Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 10.16

On October 16, 1869, the Cardiff Giant, an allegedly petrified-corpse of a giant, was “discovered.” Of course, it was all a hoax, but the backstory is pretty interesting.

Mary

Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

Related Articles

147 Comments

  1. If you want to have more fun with the dating video, turn on closed captioning (make sure you select English (or whatever language you want) and then sit back and watch the fun in the subtitles. Google’s speech recognition leaves a little to be desired.

  2. Mary

    So throughout much of human history, people believed that there were human/beast hybrids that came about because men impregnated barnyard animals. I wonder what they thought the resulting offspring were supposed to look like. No seriously, if they looked no different than any other barnyard animal, what on earth gave anyone including Thomas Aquinas the idea that such a thing was possible? After all, there’s never has been a recorded case of a woman giving birth to a human/beast hybrid in all of human history, and don’t think that happened in the Bible.

  3. Mary, damn it!
    You still haven’t clearly labeled yourself as a Communist, I mean, liberal and you have the audacity to include a link to a study that shows how the fruits of libertarian ideas cost us all more money. HOW DARE YOU!
    I demand a retraction or something… The facts are biased… Gawker is notoriously liberal… Berkley, HA!…

    This is exhausting, how does The Political Leanings Disclosure Team keep this up?

    1. Aw man, you saw through my clever ruse! I’ll get right on updating my bio before the others are fooled. You shouldn’t have to use your powers of deduction and skepticism, everything should just be stated plainly and obviously. Because these blog link posts are very serious business indeed. ;)

    2. Mrmisconception – love the sarcasm, I got a chuckle out of it.

      Consider how the results are phrased – fast good companies COST the taxpayers money. As if it is McDonalds fault the government sets assistance levels where they do.

      This study is the fruit of liberal ideas – you want more government, higher minimum wage, Obamacare, etc. more people indebted to and dependent upon the government for subsistence. You’re well on your way.

      I’d like to see the study take into account how many people would be laid off if the minimum wage went to where they want it, taken in conjunction with the work week requirements of Obamacare – delayed for a year for businesses, but not individuals. How many more people will be on the government dole then instead of working? My guess is it’ll cost us a lot more that 7 billion.

      1. “Obamacare – delayed for a year for businesses”

        You might want to get a new talking point. This one is getting a bit stale now. People might get the idea that you’re just regurgitating things you hear in right wing media.

      2. I am fucking stunned. I am at a loss as to how a human being could look at that study and instead of thinking “wow, they should really pay their employees enough to live on”, or even “it must really be hard to be poor”, instead thought “wow, it must be really easy to get public assistance.”

        What is what you are saying isn’t it? The problem isn’t low wages and shit benefits, it’s that the government helps too many people?

        So your solution is what? Raise the assistance level so that these freeloaders go get a second job? Or maybe they should just get an education so that they don’t need to work fast food, it should be easy enough to earn a degree on minimum wage, right? Perhaps they could just join the military so they can defend your fucked-up idea of freedom overseas, and if they make it back they can get their degree that way if the PSTD doesn’t eat them up first?

        I knew that some libertarians had a hate hard-on for workers and the poor (heaven help them if they’re in a GASP *union*) but I never realized just how fucking despicable it could be.
        How do you sleep at night?

          1. “He thinks poor people deserve to suffer and die, straight up.”

            That makes you feel better to think/say that doesn’t it? In your belief system you’re so unarguably correct that anyone who disagrees with you must, MUST, be cold heartless bastards.

            It’s been a while since I debated a creationist, but they’re as cemented in their belief system as you are. He accused me of being godless – which I am – but never suggested that I think poor people deserve to die.

          2. Actually, it’s that fact that you aren’t just a cold-hearted snake that worries me so much. That you can look at how the policies you ascribe have widened the wealth gap, dismissed the suffering, and cost all but the rich more in the long run and shrug it off without a second thought is quite frightening.

            The free market is great for pricing unneeded widgets but is worse than cruel when pricing necessities, it is down right deadly. Blind faith in the free market is more akin to creationism than trust in humans is because when the market lets your type down you right it off as “the tax cut wasn’t deep enough” or some variation on the one-bad-apple theory, when a human disappoints me I know to be more cautious and I don’t make that same mistake again. One changes with input, one doesn’t. Sound familiar?

          3. As an adult without children (and therefore I qualify for NOTHING AT ALL in my state), I am hoping that what I believe is another kidney stone doesn’t send me to the hospital until this Friday evening, or next Friday evening, otherwise it will cut into my work hours … and I don’t get sick time. Or PTO. Or health care. Basically, I get nothin’.

            So y’all cross your fingers that I don’t end up in the hospital on a Monday and lose more money I don’t have to go to the hospital.

            I have had a few medical “emergencies” over the last, say, 4 years. NOTHING that kept me in the hospital more than 4 hours at a time. NO OVER NIGHT STAYS. NOT ONE. Nothing more than some antibiotics iand pain killers and a few blood tests and one basic CT scan.

            I AM OVER TWELVE THOUSAND DOLLARS IN DEBT.

            I also have a tooth that is killing me but no hope of actually getting it taken care of because I have no money or health care, let alone dental care. Dental care in this country is a JOKE.

          4. That you can say the market is “worse than cruel when pricing necessities” suggests you have little understanding of markets – or of their alternative.

            You’re probably old enough to remember an old joke told in the Soviet Union: man goes to a car dealership to purchase a new car. The dealer tells him it will be ready 10 years from today. Guy asks the dealer if it will be ready in the morning or afternoon. The car dealer is incredulous. He asks “Why does it matter? It’s 10 years from now.” The guy says “Because the plumber is coming that morning.”

            This administration has compared the debacle that is the Obamacare rollout to Apple updating software bugs in subsequent versions. The difference is Apple developed it’s products in a free market environment, took risks, and innovated – providing value for it’s customers as well as it’s investors.

            There exists no similar incentive in the government – in fact the incentives are exactly backwards. Politicians care about one thing – re-election. They will forever and always do the thing which gives them the greatest chance of being re-elected. That will never be innovating in the health care marketplace – which Washington now owns lock stock and barrel.

            So if you’re asking yourself where the healthcare equivalent of the iPhone will come from, it won’t be from the US. Progress – true progress – is only achieved by people in a free market who are incentivized to create more and better value for the consumer.

            “Progressives” today are ill-named because they care more about conserving and expanding government control of our lives than they are about progress.

            I want Steve Jobs in charge of my health care. Or better yet, the kid sitting in his garage right now thinking up the next revolutionary idea in health care. The only problem is people like yourself have taken away that kids ability to help us.

          5. @tj902310:

            (1) I’m not asking myself where the iPhone equivalent of health care will come from. I’m asking myself why we are allowing health care to be linked to a market in the first place.
            (2) If “true progress” can only come from free markets, how did humans make progress before the rise of capitalism? This idea that all “true progress” is driven by free markets is a myth. The bow and fucking arrow, for example, were not created because of free market incentives.
            (3) Why would you want Steve Jobs in charge of your health care when he spent months trying alt-med before seeking biomedical care for his cancer, which probably contributed to his dying from it? Further, why would you put more trust in private corporations over public institutions? It’s not as if they have the cleanest record of treating people well, especially when it comes to the workforce. I am fully willing to admit that there can be problems with the public sector–why is it that libertarians like yourself can never seem to acknowledge the problems that arise in free-market economies and instead so myopically focus on the benefits? There are benefits and consequences to both public and private aspects of social life.

            Also, we don’t live in a free fucking market economy. Quit saying that. We live in a market economy that is both publicly regulated and which is controlled by a few interested parties (note: not “the people” in the economy) who make up the oligarchy of this fucked up nation.

            You are so disingenuous because you sit here saying we should compare the poor in the US (which, in your warped view is somehow a “free” economy) to Venezuela, Cuba, or Russia, as if you’re making some profound point about how poorly some socialist/communist countries treat their citizens. What about comparing the poor in the US with the poor in, say, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, or Norway? What about the authoritarian capitalist country of China? Why do you sit and pretend as if the US has some amazingly wonderful record of human rights because it’s based on a market economy?

            You live in a parallel universe completely detached or perhaps willfully ignorant of the reality of political economic systems. It’s much easier for you to run around preaching Manichean myths about free markets than to stop and actually take a look at how things operate. And yes, my comparison of libertarianism and your rhetoric with religion is intentional.

          6. What does the ACA actually address?

            You seem to be under the mistaken impression that is changes health care rather than health insurance, it doesn’t, at least not directly.
            In the current system that insurance is tied to your employer, if you are fortunate enough to work for a company that offers it and if that employer allows you to work enough hours to earn that benefit and you can still afford to pay the premiums you can get whatever health insurance that employer offers. It may be a high-deductible policy that won’t help you if you are healthy so many healthy people opt out making everybody’s premiums rise but if that young person is hurt they will be cared for because we aren’t so cruel just yet to them die in the streets.

            The problem is that the only way for your way to work to control prices is to do just that, refuse to help anyone who hasn’t paid in to the system otherwise everyone pays for the deadbeats and I know you guys hate that. I think it is ridiculous that insurance is tied to your employer making it nearly impossible to work elsewhere if you get a better offer (you know, the fucking free market that you love so much).

            Removing refusal of pre-existing conditions is a step in the right direction but it my indeed raise prices, the beauty is if enough young people join that increase would be over taken by the downward pressure from those young people actually lowering costs, only ACA allows individuals to opt out by paying a penalty, this is why we needed universal health insurance (ACA is better, not perfect). But not to fear, we could give young people an incentive to choose wisely, make it so that anyone without insurance will be refused treatment at emergency rooms, a few dead snowboarders should be enough to learn them younguns. It shouldn’t be to tough to sell since many on the right have already suggested we do the same to anyone who can’t immediately prove citizenship and since young people don’t vote Republican they could add it to their platform, what do you say? No, not that heartless yet? Well, I’m sure we could drum up some support among the tea-nutters, maybe Bachmann or Gohmert. She is pissed that the government is paying it’s bills again and he seem to think that oil pipelines are pickup joints for caribou so they would probably fall for anything.

          7. Will – seriously, the bow and arrow? Of course that’s capitalistic, so is evolution for that matter. Just as products which aren’t suited for the marketplace don’t survive long, neither do species not suited for their environment. If you’ve ever argued evolution with a creationist, you’ve argued the free market case.

            And I meant the metaphorical Steve Jobs, the guy who is going to come in and perturb the system, create something of value and change how we view something – in this case health care/insurance. Because of Obamacare, that person cannot exist.

            Corporations and governments each have their strengths and weaknesses, I agree. Where we disagree, I assume, is I prefer a weaker central government tasked with fulfilling there constitutional duties, not one involved in (or spying upon) the minutia of my everyday live. State governments can elect to do this if they wish, but the federal government, in my opinion, holds way too much power.

            And by the ‘oligarchy’ I assume you’re referencing the illuminati or some such group. I’ll grant that we have a regulated market economy, but to the extent the oligarchy control it, they do so through that very same regulation. If you want to break up that ‘oligarchy’, you can stop voting democrat if you haven’t already because they have both the health care and banking industries wrapped around their little fingers (Obamacare and Dodd-Frank).

            Businesses get big because of the marketplace. They stay big because of regulation which raises barriers of entry for potential competition.

            The US does have a very good record on human rights. Have you travelled at all?

            Love the ‘authoritarian capitalist’ characterization of China btw…as if that wasn’t a contradiction in terms. It’s either one or the other, make up your mind.

            And, as with Mrmisconception, I am beginning I believe that we do live in separate worlds. I’d be eager to debate which is based in reality, because I have no doubt I’d win that hands down.

          8. Everything is capitalism, are you fucking serious?

            So, Oprah redefines atheists out of existence and tj902310 has just proved that evolution does not exist, nope it’s all just capitalism.

