Pharyngula

I don’t think the current results are quite right, and they need a little godless input. It’s cunningly designed to split our votes, alas…but do what you can.

What Do You Think About the Tea Party?

Believe they are white racists
2%
Believe they are ignorant-uneducated people
1%
Believe they are true American patriots
45%
Frustrated with government-just as they are
41%
Considering joining the Tea Party
11%

Note also that they have a cute little American map that breaks down the results by state. I wonder how they’ll deal with a sudden flood of furriners?

Comments

  1. #1 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 28, 2010

    Jesus H fucking Christ

    What is it with online and on TV evangelical ministries and the need to make everything gaudy as possible?

  2. #2 Prince of Dorkness
    April 28, 2010

    Heh… allows multiple votes. Click, reload, click, reload…

  3. #3 greg.bourke0
    April 28, 2010

    I’ll take white racists for ten!

  4. #4 opaltiger
    April 28, 2010

    Apparently Utah is a lot more sensible than I had previously realised, or just more sensitive when it comes to racism?

  5. #5 Brownian, OM
    April 28, 2010

    I can’t vote. There’s no choice along the lines of “Glad they’re organising themselves and creating membership lists so we can round ‘em up for the food vats that much easier when Obama hands us faithful godless socialists the keys to our black helicopters.”

    You wouldn’t want me to betray my conscience for a poll, would you?

  6. #6 Nontheocrat
    April 28, 2010

    I answered that they were ignorant-uneducated people, but racists was a close call. Too bad you could select multiple answers.

  7. #7 Killua
    April 28, 2010

    I’m wondering what they’ll do when they realize their poll doesn’t give them the answers they wanted.

    And I’m not too sure about racists, sure many are but the vast majority are simply ignorant, I say ignorant and uneducated is the best option.

  8. #8 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 28, 2010

    Rapscalion66 a link to the video works just fine.

  9. #9 michael.b
    April 28, 2010

    @#4: Hey, not everyone one here in Utah is crazy. It is nice to see I was able to help shift it to a nice blue color. Granted, it could just be that there are not a lot of people in Utah who are evangelical christians.

  10. #10 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 28, 2010

    Wow they sure are selling a bunch of crap there.

  11. #11 Prince of Dorkness
    April 28, 2010

    I went with white racist (and I’ve done so a number of times now :)) on the strength of what Olbermann said a little while ago: he pointed out the strangely absent non-whites at Tea Klux Klan gatherings. Good enough for me.

  12. #12 PZ Myers
    April 28, 2010

    The various rapscallion/rapscalion ‘nyms are all the tiresome Charlie Wagner. Now purged.

  13. #13 co
    April 28, 2010

    We here in NM just pushed the vote to a majority “Ignorant/uneducated”. Good for us! We join MN and VT (currently) with holding that view.

  14. #14 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 28, 2010

    The various rapscallion/rapscalion ‘nyms are all the tiresome Charlie Wagner. Now purged.

    Yay MENSA!

  15. #15 Zeno
    April 28, 2010

    A lot of them are misinformed rather than uninformed. Ensconced amidst his copies of the collected works of Glenn Beck['s ghostwriters], Sarah Palin’s [ghostwritten] autobiography, and NewsMax’s faux news magazine, my father mainlines the propaganda of Fox News and considers himself up-to-date and in-the-know on every topic under the sun. The only problem is that his head is thereby full of crap and lies.

    To say nothing of his fondness for credulously reading multiply-forwarded right-wing spam-mail.

    Sad.

  16. #16 Charlie Foxtrot
    April 28, 2010

    Woah – dey is ignant! Dey fink I’m in New Sout Wales!
    I’ll give em a second blast for that…

  17. #17 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 28, 2010

    Hmmm. I don’t like that “Believe they are true American patriots” was boldened after I voted. Did I hit the wrong button?

    Ah. Nope. “See how users are polling in Fyn : Total Votes : 1″ — “Believe they are ignorant-uneducated people: 100%”

  18. #18 PZ Myers
    April 28, 2010

    That map is already changing color fast. I see I have readers in Minnesota, Vermont, New Mexico, Maine, Utah, and California.

  19. #19 Prince of Dorkness
    April 28, 2010

    Hmmm… well I said that the poll appears to allow multiple submissions but either that’s not actually true or it’s adding my votes to the wrong state; only 7 ‘racist’ votes in Colorado despite my frantic clicking. Ah well. I see Maine went blue though. I have a feeling the poll will reset or disappear fairly soon.

  20. #20 jablair51
    April 28, 2010

    I love how they subtly imply that people who disagree with the Tea Party aren’t “true American patriots”. Classy.

  21. #21 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Ah, my state already thinks “ignorant-uneducated”. I’ll still whack it periodically. Such a monumentally idjit poll deserves special attention.

  22. #22 UXO
    April 28, 2010

    Well, speaking as a damn furriner, the poll seems to work acceptably well. Mind you, the map still shows the Excited States, but they do update if I click on the localization option. Except, I’m not in British Columbia, but rather the next province over. Oh well. I still like the stats for my neck of the woods.

  23. #23 finndawg
    April 28, 2010

    Yes! Pharyngulated my first poll. PA is now yellow.

  24. #24 Null
    April 28, 2010

    I’m putting a pretty hefty dent in the Michigan numbers. With iMacros set up to autovote, I should have the state skewed to “ignorant” within a few minutes. (I’d write a script to do it faster, but I’m too lazy.)

  25. #25 negentropyeater
    April 28, 2010

    What’s the difference between a true American patriot and an American patriot ?

  26. #26 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    boo-yeah. I singlehandedly changed ND from “they are true American patriots” to “they are ignorant”. I’m so awesome :-p

  27. #27 Bomias
    April 28, 2010

    Texans. More Texans goddammit.

  28. #28 Null
    April 28, 2010

    Jadehawk, OM (#27) wrote:

    boo-yeah. I singlehandedly changed ND from “they are true American patriots” to “they are ignorant”. I’m so awesome :-p

    I did just about the same thing to the state of Michigan. I just love refresh-spamming the map page and watching all the states turn yellow.

  29. #29 Yubal
    April 28, 2010

    I thought TN is a TOUGH state to pharyngulate, the map still shows 51% pink but in detail looks totally different, like:

    10%
    31%
    27%
    25%
    6%

    (1% missing to 100%)

  30. #30 Brownian, OM
    April 28, 2010

    There are now TWO ways to get rid of me:

    Only two? How limiting in imagination the religious mindset is.

  31. #31 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Yawn, the stupidity of banned trolls knowing they will be purged is amazing, and boring. What losers.

  32. #32 kaylakaze
    April 28, 2010

    The correct answer would be “ignorant, white racists who have been shown to be well-educated (as far as degrees are concerned anyway), have more money than they should for their intelligence level, and are perfectly fine with socialism when it benefits them, as long as the government keeps it’s dirty hands off their medicare and social security .”

  33. #33 ddpej
    April 28, 2010

    Null:
    I thought someone else might be helping me rewrite the Michigan numbers. Huzzah!

  34. #34 Joel
    April 28, 2010

    Prof. Myers:

    Don’t forget Texas, with a convincing plurality voting for “dumb ignorant dumbfucks.” Or something like that.

    I went for “white racists” myself, because that’s honestly how I see these people. If there had been an option for “typical Republican sore losers” I might have been sorely tempted to go with that one.

  35. #35 Ryan F Stello
    April 28, 2010

    Woot! Wisconsin has now been liberated.

  36. #36 MAJeff, OM
    April 28, 2010

    I answered that they were ignorant-uneducated peopl

    Thing is, they aren’t uneducated. The polling data shows them to be somewhat better educated. They’re still ignorant, sure.

    Racist wins by default.

  37. #37 Kirk
    April 28, 2010

    @kaylakaze, #34

    I agree.

    I think you have to go with white racist, because unfortunately a lot of them are ignorant but educated.

    PZ should offer a service to these poll idiots … at least help them provide a decent set of choices so their poll can be properly demolished.

  38. #38 solumpki
    April 28, 2010

    Ha! I just took back NC.

  39. #39 KOPD
    April 28, 2010

    My state is showing “true american patriots”. I did my part to try to dilute it. It was a tough decision between ignorant and racist. I mean, those are not mutually exclusive, ya know.

  40. #40 mommimus-prime
    April 28, 2010

    finndawg: And here I’ve been trying to make it go blue. Must punch the button more times…

  41. #41 Joel
    April 28, 2010

    Hrm. Something wrong with that map, or possibly my map-reading skills. When I first tried the “what your state is saying” link, it gave me a resounding 38% for “stupid,” but that may actually be the national numbers.

    So, Texans are still bible-thumping idiots. And dog bites man.

  42. #42 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    which one of you turned alabama blue?

  43. #43 eb0137
    April 28, 2010

    I had to vote until Indiana was a more appropriate color.

  44. #44 Null
    April 28, 2010

    This poll also makes me want to find a proxy somewhere in Kenya and chuck a lot of votes at “White Racists” through it. You know, just to see them flip.

  45. #45 martha
    April 28, 2010

    I read recently somewhere (sorry) that the polling data is questionable regarding the income and education of the teaparty movement.

    They are legitimately angry at government which has done little for the lower classes in general. The problem is that they never grew up and learned that slogans aren’t solutions. God, guns and lower taxes is not going to make everything all better.

  46. #46 Yubal
    April 28, 2010

    Jadehawk,

    I asked myself the same question, but then I started to make Tennessee blue, too.

  47. #47 Charlie Foxtrot
    April 28, 2010

    What’s interesting from that map is it does show that a Pharyngulation is not just one scriptkiddy in a basement somewhere.
    It’s been fun watching that yellow spread across the states :)

  48. #48 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    the blue and yellow is spreading nicely :-)

  49. #49 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Thing is, they aren’t uneducated. The polling data shows them to be somewhat better educated. They’re still ignorant, sure.

    One of the Trib columnists tried to figure out what they stood for. As far as I could tell, nothing but anger…

  50. #50 pookie.22
    April 28, 2010

    For those familiar with the wget command line tool, it really *loves* to vote early and often:

    :loop
    wget -O CON “http://www.micropoll.com/akira/MicroPollData?id=248627&mp_248627=2&”
    goto loop

    The final “=2&” is the selected option. Use “=1&” for “racists”.

  51. #51 PZ Myers
    April 28, 2010

    There are now TWO ways to get rid of me:

    Three. There are at least three ways to get rid of Charlie Wagner. He left off “Click on ‘Delete Comment’ button”.

    It’s even easier than jumping through the hoops to create new user IDs!

  52. #52 JJ
    April 28, 2010

    Someone needs to tell these idiots using IP address for location is not as accurate as they think it is. I’m in CA, but my T1 is supplied by a company in Virginia, so to them it looks like that’s where I am.

  53. #53 lylebot
    April 28, 2010

    I switched my tiny state from blue to yellow, which I now feel kind of bad about—I voted “ignorant” but I happen to believe there’s a substantial minority that’s racist.

    There are only 7 votes from my state, so someone else go change it back :)

  54. #54 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    April 28, 2010

    Added my somewhat drunken name to the ‘racist twats’ list!

  55. #55 Soph
    April 28, 2010

    I’m embarrassed that my state, Arizona, is still included in the handful of non-yellow states. Sigh.

  56. #56 Yubal
    April 28, 2010

    @ pookie.22

    can you please connect via a MS mirror and run that script over night? There is nothing happening in this state right now.

    …kinda look like a ‘blue’ pharynguloide vs. ‘yellow’ pharynguloide battle out there.

  57. #57 Thalamus
    April 28, 2010

    It’s formidable how the ‘ignorant-uneducated people’ option skyrocketted so quick! hehe..I’d love to see the perplexed expressions on their faces when they realize the results aren’t yielding what they imagined.

  58. #58 SlantedScience
    April 28, 2010

    Where’s the option for “Believe they are truly scared about the speed at which the modern world changes, and genuinely wish that time had stopped in 1953 when Russians were simply Communists and black people were simply nothing”?

  59. #59 Steven Dunlap
    April 28, 2010

    Forbes, of all sources, published a good article on the tea party movement and their ignorance. Properly done polls have found them to be better educated than some of their signs would have us believe. But badly mis-informed, especially about taxes:

    The Misinformed Tea Party Movement
    For an antitax group, they don’t know much about taxes.
    By Bruce Bartlett

    Then there’s the CBS poll that shows the tea-partiers racism

    They have little trouble with receiving government benefits themselves (They did not opt out of Social Security, for example) but other kinds of people receiving benefits drives them to apoplexy.

    I find it interesting that Forbes sounds more like the voice of reason than many other publications. Except for ignoring the certain events of the early 20th century as Bartlett describes populism toward the end of his piece, this is good journalism. And if you ever do bother to argue with a right-wing nut, the fact that the info comes from Forbes and not some lefty-commie rag may make Mr. Wing-Nut’s head explode. (Probably not, but it’s a fun thought).

  60. #60 finndawg
    April 28, 2010

    @mommimus-prime: Blue or yellow, I’m fine with either choice. Let ‘em have it.

  61. #61 otrame
    April 28, 2010

    Hehe. Looks like Texas is about to go blue.

  62. #62 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Where’s the option for “Believe they are truly scared about the speed at which the modern world changes, and genuinely wish that time had stopped in 1953 when Russians were simply Communists and black people were simply nothing”?

    The same place your cogent arguments/contributions are. Non-existent.

  63. #63 pookie.22
    April 28, 2010

    @Yubal

    I’d love to. You wouldn’t happen to know the IP of an open proxy in MS, would you?

    Sadly, I’m not even on the map. My 2130 (and counting) votes are all from Quebec. I’m amusing myself by trying to keep options 1 and 2 in perfect balance.

  64. #64 KillJoy
    April 28, 2010

    Voted ‘Ignorant’ myself. ‘Cause racism IS ignorance in my book. And there’s a lot more ignorant about these folks than exclusively racism. So the vote made sense for me. Also, Washington (My state) is nicely yellow at time of voting. Sweet.

    KJ

  65. #65 Andromeda
    April 28, 2010

    I see a couple of us furriner types from Ontario have voted too – 237 at last check.

  66. #66 chaseacross
    April 28, 2010

    I’ve never agreed with the notion that Tea Party folks are racists. Racially insensitive, sure, but that’s a clean different thing from believing that one race is better than another. What it really comes down to is that old, lethal combination of glaring ignorance and untempered righteousness.

    Also, shame on you PZ for not mentioning the hilarity of the website itself. I thought people stopped using glitter effects on websites back in 2000, but I guess I was wrong.

  67. #67 Lynna, OM
    April 28, 2010

    I also voted for “ignorant”, but I wish there had been a “willfully ignorant” choice. I know there are Teabaggers with college degrees, and there are some famous graduates from Yale and Harvard, but they remain willfully ignorant in some areas.

    I also would have liked to have had an option to vote for, “Believe they wallow in disinformation with unholy glee.”

  68. #68 ambook
    April 28, 2010

    I love doing this. And did anyone check out the messianic jewish stuff on their online store, including the really classy zircon “Megan of David.” (I didn’t know David had a woman named Megan – it’s supposed to be magen – shield.)

    Are there blue versus yellow wars at Pharyngulafests? Like red versus blue at Youtube?

  69. #69 mommimus-prime
    April 28, 2010

    @Finndawg: I finally figured out how to see the state’s actual vote count. I don’t seem to be making a dent. But Racist pulled ahead of Ignorant overall for a while.

  70. #70 Yubal
    April 28, 2010

    pookie.22,

    sry, I think I am too old to know how the internet works in detail and where to get the funny numbers.

    @ anyone her able to post the IP of an open proxy in

    Alaska
    Mississippi
    Kansas
    Arkansas
    South Carolina
    Ohio
    Georgia
    Kentucky
    Montana
    and
    West Virginia

    ?

    the rest of the country was already done manually

  71. #71 paulmurray
    April 28, 2010

    Well-off white racists. Wannabe plantation owners.

    On a similar note – that guy who flew a plane into the tax building (yes, I know he wasnt *actually* a tebagger), who owns their own plane? Even a light plane: airport fees, maintenance, avgas, licensing – the guy wasn’t doing too badly.

  72. #72 scott-carter.myopenid.com
    April 28, 2010

    @jadehawk #42 I am vacillating between blue and yellow. But I don’t think I am alone.

  73. #73 Yubal
    April 28, 2010

    Uh, forgot Hawaii, an IP there would be cool, too

  74. #74 pookie.22
    April 28, 2010

    Last 3 options are slowly fading to nothingness. Nice.

    We should have all picked “Considering joining…”, just to mess with them by giving them false hope.

  75. #75 Teshi
    April 28, 2010

    I took “uneducated” to mean, “may have gone to school or university, but never learned meaningful critical thinking techniques.”

  76. #76 Kausik Datta
    April 28, 2010

    @Jadehawk:

    I’m so awesome :-p

    Like the Narwhals?

    [Runs away]

    [shouts from the door]
    Voted for White Racist, because though they are ignorant, quite a few of them appear to be well-educated, like the young guy/author who came to the Daily Show a few days back. They are not poor either (for all their anti-tax rants), according to the New York Times.

  77. #77 pookie.22
    April 28, 2010

    44 to 45… balance almost restored. :)

  78. #78 https://me.yahoo.com/a/DhjBEuJ8pt63x6eBKuPx0Jv9_QE-#7c327
    April 28, 2010

    Polls show many of them to be quite well educated, which is hard to believe given the way so many of them can’t spell the N word on their signs.
    I went with “white racists,” which is now up to a very close second place.

  79. #79 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 28, 2010

    Voted for White Racist, because though they are ignorant, quite a few of them appear to be well-educated, like the young guy/author who came to the Daily Show a few days back. They are not poor either (for all their anti-tax rants), according to the New York Times.

    That guy was a Paul-ite, so yes, he’ll appear intelligent (But of course, he’s following Ron Paul, so we know the sad end to that story.) Palin-ites are just as numerous as Paul-ites at Tea Parties (Which is a pretty good showing for Paul, really), and they’re likely a little smarter then palin-ites. That doesn’t mean you don’t still have 50% utter morons, though.

    Voted for Racist, didn’t know we could multivote, and it seemed more important.

  80. #80 tsg
    April 28, 2010

    :loop

    wget -O CON “http://www.micropoll.com/akira/MicroPollData?id=248627&mp_248627=2&”

    goto loop

    For those of you on Linux:

    while (( 1 )); do 
         wget -O /dev/null "http://www.micropoll.com/akira/MicroPollData?id=248627&mp_248627=2&";  
    done

    For extra giggles, add wget -O /dev/null “http://www.micropoll.com/akira/MicroPollData?id=248627&mp_248627=1&”; as well.

  81. #81 tsg
    April 28, 2010

    Bah, I should have known scienceblogs would choke on <pre>…

  82. #82 Northumbrian
    April 28, 2010

    I just voted once; will have to go back and do it a few more times.

    Here’s another pointless poll regarding the Arizona immigration law. About 80-20 “in favor” right now.

    My first comment here btw; longtime lurker. Great blog and great people. Cheers all.

  83. #83 safir.jamil
    April 28, 2010

    Hee hee! I really enjoyed this one… :D

  84. #84 Joel
    April 28, 2010

    Here’s another pointless poll regarding the Arizona immigration law. About 80-20 “in favor” right now.

    KGUN – On your side.

    Obvious much?

  85. #85 Kagato
    April 28, 2010
    There are now TWO ways to get rid of me:

    Three. There are at least three ways to get rid of Charlie Wagner.

    AMONGST the ways to get rid of Charlie are…

    I’ll come in again.

  86. #86 Peter H
    April 28, 2010

    One option ought to be, “Educated beyond their intelligence.”

  87. #87 Robert H
    April 28, 2010

    Out of abject curiosity… Is there such a thing as a racist who is not ignorant?

  88. #88 Timothy
    April 28, 2010

    Little bit of column a, little bit of column b.

  89. #89 Asemodeus
    April 28, 2010

    Tea Baggers are predominately Authoritarians. It’s the only social structure that fits their delusion with all of the bells intact.

    Authoritarians only respect and listen to ‘established’ authorities in their lives. The current government is not an established one, therefore they don’t want it. It is the only way to make sense of their incredible patriotism during the bush years while then advocating secessionist views when a democrat comes into power.

    Authoritarians are aggressive in the name of their authorities. Again you see this with the tag baggers when their respective politicians and talk show hacks. They tell them to be violent and use violent rantings, and they go about doing it. We have already seen individuals take it to the extreme and kill people over this.

    Lastly, Authoritarians are massively and ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS advocating hegemony and conventionalism. This is where the racist elements come in, since these people are majority white and do not and will not give sway to anybody else who isn’t a hot blooded white christian American that will never vote democrat ever. This is where the principal frustration over Obama comes from. He is an ‘outsider’ to Authoritarians just because he is black.

    One cannot reason with an Authoritarian since they got into that position by using contradictory evidences and large amounts of group think. Group think is a major player for these people. Notice how with their ignorant rantings, it is always using group words like ‘we’, ‘us’, and ‘the people’. They didn’t get into these positions by thinking about it themselves, they just borrow it from the group and demand that everyone else does the same. It’s highly dangerous to do so for a long range of reasons.

  90. #90 Lets Get Surgical
    April 28, 2010

    Voted white racists.

    I know they aren’t all racists, but I don’t think there’s a KKK member/supporter in America who isn’t a teabagger.

    My fellow Texans, get our state to blue. I shouldn’t have to tell you people about the racism here…

  91. #91 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Considering how many Teabaggers are Paulists and Paul is a racist, the racist option isn’t unreasonable.

  92. #92 Clint
    April 28, 2010

    Looks like votes are increasing by about 1000 per minute.

  93. #93 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    nice. only 10 states left unpharyngulated :-)

  94. #94 Weed Monkey
    April 28, 2010

    Oh, giggles. Someone else is doing this from Finland too, although this is hardly the southern part of the country.

  95. #95 Robert H
    April 28, 2010

    …also voted for “ignorant”, but I wish there had been a “willfully ignorant”

    “Ignore” by its very nature, is willful; it’s transitive.

  96. #96 Yubal
    April 28, 2010

    Bye ya’ll, I leave ya’ Tennessee blue with one vote over yellow, coz I don’t mind too much and you can change it with one click if you want to.

  97. #97 Lets Get Surgical
    April 28, 2010

    Considering how many Teabaggers are Paulists and Paul is a racist, the racist option isn’t unreasonable.

    I can’t believe that man still has a career in politics after stating- and to this day maintaining- that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is unconstitutional and he would vote against it given the chance.

  98. #98 Garrett
    April 28, 2010

    @ #89,

    Bush is white. Obama is black. That plays a pretty big role.

  99. #99 Wormman
    April 28, 2010

    Well as for furriners, it seemed to ok IDing me as being from Queensland (Australia) and apparently 29 out of the total 64,000 odd votes were from the Sunshine State as well. Powerful little tool that.

  100. #100 Pamela Ronald
    April 28, 2010

    I had a hard time believing they were racist (such a useless stance, really)… until today. I met a teapartier who practically spat on the man I was with who was of Arab origin. He wasnt too nice to me either. His office was decorated with charming signs like “shoot to kill” and “Rush rules”. He also had posted a copy of some hate mail he had sent to Pelosi on his wall. Sheesh. I ran back to my ivory tower town as fast as I could.

  101. #101 lizditz
    April 28, 2010

    Switching browsers let me vote twice, once for ignorant & uneducated (IU) and once for white racists (WR). Yay me!

    I wonder what Perry Stone ministries are thinking, what with IU standing at 44% of the vote and WR at, 51% with…. 68,851 votes.

