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Are Americans Stupid?

Bill Maher has a piece at HuffPo arguing that Americans are a bunch of idiots who should just shut up and let people who know what they’re talking about make decisions on tough issues like health care reform.

[T]ake the health care debate we’re presently having: members of Congress have recessed now so they can go home and “listen to their constituents.” An urge they should resist because their constituents don’t know anything. At a recent town-hall meeting in South Carolina, a man stood up and told his Congressman to “keep your government hands off my Medicare,” which is kind of like driving cross country to protest highways.

I’m the bad guy for saying it’s a stupid country, yet polls show that a majority of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, or explain what the Bill of Rights is. 24% could not name the country America fought in the Revolutionary War. More than two-thirds of Americans don’t know what’s in Roe v. Wade. Two-thirds don’t know what the Food and Drug Administration does. Some of this stuff you should be able to pick up simply by being alive. You know, like the way the Slumdog kid knew about cricket.

Not here. Nearly half of Americans don’t know that states have two senators and more than half can’t name their congressman. And among Republican governors, only 30% got their wife’s name right on the first try.

Sarah Palin says she would never apologize for America. Even though a Gallup poll says 18% of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth. No, they’re not stupid. They’re interplanetary mavericks. A third of Republicans believe Obama is not a citizen, and a third of Democrats believe that George Bush had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, which is an absurd sentence because it contains the words “Bush” and “knowledge.”

People bitch and moan about taxes and spending, but they have no idea what their government spends money on. The average voter thinks foreign aid consumes 24% of our federal budget. It’s actually less than 1%. And don’t even ask about cabinet members: seven in ten think Napolitano is a kind of three-flavored ice cream. And last election, a full one-third of voters forgot why they were in the booth, handed out their pants, and asked, “Do you have these in a relaxed-fit?”

And I haven’t even brought up America’s religious beliefs. But here’s one fun fact you can take away: did you know only about half of Americans are aware that Judaism is an older religion than Christianity? That’s right, half of America looks at books called the Old Testament and the New Testament and cannot figure out which one came first.

And these are the idiots we want to weigh in on the minutia of health care policy? Please, this country is like a college chick after two Long Island Iced Teas: we can be talked into anything, like wars, and we can be talked out of anything, like health care. We should forget town halls, and replace them with study halls. There’s a lot of populist anger directed towards Washington, but you know who concerned citizens should be most angry at? Their fellow citizens. “Inside the beltway” thinking may be wrong, but at least it’s thinking, which is more than you can say for what’s going on outside the beltway.

And if you want to call me an elitist for this, I say thank you. Yes, I want decisions made by an elite group of people who know what they’re talking about. That means Obama budget director Peter Orszag, not Sarah Palin.

This rant is so powerful it’s united Dennis the Peasant (aka Kenton E. Kelly, CPA) and Roger L. Simon!

Kelly snarks, “Just ask any progressive. They love ‘the people’. They want to help ‘the people’. They want equality, fraternity, mutual respective and constructive dialog.”

And the meme’s spreading. Greg Sargent reports that Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel says Democrats attacking other Democrats are “f-king stupid.”  And president Obama wants people who disagree with him to shut up.

What’s interesting here is that Maher’s largely right on the facts.  We’ve known for decades that people are wildly ignorant about basic facts.  Some of it’s explainable by getting caught off guard or not quite understanding the question.  But anyone who has taught college freshmen knows that even fairly bright folks can be astonishingly ignorant.

It doesn’t follow, however, that people are too stupid to make judgments on issues. People may not be able to answer the question “Name the branches of the U.S. Government” but they probably know that we have a president, a Congress, and courts and have some vague sense that there are checks and balances.  They may not know how much of our budget is spent on foreign aid but they know that they’d rather spend their money at home.  They know that abortion is legal and controversial even if they don’t know the name of the case that made it so or even understand that the Supreme Court is responsible.

The nature of representative democracy is that the people make judgments on broad policy directions and elect people to govern them accordingly.  The details are left to the elected representatives and, increasingly, to unelected bureaucrats with actual subject matter expertise.

To the extent that the public’s misunderstanding of the issues makes it difficult to make changes that presidents and congressmen think are necessary, it is incumbent on these leaders to explain themselves better.  Obama is a fine orator and gets more television time than “Seinfeld” reruns.   If he can’t persuade people to buy what he’s selling, he might need a new product.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. just me says:

    Well I will happily grant him that many americans are stupid, but that doesn’t really support the argument he is making-which is that the members or congress are smart and able to figure this one out-members of congress are Americans too-and probably just as stupid and more dangerous-because they actually have power.

    But I didn’t realize that once you voted, you pretty much had to sit down and shut up-which is pretty much what Maher and the president are saying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. bystander says:

    The poor ignorant masses of middle-class America simply do not know what’s best for them. It takes an elite group to figure out what’s best, and then wrap that plan in language that is meant to appease the masses as the elite seek to continue to remove their power to govern themselves. Even if the language is not totally honest, the end justifies the means. Now there are some influential public figures outside of the elite that are causing problems by peeling back the rhetoric and exposing the core. This causes the masses to begin to question just what the reality of the core plan is – and the progressives just don’t know how to handle it. I guess the best way is to demonize those who dare to peel back the rhetoric. The problem is, it isn’t working too well. The masses are still focused on the core issues and they want answers, not rhetoric.

    Great post James.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  3. G.A.Phillips says:

    lol, nice clip James I’ve been looking for it all morning.

    So who created the mess?

    Who does he want to stop talking?

    ME ME ME I I I I I ME ME THEM THEM THEM…..
    ya

    Obama is a fine orator

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  4. DL says:

    They have always loathed the peasants, now that the beginning of the end of their power is upon them, they are just transparently open about it. Nothing is more useless than a base that won’t follow their piper anymore.

    The fools attacked the greatest generation, Obama played the Soviet “rat on your neighbor game, while schumer announced that he didn’t care if the people didn’t want econocide, because they were going to pass it anyway, while the Fearless leader dropped the halo pretense and ordered his 13 million troops to hit them back. They are now desperate.
    A word to the wise – sell your carbon trading stock and invest in guillotine stock before the crowd wakes up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Follow Maher it to his logical conclusion. By what authority should the Obama and congress rip up over a sixth of our economy to remake it as they would wish? Why because they were elected by those ignorant plebs. But if the people are to ignorant for the debate, then they are to ignorant for choosing the debaters. Maher has knocked out the underpinnings of the legitimacy of the entire government. Why should we let someone rule over us when their only claim to legitimacy is the votes of these ignorant masses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. Billy says:

    To the extent that the public’s misunderstanding of the issues makes it difficult to make changes that presidents and congressmen think are necessary, it is incumbent on these leaders to explain themselves better. Obama is a fine orator and gets more television time that “Seinfeld” reruns. If he can’t persuade people to buy what he’s selling, he might need a new product.

    To the degree this is true, and I believe it is, at least as much blame lies in the deliberate, sustained campaign of misinformation engaged in by the republicans and their shills. If Obama were failing to persuade people on the facts, that would be one thing, but he is failing to persuade people who are being told he was born in Kenya, or who want to keep the government out of medicare. We are talking about an opposition with no shame, that is not above creating braying mobs howling for the blood of the infidel.

    James, you have to be intellectually honest here. No matter how crazy the truthers or the Bush-derangement syndrome crowd got, there was never the level of vitriol over a good-faith policy debate like we are seeing now, and I’m certain that the republicans are just getting started with this. There is no equivalency here, and it does the country, liberals and conservatives alike, to draw battle lines on a tribal basis rather than to debate the actual substance of the issues. Your party is bankrupt, and as someone mentioned in an earlier post, you are the menshaviks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  7. If the people are too stupid to make important decisions about their own health care or other important issues, just how much farther down his preferred path is it before thee same people are too stupid to select their leaders?

    Yes, I want decisions made by an elite group of people who know what they’re talking about.

    For Bill Maher, elitists are a necessary but not a sufficient condition. They must also be progressives to satisfy his desires.

    As for me, I kind of glad to see the masks drop. As soon as enough of the people come to see these elitist progressives for what they are the sooner they will once again be relegated to the sidelines.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  8. Dave Schuler says:

    The people aren’t stupid. They’re mushrooms (kept in the dark and fed bullsh*t).

    Maher hasn’t taken his own argument to its logical conclusion, which H. L. Mencken did a century ago. Our system of government is boobocracy.

    When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost… All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.’ The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. JKB says:

    Funny, I didn’t hear this argument 7 years ago when “an elite group of people who know what they’re talking about” were moving to fend of attacks and drive our enemy to ground. You know as opposed to that earlier elite group of people who didn’t know what they were talking about and let our enemy grow in the nineties.

    But in any case, Obama’s problem is that his forced the intervention of people who’d rather just get on with their lives rather than deal with an employee who is causing trouble. Sure people are angry, any principle would be when faced with an agent who is acting against the principle’s best interest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. hallo says:

    Idiots or not, whatever, if Hoot Smalley doesn’t keep his grubby government hands off my medicare I’m leaving the country and hopping on the next bus to Hawaii.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. hcantrall says:

    Bill Maher is to the libs what Ann Coulter is to the conservatives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Chai says:

    Hey Billy, no republican has told his followers to silence the other side. Get real, buddy, O is a demagogue at best, a flim-flam artist at worst. Yuck…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  13. Duracomm says:

    Maher exposes his own ignorance in that rant.

    The biggest concentration of complete ignorance, utter arrogance, and too much power is in the US congress.

    One recent example of a problem congress created and won’t fix can be found here.

    As is always the case congressional actions help the large corporate interests liberals like to complain about and hurt the small companies and individuals they are supposed to be concerned about.

    Book Banning

    So when I see old children’s books–and by “old” I mean “pre-1960″–I often buy them. I love having the companions of my childhood to hand. I’ve always enjoyed the prospect of having more space to really take up collecting.

    Apparently, I can forget about that. Congress has apparently outlawed my hobby. Nor is this merely ideological hysteria. I just checked Amazon, and while there are still some old books for sale, it looks as if there are a lot fewer than there used to be.

    Maher ignorance allows him to believe the ludicrous idea that giving those folks more power over healthcare is a good idea.

    Those of us in the reality based community who pay attention to what congress does understand how stupid and dangerous that would be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. Our Paul says:

    Good post James, it will keep the juice flowing over the week end. Unfortunately Bill Maher did not place the blame where it belongs. This dreadful state of ignorance is the fault of the liberal press.

    Bill Maher did miss one whopper in his litany of ignorance: the inability of certain segments of the American public to define Socialism. Would you believe that there are segments of our society that view Medicare as Socialized Medicine? Now that is a major failure of our educational system.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. Yes, people are idiots. If you don’t know what Copernicus knew you’re an idiot.

    The question is whether idiots are actually worse at governing than geniuses. Lenin was a very smart man. Well-read, well-educated, widely-traveled. Not so successful at governing.

    George W. Bush, a moron, was elected largely by fellow morons, and was lousy at governing but nowhere near as bad as Lenin.

    We have a choice between baboons and brahmins. And what’s disturbing is that it’s hard to make a powerful case for the brahmins.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  16. Herb says:

    Taken in context with the birthers, the Obama is a Nazi crowd, and Sarah Palin’s latest “death panels” Facebook messages, it becomes a lot harder to come down on Bill Maher for calling people stupid.

