Remember the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)?
It's been a long time since I've written much about the AAPS, of course, but refreshing your memory will be easy. It's the ultra-libertarian wingnut medical "association" that routinely scrapes the bottom of the barrel, as far as pseudoscience goes, as long as that pseudoscience fits in with their schizophrenic combination of Ayn Randian "superman" libertarianism mixed with a toxic brew of anti-immigration, antivaccinationism, HIV/AIDS denialism, and social conservatism that leads them to lie about the evidence to argue that abortions cause breast cancer or promote the particularly despicable lie that shaken baby syndrome is in reality "vaccine injury." Worse, the AAPS maintains a dubious medical "journal" that claims to be "peer-reviewed," namely the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (JPANDS), which it uses to give its crankery a veneer of respectability that sometimes fools more credulous reporters.
I had often wondered if the AAPS could sink any lower into out right crankery, and, if so, how. Then, amazingly enough, the weekend before what is arguably the most important Presidential election in my lifetime, I find that the AAPS can indeed go lower. Indeed, it's backed some of the most amazing assertions of woo that I've ever seen, and I have to discuss them today, because it's the day before the election. Why?
Because, if you believe the AAPS, Barack Obama's using his mad skills to hypnotize the American electorate to do his bidding, all to further his own nefarious, socialist, terrorist, redistributionist ends!
Really, I kid you not:
Is Barack Obama a brilliant orator, captivating millions through his eloquence? Or is he deliberately using the techniques of neurolinguistic programming (NLP), a covert form of hypnosis developed by Milton Erickson, M.D.?
Or maybe he's using magic to brainwash us all! But, wait, it gets "better":
A fundamental tool of "conversational hypnosis" is pacing and leading--a way for the hypnotist to bypass the listener's critical faculty by associating repeated statements that are unquestionably accurate with the message he wants to convey.
In his Denver acceptance speech, Obama used the phrases "that's why I stand here tonight," "now is the time," and "this moment" 14 times. Paces are connected to the lead by words such as "and," "as," "because," or "that is why." For example, "we need change" (who could disagree?)...and...that is why I will be your next President."
See what I mean? Someone at the AAPS seriously seems to think that somehow, some way, Barack Obama is hypnotizing us all. If Obama were a Republican, somehow I doubt they'd be saying this about him. They'd just say that he's a great orator who can move an audience with his skill. Of course, repetition is a very important part of oration, as is a sense of pacing and timing in which the speaker starts out slow and builds to a crescendo. Great speakers of all political stripes use the same techniques, because they work. So do preachers. Indeed, when I see Obama speak, I see a lot of preacher in his cadences. Does that mean that preachers are hypnotizing their congregations, too?
Of course, to the wingnuts at the AAPS, it's far more than Obama just being an excellent orator. Oh, no. That alone wouldn't be enough to explain his popularity, not to the AAPS. No, Obama must be putting his audiences into a trance:
Techniques of trance induction include extra slow speech, rhythm, tonalities, vagueness, visual imagery, metaphor, and raising of emotion. Hypnotists often have patients count. In a speech after the primaries closed, Obama said: "Sixteen months have passed (paused)...Thousands (pause) of miles...(pause)...Millions of voices...."
Hypnotists call this a distraction technique: sending the dominant hemisphere on an assignment involving linguistic processes, thus opening the nondominant hemisphere to suggestion.
Hand gestures can be used as hypnotic anchors, or to aid in hypnotic command implantation. They can be difficult to distinguish from innocent gestures used for emphasis. Obama, however, uses some gestures extraordinarily often and for very specific words such as "believe" and "chose." His characteristic thumb-and-forefinger gesture looks like a hand holding a pencil--as if you were in a voting booth. The gesture of pointing sends the subconscious message that a person in authority is giving a command.
