Sicko, and Friday round-up


Via Larwyn, Prepare to be Sickened by SiCKO

Literally every day, the mainstream media in the countries whose government-run medical systems Moore holds up as superior models publish stories documenting the failure of mandatory, no-opt-out, state-run medical care. The laundry list of ills, in the U.K. alone, includes patients waiting months or even years for critical drugs and treatments (sometimes becoming disabled or dying because of the delay or lack of care), people denied therapies altogether because of rationing or cost (see, for example, an article last February in The Scotsman, “Cancer patients told life-prolonging treatment is too expensive for NHS”), an explosion in the size of the medical bureaucracy, and thousands of physicians taking to the streets earlier this year to protest.

One bottom line, so to speak, is particularly telling: Moore, who is obese, would most likely be denied a number of common health care procedures and treatments in one of his favored government-controlled socialist medicine systems, the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS), because of his excessive weight. Recently, the cash-strapped NHS actually started limiting or prohibiting therapies for residents who are fat or who smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol.

In Princeton, the Public Library has been banging the drum on socialized health care for a while, inviting Paul Krugman to ignore the facts about the French healthcare system and featuring a film on Cuba’s healthcare at the Princeton Human Rights Film Festival, by which they not only managed to ignore Cuba’s huuman rights record but also Cuba’s apartheid health care system, even when three members of the audience tried to talk about it.

I expect the PPL will be showing SICKO soon.

Update: Michael Moore’s Shticko: His health care jeremiad won’t win any converts

And I won’t be surprised if Sicko has wonderful things to say about the Venezuelan healthcare; too bad Michael didn’t bring along any Norwegian reporters

Speaking of Venezuela,
Remember the fallen viaduct in Caracas?

Well, a new one’s up.

In other Venezuelan news, The constitutional changes draft has been leaked: the path to an eternal Chavez dictatorship and kiss what’s left of your private property good-bye. Update Dymphna has more on Hugo’s latest.


Joe finds some Academic Fantasies Exploited

Abbas: Hamas Creating ‘Empire of Darkness’ unlike Fatah’s sweetness and lignt. The Guardian blames the US and Israel, of course.

Tony Blair’s going to Rome

Head-to-toe Muslim veils test tolerance of secular Britain. Indeed.

El Cafe Cubano continues the Friday fast for all political prisoners

Unlike the Brits who allowed themselves to be taken hostage, the Aussies repelled an Iranian attempt to capture a boarding party. Update: Richard North has more on the story and how it’s covered by the blogs and by the MSM.


Via Irwin, June 20, 2007 Paul Krugman Four Years Ago Today. Krugman’s wrong on things other than French healthcare, too.

Via Bob, Harvard Dean of Freshmen Advertises “Scintillating and Sexy” Talk, since college students don’t think of sex at all.

George not-in-my-back-yard Clooney

technorati: SICKO


Jogging suit photo-ops continue

While paying lip service to the environment Hugo’s doing his best to enlarge his carbon footprint, and the jogging suit photo-ops continue:

Chavez pays ‘surprise’ Cuba visit

Mr Chavez has visited his friend and ally several times since his illness
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has made a surprise visit to Cuba at the invitation of its convalescing leader, Fidel Castro, Cuban state TV reports.
He was greeted at the airport by Vice-President Carlos Lage and Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque.

Mr Chavez is expected to meet Mr Castro and his younger brother Raul, who has been acting president since he underwent intestinal surgery in July.

The visit is Mr Chavez’s sixth since Fidel Castro fell ill.

The 80-year-old Cuban leader has been recovering at an undisclosed location.

Of course he is.

He and Hugo even discussed energy issues and a regional trade pact during an emotional visit. Anita Snow says so.

Anita’s today’s winner of the “No Sh*t, Sherlock” Award for Obvious Journalist Statements:
Castro a Key Influence for Chavez

Here we have the only two self-declared Communist rulers in Latin America, Hugo’s been Fidel’s Mini-Me for years now, and it’s taken her this long to realize it.

But then, she has to pimp pump up the pair so Hugo will grant her exclusive interviews:

Chavez, 52, spoke fondly of his friend during an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Saturday. He brought up memories of their many conversations, recalled greeting crowds of supporters together in Venezuela and also talked about Castro while condemning as unjust the execution of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

As is customary with her, here comes the excellent Cuban healthcare system obligatory soundbitetm

“In Cuba there is no child that isn’t in school, no sick person who isn’t tended to,” Chavez said.

Unless the child’s pulled away from school doing mandatory service in el campo, while the sick are tended in the customary way:

All the same, Hugo took her for a ride:

During the four-hour drive, Chavez abruptly broke away from his motorcade at one point, saying he wanted a glimpse of the Apure River swollen by rains – “a magic river,” he called it.

That’s the kind of reporting Associated Press Deficit Disorder gets you.



The article on Cuba you must read:

Via Albert, A Cuban death rehearsal

With Fidel Castro apparently on the verge of death, I returned to Cuba to visit old friends. Little has changed over recent years and life for most Cubans remains harsh. Yet western visitors continue to romanticise the place

Bella Thomas is intimately familiar with Cuba:

Between 1996 and 1999, I lived periodically in Havana with a gay Spanish diplomat, a close friend who had once, maybe not entirely jokingly, suggested that we marry but maintain our separate ménages. I was too square for that, but when he was posted to Cuba I went to stay with him. Cuba was reputedly not an easy place for homosexuals. I was interested in the country, and I could write about it.

And so for a while I became a pretend prometida of the Spanish cultural attaché. Eventually, many of those we knew—and didn’t know—in Havana, seeing my friend’s rather open homosexuality, began to suspect that I was a spy, that I was from the CIA (which Cubans pronounce “seer”), or MI5.

As I have mentioned before in this blog, the Castro regime has a history of persecuting gays, hence her need to pose as a “beard”.

During the late 1990s there much talk about regime change, which came to nothing,

What observers at this time most underestimated was the power of the regime’s nationalist rhetoric and Castro’s strategic skill. Unlike in eastern Europe, where nationalism helped to erode communism, Cuban nationalism has shored up the regime. Castro was always a nationalist in communist clothing, and, throughout the 1990s, the communist references in his speeches were gradually replaced by nationalist ones.

The continuing hostilities with the US have played into Castro’s hands. It was as an embattled nationalist leader of a small island, standing up to an aggressive, neighbouring superpower, that Castro preserved his revolutionary credentials most effectively.

The UN crowd is still buying into that.

The shortcomings of life under his regime were, he argued, attributable mainly to the US embargo. Many swallowed the argument.

Many still do.

He knew, too, how to capitalise on the latent anti-Americanism in Latin America, Europe and Canada to give his struggle more universal appeal.

In fact, the regime seems to act with zeal to ensure that the embargo continues. When it looks as if the US government might consider ending it, some heavy-handed Cuban act ensues that the status quo prevails. In 1996, when Clinton was keen to initiate rapprochement, the regime shot down two US planes manned by members of a Cuban exile group rescuing those escaping the island on rafts. When, in 2003, an influential cross-party lobby in the US seemed set to dismantle the embargo, the Cuban government promptly incarcerated 75 prisoners of conscience and executed three men who hijacked a tugboat with a view to getting to Miami.

Castro created the textbook for Latin American tyrant wanna-bees.

This is a most insightful article, and a must-read to all who are interested in learning about Cuba. I highly recommend it.