Category Archives: Socialism

Snowfall Linkorama

As the snow comes down here in lovely PA, I find myself reading the following:

  • A response to Arianna Huffington’s nonsense. Anyone who thinks the mortgage meltdown was a result of a runaway free market hasn’t done their homework. The Bush Republicans don’t believe in a free market any more than Fidel Casto does.
  • A brilliant article on Bush’s legacy:

    Bush leaves to his successor two unfinished wars, Osama bin Laden living in an unstable Pakistan, a U.S. reputation soiled by Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and torture, a deep recession and what is sure to be the first $1 trillion-plus deficit. In short, a gigantic mess, all the bigger for the peace, prosperity and black ink he inherited.

    Bush both grew the government and gave laissez-faire a bad name, overseeing a rash of corporate scandals in 2002 and the housing meltdown. The financial wreckage has many fathers, but Bush, the first MBA president, stands among them, failing to restrain the liquidity bubble as it ballooned and asking for $700 billion to rescue banks as it burst. The GOP is fractured and adrift.

    “Bush has really destroyed small-government conservatism,” said David Boaz, vice president of the libertarian Cato Institute.

    Read the whole thing.

  • The wonders of socialism. You can get extended sick leave for a broken heart. I wonder if I could get off because I’m disappointed Doctor Who is in reruns.
  • Are we living Atlas Shrugged? Sure seems like it sometimes.
  • Is it wrong that I like this?
  • Friday Night Linkorama

  • God, Hillary Clinton is an idiot on suing OPEC:

    Here’s a list of reasons that won’t work. More to the point, OPEC isn’t restricting production right now; pretty much everyone is working their capacity flat out. Hillary Clinton wants to sue OPEC for not producing oil from wells they haven’t drilled yet. Next: a lawsuit against Ford for not building us the cool flying cars we were promised in The Jetsons. I WANT MY FLYING CAR!!!!

  • Is it a dead cat bounce or are we avoiding a recession? We should know in just a few years.
  • Score one for the good guys. NYC’s stupid lawsuits against gun companies is tossed.
  • The myth of organic food. It’s amazing how widespread ludditism is.
  • More environmentalist bullshit. Mass transit? Bad for the environment. They’re to foist one of these things on Austin right now, which is going to go over like a gay pride parade in Salt Lake City.
  • A very scary post on the search of ET life. That we aren’t finding it may indicate intelligent species are likely to destroy themselves. I’m thinking of the Large Hadron Collider. The “degree in astrophysics” part of my mind knows it’s safe. The “scared of nothing” part is worried.
  • Elliot Spitzer’s whore is all class. She’s suing Girls Gone Wild because she lied about her age to appear in a video at age 17.
  • Tuesday Afternoon Linkorama

  • I missed the report that food and obesity are giving us cancer. Turns out, I didn’t miss anything. It’s garbage.
  • Why an “energy Manhattan plan” is a bad idea. Read the whole thing.
  • Want do donate toys to kids? Or kids to toys for that matter? Be sure to bring your lawyer.
  • 35 million hungry Americans, say the Fetus Whisperer. Garbage says the Department of Agriculture.
  • Shame on Princess Cruise Lines. They all do this. My wife and I got quite nervous about our honeymoon. That’s why we booked our own airfare rather than go through their travel agency slime engine. I just wish they ID’d the woman so people could give her money for an actual trip — on someone other than Princess
  • Illegal immigrants are gobbling up our health care! Nope. Let’s see if Boortz or Hannity link to this study.
  • Thursday Linkorama

  • Students whine because the government won’t pay for their birth control. You see what happens once these things get started? If this quote doesn’t reflect the idiocy of the young, in both form and content, nothing does:

    “So they don’t have to make a choice between their birth control and their cell phone bill or their birth control and their gym membership and their birth control,” Ortiz sad.”.

    You said birth control three times, asshole. Life is about making choices. I have to make a choice between feeding my daughter and buying a new bigscreen TV. Oh, the humanity!