    No doubt, someone will point to the Truthers, the Bush is a Nazi crowd, and Michael Moore’s “Cuba has great healthcare” movies…to which I say, I rest my case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Raoul says:

    I think peoples’ intuition may work for some things but not for others. Meaning, sometimes is just impossible to sell a product to this morass; regardless of how good it is. So, the conclusion of the post is pretty idiotic, my question is – why are people so stupid? It is not like the government structure is hidden in some secret locale. It makes wonder that if one does not care how things work, then I will not listen to those people when they have an opinion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. marktimm says:

    Elites fancy themselves intellectuals while the play follow the leader of the newest fad. One decade we are headed for an ice age, the next we are warming the planet. How about character? How about integrity? Does that count for anything? Intelligence without character is harmful to society. The smartest guys in the room, a bunch of Ivy league wonder boys gave America Enron and then they shoved money in their pockets while they tanked Wall Street, ya we need more of them to tell us how to run things. Tax cheats running the Treasury? They bankrupted social security and Medicaid? Good move geniuses. The left and their state run media always paint conservatives as stupid, Reagan, Quayle, GW, all idiots, Carter, Clinton, Obama, Kerry geniuses. GW had a higher GPA than Kerry. Gore talks down to us but sounds like a moron. You guys need a new play book, the game is changing and you don’t even see it. And please, keep underestimating Palin and see where that gets you. If people ARE dumbed down its because the federal government took over the government schools in the sixties and transformed them from one of the best in the world to one of the worst. Keep believing in your smug elitism, its a new day, the sleeping giant is waking up, sneer at that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  19. Tommy B. says:

    And where do these stupid people fail to learn anything–government schools. Yet another reason to be suspect of government run health care. Maybe the masses, ignorant as they are, realize that the government hasn’t done such a bang up job for them yet improving their lives to the point where they don’t want anymore intervention from big brother.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. dumbfounded says:

    If the “average” American is stupid, but can earn a living,pay taxes and contribute productivity to our society, then how “stupid” are able the able-bodied Americans who cant find a job, regardless of economic conditions, and cant provide themselves with healh care inurance.In other words,excepting those disabled thru no fault of their own, what about those “victims” who produce nothing ,never work,or work sporadically, have kids out of wedlock, do drugs and want to contribute nothing towards their own healthcare?How stupid are these people if the “average stupid American can get by just fine.Should we deem these people to be “just too stupid to help”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. dumbfounded says:

    If the “average” American is stupid, but can earn a living,pay taxes and contribute productivity to our society, then how “stupid” are able the able-bodied Americans who cant find a job, regardless of economic conditions, and cant provide themselves with health care inurance.In other words,excepting those disabled thru no fault of their own, what about those “victims” who produce nothing ,never work,or work sporadically, have kids out of wedlock, do drugs and want to contribute nothing towards their own healthcare?How stupid are these people if the “average stupid American” can get by just fine.Shouldnt we deem these people to be “just too stupid to help”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Dave H says:

    When I first saw the headline on RCP, I thought it was a conservative satire. When I saw it was Maher who wrote it, I knew he was dead serious. Maher is the perfect liberal comedian. As we all know, liberals don’t get irony, but they think they do and that everybody else is too stupid to appreciate their brilliance. Thanks for proving it again, Bill. If you look up “sanctimonious” in the dictionary, Maher’s picture is there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  23. TangoMan says:

    Maher self-detonates the logical foundations of his position. Yetanotherjohn has already hit on this point, but let me rub Maher’s nose in his error.

    Politicians are smart;
    People are stupid.
    Stupid people should listen to smart people.

    Sarah Palin is a politician.
    Therefore Sarah Palin is smart.

    Bill Maher is not a politician.
    Therefore Bill Maher is stupid.

    Bill Maher, a stupid person, should listen to Sarah Palin, a smart politician.

    Bill, is this the argument that you want to be making, that you should be listening to the wisdom of Sarah Palin because she’s smarter than you? Also, you’re not a politician, therefore you’re not smart, so why should a nation of stupid people listen to the advice of yet another stupid entertainer?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  24. Alan B says:

    Bill Maher showing how ignorant he is again. He should just take his own advice shut up and sit down. I wouldn’t ever watch his program, because it doesn’t have many intelligent guest. What can you expect from an idiot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  25. floyd says:

    So most of us are d@mned fools like Maher???…..
    Explains a Democrat resident and a Democrat Party majority in both houses!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  26. Alan B says:

    I wouldn’t trust someone who hasn’t read the language in a bill. If you do not read it and comprehend it, then do not vote for it. What Bill Maher fails to understand is “The People” have read the bills and do not want them.
    Hey Bill, it is time for you to stop dumming down society. The day your show goes off the air, is the day America Becomes a Smarter Place!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  27. Bill Carson says:

    Am I supposed to be impressed by an observation that many on the right lack detailed knowledge of Obama’s plans? Well, gee, I guess I can no longer attack Obama’s plans. One problem though, all the attacks and comments I’ve read about “mobs” and “ignorant people” ignore the appalling levels of ignorance of the Kool Aid drinkers. Surely, no liberal would want to be assigned the task of making the argument that Obama lovers fully understand his plans either.

    The fact in our society is that people can object or yell or be part of a “mob” even if they don’t have full knowledge of Obama’s plans.

    I would place my knowledge in the top 2% of people on the left or right about Obama’s plan Yeah, I know he doesn’t have a plan, per se, but only a fool doesn’t know what Obama really wants.

    Think about it, once people learn that he intends to force you to buy a health policy from him (yeah, I know he doesn’t sell them directly) at a price you might not like or you’ll be forced to pay a 2.5% of income penalty, they might just vomit the idea out. That is what I have done. I don’t like government force. You liberals should argue that government force is wonderful rather than attack me as being “ignorant.” Again, I know quite a bit about HR3200. How many of you liberal readers have bothered to read even a paragraph of it before attacking someone like me? And you call me stupid? Unfortunately for all of us, your leader is the most stupid president we’ve even had.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  28. Mike Constitution says:

    Americans can be amazingly ignorant. It is mainly the result of the leftist public school “indoctrination/education” they receive. Politically correct garbage is taught in place of basics like the questions posed in the article.

    The Democrats, the media, and the teacher’s unions control the public schools and the lousy product they put out. It is part of the overall liberal Democrat strategy of dumbing down Americans to increase their dependence on government and the power of Democrats to control our lives.

    Bill Maher knows all this because he is part of the liberal cabal that wants more power and he really does think we are too stupid to see through him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. Herb says:

    Sorry, Tangoman, Sarah Palin is not a politician anymore. She quit, remember? As for smart…

    Either she didn’t know that end-of-life planning does not involve sitting in front of a “death panel,” or she wanted to create that (false) impression anyway. This is not the mark of a superb intellect. Dumb or dishonest. Pick your poison.

    Oh, and to Mike Constitution, writing garbage like this:

    “The Democrats, the media, and the teacher’s unions control the public schools and the lousy product they put out.”

    The media controls public schools??? Dude…You wrote that crap in a post called “Are Americans Stupid?” Tell me you’re joking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  30. TangoMan says:

    Sorry, Tangoman, Sarah Palin is not a politician anymore. She quit, remember?

    Sorry Herb, you’re referencing only a subset of politicians, those who currently hold elected office. You disqualify as politicians a.) all those who do not hold elected office but campaign for it, b.) those who once held elected office and are still engaged in the political process, and c.) those who once held elected office and seek to do so in the future.

    Is George W. Bush not a politician? Is Tom Daschle not a politician? Is Vaughn Ward not a politician?

    Either she didn’t know that end-of-life planning does not involve sitting in front of a “death panel,” or she wanted to create that (false) impression anyway. This is not the mark of a superb intellect. Dumb or dishonest. Pick your poison.

    You’re creating a false choice scenario. Palin is showing her mastery of Kobayashi Maru tactics. She’s capturing news cycles, redefining the terms of debate and putting socialists on the defensive. Her death panel remark personalizes the coldness of death planning and she brings attention to the attitudes and minds of the Obama health advisers who are crafting this takeover of 17% of the economy. These tactics do speak to political intelligence. The fact that Obama partisans search in vain through the legislation for the term “death panel” doesn’t add anything to the national debate. That’s like liberals arguing that the Soviet Union never referred to itself as the Evil Empire. Big deal. Reagan captured the essential nature of communists and his phraseology resonated with people because it was an accurate and succinct description of communism.

    Do you really think that because a “liberal think tank” never references itself as a bunch of partisan liberal hacks means that they’re not partisan liberal hacks? Do you think that when the media call themselves the fourth estate and never refer to themselves as an echo chamber that they’re not really an echo chamber?

    But let’s get back on topic. Palin is a politician. Bill Maher is not. Therefore, Maher should be listening to Palin’s wisdom.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. marktimm says:

    Herb, read a little and stop drinking the koolaid. Read what the people around Obama have written, start with his Rham’s Doctor brother who is on one of his advisory panels They think old people are hogging all the health care dollars and they are just going to die anyway. BTW, Gore isn’t a politician anymore either yet to the left he is like some kind of nature god when he spouts his global warming nonsense. As far as dumb Obama thought there were 57 states, but the state run media ignored that one because only conservatives are stupid. Wake up Herb, you Obamatrons are friggin programed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. JohnR says:

    First of all, “stupid” means low IQ. IQ is innate, and there’s zero proof that a population born in one nation has lower average IQ than any other. All nations have an equal distribution of high/low IQs.

    What Maher really means is that americans act stupidly; he boslters this claim with anecdotes about americans’ lack of knowledge on simple topics. The problem is, you’ll find this in all countries. America is not unique.

    So, taking it one final step, Maher is basically saying that americans act stupidly becasue they don’t agree with him. I love it when Leftists let the phony mask of “compassion” drop and say what they really mean; arrogant hate-filled elitests who basically want the vote taken away from the rubes and to allow only the hah-vahd types to wield power. Maher forgets that americans in 2009 are certainly more educated than americans from 1800 or 1900 and the nation did just fine; people don’t have to be clever, snarky a**holes like Bill in order to make common sense choices.

    The absolute truth is that the Left has a streak of contempt for democracy…which fits right in with their fondness for totalitarianism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. Danny says:

    Voting for someone who did not know that Africa is a continent to be, “a heart beat away”…that’s the stupid Bill was taking about. W
    .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. jda says:

    Sorry, Tangoman, Sarah Palin is not a politician anymore. She quit, remember?

    Al Gore is not a politician anymore. Therefore Al Gore is stupid, and you should not listen to what he says.

    See? We can play this game all day. Basically, what Bill Maher is saying is “People who agree with me are smart. People who don’t are stupid.”

    I agree Bill Maher is the Left’s Ann Coulter. But at least Ann Coulter is hot in that “crazy-mean-chick-who-could-rip-you-a-new-one-at-any-second” kind of way while Bill is…well..Bill. I feel sorry for him. He seems a profoundly unhappy man. I hope he finds some peace in his life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. ggr says:

    As others have pointed out, if they’re too stupid to be trusted with something like their own health care, then they’re certainly too stupid to be allowed to elect their own government. So, which form of dictatorship is it going to be? Or is Maher just suggesting a return to monarchy … maybe tell the British that the war of independence turned out in retrospect to be a mistake, and ask if they’ll take America back?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Herb, I really hate to burst your fragile bubble, just because Palin stepped down as governor she stopped being a politician. But then to be identified as a politician is akin to being labeled a lawyer or used car salesman. Bill Mahre demostrates his smarts by calling Americans stupid. I suggest he do that in an unprotected mode. Like in a bar full of longshoremen. I wonder just how long his dental work would survive after he informed hard working Americans they should shut up and listen to the betters? As to whether or not Palin is very smart or not. I’ll bet you she has not made any effort to hide what grades she got in school. How she got into school and if there was anything published by her during her tenure at whatever schools she attended. I wonder just how much crack cocaine she has smoked? Funny, the President you seem to think is intelligent is unable or unwilling to produce anything that backs up that claim. I just love it. You think you are smart but the baffoon holding our highest public office and insulted and disrespected the people who put him there. He has spent money at an alarming rate and wishes to blame the present on the past. He has not experience at anything except running his mouth and it turns out he has to have help doing that. I just cannot wait for January 20, 2013.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. Herb says:

    Tangoman, you do crack me up, that’s for sure. Alright, I admit that Palin was once-upon-a-time a politician and that her half a term qualifies her to be called “Governor” for life.

