King Obama the Insane — is Obama still living the big lie, or has he slipped round the bend?

Albert Einstein allegedly defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Austin O’Malley looked at the process of insanity: “A sane man often reasons from sound premises; an insane man commonly reasons as well, but the premises are unsound.” And Guy de Maupassant examined that peculiar phenomenon we now call monomania:

I have seen mad people, and I have known some who were quite intelligent, lucid, even clear-sighted in every concern of life, except on one point. They could speak clearly, readily, profoundly on everything; till their thoughts were caught in the breakers of their delusions and went to pieces there, were dispersed and swamped in that furious and terrible sea of fogs and squalls which is called MADNESS.

The common thread in these quotations is the fact that the insane person is disconnected from reality. He doesn’t understand cause and effect, his factual premises are ludicrous, and his inability to deal with reality may be centered a specific subject, so that he appears lucid as to other things.

With Obama’s most recent speech about the economy, the one in which he cited approvingly to an immediately discredited study claiming that he’s been one of the most frugal presidents in history, a new meme sprang up in the blogosphere — “Obama the Insane.”

Of course, no one has stated it with that level of clarity.  More and more writers, however, are commenting upon (1) Obama’s belief that if he keeps spending more and more money, he will magically reverse the fact that his existing spending binge has already caused inestimable harm to the U.S. economy; (2) his reliance on manifestly false facts; and (3) the way in which, even as he is cogent on other subjects (his family, rap parties, etc.), Obama’s focus on those things that most deeply affect Americans, such as the economy, foreign affairs, national security, bears no relationship to the facts on the ground.

Here are three respected writers, each of whom expresses serious concern about President Obama’s increasingly obvious disconnect from the reality of his presidency and his policies.

Peggy Noonan politely calls the presidency a “house of cards”:

There is, now, a house-of-cards feel about this administration.

It became apparent some weeks ago when the president talked on the stump—where else?—about an essay by a fellow who said spending growth is actually lower than that of previous presidents. This was startling to a lot of people, who looked into it and found the man had left out most spending from 2009, the first year of Mr. Obama’s presidency. People sneered: The president was deliberately using a misleading argument to paint a false picture! But you know, why would he go out there waving an article that could immediately be debunked? Maybe because he thought it was true. That’s more alarming, isn’t it, the idea that he knows so little about the effects of his own economic program that he thinks he really is a low spender.

Peter Ferrara is also dismayed by the President’s inability to recognize economic reality, although he believes the president is simply being deceptive. After quoting with approval the Noonan passage, above, Ferrara goes on to chide Obama for lying:

What this shows most importantly is that the recognition is starting to break through to the general public regarding the President’s rhetorical strategy that I’ve have been calling Calculated Deception. The latter is deliberately using a misleading argument to paint a false picture. That has been a central Obama practice not only throughout his entire presidency, but also as the foundation of his 2008 campaign strategy, and actually throughout his whole career.

Rest assured, Ms. Noonan, that the President is not as nuts as he may seem at times. He knows very well that he is not a careful spender. His whole mission is to transform the U.S. not into a Big Government country, but a Huge Government country, because only a country run by a Huge Government can be satisfactorily controlled by superior, all wise and beneficent individuals like himself. That is why he is at minimum a Swedish socialist, if not worse. Notice, though, how far behind the times he and his weak minded supporters are, as even the Swedes have abandoned Swedish socialism as a failure.

Mark Steyn speaks in terms of soaring rhetoric unconnected to earthbound problems:

Take, for example, the attempt at soaring rhetoric: “That’s how we built this country — together. We constructed railroads and highways, the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. We did those things together,” he said, in a passage that was presumably meant to be inspirational but was delivered with the faintly petulant air of a great man resentful at having to point out the obvious, yet again. “Together, we touched the surface of the moon, unlocked the mystery of the atom, connected the world through our own science and imagination. We haven’t done these things as Democrats or Republicans. We’ve done them as Americans.”

