Monday, September 14, 2009

Facts v Truth, the Art of Parse, and AOTW

As I was working on my 9/11 post late on Thursday, I was already looking forward to this post, mainly because I already had the Asshat of the Week picked out. But not because I was all gussied up to tear into him, but because I knew it was going to be a story that would carry all the way into this week despite its utter lack of importance.

And my attack on the 9/11 truthers relates to today's AOTW in one specific way: It's a situation where facts disagree with the "truth," and can't be resolved because everybody is playing that Washingtonian game, Parse the Word (and the man for whom the city and description is named would probably take issue with the characterization).

The problem with truth is that it relies on opinions and conclusions, and often without all of or with incorrect or misrepresented facts. It's easy to do, and sometimes necessary. Religion, in all its varied, naked glory rests on truths, mainly because you can't have facts to back everything up ("it's in the Bible" doesn't make it a verifiable fact).

But too many people take things which are ideas, working theories, or dreadfully legalese documents and start confusing the two. I have someone who continues to argue that global warming is a fact. Bullshit. I'm willing to continue looking at and considering the possibility, but the facts that back the theories are mixed and don't absolutely back the theories (and I suspect they won't in the end).

Which is where the are of parsing the word comes in. A simple example from Obama's speech last week (which also happens to be related to the AOTW) was a statement that his health care bill (which doesn't exist in fact) would note "force" anyone to change their health care plan. That's true. However, here's how Parse the Word works (and the reason we fight the government option relentlessly):

If the government option is instituted, as well as "standards" that other insurance companies must live up to, then insurance companies must run on little to no margin to compete with the government. As they adjust things closer to the bottom line, insurance companies start getting out of the business (because companies don't play to lose). As well, with employers being mandated to either provide coverage or be taxed, they look at which one is cheaper. So once the government option becomes cheaper, bye bye private insurance. So while the government doesn't "force" people to change insurance, they create the conditions where the market does the forcing (because the government forces the market).

And it's in that nebulous mix of facts, truth, and legalspeak that I have to do a sad duty:

*disingenuous weeping*

Joe Wilson is Asshat of the Week!

First let's deal with the facts. President Obama was saying that (the nonexistent on paper) Obamascare would not insure illegal immigrants when the representative from South Carolina (already in the political news because of their horny and deluded governor) shouts out "you lie." And of course, technically, he's wrong (because there is no bill that will pay for insuring illegals). Furthermore, unlike the chewing the British prime minister takes across the pond, it's bad form to do this (unfortunately) in a joint session.

So political lynching began, with Democrats screaming for resignations and apologies, Republicans joining in to kick the ready target, and John McCain (go away, you asshat loser!) finding any mic possible to prove he hates his party. Of course, Wilson called the White house and apologized to the President for the inappropriateness of the outburst (but not the content).

Of course, Democrats still want an apology before them (to which Joe said no), Wilson's constituents are standing behind him, and John McCain still sucks (me, bitter? No, couldn't be).

It all comes down to the nuance of the situation. Obama speaks quite well in this setting (the reason he got elected) and doesn't utter blatant lies (he's no Bill Clinton). Rather, he (and most politicians at his level) rely on the vaguerities of our language to give them wiggle room to convert "truth" into whatever they decide it will be.

So for giving your political enemies a bone to chew on (no Barney Frank jokes, please), you're an asshat Joe. And a rank amateur of a politician from the looks of it (as in no Wilson in '12 (that was Woodrow, last century). Now had you desired to be more accurate, a better phrase to shout out shock everyone and still avoid being incorrect would have been appropriate, because it's open to interpretation and nuance:

Bullshit.

9 comments:

Toad734 said...

Although I agree with your Ass Hat of the Week part (even though I don’t really know what an asshat is), I would have to say that your assessment of the government option is a little skewed.

Based on what you are saying BMW would be out of business because Kia makes a cheaper car but as we all know that isn't the case. And wait, I thought you capitalists loved competition? I thought that when you lowered your prices and stopped making money on large margins and started making it on large volumes, the consumer wins!?? ISn't that why you love Walmart so much?

If you want to argue that the Government shouldn't be in the insurance business (even though they are already the largest insurer in the country) then fine but cry me a river for an insurance company who will now only make millions as opposed to billions since they have some competition.

There are plenty of you teabaggers that wouldn’t dare get on the public option because you think Obama is going to indoctrinate you and your family with socialism and take away your guns so if all the Faux News crowd refuses to buy into the public option then the more expensive, less than ethical insurance companies will still have a large customer base.

