Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ask a Korean! News: Deja Vu, Anyone?

At the first sign of Barack Obama doing something big and disputed like the healthcare reform, political discourse in America has been getting uglier and uglier such that utterly stupid people are dominating the news.

First, we have the birthers, like this lovely lady right here:

What is a "birther", you ask? This New York Times article gives a nice overview of the history of "birther" movement:

“Birthers, for the uninitiated, is a term used by the media to ridicule
those who believe that the president’s Hawaiian birth certificate is fake and
that because he was ostensibly born in Kenya, not the United States, he was
never eligible to be president in the first place.”
Prominent media figures like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh have taken the birther movement seriously enough not to dismiss it out of hand, although there have been "scores of embarrassing legal defeats, and even after tussles between the attorneys who’ve turned frivolous lawsuits about the president’s citizenship into full-time jobs.”

Then there are those who oppose Obama's healthcare plan for utterly stupid reasons. Mind you, while the Korean would like to see a single-payer health insurance system like the one Korea has, he is fully willing to recognize that there are two sides of the debate, and those who oppose a government-sponsored program definitely have serious and valid arguments.

But then there is this kind of people, who contribute nothing to the debate:

At a town hall meeting held by Rep. Robert Inglis (R-SC), someone reportedly
told Inglis, "Keep your government hands off my Medicare." "I had to politely
explain that, 'Actually, sir, your health care is being provided by the
government,'" Inglis told the Post. "But he wasn't having any of it."
Or people who say this:

“This is about the dismantling of this country,” Katy Abram, 35, shouted at Mr.
Specter, drawing one of the most prolonged rounds of applause. “We don’t want
this country to turn into Russia.”
The Korean wishes this type of stuff was limited to a small number of delusional people. But no -- even politicians as prominent as Sarah Palin (don't laugh -- she is still prominent) drops this gem:

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down
Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats
can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in
society’ whether they are worthy of health care.”
Gee, where has the Korean seen all this before -- people buying into crazy conspiracy theory that has little basis on fact or logic, spurred on by media and politicians. It all seems so familiar...

Oh yeah, right here.

Oh geez, the Korean remembers the American expats in Korea who just loved skewering those Mad Cow protesters. How Korean educational system bred citizens with lack of scientific knowledge and critical thinking; how Koreans are dumb lemmings who would be fooled into anything; how this could only happen in Korea, the land of stupid retards.

The Korean is absolutely not saying all American expats in Korea said such things, or even all American expats in Korea who were critical of Mad Cow protests said such things. There were many valid criticisms to be made against the Mad Cow protests, and many American expats did make such sensible criticisms.

But as to those Americans who just could not get enough to calling Koreans stupid, the Korean only has this to say: WHO'S STUPID NOW, BITCHES? At least Mad Cow Disease was real, no matter how unlikely it was; Obama is a certifiable American citizen, and there is no chance that is not an American citizen. I hope your hat is fucking delicious.

[And before you say anything about how there is not yet massive protests by birthers or idiotic opponents of healthcare -- put them in a country where half of the population live in one single geographical area that is connected by the fatest Internet in the world, the most extensive cell phone network in the world, and extremely efficient mass transit, and see what happens.]

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@hotmail.com.



    I assume the correct answer is not, "The morons who believe the creation of the public option is NOT the first step in doing away with private health care in the United States."

    I'll also assume that the "utterly stupid people" dominating the news do NOT include the Democratic lawmakers considering reconciliation to railroad healthcare reform through the Congress. Or Democrat lawmakers calling healthcare reform opponents Nazis, brownshirts, mobs... that is when they're not calling health insurance providers "villains."

    In fact, I'm having trouble seeing how the opposition generated by the Obama administration's attempts to railroad healthcare reform has anything in common with the mass protests surrounding US beef imports in Korea. Other than both were aided by hamfisted government action.

    I fully agree that Americans can believe some pretty stupid things, but comparing the beef protests with the birthers and health care reform opposition is a bit of a stretch, no?

  2. So people can't think that BOTH the mad cow protests AND the 'birthers'/ins. reform protesters are stupid?

    I find the manipulation of public opinion, both on the Korean and US side, very sad and frightening and don't really see what it is you seem to be celebrating.

  3. Robert, he never compared the beef protesters to the birthers. If anything, he's saying they can't be compared ("At least Mad Cow Disease was real..."). He's just pointing out something that you yourself mentioned, that "Americans can believe some pretty stupid things."

    Steve, of course people can think both sides are stupid. The Korean is talking about whiny English teachers (ahem, I mean expats) ranting specifically about "how this could only happen in Korea."

    Perhaps you two should re-read (or read) the post.

    BTW, when I see things like that youtube video, I almost start to have doubts about free speech.

  4. Free speech is essential to that crazy ideal of democracy. Ideally, however, we wouldn't have so many crazies trying to use their free speech since they would be following that rule your mom told you about in the second grade: listen twice as much as you speak.

    If there's anything these two events have in common, it's that neither has had a direct impact on my life. I went about my life during the 100 days of beef protests and never truly feared for my safety (out of the ordinary, at least). Obama's health care plan? Meh - I'm not in the US, and I'm probably covered by a better plan here than I'd ever have back in the US.

  5. Robert, he never compared the beef protesters to the birthers.

    Name of post: "News: Deja Vu, Anyone?"

    And to quote The Korean:

    Gee, where has the Korean seen all this before -- people buying into crazy conspiracy theory that has little basis on fact or logic, spurred on by media and politicians. It all seems so familiar...

    So, he's NOT comparing the two, you say? My bad -- will read again.

