a response to nf.  Time to quit.  I am certainly enjoying the debate you are participating in on another topic on truthdig.  I’ll put my energy there.

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By nf, July 26, 2007 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

Ernest, see the following link for a look at the bill introduced today by Brian Baird (D) Washington. It is a new approach to univeral health care.
http://www.bespacific.com/mt/archives/013289.html

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By nf, July 26, 2007 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Ernest, it looks like you have pre-judged me.  I am in the insurance but I do not sell nor do I have anything to do with health insurance. I am strictly involved in property casualty insurance.

If the dems win next year it seems that the US is headed for a change in the way health care is administered and who pays for it. I am simply trying to point out what I perceive as the flaws with having it administered by the government.  Either way you get what you want - why the insistance on a government agency to run it ?  Certainly both you and I cannot know which way is better, we can only make a case for our favored method.  That is all I am trying to do. 

I am not trying to save my job,  I can retire at any time and intend to do so soon.  The vast majority of the people that I know in my profession treat our clients as I’m sure you treat your clients - fairly and respectful of their needs.  There are surely exceptions in both professions. It is unfair to paint me with the cold, heartless brush - you don’t know me.

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By cann4ing, July 26, 2007 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

Jaki, in case you haven’t noticed, I have been ignoring nf for some time now, but when he finally came out and admitted his healthcare insurance industry ties, I couldn’t help but lay into him for his deception.

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By Jaki, July 26, 2007 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ernest…You have joined the club.  Congratulations.
You did err on the side of understatement, however, when you mentioned the NeoFucker “making a living,” in the insurance racket.  He claims to have a “substantial legacy” to leave the 6 children he has contributed to the over-population of the planet.  Those of us “making a living” can rarely make such claims.

And now we know…what we suspected all along…

Isn’t it time for those with any semblance of compassionate intelligence to ignore this jerk with no DIRECTED responses AT ALL?

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By cann4ing, July 26, 2007 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

Well, nf, the truth finally emerges.  “Being a part of the insurance business…”  Hmmm, now I can understand the level of your intellectual dishonesty.  You haven’t seen Sicko! Yet you presume to offer a critique of Moore and his outstanding documentary.  You speak in gushing terms, repeatedly advancing laissez faire ideology.  You chose to ignore relevant facts that do not square with your ideological position.  The reason, your job is on the line!  Americans may be dying as a result of the most corrupt and expensive health care system, but you, nf, can’t let a little thing like that get in the way of your making a living now, can you?

Shame on you and all the other cold, heartless people in your profession.  Respond if you want.  As far as I am concerned, our discourse is done!

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By nf, July 26, 2007 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

rigo:

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By nf, July 26, 2007 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

You say that the profit will be taken out of the system when the feds take over health care. Being a part of the insurance business it is my understanding that premiums collected by insurers are distributed as follows. For each dollar collected in premium, approximately 65 cents goes to claim payments, 30-35 cents for overhead (buildings, employees, etc). The profit is usually a result of the investment income from the use of the policyholders money (5 - 10 % ). The one class of employees that will be eliminated under government-run health care would be the underwriters (including sales reps) as no customer acceptance decisions will have to be made (everyone is covered).  However, the underwriting employees are just a small cog in the insurance wheel.  Besides them there are managers, claim processors, investigators and so on. Private insurers are constantly looking for ways to eliminate unnecessary overhead (it reduces profit),  this results in efficient operations necessary to compete in the marketplace.  I don’t think I have to point out that the government (as far as I know) never looks for efficiency in its operations, and almost never reduces staff.  With this in mind, the government has an edge when it comes to the lack of need for underwriters but I believe this is minor when compared to the advantage private employers have in efficiency. This does not take into account the public relations factor, (does one want to deal with a government employee essentially fire-proof or an individual who actually has to answer to an entity that values its relationships with customers ?).

Your statement that those very few who profit are “killing the laborers” is a little over the top, isn’t it ?

I do agree that the transfer of wealth to succeeding generations is a controversial (if not philosophical) subject. It doesn’t seem fair.  I intend to leave a substantial legacy to my 6 children but I would be willing to forgo that to even up the playing field if that’s what this country needs.  The one balancing factor is that a substantial portion of wealth is donated either directly or through foundations to worthy causes (Bill Gates and Warren Buffet come to mind).

The current tax code I would argue is very fair to those families earning $35,000 or less.  They pay very little in federal taxes and get back alot.  Higher income people must pay approximately 40 % in taxes (not counting state levies).  Isn’t that enough ?

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By rigo23, July 26, 2007 at 12:02 am Link to this comment

rigo,

I took your advice and read house bill HR676.  It certainly is proposing a very comprehensive change to a universal health care system in the US. 

*Not really.  Just profit being taken out of the equation;). 

There is however a serious problem - it relies for funding on (see page 18 lines 1-7) a dramatic increase in taxes not for everyone but for the top earners. 

*Not true.  There is nothing in here stating that the increase in taxes for the richest of us will be “dramatic”, unless you are referring to those rich folk who can afford the best accountants and lawyers to help them avoid taxation.  I guess whatever this tax is would be a dramatic increase!

It amounts to nothing more than wealth transfer (income tax increase on top 5% wage earners, progressive payroll tax increase, new tax on stock and bond transactions). How can the left expect to sell this ?

*They don’t have to.  It sells itself if people go to the polls and vote to protect their interests.

Why is it that the left constantly insists that those that have worked to attain a level of living that is desired by most Americans must then be faced with mandatory subsidy of those that for what ever reason failed to get there.

*This is a hollow argument.  We have socialized medicine for the military, for our seniors, and for the very poor, and it’s way more efficiently managed than our for-profit system. 
And hey, most wealth in this country is still transferred.  Should the descendants of those who “earned” the original wealth, much of it through slave labor be entitled to the benefits of wealth transference?  Why should those of us that work not reap the benefits those that don’t do? 

But where does it stop ? Can the left successfully sell the socialist marxist concept “from each according to his ability - to each according to her needs”. 

*We don’t discriminate when it comes to putting out fires, do we? Nf, not many people want everythign socialized, but I’d bet most folks would prefer a mixed system.

At what point does the majority, who certainly can control the burden of taxation, realize that continued and uncontrolled tax increases on the minority of taxpayers will eventually defeat the benefits (and object) of the free market system.

*And when will those very few who profit so very much realize they’re killing the laborers of this country?

Those that take risk and generate the innovative ideas that drive our economy will be stifled, resulting in the suffering of everyone.  This group of citizens must get their rewards from the fruits of their endeavors.  It is the incentive that drives them. Without it we all suffer.

*Without a healthy citizenry, we all suffer more.  Period.

The proposers of this bill (hr 676) would do well to change the bill to fund it with a general national sales tax.  This is not new to western democracies and would serve to spread the burden, as well as be fair and easily collectable with minimal fraud.

*Spoken like someone in the top 5% of income earners.

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By nf, July 21, 2007 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

rigo,

I took your advice and read house bill HR676.  It certainly is proposing a very comprehensive change to a universal health care system in the US.  There is however a serious problem - it relies for funding on (see page 18 lines 1-7) a dramatic increase in taxes not for everyone but for the top earners.  It amounts to nothing more than wealth transfer (income tax increase on top 5% wage earners, progressive payroll tax increase, new tax on stock and bond transactions). How can the left expect to sell this ?  Why is it that the left constantly insists that those that have worked to attain a level of living that is desired by most Americans must then be faced with mandatory subsidy of those that for what ever reason failed to get there. But where does it stop ? Can the left successfully sell the socialist marxist concept “from each according to his ability - to each according to her needs”.  At what point does the majority, who certainly can control the burden of taxation, realize that continued and uncontrolled tax increases on the minority of taxpayers will eventually defeat the benefits (and object) of the free market system. Those that take risk and generate the innovative ideas that drive our economy will be stifled, resulting in the suffering of everyone.  This group of citizens must get their rewards from the fruits of their endeavors.  It is the incentive that drives them. Without it we all suffer.

The proposers of this bill (hr 676) would do well to change the bill to fund it with a general national sales tax.  This is not new to western democracies and would serve to spread the burden, as well as be fair and easily collectable with minimal fraud.

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By cann4ing, July 20, 2007 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

Jaki, Peter Scheer is Robert Scheer’s son.

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By Jaki, July 20, 2007 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bru…you may be right.  This has been one long discussion.  I would expect (hope) we will all meet again soon with a new topic to toss about, share and learn.  It has been great to hear all opinions, and I mean ALL, in spite of whatever aggravations have arisen.  The world is a juicy place.  In spite of our egos, we are indeed all one humanity.

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By nf, July 20, 2007 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

Well Ernest and Ardee, how did we arrive at this point ?  I will take this opportunity to point out the following posts: Ernest: 83256,83692,83721,83956,86779,87412,87560,87694,88128 and Ardee: 83161,83738,83865,84009,86362,86383,86563,87132,87780
as examples of unprovoked personal attacks.  Rather than have any interest in opposing points of view, both of you resort to childish attacks. Is it any wonder why very few listen to you extremists when you spout your propaganda. Look back, re-read, listen to yourselves, you’re not trying to sell anyone on your ideas you simply want to steamroll them.  At 83926 I ask you to cut it out. But neither of you get it.  Regrettably I strike back at rigo (87729) - perhaps undeserved.  From that point on it is all downhill.  It seems as though you both lack the skills necessary to sell your point of view.  I promise not to get down to your level again.  There are plenty of people who can discuss issues reasonably and respect other’s points of view no matter how opposed to one’s own.

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By BruSays, July 20, 2007 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

Jaki,

Agreed: Preaching to the choir is not necessarily a bad thing. Even the simple act of contributing to this blog directs most of us to collect our thoughts, organize our positions, separate substance from slop, etc. etc. 

But I feel that here, in this blog, we’re no longer sharing ideas and contributing to any real dialog. This blog was born of Michael Moore’s insight of our health care system, but now we’re left spinning our wheels replying - over and over and over again - to a single, clueless, blogger with way too much time on his hands. I’ve lost interest and I suspect I’m not alone.

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By nf, July 20, 2007 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

rigo,

Thank you for a very thoughtful post.  I am truly very sorry for the loss of your dad.  I’m sure he was very proud of you.

No, my employees don’t have anything to do with my posts.  They’re all mine. 

I too have an unfortunate situation,  one of my grandsons is autistic.  Although a beautiful child of 6 years old, he requires constant care - perhaps forever.  There is no government help for autistic children to the best of my knowledge.  My wife and I along with my son and his wife are encouraged by Bob and Suzanne Wright (chairman and CEO of NBC Universal) whose grandson is in a similar condition, for his family’s establishment of   “autism speaks”.  We are also thankful for Don Imus, a fervent supporter of this cause (we need him back on radio -  a truly nice man).