            The only thing we need now is for some MRA to show up and prove that nobody has ever been a feminist and we can close up shop because shit there’s nothing left to talk about. And tj says that he is right so it must be true.

            Can you die from eyerolling?

          9. “Of course that’s capitalistic, so is evolution for that matter. Just as products which aren’t suited for the marketplace don’t survive long, neither do species not suited for their environment. If you’ve ever argued evolution with a creationist, you’ve argued the free market case.”

            First, this is a profound misunderstanding of evolutionary theory, and while my economics background is much weaker than my biology background, I think a pretty profound misunderstanding of free market economics as well. You have essentially stated the case for “social Darwinism,” an idea far past its prime. You should try reading up on criticisms of this idea, because it’s honestly a pretty stupid idea built of a large edifice of transparent logical fallacies.

            Second, you appear to be adopting the same tactic that some religious apologists sometimes take when challenged on specific theological assertions. That is, when Will and mrmisconception challenged the specific idea that free markets are the only way to produce innovation, you changed your definition of the free market to include prehistorical invention in societies with a family unit-based economic structure (Will, feel free to correct me on the anthropology) which we would not generally recognize as free markets as well as biological evolution, a phenomenon that has nothing to do with markets. This is analogous to an apologist claiming that morality comes from religion, and when presented with cases of moral atheists, trying to claim that this is not a contradiction because “God is love.” Or, see Oprah’s recent nonsense when talking to Diana Nyad. This is not an argument that people who are interested in learning the truth use, this is an argument that people who are interested in defending an idea regardless of its truth use.

          10. Exactly, fundamentally broken thinking, and yet he thinks that we are the ones that are like creationists.

            I just want to know how far back it goes, what was the currency of the newly formed universe for example? Did a particular region of the void form a committee to argue the ways to develop their particular sector before deciding to lower taxes (because it is just the natural solution donchaknow) thereby attracting the best and most hydrogen because in a few billion years they knew they would be needing gold? That is preposterous, that kind of forethought is rare in nondescript sections of nothingness and is virtually unheard of in libertarian ones.

          11. Of course there are different mechanisms at work in evolution and a free market economy. My point is that the principle is the same.

            No single entity guided evolution along, picking winner and losers. The environment did that. In the market, no one single entity picks winners and losers, the market as a whole does that.

            So as opposed to the alternative – what will and Mrmisconception are arguing for, heavily regulated markets where politicians pick winners and losers – my argument is that like evolution the cream will always rise to the top without that guiding hand.

            And before there were governments to interfere, the only kind of market we had was a free market system – although they wouldn’t have known to call it that. The bow and arrow was developed because an innovative hunter needed and more efficient way of killing food and didn’t have a government debating his or her second amendment rights at the time.

            To the extend it spread because of trade – new technology for something else of value – it did so without a government being involved in that trade (and they were unable to copyright the new device, a downside to a completely free market).

          12. If the free market economy is like evolution then it is influenced by everything good or bad, man made or natural and can be called free only because you wish it to be so no because it is.

            With that logic communism, monarchy, theocracy, and a republican democracy are no different because they are all influenced by outside forces that are actually all part of the system.

            With that thinking free market means nothing, it is a dumbass argument and it is magical thinking and you are really bad at this.

          13. One more note on evolution/free markets. This seems to be a hard leap for secular liberals to make.

            As life has evolved on this planet, progress has emerged spontaneously from the underlying complex system without a “guiding hand” (God) deciding, for example, that it wants to keep the platypus around because it looks cute.

            Progress (innovation) occurs in the same manner in a market economy, emerging spontaneously from the underlying complex order of countless daily transactions between people.

            In the former case, you reject the idea of a guiding hand. In the latter, you demand it. I’m temped again to use the word Mrmisconception doesn’t like, because it fits so well here.

          14. Progress (innovation) occurs in the same manner in a market economy, emerging spontaneously from the underlying complex order of countless daily transactions between people.

            That is a stunning misunderstanding of evolution.

          15. Mrmisconception – I think you need to take some time and think about what I’ve written, if I’m so stunningly wrong then it should be easy for you to demonstrate that fact. You have no problem spilling words unto the page when you’re talking about what an immoral asshole I am – take some time to educate me.

            Everything good, bad, or ugly DOES influence the market. Any complex system (the environment, evolution, etc.) is influenced by innumerable factors and the end result (or various interim results) is extremely hard if not impossible to calculate.

            And just like we can influence (but not control) the environment, we can influence (but not control) the market without running into likely adverse unintended consequences. The problem of unknowable market knowledge is what has plagued every socialistic attempt to control production since the dawn of time.

            There’s a great essay called I, Pencil. I suggest you read that a few times (it’s short) to get a feel for what I’m talking about.

            http://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/rdPncl1.html

          16. The free market can only deal with things that have prices. If something is unpriced, then the free market is unable to take it into account.

            That is why Libertarians are all climate change deniers. A free market can’t deal with unpriced externalities such as the cost of putting CO2 in the atmosphere so free market Libertarians simply deny that there is such a thing. Same with all other costs.

            The Libertarian philosophy is really “privatize profits and socialize costs”. Except that doesn’t work in the long term.

          17. Evolution is not progressive. Read and try to understand this: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolphil/teleology.html . Seriously, this is a really important point irrespective of any political differences we may have. If you keep repeating the canard of progressive evolution, you are doing harm to the public understanding of science.

            You are insisting on using a non-standard definition of “free market economy.” I think maybe you got so distracted by the word “free” you forgot to move on to “market.” Wikipedia’s entry is pretty good, read and try to understand it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_economy . Markets are systems of “investment, production, and distribution,” not invention. In fact, unregulated free markets stifle invention, because the intellectual labor of innovators is easily devalued by imitators: this is why we have patents. The inventor of the bow and arrow was not participating in a free market, she was developing a tool for her personal use to solve a survival problem for herself and her family. In family-unit societies of the sort she presumably lived in, there is certainly an economy, but it is not market-based. (Again, I invite anthropologists to correct me if I’m getting anything wrong.) If you continue to insist that this is somehow an example of free market economics in action, you should be prepared to have your arguments dismissed by those who understand what that term means.

          18. biogeo – at least you understand how to argue. I’ll grant your point that I used the term “progress” in relation to evolution a little loosely. However in my layman’s mind the fact that we’re having a discussion about whether or not evolution has been progressive instead of being unconscious single celled organisms bumbling into each other in the primordial ooze is a sign of some form of progress.

            I’ll not grant your other points as lightly however. You are correct that an unregulated market without copyright/patent laws will stifle, to some extent, invention (it’s the extent which is arguable, and the benefits/costs thereof). However you’re exactly backwards on invention.

            By necessity players in the marketplace are forced to innovate to gain or maintain an edge over their competition. Where do you think part of that investment capital goes? When Steve Jobs decided to create the iPod, he invested valuable Apple money, time, and energy into creating a product no one was sure would sell (and despite the patents it was quickly copied anyway).

            Wal-Mart achieved it’s position of dominance through innovation in supply chain management.

            All of this invention was driven by market forces. The market isn’t come static enterprise, it’s constantly evolving and progressing to better, more efficient things (and here I think the term “progress” is apt).

            Last point – neither of is currently live in a hunter/gatherer society (I don’t think), so we’re both inferring what went on when the bow and arrow was invented. But there did exist within these societies a market for goods and services – even though no money changed hands. Some performed the service of hunting in exchange for others performing the service of child care. Some fought battles with neighboring tribes while others cooked meals. This was likely a regulated market in that those roles were assigned based on gender and perhaps performed under the direction of a leader.

            When the spear or atlatl proved increasingly inefficient or dangerous, an innovative hunter developed the bow and arrow. We don’t know if the tribal leader directed that type of research and development and/or used tribal resources to fund it – that could have happened. It’s also likely that some hunter decided “Hey, there’s got to be a better way…”

            And it’s likely that the first time the bow and arrow was used in battle, the other side said “Hey that’s a pretty damn good weapon. We should make some of those.” Which led to patent infringement (before the term was coined).

            My point is that anytime you willfully exchange a good or service you participate in a “market” whether you understand that concept or not. And undoubtedly the desire to innovate and do something better/faster/easier is driven by market forces – even the desire to create the bow and arrow (less time hunting, more food, more time to spend with the wife and kids, etc.).

        1. If you look at McDonald’s P&L sheet, in 2012 they made well over $5 billion in profit.

          http://www.gurufocus.com/financials/MCD

          Thus McDonald’s could “afford” (in a strictly profit/loss sense) to pay its workers the $1.2 billion the link says that McDonald’s workers “cost” the US in government assistance.

          Is the service that McDonald’s provides to the economy worth this kind of subsidy?

          1. This is in response to your climate change comment above.

            I do not deny that climate changes. I do not deny the earth has warmed in the last 100 years. I do not deny humans are partly to blame for that increase.

            However (you knew that was coming), I have decreasing confidence in climate scientists’ ability to predict with any amount of certainty how the climate will respond to increased CO2 levels going forward. Nearly all of the predictions so far have been wrong. Nearly all of the climate models are running hotter than observations. And the net effect, according to science, of climate change this far has been positive (according to Professor Tol in a new paper, published as a chapter in a new book, called How Much have Global Problems Cost the World?).

            I’m also confident that the environmental left has it’s priorities way out of whack – if carbon is the enemy, why not champion natural gas and nuclear power? And why spend so much time and energy on a possible future calamity 80 years hence when there are so many actual current problems to deal with.

            So does that make me a denier? Or do I have to agree with every talking point Greenpeace issues on this subject before you’ll not label me a denier?

        2. First of all, you’re conferring arguments upon me which I haven’t made. I never made a value judgement about the level of government assistance, I only noted the phrasing of the study.

          Second of all, I know you think you have the moral high ground in a debate like this, because you “care”, but in reality the policies you support hurt more people than they help.

          Let’s look at Detroit for a moment. Governed exclusively by liberals for 60 years, it should by now be a utopia for the poor and downtrodden. It’s anything but.

          Let’s look at unemployment under Obama – where he said it would be with the stimulus and where it is. Then look at black unemployment under the first black president.

          Let’s look at how many business are laying people off, closing plants, or cutting workers hours because of Obamacare.

          Look at government spending under this administration and how much debt we’ve incurred. We’re going to start running out of other peoples money very soon.

          You “care” about everything except the end results, because caring is all that matters.

          You should be the one laying awake at night. I sleep just fine.

          1. No value judgement huh?

            As if it is McDonalds fault the government sets assistance levels where they do.

            Did someone else slip this little bon mot into your post?

            I know I have the moral high ground in this debate because morals are not a concern of the free market, in fact they are seen as hindrances and “in reality the policies you support hurt more people than they help” is simply a bald faced assertion with no proof. Typical.

            What has happened to Detriot has also happened to other manufacturing centers in this countries because of outsourcing (not a liberal policy) and it was especial profound in cities where those who could fled and left only the poorest behind. The auto industry sent a lot of jobs elsewhere for years and NAFTA put that in fast forward, Ross Perot was quite right about that sucking sound of jobs leaving. Gary, Indiana is in as bad of shape as Detroit because steel is made in China now, not because it has a liberal government.

            So the economic crater left by the deregulation of banks, the resultant meltdown, the bi=partisan bailout, and the constant digging by the right since has nothing to do with employment numbers? Nope, all the president’s fault. And I don’t care what excuses business people are giving for fucking workers over, Obamacare hasn’t had long enough to have any real impact so this simply another excuse to do what they wanted to do anyway.

            The deficit is smaller now, the debt is growing slower than it has in 10 years and you just proved that you are not willing to use skepticism of the think-tank numbers.

            Now that you’ve show yourself to be a cartoon villain, don’t just stand there twirling your mustache, there’s an orphanage somewhere that needs foreclosing. Be gone, really.