  102. #102 Jessie Colt
    April 28, 2010

    No need to change browsers.. just clear and then block cookies.. you can reload the page and vote over and over again.

    Just remember to re-enable cookies when you are done having fun :)

  103. #103 Kraid
    April 28, 2010

    Looks at all that yellow and blue!

    Apparently Pharyngula isn’t too popular in Arkansas. I’m shocked.

  104. #104 Rorschach
    April 28, 2010

    45 votes from the state of Victoria,Australia !!
    And disconcertingly, 2% of them voted for “true patriots”….

  105. #105 Lets Get Surgical
    April 28, 2010

    Pamela @ 100:

    Pamela Ronald has developed a more flood-tolerant rice.

    Nice. Good luck on the disease-resistant rice research.

  106. #106 SlantedScience
    April 28, 2010

    @Asemodeus, #89: do you really think that this:

    “[Authoritarians] are majority white and do not and will not give sway to anybody else who isn’t a hot blooded white christian American that will never vote democrat ever.”

    …is an attitude confined to white Christians? If so, let me educate your stupid ass: racial allegiance is a huge political factor which massively influences the voting practices of whites, blacks, South Americans, Indians, East Asians, etc, etc.

    If you’re disturbed by the secularity of whites, that just shows your own – narrow – terms of reference. You really need to listen to black radio and Hispanic radio to hear the opposite side of dis-integration.

  107. #107 Ben Goren
    April 28, 2010

    Well, I’m proud to say that Arizona is voting 98% “They’re a bunch of racist SOBs.”

    Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that 99 44100% of those votes are from me….

    Cheers,

    b&


    EAC Memographer
    BAAWA Knight of Blasphemy
    “All but God can prove this sentence true.”

  108. #108 John Morales
    April 28, 2010

    Rorschach,

    And disconcertingly, 2% of them voted for “true patriots”

    That’d be 1 vote. The ratio of 44:1 is not that disconcerting. :)

  109. #109 frog, Inc.
    April 28, 2010

    It seems to me that this idea that teabaggers are “ignorant” is just a bit of arrogance — that if only they knew what I know, they’d be good like me.

    They’re not, at least many of them. They know what they believe — it’s superstitious, magical thinking full of inconsistencies and group think — but it’s not done out of ignorance.

    They like it that way. As someone pointed up upthread, they’re authoritarians, in Altermeyer’s terminology. You can educate them till the cows come home — that’s not the problem.

    The problem is they have an insane idea of what “knowing” is — for them, knowing is whatever takes responsibility off of them, and puts it on their group & the groups leaders.

    Fuck it — the Nazis weren’t “ignorant”. They were fucking bastards (though some were nice enough as neighbors and dinner guests if you belonged to the right clubs) who loved dominance and submission games.

    These folks are like that. They’re not Nazis — but their driven by the same fascist impulses to dominate and submit, where truth is whatever advance that cause.

  110. #111 MATTIR
    April 28, 2010

    Curse you, squidly overlord – I’ve wasted 90 minutes playing with this poll. I think I can stop now that it’s at 96% for the first two options.

  111. #112 Bebette
    April 28, 2010

    Being ignorant and uneducated may make people more susceptible to tea party rhetoric and their creative interpretations of historic fact, but the tea partiers aren’t all stupid. These are people who seek only those opinions that already mesh with their beliefs and biases, and they fail to examine or critique the skewed misinformation they find. They’re not much different from those evolution deniers who leap on any shred of “evidence” to support their religious views, no matter how dubious the data or the source.

  112. #113 clare7
    April 28, 2010

    Yay, Kentucky!

  113. #114 SlantedScience
    April 28, 2010

    #111: you;ve spent 90 minutes of your precious and unreturnable lifetime voting in an internet poll that thirty people care about. And then returned to boast about it.

    Jeez, this is what I complain about with the Pharyngula pollen: it’s pointless. Nobody cares about you fixing internet polls. Get out there and do something creative, constructive to devalue religion.

    Go and run through a Catholic church service in a bikini. Go and eat bacon in a Mosque/Synagogue. Go and punch a cow in a Temple.

    Whatever, just don’t sit at home and believe that hijacking these cretins’ blog is anything more than atheistic masturbation.

  114. #115 jlg
    April 28, 2010

    Reader of Pharyngula from NSW, Australia. At least 60-70. Our Results

    46% split for 1%2
    2% for next two
    no-one would consider joing the Tea Party.

    year-long lurker, about 15 years old.

  115. #116 Thorne
    April 28, 2010

    Managed to push SC into the blue at 35% Racist. Someone else is helping, too.

    At this time there are only 5 states which favor them: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia and Georgia. Gee, big surprise there!

  116. #117 Mathew Wilder
    April 28, 2010

    “Believe they are white racists” and “Believe they are ignorant-uneducated people” are not mutually exclusive, so you really should be allowed to pick both options.

  117. #118 Roxane_M
    April 28, 2010

    I love the fact that you tell us about these polls. It kind of makes my day to know that I’ve helped trash one, and at my age I have to get my kicks where I can.

  118. #119 Ben Goren
    April 28, 2010

    Ain’t it amazing how scientific these polls are? ’Cause, unless I’m mistraken, one single guy in Arizona has managed to shift the “racist bastards” above 50% nationwide — never mind, of course, that the Electoral College for this poll (if such a thing were to exist) would be a near-unanimous landslide for “ignorant hicks.”

    Cheers,

    b&


    EAC Memographer
    BAAWA Knight of Blasphemy
    “All but God can prove this sentence true.”

  119. #120 JediBear
    April 28, 2010

    I went with “ignorant uneducated” because while they seem to have degrees, their understanding of economics stops with Adam Smith, their understanding of morality is drawn from Ayn Rand and their understanding of constitutional law is simply nonexistent. Misinformed is close enough to uneducated for an internets poll. Their agenda isn’t especially racist, though plenty of their membership are. WA seems to agree with me.

  120. #121 JustALurker
    April 28, 2010

    @119 Ahem. I helped too =)

  121. #122 bpesta22#b99c7
    April 28, 2010

    It’s interesting that the 3 states still “green” right now rank 42 (Arkansas) 49 (Louisiana) and 50 (Mississippi) in state IQ.

  122. #123 applescrapple
    April 28, 2010

    Thank you P.Z. you do good work.

  123. #124 uke
    April 28, 2010

    They don’t appear to be racists (guys, quit watching MSNBC for a while, OK?). They might be a little short on the mental horsepower, but bottom line, gummint is steadily eating our freedom. When the jackboots come you think they’re going to give a bunch of godless liberal weenies the pass? Guess again.

    If you have any sense you’d join the tea parties and work to get the current crop of idiots out of office, Republicrat and Demoblican alike. Then work to keep their fellow travelers out of office in perpetuity.

    But alas, will never happen. The sheeple lurch left, the sheeple lurch right. Each lurch slices off another thin layer from the veneer of freedom. Soon all of us are going to see what lies beneath. And methinks you aren’t going to like it very much.

    Good luck

  124. #125 wylann
    April 28, 2010

    I did my part for Kansas.

  125. #126 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 28, 2010

    If you have any sense you’d join the tea parties

    Well, we do have sense, which is why what you is say is a bunch of bull. Like we aren’t scared of HCR. Most of us don’t think (and unlike you we think) it went far enough. Bye-bye sheeple, you have met the enemy and he looks back at you in the mirror.

  126. #127 Twisted_Colour
    April 28, 2010

    Stupid poll just asked me to see how users in Tasmania are polling and then wouldn’t show me. Good thing I don’t live in Tassie.

  127. #128 ursulamajor
    April 28, 2010

    Came late to the party here. When I saw PZ’s comment on #18:

    I see I have readers in Minnesota, Vermont, New Mexico, Maine, Utah, and California.

    I had a Romper Room flashback. I’m so old….

  128. #129 Joel
    April 28, 2010

    jlg@115:

    Welcome!

  129. #130 AnthonyK
    April 28, 2010

    Could someone gnornant tell me how to vote again, from one of the 51st states? Sorry but I don’t speak html. or dos, or ishite.

  130. #131 Elf Eye
    April 28, 2010

    May I ask for help pharyngulating this poll? The governor of Virginia has just reversed a policy of his predecessor banning sectarian prayers at state police functions. The poll is at http://www.roanoke.com/news/breaking/wb/244946 . Right now the answer “I’m in favor of reversing the policy. The chaplains should be able to pray however they choose” is ahead at 75 %, and the answer “It’s the wrong move. Religious prayers are potentially unconstitutional” only has 23 %. Help!

  131. #132 Garrett
    April 28, 2010

    To frog, Inc. @109,

    I think you make some great points, but I doubt arrogance is what’s behind the claims that Tea Klan members are ignorant. Personally, I don’t feel any sense of pride–rather, I feel anger and confusion and a strong desire to live in another country.

    I suspect a lot of us are simply flabbergasted. Willful ignorance is confusing. There are numerous theories as to why people cling to falsehoods in the face of factual information, and those various theories probably apply to various members of the Tea Klan. But, since we can’t (or don’t wish to) learn more about the exact nature of their cognitive dissonance, we settle for labeling them as ignorant.

    Also, there are some (many?) I’m sure who really are ignorant. They just don’t know any better. And some (many?) are just mean, nasty, bigoted people.

  132. #133 Stogoe
    April 28, 2010

    racial allegiance is a huge political factor which massively influences the voting practices of whites, blacks, South Americans, Indians, East Asians, etc, etc.

    Only the stupidest sort of jackass would equate “minorities voting in their own self-interest” with ‘racial allegiance’, which has got to be the least effective racist dog-whistle I’ve ever seen.

    I mean, for fuck’s sake, old white guys voting Republican against their own self-interest is closer to racial allegiance than black people not voting for the party who wants to explicitly put them back into slavery.

    Fuck.

  133. #134 hullgra
    April 28, 2010

    THE TEA PARTY
    What Do You Think About the Tea Party?
    Believe they are white racists
    53%
    Believe they are ignorant-uneducated people
    44%
    Believe they are true American patriots
    1%
    Frustrated with government-just as they are
    1%
    Considering joining the Tea Party
    0%
    Total Votes : 100695

    pharyngulated!

  134. #135 progressive homeschooler
    April 28, 2010

    It was a tough choice between racist and ignorant. In the end, I joined my fellow Floridians in calling them racist. I admit I was surprised Florida wasn’t supportive of them.

  135. #136 ursulamajor
    April 28, 2010

    Got it, Elf Eye. As a Virginian, I thank you for the heads up. Every day I wake up wondering how “McCuch” is going to continue on their quest to drag this state back 150 years. And when the other sates come up with bright ideas like Arizonia did, it’s just giving our embarrassments ideas.

  136. #137 John Sven
    April 28, 2010

    @131 I voted for “It’s the wrong move. Religious prayers are potentially unconstitutional” and the original poll Map is looking better by the min:)

  137. #138 AnthonyK
    April 28, 2010

    Jesus wanking on a stick of rock, Elf Eye, you guys are in a constant battle to plug the dykes, aren’t you? Did my bit though. Tell me,if you live in Virginia do you have to be a virgin? Or have a virgina? I’m confused.

  138. #139 Alverant
    April 28, 2010

    I didn’t look much around the site to protect my eyes, but why would they make a reference to manna? I thought manna was a World of Warcraft term for magic power.

  139. #140 pookie.22
    April 28, 2010

    @Elf Eye

    Got you a double majority for the correct answer on your poll.

  140. #141 Stogoe
    April 28, 2010

    Uke@124, stop falling for the fallacy of the Golden Mean. It just makes you look stupid.

    The Dems aren’t perfect, sure, but all Republican politicians are vile baby-raping monsters and we’d be a thousand times better off if the elected government was comprised entirely of elected representatives from the Democratic Party. The two party system doesn’t work when one party is Effective Governance Amid Differences of Opinion and the other is Unceasing Screamed Gibberish.

  141. #142 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 28, 2010

    They don’t appear to be racists (guys, quit watching MSNBC for a while, OK?).

    I don’t watch MSNBC. I’m going off their relative unwillingness to call their racists out. English doesn’t have a good word for passive bigotry. Therefore, I have to use the word for active bigotry until I get one.

    Granted, their recent big one did explicitly say “No, stop with the racism”, so hey. Maybe they’ll get better. I’m willing to give them that possibility.

    They might be a little short on the mental horsepower, but bottom line, gummint is steadily eating our freedom. When the jackboots come you think they’re going to give a bunch of godless liberal weenies the pass? Guess again.

    I don’t care one tiny bit about the democrats or the republicans, except inasmuch as they advance positions I like. If they don’t, I say pitch ‘em.

    I know it plays havoc with your Ayn Rand-oriented “I AM TOTALLY THE ONLY ONE WITH MY EYES OPEN NOT A SHEEP” bullshit, but whatevs.

    I’ve never agreed with the notion that Tea Party folks are racists. Racially insensitive, sure, but that’s a clean different thing from believing that one race is better than another. What it really comes down to is that old, lethal combination of glaring ignorance and untempered righteousness.

    If you stand there and let your compatriots hold up signs that picture Obama as a witch doctor, I am left with only your actions to judge you by; You are a racist. Period.

    I went with “ignorant uneducated” because while they seem to have degrees, their understanding of economics stops with Adam Smith

    Correction: Adam Smith’s first essay. The others actually make it clear that you can’t have free market capitalism unchecked. You can have capitalism, but the invisible hand needs guidance.

    Funny how nobody ever bothers to tell you that little bit of Smith, huh?

    ? The governor of Virginia has just reversed a policy of his predecessor banning sectarian prayers at state police functions.

    So he really is retarded. I thought as much, after his Civil War nonsense.

  142. #143 aggelosbiou
    April 28, 2010

    99% of responses in Arizona think they’re white racists? I think there’s some sampling error going on there, hehe.

  143. #144 ricardo.saenz
    April 28, 2010

    Hey! There are still five states to Pharyngulate: WI, WV (still on “Frustrated”), AR, MS and LA (on “True Americans”).

  144. #145 Nineveh
    April 28, 2010

    Seriously PZ, f*cking up polls has to be my favorite thing you do on Pharyngula. And the pictures of cute little creatures. But mostly the poll thing.

  145. #146 Garrett
    April 28, 2010

    To uke @ #124,

    I don’t consume MSNBC or any mainstream/corporate media. And, yet, I disagree with you wholeheartedly. So do many of the blatently racist signs seen at Tea Klan rallies. Not to mention the racist rhetoric, some subtle and some not-so-subtle. Let’s not forget the birthers. Where were the demands to see the birth certificates of previous presidents, including Democrat Bill Clinton? Where was the concern over the fact that McCain was born in Panama?

    Racism, along with xenophobia, is certainly a driving force behind the huge increase in right wing extremist groups since Obama took office, the anti-(Latino)immigration hysteria and the rise of the Tea Party. Those 3 elements are not mutually exclusive, by the way.

  146. #147 Ben Goren
    April 28, 2010

    aggelosbiou,

    I can personally assure you that they are correctly tallying the votes coming from within the borders of the state of Arizona.

    Do keep in mind that this poll is neither scientific nor democratic. Voting is not limited to one vote person. For example, I personally am voting not only early, but often.

    Very often.

    Several times per second, in fact.

    Indeed, at a rough guess, I’d say my votes account for at least a few percent of the nationwide total. By morning…who knows? Perhaps over half of the responses will be from Arizonans (one in particular).

    Cheers,

    b&


    EAC Memographer
    BAAWA Knight of Blasphemy
    “All but God can prove this sentence true.”

  147. #148 pookie.22
    April 28, 2010

    “See how users are polling in Quebec : Total Votes : 43152″

    Bring it on, Arizona.

  148. #149 Alex P.
    April 28, 2010

    Calling them all racist or ignorant isn’t fair, and cheapens our side. Can’t we just go with wrong?

    Some are racist, and some are ignorant. Some are selfish, some are dogmatic. All are wrong.

  149. #150 IslandBrewer
    April 28, 2010

    Wow, I’m shocked that Wisconsin isn’t completely Pharyngulated! Come on you Wisconsonians!

    As to whether the racist or the ignorant label is more appropriate, certainly both are.

    Tea-baggers, for all their praise and professed love of the Constitution, are disturbingly ignorant of it. Give me just one of their “X is unconstitutional” claims, and I’ll dismantle with my eyes closed. I probably could do it without cracking a secondary reference. Just like the tea-bagging gun nuts who think that Obama is coming to take their guns (despite expanding federal gun rights more than any President in the past half century), the tea-baggers are sorely ignorant of facts, too.

    And ‘educated’ doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t college graduates, it simply means that they haven’t learned anything.

    And while their is certainly a racist strain in the teabag movement, it isn’t just simple racism. It’s an entire xenophobia over Obama. He’s not merely black, but the son of two academics, the son of (gasp) atheists, the child of an interracial marriage, who spent his childhood partially in NotAmerica, and partially in Hawaii (which has just a few too many Asians for Sarah Palin’s comfort). He’s urban (not just the euphemism for black, but actually from the big city!), and doesn’t even have the common sense to pretend he’s just regular simple rural folk (like Bush did, despite his Connecticut yankee upbringing). Being black is just the final straw for the tea-baggers, but it’s by no means the sole motivating factor in their hysteria.

    Anyway, I picked ignorant and uneducated, but it’s a tossup for me.

  150. #151 ashleyfmiller
    April 28, 2010

    SC: 74% Frustrated with the government just as they are

    Dammit South Carolina.

  151. #152 AnthonyK
    April 28, 2010

    I’m a Brit, and I do like a nice cup of tea (Darjeeling FTW) so how should I vote if I want to retain my cuppa?

  152. #153 Kobra
    April 28, 2010

    I read “furriners” as “furries” for a second. Haha.

  153. #154 Doc Holidae
    April 28, 2010

    Believe they are white racists
    53%
    Believe they are ignorant-uneducated people
    44%
    Believe they are true American patriots
    2%
    Frustrated with government-just as they are
    2%
    Considering joining the Tea Party
    0%

    someone needs to check their math >_>

  154. #155 elnauhual
    April 28, 2010

    interesting, from six people voting from Mexico city,

    50% Believe they are white racists

    50% Believe they are ignorant-uneducated people

    I think they would not like it…

  155. #156 Raryn
    April 28, 2010

    Wisconsinites, not Wisconsonians. And I’m perfectly fine with the “frustrated with government” option, as I am. True American patriots and I want to join options are ridiculous, but I agree with the original *stated* principles of the tea party (fiscal responsibility and a balanced budget, opposition to the bailouts, etc). Many of the people in the tea parties are misguided, ignorant, or racist, which is why I don’t want to join, but when I heard about the first wave of parties on 4/15/2009, I showed up.

    If someone else currently in WI pharyngulizes the poll, I won’t mind, but I disagree with the assertion that all (or the majority) of tea partiers are racist or uneducated. Given the choice between a generic (moderate) tea partier and a democrat, I’d probably go to the tea partier. (Of course, if it was an extreme palinite or an utter racist, I’d never vote for said individual.)

  156. #157 Rawnaeris
    April 28, 2010

    Texas is supposed to be showing blue based on the 53% white racist by breakdown, but it is showing up the also acceptable yellow.

  157. #158 Joel
    April 28, 2010

    Alverant @ 139:

    To xians and Jews, “manna” is magic bread rain. Really. It’s in Exodus somewhere, the descendants of Jacob were wandering their way out of Egypt and ran out of food. God sprinkled the ground with magic bread every night, and in the morning the Hebrew people went out and gathered the magic bread rain into jars so they could eat.

    Yeah, I know. World of Warcraft’s version is slightly more realistic.

    Metaphorically, manna is the soul-sustaining soul-bread God gives you in exchange for your generous donation to various televangelist networks.

  158. #159 Screechy_Monkey
    April 29, 2010

    “Calling them all racist or ignorant isn’t fair, and cheapens our side.”

    Hey, “our side” didn’t create those poll options. Given the choices, the racist and ignorant options come the closest, so what’s a Pharyngulite to do?

  159. #161 necronomikron
    April 29, 2010

    Love this part of the NYTimes article:

    Some defended being on Social Security while fighting big government by saying that since they had paid into the system, they deserved the benefits.

    Others could not explain the contradiction.

    ?That?s a conundrum, isn?t it?? asked Jodine White, 62, of Rocklin, Calif. ?I don?t know what to say. Maybe I don?t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security.? She added, ?I didn?t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I?ve changed my mind.?

  160. #162 skeptifem
    April 29, 2010

    I don’t care if statistics say that tea baggers are more ‘educated’ than most people, they simply are not. I have absolutely no doubt that most of those dudes have business degrees, which amounts to jack frickin crap when it comes to understanding the world and how it works. It is like a badge for being indoctrinated in the ways of the status quo. Gross.

  161. #163 Mystic Olly
    April 29, 2010

    I would like to know who the two other Pharyngula readers (I’m assuming! – as one voted white racist, and the other ignorant and uneducated) who voted from Parana state in Brazil?!?

    Either of you in Foz?

  162. #164 chosenfrozen
    April 29, 2010

    wow, I don’t know what is more amazing, 3 people in The Yukon Territories read your blog, or that we all voted the same way

  163. #165 Mak
    April 29, 2010

    Looks like my fellow Alaskans agree with me about the ignorant thing…although I still feel bad about having to generalize about that large of a group. Not *all* of them are insane.

  164. #166 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Alverant @ 139:

    To xians and Jews, “manna” is magic bread rain.

    unless they’re Polish, at which point it’s simply semolina :-p

  165. #167 Garrett
    April 29, 2010

    You’ll have to excuse me if I find the cries for “fiscal responsibility” and “personal responsibility” and “moral values” to be disingenuous when the Tea Klan ignores the *trillions* (with a ‘t’) lost to corporate handouts. War profiteering, no-bid contracts, tax system loopholes, ag. subsidies, wage suppression, outsourcing of jobs, etc., etc., etc.

    You’ll have to excuse me if I have no sympathy for folks who can’t distinguish between corrupted government and the notion that government is evil. And heaven forbid we demand public financing of elections so as to make public officials beholden to the public (what a novel concept), because that would be – yep, you guessed it – SOCIALISM. Oh noes, not socialism!!1!

    Wait, what’s socialism? Hmm, I don’t know, but Rush and Beck tell me it’s evil. So, I’ll carry a sign like this one: http://z.about.com/d/politicalhumor/1/7/v/w/2/dont-steal-medicare.jpg

  166. #168 desertfroglet
    April 29, 2010

    After I voted, they thoughfully provided the voting breakdown for South Australia (even though I’m about 3000 km from Adelaide).

    For 37 votes:
    Racist scum — 51%
    Ignorant bastards — 44%
    True patriots not like you, you lefto pinko commie — 3%
    Frustrated no hopers — 2%

    (Note: Actual words on poll may vary)

  167. #169 jeanweber
    April 29, 2010

    On the topic of mis/un-informed people, a correspondent in the USA wrote to me during the health insurance debate asking if I had heard of people planning to move from the USA to Australia to escape the increasingly socialistic policies of the American government. When I stopped laughing, I wrote back that anyone who thought that was seriously misinformed (hadn’t done their homework) and would get quite a shock if/when they arrived here.

  168. #170 somewhereingreece
    April 29, 2010

    I voted for “uneducated as well”, because I read Tim Wise’s article yesterday and it convinced me that if anyone should be called racist, it is their enablers.

    I apologise if this has been posted before, but time allowed only for speed-reading the comments

  169. #171 akshelby
    April 29, 2010

    @165 – Mak

    Yes, it looks like there are a whole 27 of us from Alaska. I was happy to see it change color.

    I hope it does that during the next election, too.

  170. #172 Shplane
    April 29, 2010

    Apparently there aren’t many Pharyngulites here in WV.

