Friday, July 06, 2007

Unexamined Hate


How many folks hate Hilary Clinton, or Dick Cheney, or Michael Moore? How many folks have looked at specifically what it is they don't like about these folks?

Re-Examining
I used to buy into the incessant commentary about Hillary, until I started to listen to her, and make up my own mind. She's an amazingly well-spoken and intelligent politician, and I believe one of the few democrats who knows how to successfully navigate the hazards of senatorial, and presidential politics.

I never hated Michael Moore. Since I first saw Roger & Me, and then the sequel, Pets or Meat, I have found him to be a brilliant documentarian, despite some of his sloppy generalizations, and even despite his sloppy appearance.

His latest, Sicko, is his best yet. Watching this movie, I realized there is no valid reason, other than the lobbying efforts of the American Medical Association, and the prescription drug companies, that we shouldn't have a nationalized health care program in this country. I know there are some points of contention in his movie, but even taking those into consideration, it is still vastly clear that national health care is the only solution to our current state of medical care, prescription drug costs, and the medically uninsured in this country.

How many of you have recently started getting every medical claim denied on first submission, only to get it paid with a second submission? That seems to be the way Aetna (my medical insurer) is trying to save on medical claims lately.

Back when Hillary first started looking into national healthcare, the big scare tactic was, "Do you want the government deciding what medical procedures you can have or can't?", and now all I can say is I'd rather have the government making those decisions, than a company whose only goal is making a profit, at the expense of my good health.

If you haven't seen Sicko yet, I highly recommend it. I can only hope it will change a lot of minds about this issue.

Current Knitting
I was able to finish two scarves, and got the ribbing done for the back of the new Aran sweater design.




This first scarf, I am very proud of. I took two yarns (a Brown Sheep yarn and a JoAnn's Fabric eyelash yarn) that were impossible to work with, and made a very nice looking scarf.



The second scarf is another one using the Louisa Harding yarn Impressions. The yarn and resulting scarf are both beautiful, soft and warm.

Once I've started in earnest on the Aran sweater, I will start posting pictures.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Cal writes, "...that frisbee must look gorgeous in flight. What does Nico make of it?"

It does look kind of cool flying with the points in or out. Nico takes an immediate interest when it's thrown, but quickly loses interest when he sees what it is up close. Typical cat.

17 comments:

Cynthia said...

I hate Dick Cheney because he is intolerant and mean. I like Michael Moore because he is funny and can make painful, horrible situations tolerable to see (making them known to more people in the process).

I struggle with Hillary because I don’t know if I can believe what she says. She is, as you note, amazingly well-spoken and intelligent. Before she was elected to public office, I loved her. In fact, her participation in Watergate opened my fourth-grade eyes to the fact that women could be powerful and important in politics and law. However, since becoming a Senator, she has repeatedly broken campaign promises, changed her mind, and voted for the war. She has no plan to end the violence (but she does have some good speeches about how poorly Bush has handled it) or to ensure pensions for older Americans. The flip-flop on a variety of positions, all carefully covered using that amazing speaking skill, is very worrisome. I am not sure where she stands and if she will continue to stand there when elected. I want to vote for her—that fourth grade girl in me has been waiting a long time for a woman to take the big prize. I just am not sure I can.

Chemcats said...

Yes I hate. I hate Bush, Cheney and Rove. I hate what they have done and are doing.
The only thing that I really don't care for in Hillary, is that she has backstroked a few times. After 6+ years of backstroking and spin and lies, etc. I get suspicious of it, but I definately would vote for her.
Health care? We treat health care as if it is a capitalistic commodity. But it is not. The drug companies and large health care groups are subsidized by tax breaks and having a direct ear of those in government.
If the so called religious right and those that claim to be Christian in our governments, would not stand to see sickness and suffering and even death due to the lack of money. The haves got what they have by the labor and sweat of those who take care of their kids, clean their toilets, and all the other things that they are to busy or just to "important" to take care of themselves.
OK, the lurker has finished her rant. Sorry for the aggressive introduction.
Great blog, btw!!

Ria said...

One thing about the Canadian health care system that I will forever love is that it's free. I may have long waits in a hospital waiting room, and sometimes finding a family doctor can be a bitch, but honestly, if the system here were the same as the American system, I'd be dead. I'd be dead because of an idiot doctor who wouldn't prescribe refills for a medicine that literally keeps me breathing, which sent me to the hospital for asthma attacks on more than one occasion. And if I'd had to pay for those visits, I either wouldn't have been able to go, or would be so deeply in debt right now that things would be a hell of a lot harder than they already are. The pneumonia I had twice as a child may have gone untreated because my parents wouldn't have had the money to pay for what I needed.

