The Wraith of Kahn

August 1, 2016

I didn’t hear the speech, but I read the transcript.  Mr Kahn stood before the Democratic Convention and declared himself parent to a combat casualty.  He gained the nation’s sympathy.  But then he pulled from that emotion to one of anger, making unfounded accusations about the other Party’s candidate.  And when the accusations were rebutted, the media followed lock-step into the same fallacy of considering an attack on the truthlessness of the thin speech as an attack on the speaker. The fallacies of Mr Kahn made him out to be a wraith, a shadow of a man who appears to be one thing, but isn’t.

Here is what he said, and the rules of logic being invoked:

Tonight, we are honored to stand here as the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, and as patriotic American Muslims with undivided loyalty to our country. Like many immigrants, we came to this country empty-handed. We believed in American democracy — that with hard work and the goodness of this country, we could share in and contribute to its blessings. We were blessed to raise our three sons in a nation where they were free to be themselves and follow their dreams.  (appeal to authority)

Our son, Humayun, had dreams of being a military lawyer. But he put those dreams aside the day he sacrificed his life to save his fellow soldiers. Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son “the best of America.”  (appeal to pity)

If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America. (lie #1 – fallacy of composition)
Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. (hasty generalisation, in that Mr Trump only warns against the actions of some Muslims)
He disrespects other minorities, (hasty generalisation)
… women, (hasty generalisation)
… judges (hasty generalisation – it was an attack on one judge who was clearly at fault)
…even his own party leadership. (appeal to authority)
He vows to build walls and ban us from this country. (straw man)

Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words “liberty” and “equal protection of law.” (fallacy of composition)

Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America — you will see all faiths,genders, and ethnicities. (fallacy of composition)
You have sacrificed nothing and no one. (fallacist’s fallacy)
We can’t solve our problems by building walls and sowing division. (“good fences make good neighbors”)
We are Stronger Together.  (circular argument)
And we will keep getting stronger when Hillary Clinton becomes our next President. (appeal to consequences)

Here’s the cheat sheet from

  • The fallacist’s fallacy involves rejecting an idea as false simply
    because the argument offered for it is fallacious. Having examined the
    case for a particular point of view, and found it wanting, it can be
    tempting to conclude that the point of view is false.
  • An appeal to consequences is an attempt to motivate belief with an
    appeal either to the good consequences of believing or the bad
    consequences of disbelieving.
  • A circular argument fails as a proof because it will only be judged to
    be sound by those who already accept its conclusion. Anyone who
    rejects the argument’s conclusion should also reject at least one of
    its premises (the one that is the same as its conclusion), and so
    should reject the argument as a whole. Anyone who accepts all of the
    argument’s premises already accepts the argument’s conclusion, so
    can’t be said to have been persuaded by the argument. In neither case,
    then, will the argument be successful.
  • An appeal to pity attempts to persuade using emotion—specifically,
    sympathy—rather than evidence. Playing on the pity that someone feels
    for an individual or group can certainly affect what that person
    thinks about the group; this is a highly effective, and so quite
    common, fallacy. This type of argument is fallacious because our
    emotional responses are not always a good guide to truth; emotions can
    cloud, rather than clarify, issues. We should base our beliefs upon
    reason, rather than on emotion, if we want our beliefs to be true.
  • The genetic fallacy is committed when an idea is either accepted or
    rejected because of its source, rather than its merit.
  • The fallacy of composition is the fallacy of inferring from the fact
    that every part of a whole has a given property that the whole also
    has that property. (he says one judge is unfair, therefore he believes
    all judges are unfair)
  • An appeal to authority is an argument from the fact that a person
    judged to be an authority affirms a proposition to the claim that the
    proposition is true. Appeals to authority are always deductively
    fallacious; even a legitimate authority speaking on his area of
    expertise may affirm a falsehood, so no testimony of any authority is
    guaranteed to be true.
  • The fallacy of division is committed by inferences from the fact that
    a whole has a property to the conclusion that a part of the whole also
    has that property. Like the fallacy of composition, this is only a
    fallacy for some properties; for others, it is a legitimate form of
  • The hasty generalisation draws a general rule from a single, perhaps
    atypical, case.  (Example:  (1) My Christian / atheist neighbour is a
    real grouch. Therefore:  (2) Christians / atheists are grouches. This
    argument takes an individual case of a Christian or atheist, and draws
    a general rule from it, assuming that all Christians or atheists are
    like the neighbour.)