Beyond the cheap dissembling, there was a bleak, tragic quality to this paragraph. Does anyone really believe a second-term Obama administration is going to build anything? Yes, you, madam, the gullible sap at the back in the faded hope’n’change T-shirt. You seriously think your guy is going to put up another Hoover Dam? Let me quote one Deanna Archuleta, Obama’s deputy assistant secretary of the interior, in a speech to Democrat environmentalists in Nevada:

“You will never see another federal dam.”

Ever.

All three essays are worth reading in their entirety. All three struggle with the vast chasm between Obama’s words and actual reality. Although Ferrara calls Obama a liar to his face, Ferrara’s take on the matter is the most generous of the three, because he believes that Obama is a con man, not an insane man.

I wonder. Certainly if Obama is a con man, he’s a very bad one, in that he’s letting his audience in on the trick. A good con man would never rely upon such an easily proven set of numbers. If this is what Obama did, he’s once again proven himself to be the un-Churchill.

Why do I say that? It’s because of a story I once read that Churchill’s assistant told about the great man. I don’t know if it’s a true story, but it perfectly illustrates what a good con should be:

Churchill was invited to speak to a group of manufacturers about the future of their industry. He asked his assistant to research for him information about the probably economic future of this industry. The assistant returned to him and said that there were so many variables that it was impossible to put together a coherent picture of the industry’s future in the coming year, let alone the coming decade. To the assistant’s great surprise, the very next day, he heard Churchill give a speech replete with numbers, analyses, and estimates projecting out a good ten years. After the speech, the assistant approached Churchill and asked “How did you do that?” “Simple, my boy,” Churchill replied. “I made it up. You told me that there were too many variables to reach a conclusion or make a prediction about even the immediate future. That means that it will take years to prove my statements wrong, by which time there will have been so many intervening factors, no one will look back on what I said.”

Now that’s a con. What is not a con is to state as truth an absolute falsehood, and one that, moreover, has already been conclusively proven to be false.  The man who does that is either the most clumsy of all lies, or a monomaniac who has become unmoored from factual reality and drifted off into an economic realm all his own.

From the moment Obama appeared on the national political scene, many writers (including me) have been harping on Obama’s malignant narcissism.  The important thing to remember is that a malignant narcissist has built around an empty emotional core a carefully constructed, quite superior persona.  In order to keep that illusion alive, the narcissistic must constantly assert his superiority.  We’ve seen Obama do that over and over again.  Here are a few examples:

Marion Berry recounted meetings with White House officials, reminiscent of some during the Clinton days, where he and others urged them not to force Blue Dogs “off into that swamp” of supporting bills that would be unpopular with voters back home.

“I’ve been doing that with this White House, and they just don’t seem to give it any credibility at all,” Berry said. “They just kept telling us how good it was going to be. The president himself, when that was brought up in one group, said, ‘Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me.’ We’re going to see how much difference that makes now.”

******

President Obama met yesterday with “about 20 Conservative Jewish community leaders, thanking them for the work they do to improve communities around the country and discussed their shared commitment to rebuilding the U.S. economy,” Haaretz reports.

In the meeting, Obama reportedly boasted about his knowledge of Judaism, telling the leaders that he thinks he knows more “about Judaism” than all past presidents. He said he gained this knowledge of Judaism from reading.

“Obama … stressed he probably knows about Judaism more than any other president, because he read about it,” Haaretz reports.

******


When it comes to piloting
, Barack Obama seems to think he’s the political equivalent of Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Yeager and—in a “Fly Me to the Moon” sort of way—Nat King Cole rolled into one. “I think I’m a better speech writer than my speech writers,” he reportedly told an aide in 2008. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m . . . a better political director than my political director.”

The flip side of this constant self-assurance is the need to deny other people their due.  Narcissists are offensive.  That too is an Obama trait:

Asked in the Saturday Democratic debate about her dearth of “likability,” Clinton offered an answer both artful and sweet — first, demurely saying her feelings were hurt and mock-heroically adding that she would try to carry on regardless, then generously conceding that Obama is very likable and “I don’t think I’m that bad.”

