Obama gets logically fingered

“Sorry, kids. Those answers – all of them – are wrong. Looks like, once again, I’m the only one with the right answer. What did you expect? After all, don’t forget who’s the teacher and who’s the student here. That’s not by accident! Aw, don’t cry. Look. Participant ribbons for everyone, okay? Yeah!”

It’s true. My career in education was a short one.

I was going to run a caption contest for the picture of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer planting a part of her anatomy in the airspace of Obama’s face, but then I realized that such a contest would be a pointless exercise. Why? Because, of course, there is one (and only one) right answer.

"Smell my finger!"

Yesterday morning I was listening to a little Christian radio on the way to work and they were all abuzz about this tarmac incident. Huh? What? Oh, yeah, I do occasionally listen to Christian radio. There are a couple of stations in the morning where they can sometimes be interesting enough to hold my interest. I pride myself on being open minded.

I hate commercials. I call them persuasion attempts. And we are literally hit with thousands of them every single day. Your consciousness can’t suffer an onslaught like that without taking some damage. So I have trained myself to resist. It does require no small degree of mindfulness. If I’m listening to the radio in the car and a commercial starts, my finger wails on the SCAN button and doesn’t stop until it finds something halfway interesting that is not a commercial. I end up never lingering on a station for, at most, more than a few minutes. Sometimes I end up on a Christian station (around here there are plenty) and hear something interesting.

So, like I was saying, the guy on the radio was abuzz about this Obama and Brewer incident. It went down a little something like this:

See? Obama is disinterested in immigration. Brewer invited him to the border and … he didn’t go. Obama doesn’t care about what is happening at the border.

–Some radio guy (paraphrased from memory)

My problem? That is patently false logic. And there’s been a lot of that going around these days. I’m no expert on logic, it wasn’t taught at my high school, just like it probably wasn’t taught at your high school, either. Instead my high school liked to focus on things like making lamps out of a block of wood, automotive repair, balancing a checkbook, baking chocolate chip cookies and sewing your own apron for the kitchen. You know, all of the important stuff you need to know for living an inspired life.

The logic espoused by the guy on the radio is essentially this. Issue an invitation to someone regarding XYZ. If they don’t immediately do as you request that proves they are against XYZ.

It sounds great on the radio and I’m sure the loyal listeners are nodding along saying, “Yeah, that’s right!” But it’s totally false logic. It might be true that Obama is disinterested about immigration, but his failure to accept an invitation is not the same as proof that it is true.

This is the same sort of damn logic that the birthers employed. “I say you are XYZ. You then have to prove you’re not otherwise it must be true.” I know they don’t teach logic in most high schools but, even so, it’s hard to understand how grown functioning adults believe in such utter falseness. It truly boggles the mind.

And, I think, it’s sad that most of us are whizzing through our lives, never really paying attention, never thinking critically, accepting what we are told, because we’re too busy running to the store to buy the next incremental version of some small electronic device that was made by exploited people. Which reminds me of a discussion I had with some folks yesterday.

It’s been a big question in the news lately: Should Americans care about the working conditions and plights of the people who make the iPhone? (I have blogged about Foxconn, the company in China that produces iPhones and other gadgets.) Workers at Foxconn recently won concessions from the company after threatening mass suicide. That is an interesting negotiating tactic. And an effective one for people who are desperate and mistreated enough. For some reason, all of the sudden, now the issue is big news for it’s 15 minutes of rotation before we all become disinterested and move on to something else.

One person was saying, “I like a lot of what Obama said in his State of the Union speech. It might only be lip service but at least he’s talking about bringing jobs back into our country.”

The blowhard douchebag in the room rebutted, though, saying: “If Apple had Americans make the iPhone then the price point would be higher. Americans don’t like to pay a lot of money.” The dude is a huge Apple fanboy. The rest of his reasoning was implied: “Therefore, it doesn’t matter what happens to people in some other country as long as Americans get the stupid shit they want at a cheap price.”

Speaking of cheap, that’s what seems to pass for impeccable American logic these days. It’s almost like logic is something that should be taught in our schools.

I just reread this post and it sure meanders. I apologize. That’s just how my brain happens to work. Quite illogical.

12 responses

  1. I’ll come back to re-read later…but as for meandering thoughts:

    a. I have been listening to Christian radio lately because curiously enough, it’s the only station that doesn’t include politics or any other pointless bickering. Just plays music. Interesting concept, no? It’s even got me praying that it can stay that way through the whole election.

    b. I like your caption. The huge headline in The Washington Post said something about Obama showing his angry side. Now, all politics aside, how could anyone look at that picture and claim *he* is the angry one? It’s like the little barely-past-puberty “reporters” had that headline ready to go, like they do with obituaries of famous people, and have been just waiting for him to show something other than his calm and steady demeanor. Regardless of what one thinks about his policies, one has to admit that he is incredibly even-tempered, especially in the face of outbursts like this and the one he endured from Joe Wilson, unprecedented in the American presidency until his term.


