Defining stupid: Orly Taitz

August 12, 2009

Here is a great two part article from Esquire detailing the uniquely American, getcher-flithy-ass-offa-my-land goofiness of the birther movement and its lovable (and completely insane) leader, Orly Taitz. Here’s a little sample of the claims Taitz, a lawyer/dentist/realtor, makes herein:

Goldman Sachs runs the treasury.

There’s a cemetery somewhere in Arizona where they just dug 30,000 fresh graves, which wait now for the revolution.

Baxter International — a major Obama contributor — developed a vaccine for bird flu that actually kills people.

Google Congressman Alcee Hastings and House Bill 684 and you’ll see that they’re planning at least six civilian labor camps.

Google an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about train cars with shackles.

The communist dictator Hugo Chavez way back in 2004 purchased the Sequoia software that runs our voting machines and the mainstream media won’t report any of it — not even Fox because Saudi Arabia bought a percentage of Fox in 2007.

Part One

Part Two

If you haven’t had a chance to see this lil’ gem of American culture, here’s a recent interview:

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God’s gonna getcha, Senator!

August 12, 2009

Here’s a little sampling of the town hall looniness; this bit from Lebanon, PA. I have to hand it to Arlen Spector for keeping his cool and trying to deal sensibly with this crackpot. It doesn’t seem that cool and sensible is working in the public dialogue about this, however. As has become usual, the media has presented this as an even two-sided argument, and given equal time and attention to both sides. The problem is that one side is completely nuts. Like the birthers, these death-panel-kill-my-grandma-keep-yer-stinkin-government-mitts-off-my-government-run-medicare morons deserve nothing but bemused ridicule. Free speech doesn’t entail that anyone actually respect your opinion – especially if its totally bonkers.


Swaztikas?!?

August 12, 2009

Wow. These town halls are really getting nuts. It’s unfortunate, with all of the issues that this country faces, that the people most easily riled into action are the complete kooks. That these willfully misinformed rabble rousers could derail the chance of getting a fair and decent health care system in this country is nothing short of tragic.

Between the Birthers, the Tea Party goons and these town hall usurpers, the Republicans really have a monopoly now on the wingnut vote. Sheesh, and i thought that the 9/11 “truthers” were loony.

I have (guarded) confidence that most people will see through the bellicose inanity of the anti-health care crowd and not let the boisterous ravings of a minority of dimwits and nutcases sink a plan that will be a vast improvement over the current system.


Health care myths

August 11, 2009

I plan on doing a much more comprehensive post on the health care legislation being proposed (and hopefully implemented!), but, as I am extremely busy this week, this AP article will have to suffice. It covers many of the bogus arguments being made against President Obama’s health care proposals. Like the global warming issue, there are so many outlandish statements being made that the truth gets completely obscured and everyone ends up arguing points that have no basis in the real world. This effectively shifts the “middle ground” (where both sides of an issue can be reasonably debated) into complete cuckoo territory. Proponents of health care are forced to keep clearing the air from the stink of questions that have no good reason (no reason based in reality, at least) to be asked in the first place, thus eating up time that could be spent discussing the real issues. In other words, keeping proponents constantly fighting strawmen off in lala land keeps the debate from ever the entering the real world. This is exactly the place where opponents of reform on both issues (health care & climate change) want it to be, because in the real world, the facts simply don’t back them up.

It doesn’t help that in this country, people take retarded drivel like this seriously:

The ol’ blubbering patriot here is referring to Sarah Palin’s completely fabricated “death panels“. Ironic that he warns of the dangers of putting a dollar value on human life while defending the insurance industry. Hoo boy.

Anyway, here’s that AP story…

FACT CHECK: No ‘death panel’ in health care bill

WASHINGTON – Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin says the health care overhaul bill would set up a “death panel.” Federal bureaucrats would play God, ruling on whether ailing seniors are worth enough to society to deserve life-sustaining medical care. Palin and other critics are wrong.

Nothing in the legislation would carry out such a bleak vision. The provision that has caused the uproar would instead authorize Medicare to pay doctors for counseling patients about end-of-life care, if the patient wishes. Here are some questions and answers on the controversy:

Q: Does the health care legislation bill promote “mercy killing,” or euthanasia?

A: No.

Q: Then what’s all the fuss about?

A: A provision in the House bill written by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., would allow Medicare to pay doctors for voluntary counseling sessions that address end-of-life issues. The conversations between doctor and patient would include living wills, making a close relative or a trusted friend your health care proxy, learning about hospice as an option for the terminally ill, and information about pain medications for people suffering chronic discomfort. The sessions would be covered every five years, more frequently if someone is gravely ill.

Q: Is anything required?

Monsignor Charles Fahey, 76, a Catholic priest who is chairman of the board of the National Council on Aging, a nonprofit service and advocacy group, says no.

“We have to make decisions that are deliberative about our health care at every moment,” Fahey said. “What I have said is that if I cannot say another prayer, if I cannot give or get another hug, and if I cannot have another martini — then let me go.”

Q: Does the bill advocate assisted suicide?

A: No. It would block funds for counseling that presents suicide or assisted suicide as an option.

Q: Who supports the provision?

A: The American Medical Association, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and Consumers Union are among the groups supporting the provision. AARP, the seniors’ lobby, is taking out print advertisements this week that label as false the claim that the legislation will empower the government to take over life-and-death decisions from individuals.

