Loathing Fear

by on Oct.28, 2015, under Uncategorized

Like most posts on this blog, this came out of trying to talk about the world with relatives of mine. There is a hateful email here, and some responses.

As someone pointed out – people are still doing email forwards?

Want to skip it? Read this:

Terrible Email Forward

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Someone I Don’t Know

Date: Sun, Oct 25, 2015 at 6:57 PM

Subject: Immigrant situation in Europe (Germany) now

To: Some people I don’t know, plus a relative.

Below is a personal account of some effects on Germany of the current “migrations” from Africa and the Middle East.  It has been passed to me by a Canadian friend.  It makes instructive reading.

Many thanks, <Person>.


Subject: Immigrant situation in Europe (Germany) now

E-mail forwarded by an American friend:

I have friends in Europe and one of them directed me to the following today. This is an eyewitness story from a doctor working in Germany at a Munich hospital, a retired physician from the Czech Republic who went to work there because they needed additional help. This is part of her email from Germany:


Yesterday, at the hospital we had a meeting about how the situation here and at the other Munich hospitals is unsustainable. Clinics cannot handle emergencies, so they are starting to send everything to the hospitals.

Many Muslims are refusing treatment by female staff and, we women are refusing to go among those animals, especially from Africa. Relations between the staff and migrants are going from bad to worse. Since last weekend, migrants going to the hospitals must be accompanied by police with K-9 units.

Many migrants have AIDS, syphilis, open TB and many exotic diseases. If they receive a prescription in the pharmacy, they learn they have to pay cash. This leads to unbelievable outbursts, especially when it is about drugs for the children. They abandon their children with pharmacy staff with the words: “So, cure them here yourselves!” So the police are not just guarding the clinics and hospitals, but also large pharmacies. 

Where are all those who had welcomed in front of TV cameras, with signs at train stations? Yes, for now, the border has been closed, but a million of them are already here and we will definitely not be able to get rid of them.

Until now, the number of unemployed in Germany was 2.2 million. Now it will be at least 3.5 million. Most of these people are completely unemployable. A bare minimum of them have any education. What is more, their women usually do not work at all. I estimate that one in ten is pregnant. They have brought along infants and little kids under six, many emaciated and neglected. If this continues and German re-opens its borders, I’m going home to the Czech Republic. Nobody can keep me here in this situation, not even at double the salary that I make at home. I went to Germany, not to Africa or the Middle East.

Even the professor who heads our department told us how sad it makes him to see the cleaning woman, who for 800 Euros cleans every day for years, and then meet young men in the hallways who just wait with their hand outstretched, want everything for free, and when they don’t get it they throw a fit.

I really don’t need this! But I’m afraid that if I return, that at some point it will be the same in the Czech Republic. If the Germans, with their nature cannot handle this, there in the Czech Republic it would be total chaos. Nobody who has not come in contact with them has any idea what kind of animals they are, especially the ones from Africa, and how Muslims act superior to our staff, regarding their religious accommodation.

For now, the local hospital staff has not come down with the diseases they brought here, but, with so many hundreds of patients every day – this is just a question of time.

In a hospital near the Rhine, migrants attacked the staff with knives after they had handed over an 8-month-old on the brink of death, which they had dragged across half of Europe for three months. The child died in two days, despite having received top care at one of the best pediatric clinics in Germany. The physician had to undergo surgery and two nurses are laid up in the ICU. Nobody has been punished.

 The local press is forbidden to write about it. What would have happened to a German if he had stabbed a doctor and nurses with a knife? Or if he had flung his own syphilis-infected urine into a nurse’s face and so threatened her with infection? At a minimum he’d go straight to jail and later to court. With these people – so far, nothing has happened.

And so I ask, where are all those greeters and receivers from the train stations? Sitting pretty at home, enjoying their non-profits and looking forward to more trains. If it were up to me I would round up all these greeters and bring them here first to our hospital’s emergency ward, as attendants. Then, into one building with the migrants so they can look after them there themselves, without armed police, without police dogs who today are in every hospital here in Bavaria.


