Buffett responds on cue to Logipundit allegations

From a fundraiser for Billary:

He recalled a saying, “buy stock in a company that’s so good that an idiot can run it, because sooner or later one will.” When he added, “now I think that sort of applies to the country too, actually,” the audience burst out laughing.

“We have an opportunity in 2008 to repair a lot of damage,” Buffett said, referring to the election to replace Republican President George W. Bush.

No doubt a great big chunk of damage comes from a repeal of the death tax, right Mr. Buffett?

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Sicko: endorsement and counter

I received an email from my good friend Tom regarding the new movie Sicko.

John,

I watched Sicko earlier today; it was really illuminating (and sad). Have you heard of it? It’s Michael Moore’s new piece about the health care industry in the US.

Yes, I know how you feel about him. Yes, he uses a lot of his usual antics and rhetoric. Yes, you will likely find some and perhaps even most of them irritating.

With all of that said, there is a one big shock: for the most part he is fair and non-partisan, perhaps for the first time ever. He mostly avoids partisan issues, choosing to focus his attention elsewhere, but, being Moore, he of course can’t resist a few digs, especially against politicians bought too easily (and cheaply) by lobbyists. But, believe it or not, one of those receiving the harshest smack-down is his previously beloved Hillary. Apparently, hell has frozen over. Or maybe Moore has finally sobered up and looked around. (I confess while finding Hillary irritating and irksome at times, I once admired certain aspects of her platform long ago– especially regarding health care reform– but I feel she has long since lost her way).

The movie unabashedly makes a case for socialized health care, so you deserve to know that in advance, since I have gathered you are opposed to it. With that said, I hope you might be willing to watch the movie regardless. If nothing else, it pays to know what your enemies are up to.

The movie opens next Friday, and I am seriously considering footing the bill for anyone who wants to see it.*

I will likely see it and you are invited, although I suspect your interest might be limited because it’s a Moore film. If so, I cannot entirely fault you for that–his usual antics are on full display, and while I find a lot of his orneriness amusing, I well understand you and many others find his antics (and him) obnoxious. These days, I think many perceive Moore as more of an entertainer that panders to the left than as a bona fide journalist. I would, in fact, largely agree with this assessment.

Consequently, in many ways I wish someone else had made this film, because the issues it raises are important for everyone, regardless of which way a person leans politically. The whole nation needs to be having some sort of dialogue about these issues, and Moore is so thoroughly branded as a left-winger (or maybe even as a left-wingnut?) that I think the fact his name is attached to the movie will just polarize the issue politically, which would be a shame. Health care reform deserves bipartisan discussion and support–as a nation, we have got to transcend political differences on this issue. I can tell you firsthand that the current system destroys families and lives in a brutal and vicious way.

Too many people will miss this documentary because of who made it, and that is a shame and makes me wish almost anyone else had filmed it. But, with that said, I am glad that at least someone made this movie, even if it had to be done by Moore.

My reply:

One of the earliest free health care demagogues was Huey Long. Louisiana used to have charity hospitals all over the state, with 14 in New Orleans alone. During the last oil boom of the ’70s (during stagflation for the rest of the country) Louisiana was hopping. Without fail following an increase in oil prices Louisiana would elect a Huey Long style populist that demanded more money for charity hospitals. Even before Katrina the charity hospitals in Louisiana had conditions that were similar to that of the VA system in Washington D.C.

Now, the new populism advocates not for free health care (the results of which is plain to see in Sicko), but free health insurance for all. Somehow this will equate to Doctors not making mistakes or shortening ER lines.

If some health care socialization bill passes I’ll be ok, I can always bolt-hole to Taiwan. They have universal health care, but not the entitlement mindset found here, Canada, Western Europe (yet). Doctors there see 4X the patients and get 1/4 the pay as American doctors. Universal health care didn’t improve things there (the health care system was good already), but it did ratchet up the burden on the doctors I know there.