  6. Yeah, that's just it. I don't know anyone that suggested the mad cow protests could only happen in Korea. I never read that sort of criticism.

    I did hear people argue something along the lines of the Korean educational system lacking a focus on critical thinking skills, and to a degree I would agree with it
    (to the extent that the educational system has historically been based on following the authority of the text/teacher, rather than independently creating and testing your own ideas)... So does that lump me in with the people that are supposed to eat their hats according to The Korean?

    Ultimately, this is just unproductive and does nothing to raise the level of discourse. It just feeds into the same fallacious mindset of the birthers and the mad cow-ers.

  7. I think comparing these things totally works. The Minju party was behind the beef madness just as the GOP is behind the birther/deather madness. Both of them started out as a political tactic by minority parties, gained momentum and public interest in slow news months and eventually died out. Both of the events accomplished their goal of hurting the sitting president.

    Neither facts NOR GEOGRAPHY matter in political theater, people. Korean nuts are the same as American nuts.

    The question now is whether the Obama administration will go after FauxNews for spreading lies like Lee went after MBC. That's what we should be more concerned about.

  8. Just when America was not the laughing stock of the whole world anymore and had gained some respect back...

  9. I would like to napalm the town where that stupid woman and her fellow hicks live. Trust me, it would be better for the betterment of our country.

  10. Hi,
    Do not want to complain too much and I know that it is your blog, but I just watched 2 minutes of this video unaware that have nothing to do with Korea... :)

    Anyway, I am no anti-American, but I am more pleased when you write about Korea. Not everyone is interested in internal affairs some country on continent far away. :)

    Maybe I should not complain, but well I did it. Hope you do not mind, is not a big issue for me (How something like that could be anyway? :) ).

    I am really enjoying your blog ;)

  11. Tomek,

    Telling the Korean what to do with his blog is the fatest way to get banned from AAK. Please don't do that again -- the Korean would hate to ban you.

  12. Technically, Tomek didn't actually tell the Korean what to do on his blog.

  13. And as such, no banning was done.

  14. That is true, good sir. One may note, however, that he was politely informed not to do "it" again. Now if we can only figure out what this "it" was that he did do the first time.

  15. The Korean,

    I think everyone should take a look at this video.


  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. Korean, no offences but you are not the best in holding your horses, are you?
    Joshua thx for support, and yes by any means I wanted to tell the Korean what to write. I just politely expressed my opinion, cannot see anything wrong with that.
    Anyway, message to all Yankees: best luck in fixing your healthcare system. Looks like you are on the right track again. :)

  18. Hey, actress kim min-sun is being sued by a beef importer in korea for about 300K in damages for talking smack about American beef. Why aren't people suing this woman and her friends for spreading crazy lies about the president of her own country? I guess Obama would be the only one with authority to sue them for slander? That's too bad.

  19. Robert, while I don't agree with your views, the points you raise (the public option being a possible "stealth" move, the reconciliation issue, or the more extreme Democratic rhetoric) are all at least reasonable and grounded in fact. Also, the Korean certainly left room for "credible and reasonable arguments," a category into which these would probably fall.

    That's why I'm not sure exactly why you seem to be implicitly defending the birthers or the people who don't understand that their Medicare comes from the government. These people are experiencing a fact deficit, to say the least, and if anything they are making your side looks less credible. I think we all have a duty to rebuke the crazies on our side, rather than just defending everyone who takes roughly the same position as we do no matter how nuts or wrong-headed they are.

  20. Medicare/Medicaid isn't exactly the picture of financial health. The GAO puts them $53 trillion in the red. Neither is the Post Office a good model of govt efficiency. So what's the rush to establish a $1 trillion new program? Why emulate failed socialist models in other countries?

  21. Eugene: because not everything is about making profit. Education, health and mail being some of those.

    When the US will stop thinking in terms of money, profit, and stupid ideologies (who cares if it's capitalist, socialist, fnordian or else as long as it serves its purpose (which is, I repeat, not about making money)?)

    Does National Healthcare cost money?
    Are people in countries that have it healthier than people that don't?
    And if it is that point that matters, why so any people fail to understand that is beyond me.

  22. The profit motive ultimately would create a more efficient system. Our colleges are mostly profit driven and they outperform every other country in academic research.

    And this so-called greedy, capitalistic system has produced greater cancer survival rates than nearly any other country. We produce the best pharmaceuticals and medical procedures so we're obviously doing something correct with the profit driven motive. The wait times for surgical procedures of any type is shorter here than in nearly any other country. I can get an MRI tomorrow if I need it. Good luck having that done in England anytime short of 6 months. Govt care is rationing which is a cruel system that discriminates against the very old and the very sick. Seniors are denied care in other countries by the govt simply because it's not considered cost effective. Why then do those who can afford it come to the US for treatment?

    With this all in mind I can't fathom how anybody would prefer a backward, rationed system to the free more open one we have. As the Soviets learned, choice is more pricey but of higher quality.

  23. Mmmm....
    What about you check your facts before regurgitating the Conservative propaganda???

    (you could try the WHO data for starters, or even the CIA World Fact Bbook)

  24. LOL, you mean facts from the GAO? Of course, a known right wing think tank? $53 trillion in debt will destroy this economy but what do they know right? lol, don't drink the kool aid.

    And oh, the Canadian doctor quoted as saying the system there is imploding must also be a paid agent of the RNC. So, tell me where I'm wrong on anything I said. Cancer survival, colleges, automobiles, drug development because I'm not finding much to contradict my opinion. Try informing me with facts, not insults or the usual hysteria. If you can't do better than this exchange is over.

  25. No Eugene, what's over is a discussion that is irrelevant to the post.

  26. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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