Everything in the news is interrelated to everything else

And who better to prove the point than Tom the Dancing Bug

td131101

Thanks to TtheDB and GoComics.com

Hypocrite or Liar

For a lot of you those are the only choices available to characterize your U.S. representative for his/her vote yesterday on the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act.  I am not one of you (this time), but that doesn’t mean you can’t play the game.

The Republican Party majority in the House and Speaker John Boehner made it a top priority to vote on repeal of last year’s health care insurance reform.  They did it even though they know that the Democrats who control the Senate won’t bring it up for a vote there, and that even if the Senate voted for repeal the president would use his veto.  But they wanted to make a political point, get members on the record on this issue, and keep one promise in that Pledge to America many of them took last fall.  I don’t have an issue with any of that.

I do have an issue with a party that claims to be a champion of fiscal responsibility and deficit lowering voting for repeal after they all but covered their eyes and ears and refused to believe the Congressional Budget Office report which found that repeal would actually increase the deficit and leave more than 30 million more people without health insurance.  Boehner said CBO is entitled to its opinion!

If a CBO report is an opinion, it’s the considered opinion of the experts employed by Congress to provide lawmakers with numbers that are not influenced by political needs and desires…it’s the closest thing to a truly non-partisan statement you’ll find in Washington, D.C.  What’s more, a group of independent experts found that the Republican claim that the new health insurance law will kill jobs is not justified by the facts.  The GOP offered an analysis that claims the new law “may” make the nation’s fiscal situation worse; among others, economist Paul Krugman doesn’t think much of that report’s reasoning or logic.

OK, game time.  Here’s a list of how the members of the House voted on repeal of Obamacare; check to see if your rep, who campaigned as an agent of deficit reduction, got to Washington and started off by voting for a bill that would raise the deficit (if it ever became law, which it won’t).  Then you can  ask him/her what they hell they think they’re doing.

Just the facts, ma’am

Wishing a thing to be true doesn’t make it true.  Despite what you hear about the president’s birthplace and religion.

We’ve talked about this before (here and here) but we need to keep pointing it out because it won’t go away all by itself: too many people today are willfully ignorant of verifiable truths that conflict with what they wish to be true (but isn’t).  I came across a wonderful column by Timothy Egan on this last week, important less for blaming perpetrators than for identifying why this hurts us:

It would be nice to dismiss the stupid things that Americans believe as harmless, the price of having such a large, messy democracy.

(snip)

But false belief in weapons of mass-destruction led the United States to a trillion-dollar war.  And trust in rising home value as a truism as reliable as a sunrise was a major contributor to the catastrophic collapse of the economy.  At its worst extreme, a culture of misinformation can produce something like Iran, which is run by a Holocaust denier.

It’s one thing to forget the past, with predictable consequences, as the favorite aphorism goes.  But what about those who refuse to comprehend the present?

They waste a lot of time and karmic energy, for starters.

Last week I received a chain e-mail in which the original author complains that Christians and Jews are discriminated against in the new health care insurance law, which itself marks the establishment of a system, called dhimmitude, by which the Muslims who have conquered this country through jihad will collect a tax from non-Muslims and permit us to continue to live here.

Seriously.  That’s what it says.

The writer (not the forwarder) laments that he, a Christian, will face “crippling IRS liens” on his assets and jail time when—not if—he refuses to buy health insurance or pay the penalty for not buying it, while Louis Farrakhan (a random example, surely) not only won’t face penalties, he’ll have “100% of his health needs paid for” by government insurance.  And to prove it all, he directs you to page 107 of the new health care insurance law where the word “dhimmitude” appears.

Except that it doesn’t, of course; it doesn’t appear in any of the pages of the new health care insurance law.  Nor does any jail time penalty for violators of the law.  Because this chain e-mail is a product of the south end of a northbound bull.

I checked what Snopes.com had to say and found that religious groups with an IRS exemption from paying Social Security and Medicare taxes on First Amendment grounds (and which, as a result, don’t receive benefits from either of those programs) could be exempt from the requirements of the new health care insurance law.  The entry at FactCheck.org agrees, and provides the link to the government data which makes clear that no Muslims are among the groups now exempt from Social Security and Medicare, and thus would not be exempt from the new health care insurance law.

So, in four minutes I learned that (1) Muslims are not exempt from the requirement to buy health insurance, but Amish and Mennonites and others could be (I did not know that), and (2) dhimmitude isn’t really a tenet of Islam, but an “academic concept” proposed by a writer with anti-Islam ties (fourth paragraph under Full Answer).  What I couldn’t find an answer to is, did anyone really believe that the word “dhimmitude” was right there on page 107 of the new health care insurance law, so anyone who read it would know what the conquering jihadists were doing?

Almost nothing in the chain e-mail was accurate, yet thousands of people are all worked up.  Over nothing.  At least, nothing factual from the chain e-mail, except perhaps that the Amish can opt out of Social Security.  Dang ol’ Amish get all the breaks.