Every day I plow through letters that claim former President Barack Obama was a Kenyan Muslim socialist (he’s not, and he’s not in office anymore; as Elsa would say, let it go).
Or that Hillary (aka Killary, Hildebeast, Shrillary … they just kill me with their originality) has personally killed or directed the murders of perhaps hundreds, if not thousands, of people. (Proof? How dare you ask for proof! It’s true because I said it is!)
I also find letters that wrongly claim Donald Trump once told People magazine that if he ever ran for office, it would be as a Republican because Republicans are dumber.
People on both sides of the aisle tend to believe whatever makes their side look better, regardless of proof. (I choose to believe that the furry one is a sweet, gentle soul no matter how much blood I had to clean up last night when I offended him by moving my hand. This is why cats look so adorable when they sleep; otherwise there might be very few of them.)
It almost seems that the more outlandish something is, the more likely some are to believe it, and that frightens me, frankly. They’re out there, and they don’t always tip you off right away, like, maybe, by wearing a tinfoil hat. I hear it’s very fashionable.
Let’s take a look at three of the myths I’ve come across in the past few weeks.
🙄 Members of Congress get free medical care for life.
Numerous fact-checkers have tackled this one over the years, but it keeps getting back up (stay down, for the love of God!). Before Obamacare, members of Congress and their staffs could get private insurance through the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program, which functions just like a policy you get through work, complete with an employer contribution (and no, not 100 percent; there are still premiums to pay). When they leave office, they would no longer have access to that program and would have to get insurance elsewhere. After the Affordable Care Act became operational, members began buying insurance through the Obamacare exchange in D.C. (thanks to a provision slipped in by Republican Sen. Charles Grassley); yes, they can get a subsidy to help pay for it, but it functions as the employer contribution, and covers about 72 percent. In the D.C. area, current members do have access to free outpatient care at military facilities, but must pay 100 percent of the bill at facilities outside D.C. They can also get limited care (for an annual fee) such as physicals and routine examinations at the Office of the Attending Physician.
So … not exactly free, and not for life.
🙄 The American Health Care Act classifies being a rape/sexual assault survivor as a pre-existing condition.
The Washington Post’s Fact Checker gave this claim four Pinocchios. An amendment of the bill passed in the House (which still has to go through the Senate, where it almost certainly will be rewritten) allows states to seek waivers from the “continuous coverage” provision and using “health status” as a factor for insurance. However, the Post says, “[a]t least 45 states have laws prohibiting health insurance companies from using a woman’s status as a domestic violence survivor to deny coverage, according to the National Women’s Law Center.” Also, all states but Idaho and Vermont have adopted provisions of 1999 model legislation banning insurers from discriminating against sexual-abuse survivors. The Post concluded that, since at least 45 states prohibit such discrimination, “an almost Rube Goldberg scenario would need to happen before an insurer can legally classify her or his rape or sexual assault as an actual pre-existing condition.”
But, ya know, it’s ever-so-slightly possible, and that’s enough for some.
🙄 The majority of U.S. voters voted for President Trump.
Neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton got the majority of votes, but Hillary got almost 3 million more (but failed to win in the electoral college … and before you claim millions of illegal votes, only four confirmed cases were found in this election). The majority of voters would be everyone who voted against Trump. With a total of more than 73.6 million votes, votes against Trump outnumbered those for him by nearly 10.7 million. That’s 53.9 percent of the vote, a majority. And taken as a percentage of the total population, only about 19 percent of America voted for Trump.
But don’t think about that, Donnie; think of that 42 percent approval rating … it’s only 3 points off Our Boy Bill’s rating at this point in his presidency. And hey, his highest approval rating (73 percent) was just after the House impeached him, so …
And one more that just won’t die, no matter how many times more knowledgeable people explain it:
🙄 Hitler was a socialist.
As DifferenceBetween.net explains:
“National Socialism and socialism are two different political ideologies that first emerged in the 18th and 19th centuries respectively. Socialism advocates for the equal distribution of wealth across all social classes, while National Socialism is more focused on building pride in the special abilities of the Aryan race, rather than solving the long-standing problem of inequality.”
But … but … socialism! Uh, yeah, it’s in the name, but names can be deceiving (ya know, like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).
To be more specific about national socialism, DifferenceBetween says:
“National Socialism has its roots in 18th century Prussian tradition, when leaders like Fredrick the Great and Fredrick William I presented the militant spirit as the model for civic life (Loughlin, 2001). This political ideology would receive further reinforcement from scholars like Friedrich Nietzsche who proclaimed that Germans were a superior race, and the Comte de Gobineau who emphasized the cultural and racial purity of the Nordic peoples (Loughlin, 2001). …
“In contrast, socialism emerged as a political ideology that would challenge capitalism by championing the distribution of national wealth to all classes of society. The German philosopher, Karl Marx, asserted that socialism would address the unequal distribution of wealth in all the nations where it was adopted (Holian, 2011). According to Eccleshall (1994), the word socialism actually means common ownership, and the aim of socialists is to equally distribute the world’s resources among all its peoples. …
“While socialism prevents class wars by asserting that no social class of people is more deserving than the other, National Socialism makes use of corporatism to bring together workers and entrepreneurs (Bel, 2006). …
“In Nazi Germany which embraced National Socialism, the superior abilities of Aryan citizens were exalted in an effort to appeal to individual pride. Germans wanted to take part in nation-building projects because of the feeling of patriotism, and a sense of pride in being members of the fatherland. In contrast, socialism encourages public participation in national projects by stressing on the importance of belonging to a collective, rather than operating on individual strength.”
But her emails! Oh, sorry, wrong talking point … But socialism!
Most of the people I’ve talked to who believe myths like those above are polite; I may not change their minds with facts, but that’s OK because we listen to each other. Some, though …
Ones who go into a conversation with an axe to grind are another story, such as the anonymous guy who called me Monday asking about Russia, Obama and Mitt Romney. I could tell from his tone (and the fact that he’s called before) that nothing I said would matter, and when I said nothing, he shouted something along the lines of “You can’t answer, can you, b****!” then quickly hung up before I could respond.
Ahem. Mr. Anonymous, there are many things logically wrong with your query (not the least of which is that the world situation has changed since 2012), but your rudeness overrides all of that. I invite you, as I believe I have before, to stand behind your words with your name, but since that’s unlikely to happen, I’m sure my mom is more than willing to give you some lessons on how to deal with people with whom you disagree. I mean, your mom obviously gave you no lessons on how to get along … well, with anyone, really.
Lesson one: Pick better insults.
This week’s Twitter burns cracked me up for a lot of reasons. Whether it’s “fake news” fighting back or a massive Twitter story constructed line by line, I found much to laugh about this week on that certain person’s Twitter feed (and this was even before his Monday rants on Sally Yates and James Clapper!).
And remember, laughter is a great way to deal with Cheeto Jesus.
This last one isn’t really a Twitter burn, but it amused me … it’s probably the only way he’ll ever stop tweeting.