I don’t know the expense ratios for medicare, although I tend to think your quoted 3 % cannot be right ( I am in the insurance business - no I don’t sell health insurance or have any interest in it in any way ).

A ghoulish me-first society ?  Perhaps some truth here, but the capitalistic nature of the US promotes this, the goal here is to get rich (witness the number of people who buy lottery tickets with no idea of how to properly use the proceeds if they win).  The majority of our people are enthralled with celebrities and their wealthy life style. How crass.

But yet capitalism got us to this point.  The most productive nation on earth.  Is there a lot to dislike ?  You bet.  Would you or I leave for any where else ?  Maybe, but probably not.

Good luck rigo.

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By Jaki, July 20, 2007 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rigo23—I think you and I have made the same mistake, crediting Robert Scheer, not Peter Scheer, with credit for Truthdig.  Am I right, folks?

Robert Scheer, I believe,  is the reporter who was fired by the LA Times in the recent shakeup (a long-time progressive journalist).

I don’t have a clue who Peter Scheer is.  Are they related?

But I don’t think “you know who” was a plant.  They are out there to be sure.  It is a big planet and we are a very diverse country, full of fools who love to think they are the “enlightened ones.”

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By Jaki, July 20, 2007 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bru…Preaching to the choir is not a bad thing.  The choir doesn’t know everything and by sharing knowledge on the important issues of our time, we learn more and are supported in what we do.  It isn’t really preaching, but more a support system…as well as challenging idiots and assholes who interrupt or attempt to disrupt the conversation, not in good faith and without making any valuable contributions, other than giving us very good practice in handling their ilk.

Some people in the world are very confused about what “socialism” means.  It is not the same as “communism”
(which doesn’t mean a denigration of either, but they are very different).  “Socialism” can be democratic; communism is generally not.  Socialism means that the wealth of the nation is distributed more equitably and fairly, and that the needs of ALL THE PEOPLE are paramount in deciding how to spend some of that wealth and use of resources, with the people participating fairly in those decisions (perhaps by representative government, but certainly with fair ways of electing them (NOT as in the U.S. today).
A Socialist System would encourage creative solutions where the individual can also receive recognition and rewards, like the doctors in England who get paid more when their patients get healthier, not when they use more pharmaceuticals to create kickbacks.

Such things as housing, education, health care, energy, clothing…you know, REAL NEEDS, SURVIVAL NEEDS, would be guaranteed in a democratic socialist system.  Plus, not only do people get to THINK FOR THEMSELVES, they get to THINK (and DO) FOR EACH OTHER.  You know, the “we” thing, as opposed to just the “me” thing.

Individualism of the kind that some have manifested on this site is exactly what is killing our planet.
Remember:  Corporations have legally declared themselves to be individuals.  And then there are those that identify with this crass, selfish way of
perceiving themselves in the world.

We need a re-thinking and a new conversation about the idea and practice of Democratic Socialism.

One might go back a few years (70s) and get a copy of Michael Lerner’s first book:  The New Socialist Revolution (I think that was the title), as a primer.
And then there’s Chomsky, Zinn, Klein, Walker, and a whole host of other literaries,intellectuals, and artists currently writing on or around the topic.  And, of course, there is Democracy Now! and Free Speech TV.

I’d really like to see an intelligent conversation on this or other venue about this topic—Democratic Socialism.  There are some excellent minds here.  We have established a thread that can easily be expanded, and, in general, we have good will and kind-hearted, humanitarian intentions.

(Interesting aside: my code word to submit is
“children.”)  Hmmmmmmmm

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By BruSays, July 20, 2007 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

Despite this blog’s excellent, articulate and thought-provoking conversation (the one very sad exception well-noted by all) we’re preaching to the choir. See you all (again, with one very sad exception) on other blogs!

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By rigo23, July 20, 2007 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

Sorry folks.  Two corrections from the previous post:

1)  ...“and that health insurance didn’t cover anything” should be “and that health insurance didn’t cover EVERYTHING”

2) “I can guarantee you he’d still be around today, ” should be “I CAN’T guarantee you he’d still be around today.”

(Corrections are capitalized.)

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By rigo23, July 20, 2007 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

nf-

I hate to break this to you, but the medical care that is socialized in this country is actually a lot more efficient than that which is privately managed. 

These private maintenance organizations currently waste 30% of every healthcare dollar on administrative costs, a model of inefficiency, while socialized healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid only spend 3%. 

We have the money to extend this system for all, rich and poor, sick and healthy, and it’s high time we did it. 

I know you’re in perfect health, nf, because you don’t have genetic, life-threatening ailments like sickle-cell anemia and you take care of yourself by not smoking or drinking, and you have perfect vision and are not at risk for repetitive stress because you have employees that read this blog for you and type away the responses, but consider for one moment a relative who has had health insurance and that health insurance didn’t cover anything, and maybe that relative had to choose between meds and food or maybe the relative just went bankrupt.  I recently saw my own father get kicked out of a hospital rehab for his first stroke despite having health insurance he had been paying for decades.  He subsequently had another stroke at home, this time hemmorhagic and suffered for another year before passing in May.  I can guarantee you he’d still be around today.  I’m not God.  But I can bet there’s no way in hell he would have been denied much-needed rehabilitation therapies if the amount of care he was to receive wasn’t determined by shareholders and CEOs.

We live in a ghoulish, me-first, society, embodied by our profit over patient health care system, and if this republic is to survive, our health care system is the perfect place to affect the change we want to see around us.

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By cann4ing, July 20, 2007 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

It seems, Ardee, that a high school education is not what it used to be.

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By nf, July 20, 2007 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Ernest, its time to feed Ardee the puppy, he’s barking again.

rigo, I hope you haven’t joined the kennel also, the church of socialism that Ernest preaches in is a dead end - like all other religions.  Think for yourself - its refreshing.

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By rigo23, July 20, 2007 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

I think nf’s work, like Eunice Wong’s, was planted by Robert Scheer to elicit the requisite impassioned responses to get the ball rolling on this issue.  Nf may not be real, folks;).

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By ardee, July 20, 2007 at 5:49 am Link to this comment

Ernest,
Past time to ignore the jackass…dontcha think?

Look at where this dialogue has gone and look at where it is on threads not inhabited by this insincere and apparently homophobic little excuse for a man.

He has wriggled and sidestepped every single time his posts have been turned to dust by literate and factual responses and now he thinks that calling you gay is an insult. It may be in a High School locker room, though even there kids are coming around.

Please join with Jaki and I in ignoring the little bastard until his high school opens in the fall…...

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By Jaki, July 20, 2007 at 2:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

True Colors, la la la, I see your true colors…shining through…accusing all who disagree with you of calling you names in response to your innane diatribes, then, whadayaknow…you reveal homophobia and gay-baiting as part of your vast repertoire of reactionary fascist “debate” tactics.

Kudos, nf, you just can’t help yourself.

Ardee…I think imploding may be more descriptive than exploding, and, yes, it is mildly entertaining.

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By cann4ing, July 19, 2007 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment

Poor nf, he’s been in the desert sun too long.

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By nf, July 19, 2007 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment

Gee Ernest, you just can’t stay out of the mud. And judging by your most recent post, perhaps its because you have a such a hard time understanding what you read. Your only recourse is to idiotic remarks.  I spend a great deal of time in the desert in California during the winter and consequently have encountered many gays. They seem to be a community of generally nice people that are thoughtful, intelligent and respectful. What happened to you ?

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By Jaki, July 19, 2007 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OK, Ardee, I got it. And Bru, you are totally right: Moore’s film is one of the most important documentaries ever made for the People of the United States. 

And, once again we have a “participant” (being a nice puppy to you, nf) discussing the content of a movie he refuses to see.  Michael Moore makes a cogent and compelling case for governments (in other, more civilized, countries) efficiently, humanely, compassionately,  and cost-effectively running the health care systems of their countries, with the people being very happy with the results. 

Of course, the middle-men (GREEDY-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATE INSURANCE COMPANIES) will first need to be eliminated in this country.  That is why we should call for Universal Health Care, NOT Universal access to Health Insurance.  Listen carefully to the candidates on both sides of the fence on this issue.  Kucinich is the ONLY one who calls for Universal Health Care.

nf:  “At least private companies have a financial interest in keeping the system honest - profit -”

My first LOL today.

Oh, puleeeeeze…gimme more!

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By cann4ing, July 19, 2007 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

Hmmm, so nf didn’t bother watching Sicko before presenting us with his thoroughly uninformed opinion.  Why am I not surprised?  Elsewhere, this guy informed us that he regarded the former analyst from Faux News and now chief propagandist for the Bush regime, Tony Snow, as a reliable commentator.  He doesn’t like Michael Moore or Keith Olbermann because they “irritate” him.

It is quite predictable that the wilfully ignorant would be irritated by anyone who speaks truth to power, since that truth threatens to pierce the disinformation bubble that surrounds their overly thick skulls.  But I wouldn’t go so far as to call nf a “neocon fucker”—at least not to the extent to which I would apply that label to John Bolton.  Bolton may be a couple of quarts short of a six pack, but at least that neocon bully knows that what he expouses is pure drivel. 

Sadly, poor nf, lacks the intellectual capacity of a John Bolton or even a George W. Bush.  His tiny mind is so filled with Orwellian propaganda that there is no room for the truth.  While I admit I tired quickly of his idiotic posts, that doesn’t prevent a little empathy.  I pity the fool.

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By ardee, July 19, 2007 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment

#88052 by Jaki on 7/19 at 1:41 pm
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey Ernest, rigo, ardee Bru…This guy, NF (probably short for Neo Fucker)is yanking your strings, pulling your energy cord.  The red flags have been obvious from the start.  He plays the game of I really want to learn, but reveals himself to the contrary with so many attacks and status quo defenses he just can’t help spewing out, maybe hoping SOMEONE out there will find him credible?  Hard to say.  Liberal? Laughable! He’s neocon to the core.

Jaki, If you have read my last couple of posts you will note that I am right there with you on this one. The only reason I still read this thread is because I am expecting a revelation when nf finally explodes. That and many of the rejoinders are dicing him to ribbons….Of course I skip any of his posts along the way, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

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By nf, July 19, 2007 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

rigo23,

No, I haven’t seen the movie, but that’s not odd because I avoid theaters as much as possible, besides if Michael Moore is truly a populist doing us all a favor as so many posters have written, then why hasn’t he sought distribution through a broadcast or cable outlet (I’m thinking perhaps Cuban’s HDNET)? This is a documentary isn’t it ? What am I missing ?

