Socialism sucks. And while I’m on the subject of things that suck, Marxism also sucks, but I repeat myself. There is a simple reason why both socialism and Marxism suck, and it can be described in terms of homeostasis — the automatic processes your body uses to regulate your body temperature, blood sugar, hormones, etc. Here’s what I wrote before about homeostasis and command economies:

The wonder of the body is that necessary processes like the insulin/glucagon battle take place automatically, whether you think about them or not. And it’s a good thing that we don’t have to think about these functions. The chemistry necessary to turn those two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun into the glucose your body needs (minus the icky bits your body doesn’t need) is a chemist’s nightmare. How long would it take you to break normal table sugar (and water) into glucose if you had to do the following chemical reaction manually?

C12H22O11 + H2O —> C6H12O6 + C6H12O6

Now aren’t you glad that your body does this automatically for you? I know I am….

Just as your body is best served to have the blood sugar levels controlled automatically by the pancreas working invisibly inside you (further down and a bit more to the right. Yep, right there), the invisible hand of market forces works best when the force of government is kept out of it. Government intervention is similar to the injections of insulin. While it can be of short-term benefit to the person involved, it is neither as fast nor as efficient as the automatic actions of the pancreas.

People and economies work best when regulated by automatic processes, and socialism is not automatic. It is the heavy hand of government trying to brute-force the kinds of decisions that are best handled by the “invisible hand” of the free market.

“But American health care is broken! We need the government to fix where the market has failed.” I’ve heard several people make that claim whenever the subject of rising health care costs comes up. But why are health care costs rising? Here is a very telling graph that I’ve mentioned before:

Growth of medical costs

Notice that the more the cost of health care is paid by some third party like health insurance, the faster the overall cost goes up. But in cases like Lasik eye surgery, costs have gone from $10,000 per eye to under $500 in a few short years. Since people have to pay for laser eye surgery themselves, they have shopped around and sought out the best service for their money. But the chart shows that when people are not involved in the costs, as happens with insurance payments, costs go spiraling up like, well, health care costs.

Since third-party payments appear to be linked to rising costs, the proffered solution is to create more third-party payments by socializing medicine? Sounds like trying to put out an apartment fire by throwing logs and cans of gas in through the window. Oh, hey! The fire’s getting worse. Toss on more wood and gas!

But feeding the flames of the problem is exactly what socialist champion Michael Moore wants. His newest piece of crap documentary, titled Sicko, is hitting theaters, so expect to hear more people call for single-payer socialized medicine. To prove his point about the problem of American health care, Moore took some people down to Cuba for treatment. I find it ironic that when Fidel Castro needed emergency surgery, even though Cuba is supposedly a nation of doctors, they flew in a Spanish surgeon to work on him. So much for the vaunted socialized medicine of Cuba.

It’s illuminating to read the IMDb comments attached to Sicko. Many commenters claim that America’s love of money is bad, and socialized medicine in Europe and Canada is good. As one commenter put it, “Michael goes to 4 countries with Universal healthcare coverage, including a longtime alleged nemesis Cuba. In all instances he finds that there is great medical coverage, FOR FREE. Ontop [sic] of that, medications are either free, or almost free compared to U.S.A.” But this Canadian commenter is wrong. Medical coverage in such countries is not free. It is paid for by taxation, and governments have to reach into your pocketbook to get the taxes. So in no way do nations with socialized medicine get their health care for free.

Interestingly enough, the plot outline as listed on the IMDb just changed. It was once described as a comedy about 45 million uninsured Americans, but now it says the film is a documentary comparing health care systems. The original outline trotted out the common claim that there are 45 million Americans without health care in the U.S. That’s 15%, or almost one in six people. But Stuart Browning does a great job of showing how that number is inflated in his video. Removing from that equation the people who voluntarily choose not to have insurance, like the young and healthy, and those people who could receive health insurance through programs like Medicaid but who don’t bother to apply, the number of truly uninsured in the U.S. is about 8 million people, or about 2.7% of Americans. Browning sums it up this way in his video:

A small minority of people slip through the cracks through no fault of their own – however in any nation there is a group of people who refuse to participate in society or take responsibility for their own well-being. Even if our government attempted to force them to receive regular health care, many wouldn’t comply.

So, why do we keep hearing about a crisis of 45 million uninsured?

Maybe, it’s because the problem of Americans without health insurance is exaggerated and used as a smokescreen by many reformers who advocate socialized health care financing.

