Thursday, June 28, 2007


We watched it last night, (Don't look at me like that - Michael Moore himself said he didn't mind and I will be seeing it in the theater too, and probably buying the DVD when it comes out.) its easily his best and most heartfelt film. I strongly recommend seeing it.

I think it will be as useful in the fight to maintain public health care here in Canada as it is to try to get it in the US. There's a funny bit with Moore in Canada being totally flabbergasted by a self described Conservative waxing rhapsodic about universal health care and describing Tommy Douglas as our greatest Canadian. We were stunned too frankly, clearly the guy was a former Progressive Conservative - the Reform/Alliance bunch are aching to throw the system to the wolves. Maybe wide screening of this film here will make that a little more difficult.

British Labour Party stalwart Tony Benn, who was the model for Harry Perkins and what could happen if a real leftist ever won power, makes the compelling argument that people strangled by debt, fear and the belief that they can't change anything are easier to control and that this could be the real point behind a system that crushes the people in it. I find this argument hard to refute.

I've been reading Andrew Sullivan on the subject lately, he candidly dislikes the idea that both the rich and poor should get equal care, and is comfortable with some people getting none at all if those at the top get slightly better care as a result. If the rich can get some exciting new lifestyle drugs and some shiny machines that go beep, that seems to him to be a reasonable trade off for others losing everything to get the treatment they need to live - or not getting treatment at all. Ultimately this is the argument for the American system. He also thinks that the right has lost the argument and that universal health care is now an inevitability in the US.

As Buckdog has pointed out, expect the lies, the quibbles and the venom to be directed at Moore and his film from the usual suspects. But this is Moore's least partisan film, he savages Republicans and Democrats equally for being in the pockets of the Insurance and Pharmaceutical industries. He eschews his confrontational CEO ambush style to focus on the people getting - or NOT getting the care they need. A brilliant stroke was to front load the film with stories of people who have health insurance but still can't get the care they need as the companies use every trick in the book to deny coverage.

Of course there's also the infamous sequence in Cuba where Moore brings suffering, lung damaged 9/11 rescue workers to get the care they couldn't get in the US. As the press has already reported, the US government has threatened to jail Moore and the gasping heroes for daring to deal with the tiny Caribbean nation. One wonders if the same effort will be put into pursuing every wealthy American with a box of Havana cigars on his desk.

It opens tomorrow. Go see it.

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