At which point, Obama, yielding to some inexplicable impulse, gave the other memorable unscripted moment of the New Hampshire campaign — the gratuitous self-indicting aside: “You’re likable enough, Hillary.” He said it looking down and with not a smile but a smirk.

******

Obama poked fun of McCain and Palin’s new “change” mantra.

“You can put lipstick on a pig,” he said as the crowd cheered. “It’s still a pig.”

“You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still gonna stink.”

“We’ve had enough of the same old thing.”

******

The president defended his talks with Gulf fishermen and oil spill experts, saying their purpose was not academic – rather, they were an exercise in asserting where the presidential boot should be administered, “so I know whose ass to kick”.

******

President Barack Obama says police in Cambridge, Mass., acted “stupidly” this week when they arrested Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, someone they knew was in his own home.

The big question, of course, is what happens to a malignant narcissist when reality is so overwhelming that his normal coping mechanisms — self-aggrandizement and the denigration of others — no longer work?  Obama is being soundly slapped in the face by economic reality, by statistics, by an aggressive political opponent (You go, Mitt!), and by a disillusioned, although still loyal, media.

One could say that insanity is the last refuge of a narcissist.  If the real world will no longer conform to his self-image, he’ll deny the real world, and come up with a better one that allows him to boast to his heart’s content, not just about his own alleged qualities, but about larger, objective reality.

Obama’s intellectual and emotional collapse would normally be a sad sight, indeed.  Because of his peculiarly exalted position, though, a mad President Obama is just as unnerving and dangerous for the State as any mad monarch of old.

Crazy people, the Zeitgeist, and cannibalism

Crazy people have always reflected their own society’s pathologies.  In a pre-modern era, crazy people thought they were the Devil or, perhaps, the Hammer of God.  In the atomic/space exploration age, insanity tended to involve aliens.  People thought they were abducted, thought aliens were among us, or thought that they were themselves aliens.

What are we to make of modern crazy people, though?  They’ve taken all of the old pathologies — Devil worship, hammer of God, aliens — and added a new twist:  cannibalism.  Just in the past few days, we’ve had one guy eat off another’s face, although he didn’t live to tell the tale; a Maryland man dine upon his roommate; and a Devil-worshipping gay porn star film himself murdering his lover, whose flesh he later ate.  A few years ago, a Canadian man killed and ate a fellow traveler on a bus, claiming his victim was an alien.  Richard Fernandez has collected other recent cannibal stories that are impossible to ignore.

What the heck zeitgeist is this that sees so many insanities end with cannibalism?

Cannibalism is nothing new.  Starving people have routinely resorted to cannibalism.  In the Soviet Ukraine, when Stalin implemented policies that deliberately starved the peasants off their land, “an orphan was a child whose parents hadn’t eaten him.”  The Donner party survivors reputedly ate those who died.  When a plane crashed in the Andes, the survivors also turned to cannibalism.

Cannibalism also has a long medicinal history.  Stealing gold wasn’t the only reason grave robbers pillaged Egyptian mummies.  Powdered mummy was an important part of many pre-modern medicine chests.  Blood from a hanged criminal was also believed to be good for people.

Many religions have also promoted cannibalism.  The Aztecs were notorious for their human sacrifices, sometimes numbering in the tens of thousands for important religious festivals.  This not only kept enemies in line, but it also ensured that a society that had systematically stripped the surrounding landscape of animals, was still able to get the iron and protein necessary for survival.  Pagan tribes throughout Europe (and the Americas) also engaged in cannibalism, believing that they strengthened themselves by eating their enemies’ flesh and blood.

The first religion to take a stand against cannibalism was Judaism.  The story of the Sacrifice of Isaac — which, of course, ends without any sacrifice at all — saw the Jewish people put to rest any notions of satisfying God with human flesh.  Jews took that idea and made it concrete when they institutionalized rules that barred body mutilation (no tattoos or piercings for religious Jews) and required that bodies get buried within 24 hours of death, thereby depriving surrounding pagan tribes of the opportunity to mutilate and eat Jewish bodies.