That's right. Obama's using those magic hand gestures of his to hypnotize his audience and make them vote for him. Truly, you can't make stuff like this up. At least, I assume that you can't. I know I can't. If you could make stuff like this up, you'd fit right in at the AAPS, and it's highly doubtful you'd be reading my scintillating, fascinating prose right now. In fact, you might be writing the truly hilarious prose of the AAPS article that I'm having a bit of fun with right now. You might be the kind of person who can really believe such things. In fact, you might even be the kind of person who could believe that, not only is Obama putting his audiences into a trance, but he's implanting post-hypnotic suggestions in his entranced audience that leave them no choice but to be his mindless servants:
Obama actually said at one time: "a light will shine down from somewhere, it will light upon you, you will experience an epiphany, and you will say to yourself, 'I have to vote for Barack.'"
You will not choose to vote for Barack: you will "have to." It is not a logical choice, but rather one directed by a mystical (subconscious) force. What purpose would a politician have for making such a statement? Obama used it only once. Perhaps he stopped either because he realized it was too obvious or because Hillary Clinton and John McCain ridiculed him for it.
A "mystical" force? Geez, what does the AAPS think, that Barack's using The Force to get people to vote for him? Perhaps only a little more subtle than this:
"Enough of this! Barack, release them!"
"As you wish."
But what is the evidence for this speculation? How does the unnamed blogger on the AAPS website know--I mean, just know--that Obama's hypnotizing the children of God-fearing, terrorist-hating, capitalistic Americans in order to fulfill his nefarious plan to subvert the nation with his baby-killing, socialistic, redistributionist, Marxist, Islamofascist evil? Well, for one thing, there's his logo:
Obama's logo is noteworthy. It is always there, a small one in the middle of the podium, providing a point of visual fixation. Unlike other presidential logos, one looks through it, not at it. It might just be the letter "O," but it also resembles a crystal ball, a favorite of hypnotists.
Of course it does--if you're a woo.
Perhaps there's other evidence. Perhaps. Or perhaps not:
Obama is clearly having a powerful effect on people, especially young people and highly educated people--both considered to be especially susceptible to hypnosis. It is also interesting that many Jews are supporting a candidate who is endorsed by Hamas, Farakhan, Khalidi, and Iran.
Damn that Barack Obama! He's more powerful and nefarious than I thought! Or perhaps the reason that so many Jews support him is that they realize that the attempts to paint him as an enemy of Israel and a friend of terrorists are based on misinformation, exaggeration, and outright lies. We can hope, can't we?
Most amusingly, though, this post cites a "source" to back up its claims, a 67 page source backed up with allegedly copious references, just the way creationists, "alt-med" aficionados, Holocaust deniers, Bigfoot enthusiasts, and 9/11 Truthers all back up their screeds with copious references. I'm referring, of course, to this tour de force of rabid wingnuttery written by...well, we have no idea, but it's an amazing bit of woo entitled An Examination of Obama's Use of Hidden Hypnosis Techniques in His Speeches.
After reading the first few pages of this screed, one thought kept running through my brain, one persistent thought that I couldn't shake, one thought that reverberated throughout my tortured neurons:
Break out the tinfoil hats! Now!
Actually, I have to wonder if a tinfoil hat could possibly protect my poor neurons from the neuron-necrosing and neuron-apoptosing waves of stupidity contained in the AAPS screed and the 67-page "source" on which it is based and being beamed directly into my cerebral cortex through my retinas. (The stupid is so concentrated that it causes both neuronal necrosis and apoptosis; there is no escape possible, even activating cell survival pathways.) Or, as Mark Lieberman at Language Log put it:
OK, the stage is set for an epic confrontation: the libertarian medical wingnuts of Arizona against the New Age psychological moonbats of California, with Barack Obama in the middle of it all. Can the robocalls be far behind? News at 11:00.
Mark's deconstruction of this nonsense is an amusing read in its own right, but I think he's far too mild on the unnamed author of the AAPS screed, who seems to think Barack Obama is so amazingly skilled at mass hypnosis that he's creating millions of Manchurian voters who are just waiting for the trigger word to activate their subconscious program to go out and vote for Obama and then, well, to storm the banks and turn the country into a socialist utopia and happy home for terrorists, while converting the U.S. from a "Christian nation" to a "Muslim nation" living under Sharia law. Or something.
