Free Speech In Modern Day U S of A

Ok, so let me get this straight. Some sick bastard has the right to say "hey, I support pedophiles--and in fact I am one". This sick bastard has the right to educate pedophiles on how and where to meet children (even though this sick bastard repeatedly claims he has never raped, molested or harmed a child but has instead only embraced them in "non-sexual" ways, all while claiming he is indeed a pedophile). This sick bastard has the right to do all of this without arrest. Free speech, afterall. Harming no one.

And yet a couple in North Carolina were arrested by a local Sheriff, all of which followed a complaint by someone from the National Guard, who was "offended" by this couple's expression of themselves, using the u.s. flag, which they hung upside down and stuck pictures and sayings on it, including a plea to remove Bush from office. According to some archaic, outdated, and unconstitutional law, according to Civil Rights Experts based on back-to-back U.S. Supreme Court decisions, which says sticking pins in a flag is an act of desecration and therefore, illegal.

So, in conclusion, once again:

***sick bastard, self-proclaimed pedophile who is actively promoting a violent, brutally harmful and often deadly (for the victims) lifestyle can show his support for said lifestyle in a public manner and police won't touch this one.

***husband and wife expressing their thoughts about Bush and the war by sticking a few slogans on the flag and local police go commando and arrest them.

Yep. Makes sense to me.

And quite frankly, while this may upset some folks, I've always thought the idea of arresting, punishing and citing people who burn the flag, rip it up, spit on it, etc. etc. to be utterly preposterous. I am so god damn fed up with fanatical up-tight people who take direct offense at such acts. It isn't the FLAG these people have issue with. It is the policies and the acts of our leaders who these people believe to be making a mockery out of the flag and what it is supposed to stand for: Truth. Liberty. Freedom. Justice. All values that can exist ONLY under the banner of Honesty.

And I think we can all agree that honesty is something that has been tossed out of the political window long, long ago. And the rest of the above stated values have followed in line.

UPDATE 8/14/07:
Sicko pedophile was arrested today for a parole violation. Twice. He had been instructed to maintain a certain distance between himself and minors. Well, it seems today Mr. Sickfuck decided to visit a local college campus. His intention? Take photos of young girls. I had to turn the tv when listening to him speak, defending his actions, while claiming he would never harm a child. He just wanted to take pictures.

Again--this guy is allowed to walk the streets because?!


Late Night Ramblings........And Some Newslinks Sure To Make U Cry, Enlighten, Piss U off or Put U to ZZZ

I wish libraries stayed open until midnight or later. I get a natural jolt of energy after 8pm. Plus I'm a book nerd. I love being around books. Sometimes it's as though I can tune in to all of the words coming at me from every angle, calling me to READ READ READ. Tonight I found out there is no limit to the number of magazines I can check out. So I helped myself to an arm full. I also picked up an old, ancient copy of Wuthering Heights. I almost picked up a journal on supreme court debates, including one last year about Warrantless Searches and Wiretapping. However, I decided to keep my brain focused on literature this weekend instead of the b.s. being perpetuated by Bush, Cheney, et. al. Better nourishment, I figured.

I had a visit by some Mormon Missionaries today. We have one of those "No Solicitors" signs--homemade so it looks more personal and less, well, rude and sterile. Plus the cost was a bargain: free. I even wanted to put a smiley face on it, but I was told that would work against discouraging salespeople. Usually when such people arrive, I point to the sign and smile. Today though I decided to talk with the young men. Sometimes I learn something about myself. Today I learned I can sell. After telling them my religion was love, and after realizing it was unlikely I would be converting to Mormonism on this particular day, we began talking about the war. I told them about the idea for a PSA of the War that one of the guys from WhatIfProductions and I had recently put together. I shared with them our idea to set up a Memorial Fund for the families of the veterans, from which the proceeds (after production costs) would be going towards. All we need is funding, which I asked if their church would be interested in helping provide.

The looks on their faces was cute. How often do they get asked a question like this on these visits? They immediately let me know they were volunteers, to which I said that yes, I figured they were. However, I said, I know the Mormon church has a lot of money. "I mean come on, you guys practically own the entire state of Utah!" I said, laughing.

Hmmm. Maybe I shouldn't have said that last part.

But whatever. They asked for my name and said maybe some of their church elders would be interested in our idea and said they'd pass along my name and idea. They also asked if they could perhaps put in some ideas about the Mormon faith and I said no. This would be a secular piece. No religious slant.

They nodded and said "ok".

I was surprised at how easy it was to share the idea. I guess anyone can really sell if it's something they believe in. Even asking for money wasn't as difficult as I had thought it would be. And plus, I had the benefit of just diving right in without thinking, without getting myself all wrapped up in the "what if's", a pointless game with no winners.

Ok, let's wrap up the late night ramblings and close up with a few news items I've gathered this past week. For the dog lovers (and who doesn't love dogs), here's a heartwrenching story about a 9/11 Ground Zero Dog Hero who died a couple of days ago. Damn! Why can't dogs live 50 years or more?! One of those Univeral Laws I don't understand. Or like. This "law" needs to change.

This next piece may enlighten those who don't believe in the Spirit World. I could also just share what I call my "Laci Peterson" experience, but that would take too long. Instead, read this article. To me it's a simple "uh huh, duh"--been there, done that, believe it, next. But not everyone shares my mindset. (damn)

This one, my last, will either piss you off or put you to sleep. Depends on how numb you are to the insanities coming from the policies of GWB.


Needs and Why We Fight

Events of last week of a personal nature have had me thinking about conflict, why we fight, why we get so angry with one another. From the most mundane of silly human squabbles to the most intense, violent, massive-scale all-out wars, I've come to the conclusion that at the core of these situations are unmet needs. And likely, these needs aren't known, or at the very least, we don't know how to express them in the "best" way that will increase our chances of seeing those needs have been met.

Our needs are pretty similar across the board. We have our emotional needs, which include a need to feel appreciated. Respected. Acknowledged. Heard. Loved. We have environmental needs for quiet and safety. Physical needs include clothing, safe shelter, abundant and healthy food and water. And yet despite all of this, we continue to scream at one another, insult one another, especially those with whom we disagree, and often times, with those with whom we love the most.

It's become commonplace to say "wake up" or "you're a blind sheep" and other such phrases towards those with whom we disagree, especially on political and social issues. I'm guilty of it myself for sure. And yet as time passes, a little voice inside of me keeps telling me I can do different, be different. There's a saying that goes something like "when we know better we do better." I prefer to say "when we know different we do different." I mean afterall, isn't "better" just another judgment call? Who says what is better? Maybe there's just different.

So what does this "different" look like? For me, it would be a whole new way of communicating. Last summer I began studying Marshall Rosenberg's (I hope that's his name) method of non-violent communication. It felt weird for sure--almost superficial. But that's how new behavior feels. Unnatural. But when the results produce more peace and love within you, you know you've struck gold.

Like all the rest of the humanoids when trying new behaviors, I fell off the wagon with this method. And I want to get back on. So here goes a new attempt.

I get angry a lot on my blog. And I know I fuel most of it on my own, mostly because I am neglecting to figure out exactly why I am angry and what need of mine isn't being met.

My latests outbursts have been about health care. I am angry there is any resistance towards the idea of a major overhaul of the current system to enable it so that all have access to health care. I am angry with those with whom the system works just fine for them while ignoring (or insulting) those who have an issue with the same. And yet beneath that anger is a voice of pain trying to speak out. And just what exactly is that voice wanting to say? That she needs to feel protected, safe, secure. She needs to feel worthy--as worthy as everyone and anyone else. She needs to be seen and heard. She needs to know she matters. And at a truly idealistic level, she really longs for an environment of peace and love. Love In Action. We're all equal. There is no having to "prove" any of it.

The rest of me is resistant to these needs given how foreign they feel, at least in expressing them. It's much easier to get pissy and angry, even sarcastic, and toss out an insult or two, throw in a few "fucks" and "god damn's". There's the voice that doubts these needs will ever be met, that doubts I'm even worthy of them. But those are fleeting and weak, all based on fear. And lies.

So what do you say fellow bloggers? Can we start communicating in a new way? Next time a post here or elsewhere really pushes your button, dig deep. Maybe that anger is simply about a need that isn't being met. This may not make for interesting reading in terms of our human addiction for the chaotic, the controversial. But if our intention really is about wanting a better world (and maybe at times that isn't what we want--and that's ok--as long as we acknowledge it), a new way of communicating with one another is overdue. What do you think?