    Depressing.

  171. #173 glasgowaspie
    April 29, 2010

    I’m voting from Glasgow but they give me the option of seeing the breakdown for Bradford…which is somewhere in the middle of England, I think.

    Having said that, even going into the breakdown for Bradford it still only displays the US map. Maybe it’s not Bradford, England after all.

    I refreshed and voted a few times for White Racist and Ignorant/Uneducated.

  172. #174 Ye Olde Blacksmith
    April 29, 2010

    Posted by: Weed Monkey | April 28, 2010 9:06 PM

    Oh, giggles. Someone else is doing this from Finland too, although this is hardly the southern part of the country.

    Woohoo! Suomi in the house! (Although, I’m not Finnish :)

  173. #175 Dawshoss
    April 29, 2010

    It me or the wording of this possibly confusing? I for a second was wondering “They believe they are american patriots” or “You believe…”?

  174. #176 TheCalmOne
    April 29, 2010

    Asemodeus @ #89

    fascinating post – thanks.

    Tea-bagging… hoping to have a bit of that tonight…

  175. #177 rni.boh
    April 29, 2010

    Maybe it’s not Bradford, England after all.

    Of course not – it’s Bradford, Yorkshire.

  176. #178 Carrotman
    April 29, 2010

    That’s … that’s Mr Deity hosting the poll!
    Though Lucy next to him has surely gained some weight.

    Now why would he, omniscient as he is, want to know our opinion? I think he’s testing us!

  177. #179 cnocspeireag
    April 29, 2010

    Voted, not sure about the mapping of states though. Their pollsters put me in the wrong country.

  178. #180 derek beggs
    April 29, 2010

    Clever thing the interwebby, it asked me if I wanted to see how the vote stands in Bavaria, funnily enough, 100% for the uneducated option.

  179. #181 derek beggs
    April 29, 2010

    aw, its changed, apparently Bavaria has moved to America now. Still, nice to play with their ridiculous poll.

  180. #182 locka99
    April 29, 2010

    I’m biased by being a mere observer to US politics but the Tea Party looks more like a whinging club for ignorant, white, racist, right wing, tax dodgers. They are whinging that a (half) black, erudite and left wing man was democratically elected as president. Of course they’ve probably managed to rationalize away the many reasons Obama was elected in the first place.

    I’m more familiar with UK politics and the closest comparison I can draw are the racist/nationalist lunatics such in the BNP and UKIP. Parties that also like to drape themselves with national flags but espouse many of the same moronic notions as the Tea Party.

  181. #183 sabrinasebens
    April 29, 2010

    I’m so proud that my home state, AZ, is blue :`)
    Though it recorded my vote as being in the wrong (German) state. I’m not in Badden-Wuerttemberg!

  182. #184 Moveable Type
    April 29, 2010

    Hey, there were 4 votes from Wakefield, UK!

  183. #185 progjohn
    April 29, 2010

    They’ve closed the poll now.
    White racists 48%
    Ignorant 48%
    Patriots 3%
    Frustrated 1%
    Considering joining 0%.
    270,156 votes.
    Is it just me or might they have been hoping for a different outcome?

  184. #186 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    I’m not in Badden-Wuerttemberg!

    Then again, noone is….

  185. #187 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2010

    For those interested, here is a more serious poll about teabaggers from CBS News:

    Tea Party Supporters: Who They Are and What They Believe

    A few of the things that stroke me:

    18% of Americans identify as Tea Party supporters

    1. Only 2% of them are Black or Asian

    2. 52% believe too much has been made of the problems facing black people. (only 28% for all americans)

    3. They are more likely than Republicans and Americans overall to see illegal immigration as a serious problem (82 %), doubt the impact of global warming (66 %) and call the bank bailout unnecessary (74 %).

    4. Sarah Palin is the most popular figure, viewed favorably by 66 % of them. Only 40 percent, however, believe she would be an effective president, a smaller percentage than Republicans overall. 59% have a favorable impression of Glenn Beck. 57 %, have a favorable impression of GWBush, despite his role in raising the deficit and overseeing TARP bailout of the financial sector.

    5. 92% believe Obama’s policies are moving the country toward socialism (52% of Americans overall share that belief).

    6. 63% say they get the majority of their political and current events news on television from the Fox News Channel, (compared to 23% of Americans overall).

    7. Asked to volunteer what they don’t like about Obama, the top answer, offered by 19 %, was that they just don’t like him. 11% said he is turning the country more toward socialism, 10% cited his health care reform efforts, and 9% percent said he is dishonest. 77% describe Obama as “very liberal,” (compared to 31% of Americans overall). 57% say the president’s policies favor the poor (compared to 27% of Americans overall).

    8. Just 5% call themselves Democrats (compared to 31 percent of adults nationwide). Nearly three in four describe themselves as conservative, and 39 percent call themselves very conservative. 60% say they always or usually vote Republican.

    9. They are more likely than American adults overall to be college graduates (37% compared with 25%) and to attend religious services weekly (38% do so). 61% are Protestant (of which 2/3 are evangelicals), and 22% are Catholic. 58% keep a gun in the household.

    10. Finally, what I find the most revealing of all, 84% say the views of the Tea Party movement reflect the views of most Americans, but only 25% of Americans agree.

    So:

    white ? more so than americans overall (see 1.)
    racist ? idem (see 2.)
    ignorant ? idem (see 3. 5. 6. 10)
    uneducated ? less so than americans overall (see 9.)

    Clearly, the only answer of this pointless poll supported with evidence is number 1.

  186. #188 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    April 29, 2010

    rni.boh
    Of course not – it’s Bradford, Yorkshire.
    Another Yorkshire seperatist? :-)

  187. #189 irenedelse
    April 29, 2010

    @ sabrinasebens (#183): And I live in Paris, but the poll asks me if I want to see the results from Aquitaine!

    Maybe MicroPoll is bad at geography… ;-)

    Or, a more probable hypothesis, that it sees only incoming IP addresses and for those who connect from DSL or cable, the IP are attributed by a servers that can be in another part of the country.

  188. #190 MAJeff, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Given the choice between a generic (moderate) tea partier and a democrat, I’d probably go to the tea partier. (Of course, if it was an extreme palinite or an utter racist, I’d never vote for said individual.)

    Now, that’s funny. A moderate Teabagger in a movement spawned by Glenn Beck and pushed by Sarah Palin and Dick Armey?. The teabaggers aren’t the only ones having trouble with reality.

  189. #191 MadScientist
    April 29, 2010

    I see Arr-Kansas, Missurah, and South Dixie are still leading the charge for secession.

  190. #192 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 29, 2010

    It’s cunningly designed to split our votes

    So they assume their fellow Teabaggers can’t do basic arithmetic?

  191. #193 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2010
  192. #194 Benjamin Geiger
    April 29, 2010

    What the hell happened to South Carolina? 79% “true American patriots”, 19% “frustrated”, 1% for each of the good answers…

  193. #195 ursulamajor
    April 29, 2010

    Of course they’ve probably managed to rationalize away the many reasons Obama was elected in the first place.

    Me: Well, Dad, why do you think he was elected?
    Dad: Because all the damn blacks that never vote went out and voted.
    Me: That’s kind of racist. It couldn’t have been ALL blacks.
    Dad: Why do you liberals always play the race card??!! It has nothing to do with race.

  194. #196 DavidCT
    April 29, 2010

    Texas looks pretty good for once. Its probably your fans from Austin.

  195. #197 somewhereingreece
    April 29, 2010

    (Note: I am a huge fan of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” so I am relatively up to date with USA politics)

    Dad: I read in the paper that there is a group in the US called “the tea party”. What are they about?
    Me: Basically, they believe that Obama is Hitler and wants to turn the US into a communist country.
    Dad (rolling eyes): I get the picture, say no more.

  196. #198 Nontheocrat
    April 29, 2010

    Damn, I can’t believe how the numbers have flipped overnight! And I was part of that, sniff, sniff, I feel so proud!

  197. #199 nic nicholson
    April 29, 2010

    Alabama: “I think they are all white racists” 98%?! wtf? In Alabama?

  198. #200 Thorne
    April 29, 2010

    Benjamin Geiger @ 194:

    What the hell happened to South Carolina? 79% “true American patriots”, 19% “frustrated”, 1% for each of the good answers…

    I think we’ve been anti-Pharyngulated. When I left last night there were only 100 votes and we were solidly blue. Now there’s almost 7500 votes and overwhelmingly green! Hell, I would have bet there weren’t that many Carolinians who could navigate past Rush’s homepage, much less figure out how to vote on an internet poll!

  199. #201 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 29, 2010

    Calling them all racist or ignorant isn’t fair, and cheapens our side. Can’t we just go with wrong?

    Ignorant may not be fair. Racist stands until they establish a history of attacking the racism within their own ranks. One incident does not a turnaround make.

    You do realize that this is the correct response, right? When an organization supposedly only has a few racists, they attack the racism of those few members. They make it so that the racists don’t feel welcome. It happens during so many other protests it isn’t funny. The million man march chucked out anti-white racists, even. When they allow the racism to remain, unchecked, the only correct decision is that they are a party of racism as well as everything else.

  200. #202 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2010

    Me: Basically, they believe that Obama is Hitler and wants to turn the US into a communist country.

    And, sadly, they have so little understanding of the history of Europe during that period that they don’t realise that it’s precisely people like them, authoritarian followers, who enabled fascist dictatorships to establish themselves.

  201. #203 Androly-San
    April 29, 2010

    Went with ignorant and uneducated as that’s probably the cause of their racism. Wish there would have been an “A & B” option though :(

  202. #204 fr0gfish
    April 29, 2010

    Hey, apparently three percent of people in Stockholm, Sweden (where I live) think teabaggers are true American patriots… Actually, I kind of believe that too, come to think of it.

  203. #205 Sasha
    April 29, 2010

    The poll didn’t have a choice for “based on piror actions believe they are delusional wack-jobs” so I chose “white racists”….

  204. #206 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2010

    frogfish,

    Actually, I kind of believe that too, come to think of it.

    Explain what you think is a “true American patriot” and why you believe they are.

  205. #207 Gus Snarp
    April 29, 2010

    Wow, the map is so cool. You can actually learn something from this online poll thanks to this map. Look where the power of Pharyngula doesn’t reach – Arkansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, and West Virginia. Not really surprising, but there’s an interesting study in geography in there. And South Carolina, wow. 79% say true American patriots in SC. Does this make them the most backward state in the nation? Also interesting is how evenly split the total Pharyngula vote is between ignorant and racist. A full break down by state would be interesting to see if there are state by state differences in whether the tea party is seen as racist or ignorant (of course, the right answer is both).

  206. #208 raven
    April 29, 2010

    Tea baggers can’t be racist, they have a black friend! ź luimbe.com
    Apr 21, 2010 … Tea baggers can’t be racist, they have a black friend! … Wednesday found that only 1 percent of Tea Party supporters are black and only 1 …
    http://www.luimbe.com/…/tea-baggers-cant-be-racist-they-have-a-black-friend/ -

    The polling data shows that Teabaggers are racists. Only 1% are black or hispanic while those groups make up over 20% of the US population.

    Doesn’t mean all of them are racists, just most of them.

    They seem to be marginalized whites who are slipping down the socioeconomic ladder. Ironically their hero Moron Bush is the one who gave them the big push during his 8 year disaster regime. Not smart.

  207. #209 ganja_thief#d6530
    April 29, 2010

    @Raryn

    How much of a naieve jackass are you? The “tea party” is not a party in any modern sense of the word. They field no candidates, and have no platform outside of the “contract from america” which is little more than a collection of conflicting bullshit platitudes.

    On top of that the polling data shows 60 plus percent do not want to form a third party, and often vote republican. So when you say you would rather vote for a moderate tea partier over a democrat, what you really mean is you would rather vote for a moderate republican, which the tea party continualy thumbs their nose at and is responsible for more than a few moderates losing elections. Look at NY23, scozafava and now Crist going independent which wil split the vote with Rubio and very likely put a Democrat in that seat.

    so ill ask again, are you really that naieve, or do you believe the tea party is more than republicans? because they say they aren’t.

  208. #210 ganja_thief#d6530
    April 29, 2010

    @Raryn

    How much of a naieve jackass are you? The “tea party” is not a party in any modern sense of the word. They field no candidates, and have no platform outside of the “contract from america” which is little more than a collection of conflicting bullshit platitudes.

    On top of that the polling data shows 60 plus percent do not want to form a third party, and often vote republican. So when you say you would rather vote for a moderate tea partier over a democrat, what you really mean is you would rather vote for a moderate republican, which the tea party continualy thumbs their nose at and is responsible for more than a few moderates losing elections. Look at NY23, scozafava and now Crist going independent which wil split the vote with Rubio and very likely put a Democrat in that seat.

    so ill ask again, are you really that naieve, or do you believe the tea party is more than republicans? because they say they aren’t.

  209. #211 fr0gfish
    April 29, 2010

    @negentropyeater
    To my mind, patriotism is not a quality that i necessarily respect. It often means valuing others of the same nationality higher than people who happen to be born somewhere else. In other words, patriotism and humanism are often at odds.
    I like Sweden, we have built a pretty good society here, but I don’t get teary eyed when I see a Swedish flag, and I could certainly see myself living in a different country. I guess I’m just not much of a patriot.

  210. #212 ganja_thief#d6530
    April 29, 2010

    oops sorry for the 2x post

  211. #213 dNorrisM
    April 29, 2010

    Perry Stone looks a lot like Mr. Deity. Coincidence?

  212. #214 KOPD
    April 29, 2010

    Yeah, but I bet they let that 1% use their bathrooms.

  213. #215 jeffreysflowers
    April 29, 2010

    and now PZ can see where he needs to increase his readership:
    AR and SC are still green, for “True American Patriots”
    WI and WV are purple for “Frustrated with guvmint”

  214. #216 mwsletten
    April 29, 2010

    It’s remarkable how quickly the ‘lovers of science’ who post here are willing trash anyone with a blind belief in things religious, yet are incabable of seeing their own blindness in things ideological.

    As is almost always the case, the UW poll used by the mainstream media to heap so much racial hysteria on Tea Partiers was nicely cherry-picked to make the story as controversial as possible. Much of the original data were not published, data which clearly shows attitudes about race are good and bad among EVERY group of people, no matter their ideology.

    First, respondents were catagorized by their support of the Tea Party. Only the responses from those who idendtified themselves as “strong” supporters were used as representative of the typical tea partier. Choose the most strident supporters of ANY ideology and you’re gonna get some pretty extreme views, no?

    Even with that obvious bias in place, a closer look at the data is revealing. It shows while only 35 percent of strong Tea Party supporters rated blacks as hardworking, only 49 percent described whites as such. Yes, there’s a gap there, but it’s not much different than responses from all whites with a ratio of 40% to 52% for the same question.

    While strongly anti-Tea Party whites rated blacks and whites as hardworking by 55% and 56%, respectively, their lack of bias in this area did not extend to questions regarding “intelligence” and “trustworthiness.”

    According to the UW study, whites in every group rate blacks lower than whites in intelligence by similar margins: 14 points for strong Tea Party supporters (45% vs. 59%), 13 points for all whites (49% vs. 62%), 10 points for Tea Party opponents (59% vs. 69%).

    On “trustworthy,” the anti-Tea Party group didn’t fare so well. 41% of the strongly pro-Tea Party group said blacks are trustworthy compared to 49% who say the same about whites. The anti-Tea Party group responded 57% vs. 72%, respectively. The data from this study, it seems, show white liberals harbor their share of incorrect assumptions in the paranoia department. Would this be lack of education? Ignorance? Or simply racism?

    The fact is racism exists among ALL groups of people (just as it does in ALL people) to varying degrees and for different reasons. As has been pointed out previously by a number of commenters in different threads about this subject, how people ‘feel’ about other races (and genders, sexual orientations, religions, hair colors, etc) is less important than how they ‘act’ on those feelings.

    One way to act on one’s beliefs about stereotypes which I believe completely WRONG is clearly illustrated in this video recently released by the DNC. It carries President Obama’s pitch to get out the liberal vote come November. Watch carefully starting at 2:00 minutes; you’ll see President Obama exhort “young people, African Americans, Latinos (said with the obligatory Spanish accent) and women” to prevent the evil Republicans from destroying everything he’s accomplished.

    This is pandering in its most base form. Worse, it clearly puts the lie to one of the planks that got President Obama elected — that of uniting Americans instead of dividing us. Imagine if a prominent Republican were to publish a video calling on their affluent, older, white, Christian male supporters…

    No one is immune to making bad assumptions about other people. What is irrational though, is to believe someone else is ‘evil’ because their bad assumptions about other people are ‘worse’ than yours.

  215. #217 Celtic_Evolution
    April 29, 2010

    mwsletten –

    maybe I missed it… which UW poll are you talking about here, and to whom are you addressing your comments, specifically, regarding this poll?

    Can you also offer a link to the data you are citing?

  216. #218 S
    April 29, 2010

    Ha Ha Ha, looking at the results now,
    PWNED!

  217. #219 MAJeff, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Watch carefully starting at 2:00 minutes; you’ll see President Obama exhort “young people, African Americans, Latinos (said with the obligatory Spanish accent) and women” to prevent the evil Republicans from destroying everything he’s accomplished.

    Wow, he’s appealing to a diverse array of Democratic constituencies. He did leave out us gay folks. We’re used to that from Democrats, though.

    Imagine if a prominent Republican were to publish a video calling on their affluent, older, white, Christian male supporters…

    How hard is it being so racially resentful, mwsletten. It’s got to be hard seeing how easy all those minorities have it and how tough it is for white folks to even give a shout-out to white folks.

    Lemme guess, the Southern Strategy had nothing to do with race, right?

  218. #220 SteveM
    April 29, 2010

    you’ll see President Obama exhort “young people, African Americans, Latinos (said with the obligatory Spanish accent) and women”

    That list covers well over half the population of the country, sounds far more inclusive than, “affluent, older, white, Christian male[s]“.

  219. #221 jrtwomey
    April 29, 2010

    Well done, P.Z.!

    Since this is clearly a question about politics, shouldn’t the I.R.S. be paying these people a visit?

  220. #222 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 29, 2010

    http://depts.washington.edu/uwiser/racepolitics.html
    http://depts.washington.edu/uwiser/mssrp_table.pdf

    73% believe it’s just a matter of effort. In other words, black people are lazy.

    Did the anti tea party really do well here? not really. 33% believing it’s a matter of effort, IE laziness, is horrid.

    Good thing I don’t claim racism is over, or that it’s only kept alive in the Tea Party.

  221. #223 abledanger69
    April 29, 2010

    Do not forget us Cheese Heads. 49% for ingnorant basterds

  222. #224 jay.sweet
    April 29, 2010

    I used to favor choice #2, but recent polling data has convinced me that choice #1 is more accurate. The ignorance of Tea Partiers is indisputable, but uneducated they are not, at least not statistically speaking.

    Rather, the dominating predictive factor which seems to dominate the Tea Partiers is the feeling that “This country is being taken over by people not like us.” Granted, they don’t always mean non-white people… sometimes they mean foreigners in general, sometimes they mean teh gays oh noes, and sometimes they mean Jews/Muslims/atheists/wrong-type-of-Xian, etc…. but at the core, the biggest predictive factor for Tea Party affiliation is “Are you a fucking bigot?”

    My thinking has changed multiple times on this. I used to think Tea Partiers were wilfully dumb. Then I started to look at them as a manifestation of the ineffectual illiberal policies of the recent administration(s)/congress(es) — their populist bile being a natural byproduct of a nation that failed to provide an adequate social safety net. However, the data tells me that both of those views were wrong: The Tea Partiers are defined by a fear and hatred of The Other. That is their central, uniting, defining characteristic.

    So out of those four choices, “white racists” is the clear best answer. I’m not even basing this on opinion; it’s the fucking data.

  223. #225 SteveM
    April 29, 2010

    Do not forget us Cheese Heads. 49% for ingnorant basterds

    shouldn’t that be “ignourant basterds”?

  224. #226 tutone21
    April 29, 2010

    @ Garrett #167

    You’ll have to excuse me if I find the cries for “fiscal responsibility” and “personal responsibility” and “moral values” to be disingenuous when the Tea Klan ignores the *trillions* (with a ‘t’) lost to corporate handouts. War profiteering, no-bid contracts, tax system loopholes, ag. subsidies, wage suppression, outsourcing of jobs, etc., etc., etc.

    You’ll have to excuse me if I have no sympathy for folks who can’t distinguish between corrupted government and the notion that government is evil. And heaven forbid we demand public financing of elections so as to make public officials beholden to the public (what a novel concept), because that would be – yep, you guessed it – SOCIALISM. Oh noes, not socialism!!1!

    I completely agree! Along with the racism and ignorance labels that have been tied to The Teabagger movement, there is a conflict in the message they are sending. We want less government, but we want to keep Social Security and National Prayer Day. Luckily I don’t think that the people participating have a lot of good leadership skills, and aren’t going to get organized enough before they are dismissed by the majority of the public.

  225. #227 Snoof
    April 29, 2010

    To my mind, patriotism is not a quality that i necessarily respect.It often means valuing others of the same nationality higher than people who happen to be born somewhere else.

    A more common term for the situation you describe is “nationalism”. I’ll agree, though, that it can be hard to tell difference between the two. Part of the problem, of course, is that patriotism is “good” and nationalism is “bad”, and so nobody is willing to describe themselves as nationalists, and thus there’s little agreement on the definition of patriotism and how it differs from nationalism.

  226. #228 jay.sweet
    April 29, 2010

    #216 raises some interesting points, but ultimately it fails. I agree that the surface answers of the Tea Partiers are not overtly racist, at least not any more than the average American. However, less straightforward questions than “Do you think Teh Negroes are lazy?” elicit more telling responses. As I said in my previous comment (#224), all of the data on the Tea Partiers betray fear of The Other as the defining characteristic. They might be unwilling to tell a pollster “I hate niggers and fags”, but they are all too willing to say, “This country is being taken over by people who are not like me, and we have to take it back.” (See the difference? None in underlying meaning, but superficially there is difference in the amount of overt bigotry)

    Regarding #216′s final paragraph, he/she misses the whole fucking point. And I’ll admit, as a white middle-class male who nonetheless struggled with plenty of my own normal problems (father with cerebal palsey, raised Mormon [and "good white Xians" are about as fond of the Mormons as us atheists are], picked on in school, etc.) it took me a long time to get this point through my thick head… Really, over 30 years before I grasped it fully… and that’s that, you (and I) do not understand what it’s like to be black/a woman/gay/etc; and more centrally relevant to #216, a minority/minorities uniting in defiance of a perceived threat by the majority will always be different than the inverse. They are simply not analogous. Our Founding Fathers understood this, in fact, even though the “minorities” they considered did not include considerations of race and gender — our Constitution is permeated by an attempt to balance the benefits of democracy (i.e. majority rule) vs. a need to protect against the “tyranny of the majority”. This is a point made explicit in the Federalist Papers.

    To compare Obama’s call for blacks, latinos, women, and gays to unite against the forces of prejudice, to a hypothetical call for middle-class Christian whites to unite against The Other, is insensitive at best and hatefully disingenuous at worst. I will presume the former, since I was afflicted by the same issue for literally decades of my life…

  227. #229 Flex
    April 29, 2010

    Jedibear wrote @120,

    …their understanding of economics stops with Adam Smith,….

    Well, actually, even Adam Smith said that state money should be spent on roads and public schooling.

    Good roads, canals, and navigable rivers, by diminishing the expense of carriage, put the remote parts of the country more nearly upon a level with those in the neighbourhood of the town. They are upon that account the greatest of all improvements.