Here’s another dirty little secret, although it’s not so secret any more — hospitals are not allowed to turn away any injured person who goes to the emergency room, whether or not that person can pay for medical services. In the movie, Faye Chao demonstrates this. She makes more than enough money to pay for health insurance, but she chooses to save the money rather than spend it. In one exchange in the movie, she talks about her experience with hospital care:

Faye Chao: I bike everywhere in the city, so I have gotten hit by drivers twice – and one time I ended up in the hospital. No, I didn’t have health insurance, but I was treated – and billed for it later.

Stuart Browning: Umm hmm. How much was the bill for? Do you remember?

Faye Chao: Honestly I don’t because I didn’t bother to pay for it.

Free health care! Just stiff the hospital like Chao did if you want free health care. Or you can do what socialist nations do and pass the bill on to the taxpayers. Do you really want your health care handled by the government? Before you answer, I suggest you first get your driver’s license renewed at the DMV. The cheerful, attentive service you receive at the hands of the DMV should be a fair example of the service you can expect from government-run health care.

Don’t worry about having to wait months for government-run health care services — just keep repeating to yourself, “It’s free.”

And like so many other free things, you’ll get exactly what you pay for.

Today my wife pointed out something interesting: former Vice President Al Gore and movie maker Michael Moore, as they appeared together on the Drudge Report, are beginning to look like they were separated at birth. Judge for yourself.

Separated at Birth?

When I followed the link below Gore’s photo it led me to a news story that made me laugh:

The documentary, which Gore narrates, is critical of the United States and Australia for refusing to adopt the Kyoto Protocol for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Prime Minister John Howard, a friend and ally of Bush, said he would not meet Gore during his Australian visit and would not heed his advice to sign up to Kyoto.

“I don’t take policy advice from films,” Howard told reporters.

Way to go, Prime Minister!

Democrats are widely recognized as the party championing free speech. You can see this by how the Republicans react to bad press. When Richard Clark published Against All Enemies, Vice-President Dick Cheney condemned it and demanded that national bookstores not carry it. When Michael Moore’s anti-Bush film Fahrenheit 9/11 came out, President Bush sent his lawyers to several prominent theater chains and threatened them with lawsuits if they showed the movie.

Remember that? If you do, you are proof positive that alternate Earths exist. In this reality, it is the Democrats who have attempted to stifle the political speech of their conservative opponents. When Unfit for Command, the book by John E. O’Neill and Jerome R. Corsi, hit the presses, Senator Kerry sent his minions to tell the bookstores they should think of withdrawing the book from the shelves. When the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group started airing its first ad against Senator Kerry, the Democrats issued letters to TV stations in an attempt to stop the ads.

Senator Kerry is demanding that President Bush condemn the Swift Boat Veterans and force them to stop their ads. Kerry wants this for a good reason — the ads are proving to be extremely effective against his campaign. This coming from the candidate who proudly claimed, “Well, if [Bush] wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam, here is my answer: ‘Bring it on.’” When the Swift Boat Veterans actually brought it on, Kerry’s response was to whine about how mean they are: “[The Swift Boat Veterans are] a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the president won’t denounce them tells you everything you need to know — he wants them to do his dirty work,” Senator Kerry said. Is it far-fetched to think Kerry and other Democrats would muzzle the Swift Boat Veterans and other political opponents if they believed they could get away with it?

Have you noticed the interesting shift in focus with Senator Kerry, President Bush, and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth? Despite what Kerry’s campaign has claimed, this organization isn’t a front for President Bush. The Swift Boat Veterans are a bunch of Democrats and Republicans who have come together to protect their collective reputation from a man who, thirty years ago, vilified their actions as war crimes before the Senate. The issue is between them and Senator Kerry, but Kerry is trying to bring President Bush into the fray. Kerry has even dispatched some Democrat veterans to President Bush to plead with him to stop the Swift Boat Veterans group. Free tip to Senator Kerry: men fight their own battles. You can stop all of this simply by releasing your records and telling the truth.

But the truth is far from what Senator Kerry wants. How can I say this? Precisely because Kerry refuses to release his full military record. President Bush has done so, but Senator Kerry won’t. Rather than dealing with the facts as they are, he and his liberal friends are calling for their political opponents to stop talking. They are all in favor of their own right to free speech, but when others try to exercise that same fundamental freedom, they call it “hate speech” and try to suppress it. You can sum this up as “free speech for me, but not for thee.”

