Monthly Archives: September 2020

The Un-American President

The Great Dictator in Waiting

This Week Donald J. Trump has made it clear that he will only support a peaceful transition of power if he wins. This is so wrong on so many levels I’m not sure I can cover them all. First and foremost for a candidate, much less the sitting President, to say he will not support the Peaceful Transfer of Power has never in our history happened. The closest we ever have gotten to this was in 1860 and we all know what happen then. Four years of war and hundreds of thousands of American dead. We are still recovering from all the damage that irresponsible and unpatriotic action to this day.

Just think about it. In over 240 years of our history only once before did a group of people say they would not accept the results of the election and once more we are there. And just what kind of people are we talking about? We are talking about people who can only accept a total win. Give them 90% of what they want and they cry “I was robbed”. Disagree with them and they are being unjustly attacked. These are people who have never, ever, done anything wrong. Not once. And when they are caught out cheating they say the other guy was cheating first. These are the people who make up the MAGA core support for Donald J Trump. These are people who have seized control of the “Grand Old Party” and are turning into the “Trump’s Owned Party”.

So what can be done. Basically two things. First the defeat of Donald J. Trump must be so overwhelming that no cry of “I was Cheated” can be taken seriously by any sane person. Second, and equally important, every member of the House of Representatives who does not denounce Trump’s call to not accept results of the election peacefully should be voted out of office. This goes for every Senator, too. This is no longer a issue of party partisanship. This is a mater of Loyalty to the Constitution of the United States of America. Now is the time for every member of the Republican Party to be asked “Where are the Americans Here?”

Trump did not Win, Hillary Lost.

What? Me Worry?

With 56 days till Election Day I thought it would be good to share some positive thoughts. That is why I have Alfred E. Newman on this post. It is also why I’m going to talk about the 2016 election and not the 2020 election in this post. I think we need to remind ourselves just where we are coming from.

First off I want to remind everyone out there that Donald Trump did not win in 2016, Hillary Clinton lost. And in looking back on that she lost should not be much of a surprise to anyone. But that is the problem. Most of the scholars and pundits of Political Science (or just plan Politics) are pretty much at a loss on why or how Donald Trump won. The problem is that they are asking the wrong question. What they need to ask is how did Hillary Clinton lose?

It is not all that hard to understand when looked at in the correct way. We need to remember that Clinton was and still is, one of the most divisive people in our body politic. Almost no one doesn’t have an opinion about her. Starting there, let’s take a look at the campaign of 2016 as if it was a long long foot race.

At the start of the race, Hillary gets off to a good start as all of the Republican contenders keep getting in each other’s way. Until, lo and behold, the one contender everyone thought of as a joke ends up the only one still in the race with all of the others falling down in the dust. And now the fun starts as the clown knows how to keep all the attention on him.

So, now almost no one sees and even few comment on all of the interference that was thrown in Hillary’s way. It’s like no one cares that people in the stands are throwing things onto the track that the leaders have to deal with, which slows her down and lets the challenger creep up. Here I’m talking about the slow drip drip from WikiLeaks and the Russians. Then the way some of the officials acted, by letting the challenger get extra boost by acting totally unfairly in the debates. Several times in all the debates Trump acted in such a way that in any other debate setting he would have been called out. But not in the Presidential Debates of 2016. I’m particularly thinking of the time(s) Trump left his podium to walk around the stage. In any other debate the moderator would have interrupted and directed him to return to his place. Think of this as disruptive as a runner cutting across lanes on the track.

Finally we have the most telling blow. The absolutely wrong action of the FBI in the final weeks of the election and the problem with “Hillary’s e-mails”. Think of this as a track official stepping out onto the track, in the runner’s lane just as the runner is going into their final kick, to warn the spectators not to step out on the track. Then the final point, calling the race for the Trump winner runner because he breaks the tape even though Hillary’s foot crossed the finish line first. When looked at it this way, it is no wonder she lost.

In fact I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict in 20 or 30 years the scholars will be all talking with amazement that Hillary Clinton came so close to winning with everything stacked against her. And that brings me to the positive point I want to leave you with. This is 2020, not 2016. We know what happened back then and we, the American Electorate, are on the lookout for all the dirty tricks that were played and who played them.

We are fortunate that WikiLeaks is no more. Even if we have Q-Anon we know it for what it is. And yes, the Russians are playing the same game as before, but again, we know what to look for. Even the attempt to paint Joe Biden with a broad brush of scandals backfired. It got Donald Trump in the history books as only the third president to be impeached and showed up the Republicans in the Senate to be the spineless lickspittles they are.

The Over Use of a Classical Logical Fallacy.

Orange Koolaid

Now that both the DNC and RNC are over and Labor Day is upon us we are now in the true presidential campaign season. We can now expect to see all of the classic logical fallacies, both formal and informal to be in full use. An unlike many past elections we can expect to see one party to use those logical fallacies more than the other. This is because one party, the Republican Party, has become totally addicted to them. Indeed we were not even to Labor Day and the GOP has used one of my favorite fallacies already.

I’m speaking, of course, of the fallacy known as the “False Equivalency”. This maybe the oldest of the informal logical fallacies known to man. It is certainly one we all learn to use at a very early age. It is often found keeping company with the logical impossibility of proving a negative as asking the challenger(s) to “prove that the statement is not an equivalent” is made. What needs to be done in all cases is to provide proof that the stated equivalencies does exist.

One of the reasons that the fallacy of false equivalence is so popular is that most people are never taught the difference between “equality” and ”equivalent”. This is a very hard concept to get across in programming and even harder in everyday life. Its misuse has lead to many a difficult bug to find because the code reads correctly even though it is not executed correctly. The same is true, in practice, in everyday life. It sounds right, even when it is wrong and it takes careful scrutiny of what one is saying to check it.

In the common usage equal is used to mean a kind of identity, that two things are identical twins. No one would say that twins are the same thing. But for most things saying they are ‘identical’ is ok. But in many things it is not. That is why you have to be clear as to how, when, and where you are saying two thing are identical. That they are equal. That is why we say “All men are equal before the law”; we mean they will be treated the same. And that is why false equivalency is so bad.

When you say two things are equivalent and they aren’t, you will end up in the wrong place in your reasoning. And what is worse, the people who are listening to you will will also end up in the wrong place. When they try and use the equivalencies drawn to deal with an issue they will not get the results they expect. As an example, both methanol and ethanol are alcohol but if you try to make a Hi-Ball with methanol you’ll end up blind or dead instead of just drunk.

So beware when someone says “this is the same as that” in a political speech or debate. Examine what they say carefully and be sure in your own mind that they truly are equivalent in the case given. Beware of wanting to just accept what is said because it agrees with what you think or makes you feel good. Also don’t reject someone when they say “But that is a false equivalence”. Instead of rejecting ask them to explain why they think that. They just might be right.