    The education of the common people requires, perhaps, in a civilized and commercial society, the attention of the public, more than that of people of some rank and Fortune.

    From The Wealth of Nations

    Smith’s discussion on what a monarch should spend his revenue on in order to increase the wealth of a country is near the end of the book.

    But that’s no excuse for not reading it.

  228. #230 Celtic_Evolution
    April 29, 2010

    I’m looking at the data from the survey done by UW, as published by UW, here. If this is not what you’re using, please point me elsewhere…

    But to address a few points:

    As is almost always the case, the UW poll used by the mainstream media to heap so much racial hysteria on Tea Partiers was nicely cherry-picked to make the story as controversial as possible.

    First, leading with a moronic, hyperbolic statement like “as is almost always the case” pretty much dismisses anything you say as biased right off the bat. It’s not just the media’s creation that has given the Tea-baggers their reputation. You sound like friggin Palin claiming the only reason she sounds stupid is because the media made her sound that way cause they’re out to get her. It’s a ridiculous platform that you can’t back up.

    Much of the original data were not published, data which clearly shows attitudes about race are good and bad among EVERY group of people, no matter their ideology.

    Oh… well then would you care to point us to the “real” data that wasn’t published? I’d like to have a look at it.

    First, respondents were catagorized by their support of the Tea Party. Only the responses from those who idendtified themselves as “strong” supporters were used as representative of the typical tea partier.

    No, they weren’t, if we’re looking at the same study. The results and the article itself refer to them as “Tea-Party supporters”… how else should they have identified them? Considering the fact that they didn’t make it a black and white case of “support or don’t”, and added grades of “middle of the road”, I find your criticism shallow, baseless and unwarranted.

    Choose the most strident supporters of ANY ideology and you’re gonna get some pretty extreme views, no?

    Again, you are being unfair… you are categorizing the respondents in a way that suits your argument, but not in any way that the study represents.

    Before we get any further into this discussion, I want to make sure we are looking at the same study… again, mine comes from this report by UW on the “Multi-state survey on race and politics”.

    If it is the same study, then the rest of your post is completely missing the point.

    You’re trying to force a comparison between tea-partiers and liberals. The study doesn’t try to make that comparison, and the data doesn’t lend itself to that comparison.

    You make the leap from “anti-tea party” (which isn’t what the survey labels, them, they label them “true tea-party skeptics”, but whatever, I just find it ironic for you to do that in a post railing about cherry-picking and intentionally misleading verbiage) to “white liberals”. Not sure the data supports that claim. And furthermore, what this study aims to show, and does so quite glaringly, is that upon reviewing the data, two statements can be made:

    1. Racism is alive and well among whites in this country of all political affiliations.

    2. There’s a statistically relevant higher incidence of racist beliefs and opinions in the tea-party movement.

    Anyone who looks at the data in any way and comes to a different conclusion is either blind, stupid, or both.

  229. #231 mediajackal
    April 29, 2010

    mwsletten, the poll proves the unreliability of polls. Here in Indiana (hi, P.Z.!) five men are running for the GOP nomination to replace Evan Bayh. A poll released today seems to indicate ex-Senator Dan Coats is the favorite. But the margin of error is 5 percentage points, rendering the results meaningless — sort of like Coats. But I digress.

    As of 15 seconds ago, nearly half of the respondents to Perry Stone’s query supported the “ignorance” option. I don’t think that’s quite what the reverend had in mind.

    Assuming he’s got one …

  230. #232 somewhereingreece
    April 29, 2010

    @mwsletten #216

    That’s all fine and dandy, but how can you reconcile what you wrote with the fact that the Tea Partiers want less government AND hands off Medicare?

    The least you can call them is incapable of knowing what it is the hell they want.

  231. #233 Garrett
    April 29, 2010

    I just want to encourage everyone to read the Tim Wise article from post #170 (thanks, somewhereingreece, for posting that). I’ve read a couple of Wise’s books (White Like Me and Speaking Treason Fluently) and many of his articles. All excellent.

    negentropyeater’s post (#202) reminded me of another article by Wise, which seems relevant to this thread: http://www.redroom.com/blog/tim-wise/this-how-fascism-comes-reflections-cost-silence

  232. #234 somewhereingreece
    April 29, 2010

    @Garrett: I do not deserve your thanks, as I had found it in Dan Savage’s blog. I would have linked to him, but I know many posters read PZ from work and I didn’t want to get them in trouble. I will be less hasty in the future and mention the original sources as well.

  233. #235 JediBear
    April 29, 2010

    @142, 229
    I stand corrected. You see, my own understanding of economics very nearly begins and ends with a half-remembered course entitled “Introduction to Macroeconomics,” which I took a decade ago in order to dodge consumer economics in High School and I will freely admit to not having read Adam Smith’s works directly but rather having got the Cliff’s Notes version out a a modern economics textbook. This naturally left out some significant details, touching only on what Smith is most broadly remembered for.

    It’s hard to say if Smith would support health care as a natural monopoly akin to public education and roads (such things were not contemplated in his time,) but it’s fairly clear that he understood that a certain levelling of the playing field was essential for his economic theories to have a chance of being predictive (and thus useful.)

    More important, of course, is the Randian morality and the complete failure to understand the Constitution, especially the Taxing and Spending clause.

  234. #236 tutone21
    April 29, 2010

    @ mwsletten #216

    The statistics don’t prove out like CE was saying, and even if they did Teabaggers aren’t going to erase or even minimize racial concerns when you have people like this out there. Furthermore, racism can be extrapolated from membership. Less than 1% of the people participating are non-white. That tells me that what the movement’s ideas aren’t going to help those that are non-white.

    Couple this with the inconsistencies pointed out in #232, and a lack of leadership, I would say that teabaggers have a lot of work to do before their issues can be considered. Mostly, it seems that the message is keeping the status quo and resisting change. I like what is happening because I have a firm belief that the system is really fucked up and I want it to change. The US spent 8 years with a government system that was “less.” The aftermath is a huge budget deficit, unregulated lending and a federal bailout, HMO’s fucking up healthcare worse than it was in the 90′s, 2 wars that shouldn’t be happening. And this is the system you want to defend? It turns out you are a fucking idiot!!!!

  235. #237 jeffreysflowers
    April 29, 2010

    Don’t ignore the Tea Party’s toxic take on history:
    http://www.slate.com/toolbar.aspx?action=print&id=2251669

    Most people with a basic grounding in history find Tea Party ignorance something to laugh about, certainly not something to take seriously. But I would argue that history demonstrates that historical ignorance is dangerous and that it can have tragic consequences, however laughable it may initially seem. And thus the media, liberals, and others are misguided in laughing it off. And educated conservatives are irresponsible in staying silent in the face of these distortions.

    It may be true that the Tea Party will disintegrate before it acquires any real power, as more and more of its leaders are revealed to be fanciers of racist jokes and bestiality videos. But one can’t be assured of it. It’s important to expose the lies for what they are before they further debase the language with their false use of words.

    How does it go? “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross”

  236. #238 Garrett
    April 29, 2010

    tutone21,

    I find it interesting that, if you click on the link in your post, you see someone holding a sign that reads, “Socialized Health Is NOT Free.”

    That person is absolutely correct. Socialized health care (like socialized education, law enforcement, so-called national defense, and infrastructure) is *not* free. It’s not a “handout,” as many right wingers claim. We all (or at least those of us who don’t exploit loopholes) contribute for the collective good.

    Universal, single payer health care (as opposed to weak health insurance legislation that benefits the insurance industry more than anybody else) is what I want. But it certainly wouldn’t be free.

    There are, IMO, valid reasons to be upset about the latest health insurance legislation (I’ll post 2 links at the end of this post). Reasons matter. Disliking it because you’ve been told by Sarah and Paul and Rush and Glenn that socialism is evil or because you’re under the impression that Obama and Co. are claiming that socialized health care is free, do not constitute rational reasons. So, while I may be displeased with many aspects of our plutocratic government (including institutionalized racism and the increasing divide between the haves and have-nots), I have ZERO interest in aligning myself with the Tea Klan.

    http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/03/19/fact-sheet-the-truth-about-the-health-care-bill/

    http://www.a-w-i-p.com/index.php/2009/11/19/we-need-health-care-not-insurance

  237. #239 murtagh
    April 29, 2010

    Damn, SC is now the only state that thinks they are genuine American patriots. Well, I tried.

  238. #240 mwsletten
    April 29, 2010

    Celtic_Evolution:

    This UW Poll.

    All of the raw data from this survey is not posted at the site. The data I posted was lifted from this article, the author of whom contacted Prof. Christopher Parker to obtain the raw data.

    You make the leap from “anti-tea party” (which isn’t what the survey labels, them, they label them “true tea-party skeptics”, but whatever, I just find it ironic for you to do that in a post railing about cherry-picking and intentionally misleading verbiage) to “white liberals”.

    The respondents for data I posted were all whites, but you are right in that I made an unfair assumption that those who are anti-tea party are liberal Democrats. See how easy it is to do?

    There’s a statistically relevant higher incidence of racist beliefs and opinions in the tea-party movement.

    Except when discussing the ‘trustworthiness’ of blacks.

    Be that as it may, so what? If this data shows the level of racism is truly only a matter of degree (especially such a statistically small degree) then it’s misleading to use it as the basis to label Tea Partiers “racist.”

    jay.sweet said:

    To compare Obama’s call for blacks, latinos, women, and gays to unite against the forces of prejudice…is insensitive at best…

    I didn’t hear a call to ‘unite against the forces of prejudice;’ I heard a call for certain ethnic, gender and age groups to keep the democrats in power. Maybe you missed my primary point: the tendency to stereotype exists in ALL groups, even Democrats.

    …a minority/minorities uniting in defiance of a perceived threat by the majority will always be different than the inverse.

    Where is the threat? How have blacks, Latinos, women and young people been oppressed by the Tea Party? Hint: since it exercises no political power, the answer can only be none. As far as I know, none of these groups are excluded from participating in Tea Party rallies.

    Further, if there actually IS fear among blacks, Latinos, women and young people about the Tea Party (I’ve yet to see any surveys about this) it is based only speculation since the Tea Party has no political history to study. Behaving badly towards a particular group of people because you fear what you think someone MIGHT do if they get power over you is at the fucking ROOT of racism. Shouldn’t this be wrong for ANY group?

    …and hatefully disingenuous at worst. I will presume the former, since I was afflicted by the same issue for literally decades of my life…

    Thanks for the benefit of the doubt, but it’s not ‘disingenuous,’ hateful or otherwise, to speak the truth. Racism — and all other forms of stereotyping — is wrong, even if President Obama does it. I would think anyone with a serious scientific mind would agree with this, but that might just be me stereotyping…

    There are plenty of good, strong arguments against Tea Party believers that are much harder to dispute than charges of racism. The continuing effort to label them as racist comes across as politics as usual.

    Destroy them on logic and facts (see @232), not on old and tired ideology.

  239. #241 tutone21
    April 29, 2010

    @ garrett #238

    No shit!! I am baffled most of the time at what people think. President Obama is a very intelligent man, and an awesome public speaker, but sometimes I wish he would get angry. Why can’t he say, “Everyone needs to relax. I am not going to take any extra money out of your pocket so people that don’t have insurance can get it. I am going to take out the same amount as the fucking idiot before me. I am just going to use it to make sure we are healthy instead of giving it to my friends via defense contracts.”

  240. #242 mwsletten
    April 29, 2010

    tutone21 said:

    And this is the system you want to defend?

    If you’ve concluded I’m defending ANY ‘system’ then you have made some bad assumptions. I defend reason and logic.

    It turns out you are a fucking idiot!!!!

    You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, such as it is…

  241. #243 Garrett
    April 29, 2010

    Suggesting that the Tea Klan consists of many racists doesn’t mean that one doesn’t understand that there are also many racists who are not Tea Party attendees.

  242. #244 Gus Snarp
    April 29, 2010

    The Pharyngulators (or other intelligent folks) have now picked up every state except West Virginia and South Carolina. Interestingly we seem to be gaining in West Virginia, but the solid vote for “true American patriots” is only growing in South Carolina.

  243. #245 CJO
    April 29, 2010

    Racism — and all other forms of stereotyping — is wrong, even if President Obama does it.

    But racism isn’t just “a form of stereotyping.” Certainly racist people are prejudiced, and in acting out their prejudices they stereotype members of minority groups, but that’s not at issue, really. Racism, white supremacy, a system of affirming and maintaining white privilege, upholding and enshrining their own prejudices as an institutional practice, is what it is that the teabaggers are in favor of, and that is why it is correctly identified as a racist movement. There’s a black man in the White House, and these people are Losing Their Shit in a way that I do not believe they would be if Al Gore or Hillary Clinton were president, though I realize that’s a bare counterfactual without support.

    There’s A Way of Life that these people believe is being stolen from them, and a big part of that Way is what they believe is their right to hate minorities and immigrants and generally act in keeping with that hatred without fear of censure. Reactionary defense of systems of oppression and privilege based on ethnicity goes well beyond simple prejudice, which you rightly note can be found everywhere.

  244. #246 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2010

    Interestingly we seem to be gaining in West Virginia, but the solid vote for “true American patriots” is only growing in South Carolina.

    oh yay for us

  245. #247 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2010

    mswletten writing in 1925,

    Further, if there actually IS fear among blacks, Latinos, women and young peopleJews, Roms, Slavic people, communists and homosexuals about the TeaNazi Party (I’ve yet to see any surveys about this) it is based only speculation since the TeaNazi Party has no political history to study. Behaving badly towards a particular group of people because you fear what you think someone MIGHT do if they get power over you is at the fucking ROOT of racism. Shouldn’t this be wrong for ANY group?

  246. #248 truth machine, OM
    April 29, 2010

    It’s remarkable how quickly the ‘lovers of science’ who post here are willing trash anyone with a blind belief in things religious, yet are incabable of seeing their own blindness in things ideological.

    Total troll fail.

  247. #249 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 29, 2010

    You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, such as it is…

    This from a poster who most of us see as a well meaning fool, Heinlein sense…

  248. #250 mwsletten
    April 29, 2010

    CJO said:

    But racism isn’t just “a form of stereotyping.

    No doubt, racists harbor stereotypes, but not all who harbor stereotypes are racist. I believe the diffence is how we ACT on our beliefs.

    If we act in such a way that damages someone else based on fear, not facts, then we are wrong. Be wary if you wish; keep a weather eye on the situation, but don’t condemn based on what you think MIGHT happen.

    Until we have a history of Tea Party members in political power in the US subjugating blacks, Latinos, women and young people it is illogical to label them ‘racists,’ especially when just about every poll confirms Tea Partiers’ irrational prejudices are really statistically little different than anyone elses.

    There’s A Way of Life that these people believe is being stolen from them…>

    Now you’re simply parroting ‘beliefs’ about the Tea Party bandied about the liberal media. No doubt, there are some among their group who subscribe to your baseless characterization. But to state without evidence such a characterization represents the entire group is the same as saying they’re ALL racist — there is no foundation in fact to support such a claim.

    What everyone seems to be forgetting (ignoring?) is the Tea Party movement remains largely disorganized — they have no national spokesperson, no single voice with which to advertise a clear and separate ideology of its own. There are many, many different viewpoints among Tea Partiers, some of which are mutually exclusive.

    I’ve posted this before, but I’ll do so again for those who may not have seen it. On its home page, the National Tea Party Federation (the only national Tea Party site I can find that purports to unite the various state and local movements) lists as its three primary objectives:

    ?Fiscal Responsibility
    ?Constitutionally Limited Government
    ?Free Markets

    These are, I believe, the only three objectives one might say with any pretense of authority that the majority of Tea Party activists agree on, none of which, I might add, have anything whatsoever to do with racism or continuing the status quo. Indeed, a strong argument can be made that the status quo is a growing government that is spending irresponsibly and seeking further control of free markets.

    Accusations of racism makes it easy to dismiss and ignore these arguably valid concerns about our government.

  249. #251 mwsletten
    April 29, 2010

    Nerd said:

    This from a poster who most of us see as a well meaning fool…

    I thought you, of all readers here, would enjoy the irony..

    But hey! I gotta look at the bright side. At least I’m now considered ‘well-meaning.’ Just a minute ago (@228) I was ‘hatefully disingenuous.’

    Thanks Nerd!

  250. #252 mwsletten
    April 29, 2010

    BTW, you forgot ‘well-spoken, polite, intelligent and good looking.’

  251. #253 IslandBrewer
    April 29, 2010

    @Nerd #249

    I certainly don’t consider mwsletten “well meaning.”

  252. #254 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 29, 2010

    Now you’re simply parroting ‘beliefs’ about the Tea Party bandied about the liberal media.

    You’re done. Thanks for playing, the door prizes are on your way out. You’re either an idiot, or a blind man.

  253. #255 somewhereingreece
    April 29, 2010

    @mwsletten:

    You still haven’t addressed my question, but nevermind, I;’ll just pose a new one

    I saw the episode of “The Daily Show” where that tea-party kid was interviewed. According to him, this all started when the banks were bailed out, as he felt that they ought no to be saved by the taxpayers.

    This is a valid opinion, only he had made no proposition as to how *he* would have dealt with the economic crisis.

    But what do we see the Tea Party do now? Aside from protest signs depicting Obama as Hitler and insisting he wants to turn USA into a communist country (something everyone in Europe finds very droll, I assure you), demand less involvement of the government in day-to-day affairs.

    Such as, not keeping banks on a tight leash so that they cannot sell toxic mortgages to pension funds and simultaneously bet against them being ever paid.

    All while Warren Buffet, a capitalism success story extrodinaire, demands greater oversight by the government.

    And it has only been two years since the deaths due to contaminated heparin manufactured in China for Baxter, which only served to highlight how lack of resources for the FDA can severely limit its ability to inspect, with fatal results.

    So far, everything the Tea Party stands for are things it would be counter-intuitive to support, especially since if the checks and balances it abhors were in place, the global economy wouldn’t have taken such a hit, nor would there be victims of contaminated heparin missed by their loved ones.

    And all this has been documented and discussed in length since the Tea Party’s birth, which also is another reason many people, like many in this blog, are fed up with being nice, as courtesy does not seem to leave a dent.

    The only reason to be so fanatically against a government that has so far done nothing outside its constitutional boundaries would be if there was a personal grievance. Since I doubt President Obama has been going around TPing people’s homes, another logical conclusion would be the members find him fundamentally objectionable.

    Which brings us to the racism question and why there is such a small percentage of other ethnic groups in the Tea Party movement.

    Sir/Madam, the ball is in your court.

  254. #256 Jadehawk, OM
    April 29, 2010

    What everyone seems to be forgetting (ignoring?) is the Tea Party movement remains largely disorganized

    oh, no. we’re pretty keenly aware that the only thing that really unites the teabaggers is a strong sense of generic pissed-off-ness that seems to have been completely absent (or at least greatly subdued) when a Republican white “average guy” was in office, acting against “Fiscal Responsibility; Constitutionally Limited Government; Free Markets”.

  255. #257 https://me.yahoo.com/a/ESnUGyopp.FmanKoGaa.PrPHk2F0gPM7i5161w--#11515
    April 29, 2010

    Unfortunately my state of WV is still blue with “as frustrated with the government as they are” but at least I’m not in SC.

  256. #258 Gus Snarp
    April 29, 2010

    A friend of mine who supports the tea party also cites those three “objectives”. Frankly, those aren’t objectives, they’re meaningless political pablum that most Americans agree with. The devil is in the details, and those thee points have none. How do you define fiscal responsibility? I expect most Tea Party supporters love Ronald Reagan, who ushered in unheard of deficit spending. How do you define constitutionally limited government? Last I checked, that’s what we have. And free markets? Yup, got those too. But listen to the Tea Party’s big speakers and you get Sarah Palin arguing that government should support religion (hardly constitutionally limited government) and Tom Tancredo arguing for poll tests (which smells like racism to me).

  257. #259 https://me.yahoo.com/a/ESnUGyopp.FmanKoGaa.PrPHk2F0gPM7i5161w--#11515
    April 29, 2010

    ^^^Sorry I meant purple.

  258. #260 CJO
    April 29, 2010

    These are, I believe, the only three objectives one might say with any pretense of authority that the majority of Tea Party activists agree on, none of which, I might add, have anything whatsoever to do with racism or continuing the status quo.

    Bullshit. These are dog-whistles.

    “Fiscal Responsibility”:

    Stop spending on social programs, which are designed to separate good, hardworking white Americans from their hard-earned cash so it can be redistributed to darkies, wetbacks and freeloaders living in cities I’ll never visit and don’t care about.

    Out of control military spending on foreign adventures for the purpose of killing brown people with funny names who worship the wrong god? A-OK!

    “Constitutionally Limited Government”:

    Stop all these “activist judges” and “elitist” legislators from pursuing the anti-American, liberal agenda of the Socialist New World Order and giving rights to queers.

    Ignore the Bill of Rights except for the 2nd amendment, because I might need to shoot a darky comin’ in to rob my home and rape my woman.

    “Free Markets”:

    Corporate Welfare. Keep the real money where it belongs, in the hands of rich, white plutocrats.

    Accusations of racism makes it easy to dismiss and ignore these arguably valid concerns about our government.

    No, appreciating the racism makes it easier to understand why they choose to couch their beliefs in these standard talking points of American conservatism.

  259. #261 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Oh they are racist. They just don’t know it. Which is why I chose “ignorant and uneducated” for my vote.

    Oh, and hi from Texas!

  260. #262 negentropyeater
    April 29, 2010

    mwsletten,

    What everyone seems to be forgetting (ignoring?) is the Tea Party movement remains largely disorganized

    When an elephant is disguised as a teabag you can still tell the elephant.

    A movement with nationwide rallies, a tea party express, prominent speakers (btw all republican politicians or pundits), its own propaganda channel (Fox News) is not exactly what I call disorganised.

    All they are missing is “a strong determined leader who will crush evil and take the country back to its true path” (to reuse Altemeyer’s phrasology)

  261. #263 tutone21
    April 29, 2010

    @ nwsletten @242

    If you’ve concluded I’m defending ANY ‘system’ then you have made some bad assumptions. I defend reason and logic.

    What? You are soap boxing on the tea party platform. How is that not defending a system? They are holding rallies condemning the current administration and working to get Palin in power (or other pro-Palin Republicans). These politicians obviously have an agenda and the implementation of this agenda is a system.

    Further, all you have professed is that the Tea baggers aren’t all racist. Fine, but many have demonstrated how the stigma is being satisfied by what you call a minorty, and you deffered to a “well were all racist” argument. So fucking what? I am not giving you a pass on tea baggers being racist because you have evidence that democrats have racists too. And, from the media coverage and the people that are associated with the tea baggers, I can see no sense of equality being put forth. Well, other than there dislike for non-whites and homosexuals is equal. This is obviosly not true for the current empowered Democrats since they “socializing our society and need to be stopped.”

  262. #264 MAJeff, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Bullshit. These are dog-whistles.

    This is the thing, though. There’s a refusal among lots of folks to acknowledge the work of Atwater, Phillips and the others in developing both the Southern Strategy and the use of some of the coded language you note, along with a lot of other coded language–surrounding “quota” and “welfare queens” and “reverse racism”–dealing with race.

    It’s not just the use of that coded language, though. It’s also the hyper-conservative views of the teabaggers, the institutional connections of the folks funding and organizing, the speakers, fox news as a non-stop teabagger PR campaign, the role of race in conservative politics. It’s statements by leaders and people at rallies…What it boils down to is the fact that racism is not evenly distributed in the population, particularly with regard to political ideology.