The genius of Christianity (and I have no idea whether this was accidental or on purpose) is that Christians understood, and were able to convince others, that Jesus Christ was the last and best blood sacrifice.  By drinking the wine and eating the wafer at the sacrament, the potency of actual cannibalism was transmuted into the even more potent effect of symbolic cannibalism.  And that was the end of ritual cannibalism in the Judeo-Christian culture.

Proscribed by Jewish law, and elevated to the ultimate non-corporeal mingling with God under Christian doctrine, Westerners not only did not want human flesh, they disdained it.  They’d eat it medicinally or under starvation conditions, but theirs would not be the hands that struck the death-blow.  Instead, the more superstitious or desperate among them might take advantage of an already dead body, be it a hanged criminal, a thousand-year old mummy, or a dead comrade in the Ukraine, the Sierras, or the Andes.  Killing for blood . . . a big Western cultural no-no.  (The recent market in dead babies in Asia shows that this cultural no-no is certainly not universal, but it has taken hold in most parts of the First World, and the pseudo First World.)

So, where are we?  Judeo-Christian culture proscribes cannibalism.  We no longer believe in the medicinal use of already dead bodies.  And none of the killers mentioned at the beginning of this article were starving.  Instead, they were crazy.  So why is cannibalism resurgent?

And while I’m asking that, what’s with the Zombie craze?  This is not an irrelevant question.  Not only are zombies the un-dead, they also dine on human brains.  They’re somehow part of this zeitgeist that has Western culture seeing itself as cannibalizing itself.  But while normal people joke about it, and watch scary movies, the crazy people are on the move, looking for their next meal.

I don’t have answers.  I just have questions.  Do you have answers?

Only megalomanics need apply

Let’s see if I’ve got this right, based upon the evidence currently available:

  1. Obama is a grandiose narcissist
  2. Newt is an egomaniac
  3. Hillary is a compulsive liar
  4. Mitt seems vaguely asperger-ish, with a weather vane in place of his spine
  5. Herman is a serial womanizer (assuming, for the sake of argument, that the claims against him are true)
  6. Rick is manic (so can depressive be far behind)
  7. Michelle is an abused wife (or is she married to an abused husband?  I forget)

And on the list goes.  Giving personality disorder labels to presidential candidates is like shooting fish in a barrel — it’s just too easy.  But think about it:  What person in his (or her) right mind would want to run for president or be president in the early years of the 21st century.  Not only is there the burden of governing a superpower in an explosive world, but our manic media ensures that, if you’re a Republican candidate, you’ll be subject to routine, public colonoscopies,  while if you’re a Democratic candidate, you receive the kind of fawning sycophancy that created the same delusions of grandeur that drove many European monarchs mad.

Any job description for the job of president in 2012 should end with the words “only megalomaniacs need apply.”  No sane person would want the job, including a sane patriot, and that fact may go a long to explaining why our candidates are so deeply flawed.

In honor of this realization, I’d like to propose a new presidential song, which is much more apt and meaningful than “Hail to the Chief”:

(Or see here.)

The lunatics have taken over the asylum

I find the video below both hysterically funny and terribly tragic.  We should all be worried when the insane are the vanguard of what promises to be a dangerous protest movement.

One can sympathize with people who have been on the receiving end of societal and government lies for decades, and one can feel for people who, thanks to our marvelous media, watch the rich grow outrageously rich before their eyes.  For these people it is irrelevant that there are reasonable counter arguments.  People in the fine flush of rage, insanity or stupidity, don’t want to hear that banks give loans because that’s what they do, that the government has mandated that they give loans to people who are bad risks, and that only a foolish person would take on unsustainable debt.  Likewise, they are interested in the fact that, even as the rich get visibly richer, the truth about America is that there has generally been a huge rise in the standard of living, due in large part to the same corporations these people are protesting.