If you really want to know how full of wingnuts the AAPS is, though, just check the comments out after the post. True, the first couple of comments take the writer of this post to task for--well, general paranoid conspiracy mongering. (Imagine that: A member of the AAPS not liking paranoid conspiracy theories.) However, after that, there is a post by a physician named Dr. Edward Harshman in which he calls the woo in the AAPS post "meritorious, informative, and very reasonable," while lambasting the posted criticism of one Dr. Joel Simon Hochman, who sounds almost too reasonable to be in the AAPS. Of course, he is in the AAPS; so almost by definition he has serious wingnut tendencies. I guess that some wingnuts, at least, have their limits.
Of course, there's just one thing missing in the AAPS post. What's missing I wonder? let's see. Barack is a fantastic orator who can mesmerize crowds with his eloquence. Who else was a fantastic orator who could mesmerize crowds? Hmmm. I wonder. What could it be that's missing? What reference that you know Obama's political enemies want to make hasn't shown up yet?
Oh, yes, a comparison of Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler, as Dr. F. Javier Monreal jumps right onto the Crazy Train to make:
Yes, Obama's speech was an example of "hypnotic Induction." But not just THAT speech. ALL his speeches are, as I believe they are the public speaking of anybody considered a good orator.
And we don't have to invent the new prase of "Hypnotic Induction," It is all plain DEMAGOGY as Gobbles and Hitler or Mussolini (or Reagn or FDR !) were.
(Note: The above was cut and pasted with no changes.)
Adolf Hitler was a great orator....Look at Obama's Nomination Acceptance Speech. How much money did they spend on that one.??
He talks a great talk....neuroliniguistics sounds pretty good to me... Just because it isn't listed by the ABMS as a specialty does not mean it is not correct.
And just because homeopathy isn't listed by the ABMS doesn't mean it's not correct either. There are many other reasons that homeopathy is bunk, but its failure to be listed on the ABMS is not one of them. But the above quote only scratched the surface of Dr. Levin's brilliance. Check out this excerpt from his own blog:
Obama is not just a great orator, but a mass hypnotist. His voice carries with it a kind of "fragrance" that overpowers your ear, and resonates somewhere in the limbic system. Whatever it is about his voice and resonance we should study it carefully and bottle it, to be re-broadcast at some time in the future when all is about to be lost. I am concerned that somewhere in all that oratory he left us with a post-hypnotic suggestion, which will be unleashed at some unknown time in the future. (perhaps at the polling places in November). So wear your earplugs and eye blinders when you go to the polls.
I had to get that off my chest. Tomorrow I will be rational again.
At least he recognizes that he's not being rational. Too bad he can't seem to do anything about it, as he repeated the same nonsense in the comments of the AAPS post that I'm having such a hearty laugh over. Too bad the hearty laugh is followed by the urge to cry that fellow physicians could descend to such ludicrous levels of unreason and even revel in it.
It occurs to me that this whole business about Obama being somehow able to override the more rational impulses of human nature through the force of his oratory as though it's hypnotism is really a thinly disguised attempt to link Obama to Hitler. Unfortunately, it's so painfully inept in its execution and moronic in the quality of the arguments marshaled to support this concept that anyone not prone to wearing tinfoil hats rightly views it as a steaming, stinky, drippy turd of an argument producing a stench so powerful that it would, as the saying goes, knock a buzzard off a shit wagon.
Lucky that he's clearly not educated, so he's immune to Obama's evil hypnosis.
I didn't know hypnotists used crystal balls. Is that the new fashion?
Outside the AAPS crowd its called appealing to reason.
No wonder they can't understand it.
That clinches it for me. I'm voting Obama! It's about time the United States had a president with mystical super powers. Our enemies will be putty in his hands!
Sure, we may all become his unwilling puppets, but it's worth it to have him as our leader. After all, we let George Bush jerk us around for eight years in the name of national security and fighting terrorism. We can certainly sacrifice some free will in order to have a president with mad skills for hypnotic soul-bending. Yes.
P.S.: I know that The Brain and Stewie Griffin both tried and failed to use mass hypnosis to subjugate the world, but they are cartoon characters. The AAPS is a bunch of mad scientists. There's a difference.