  263. #265 tutone21
    April 29, 2010

    I saw the episode of “The Daily Show” where that tea-party kid was interviewed. According to him, this all started when the banks were bailed out, as he felt that they ought no to be saved by the taxpayers.

    Did The kid get asked how the banks got there in the first place? Did he know that it could have been prevented by stronger federal oversite? Did he know that GW Bush Jr. (who has a track record of running companies into the ground) could have done something about it if he would have worried about something other than getting oil from Iraq?

  264. #266 somewhereingreece
    April 29, 2010

    @tutone21: I don’t know, I didn’t see the unedited version, Jon Stewart mauled him and he had no argument to stand on.

    Generally, I avoid the extended versions, as they get painful after a point. Ken Blackwell for instance in yesterday’s episode was a total trainwreck in the full episode version. I made the mistake of going for the unedited interview and after a bit I was hoping some kind soul would take him off the stage before he embarrassed himself more.

  265. #267 CJO
    April 29, 2010

    MAJeff,

    you’re quite right. It certainly isn’t only by the coded language that we know what the real agenda is. But I was reacting to the idea that since their platform as explicitly articulated only consists of these well-worn, relatively unobjectionable conservative talking points, we must concede that the Tea Party isn’t racist in orientation because they don’t say so overtly.

    It’s just like the forced birthers. Since all they claim to care about is the poor innocent babies, we should just ignore their patriarchal and authoritarian objectives.

  266. #268 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 29, 2010

    Did The kid get asked how the banks got there in the first place?

    I don’t know, but the standard answer for that question is “because the government forced the banks to give loans to poor people”.

  267. #269 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 29, 2010

    Did The kid get asked how the banks got there in the first place? Did he know that it could have been prevented by stronger federal oversite? Did he know that GW Bush Jr. (who has a track record of running companies into the ground) could have done something about it if he would have worried about something other than getting oil from Iraq?

    He’s a paulite, of course he doesn’t know those things. It’s all the gubmint’s fault anyway.

  268. #270 SlantedScience
    April 29, 2010

    SomewhereinGreece, #197, said: “Note: I am a huge fan of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” so I am relatively up to date with USA politics”.

    Are you serious? Really? No jokes, now.

    You believe that watching a comedy show from someone with a freely-admitted political bias constitutes being “up to date with politics”?

    So tell me, what would you say to a commenter who said: “I live in Greece, but am a huge fan of the Glenn Beck Show, so I am relatively up to date with USA politics’?

    Pretty fucking hilarious, SomewhereinGreece.

  269. #271 otrame
    April 29, 2010

    You believe that watching a comedy show from someone with a freely-admitted political bias constitutes being “up to date with politics”?

    Actually watching those two shows gives you an excellent over view of what is going on in American politics. Stewart’s real bias is toward mocking stupidity in all it’s forms, whatever the underlying ideology, right or left.

    I was thinking the other day that Colbert must hate Beck. His schtick was so much easier to do, once upon a time. How the hell do you do conservative reductio ad absurdum with Beck for competition?

  270. #272 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2010

    So tell me, what would you say to a commenter who said: “I live in Greece, but am a huge fan of the Glenn Beck Show, so I am relatively up to date with USA politics’?

    Funny you think they’re an equal grounds with their reporting.

  271. #273 SlantedScience
    April 29, 2010

    otrame: “Actually watching those two shows gives you an excellent over view of what is going on in American politics. Stewart’s real bias is toward mocking stupidity in all it’s forms, whatever the underlying ideology, right or left.”

    1) “Actually watching those two shows gives you an excellent over view of what is going on in American politics.” No, it absolutely doesn’t. It tells you what the extreme right (Beck) and the moderately left (Stewart) want you to hear about the (previous, in Stewart’s case) day’s happenings in publically-aired politics. It does not give you a fair, nor a balanced, view of what law- and policy-makers are up to. For that, you need to revert to the classic, journalism-led sources.

    2) “Stewart’s real bias is toward mocking stupidity in all it’s forms, whatever the underlying ideology, right or left.” Bullshit, pure and simple. I am not knocking him for doing this – his show is on a comedy channel after all – but I think it’s ludicrous to begin arguing that he mocks the entire political spectrum equally. He is, by confession, SLANTED to the left. By definition, then, he is set to rip into right-leaning politicians and policies.

  272. #274 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 29, 2010

    Yawn, SS still showing us why he is an idjit. More than a small number of people have said that they get their news from the comedy channel compared to the MSM, since there is a lot less bias, particularly compared with faux news, other than for the laughs.

  273. #275 SlantedScience
    April 29, 2010

    Rev. BigDumbChimp: “Funny you think they’re [Beck and Stewart] an equal grounds with their reporting.”

    Glenn Beck is an absolute, sparkly-headed lunatic.

    But then again, John Stewart – as he has pointedly made clear to several interviewers who have dared to suggest that he is a political force – is making a COMEDY show. It’s on the COMEDY Channel (as he has exasperatedly pointed out).

    Therefore, if tomorrow’s show claimed that John McCain had been photographed wearing Marlene Dietrich’s suspenders while singing the Horst Wessel, we should be prepared to suspend disbelief and realize that it was a joke. While, perhasps, subliminally taking on board the suggestion that John McCain is a Nazi.

    Same coin; two sides.

  274. #276 Mr T
    April 29, 2010

    The claim: Reality has a liberal bias.

    A further claim: Funny things are funny.

    Discuss.

  275. #277 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Yeah, but even knowing the polarized propaganda laden “news” that people in the US are exposed to is pretty good for some one who is not in the US nor directly involved in it.

    I really don’t know anything much about Greek politics. A few things that I see perhaps on BBC and that is it.

    I could not tell you at all what Greek news media is like, and I don’t know the language. So yeah, I would think it would actually be an example of some one being pretty aware of the ideas going on in US politics.

  276. #278 Ing
    April 29, 2010

    I knew that if I just sat back someone would say most everything I thought…but one key point I think was missed

    “The tea part is not organized”

    Ok…so wait. You’re part of a ‘movement’ that is disorganized and has no agreement on much of anything other than talking points that are so vague as to be meaningless (or omnimeaningfull as you could define ‘fiscal responsibility’ into just about anything save flushing money down the john). So it has no real answers, no stances and any POV it’s adherents state that is objectionable is not what the Tea-party is about. And…you feel the need to defend something that is an amorphous undirected and inconsistency movement? Well, fuck, I can see why people feel so strongly to something that apparently doesn’t’ mean anything.

    Teaparty: aspiring to be as coherent as Anonymous.

  277. #279 Ing
    April 29, 2010

    “But then again, John Stewart – as he has pointedly made clear to several interviewers who have dared to suggest that he is a political force – is making a COMEDY show. It’s on the COMEDY Channel (as he has exasperatedly pointed out).

    Therefore, if tomorrow’s show claimed that John McCain had been photographed wearing Marlene Dietrich’s suspenders while singing the Horst Wessel, we should be prepared to suspend disbelief and realize that it was a joke. While, perhasps, subliminally taking on board the suggestion that John McCain is a Nazi.

    Same coin; two sides.”

    I don’t see Stewart writing a 200 year plan to get America back on track or issuing orders to people…

    Shorter answer: You’re an idiot.

  278. #280 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2010

    But then again, John Stewart – as he has pointedly made clear to several interviewers who have dared to suggest that he is a political force – is making a COMEDY show. It’s on the COMEDY Channel (as he has exasperatedly pointed out).

    Of course its a comedy show but I put it to you to show me one bit of “reporting” he’s done (and I’m not talking about the the skits) that was wrong that he didn’t subsequently correct.

    Now let’s try that with Beck.

    Jon Stewart, though being a comedian, is pretty damn spot on with what he reports.

    Does he report on all aspects of American news? Not by a long shot, but on what he does, he does well.

    Much better than nearly any other real “news” channel.

    Therefore, if tomorrow’s show claimed that John McCain had been photographed wearing Marlene Dietrich’s suspenders while singing the Horst Wessel, we should be prepared to suspend disbelief and realize that it was a joke. While, perhasps, subliminally taking on board the suggestion that John McCain is a Nazi.

    Yes and that’s such a great example…

  279. #281 SlantedScience
    April 29, 2010

    Ol’Greg, #277: you have a beautiful, idealized view of the rest of the world’s media. Sadly, the US is not alone in having “mainstream media”, and “Government sources”.

    You haven’t lived anywhere else, which is fine. But I’d like to let you know that conversations such as these are universal, and not confined to the US.

  280. #282 Dae
    April 29, 2010

    Damnit, South Carolina…

    The weather is *so* nice, but there’s more fundie churches here than Dunkin’ Donuts in Massachusetts. LEMME OUTTA HERE.

  281. #283 SlantedScience
    April 29, 2010

    Rev. BigDumbChimp, #80: “Jon Stewart, though being a comedian, is pretty damn spot on with what he reports.

    Does he report on all aspects of American news? Not by a long shot, but on what he does, he does well.”

    He isn’t REPORTING. He is COMMENTING, in a humor-heavy way, with his OPINION of the news.

    Plus, he is only “pretty damn spot on with what he reports” in your OPINION.

    Read his interviews: he goes out of his way, once anyone brings up the question of his being a political force, to state that he is a comedian, not a political commentator.

  282. #284 SlantedScience
    April 29, 2010

    Plus: John Stewart very often refers to his Jewish roots on The Daily Show.

    That nod to religion should, alone, mean that his opinion is worthless in the eyes of the Pharyngulate masses.

  283. #285 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    Not really SS. I mean, I don’t think I idealize Greek politics. I just don’t know what is going on.

    If I knew enough to understand the language and recognized the media there, especially any of it’s motives I might say something like that, like “and I watch Greek political satire and get the jokes so I do know a bit about the political environment,” and I’m pretty sure that’s all the comment meant.

  284. #286 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    its motives, dammit, can I just apologize once and be forever absolved of the its it’s problem?

  285. #287 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2010

    He isn’t REPORTING. He is COMMENTING, in a humor-heavy way, with his OPINION of the news.

    You’re correct. My bad. He is commenting most of the time.

    Plus, he is only “pretty damn spot on with what he reports” in your OPINION.

    Yes it is. And if you’d like to provide examples where I’m wrong, please do.

    Read his interviews: he goes out of his way, once anyone brings up the question of his being a political force, to state that he is a comedian, not a political commentator.

    Which has zero bearing on my OPINION (all caps sure does make everything so much more right doesn’t it?) that he’s spot on with his comments.

    But maybe you’re correct. Comedy never crosses the line into accurate political commentary and comedians can never be spot on in that commentary if they’re trying to be funny.

    Now excuse me while I go dredge up some Lenny Bruce, Lewis Black and George Carlin and listen to how funny they are when they aren’t commenting politically.

  286. #288 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2010

    That nod to religion should, alone, mean that his opinion is worthless in the eyes of the Pharyngulate masses.

    Just Like Barry Lynn.

  287. #289 Kagehi
    April 29, 2010

    I’ll take white racists for ten!

    Hmm. Problem with this is that there are really “two” parties. There is the Tea Party Express party, which is white, racist, revisionist, idiots. Then there is the other group, which kind of hates both political parties, and has a strong libertard streak. They don’t hate Obama because he is black, they hate him because so far things are actually getting better, and may actually work, and government actually seems to have the capacity to do something. This concept runs 180 degrees opposite of their world view of how things *should* work. lol

  288. #290 Kagehi
    April 29, 2010

    Oh. BTW, the second option “may” be true among the Libertarian group, but not among the racist Express group. Those people tend, according to a poll done a bit back, to be like 80% college educated, making over $50,000 a year, and.. well, also nearly all white males, over 50. (If I remember right.)

    Basically, elitist, right wing, racists, who own, or work for, large businesses, which the government regulates. ;) lol

  289. #291 SlantedScience
    April 29, 2010

    Rev.BigBumbChimp. #287: “But maybe you’re correct. Comedy never crosses the line into accurate political commentary and comedians can never be spot on in that commentary if they’re trying to be funny.

    Now excuse me while I go dredge up some Lenny Bruce, Lewis Black and George Carlin and listen to how funny they are when they aren’t commenting politically.”

    Initial point: I love these guys. Now onto the real comment:

    Of course comedy can be a prism for, and a mocking of, politics. My point, quite clearly, was that every time an interviewer starts talking to John Stewart about his political leanings, he retreats immediately behind a shell of (made-up quote) ” Oh no, I am merely a comedian. Look: my show is on the Comedy Channel, how could you ever conflate my comedic output with actual politicization of the news?”.

    Just own up, dude: you are pushing a political opinion through comedy.

  290. #292 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2010

    Of course comedy can be a prism for, and a mocking of, politics. My point, quite clearly, was that every time an interviewer starts talking to John Stewart about his political leanings, he retreats immediately behind a shell of (made-up quote) ” Oh no, I am merely a comedian. Look: my show is on the Comedy Channel, how could you ever conflate my comedic output with actual politicization of the news?”.

    Yet that doesn’t change the political comments he’s already made. What exactly were you trying to prove with that above paragraph because I don’t see how that helps your point?

    Just own up, dude: you are pushing a political opinion through comedy.

    Of course it’s opinion, but opinion doesn’t automatically relegate it to the realm of not worth considering for its accuracy. And so what if it’s being pushed through comedy? The point I made at the begining of this exchange is that he’s pretty much spot on with his commentary, jokes or not. I also invited you to provide instanced where I was wrong.

    What exactly is your point again?

    Jon Stewart is a comedian and admits it and on top of that admittedly occasionally hides behind it: therefor his comments can’t be considered as anything but comedy?

    Really?

  291. #293 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    April 29, 2010

    Plus: John Stewart very often refers to his Jewish roots on The Daily Show.

    Jon refers mostly to the cultural and heritage aspects than the religious part. He even frequently jokes about knowing little of the religious traditions and not practicing Jewish traditons (e.g, jokes about eating pork and bacon during Jewish holidays).
    I’m not sure what his religion is, but he seems to be quite secular.

    That nod to religion should, alone, mean that his opinion is worthless in the eyes of the Pharyngulate masses

    Strawman.

    Just own up, dude: you are pushing a political opinion through comedy.

    And yet it’s better than 95% of political commentary out there. Yes, it’s a bit sad that we have to look at a comedian for political commentary, but that’s says more about how fucked up the corporate media is.

  292. #294 murtagh
    April 29, 2010

    Wha…? The map claims 94% of South Carolinians think TPers are true American patriots.

    The Micropoll breakdown for South Carolina claims 44% think they’re white racists, 46% ignoramuses, 9% patriots, 1% frustrated, 0% thought of joining.

    Is this some kind of special evangelical math?

  293. #295 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2010

    Speaking of, I’ve got to drive to Atlanta at 5:30 AM tomorrow and Jon Stewart is on the tube pushing political opinion through comedy, so I’m going to crawl in the sack with my wife and my 110 lbs. dog who thinks he owns the place and sign off.

    If I get a chance to check back tomorrow I’ll comment. But I’ll be on the road scouting a new warehouse for my company most of the day then off to a Baseball game so It might be Saturday before I can respond.

  294. #296 murtagh
    April 29, 2010

    Oh, never mind… that’s the national breakdown.

    Okay, running the Linux script to try to save my state from ignominy.

  295. #297 SlantedScience
    April 29, 2010

    Rev. BigDumbChimp, #292: “Of course it’s opinion, but opinion doesn’t automatically relegate it to the realm of not worth considering for its accuracy. And so what if it’s being pushed through comedy? The point I made at the begining of this exchange is that he’s pretty much spot on with his commentary, jokes or not.”

    Comedy is, of course, a legitimate (and, often within the world, the only) chance for the proletariat to discuss politics.

    My point, and I think it’s been clear, is that as soon as John Stewart is confronted with serious political questions in interviews, he jumps behind the screen of, “Oh, come on, I’m just a comedian. If people are forming political opinions based on my output, then that is a sad state of affairs.”

    John Stewart is – from a truly independent point of view – a political comedian who pretends that the first of those words doesn’t exist.

  296. #298 Ol'Greg
    April 29, 2010

    SlantedScience? Can I ask you about your nym? What do you mean by slanted? I was trying to understand because it seems like some kind of statement but I don’t quite pick up on it.

  297. #299 somewhereingreece
    April 30, 2010

    Ol’Greg said:

    …”and I watch Greek political satire and get the jokes so I do know a bit about the political environment, and I’m pretty sure that’s all the comment meant.” …

    Yes, this is part of this, as I also keep up to date with USA politics so that I understand the jokes in “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert report” better. And this is why my father asked me about the Tea Party.

    But I would like to defend comedy. It started off as racy songs during Dionysian festivals, but, as the art of theatre progressed, so did comedy. And there can be politics through comedy. Have you ever heard of Aristophanes? Do you know what he has written about? Can you or can you not derive educated guesses about what were the important political issues of the time and what were the opinions circulating?

    Being from the birthplace of comedy, I was able to fully appreciate the smackdown delivered on Bernie Goldberg on April 20th. Note that Bernie Coldberg had admitted at first that Jon Stewart was right to call him on his hypocrisy.

    Also, SlantedScience, I remember you had been an embarrassment to chordates on this thread. I therefore with amicable feelings link to this classic video of Samantha Bee (a Daily Show correspondent) owning McCain for using airquottes when talking about women’s health. Just because she is a comedian, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a point. Or ten.

    In closing, I would like to express my dissappointment that the questions I had posed in both #232 and #255. And so far apologists for the Tea Party’s arguments have more to do with the “Leave Britney alone!” kid than actual defence against the accusations of racism within its ranks. As it is, I consider the matter settled that there *is* no good defence.

  298. #300 somewhereingreece
    April 30, 2010

    I apologise for the blockquote fail.

    Also the first sentence of th last paragraph should be read as “In closing, I would like to express my disappointment that the questions I had posed in both #232 and #255 were not addressed”. Seems I had accidentally deleted the end of the sentence

  299. #301 https://me.yahoo.com/a/x1CsKko.p.keyee5Rk.DLZd7ts9OdS.ilqZgGw--#2a28e
    April 30, 2010

    It was hard to decide between “racist” and “ignorant”. I chose “racist”.
    Perry Stone is a particularly obnoxious fat, ignorant red-necked televangelist. He gets regular revelations from god. One of his biggest claims was that god told him in 1998 that the governor of Texas was going to be the next president. Didn’t Bush start running about this time?
    He also once stated that the word “British” comes from the Hebrew “berit” and “ish”, in effect, saying that the Brits were the ten lost tribes who were never lost in the first place.

  300. #302 murtagh
    April 30, 2010

    My loyal bots are randomly split, and I am looking forward to seeing which wins in SC.

  301. #303 murtagh
    April 30, 2010

    And the winner is… “Believe they are ignorant/uneducated people” pulling ahead of “Believe they are true American patriots” at the 35% mark. SC ripened from green to orange at 3:54 am, just past the 98,500 vote mark, almost all of them having voted within the last three hours. Third place goes to “Believe they are white racists” at 28%, also mostly all cast within the last three hours. Voting will continue throughout the night.

  302. #304 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 30, 2010

    Are you serious? Really? No jokes, now.

    You believe that watching a comedy show from someone with a freely-admitted political bias constitutes being “up to date with politics”?

    So tell me, what would you say to a commenter who said: “I live in Greece, but am a huge fan of the Glenn Beck Show, so I am relatively up to date with USA politics’?

    Pretty fucking hilarious, SomewhereinGreece.

    The difference is that while Glenn Beck is demonstrably a charlatan, Jon Stewart is the second or third best reporter in the US, behind Colbert and possibly Rachel Maddow.

    Biased? Yep. But that’s a condition you can find damn near everywhere. And what few reporters there might be that you can claim are unbiased are generally debasing themselves with stupid shit like Twitter and internet comments.

    You have to keep in mind that Stewart’s left wing bias is probably closer to the center to a European then it is to a Merikan.

  303. #305 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 30, 2010

    My point, and I think it’s been clear,

    Nope, never clear until about the third try, and then still wrong. Some people use the comedy channel shows for the news. They think they get less biased stuff than say Faux News. And they get to laugh. Your opinion is irrelevant to them. Get it?

  304. #306 Thunderbird 5
    April 30, 2010

    My grandmother is in her 90s and has lived all her life (except for WW2 when she was in the WRNS) – in Cornwall here at the toe-end of the UK.

    She gets her info from the regional rag (The Western Morning News) and the BBC local radio and national 6pm news. She’s a lifelong Liberal/Lib Dem voter. After confirming that she was aware of them, I asked her her views on “this Teapot lot” (her description) re the ignorance/racist thing.

    Gran says they’re like an alliance of the 30′s anti-New Dealer types and the 60′s anti-civil rights lot over again. A few who want to not only keep raking the cash in any way they can but also feel the need to preach the absolute patriotic righteousness of doing so, and now allied with a goodly number of shit-thick, dirt-poor bigots, all with their fury revved up because an intelligent, conscientious black man is in the White House (racist) and trying to do right by as many as possible (ignorant).

    She says it looks to her like they are “the mad anti-Clinton people from 15 years back” now given an unmissable opportunity to really show what they fear and hate (although she doesn’t know about Rush and them, nor of the talk radio effect behind that and the internets pundits stuff behind this).

    Gran loved Tim Minchin’s Pope ditty btw. She says she’s heard plenty worse as it sounds very like those not-for-public songs that are made up by disgruntled members of HM Forces.

    I love my grandmother very very much.

  305. #307 mwsletten
    April 30, 2010

    tutone21 said:

    What? You are soap boxing on the tea party platform.

    You’re wrong. I’ve argued that using politically-motivated acusations of racism to discredit a political movement is indefensible using evidence-based arguments, and that using such transparently politically-motivated debating tactics makes it less likely someone will even listen to — much less consider — other, better, more logical arguments.

    Further, it detracts from substantive debate topics. I realize such a desire is distant fantasy in today’s political landscape, but I would rather defeat a political position on its merits than by assasinating the character of its proponents. But, that’s politics in America today. In the age of the soundbite, expediency has replaced thoughtful, logical debate.

    Is it any wonder our bi-partisan politicians can’t work and play together anymore?

    somewhereingreece@255, I didn’t address your first question because I don’t defend Tea Partiers for anything, much less their obviously contradictory policy positions. But thank you for posting it; pounding them for their lack of logic rather than using politically-motivated character attacks that can’t be supported is what I’ve been promoting all along.

    As to your second question… what exactly was it again? You’ve made several arguments FOR more government control of markets. Many prominent economists make just as compelling arguments AGAINST more government control of markets. Everyone hears what they want to hear, and the wheels on the bus go round and round.

    CJO@260, nicely done, but immaterial. Conservative ideologues, using a right-wing ideological framework, characterize democratic policy goals as racist all the time. Such thinly-veiled name calling does nothing to bring people together. Try harder.

    Jadehawk@256, the grease hardened around the but-Bush-started-it argument pretty long ago, don’t you thing? You may fairly question Tea Partiers’ motives and sincerity when making such points, but it doesn’t change the fact that our nation is some $13 trillion in the hole and the current administration has made no substantive effort to do either of the two primary things it has control of to fix the problem — cut government spending or raise taxes.

    negentropyeater@247 — you Godwinned me! While my mother DID immigrate to the US from post-WWII Germany (her father was killed defending the Reich on the Eastern Front), given the fact she was only a child I don’t believe she had any actual ties with the Nazis. All I can say is read the last sentence of my quote included in your post and try again.

    Thunderbird@306, sounds like your Gran would fit right in over at MSNBC. Maybe they’ll give her a slot between Maddow and Olbermann…

  306. #308 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 30, 2010

    You’re wrong. I’ve argued that using politically-motivated acusations of racism to discredit a political movement is indefensible using evidence-based arguments, and that using such transparently politically-motivated debating tactics makes it less likely someone will even listen to — much less consider — other, better, more logical arguments.