  • An inspiring love story that will move even the stoniest of hearts.
  • Slightly less inspiring story about particle physics. Yeah, particle physics.
  • Ah, socialized medicine. The guys who bring you cockroaches on operating tables.
  • Wednesday Night Linkorama

  • You know what I’m always saying about the Law of Unintended Consequences? Here’s an example.. There are agencies out there that will give you an advance loan on your paycheck. But in order to make it economically feasible, they have to charge a small fee which, if extrapolated over a year, works out to an extremely large interest rate. We’re talking 50% or more. Many of the people taking these loans were military personnel. Clark Howard, in particular, used to go off on how evil these loans were, branding the loan companies “unpatriotic”. So Congress outlawed them. And now the soldiers can’t get paycheck loans. Nice.
  • Maryland and Michigan are sending their taxes through the roof. I knew this would happen when O’Mallay was elected. I knew it. Serves you right, Maryland idiots, for rejecting Mike Steele. Enjoy the recession.
  • While I love college football, I hate what it does to academics.

    After the facilities are completed, the meter keeps running. Thanks primarily to the football stadium upgrades, the Longhorn athletic department’s yearly debt service will double over the next year, to about $15 million annually. Utilities — air conditioning, heat, water — and maintenance cost the athletic department another $4.75 million a year — $115,000 just to keep the department’s grass football, softball and soccer fields soft and green.

    Heavily recruited high schoolers expect flashier personal amenities, too, and UT obliges. Following its Rose Bowl victory, the football team was rewarded with a $200,000 renovation of its players lounge, a retreat with four TV projectors (screens drop from the ceiling at the push of a button embedded in a six-foot replica of the UT tower), six flat screen TVs, four X-boxes and three PlayStations.

    Two floors down, the football locker room boasts another new lounge area, with five flat-screen TVs and a three-dimensional, lighted 20-foot Longhorn on the ceiling. Men’s and women’s basketball players can relax in their own private living rooms, each with large TVs, video games and recliners. (New recliners cost $15,020 last year.) The golf teams have a private player lounge at their new clubhouse.

    This is absolutely disgusting. The football team gets is prestige from the University, not vice versa. They should be pouring money back into the school to fund scholarships and reduce tuition.

  • Radiohead is giving the middle finger to the big record companies. Bravo.
  • Hypocrisy

    Radley Balko one the hypocrites supporting the “living wage” . . . for everyone else.

    I’m reading Do as I Say, Not As I Do right now, which catalogues a lot of these instances. I’ll post a full review over at Amazon. I’m not terribly impressed with the book, actually, since a lot of it reads as Moore-eque “gotchya” style of poking through a multi-millionaire’s portfolio and finding objectional investments or bad behavior by a company they are absentee shareholders in.

    Not to mention lots of rumor-mongering.

    But more on that later.

    Sunday Sunday SUNDAY Linkorama

  • A fantastic story in the NYT about how New Zealand farmers are better off without subsidies. P. J. O’Rourke said the best thing to do with farm subsides was to take them behind the barn and kill them with an ax. That looks more true with every passing day.
  • Neal Boortz has an interesting breakdown
    of where all the highway money in Minnesota has gone. People are blaming the Governnor for not raising taxes. In the meantime, the state spent $1.5 billion on bailing out the Teachers’ Retirement Fund and building a stadium for the Twins.
  • Cato on the liberal media again. I don’t mind a media that’s biased, but I do mind paying for said bias. But as we all know, only Fox News is biased. Everyone else is just “right”.
  • Continuing on the liberal media theme, the NYT has their article on the SCHIP bill. Notice that they don’t even question any assumptions, failing to point out that SCHIP will cover “poor” families making $82,600, 90% of whom already have insurance. They also fail to mention the crowd-out effect which means millions will lose their insurance and we’ll spend $15 billion insuring less than a million kids. Give me $15,000 and I’ll insure more than one child. They also fail to point out that we need 20 million new smokers to pay for this.

    Oh, that liberal media! You know things are bad when the NYT’s reporting looks like a position paper from the Democratic party.