If Obama were a Republican, somehow I doubt they'd be saying this about him. They'd just say that he's a great orator who can move an audience with his skill.
Didn't these nuts ever study political propaganda? Everything they want to ascribe to "mass hypnotic powers" can be explained in perfectly mundane terms. Eric Hoffer wrote the last word on the subject fifty-plus years ago in his book The True Believer.
No, Obama is brainwashing us all through his stunning dance moves!
(If you didn't see him look again at about 3:27 right side, grey pants, white shirt...)
Yes, that is him! Brilliant! This is how he will take over the world!!!
*scowl* I'm falling all over myself to do Obama's bidding and I've barely even seen him speak (I don't like TV, and nobody really bothers to stump in Seattle.) Wait...why am I trying to argue with this again?
Or is he deliberately using the techniques of neurolinguistic programming (NLP), a covert form of hypnosis developed by Milton Erickson, M.D.?
Wrong. NLP was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder.
Schizophrenic is right: they have some decidedly un-libertarian views and I'd be decidedly happy if the label would stop being used in connection with them. Nonetheless, I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize on behalf of sensible Classical Liberals everywhere: other than their member Ron Paul (who is, in point of fact, closer to the Republicans than the Libertarians), this organization does NOT represent our views.
I'm sure I'm being too uncritical, but to me this just looks like a laboured way of saying that Obama's appeal goes beyond the rational. Which seems pretty clear and I don't see why anyone would argue with it.
Look, I voted for the guy, but when I hear the spiritual language people use to describe the way they are moved listening to him orate I can't help thinking that they are going to be disappointed when he turns out to be an ordinary human being. These responses are not rational, they are not responses to logic. Pointing this out is not the same as saying he is evil, but it is an example of a worrisome aspect of human psychology. Being open to persuasion by, say, Martin Luther King was a good thing, under the circumstances. Being open to persuasion by, say, Adolf Hitler was most decidedly not. That's a commentary on us, *not* on MLK or Hitler or Barak Obama.
wOOt, hypnotic superpowers !
Is Obama like the Hypnotoad (All heil Hypnotoad) ?
If he is, I'd be really scared to critisize him, the Hypnotoad has been known to make people who displeases it kill themselves in a most horrible way... And tinfoil hats don't work against it.
[Waiting to see if the wingnuts can get scared enough by their own BS to avoid voting]
You think the hypnosis is scary?
Let me show you THIS:
Our national debt plus social security and medicare promises are at about 53 trillion dollars right now. I've heard that if you add up all of the money from every billionaire in the world it only comes to around 5 trillion dollars. We can only hope that when he gets into office he can do some magic.
Blather like the from the AAPS distorts the real problem with Obama, is that he's paid off the mainstream media (with his illegal foreign contributions) to disseminate his Marxist propaganda. We all KNOW it's true, dammit.
We all KNOW it's true, dammit.
Do we? Do we really?
Of course, Orac. Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter told me so.
So needlessly complex an explanation...
Clearly, Barack Obama was created by Saruman the White in the caverns of Isengard and imbued with the power of his Voice to allow the wizard to take control of the United States. That, or his mother was actually a member of the Bene Gesserit (personally, I think that's less likely if equally plausible since he may apparently be the Kwisatz Haderach).
Idiocy like this makes eugenics a worthwhile prospect.
Much like only drunks get kidnapped by Aliens.
So too are only stupid people immune to this mass hypnosis. Therefore making sure no one will believe them.
Genius that Obama is, wonder if the Aliens taught him that too.
That's not a bug, it's a feature. Elect Obama and watch him use his NLP skills to persuade Ahmadinejad to give up his nukes, for example.
Mmm? Sorry, I started reading this article, but the TV news was on in the background and I just ended up staring into Obama's dreamy eyes. What was it about again?
Wasn't this a story by Charles Sheffield, "What Song the Sirens Sang"?
Come to think of it, about the same time the story was published, I heard a theory that the then recently-elected Jimmy Carter had been using similar techniques.
I think I have to check that my doctor is not in the AAPS.
Can anyone explain what is meant by "Ayn Randian?" I know she is an author, but that is it. What kind of ideas did she propose? It seems like her name is used in a negative fashion.