Regardless of little sparks of meaning and sanity emanating from the streets, the fact remains that OWS is a fundamentally anarchistic movement.  It has no purpose other than destruction.  That some seek to destroy government, and some the banks, and some the Jews, is irrelevant.  The destructive impulse that drives OWS explains why local governments are stymied about how to deal with the protests.  Whether one lets the crowds sit there, mired in filth, or whether one tries to sweep them away, the outcome is the same:  societal disruption.  In the short term, the anarchist always wins.

And with that intro, enjoy this video, showing the leading edge of lunacy:

(If the embed isn’t working, you can see the video here.)

Hat tip:  Duane Lester

Yet another New York Times columnist proves that he is an idiot

Joseph Stack, the man who flew a plane into the IRS building in Austin, Texas, left a long, a very long, pre-suicide/pre-murder screed identifying those issues that drove him to commit his act.  The most obvious thing about the screed is that it is the work of someone with cognitive dysfunction, most likely some form of paranoid schizophrenia.  There were no logical thought processes at work here.  The other thing obvious about his polemic was that it borrowed anger from every political movement.  Here are some highlights, showing that this was a man who could hold a grudge against Mother Theresa, the Good Humor Man, George Washington, Stalin, and Walt Disney simultaneously, along with all his other grudges against one political movement or another:

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.  [There's no ideology here, just anger against taxes, something common to all people in varying degrees depending on the amount of money taken from them or the use to which the government puts the money.]

[snip]

I can say with a great degree of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind. Nor, for that matter, are they the least bit interested in me or anything I have to say.  [Stack is alienated from all politicians, regardless of political stripe.]

Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours?  [Stack hates both corporatism and the stimulus, showing his equal opportunity outlook.]

Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.  [Stack hates the status quo regarding American medicine, which would put him squarely on the Democratic side of the political system.]

[snip]

How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law “requires” a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not “duress” than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.  [Stack hates our legal system, an ideology that is not associated with either the left or the right.]

[snip]

In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. [Stack hates the church, which seems to be a left thing, not a right thing, although he sounds more like a 16th Century theologian than a modern secular American leftist.]

[snip]

However, this is where I learned that there are two “interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us… Oh, and the monsters are the very ones making and enforcing the laws; the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.  [Stack believes in class warfare, a notion emanating from the political left.]

[snip]

The significance of independence, however, came much later during my early years of college; at the age of 18 or 19 when I was living on my own as student in an apartment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My neighbor was an elderly retired woman (80+ seemed ancient to me at that age) who was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was social security to live on.  [Stack believes both management and unions are corrupt, making him, again, an equal opportunity hater.]

And on and on it goes, with Stack railing endlessly about government and the lack of government, about religion, about class warfare, about socialism and capitalism.  Indeed, as to the last two, Stack wrapped up his missive with knocks at both economic institutions:

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

In simple terms, the guy was a loony-tunes, who was unfettered by any specific political ideology.  He was paranoid to the point of murderous and suicidal insanity.  There was nothing else there:  no strong political ideology or affiliation, no overriding belief system, just garden-variety paranoia.

If you believe my analysis, you will also believe that Robert Wright, of the New York Times, is a bona fide idiot.    Wright has looked at the same manifesto and concluded that Stack was a Tea Party terrorist.  With hundreds of wordy-words, and turgid explanations, Wright explains his reasoning.  After you read Wright’s little anti-conservative polemic, I’ll conclude with my simplified analysis of Wright’s thinking, and you’ll see where the idiot label I apply comes from.  First, Wright:

Stack, in contrast, saw himself as part of a cause, as one in a long line of fighters against tyranny. The manifesto he left behind reads, “I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. … I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be whitewashed and ignored” — at which point, God willing, “the American zombies wake up and revolt.” This man was, by prevailing semantic conventions, a terrorist.

Was he a Tea Partier — or at least a Tea Party sympathizer? Conservatives who say no point to leftish themes in his manifesto. And it’s true that — in a line much-quoted by these conservatives — he seems to wish that the government would do something about health care. Then again, who doesn’t?