Restore the JOBS act

December 29, 2014

The JOBS act was supposed to make it easier for ordinary Americans to help their neighbors start companies and rebuild local economies.  Unfortunately, the SEC gutted the meat of the bill, assuming Americans weren’t smart enough (too stupid) to take intelligent risks with their money.

The JOBS act would have let small businesses ask for small investments to finance operations and growth.  An individual who made less than $250k (most of the nation) could buy shares in the company, up to 10% of their annual income.

In my research, I’ve found that many startup businesses need only $20k-$50k, Restoring the original intent of the JOBS act would solve that easily.

For example,. 20 neighbors with average wages of $35000 could have each invested in these companies, providing enough capital to help that business begin to employ additional staff.  This is neighbor helping neighbor, not Wall Street creating complex financial products that only the wealthy can benefit from.

Kickstarter and similar sites show the willingness of ordinary citizens to pool small amounts of money for solid business ideas, but those crowdfunding sites are not allowed by law to give the funders any meaningful return for their investment, limiting rewards to personal thanks and company trinkets.

A reinvigorated JOBS act would give middle America the option to earn more than the 1% offered at the bank and make their local communities better places to live.

“The President Is Losing It”

September 20, 2010

Former Washington Insider Michael Laprarie has confirmed what I’ve been saying for some time, that the President is unqualified for the office he’s been elected to.

Barack Obama is a great speaker.  You remember him from the 2004 convention. He gave a great speech that inspired the party.  A very junior Senator, it put him on the radar.  So much that the power brokers suggested him as a Presidential candidate.  For him, a great opportunity.  A chance to do what he loves doing:  giving speeches that stir up trouble and excite

Queen Michelle

August 5, 2010

The Obamas are on vacation again.  That’s what, 7? 8?  this summer. This time, however, they’ve gone on separate trips. Both at public expense.

Michelle’s trip is getting all the press.  It’s not because she only took Sasha, or that she was gone on Barack’s birthday.    It’s that she’s treating it as an official visit.  And I’m paying.  So are you.

When I take a vacation, I travel coach, or I drive.  I take overnight flights to avoid hotel bills.  I stay at Choice hotels because they have comfortable beds and a simple (free) breakfast without charging me for nice lobbies.  When I travel on business, I do the same, saving my employer at every turn.

Not so with Michelle.  She’s taking Air Force 2 to Spain, at a cost of almost $150k.  While she’s there, she, her friends and the secret service will occupy some 60 or 70 rooms, at $2500 each a night (around $70k total). Add food, incidentials and souveniers, that’s a lot of stimulus that didn’t stay in the country.

And Barack?  He took Bo the dog back to Chicago.  Birthday fundraiser dinner with “friends”.  Of course Oprah was there.

Makes me wonder.  It’s not proper.  Even when they’re together, they’re separate.  We saw that in the campaign, especially the convention.  If I didn’t know better, she’s punishing him, spending “his” money, and since she’s right, he doesn’t say anything, but simply slips off for a weekend with the buds (or the girlfriend?).

It’s not enough our country is going down the toilet and our emperor seems powerless to stop it, but his personal life is starting to look shaky, and we’re paying for that as well.

Obama Flips on Immigration

July 1, 2010

On Thursday, President Obama spoke again on Immigration.  It was a mastery of doublespeak.

I agree with him when he said that “no matter how decent” the 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. are, they should be held accountable for breaking the law” and ““The presence of so many illegal immigrants makes a mockery of all those who are going through the process of immigration legally.”

