ELDER MUSIC: (Franz) Joseph Haydn
THE TGB ELDER GEEK: You and Your Files – Part 1

American Madness, Stupidity and Ignorance

After following the debate on health care reform this summer, if it were up to Crabby Old Lady, she would require an IQ test for the privilege of voting. The ignorance and stupidity of vast swaths of the American public astounds Crabby. The ones who are not idiots are lunatics and some of both groups are dangerous to the lives of others.

Here is a partial list of lies, distortions and just plain dumb-ass ideas that too many people believe:

  • President Obama is not an American citizen

  • President Obama hates white people

  • Health care reform is Nazism and President Obama is another Hitler

  • The White House is keeping an enemies list of people who oppose health care reform so it can surveil them

  • Health care reform will allow the federal government access to people's bank accounts

  • Health care reform will require old and/or disabled people to be euthanized at the discretion of death panels

  • Health care reform will require the government to pay for abortions (personally, Crabby believes abortion is health care, but we'll save that for another day)

  • With health care reform, government bureaucrats will make people's health care decisions (instead of the current corporate insurance bureaucrats)

If Crabby Old Lady knows all these beliefs are lies - not to mention crazy - why doesn't everyone? It's not hard to find out what's real and what isn't these days. Crabby is reading the same stuff that is available to anyone.

And it's not that Crabby trusts politicians necessarily. As a group, it's hard to match them for venality. But with the exception of a handful of Congress members who align themselves with the tinfoil hat brigade, she doesn't think any would cross the line into the above list.

We can argue whether these wingnuts are stupid or more benignly ignorant, but as widespread as these beliefs are, Crabby is leaning strongly toward stupid. To wit:

In a survey [pdf] released last week by Public Policy Polling, 25 percent believe President Obama was NOT born in the U.S. and another 14 percent are not sure.

If that's not stupid enough for you, 39 percent who were polled say the government should stay out of Medicare.

These numbers are in a poll where 96 percent of the respondents claim a high school or better education. What can have happened to schools since Crabby Old Lady's day?

What's worse is that the mainstream, not even fringe, media give these outlandish beliefs equal weight with honest information. And now that that bastion of faux and hate news, Fox, is beating the pants off CNN and MSNBC in the ratings, the two formerly almost reasonable news channels are taking their cues from Fox. Crabby Old lady will let Jon Stewart of The Daily Show tell that story:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
CNN's Just Sayin'
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Jon Stewart is a funny guy (Crabby wishes she had his talent for making political points with humor), but the sad reality is that as television news dumbs down reporting to third-grade level, the stupid quotient of the public multiplies.

Lately too, there has been an uptick in television pundits using phrases that should offend anyone who expects hard information from places that label themselves news organizations. Phrases like, “What the American public doesn't understand...” and “Health care reform is too complex for most people...”

Hull-oh, you blowhards. That's your job – to make it clear and understandable. Most of the time, however, their commentary takes place in a fact-free zone of kneejerk partisanship – left and right.

In any circumstance, it is madness to carry loaded guns to places where there are large groups of people and more particularly so when emotions run high as at congressional and presidential town halls.

These aren't only handguns. At least two people showed up carrying assault rifles. One man, when asked why he brought a loaded gun to a town hall meeting, said: “Because I can do it. In Arizona, I still have some freedoms.” Crabby thinks her freedom to live without feeling threatened by homegrown terrorists - yes, they are terrorists - comes first.

At least one of the people toting a gun also carried a placard calling for armed revolution. Anti-health care reform protesters write blogs urging their readers to take guns to town hall meetings and John Velleco, of Gun Owners of America (a far right organization that makes the NRA look like a lemonade stand), told Chris Matthews on MSNBC that legal gun owners should be allowed to carry loaded weapons to presidential events and anywhere else, including airplanes.

Not that there are many town hall meetings to attend here in Maine, should one turn up Crabby Old Lady will think hard and long before she goes to it or to any other large gathering of people in this increasingly adversarial and dangerous political summer.

And Crabby is furious about it. Furious that she is forced to worry that she or anyone might be shot.