    But you give her way too much credit here:

    Her death panel remark personalizes the coldness of death planning and she brings attention to the attitudes and minds of the Obama health advisers who are crafting this takeover of 17% of the economy.

    The “coldness” of death planning? Yes, it’s cold…but it’s also necessary and universal. We’re all going to die. It is not outrageous to encourage planning for it. It’s prudent.

    Also…planning for your inevitable death is a bit different than standing in front of a “death panel” who has the power to condemn old people and babies to death, which is what Palin implied.

    So there goes this criticism:

    The fact that Obama partisans search in vain through the legislation for the term “death panel” doesn’t add anything to the national debate.

    You’re right, the term “death panel” is not in there. Neither is the concept.

    Straw manning doesn’t add anything to the national debate either. If you’d like to offer reasons why you think healthcare reform should not include end-of-life planning, I’m all ears. But you want to tell me Obama’s setting up death panels, then I’m just going to roll my eyes.

    And no, it’s not because I’m a liberal. It’s because that’s not true!

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  38. Herb says:

    Zelsdorf Ragshaft III, you crack me up, too:

    Bill Mahre demostrates his smarts by calling Americans stupid. I suggest he do that in an unprotected mode. Like in a bar full of longshoremen. I wonder just how long his dental work would survive after he informed hard working Americans they should shut up and listen to the betters?

    You’re right. Americans aren’t stupid.

    No, they’re just violent bullies.

    PS, all the folks who bring up the Obama-Palin, Obama-Gore, “well what about (insert liberal here)?” nonsense…so what?

    You think because I criticize Sarah Palin that means I’m going to defend Al Gore? No…it’s not that simple. I have principles. Not political loyalties.

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  39. [...] for the video clip, OTB. addthis_url = ‘http%3A%2F%2Fwww.poliblogger.com%2F%3Fp%3D16530′; addthis_title = [...]

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  40. vech says:

    Danny: You also elected a President who has been to all but one of our 57 states. Does that make you feel smart?

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  41. TParty4USA says:

    Heck, I’d be willing to have any of my “ignorant” American friends running the country instead of just about any of our current crop of highly-over-educated idiot elitists who couldn’t manage to shoot, clean, and cook a moose all on their own, even if their life depended on it.

    You know why? Because I trust my friends to be truthful, and I don’t believe those elitists even if they swore on a stack of bibles. Of course, it is very unusual for those elitists to even lay a hand on any bible, and they usually just swear at religion (and guns) as some kind of “pacifier” refuge for all of us unwashed, ignorant masses.

    And for sure that Bill Mayhere fellow needs to go back and redo his civics schooling before he keeps making a fool of himself by spouting off with his weird opinions about the USA. Has he even read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence one time in his entire life? Would he swear to that on a stack of bibles? But that wouldn’t mean anything to him, would it, since he thinks we’re all no different than a caterpillar.

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  42. Danny says:

    Here’s some more stupid…Every time you hear a republican open his pie hole…there’s a pattern…their rhetoric is based on “projection.” To wit, whatever their accusing Obama of, they’ve done, or, are doing. Hitler? It’s George Bush who was the tyrant. Who was it dubbed “Homeland Security?” Who was it that ran a war for a full 3 years after polls showed over 80% of Americans of all stripes determined it “unwinnable?” That’s tyranny.. Who used reconciliation? (that’s a method in the senate, used to skirt the 60 vote requirement to pass anything that negatively impatc the budget deficit for you stupids out there) That’s tyranny! You racist idiots! Everything Obama has done, he either ran on, to the tune of 69 million votes (HE WON BY 8 MILLION VOTES, YOU IMBECILES!…THAT’s WHAT WE REAL AMERICANS, WHO UNDERSTAND DEMOCRACY, LIKE TO CALL A MANDATE!!!); is trying to salvage a catastrophy he inherited; or, is keeping in place Bush policies. SO, HERE IS OBAMA, WITH A 60 VOTE “MANDATE” MAJORITY IN THE SENATE, allowing the right flank of his party to represent the interests of the 58 million people who did not vote for him! And that’s Nazism? That’s called racism…Want more stupid? You need a valid birth certificate to get a passport…D**K HEADS!!!

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  43. Kate says:

    Well I am NOT stupid you insufferable little piece of #@#@. I will put my IQ up against yours any day of the week. You are ONLY one miserable little democrat masquerading as a journalist who has the temerity to call the American people stupid. Here is a question for Mr. Smartypants. What and ultimately who EXACTLY will pay for this abomination of a healthcare reform bill? Now EXACTLY mind you. What EXACTLY is a system of healthcare such as Canada and how does it impact the ordinary person as far as care goes AND taxes. Come down off your high horse where you are undoubtedly most uncomfortable and start giving answers to the perfectly legitimate questions asked by intelligent and thinking Americans. The problem the Democrats have is not “Nazis”, “mis-information”, people who should be “flagged” or ordinary Conservatives or Republicans. The problem Democrats have is that they do not know what they are doing. Like all you Democrats, intellectually speaking, you are overreaching. Again.

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  44. Danny says:

    Hey…I’ll tell you what…I’ll show you Obama’s birth certificate when you show me Sarah Palin’s High School Diploma!

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  45. Danny says:

    Hey…ass stain! Bush passed a 1 trillion prescription drug plan without even trying to pay for a dime…while he hide the cost of the wars to camoflauge his tyranny…Democrats went along because they were afraid of his, “SS” (that be you). That drug policy benefits seniors making up to $170,000 per year. Sarah Palin ran the biggest “welfare state” in the union with the highest per capita incidents of rape and incest. Obama’s district in Illinois had about as many people.

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  46. TangoMan says:

    The “coldness” of death planning? Yes, it’s cold…but it’s also necessary and universal. We’re all going to die. It is not outrageous to encourage planning for it. It’s prudent.

    You’re clearly signal yourself a liberal when you start proclaiming that your “wisdom” trumps the wisdom of people you don’t know. Next you’ll be telling everyone that it is universally necessary to sign a prenup before getting married. After that I’m sure that you’ll be instructing folks that it is universally necessary to circumcise every newborn male. I’m sure that the ultimate goal is to mandate universal vegetarianism and to have Bill Maher’s wisdom universally displayed on every TV channel.

    Also…planning for your inevitable death is a bit different than standing in front of a “death panel” who has the power to condemn old people and babies to death, which is what Palin implied.

    It’s no different than calling an estate tax a death tax. People should plan for the tax consequences that will befall their estate but they have every right to be upset with the notion that their estates will have to pay taxes on a net worth that has already been taxed as it was accumulated.

    With Obamacare morphing into a centralized resource allocation mechanism, physicians will have resource constraints imposed on them. Their duty will be to counsel their patients on constraining their expectations for medical treatment as they age. In a system without a central resource allocator, the patients can enter into a free exchange with an insurer which matches the patient’s interests for end of life treatment. In such an exchange both parties benefit. Under Obamacare, the prevailing philosophy is social justice which is to be achieved by rationing a finite amount of care to all, and rationing by standards set by liberal philosopher kings. These philosopher kings probably will think like you, and proclaim that they know what’s best for every individual. To those who disagree with these philosopher kings, well, we tend to think of them as members of death panels, in that they’re removing choice from individuals and imposing rationing and their own value judgments on how rationing should be achieved. The ultimate focal point of their value judgments will play out for seniors who come to a crossroad between needing life-saving treatment and the alternative use of those resources for other patients. Obama hit on this very point when he told a woman that he thought her grandmother should have been given some pain pills instead of the pacemaker that allowed her to live for at least another five years. I’m sure that Obama, like Maher and yourself, views himself as a philosopher king, a fellow who knows what’s best for everyone.

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  47. vech says:

    Danny: You have issues young man. You’re babbling and incoherent.

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  48. G.A.Phillips says:

    Danny is your real name Bill?

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  49. rachel says:

    This is all about reparations. Most of the uninsured are black Americans and illegals. http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=91b33c75d7596d21b9a19206ca443b2b

    In order to give them yet more freebies, the rest of us have to pay yet more and more in taxes to cover them and we must also accept inferior and rationed care. Because in some twisted corner of the universe, this is considered “fair”.

    Taking care of yourself and your family, paying your bills and doing the right thing all these years just isn’t ENOUGH, folks. Paying out billions in welfare all these year…NOT ENOUGH. Racial preferences….NOT ENOUGH. We, who have never owned slaves, owe these people who never WERE slaves. And apparently it’s a bill that’s impossible to pay in full.

    When are we going to stop treating black people like mentally challenged children who can’t take care of themselves? And how long are they going to humiliate themselves by allowing us to?

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  50. Dennis D says:

    Yes, I want decisions made by an elite group of people who know what they’re talking about. That means Obama budget director Peter Orszag, not Sarah Palin.

    The problem with Mahers last sentence is clear. Sarah Palin has actually balanced a budget and run a city and a state successfully. Obama and Orszag have not.

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  51. Danny says:

    Well, let me show how low your IQ really is. .80% of people love their healthcare, right? BUT, the majority of people get their healthcare through their employers, right? So, what’s not to like about creating a system that allows you to take your healthcare with you (like we now get to do with our 401Ks) if you lose your job…that might come in handy in our present ecomonic circumstances as a ountry. YA THINK! Only scum like you would defend the insurance lobby…Here’s a question every Amerian can answer..do “man on the street” interviews: “When you get into a car accident, your fault, or not, your insurance company is going to do one of two things…name them? Raise your premium, or stop covering you. Insurance is the bigest scam going!WE END UP FOOTING THE BILL!!! Our job loses due to companies moving overseas is tied to the heathcare burden for hiring American workers. Reforming healthcare holds out the hope that our manufacturing base could return some day. Oh, you’d liked it when Bush used “generation crushing” deficit spending rebuildng Iraq (how’d that seven year project work out?), and pay off terrorists to create the illusion that “the surge worked.” Obama’s stimulus, even the pork, was an investment in America. When did you rightwingers become so un-American? I know when…the 1965 voting rights act!

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  52. Dennis D says:

    Here’s some more stupid…Every time you hear a republican open his pie hole…there’s a pattern…their rhetoric is based on “projection.” To wit, whatever their accusing Obama of, they’ve done, or, are doing. Hitler? It’s George Bush who was the tyrant. Who was it dubbed “Homeland Security?”

    Actually Homeland Security was an idea of a former Democrat Vice President Candidate named Joe Lieberman..