Consider this: Obama can be using hypnosis and rhetoric together. Hypnosis is a natural thing, a part of a continuum of human behaviors. Trance states are an element of ordinary reflection and thought. The distinction is subtle, but when you review the actual claims made about Obama's use of hypnosis it fits like a glove.
To accomplish this feat, he needed expertise which means he has yet another shady friend to be discovered: his speech writer/coach/hypnotherapist.
How did Obama come into contact with this art? Who knows. Perhaps by chance. But he is a smoker, oddly enough, though he keeps it a BIG secret. Why? Lots of people smoke. It's perfectly legal. I think part of his BIG secret is the connection between smoking cessation and hypnotherapy, which his hypnotherapist helper is afraid that someone will recognize.
Obama has made statements in his speeches that are either perfectly ludricous or else are explainable as hypnotic commands. The most noteworthy, and unfortunately for him, the most obvious is this one: "a light will shine down from somewhere, it will light upon you, you will experience an epiphany, and you will say to yourself, 'I have to vote for Barack'"
This one sentence alone ought to be enough reason not to vote for him. He sounds like a raving lunatic. It's not humor. He's not funny. Quite the opposite. His speeches are like listening to old sober sides. He has his famous scowl, another over-determined gesture meant to effect subliminal reaction.
By the way, hypnosis has been used in scientific studies and shown to be effective. Its effects register on brain scans. Most likely it's a form of biofeedback.
None of what I'm saying "proves" that Obama is using it. A "proof" would require a lengthy study, more comprehensive than even the very compelling argument that's circulating round the internet. But there's enough smoke to suspect a fire. Mesmerism, as its known by an older name, has long documented roots. Certainly Hitler was a mesmerist of tragic effect.
All this whistling in the dark doesn't impress me at all. You can ridicule the claim, fine. But then, pray, do offer some explanation why newsman Chris Matthews keeps getting the "chill up his leg." And why all kinds of weird little cults show up chanting O-ba-ma.
Vote with the weird factor, if you like. But I'm voting for a guy with a resume and a history. I don't need a god for president: a human being will do fine. And personally I'd prefer he not be weirdly waiting for a light to shine down on me.
That said, you guys are voting in the dark.
Also do the math. US elections have been mind-bloggingly tight races in the last two presidential contests.
All that hypnosis has to do for The One is tip the scales. He doesn't have to affect everybody. Just enough people to tip a state in his favor.
Susceptibility will follow a curve like all sorts of other measurable qualities in nature, with some people being highly susceptible - will fall for anything; and some people having rock-like resistance to any new idea. And many people somewhere between two poles.
All he needs to do is catch a few of the susceptible and be effective enough to sway them into the voting booth.
Do the math before you make light of it. Actually when it comes to deception, he is quite brilliant. Too bad that those are immoral qualities.
It's not humor.
Yes, it is.
He's not funny.
Well, that's subjective. But you've taken this "one sentence" far out of context.
This is one of the organizations aiding the "vaccines cause autism" idea, and they allow junk like this on their blogs?
Certainly Hitler was a mesmerist of tragic effect.
Naziism had nothing to do with black magic and seekrit mind control powerzzz and everything to do with centuries of racism, decades of poverty, and many other important issues trivialized by idiots like annsfriend who would rather blame things they don't like on hypnotic superpowers.
Jeez, what an idiot.
For IBY : Ayn Rand wrote a couple books -- Atlas Shrugged, and The Fountainhead come to mind. possibly others as well, but the point of mentioning her name is she is also largely credited with a peculiar brand of Libertarianism which states that people will do such things as maintain roads, build schools and look after the poor because of some form of enlightened self-interest. From this premise it follows (according to Rand) that government carrying out these functions is wrong or unnecessary.
There's more to it than that, but those are the basic facts as far as I recall them.
As for Obama's rhetorical style -- nothing new there, people have been using pacing, timing and inflection to sway others since Marc Antony got up and said "I am not come to Praise Caesar. "
[sarcasm]They've got it all wrong. Barack is actually Muad'Dib. He is using the weirding way to make us do his bidding.[/sarcasm]
So is John McCain's repeated use of "My friends" his sorry attempt to use hypnotic NLP? I think he's doing it wrong.