          2. Mrmisconception – we’re both writing in English, and I understand your argument, but you refuse to acknowledge or understand mine.

            A free market is concerned with whatever the people in that marketplace are concerned with. Full stop.

            If the people in that marketplace have morals as you define them, then the goods on sale in that marketplace will reflect that.

            For example – the environmental left has convinced people that “local produce” are somehow better than non-local produce. Grocery stores have subsequently changed their buying and marketing to reflect this change. No government intervention required.

            And I have you proof – Detroit! You can blame outsourcing or NAFTA if that makes you feel better, but what it amounts to is competition. Detroit felt it was more important to guarantee union jobs and huge pensions than it was to innovate and incentivize businesses to stay. That’s a failure in governance – a liberal failure. Color it how you want but there have been no Tea Party politicians in power in Detroit for 60 years.

            The deficit has been around a trillion dollars every year since Obama took office. Tell me that’s not a problem, and tell that’s smaller than when Bush left office (show me ANY president who had higher deficits). Please, show me the non-partisan think tank who will argue that point.

            I appreciate the fact that you’ve lived unchallenged in your thinking for a very long time. You live comfortably in a world where libertarians, republicans, or just about everyone else who disagrees with you are the villains (cartoon villains at that). No doubt you’d fit in well somewhere like Venezuela or Cuba or Russia. I challenge you to look at the income disparity – not between the rich and poor here in the US, but between the poor here and the poor there. Perhaps it would change your thinking a little.

            But then again…I doubt it.

          3. It IS good the be the king – and in a leftist socialist society the kings are those faithful few who live and preach the ‘correct’ gospel.

            If you lived in Venezuela or Cuba or China, as one of the party faithful no doubt you’d have the riches you seek, while those of us who disagree with you are harassed or thrown in jail or worse.

            And for the record the US is no utopia – but have you travelled much? I’d choose this country over any other in the world.

          4. Will used the word oligarchy for a reason. The leftist socialist societies you dismissed as liberalism=bad ARE oligarchies. I could say I’m a prokaryote. It doesn’t make me one. Any country could say it’s socialist; it doesn’t make it true.

            As for your last paragraph, I’d rather eat dirt than shit, but it doesn’t mean there’s nothing good in shit.

  4. Is anyone familiar enough with Thomas Aquinas to point me to where he said that “prodigies could also be conceived through sex with atheists” as Bering claims? I found a similar quote by someone else named Ambroise Pare, but he actually said that atheists have sex with animals and so produce prodigies. The quote was in a section of a book that also quoted Aquinas, so I can see where the confusion could arise.

  5. google article was a bit tabloid-like. Starting right away saying that the idea to use your name and picture in adverts “came to light” when it actually was google who announced it and made sure the updated ToS message was visible when you search.

    1. Exactly, it showed up as a notice at the top of Google on each computer I use until I clicked okay.
      We give our information away and then complain that someone has our information, going so far as to call it evil.
      I don’t necessarily like how my info is being used but it seem strange to blame the people I actually gave permission to for using it.

  6. @tj902310:

    Will – seriously, the bow and arrow?

    Yes, seriously the bow and fucking arrow. You made the claim that ALL TRUE PROGRESS is driven by FREE MARKET ECONOMIES. I pointed out one of myriad examples of human progress in technology that occurred BEFORE THERE WERE MARKET ECONOMIES.

    Of course that’s capitalistic, so is evolution for that matter. Just as products which aren’t suited for the marketplace don’t survive long, neither do species not suited for their environment. If you’ve ever argued evolution with a creationist, you’ve argued the free market case.

    Do you even know what capitalism is? Capitalism is when the means of production is owned by private individuals/companies rather than the public/governments, and who use those means of production to create a monetary profit. If you look at the political-economic organization of foraging (hunter/gatherer) groups who organize(d) in what anthropologists call band societies, the only way human beings subsisted and organized on the planet until about 10,000 – 12,000 years ago, they mostly (there may be some exceptions) do not believe in ownership of material goods. They are small extended kin networks and share most of their goods with each other. How, therefore, is it possibly capitalism when their entire political organization is kin-based and their subsistence strategy is not market-based but is foraging? You are re-defining capitalism as to evacuate it of all meaning. Capitalism involves accumulation of capital, wage labor systems, and markets, and has only been around for perhaps 400ish years. Homo sapiens has been around for 150,000 – 200,000 years. So you will have to excuse me if I think the claim that ALL HUMAN PROGRESS IS DUE TO CAPITALISM is complete horseshit because it doesn’t match up with what we actually know about human political-economic activity over the last 200,000 years.

    Also, your comparison of evolution with free markets is hilariously stupid. Especially since I can make the argument, in the vein of Jonathan Marks, that human evolution has always been regulated by culture.

    And I meant the metaphorical Steve Jobs, the guy who is going to come in and perturb the system, create something of value and change how we view something – in this case health care/insurance. Because of Obamacare, that person cannot exist.

    LOL. I don’t think you even know what is IN the ACA.

    Corporations and governments each have their strengths and weaknesses, I agree. Where we disagree, I assume, is I prefer a weaker central government tasked with fulfilling there constitutional duties, not one involved in (or spying upon) the minutia of my everyday live. State governments can elect to do this if they wish, but the federal government, in my opinion, holds way too much power.

    WOW. Talk about an inflated ego!! The government has no interest WHATSOEVER in the minutia of your everyday life. What a completely asinine thing to think. It’s also a contradictory argument that you make. Why is it that you feel state governments are fine but federal governments are not? Why not a smaller scale than state governments? Why not local? And then, why is that okay and not neighborhood? And then street? And then each house making its own decisions for itself? And then each person within a house making their own decisions? Why not completely unfettered individual freedom???? You fucking communist who believes in BIG STATE GOVERNMENTS CONTROLLING EVERYTHING!

    And by the ‘oligarchy’ I assume you’re referencing the illuminati or some such group. I’ll grant that we have a regulated market economy, but to the extent the oligarchy control it, they do so through that very same regulation. If you want to break up that ‘oligarchy’, you can stop voting democrat if you haven’t already because they have both the health care and banking industries wrapped around their little fingers (Obamacare and Dodd-Frank).

    By the oligarchy, I mean exactly the damn definition of it: the power in the US effectively rests in the hands of a few people/corporations. This is not some term I made up, you fucking tool. And I never claimed that the Democrats are not part of the problem.

    Businesses get big because of the marketplace. They stay big because of regulation which raises barriers of entry for potential competition.

    This is hilarious and highlights your complete lack of understanding of how our political-economic system works.

    The US does have a very good record on human rights. Have you travelled at all?

    I have traveled to many places across the globe, yes. I also live in a society where I am denied rights because I’m queer. I live in a society where people have until now been unable to get access to basic health care. I live in a society where there is systemic discrimination in place. I live in a society where workers are getting poorer and the few who own the means of production are getting wealthier because of the circumstances they were born into that gave them access to certain opportunities not afforded to others.

    Sure, comparatively, the US isn’t as horrible as many other places in the world. But you paint this picture as if the US is the greatest most equal and socially mobile place on the planet, and that’s simply not the case–and, at least economically, we are moving further and further away from that ideal.

    Love the ‘authoritarian capitalist’ characterization of China btw…as if that wasn’t a contradiction in terms. It’s either one or the other, make up your mind.

    It’s not a contradiction in terms, it’s an actual thing. And China is considered one of the best contemporary examples. But go ahead and laugh at me and try to make it seem like I’m the one who is making all this up. So far, all you’ve done is demonstrate a complete lack of knowledge about political-economic systems, including your beloved capitalism.

    And, as with Mrmisconception, I am beginning I believe that we do live in separate worlds. I’d be eager to debate which is based in reality, because I have no doubt I’d win that hands down.

    Okay, so so far I’ve provided links and explanations of why the things I’ve said are true and fair rebuttals against you. So far, you’ve made arguments from indignation (“OLIGARCHY??? LOL WHAT A STUPID WORD YOU MADE UP! CONSPIRACY THEORIST!”). You do not seem to have any grasp of the most basic of concepts concerning political-economic systems. You do not demonstrate any understanding of what capitalism is or how it works (or evolution for that matter despite all your lip-flapping in other comments about that), you laugh at word “oligarchy,” you call “authoritarian capitalism” a contradiction in terms because in your mind capitalism is the same thing as a free market, but that’s simply not the case.

    In order for you to win the argument that your bullshit comments are based in reality and the rest of us aren’t, you’re going to have to study up on some of your basic terminologies and concepts first. Otherwise, you’re simply doing exactly what creationists do, which is argue from ignorance.

    1. Will – you seem to have some anger issues so I won’t return any of the insults you flung at me.

      Instead I’ll start off with where you are correct. You’re right, authoritarian capitalism is indeed a term – which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a contradiction in terms. Tom Friedman aside, whatever success china has seen in recent years is almost certainly fleeting as they, as with every other authoritarian society in history, will eventually collapse.

      Now to where you’re wrong.

      I did not claim that all true progress is driven by free market economies. I said that markets incentivize innovation and innovation is not something politicians are concerned with.

      I did not make any claims about human evolution specifically – so if you think my analogy is ‘hilariously stupid’ you’ll have to come up with another reason because the citation you provided doesn’t make your case.

      On Obamacare – if the debate class you took in high school gave points for “LOL” as an argument, I think I would have done better at your school. That doesn’t count as a refutation of my point.

      My reference to the illuminati was a joke, an attempt to lighten the mood. Didn’t work. I think we can find some room for agreement here because there is, specifically in the banking industry, concentrated power in the hands of a few people. But where we disagree I think is that I believe liberal policies will keep in there (I.e. Dodd-Frank).

      And if I have no understanding of how our political-economic system works, then it should be easy for you to explain it to me right? I’ll count that as another LOL and a missed opportunity to refute my point.

      “I live in a society where people have until now been unable to get access to basic health care.” This is pure, grade A, bull. Absolutely untrue. If you add “for free” or “at the expense of others” to the end of that sentence, then it would be correct. Access to health CARE was ubiquitous before Obama (B.O. in the liberal dating system). A.O. we now have a universal guarantee of health insurance – although for those unfortunate, healthy, young people it will cost significantly more.

      Try being queer in Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc. you’ll find out quickly how tolerant the US actually is. Try being poor in India and you’ll find out how well off our poor are. Intolerance and racism are rampant in most parts of the world. The US is, thankfully, an oasis of sanity.

      To sum up, one of the citations you provided furthered your argument while the rest didn’t. You scored two LOLs which equate to non-arguments of my point. A couple misreadings of my arguments. And one where we’re not too far apart.

      Tell me again who’s comments are bull?

      1. Will – you seem to have some anger issues so I won’t return any of the insults you flung at me.

        I’m not angry. I find you mildly annoying. I really don’t give a shit if you try to insult me or not.

        Instead I’ll start off with where you are correct. You’re right, authoritarian capitalism is indeed a term – which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a contradiction in terms.

        Shifting goalposts, I see. You said it’s a contradiction in terms and I MUST MAKE UP MY MIND TO HAVE ONE OR THE OTHER. No, I don’t. It’s a perfectly useful term to describe certain kinds of economies in the world. Further, I disagree that it is a contradiction in terms because I see capitalism more broadly than you appear to. You seem to think the only kind of capitalism that exists is free-market capitalism (which, by the way, I’m unaware of a single market economy that is a completely free economy. All market economies are regulated in some way by states). Authoritarian capitalism simply means a heavy hand in the regulation of market economies, and there can be various levels of state or private ownership of the means of production within those economies. There is not one monolithic CAPITALISM that is the same everywhere.

        Tom Friedman aside, whatever success china has seen in recent years is almost certainly fleeting as they, as with every other authoritarian society in history, will eventually collapse.

        Non sequitur.

        I did not claim that all true progress is driven by free market economies. I said that markets incentivize innovation and innovation is not something politicians are concerned with.