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  53. Tracker says:

    Maher again demonstrates leftist desperation by invoking Sarah Palin. She’s not in office. But for argument’s sake, she also didn’t take her state into the red, either. But in any case, Maher then compares decision making by Orzig who is at the OMB to to Palin, who’s not even in the federal gov’t. A real debate invoking stupidity just might try to compare the differences of opinion on health care amongst the experts/elites who ARE in office. For, if they’re all brilliant, and if this health care plan is too, it should have passed already, by golly!. So, Mr. Maher, how about comparing Orzig (OMB Director) to say, Elmendorf (CBO Director). The latter testified that the changes wanted by the House would drive the curve up, of at least a trillion dollars than the WH predicted; and it would not cover all the uninsured in any case. Instead, because the facts are not on the leftists’ side, Maher and others have to resort to blaming Americans for being upset at info from the CBO and the zero transparency from either the WH or congress. Finally, it’s obvious that the only dumb people in this rant are the ones who didn’t vote for Obama. Except that anyone can go to youtube and see interviews of Obama supporters (White, African american, young and old) who couldn’t even correctly identify his stance on Iraq and Afghanistan.

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  54. Dennis D says:

    Danny your insults are not evidence of intelligence. You make pathetic arguments that lack civility. Haters like yourself are whats WRONG with America.

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  55. Danny says:

    Babbling and incoherent? 85% of our current predicament is Bush generated…you have answers, so you either name call or throw some commie or leftist. Bush was a 51-50 tyrant who spied on American citizens and took away our right…and, 9/11 happened on his watch!

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  56. Herb says:

    Oh, please Tangoman. You take issue with me saying death-planning is universal? It is! Either you do it for yourself, or your family will do it for you when you’re gone. If you’re so unlucky to have no family, the state will take care of it for you. Burial, distribution of assets, etc. If you do it yourself, you set up powers of attorney, living wills, DNR* orders, etc.

    That’s what the “advance care planning consultation” in HB 3200 refers to. And it’s not even mandatory!

    It does not, contra to Palin, refer to a “death panel” that allows “bureaucrats” to “decide” who is “worthy of health care.”

    Acknowledge that and we can continue this debate. But I’m not going to listen to false arguments made in bad faith by partisans who don’t know what they’re talking about.

    * Do Not Resuscitate

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  57. Dennis D says:

    Danny
    On his watch? What a ridiculous argument. We have 9.4% Unemployment on Obama’s watch if you want to play that game.

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  58. Dennis D says:

    Danny
    Please post how you arrived at 85% of the blame goes to Bush for our current situation? By the Way Obama supports Warrantless Wiretaps too.

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  59. TangoMan says:

    This is all about reparations. Most of the uninsured are black Americans and illegals.

    Debates with progressives would go much more smoothly if they could speak intelligently about the Progressive’s Dilemma:

    And therein lies one of the central dilemmas of political life in developed societies: sharing and solidarity can conflict with diversity. This is an especially acute dilemma for progressives who want plenty of both solidarity (high social cohesion and generous welfare paid out of a progressive tax system) and diversity (equal respect for a wide range of peoples, values and ways of life). The tension between the two values is a reminder that serious politics is about trade-offs. It also suggests that the left’s recent love affair with diversity may come at the expense of the values and even the people that it once championed.

    It was the Conservative politician David Willetts who drew my attention to the “progressive dilemma”. Speaking at a roundtable on welfare reform, he said: “The basis on which you can extract large sums of money in tax and pay it out in benefits is that most people think the recipients are people like themselves, facing difficulties that they themselves could face. If values become more diverse, if lifestyles become more differentiated, then it becomes more difficult to sustain the legitimacy of a universal risk-pooling welfare state. People ask: ‘Why should I pay for them when they are doing things that I wouldn’t do?’ This is America versus Sweden. You can have a Swedish welfare state provided that you are a homogeneous society with intensely shared values. In the United States you have a very diverse, individualistic society where people feel fewer obligations to fellow citizens. Progressives want diversity, but they thereby undermine part of the moral consensus on which a large welfare state rests.”

    Instead we get progressives who try to govern and/or concoct policies that take no account of the opposing forces of diversity and social redistribution and then they act surprised when their schemes can’t muster sufficient political coalitions to pass.

    Before progressives inflict further debacles on the nation they should go away and decide amongst themselves whether they want to push for social redistribution, thereby committing themselves to working to reduce diversity, or whether they wish to expand diversity and thus diminish their efforts of achieving social redistribution. Once they’ve figured out what they want then they can come back onto the national stage and engage the population with coherent policies and governance.

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  60. Dennis D says:

    I suggest the liberals who want to provide health insurance to the illegal aliens set up a fund and donate to it. Perhaps Bill Maher can administer it cheaply.

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  61. Oremus says:

    The New York Times did extensive exit polling after the 1996 presidential election (Clinton vs. Dole)and published the results a few weeks later.
    One of the most interesting findings was that the more ignorant a voter was about the issues that were argued during the campaign, the more likely they were to vote for Clinton. Exiting voters were asked a dozen or so questions and, overwhelmingly, if they did not know anything about the subject, or they misunderstood it, or they attributed issue positions to the wrong candidate, they were much more likely to have voted for Clinton. I’d argue that the electorate probably hasn’t changed much from then, at east insofar as their knowledge of issues. So, to the extent that Maher is correct about stupid Americans, at least he ought to acknowledge that the majority of them vote Democratic.

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  62. Danny says:

    Yes…The department was Lieberman’s idea…but Bush fittingly named it…and used it as way to break the government union. He was the Nazi…that’s why you d**k heads threaten and or incite voilence at the drop of a hat. Nazis want no debate.

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  63. Dennis D says:

    Danny
    Who incited violence most of the time? Lets go back from the 60s forward and the Bill Ayers bombs or the FALN Bombs or the many instances of violence by enviromental wackos. Or the Black Panthers or the case yesterday of the Service Employees Union thugs beating up a black Conservative. You hate opposing views and cannot tolerate them.

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  64. Dennis D says:

    Actually the Bill which made its way through Congress and Senate was named ” Homeland Security ” before Bush signed it.

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  65. Dennis D says:

    Danny you said

    “Yes…The department was Lieberman’s idea…but Bush fittingly named it…and used it as way to break the government union.

    What Union was broken up?? Please tell us?

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  66. Dennis D says:

    Danny I have no time for ignorant parrots who know nothing and get their disinformation from Michael Moore. See ya

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  67. TangoMan says:

    Oh, please Tangoman. You take issue with me saying death-planning is universal? It is! Either you do it for yourself, or your family will do it for you when you’re gone.

    Your family physician has no specialized knowledge about tax matters, funeral planning, etc. What you refer to as death planning is not what is in play here. This iteration of Obamacare is just the first phase of reform, it is not the end-all, be-all that will tide us over until the end of time. Here are the words of the advisers behind the plan:

    Savings, he writes, will require changing how doctors think about their patients: Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously, “as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others” (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 18, 2008).

    Yes, that’s what patients want their doctors to do. But Emanuel wants doctors to look beyond the needs of their patients and consider social justice, such as whether the money could be better spent on somebody else.

    Many doctors are horrified by this notion; they’ll tell you that a doctor’s job is to achieve social justice one patient at a time.

    Emanuel, however, believes that “communitarianism” should guide decisions on who gets care. He says medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled, not given to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens . . . An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia” (Hastings Center Report, Nov.-Dec. ’96).

    Translation: Don’t give much care to a grandmother with Parkinson’s or a child with cerebral palsy.

    He explicitly defends discrimination against older patients: “Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years” (Lancet, Jan. 31).

    The bills being rushed through Congress will be paid for largely by a $500 billion-plus cut in Medicare over 10 years. Knowing how unpopular the cuts will be, the president’s budget director, Peter Orszag, urged Congress this week to delegate its own authority over Medicare to a new, presidentially-appointed bureaucracy that wouldn’t be accountable to the public. . . .

    Dr. David Blumenthal, another key Obama adviser, agrees. He recommends slowing medical innovation to control health spending.

    Blumenthal has long advocated government health-spending controls, though he concedes they’re “associated with longer waits” and “reduced availability of new and expensive treatments and devices” (New England Journal of Medicine, March 8, 2001). But he calls it “debatable” whether the timely care Americans get is worth the cost. (Ask a cancer patient, and you’ll get a different answer. Delay lowers your chances of survival.)

    Obama appointed Blumenthal as national coordinator of health-information technology, a job that involves making sure doctors obey electronically deivered guidelines about what care the government deems appropriate and cost effective.

    In the April 9 New England Journal of Medicine, Blumenthal predicted that many doctors would resist “embedded clinical decision support” — a euphemism for computers telling doctors what to do.

    Here’s a video of President Obama telling a woman that her 99 year old mother should probably take pain pills instead of receiving a pacemaker which has allowed her to live, so far, to the age of 105.

    Obama is acting as the chair of a death panel here. Blumenthal is acting as the standards setter and enforcer. The physicians who counsel their patients, let’s say the 99 year old woman in need of a pacemaker, will not be counseling them on how to fill out a will, but will instead be preparing them for how to end their lives with dignity and dampening expectations for pacemakers. When a pacemaker can save a life and pills will only control pain, then the decision to deny the insertion of a pacemaker is made by a computer, as Blumenthal notes, and that speaks to the Death Panel imagery that Palin invokes. The decision by the “Death Panel” computer is to let the woman die instead of saving her life by installing a pacemaker.

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  68. rachel says:

    Danny, put down the crack pipe…you are one confused young person.

    Nazis want no debate.

    With this I agree…that’s why Obama wants to rush this very important and nation changing and economy-busting bill through fast and WITHOUT DEBATE. Why he allows no transparency. It’s why he is sending his union thugs to intimidate all dissenters…most of which are rightly alarmed senior citizens, and why he set up a “snitch line” as a further fascist intimidation tactic.

    What kills me is that when Bush even talked about reforming Medicare and Social Security (because the government has mismanaged them and they are going bankrupt) he was demonized. Democrats used it to scare the seniors and unfairly painted him as a monster who was trying to throw granny down the stairs. But now that Obama is REALLY throwing granny down the stairs, all of a sudden it’s just a peachy idea. What mind-blowing abject hypocrisy.

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  69. Danny says:

    More lies…at least 75% of welfare recipients are white…And it’s not a, “freebie.” Obama plan actually mandates poor people who would just take a subsidy and spend it on other thing to actually maintain insurance…you should love the idea of creating an environment where poor people (with government help to keep prices affordable) are mandated to pay for their own insurance. Again, what’s not to like?
    And, after 22 years of service to my country…you what I discovered after “Welfare Reform” in 1996? White people in military, with paying jobs on food stamps! That’s right, d**k heads, every government program you loathe and call a sociaist NAZI take over…is in the military…and it was biggest during the Reagan years(another debt ridden era). Let’s see…Abortion (ABORTION), Welfare, Food stamps, subsidized housing, Affirmative Action…for the greatest fighting force ever!

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  70. Danny says:

    Rushing it through? He spent 2 years telling us what he was going to do. AND GOT 69 milion votes!!! 7 million more than Bush in 2004. And he’s tied his own hands by letting the “Blue dogs” force a rightwing inspired deal that will not get one republican vote…all he had to do was threaten each of them with a primary challenge from their left…and you f**ks would really be in hurting status. THIS IS GOING TO GET DONE…the 69 million votes count, even for a black man. AND DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY? Because of you thugs…Hillarycare went down…and the dems who let it still lost because Clinton was a 43% President. What do you think those bluedogs will do when push comes to shove? Vote nay, possibly face a primary challenge, and depress your own base if you get through that for the general? Or, hitch your wagon to a 53% President who is still trusted more than the ass wipes in the other party?