Plenty of Americans, I think, have also heard the downside to government-funded health care, and instead of focusing on how many lives it could save, or how much easier things could get, they focus on how much longer their waiting times will be.

Though on the flip side, the waiting times are so long because the government doesn't fund the health care system enough, and there aren't enough doctors to meet the demands of the people. That too is a worry. As for prescription drugs, I'm not sure what the price of things in the US is, but if I didn't have fantastic insurance through my job, my meds would cost me at least $100 a month. Whether that's because of corporate greed or because pharmaceutical companies don't get any funding either, I really can't say.

Though still, hard as this system is, I wouldn't want to be without it.

Elizabeth said...

Until a month or so ago, we had Aetna insurance and I swear I had to call them about AT LEAST one out of every 3 claims we made. AND they have one of those horrible automated answering deals where it takes forever before you can talk to an actual human being.

It seems to me that health insurance should not be a for-profit industry.
Also (while I'm on my soapbox), why is Bush so pro health savings plans? If you have a chronic illness where your medicine costs several thousand dollars a month, how could you ever save that much on a regular salary? I suppose it's akin to his school voucher program, where the amount per child doesn't even touch what it would cost to send a kid to private school. Poor people's kids would still be stuck in crummy inner-city public schools, but it would help out rich folks a little. Thanks, George!

ginchy said...

I've lived in two countries with nationalised health systems (Austalia and England). I've found the care very good. The thing is, there is no reason you can't pay privately (or get insurance for) things that aren't provided as standard by the government. You can pay to get better care, but it means there is a safety net for everyone. I don't think access to healthcare is a commodity, I think it is a basic human right.

I would far prefer the elected government to be dictating what procedures/drugs/healthcare I am allowed to access free or low cost, rather than a for-profit company.

I also work in healthcare research and I think there is a huge misconception about health provision. People seem to think it is about health and illness rather than profit. That's where they've got it wrong, it is all about the bottom dollar and I find it necessary to maintain my cynicism about that to be able to keep working in the field I do.

Cece said...

I have Tufts, and am going through this exact frustration right now. If they had looked deeper into my medical file, I would have been approved. And of course my doc going to challenge their decision to deny! I wonder how much they save by putting off a procedure for x number of months.

AUGH!

Karin said...

I'm so glad Michael Moore made Sicko because it's starting a conversation that should have had years ago. Now that middle class America is feeling the insurance pinch, maybe we'll be more willing to have state sponsored health care. After all, what good is quality health when you can't pay for it. Maybe I should watch the movie.

Mother Jones has a great article on Love/Hate Hillary. I'm in that strange camp of neither, much of the bashing I hear has plenty of mysogyny but the article in MJ pointed to some good reasons for feminists' dislike for her. What I do like about her is her political experience and we need that right now. Plus she was, well, ballsy enough to bring up state sponsored healthcare at a time when most Americans saw it as communistic.

*But* I was at a Merle Haggard concert earlier this year and he sang a song that went something along the lines of: this man has screwed up enough, put a woman in charge. I'm really paraphrasing but there were enough rednecks in the audience that I was worried about a riot. He calmed them down (and brought down the house) with a working man's song. So really, I think she has a chance.

Sherry W said...

Hillary is a career politician and acts like one. Why can I say/do to get re-elected? This does not always equal a poor candidate, but it does lead to the waffling and slick talk.
There are many more on both sides just like her.

In the end I'm convinced people either support her/hate her because she has a vagina.

While I agree with what most of Michael Moore says, his films don't seem to be very revolutionary to me. He just packages up things that have been in the news over and over again and puts them in a tidy package. A chance for liberals to watch a movie and go "yeah, that's how we feel". It's a fine technique, I just don't gasp at his genius.

This a personal thing, I also don't like reporters/moviemakers using public harassment to get stories. Even if the person they are after is a complete asshat. I just hate seeing people ambushed in the Piggly Wiggly by a camera crew, and then they use the footage to show shock, discomfort, denial and confusion. Tell me, even if someone is an innocent, how would anyone act being jumped on like that? Just feels like slimy reporting.

Joe said...

Sherry, I agree with a lot that you say about both Hillary and Michael Moore.

One of the things I liked about Sicko, is he doesn't ambush folks like he did in prior movies. I actually felt sorry for the feeble-minded Charlton Heston in Bowling for Columbine...I didn't have any of those same feeling during Sicko.

FiberQat said...

Whew! I was worried there at the direction you were going when you said hating Hillary, Michael Moore, and Dick Cheney in the same sentence, then following up with why you changed your mind on Hillary.