        Revisionist history is fun! What you said was: “Progress – true progress – is only achieved by people in a free market who are incentivized to create more and better value for the consumer.” Those are your own words! That statement reads as “all true progress is driven by consumers in free market economies.” If you’d like to backpedal from that comment, fine, but don’t fucking try to gaslight me.

        I did not make any claims about human evolution specifically – so if you think my analogy is ‘hilariously stupid’ you’ll have to come up with another reason because the citation you provided doesn’t make your case.

        I never said you made “specific” claims about human evolution. You made various claims about evolution and markets both being driven by natural selection, and I made the comment that at least with humans there is a REGULATORY FORCE in place, i.e., culture, as a tongue-in-cheek way of pointing out the absurdity of your analogy. Others have already thoroughly taken apart your horrid analogy of markets and evolution, so I’ll leave it there.

        On Obamacare – if the debate class you took in high school gave points for “LOL” as an argument, I think I would have done better at your school. That doesn’t count as a refutation of my point.

        I wasn’t trying to refute a point because you didn’t make a point. You just strung together a bunch of words that were hilarious in their complete vacuity.

        My reference to the illuminati was a joke, an attempt to lighten the mood. Didn’t work.

        This sounds like post hoc reasoning to try to excuse your illustrated ignorance of the concept of oligarchy.

        And if I have no understanding of how our political-economic system works, then it should be easy for you to explain it to me right? I’ll count that as another LOL and a missed opportunity to refute my point.

        What do you think this whole thread has been? And it’s not my job to educate you, you’re not one of my students. Go take a fucking economic anthropology class and learn something for a change.

        “I live in a society where people have until now been unable to get access to basic health care.” This is pure, grade A, bull. Absolutely untrue. If you add “for free” or “at the expense of others” to the end of that sentence, then it would be correct. Access to health CARE was ubiquitous before Obama (B.O. in the liberal dating system). A.O. we now have a universal guarantee of health insurance – although for those unfortunate, healthy, young people it will cost significantly more.

        As someone who actually studies health care disparities in the United States, I can say with 100 percent certainty that you are absolutely, utterly, completely incorrect. Before the ACA, people could get health care for free and at the expense of others by going to the emergency room if they didn’t have insurance (and people will still continue to do this, except now people who do not have insurance will be fined to help offset these costs). Now, they will be able to afford insurance through state or federal insurance markets (hey, don’t you LIKE MARKETS????). The reason there is an individual mandate is exactly so that people will spread the risk around (and it should help reduce costs). Insurance through ACA is on a sliding scale and there are tax rebates for people who cannot afford it. I know for myself the insurance through the federal government exchange (because Texas did not set it up at the state level) is about half the cost of the insurance offered through my university.

        So, just as I thought, you have no idea what is in the ACA or how it will affect people. You’ve been listening to some FOX News talking heads for so long that you can’t see out of your own ass.

        Try being queer in Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc. you’ll find out quickly how tolerant the US actually is. Try being poor in India and you’ll find out how well off our poor are. Intolerance and racism are rampant in most parts of the world. The US is, thankfully, an oasis of sanity.

        Did you seriously just pull a “Dear Muslima” on me? And an oasis of sanity? Have you been paying attention to our country for the past two weeks???

        1. Yep, he’s a disingenuous little shit who is more worried about defending his selfish ideology than actually listening to people. I personally am done with him, he has shown no interest in arguing in good faith since his first utterances demanding that this place be labeled as liberal least the common folk stray in here and accidentally think that we are rational.

          Oh and tj, this is the last thought I will waste on you. You have spouted fallacy after fallacy, whined about the level of debate (while refusing to actually debate), and yet you still feel you are right and if us crazy liberals would only see reason we would agree with you. This is a losing proposition as we use more than one source for our news and think that peoples’ feeling are actually important. Please, go argue for your selfish policies somewhere else, I think you would be happier as you are not going to change any minds here, especially with such piss-poor arguments.

          Everyone, I say we ignore this fool, it’s what he deserves.

          1. My favorite part was when he tried to school an anthropologist on anthropology. Or maybe when he insulted everyone and then acted like he’d scored imaginary points by making people angry.
            I expect the lies and fabrications and dissembling, boring, but this dude’s funny! He should take it on the road. It’s not often you see this level of pig headed self righteous ignorant lying arrogance outside television punditry.
            It’s impressive.

          2. Do you remember that Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror episode where Lisa sang a song about ignoring the monsters so they’ll go away?

            “Just don’t look! Just don’t look!”

            For some reason, I have that stuck in my head now.

          3. Mrmisconception – myself and biogeo have engaged in a debate. Will and I have also to some extent, although like you he chooses to go for personal attacks instead of debate way too quickly.

            I have argued logically and haven’t used a single fallacy.

            But that’s not what’s interesting about your comment. You first say “we use more than one source for our news” indicating a willingness to open your mind to other viewpoints (although I suspect for you it’s kind of like someone who listens to both kinds of music, country and western).

            Then you tell me to go somewhere else because your minds are closed.

            So which is it?

            Can you rationally debate someone who opposes your views? Or does the mere existence of someone who holds my views give you the willies (you said something similar in another thread, that you have no interest in debating someone of my kind).

            BTW – add one more case to the Mrmisconception is being unskeptical file: “you are not going to change any minds here.” Sounds like something a creationist would say, doesn’t it?

            And one more time – if I have such piss poor arguments, it should be easy for you to refute all of them. Instead you go for the ad hominum attacks. Why?

          4. Why am I so angry? Hmm, let’s see. Oh, I know it’s shit like this.

            Am I biased against the ACA? Of course, I think it’s a national tragedy that will damage our health care industry for a generation or more.

            A national tragedy is that? Like the EPA was? Because fiscal conservatives like you saw that as the death knell for the US economy, just like the Civil Rights Act was before that and the FDA before that. In fact, every time that any legislation is proposed that might in any way get in the way of businessmen grabbing all the filthy lucre they can get their grubby hands on it is called the end of the American way of life. But yet time and time again these programs that are derided work to make society more humaine and actually help boost the economy as a by product, whether it’s the federal income tax, child labor laws, OSHA, anti trust legislation, minimum wage, social security, medicare, and the list goes on and on and on. Yet the prediction is always made with the hopes that everyone will forget about the previous failures, just like second-rate psychics.

            You will notice that some of these were actually introduced by the Republican Party before they were under the stranglehold of plutocrats.

            Oh, and this one’s a hoot.

            I have argued logically and haven’t used a single fallacy.

            Saying this with all of those fallacies all up in your business is rather funny, I’ll give you that.

            So yes, I got angrier than I should have and called you a couple of names. I do apologize for that but I will point out that I was provoked and that this is not debate club, we aren’t “playing for points”.

        2. Both you and Mrmisconception feel the need to attack me personally – it would be interesting to explore the psychological reasoning for that.

          Despite the volume of words you’ve contributed to this comment section, you’ve declined to offer a counter argument to any of my points – except Obamacare which I’ll get to in a moment. I am, indeed, not one of your students. But I think you should be one of mine.

          On Obamacare – your original statement (your words) was: “I live in a society where people have until now been unable to get access to basic health care.” After I said that was untrue, you then stated: “Before the ACA, people could get health care for free and at the expense of others by going to the emergency room.”

          So based on your own words your original statement was incorrect and I was 100% correct.

          Second – if I sound like a FOX news anchor, you sound like a Think Progress stooge. The reason the individual mandate exists is so that young, healthy people can offset the costs of the older, sicker part of the population. Without the younger generation enrolled in the exchanges (by force) the entire scheme collapses. The “fine” isn’t enforceable – people can choose not to pay it with no repercussions. And if you’ve already signed up for Obamacare through the exchanges you’re one of the few who has been able to, and you must be in the older, sicker part of the population if your premiums are 50% lower – meaning someone else is subsidizing the cost of your insurance.

          Am I biased against the ACA? Of course, I think it’s a national tragedy that will damage our health care industry for a generation or more. But you should acknowledge your own biases as well.

          And the dear Muslima crap is seriously getting old. You must have some serious animosity toward the US if you can’t acknowledge that we have been the major force in the world for peace, tolerance, and human rights in the last 100 years.

          1. “You must have some serious animosity toward the US if you can’t acknowledge that we have been the major force in the world for peace, tolerance, and human rights in the last 100 years.” tj902310

            Did you type that with a straight face?

          2. This is the last time I’ll respond to you because it’s beginning to get tiresome to argue with someone who ignores half of what I write and then accuses me of not providing responses.

            Both you and Mrmisconception feel the need to attack me personally – it would be interesting to explore the psychological reasoning for that.

            The psychological reasoning for that is because you’re dumber than a box of hair, and keep saying things like I haven’t offered any counter arguments in this thread except that I have offered NUMEROUS counterarguments and you just ignore them. That’s not arguing in good faith, and that’s why I psychologically reasoned that you’re a fucking dipshit.

            I am, indeed, not one of your students. But I think you should be one of mine.

            It is to laugh.

            On Obamacare – your original statement (your words) was: “I live in a society where people have until now been unable to get access to basic health care.” After I said that was untrue, you then stated: “Before the ACA, people could get health care for free and at the expense of others by going to the emergency room.”

            See the comment by daedalus2u on 10/19 @ 5:45 pm below for response to this.

            People go to the ER for emergent care, not for basic health care. If you notice in the two statements you quoted above, one says “basic health care” and one says “health care.” In particular, part of “basic health care” is the inclusion of preventative health care, which is not what is sought out in ERs.

            So based on your own words your original statement was incorrect and I was 100% correct.

            Nope. Based on your own words, you don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about because you’re too blinded by ideology to figure out the most basic of issues surrounding health care.

            The reason the individual mandate exists is so that young, healthy people can offset the costs of the older, sicker part of the population. Without the younger generation enrolled in the exchanges (by force) the entire scheme collapses.

            That is part of spreading around the risk, yes. Why is this a problem? Same thing happens with Social Security. Part of living in a society with a safety net is spreading around the risk. Also, many young people can get insurance through their employers still, so nothing is really changing for them. For those of us who are getting insurance through the exchanges, there will come a day when we need that insurance, too, and we will be glad it’s there. See, the basic difference between our worldviews is that yours is totally and fully selfish whereas I actually don’t mind sharing the risk with other human beings and doing what I can to be helpful for others. I don’t mind paying my taxes (even though I get paid crap), I don’t mind paying into a health exchange when I’m healthy so that other people who are less healthy can get the care they need. None of that is frightening or bothersome to me. And I’m always so perplexed by people who are so selfish like you are.

            The “fine” isn’t enforceable – people can choose not to pay it with no repercussions.

            Okay, so why is it a problem then??? If it’s not enforceable, then why do you care if there is a mandate if NOTHING WILL HAPPEN to people who don’t sign up? Just don’t sign up! Problem fucking solved for you.

            And if you’ve already signed up for Obamacare through the exchanges you’re one of the few who has been able to, and you must be in the older, sicker part of the population if your premiums are 50% lower – meaning someone else is subsidizing the cost of your insurance.

            Nope, I am in my early 30s and I am in good health. My premiums are lower because my university pays me shit (have you seen what adjunct instructors are paid??) and rips me off on insurance. My insurance through my university was about $350 per month, and it will be around $175 per month through the exchange (that’s before a subsidy, which I probably won’t even apply for). Oh, and the insurance is only available to me if I teach a certain amount of classes–so, for example, I am only teaching one class this semester so I am not eligible for insurance through my university.

            Am I biased against the ACA? Of course, I think it’s a national tragedy that will damage our health care industry for a generation or more. But you should acknowledge your own biases as well.

            You have not given any evidence for how the ACA will damage our health care industry. All you’ve said is that you think it means the government is in charge of health care now when you’d rather have “Steve Jobs” in charge of it, which clearly demonstrates your cluelessness as to what the ACA actually involves.