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  71. hallo says:

    This comment thread has a certain proofiness about it.

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  72. Jaimo says:

    Danny, is that the name you’re using now? I could swear that you were my asswipe metrosexual New York limousine liberal jerkwad brother-in-law. It’s uncanny. You went to public school didn’t you?

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  73. hallo says:

    See.

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  74. Franklin says:

    and among Republican governors, only 30% got their wife’s name right on the first try.

    Only 30% of Republican governors know their own wife’s first name? WTF?

    Or are constituents supposed to know their governor’s spouse’s name?

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  75. Franklin says:

    Sarah Palin is a politician.
    Therefore Sarah Palin is smart.

    Where exactly does Bill Maher say that politicians are smart? Oh, nowhere? Then I guess your whole argument just fell apart.

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  76. hcantrall says:

    It must be a full moon tonight.

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  77. TangoMan says:

    Where exactly does Bill Maher say that politicians are smart? Oh, nowhere? Then I guess your whole argument just fell apart.

    Maher writes “Yes, I want decisions made by an elite group of people who know what they’re talking about.”

    I’m assuming that the discussion is anchored in a system of representative democracy, so the decisionmakers have to be politicians. If he’s making a stealth argument for revolution and the Rule of Unelected Mandarins, then OK, under such a revolutionary system my argument is not applicable.

    Maher is talking about elite who know what they are talking about. That would be someone like Palin. She was 1 of 50. That’s pretty elite in a nation of 300 million. Orzag is a bureaucrat and there are hundreds of thousands of bureaucrats. He’s not elite. She’s balanced a budget. Obama and Orzag haven’t. She’s managed a huge bureaucracy. Orzag hasn’t. She fulfilled campaign promises. Obama and Orzag haven’t. She’s an elite politician who knows what she’s talking about. Orzag is an apparatchik, not an elite.

    Maher is, as is par for the course, confused.

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  78. Callimaco says:

    But Americans actually are stupid.

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  79. Tracker says:

    Actually, Danny, Obama received 66.8M votes, and Bush in 2004 received 62.0 Million votes. The numbers are from CBS and CNN, respectively. Also, Obama did not spend 2 years telling us he would do this. He spent about 6 months telling us that 1) he would mandate universal health care for those 25 and under. He made this point repeatedly in the debates. 2) he said he wanted health care to be affordable and accessible. He is getting neither under the current plan, according to the CBO. Affordable: Obama would be taxing not just those making 250K plus, but the middle class, and price tag itself is in excess of 1.2 trillion dollars, according to CBO testimony. And 3-5% of the uninsured would still lack coverage under this plan in the year 2015.

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  80. rachel says:

    Danny, I’m afraid the crack has impaired your memory. First of all, never during the campaign did Obama say he was going to ram through a socialized healthcare bill that would not only cover every American, but every illegal alien. hasn’t mentioned how we would PAY for this (in higher taxes and lives). Secondly, making campaign promises and seeing the details of an actual bill are not the same thing, believe it or not! The devil is in the details, young man.

    However he DID, during the campaign(under the radar until the video recently surfaced), mention that his goal was to institute a single payer system and run the insurance companies out of business. For someone who has never had a real job and has never been accountable for anything, he’s got a great track record of running companies out of business, doesn’t he. And sending our deficit skyrocketing. All in 2oo days! Wow. So we have found that he IS good at one thing, at least. Some say he’s the anti-Iacoca some say he’s the anti-Christ.

    He also made plenty of campaign promises he’s already reneged on. Or should I more accurately say he knowingly LIED about.

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  81. rachel says:

    Americans aren’t stupid. But many are ignorant, ans as such should be ineligible to vote. How can we let people who don’t know the first thing about how our system works, or about current events (except for what they learn on TMZ, and who use a comedian like Jon Stewart as their sole source of news)vote and have so much control over our lives? We need to take a test to drive, but not to vote? It’s absurd. Sadly the framers had it more right than wrong when they only allowed certain knowlegable people to vote. They might have been a little narrow in their thinking, but they recognized that all people are not equally intelligent or informed. Apparently they were so forward thinking that even back then they could envision the abject failure of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

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  82. charles says:

    I’ll grant Bill the argument that a majority of Americans are stupid, at the least ignorant, but what does that say about the people who have been elected to office by the majority?

    So what scares you more Bill? The masses of the “stupid”, or the politicians they elected?

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  83. Steve_in_WA says:

    A couple of comments –

    Bill Maher is a very bright, articulate entertainer — and since his commentary needs to be topical to entertain, it’s fairly obvious he’s generalizing in response to the Tea Party – Birther – anti Health Reform crowds who’ve livened up summer’s television doldrums. But there’s not a word in Joyner’s piece about the (purportedly) large number of people who are 1) protesting taxes that haven’t been raised; 2) insisting our first elected black President isn’t really a citizen; and 3) advocating and spreading misinformation about desperately needed health reform.

    Also, while I agree in principle that people rely on judgment in making decisions regarding politics, the idea that judgment precedes voting is absurd. We elect representatives based on character (or at least, we should) — and expect them to be educated, intelligent, ethical, and proficient in promoting our interests. Otherwise, we merely feed into the media’s apetite for the ‘permanent campaign’ in which polls have replaced policy as the front-page headline or lead-off story. After all, people’s judgment can be easily manipulated by our anger in uncertain times, the agendas of special interests, and the drumbeat of distortions and outright lies swarming our massive media.

    And while the President has done an effective job selling the health reform people have been demanding for decades, that message has been drowned out by distractions focusing on the anger, distortions, and lies. And while political opposition is necessary for our continuing to have a free democracy, opposition requires alternatives, not just screaming tantrums, insults, and opposition on “principle.” Sadly, the President’s opposition daily demonstrates it’s about as effective at providing alternatives as it was actually governing. Is it any wonder they look like idiots — and not just to entertainers like Bill Maher?

    The bottom line is the President’s oppo

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  84. G.A.Phillips says:

    Bill Maher is a very bright, articulate entertainer

    lol……

    More like a smug little d**k head. And if you want to see stupid Americans take a picture of his audience….

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  85. sam says:

    @JJ

    This rant is so powerful it’s united Dennis the Peasant (aka Kenton E. Kelly, CPA) and Roger L. Simon!

    Ha! That just might be the best inside-the-blogosphere sentence I’ve ever read.

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  86. davod says:

    “And while the President has done an effective job selling the health reform people have been demanding for decades, that message has been drowned out by distractions focusing on the anger, distortions, and lies.”

    Wrong. How can you be effective at selling something you know little about. Obama admits he left the formulation of the health care policy up to Congress.

    The House of Representatives has a bill of over 1000 pages. Few politicians have read the bill.

    Until last week Obama was insistent that the health care bill be passed before Congress adjourned for the summer break.

    There never was any intention of having a debate on health care.

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  87. Danny says:

    So, you can write a bill without actually reading it? That’s the stupidity Bill was taking…That’s a “Palinism.”

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  88. Danny says:

    Knows liite about healthcare….He knows enough that he personally got the organizations representing the doctors, the nurses, and the drug companies, the cast of characters that defeated the Clinton bill.. Again, you’re stipud!

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  89. vech says:

    Danny: I don’t know what makes you so stupid, but it really works.

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  90. davod says:

    “you can write a bill without actually reading it?”

    The bills are written in committee, then voted on to be moved to the full House. Then the House votes on the bill.

    “REP. JOHN CONYERS, D — MICH.: I love these members that get up and say, Read the bill! Well, what good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you’ve read the bill?”

    “In fact, [Steny]Hoyer found the idea of the pledge [to read a bill before voting] humorous, laughing as he responded to the question. “I’m laughing because a) I don’t know how long this bill is going to be, but it’s going to be a very long bill,” he said.”

    The industry groups agreement was ill advised. They did not know what was going to be in the bill. The pharmacy group came out of its session thinking they were signing up for something different to what Obama announced. They will be held to whatever concesions they agreed to as well as any negative efects of the final bill.

    The AMA does not represent all doctors and there is quite a bit of dissent from those who are represented by the AMA.

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  91. RRD says:

    As I recall, within the past year or two, one of those polls that demonstrated how unaware the American public is about many political facts also asked respondents to identify themselves by their occupations. Elected officials, government employees, and academic types scored significantly worse than the general public.

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  92. RRD says:

    I should have looked first – here it is

    http://www.americancivicliteracy.org/2008/additional_finding.html

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  93. Angry MBA says:

    I’m sure that if you plotted a bell curve of intelligence for Americans, it would resemble that of everyone else. In that sense, Americans aren’t particularly stupid (or, for that matter, smart.)

    But Maher’s point, though overreaching, is still accurate. What holds us back in ways that you don’t see in other western countries is our arrogant, pompous Not Invented Here mentality, which presumes us to be superior and others to be inferior, despite any evidence to support the belief.

    What Maher refers to as stupidity is really hubris, a hubris that is based largely on BS and American myths about what the rest of the world looks like. You would think after talking to the average know-nothing or reading some of the posts here that the world of 2009 resembles the world of 1946, with everyone else in ruins and the Commies breathing down our necks.

    It’s simply breathtaking the sorts of things Americans are capable of believing that others do not, from creationism to angels to political and economic myths that were soundly debunked a long time ago. We have the advantages of being optimistic and entrepreneurial in ways that others are not, but we are at the same time incredibly gullible and anti-intellectual in ways that only a hyper-religious, isolated people could be. Rival nations are bound to exploit this, and we’re going to find out one day that ignoring the realities of the outside world won’t make them go away.

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  94. Karen Bowers says:

    I totally agree with the article. I feel the
    stupidity of many people I have come in contact
    with. I totally hate Florida. The most stupid State
    I have lived in. New Jersey was The second
    stupidest State. California utopia was disgust
    on CBS morning show. 40 years after Woodstock.
    I was not allowed to go back to utopia when
    I graduated by my parents. New Jersey was so far
    from utopia. I was there 10th-12 grade. I am
    the baby of baby boomer’s. They do not like to
    include me allot of times. Us late 1959 baby’s.
    I am 4 month shy of being a true baby boomer.
    I was to young to go to Woodstock. I was to
    young to be totally into it. My friend went.
    I was to young to go to the rolling Stones
    utopias mini Woodstock. It was north of
    San Francisco. I know from reading all about it.
    My Pediatrician was on Hate Asbury Street.
    I saw Grace Slick on the main road walking
    across the street. I knew at my young age
    who she was. I was between 1 and 4. I will
    turn 50 in less than a month away. I will
    celebrate with my 55 year old friend. I like
    him allot. He is a smart Floridian. There
    are not a whole lot of people like that in
    my state. I have lived here the longest of my
    life. He says his mother would really like me.
    He is from the oldest city in Florida. Every
    day I wish I could move my small block house
    back to utopia California or the coast of
    Florida with the small waves. I just went back
    for the first part of July-90 degrees and cool.
    I hated going back to 90 percent humidity. I prefer 10 percent utopia.

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  95. Duracomm says:

    Angry MBA you said,

    But Maher’s point, though overreaching, is still accurate. What holds us back in ways that you don’t see in other western countries is our arrogant, pompous Not Invented Here mentality, which presumes us to be superior and others to be inferior, despite any evidence to support the belief.

    Are you specifically talking about healthcare in that quote?

    When demographics and the higher rate of trauma in the US are accounted for US healthcare is really pretty good compared to the rest of the world.