MoveOn.org and our "Progressive" Democrats need to catch a fucking clue

Now that "Sicko" is making its way across the country, the "Progressives" are riding that wave for all its worth looking to garner some support for their issues, most particularly their issues on health insurance.

Missing in this wave is H.R. 676, the plan to create Universal Health Care for all. One of the co-sponsors is Dennis Kucinich, one of the most silenced members of congress in the MSM. He has created some very needed legislation but overwhelmingly he is silenced by the Criminal Cabal that runs the media and our government.

MoveOn sent me an e-mail this morning about the plans for creating a Universal Health Plan that will insure all children. Sorry, not good enough. If Universal Health Care is as important as this group claims it to be, why didn't they include H.R. 676?

I wrote them with this question, included a link to check it out, then encouraged them to generate another e-mail including a petition to support this bill. I'll see if this gets done.

Then there are the "Progressive" Democrats. I wrote to my Senator, urging him to look into and help pass H.R. 676. I heard back from him alright. Yep, his office sent the typical form letter asking for support for HIS plan for Universal Health Care. The flaws? It keeps the Insurance Companies in charge. Oh, sure, he talks about adding a few regulations, but AS LONG AS THE PRIVATE FOR-PROFIT INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE IN CHARGE OF OUR HEALTH CARE, WE WILL STILL CONTINUE TO SEE PEOPLE DENIED COVERAGE AND MILLIONS UNABLE TO AFFORD THE COST. I don't "get" why people are ok with this. Bean counters at Health Insurance Companies are dictating what services you can receive, what gets covered. The doctors don't have the right as they should. I visited my doctor last week and she had to be very careful in how she worded things in her final report to the Insurance pigs. Why? SO THAT THEY WOULD PAY THE DAMN BILL. I ask this question a lot, but I'll impose it again: THIS IS FAIR, JUST AND RIGHT IN WHAT WAY AGAIN?

My Senator did talk about a sliding scale fee (which DUH should be imposed on ALL goods and services--don't quite understand why that very basic, logical, common sense and fair philosophy is not adopted across the board. If this society is gonna accept sliding wages, it sure as hell better accept sliding scale fees.). However, it doesn't go far enough. He talks about making insurance affordable for all, even for the inunsured. Well, many many families and households can only afford FREE at this point. Good lord, catch a fucking clue. You cannot keep health insurance in the hands of the private companies IF YOU DO NOT ADDRESS THE WAGE ISSUE! Minimum wage, 94% of what a living wage was in the 1960's. Today, 50%. Housing up over 100% and more.


So, Senator, how much are the Insurance and Pharmaceutical companies stuffing into your pockets?

Progressive, my ass. Progressive means you don't tow the party line. You tow your CONSTITUENTS line. Millions of us want free Universal Health Care. Millions of us are sick of having to wonder how we will afford it. As I pointed out to my Senator, we pay for your coverage. It's time you return that favor. Your consituents deserve the same privilege. PERIOD. END OF STORY


Urge Your Members In Congress to Pass HR 676--The Plan For Universal Health Coverage

Check out this site to contact your members in Congress urging them to sign on as co-sponsors and pass this bill, write a letter to your local newspaper, and to read the full text of this bill. It's very user-friendly and only takes a minute, unless you wish to add your own message. The MSM won't be sharing this information, so it is up to the rest of us to spread the news. DO THIS TODAY! Then put the information on your own blog, e-mail to your e-mail buddies, share with your co-workers, your family, friends, etc. etc. etc.

H.R. 676. The time is NOW for this bill. With enough pressure, it will indeed pass. The movement has begun and it won't stop until success has been reached.


Funding Needed for Anti-War Project

The Technical Director from What If Productions and I are talking about doing a video to gather more support in ending the war. Funding is all that is needed. They have the gear. I have a couple of songs to contribute. Anyone have any advice? Or cash?

It's been a real bitch of a week, an absolute emotional roller-coaster. We took our dog, our baby, to the vet to get a fatty lump biopsied. We lost our previous dog to cancer--suddenly--so of course we were both worried. I was more than worried--I was almost beside myself--internally. Lots of old emotional pain from my previous experience came to the surface on top of my worry. Well thank god the cells only consisted of fat! I cried in relief after I hung up from the vet. I then immediately went outside to hug our little pooch, who had been lying on the patio, her ball in between her paws. She wasn't interested in receiving a hug, but was more interested in me throwing her ball for her. Usually I would submit, but today I said "noooo mommy needs to hug you for a little while!"

We're also dealing with a family crisis that's cropped up recently, coming to a head this week. Steps have been taken by another family member to (hopefully) get some outside help into the picture, but you know what can happen when people, especially family, intervene. Anyway, there's been a lot of phone calls, discussions. WORRYING. This is a heavy, serious scenario and I've been wondering if the right decision was made. Is there ever a "right" decision in sitches like this??

I also dealt with filing a complaint against a worker at a local agency, after some personal reflection and being advised by the worker's supervisor to do so. That meant phone calls, and being it is a government office, A TON OF MISCOMMUNICATION that I won't even bother to go into. It's over, I got the validation I was seeking.

Anyway, it's Friday afternoon. The weather continues to be unusually (and beautifully) cool, cloudy and damp. After our mini heatwave last week, I stepped outside one evening and said "I small Fall already." I'm off to finish some editing work then perhaps pop open a cold bottle of mirror pond ale. I'm not much of a drinker in any way shape or form, but after this week the idea of slowly sipping on something like this sounds nice. Although I'll probably do what I always do--get that relief in the first few sips then hand it off to Mr. Nina to finish. (Lightweight) I've always said I'm a cheap drunk.


Go See Sicko This Weekend: Win A Trip To A Nation That Actually Takes Care of Its Citizens!

Not only is Sicko becoming the most successful of all documentaries ever made (likely pissing the hell out of the Insurance Industry, Big Pharmaceutical Firms and other cowardly politicians who think THEY deserve the best health care while pissing on their constituents), if you go see the film this weekend, you can send in your ticket stub for a chance to win a trip to London, Paris or Toronto. You know, those evil "socialistic" type countries that actually take away their citizens concerns such as "how will I pay for medical care" or "how will I afford to go to school" or "I really need a vacation but my employer just doesn't offer that paid".

See the following from Mike Moore himself fmi:

"Sicko" in Top 5 Grossing Docs of All Time -- This Weekend it's "'Sicko' Night in America!"... from Michael Moore

Thursday, July 19th, 2007


Good news! "Sicko," after less than three weeks in national release, has become one of the top five grossing documentaries of all time! So, this coming weekend, the distributor is expanding the movie by opening it in nearly 500 new theaters in small cities all over the country (for a total of nearly 1,200 screens nationwide)! From Rapid City to Carson City, from Gettysburg to Pearl Harbor, from Juneau to Battle Creek -- they're all getting "Sicko" tomorrow (Friday). Scores of cities that never have a documentary come to their local theater will now be able to see this one. It's happening all thanks to you who live in the larger cities and have supported "Sicko" so strongly. It's led the studio to say, "Let's make more prints and ship them to Oshkosh (and Beaverton and Brattleboro and Sault Ste. Marie and...)." The entire country goes "Sicko" in less than 48 hours! (Check here for the complete list of theaters showing "Sicko" in North America.)

So, friends, this is it. This is the weekend to go see "Sicko" if you haven't seen it. I get a lot of letters from people saying they plan to "get around" to seeing it "soon." Well, soon is here! Trying to get theaters to give us screens when we are up against huge summer blockbusters is an almost impossible task. "Sicko" won't be around forever. And if you're waiting for the DVD, ask anyone who's seen "Sicko" -- this is a movie you want to see with a crowd of people in a theater.

So let's pack the movie houses this weekend! Send an email to everyone you know, call your friends and tell them, "It's 'Sicko' Night in America!"