There is a long list of things the government is in charge of that are run inefficiently, and quite horribly. Public Schools and VA hospitals are two examples I can think of right quickly.

Just because something works for a small, homogenous western European nation doesn’t mean it will work here. Watch and see as those countries become less homogenous (via low birthrates and high immigration), as socialism as risk aversion (between homogenous classes and ethnicities) gives way to socialism as redistribution (from wealthy natives to poor African and Middle Eastern immigrants), you will soon see a change in policy there. The French electorate recently, and overwhelmingly, rejected the nanny state socialism Moore adores. As such, the French are so entrenched in the welfare state it will be hard to reverse course for a while.

And don’t get me started on Britain. They recently passed a law allowing citizens to go to other countries to receive health care on the government dime, acknowledging the severe limitations of their own impoverished system.

In Canada a citizen needed a Supreme Court ruling to allow a citizen to pay out of pocket for health care expenses. A single payer program would provide this kind of monopsony power to our federal government.

So, I’ll spare myself the anecdotal demagoguery this go ’round. There was a time when Huey Long/FDR style populism was what the doctor ordered. I don’t think that is the case today.

*This offer only applies to Logipundit Gold level members. Direct all inquiries about Gold and Platinum level membership with an email to the editor with credit card or routing and checking account number in the subject line.

Is socialized medicine the prescription for our ills?

LOS ANGELES (AP) – When no one would help a woman who lay bleeding on the floor of a troubled Los Angeles hospital’s emergency room, several people called 9-1-1 to get her moved to another hospital.

With the new movie “Sicko” coming out you will hear several horror stories such as this one in an attempt to convince the American public that Hillary care, or some variation, will solve all these problems. But, in essence, this story exemplifies the problem with socialized medicine. Martin Luther King Jr. Harbor Hospital is a public hospital, meaning it is funded by the government. If you want treatment for all Americans to look something like King-Harbor, or the VA system, tell your friends and relatives to watch Sicko and vote for Hillary Clinton for president.

Interesting Take on Hillary

The Middle Earth Journal, from the democratic wing of the democratic Oregon senator of the Logipundit “Senate”, launches into Hillary

Democratic debates

Hillary Clinton
This is Bush’s war (who keeps authorizing funding, then?)

It’s Bush’s war. Yada yada yada. Nobody rebuts with the obvious zinger about Bill shooting long range missiles at Hussein back in ’98. (And why was that?) She blames the Iraqis for not setting up a civil society in the absence of a strong man. But getting Saddam out of power is good. She wants to have it both ways by saying that deposing a dictator is good, but this is Bush’s war. Life doesn’t work that way.

Health care–I’m so glad everyone agrees with me. Let’s let the gov’t lower costs by twisting the arms of the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, etc. etc. (Will not be honest about raising taxes to cover the costs) Will let the Bush tax cuts lapse.

On Iran–“I’m not going to talk hypotheticals” (Well, why debate a year and a half before the election, then?) She says we should have been talking to Iran for years now. Sending Condi Rice around the world giving speeches is not diplomacy, even though she’s the head diplomat of our country. Hillary’s line about Dick Cheney gets a lot of applause. A cheap shot that Bill probably came up with. In a way her secret weapon.

On Darfur–essentially, let’s pull out of Iraq and into Darfur.

Gays in the military– Gays and lesbians should serve in the military at all levels. Perhaps including commander in chief? Ok, a cheap shot on my part.

National security–Back to pre-9/11 national security policy. Reminds me of Bob Dole’s “bridge to the past” speech.

Hillary cackles like a hyena. Phony baloney, the phoniest of the 18 candidates. I talked with Yun-ju about it, asking if there’s hope that Americans can see through this phony. Yun-ju’s response, essentially, was to ask how many phony people there are in America. This does not bode well for our future.

Barack Obama

I get Obamamania. He sounds presidential.