Again, I don't see you standing on a corner protesting for all the shoe, clothing and electronic manufacturers that have gone out of business over the last 20 years so why are you out protesting for the insurance companies? Did you also protest the demise of the luxury rail car and cruise liner industry when the airplane was invented?

Even if everyone did move to the public option the insurance companies could still sell other kinds of insurance such as life insurance, car insurance, etc.

dmarks said...

"Based on what you are saying BMW would be out of business because Kia makes a cheaper car but as we all know that isn't the case"

I look on the roads, and I see 40 Kia's for every BMW I see. So your analogy basically means that you think that free-market healthcare would hardly be there compared to the government-controlled option.

" And wait, I thought you capitalists loved competition? "

Free and fair competition, yes. Not unfair competition from the one company (government) which gets to steal as much money as it wants to fund itself and also rig the rules in its favor with complete freedom.

"There are plenty of you teabaggers that wouldn’t dare get on the public option ..."

No. I oppose the public option because it is unnecessary, a waste of tax money, because it means welfare for the rich, and many other reasons.

I don't see what the news has to do with it, other than to prove that you can't spell the name of a major network.

"Did you also protest the demise of the luxury rail car and cruise liner industry when the airplane was invented?"

Your analogy is so completely invalid. Boeing, Cessna, etc are private companies.

"Even if everyone did move to the public option the insurance companies could still sell other kinds of insurance such as life insurance, car insurance, etc."

Here, it sounds like you are defending the idea that government-controlled insurance would wipe out popularly-controlled (free market) insurance.

It's best to have no "public option". Thankfully, more and more of the public has gotten informed on this, and that is less and less popular.

TRUTH 101 said...

Dmarks. Dmarks. Dmarks.

Most of us have no option when it comes to health insurance. Either take what your employer offers through it's group plan or piss off. I'm for single payer but with that still being a long way off I would appreciate a real All American choice when it comes to health insurance. I can only go to doctors in my network. I would love to be able to go to any doctor I wanted which the public option provides for.



Patrick: your awarding of AOTW to Congressman Wilson is only a minor setback. Soon the substitute FOX News pundit Andrew Breitbart will be calling yours truly a "mother fucker." Adding to a long list of congressional candidates, state legislators, aldermen and former mayors who couldn't handle the Truth 101.

TAO said...

"Free and fair competition, yes. Not unfair competition from the one company (government) which gets to steal as much money as it wants to fund itself and also rig the rules in its favor with complete freedom."

That sounds real nice dmarks as theory, but tell me how that differs from health insurance companies today? Realistically and not theroretically?

"Your analogy is so completely invalid"

DMARKS! Shame on you, that is EXACTLY what you did on another blog inregards to Thomas Friedman and his article on China...he was stating how the chinese are preparing for the future and we were stuck doing nothing but partisan politics and you went on and on about all the millions that the Reds killed..."

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"That sounds real nice dmarks as theory, but tell me how that differs from health insurance companies today? Realistically and not theroretically?"

Realistically: While it can be claimed that any health insurance company might hold a monopoly, the monopoly they'd hold at any one time is not one of force. Only government has that monopoly. And so, the only way for any insurance company to hold a monopoly in their respective market is with the protection of government as the bully to ward off its competitors.

Any Capitalist (to say they even exist) ought to know this, understand this, and pursue it.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

*EDIT*

Any Capitalist (to say they even STILL exist) ought to know this, understand this, and pursue it.

Patrick M said...

Toad: You don't know what an asshat is yet? Do you own a mirror? :)

To clarify, I'm not opposed to anyone making money as long as they don't cheat their customers (the reason we do need reform in that area).

Also, I don't protest all those other businesses because they're not being run out of business by the government.

And it's the government option. Public is a misnomer.

101: Hey, rather thean waiting fro Breitbart, we could just start taking turns calling eac other "mother fucker." Althoug hI usually like to turn it into one cool-sounding word, Sam Jackson style.

Soapster: Capitalism is dying, you know.

TRUTH 101 said...

Im like you too much Patrick. Beisdes, you never say anything so totally outrageous and stupid that you deserve to be called a motherfucker. Deluded, yes. Motherfucking deluded? Nah.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"Soapster: Capitalism is dying, you know."

And yet it is blamed for the econimic ills that have befallen us. What a damn shame that is.