Universal health care for american citizens is probably going to happen whether I like it or not. What makes it hard to accept is the idea of federal and/or state management of it.  That scares the hell out of people like me. Private sector companies competing for the business will provide the service at the lowest cost. Think food stamps - recipients trading them for cash or other items for which they were not intended, medicare - doctors and other health care facilities scamming the system, welfare fraud, income tax cheats, social security disability cheats, and on and on.  At least private companies have a financial interest in keeping the system honest - profit - , there is no motive for any government agency to make sure entitlements are administered in a legal and fair way. THE MONEY IS NOT THEIRS TO LOSE. Sure there are going to be mistakes in the management of the system - mistakes will be made by whoever manages it.  But be honest, who would you rather have deliver your packages, UPS, FEDEX or the USPS. Just the lines at the post office or the DMV waiting for a clerk to acknowledge your existence is enough to make me vomit. (by the way they’re called public servants - is that an oxymoron ?). Do you want your doctors office run like that ?

Behave Jaki, maybe you’ll learn something, you do not have to suck up to Ernest, he already has one puppy.

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By rigo23, July 19, 2007 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

Even if nf is a neocon, that’s fine. Illnesses don’t fall along party lines, and hopefully nf can see this and understand the need for the medical landscape to change here…and fast.  This has been the most important movie I’ve seen in my life, and perhaps nf, if he hasn’t seen it yet, will have the opportunity to do so.

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By Jaki, July 19, 2007 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey Ernest, rigo, ardee Bru…This guy, NF (probably short for Neo Fucker)is yanking your strings, pulling your energy cord.  The red flags have been obvious from the start.  He plays the game of I really want to learn, but reveals himself to the contrary with so many attacks and status quo defenses he just can’t help spewing out, maybe hoping SOMEONE out there will find him credible?  Hard to say.  Liberal? Laughable! He’s neocon to the core.

I wonder how he dealt with your post (Ernest) on Chomsky, with words like “hegemony…structural analysis…militate…”  Probably couldn’t get through it.

Anyway, even though the guy is a Giant Energy Suck, your willingness to indulge him is still educational and enlightening for the rest of us.

I guess that’s what blogging is all about.  Carry on.

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By rigo23, July 19, 2007 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

“Good post rigo23.

Why do you suggest that Moore’s message is dangerous ?

—> Nf, Moore’s greater message in ‘Sicko!’, that perhaps in this country we should be a little more ‘we-centric’ than ‘me-centric’ is dangerous only to those that think that rationing medical care in this country to maximize profits or to fulfill a bottom line is ok.  This includes for profit and even not-for-profit health maintenance organizations, for even many of their CEOs are paid in excess of a million dollars per annum.  This also includes pharmaceutical companies that want to act as middle men for these organizations and keep drug pricing out of the public sector, again, to maximize profit.  To me, the new senior drug plan, which made their middlemenization so is akin to what Ernest explains about Enron and California.  As a business owner that has to pay an energy bill every month, nf, wouldn’t you be a little bit upset if deregulation of these utilities just like that of prescription medications, got so out of control that they bankrupted the already heavily burdened small business owner? 

“Although he certainly doesn’t look like the money is doing him much good, or that he is seeking money, who knows what his motivation is. He may be entirely genuine. On the other hand, just the notoriety that goes with his pursuits must be somewhat intoxicating.  Let’s assume he is for real.”

—> At this point, it would be pretty hard to doubt Moore’s authenticity on this issue.  He’s been riding the health care issue since his series “the Awful Truth”, where he even stages a funeral for a live patient denied a necessary transplant by his HMO. 
Nf, just out of curiosity, have you actually seen “Sicko!” yet?  If so, you’ll realize how off base Ms. Wong is in this review, and hypocritical, to be sure.  If she wants to talk about using dramatic effects to appeal to an audience’s emotion, again, she could easily look to CNN and FOX for that sort of tactic 24/7.  Michael Moore’s movie is a *public* service bankrolled by his own *private* money.  Can you really say that about these corporatist media outlets?  I think not.  Contrast that with ‘Democracy Now!’ at http://democracynow.org, not sponsored by a dime of corporate money, and you’ll realize how absurd Wong’s arguments are.
 
“The other people you mention may also be genuine, after all can it be that they simply are anti everything that is good ?  Are they all so disingenuous that you can’t believe anything that they say ?”

->Hyperbolic man.  Hyperbolic.  It’s obviously not that one can’t believe *anything* the corporatist outlets say, but Moore does have a point, when he rides CNN and the other MSM outlets for their lack of real reporting on the run-up to war.  They didn’t ask the right questions.  They resorted to obfuscation and some of the same tactics people use when wanting to avoid a serious discussion of a vital issue.  That’s why we’re in the mess we are in today.

“I am trying to sort this whole thing out.  In an earlier post I suggested that from a selfish standpoint I should like the single payer system, and perhaps I will.  It is very hard for me and I’m sure alot of other people like me to support the feds taking on any more social programs.  There is plenty of fault to find with the ones they now manage.”

—->I know what Ernest has recommended as reading material may be a lot, so why not start with reading the text of H.R. 676, the bill in congress that lays the groundwork for comprehensive health insurance coverage for all United States residents.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h.r.00676:

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By nf, July 18, 2007 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

Good post rigo23. 

Why do you suggest that Moore’s message is dangerous ?

Although he certainly doesn’t look like the money is doing him much good, or that he is seeking money, who knows what his motivation is. He may be entirely genuine. On the other hand, just the notoriety that goes with his pursuits must be somewhat intoxicating.  Let’s assume he is for real.

The other people you mention may also be genuine, after all can it be that they simply are anti everything that is good ?  Are they all so disingenuous that you can’t believe anything that they say ?

I am trying to sort this whole thing out.  In an earlier post I suggested that from a selfish standpoint I should like the single payer system, and perhaps I will.  It is very hard for me and I’m sure alot of other people like me to support the feds taking on any more social programs.  There is plenty of fault to find with the ones they now manage.

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By nf, July 18, 2007 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

Ardee,

Watch what you say about H L Mencken, he’s one of my heroes.

OK you finally addressed the litigation issue. Though by no means in depth.

Are you saying that under your single payer system we will not have to deal with the likes of John Edwards or his ilk suing the doctors and hospitals for sport (not to mention enormous personal gain) ?

Please Ardee, stick with it, maybe we’ll both learn something.

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By rigo23, July 18, 2007 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

“rigo23,

If you want Kucinich to really drop off the radar, just have Michael Moore endorse him. “

Good point.  But why is that?  It is necessarily because our conglomerated media knows how dangerous his message of “we” vs. “me” is.  Therefore, they have to resort to personal attacks and obfuscation, rather than considering the worthiness of his arguments. 

I mean, seriously, does Michael Moore looks like he loves or has been affected by money?  He’s obviously “in it for the right reasons”.  So who would you trust more, a real populist like Michael Moore or a faux populist like Lou Dobbs or Bill O’Reilly, bank rolled by an inherently undemocratic process?  Would you trust Amy Goodman and the low-budget Democracy Now! to give you the straight scoop.  (I swear I’ve never seen a Paris Hilton story on there…not once.)  Or would you trust Sean Hannity…another faux populist?

These are serious questions that require you to look in the mirror and ask yourself simple questions like “who has the most to gain” by presenting what he or she presents as “news”.

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By ardee, July 18, 2007 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

#87729…. nf begins to crumble, well he actually has shown small signs in various posts but this displays the true colors , and in response to a brilliant redaction of his very own words…well done Rigo, well done.

I have come to doubt every single thing he posts as fact. He evades and avoids with such frequency that one can almost see the adipose jiggle with the effort.

Then in retrospect and probably in fear of this stupid game he plays ending because of his mask slippage he blathers about being a liberal ( I almost bust a gut laughing there….#87764).


Post more nf, please continue to prove the worth of every political opinion opposing the garbage you stand for, the increasingly childish rebuttals you make and the increasing awkwardness in avoiding the facts presented to you.


Here I give you all a perfect example:

“I suggest to Ardee that the stats on the wikipedia item dealing with health care aren’t enough. I tell him that I agree that we spend more than anyone else on health care. But what I’m looking for is something deeper.  The hidden costs.  One example, litigation.  Its a big one.  Our health system pays an enormous price to insurance carriers and lawyers and the settlements that follow.  How does that compare with Great Britain for example. “

Ardee:

The Health Care system in Great Britian doesnt refuse to diagnose or treat the variety of expensive ailments presented to it. Thus it needs no army of attorneys to protect it against those it actually insures from illness and disease.


It has already been noted that 50% of all bankruptcies in the USA are due to catastrophic health care issues. A full 70% of those bankruptcies were to people who thought themselves insured against such contingencies and then were refused diagnosis and treatment.To everyone not a pretentious braggadociac ( ok I made that word up but it fits):

Ive certainly had enough of this evasiveness, and beating ones head against the wall because it feels so good to stop is not my favorite pastime. NF has amply proved what it is he stands for and I refuse to waste further on him…

I would have loved seeing what Oscar Wilde might have done if presented with this guy….

“Imagination is a quality given to a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is.”

Of course old HLMenken would have been far, far less kind…....hater of hypocracy that he was.

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By nf, July 18, 2007 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

rigo23,

If you want Kucinich to really drop off the radar, just have Michael Moore endorse him.

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By nf, July 18, 2007 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

My deepest apologies rigo23, you’re absolutely right. I did engage in hyperbole. I lost my head. Its just the pressure of dealing with so many people that think that our government is the solution to all their problems.

Why is it that the ultra-liberals (I consider myself a liberal) seem to resort to denigrating remarks when discussing subjects with people they disagree with ?  Its their way or nothing. Do they really want everyone to just agree with them with no dissent ?  I don’t think the ultra left has a stranglehold on intelligence.

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By rigo23, July 18, 2007 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

Ernest, you wrote:

“There is only one presidential candidate who is calling for a repeal of NAFTA & the WTO.  He just happens to be the only Democratic candidate who supports single-payer health care.  If the American people do not awake to the fact that the so-called leading candidates (Clinton, Obama, Edwards) are corporatist charletons masquerading as Democrats, if they do not flock in droves to the Kucinich campaign, and right soon!”

You are spot on.  And thank you Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! for reporting on Clinton and Edwards shamelessly conspiring to shut out the lesser-funded candidates.  I’m definitely voting for Kucinich, the only real populist candidate out there.  What is very curious to me, however, is how Michael Moore will not throw his support behind him, when he’s the one closest to his views and values.  Something tells me he’s holding out hope that Hillary will revert to her earlier days before being bought by the pharmaceutical companies.

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By rigo23, July 18, 2007 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

nf-

Why the ad hominem?  I merely pointed out, line and verse your hypocrisy when claiming other people resort to hyperbolic arguments.  So because you cannot defend your own hypocrisy, you only confirm it with more nonsensical personal attacks after getting upset about people and *their* ad hominem several days ago.

Not so good.