            My biases are towards data. You have not given any data, and all of the data I have seen (academic and otherwise) says the exact opposite of what you’re saying. I also look at health care in other countries besides the US, and people all over the world are healthier and happier than the US. The chronic stress of lacking funds for basic health care contributes to health disparities that will be lightened when people can afford to go to the doctor. No amount of arguing you do will convince me that the integrity of capitalistic markets is more important than people’s health.

            And the dear Muslima crap is seriously getting old. You must have some serious animosity toward the US if you can’t acknowledge that we have been the major force in the world for peace, tolerance, and human rights in the last 100 years.

            Yeah, the Dear Muslima crap is getting old, so stop fucking doing it.

            And I can’t even about the nonsense about the US being a beacon of peace, tolerance, and human rights around the world for the last 100 years considering the amount of wars we’ve started, the number of times we’ve propped up fucked up governments that have killed millions of people, that we are holding people in Cuba who should not be there, that we bomb villages and kill civilians in our wars, and so on and so forth. There’s a lot of great things about the US, but a consistent record of promoting peace, tolerance, and human rights is not one of them.

          3. Access to basic health care was ubiquitous before the ACA. Full stop. How it was paid for was the issue. And wasn’t one of the selling points for Obamacare the idea that people went to emergency rooms for basic care? Either way you’re trying to make the point that not everyone had health ‘insurance’ before the ACA, which nobody disputes.

            I’ve made my arguments against the ACA elsewhere – even attempted to make a wager with Mrmisconception but he wouldn’t go for it. The main reason is, the ACA, by relying on the young and healthy to subsidize the care of the old and sick – then providing no enforcement mechanism to FORCE those young and healthy into the exchanges – will eventually crumble with costs spiralling out of control. Congress can’t significantly change the “fine” or enforcement mechanism because Chief Justice Roberts found the act constitutional for that specific reason. Any change opens the door to another constitutional challenge.

            If you’re looking for better stated version of my case, see here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/20/opinion/sunday/douthat-obamacare-failing-ahead-of-schedule.html?_r=0

            On another note – you and Mrmisconception charge me with selfishness. Which, I guess, is supposed to have some argumentative purpose and/or seemlingly give you the moral high ground. However it is the policies you espouse – like Obamacare – which hurt the very people you so “compassionately” want to help. See exhibit A: Detroit.

            And if in reality you’ve both been able to sign up for Obamacare to completion and lower your premiums, I’m very surprised the administration or OFA hasn’t snatched you up and sat you down next to the president or put you in television ads. They need a win under their belt after the debacle of the last couple weeks.

            The last point is for ulgaa as well – 100 years ago the US became the first major country to give women the vote. In the years since we ended two world wars, brought an end to campaign to exterminate the Jews as well as atrocious Japanese war crimes. We stopped communist expansion on the Korean Peninsula and preserved freedom for those in the south – those in the north have not fared as well. We won the Cold War with the evil soviet empire, ultimately brining down the Berlin Wall and freeing millions of people. We’ve deposed brutal dictators around the world (while admittedly propping some up as well). We’ve helped bring down drug lords like Pablo Escobar who threatened the very social fabric of their country. We’ve exported technology, goods and services around the world, raising the standard of living of billions. We launched the most aggressive campaign to fight AIDS in Africa. And that’s just to name a few off the top of my head.

            So not only do I say it with a straight face, I say it proudly. The world today would be a fundamentally different place – and not for the better – were it not for the US.

            But this is an important point for some liberals to argue – the US HAS to be fundamentally flawed in some way in order to justify all of the government intervention you want. We’re bad. And only liberals can fix us.

            So I understand, despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, why you’ll not agree with that proposition. If everything were fine – if the government shutting down were to have little or no effect which, aside from a few Barrycades around open air monuments, it pretty much did – then what would we need liberals for?

            It’s also why you have to attack the free market because if it were possible for the market to do things better than the government, we’d have even less need for liberals.

            So I got it. If you don’t want to engage me any more, fine. I’ll continue to correct misleading or incorrect statements here though. As biogeo said, I wouldn’t want people to get the wrong information.

          4. One more point – playing the “dear Muslima” card isn’t an argument! It’s a tactic to stifle argument. I think you’re so aggravated with me that you fail to understand I’m on your side on this one. The US has a ways to go to reach the gay rights finish line, but we’re light years ahead of most of the other countries around the world. You’re bitching about a first world problem when third world problems are the norm almost everywhere else.

          5. Well, I had no Internet access for the weekend, but it looks like Will, mrmisconception, and Daedalus2u pretty much had this under control. I don’t think there’s much hope of a productive discussion beyond this point, but I did want to add a couple of thoughts.

            tj902310, you praised me for knowing how to argue. Thanks, but I don’t actually see it the same way. I tried to adapt my rhetorical style to yours, but that’s a choice I made and others have no responsibility to reach out to you in that way. Others’ arguments are no less valid (or invalid) for being couched in a different style, and if you really want to have a good faith discussion with people, you need to be prepared to meet them halfway. In fact, if you really try to analyze the arguments beneath the rhetorical style, I think you’ll find that Will’s arguments are much stronger than mine were, as he cited a variety of sources of evidence, most of which you have not addressed in your responses. The difference is that I have chosen to write in a more neutral tone, whereas Will and mrmisconception have both communicated their strong emotion as well. It may be that this gives me the appearance of being more “reasonable,” but only if one is not seriously engaged in the argumentation.

            In response to your direct response to me, I don’t really understand what you’re saying I have backwards on invention. I am not arguing that market forces cannot support invention, and in fact is is obvious that they often do. But a completely unregulated market tends to stifle it, as you granted, so I’m not sure what you’re saying I’m wrong about. The points about Apple and Walmart seem a bit red herrings to me, suffice it to say that the iPod was certainly not the first MP3 player on the market, its success was arguably at least partly due to its tight integration with iTunes (a product which Apple purchased rather than invented: originally it was SoundJam MP — man, I haven’t thought of that in years! SoundJam was great! I was pissed when iTunes stripped away all its best features… ah, nostalgia), and Steve Jobs’s and Apple’s successes are due at least as much to Apple being a large company that can afford to try lots of product lines, many of which have failed, as to any particular insight on the part of Jobs or other Apple employees. My point is only that some regulation is necessary to promote invention, and in fact a great deal of invention happens outside of the market. For example, the Internet and World Wide Web, technologies invented by government employees and academic researchers, and thus given away freely for all to benefit from. Academic and government invention are arguably more like gift economies (though once again I tread on the territory of anthropologists and I haven’t brought a map), which is something else you might find interesting to read about on Wikipedia.

            As to a few more statements you made: “And if I have no understanding of how our political-economic system works, then it should be easy for you to explain it to me right?” Wrong. Creationists have no understanding of evolution, but it is nearly impossible to explain it to them, because they are committed to an ideology that is incompatible with the facts needed to understand evolution. Given your responses (or lack thereof) to evidence that has been presented to you so far in this discussion, I wonder if the same factor is in play here.

            “I have argued logically and haven’t used a single fallacy.” Will actually explicitly labeled at least two you committed. I could label more, but one is sufficient counterexample to disprove your claim.

            “One more point – playing the ‘dear Muslima’ card isn’t an argument! It’s a tactic to stifle argument.” No, it’s actually a reference to a pretty straightforward argument, one which applies to what you said. The flawed reasoning of Dawkins’s “dear Muslima” letter has been discussed at length. People can care about multiple issues at the same time, and can choose to allocate their energies in dealing with those issues according to their interests and abilities. I can (and do) certainly think that forced marriage is a greater violation of human rights than unequal representation of women in my profession, but I also have more direct understanding of, and ability to do something about, the latter. Choosing to allocate my energies on local problems where I am better able to effect change does not trivialize more severe issues elsewhere, nor does the existence of those greater problems abrogate my responsibility to address the ones I can. This is kind of obvious. Will pointed out that your argument was exactly parallel to Dawkins’s, and invalid for the same reason. And in fact that’s a good thing for you. Otherwise we could simply say that you have no standing to complain about the ACA when the much more heavily managed health care systems of Europe are currently wreaking havoc on their economy (as far as your ideology is concerned, anyway).

            “if I have such piss poor arguments, it should be easy for you to refute all of them. Instead you go for the ad hominum attacks.” I’m not sure if you’re trying to question the validity of others arguments with the reference to ad hominem, but note that there’s a difference between the ad hominem fallacy (“you’re wrong because you’re a moustache-twirling cartoon villain”) and an insult (“you’re wrong AND you’re a moustache-twirling cartoon villain”). Mostly here I’ve just seen insults. And in fact I’ve seen a lot of refutations alongside the insults, but you haven’t really responded to the refutations.

            And this brings me to the greatest problem with what I’ve read in your arguments, and the main reason I think there’s little hope for productive discussion. Others (Will and Daedalus2u in particular) have cited some very important pieces of evidence that contradict your claims, and which you must address to show your conclusions are sound, yet you have failed to do so repeatedly, instead invoking ideology to support your conclusions (which is actually an indirect form of begging the question). Once again, this is very reminiscent of creationist argumentation, and after a certain point arguing with creationists gets boring.

            Sorry for the lack of blockquote; the stylesheet or whatever the issue is still seems not to be working in my browser (Firefox on Linux).

          6. This is why no one wants to engage with you.

            Emergency rooms (as daedalus2u already pointed out) are not basic health care, they are emergency care, hence the name. To pretend that it is always available much less basic is to ignore reality.

            Speaking of ignoring reality, you have stated that the policies we liberals espouse are detrimental but you have offered no proof beyond “Detroit!”. I notice that you don’t talk about San Francisco or Seattle as proof of liberal failure (wonder why that might be), it was pointed out that there were many external factors in the downfall of Detroit and you instead pinned it all on Detroit being liberal. That is disingenuous and you know it.

            As for the USA being the beacon of light for the last 100 years, that would depend of who you ask and when you ask it. Augusto Pinochet and The Shah of Iran would probably agree but the freely elected leaders who were forced out by the United States so they could step in might tend to disagree, Osama Bin Laden didn’t like us very much except for when we were giving him support and arms when he was fighting out greater enemy. It’s all about how you ask I guess.

            Saint Ronald Reagan never even mentioned AIDS during his presidency, please tell us what a shining star we are when it comes to inconvenient truths.

          7. As someone from the UK, I’m reading these claims about how terrible Obamacare supposedly is with distinct amusement. We have a nationalized, centrally funded healthcare system that is one of the best in the world. When I tell people over here that when I lived in the US I knew people who went bankrupt because of medical bills it’s tough for them to grasp the concept. What’s more (and more amazing), we do this with a lower per capita government spend on healthcare than the US.

            Having experienced the US system and a system where universal healthcare actually exists, I’m fairly sure I know which I prefer.

          8. “Access to basic health care was ubiquitous before the ACA. Full stop. How it was paid for was the issue.”

            Completely disingenuous. One could also say that access to housing is ubiquitous, access to a new car every week is ubiquitous, access to 5 star hotels is ubiquitous, access to 5 star restaurants is ubiquitous, all you have to do is figure out how to pay for them.

            If you don’t have means to pay for them, there is no access.

            Do those talking points just go in your ear and out your mouth with no understanding of what they mean and what you are saying?

          9. Biogeo – you’ll forgive me if I disagree with a referee who’s actually playing for the opposing team. Will cited a few links – most of which were irrelevant to the points I was making – and I responded to each of them. Two of his “refutations” were literally LOLs, after which he said he didn’t have to explain himself because I’m not his student. So if anyone in this discussion is responding with ideology instead of factually based arguments it’s him.

            On the other hand you not only make logical arguments (which I disagree with) but manage to do so without any overt insults. Apparently no one else is concerned with the “tone” of our political debates anymore.