The Swift Boat Veterans group is a 527, named after the legal code number permitting these third-party groups to exist. Thanks to the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform act to stop the spread of “soft money” in campaigns, we now have 527s spending more soft money on this presidential election than they ever did before. Behold Jim Quinn’s First Law in action: Liberalism always produces the exact opposite of its stated intent. Anyway, here’s Senator Kerry complaining to President Bush about the Swift Boat Veterans 527; odd, when the liberal 527s are far better funded. Let’s compare the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth against MoveOn.org, a liberal organization. This information is filed data from Aug. 23, 2004.

Swift Boat Veterans
for Truth
MoveOn.org
Contributions: $158,750 $9,086,102
Expenditures: $60,403 $17,435,782

It’s pretty sad to see Senator Kerry get all jittery over the Swift Boat Veterans, demanding that President Bush make them stop airing their ads, when the Swifties have spent barely 3/10 of 1% of the money that MoveOn.org has spent on its negative ads against President Bush. Granted, these numbers are a bit old and the Swifties have picked up more contributions since the first ad aired, but the disparity is still enormous. But that’s not a problem for the liberals. Spending money on their own viewpoints is OK, but heaven help the little guy who tries to speak out against liberals.

President Bush has spoken out against all 527s, saying “I hope my opponent joins me in condemning these activities of the 527 — I think they’re bad for the system.” So far Senator Kerry has refused to do so, and it is financially in his interest to remain mum. After all, the liberal 527s are waging his war for him, and “schlocumentaries” like Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 have provided over $100 million in attacks against President Bush. Don’t wait for the Democrat condemnation. It’s not coming.

The Left has made much of Benjamin Ginsberg, who was serving both as an election lawyer for President Bush and as an adviser for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group, and who has since resigned from the President’s service. But here’s a key sentence from the sixth paragraph: “Lawyers on the Democratic side are also representing both the campaign or party and outside groups running ads in the presidential race.” What? Democrats are doing the same thing?!? But did you hear any of this on the nightly news? Nope. Nor will you hear about these Democrat lawyers quitting due to conflict of interest. If you want to read about the ties between Senator Kerry’s campaign and liberal 527s, you will have to search outside the dominant liberal press, but the truth is available — regardless of how much Senator Kerry doesn’t want you to know about it.

And why doesn’t he want you to know about it? Because the truth is sinking his run for President, and the liberals can’t have that. So it is free speech all day and night for them, but when conservatives exercise the same right, the liberals cry foul. It’s free speech for me, but not for thee.

Addendum (8/28/2004): Captain Ed of Captain’s Quarters Blog sums up the whole 527 brouhaha nicely. You best be reading this fine work.

Have you ever been faced with doing something you don’t want to do? When my niece is confronted with the Herculean task of cleaning her bedroom, it is amazing to see what tasks she’d rather do. I’ve seen her sweep the front porch unasked and clean out her guinea pig’s cage rather than go upstairs. As nice as it might be to use the Augean stables method of cleaning her room, it is important for my niece to learn how to keep her own room clean. Eventually she will face the inevitable and tackle her room. By “tackle” I mean she picks something up, and then it’s time to start drawing and playing.

I have been guilty of this same thing myself (quiet, Mom!). I should post something here biweekly, but I have slacked off recently. This is partially because I have spent some time visiting family, and that cuts into my writing time, but partially because writing about liberal Democrats can be so boring. I could (and should!) write articles on other subjects, but this being an election year, political topics seem to spring to mind more frequently than other subjects.

While there are many reasons to avoid doing something, there are also numerous reasons why people are compelled to do things. Money, fame, and power are three common reasons. But let’s look at the actions and motivations of four “Stupid White Men,” to use Michael Moore’s book title in a way he probably didn’t envision.

Speaking of Michael Moore, he is the first in my list of four. “Documentary” filmmaker Michael Moore is the writer and director of several movies, including Roger & Me, the Oscar-winning Bowling for Columbine, and most recently Fahrenheit 9/11. Considering the Oscar win, you’d think Moore’s movies would be universally well-liked, but that’s not quite the case. People have written here, here, here, and here about how they dislike Fahrenheit 9/11. In the last two weeks, I have twice been asked whether I was planning on seeing this film. In both cases, I explained why I would not–primarily because Moore does not make documentaries. Documentaries are unstaged and factual, and Moore’s “documentaries” are both staged and lacking in facts. At times when Moore actually uses facts, he will combine them in such a way as to produce a false impression. Why did Moore spend the time and effort to create Fahrenheit 9/11? It is obvious–he hates President Bush and will do anything to keep him from being reelected.