On Immigration–Obama agrees with George W Bush and Ted Kennedy 100%, sounds like.

On Health Care–“John and I agree” (theme of the night) Insurance and pharmaceutical companies keep “hoarding profits”

On the Army–Increase the # of troops, more VA hospitals. Touts the VA? Need to treat PTSD.

On Osama bin Laden– Would take him out Jack Bauer style. Nice to hear a Democrat say it.

Osama and Edwards were totally vying for the non-Hillary (i.e. the Johnny B) demographic. Very friendly with each other.

John Edwards

On health care–“You can’t change the health care system for nothing.” (Glad he’s honest)

On Iran–Notes that there is strong pro-American sentiment amongst the Iranian people. He’s right, and he’s right to note this. The Iranian gov’t is not so popular.

On Gas Prices–Vertical integration of oil and gas is bad. Make it harder to refine oil and gas (this lowers prices?) End subsidization of oil and gas industry.

On Education–College for Everyone (yikes!)

Edwards makes a good case that the US needs to establish moral authority in the world by closing down Guantanamo and secret prisons, etc. He’s the most polished on this message and has the most appealing rhetoric

Bill Richardson
Don’t know if y’all know this, but he’s governor of New Mexico. “As governor of New Mexico…”

On immigration–No dividing families with immigration policy. That means no touching back of the home country for Z visa holders. (So illegal immigrants aren’t burdened with the same chores that legal immigrants commonly need to do. But this isn’t amnesty?) Guest workers should have labor protection. Perfect liberal answer.

On Health Care–As Governor of New Mexico, I socialized medicine etc. etc.

On the VA–Soldiers get a hero’s health card that allows them to go to any hospital for service. Follow the soldier, not the VA hospitals. Again, good answer.

On Bill Clinton–“He should be the U.N. Sec’y General” “Israel is a great ally, and needs buttressing”. Well, he just lost Scotty’s vote!

On Sudan–Smartest answer. China buys most of it’s oil from the Sudan. If you threaten not to go to the Beijing Olympics, China can make things quiet in Sudan. A good demonstration of how diplomacy can be used as an effective tool for change, without firing a shot. Perfect Democrat answer.

On Education–Mandatory pre-school. Ugh!

Chris Dodd
He knows stuff, but no one is listening.

On gas–His solution to lower gasoline prices is to impose a carbon tax and require all cars to run at 50 mpg by law. When the price of oil is lowered he would require mandatory rebates for the consumer.

On the Army–Gives a big shout out to the military. Safety and security is the #1 priority of the president (Is this the Democratic debate? I thought it was ending global warming!)

On Richardson’s China answer–No, no, no, China is cool! We can’t pull out of the Olympics! (Richardson merely said let’s threaten to pull out).

On Patriot Act–let’s restore constitutional rights to citizens (Big Applause).

Joe Biden

Everything he says is to defend the Clinton record, and by extension Hillary, at all costs. He’s simply here to lend Hillary some white male credibility when he endorses her in six months. Kerry 2.0

On Immigration–We can’t round up everyone in buses and send them home. Near the Ted Kennedy end of the spectrum on this issue.

Gays–All major allies allow gays to serve. In the foxhole soldiers don’t ask other soldiers if they are gay (It’s against the policy remember?)

Defusing (subsidizing?) Iran and North Korea are on top of his agenda.

Dennis Kucinich

“We’re (Democrats) in charge of this country. (He has a point in that you can’t keep blaming Bush now)

Wants to cut funding to defense. Like, now.

On Osama bin Laden–Would not take him out Jack Bauer style. “We cannot use assassination as a tool of foreign policy, because it might come back to haunt us.” Osama should turn himself in and be held responsible before an international court. Shame on you Osama!

On the deficit–Stop the war and we reduce the deficit. No more NAFTA and WTO (Big applause) Wants FDR type make-work programs….sheesh.

Mike Gravel
For the most part nuts.