Injecting a note of sanity into all this, Washington Post Op-Ed columnist, E.J. Dionne, wrote last week, “Free elections and open debate are not rooted in violence or the threat of violence. They are precisely the alternative to violence, and guns have no place in them.”

“If we can’t draw the line at the threat of violence, democracy begins to disintegrate,” he continued. “Power, not reason, becomes the stuff of political life. Will some group of responsible conservatives, preferably life members of the NRA, have the decency to urge their followers to leave their guns at home when they go out to protest the president? Is that too much to ask?”

With all the above, Crabby Old Lady thinks this summer is way beyond traditional August nuttiness. From her vantage point, it looks like the United States has gone batshit crazy.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Dani Ferguson: Dangling the Bait


I've believed for a long time that this planet is the insane asylum of the universe. Too bad everything I hear only reinforces that.

Dear Crabby, you asked, "What can have happened to schools since Crabby Old Lady's day?"

Well, as grandparents of 7, we could tell you what happened, but there really isn't space here for that. But you are a taxpayer and should take any opportunity you can to visit your local school and see what administrators have done to the education process. Eye opening. But that's only half the story because education takes place in homes as well. And that's where the generations that grew up on TV live. That's where the believers in 'talking heads' live. Sad. And statistics tell the same story...we are being dumbed down.

It's alll very discouraging & not only that, I'm outraged,& very sad. And BTW, I love Jon Stewart. Dee

The whole world is going to hell in a hand basket.

Ronni, here in Raleigh, an 84 year old woman hit and killed a 6 year old girl as she got off her school bus. Do you think elders should be re-tested? How often?

A generation ago, I lived in Tulsa for five years. At that time, I heard a lot of the same things through local media that have since gone national. I'm talking about jingoistic, gun-loving sanctimoniousness. Picture Jesus wrapped in a flag and toting an AK-47.

We can call places like Oklahoma "flyover territory" all we want, but we shouldn't kid ourselves. The xenophobic religiosity that spawned Fox News (and Sarah Palin) has called the tune in national affairs for the last 30 years.

It is way beyond crazy and what irks me even more about the gun wearers was how the media showed their guns on their hips over and over and over to doubtless encoruage other nutcases. So a few were expanded into what seemed like the many.

Another thing for all of us to watch out for is the email trap. Nice people get them and they claim to be from nice people and then they set out to spew lies that sometimes are multiplied many times as right wing bloggers repeat them without checking.

One of those I went quite a ways trying to find the truth because it didn't sound right to me, and all I could find was more posts from right wingers about the fear they felt at it (if you are curious what it is Google Obama Montana lobsters and you'll find a ton of fear spreading right wingers). It took several days for Snopes to do what I was trying to do-- verify the lies. One of which was the email changed first names through it dissemination. And never had a last name. In that email, some of the lies I knew because I've been to Montana but others were difficult to find anything beyond ore passing it on--because a lie is hard to disprove. You basically have to take something that never happened and prove it never happened. It's like proving you were not born in Kenya. I'd have a hard time proving I wasn't either if my own birth certificate wasn't good enough.

Right wingers both in emails and bloggers often spread this stuff with no sense of responsibility for checking any of it.

http://sunlightfoundation.com/ is a good source of facts. (Not that anybody who gets their "information" from Fox news is going to go there.) The Democrats need to step up and do what we sent them to Washington to do and forget about the goof-balls.

I couldn’t believe it when George was elected to a second term. Are there really that many stupid people in America who vote? Yes! And here we are again - witnessing terrorism as a political tactic and hearing it called freedom of speech.

Not saying that the general level of threats of political violence we are currently experiencing is okay -- it emphatically is not. But most of us here have lived through periods when far greater actual political violence was going on in this country, especially directed at Black and Brown folks seeking equality. We've repressed how commonplace some really vicious acts were -- for example by uncontrolled racist (Northern) urban police forces.

I'm trying to think about how current threats of violence (that's what bringing your gun to a public rally is) both continue and are different from those earlier heated political times. ...I feel a blog post coming on.


What bothers me the most is not just the huge number of Americans who couldn't pass eighth grade Civics, History or Geography exams but how proud they are of their own studity and how contemptuous they are of anyone who can read and write above an eighth grade level.