This just doesn’t match his earlier actions.  He’s still unwilling to defend the border from illegals entering, and continues to criticize Arizona for attempting to keep their citizens safe from illegals bringing drugs into the state and others taking Arizona jobs from its citizens.
He says he wants  a “pathway to legal status that is fair, reflective of our values and works.”  But we haven’t heard anything significant
Obama actually had the audactity to claim he’s “ready to move forward.”  And then he waxed nostalgic for the bipartisan support that existed in Congress “just a few years ago.”  Wasn’t that when the Republicans were in charge and took pains to include the Democrats, who have refused to return the favor once they took over?

What I believe most was the statement at the end of the speech:  “But the fact is, we cannot solve this problem.”  We know, Mr President.
Read more:

Part of the plan

November 19, 2009

In an interview with Fox news (released on Nov 18), President Obama told us what we alreayd knew – that the policies of the Democrats are bankrupting the country and threaten to bring about economic ruin.

“It is important though to recognize if we keep on adding to the debt, even in the midst of this recovery, that at some point, people could lose confidence in the U.S. economy in a way that could actually lead to a double-dip recession.”

How did we keep adding debt?  Bank bailouts (TARP), carmaker bailouts, cash for clunkers, stimulus payments without accountability on their use.  What’s universal health care gonna cost?

And while the mega-banks and mega-businesses are protected as “to big to fail”, this Administration has let lenders to small businesses choke.  While there is overwhelming evidence that the majority of long-lasting jobs are created by small businesses, the policies of the past year seem to have gone out of their way to thwart this massive source of employment.

So why am I not surprised?  Because I’ve read Saul Alinski’s Rules for Radicals.  Mr Obama taught this community organizing handbook as part of his job as a community organizer in Chicago.  He knows it backwards and forwards.  And as good as Hillary Clinton was as a student of Alinski, Obama was even more adept at understanding the mind of his mentor. 

What Rules suggests is that the organizer must create chaos so they can be publicly seen as solving that chaos.  Alinski would promise a benefit that was there for the asking, and instead of asking, would take an audience and demand they comply with his request.  Of course they do, and he looks like a hero, for doing with vitrol what anyone else could have done with kindness.

What Pres Obama has done is to throw gasoline on the economic trashfire.  He has made a troubling situation worse, and now – a year before the election, he is beginning to advocate the Republican message, coopting their agenda by hinting at solutions to his own failed policies.  In the end, he hopes to reshape society to match his view of life, which is looking more and more like a radical departure from what used to be the greatest nation in the world.


True Health Care Reform

September 23, 2009

Right now, there’s a lot of debate about how to “fix” the health care “problem.”  However, I’m not sure we have defined the problem clearly.  It seems most of the problems are defined in terms of some politician’s or PAC’s solution.

The “universal health care” option is being sold with the mantra “No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick.”

Sounds good on the surface.  It’s a  tragedy when a personal illness forces someone into bankruptcy.  I’ve seen it happen – a friend had just started his new job (after being out of work for some months) when he found out his wife was pregnant.  The doctor determined that the pregnancy started a couple weeks before he signed into the company, so the “pre-existing condition” was not covered.  It became a burden when she delivered early and the preemie went into the state hospital’s neonatal ICU.  By the time the daughter went home, the bill was over half a million dollars.  His job as assistant manager of a fast food chain store could never cover that cost, and they chose bankruptcy.  (That was Massachusetts.)

The baby received the care it needed, and the state had to pay the costs.  There were consequences, but there are always consequences in life.

If instead, the dad had finished high school with more than a barely passing grade, he would have found insurance earlier.  If there were effective public health clinics, she might have carried the baby to term.  And if the government had had free universal health care, it’s doubtful there would have been enough medical advances to keep the child alive to become a vibrant toddler.

We feel for the plight of the underinsured and the uninsured, but taking away choices doesn’t make the system better.