And, to show my thanks to all of you who'll go see "Sicko" this weekend, I'm going to send one of you and a guest on a free weekend to the universal health care country of your choice! That's right. You'll get to pick one of the three industrialized countries featured in the movie where, if you get sick, you get help for free, no matter who you are. All you have to do is send us your ticket stub (make sure it says "Sicko" on it and has the name of the theater and this weekend's date on it -- Friday, Saturday or Sunday - July 20th, 21st, 22nd). Attach the stub to a piece of paper with your name, address, phone number and email and send it to: 'Sicko' Night in America, 888c 8th Avenue, Suite 443, New York, NY 10019. (Yes, you have to use that old 18th century device called the U.S. Postal Service, and it has to be postmarked on or by Tuesday, July 24th). First prize is a weekend in the city of your choice: Paris, London or Toronto. This includes airfare, hotel, meals and, most exciting, a representative from their fine universal health care system who will give you a personal tour so you can see how they treat their fellow citizens. You'll meet people who pay nothing for college and citizens who are in the fourth week of their six-week paid vacation. Oh, and you'll have time to see the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben or whatever they have in Toronto that is old and tall. (If you don't have a passport, we'll pay for that, too!)

Canadians who are reading this -- you're probably thinking, "Hey, what about us? Where do we get to go?" Quit complaining! You're already there! But just to make it up to you -- and to prove we don't hold it against you for smugly walking out of a hospital with the same amount of money in your wallet that you went in with -- we'll let you participate in the drawing, too.

Thanks again to everyone who has gone to see "Sicko." Take a friend or two this weekend and celebrate "'Sicko' Night in America."

Michael Moore


CNN Apologizes, Admits to Making Errors RE: Sicko

CNN Throws in Towel, Admits to Two Errors, and States That All 'Sicko' Facts Are True to Their Source (or something like that)... Moore Realizes All This is Huge Distraction and Then Spends More Precious Time Thanking Paris Hilton for Seeing 'Sicko'... Meanwhile, More than 300 Americans Die Because They Had No Health Insurance During the 8-Day Gupta-Moore War...

July 17th, 2007


The mighty CNN, in a lengthy and sad online defense of their woe-begotten 'Sicko' story of last Monday, has admitted that they did indeed fudge at least two of the facts in their coverage of my film and have apologized for it:

1. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN: "To be clear, I got a number wrong in my original report, substituting the number 25, instead of 251." -- My Conversation with Michael Moore, July 11th, 2007; and

2. CNN: "Moore is correct. Paul Keckley left Vanderbilt in late 2006." -- CNN's Response to Michael Moore, July 15th, 2007.

Furthermore, CNN confirmed that all of our statistics in "Sicko" are the correct numbers from the sources we cited. Although CNN still prefers to use older World Health Organization statistics, we will stick to using this year's Bush administration stats and more recent U.N. data. (In "Sicko," we consistently use only U.N. Human Development Statistics unless it's for studies they don't do or have recent numbers for.) CNN did apologize for these two factual errors, but no apology seems to be coming for the rest of their errors. These days, to get the mainstream media to admit they were wrong is rare; to get them to admit it twice, as they have with "Sicko," I guess should be considered a whopping victory. Will they eventually apologize for the rest, or for their reporting on the war? Will the Cubs win the World Series this year?

So the truce has been signed, the peace pipe has been smoked. And the public is left with a much more cautious and wary eye when it comes to CNN. To be fair, this is what happens when you have to grind out "news" 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a staff you have shrunk through layoffs over the years (like all the broadcast networks have done). You end up rushed and having interns do your research. You have robots replace live camera operators. And, if you're CNN, you are constantly dodging the accusation that you are "too liberal." So when you do a piece on someone like me, you have to make sure you add superfluous and standard ad hominems attacking me simply to prove that you are NOT too liberal. I get it.

Until the last month or so, I have not appeared on a single national TV show for nearly 2 and 1/2 years. After the attacks I had to endure three years ago, from a media intent on questioning my patriotism because I dared to speak out against the war when none in the media would, I decided I had had enough and would simply concentrate on making my next film. I had no desire to participate in networks that were complicit in the war because of their refusal the challenge the commander in chief.

I have to admit, though, I do feel kinda bad taking it all out on Wolf Blitzer. It's not like he's the official representative of the mainstream media. I mean, he's from Buffalo, for crying out loud! He said to me at the end of the show last week to please come back on "anytime you want." I will take him up on that offer and appear again with him tomorrow (Wednesday). I'm not expecting a dozen roses or make-up sex -- I only want a promise that there will be no more distorted distractions so we can have a decent discussion about the REAL issues like why 18,000 Americans die every year because they don't have a health insurance card. More than 300 of them died this week. As Ehrlichman said to Nixon in "Sicko": "The less care they give 'em, the more money they (the insurance companies) make."

THAT'S the only thing we should be talking about. How profit and greed are killing our fellow Americans. How profit and private insurance have to be removed from our health care system. CNN should join me in asking why our 9/11 rescue workers aren't receiving medical care. Somebody should send a crew to Canada to find out why they live longer than we do, and why no Canadian has ever gone bankrupt because of medical bills. And all of the media should start saying how much it costs to go to a doctor in these other top industrialized countries: Nothing.
Zip. It's FREE.

Don't patronize Americans by saying, "Well, it's not free -- they pay for it with taxes!" Yes, we know that. Just like we know that we drive down a city street for FREE -- even though we paid for that street with our taxes. The street is FREE, the book at the library is FREE, if your house catches on fire, the fire department will come and put it out for FREE, and if someone snatches your purse, the police officer will chase down the culprit and bring your purse back to you -- AND HE WON'T CHARGE YOU A DIME FROM THAT PURSE!

These are all free services, collectively socialized and paid for with our tax dollars. To argue that health care -- a life and death issue for many -- should not be considered in the same league is ludicrous and archaic. And trust me, once you add up what you pay for out-of-pocket in premiums, deductibles, co-pays, overpriced medicines, and treatments that aren't covered (not to mention all the other things we pay for like college education, day care and other services that many countries provide for at little or no cost), we, as Americans, are paying far more than the Canadians or Brits or French are paying in taxes. We just don't call these things taxes, but that's exactly what they are.

See you all when I'm back on CNN tomorrow -- where the discussion will be not be about whose statistics are right, but rather about the guy without insurance who died while I was writing this letter.

Michael Moore

AMEN! It's long past time to embrace a little bit of the "we'ism" so that America can come up to par with Canada, Sweden, Switzerland and other Nations who pay for their citizen's health care, nations who overwhelmingly report healthier AND happier citizens, longer life expectancy and lower infant mortality rates. We can do better. Then after we do that, we can get rid of this 40 hour work week and adopt the 35 hour work week. Then we can mandate that employees receive a minimum of 3 weeks of vacation per year (the U.S. is the ONLY industrialized nation who has yet to mandate vacation). After that, we can mandate a living wage for all workers. Then affordable housing for all. Maybe even take some ideas out of some of the African villages--the "it takes a village" concept when it comes to raising children. (A former neighbor of mine was from South Africa. I learned a lot about how children are raised in her community. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Small communities embracing the children. Children are truly valued where it matters--in action and from the heart. Not the lip service we give it here in the states.) Etc. Etc. It may not create utopia, but it sure will be a good starting point.

America isn't number one across the board. Hard pill to swallow. So, get over the fear and pride and swallow the damn pill already. And instead, let us be open-minded and logical as we look at other nations who have less in the way of poverty and other unnecessary human suffering and see if perhaps we can adapt some of their values and principles. Afterall, it's what we EXPECT other nations to do in regards to our values and principles. Let's stop being the arrogant playground bullies and embrace the truth that all nations have something of value to offer.



New Requirements For Seeking The Presidency

A little food for thought mixed in with some humor for my readers...

In order to run for the presidency one must:

1) You must have lived in the poverty and middle income brackets. This way you will have a true understanding of what life is like for the majority of the people you will be representing. If you were born into wealth, earned or inherited said wealth, you will give it up for 2 years prior to running for office.

2) You must embrace the philosophy that Freedom is the right to think, say, believe, do, consume and be whatever and whoever one wishes in so long as that choice is not interfering with another's right to enjoy the same freedom.

3) You must believe in and adhere to the principle that the people are always represented over and above Special Interest Groups and that of Corporations.

4) You must be thoroughly educated and versed in Non-Violent forms of Communication and Conflict Resolution.

5) You must know how to communicate your ideas truthfully, effectively, efficiently and clearly.

6) You must have a clear understanding of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

7) Political experience of some sort is required. And not only that, this experience must have resulted in positive support and approval from the public. If not, well, choose another profession. We've had enough lying monkey's running things in D.C.

Once elected, you are required to adhere to the following:

1) Absolutely no invading of sovereign nations.