There are clearer left-wing strands in Stack’s writing — he identified with blacks and the downtrodden, he said the rich oppress the poor — but I’m not sure how relevant that is, because I’m not sure how purely conservative the Tea Party movement is anyway.

Yes, it mobilized against a liberal health care bill and the stimulus package, but it also opposes corporate bailouts. Sure, Tea Partiers hate taxes, but that alone doesn’t distinguish them from many Americans. On social issues the Tea Partiers include some libertarians along with a larger number of family-values conservatives.

And when you move to foreign policy, things don’t get more coherent. Though some Tea Partiers are hawks, many follow Ron Paul’s lead, combining a left-wing critique of military engagement with a right-wing aversion to the United Nations and other multilateral entanglements.

In the end, the core unifying theme of the Tea Partiers is populist rage, and this is the core theme in Stack’s ramblings, whether the rage is directed at corporate titans (“plunderers”), the government (“totalitarian”) or individual politicians (“liars”).

I don’t doubt that Tea Partiers are on balance on the right, and if their movement ever crystallizes into a political party that will be its location. But until the requisite winnowing happens, a person with Stack’s fuzzy ideology wouldn’t feel terribly alone at a big Tea Party.

I emphasize that I’m talking about his ideology, not his penchant for flying planes into buildings. Still, some of the ingredients of that penchant — a conspiratorial bent, a deep and personal sense of oppression, an attendant resentful rage — can be found in the movement, if mainly on its fringes. There are some excitable Tea Partiers out there.

You could, on the one hand, follow this logic to the conclusion that Joseph Stack was the first Tea Party terrorist.

Stack tries to pull back from his biased conclusion by saying, “Hey, let’s avoid the word terrorist altogether (since, unspoken, we at the New York Times already do that when it comes to Muslim killers who come pre-equipped with a neatly packaged anti-American ideology),” but that doesn’t undo his conclusion.  Instead, it’s just a silly verbal game aimed at disavowing his clearly stated conclusion.

And now, after all of Wright’s verbal dancing and prancing, let me present my simple distillation of Wright’s endless verbiage:

Tea Partiers are angry.

Stack was angry.

Therefore Stack was a Tea Partier.

In other words, Wright engaged in a classic false syllogism:

People often make mistakes when reasoning syllogistically.

For instance, from the premises some A are B, some B are C, people tend to come to a definitive conclusion that therefore some A are C.  However, this does not follow according to the rules of classical logic. For instance, while some cats (A) are black (B), and some black things (B) are televisions (C), it does not follow from the parameters that some cats (A) are televisions (C). This is because first, the mood of the syllogism invoked is illicit (III), and second, the supposition of the middle term is variable between that of the middle term in the major premise, and that of the middle term in the minor premise (not all “some” cats are by necessity of logic the same “some black things”).

Determining the validity of a syllogism involves determining the distribution of each term in each statement, meaning whether all members of that term are accounted for.

In simple syllogistic patterns, the fallacies of invalid patterns are:

Undistributed middle – Neither of the premises accounts for all members of the middle term, which consequently fails to link the major and minor term.
Illicit treatment of the major term – The conclusion implicates all members of the major term (P — meaning the proposition is negative); however, the major premise does not account for them all (i e P is either an affirmative predicate or a particular subject there).
Illicit treatment of the minor term – Same as above, but for the minor term (S — meaning the proposition is universal) and minor premise (where S is either a particular subject or an affirmative predicate).
Exclusive premises – Both premises are negative, meaning no link is established between the major and minor terms.
Affirmative conclusion from a negative premise – If either premise is negative, the conclusion must also be.
Existential fallacy – This is a more controversial one. If both premises are universal, i.e. “All” or “No” statements, one school of thought says they do not imply the existence of any members of the terms. In this case, the conclusion cannot be existential; i.e. beginning with “Some”. Another school of thought says that affirmative statements (universal or particular) do imply the subject’s existence, but negatives do not. A third school of thought says that the any type of proposition may or may not involve the subject’s existence, and although this may condition the conclusion it does not affect the form of the syllogism.