    1. a. Good point. I was enjoying the song “God of wonders beyond our galaxy” recently. It’s a good sing-a-long tune. I was making up my own lyrics, too. Like, “Bringing lots of toys for you and me.” Is it just me or is it weird to think of God as something from “beyond our galaxy?”

      b. I like your reasoning. I just read a report that there were four people in the conversation. Obama, Brewer, and two Arizona mayors. One of the mayors says that Obama was calm and in no particular hurry.

      I have many questions regarding this incident. Was the meeting between Obama and Brewer something that was scheduled in advance? How common is it for a governor to meet the President on a tarmac as he deplanes?

      It was reported that Brewer said she wanted to tell the President about the “Arizona comeback” which sounds a lot like bragging. And, of course, to hand him that “handwritten” letter which was so impromptu that, at first, her people lied about and said a copy didn’t exist. Then, lo and behold, a photocopy actually did exist. Who plans ahead like that an makes a photocopy of a handwritten private note, unless, of course, they’re counting on it for publicity later?


  2. Brewer Incident — I don’t know why Gov. Brewer is pointing her finger, but she said that the first thing Obama said to her when he saw her on the tarmac was to complain about what she wrote about him in her book, Scorpions for Breakfast, which is getting a huge sales boost from this finger incident. She’d said in her book that he was condescending during their White House meeting. Jeez, can you imagine the president being condescending and patronizing ๐Ÿ˜‰ ? But to be fair, she hadn’t said that right after their White House meeting.

    I’m guessing, though, that she’s pointing her finger and saying, “Hey, Prez, there’s a booger hanging out of your left nostril. Yes, it’s right there.”

    Apple products — You know the blowhard douchebag personally, but what I take from what he says is that Americans wouldn’t buy the iphone etc. if they had to pay what it would cost to hire U.S. workers to build it. I’ve seen the estimates of the cost, and only Mitt Romney and Warren Buffett would be able to buy it. Bill Gates could afford to buy it, too, but he wouldn’t buy an Apple product, would he?

    Obama — Obama does think American workers should be building “stuff” again — that’s a direct quote. So let’s tax more businesses, except for cronies, and I’m sure it’ll happen! http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/01/26/obama_i_want_an_economy_where_were_making_stuff_and_selling_stuff_and_moving_it_around.html


    1. Thanks for calling out the blowhards. (And that’s all I’m going to say.) ๐Ÿ˜‰


      1. The dude is. He really, really is. He’s the guy who, while nibbling on steak on lobster, lectures the person who is grateful to eat a can of dog food. “At least you’ve got something to eat,” he says. “Money isn’t all its cracked up to be. There’s surprisingly little difference between rich and poor.”

        That’s surprisingly easy to say, I imagine, when you’re the one on the good end of the equation.

        The dude seriously needs to go suck an egg. And clever readers will know exactly who the fuck I’m talking about.


    2. Interesting that Brewer wasn’t as forthcoming about the first thing she said to him. That makes me wonder.

      By the way, Brewer is a known liar. It’s documented on her Wikipedia page. Check out the section on “headless bodies.”

      She’s a politician (just like Obama) thus probably an expert on doublespeak, slithering out of lies, and grandstanding and optimizing her self-publicity. That may very well be what she’s best at. It could be she has a lot of narcissistic qualities. ๐Ÿ™‚

      There are two sides to every story, and I’m not sure who did what to whom out on that tarmac. If Obama felt she misrepresented their previous meeting I wouldn’t be surprised that he might bring it up, especially if he felt like he was being confronted. That seems like a human thing to do.

      Who was bringing up what topics? I read she wanted to talk about the “Arizona Comeback.” And who brought up the book? Let’s listen to a direct quote from Brewer on that:

      “I asked him if he had read my book, โ€˜Scorpions for Breakfast.โ€™ And he said that he read an excerpt and he didnโ€™t think that I was very cordial. He was somewhat thin skinned and a little tense to say the least.โ€

      Oh? She asked about the book and he offered an opinion. Gads, what an asshole! ๐Ÿ™‚

      The whole thing feels like an ambush and a setup to me. Is it any coincidence her book went from like 32,000 on Amazon to 169. Wow, what a jump! How fortuitous for her. In fact, the whole thing sounds self-serving from the “Arizona Comeback” to her references to her own book.

      Here’s a different perspective on the Tarmac Tangle:
      Jan Brewer’s Lie Proved False

      You offer a worthy contender for the caption contest. Sadly, there is only one winner. Here’s your “participant” ribbon. Congratulations!

      Like I said, the Foxconn and Apple thing has been in the news a lot lately. Conservatives always tell me that I shouldn’t buy what I can’t afford. I actually end up spending very little. A new pair of shoes (which I desperately need) has to have a “fund” of one to two years. I can’t just go out and buy what I want today just because I want it. I don’t have an iPad, either, although I want one. I only have an iPod Touch and that was a gift.

      But isn’t paying $500 for a $2,000 item another way of buying what you can’t afford? Especially when that $1,500 in savings comes at the cost of the suffering of other human beings? If the true cost is $2,000 then maybe it isn’t worth having as much.