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By nf, July 18, 2007 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

Must have hit a raw nerve, huh rigo.  Maybe sis is a nun somewhere ? Daddy a prison doctor ? Perhaps you’re one of those teachers that baby sit the students all day ? Your union didn’t get the right pay increase or just didn’t get that promotion to chief filing clerk ?  Did your partner get AIDS and you can’t afford the drug bills ?  Good luck. Keep at it.  Sooner or later you’ll find a way to increase the wealth transfer (taxes) to bail you out.

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By rigo23, July 18, 2007 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

(Continued from previous post re: hyperbole.)

“Isn’t “Google” great ? Which government agency invented it (sorry Al)”

Which government agency invented the Internet?  Ever heard of ARPA?

“The US is a unique country, it is not like European or Latin American countries.”

Ah yes.  Those cookie-cutter countries disgust me.  They could never handle the sheer sophistication of a Britney Spears or pure eloquence of George Bush.

“It is my experience that government is composed largely of people who could not make it elsewhere, at any level, in any competitive environment. OK. This is anecdotal. But it is what I believe.”

Wow.  Stephen Colbert was right. I guess there really are more nerve endings in your gut than in your brain.

“Remember, you can’t fire (without a court battle) any government employee. Look at the problem we have with the public school systems (the granddaddy of cases justifying privatization).”

Oh really?  Tell that to all those Gonzales-approved attorney firings that will never be reversed.  Tell that to every military leader Bush fired who didn’t agree with him.  Tell that to any public school teacher fired for touching a child in either self defense or to give the child the light but healthy dose of corporal discipline they should have received at home.

And as for privatization of our school system, you can’t bleed public schools or any public institution like FEMA and then blame their imminent failure on their public nature.  That is the quintessential faux libertarian argument.

“By the way, Ardee, if you socialists…”

Any sentence that starts out like that is just not going to end well.

“I’m not crazy about Bush, but I don’t hate him like you do. I do know that he’s the guy that runs the place for the next 18 months. Try to live with it and elect the socialist of your choice next year.”

Wow.  Socialist of our choice?  Surely you must mean corporatist of our choice. 

Nf.  I am eternally grateful for the laughs:).

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By rigo23, July 18, 2007 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

Nf-

You wrote:

“Nothing that you have written presents a logical argument for your position. Your comments are loaded with hyperbole.”

Ahhh.  The irony in that statement alone.  But let’s have fun.

Hyperbole?

From the Nf hyperbole hall of fame:

“But perhaps unlike you, I understand that the federal government rarely gets anything right…”

That’s right.  Raaaaarely.

“I believe that all classes in this country are doing better every year.”

So it’s just like Office Space. 

Peter Gibbons: So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.

Dr. Swanson: What about today? Is today the worst day of your life?

Peter Gibbons: Yeah.

Dr. Swanson: Wow, that’s messed up.

“Nothing I’ve experienced in life disputes what I’ve written.”

Nothing.  Never….ever.

“The USA is not Europe.  I believe that we face entirely different issues than they.”

Entirely different.  We Superman.  They Bizarro.

“You may not like Bush, but economic conditions have never been better for all classes in America.”

Especially for the poor and uninsured.  Teeth aren’t even abcessing as badly as they used to.

“The great religions of the world (especially the Catholic Cult) collect money that supposedly is used for compassionate purposes.  I don’t believe it, I only see the expenditures for grander branch offices (churches) and other perks for the religious hierarchy including payments made to people injured by their pedophile branch managers (priests).”

Extra! Extra! Pedophilic priests gone wild!

“Believe it or not most doctors are doctors not because they want to cut someones toenails, look down their throats, pull out decayed teeth or cut someones bowel open.  No, they’re there for the money.”

Ah yes.  Those a-hole doctors who throw lavish organic chemistry, physics, and biology parties during their undergraduate years, with their pre-med groupies only to prepare for a twice offered a year, grueling eight-hour exam and then year(s)long application process to enter those whorehouse medical schools, where, if they’re admitted (two thirds aren’t), they live it up taking the equivalent of another 25-30 undergraduate credit hours for two years, partying through exam after exam, and then greedily move on two two years of vacation during clinical rotations only to then move on to more partying during their residency for 3 to x years, where they’re paid 5-6 bucks an hour for their greed, so then maybe when they finally leave this years-long-orgy, they can focus on paying off their 300,000 dollars in loans. Damn, they’re greedy.

“I believe that if you gave the underclass the cash to pay for health insurance, for the vast majority of them it would be the last purchase on their list, well behind coca cola, chips, cigarettes and whatever other vice that may afflict them.”

Whereas, ya see, if ya gave the upper class that cheddar, they’d know just how to spend it.  They would never spend it on silly things like cocaine or draining our treasury to illegally invade other countries under false pretenses.  They’re above that yo.

(To be continued.)

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By cann4ing, July 18, 2007 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

nf, your question about living in “Chomsky world” is non-sensical.  Chomsky is not Karl Marx.  He is not advocating some new form of society.  He is an astute linquist and one of this nation’s most powerful intellectuals.  His writings are intended to accurately describe the world in which we live, especially as it pertains to the “elite consensus” of U.S. imperial hegemony.  His conclusions about a “democracy deficit” flow from a structual analysis of how, through the corporate media, the U.S. electoral process has degenerated into a system where candidates, like products, are sold through deceptive advertising—a corporate media whose economic interests militate against a truthful assessment of where a candidate stands on issues that truly matter to the vast majority of the American people.  Chomsky’s more extended work, “Manufacturing Consent,” which he co-authored with Prof. Edward S. Herman, provides a structural analysis demonstrating how the U.S. corporate media operates as a propaganda network.

I know I have been a bit short with you, but it is difficult to read posts of someone who can merely parrot what he has “learned” from the propaganda network without any appreciation for the extent to which he has been deceived.

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By nf, July 18, 2007 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

Ernest,

You’re hurting my feelings again.  It always hurts when someone as smart as you shows his lack of patience.  I am trying real hard to get to your level, but it takes time Ernest, be patient.

By the way, I would still like to read your comments on what it would be like to live in a “Chomsky” world. Come on, just a little taste.

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By nf, July 18, 2007 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

Brusays,
I don’t get it, your “rebuttals” agreed with what I wrote, it was only your point 5 where we disagree. Your comment does not make sense. Your use of terms like “deluded” accomplish nothing.  Nothing that you have written presents a logical argument for your position. Your comments are loaded with hyperbole.

I have employees and I provide health insurance for them.  I should be thrilled that people like you want the single payer system you support.  But perhaps unlike you, I understand that the federal government rarely gets anything right and ultimately just throws money at problems and winds up with people like Mike Brown (the head of FEMA during Katrina) who are not up to the job.  And please, don’t tell me that it was Bush’s fault. Both parties appoint these unqualified people who happen to be connected to their administration in some way.

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By cann4ing, July 17, 2007 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

nf, if you want to be taken seriously, don’t post until you have read up on “and understand” the list of materials I listed for you.  There’s an old saw:  No one will know how stupid you are until you open your mouth.  That goes for posting as well. 

Acquire knowledge, then let’s have an intelligible conversation.  Spouting right-wing propaganda is not an intellectual discussion, and, frankly, it is beginning to get boring not only for me but for others like ardee.  If I wanted to hear endless drivel, I’d simply turn into the Faux News at Fox.

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By BruSays, July 17, 2007 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

NF,

You’re not deluded because you don’t agree with me. You’re deluded because I can count about 30 feet of reasonable, substantiated, specific-case facts and references in this blog that either directly refute your “I believes” or “I feel” or “my street smarts tell me” positions.

What’s more, you’re all over the map on your positions, pulling from right field, left field, out of the blue, constantly digging for another angle, often countering with an “Oh yeah? Well how about…?”

And the latest: Tossing in 5 statements about our cheery economy and happy citizens only to turn around and agree with 4 of my 5 rebuttals? Did you not think before you typed the original statements? I believe a reasonable person (ardee comes to mind) would dismiss your “discussion” as irrelevant, if not hopeless. I’ll take his suggestion.

I’m tired.

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By nf, July 17, 2007 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment

OK Brusays.

On points 1,2,3,4 I agree,  On # 5 I disagree. I believe that all classes in this country are doing better every year. The infrastructure does need maintenance continually, and judging by what I see traveling around this country it is a mixed bag. Our health care system imploding ? That’s a big indictment that you should have to justify. Ok. So here we are. Since I don’t agree with you I’m deluded.  That’s all I get from this discussion, I’m deluded, brain washed, baiting liberals, far right, what else ?  I consider myself a liberal. Good thing I can take it.

I suggest to Ardee that the stats on the wikipedia item dealing with health care aren’t enough. I tell him that I agree that we spend more than anyone else on health care. But what I’m looking for is something deeper.  The hidden costs.  One example, litigation.  Its a big one.  Our health system pays an enormous price to insurance carriers and lawyers and the settlements that follow.  How does that compare with Great Britain for example.  How do they deal with it ? This is only one component. There are others. This is not an easy exercise.  One cannot conclude that because one country spends more per capita on health care that it is necessarily true that there is something inherently wrong with its system.

Let’s keep it civil,  I’ve got feelings you know.

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By ardee, July 17, 2007 at 4:54 pm Link to this comment

Bru you can have this debate….
NF is either having his fun baiting the liberals or is seriously deluded either way itis not worth the effort.

His posts become increasing paeons to a world with which I am unfamiliar and he asks for obscure statistics for reasons, I am sure, leading to obfuscation and sidetracking the discussion.

The statistics shown in that wika link were plain enough, we spend far, far more on health care than any other industrialised nation, per capita and as a nation. We deliver far, far less than any other industrialised nation, measured by lifespan, infant mortality, percentages of people covered et al. I have no doubt that nf refused to read the links in the first place and thus is insincere asd hell.

For the eight years of the Clinton Presidency and now almost seven years into the reign of the Rodeo Clown we have seen a steady decline in the willingness of the right to fight fair, probably bbecause they know the facts defeat them every time. I will not treat with civility any of these bloviated gas bags for one more second.

If nf were as intelligent as he deems himself to be he would be aware of the shrinking Middle Class, the creation of new jobs with less pay, fewer benefits if any, the stangnation in the housing market and the toll our huge national debt is having on the dollar. A chief reason for the rise in gas prices (oil is now about $78 a barrel) is the weakening of the dollar due in large part to the enormous interest on our debt and the greatest gap in imports vs exports in history.

I believe he (nf) is very aware of these circumstances, does everything he can to avoid that path and is simply one of them. He will not be a part of any solution as he and those of his ilk are a large part of the problem. Links will not sway him, the facts will not budge him and the time wasted in talking to him is time away from more important topics.

Just one mans opinion.