2) No lying to the public about ANY THING. Get that? NO LYING.

3) You will uphold the Constitution at all times. Failure to do so will find your ass out the door. And contrary to current belief in certain corners, the doors to the white house are indeed revolving.

4) You will treat all persons with whom you come in contact with respect.

5) You will hold monthly town hall sessions throughout the nation. You will also hold quarterly press conferences to keep the nation informed.

6) You will refrain from bringing in your particular brand of religion into your speeches, your policies.

7) Along those lines, the moment you utter the words, "God told me to__" or anything along those lines, you will be removed from Office and taken to the nearest psychiatric ward. If this confuses you, please see Webster's dictionary. "Psychotic" and "neurosis" are good words to help clear up any confusion.

8) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, you will work first and foremost for the American People. Failure to do so, well, see #3.

If you should have any questions, look back to the Presidency of George W. Bush. Study him, his policies, his ideals, his values, his visions, his demeanor, his choices and ultimately his decisions. Then do everything the exact opposite.


Bush Needs To See "Sicko".

Ok, so must of us know Bush is completely out of touch with reality. We know he has no intentions of supporting a Universal, Single Payer Health Care System. Even though WE the PEOPLE pay for HIS (and rest of the DC bandits) insurance, the best in the country, but they cannot provide us the same thing in return....ahem.......but I digress... We also know his IQ hovers around that of a knat, and that's on a good day. However, given the following quote, there isn't a lifeform on this planet that is beneath this level of obtuseness:

"I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room." July 10, 2007, Cleveland, OH

Yes, I am not making that up. He really said this.

Read the rest here. If you can stomach it. There's the numerous mentionings of 9/11 this and 9/11 that. Scroll down about 3/4 of the way and you'll read what he has to say about what has been learned from Katrina. Pitiful response. Mainly local governments need to be better informed. State and city both. The federal governments lesson? Troops need to be sent in irregardless of whether that is what the people want.

Ok, am I really just dreaming all of this bullshit?! Please tell me I am!!

This man is president?

Again, this man is PRESIDENT?

Some realities are simply too much to accept.

Want A Sample of My Music???

Comment here or e-mail me (with e-mail info. if I don't have it) and I'll e-mail you an mp3 file of a song I recorded with What If Productions a few weeks ago. They've chosen to use part of the middle section of this piece for their video production reel. YIPPIE!!! I'm on my way!

I wish Blogger allowed us to upload musical clips. I know I can upload something onto you tube or similar site then transfer it over here, but that takes too long and I'm inpatient..and in possession of dial-up.

FBI Website Doesn't Link Osama With 9/11

If this doesn't smack in the face of those who still insist Osama was behind 9/11, I don't know what does.

Along those lines, most of us want Cheney impeached and a large percentage want Bush to experience the same fate.

And who, of course, is dragging their feet?

The Democrats.

:::Shock shock:::

4-Year Old Girl Claims To Be The Reincarnated Soul of One of The Challenger Astronauts

Absolutely fascinating story! I first read the article in brief here, then decided to link the original here. Here's an excerpt:

Khurja (Uttar Pradesh), July 07: A four-year-old girl who claims her name is Kalpana Chawla and that she died up in the skies four years ago is drawing huge crowds in a village here in Uttar Pradesh.



I've had new insight into this matter. While I've struggled with the idea of government-run programs--of ANY kind--my spouse and I are now faced with the reality that we may be unable to afford health insurance after November. We're currently receiving a subsidy from the state to help pay for our Blue Cross Premium (which is $780 for the two of us--fucking OUTRAGEOUS). The state program notified us it's time to reapply. WTF?! I wondered. We've only been receiving assistance since February and I was told we reapply annually, the subsidy lasting for one year, which should take us to February 2008. I wasn't expecting to apply until this fall, given we were approved last November.

So I call 'em up and was told they have us apply 4 months in advance. I was also told the subsidy is good through mid-November. I said "But we weren't approved for insurance until February." Too damn bad. It isn't the state's fault Blue Fuck-U-Over Cross takes forever to process paperwork nor that they love to deny folks only to invite them back through their business partnership with the state while reducing coverage and charging higher premiums. It isn't the state's fault that our insurance agent (that we were TOLD to use by the state) FAILED to tell us "unless you have perfect health, don't bother applying for private plans. Sign up with the state medical insurance plan." That's what drew this whole process out an additional two fucking months.

So, once approved by the state, the subsidy help kicks in, irregardless of whether or not it is used. And given Blue Fuck-U-Over Cross has their 6 month pre-existing condition, my spouse and I have not been able to get our health issues addressed. Add this up and this means we will get guaranteed coverage for, get this, ONLY THREE MONTHS.

Well, whatever. It is as it is. So I go through our paperwork and calculate our average income for the previous 3 months. This is the income they will be going by. The results aren't pretty. Our income went up an average of $200 a month (gross). It has since dropped now that it's summer, but they won't be counting our summer hours. Whatever.

Anyway, as a result, our subsidy amount (percentage) is going down, which means we will have to come up with another $250/month. We can't afford that!! We're strapped as it is! I've asked the state before why they only go by the "gross" amount. Why not go by the REAL income? "That's just how we do things," I'm told. Brilliant, descriptive answer.

FUCK! THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO CONCERN THEMSELVES OR WORRY THEMSELVES ABOUT THIS. When you're young, you really don't have to. When you have the income, you don't. However, when you're starting to get older and your income is grossly unfairly low, it becomes an issue. A REAL issue.

Let the fucking government do their fucking job, which is to TAKE CARE OF YOU AND ME instead of Mr. and Mrs. Corporate fucking America. WE COME FIRST. PERIOD. That means MY needs supercede those of Corporate America.

And if people don't like that idea (and those who don't are typically in love with our current capitalist system of out-of-control gluttony and greed), let the fucking elite cough over some of their wealth to those of us who don't have it. Who says they are somehow more entitled to this level of wealth simply because their job responsibilities are different? Who says that someone's TITLE enTITLE'S them to a higher wage? None of this is fair, right OR just. Whatever it is we do for a living, IT ALL HAS WORTH AND VALUE. P E R I O D!

Frankly, I am SICK of hearing the terms "socialist", "commie" and whatever STUPID ass label the arrogant, pretentious, spoiled, usually white folks toss around whenever this subject comes up. People use labels only when they lack credible reasons to disagree with you. Or most likely, when they do not want to deviate from their own (limited) thought process.

I am SICK of hearing those who LOVE to bury their heads in their pretentious fucking plots of sand while blaming the victim and saying "it's YOUR fault your income is so low" while COMPLETELY ignoring what government has allowed businesses to do: ALLOW FOR THE STAGNATION OR DECLINE OF REAL WAGES, ALLOW FOR THE CESSATION OF EMPLOYER-PAID BENEFITS, not to mention NOT ALL OF US ARE BORN INTO WEALTH or INTO A FAMILY THAT SUPPORTS US/IS THERE FOR US/ENCOURAGES US, i.e.--DOES THEIR JOB.... etc. etc.. I am SICK of the new age and religious types who tell you to merely THINK WEALTHY and you will BECOME wealthy. Or hey, donate to our church and god will reward you abundantly.

Sorry, but last time I checked, GOD WAS NOT IN CHARGE OF THE FUCKING CASH FLOW. God isn't a fucking BANK. And if thoughts were enough, trust me--this problem wouldn't exist. I do not know of ANY PERSON who struggles financially who does not send out STRONG desires for more wealth to come their way.

So.....I'm turning back those ugly, insensitive, short-sighted, pretentious, idiotic, narrow-minded, heartless comments and judgements and putting them back on you all. I AM UNABLE TO AFFORD HEALTH INSURANCE BECAUSE MY INCOME HAS NOT KEPT PACE WITH THE COST. PERIOD.

Chew on that one for awhile. And while you're chewing, check your heart and your soul really really closely. Because if you do not support the right for everyone to have access to affordable and safe health care, you are indeed heartless. Or at the very least, you are in need of having to be faced with the reality of not being able to afford health insurance for you and your family. That is often when people wake up to this growing nightmare of a problem.

Let The Field Burning Begin. And Enjoy It Mr/Ms Farmer. This May Be Your Last Year.