Much as I would like to vote for Hillary for President, I can't quite bring myself up to doing so. I don't want to just vote for a female candidate because she's female; I want to vote on a candidate for his/her merits. So far I haven't seen anything in her that really sets her apart from the rest of the slate.

Very interesting post, Joe. And for the record, I don't hate Dick Cheney, I loathe him.

Jean said...

Joe -- am I the first to tell you that there's a plug for your blog in the new issue of "Knitting", the British magazine? "Perfect balance between chatty gossip, opinionated rants...and updates on his current knitting projects..."?

As for Hillary, what recent American president said, "Judge my presidency by what I achieve in healthcare" -- as he handed the job to her. She had her chance, and she blew it.

Wily Jeneric said...

I'm always interested by the number of people who don't like a candidate because they change their mind. I think rigid politicians are a large part of what's wrong with this country and I would welcome a candidate who listened to the people and acted accordingly.

That said, many politicians have two mouths, one that tries to appease the populace, and the other that votes in-line with mega-companies and large campaign donors.

Diane said...

As someone who works for a rather large health insurance company I have to say that most issues I see are caused by people who get HMO type coverage because it's the cheapest and then decide not to follow any of the rules because it's not convenient.

I spent years on the phone doing customer service explaining how insurance works, how to find in network doctors, how to make appointments, which facilities were covered at a discount. I felt it was my job to provide the education that would give the consumer the correct tools needed to make decissions.

What I found over and over was that people did not ask why tests were being done when insurance was paying in full. Anything a doctor ordered was done as long as it was not costing them anything. Frightening. Can you imagine hearing, "Well the doctor is sending me for a MRI but I don't know why."

Typesetter said...

Diane, in order to really know why your doctor sends you for an MRI you would have to have a medical degree too. The reason we have doctors instead of curing ourselves is exactly that doctors know (or should know) stuff we don't know a BEEP about. In countries like Italy where medicines is socialized, one does not have to worry about knowing if the doctor has a good reason to prescribe a therapy or an exam: it's paid for by the taxes anyhow! (And it's usually required too.)

My granny was recently diagnosed a HUGE meningioma. She was operated and now she's going through a no less than 5 weeks period in a rehab hospital to regain correct movement and speech. We didn't have to pay a single euro.

Ketlian said...

I don't HATE anyone. Politicians just promise to get into office, and then follow their own agenda. Sad really. I have 2 sons in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. The former President pulled the financial rug out from under them and this one sent them off to war on the same budget. I am not impressed with anyone out there running, and highly doubt that I would vote for Hillary.
I don't care for a lot of what Michael Moore says or does, but the films put issues that have been beaten dead by the media out again so the bickering can start all over.
The issues out there dealing with health care, the war, drugs in america, etc. need to be addressed. The current government isn't doing that.. so make a stand and vote out the incumbant.
I wouldn't say that, but think, do our senators have to rely on social security? Or medi-care? No, they voted themselves some really cushy benifits. Sen. McCain will receive more than 2 million dollars a year as retirement. And the govt. will be paying all of his medical care until he dies. His widow will receive one half of his benifits until her death.
They will receive all of this while the young men serving in the military's families have to suppliment their income with food stamps. Or the people responsible for teaching our children, have to have second jobs to make ends meet.
Health care is not the only area we need to repair in this country.
I'm sorry.. I got a bit over done. You can kick me off my soapbox now.

Typesetter said...

Re politicians benefits: that's another issue that's not US only! In italy there is no way to make a same-sex copuple recognized, or to regonize a non-same-sex but unwed couple recognized (in a country where one has to wait 3-5 years to see a divorce recognized! I guess lots of people start a new family earlier than that...). Yet, our Parliament members, as a matter of facts, have their unions, of whatever type, recognized and with lots of rights, including the fact that the unwed partner (of whichever sex) of a former parliament member that died will still receive 60% of the partner's pension (and a quite luscious one too). Amongst the politicians that most strongly opposed recognition for unwed families, regardless of the sex of the members of these families, was mr Casini: divorced and living with a (female) partner that will inherit his pension should he die.

Mea said...

I have often thought that the problem with Michael Moore and the (very timely and important) messages he presents are that his general attitude and bravado get in the way of folks actually listening to what he has to say. I acknowledge that his tactics are probably what is effective for him but I think it's probably a double-edged sword of sorts. Hillary. . . Well, I'd have to agree with previous comments in that folks will either support her or not due to her being a woman. I don't think we--as a nation--are a particulary insightful or intelligent voting populace. I can be okay with almost anyone who is making a voting decision based on research and insight--not soundbites.

BTW: I love the blog! I don't think I've commented before but I've been folllowing you for quite some time.