Apparently the eight years of shrieking Bush Derangement Syndrome that preceded the Tea Party movement did nothing to create an “angry movement” in America.  In Wright’s imaginary land, Stack’s travails, which Stack himself saw as stretching back decades, were unaffected by any anger other than the righteous (and non-violent) indignation of the tea partiers.  I also don’t see any record of Wright opining about the Left wing rage that motivated Amy Bishop, a fanatic Obama follower (left wing) who, angered that she was denied her rightful tenure (a very Left wing notion), went postal and killed three black colleagues.  Apparently she was merely crazy, and not the logical result of of eight years of violently hostile Bush Derangement Syndrome.

I am reminded again why, even though I, as an informed person, should know what the other side is saying, I avoid the New York Times.  Being constantly confronted with stupidity just raises my blood pressure.  My husband keeps urging me to listen to NPR’s Fresh Air, in which Terry Gross has a good laugh with David Weigel about CPAC and how stupid conservatives are.  (They don’t respect saintly Woodrow Wilson!  How ignorant can they be?)  I just don’t have the stomach to listen to ignorance, nor the time to write the inevitable long post explaining just what a dreadful, totalitarian-leaning president Wilson was, nor to point out that, as always, NPR focuses on the fringe and not the center when it reports on the right.  Somehow NPR never gets around to reporting on its own fringe (Maxine Waters, anybody?), but that omission leaves both NPR and its listeners unperturbed.

Feh!

Same old, only better (Obama’s speech I mean)

There’s an absolute gem in Jake Tapper’s question-and-answer session with Press Sec’y Gibbs.  Before you read it, think of Einstein’s definition of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  Okay.  You got that?  Here goes:

TAPPER:  Well, OK.  One other question, then. You talked about all the things the president is going to do in the speech.  And with the exception of the last one — how we move forward from here — none of them are new.  He’s been making the argument about security and stability for health care reform — what it means to people who have insurance, what it means to people who don’t have insurance, what’s not in the bill. With the exception of how we move forward, we’ve heard this all before.  The American people have heard this all before.

GIBBS:  No, I don’t — I don’t — I don’t know that — I don’t know that they’ve heard it in — in as big a forum, as clearly, directly from the president as they will tomorrow night.

There you have it. The man who, just since the end of January, has made 111 speeches and counting, the man who is the greatest communicator and rhetorician evah in the White House, this very same man is finally going to give a speech that will, for real, truly, explain everything to us about health care reform.  Really.  Truly.  This time he’s going to do it.  Yup.

This.  Is.  The.  Speech.  The others were just warm-ups.  From now on, we’ll all get it when it comes to health care.  This time is the time.

Right?  Right?

Hey!  Is anybody out there listening?  Come on.  This is the speech.  Honest.  This time you’ll understand.  I promise.

Hey, you!  Come back here.  Don’t you walk away from me.  I’ve got it right this time.  I’ll be clear and direct.  Promise.

Hello!  Hello?  Hellloooo?

Lunatics reflect the world around them

During the Middle Ages and right through to the early modern era, crazy people believed that they were witches or the devil (or, at least, doing the bidding of witches and the devil).  During the post-WWII space era, crazy people substituted creatures from out of space for the devil.  Again, their lunacy distilled core symbols of the era.

Keep that in mind as you think about these three news stories, all from the past few days:  In Canada, an apparently normal man went berzerk, stabbed his fellow bus passenger to death, and beheaded him.  In Greece, a chef went berzerk, killed his dog, and then decapitated his girlfriend.  And in Brazil, a man went berzerk and sliced his girlfriend to bits, including the by now obligatory beheading.

Do you think that, just as the looney toonz of past eras reflected their cultures’ obessessive concerns with God, the devil, and Martians, our modern nutcases are beginning to reflect Al Qaeda?  Even as it’s disintegrating, has Al Qaeda managed to establish itself as the default setting for societal angst and, therefore, the template on which the insane act out their delusions?