Q: Should the federal government be getting involved with living wills and end-of-life questions — decisions that are highly personal and really difficult?

A: It already is.

The government requires hospitals to ask adult patients if they have a living will, or “advance directive.” If the patient doesn’t have one, and wants one, the hospital has to provide assistance. The mandate on hospitals was instituted during a Republican administration, in 1992, under President George H.W. Bush.

Q: How does a living will work, and how is it different from a health care proxy?

A: A living will — also called an advance directive — spells out a patient’s wishes if he or she becomes incapacitated. Often people say they don’t want to be kept alive on breathing machines if their condition is terminal and irreversible.

A health care proxy empowers another person to make medical decisions should the patient become incapacitated.

There’s also a power-of-attorney, which authorizes another person to make financial decisions for someone who is incapacitated.

Such legal documents have become standard estate-planning tools in the last twenty years.

Q: Would the health overhaul legislation change the way people now deal with making end-of-life decisions?

A: It very well could.

Supporters of the provision say the main consequence would be to formally bring doctors into a discussion that now takes place mainly among family members and lawyers.

“When you execute a legal document with your lawyer, it ends up in your files and in the lawyer’s files,” said John Rother, a senior policy and strategy adviser for AARP. “Unless the doctor is part of this discussion, it’s unlikely that your wishes will be respected. The doctor will be the one involved in any decisions.” The American Medical Association says involving doctors is simple common sense.

“There has been a lot of misinformation about the advance care planning provisions in the bill,” AMA President Dr. James Rohack said in a statement. “It’s plain, old-fashioned medical care.”

Q: So why are some people upset?

Some social conservatives say stronger language is needed to protect seniors from being pressured into signing away their rights to medical treatment in a moment of depression or despair.

The National Right to Life Committee opposes the provision as written.

“I’m not aware of ‘death panels’ in the bill,” said David O’Steen, executive director of the group. “I’m not aware of anything that says you will be hauled before a government bureaucrat. But we are concerned … it doesn’t take a lot to push a vulnerable person — perhaps unwittingly — to give up their right to life-sustaining treatment.” The White House says it is countering false claims with a “reality check” page on its Web site, http://www.whitehouse.gov.


Bueller?

August 8, 2009

Poor ol’ Ben Stein: the former Nixon speechwriter, (supposed) comedian and self-proclaimed genius, has been canned from his business columnist post at the New York Times for violations of the paper’s ethics guidelines. He’s been hawking “free” credit reports for freescore.com – the kind of reputable company who’s idea of “free” will cost you around $79.

I suppose, the doddering putz will just have to go back to making crappy movies and trying to convince people that a modern understanding of biology will turn you into Nazi.

Wooooow.


Pray away the gay

August 7, 2009

The psychological community has over the years tolerated some patently ridiculous practices and movements at its fringes – transpersonal psychology, for instance, or cartharsis and primal scream therapy (and don’t even get me started on Alcoholics Anonymous) – but they’ve finally put their foot down on the absurd notion that homosexuality can be “cured” through therapy.

From the AP:

The American Psychological Association declared Wednesday that mental health professionals should not tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments.

Instead, the APA urged therapists to consider multiple options — that could range from celibacy to switching churches — for helping clients whose sexual orientation and religious faith conflict.

In a resolution adopted on a 125-to-4 vote by the APA’s governing council, and in a comprehensive report based on two years of research, the 150,000-member association put itself firmly on record in opposition of so-called “reparative therapy” which seeks to change sexual orientation.

No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the report, and some research suggests that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.

Religious entities like Exodus International have been making wild claims about this kind of “therapy” for years, causing undue guilt and psychological damage to countless homosexuals laboring fruitlessly to reconcile their religious beliefs with their innate desires – not to mention the harm perpetrated by the underlying belief that homosexuality is an ailment that needs to be “cured” in the first place.

The APA’s stance will likely have little impact in the community that promotes these ideas, but at least they have clearly distanced the field of psychology from this dangerous nonsense.


Dingbats 2: Return of the Birthers

August 4, 2009

New shocking birther “evidence“:

Obama’s “Kenyan birth certificate” actually belongs to David Jeffrey Bomford, born in South Australia in April 1959. The image was most likely obtained through a Google image search and then photoshopped. Mr. Bomford had this to say on the matter:

“That is ridiculous. Little old person in Adelaide, the President of the United States. I don’t know whether to laugh about it or not, be worried about it,” Bomford said. “It is interesting, someone from here being involved in a conspiracy — that is so funny …. It’s definitely a copy of my certificate. It’s so laughable it’s ridiculous.”

There is a very solid debunking of the technical issues of the forged certificate by Steve Eddy at Koyaan’s Weblog. Also, I again recommend the Snopes.com coverage of the isse. They have updated their info to cover the new kookiness.

Bill Maher had a great little rant about this the other night on “Real Time”, pointing out that no matter stupid and manical this “issue” is, people have to keep standing up to it and pointing out its absurdity or it could turn into another Whitewater. That’s the trick with the American public that every huckster has long caught onto: repeat something enough times and no matter how completely friggin’ inane it is, a lot of people are going to buy it.

“Little pink houses for you and me…”