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By BruSays, July 17, 2007 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

NF,

Your lecture on economics hits on all those wonderful, cherry-picked indices that the corporate-funded media want you to see:

1. Full employment. Sure, many people hold down two or even three jobs to make ends meet. More families are two-worker households than ever before. How many families do you know today whose lifestyles are supported by one working spouse? How many families in 1970 were supported by one spouse working? Look it up. 
2. Houses are bigger and more luxurious. Whoop-di-doo. Mortgage payments are bigger and home owners are deeper in debt than ever before.
3. Clothing, furniture and food is cheaper. Sure, due to importation of sweat-shop-produced goods, cheap foreign labor, NAFTA… (And wow, when we tackle our illegal employment issues, watch those prices rise) 
4. Gas is a bargain. Stay tuned. Adjusted for inflation it’s bouncing around where it was in the 80s, but hardly a bargain. And we’re depleting our oil reserves.
5. All classes are better off than ever. Absolute B-S. Following a little growth during the mid- and late-90s, we’ve slid backwards again. The rich have done fantastically well, the middle class have slipped a bit, the poor are poorer.

We tend to confuse factors such as the stock market success (DOW hit a record today, I heard) with overall wealth and prosperity. We think full employment means wealth and prosperity but there are dozens of very busy third world nations with full employment and dozens of rich nations with relatively high unemployment stats. There’s a correlation between employment and wealth, but hardly a clear one.

Our nation’s debt is at record levels; our health care system is slowly imploding, our infrastructure (highways, bridges, air traffic control system, municipal services) is crumbling.

Nf, you’re in denial. You’ve been duped by a media (and an administration) whose very existence is dependent on major corporate sponsorship. Yep…everything’s fine. Keep spending, keep charging up those credit cards. Ignore the massive debt, ignore the corporate greed, pay no attention to the sick and homeless, pay no attention to the crumbling infrastructure…we’re living in utopia.

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By nf, July 17, 2007 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

Ernest, give me a break.  I read alot, but I need more time to consume all the volumes you suggested. I am picking up bits and pieces on Chomsky from various sites.  Are there any countries that have actually tried any or all of his ideas ?  Better yet, try to describe the world he would have us live in.  I’d like to hear it from your perspective.

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By cann4ing, July 17, 2007 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

nf, I am truly disappointed in you.  If you had been sincere, you would have read the materials I had furnished and only then come back to this forum so that we could have a meaningful discussion.  Your reality defying assessment about the present state of the U.S. economy reflects a profound ignorance as to lead me to the unfortunate conclusion that your thoroughly indoctrinated mind is impervious to facts or reason.  I’ve decided to leave you warm and snug within your own little Orwellian world.

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By nf, July 17, 2007 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

I’m sorry to offend you Ardee, but I’m calling it as I see it. Nothing I’ve experienced in life disputes what I’ve written. At an entrepreneur level of which doctors are a component, its just business as usual. We who are in business (perhaps not all) spend a great deal of time thinking about the economics and bottom line of our ventures. It would have been easier to remain in a salaried job and have left the worries to someone else.

Yes, the article in Wikipedia that you refer to does show exactly what you say, but what I look for is the component costs that each country faces. Some of these costs can be researched others are subtle and hidden. The USA is not Europe.  I believe that we face entirely different issues than they.

Your mini-rant about Bush’s economics baffles me. This country is currently at full employment, perhaps the first time since WW2.  There is a labor shortage here if you haven’t noticed. Houses are bigger and more luxurious than ever (I’m talking about the middle class).  Clothing, furniture, food is cheaper than ever.  Even gas at 3.00/gallon is still a bargain. Economically we’re better off than ever.  I spend my summers in upstate New York (you know the old rust belt), people here are doing just fine. Sure the factory jobs are gone, (my dad spent 39 years in one) but they’ve been replaced by other mostly service jobs that are much easier on one’s health and pay just as well. You may not like Bush, but economic conditions have never been better for all classes in America.

I want to see more details on the single payer systems in Europe, Autralia and Canada. Wikipedia just touched the surface.

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By cann4ing, July 16, 2007 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

Rigo, your automaker friend’s observations about the U.S. health care system hurting American competitiveness was not all that far off.  A recently released report by the Center for Medicare Studies estimated that at its current rate of growth, by 2016 Americans will be spending $4 trillion per year on health care.  What may come as a surprise, considering his company’s misrable track record elsewhere, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott, in joining with major unions in calling for a single-payer system observed:  “Our current system hurts American competitiveness and leaves too many uninsured.”

Of course, what Scott doesn’t mention is that NAFTA and the WTO have already destroyed “American” competitiveness.  The CEOs at GM & Ford won’t worry about the impact of the cost of health care here.  They will simply close their U.S. plants and expand the plants they have in places like India.  What we have experienced under these so-called “trade agreements” is a wholesale betrayal of this country by its economic elites, whose loyalty to instant, maximized profit has resulted in an ongoing outsourcing of America’s manufacturing base—a process that will eventually spell the death knell to America’s middle class which has been increasingly Wal-Mart-ized.

As Paul Krugman recently observed, when the Bush administration points to the stock market as a sign of economic viability, it is really pointing to the success of multi-national corporations.  Here, at home, as good jobs dry up, as the housing bubble bursts, as more and more people are bankrupted by our parasitic health care system and America begins to drown in the debt created by runaway military spending, things are about to get much worse.

This sorry state of affairs was brought about when the so-called Democratic Leadership Council through Bill Clinton linked up with Reagan and Bush to ram NAFTA & the WTO through Congress on the fast track, betraying his unionist Democratic base.  See, Jeff Faux, “The Global Class War.”

There is only one presidential candidate who is calling for a repeal of NAFTA & the WTO.  He just happens to be the only Democratic candidate who supports single-payer health care.  If the American people do not awake to the fact that the so-called leading candidates (Clinton, Obama, Edwards) are corporatist charletons masquerading as Democrats, if they do not flock in droves to the Kucinich campaign, and right soon!

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By ardee, July 16, 2007 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for the insight Bru.

I am almost embarrassed for nf’s display of such overwhelming selfishness. The working poor fill the casinos. They would not buy health care if it were offered, instead exist on a diet of beer and cigarettes, so, by inferrence why bother offering. Noone would deign to become a Doctor if they were unable to make a fortune at it. I am thankful that this jaundiced view of our planet is a false and distorted one, but it does explain nf’s politics.

You, NF, asked for statistics and the article supplied them , such as:
“In particular where are the stats that compose the cost of the health care system.”

If you scroll to economics you will find a chart that displays the cost per person, the cost in relation to the GNP, the cost paid by government. Every statistic shows the US health care in a worse and worse light.

Mr. Canning noted that a major difference between you and almost everyone else here is the amount of compassion displayed for our fellow citizens. Truthdig 100 NF zero…...I believe we are judged as a nation , not by how well the best of us live but by how well the poorest of us are cared for. This would only mean to such as you a welfare state. To those of us who see clearly the true role of government and the true duty of citizenship it means something quite different.

The average CEO makes, in one day, what it takes a full year for the average worker to make. Yet the CEO is worthless without the labor. This nation fails to prosper, despite Bushs’ phoney economic assurances, quite precisely because we have devalued the real wealth of this nation, its people. Each year there are fewer middle class American families, each year there is a greater accumulation of wealth in the hands of fewer. This country is becoming another third world nation and I doubt seriously if you, nf, will be welcomed into the refuge the wealthy will construct to protect them from what they have wrought.

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By BruSays, July 16, 2007 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

Yikes! I return from a long weekend to find the “NF vs. the Truthdig World Show” still in progress!

NF,

1. So, U.S. doctors enter the field not to help others but to make money? And that’s important to your private system position because…?  Sicko” - the source of this blog - clearly demonstrates that English doctors do very well working within their single-payer system (and even get bonuses if they get their patients to quit smoking or lose weight…what a concept!) And somehow, for some reason, they remain in that country! And there are doctors a-plenty in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Austria…. Lord knows why, given their single-payer systems. (And don’t even START with the “but our doctors are the best in the world” bs… accessibility and affordability are far, far more important factors.) So, I guess we’re stuck with doctors who’ll only be doctors because they earn a lot of money. No way to change that, huh? Must be human nature and I guess Europeans just aren’t real humans after all.

2. What’s with the “compassion” obsession? You continue with this position that anyone who believes in a single-payer system for one country is a ‘phony compassionate’ if they don’t insist on covering the world with the program. What’s with that? Again, it’s an absurd position.

3. This “street smarts” thing is very funny. Try this: go out onto the streets and ask your average ‘street smart’ person who their state senator is…and they won’t know. Ask them to locate Afghanistan on a world map and they can’t. Ask from where the majority of 9/11 hijackers came from and they’ll tell you Iraq. Claiming to have “street smarts” to support one’s position - aside from being absolutely untestable, unverifiable, and likely a universal trait (sort of like asking someone if they have “common sense”...who will say ‘no’?), is yet another absurd position.

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By nf, July 16, 2007 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

OK Ardee, here goes. I don’t know the details of the health care system in Nigeria. Nor do I care. I was simply trying to point out, using a third world country as an example, that if your (or anyone else’s) desire is to provide universal health care out of compassion then why should we stop at our border. Perhaps this sounds strange to you, but to me when I hear compassionate pleas I immediately look for the limits to ones compassion.  Nigeria was chosen at random, I’m sure there are numerous examples that could have been used. The great religions of the world (especially the Catholic Cult) collect money that supposedly is used for compassionate purposes.  I don’t believe it, I only see the expenditures for grander branch offices (churches) and other perks for the religious hierarchy including payments made to people injured by their pedophile branch managers (priests). I know compassion when I see it, (volunteers for worthy causes).  I hesitated to sidetrack to this issue, but I needed an example of phony compassion to make sure were’re on the same page. If its your belief that the single payer system is better economically for the USA then I think we have something to discuss.

I did not claim that the 2 links you provided were “liberally biased”.  I suggested that statistics may or may not be true and that some websites may have an agenda (we are on Truthdig aren’t we).

OK. Let’s talk about the USA. I read the wikipedia entry you suggested. Plenty of info there. But also plenty missing. In general the entry seems to point out that none of the single payer systems are perfect.

In particular where are the stats that compose the cost of the health care system.

What are their doctors paid ?  Believe it or not most doctors are doctors not because they want to cut someones toenails, look down their throats, pull out decayed teeth or cut someones bowel open.  No, they’re there for the money. Money that buys BMW’s, country club dues, 2nd homes, expensive wines and dinners out. Our doctors and dentists get all that and more. They do in fact earn it. I wouldn’t want their job. Our support staff (nurses etc) are paid pretty well too.

How big is the underclass in those countries ?  We pay for everyone at the emergency rooms here already. I believe that if you gave the underclass the cash to pay for health insurance, for the vast majority of them it would be the last purchase on their list,  well behind coca cola, chips, cigarettes and whatever other vice that may afflict them.

As for the uninsured middle class families, much of the previous paragraph applies. I spend a fair amount of time in casinos, the lower middle class is filling them faster than they can build them (anecdotal I know, its my street smarts at work).