      The Story of Stuff movie does an excellent job of talking about how the true costs of things is shifted in unfair ways.

      If Americans want iPhones, iPods and iPads, it is my opinion that they should pay what they cost, not transfer those costs via inhuman treatment and working conditions, environmental damage, exploitation, etc.

      I once saw a video about the great Toyota corporation, held up as a model of so many great things. Yet the people who make the pieces of metal that went behind the headlights were “contractors” who made extremely little money while subjecting themselves to horrible working conditions while dipping those pieces of metal in toxic chemicals, conditions that would never be allowed in the United States. They were selling their own lives a dip at a time for an existence that we would make us sue happy. We’d be indignant. We’d be furious.

      I know I would. I hate my job and it’s a walk in the park compared to many on this planet. I even thought about applying for a job at Foxconn. I wanted to blog about the experience. I like to dream big.


    3. Brian Williams complained about the finger pointing, but as a typical media fool, he is guilty of the same thing. Williams, of course, left out the context of the Brewer/Obama discussion.

      As for Brewer’s lying about headless bodies, shall I point to Obama’s multitude of fibs? This example particularly is particularly egregious. This is when Obama says surgeons choose amputation over treating patients because they get paid more for amputations, which is wrong and stupid in so many ways.


      1. You know what? I really appreciate the people, on either side, who have the ability and intelligence to go back in the archives and make them look like assholes. Eat that, Brian Williams. That shit is awesome! ๐Ÿ™‚

        So, yeah, it may be the finger of Brewer is just an innocent piece of body language that looks much, much worse in the frozen freeze frame of a photograph.

        Remember the “Falling Man” photo on 9/11? People made a big deal about the “serenity” and “peacefulness” of that photo. Later, when viewed with all the other photos of the sequence, it was obvious the man flailed all the way done. Only a frozen moment in time made it appear otherwise.

        That illustrates the danger of reading too much into the photo.

        That said, it could very well be that she was being a major a-hole, too. For some reason, I don’t find that particular theory quite so hard to imagine. ๐Ÿ™‚

        The problem with hyperbole is that it weakens an otherwise sound argument. Is it possible that doctors allow financial considerations to color medical decisions? Hells yeah. Obama just crossed a line while trying to make that point. And I’ll admit the same thing is probably true about Brewer and her “headless bodies” controversy.

        I like to think that my particular bias doesn’t make this a left vs. right thing, but I have to admit it does have a possible impact on my interpretation of the Tumble on the Tarmac ™.


  3. You know Apple makes more profit per employee than any oil company or Wall St. bank? But because folks love their iPhones, they’re never one of the “bad guys”.

    I’ve also read that if you assembled an iPhone in the US, it would cost $75 more.

    Seventy-five dollars is apparently the going rate on a modicum of human dignity.


    1. I’ve heard wildly varying estimates.

      What I found ludicrous are all of the headlines wondering if Americans should care about the lives of the people who make their stuff. “Should?” You’d think that would be a given, not some philosphical point up for debate.

      The movie “The Story of Stuff” claims that America uses third world countries for their natural resources, which don’t benefit the native people at all, and then dumps the resulting toxins. That’s the whole thing in a nutshell, isn’t it?

      Nike shoes, diamonds, cocoa, etc. Is the stuff produced by children? Human beings working under gunpoint? People treated like animals at their jobs? And then some smarmy person comes along and says with arrogance, “We’re doing them a favor.”

      American corporations may love shipping our jobs out of the country because they can pay less for labor to workers who have fewer rights, but eventually they need American consumers with dollars to spend on their products and services. Increasingly, though, Americans don’t have money because they don’t have incomes. I find that paradigm to be unsustainable and way worse than painting yourself into a corner.

      Lately, though, I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about how America is no longer a “growth” territory. As we all know, being successful and having a modest but steady business is just not good enough. There has to be “growth.” If you aren’t opening 100 stores a month you’re just not doing it right. And where is all the projected future growth? Where are the areas of growth opportunity now?

      All outside of the United States, in emerging markets like India and China. You know. The people the corporations gave our jobs. For some strange reason they are the ones who suddenly have disposable income.

      The American citizen is about to get the cold shoulder since he’s no longer a vehicle to growth, and is about to be the recipient of a massive “attitude adjustment.”

      The key point to remember that this whole process is driven by the mistreatment of human beings and the separation of vast sums of wealth and power. That’s what makes it all go around. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.


      1. It’s interesting that you mention the need corporations have developed for growth, b/c The Beloved and I talk about this all the time. Companies used to be able to exist (for decades) making products, selling them, turning a profit and issuing dividends. But when the 80s came around and globalization caught on, suddenly a quarterly or annual dividend to your shareholders (sorry greedy shareholders) was not enough.

        Working in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry, I can already see the focus changing towards the rise of the Chinese and Indian middle classes. I mean, who cares if there’s a billion of them living in poverty or like slaves, there are now 300,000,000 new CUSTOMERS!!


  4. I agree with you and The Beloved. It’s too bad when success is measured only as a function of growth. That worldview is destined to fail in a world of finite limits.


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