The only candidate who wants immigrants to learn English. Likes to use the word “Totally”. Wants line-item veto, which made the rest of the (mostly Senatorial) candidates squirm. Points out the obvious with the carbon tax…that it would, uh, raise the price of gas.

The more I watched, the more I thought Ron Paul just might be the right choice for America.

If you don’t care about things like name recognition, and funding, Richardson was the most sensible and “smartest” of the group. The closest thing the democrats have to a Newt Gingrich, someone who has thought about every issue from many angles. The only governor. If you look at resumes, he is the most qualified candidate. Didn’t get the quick easy applause lines, though.

Obama and Edwards sounded a lot alike and both sounded better than Hillary. The only thing I remember from Hillary is a shrill cackle, “I’m not going to discuss hypotheticals” and an overwhelming sense of entitlement from her, because she let her powerful husband walk all over her and now the American people have to pay for it. Some feminist.

Update: All the professional pundits totally disagree with me on Richardson, and think Biden won? Go figure. I missed the first 10 minutes. Well, here at Logipundit, you get a different perspective, is all I have to say. Richardson botched his immigration answer by trying to explain specifics. No one on the panel could have gone into detail on immigration policy without getting into trouble with one group or the other. Biden sounded a LOT like John Kerry.

First quarter fundraising

A lot of noise was made about Hillary Clinton’s record fundraising, 26$ million in the first quarter, and the press often reported with half-truths about 36$ million in fundraising (Hillary had 10$ million in the bank, rolled over from her Senate war chest). The previous record was 8.5$ million, raised by Phil Gramm, who dropped out pretty early on in the primary in ’96. So a quick look at the preliminary totals from the top six candidates shows this:

Clinton : $26
Obama: $25
Edwards: $14

Romney: $21
Guiliani: $15
McCain: $12.5

Every one of those candidates smashed the previous fundraising records. On one hand, I could understand the impetus, with a VP not running, the polarizing nature of the Clintons, but a little back of the hand math shows that $100 + million has already been raised here. That could buy a lot of kevlar for the troops, free lunch for toddlers, pumps in New Orleans, take your pick. There are a lot of things more important right now than the 2008 election, and I’m amazed that donors are willing to spend this kind of money on people that have no chance of winning (Edwards and McCain), or may run as VP with the person you’re spending money to stop (in the case of Obama and Clinton, if you are a Dem donor that doesn’t like Clinton). The big winners here are the media outlets in New Hampshire and Iowa, which will be flooded with ad revenue for the next 8 months.

Considering Hillary’s $400,000 mistake of buying off Governor Vilsack’s endorsement this early in the game, for practically no return, one can’t help but wonder how much money she’s burned through already.

Executive arrogance

A good heads up on executive arrogance and democratic hypocrisy. Gonzalez should resign…for firing 8 federal prosecutors? I guess prosecutors appointed during dem admins should be appointed for life, lest CNN and Hillary Clinton call for their resignation. Too many people in this country are eager to become victims.

Whiny victim Exhibit 1

The supposed scandal this week is that Mr. Bush had been informed last fall that some U.S. Attorneys had been less than vigorous in pursuing voter-fraud cases and that the President had made the point to Attorney General Albert Gonzales. Voter fraud strikes at the heart of democratic institutions, and it was entirely appropriate for Mr. Bush–or any President–to insist that his appointees act energetically against it.

Take sacked U.S. Attorney John McKay from Washington state. In 2004, the Governor’s race was decided in favor of Democrat Christine Gregoire by 129-votes on a third recount. As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and other media outlets reported, some of the “voters” were deceased, others were registered in storage-rental facilities, and still others were convicted felons. More than 100 ballots were “discovered” in a Seattle warehouse. None of this constitutes proof that the election was stolen. But it should have been enough to prompt Mr. McKay, a Democrat, to investigate, something he declined to do, apparently on grounds that he had better things to do

But Gonzalez should resign for this?