    Are you an idiot? We’ve been addressing their substantive arguments AND their racism. We can do both. We SHOULD do both. You must be a white man, if you think we can afford to not attack their racism.

    As to your second question… what exactly was it again? You’ve made several arguments FOR more government control of markets. Many prominent economists make just as compelling arguments AGAINST more government control of markets. Everyone hears what they want to hear, and the wheels on the bus go round and round.

    Oh you are an idiot.

    Here, let me remind you of what happens when government does not regulate the market.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilded_Age
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Depression
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late-2000s_recession

    Thunderbird@306, sounds like your Gran would fit right in over at MSNBC. Maybe they’ll give her a slot between Maddow and Olbermann…

    You realize that MSNBC is not actually left wing, right? It’s center, with a bit of left. Do you like, not pay attention to the media? (Olbermann and Maddow *Are* left, though, granted).

    Of course, you’re a fucking idiot if you think the media actually has a left wing bias. Probably a right winger, but a fucking idiot even if you’re left.

  307. #309 Anri
    April 30, 2010

    Plus: John Stewart very often refers to his Jewish roots on The Daily Show.

    That nod to religion should, alone, mean that his opinion is worthless in the eyes of the Pharyngulate masses.

    …wait, what?
    Please indicate, with direct quotes preferably, where it is widely thought here that being jewish equated to being wrong about politics.

    I’ll wait, I’m patient.

    Also, in RE comedy’s political savvy:
    I’m certain we can all agree that Mark Twain didn’t really get much right, because he was a comedian.
    Right?

  308. #310 tutone21
    April 30, 2010

    @ mwsletten #307

    You are soapboxing, and defending the character of the organization as a whole. The character of the Tea Party’s members is fair game since these are the people that are being propped up as speakers for the movement.

    …Couple this with the inconsistencies pointed out in #232, and a lack of leadership, I would say that teabaggers have a lot of work to do before their issues can be considered…

    I am also attacking the inconsistent behavior and lack of organization.

  309. #311 Ol'Greg
    April 30, 2010

    One thing and it’s probably been said, but doesn’t Stewart talk about being ethnically Jewish? I don’t watch television actually, but I have trouble seeing him talk about religion much.

    I know Colbert is Catholic, but I’m pretty sure Stewart is a secular Jew. I know several people who call themselves atheists but also identify as Jewish because of their ethnic heritage. Maybe Stewart is religious, but has he ever actually talked about his religion or does he simply mention being Jewish?Because those are not the same.

  310. #312 KOPD
    April 30, 2010

    has he ever actually talked about his religion

    As I recall, the only time that comes up is when it’s pointed out that he’s a bad example (ie, not observing holidays or not being fully aware of the customs, breaking the rules, etc). It is more often cultural references that are made than religious ones, like his generic “Jewish mother” impersonation he pulls out once in a while.

  311. #313 SteveM
    April 30, 2010

    Stewart does talk joke about being Jewish quite often, but usually in expressing ignorance or confusion about his jewish traditions. “What we’re NOT supposed to celebrate Passover with bacon sandwiches?”, or some such.

  312. #314 tutone21
    April 30, 2010

    And for fuck sake SS it’s Jon! Not John. As in Jonathan…not the baptist.

  313. #315 mwsletten
    April 30, 2010

    Rutee, I see you’ve taken to heart my theme of discouraging personal attacks based on ideology to promote intelligent debate.

    Regarding accusations of racism, they are only effective outside your own ideological viewpoint if they can be substantiated. So far, the only evidence offered has been hysterical media reports based on cherry-picked surveys.

    You must be a white man, if you think we can afford to not attack their racism.

    Is that because you believe only a white man is capable of thinking critically about arguments involving race? See how it easy it is to make stupid, baseless and really fucking offensive racist assumptions?

    Race baiting is a debate tactic, not a reasoned argument. Try it on someone else please.

    If I had the time I’d counter you’re links vis-a-vis your support of government regulation with links of my own, but I strongly suspect you are well aware of the opposing arguments.

    BTW, I’ve not argued that I support NO government regulation. For the record, I believe government regulation is absolutely required. Someone mechanism must exist to ensure people abide by the contracts they enter into and that no business or industry has an unfair advantage over another. Government action and regulation in America hasn’t been limited to those goals for quite some time. The idea that one business or industry shouldn’t be advantaged is completely at odds with our system of lobbyists who are paid GOBS of money to ensure exactly the opposite.

    In fact, fair competition has not seemed to play prominently in much of our government’s recent activities. GM’s and Chrysler’s bailouts, the bailout of some banks deemed too-big-to-fail but not others, the health care reform bill and the financial industry reform proposal President Obama is currently stumping all come to mind.

    BTW, I haven’t seen enough of your posts to tell if your comment about MSNBC (that it is not left-wing) was comedy or not.

    If it was — FUNNY!

    If not — *SIGH* I really don’t know how to respond politely, so I’ll refrain.

    Of course, you’re a fucking idiot if you think the media actually has a left wing bias. Probably a right winger, but a fucking idiot even if you’re left.

    Don’t look now, but you’re ideological blindness is showing, as is your inability to make a point without an attempt at insult. Why must I be either left wing or right wing. Are there no other options? (BTW, you forgot the expletive ‘fucking’ in your first and second paragraph, as in ‘fucking idiot.’ Also, you completely forgot ALL personal insults in your third and fourth. If you’re gonna use ‘em you should try to be more consistent with your ineffective fucking insults).

  314. #316 MAJeff, OM
    April 30, 2010

    BTW, I haven’t seen enough of your posts to tell if your comment about MSNBC (that it is not left-wing) was comedy or not

    Apparently Joe Scarborough doesn’t exist, or isn’t right wing enough.

  315. #317 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    “Plus: John Stewart very often refers to his Jewish roots on The Daily Show.

    That nod to religion should, alone, mean that his opinion is worthless in the eyes of the Pharyngulate masses.”

    From my POV Jon is Jewish in the same way Lewis Black is Jewish.

  316. #318 aratina cage
    April 30, 2010

    Apparently Joe Scarborough doesn’t exist, or isn’t right wing enough.
    -MAJeff

    Add Uncle Pat to that list for the “Fox is being discriminated against!” guy. *eye roll*

  317. #319 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    Acutally on the subject of the Tea Party being racist I’m going to descent here. There technically isn’t anything racist in their foundations (what little they have) but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an endemic racism in them.

    I think it’s like the Silver Fox Experiment. Just as, apparently, the traits for dog like fur paterns are correlated with traits for human friendly behavior, the philosophies of the tea party are correlated with views shared by racists. Selecting for one, causes you to inadvertently select for the other. The problem with the tea-party is their ballless assertion that (there’s no REAL movement, no leadership, it’s all just the people maaaaaaaaaaan) which they’re using to dodge the negative associations that have clung on to the tea party. Basically they’re selecting for the tea-party traits, getting racism as a rider and NOT selecting against racism. The fact that you’re getting anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists and nuts in big important positions at tea party conventions shows that they’re either grossly ignorant of what racism is, or don’t care.

  318. #320 MAJeff, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Add Uncle Pat to that list for the “Fox is being discriminated against!” guy. *eye roll*

    Ah, Cracker Pat. What other misogynist heterosexist white supremacist is able to command such air time?

  319. #321 mwsletten
    April 30, 2010

    tutone21 said:

    You are soapboxing, and defending the character of the organization as a whole.

    Isn’t everybody here soapboxing? I thought this was a forum for sharing ideas and opinions….

    Anywho — other than restating my previous specific and unequivocal denials, I don’t know what else I can say about your continued insistence regarding my ‘defense’ of the Tea Party organization (again, what fucking organization????) other than it is simply wrong.

    While I have stated a belief that some of the concerns I’ve heard expressed by various speakers at Tea Party rallies have merit, I don’t believe this makes me a Tea Party supporter.

    If it does, then I suspect there are vastly more Tea Party supporters than detractors in this country.

    For example, you and I might differ on the best ways to deal with the issue, but I can’t believe you don’t have any concerns regarding the size of the debt our government currenly carries. If you do, then using your measure, you too must ‘support’ the Tea Party.

    Then again, I could be wrong…

  320. #322 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    Ok, people…save for a few stations that explicitly state they have a political bias. News media in general is not conservative of liberal…it’s commercial. Individual pundits ARE biased, but the main bias for the establishments as a whole is financial.

  321. #323 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 30, 2010

    If it does, then I suspect there are vastly more Tea Party supporters than detractors in this country.

    Evidently you don’t get out much. They are reviled by many, many people as noisy idjits, with much smoke, noise, and mirrors, but little substance.

  322. #324 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    “Anywho — other than restating my previous specific and unequivocal denials, I don’t know what else I can say about your continued insistence regarding my ‘defense’ of the Tea Party organization (again, what fucking organization????) other than it is simply wrong. ”

    I hate this bullshit so much. Tea party want to be respected but they insist they’re not an organization…despite having conventions, rallies, speakers, spokesmen. It’s ball-less

    “For example, you and I might differ on the best ways to deal with the issue, but I can’t believe you don’t have any concerns regarding the size of the debt our government currenly carries. If you do, then using your measure, you too must ‘support’ the Tea Party.

    Then again, I could be wrong…”

    Oh is THIS what the tea party people are on about? because what I saw at the rally by my place was pictures of Obama with a Hitler statche and comparisons to the health care reform to the holocaust. Yeah…pull the other one.

    besides that point, a bunch of people who honestly think cutting taxes and spending fix all the problems are ignorant.

  323. #325 mwsletten
    April 30, 2010

    Ing@319, like there aren’t kooks (racist and otherwise) who identify with liberal democrats? This difference is the democratic party has an organization with a national voice which can issue statements on behalf of all democrats.

    Tea Partiers do not enjoy that benefit yet…

    MAJeff@316, Fox News has its obligatory leftist commentors too (Alan Colmes anyone?); does that make Fox a centrist news organization?

  324. #326 mwsletten
    April 30, 2010

    BTW, I didn’t see this story on CNN, MSNBC or any other major media outlet.

    Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmm…

  325. #327 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    “Ing@319, like there aren’t kooks (racist and otherwise) who identify with liberal democrats? This difference is the democratic party has an organization with a national voice which can issue statements on behalf of all democrats.

    Tea Partiers do not enjoy that benefit yet…”

    Nice try. The tea party here is organized has leaders who got themselves published in the paper and have meetings to set agendas. And it is not the kooks, this was THE ENTIRE RALLY. Again this is bullshit.

    Let me take an example that is just like this. Muslims say there is nothing wrong with Islam and demand to be shown 1 person who was hurt by Islam…and insist you can’t take the actions of Muslims into account since they don’t necessarily represent the true belief.

    I don’t give a flying FUCK what the supposed ‘ideal’ is. I care about what they DO.

  326. #328 mwsletten
    April 30, 2010

    Nerd@323, go back and read the comment again. What I said was if one is deemed a supporter of the Tea Party solely on the basis of agreement with an idea expressed by a speaker at a tea party rally, then there are vastly more tea party supporters than not.

    Hint: From what I’ve read, there are a great many (sometimes differing and conflicting) ideas expressed at tea party rallies. I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of Americans find agreement with at least ONE of these ideas…

  327. #329 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    mwsletten: The tea party has no clear ideas, it’s contradictory to itself and is amorphous and has no leadership…but I fully defend it even though it means virtually nothing.

  328. #330 mwsletten
    April 30, 2010

    Ing@327, if you can’t see an inherent difference between a national political organization which enjoys leadership, spokespersons and direct contact with all major media outlets and a rag-tag group of disorganized local groups then no amount of explanation on my part will help.

  329. #331 CJO
    April 30, 2010

    again, what fucking organization????

    For starters, there’s David Koch (of Koch Industries, the largest private US corporation) and his Koch Family Foundation, which started and along with organizations like Philip Morris and the Cato Institute is the primary source of funding for the phony “astroturf” campaign instigator FreedomWorks, with which Dick Armey is heavily involved.

    There’s massive money and influence behind the bullshit machine. Don’t pretend there’s not.

  330. #332 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 30, 2010

    Rutee, I see you’ve taken to heart my theme of discouraging personal attacks based on ideology to promote intelligent debate.

    I care. Really. Let me play the smallest violin to show you.

    Regarding accusations of racism, they are only effective outside your own ideological viewpoint if they can be substantiated. So far, the only evidence offered has been hysterical media reports based on cherry-picked surveys.

    What nonsense is this? I LOOKED AT THE STUDY YOU CITED. It is not friendly for your point.

    Is that because you believe only a white man is capable of thinking critically about arguments involving race? See how it easy it is to make stupid, baseless and really fucking offensive racist assumptions?

    It is not offensive or racist to say “White people have privilege, and are often ignorant of it.” It’s sort of the definition of privilege. Get over it.

    BTW, I haven’t seen enough of your posts to tell if your comment about MSNBC (that it is not left-wing) was comedy or not.

    If it was — FUNNY!

    If not — *SIGH* I really don’t know how to respond politely, so I’ll refrain.

    That’s not polite. Fucking tone trolls. Just because you don’t curse doesn’t mean you’ve avoided skirting courtesy. Claiming a serious position is comedy avoids it. Moron.

    It’s center left, for now, because it’s making them money and isn’t threatening the owners of MSNBC’s profit margins in their original businesses. The second we see the left become a true political threat and economic liability (It’s really not, right now. We have centrist/Slightly right Democrats), you’ll see Olbermann and Maddow unemployed so fast that it’ll actually be funny; if you’re sick.

    Morning Joe is a Starbuck’s Shill for crying out loud, and you still think MSNBC is really left?

    Why must I be either left wing or right wing. Are there no other options?

    I really don’t care. Either way, you’re a fucking idiot. Bugger off.

  331. #333 mwsletten
    April 30, 2010

    Ing@329, now you’re just trolling… thank you, goodbye!

  332. #334 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    “Ing@329, now you’re just trolling… thank you, goodbye!”

    Dude…you will KNOW if/when I decide to actually troll/attack you.

  333. #335 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 30, 2010

    MWSletten, you troll with liberturd attitudes, and defend the racist idjits that are the tea baggers. You aren’t seen as anything other than a loud mouthed idjit troll, which is why nobody is agreeing with you. You have no cogent arguments, you just think you do. You are just like the tea baggers. All noise, smoke and mirrors, but no substance. And we don’t see you as any type of authority on any subject, other than being Heinlein’s “well meaning fool”. Get it?

  334. #336 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    And btw my criticism is that you argue on one hand that the tea party is just a bunch of rag tag twits with no leadership and no coherent positions…but then argue for respecting them and that they aren’t showing racist attitudes. Let me say that for things like teabaggers, use the rule of ‘trends not outliers’. the trend in teabagger behavior I’m seeing is childish and offensive, and that’s all i care about. I don’t give a shit what their position is as long as they’re still doing that “AMERICA IS DYING ITS JUST LIKE TEH HOLOCAUST” bullshit, which btw, DOES seem to be ubiquitous as it appears across the teaparty movements. And I don’t listen to the liberal news thank you very much. My opinion on them is entirely based on what they say, both the local group and those I’ve talked to online.

  335. #337 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    oh and I disagree with most of the pharyngulites here as I actually think commentators are too quick to label people who disagree ‘trolls’ of various degrees. I don’t think YOU’RE a troll, I think you’re sincere.

  336. #338 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Ing, MWSletten has been posting here for months. No quick decision to call him a troll. He may be sincere, but he is also trolling; disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing. Nobody is agreeing with him, and he is constantly refuted.

  337. #339 Ing
    April 30, 2010

    @Nerd of Readhead

    Yeah, but I don’t think being unconvinced by arguments…as stupid as your original position may be is enough to qualify as trolling. Again if he’s just a shit stirrer I might change my mind. A creationist coming here and arguing like a twit isn’t a troll…one who comes in and starts being abusive is.

    also for the thread to chew on

    http://lh5.ggpht.com/_J7F4QXIxQSs/S8NGkmh_DpI/AAAAAAAAE8k/enAuizuVjqs/s640/obamahitler.JPG

    The guy behind whose face you can’t see…one of the teaparty local leaders…also a minister.

  338. #340 tutone21
    April 30, 2010

    @ mwsletten:

    Ing #336 FTW. You argue that the movement has merit because like you, they pefer less government. But you are chosing to overlook the racist hatemongerers to do it. Or maybe your are right. It’s not like they exploit kids who have no understanding of politics other than what mom or dad or grandpa says.

    You say you want less government, which is fine, but why would you choose to focus on that aspect of this group and not consider itas a whole? The Klan also wants less govt. So do US malitias (which have also been linke to tea party rallies). Would you choose to ignore the other aspects of those organizations?

  339. #341 tutone21
    April 30, 2010

    @ Ing #339

    Nice photo! At least this moron has a US flag flying by his banner. I found some where the guy is holding his poster and the confederate flag in the same hand.

    *cough cough – buttheirmessageisgood – cough cough*

  340. #342 mwsletten
    April 30, 2010

    Hey Nerd, I’m confused. I thought a troll was someone who adds nothing to the debate. One who posts insults or comments intended solely to inflame emotions. One who attacks an individual instead of an individual’s ideas (you know, kinda like your post @335).

    I believe I generate quite a bit of interesting discussion on this site, and absent the occasional dipshit who gets my goat (usually a race baiter), I believe I do it for the most part without being an asshole, albeit some here automatically label me one (or an idiot, or moron, or racist, etc, etc) simply because I disagree with the status quo. I freely admit I’ve made some untoward comments a time or two, and I’ve put my foot in my mouth, but I do feel I’ve made an effort to apologize (if appropriate) when I’ve stepped over the line. I don’t believe I’ve ever inappropriately insulted you personally. Am I wrong?

    You say I ‘may be sincere,’ but I am a troll nonetheless because ‘nobody is agreeing with’ me. So what? Is that the standard? If no one agrees with me I’m a troll?

    You further suggest I post only for the sake of disagreement. You’re right, I DO post when I disagree with PZ or other posters. In fact, PZ posts when HE disagrees, you post when you disagree, a lot of people post when they disagree — what’s the fucking point of everyone standing around saying, ‘Yeah! Right on! Well said!’ That may give everyone a wonderful sense of belonging and validation, but it’s boring as hell.

    I agree with 90% of what’s posted here by PZ AND the majority of frequent commenters — even you. It’s only in the area of politics where my opinion and beliefs often differ, and even then I usually only post when I feel an argument is being made based on ideology instead of fact.

    Many people here are quick to make assumptions and accusations about a full range of evil personality traits and political loyalties when you disagree politically with them (I know they only do it because they love me), but most are way off the mark. I’m not a ‘democrat,’ a ‘republican,’ a ‘tea partier’ or a ‘[insert confining, stultifying political ideology here]. By not marrying myself to a particular political ideology I’m am a slave to none; I can pick and choose the elements of any ideology I like to believe in. It’s really very intellectually liberating — you should try it!

    Don’t you find it stimulating to have your cherished beliefs challenged? I do. I realize that doing so will often elicit some extreme reactions — in much the same way challenging someone’s religious beliefs will — but that’s why I post here. I like having my beliefs challenged. I seek debate in the same way a scientist seeks evidence that nullifies or reinforces a theory. Debate is the crucible that burns away that which is immaterial, leaving only the precious metals behind. Most of the debates I’ve engaged in here have helped me in one way or another to clarify my thoughts — that’s why I do it.

    Setting all that aside, if you truly believe me to be the troll you say I am, the solution to your problem is really very simple. If you don’t like to debate political philosophy with me you can always ignore me. Personally, I would be hugely dissapointed if you did; you generally post cogent, well-considered arguments (when you’re not insulting me) that make me think.

  341. #343 Jadehawk, OM
    April 30, 2010

    I believe I generate quite a bit of interesting discussion on this site,

    so did Alan Clarke. Triggering SIWOTI syndrome is not a sign of not being a troll; quite the contrary, usually.

  342. #344 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 30, 2010

    MWSletten, there is a difference between having your say, and browbeating us. Having your say means you say what you think, but allow us to make our decisions. If you are browbeating us, you attempt to make those decisions for us. I felt you were doing the latter with the last socialized medicine thread, where you absolutely had to get us to change our minds, and definitely with this thread too.

    For example, I know the codes words and phrases used by racists. I’ve known them for 40 years. When I look at the tea baggers, I do the same thing I did with the republicans in both ’80 and ’94. I look past the official statements to what they say with their code words. And with the tea baggers, while their official position isn’t racist, the tea baggers themselves send up warning signals by using the code words. So I conclude, based upon their actions, and the words of the members, that they are a racist group. Their use of the code words make their official position irrelevant. Several of us told you that, but you kept harping on the official, but irrelevant, position. You were wrong to do so after that many refutations. Did it ever occur to you that you could be wrong? If that never occurs to you, you aren’t discussing, but rather preaching.

    You remind me quite a bit of the radicals back from my college days. They were out to end the war and change the world, and would preach their inane socialist/communist ideology ad nauseum. They were never wrong, no matter how often they were refuted, and no matter that they could never support their ideology with evidence. Boring and irritating to those of us who weren’t interested, but all the conversations kept getting twisted back to their ideology. Just like many of us here feel about libertarian ideology, and those who preach it. We can recite your posts before you post. But we don’t believe a word of what we recite.

    Here’s a couple of questions to tell if you are preaching, or a having a real discussion. What would it take for you to acknowledge you are wrong about the tea baggers? That they are group of racists who are angry, and without a coherent philosophy. Or, what would it take for you to acknowledge that single payer health care is more cost effective than our present system? If the answer is nothing, you are preaching. And if you are preaching to just upset us, that is trolling.

    You probably aren’t trolling, so I can acknowledge I was wrong to say so. But you are close. Less preaching would be a good start. Have your say, but stop before the ad nauseum point.

  343. #345 SlantedScience
    April 30, 2010

    mwsletten, #342: Don’t sweat the redheaded nerd, she’s just the resident troll paranoiac. The kind of gal who, because they’ve posted on a website for a while, believes that their world POV is the only one which should ever be allowed to taint their favorite site’s comments section.

    Anyone with less time than they invested in the puerile pursuit of commenting on websites is, de facto, a troll out to disrupt the thinkings of great minds.

    The less self-confident among us often stop commenting when attacked by a troll paranoiac. The best defense, however, is getting on with your thang and ignoring them.

    Which I shall now return to doing.

  344. #346 mwsletten
    April 30, 2010

    Nerd said:

    there is a difference between having your say, and browbeating us.

    Point taken… No one has ever complimented for my brevity.

    What would it take for you to acknowledge you are wrong about the tea baggers? That they are group of racists who are angry, and without a coherent philosophy. Or, what would it take for you to acknowledge that single payer health care is more cost effective than our present system?

    Proof beyond statements fueled by blind belief in an ideology would be a good start…

    Just like many of us here feel about libertarian ideology, and those who preach it. We can recite your posts before you post. But we don’t believe a word of what we recite.

    So you’re telling me to shut up in advance because I’ll never say anything that might affect your worldview.

    Pot, meet kettle… :-)

    Besides, who ever said I was ‘libertarian?’

  345. #347 John Morales
    April 30, 2010

    [meta]

    Slanty, you’re an obvious and self-confessed troll, Nerd is a respected commenter.

    We know you get on with your thang; if only you’d do it in private.

    BTW, your feeble attempt to insult someone you know is male by calling him a female is as stupid and pointless as the rest of your trolling.