Comment by American source: 

Obama and Kerry want to bring 200,000 or more of these people to the United States.

Our own Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have indicated that they cannot vet these people. Our own intelligence agencies have indicated that something over 5% are probably going to be ISIS infiltrators. All of the issues described above notwithstanding, in addition (and more importantly) do we really want over 10,000 committed terrorists spread across the country in addition to these other problems as described above?

Please pass this on so people can see some of the reality of this situation in Europe.

—– End forwarded message —–

Response 1

On Oct 27, 2015 11:02 AM, I wrote:

Sigh. Are you trolling me, or do you really believe this trash?

we women are refusing to go among those animals, especially from Africa.

Really? You think that’s OK? You don’t see the naked racism here? Did they have to say “the black ones” for you to get it?

do we really want over 10,000 committed terrorists spread across the country

Right. Refugees are committed terrorists. Because after scaring you with skin color, religion is the next reason to deny their humanity. 

Also, it’s bullshit.

 the cleaning woman, who for 800 Euros cleans every day for years

Besides all the other debunking – minimum wage in Germany is almost 1500 Euro/month. 

This is clearly propaganda, designed to push every button a conservative has to fire them up. You should feel ashamed for believing this hateful garbage, but worse for passing it on. 

You have an obligation as a person with a brain – especially as one who’s brain works better than most – to critically evaluate claims. Particularly when it’s barely concealed hate speech. 

Once you realize it’s made up, then you should ask who this was made up for, and why you’re susceptible. Why deliberately get people frightened and mad? Because then they don’t think. 

Do better. Be better. 

Reply from CC’d Relative

On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 12:26 PM, another relative wrote:

What evidence do you have that this is propaganda? Do you have facts to back it up? Don’t discount it just because it doesn’t fit your agenda.

Response 2

That’s not how this works. The burden of proof is on the person making the extraordinary claim or claims. We can use reason to evaluate a claim, and that is what I am doing here. This isn’t agenda, this is thinking and reasoning.

Say that someone tells you the sky turned purple for five minutes yesterday afternoon. Sounds pretty weird. Maybe a purple sky is what someone saw for five minutes. Maybe they had a stroke. Maybe something weird happened. Maybe they were looking out of a tinted window. Who knows. But if they go on to claim they saw Superman punch out Iron Man, then we should be more skeptical. 

Can you evaluate the truth in that without having observed the sky from every place all day? If something is bullshit, it doesn’t deserve to be treated as fact, and doesn’t need to be refuted by the fact that the sky is typically blue or gray in the afternoon. You evaluate what is claimed – you don’t have to re-prove what reality is.

What if they can’t tell you when or where they saw this? What if they just say “someone told me about it?” Would you believe them then? There are no facts. But you are essentially saying I need facts to prove it didn’t happen?

Consider that in that email forward – a notorious source of bullshit, by the way – claims where made, supposedly by a doctor working in Germany. But these things are all present that make the claims unsupportable: 

– There are no dates. So nothing can actually be fact checked against police records, newspaper accounts, etc.

– Everything is anecdotal. Which hospital? Where?

– There is a claim of a media blackout to try to explain why there are no credible records of anything that is described here. So it acknowledges that nothing can be proven or supported by independent fact.

We should be able to stop right here. This is the point where it is already clear that this is bullshit. There were all kinds of news reports on the refugees arriving in Germany. 

There is literally no factual support. But you challenge me to produce facts? Um – when people get stabbed in hospitals, it makes the news? If police were guarding hospitals and pharmacies, that would be widely known? Because everyone has a camera and access to the Internet these days? What facts would  

Let’s go with reasoning:

1. “Many migrants have AIDS, syphilis, open TB and many exotic diseases that we, in Europe, do not know how to treat them.” 

Um, this is basic medical school stuff. A doctor doesn’t know how to treat these fairly common diseases? Really?

2. “Since last weekend, migrants going to the hospitals must be accompanied by police with K-9 units.”