What are the OECD countries doing for research ? Does it match up to the USA ?

What about our growing population both legal and illegal, do the OECD countries have this problem ? My understanding is that many European countries are shrinking.

And what about the litigation factor. Do the OECD countries have an armada of the likes of John Edwards, waiting to sue for any perceived (or real) injustice by health care professionals and hospitals, seeking huge settlements that inflate everyone’s health care costs ?  Will the single payer system send Edward’s back to doing wills and defending drunk drivers (if so, count me in) ?

This rant is not meant to be sarcastic in any way.  I surely missed many points. But maybe this opens the way to discussing some of the problems that exist in a multi-cultural, multi-class, tribe versus tribe, quasi-capitalistic, open-border, thrill-seeking, gun-toting, deeply religious, celebrity worshiping, under-educated (including me) society, when one faction wants something that not many other people care about except in the context of compassion or political campaigns (those without health insurance probably don’t vote either).

My humble regards,

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By rigo23, July 16, 2007 at 1:03 am Link to this comment

Wow.  This is awesome.  I’ve been wanting to jump in to the mix here for a while since my last post, but have always been pulled away to something else.  You all should be proud of yourselves for keeping this discussion going, and voices like nf’s and Eunice Wong’s have proved invaluable.  What good is it if we’re all agreeing with each other? 

I sure hope, howerver, that it isn’t that it takes an incendiary piece like Wong’s to elicit this sort of response from Truthdig’s readership on such an important issue, but perhaps it was a tremendous stroke of genius on Scheer’s part to allow this piece to be published, understanding the alienation it may cause on the its readership.  Maybe Scheer was appealing to our inherently reactionary nature as humans.  Who knows.  Who cares.

After watching Sicko again, something hit me.  Earlier in the weekend I had jumped into a conversation at a local Detroit block party.  There were eight of us discussing Michigan’s uncertain economic future, the focal point of it being the crippled auto industry.  One guy said, “Ya know why we can’t compete?  Our cars are too expensive because of things like health insurance, which these other manufacturers don’t have to pay for in their countries.” 

Perhaps it’s not that simple, but hey, what if our auto manufacturers didn’t have to worry about soaring health care costs and its effect on car prices?  Michigan might not have to be worrying right now about turning into another Mississippi economically. Michigan is currently in a one-state recession.

I immediately injected “Sicko!” into the conversation and everyone was instantly engaged.  They had all heard about the movie, and oddly enough, I hadn’t alienated anyone yet.  Maybe it was because I hadn’t mentioned Michael Moore. 

The wonderful irony in all of this is that the same individual behind “Roger and Me”- which really was more of an attack on corporate anti-social behavior in general (just like “The Corporation”) than on GM in paricular- may have given companies like GM a reason to embrace him, rather than vilify him, if his campaign for universal health care helps to resuscitate Detroit and the auto industry.

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By cann4ing, July 15, 2007 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment

ardee, I appreciate your kind words.  I’d ask that you go a bit easy on nf, for now.  He seems to have made a sincere effort to reach out for information.  I have provided him with a brief bibliography of materials that, if carefully read, could prove to be eye openers.  I am truly hopeful that he will read “and learn,” then return to this site having overcome the impact of years of hard-right propaganda.

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By ardee, July 15, 2007 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

Ernest Canning,

I return from a fishing trip and find a highly accurate description of the machinations of Enron vis-a-vis the California energy rip offs. As an employee of a major California utility, one that WAS bankrupted by Enron, I second your appraisal.

As to nf and his crocodile tears and false claims to impartiality I would note that his song plays exceedingly sour. NF, you made claims as to the health care industry in the USA. I posted two links which you falsely claimed were from “liberally biased” sources. You did this without even the courtesy of looking at them. Had you done so you would have found one from Wikapedia and the other a listing of sources from a reputable search engine, my personal favorite actually.

Dont play a game you are unsuited to , claiming fairness and impartiality when you are agendised as they come. You weep tears of grief at your “treatment” here but the real crime is your ignorance of what it means to debate fairly. Your claims are opinion posed as rock solid fact, a mistake you are certainly not alone in making but one that exempts you from crying martyr.

The day you EARN my respect is the day you will receive it.

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By cann4ing, July 15, 2007 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment

nf, I do not have knowledge of New York law governing energy distribution.  For years, California tightly regulated the industry where any change in rates had to be justified and approved by the Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”).  Then, former Republican Governor Pete Wilson pushed for the Milton Friedman-inspired “deregulation” which eliminated the PUC’s tight control.  As I noted in an earlier post, this opened the door to scamming by the likes of Enron once the FERC was in the hands of Ken Lay’s man. 

What you will find when you read Jim Hightower’s “Thieves in High Places” is that, from its outset, the Bush administration embarked on a systematic effort “to produce a permanent structural change in how America operates, and for whom.”  This entailed stacking agencies designed to protect the “public” interest with individuals from the industries that are supposed to be regulated, and wholesale changes in regulations; changes announced on Friday nights after the press corps departed, often kept hidden under misleading Orwellian descriptions.  Hightower’s nearly six page, single spaced list of environmental regulatory changes during just the first two years of the Bush presidency is astounding.  In his second book, “Let’s Top Beating Around the Bush” provides an example of how what he calls “Bush Co.” has taken corruption to a new level.

It seems Monsanto, purveyor of genetically modified foods, was obligated to submit a report to the FDA to demonstrate the safety of its artificial growth hormone in milk.  Monsanto assigned the task of preparing the report to its leading researcher.  Now, under run of the mill corruption, one would anticipate heavy lobbying, perhaps something tacky like a bribe.  Not at Bush Co.  After she completed the report, Ms. Miller was hired by the FDA, which then assigned her the daunting task of reviewing her own report.  Damned if she wasn’t persuaded.  Of course, there was still the question of whether Monsanto’s milk would require a warning label, a task that was then assigned to another FDA official, Mark Taylor, who just happened to be a former Monsanto lobbyist, as had been Linda Fisher, whom Bush appointed as deputy administrator of the EPA.

This example is not an aberation.  According to Bill Moyers, “President Bush has more than 100 high-level officials overseeing industries they once represented as lobbyists, lawyers, or corporate advocates.”  There’s your “free enterprise” system at work.

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By cann4ing, July 15, 2007 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

nf, the documentary is by Robert Greenwald.  Its title is “Enron:  The Smartest Guys in the Room.”  I am sure you can either order it on line or pick it up through Border’s books.

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By nf, July 15, 2007 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

Ernest, I did see a documentary on PBS recently covering the Enron scandal.  Do you suppose it is the same as the DVD you suggested ?

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By nf, July 15, 2007 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

Ernest, the only reason that I assume that some of the blame for the Enron scam must fall on the government of California is that although I am a part time California resident, I live the greater part of the year in my native New York. Apparently Enron did not do to New Yorkers what they did out west.  This implies to me that in some way the laws or regulations were not in place to prevent the scam or someone was asleep at the agency responsible for overseeing the utilities.  I am wrong ?

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By cann4ing, July 14, 2007 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment

Jaki, very good post.  You should go to the AV booth and watch first Moore’s interaction with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, then Dr. Gupta’s little hit piece on Sicko, then read the link to Moore’s web site that thoroughly debunked the Gupta/CNN “fact check” and finally watch Moore being interviewed by Keith Olbermann at MSNBC.  As Moore noted, and Olbermann fully concurred, the nit picking of these little hit pieces is designed to change the subject from the depravity of our current system to the question of whether Sicko was precisely on the mark on this or that statistic.  Much of Ms. Wong’s article is in the same vein.

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By cann4ing, July 14, 2007 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

nf, Not the book.  I was directing you to the DVD, “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.”  As to books, here are a few must reads: Jeff Faux,  “The Global Class War;”  Jim Hightower, “Thieves in High Places,” Kevin Phillips, “Wealth & Democracy,” John Perkins, “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,” Greg LeRoy, “The Great American Jobs Scam.”  Chomsky’s “Hegemony or Survival” is an excellent book but a heavy read.  Chomsky’s “Failed States” is a quicker read.

As to the responsibility for Enron’s fleecing of California, it appropriately lies with Enron, the Bush administration and deregulation of the California energy grid under Pete Wilson.  An attempt to blame it on the hapless Grey Davis, whom I never particularly liked, is akin to trying to blame Iraqi civilians for the unprovoked U.S. invasion of their country.  Davis and most Californians were the victims of a scheme hatched by Ken Lay with the assistance of the Bush administration, especially Cheney and his so-called Energy Task Force.

I am bothered that, despite the absence of any evidence that would justify placing the blame on either Davis or California, you begin with the presumption that “surely” some of the blame must fall on California.  I would suggest that the mere fact that you begin with this unfounded belief suggests that you are approaching this subject with ideological blinders.

I hope you will not regard it as “condescending” if I make an intellectual suggestion—something my professors would advise me to do at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  When you read the work of someone you are inclined to disfavor, read it first with a sympathetic eye.  You need to fully comprehend the central theme that someone like Chomsky is conveying “before” you reject it.  That doesn’t mean that you have to blindly accept it.  But if you reject an author’s work at the outset, you increase the risk that you mind will never grasp the core theme a particular author is attempting to convey.

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By Jaki, July 14, 2007 at 1:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Back to the topic of the article…it is my considered opinion that every single person living in this country owes it to themselves, their children, their parents, and all future generations, to watch “Sicko,” listen carefully, and, MOST OF ALL…THINK!
Then, of course, figure out how you personally can ACT to help change this travesty we had no choice in creating or participating in.

Eunice Wong was totally off-base in every way, but definitely in terms of her contention that Michael Moore was the egocentric “star” of his own movie.  That could not be further from the truth, and only reflects her kowtowing to the right wing’s continuous attempts to turn people off to the movie because they may not “like” Michael Moore (why is beyond me because how many of them know him?).

This film is brilliantly produced.  But the most important part, of course, is the content.  It is incredibly sad sad sad that we have been taken hostage by the corporatist medical establishment and fed a pack of lies.  Moore does an incredible comparative analysis of the medical systems in England, France, Canada, and Cuba, visiting those countries and pretty thoroughly investigating the reality in each one.  It is utterly damning of our own system, and the differences are so striking in terms of the “humanity” of it all, you just get sick to your stomach when you contemplate the abject GREED
and NEGLECT in ours.

I said it before in a previous post and I will say it again:  Michael Moore is a National Hero, of the highest level of courage and humanitarianism in creating this film.  No matter what one “thinks” of him personally, one should not miss it!

I appreciate the educational diversions that take place on this blog space, so my “back to the film” comment was not meant to be derogatory, just a reminder…

If each of us would just take one other person or two or three to see the film, whether you have seen it already or not, it would be a significant service.