  346. #348 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    April 30, 2010

    N of R asks mwsletten: “Or, what would it take for you to acknowledge that single payer health care is more cost effective than our present system?”

    mwsletten: “Proof beyond statements fueled by blind belief in an ideology would be a good start…”

    Weeeelll, how about the fact that the US spends more per capita on health care than any other industrual nation and still lags behind most industrial nations and many developing nations in most indicators of health–ranging from life expectancy to infant mortality? That a start?

  347. #349 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Proof beyond statements fueled by blind belief in an ideology would be a good start…”

    Try looking at the comparative costs (about 1/4 to 1/3 the way down the page). People have presented part of this to you, but you ignore it for ideological reasons.

  348. #350 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 30, 2010

    I see SS’s thing is mental masturbation. No cogency shows through their posts. As we figured out from his/her/its first inane and insane post. Oh, and SS, watch your back. The Redhead is a Kninja Knitter, and her or one of the others may be that knitster at the bus stop bench. Watch your spleen…

  349. #351 Jadehawk, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Besides, who ever said I was ‘libertarian?’

    you can call it whatever the fuck you wish, but your worship of the “free market” to the exclusion of evidence of what actually works speaks for itself.

  350. #352 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 30, 2010

    MWSletten, I’m no ideologue. While I tend toward liberal social policies, I am a fiscal conservative in that I don’t think government should be doing deficit spending. But I do understand the need for taxes to pay for things expected from the government, and always vote yes for school millage. On health care, the economics evidence that I linked to in #349 speaks for itself. Only ideologues would oppose a single payer system, which is both cheaper, and just as, if not more, effective.

  351. #353 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    April 30, 2010

    N of R, Boy, that American flag in that figure sure looks lonely all the way off to the right like that.

  352. #354 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    April 30, 2010

    Actually, one of the best arguments I’ve heard lately for a single-payer plan had to do with the amount of time doctors spend on paperwork with different insurers–it amounts to about 20% of their time! I would think that this alone would convince doctors.

  353. #355 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 30, 2010

    Even National Geographic showed the US with outta sight health care costs for less return than most of the world. Click on the chart to make it bigger so you can actually see the US off the top end.

  354. #356 Feynmaniac, Chimerical Toad
    April 30, 2010

    I actually had the debate over health care with mwsletten before. He’ll dismiss and dispute any empirical evidence you provide yet will claim “free markets” will control costs and increase access without any evidence whatsoever.

  355. #357 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 30, 2010

    He’ll dismiss and dispute any empirical evidence you provide yet will claim “free markets” will control costs and increase access without any evidence whatsoever.

    Isn’t that the true definition of an ideologue…

  356. #358 Jadehawk, OM
    May 1, 2010

    Actually, one of the best arguments I’ve heard lately for a single-payer plan had to do with the amount of time doctors spend on paperwork with different insurers–it amounts to about 20% of their time! I would think that this alone would convince doctors.

    and not just individual doctors, either. The hospital here in town has seven billing departments! It’s a complete clusterfuck, and wastes everybody’s time and money. Single-payer would reduce the cost of having to do this much accounting and separate billing.

  357. #359 DethB4DCaf
    May 1, 2010

    Current Poll numbers:

    THE TEA PARTY
    What Do You Think About the Tea Party?

    Believe they are white racists 41%
    Believe they are ignorant-uneducated people 44%
    Believe they are true American patriots 14%
    Frustrated with government-just as they are 1%
    Considering joining the Tea Party 0%

    Total Votes : 565755

  358. #360 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 1, 2010

    Now we get to see if MWSletten is an ideologue preacher, or a person engaged in real discussion.

    If the evidence I presented is dismissed with a wave of the hand and the ideology of of the free market preached ad nauseum, he is not engaged in discussion, but preaching his ideological gospel. But with that, he proves himself to be a troll, and is only worthy of derision and abuse.

    If he actually directly addresses the presented evidence, and better yet, if refutation is attempted at least with links to non-ideological web sites, then he is engaged in discussion, and is worthy of continued discussion. My money is on ideological trolling.

  359. #361 Walton
    May 1, 2010

    and not just individual doctors, either. The hospital here in town has seven billing departments!

    What? Why? What do they all do?

    Why can’t they just send the bill to the patient’s insurer, or (where applicable) Medicare or Medicaid? I can never understand why healthcare in the US is so pointlessly complicated and has so many separate overlapping systems.

    It could be so much simpler. Get rid of all the separate federal schemes (Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP and so on), and have a single federal programme whereby all people below a certain household income level can get government subsidies for healthcare. You could merge the administration for this scheme into the Social Security System. A person on federal health benefits would just be able to give the hospital or doctor their Social Security number, and the hospital or doctor could bill the government. People on higher incomes could continue to take out private or employer-based health insurance as they currently do.

    Surely this would save the massive amount of money currently wasted on administrative costs for the several separate federal and state healthcare programmes? The US federal government already spends more than $600 billion a year on Medicaid and Medicare; most countries manage to provide wider health coverage for less money than that. Bureaucracy must be the central problem.

  360. #362 MAJeff, OM
    May 1, 2010

    MAJeff@316, Fox News has its obligatory leftist commentors too (Alan Colmes anyone?); does that make Fox a centrist news organization?

    Alan Colmes is no longer on Fox. Nor did he host a multiple-hour show on the network, as Scarborough does.

  361. #363 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 1, 2010

    Why can’t they just send the bill to the patient’s insurer, or (where applicable) Medicare or Medicaid?

    All the different insurers have different forms, with different code numbers for various treatments, and use different software for billing, so the poor doctors/hospitals need large billing departments so they can submit their costs and get paid. Plus, the insurers are slow about paying, question details that are normal, and generally be a pain-in-the-ass. There is a lot of savings available by going to a single payer system, like uniform billing submissions. Those savings could easily pay to expand the system.

    Bureaucracy must be the central problem.

    Nope, medicare administrative costs are 3%, compared to 10-15% for private insurers. Medicaid is run by the states with some federal money, so that varies. One problem is that with all the uninsured in this country, who must be treated if they show up in the emergency room, the doctors and hospitals try to make up these costs by charging more for those insured. A single payer system drives down costs as everyone is insured, and the costs billed are real costs, not inflated costs.

  362. #364 Carlie
    May 1, 2010

    Fred at slactivist, who is one of the most awesome Christians ever, takes down the teabaggers and says we need to outright call them stupid. It is a thing of beauty to read.

  363. #365 heddle
    May 1, 2010

    Carlie,

    Fred at slactivist, who is one of the most awesome Christians ever, takes down the teabaggers and says we need to outright call them stupid. It is a thing of beauty to read.

    I went there, intrigued by your endorsement, expecting an interesting and informative article. It was not to be found. Almost literally all he had to say was: The teabaggers are stupid, stupid, stupid! I was a giant blog comment, not an article.

    It wasn’t that he bashed the teabaggers that’s the problem, but that he did it in the most pixel-wasting predictable, content-free manner–they are stupid, stupid, stupid. I haven’t read all the comments here, but I’d wager quite a few contain more content than that article. It said nothing, zero.point.zero of substance–just that the teabaggers are stupid.

    Then it tries to justify itself in the most, well, stupid manner possible, with:

    It is widely regarded as impolite, or uncharitable, or counterproductive to speak of this egregious stupidity.

    Holy crap! Everyone and their mother is calling them stupid. Who, exactly, who sees it that way, regards it as impolite, or uncharitable, or counterproductive to speak of this egregious stupidity?

    I’ll make a mental note that your endorsement of substantive articles is not reliable. Maybe next time you’ll issue a warning: All it does is call the people we call stupid, stupid. Over and over again. So I think it’s well worth your time!

  364. #366 Carlie
    May 1, 2010

    Wow, heddle. So you completely missed the points that he explained that it was an aggressive, willful kind of stupidity of the sort that takes effort to maintain in the face of their natural intelligence, and that his hypothesis is that it is born of a lack of empathy that is fostered and encouraged in certain political and religious circles. Somehow I’m not surprised that you missed it.

  365. #367 John Morales
    May 1, 2010

    heddle,

    Almost literally all he had to say was: The teabaggers are stupid, stupid, stupid! I was a giant blog comment, not an article.

    Carlie’s post didn’t make me go there to read it, but your blithe dismissal of it did, inasmuch as I have respect for Carlie.

    I don’t particularly agree with it, but it makes a case: that “Empathy is a way of seeing, and therefore a way of knowing”, that “Their stupidity is a choice, an act of will”, since “Stupidity does not lead to bigotry. Bigotry leads to stupidity” and it is “a moral stupidity”.
    He concludes with “But the message here for the tea partiers is not “I’m smarter than you” or “I’m better than you.” The message, rather, is this: You’re smarter than you and you’re< .i> better than you.” and an exhortation (“a call to repentance”) for such to choose to be “better and smarter”.

    But you saw none of that, all you saw was stupid, stupid, stupid!

    I’ll make a mental note that your endorsement of substantive articles is not reliable.

    I’m not surprised that Carlie has been nominated for a Molly, and you haven’t.

  366. #368 Carlie
    May 1, 2010

    John – heddle has never missed a chance to insult me.

    I thought the post was interesting (if brief), because it:
    1. Said in no uncertain terms that the descriptor for the way they’re acting ought to be stupid. This speaks to the accommodating/strident debate, and it was refreshing to see someone come down on the side of strident who is the type of person they ought to be trying to court to their side.
    2. Linked it to being empathetic to others, both by chastisement that they are ignoring one of the fundamental tenets of their own religion and by way of saying that understanding empathy and the way society is connected is a type of intelligence they are refusing to acknowledge.

  367. #369 heddle
    May 1, 2010

    Carlie,

    John – heddle has never missed a chance to insult me.

    Um, that’s a little paranoid. Even if that were true (and it is manifestly false–exactly how many interactions have we had compared to how many posts you have made?–It seems to me like I’ve missed a lot of chances) who could possible construe what I wrote as an insult? You need a thicker skin.

    But fair enough, I did neglect to mention that the article has a sprinkling of psuedo-scientific woo regarding empathy.

  368. #370 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 1, 2010

    Walton jumps on the healthcare reform bandwagon:
    “Surely this would save the massive amount of money currently wasted on administrative costs for the several separate federal and state healthcare programmes?”

    Ah, but Walton, you have utterly misunderstood the purpose of the US economy and the US Government. The purpose is not to provide goods and services, but rather to make some people FABULOUSLY wealthy! If they could figure out a way to do this without customers and taxpayers, they would quite happily shove all of us into the oven and get on with the business of creatin’ a healthy “bidness” climate. And the beauty of it is that they’ve got the people so afraid of the outside world that nearly 3/4 of US citizens don’t even have a passport, so they have no idea how screwed they are.

  369. #371 KOPD
    May 1, 2010

    This conversation is bringing back bad memories of when I used to work in hospital billing. There was the Medicare/Medicaid team, the self-pay team, and the commercial insurance team, in addition to several other teams that did not deal directly with the insurance companies. I was on the “clean-up crew.” About 3% of claims have some sort of registration error on them – incorrect insurance plan number, wrong name on the account, patient forgot to tell us they switched insurance or that they have a second insurance, etc. My job was to figure out which of those problems it was, fix it, and get the claim resubmitted. Sometimes it involved a lot of time on the phone with insurance companies.

    One case I clearly remember was when I was helping the daughter of a dying man get his insurance to pay for the dialysis they kept refusing to pay for. They thought Medicare should be the primary payer, but the patient was in their COB period so Medicare was not primary. She had to make several phone calls to get it straightened out and all I could do was tell her who she had to call and what she had to tell them. The ordeal cost her a lot of time and the frustration, and it cost the hospital my wages for a claim that was correct to begin with.

  370. #372 Ing
    May 1, 2010

    @KOPD

    Which is the point about the teabaggers. They make the claim they want less government, but it’s the HCRA that triggers this response? Not warrentless wiretaps? Not the blanket status of enemy combatant? Not creating a new branch of faith based initiatives? But a HCR act? I can’t see how this argument is honestly in good faith.

  371. #373 Matt Penfold
    May 1, 2010

    Weeeelll, how about the fact that the US spends more per capita on health care than any other industrual nation and still lags behind most industrial nations and many developing nations in most indicators of health–ranging from life expectancy to infant mortality? That a start?

    It would be a start for sane, rational people. MWSletten has repeatedly shown that he is neither sane nor rational.

  372. #374 mwsletten
    May 1, 2010

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space said:

    What would it take for you to acknowledge that single payer health care is more cost effective than our present system? …how about the fact that the US spends more per capita on health care than any other industrual nation…

    I actually misread that question. I have stated more than once our current system is FUBAR. There is obviously much evidence that the socialized systems in place in other countries provide health care for less per capita than our current system. I’ve never argued in favor of keeping our current system — its combination of government subsidies and regulation-protected markets for certain companies has resulted in crony capitalism at its finest. I’ve also suggested the health care reform effort recently made law is more of the same, and I predict our per capita costs will actually RISE as a result.

    What I have argued is my belief that the application of free market principles has a better chance of controlling costs than either the current law, or fully socialized.

    The purpose is not to provide goods and services, but rather to make some people FABULOUSLY wealthy!

    Amen! The operative word there being “some.” If the US government would get out of the business of making the market ‘fair’ for some players and not so fair for others, and simply make it equally fair for ALL, we might see how a free market is supposed to actually work!

    Look at the areas of the economy where the government is least involved — typically where companies provide products/services not considered ‘essential’ — and you’ll see the free market at its finest. The home computer industry comes to mind. Think of the astronomically rapid increase in the performance of personal computing devices (desktops, laptops, handheld, PDAs, smart phones) over the past couple of decades. Considering the performance gains one would think prices would make top of the line devices and systems unavailable to all but the wealthiest. This is not the case. I don’t believe it to be coincidence that the personal computer industry enjoys one of the lowest levels of government involvement of any in the US.

    Jadehawk said:

    …your worship of the “free market” to the exclusion of evidence of what actually works speaks for itself.

    This is what I thought I read regarding the question above, to wit that socialized medical delivery is more efficient (or otherwise ‘better’) than one based on free market principles. I stated I believe these claims unprovable because there is no free-market based health care delivery system in extant from which to draw a comparison. The closest I believe you can get in the US are the examples of elective medicine such as vision correction surgery, various cosmetic surgeries, etc. In these areas the relative lack of government and insurance industry involvement has resulted in the closest we get to a free market for health care product and service delivery, and it has resulted in continuing improvement in care outcomes with simultaneous decreases in costs. The relatively low cost for Lasik today has made it available to all but the indigent.

    The situation in other countries seems also to bear this out. A recent side thread regarding medical tourism showed that a great many people travel around the world seeking the best elective care at the best prices. In my opinion, further movement toward such an ideal can only result in better and cheaper products and services for everyone.

    Feynmaniac said:

    He’ll dismiss and dispute any empirical evidence you provide yet will claim “free markets” will control costs and increase access without any evidence whatsoever.

    See above. I’ve used the example of the elective health care industry as ‘evidence’ in my prior posts. Perhaps you didn’t ‘see’ it…

    Nerd said:

    …medicare administrative costs are 3%, compared to 10-15% for private insurers.

    I’ve pointed out before that one of the primary reasons Medicare administrative costs are so low is because it has few or no procedures or people in place to prevent fraud, waste and abuse. This is one of the reasons President Obama believes he can obtain $500 billion from the program without cutting Medicare services (does anyone here actually believe that?). Let’s see how those administrative costs compare when the government starts doing the same kinds of things as insurers must to prevent fraud, waste and abuse.

  373. #375 KOPD
    May 1, 2010

    @Ing
    Less government would not help the problem I described, as the same thing happens when both payers are commercial. A conflict over which payer is first would, however, never happen in a single payer system.

  374. #376 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 1, 2010

    I’ve pointed out before that one of the primary reasons Medicare administrative costs are so low is because it has few or no procedures or people in place to prevent fraud, waste and abuse.

    Citation please, or shut the fuck up.

    What I have argued is my belief that the application of free market principles has a better chance of controlling costs than either the current law, or fully socialized.

    Citation, or shut the fuck up.

    I stated I believe these claims unprovable because there is no free-market based health care delivery system in extant from which to draw a comparison.

    Ours shithead. Are you that dim, or that delusional?

    Nothing cogent said, nor the evidence addressed properly. Just preaching the inane gospel of free markets. Liberturdian nonsense. It doesn’t work. I call trolling.

  375. #377 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 1, 2010
  376. #378 Carlie
    May 1, 2010

    Even if that were true (and it is manifestly false–exactly how many interactions have we had compared to how many posts you have made?–It seems to me like I’ve missed a lot of chances)

    Sorry. Every time heddle has commented on something I wrote, it’s been an insult.

    who could possible construe what I wrote as an insult?

    Um…

    I’ll make a mental note that your endorsement of substantive articles is not reliable.

    You need a thicker skin.

    I never said it bothered me, I simply noted the trend.

  377. #379 Ing
    May 1, 2010

    “Amen! The operative word there being “some.” If the US government would get out of the business of making the market ‘fair’ for some players and not so fair for others, and simply make it equally fair for ALL, we might see how a free market is supposed to actually work!”

    We had that before…it didn’t go well for the workers.

  378. #380 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    May 1, 2010

    We had that before…it didn’t go well for the workers.

    To spleck with the workers. If they don’t like working for less then living wages, they can eat government boomstick.

  379. #381 mwsletten
    May 1, 2010

    Nerd, 60% percent of US health care is funded via government subsidies (Medicare/Medicaid/VA/etc) and the vast majority of the rest (aside from the elective medicine market) is a third-party payment system — which insulates consumers from any need to understand actual costs, a hallmark of a free market — administered by an insurance industry where companies have little or no competition in their individual markets. Government regulation has ‘encouraged’ employer-provided insurance so well it is all but impossible for an individual to purchase private insurance. Government sets the rules on policy coverage (what must and must not be covered), and under the new law, government will even control premium pricing.

    About the only thing that remains ‘free market’ about the current system is one’s choice in whether to purchase insurance or not. For some young healthy people, the high cost of private insurance made ‘going naked’ a smart choice, but even THAT choice is gone when the new health care laws take effect.

    A free market is all about choice for the consumer, which requires an understanding of value vs price for the goods/services purchased. For a variety of reasons, most related to government involvement, there is little to no choice, and even less understanding about what their money is buying, for the average consumer in our market. The US health care market may not be (entirely) socialized, but it is by no means a ‘free market.’

    I provided support for my beliefs vis-a-vis free market health care delivery using the example of elective medicine; in the US it is cheap, prevalent, effective and far more free market than the rest of the health care industry. That you choose to ignore this example, or otherwise don’t find it compelling doesn’t make the evidence invalid.

    As to my statements regarding Medicare’s reduced expenditures on fraud, waste and abuse enforcement, I must admit to relying on an article (I thought it was from the NYT) I can no longer locate.

    But in the course of researching I found something interesting.

    When comparing administrative costs as a percentage of benefits paid, Medicare easily beats private insurers. But when comparing administrative costs per beneficiary, Medicare’s costs are actually higher. That’s because Medicare pays vastly more in benefits per beneficiary (who tend to be much older and sicker) than private insurers.

    See here and here.

    I call trolling.

    My my, you are quick to pull the troll trigger.

    I’ll tell you what, unless I’m mistaken, this Blog belongs to PZ. Based on the number of times he comments himself, I’m assuming he spends quite a bit of time reading the comments on his posts. If he tells me he believes I’m trolling, I’ll be more than happy to ‘shut the fuck up’ as you so politely put it.

    Until then, why don’t you get a neck rub or something and calm the fuck down?

  380. #382 mwsletten
    May 1, 2010

    I forgot to add regarding Medicare:

    If its administrative costs are already so low, where else besides recovering money that shouldn’t have been paid out due to fraud, waste or abuse is President Obama going to get $500 billion?

  381. #383 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 1, 2010

    Ah, a link to a know ideological group who lies through their teeth. And to a group opposed to any expansion of public medicine. And you still haven’t refuted the data that the countries with the public health services have much lower costs with better results than the US.

    Now for some administrative data from academia, who doesn’t have political agenda’s to grind, and looks at the evidence. First, second, and third. They all show public funding and medicare administrative costs much lower than the private sector. Want to continue playing this game?

    You are still ideologically driven, not evidence driven. The only way you can convince us at this blog is with real evidence, not manufactured bullshit and ideologically based opinion. The evidence says a single payer system is cheaper and more effective. You have presented nothing to date to change anybody’s mind.

  382. #384 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 1, 2010

    mwsletten,
    You propose that the problem is government interference in the market. I acknowledge such interference, but it is usually at the behest of those who have bought and paid for the politicians for precisely that purpose. So would it not make more sense to get the market out of government first?

    As they say in Texas, you got to dance with them that brung ya. Somehow I don’t think my vote is going to get me so much as a quick minuet when donors can give practically unlimited money.

    And it would seem that your suggestion that the reason US health care costs are so high is off the mark. Most healthcare consumers in Europe and Canada never have any idea what their procedures cost. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d start with the corporate jet.

  383. #385 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 1, 2010

    I’ll concede the 3% medicare administrative cost if you concede that without having to get a profit health insurance costs could drop without any change in coverage up to 10%.

  384. #386 negentropyeater
    May 1, 2010

    mwsletten,

    Nerd, 60% percent of US health care is funded via government subsidies (Medicare/Medicaid/VA/etc) and the vast majority of the rest (aside from the elective medicine market) is a third-party payment system — which insulates consumers from any need to understand actual costs, a hallmark of a free market — administered by an insurance industry where companies have little or no competition in their individual markets.

    you keep repeating this 60% figure but I’ve already mentionned that this is untrue. You can see here that in 2005, Private expenditure on health as percentage of total expenditure on health was 54.9% in the USA, ie the correct figure is 45% (compare with France 80% and the UK 88%).

    Moreover, I’ve already asked you previously how you’d propose to avoid a third party system (whether private or public !) with healthcare : do you suggest people pay for healthcare out of pocket and do away completely with insurance?

    mwsletten, it’s really annoying when people like you keep repeating lies and refuse to deal with the incoherence of their position. This is the same kind of denial of reality religious cranks keep doing when they come here to argue their position.

    So please either face reality or shut the fuck up.

  385. #387 negentropyeater
    May 1, 2010

    sorry, reference for the correct figure can be found here.

  386. #388 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 1, 2010

    Ooh, a little more search found that the Heritage Foundation approved of Mitt Romney when he reformed health care in Massachusetts, but pans the essentially same program by Obama? Which makes their publications on the issue very suspect. Inquiring and cogent minds see a hypocrisy problem here…

  387. #389 Walton
    May 1, 2010

    a_ray: While my suggestion was certainly a form of “healthcare reform”, it wasn’t a suggestion for a single-payer system, nor an endorsement of the recent healthcare reforms actually implemented.

    Rather, I suppose what I’m really suggesting is a public option. Get rid of Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP, and instead have one single federal health program that would cover both the elderly and those on low incomes. The administration could be merged into the Social Security system, so as to avoid any duplication of administrative processes. This should be able to cover all the people currently covered by Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP, as well as some of the existing uninsured; and by eliminating the separate bureaucracies associated with the several different programs, it should save government money. And it would make billing a lot more efficient: you could have a nationwide computerised billing system for those on the federal health program, where the doctor or hospital could just input the patient’s Social Security number and bill the cost to the federal government.

    It wouldn’t be compulsory: those on higher incomes could continue to pay for their own healthcare through private or employer-based insurance, so it would be much less coercive than a single-payer system. My suggestion would not entail a government takeover of private healthcare: rather, it would simply make existing government healthcare provision more efficient, by eliminating the existing confused mess of different federal and state healthcare programs and replacing it with a single comprehensive system. I don’t see what the point would be in opposing that.