    And that is before you start accounting for the fact that many other countries healthcare system essentially free loads off of US pharma research and innovation (both US government sponsored and private company).

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  96. An Interested Party says:

    Wow, this thread has turned into one of those town halls we’re hearing so much about…what a thing to behold…

    Sadly the framers had it more right than wrong when they only allowed certain knowlegable [sic] people to vote.

    Yes, absolutely! The vote should only be for white land-owning Protestant males! Of course, our elections will eventually only involve about a dozen people…

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  97. Angry MBA says:

    When demographics and the higher rate of trauma in the US are accounted for US healthcare is really pretty good compared to the rest of the world.

    That’s a strawman point. In terms of quality of care for those who can get it, the US system deserves a reasonable level of care.

    Where it falls flat on its face is in its access to care and in delivering bang-for-the-buck. Here we fail miserably, and we have a lot to learn from the world as to how we can do it better.

    And that is before you start accounting for the fact that many other countries healthcare system essentially free loads off of US pharma research and innovation (both US government sponsored and private company).

    Even if we are to assume that this is true, that does not explain the US’s excessive levels of money devoted to compensation and to insurer overhead.

    Let’s be blunt — if another country delivered results as lousy as this, Americans wouldn’t be able to shut up about how inferior they were as they beat their chests with nationalist pride. But when we screw up, we rationalize, peddle alibis and generally make a lot of excuses for a sub-par result.

    The only reason that this debate continues at all is because Americans falsely believe that they get great care. The fact is that most of them never get sick enough before age 65 to see what a private insurer can do to screw them, and that by the time that they do become that ill, the government they claim to fear is picking up most of the tab and regulating the costs.

    Ironically, it’s the socialized system that protects the elderly that keeps us from seeing how nasty our version of privatization is. If 70-something in their end days had to deal with the same sort of grief that the truly ill under 65 had to contend with, we have reformed this a long time ago.

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  98. TangoMan says:

    It’s simply breathtaking the sorts of things Americans are capable of believing that others do not, from creationism to angels to political and economic myths that were soundly debunked a long time ago.

    Difference in degree, not kind. While there may be a higher degree of belief in religious creationism in the US than in Europe, you’ll see greater belief in socialism and its associated fables in Europe. You’ll see Europeans believing in the efficacy of Soft Power, and it’s “successful” application in Yugoslavia’s genocide right on their front door, while Americans will have a higher proportion of our population believing in the application of Hard Power.

    Europeans have their societal fables and we have ours. They like to think of themselves as more rational than Americans, but they’re not really, they’re just not believing in the same fables, that’s all.

    As for your claim about belief in economic myths, your claim in incoherent. First off, you need to specify the nature of the myths. Secondly, if they’re long standing, then you need to explain the American rise to economic dominance as the “myths” were being implemented. Thirdly, if the myths are more recent, say arising at the time of Reagan, then you need to explain away the cause of American GDP growth rates over the last 30 years compared to say, France. You know, if Americans were following “debunked myths” then we should expect to see that countries, like France, which weren’t implementing the same myths would have prospered while we stagnated. Fourthly, perhaps the myths you’re referring to have to do with labor relations, thus you need to explain why the French method of negotiation (kidnapping managers and threatening to blow up factories) is more beneficial to national welfare than the American methods of labor relations.

    We have the advantages of being optimistic and entrepreneurial in ways that others are not, but we are at the same time incredibly gullible and anti-intellectual in ways that only a hyper-religious, isolated people could be.

    Again, a difference of degree, not kind. The anti-intellectualism that arises from a religious perspective is different in flavor than the anti-intellectualism that arises from non-religious perspectives. Big deal.

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  99. Drew says:

    C’mon, people. Get a grip.

    The American people are not stupid, they are uninformed. That is a huge difference. All of you strutting around like peacocks talking about stupid Americans have, as the old saw goes, opened your mouth’s and removed all doubt about yourselves.

    Second, the issue here is not stupidity vs. intelligence; the issue is liberty. For better or worse we have a system here based upon liberty, and giving those liberties up for reasons pawned by a lightweight like Bill Maher who says we should cede our liberties to guys with PH D’s who construct Rube Goldberg-esque programs can only be described as bizarre.

    This is no defense of being uninformed. However, every time I hear uninformed views on topics I know first hand, including on this blog, I say to myself “there ought to be a voting rights test.” But then I catch myself, “don’t make the same mistake, Drew, that a short sighted faux intellectual like Bill Maher makes when he calls for ceding our future to policy wonks.”

    Remember people, these are the same “smart” people who have given you the major non-defense government expenditures: Social Security, Medicare and Medicade. SS is considered “successful,” but what program wouldn’t be if all you had to do every time it became insolvent is go through another round of financing? (Read: taxes)

    Medicare? Medicaid? We are on a path to be bankrupted by those programs, or to have huge amounts of our personal income confiscated to pay for them, or to abrogate their terms. Brilliant, Mr. Maher. Just brilliant.

    There is blog site devoted to the notion that liberty is the issue we should really be concerned about and debating, not left vs right. You might be interested:

    http://libertyworks.com/

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  100. Angry MBA says:

    While there may be a higher degree of belief in religious creationism in the US than in Europe, you’ll see greater belief in socialism and its associated fables in Europe.

    I like that. You’ve managed to ignore all of the other continents and throw in the Pinko commie reference all in the opening paragraph. Well done. (Let me guess — this rant is going to pit us against the French.)

    You’ll see Europeans believing in the efficacy of Soft Power

    And given that the Pax Americana is predicated upon ensuring that our allies don’t compete with us for military leadership, you would think that we’d actually prefer things to be that way. (Well, unless you’d like to see the potential for another arms race in Europe; those have worked out so well in the past, I’m sure you know.)

    you need to specify the nature of the myths….

    I know that you want to argue equivalency. But generally speaking, those pinko Commie socialists manage their infrastructure far better than we do. (Take this topic, for example.)

    Americans assume that they are better because they have been schooled to believe that the US is the best country on earth, while they remain woefully ignorant of how we actually compare. We’re supposed to be the ones who are results-oriented, but apparently not.

    We aren’t equivalent in this regard; we are notably inferior. Compare results side by side, and we don’t do as well. Your inability to simply admit it, learn from the experience, and engage in a program of continuous improvement just proves my point about the Not Invented Here mentality taking precedence over achievement.

    By the way, I applaud you with your ability to reference the French thrice in one paragraph. If I were a space alien new to this planet and learning about the world exclusively through your eyes, I’d come away believing that the world is comprised of only two countries, and it’s us versus them. (Oceania is at war with Eurasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia. Double plus good stuff.)

    The anti-intellectualism that arises from a religious perspective is different in flavor than the anti-intellectualism that arises from non-religious perspectives.

    Not everyone is equally anti-intellectual. The fact that it has since a religious tinge to it makes it more Dark Ages than Age of Enlightenment.

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  101. G.A.Phillips says:

    non-religious perspectives

    lol……

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  102. TangoMan says:

    But generally speaking, those pinko Commie socialists manage their infrastructure far better than we do.

    You provide Example #1. Just overlook this inconvenient fact:

    http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:22197717~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.html

    The World Bank today warned that the impact of climate change in the Europe and Central Asia Region* will be more significant than expected due to a lingering post-Soviet legacy of environmental mismanagement and the poor state of much of the Region’s infrastructure, leaving the countries poorly prepared to adapt.

    The World Bank says that the pinko socialists have drastically mismanaged their infrastructure. In another case the Spanish went crazy with Green Initiatives which were money holes and job killers. The Germans are burdened with an economically expensive and inefficient wind energy infrastructure. The French are burdened with an economically inefficient high speed rail system. Just ignore the facts. Your method is better.

    Americans assume that they are better because they have been schooled to believe that the US is the best country on earth, while they remain woefully ignorant of how we actually compare.

    You provide Example #2. Just overlook this inconvenient fact:

    http://ec.europa.eu/research/press/2003/pr2511en.html

    The ‘brain drain’ of people born in Europe is increasing. Seventy one percent of EU-15-born US doctorate recipients who graduated between 1991 and 2000 had no specific plans to return to the EU-15, and more and more are choosing to stay in the US. The most important reasons keeping European scientists and engineers abroad relate to the quality of work. Better prospects and projects and easier access to leading technologies were most often cited as reasons behind plans to work abroad.

    Talented people want to come to the US. We see that the US attracts more foreign students. The student flow in the opposite direction, US students choosing to attend university in foreign countries does not compare in scope.

    Relying on comparisons comprised of a suite of metrics, some relevant and others not, doesn’t really give us a full picture on how the US compares internationally. A “Quality of Life” comparison is less meaningful than a tally of migration numbers which indicate whether foreigners want to come to the US and whether Americans want to flee America. But whatever, just ignore these facts. Your method is better.

    We’re supposed to be the ones who are results-oriented, but apparently not.

    You provide Example #3. Just ignore this inconvenient fact:

    On the contrary, the R&D investment gap between the EU-15 and the US has continued to increase in favour of the US. The trend has been negative since the mid-1990s and the latest data does not show any reversal in the trend. About 80% of the gap comes from the difference in domestic business R&D expenditure between the US and the EU-15.

    Here again we see data that is directly comparable and it demonstrates the tangible effect that arises from a results-based orientation. We can also look at cancer survival results, mean income results, etc and see that in the area of directly comparable metrics, unlike life expectancy and infant mortality metrics which are skewed by the peculiarities of differential demographics, that the US produces results. But whatever, just ignore these facts. Your method is better.

    Compare results side by side, and we don’t do as well.

    You provide Example #4. Just overlook this inconvenient fact:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7510121.stm

    The study showed the US had the highest five-year survival rates for breast cancer at 83.9% and prostate cancer at 91.9%.

    There are millions of different factors that we can use to compare performance. Some factors are more relevant than others. But whatever, just ignore these facts. Your method is better.

    First let me admit that when I was a student I didn’t have my learning clouded by being angry. That out of the way, I’m not too proud to admit that I can learn new things from blog commentators.

    Let me apply the lesson you’ve provided with your comment:

    “The Sky Is Green.”

    I like it. This newfangled method of arguing by simple assertion and then declaring oneself on the side of truth and victory has much to recommend it. Your mastery of argument by assertion is unparalleled and I can see that you find the technique very convincing for you seem to rely on it to the exclusion of all other methods of argument.

    Bravo. Now I’m going to go outside and see if I can get a tan under the green light of the sky.

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  103. Angry MBA says:

    The World Bank says that the pinko socialists have drastically mismanaged their infrastructure.

    Ah, so now the Soviets have morphed into the equivalents of the social democracies of western Europe. Funny, I could sworn that the Soviets were a dictatorship not particularly known for their management prowess, that their system had shut down some time ago, and that the much-loathed-on-this-thread French were our allies in our chilly war against them. Maybe those red state history books are different.

    The French are burdened with an economically inefficient high speed rail system.

    Funny, they seem to like it, and having used it myself, I can see why they do.

    Meanwhile, our crumbling interstate system, including the occasional bridge failure, is the picture of inefficiency. (If we learned anything from the Soviets, it’s that long lines are the equivalent of inflation, and we have a few of those on our highways, now don’t we?)

    A “Quality of Life” comparison is less meaningful than a tally of migration numbers which indicate whether foreigners want to come to the US and whether Americans want to flee America.

    Insular people don’t tend to emigrate, particularly when the possible host nations have restrictive immigration policies. Given your metric, one would presume that Afghanistan is the place to be, given that hardly anybody leaves it.