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By nf, July 14, 2007 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

Ernest, I have that book at my bedside and will start it after I finish the 2 others I am reading. I will also at your suggestion read some of Chomsky’s writings. 

Surely <some> of the blame for the Enron scandal must lie with the elected and appointed government in California.

You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to guess that someone with views like mine would admire Friedman. No, I’m sure you understand what I mean by condescending remarks.  You seem to be an intelligent person, why is is necessary to call people naive and in need of an education. If we both get into the mud, we both wind up dirty.  Actually although I do not have any advanced degrees I put very little value on my college education.  I certainly did not need it.  I prefer street smarts, they always seemed of more value throughout my life.

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By cann4ing, July 14, 2007 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

nf, rather than condescending, my remarks have proved insightful as I correctly anticipated that you were a disciple of Milton Friedman, a point you confirm by noting that you have read Friedman but not Chomsky.  You would do well to expand your knowledge base by reading Chomsky et al.

As to Enron, I would strongly urge that you purchase a copy of the Robert Greenwald documentary, “Enron:  The Smartest Guys in the Room,” which depicted the symbiotic relationship between Ken Lay and the two Bush presidents, exposing the administration’s complicity in the bilking of the California energy market, erstwhile raising an intriguing question about a May 17, 2001 meeting between Ken Lay, Michael Milken and Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills.  According to a 10/5/05 posting on AlterNet, investigative reporter Greg Palast claims to have 34 pages of internal Enron memos suggestive of a link between Enron’s fear of an unfair business practice lawsuit filed by California’s former Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamonte and Arnold’s later run in the Recall.

The short story of it is this.  The California energy market, once heavily regulated by the Public Utilities Commission, fell victim to the Friedman-inspired deregulation/marketplace uber alles theology.  It was deregulated during Gov. Wilson’s tenure.  Without deregulation, it would have been impossible for Enron to game the California energy market.

Cheney conducted his secret Energy Task Force, a task force that included Lay.  Lay made sure his people were in the key positions in the federal government, then Enron moved in to scam the California energy market, intentionally taking power plants off line so that the price could soar.

Gov. Davis knew we were being fleeced.  He went to the feds seeking immediate price controls, and, not suprisingly, was rebuffed.  With nowhere else to turn, he sought long term energy contracts at inflated prices that would at least evade the volatility of the unregulated markets.  This cost the State of California more than $13 billion, which Arnold was then able to parlay into how reckless Democratic spending is.  Many people, like you, unaware of the backroom deals, bought into this line of crap.  Infatuated with Arnold’s star power, California elected this charleton—twice!

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By cyberfra, July 14, 2007 at 7:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Propaganda?? Moore’s narcissism? Cuba?
What are we talking about?
1)-The United States, the richest country in the world, has sunk to No. 37 on the World Health Organization’s ranking of health systems
2)-The Usa have the best health sistem for make money, thanks to that about 50milion of personns have no insurange healt and 18 thousand people died.

Medical health companies give many to politic parties, tv networks,newspaper,blogger for make really propaganda, the moore’s movie only talk, in a moore’s way, of a country very sick inside

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By nf, July 14, 2007 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

In reading your post Ardee, you point out that Enron almost bankrupted California.  Since I am a part time resident of California this is of particular interest to me (yes, its all about me Ernest).  It seems to me that it was the government of California failing to perform one of its duties as the regulatory body for the utilities that allowed this to happen.  If the public employees had done their job properly would not this scam that Enron perpetrated have been stopped in its tracks ? 

Please enlighten me if I have it wrong.

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By nf, July 14, 2007 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

Well Ernest, the condescending remarks continue, but I guess that is the way you and Ardee converse with people who don’t agree with you. So be it. 

You say that I need to be educated.  I assume by this that you mean I need to come over to your point of view.  Not so fast.  Although I haven’t read Chompsky, I have read Friedman’s books and I believe he was one of the great thinkers of our time.  I never said that government should be run like a corporation.  Government has its role in our society and some things can and should only be done by government.  One of the problems with government is that it attracts individuals (both as employees and many times as politicians) who are of a similar mindset (my opinion of course).  I have had a great deal of exposure to public employees (city and federal government). It has always been my experience that either these people were unsuited to the private sector or that the security of government jobs and the lack of skills required of private employers made the choice one of necessity.

We humans after all are just mammals, and like other mammals we are not all equal.  We are prisoners of our genetic inheritance and therefore are destined for different positions in the hierarchy of our social existence. That is what I believe and although it may create situations that seem unfair and cruel, it can’t be changed. Sure, social programs can mitigate some of this inequality, but in the end they simply tamper with reality.  It all depends on how far we are willing to go to fight natural selection.

I assume that you disagree with me but I respect that. Give me some logic that supports your views. Maybe I will “learn” something that contradicts my logic.

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By ardee, July 14, 2007 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

An excellent post, Mr. Canning, and one that should be saved and referred to as a primer on what has gone wrong with our free enterprise system.

Those like nf, who advocate the end to governmental influences in all areas, seem to forget that it is government that nurtures private enterprise, that creates the climate wherein corporations flourish. Thus it is government that must, as the steward of that climate, oversee the practices of private corporations in those areas that influence or impinge upon the rights of the individual citizens who comprise the work force that allows corporations to exist.

Until government entered those areas we had the sweatshops of the type that Upton Sinclair and others wrote so effectively about, we had the monopolies that produced shoddy or dangerous products, and enforced working conditions both dangerous and arduous to labor.

It is the height of irony, in a nation that has seen Enron almost bankrupt the state of California through the use of illegal practices, in a nation that has seen its tax dollars used to such ill effect in Iraq, where, despite the billions poured into our private sector, there is still not constant power or clean water in Baghdad, such defenses of corporations rights over the rights of our citizenry still exist.

If I were to point to one single ill that has created such a climate it would be the granted of “personhood” to corporations. We need to reinvigorate the Sherman Antitrust Act, that Reagan gutted to such poor effect. We need to educate people to understand that government exists to protect the people of a nation, in fact it is its only purpose.

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By cann4ing, July 13, 2007 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

Well, nf, if you are suggesting that there is no difference between a small, mom & pop business, and giant corporate conglomerates, you are exceedingly naive.  Worse, your posts reflect that you are in dire need of an education.  Your statement to Ardee that you “know” what you “believe in” is precisely what one would expect from the thoroughly indoctrinated.

Without even knowing it, you, my friend, have bought into what Kevin Phillips refers to in “Wealthy & Democracy” as a “vice-into-civic virtue theology” that emerged in the 1960s and 70s from Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics, whose disciples make up the core of the supply-side economists of the successive Reagan and Bush administrations.  “To Friedman, greed was the basis of society.  The challenge of social organization, he said, was to ‘set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm: capitalism is that kind of system’...He dismissed the idea of a res publica—a public interest apart from individual and group self-interests.”

What emerged from right wing think tanks is a marketplace uber alles theocracy which asserts the fortunes amassed durinig the late 19th Century, the Gilded Age, were the produce of individual accomplishment in which government stood to the side.  Phillip’s astute observations reveal otherwise.  “The ‘fittest’ could not have survived without using government…For three or four decades during the Gilded Age, corporations and railroads took their favors—enormous ones that helped produce the world’s biggest fortunes—by all but seizing key portions opf federal and state government.”

The same is true today, as government has become captive to corporate greed at the expense of the res publica.  The American government does not presently serve the interests of the many precisely because it is intentionally operated by the hard right for the benefit of a very select few.

When I see someone like you mouthing the private enterprise uber alles theology—the notion that government should be run like a private corporation, I can think of no better rebuttal than that provided by Jim Hightower in “Thieves in High Places.”

“No corporation is a model for how government should operate.  Corporations are rigid, top-down, autocratic heirachies in which executive actions are delivered as fiats to be implemented unquestioningly…Corporations are towers of secrecy, in which all information is considered a proprietary asset to be doled out only in approved snippits, vetted through the PR department, keeping as much as possible from employees, investors, customers, auditors, regulators, lawmakers.”

As observed by Noam Chomsky in “Failed States” in structure the political counterpart to a corporation is a totalitarian state.  What you worship as the beat all to end all, the private corporate state, is in fact a state that would enslave the masses to serve the greedy interests of the select few at the top of the corporate pyramid.

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By nf, July 13, 2007 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

Isn’t “Google” great ? Which government agency invented it (sorry Al) ?

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By nf, July 13, 2007 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment

When I say private sector, I mean private companies (corporate or not) answering to the people they serve (the public) not congressional committees.

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By nf, July 13, 2007 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

By the way Ardee, my brain power may be limited as you suggest, but I know what I believe in, and if the administration of government (both democrat and republican) that I have experienced for the past 61 years is indicative of what we should expect in the future, both you and I should agree that we don’t want them doing anything for us.

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By cann4ing, July 13, 2007 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

nf, when you refer to the “private sector” don’t you mean the “corporate sector”?

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By nf, July 13, 2007 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment

OK. No, I don’t listen to Limbaugh, but do occasionally watch O’Reilly although I agree with him on very little. He especially shows his lack of logic and considered thought when it comes to religion (I am an atheist - I hate that word). He and Limbaugh are entertainers catering to an audience of which I am not a part.

The US is a unique country, it is not like European or Latin American countries. People love to hate the US, but love to become US citizens. Just ask any Bosnian or Vietnamese refugee.  I know many. They don’t come here for the handouts, they come for the opportunity. They make great citizens.

I disagree with those of you who want any of our governments (local, state or federal) to manage or administer any function or program that can be done in the private sector.  I work in the private sector (you might have guessed). I’ve had experience in my own businesses for the past 32 years and fought with government agencies for many of those years. It is my experience that government is composed largely of people who could not make it elsewhere, at any level, in any competitive environment. OK. This is anecdotal. But it is what I believe.

You want health care for everyone ? Good. Just let the private sector handle it. Get vouchers from the government redeemable with private sector companies that compete for the business.  Private companies make the best pizza, coffee, computers, employ the best doctors, and answer to the public better than any government agency.  Remember, you can’t fire (without a court battle) any government employee. Look at the problem we have with the public school systems (the granddaddy of cases justifying privatization).

If we are to have universal health care, at least let it be competitive.  We must insist on the right to choose - anything else will reduce our health care system to something no one will be happy with.

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By ardee, July 13, 2007 at 5:49 am Link to this comment

BruSays,

Are you aware that some eastern states are already selling our toll roads and superhighways to foreign investors? Despite the mounting data that plainly shows privatisation is very costly and less efficient, despite the requirements of the Constitution that gives responsibility for the infrastructure directly to the government, as it does all “commons”.

With an electorate partially comprised of ignorami like nf, someone who get their opinions ready made without thought, is it any wonder that our democratic processes suffer? Democracy requires a concerned and thoughtful voter participation if it is to work properly.

