Monthly Archives: July, 2007

My Non Disinterested Look at Sicko

I wish I could say that I was watching Sicko as a completely disinterested party. Unfortunately, I’m one of those 50 million Americans that doesn’t have health insurance–

–quick aside: I indirectly work part time for UPMC. I even have an UPMC identification card. But part timers don’t get health care benefits for the smaller company that I work for and apparently UPMC, with only 400 million in profits last time I checked, can’t afford to cover me as well. Quick note to all you folks who spout AMA propaganda about the “long waits” whenever single payer comes up: I would prefer long waits to never seeing a doctor at all–

–True, I’m in good health (I think. Nothing has fallen off, so far….) and I walk a lot but it would be nice to talk to a doctor other than in an emergency room. The main thing I took away from the movie is that other people in other countries live much better than we do, period. They get better health care, better education, and probably better lives. And yes there are other reasons why they want us to hate France as Mike Moore makes clear in this clip. I guess this is why your usual corporate media outlets don’t do more journalism about How People Live abroad. One: They rather you didn’t know and two: you might notice that where people have the six week vacations and unemployment insurance that pays better than our minimum wage they tend to have real opposition/labor parties, as opposed to pretend ones that think NAFTA is going great. I guess, and this could be the theme of all of Mike Moore’s movies: I live in a country that really doesn’t give a fuck about me. Hail America and so forth….

Moore also offers a number of solutions at his website. I’m definitely printing out that Sicko health care card above. Its the only health card I’ll have. There’s also this:

ACTION PAGE
Tell congress to pass HR 676 now.
31101 submissions so far.

Moore also points out that there is a House Bill that would simply expand Medicare to everybody. Sounds good. I’m sure the insurance lobbies and the AMA will take a break on this and let it pass without objection or outcry or multimillion scary ad campaigns. Yes I like to openly amuse myself. Related: there was a big debate recently between Nathan Newman and Ezra Klein about whether the states should take the lead on providing health care or the feds. I found myself on the Nathan Newman side of things here. Let the states take a crack at it. The federal Republican only filibuster will kill all meaningful change in health care policy and other issues of meaning as well.

Oil Law Update

I spent a part of my weekend catching up on the CNN/YouTube debates. Seems as though they felt it was best to ask the hardest questions (What are you going to do about Global Warming? How will you fund your proposed programs now that the US is practically bankrupt?) of the marginal candidates. Nothing against Kucinich, Gravel, Richardson or Dodd; but if the media is primping Obama, Clinton, and Edwards for a win, you’d think they’d get the big puzzlers. They got more face time overall, but the treatment was softer.

Another thing I noticed was Edwards’ grousing about the Iraqi Parliament taking a vacation. Edwards tried to put this on the White House, indicating they had allowed the Parliament the time off. What went unquestioned was why the Iraqi Parliament would be in a position to have to ask the White House’s permission to conduct its business in the first place. Edwards hinted that the vacation would lead to further deaths of American soldiers. Yesterday, American leadership’s dismay over this vacation was all over the news. Edwards and many, many others–Democrat and Rupublican alike–would like to see the Iraqis pass some key pieces of legislation before they will consider removing American soldiers from Iraq. Just what is on the docket for the Iraqi Parliament when they return in September? The oil law, of course, the proposal to distribute up to 75% of Iraqi oil revenues to multinational oil companies for the next 30 years. NPR yesterday uncritically reported the White House is saying this law needs to be passed to cut funding to the insurgents.

The Democratic front-runners have so far been silent about this law, while being dodgy about when or why American soldiers would be removed from Iraq. If this law passes without a peep from the Democratic party, they will have been complicit in perhaps the largest heist in the history of the world.

Anything They Say has a good round-up of the recent state of affairs vis a vis the oil law.

But I’ll leave the last words to the workers of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, who have been fighting the passage of this law from the beginning, and who have the broad support of the Iraqi population to do so.

Chalmers Johnson reviewing "Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA":

The Life and Times of the CIA

The American people may not know it but they have some severe problems with one of their official governmental entities, the Central Intelligence Agency. Because of the almost total secrecy surrounding its activities and the lack of cost accounting on how it spends the money covertly appropriated for it within the defense budget, it is impossible for citizens to know what the CIA’s approximately 17,000 employees do with, or for, their share of the yearly $44 billion-$48 billion or more spent on “intelligence.” This inability to account for anything at the CIA is, however, only one problem with the Agency and hardly the most serious one either.

Iraqis letting the occupiers down again.

Lenin’s Tomb proprietor tallies up the savagery and horrific toll on Iraqis of their “liberation”.

FBI, Congress: Sibel Edmonds case ‘unclassified’

Sibel Edmonds, President, National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, will discuss being fired by the FBI in March 2002 for reporting shoddy work and security breaches that may have prevented the 9/11 attacks. She will explain firsthand how government secrecy can be abusive and why defending whistleblowing is a free speech issue. Cosponsored by the Intellectual Freedom Committee and the Committee on Legislation this program is entitled “Paul Reveres or Benedict Arnolds?: Whistleblowing in the Post 9/11 Age”.

‘unclassified’ he says…

Perfectly good questions

Part 1 and Round 2. Examples:

What the HELL was going on in Omaha in 1989?

Why was all of Wilhelm Reich’s research burned by the FDA?

Why did Rev. Moon get to crown himself “King of the World” in a ceremony that was attended by members of congress and the Bush administration and held in a congressional building in Washington, DC?

$1.8 million study finds electronic voting machines in California easy to hack.

Three *different* e-voting systems officially hackable.

Three Vendors, Numerous Failures

Sequoia Voting Systems: They were able to gain physical access to the system by removing screws to bypass locks. They also discovered several ways to overwrite the firmware of the Sequoia system.

Diebold Elections Systems: Testers were able to exploit vulnerabilities in the operating system and take security-related actions that the server did not record in its audit logs.

Hart Intercivic: The team developed a device that caused Hart’s system to authorize access codes without poll worker intervention.

Surprise, surprise. Whats more, I’d be willing to bet hard cash money, this problem will not be fixed by the end of 08.

Bush Aide Blocked Report

A surgeon general’s report in 2006 that called on Americans to help tackle global health problems has been kept from the public by a Bush political appointee without any background or expertise in medicine or public health, chiefly because the report did not promote the administration’s policy accomplishments, according to current and former public health officials.

The report described the link between poverty and poor health, urged the U.S. government to help combat widespread diseases as a key aim of its foreign policy, and called on corporations to help improve health conditions in the countries where they operate. A copy of the report was obtained by The Washington Post…

I’ve worn out my shocked face. Just assume I’m looking aghast.

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