    The study showed the US had the highest five-year survival rates for breast cancer at 83.9% and prostate cancer at 91.9%.

    Your browser seems to have a selectivity problem. In the very same article:

    Japan came out best for male colon and rectal cancers, at 63% and 58.2% respectively, while France fared best for women with those cancers at 60.1% and 63.9%.

    Damn pinko commies, with their cancer treatments and their higher life expectancies and their lower costs and their greater access. Fortunately, our patented Selective Cut and Paste Ameribrowser (TM) will fix that!

    There are millions of different factors that we can use to compare performance.

    Which makes it ironic and interesting that you ignore so many of them.

    Your needle-haystack approach is great — I admire its convenience — but your persistent refusal to learn from our own allies only supports my point, namely that this country is filled with Ameriphiliac boosters like yourself who are far too proud and self-absorbed to ever learn a thing or two from anybody else. Just another Not Invented Here flag worshiper who wouldn’t know a good lesson from abroad if it kicked him in the head (even if it wasn’t covered by health insurance.)

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  104. TangoMan says:

    Ah, so now the Soviets have morphed into the equivalents of the social democracies of western Europe.

    You’re like one of those circus clowns who can’t shoot straight but who has terrific comedic effect on the audience.

    In my first response to you I focused on Western Europe. You chastised me for ignoring the rest of the world. Then you write “those pinko Commie socialists manage their infrastructure far better than we do.” Seeing how you’ve set the stage to include the whole world, not just Western Europe, why on Earth would I believe that your reference to communist nations would be a reference to a Western Europe that possessed no communist governments? I simply took you at your word that Communist governments were paragons of infrastructure efficiency. Now you’re crying because I treated you as an adult who is responsible for the words they write.

    I’m sure that others can see the comedy that you bring to this blog.

    Funny, they seem to like it, and having used it myself, I can see why they do.

    What does liking it have to do with your claim that systems are managed efficiently? When an inefficient bank starts handing out money to depositors with no strings attached, the fact that these depositors like the bank’s practice doesn’t at all speak to the efficiency of the bank.

    Back in the dot-com go-go days there were plenty of start-ups which were giving away their products for free. Their customers loved these firms. However, they weren’t being run efficiently and thus went out of business.

    You claimed efficiency as the metric, so don’t go changing it to popularity in mid argument.

    Insular people don’t tend to emigrate, particularly when the possible host nations have restrictive immigration policies.

    The classification of “insular” is unsupported. Comparing the US to a small European country is an invalid comparison. Why not make a comparison centered on internal and external migration patterns. An American citizen, due to both large population size and large geographic size, has more opportunity to migrate internally than does a comparable European. Moving from Munich, Germany to Zurich, Switzerland, a distance of 150 miles does not make the German citizen less insular than a citizen of New York moving to Houston or Los Angeles.

    Your browser seems to have a selectivity problem. In the very same article:

    Not at all. The Japanese figures don’t control for race. Asians, in general, have lower incidence of colorectal cancer and higher survival rates that have nothing to do with medical treatment:

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/121582802/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

    RESULTS:
    The 61,494 incident cases of colon and 24,350 incident cases of rectal cancer analyzed included 1905 Chinese, 1162 Filipino, 414 Vietnamese, 391 Korean, 1091 Japanese, 148 Asian Indian, and 77,554 Caucasians. After adjustment for age, sex, grade, histology, site within the colon, stage of disease, insurance status, socioeconomic status (SES), and therapy, Filipino (colon: HR, 0.85; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.76-0.95) (rectum: HR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.71-0.94) and Chinese ethnicity (colon: HR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.92-0.98) had significantly decreased risk of death compared with Caucasians. Sigmoid lesions were independently associated with improved survival among all cases (HR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.88-0.95) (referent group were proximal and transverse lesions), and among Asian-only cases in separate analysis (HR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.70-0.87).

    CONCLUSIONS:
    Although survival after CRC diagnosis is improved for Asians in general, significant survival differences are observed only in specific Asian subsets. Data from the current study suggest that survival among Asians is less affected by SES or treatment disparities, and may be because of biologic factors.

    As to the issue of colon cancer survival rates in France, get back to me with a study that controls for race. It’s well known that people of African ancestry have a far higher incidence of colon cancer than Caucasians:

    http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/Colorectal/statistics/race.htm

    For example, you can see that black people had the highest incidence rate for colorectal cancer. American Indian/Alaska Native people had the second highest incidence of getting colorectal cancer, followed by white, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic people.

    The form of colon cancer also varies by race:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090401101741.htm

    Researchers have identified a possible genetic cause for increased risk for a more advanced form of colorectal cancer in African Americans that leads to shorter survival, according to data published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

    So, to your point, when the French outcome is compared to the US outcome and it doesn’t control for 13.5% of the US population being Black, then it is difficult to reach a valid conclusion in that incidence of developing colon cancers vary by race as does the severity of the form of colon cancer.

    I can pick apart the life expectancy and infant mortality statistics the same way. Blacks have higher levels of low birth weight and multiple births, which are key factors associated with these statistical metrics. Unless you control for these factors, the international comparisons which purport to show a causal relationship between the medical system and life outcomes, are pretty much gibberish.

    Which makes it ironic and interesting that you ignore so many of them.

    No, the ironic point that flew over your head was that you relied completely on argument by assertion. Just stating conclusions is not a way to convince anyone. I’m arguing by employing evidence and reason. Try it.

    but your persistent refusal to learn from our own allies only supports my point, namely that this country is filled with Ameriphiliac boosters like yourself who are far too proud and self-absorbed to ever learn a thing or two from anybody else. Just another Not Invented Here flag worshiper who wouldn’t know a good lesson from abroad if it kicked him in the head (even if it wasn’t covered by health insurance.)

    1.) Your argument assumes that I show a persistent refusal to learn from allies. You show no evidence in support of your conclusion, in fact you’re falling back into your default mode of assuming conclusions and then asserting them, for you haven’t offered an iota of evidence or reason in any of your comments.

    2.) You assume that I’m to proud and too self-absorbed to ever learn anything from anyone. Again, you assume a conclusion and then you assert it as though that counts as evidence or would persuade anyone older than 4.

    3.) I getting a sense of why you’re so angry. If people always ignore your wailing at the moon because you don’t exhibit any rigor in your thought, and you’re too dimwitted to realize why you turn people off, then it makes sense why you’d develop so much anger that you wanted to announce that anger by referencing it into your pseudonym.

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  105. rachel says:

    The Americans who are stupid are the ones whose very idea that they can decide they knows what’s better or best for the rest of the world. This is so repugnant to me. Instead of revelling in the system that allows people to be successful, these people sees fit to somehow put our way of life down. Many of them are very wealthy…and instead of them saying “hey what I have is great and if Marx was king I wouldn’t have this great life”, they got theirs, and now would prefer that everyone else be poor because THAT is fair to the poor people.
    Sure, it’s a fact. The world is not fair. The most
    brilliant men in history from Socrates, Plato and Aristotle to Spinoza, Spencer and Nietzsche have all been poor. The greatest artists have
    been poor and struggled. While dumb assholes like Ted Turner and George Soros are rich bastards with little talent or smarts, but it is these arrogant twits who want to tell YOU how to live your life. Of course “riches are for me, but not for thee”. They think they are the noblemen being kind to the peasants. Screw these condescending creeps.

    People who work hard don’t get rich, many talented people never get any recognition. The world is not fair when it comes to riches…or anything else! But anyone who believes that everyone is created equal is either blind or a fool. Neither justice nor opportunity are afforded equally to all men. Never has, never will. Mostly it’s a matter of lucky genes… you are either to the manor born, or have such physical beauty or talent or personality that the masses cannot resist throwing their money at you. The rest of us get to try hard and barely get by.

    Still… I’d rather have it this way than Karl Marx’s way. I don’t buy into Marxism or Communism or of Evangelical Christianity. My eyes are wide open and I see that 30% of the people who walk this planet are human waste, genetic mutations from the norm, not worth wasting spit on.

    I accept REALITY.

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  106. Angry MBA says:

    In my first response to you I focused on Western Europe. You chastised me for ignoring the rest of the world. Then you write “those pinko Commie socialists manage their infrastructure far better than we do.”

    OK, with your all-too-stereotypically-Yank literalism, you missed what was obviously my sarcastic reference to your quick playing of the “socialist” canard, as you earnestly sought to dismiss the evil Yurpeans out of hand. (I suppose that you didn’t realize that even the Taiwanese have a Pinko Commie health care system.) I wasn’t celebrating the joys of Soviet leadership, but taking the piss out of you.

    What does liking it have to do with your claim that systems are managed efficiently?

    Your double standards are going to kill me. The underlying point here is that transportation of all sorts, from highways to rail to airports, ends up being supported with subsidies and general funds. Transportation infrastructure is a public utility, not a profit center.

    None of those transportation systems are perfectly efficient, including our own beloved smog-belching highway system. If you applied consistent standards, instead of your red-white-and-blue defensive ones, you’d accept reality for what it is and judge the various transportation options in more holistic terms.

    If the French rail system was removed, something would have to replace it, and I’d give low odds to the replacement offering a superior result. In contrast, there are certain parts of the US that could really benefit from a high-speed rail system.

    As to the issue of colon cancer survival rates in France, get back to me with a study that controls for race.

    I just love how you try to poke holes in everyone else’s advantages, while you equally defend every American flaw. Not Invented Here must leave a really nice ring in your ears.

    Blacks have higher levels of low birth weight and multiple births, which are key factors associated with these statistical metrics.

    Right. The disparaties in pre-natal care given to the poor in the United States have absolutely nothing to do with the results. Just so long as they’re darkies, we can live with it, because they aren’t like real Americans who have earned their proper birth weights like good white folks. (I do hope that you recognized the generous usage of the sarcasm font in that last bit.)

    Just stating conclusions is not a way to convince anyone.

    I’m not trying to convince you. Hell, your heels are so deeply dug in that I’d need a bulldozer to scrape them out.

    And to be blunt, you’re not really worth convincing. But you do serve my devices quite nicely, as you have done a fantastic job thus far of actually proving my point for me with your obvious defensiveness. I couldn’t have asked for a better set of replies.

    Maher would be proud of you, too. As has Maher, I’ve accepted you for your deficiencies, and am just having a good time laughing at you. Fish, barrel, etc.

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  107. G.A.Phillips says:

    No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.

    Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, November 4, 1775

    ya ya, I know, I’m one too. I also accept reality.

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  108. TangoMan says:

    The disparaties in pre-natal care given to the poor in the United States have absolutely nothing to do with the results.

    See here:

    RESULTS. Racial and ethnic disparities in low birth weight are as large in England as in the United States. Socioeconomic status and behaviors explain little of the variation across racial and ethnic groups in either country.

    CONCLUSIONS. Health disadvantages associated with being a minority do not seem to be a uniquely American phenomenon. Universal health care, as provided in the United Kingdom, alone may be insufficient to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in low birth weight.

    I’m dying to read what evil American practice you’re going to conjure up to explain away multiple birth conceptions:

    Birth rates of dizygotic twins vary by race (10-40 per 1000 in blacks, 7-10 per 1000 births in whites, and approximately 3 per 1000 in Asians) . . . .