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By ardee, July 13, 2007 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

#86383 by nf on 7/12 at 3:42 pm
(14 comments total)

Admit it nf, you hadnt the decency or the brain power to click opn the links provided, now did you? There is nothing quite as sad as someone who refuses to learn.

Your posts have been nothing but empty diatribe, filled with nonesense that points plainly to the fact that you havent a grasp of your subject matter, and that you simply spew crap hand delivered by Limbaugh and O’Reilly, prepackaged opinions for those who simply cannot research or think for themselves.

After noting that Germany’s health care is financed by the user for a monthly premium you still continue the same useless rant about expensive tax increases, you are nothing more than a blind and useless fool, oh and a tool of those who dont give a flying rats ass about you.

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By BruSays, July 12, 2007 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

NF,

First, your ‘analogy by extension’ is absurd. Each country is ultimately responsible for its own well-being. No one is suggesting otherwise. 

Second, twist that analogy back on itself and you’ll quickly see its absurdity:

You say, in effect: “If equal access to health care for all Americans makes such good sense, why stop there? Why be selfish? Why not share that access with the world?”

To you I say: If private health care access for those who are able to pay for it is the best system, why stop there? Why be selfish? Why not privatize the police force? The Fire Department? The school systems? The Army!?

Where do YOU, NF, draw the line?

I can just hear the 911 phone conversation now:

You: “Police Department?! There’s a burglar in my house! Send someone over right away! 

Police: “No problem. Which credit card will you be using? We offer Mastercard, Visa, Discover and American Express.

You: “Which CREDIT CARD!? Are you nuts? A guy’s broken into my house, is in the next room stealing me blind and you’re asking me which credit card I’ll be using?”

Police: “Sir, we can’t make a ‘house call’ without a credit card guarantee. You’ll need to give me a major credit card before I can process your request. I’ll need the card number and expiration date…..Sir? Sir? Are you there? I’m sorry, but I can’t hear you over the noise.”

(Gun shot in background…then the dial tone.)

To many of us some things…such as those that directly impact on our health, safety and well-being such as public police, public fire protection, public schools, public libraries, ‘public health care,’ and a ‘public national defense system’ make sense.

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By cann4ing, July 12, 2007 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

nf, your core problem is that you always think in terms of “me” where other posters think in terms of “we.”

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By nf, July 12, 2007 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment

By the way, Ardee, if you socialists really want the government to pay for everyone’s health care, why not come up with an idea that may be acceptable to those who don’t want their income taxes raised. For example, a national sales tax, that way at least the government will get some revenue from those that would apparently use the system the most.  In fact, a national sales tax to replace the income tax would probably be acceptable to most people who now pay the bulk of the taxes in this country.  Similar taxes exist in Europe and Canada.  That should please you.

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By nf, July 12, 2007 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

Its apparent that you Ardee, cannot make a logical argument but instead resort to trying to demean others who don’t agree with you.  You always seem to point elsewhere at statistics that may or may not be true or wesites that may be slanted in a particular way.  Why not try to explain your views in a logical way.  The logic may or may not be correct but at least that can be debated.  Ad hominem attacks help no one.  Grow up. Try to act like an adult even though you may not be one.

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By ardee, July 12, 2007 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

http://www.dogpile.com/info.dogpl/search/web/Nigeria+health+care/1/-/1/-/-/-/1/-/-/-/1/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/417/top/-/-/-/1

This will give you a source for overviews of Nigerian Health Care options. As you seem so interested in those Nigerians…...Silly me I thought we were discussing the Health Care System of these United States. Hey nf, if you are a twelve year old youre doing great buddy, keep slugging. If , perchance, you arent then stop trying to debate as one.

And this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care

Will show you some really and truly interesting facts about our dear nations rankings, world wide, re: health care issues. as compared to Australia, Canada, Germany, France, England, Italy, Japan and Sweden.

Its really neat how the system of which you are so fond is dead last in silly little things like infant mortality, life expectancy and nurses per thousand people. Cheer up though, we are leading those nations, and by a wide margin in stuff like per capita expenditures on health, health care costs as a percentage of GNP, and, you will just love this,percentage of govt revenue spent on health…...

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By az, July 12, 2007 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The problem with taking the profit out of health care is the loss of some doctors.  Most in the medical profession are their because of the money.  They can help people and make money while doing it.  It is hard work, long hours, filled with emotional anguish.  If you worked hard all day and were able to go home to a comfortable environment made possible by a $300,000 salary, it may help you to keep going.  But, if the government regulates that and you pay drops to $60,000 to make it affordable, you get the problems that England has.  Fewer home trained doctors, having to bring in foreign doctors to fill the need.  Not being able to verify their training and in some cases potentially turning out to be terrorist.

I am not saying there are not problems with our current health care system, but to replace it completly to reduce the quality of health care for everyone to bring that care to the 15% who do not have healthcare.  The 85% who do are effected more.

By standardizing some of the requirements for diagnosis and including requirements for cases with potential deadly results we can correct the main issues that exist.  The system should not fail you just because you are breathing again, it should return you as close as possible to the quality of life that you had before you became sick or injured.  And that is not what I hear from my friends in Canada and overseas. 

The more the government supplies to the people, the more the people want.  It is never enough and the cost continues to rise at the same rate the quality decreases.  Having someone do everything for you may sound good, but it is not a responsible way to live.

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By nf, July 12, 2007 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

Well for just a moment I am going to try to think like you.  I am assuming that you feel that we in this country should share our earnings with everyone else in order that we all have (the same) health care. Well alright, I can see that point of view, but it does seem rather cruel to our brothers and sisters in countries like nigeria and other non-industrialized countries as you call them, shouldn’t we share with them also ?  Don’t they count ? After all aren’t they human beings also ? Why keep this benefit from them simply because they live somewhere else ? We are all residents of the same planet.  I have compassion for everyone everywhere. Don’t you ? Let’s get going on single payer health care everywhere.  Let’s get the whole world covered. Won’t you feel guilty if someone is denied health care services in Mexico and dies as a result ? I don’t think that you can argue that because they live somewhere else it is not our responsibility, after all, they simply have to get across our border and presto, our country is theirs, and all the benefits that accrue. Don’t we have the obligation as compassionate human beings to make sure that anyone denied health benefits anywhere else obtain entry to our country. 

Where do you draw the line ?

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By ardee, July 12, 2007 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

I suppose nf will feel vindicated in his opinion when the HMO representative tells him that ;
A. he has some life threatening illness and,
B. the cure is too expensive so he wont be getting it.
Heck they might even apologize.

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By cann4ing, July 12, 2007 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

nf, good idea.  When single payer health care becomes a reality “you” can go live somewhere else to get “your” medical care while the rest of us get ours from a system that is more interested in the health of our people than turning a profit for a few gready billionaires.  But then, since at present, the U.S. is the only industrialized nation without a single-payer system, you might have to look to live on another planet.

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By nf, July 11, 2007 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

I don’t want the government to make my cars, wine or cappucino and I don’t want them to employ my doctor. I want to make my own buying decisions.  This is why I live in the USA although I can live anywhere in the world.

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By Jaki, July 11, 2007 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve been thinking about the comments of Bru and Ernest and Ardee…Ernest, I did absorb all of what Ralph Nader said (I taped it and watched it 3 times) and I love his apparent eternal optimism, though I sensed an undercurrent of doubt on his face during that last minute when he spoke of his idealistic (and much needed for our survival) recommendations.  He knows the score.  He knows what it will take. 

And you are all right—it is up to US, We The Peeps, to not let our own personal doubt and pessimism to rule, which is exactly what the war monger corporatists want.

I suggest we do what Bru and Ernest are doing:  Each of us writea letter to our individual mailing lists with a strong plea from our hearts and a proposal:  Go to Kucinich’s website and learn.
His plan will be good for the country, for all of us.
If you find it that way, MAKE THE SACRIFICE and send $100. 

What if one million people did that?  That’s (duh) $100,000,000 dollars (3 times what Clinton and Obama have raised thus far). This might be enough to convince the Dems to run him; or it might be enough to convince him to become a 3rd Party Candidate and be able to survive the challenges to being on the ballot. 

Ask your friends to not only go to the website, but to contribute $100, if they possibly can.  And emphasize that they must also send the letter on to their own mailing lists.  This is the ripple effect that can often result in enormous change.  The internet is our primary opportunity to make this happen.  Let’s use it!

Of course for some of us $100 will involve sacrifice. 

What kind of sacrifice would it be?  How many lattes?
Stop and THINK the next time you are tempted by one of those useless consumer trinkets, or fashion items, or ??? the advertisers tempt you with.  Drive less—do all your errands at once. Walk to the store.  Carpool for a week.  How many dinners out might you let go of to do this one thing for potential real change in our country?  Trust me, you will feel better about yourself than buy buy buy will make you feel.

All of us, myself included, have to get out of our
projections of failure because of current conditions,
and take a risk to make what we want to happen happen.  $100 is really not a very big risk if you think about it.

I am writing my check.

P.S.  Over 40 years of activism, I have at various times in my life been a sole protester, or one of few, and watched things grow faster than I had ever imagined once the truth got out and people were inspired to act, especially collectively. It will be the only way we can defeat the purveyors of doom.

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By Jaki, July 11, 2007 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If anyone wants to see that no-holds-barred blast by Michael Moore, and Wolf’s Whimpy Response, you can watch Democracy Now! TODAY (Thursday, July 12) on Pacifica or Free Speech TV…or go to the website:  http://www.democracynow.org for streaming video.

Also…Michael Moore is on today’s re-runs of Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.  My favorite part:  he calls Larry King a bastard for pre-empting Moore’s first ever hour-long appearance on the LK Show with a Paris Hilton fluff piece.  What else to expect from a man who gives two weeks to the death of Anna Nicole Smith?  To give King some credit—he did ultimately have Moore on for the hour, but not when planned.

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By cann4ing, July 10, 2007 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

Bru, thanks for the reference to Moore blasting away at Blitzer, CNN and the propaganda network known as the conglomerated corporate media.  Just underscores what can happen when individuals step forward to speak truth to power.

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By BruSays, July 10, 2007 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment

Ernest,

I fully support Kucinich and today added yet another $100 towards his campaign to get out the message. I don’t keep it a secret that I favor his platform and I love engaging others in sometimes heated debates about the solidness of his platform.

I hope I am wrong about my concerns of his electability. But I also wonder outloud if the “system” (corporate media’s resistance to a ‘new’ message, the ingrained two party system, the corporations’ deep pockets, the apathy of the electorate, and the challenges of conveying sometimes complex issues in soundbites) is too much of a challenge.

I guess what I’m driving at is that maybe more than promoting a candidate, we have first to promote the creation of a system whereby decent candidates such as Kucinich thrive and pathetic candidates such as W. Bush don’t.

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