Yes, it's that time of year again. The chemtrails are gonna have to make room for the upcoming Field Burning craze and those beautiful, brown, toxic mushroom-shaped clouds they produce. The minority of grass seed farmers who practice this health-damaging, toxic, archaic practice of rotating their fields because they're just too damn lazy, unmotivated, stubborn, etc. etc. (fill in the blank) to listen to the private citizens and the medical and health care professionals, plus the increasing community government leaders in their own communities that chant every year "STOP THE FIELD BURNING IT IS DAMAGING TO OUR HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT". It doesn't seem to phase them that the majority of grass seed farmers have already stopped the practice over the years and made the change to move viable, alternative forms of crop rotation.

My allergies have been a bitch this year and yet I've noticed in the past several days, I can finally go outside for awhile and actually enjoy myself. (Of course when it's over 90, I'm inside anywhere with a/c. I know, not environmentally friendly, but my body doesn't tolerate heat well.) Little tickle or sneeze here and there, but the grass seed pollen is finally on the decline. YEAH! But any day now, the farmers in our area will start burning and that will mean one thing for me: stay inside on burn days. AND I DO NOT WANT TO FEEL FORCED TO DO THAT ANYMORE!! All due to someone's decision to pollute the environment using an outdated method when there are OTHER METHODS ALREADY AVAILABLE.

My reaction to the field burning is a bit different than my allergies to grass pollen. I suffer more from sinus pain, sore throat and some coughing and some days, a lot of fatigue. Many days I can taste the crap in my mouth.

We here in the northwest are the only ones remaining who must breath this crap every year. Field burn has been outlawed in Washington and California. And guess what? Grass seed growers saw increased profits in these states, which puts to rest their concern that if we take away their right to ignite, their profits will decrease.

In Idaho, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently made the ruling that field burning is illegal under their state's Clean Air Act. Why? Because of it's lethal (proven) effects on health.

There is good news though. On June 19, 2007, Lane County Commissioners asked Oregon's Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) to demand a two year moratorium on the grass seed burning practice in the Willamette Valley. However, given the story yesterday about a grass seed burn that got out of control NW of Eugene (because the winds shifted direction), causing the smoke to enter people's homes instead of heading upwards and over towards the coast range, this request seems to have fallen on deaf ears. To which I cannot help but think "hmm, so somehow it's OK for the smoke to go out towards the coast?!" Will someone explain that logic to me?

Back to my "good news" point. At least local government officials have taken notice of this issue and are beginning to speak out against this practice. Rep. Paul Hovey out of Eugene introduced legislation to ban the practice this past year. It made it through the Health Committee but then stalled in the Agricultural Committee. Grass Seed lobbyists. Need I say more? It is, at least, a good start.

There is more good news on the horizon as well. There's an organization called the Western Environmental Law Center. They are a non-profit public interest environmental law firm out of Eugene. They sent me a letter recently that says: "If the EQC fails to protect our health, we are prepared to go to court to stop this public nuisance." Hallelujah! Check out their website if you'd like to learn more about them, donate, etc.

Hopefully, this time next year, we can all breathe a [healthy] sigh of relief, knowing the practice of field burning has finally come to an end.


Oh, How I Love Wasting My Time...

God bless our beaucratic system of Government. I love all of those beautiful yards of red tape, all of those intricate rules, all of the people working for it who don't seem to know what the other people around them do. Put it all together and that means you spend a lot of time trying to accomplish something. Sometimes, it all too often it turns out, to be a giant waste of time. And oh how I love to waste mine!

As I've blogged before, I work for the local Educational System. It's a contract position, renewing annually. My hours were cut in half for the summer months, so I spoke with someone at the employment department and asked if I could be eligible for some unemployment benefits. Yep. I was told I would most likely be eligible for a few weeks of help.

Good enough, I said. That's all I was looking for. A little help over the summer.

So I file my claim. I call up the department to add some information I wasn't able to put on the claim form. And again asked, do you think I will be eligible. Yep. I was given the same answer.

So I receive more information in the mail, fill out some more paperwork, register for their required online job search tool and send it off.

Last week, I receive more paperwork to be filled out. (Already I am thinking I alone am responsible for 1/4 of a tree.) This particular paperwork is for people who work in Education. The questions didn't seem to apply to me given they were geared towards those who are on holiday, break or between school years. Given I'm still actually working, just at reduced hours, I didn't know how to answer the questions. So I call up and speak with a woman with one of those flippant attitudes. One of those "yep, that's how it is, life ain't fair" as she interrupts me left and right. Apparently, the unemployment laws are a whole different ball game if you're an Education System Employee. It doesn't matter if my hours are reduced. It doesn't matter if I'm even still working a 12 month year instead of a 9 month year. I'm still considered to be on a "break between school years". Why?

Because the students are.

Summer term is considered a break between school years.

That's ridiculous, I said. I'm not on any break.

Doesn't matter.

So what you're telling me is that I'm likely ineligible for any sort of benefits.


Ok, so why then did the two other staff members, who knew of where I work and of my situation, weren't able to tell me that? It would have saved me from wasting my time going through this whole process.

Oh, they probably don't know the rules. They're not the decision-makers.

Oh, and you are? I asked.



Ok, I didn't say fuck outloud, but I did say I wanted to thank the state for wasting my time. Can I get any benefits for that??

Hmm. For some reason she didn't appreciate my humor.

There is an up note, I guess. If, come this fall term, when I will no longer be considered "between school years", if my weekly work wage amount falls below my unemployment wage amount, I can claim that week. That was good to know. But I'd rather not go that route. Being my spouse had his hours reduced for the summer months as well, we could have stood to use that extra help now, not then.


Michael Moore's "SICKO" and A Memo From Blue Cross

This arrived in my e-mail box this morning. "Sicko" is making some people in the health insurance industry nervous. All together now: "aaawww".


It's long, but I encourage you to read it. And perhaps enjoy yourself a bit as you watch this Marketing Employee from Blue Cross Blue Shield ignore important points and instead, engage in the usual marketing, political and social banter of a company leader who himself as well as his company (which he interestingly enough refers to as The Blues) has experienced gluttonous wealth at the expense of people like you and me. He and others like him give capitalism a bad name. Here and there I add my comments in brackets.

BlueCross Secret Memo Re: 'Sicko' ... "You would have to be dead to be unaffected by Moore's movie..."

July 6th, 2007


An employee who works at Capital BlueCross has sent us a confidential memo written and circulated by its Vice President of Corporate Communications, Barclay Fitzpatrick. His job, it seems, was to go and watch "Sicko," observe the audience's reaction, and then suggest a plan of action for how to deal with the movie.

The memo, which I am releasing publicly in this email, is a fascinating look at how one health care company views "Sicko" -- and what it fears its larger impact will be on the public. The industry's only hope, the memo seems to indicate, is if the movie "flops." [too late for that. note to self--come up with new plan.]

Mr. Fitzpatrick writes: "In typical Moore fashion, Government and business leaders are behind a conspiracy to keep the little guy down and dominated while getting rich." [conspiracy? try truth.]

No. You don't say! That can't be!

BlueCross V.P. Fitzpatrick seems downright depressed about the movie he just saw. "You would have to be dead to be unaffected by Moore's movie," he writes. "Sicko" leaves audiences feeling "ashamed to be...a capitalist, and part of a 'me' society instead of a 'we' society." [life is about balance and this nation could stand to incorporate a lot more of the "we" factor.]

He walks out of the theater only to witness an unusual sight: people -- strangers -- mingling and talking to each other. "'I didn't know they (the insurers) did that!' was a common exclamation followed by a discussion of the example," according to Fitzpatrick.

He then assesses the film's impact: "[T]he impact on small business decision makers, our members, the community, and our employees could be significant. Ignoring its impact might be a successful strategy only if it flops, but that has not been the history of Moore's films ... If popular, the movie will have a negative impact on our image in this community." [he's assuming before this movie there wasn't already a negative image?? man, for a marketing dude, he's quite the clueless one.]

The BlueCross memo then suggests a strategy in dealing with "Sicko" and offers the BCBS "talking points" to be used in discounting the film.

My heartfelt thanks to the employee who sent this to me.

And now a word from me to Capital BlueCross:

How 'bout a debate? No more secret memos and hand wringing about the millions seeing "Sicko." Just me and your CEO openly debating the merits of a system that kills thousands of innocent Americans every year. [michael invited well over 100 health insurance top brass to view the movie AND discuss its content. only 11 showed. what have they to hide?]