Time to head for the ________(name your destination) hills!

Forgive me; I’m trying to hold back chuckles while writing this. Ok, let’s start with about the only two valid points in this post. Yes, the president is a citizen. Yes, the president was born in the U.S. Now, let’s move on. The president has already proven how picky he is in the department of choosing a church; he has yet to choose one that he likes in DC. Based on that level of hesitation in decision making, I must deduce that he picked reverend Wrights church for twenty years specifically for the anti-Semitic, racist sermons.

Now on to health care; the health care bill proposed gives the government an enormous step in the door for every Americans private life, giving government the lee-way to make decisions for the way everyone lives their lives “for the greater good.” That is a concept of socialism. The Nazis were socialists. Do I think that Obama will go on a genocidal mission across the world as Hitler tried? No, I don’t. But socialism is socialism no matter where it is.

Now on to specifics of health care reform, point by point:
Health care reform will allow the federal government access to people's bank accounts.

HR 3200 America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009
Read it.

Health care reform will require old and/or disabled people to be euthanized at the discretion of death panels

HR 3200
Read it.

Health care reform will require the government to pay for abortions.

HR 3200
Read it.

With health care reform, government bureaucrats will make people's health care decisions

HR 3200

Subtitle E – Governance

Read it.

Me thinks Crabby should pick up a reading hobby for all these “myths” I just cited from the actual legislation.

Oh, and Crabby, I don’t appreciate being called a terrorist for owning a gun. If you don’t feel safe, maybe it’s time you invest in one; that is why they are a right of the people. Not one gun carrying protester ever fired a shot, nor threatened to do so. In fact, I would argue that members at those venues were safer considering there were many armed Americans just outside.

Crabby should do some homework before calling over half the country stupid. Lest someone like me comes across her blog.

“New Rule: Just because a country elects a smart president doesn't make it a smart country.”
Bill Maher, August 9, 2009
I expect RJ Rusch is on or close to being qualified for Medicare if he is reading your blog.
I am wondering if he will give it up because it is a socialist program

Sorry Mona, I'm twenty years old and am currently uninsured medically. But you are correct, if it is a choice between being uninsured and taking a socialist program like the one outlined in HR 3200 then i would remain uninsured every day of the week.

"Health care reform will require old and/or disabled people to be euthanized at the discretion of death panels." Oh come on Mr. 20 year old know it all. That's not true.

I am sorry to hear that you feel so insecure that you must carry a gun to make sure you don't feel threatened by Democrats.

Honestly, I don't care if health care for everyone is socialistic or not. We already have socialized health care for veterans, retirees and federal employees. I'm not so sure how great the veteran's care is, but retirees seem to like their Medicare pretty well. And so do federal employees.

If you are uninsured, Mr. Rusch, you are in greater danger of incurring massive medical debt than you are in being shot by a Democrat.

Sometimes it does get tiresome when you have to keep educating the ones who get their information from Fox TV, Glenn Beck, Rush, and dishonest e-mails.

Ms or Mr. Rausch, you have much to learn. First you show your lack of knowledge by saying the Nazis had a Socialist system. The were Fascists, for God sakes.

Second, I am very sure you did not read HR3200. It's long and boring. Space does not permit going into all of your errors so I will take the first one.

HR3200, Section 163A. etc. I read the whole thing and have edited it leaving in any pertinent info. You can go read the rest on the government page.

(a) Standardizing Electronic Administrative Transactions-
‘(C) be comprehensive, efficient and robust, requiring minimal augmentation by paper transactions or clarification by further communications
‘(D) enable the real-time (or near real-time) determination of an individual’s financial responsibility at the point of service and, to the extent possible, prior to service, including whether the individual is eligible for a specific service with a specific physician at a specific facility, which may include utilization of a machine-readable health plan beneficiary identification card;