            Now, on to your points. You said “Markets are systems of “investment, production, and distribution,” not invention.” I cited two well known examples to prove that markets do indeed generate invention/innovation out of necessity.

            I do not argue that government/public investment has resulted in some wonderful inventions, the ones you named among them. The key difference is that governments don’t NEED to invent to survive. Companies do.

            What’s happened to blackberry in the last 5 years? They almost went under because of the iPhone and it’s competitors. Blackberry had the business smart phone market cornered and they let it slip away because they didn’t innovate fast enough. Government has no such incentive toward innovation.

            We’re not arguing about the need for some regulation of the marketplace. If we wanted to get wonky we could argue specific regulations and what is too much/little. But let’s knock the big stuff out first.

            Side note – you’re wrong about Apple having lots of product lines. For a huge tech company their product lines are as streamlined as they come.

            I love the creationist analogy – I’ve used it here as well for a specific purpose. Liberals love to think they they’re not being ideological and are just – as Daedalus said – the party with the facts on their side. I’ve offered well reasoned arguments backed by facts and examples. Do I have a bias? Yes! One I’ve stated many times. Yet I hear no such admissions from will or Daedalus or yourself. Mrmisconception at least had the balls to say his mind was closed and I wasn’t going to change it.

            I don’t even care if all of you are ideologues and will always and forever argue the liberal viewpoint. But at least admit two things. (1) you’re at least as blinded by ideology as you’re accusing me of being and (2) you’re turning off the skeptical part of your brain when you argue politics. Both of these are abundantly clear to an outsider not fully enmeshed in the Skepchick echo chamber.

            Finally – as for the ACA and why aren’t countries in Europe failing, the answer is they are failing or at the very least on the decline. A majority of the euro zone is in nearly unmanageable debt. Greece is a basket case with Cyprus not far behind and other countries giving them competition. They’re running out of other people’s money.

            The second point is they have fundamentally different cultures than the US. Our constitution cemented certain freedoms for our citizens that they do not share (freedom of the press just went away in Britain for example). If you want to fundamentally change this country – if our culture is broken – then don’t be coy about your intentions, say: “I want to make the US look like X (France, Sweden, whatever).” You can do that. But realize you’re going to get some pushback from people who wonder why you want to fundamentally change the greatest country on earth…

          10. “freedom of the press just went away in Britain for example”

            No, it didn’t.

            If you’ll remember, and you probably won’t because you seem to be soundbite-fed, it was a British paper that broke the Prism scandal. It was a British paper that broke the Wikileaks cables. Freedom of the press is alive and well.

            Now, what HAS happened recently is that a royal charter has been proposed as a result of the findings of the Leveson inquiry (an inquiry set up after it was shown that a UK paper was employing phone hacking and police corruption on an industrial scale, including hacking the phone of a recently murdered schoolgirl to listen to her voicemail after her death):

            https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/leveson-report-final-draft-royal-charter-for-proposed-body-to-recognise-press-industry-self-regulator

            This sets up a framework for a more robust and more independent press complaints process, one in which politicians would be barred by law from having any presence whatsoever in the process. The British press are not fond of this. Not because it makes them less free, but because it makes them more accountable to the public.

            Or to put it another way, you are entirely wrong about this. Which leads me to wonder what else you’re asserting as fact without having looked into it very much.

      1. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?

        What the fuck is wrong with you? Why can you not understand basic shit?

        Just because people USE the ER as “basic health care” DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT IS FOR BASIC HEALTH CARE. Nor does it mean they actually *GET* the basic health care they need.

        Because I have ACTUAL EXPERIENCE with this (unlike you), I will tell you right now, the reason you go to the ER for “basic health care” is because you have NOWHERE ELSE TO GO — so you go to get what you can get taken care of taken care of, but 99.999% of the time, you aren’t actually getting basic health care. They are only going to take care of the IMMEDIATE –EMERGENCY–, not provide any sort of basic or ongoing healthcare.

        This article is also WHOLLY INCOMPLETE. It says that people “go for basic health care” but it doesn’t define what they mean, nor does it go into any specifics.

        OF COURSE you use a shitty article with no information to prove your point, since it doesn’t actually say anything.

        PEOPLE GO TO THE ER WHEN THEY DO NOT HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE AND NOWHERE ELSE TO GO FOR HEALTH CARE.

        I have been having chronic kidney pain for WEEKS now. I am considering going to the hospital just so I can get some tests done so I can make sure I’m not like YOU KNOW FUCKING DYING OF KIDNEY DISEASE.

        So I would be lumped in with that “basic health care” crap, but I would NOT actually be receiving any sort of actual preventative health care.

        holy fucking shit what is wrong with you

        1. Marilove, drink lemon juice. Kidney stones are usually calcium oxalate and citrate inhibits the crystalization of calcium oxalate. Lemon juice is essentially pure citric acid, so drinking lemon juice (reconstituted is fine, what you want is cheap, bulk citric acid) retards the formation of calcium oxalate crystals. You need to drink a lot, ~6 oz or so at a whack.

          1. yeah, i know, i’m drinking some lemon in my water, but i can’t go too crazy because i don’t need epic heart burn, either, and i’m somewhat prone to ulcers.

            i only drink water. that’s it. and yet…

            but i have psoriasis and apparently that can cause a build up of uric (sp? lol) acid. so. sigh. fucking auto-immune disorders ruin everything.

            something isn’t right though. i can feel it. i shouldn’t feel this tired all the time, and i shouldn’t be getting stones when i drink basically nothing but water.

            BUT DID YOU KNOW that BEER helps reduce the chance of kidney stones? by a large amount? i was so happy to read that rofl. (as long as you stay otherwise hydrated, of course)

          2. also too much lemon can irritate the fuck out of my bladder, which is very sensitive (my twin sister has an actual disorder that causes a very painful bladder, and i’m pretty sure i have it too, to a far lesser degree)

          3. The pH of the stomach (1 to 2) is lower than lemon juice (2 to 2.6). Lemon juice shouldn’t give you heart burn. I always chase it with plenty of water, but more to rinse my mouth out.

          4. Marilove, I have to drink a glass of milk every day to keep my kidney stones away. So far, it’s been more than a year since my last one! If I skip drinking milk though, the next day I feel it. Fortunately, I love milk (because I hate lemon juice).

          5. EVERYTHING gives me heart burn. But I’ll take your word for it and up my lemon intake. As long as my bladder doesn’t become irritated, it’s not too bad. Actually, CHERRY JUICE (100%, no added sugar, not-from concentrate preferred) is supposed to be VERY good for at least two types of kidney stones (can’t remember the details). Trader Joe’s and I think Kroger’s both have tasty cherry juice. I need to buy some.

            Mary: Regarding milk, it depends on the type of stones you have. Because of my psoriasis, I am almost positive they are URIC ACID stones rather than CALCIUM. So most likely that wouldn’t help, but thank you for the suggestion! (Also, I love milk but have to be careful because the fat content can give me atrotious heart burn (I can’t stand skim lol).

            I had stones earlier this year but without HEALTH CARE they didn’t actually test them at the ER. They just gave me something for pain since they weren’t large.

            So without BASIC HEALTH CARE, my stones were unable to be tested for type, which is VERY important in determining how to prevent them in the future.

            IMAGINE THAT. I DID NOT GET PROPER BASIC HEALTH CARE AT THE ER. I AM SHOCKED.

            I can only DEDUCE from my psoriasis that I *probably* have uric stones.

            BUT KNOW WHAT CAN HAPPEN WITH PSORIASIS? Kidney disease!!!!

            But they wont’ test for that at the ER ‘cuz. GUESS WHAT. It doesn’t provide basic health care. Shocker.

          6. APPARENTLY, however, motherfuckin’ BEER can reduce the chance of kidney stones by up to 41%!! More than any other drink — next in line was red wine at 30-something. BASICALLY the best news I’ve ever read.

            So now I am having one (or two, usually one though) beer a night (ish, 4-5 times a week). CUZ HELL YA.

          7. I have gout and cherry juice helps when I have a flair up, it might be confirmation bias but they seem to last about half as long when I drink the cherry juice. Gout is caused by excess uric acid so it is possible that cherry juice somehow reacts with the uric acid in the blood.

            I have no proof of that beyond anecdote, just so nobody thinks I’m being unskeptical. ;)

          8. Nope, you’re correct, mrmisconception! The studies seem to indicate it does a pretty good job of it, too, along with lemon juice.

            I also think I have psoriatic arthritis in my big toes, but it also may be gout. They look and feel basically exactly the same. And you could also have both, really. Testing is required to know for sure. It’s PROBABLY psoriatic arthritis, but with these recent kidney problems, I’m starting to wonder.

            But I don’t know and I can’t find out!

            I am going to go crazy with the lemons and cherry juice this weekend and see what happens.

      2. Here, let’s start here

        http://edition.cnn.com/2012/05/07/opinion/carroll-emergency-rooms/

        If you’re acutely obstructed by massively advanced colon cancer, it’s likely you can get emergency surgery to end the blockage. But your cancer is likely too far advanced to cure at that point. Moreover, you’re not going to get chemotherapy in the emergency department nor could you have gotten the colonoscopy that might have detected the cancer far earlier.

        DO YOU GET IT NOW? DO YOU?

        I cannot even fathom how someone can be this fucking dense. I am ASTONISHED at your inability to understand basic fucking shit. I really, really am.

        It is far too early for dumb shit like this.

        You are an idiot, through and through.

  7. An unregulated free market does exist. It is called ‘The Illegal Drug Trade’. It is unregulated because it operates outside the laws in all aspects. It is not characterized by innovation and creativity; it is characterized by violence and bloodshed. It is not a rising tide that floats all boats, it concentrates wealth and power in very few hands. It is dirty, ugly, brutal, coercive, expoitive, and destructive.

    Innovation and creativity in the marketplace are forced by the very regulations that the freemarketists decry, because those regulations take away the preferred methods of competition, such as killing off the competitors.

    1. There’s an enormous difference between a black market and a free market. And there’s an enormous difference between a free market economy and outright anarchy.

      I happen to agree with your premise – that regulation is/can be good for the economy – but there are plenty of good arguments to support that. No sense in using bad ones.

  8. tj needs to account for the fact that every other Anglo nation in the world, i.e.Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, has
    1. Universal health insurance
    2 Conservative governments
    3 Health care costs per capita about half that in the US
    None of this fits his theory very well.

  9. tj also has to acknowledge that every successful US military operation from WW2 to Afghanistan was part of a United Nations effort. Just go and look at the Korean War Memorial in Washington DC to see how many other nations were involved. To ignore this sacrifice on the part of other Nations is supreme jingoism and arrogance.

    Remember that Taliban guy who said “It’s not just us that hates you”? He was not far wrong.

    1. You’re correct Jack – they were all coalition efforts. But who carried the big stick?

      Without US participation in Korea all of the peninsula would be the brutal, dark hellhole that the north is. You can’t say that for any other country. Without the US, the rest of the world was losing WWII. Ditto Iraq and Afghanistan.

      The Taliban hate – that’s what they do. They hate anyone who doesn’t follow their fundamentalist religious beliefs. They are murderous thugs who kill and maim and torture indiscriminately.

      And you think they have a point?? That’s absolutely astounding and you should be ashamed.

      1. And you think they have a point?? That’s absolutely astounding and you should be ashamed.

        That’s not what he said and you fucking know it, what a shameless asshole.

        I am sure that Russia, a country that lost ~14% of its population, will be happy to hear that our last-minute cavalry charge was “the big stick” that won that war. That is the kind of ignorant arrogance that makes other hate us.

        1. Exactly. Thanks for the support. I hope with all my heart that with ACA your wife will soon get the medical treatment she needs.
          Also, I am sorry for badmouthing your country, I WANT to like the US, and I do, but people like tj need to realise that jingoistic shit like that gets everybody’s back up, even among your Allies. Not all of the history was particularly brave or praiseworthy.and the US often seems to need a reminder that it is just one part of the international community and to stop carrying on like an arrogant bully.