Joseph Wilson hit the headlines last year, when stories began to surface about his trip to Niger to investigate the sale of yellow-cake uranium to Iraq. I wrote how Democrats were up in arms about Bob Novak’s supposed “outing” of Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent. Wilson claimed in his book and in interviews that Plame was not at all involved in his being selected for the mission to Niger, but oops, she was. Wilson says that his eight days of “drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people” convinced him that Niger was not involved in selling yellow-cake uranium to Iraq. Since then, the Netherlands reported finding some scrap steel tubes with yellow-cake uranium in them. As Christopher Hitchens summed up, “The missed story is the increasing evidence that Niger, in West Africa, was indeed the locus of an illegal trade in uranium ore for rogue states including Iraq.” Or as Mark Steyn explains, “In 1999, a senior Iraqi ‘trade’ delegation went to Niger. Uranium accounts for 75 percent of Niger’s exports. The rest is goats, cowpeas and onions.” Why did Wilson spend the time and effort to claim Iraq’s plans to purchase yellow-cake uranium were groundless? It is obvious–he hates President Bush and will do anything to keep him from being reelected.

Richard Clark was a former counter-terrorism adviser who testified before the 9/11 Commission about the Clinton and Bush administrations’ plans to combat terrorism. He testified before the Commission behind closed doors for hours, and then again openly to catch the media spotlight. He succeeded in thumping his chest and giving his mea culpas when he said, “I failed you.” And as the Clinton administration’s head of counter-terrorism for eight years, he certainly had. Let me refresh your memory a bit: the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the loss of 18 soldiers in Somalia in 1993, failure to capture Osama bin Laden as he left Sudan in 1996, the bombing of the Khobar Towers in 1996, the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. But apparently, President Bush was to blame for failing to do in less than eight months what President Clinton failed to do for eight years in office. Yep, it’s all George Bush’s fault.

Clark testified before the 9/11 Commission that “Intelligence reports on the Al Qaeda threat were frequently given to the President and it was an urgent problem that was never treated that way.” But he himself disagrees with his own testimony. In a briefing he gave to the press in 2002, Clark said “there was no plan on Al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration.” He also said of the new Bush administration’s policy that it was changed “from one of rollback with Al Qaeda over the course of five years, which it had been, to a new strategy that called for the rapid elimination of Al Qaeda.” Clark further stated, “President Bush told us in March to stop swatting at flies and just solve this problem…” So in 2002 he said one thing, and in 2004 he said another. This makes Clark what is technically called a “liar.” Why did Clark change his tune before the 9/11 Commission? It is obvious–he hates President Bush and will do anything to keep him from being reelected.

The fourth in our list of Stupid White Men is Sandy Berger, former National Security Advisor to President Clinton. He has been most recently working as an informal adviser to the Kerry campaign, but he left this position when “Pantsgate” came to light. In a nutshell, Berger admitted to taking top secret and code-word documents from their secure location, conveying them to his home, and then losing them. “In the course of reviewing over several days thousands of pages of documents on behalf of the Clinton administration in connection with requests by the September 11 commission, I inadvertently took a few documents from the Archives,” Berger wrote. “When I was informed by the Archives that there were documents missing, I immediately returned everything I had except for a few documents that I apparently had accidentally discarded.” He “inadvertently” took a number of 15- to 30-page documents by secreting them in his jacket, pants and socks. Boy, I can’t tell you how often I inadvertently take multi-page documents by slipping them into my socks.

In the case of Moore, Wilson, and Clark, it is obvious that they despise President Bush, and their words and actions back this up. But in the case of Berger, hate was not his motivation. It was fear, and the need to vacuum up any incriminating files that might do him harm. But even though Berger has committed (and confessed to) multiple felonies, he will never be charged for these acts for a simple, common four-word excuse:

He is a Democrat.