  388. #390 Jadehawk, OM
    May 1, 2010

    we might see how a free market is supposed to actually work!

    a free market, left to its own devices, tends towards monopoly and/or cartels. Competition is expensive and inefficient, and must be maintained artificially.

    The closest I believe you can get in the US are the examples of elective medicine such as vision correction surgery, various cosmetic surgeries, etc. In these areas the relative lack of government and insurance industry involvement has resulted in the closest we get to a free market for health care product and service delivery, and it has resulted in continuing improvement in care outcomes with simultaneous decreases in costs.

    also, the lack of necessity. Markets do well with luxury goods; they skew severely against the customer on basic necessities and emergencies, because the customer is robbed of the mechanisms that allow a certain measure of control and pressure; in such situations, customer is not king, but a beggar.

    I’ve used the example of the elective health care industry as ‘evidence’ in my prior posts.

    it’s only evidence of your ignorance.

    For some young healthy people, the high cost of private insurance made ‘going naked’ a smart choice, but even THAT choice is gone when the new health care laws take effect.

    only in the same way in which playing russian roulette is a smart choice. the whole point of insurance is that you can’t know the future with any sufficiently large degree of certainty.

    A free market is all about choice for the consumer, which requires an understanding of value vs price for the goods/services purchased. For a variety of reasons, most related to government involvement, there is little to no choice, and even less understanding about what their money is buying, for the average consumer in our market.

    this is true for all markets, even those not as regulated by government. It is not to a businesses advantage to have their customers have access to information about them and their product beyond what is advertised. And it’s physically impossible for a customer to know everything about everything they purchase. No one has that much free time on their hands.

    The transparency and ease of access to necessary information necessary for a non-exploitative market economy must be enforced externally.

  389. #391 Jadehawk, OM
    May 1, 2010

    And on top of that, there’s also the issue of confusion of what an economy is and is supposed to do.

    Certain services which are important to quality of life simply cannot be provided for a profit. That is not a reason not to provide them though, since humans aren’t supposed to serve the economy, the economy is supposed to serve humans. And where it can’t, a different system needs to be used.

  390. #392 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 1, 2010

    Some further Google research showed that besides the ideologues at the Heritage Foundation, the CAHI is a group dedicated to free market insurance. Nothing like citing those who have a vested interest in an ideology, versus academics who are trying to find the truth. Ideology never trumps the facts, just tries to hide them.

  391. #393 penfield
    May 1, 2010

    Everything you have to say about what is wrong with the free market, I am inclined to agree with you, but my question to you is: What can have possibly given you the idea that the government does not have exactly the same problems, only worse? The claim that academics are not ideological is laughable. The good professor’s commitment to biological truth is an inspiration to us all, but his ideology is pure folly.

  392. #394 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 1, 2010

    The claim that academics are not ideological is laughable.

    Penfield, compared to the Heritage Foundation? Get real. I trust academics, even with their biases (since looking a number of them can balance that out) far more than folks who put out paid for position papers…

  393. #395 David Marjanovi?
    May 1, 2010

    mwsletten, stop calling patients “consumers”. That’s a category error, as several comments in this thread (never mind the other one we had recently) have already pointed out.

    Imagine if a prominent Republican were to publish a video calling on their affluent, older, white, Christian male supporters…

    Has already happened. Bush the Lesser called his audience at a funding rally “the haves, and the have-mores”. Next sentence: “Some call you the elite ? I call you my base.”

    Ol’Greg, #277: you have a beautiful, idealized view of the rest of the world’s media. Sadly, the US is not alone in having “mainstream media”, and “Government sources”.

    You haven’t lived anywhere else, which is fine. But I’d like to let you know that conversations such as these are universal, and not confined to the US.

    Come on. Elsewhere, there’s typically a public-owned broadcasting company with a strong market share. Those broadcasters are obviously by default under suspicion of saying whatever the current administration wants, and therefore try very, very hard to avoid all appearance of bias.

    Private broadcasters, on the other hand, have no reason not to pander to the interests of their sponsors or owners.

    The hospital here in town has seven billing departments!

    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>
    <headdesk>

    Everything you have to say about what is wrong with the free market, I am inclined to agree with you, but my question to you is: What can have possibly given you the idea that the government does not have exactly the same problems, only worse?

    Experience?

    Personal experience, you fucking moron?

    Did you really believe all of us live in the USA?

  394. #396 penfield
    May 1, 2010

    I see that you mean ‘ideology’ in the narrow sense of ‘something you do not like,’ in which case you are correct. But I am interested in learning more about what it is you do not like, and why.

  395. #397 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 1, 2010

    But I am interested in learning more about what it is you do not like, and why.

    Liberturdism, what MWSletten preaches, and what considered morally bankrupt by almost all of the regulars. Not hard to figure out. And if you have any cogency, you know why it is morally bankrupt, so we won’t have to explain it to you…

  396. #398 MAJeff, OM
    May 1, 2010

    mwsletten, stop calling patients “consumers”. That’s a category error, as several comments in this thread (never mind the other one we had recently) have already pointed out.

    It’s an intentional ideological move. The right has also been denigrating citizenship for the past couple decades, talking of people as “consumers of government services.” This also helps justify greater services for the wealthy…after all, they’re consumers with the greatest purchasing power.

    Everything must always be framed in terms of market economics, with the model of the social actor actually fits within those market economic ideals or not.

  397. #399 mwsletten
    May 2, 2010

    a-ray said:

    I acknowledge [government interference in the health care market], but it is usually at the behest of those who have bought and paid for the politicians for precisely that purpose. So would it not make more sense to get
    the market out of government first?

    This is the crux of the debate. You and I would seem to agree that government skews markets by interfering with competition on what should be a level playing field. I believe corrupt politicians in the US (not all are corrupt) generate legislation and regulation that affects the markets to create the only true ‘product’ government is capable of producing — influence. The sale of that ‘product’ is what has made a lobbying industry possible, one that according to the Center for Responsive Politics has doubled in size in the past decade. Some politicians believe they can enact market legislation and regulation to help people, but every new market law and regulation increases the influence the government has over the market, which generates a larger supply of ‘product.’ And if history tells us anything, it tells us there will ALWAYS be someone willing to come up with the right price for that ‘product.’

    To me, what makes the most sense is to get rid of the corrupt politicians first. Barring that (and it seems a rather remote possibility at this point), eliminating the government’s market influence beyond the power to enforce contracts and keep the playing field level would eliminate the ‘product;’ cheating businesses can’t lobby for something that doesn’t exist.

    Your solution, to give the government complete control of the industry, would limit any ability to affect change to those who excercise influence with the government. As an example, consider your local utilities providers: Who has more influence over the rates you are charged for electricity, you, or the CEO of your local power company?

    At least in a free market, one where businesses must compete to keep customers, consumers retain SOME influence. Rip enough people off, especially in today’s information-rich world of the Internet, and word gets around fast. Businesses should be forced to respond to customer needs and demands, or face failure. This not the case when they can purchase influence and protection from the government.

    negentropyeater@386, you’re right, I have been mistating the percentage. According the US Dept of Health and Human Services tax dollars account for roughly half of health care expenditures in the US ($1.1 trillion of $2.3 trillion in 2008), not 60%.

    …it’s really annoying when people like you keep repeating lies and refuse to deal with the incoherence of their position.

    Misquoting a data point that doesn’t change the substance of my argument — that the US health care system is not based on free-market principles — is neither incoherent nor a lie, fuckhead, it’s a mistake. I believe I’ve been more than willing to admit and correct my mistakes.

    Further, there are a plethora of ideas floating around the web outlining free-market solutions to the problem of rising health care costs in the US. Google ‘free market health care reforms’ and do your own fucking research.

    Nerd, the data from the sources you quoted does not dispute the data from the sources I quoted. Yours compared administrative costs vs the numbers of claims, mine compared costs vs the numbers of beneficiaries. Bash the source all you like, but the data are accurate.

    Even using your sources, however, the data shows a difference in administrative costs of roughly 7% (government-run) vs 12% (privately-run) — certainly not enough to suggest we might garner a 50% savings by turning over all health care management to the government. Your sources also acknowledge there is much value added for the difference in administrative costs when you consider that private insurers actually shop for better prices (government merely fixes them) and make a passing attempt at research to base coverage on outcomes.

    the Heritage Foundation approved of Mitt Romney when he reformed health care in Massachusetts, but pans the essentially same program by Obama?

    The Heritage Foundation panned Obama’s plan when it included a ‘public option’ and before it gave the insurance industry the gift of roughly 30 million new government-mandated customers. After President Obama made those changes to his initial plan the insurance industry overwhelmingly supported it. Dig a little deeper next time…

    The only way you can convince us at this blog is with real evidence, not manufactured bullshit and ideologically based opinion.

    Have you not been listening? Do you really think I post here to ‘convince’ you (or the other hard-line ideologues) that government is anything other than universally benign, beneficent and big-hearted? Get real…

    And if you have any cogency, you know why [Libertarianism] is morally bankrupt…

    1. A belief that a free market (one free from government influence) provides a better chance at controlling costs than the government does not a Libertarian (nor a Tea Partier, nor a conservative) make.

    2. Correction: We know why YOU think free market principles are morally bankrupt.

    Jadehawk, you (and many others) chastise me for making statments based on my ideological beliefs, then post a lengthy diatribe based on yours.

    We have differing ideological beliefs; you think mine are wrong; I get it…

    David Marjanovi? said:

    Did you really believe all of us live in the USA?

    Take another and add a for good measure and realize we are discussing the US government.

    And now, I believe I’ll take a page from Nerd’s book of wisdom here. I believe I’ve debated my position politely, reasonably, with logic and data satisfactory to me. Other pressing matters demand my attention, so I respectfully bow out of further comment.

    I thank everyone for sharing their opinions with me!

  398. #400 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 2, 2010

    Yawn, still no evidence from MWSletten, just inane ideology. Like this

    consumers retain SOME influence.

    Tell us that once the monopoly forms, which is what happens in totally free markets. Remember the Rockefellers and oil. History is not favorable to your ideology, as monopolies result. In fact, it argues against everything you say.

    certainly not enough to suggest we might garner a 50% savings by turning over all health care management to the government.

    Oh, never acknowledge the cost savings by having everyone covered, rather than the costs for the insured are being inflate to cover the non-insured. Lots of savings available. Big salaries for execs slashed, no profit needed, standardized billing for doctors and hospitals, which reduces their costs too. Much more savings available than you wish to acknowledge for ideological reasons.

    Have you not been listening?

    Have you? You still haven’t provided evidence your ideas will work. Whereas we have provided evidence that a single payer system works at reducing costs and increasing results. We have evidence. You have ideology. Your opinion of your ideology is not evidence.

  399. #401 Knockgoats
    May 2, 2010

    Businesses should be forced to respond to customer needs and demands, or face failure. – mwsletten

    Right – I mean you really, really want your health insurer to go belly-up just when you need coverage, don’t you?

  400. #402 Ewan R
    May 2, 2010

    JH and Kncokgoats et al – I think healthcare should be the one area where monopolies are not only allowed. But encouraged.

    Not for profit. Government run monopolies.

    I can only assume that mwsletten either has really good insurance and doesn’t give a shit about anyone else, or has not experienced what it is to have even vaguely sub-standard medical insurance when you really need it.

    The way the US system operates shocks me as someone who for 26 years lived under socialized medicine. It still just seems fricking bizarre to me to have to whip out a credit card. And when you receive a medical bill which breaks down what you’d have paid without insurance you’re left wondering – how the hell would I have managed to pay $45,000 if this had happened 6 months ago when my insurance was essentially a ticket to cut price teeth cleaning and general checkups with the my doctor. (or indeed how in the hell anyone is expected to cover $1000-$2000 per month on medication just to stay somewhat healthy – and on top of that cover all the expenses entailed by the checkups and infections which come on due to that medication)

    Socialized medicine works. For everyone, not just the lucky few who have good insurance (who can, if they don’t like the socalized system, pay a premium to still get special treatment). Even if it were to negatively impact the economy, or have other negative impacts, so what? You’re not discussing some abstract economic device which either increases or decreases taxes/deficiets etc with no real impact on peoples lives – you’re literally discussing life and death here, and frankly by blocking/opposing healthcare for all you are mandating that the less fortunate either die or get completely financially fucked because you’re either too greedy or too self centred to give a shit.

  401. #403 Ing
    May 2, 2010

    PATIENTS ARE NOT CONSUMERS.

    Consumers have a choice of whether to buy. Patients NEED the treatment to live. A free-market by simple economic theory does not work in instances where demand cannot change. People cannot STOP being diabetic thus they either have to pay any price given for their meds or suffer. There’s no incentive for the company NOT to screw people over on this, they have them by the short hairs.

    This is simple economics 101. A product that has equal demand at any price is not going to be swayed by the invisible hand.

  402. #404 penfield
    May 2, 2010

    There is a truly astounding degree of misinformation in the previous posts.

    Monopolies do not happen in a free market. Rockefeller is a case in point: John D. controlled 90% of the market in 1895 – for about 6 months. Then competitors stepped in to take a large share of his business away from him. Standard Oil was later completely undone by Texas oil, which Rockefeller didn’t control, and by gasoline, which he didn’t make. The stuff he had built his business on (Kerosene) was made obsolete by the Edison lightbulb. I know Teddy Roosevelt gets the credit, but it is entirely undeserved. Historically, monopolies only happen when governments enforce them.

    My memory of Economics 101 is that it included both demand and supply. If a supplier is charging too much for a treatment for diabetes, that will encourage competitors to take the business away from them by charging less. That is, in a free market. In a government monopoly with fixed prices, not so much.

    Socialized medicine works for a while, until the country goes broke. Cuba has always been broke, England is nearly broke, Canada is just now waking up to the fact that they are about to go broke. With Obamacare on top of everything else, the US will go broke very quickly. Then you will discover that the government, too, is greedy, self-centred, and does not care about you, but with which you are stuck.

    The idea that you can save money by doing away with profits is shear foolishness, but I will defer that explanation for later.

  403. #405 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 2, 2010

    Don’t worry Penfield. Without evidence, we don’t believe anything you say. Not one citation above. And libertarians are without evidence. We know that. They never can show they are right. So you aren’t the authority you would like to be with us. Just one more inane and unevidenced liberturd noise…

  404. #406 Jadehawk, OM
    May 2, 2010

    A belief that a free market (one free from government influence) provides a better chance at controlling costs than the government does not a Libertarian (nor a Tea Partier, nor a conservative) make.

    it does, when such a belief is counterfactual.

    Jadehawk, you (and many others) chastise me for making statments based on my ideological beliefs, then post a lengthy diatribe based on yours.

    ?

    I haven’t posted lengthy diatribes on anything, nevermind my “ideological beliefs”. Are you referring to post #391, and are you seriously going to tell me you’re against using whatever system works in any given situation to improve human wellbeing? because that’s all that post was about…

    Take another and add a for good measure and realize we are discussing the US government.

    and last I checked, the U.S. is situated in the same universe and made of the same species and therefore follows the same psychological, sociological, economical and physical rules as the rest of the world. What reason do you have to believe that what works in the rest of the world cannot be made to work in the U.S. in the long-term?

    At least in a free market, one where businesses must compete to keep customers, consumers retain SOME influence. Rip enough people off, especially in today’s information-rich world of the Internet, and word gets around fast. Businesses should be forced to respond to customer needs and demands, or face failure.

    in the real world however, businesses protect themselves from this by refusing to give up essential information, create more cost-effective situations like monopolies and cartels, and in the case of necessities, especially life-or-death ones, bully the customersbeggers
    with “take what I offer, or go without!” stances.

    But hey, “reality” is apparently merely my ideological belief; I guess that’s why you didn’t bother noticing when I pointed this out last time.

    that will encourage competitors to take the business away from them by charging less.

    except that now you won’t be able to switch, because now you have a pre-existing condition, and no other company will take you.

    Socialized medicine works for a while, until the country goes broke. The idea that you can save money by doing away with profits is shear foolishness, but I will defer that explanation for later.

    it’s not an “argument”; it’s a fact evidenced by the costs of operation of non-profits vs. the costs of operation of for-profits for the same purpose. The only time this isn’t true is when the non-profit covers all parts, including the least profitable/most expensive ones, of the system in which they operate, but the for-profit only services those parts that make profit, and cuts loose or underserves those that aren’t profitable. This is true for mail delivery for example, and also for health-provision in some cases. In the latter, sane people don’t see death of thousands of people as a fair price for more efficiency though.

  405. #407 Jadehawk, OM
    May 2, 2010

    crap, I think the post ate a good chunk off the end of my post. let me re-write that.

    Socialized medicine works for a while, until the country goes broke.

    except that socialized medicine is cheaper than the lack thereof. So, assuming you’re right that the countries that have it are going broke, they’d be going broke even faster without it. This is really a non-argument.

    The idea that you can save money by doing away with profits is shear foolishness, but I will defer that explanation for later.

    it’s not an “argument”; it’s a fact evidenced by the costs of operation of non-profits vs. the costs of operation of for-profits for the same purpose. The only time this isn’t true is when the non-profit covers all parts, including the least profitable/most expensive ones, of the system in which they operate, but the for-profit only services those parts that make profit, and cuts loose or underserves those that aren’t profitable. This is true for mail delivery for example, and also for health-provision in some cases. In the latter, sane people don’t see death of thousands of people as a fair price for more efficiency though.

  406. #408 Ewan R
    May 2, 2010

    Socialized medicine works for a while, until the country goes broke. The idea that you can save money by doing away with profits is shear foolishness, but I will defer that explanation for later.

    Does it even mean anything for a country to ‘go broke’ these days? The US should surely have gone broke already if that was the case – yet somehow the bill for $800+ billion dollar bailouts, and multi trillion dollar wars doesn’t suffer from the same attack – when surely the amount of cash spent on these two individual spends absolutely dwarf what universal healthcare would cost.

  407. #409 Ing
    May 2, 2010

    “My memory of Economics 101 is that it included both demand and supply. If a supplier is charging too much for a treatment for diabetes, that will encourage competitors to take the business away from them by charging less. That is, in a free market.”

    Yes, they could go to alternatives, if they exist. The big company is more likely to take a hit int he short run to destroy their competition to ensure there are no alternatives (ie Microsoft). Furthermore, if there are two big ones, it is better for both of them to agree to a cartel and then they can BOTH fix prices.

  408. #410 Antiochus Epiphanes
    May 2, 2010

    Medicine in the US is hardly a free-market operation anyway. If you are insured, you are already paying for some of those who aren’t, because emergency rooms can’t refused treatment based on ability to pay*. Hospitals must recoup these expenses. They do it by charging $5 for every ibuprofen tablet, band-aid, syringe, and assorted fees**. Further, in a free-market before a service is rendered, the price of the service is negotiated. Have you ever tried to get a precise estimate of an operation/procedure a priori? Medicine is already somewhat socialized in the US, but with no transparency. So why not just extend reasonable coverage to everyone? The emergency room is all that many people have; it is inefficient, expensive, and presents recurrent costs that could be avoided with real treatment rather than triage.

    **Nor in my opinion, should they be allowed to.
    *Earlier this year, I had a minimally invasive procedure under anaesthesia. My insurance was charged a $500 recovery room fee. I lay in this room for 45 minutes, largely under the supervision of no one but my wife.

  409. #411 penfield
    May 2, 2010

    I genuinely wish to be open minded here. You show me your citations, and I will show you mine.

    Yes, bailouts and defense budgets do suffer from the same attacks, and by the people most vilified by my interlocutors here. You are mistaken if you think those costs will not be dwarfed by Healthcare, but we will have to wait for the future to see which of us is right. Medicare costs offer an object lesson in what is likely to happen.

    Companies will certainly collude against the interests of their customers at every opportunity, as Adam Smith pointed out. Historically, such conspiracies have never been sustainable for very long without government intervention, which inevitably happens when government decides to intervene in a market.. The sort of price fixing Rockefeller is accused of didn’t happen until the oil business was cartelized by the Texas Railroad Commission (government) and later OPEC (government again). When the same thing happens to Healthcare, it will be very bad.

    The signature characteristic of free markets is that they provide a powerful incentive for the creation of alternatives, that incentive being otherwise known as profits. Without profits, there is no incentive to reduce operational costs, or improve what is being produced and no indication of what people actually want. In which case, what you get is the Post Office.

  410. #412 Ing
    May 2, 2010

    “Without profits, there is no incentive to reduce operational costs, or improve what is being produced and no indication of what people actually want. In which case, what you get is the Post Office.”

    Why not privatize the police then?

  411. #413 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 2, 2010

    Why not privatize the police then?

    Why not privatize the military as well. Think of it, the country protected by Blackwater thugs shooting up anyone they damn well please.

  412. #414 Jadehawk, OM
    May 2, 2010

    In which case, what you get is the Post Office.

    indeed. an organization that is open and present even here in the boonies (unlike UPS, which is only open one hour a week) and has never lost any of my mail (unlike Fed-Ex), and whose employees are actually, physically capable of climbing stairs (unlike either Fed-Ex or UPS)

    I like the USPS.

  413. #415 Jadehawk, OM
    May 2, 2010

    oh yeah and also: the USPS isn’t going to send back my mail if I happen not to have the opportunity to pick in up in time(like Fed-Ex did with my lost luggage; at some point, I got desperate MSP workers calling my boyfriend, trying to figure out with this bag that just kept on getting bounced back to them). And even if they did, it wouldn’t be as much of a pain, since I can walk to the nearest Post Office because they’re always located centrally, whereas both UPS and Fed-Ex are out somewhere in the far outskirts of town so I have to drive out there.

    Once again, I luurrve me some USPS.

  414. #416 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 3, 2010

    Yawn, still waiting for real evidence, not ideology, just as I have since 6 months before the ’08 election when the liberturds descended on us. It’s almost like they don’t have any…

  415. #417 somewhereingreece
    May 3, 2010

    All these posts and I haven’t had the response I was looking for from mwsletten.

    Let’s try again. in a cruder manner

    Since the past couple of years the US citizens have been shafted due to lack of government oversight (I have already posted examples) give me a good reason OTHER than racism that would explain people going against their own interest.

  416. #418 Perry Stone
    May 4, 2010

    We just wanted to thank everyone for coming out and voting (pharyngulizing) on our poll. PZ mentioned “I wonder how they’ll deal with a sudden flood of furriers.” Well, here’s some feedback…

    Your site sent 15,734 people to vote on our poll.

    http://www.voe.org/images/tea_poll.png

    Well done! Our normal traffic to the poll is between 2,000 and 10,000 votes. So… over half a million votes got our attention!

    You also pointed out that the poll allows multiple votes per IP, so we’ll be sure to disable that in the future ;)

    We thought we’d post some explanation about the poll options.

    Everyone hates a multiple choice answer where the answers are myopic, but honestly, our site visitors are usually made up of conservative readers who’s values are tied to those of the Bible. So if we trim off some of the “left” options, its just to simplify the poll to provide a set of choices we know are going to be in the range of probable answers of our readers. We’re trying to get a sample from amongst our demographic. If you asked a mechanic what tools they liked, you would not list knitting needles as one of the options. If you put liberal and conservative voters right next to each other, taking this poll, then yes, the answers would be slanted to the one side, the side of our typical readers.

    We were genuinely interested to hear what our readers thought but will be unable to use the data.

    Having said all that though, we were happy to have you stop by.

    We’ve put up a new poll, on the topic of Immigration. We think you’ll find the options more open. Why not come and vote again?

    http://www.voe.org/

    Thanks,

    Perry Stone

  417. #419 John Morales
    May 4, 2010

    Perry Stone:

    Why not come and vote again?

    Been there, done that.

  418. #420 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2010

    Been there, done that.

    Yep, once is enough.

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