In the meantime, I hope you don't mind me sharing your thoughts and impressions in your well-written memo. And if the rest of your executive team hasn't seen "Sicko," it opens in an additional 100 cities tonight for a total of over 700 screens across North America. Attendance went up a whopping 56% on the 4th of July, higher than any other film in the theaters right now. But don't be scared, and certainly don't be ashamed to be a capitalist. Greed is good! Especially good for you. There's nothing like having the pre-existing condition of being rich, should you ever get sick and need help.

Michael Mooremmflint@aol.comhttp://www.michaelmoore.com/

P.S. Join me at noon EST, today, when I'll be chatting with U.S. Steelworkers, the California Nurses Association, and whoever stops by to talk about "Sicko" and the industry's attempt to stop this movement. Check my website for details.

(The following memo was written by Barclay Fitzpatrick, VP of Corporate Communications for Capital BlueCross)

I was able to see Sicko last night in Lancaster. There were about 30 other viewers in the theatre covering all age groups. I have attached the well-written memo from one of our partners, which describes cases used in the movie, to the end of my memo. Also attached are the latest talking points from BCBSA. I will focus on impact to our brands, issues, and suggested strategies in this memo.

The Movie
You would have to be dead to be unaffected by Moore's movie, he is an effective storyteller. In Sicko Moore presents a collage of injustices by selecting stories, no matter how exceptional to the norm, that present the health insurance industry as a set of organizations and people dedicated to denying claims in the name of profit. Denial for treatments that are considered "experimental" is a common story, along with denial for previous conditions, and denial for application errors or omissions. Individual employees from Humana and other insurers are interviewed who claim to have actively pursued claim denial as an institutionalized goal in the name of profit.
While Humana and Kaiser Permanente are demonized, the BlueCross and BlueShield brands appear, separately and together, visually and verbally, with such frequency that there should be no doubt that whatever visceral reaction his movie stirs will spill over onto the Blues brands in every market. Here are some examples:

* Horizon BlueCross/BlueShield is picked out early in the film in a collage of stories citing bad treatment of members.

* BCBSA is cited for rejecting a woman for coverage due to a high BMI - "too fat" is written across the screen over a copy of her application denial letter, which describes the BMI rejection. [hey, mike could have used my story. i was rejected by Blue Cross because the inside of my nose is crooked--deviated septum--and because grass pollen gives me allergies. as our insurance agent told us, you have to have no health issues in order for blue cross to provide you with private coverage.]

* BlueShield of California denied coverage for a diagnostic test, which the patient later received overseas. Patient sues BS of CA and medical director admits to not 'seeing' the actual denial letter, which was given an electronic signature.

* BlueCross of California denied payment for a major surgery after they discovered a previous yeast infection, then dropped the person for coverage. This is followed by an interview with a person who claims to have been a specialist at finding inaccuracies in applications to enable post-treatment payment denials.

* A BCBSA card is shown while the narrator describes how they (insurers) got wealthy.

In typical Moore fashion, Government and business leaders are behind a conspiracy to keep the little guy down and dominated while getting rich. Nixon Oval Office tapes are used to show how the initial idea of a 'less care = profit' enterprise was supported by the administration and became the HMO paradigm. Legislators are presented as bought stooges for the political agendas of insurers and big Pharma. Insurers are middlemen in the Medicare Modernization Act - which is presented as a trick to charge seniors more for their prescription drugs.

Doctors are barely touched - only in the course of discussing the AMA's work to sink early efforts in the 40's and 50's to start universal health care. He takes efforts to show that doctors live well in other countries despite the existence of universal health care. In follow-up interviews, Moore has stated that he has spoken to and knows many doctors, and "doctors aren't the problem".

In the second half of the movie, Moore walks us through individual stories of the Canadian, British, French, and Cuban health care systems where everything is free and - he reminds us repeatedly - no one is ever denied service because they can't pay. In addition to health care, the government provides free day care, college, and someone to do your laundry. Everybody gets along and takes care of each other and life is beautiful because there is universal health care. As a viewer, you are made to feel ashamed to be an American, a capitalist, and part of a 'me' society instead of a 'we' society - and the lack of universal health care is held up in support of that condemnation. [perhaps this shows the greatest need of all: to drop the pride and ego levels down a little notch and realize as americans, WE DO NOT HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS. perhaps other nations have something to teach us as well, eh?]

The Impact
Moore's movies are intentionally intense and his objective in Sicko seems to be to revive the earlier Clinton efforts - not to achieve universal coverage with this movie, but to push the topic to the top of the agenda. He will be just as successful whether proponents mount momentum or discussion entails key stakeholders defending why it won't work. [ok that right there should make anyone leary--"key stakeholders defending why it won't work." that means the people who are the most financially invested in our industry are automatically going to say why a universal health coverage plan won't work here in america, even though it works in other nations. what about those of us most emotionally and physically and mentally invested in your industry? THE INSURED.]

As a health care industry educated viewer it is easy to pick out where Moore is cultivating misperceptions to further a political agenda, but you will also recognize that 80%+ of the audience will have their perceptions substantially affected.

In demonstration of its impact, an informal discussion group ensued outside the theatre after the movie. While some people recognized how one-sided the presentation was, most were incredulous and "I didn't know they (the insurers) did that!" was a common exclamation followed by a discussion of the example.

The unfortunate reality for Capital BlueCross is that as the market leader, we will be affected both in brand and as employees as Moore's efforts in the movie and surrounding PR activity are seen by more of the community.

The impact on industry savvy Sales' contacts should be minimal, while the impact on small business decision makers, our members, the community, and our employees could be significant.

Ignoring its impact might be a successful strategy only if it flops, but that has not been the history of Moore's films nor the way this one appears to be headed. If popular, the movie will have a negative impact on our image in this community.

There should be no doubt that many of our employees will be asked what they think of the movie by friends, family, and neighbors. We should anticipate that our customer service people will be asked about particular cases from the movie and if we follow similar policies. Word and phrases we have routinely used to date in policy change communications or denial letters, such as "Investigational", [my experience with blue cross is that "investigational" never ends in a way that benefits the insured] will be seen as affirming the film's contentions.

The national BCBSA response - while coming out against the film's divisiveness and focusing on the positive work of the Blues - steers media inquiries about policies and denials back to the plans themselves. [the blues--i love it. i think they just inadvertently gave themselves a new marketing image. i got the Blues cause i'm insured by blue cross.]

There are 4 key areas of misperception cultivated by the movie that we should consider in any messaging strategy:

1. That the industry is all about HMO's. Moore cultivates this further in his interviews. The reality is that HMO's are a minority product and have been for some time.

2. The movie attacks insurers for a profit motive, but makes no distinction among for-profit and non-profit insurers, and in its execution places the Blue Plans together with the for-profit insurers.

3. All plans and employees - from leaders to service representatives - are painted as motivated by profit to deny claims, and only those with crisis of conscience have come forward to confess their sins.

4. Perhaps most damaging of all, Moore completely fails to address the most significant driver of health care costs - our own lifestyle choices - and seeks to focus attention and efforts on the alluring 'quick-fix' of universal health care. It has taken a generation of poor nutrition and exercise to get obesity and related health issues - and subsequent costs - to their current levels, and Moore's movie fails to acknowledge the causal relationship or need to change (he briefly touches the subject in a non-memorable way).

Contrast this to the recent Health Care Symposium held in Harrisburg - where a panel of representatives from Government, Insurance, Hospitals, Business, Physicians, and even Lawyers agreed on one thing - that there was no quick fix and that Health and Wellness was the critical area of focus.

SuggestionsI believe the most successful strategy will not be in attacking the movie for its weaknesses or misperceptions, but in distancing ourselves and our brand from the groups and motivations he attacks, demonstrating the good that we do and achieve (aligns with BCBSA strategy), and in articulating our disappointment that he did not address the truly relevant issue of improving our health and wellness. We will convene a team to consider other approaches and work on potential messages for media inquiries, customer service, and employees.