          1. Hey, no problem. I won’t hold Robert Murdoch and Ken Ham against you guys if you don’t hold Donald Trump and Jenny McCarthy against us. ;)

            The United States is a wonderful place full of generous and loving people, not that you would notice. Unfortunately the fanatical fringe are the ones who grab attention and many of them feel they know more about history and the constitution than any smarty-pants academic. Personally, I believe there is a huge helping of Dunning-Kruger effect happening there, add in an inflated ego and black and white thinking and you have the recipe for a whole class of obnoxious assholes that believe there is only one way to honor this great nation, and that by God is their way.

            To them a liberal like myself who points out how we can be better is seen as unpatriotic and a traitor when in reality I simply would like to see this wonderfully diverse country live up to it’s potential rather than simply bullying our way to the top.I know that the founders of this country argued over what kind of protections to give its own citizens, in fact most don’t even know what is in the first amendment.

            They know that it has freedom of speech (even if they really don’t understand what that means), and many can recite freedom of religion (while forgetting the establishment clause part) and freedom of the press, but very few know about the freedom to peaceably assemble, and even fewer the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. Yet they feel they are the pinnacle of American pride, however I am more patriotic then 95% percent of those flag-waiving bible-thumping yahoos, but they would never even know it much less recognize it.

            So I apologize for all of those idiots, even though they would see that as a sign of weakness. Not the first time they would be wrong.

          2. Jack – mrmisconception has a hard-on for me and will disagree with pretty much anything I say at this point.

            If you didn’t mean to agree with the Taliban, then I’d be interested to know your meaning. Or why you would choose to quote someone from a group that helped to kill 3000 innocent civilians in New York and countless more in the eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan countryside. What you said was the equivalent of saying “Hitler didn’t like the US, and he was not far wrong.”

            And if jingoistic shit gets everyone’s back up – then so does badmouthing the US. You want to like us but can’t quite get there, fine. The US certainly isn’t, and has never been, perfect. Who else would you rather have your back? Russia? China? What principles do they stand for and contrast that with what the US stands for. Then choose your side.

          3. Jesus, did you really just finish that idiocy with you’re either with us or against us?

            I have plenty of conservative acquaintances who I disagree with and we get along just fine, but they don’t make assertions without proof and then call me unskeptical if I don’t just swallow their story. I am disagreeing with you because you keep saying dumbass things like ERs are basic health care.

            I can agree with you that the United States is a great place to live, I feel fortunate to have been born here. But I also see no need to gloss over the problems of the past or the present to pretend that we are perfect, I see our flaws as something to fix not something to ignore and pretend don’t exist.

        2. If you’re talking about WWII – then the fronts the US opened up against the Nazis in Italy and France were almost certainly decisive. Hitler was forced to divert resources from the eastern front which could have been used to consolidate gains there. Would Russia have eventually won the war without our intervention? Perhaps, but it would have taken far heavier losses than it did and may have instead sued for peace.

          I’m not quite sure why you feel the need to argue every single point I make. It’s a little tiresome, but since you’re so often wrong it’s also a little fun.

          1. tj, You seem to have the Taliban mixed up with Al Quaeda. I am old enough to remember how the now Taliban were once characterised as the brave Mujahadeen freedom fighters against the evil godless Soviet invaders. Now that the invader has changed, so has the spin. Anyway, you should read this to see the sort of thing I mean –
            http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-22/amnesty-delivers-scathing-report-into-us-drone-strikes/5039186
            – in particular, the words of Akbar Ahmed, who served as Pakistan’s high commissioner to Britain
            “What the drone does it literally antagonises the entire section or clan or tribe, which means for every one bad guy killed, you end up antagonising maybe 10,000, 15,000, and therefore the lines for the suicide bombers are unending.”
            So no, I do not feel ashamed to point out when the US (or an individual like yourself) is making enemies and antagonising allies unecessarily.
            And you are doing it again when you omit the role of the British and Canadian forces on D Day.
            In short, victory required a team effort and every single player was essential. It was a very close thing, particularly as one key player was missing for most of the first half!

          2. Decisive yes, but you make it sound like Uncle Sam came charging in and gave them what for while ignoring the contributions of countries that had fought for three plus years at that point. It’s ignorant and it’s arrogant and it make you look like a jingoistic tool. If you aren’t one stop saying stupid shit that paints you in that light.

          3. Jack – I’m not confusing the Taliban and al Qaeda. The former supported the latter and allowed them to train and operate in their country.

            And I’d like to see amnesty international do a study on the Taliban’s use of indiscriminate force, torture, and summary executions (many of them Pakistani soldiers). How many Geneva convention rules have they broken or ignored? If they were to use the same standards as the US, it would be an interesting study to read.

            That doesn’t excuse our role in killing innocent civilians. But there is a difference. When we do it, it’s an accident not a deliberate part of our strategy. When the Taliban or al Qaeda kill, they deliberately target innocents in order to create terror (they do target soldiers too, but those are harder targets for them).

            There is also, for every drone strike, a wealth of documentation and intelligence supporting the strike. We’re not indiscriminately targeting villages.

            Finally, I do not discount the efforts of our allies in any of the conflicts of the last century. I simply ask you this – were America to have sat in the sidelines, would any of them have ended up the same way? I believe the answer to that is no. As a corollary, if our allies had sat any of those conflicts out, would they have ended the same way? I believe the answer to be yes in some cases and no in others.

            Does this make me the ugly American for pointing out the truth? Perhaps. Doesn’t mean I’m wrong though.

          4. You’re not wrong, Walter. You’re just an asshole.

            (Also, you are actually wrong. First, revisionist history can work however you want, being revisionist and all, second see http://gawker.com/malala-yousafzai-meets-president-obama-asks-him-to-sto-1444350645 or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterboarding or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_phosphorus_use_in_Iraq but I’m sure we haven’t tortured anybody or indiscriminately killed civilians while trying to attack “terror” in the last five minutes or so, and yes, killing thirty people so you can kill one in particular is indiscriminate. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/indiscriminate )

  10. @lamuella, we can also take note that even Maggie Thatcher did not try to roll back Universal healthcare in the UK, and even Little Johnny Howard did not try it in Australia. These were the most conservative leaders in a generation. Despite the GFC and all the austerity, the present Tory mob mob are not going to attempt that either.

    I thought I should report my wife’s experience with breast cancer treatment in Australia. Let’s see- mammography, MRI, lumpectomy, then removal of breast and lymphnodes, chemotherapy x3 over 3 months, Herceptin treatment for 1 year (the cancer was E2R+, that alone would be 30 grand), follow up consults, then breast reconstruction and implant, regular follow ups, all clear so far and good prognosis….

    Out of pocket expenses to us amounted to about $1,000.

    Contrast that to the horror stories told by Marilove (20 grand out of pocket for minor procedures) and Mrmisconception.

    You can stick your laisez faire capitalism up your ass, Give me a mixed economy any day, with public and private sectors working smoothly together.

  11. Also, contrary to the tj theory, we were not subsidised by young and healthy people but rather paid health insurance all our lives while we were young and healthy, against the time when we ourselves grew old and prone to illness. This is no different than saving money for retirement. In fact the tj argument attempts to polarise and divide you against yourself – don’t fall for it.

    1. I missed this comment before Jack – I was talking specifically about Obamacare. The entire edifice of the plan is predicated on younger, healthier people subsiding the cost of care for the older, sicker part of the population. One of the reasons that the horrific rollout of Obamacare in the last three weeks is more than a public relations nightmare is that unless young people sign up, and sign up en masse, costs will spiral out of control. This is a unique feature of the US health care law that was recklessly passed despite bipartisan opposition and bypassing the normal mechanisms (I.e. conference committee) which could have smoothed out some of the rough edges.

  12. I love this whole “there has been access to health care, it’s just a question on how it’s paid for!” and the “point” about the EMERGENCY room being for basic health care.

    As someone who hasn’t had health insurance in nearly a DECADE: Fuck you.

    I don’t have basic health care.

    I’ve been to the hospital when it was an EMERGENCY but not once, NOT ONCE, did they attempt to give me basic health care — they only fixed the immediate problem. That’s it.

    I have psoriasis and therefore a pretty fucked up immune system and some auto-immune disorders I really should be getting actual care for. BUT I DO NOT HAVE INSURANCE SO I CANNOT.

    So nope.

    I don’t get basic health care.

    ever.

    for any reason.

    the only time i get help is if i am in an emergency situation. and even then they can only do so much.

    but hey! rather than talking to people whom this affects, you just ignore them and spew your Fox News talking points. how compassionate!

    1. Marilove – I don’t know your personal situation beyond what you’ve written here. Perhaps no other state or federal government program besides the ACA could have helped you in the last 10 years. And perhaps the ACA will help your personal situation. But it will almost certainly degrade the overall health care industry in this country, lead to higher prices, greater unemployment, bigger deficits, and eventually rationing. Where your health care was mainly a private matter (depending on the state you live in) it is now a federal government matter.

      For all the reasons I’ve outlined above, this is not a good thing. I do truly wish you the best and hope you get the care you need. But I fear for those in the future who will not be able to get the care they need because of the ACA.

      1. But hey. My kidney has been hurting for over a month now, somedays quite painfully, but I can’t do fuck all about it. I’m pretty sure it’s related to my auto-immune stuff. I suppose I should just wait until I am on death’s door, go to the emergency, and cost EVERYONE MORE MONEY, since I can’t pay my medical bills. I’m already over $12k in debt for 3 hospital visits AND NOT ONCE DID I STAY THE NIGHT, nor get any fancy meds (i had a really bad infection once that needed to be drained, plus kidney problems earlier this year that are back but I can’t do anything about them).

        But you seem to think that’s okay. Using the ER as health care.

        You’re not very bright, sir. Not at all.

        Care you show your work? Even once? A little bit? Beuller?

        1. And I’m the one with reading comprehension issues…

          I never said using the ER as health care was ok. I’ve laid out my case against government run health insurance – short version, they will not be as efficient as the free market.

          Again, I’m sorry about your medical situation but Obamacare is here so you should be saved.

          1. I never said using the ER as health care was ok.

            No, you said it was basic health care, had it pointed out that you were wrong, then you repeated that it was basic health care. Do you even read your own posts?

          2. You said several times it was “BASIC HEALTH CARE” (direct quote, darlin’). We can read your words, you do realize that, right? They are in black and fucking white. Are you aware of how the interent works?

            You are a terrible debator and not particularly bright. Just stop.

  13. tj902310 – Listen jackass, I said that you wouldn’t change our minds with your weak-ass arguments. If you care to give an argument with any merit that is not just opinion using numbers cooked by The Heritage Foundation I am open to changing my mind. Trouble is all the ACA haters have is half-assed propaganda and posturing, oh and straight out making shit up and cherry picking.

    Despite what you think I have listened to your arguments, they are old and tired and worthless, but I have listened to them. Most of what you have said here however has been half-truths, opinions, or plain old bullshit assertions. You will excuse me if I remain skeptical of them.

    1. So you are open to my wager on the ACA? No assertions, no spin, no cooked up numbers. I offered you a testable hypothesis (leaving some room to debate the metrics). Put your rhetorical money where your mouth is.

      And speaking of half assed assertions, check out the ACA “success stories” who stood with the President yesterday in the Rose Garden. Where was Will when the president needed him?

      http://m.washingtonexaminer.com/at-the-white-house-obamacare-success-stories-that-arent/article/2537478

      1. So you are open to my wager on the ACA? No assertions, no spin, no cooked up numbers. I offered you a testable hypothesis (leaving some room to debate the metrics). Put your rhetorical money where your mouth is.

