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Michael Moores SiCKO
It seems as though the Bush administration is bowling for Michael Moores head. Hopefully, theyll throw a gutter ball. The U.S. Treasury Department announced in May that it was investigating filmmaker Michael Moore for going to Cuba as part of his new documentary SiCKO, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival.
Last March, Moore took ten 9/11 first responders who suffered chronic respiratory problems due to toxic conditions at Ground Zero in New York City to Cuba to get medical care. Moores new film focuses on the problematic United States healthcare industry and HMOs. The point of Moores trip was to show that Americas health care system is inferior to Cubas socialized medical care system.
Moores request for travel documents to Cuba had been filed six months before his trip. Now the Treasury Department is investigating whether Moore violated the U.S. embargo of Cuba. The travel and trade ban excludes anyone other than full-time journalists, media, government officials, members of international delegations, full time professionals, and family members. Moore had requested permission to legally visit Cuba, a request similar to those previously granted to such filmmakers as Steven Spielberg, but never received an answer. The recent Treasury Department inquiry asked Moore for proof that he works for a news gathering organization and for information about who else went with him to Cuba.
Citing U.S. Census Bureau Statistics, National Public Radio reported at the same time that the number of uninsured Americans rose from 31 million in 1987 (13 percent of the population) to 46.6 million in 2005 (16 percent). The Orlando Sentinel reports that 17 percent of Floridas children are uninsured.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, family health insurance premiums averaged $11,500 per year in 2006 while a full time minimum wage employee earns $10,712 a year. The World Health Organization ranks the U.S. healthcare system as 37th in the world, behind countries such as Canada, Chile, and Costa Rica, and just two spots ahead of Cuba.
The journal Health Affairs has reported that uninsured patients and those who self-pay for hospital care were charged on average 2.5 times more for hospital services in 2004 than what health insurers paid, and three times more than Medicare-allowed costs.
Several right-wing commentators, including Glenn Beck and John Gibson, have argued that Moore should not be considered a journalist. Though predictably reviled by the right wing, Moore is better viewed as a muckraking investigative journalist, exposing corruption and hypocrisy in society, corporations, and the government and championing the causes of average working class people. In Roger and Me, Moore focused on the sky high profits of auto executives contrasted with massive layoffs of auto employees. In Bowling for Columbine he exposed the flaws and hypocrisy of the National Rifle Association. In Farenheit 9/11 he took a bold and unpopular stance against the Bush administrations decision to invade Iraq.
Its true that Moore goes into his projects with a point of viewthe video equivalent of articles written by columnists and op-ed writers, who gather facts and then interpret them and make persuasive arguments based on those facts. So if Moore isnt a journalist, then neither is George Will, Leonard Pitts, Charles Krauthammer, Cynthia Tucker, Cal Thomas, or Ellen Goodman. Fox News is a biased propaganda wing of the Bush administration and the Republican Party, yet they consider themselves journalists.
For millions of Americans, our countrys health care system is a mess. Michael Moore is pointing that out in his new film. Dont shoot the messenger. Our government needs to fix the underlying problem before we all become sicko.
Larry Atkins teaches journalism at Temple University and Arcadia University.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.