Confidential Memo (from partner)

SiCKO - viewed on 6/26/2007

* The main theme of the movie is that American society needs to focus on the "we" and not the "me" in healthcare.
o This broad message is an overlay for the specific criticisms of the healthcare industry - the movie asks where the morality of the American public lies and contrasts America's approach to health care unfavorably with other nations.
* SiCKO does not go into any depth about how health insurers operate how the health insurance business works - instead it fixates on what it characterizes as the profit incentive to deny care to patients (e.g. examples of barriers to getting health insurance if you are not healthy; examples of people being denied expensive tests or procedures; examples of efforts to deny reimbursement after care has been received.)
* The film draws no distinction between not-for-profit and for-profit insurers - in fact the Blue Cross/Blue Shield brand is intermixed with the for - profit brands as background reference points.
o One scene shows a Blue Cross / Blue Shield logo as Michael Moore's voice over begins, "While the healthcare companies get wealthy..."
* The health insurers that get the most airtime are:
o Kaiser Permanenteo
o Blue Cross of Californiao
* No Pharma companies are mentioned - but SiCKO suggests in multiple instances that prescription drugs are overpriced
o At a pharmacy in London, prescription drugs are £6.65, no matter how large the dose
o In Cuba, one bankrupt 9/11 worker's inhaler costs 5 cents, instead of $100

Further Notes
* Some of the examples of denial of care highlighted in the film:
o A woman with Kaiser Permanente takes her 18-month daughter to the hospital in an ambulance, only to be told to go to an in-network hospital. By the time they reach the second hospital, her daughter has stopped breathing and dies 30 minutes later in ER.
o A woman with Blue Shield of California has a tumor but is denied requests to get an MRI, or to see a specialist. While on vacation in Japan she is given an MRI, and eventually returns to the U.S. to demand treatment from her insurer.
* In the ensuing court case, a doctor admits to denying her request without having reviewed it.
o Blue Cross of California approves one woman's $7,500 treatment, but the approval is later denied for her failure to report a previous medical incident - a yeast infection. "They're just looking for a way out," she says
* Other examples of how health insurers avoid paying for treatment:
o One graph (from Humana) shows that doctors with the highest % of denials get a bonus.
o Michael Moore interviews a former health insurance employee who specialized in denying care to patients retroactively - by finding inconsistencies in their medical records.
o A 5-minute piece in the beginning of the movie .
* The film also focuses on the politicians and the funds they raise from Pharma and other player in the health care industry and alleges that the system has been heavily influenced by lobbyists and contributions.

Barclay Fitzpatrick
Vice PresidentCorporate Communications
Capital BlueCross(w)


Blue Cross and Blue Shield AssociationTalking Points in Response to Michael Moore's "Sicko"June 2007

1) The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and the 39 Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are committed to improving the U.S. healthcare system for our nearly 100 million members through continuous innovation that reflects the ever-changing healthcare landscape and the needs of the consumer. [Oh yeah? How come my premium keeps going up? And why was I originally rejected by your organization only to be thrown into the Oregon Medical Pool, where you are the Insurer, which resulted in a HIGHER premium and LESS coverage? When in the HELL have you ever been concerned about my needs? I've expressed them enough times over the phone and in letters.]

2) The Blues recognize the need for improvement of both the coverage and delivery of healthcare. But the divisive tone set forth by Michael Moore and his movie "Sicko" is not helpful. Positive change to our healthcare system can be best achieved through shared responsibility, not recrimination. To ensure Americans have access to the best healthcare that is both timely, efficient, and of high quality, requires the collective contribution of all stakeholders -- consumers, providers, employers and the government.

3) The Blues participation in the Health Coverage Coalition for the Uninsured is a primary example of how the broader healthcare community is working together to reduce the number of uninsured in the United States.

4) The Blues are working on myriad initiatives that ensure Americans have access to quality and affordable healthcare. [affordable??? That's a good one! if by affordable you mean "we'll continue to raise your premiums", then yes, i have to agree you are indeed doing just that.] Each day, Blue Plans across the country are bringing healthcare value to their members in a number of ways such as new advances in health information technology and greater access to cost and quality information.

In addition:
o The Blues recently created Blue Health Intelligence a data resource that will shine light on emerging medical trends and treatment options in an unprecedented way. To further the use of evidenced-based medicine, BCBSA has called upon Congress to establish an independent, payer-funded institute that will study the comparative effectiveness of new and existing medical treatments and procedures. [what does 'payer-funded' mean? who is this 'payer'?]

o Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are at the forefront of healthcare transparency by providing their members with online access to real-time information related to provider quality and the cost of common healthcare services. In addition, the Blues have committed to making personal health records available to their members by 2008.

o We are working to ensure that Medicare is funded appropriately and that seniors continue to have access to comprehensive benefits.

5) The Blues are proud of these efforts and we will continue to work with consumers, providers, employers and the government to provide Americans with the healthcare services and information they need to lead full, healthy lives.

here is my open letter to Mr. Fitzpatrick:

how about you discuss the massive bonuses you all receive on top of your massive salaries? why not address mike's points as made in the movie? what do you have to say about some of the people's stories?

while you do make an excellent point about our lifestyle and the obesity problem here in america, let's talk about the REAL reasons WHY this is an issue. IT IS A RESULT OF BEING A ME ME SOCIETY. we simply don't value family, community or friendship in the way that other "we" nations do. and guess what? these other "we" nations enjoy greater health! we are also overworked, over-stressed. we are bombarded with images DAILY from advertisers telling us what THEY say we need--most of it unnecessary and unhealthy. and guess what? advertisers do this because IT WORKS. repeated messages thrown at an individual become ingrained in the subconscious.

so let's include this in the dialogue as well. at this point, all i see you doing is pointing the finger and saying but SEE this is what WE are already doing. rather than taking responsibility, rather than seeing ANY merit in Mr. Moore's film, you seek to instead destroy the messenger with manipulative, marketing lingo. and that makes you and anything else that comes out of your mouth simply unbearable to listen to.

i used to work in sales and marketing. it isn't a pretty industry. the human element often gets lost in the search for profit. people become dollar signs. what is seen as 'selling' is often nothing more than exagerrations and lies tied up in pretty packaging.

so i challenge you to get real with yourself. if you don't, the growing movement resulting from this film will make sure that you do.

you can sign me:
one fed up american


A Rather Strange 4th of July

(photos of a past 4th of July)

The past few July 4th's have been rather unusual for me if only because my gradual awakening to world/political realities. While in the past few years I've felt a growing combination of anger and sadness, yesterday I simply felt apathetic. Sure, we put up the flag, but it didn't stir much in the way of emotion for me. I had the idea of making a giant poster that would have read "This Country Belongs to Us All, Not Just George Bush and Co." However, we have a GWB lover next door and at this point, anyone who loves this guy is someone I don't trust. I thought I could remove the 'George Bush and Co' and instead use the term 'Fascists', however, I finally decided that may have disturbed him as well. And plus, I wasn't all that motivated to promote my "agenda" for the neighbors to see. It felt too much like a chore.