        Why would I? You have shown yourself to be wholly disingenuous, you are making assertions that are backed up with only by cooked numbers, and you believe that The Washington Examiner is a credible source. We have nothing to actually wager because if the program does fails (or, I suspect even if it doesn’t, see your idiotic link) you will be shouting it from the rooftops because there is nothing you people like more than to be proven right (I understand, it happens so rarely) and if the program succeeds you will either slink away or change the subject and we will all have health insurance, something I would take as a win without any contrition on your part. Any internet wager on top of that would be pointless.

        And, The Washington Examiner? Seriously? You had to go to the newspaper wing of The Weekly Standardto find “bad examples”? All it says is that some of these people are planning to but haven’t yet signed up and declares that they aren’t success stories. If someone were to say they were going to buy the PS4 would you jump up and say “Aha, but you haven’t yet! That’s not a sale for Sony!”, that would be right but in the weirdest and dumbest sense ever.

        So, no I will not bet you. You will probably chalk that up as I’m scare or some such hyper-macho ass-wipings, but actually I wouldn’t trust you to say that you are wrong even when it is proven. You’ve shown as much already.

          1. Mary – most of the article is cut/paste directly from information the White House made public. If you are insinuating that Byron York made any of that up, I’d be interested to hear it.

            I also know that I’ll turn mrmisconception into a libertarian before the NYT or the WAPO publish a piece critical of this administration…so the only way these things will come out is through places like the Examiner.

          2. You are fuck delusional, The New York Times and The Washington Post are often critical of this administration as well they should be. Only a hack partisan would think otherwise, yet more proof of your ideological blindness.

          3. mrmisconception – they’re often critical, but from the left. When they start echoing the WSJ editorial page, you let me know and I’ll ready my pickaxe because the zombie apocalypse will be nigh…

        1. Why would you indeed.

          Let’s recap shall we. You’ve offered assertions about the ACA. I’ve offered assertions about the ACA. I am so confident in my position that I offered you a testable hypothesis. I lay out in black and white where I think the ACA will be detrimental to the health care industry, the budget, etc.

          And you say you do not wish to make that wager. So beholden are you to your ideology.

          I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I am willing, if my hypothesis proves incorrect, to change my position on the issue of the ACA. That’s what skeptics do – change their position upon the receipt of new and better information.

          I’ll ask you for the last time – are you be willing to change your mind if you are proven wrong?

          And this isn’t just for mrmisconception – it’s for all of you reading who think of yourselves as skeptics. Are you willing to change your views on this political issue if the facts say it’s been a failure?

          1. See the thing is, I don’t need a wager to change my mind if there is contradictory information because I am a skeptic. If you need to be in a contest to change your mind you may want to think about whether you really are one.

          2. Mrmisconception – were you truly skeptical on this, we’d not still be arguing and would have agreed to the terms of the test. You say you’re willing to change your mind, but you’re not willing to lay out the terms beforehand. You want the ability to make up your own metrics for success at the end when, surprise!, no matter what actually happens Obamacare will have come out on top and your position is vindicated.

          3. So despite your ridiculously dire predictions you really believe that Obamacare will “come out on top”, or is that only supposed to be in my liberal-addled head?

            I suspect that it will have mixed results, I don’t think it’s perfect I think it doesn’t go far enough. I will look at the outcomes and see if it does more harm than good, I would hope you would do the same regardless of your apparent hope that it is disastrous, and if it doesn’t work as well as planned then I expect there will be changes to it. I believe those changes will be in the direction of more universality but then I guess we will see.

            I don’t owe you any kind of wager, and it is rather arrogant of you to claim that I do.

          4. You don’t owe me anything. But if you’d like to continue arguing that you’re a skeptic and the “facts” support your positions then you have to set your goalposts now. You can’t – like a creationist (see what I did there) – shift them later on when it’s clear your position is increasingly untenable.

            So you think the law will have mixed results – what are they? I’ve made a testable prediction based on how I believe the health care law will affect this country. If the facts show me I’m wrong, I’m willing to change my position.

            If you refuse to either take me up on my challenge or offer metrics of your own, then you are what you’ve accused me of being: an ideologue.

            Which is part of the point I’ve been trying to get across here – skeptics (and for some reason liberal skeptics are the worst violators of this) like to think their skepticism transfers to their politics. But at least here on Skepchick, it’s ideologues all the way down from the authors to the commenters.

            The funny part is I don’t have a problem with ideologues – I just have a problem with those like yourself who aren’t self-aware.

          5. What you just did here is the equivalent of a creationist demanding that an evolutionary biologist predict what life will be like in the future and when that scientist refuses to make a prediction declaring it as proof that the scientist can’t back up his claims because if evolution was real they should be able to say what will happen.

            I do not know what exactly will happen with ACA, I have never claimed to, I have simply said that access to basic health care will be better. As I do not own a fucking crystal ball it is the more prudent stance than your idiotic predictions of cataclysm. I believe it will lower the overall cost of access to basic health care (and not at the fucking ER) but that some may end up paying more, I believe it will increase the number of people with health insurance although a few may lose theirs without replacement (though I would bet that a good amount of those will be through plain obstinance like those that were on Hannity, and wouldn’t even look to see if it would help them, which in their case it would have), and I believe that the cost of health care itself will rise at a lower rate (and may even fall) because hospitals and doctors will actually get paid and not have to spread that cost (as well as the cost of pursuing that money) around to everyone else. There are always outliers when programs as large as this are rolled out and I don’t doubt that you would have no trouble cherry-picking those few examples and ignoring the overall effects. You have shown yourself to be disingenuous as hell and that is why I will not be making any sort of wager with you, but if you wish you may apologize when the things I just said prove to be true. I will not be holding my breath however.

            You can call me an ideologue all fucking day long, but I am not the one who is borrowing my rhetorical style from the likes of Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. Besides which, I feel no need to prove my skepticism to someone who won’t even allow himself to be corrected when he makes a categorical error as big as claiming emergency rooms are basic health care.

          6. The point of the ACA is not to help either the health care industry or the budget, but to help Americans obtain health care.

            Will you consider the ACA a success if fewer people die due to a lack of health care?

          7. Mrmisconception – ok now we’re getting somewhere (aside from the creationist analogy which you have exactly backwards, but I’ll let that slide). You say you don’t know what’s going to happen, then lay out a number of predictions anyway.

            “Access to basic health care will be better” – not sure we can measure “better” as it’s a value judgement but your next one is easier.

            “It will lower the overall cost of access to health care.” This is essentially the opposite of my prediction so I’ll take this one.

            “I believe it will increase the number of people with health insurance.” Bold prediction, as the law mandates everyone in the country to have health insurance (but cannot enforce that mandate). So I won’t take you up on this one.

            “I believe the cost of health care will rise at a lower rate” kinda dovetails with your first prediction, as it does with mine. I think you’re echoing here Obama’s “bending the cost curve” argument, which is fantasy so I’ll take this one too.

            “Fewer people die due to lack of health care” Show me a metric that quantifies this and I’ll consider it. We’ll also have to include the number of people who die because of neglect or faulty care, which is likely to rise.

            Finally – for you and Marilove and Will and whomever else thinks me using “basic care” and “ER” in the same sentence is the height of creationist folly, see this: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2012/02/20/a-study-by-the-delaware-valley-healthcare-council-shows-more-uninsured-people-using-emergency-rooms-for-basic-care/

            This was exactly the point I was making in my original comment, and it’s one of the points used by proponents of Obamacare to sell the law.

            So who made the categorical error again?

          8. See, once again you are too fucking stupid to get it through you thick fucking skull that ERs ARE NOT BASIC HEALTH CARE. This is why the creationist analogy is correct, they repeat shit over and over and think it proves that they are correct, you have tried to “prove” this point with repeated assertions and link to others who stupidly believe the same. Repeating an incorrect definition will not actually change that definition, even if you show that other are as stupid as you are.

            I am done beating my head against this particularly dense wall. Now fuck off.

          9. I am going to repeat this one more fucking time: Just because people go to the ER for “basic health care” doesn’t mean they are ACTUALLY GETTING BASIC HEALTH CARE.

            They use it BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE OR OPTION.

            This is why *I* use it.

            I think it’s fucking hysterical that you are talking about this to someone who has gone through this exact experience and so she knows what the fuck she’s talking about, and yet you still think you can get away with spewing stupidity.

            And no, it wasn’t your fucking point. Your fucking point seemed to be that since peopel CAN go to the ER, we have basic health care covered, which is FALSE FALSE FALSE.

  14. tj: “The funny part is I don’t have a problem with ideologues – I just have a problem with those like yourself who aren’t self-aware.”

    I CANNOT STOP LAUGHING.

    This is the most unselfaware, ironic bullshit I’ve read in this thread and that’s SAYING A LOT.

    1. How is it ironic?

      I’ve stated my biases. I know what value judgements I make and how they differ from a majority of the people here.

      Mrmisconception is the one arguing that “facts are liberal” and he’s just in favor of whatever works. An ideologue is so certain that they’re right that the other side must be “brainwashed” or just plain stupid.

      I’ve offered to change my mind about the ACA if certain things happen or fail to happen. If that’s unaware and/or ironic then I need to get a copy of the dictionary you’re using.

      1. You have shown yourself to be unable to change your definition of ERs as basic health care despite the proof to the contrary. That makes you wrong and unable to change your asserted beliefs and it shows you to be an ideologue.

        Now go the fuck away, we are done trying in vain to beat basic definitions into your dense ass.

    1. Yeah, I hit that point a couple of days ago. (Well, that plus getting swamped at work.) You guys are way more patient than I am.

      Also, I wanted to say that marilove, I’m really sorry to hear about your situation. I hope things improve for you soon. Is there any chance you’ll be able to get a subsidy under the ACA?

      1. You like my “typos”? heehee.

        I don’t know if I qualify or not for a subsidy because I haven’t been able to utlize the website! I will check it all out in a coupla weeks once the kinks are (hopefully) figured out. I’m sure I do, though. Maybe not. I might make *just* above the line or whatever. That happens to me all the fucking time.

        It’s hard qualifying for shit when you’re single and without kids. :/ Especially in AZ. But I suppose we’ll see. I remain hopeful.

        It seems so many jobs aren’t offereing health insurance anymore, too. It sucks.

        Thankfully I am FAIRLY healthy, all things considered, and as long as it’s JUST a stupid stone/stones, I should be okay. Still frustrating, though. I just have to assume/hope that’s what it is and not something more serious.

        1. I know right? My employer started making noise about dropping our health “because of Obamacare” a year ago, before they knew anything about it. They would rather pay the $2000 penalty per employee then deal with wading through whatever deal they can find in the free market, I don’t really blame them, and with the exchanges I’ll still be able to get insurance.

          What gets me about that is, if they are no longer giving this particular benefit what happens to that money? Part will pay the fine but I can guarantee that the rest will not go to the employee, we will still need to buy our insurance through the exchange but the difference will come out of our pockets. Effectively this is a pay decrease, I work for a good company so I hope they will pass some of that on but I don’t think they will. That’s why universality was needed.

          1. It’ll turn into profit. They won’t pass it on. They never do. And the best part, of course, is that when you were hired, they used the health insurance as an extra part to your compensation. and now they are taking it away without giving anything back (i would be willing to bet). ‘cuz that’s how shit works in this country.

  15. Oh, goody! Is this still going? Hey Mary, this thread seems to be setting a few records – longest Quickies, the most off topic and perhaps even the ultimate disproof of Godwin’s Law. Now where were we – oh yes McDonald’s, ACA and the Taliban..

      1. wonder if jackass will comment on my stone situation — ie, the fact that i don’t know which TYPE of stones i (probably) have because they wouldn’t test for that at the ER. because they took care of the immediate problem and were not concerned with preventative care (rightfully so since it’s the fucking ER).

Leave a Reply

You May Also Enjoy

Close
Close