There is a pretty common thread among liberal singers who turn political. Let’s look at an example: Linda Ronstadt gave a one-night concert at the Aladdin Casino in Las Vegas. Not having grasped the concept that fans prefer to hear singers sing and not bloviate about political issues, she dedicated her rendition of the Eagles song “Desperado” to “documentary” filmmaker Michael Moore. A bit miffed, the 4000-plus audience erupted in boos and catcalls. While some people cheered, a loud and upset percentage of the audience went beyond verbal protests and marched out of the concert. Some even clustered around the ticket office, demanding their money back. Anywhere between one-quarter and one-half of the audience left in disgust, depending on whose numbers you believe. But regardless of the number, no singer would feel comfortable watching a sizable percentage of her audience voting with their feet. Bill Timmins, the head of Aladdin Casino, made the decision to have Ronstadt escorted from the casino, and it is unlikely that she will ever perform there again.

It wasn’t the first time that Ronstadt had dedicated this song to Moore, but now she feels it is time to speak. “This is an election year, and I think we’re in desperate trouble, and it’s time for people to speak up and not pipe down,” she said. Then she followed up with a real stunner: “It’s a real conflict for me when I go to a concert and find out somebody in the audience is a Republican or fundamental Christian. It can cloud my enjoyment. I’d rather not know.”

Perhaps it’s time to make Linda the Left’s poster-girl for tolerance and acceptance. As Rabbi Daniel Lapin so eloquently pointed out, Ms. Ronstadt seems to feel quite comfortable bashing Christians:

What do you suppose might be the reaction if an entertainer would say, “It’s a real conflict for me when I find out someone in the audience is Jewish. It can cloud my enjoyment”? Or what if some politician had once announced, “It’s a real conflict for me when I find out that someone in the audience is homosexual. It can cloud my enjoyment”? Of course almost no entertainers or politicians would ever say anything as bigoted.

But singer Linda Ronstadt did. The point is, however, that she didn’t insult protected minorities like Jews, homosexuals, Moslems, or blacks. She insulted what she calls “fundamental” Christians. (Note to Linda: the term, if you must use it at all, is Fundamentalist.) To quote a line from the lyrics of your song “Desperado,” Linda, “Lighten up while you still can, don’t even try to understand.”

Naturally, Michael Moore jumped to Linda Ronstadt’s defense in an open letter to Bill Timmins. I’m sure you can guess one of the primary planks of his complaint:

What country do you live in? Last time I checked, Las Vegas is still in the United States. And in the United States, we have something called “The First Amendment.” This constitutional right gives everyone here the right to say whatever they want to say.

Yes, Michael, Linda does have the constitutional right to free speech, and she was well within her rights to dedicate this song to you, or to Chairman Mao and his little red book, or to anyone else she pleased. But what seems to escape both you and Linda is the concept that the every member of the Aladdin audience also enjoys the right to freedom of speech, and many chose to exercise that right. I guess liberals want freedom of speech for themselves, but are shocked and angered when the masses demand the same. We also saw evidence of this when the Dixie Chicks bashed President Bush while touring in Europe. They also fell back on the freedom of speech excuse, while failing to recognize that their fans had exercised the same right.

Here’s a free clue for Linda Ronstadt, the Dixie Chicks, and any other singer who aspires to be a political commentator: don’t assume that your fans shell out big bucks for your overpriced concerts because they want your political opinion. They come to enjoy your music and, if you’re cute, to watch you strut your stuff onstage. If you cannot control your comments between songs, at least have the intelligence to judge your audience and tailor your comments accordingly. If you fail to do this, don’t go whining to the press because of your own failings.

Just about every right has an attendant responsibility. Peggy Noonan calls this concept “paying a price for where you stand.” If you choose to swear at your mom, be prepared to get a mouthful of soap and a spanking from Dad. If you choose to call your boss a sheep pimp, you can reasonably expect to have a character defamation lawsuit leveled against you. If you choose to call in a bomb threat at your school, resign yourself to a ride downtown in a cop car and a possible suspension. If you choose to bash the President in an international forum, as the Dixie Chicks did, do not be surprised when some of your audience stops purchasing albums and concert tickets. If you choose to dedicate a song to Michael Moore, as Linda Ronstadt did, steel yourself to accept the result of angry and hostile fans.

But liberals have classically refused to accept the natural results of their free speech. Since people have different opinions about politics, religion, sports and numerous other issues, if you state strong opinions on these subjects, you cannot expect everyone to agree with you. Yes, you certainly have the right to speak your mind, but don’t be so boorish as to attempt to deny others the right to respond to your comments.

If you do, you are probably a liberal. After all, you are known by the company you keep.