So up went the flag. Now following this tradition, Mr. Nina usually decorates my arms and neckline with the words "Truth", "Justice" and "Freedom", as seen above. I love those words and what they represent. What they are supposed to represent. What they used to represent. But yesterday that too felt like a chore.
So instead, we had waterfights. We played with the dog. Drank a lot of water and lemonade. Ate some delicious grapes. We took a walk and met up with the neighbor kids down the street, one of whom was celebrating her birthday yesterday. She gave me a big hug as I wished her a happy birthday and listened to her as she told me about her chocolate cake and presents, talking in the way that children do--100 miles per hour but still somehow you are able to follow along.
We also watched a few moments of tv until hearing the song "Proud to Be An American". Those lines "where at least I know I'm free" is what did it. "I can't watch this," I said, leaving the room. Yeah, how fucking free am I when I fear my own neighbor simply because he supports GWB? When our own government has encouraged us to spy on one another. Where the word "terrorist" can be used for any act considered to be against the current political agenda.
Freedom. What a crock. Now I realize we have more freedoms in this country than in many if not most other nations. However, that doesn't matter all that much to me. That tactic of "others have it worse" has never done a thing for me other than to annoy me. It's a tactic to divert attention away from matter(s) at hand, period. What matters to me is where I live NOW. What MY experiences are NOW. What's going on NOW. If Freedom truly did reign in this nation, we would all be free to think, speak, do, consume, behave as we please in so long as that action was not interfering with another's right to enjoy the same Freedom. Freedom, in it's purest form, is a HUGE concept to grasp and understand. And live by.
Later in the evening we did enjoy a traditional barbecue. I even made a potato salad. The heat of the day had subsided and a really nice cool breeze had picked up. I started to feel a little more patriotic. After the sun went down, we loaded up some munchies and headed downtown to watch the fireworks. We parked in the employment department parking lot like we do every year, pulled out our lawn chairs and waited for the show to begin.
All was pretty quiet for a bit until a bunch of red necks (and I mean red necks in the purest truest most absolute sense of the term) cranked up their volume. They were sitting a fair distance from us and when we arrived, they were being a bit loud, but not in a way that was too annoying. However, as time passed and as more beer (or whatever it was they were drinking) was consumed, their volume levels went up. Chants of "WHERE THEM FIREWORKS" and "SHUT UP YOU REDNECK" followed by fits of overly loud, obnoxious laughter became our entertainment. Once the fireworks began, they didn't even seem to be paying attention, although their "where them fireworks" chants had ceased. We thought about moving, but we figured we'd hear them anywhere in the parking lot.
I soooo badly wanted to walk over to them and say WOULD YOU PLEASE SHUT THE FUCKING HELL UP, or something perhaps more polite, but given there was a large group of them and only two of us (and I am not that threatening looking although Mr. Nina will tell you otherwise at times), we decided to just make the best of it and keep quiet.
The show, overall, was a total disappointment. The fireworks weren't as good as they used to be and the show seem is getting shorter. We could see maybe half of them--there seemed to be a lot going off at ground level. We weren't able to determine whether this was accidental or intentional. And the show only lasted for about 20 minutes. We were packed up and in our car by 10:30pm. In years past, I remember leaving at quarter 'til 11.
We stopped off to get some ice cream at the store, headed home and lit off our own fireworks. We were about halfway through when Mr. Nina noticed I wasn't enjoying myself and asked if I wanted to save the rest for New Year's. Gladly, yes, I agreed. I just couldn't get into it. Again, I felt like this was a chore, something I was supposed to do. And plus, I felt this guilt as I watched the smoke swirling upwards into the sky. This was the first year I thought about how our actions of lighting fireworks were effecting the planet.
"Let's just watch the sky for a few moments then go to sleep," I said.
As I drifted off to sleep, I thought about the days events. I chose to focus on the moments of playing with the dog, holding Mr. Nina's hand while watching the fireworks, the hug I enjoyed from the neighbor girl down the street. Despite that, in the back of my mind, I was not able to shake that sense of apathy I feel towards America, towards what has become of Her. On this Independence Day, 2007.


Libby Sent Free. Pissed off? Do something.

I admit I don't have a lot of faith in this group (still trying to determine their motivations), but I figure it's always better to speak out in some way instead of being an armchair critic.

Dear MoveOn member,

You've probably seen the news this morning: President Bush let Cheney aide Scooter Libby, the one man who was convicted for the lies around the Iraq war, go free. Paris Hilton served more jail time than he will.

Bush and Cheney think their administration is above the law. That's un-American, and this July 4th it's time for Congress to re-assert its constitutional authority and stop the administration's obstruction of justice.

Congress can start by demanding answers from the Bush administration about the Iraq war and their illegal spying program, and not backing down until they get them. Cheney won't testify? Subpoena him. He won't come? Hold him in contempt of Congress and send over the police. And if that doesn't work, impeach the guy. We just can't let President Bush and his administration dismantle our Constitution.

This July 4th, it's time to bring checks and balances back again. Click here to sign the petition and send a message to Congress to act now (the text of the petition is in the box to the right):

Then please send this message to your friends, family, and others who would be interested. This issue has everyone outraged—only 32 percent of Republicans agree with the president's decision.1

This isn't just about the Bush administration, of course. Law is determined through precedent. If Congress doesn't rein the Bush administration in, it'll change the rules for every administration that comes after.

And letting Libby off the hook is only the most recent example of a consistent Bush administration pattern of obstruction of justice.

When their illegal program of warrantless wiretapping was revealed, the Bush administration refused to answer subpoenas from Congress to testify about what, precisely, they were doing. When Attorney General Alberto Gonzales—the nation's highest law-enforcement officer—testified in front of Congress under oath, he lied and said the program didn't exist.2
And in retrospect, it's clear what Bush meant when he said this about the Plame case back in 2003: "[I]f there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of."3 Last night, Bush certainly took care of Scooter Libby.

On Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy said he would hold Cheney and others in the administration in contempt of Congress if they refused to directly answer questions. Members of Congress are asserting their authority and standing up.
But they need to know the American people are behind them. Can you take a moment to click this link and send that message right now?


As they say in civics class, America is a country of laws, not of men. It's time for Congress to stand up and use them.

Let's celebrate Independence Day by reaffirming the basic, founding idea of our government: No one, not even the president of the United States, is above the law.

Thanks for all you do.

–Eli, Matt, Karin, Wes, and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

Sources:1. "Survey USA: 60% Opposed to Commutation," MyDD.com, July 2, 2007 http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/7/2/21519/63365

2. "Gonzales Is Challenged on Wiretaps," Washington Post, January 31, 2006 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=2735&id=10715-5319265-P11mQu&t=5

3. "President Discusses Job Creation With Business Leaders," Office of the White House Press Secretary, September 30, 2003

I Never Thought It Was Possible...

...to bruise a toe. But of course, it is. I guess I just never thought about it. Until last night. I went to the library, which I love doing in the evening, especially in the summer. The streets are quiet. The air has begun to cool. Sleepy town, USA. I love it.

Anyway, so I'm standing in line waiting to check out my books. If I have to stand for any amount of time, I get antsy, so I usually move my feet around, shifting my weight from my right to my left side, that sort of thing. I can remain very still for long periods of time IF I am engaged in an activity I enjoy. Standing in line is not one of them. Plus, I was wearing old sandles, sandles Mr. Nina has been nagging me to throw away because, according to the thoughts that run through his mind, I complain about how they hurt my feet now and then (not that I remember ever doing that of course). While I'm not a pack rat, I have a hard time throwing away shoes that are beyond their ability to be worn. Who knows why. Maybe some childhood trauma or past life issue. Anyway...

So after I had checked out my books, I head back to my car. I noticed my big toe felt kind of sore on the side, but I didn't think much of it. I made a couple more stops before I returned home. Once inside, I sat on the couch and began reading. When I got up to get something to drink awhile later, that's when I realized I had done something. The pain was almost unbelievable. I never knew my big toe could hurt that much. I wrapped it up, went to bed and forgot about it.

Forgot about it until this morning that is. I got out of bed, stepped down on it and OUCH SHIT FUCK! I looked at it--it's purple and yellow. You know, that's always mystified me about bruises. I love the coloring of them and yet, how can something so beautiful hurt so much at times? Kinda like love, huh?

Anyway, walking (normally that is) is pretty much off limits for me until my toe heals. I guess that means I get breakfast in bed, dinner cooked, etc. etc. etc.

p.s.--the sandles are in the garbage.

New Bill On Uncle Sam's Desk To REDUCE Protection on Our Food Supply--Animals and Humans Alike

You would think after the latest fiasco of tainted pet products from China our government would be taking steps to increase the safety of our food supply. But then again, we are talking about the United States Government.

Please read the following, as quoted on the ASPCA's website, for more information and then contact your representative and tell him/her to remove Section 123 of Title 1 from the 2007 Farm Bill. If you live in the Corvallis/Albany area, give Peter DeFazio's office a call or e-mail.

"A few weeks ago, federal lawmakers amended the 2007 Farm Bill to include a sweeping provision that would wipe out state and local authority to protect food safety, the environment and humane animal treatment.

This overreaching provision (Section 123 of Title I) would prevent states from passing laws to prohibit the sale or use of products that the USDA has already approved or determined to be of non-regulated status. It could even prevent local health inspectors from condemning adulterated meat if it has already been inspected and passed by the USDA!

Section 123 would also prohibit states from passing certain animal welfare laws, like the law passed this year in Illinois to put an end to the slaughter of horses for human consumption. In fact, unless this amendment is removed, all state laws banning this practice are in danger of being overturned."


Hey Bloggers, are you having this problem too?

For the past two days, I have been unable to leave comments, both on my blog and on other's. You know that message that pops up, the one that says blah blah, do you want to see the secure and non-secure items. I hit yes, it comes back up again. I hit yes again. Same thing. So I hit no, it pops back up again. I hit no again. Around and around we go, leaving me unable to leave a comment, so eventually I just say "fuck it" and click off.

ANY HELP PLEASE?! I'll give you chocolate! :)