Woot! Obama is the new Dolemite! (NSFW)
(RIP Rudy Ray Moore)
usagi:"since he may apparently be the Kwisatz Haderach"
wheatdogg:"Barack is actually Muad'Dib."
Has he ridden a worm? Can he convert the water of life?
Would you comment on exactly how vaccine injury CAN NOT cause the diagnostic triad used to diagnose SBS? Indeed, the SBS theory, and that is what it is, doesn't hold up to the same evidence based science that you, and any rational thinker, hold dear.
Are you aware of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program? Is that a sham also? Are you aware of the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System? The mere existence of these should make it obvious that vaccines can and do cause serious problems. Clearly, vaccines have their benefits AND dangers. Let me make this clear now, I am NOT anti-vaccine. Anytime someone, like the state, mandates something, I'm going to question it, especially if it has serious health ramifications. (One has to wonder why something would have to be mandated if it is all "peaches and cream")
Caffey totally misunderstood and misused Ommaya's work concerning whiplash injuries for the U.S. Dept. of Transportation in the 70s. Ommaya used high speed photography to study the whiplash effects in monkeys he strapped into a plastic seat on rollers that was rammed from behind by a piston. Ommaya's work clearly showed that whiplash injury OCCURS IN THE NECK. Ommaya scaled the monkey's brain and skull with that of humans and concluded that it would take somewhere in the neighborhood of 40,000 Rad/Sec to produce Subdural hemorrhages (which is impossible for humans to produce). Since then, the biomechanical field has performed many experiments attempting to reproduce the whiplash effect that SBS proponents claim is causing the brain damage. (see Duhaime, Gennarelli, Thibault)One would suspect that common sense should have been applied in the last 40 years. No neck injury-No SBS.
As far as I can tell, the biomechanical field as well as the National Association of Medical Examiners has flatly rejected the hypothesis that pure shaking causes these injuries. Its sounds good and reasonable- shaking babies isn't good. But the science behind the reasoning doesn't add up. While it is obviously NEVER ok to shake a baby or to harm a child in anyway, the diagnostic criteria typically parroted in SBS trials is flimsy and full of circular reasoning. The supposed triad is Subdural hemorrhages, retinal hemorrhages, and bone fractures, although most of the time, SDH and RH are all that are needed.
I have a nice, large collection, of around 120 articles of people who have been falsely accused of SBS. Many times it turns out the child had a relatively rare medical condition that was missed altogether. Even after the truth of the matter comes to light, it's too late and families have been torn apart and convictions have been made. It seems to me that you'd better have your science straight before you go convicting people.
Each and every one of the supposed diagnostic features of the SBS hypothesis has fallen apart. Geddes found subdural bleeds (which SBS proponents swear openly in court can ONLY occur from manual, vigorous shaking) in children who died IN UTERO! Dr. Patrick Lantz found that retinal hemorrhages are far more common then previously thought, and therefore, can not be used to accurately diagnose abusive head trauma. Bone fractures have a variety of causes that must be ruled out before medical staff jump to conclusions like, Osteogenesis Imprefecta, Rickets, and Scurvy.
So what do we know? Obviously children, very sadly, DO get abused. That is undeniable. But it is equally undeniable that mistakes have been made and will continue to be made in the name of Junk Science SBS Parrots.
What else could be expected when the white coats are the judges, juries, and executioners?
Sorry for the double posts.
Do we? Do we really?
orac, I think you just fell into a sarchasm
Wow Orac, thanks for helping me discover the AAPS!
Going to their site I see they have all sorts of crazy ideas such as that WE SHOULD NOT ALLOW FORCED VACCINATIONS.
Wow! far out, eh?
Maybe sometime you can give us a dissertation on another utterly crazy idea, one that leaves peoples' immune systems so compromised that many of them die.... it's a bit of poison woo called CHEMOTHERAPY.
Oh, goody. A chemotherapy crank spewing the usual nonsense.
I've written numerous times about chemotherapy and what it can and can't do.