  • The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again! Children’s programming is being gutted by a lack of sponsors since junk food advertising has been banned (because we all know that parents can’t stop their kids from eating junk food). The solution will be to force them to pay for educational TV.
  • The house has OK’d drug reimportation. This could be a good thing if it forces the drug companies to refuse to do business with socialist price-fixing countries. We are paying almost all the R&D costs of the drug companies. Let’s see if they have the balls to fight. Of course, most libs have the “kill the goose” option – fix prices in this country.
  • Friday Linkorama

  • God, I love Fire Joe Morgan.
  • Remember how the sun is supposed to be causing global warming? Er, not so much.
  • This is outrageous. The music industry is now suing to get money from cover bands.

    Andrus said a friend of his who owned a restaurant that did not feature music was contacted by a company looking to charge him because it owned the rights to a Hank Williams Jr. song, “Are You Ready for Some Football?” The song preceded every “Monday Night Football” telecast, which the restaurant carried on its televisions.

    We need to seriously revisit our copyright laws. And by that, I don’t mean “give the recording industry yet more power”.

  • Continuing in that vein, weep for the death of Net Radio and the pending death of Fair Use.
  • Read this profile of the governor of Alaska. This is the first Republican I’ve read about in twenty years who inspires me — and not just because she’s hot. Know hope.
  • The NYT notes that everyone who is planning to create universal coverage is linking it to “controlling costs”. that’s libspeak for rationing.
  • Sully on S&M

    Responding to Matt Yglesias, he says what I’ve been trying to say:

    Matt Yglesias drools over the possibility of getting the entire country under the government’s healthcare thumb. Medicare is a particularly revealing program idea in this respect. At a deep level, the left sees all of us as the equivalent of senior citizens, dependent on the benevolence of government for our needs and wants. Of course, they will provide our needs as they see fit – they’re good people, you know. And so much smarter than the rest of us. There will be none of that wasteful drug spending we now have. How dare Americans spend their own money on treatments they actually want? It’s inefficient! This remains the key template for liberals: citizens as permanent supplicants. Those who do manage to look after themselves? Don’t worry. They’ll tax you till you really do need the equivalent of Medicare. And expect you to be grateful for it.


    How bad is it when MTV is more insightful on Sicko! than Roger Ebert.

    After marveling at Moore’s rosy view of the British health care system in “Sicko,” Christopher wrote, “What he hasn’t done is lie in a corridor all night at the Royal Free [Hospital] watching his severed toe disintegrate in a plastic cup of melted ice. I have.”

    Read the whole thing.

    Fisking Ebert

    Roger Ebert is one of the great film critics (check out the insight of the last two paragraphs of today’s review). There are very few who can get a general audience excited about art films and Ebert is one of them. He’s never been a cafeclatche critic who just wants to sit around with other critics and discuss Citizen Kane. He wants everyone to be excited about great film. He’s turned me on to a number of great films, notably Grave of the Fireflies.

    So it pains me to say that, when it comes to politics, Ebert has the IQ of a tennis ball. A deflated tennis ball. Let’s fisk his review of Sicko, shall we?

    Her death came too late to be included in “Sicko,” Michael Moore’s litany of horrors about the American health care system, which is run for profit, and insurance companies, which pay bonuses to employees who are successful in denying coverage or claims.

    Notice the jab about “for profit”. I suppose doctors and hospitals should just do medicine out of the goodness of their hearts. Never take home a salary or nothing. All our food — which is far more critical to our survival than healthcare — is provided “for profit” too. our “for profit” private education system beats the snot out of our public system by any measure. “For profit” oil companies have given us the cheapest gas on the planet and “for profit” movie companies produce great films.

    Damn those profits!

    The jab about insurance companies circles around to the fundamental problem, which socialized medicine would only make worse: decision-making in medicine is not in the hands of the patient. Insurance companies only have to answer to the patient’s employer, if they have to answer at all. If more people were buying their own insurance, the companies would be more answerable to the consumer. If the government is providing the insurance, they will be answerable, as we have learned, to no one.

    After discussing his own health woes, he says:

    So I have only one complaint, and it is this: Every American should be as fortunate as I have been. As Moore makes clear in his film, some 50 million Americans have no insurance and no way to get it.