LOL. Seriously? You took that at face value? Dogs in a hospital? How many K-9 units are there? Does the hospital make people who need health care wait on the sidewalk until a dog is free? Really?

Note also that you are completely sidestepping the inflammatory rhetoric about race and religion (“those animals, especially from Africa”). Throughout this whole screed, there are numerous characterizations like this that are barely-veiled otherism. 

Speaking of agenda – the point of the whole message is clearly to generate fear of immigrants and Muslims. Like everyone else, there are bad apples in a group, but it is a reasoning error to assume everyone in a group is the same, and it is morally wrong. 

My agenda: using my brain to detect bullshit. *BREEP BREEP BREEP BREEP* – this email forward is not so hard to smell. Who is being blinded by agenda again?

Try this – google search the terms from this email and find ANY credible source that reports any of these claims as facts. While you are failing at that, note which websites are “reporting” (the wrong word, because reporting involves facts) the bullshit in this email? Do they seem like mainstream sites to you? Do they have audiences outside of the right wing?

I did those searches. I did this thinking. I’m inviting you to do so, too. If you want to make some sort of credible argument, you need to do better than to treat an email forward as reality and demand someone specifically refute vague bullshit. 

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Mom’s Echoing Again

by on Nov.11, 2014, under politics, society, Uncategorized

So my mother posts some fairly right-wing essays, and then asks for respectful debate on them. I’ll give it a try, but if something is simply dishonest or wrong, it’s not an issue of politeness for me to point it out.

Seriously, read the essay first. You can tell by the author credits in his bio where this is headed, but still give it a try.

For starters, anyone who ignores simple inflation when throwing spending numbers around is intellectually dishonest at the jump. This error is compounded by ignoring that the country has grown over the period he’s talking about, so of course all figures are going to grow. Medicaid and Medicare costs are subject to the unsustainable increases in the cost of medical care, so they are also artificial accelerators in the fake numbers.

Finally, lumping Social Security in with all entitlement spending ignores the demographic spike of baby boomers hitting retirement age over the last few years. If you wanted to reason about the issue of entitlements, you’d separate Social Security, or at least acknowledge the issues in including it. If you need scary numbers, you count Social Security the same as food stamps or unemployment to make your point.

Real subtle to slip in this, too: “…minimum wages, maximum hours, and mandatory benefits for employees, or rent control for tenants. ” – which is simple regulation of commerce, not the creeping tendrils of the welfare state. No one who talks this way is attempting to make a reasoned case for anything. They are only trying to rile up people that are already receptive to the message, and further insulate them from reality with shoddy reasoning designed to convince them that the other side are all idiots who don’t see “obvious” things, instead of people who don’t accept the same framing.

For example, the framing of approaching the entire set of issues of common social welfare as one single issue, and then only with dollars and cents. That’s no way to consider or conduct complex policy that affects the health and well-being of people. I’m not saying to ignore money, because of course we want to get value for what we spend. I’m saying that money is not the start and end of the conversation.

And that’s the most obvious bullshit in the whole thing. Poverty *is* diminished by welfare spending. It’s preferable to be poor in America in 2014 instead of 1964, or 1914. Social programs are only successful if we achieve zero poverty? Is it really so hard to imagine that despite some waste and fraud, real people benefit from what we spend on social programs? Millions of children, elderly, and disabled people get housed and fed this way. Despite this fact, social programs are often characterized as setting money on fire.

The structural problems in our economy are growing poverty pretty fast, too – real wages are flat over the last 40 years despite a six-fold increase in worker productivity and greatly reduced job security and retirement benefits, while housing and health care continue to climb as a percentage of income, pushing people closer to the edge. The fact that we subsidize too-low wages with social programs, instead of the wages being high enough to not need them is also part of the issue.

I can’t blame people who can’t reason more effectively, but I can blame people who won’t. This guy knows – or should know – his version of “facts” as presented have obvious errors of reasoning in them. This does not qualify as debate.

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