    The birthrate of monozygotic twins is constant world wide (approximately 4 per 1000 births). Birth rates of dizygotic twins vary by race. The highest birth rate of dizygotic twinning occurs in African nations, and the lowest birth rate of dizygotic twinning occurs in Asia. The Yorubas of western Nigeria have a birth rate of 45 twins per 1000 live births, and approximately 90% are dizygotic.

    Shall I go on on spell out for you the connection between multiple birth and low weight and very low weight babies? Do you not understand the risks to life that are associated with low and very low birth weight? These factors are still present when SES is controlled.

    To repeat my point, when you cite international comparisons and attribute the variance to medical systems, you need to control for obvious confounding factors. Simply looking at infant mortality, without controlling for racial variation in multiple birth, low weight babies, etc, gives you a result which is no more useful than gibberish. In the first study I linked, the researchers compare the British system of Universal Health Care to the American system and they control for the socioeconomic status of the racially varied mothers to be. Poof. There goes the myth you’ve been relying on. I’m growing to suspect that your entire world view is built on a foundation of myths, which is why you never link to any evidence in support of your positions.

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  109. Angry MBA says:

    Shall I go on on spell out for you the connection between multiple birth and low weight and very low weight babies?

    No thanks. You’re not a particularly useful source of information, thanks to that Selective Cut and Paste Ameribrowser (TM) of yours.

    For example, let’s look at the CDC’s plan to deal with infant mortality -

    Promising Strategies: Focus on modifying the behaviors, lifestyles, and conditions that affect birth outcomes, such as smoking, substance abuse, poor nutrition, lack of prenatal care, medical problems, and chronic illness…The plan to reduce infant mortality rates includes:

    -A network between health care experts and minority communities to encourage healthy behaviors by pregnant women and parents of infants.

    -Research that will determine the cause of SIDS, develop effective strategies to identify at-risk infants more precisely, and create effective interventions for high-risk infants.

    http://www.cdc.gov/omhd/AMH/factsheets/infant.htm

    Odd. All of the stuff that you think doesn’t matter, such as that irrelevant pre-natal care stuff, is all part of their proposal. But of course, you must know something that they don’t.

    Of course, we have much of which to be proud, given that we’re ranked 29th! http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db09_fig2.gif

    But again, why worry? According to you, it’s just the negroes and their twins. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db09_fig3.gif

    What’s funny is that in the UK, the differences in infant mortality rates between whites and blacks of African descent aren’t nearly as great as is ours, and even their most disadvantaged subgroups still outperform our lowest performers by a wide margin. But please, let’s not allow yet another example of American subpar performance to get in the way of a good America First argument.

    I’m starting to think that I may have been wrong, and that Maher was right on point. There something more to this than just hubris.

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  110. TangoMan says:

    For example, let’s look at the CDC’s plan to deal with infant mortality

    So what? Get back to me with the RESULTS. Plans are a dime a dozen. The principles underlying a plan must be based on evidence. I haven’t argued that these factors don’t influence birth outcomes. I’ve merely popped your belief that the birth outcomes for poor women are entirely the result of these environmental factors. They’re not. Even when SES is controlled, and when the medical systems of the UK and US are analyzed, the disparity in low birth weight childbirth still exists.

    So, a population that has 13.5% blacks shouldn’t be compared to a population of 100% Japanese or to a population that is 96% white, etc until the population variance is controlled.

    Again, I stress my point that you need to control for confounding factors before you make any international comparisons. That goes for measurement issues as well. This is the same point that the former head of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Bernadine Healy, has made:

    First, it’s shaky ground to compare U.S. infant mortality with reports from other countries. The United States counts all births as live if they show any sign of life, regardless of prematurity or size. This includes what many other countries report as stillbirths. In Austria and Germany, fetal weight must be at least 500 grams (1 pound) to count as a live birth; in other parts of Europe, such as Switzerland, the fetus must be at least 30 centimeters (12 inches) long. In Belgium and France, births at less than 26 weeks of pregnancy are registered as lifeless. And some countries don’t reliably register babies who die within the first 24 hours of birth. Thus, the United States is sure to report higher infant mortality rates. For this very reason, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which collects the European numbers, warns of head-to-head comparisons by country.

    Infant mortality in developed countries is not about healthy babies dying of treatable conditions as in the past. Most of the infants we lose today are born critically ill, and 40 percent die within the first day of life. The major causes are low birth weight and prematurity, and congenital malformations. As Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, points out, Norway, which has one of the lowest infant mortality rates, shows no better infant survival than the United States when you factor in weight at birth.

    It’s funny, isn’t it, that the people who actually know something about these issues are leery of using these figures to make international comparisons, but angry MBA partisans are more than happy to use incomplete data to formulate their arguments.

    As for the charts you linked, take a look at the second one. The SES of Hispanics is far lower than of whites and yet their rate of premature births is lower. Poof. Another pillar of your worldview goes up in smoke.

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  111. Angry MBA says:

    So what?

    The “so what” suggests that your knowledge of the topic isn’t very good, and that your attempts to dazzle us with irrelevant data that doesn’t actually prove your point is just an exercise in bovine excrement.

    Since you’re now boring me, I’d suggest that you hire a tech to repair the selectivity settings on your browser. You have a tendency to look for stuff that you want to find, while skipping material that might give you a good overview of the topics for which you feign your knowledge. While you might find tunnelvision to be useful, I’m not particularly fond of it, thanks.

    In other words, Bill was right and I was wrong. Definitely refining new levels of stupid here. This went well in excess of hubris a few posts ago, and our “REALITY” friend Rachel there just added icing to the dumbness cake.

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  112. TangoMan says:

    What’s funny is that in the UK, the differences in infant mortality rates between whites and blacks of African descent aren’t nearly as great as is ours, and even their most disadvantaged subgroups still outperform our lowest performers by a wide margin.

    You know, the problem with relying on argument by assertion (aka. pulling arguments from your ass) is that evidence has a horrible way of making you look like a fool.

    In the UK, the infant mortality rate for babies born to mothers of Caribbean heritage was 9.8 deaths per 1,000 births. Our lowest infant mortality rate is for children of Cuban heritage, who had a mortality rate of 4.42 deaths per 1,000 live births.

    Maybe you were too angry during your school years to pay attention to the math that was being taught, but for those of us who paid attention, we realize that 4.42 is lower than 9.8. In fact, the Cuban infant mortality rate is lower than the rate for Whites (4.5) in the UK. How is this last result even possible considering that Cubans and other Hispanics in the US get “worse” medical care than whites in the UK?

    **** This background note in the UK statistical report is noteworthy:

    The data used in this release are from a linkage of routine birth and death registration records for all live births that occurred in England and Wales in 2005 with NHS Numbers for Babies (NN4B) records. Stillbirths are not included in these figures.

    No definition of stillbirth and livebirth is offered so a direct comparison between the UK and the US isn’t possible until we know that the same factors are being measured identically.

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  113. TangoMan says:

    Link to the UK Office for National Statistics report Large differences in infant mortality by ethnic group I referenced in the above comment.

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  114. G.A.Phillips says:

    Bravo. Now I’m going to go outside and see if I can get a tan under the green light of the sky.

    Tanning is a wast of natural resources, we need to save as much sunlight as we can for the solar panels…..

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  115. rodney dill says:

    GIGO

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  116. G.A.Phillips says:

    Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.

    Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833

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  117. gVOR08 says:

    The American electorate ARE frighteningly ignorant. Democrats, like Maher, bemoan that fact. Republicans depend on it.

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  118. Angry MBA says:

    In the UK, the infant mortality rate for babies born to mothers of Caribbean heritage was 9.8 deaths per 1,000 births.

    And our rate for blacks — sorry, perhaps we should call them coloreds to denote their propensity to drag the numbers of the white folks — was 13.6, as I pointed out to you previously.

    Maybe it’s different out there in the hinterlands where you are, but where I went to school, a rate of 13.6 would be considerably worse than 9.8. As I noted, our worst is worse than their worst.

    So my point still stands, you’re still wrong, and Maher’s still correct. There really is plenty o’ stupid being produced here in these United States of ours.

    The question now isn’t whether we have rather vocal idiots — we’ve got our share posting here, so they obviously exist. Rather, the issue is one of why they are so brazen in their dumbness. It’s one thing to be dumb, it’s quite another to actually take pride in it.

    Once again, my sincere thanks for all of your efforts to prove my points about some Americans being selectively critical about others and chestthumpingly hyperdefensive about their own flaws. If you were trying to disprove my Not Invented Here thesis, you failed miserably, and I appreciate that.

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  119. rachel says:

    <>

    Don’t you have that back-asswards? You most certainly do.

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  120. Angry MBA says:

    Death is bad, Rachel. Bigger isn’t always better, that is unless you’re hoping that the infants don’t survive.

    Yee-haw for us: We’re 29th! http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus07.pdf#025

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  121. rachel says:

    I was just listening to a local talk show and a Brit called in. We have all heard the horror stories of the health care system in England, but what I had never heard before is that the government employs 1.5 million bureaucrats to run their health care program. Unbelievable.

    AFter the goverment takes over a few more industries, the only jobs left in this country will be government jobs.

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  122. rachel says:
  123. rachel says:

    Massive Brain Drugging of Children Now Underway-

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  124. rachel says:

    Rasmussen poll: When it comes to health care decisions, 51% of the nation’s voters fear the federal government more than private insurance companies. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 41% hold the opposite view.

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  125. Angry MBA says:

    Good links, Rachel. I usually rely on online vitamin shops to get my medical data, too.

    Now that I’ve given it some thought, I have no idea what Maher was talking about. We’re obviously a nation of geniuses, only feigning stupidity. The only problem is that we’re so good at pretending that we stay in character longer than we should. Much longer.

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  126. rachel says:

    Taken as a whole, this healthcare thing is a horrible symptom of a Federal government gone out of control… in their hubris they want to intrude so deeply into every facet of your private life that if this Bill passes, China, Mother Russia and Communism will look like freedom to us!
    And while YOU pay for this mess, illegal aliens will get the services free without anyone intruding into THEIR lives. Now that sounds fair, doesn’t it :-(

    You leftwingers who thought Bush was overstepping, should be yelling the loudest! Obama’s fascist dictatorship makes Bush look like a piker.

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  127. Angry MBA says:

    if this Bill passes, China, Mother Russia and Communism will look like freedom to us!

    OK, Rachel, now I know that you’re just pulling my leg.

    You have got to be a member of Bill Maher’s support staff, trying to help to prove his point. (We all did get the memo that Joe McCarthy is still dead, didn’t we?)

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  128. rachel says:

    Angry,

    I assure you I am neither pulling your leg, nor am I one of Maher’s stupid Americans. However, we are starting to wonder about YOU.

    If you don’t see the pull towards socialism, you are blind, deaf and dumb. Either that, or you are “angry” because we haven’t quite gotten there YET. Hold on to your wallet…we’ll be there soon if stupid Americans like you get their way.

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  129. Angry MBA says:

    nor am I one of Maher’s stupid Americans.

    You really don’t want me to answer that, now do you?

    If you don’t see the pull towards socialism…

    I’m not sure whether you actually write this stuff, or if you have some sort of Limbaugh Random Cliche Generator (TM) that auto-generates it for you, but regardless of the source, it’s not particularly good.

    You guys are like dumb parrots that just spew rhetoric that you don’t really understand. Maher is looking sharper by the day.

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  130. [...] 2009 | View commentsComments I wouldn’t go as far as comic/satirist Bill Maher saying the American public is stupid. Rather, a large percentage is gullible as we have seen time and again on the town hall video clips [...]

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