‘(E) enable, where feasible, near real-time adjudication of claims;
harmonize all common data elements across administrative and clinical transaction standards.
‘(4) REQUIREMENTS FOR SPECIFIC STANDARDS- The standards under this section shall be developed, adopted and enforced so as to-- 1
‘(A) clarify, refine, complete, and expand, as needed, the standards required under section 1173;
‘(B) require paper versions of standardized transactions to comply with the same standards as to data content such that a fully compliant, equivalent electronic transaction can be populated from the data from a paper version;
‘(C) enable electronic funds transfers, in order to allow automated reconciliation with the related health care payment and remittance advice;

‘(D) require timely and transparent claim and denial management processes, including tracking, adjudication, and appeal processing;
‘(E) require the use of a standard electronic transaction with which health care providers may quickly and efficiently enroll with a health plan to conduct the other electronic transactions provided for in this part;
an expedited upgrade program for continually developing and approving additions and modifications to the standards as often as annually to improve their quality and extend their functionality to meet evolving requirements in health care;

programs to provide incentives for, and ease the burden of,implementation for certain health care providers, with special consideration given to such providers serving rural or underserved areas and ensure coordination with standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria being adopted under the HITECH Act;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink

‘(D) programs to provide incentives for, and ease the burden of, health care providers who volunteer to participate in the process of setting standards for electronic transactions;

‘(F) an enforcement process that includes timely investigation of complaints, random audits to ensure compliance, civil monetary and programmatic penalties for non-compliance consistent with existing laws and regulations, and a fair and reasonable appeals process building off of enforcement provisions under this part.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink

‘(b) Limitations on Use of Data- Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the use of information collected under this section in a manner that would adversely affect any individual.
‘(c) Protection of Data- The Secretary shall ensure (through the promulgation of regulations or otherwise) that all data collected pursuant to subsection (a) are--
‘(1) used and disclosed in a manner that meets the HIPAA privacy and security law (as defined in section 3009(a)(2) of the Public Health Service Act), including any privacy or security standard adopted under section 3004 of such Act;
Now if you are still with me and were able to read and understand the clause you should realize it's basically a simple housekeeping chore. Nothing about abortions, euthanasia, personal bank accounts, or any of the other myths you swallowed. Nor can you find any of those things in the bill.

It is not Crabby that needs to do her homework, but you.

Great post, Darlene! You really know your stuff. Instead of just going around spreading dissension, I hope a lot on the right will get themselves educated on the facts and not just trust their right wing pundits.

This is all truly laughable. First off, Sophronia, Federal employees don’t have socialized health care, their plans are provided by the private sector. But at least you can admit that I do indeed know it all. Reading the legislation helps.

Now, Darlene, for one, try to at least get my name right. It’s only printed on the very same page that you are commenting. Now, the word Nazi was derived from a word meaning ‘national socialist.’ In essence, they were socialists. And yea, I followed through the section you posted on access to bank accounts, thanks for posting that for everyone. Now for the rest of the sections I outlined for the other bullet points from the original blog. Of course one section from the entire 1017 page bill wont contain everything, you have to read ALL the sections to get the big picture.

The information I have gotten and posted here hasn’t come from right-wing pundits; it’s come from the bill HR 3200 that is going through the house after the recess. But really, by all means, don’t take my word for it, read it yourself. Library of congress, THOMAS, HR 3200, full text. It’s all there, and the sections I outlined above tell the whole story, unedited.

Mr Rusch - you are admittedly very young, but youth does not excuse malice. I quote from your section about the Health Care proposals

"That is a concept of socialism. The Nazis were socialists."

This is guilt by association.

"An association fallacy is an inductive formal fallacy of the type hasty generalization or red herring which asserts that qualities of one thing are inherently qualities of another, merely by an irrelevant association. The two types are sometimes referred to as guilt by association and honor by association. Association fallacies are a special case of red herring, and can be based on an appeal to emotion." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_fallacy)

The fact that the Nazis adopted the term National Socialist does not make them socialist any more than the use of the term 'democratic' in the full name of the Democratic Republic of North Korea makes it a democracy. In the US, because of your particular political culture, this is a doubly damning association, because of the knee jerk reaction that also comes with the mention of socialism in any context. You usually have it wrong, just as you usually get the term libertarian wrong, but that is another story.