    Giving everyone the high-end insurance Roger Ebert has would be horrendously expensive, vastly increasing the amount of money we already pour into it. I thought we were trying to cut costs. Essentially, Ebert wants everyone, rich or poor, to have a rich-guy lifestyle. At taxpayer expense.

    Of course, the biggest reason 40 million (not 50) have no insurance at all is that the states mandate expensive insurance. In many parts of this country, cheap insurance that would cover disaster scenarios (akin to your home or auto insurance) is illegal. Congress had to specially authorize HSA’s. And for most Americans, if your employer isn’t providing your insurance, you can’t get it. These are things the government could fix at no cost. And both would involve getting the consumer back into the game.

    But then again, if we got millions and millions of people insurance at no government cost, the calls for socialized medicine would cease, wouldn’t they? Can’t have that.

    We also learn a lot about drug companies and HMOs in the film. It is an item of faith in some circles that drug companies need their profits to finance research and development. Out of a dollar of profit, what percentage would you guess goes to R&D, and what percentage goes to advertising and promotion, multimillion-dollar executive salaries, corporate jets, palatial headquarters, bonuses and stockholders?

    In a free market, it’s none of my damn business. In a free market, companies that wasted money like this would lose customers – whereas in the restricted market of the US, the get more big employer contracts.

    And how many brilliant rich people would put their money into a high-risk game like pharmaceuticals if it weren’t for the profits they could make? Ever hear of the invisible hand?

    Moore plays 1971 tapes from the Oval Office as Nixon discusses the original Kaiser plan for an HMO. “It’s for profit,” he says admiringly. Have you ever understood exactly what benefit an HMO provides while it stands between you and the medical care system and acts as a toll bridge? Do its profits not depend on supplying as little health care as possible, at the lowest possible price?

    I think he means “at the highest possible price”. But again, note the hippy BS: corporate profits baaad, corporate profits baaaad.

    Of course, Hillary and her ilk wanted us all to be in HMO’s ten years ago. That’s the thing that pisses me off every time I read the “damn the HMOs!” meme. The same people who, ten years ago, were proclaiming HMOs as a salvation, are now slagging them.

    And Roger, have you ever understood exactly what benefit a socialized system provides while it stands between you and the medical care system and acts as a literal toll bridge (tolls being a form of tax)? Do its budgetary constraints not depend on supplying as little health care as possible, at the lowest possible price? Ask the denizen of these socialized paradises if they feel like they’re in control of their healthcare.

    Moore visits the countries of Canada, England, France and Cuba, all of which have (1) universal health care and (2) a longer life expectancy and lower infant mortality than the United States.

    Also, less violence, less obesity, fewer car crashes, less drug use, less alcholism . . . it’s funny how much healthier people are when they stop doing dumb things to their bodies.

    One woman is on $1,000-a-month disability, and needs $240 a month for her inhaler medication. Moore’s gimmick (he always has one, but this one is dramatic) is to take her to a Cuban hospital where she finds that her medication costs five cents in Cuba. At least that R&D money is helping Cubans.

    I’m sure that’s not staged at all. That sentence could equally read, “at least our high prices are paying for Cuba’s price controls”. Here’s an idea: why don’t we have our own government fight to get others to remove their price controls so our prices come down? Or why don’t more people shop around, like at warehouse clubs, where generics are often 90% less than in retail drug stores?

    Or maybe we could modify the CFC ban which got rid of cheap inhalers in the first place.

    Conservative governments in Canada, England and France all support universal health care; the United States is the only developed nation without it.

    And, strangely enough, also the only nation where you can get, say, salivary gland cancer removed within weeks, if not days, of diagnosis, instead of months. God knows, if other countries are doing something stupid, we should jump right in! Say goodbye to free speech.

    There are four health care lobbyists for every congressman.

    Tell me something, Roger. If political activists were talking about federal agencies taking over the movie review business, to make sure all movies were reviewed fairly and you weren’t making too much money, would you not want a few lobbyists in Washington?

    And tell me something else: if the government were to take over even more of healthcare, do you think the lobbying will increase or decrease?