I simply can't be bothered to argue any of your other points. If you want to know why, I simply refer you to Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank


Ok, so you want me to get into specifics. I can do that. It was Hitler and the National Socialists in Germany in the 1930s that were allowed major stakes of ownership in properties and industry, like VW and Volvo (you know, kind of like GM and Chrysler here in this administration). They also established make work projects all around the country, like the autobahn and certain national monuments (you know, kind of like TARP and the stimulus bill here in this country). Hitler also appointed public advisors for policy making that answered to no one but himself (you know, kind of like the czars here in this country). 1930s Germany also had a sweeping state run health care plan that allowed the government unprecedented access to the private lives and choices of its citizens (you know, kind of like the health choices act going through the house in this country). We can look at it all day, fact is, pre Munich invasion Germany parallels the current administration frighteningly often.

As for Barney Frank, I have a whole post for him on my site.

My eyes glaze over. Rusch is a troll. Ban him.

Nothing would tickle me more than resorting to banning me. It would absolutely illustrate the mindset of those on the left that support ramming federal legislation down the throats to govern everyone.

Well, when you can’t beat him, ban him I guess.

Let's give young Mr. Rusch a break. Most of us, like him, also believed we were smarter than everyone else when we were 20. With varying degrees of disdain, we were just as intent on giving the world the benefit of our genius.

And as we did, he will probably outgrow it in time.

I think Hattie is right - to a degree - Mr Rusch is trolling for an argument (the only comment on his blog is from me so obviously he needs someone to talk to him). The way to deal with trolls is not to ban them - they only go and hide under someone else bridge - but ignore them. Trolls hate being ignored - they stamp their feet and hold their breath but eventually they fade away.

Well, now hold on crabby. You’re saying that you grew out of that stage of your life? I think the existence of this whole blog is proof to the contrary. This is classic modern liberalism. Guys, if you’re going to post up a wholly one sided opinion in a public forum like this, be ready for someone to come in and disagree with you. I am on my blog in fact I encourage it over there. It is why we were given the right to free speech; so that we could exchange Ideas openly. Your reactions are classic examples of typical liberal responses, which is why I find it so laughable.

Don't feed the troll...

Isn’t that what you are doing by continuing to comment on my page? Not that I don’t enjoy ripping apart your arguments piece by piece.

I'm breaking my own rule here, but did you notice one tell tale passage in the trolls post above?

"It is why we were given the right to free speech"

I found that interesting since clearly he doesn't think the right to free speech is intrinsic - someone has to give it to us. As I say, interesting from someone getting so excited about freedom and individual rights.

Take a quick history lesson and you’ll learn that the right and freedom of speech was given to us by ourselves, citizens that formed the United States of America wrote the constitution including the right to free speech. The idea that we only have freedoms that the government allows us to have is the reasoning behind the second amendment. Ironic how those two freedoms are listed back to back in our constitution.

"From her vantage point, it looks like the United States has gone batshit crazy."

It looks that way from over here in Sweden, too. It breaks my heart. And it scares me.

I have been there and gone through the humiliation!

Years ago I was caught up in a suit brought against the company I was working with (a titan in the industry).

There was a group of senior employees who happened across reams of corporate HR paper regarding things such as, "Dealing with Seniors in the Workplace". Though at the time I was in my late 40s early 50s the info was a shock and seemed a crime. But did not directly affect me or my people. I had foresight and could see the future, however.

The story was eventually aired on "60 Minutes" and eventually the crime was proven committed - but now it was up to each individual (out of a group of 3,400) to prove their own case. That is where things stopped.

Later in life I went on to interview in other respectable American corporations and ran across a number of comments that ranged from subtle to outright insulting! One in particular - - My resume was stacked with qualifications, I was walked through my new department, introduced to my new employees, then asked about some of past experiences. I never, ever, let on about my age. Eventually it occurred to the interviewer that I couldn't have possibly done all the things I said I did and be the apparent age I was - - and said, "How old are you anyway?"

At that point I knew I had been 'discovered'. Today I teach high school Physics and Chemistry and still go through some of the same - but not as humiliating.

Just I thought I'd share . . .

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