Monday, October 31, 2016

#1740: Andrew G. Hodges

Several wingnuts have claimed to be able to read Obama’s mind. The readings tell you little about Obama, of course, but do tell you quite a bit about the deranged minds of said wingnuts. Andrew G. Hodges is one, and since he tells his intended audience exactly what they want to hear he’s been quoted (several times) as an “expert” by the WND. Hodges is apparently a psychiatrist, and the author of “The Obama Confession: Secret Fear, Secret Fury”, who uses a unique [that’s not a selling point in medicine or science] psycholinguistic technique he calls “ThoughtPrint Decoding” to “read between the lines” of Obama’s statements; apparently the technique is called “the cutting-edge of forensic science” by expert investigators, but the WND doesn’t name those investigators.

According to Hodges, if you read between the lines of Obama’s 2012 speech at the UN, for instance, you can detect him admitting that he isn’t eligible to be president (not entirely unlike how the eye on the American dollar is the gub’mint admitting that they are part of the Illuminati), and I think it is worth looking at the evidence in some detail:

For instance, Obama said that: “The attacks on our civilians … were attacks on America … we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice.” According to Hodges, that means that Obama “again confesses his illegal presidency was an attack upon America, upon justice. So he promises to relentlessly track down his symbolic killing – destruction of – the Constitution.” And when Obama said that “the attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America. They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United [States] was founded,” Hodges sees him “once more alluding to his constitutional attack. He can’t say it enough.” And when Obama stated the “answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution … yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. Moreover, as president of our country, I [accept that people are going to] call me awful things every day,” Hodges got Obama “unconsciously reminds us that no one has confronted his blasphemy as a false president flaunting our most sacred beliefs — even as he calls his deed ‘awful.’ Obama’s succinct answer to his illegal presidency: enforce the Constitution.” Yeah, that’s the gist of it. Motivated reasoning doesn’t quite seem to capture the level of crazy at work here. (Just imagine how Hodges would have interpreted his statements had Obama not mentioned the Constitution or, well, the attacks.)

Here Hodges finds definite proof that President Obama is stealthily preparing to create a dictatorship, attack white Christian civilians and incite a civil war. This time the evidence is a “spontaneous image” Hodges experienced when the president told a joke. The WND duly published the story. And here Obama apparently admits that he stole the 2012 election through voter fraud. And of course: Obama has (unconsciously) admitted that he is coming for your guns through a comprehensive confiscation program; the evidence is that 1) Obama said the exact opposite; but 2) he is an illegal president: “Ask yourself, if he carried out an illegal presidency and participated in election fraud what would he be capable of when it came to gun control?” The same strategy for interpreting the data was used when Hodges concluded that Obama is “submissive” to ISIS. Here Hodges applies the super-Intel decoding principle of “Thou protests too much.”

Before he got picked up as an “expert” by the WND Hodges used to solve criminal cases using techniques he had developed himself. So for instance, Hodges deciphered the JonBenet ransom note to identify the child’s killer (no killer has been identified) and showed how Casey Anthony secretly confessed to killing her daughter in 200 letters written to a jail mate. Courts and investigators have apparently not been impressed with the efforts.

Diagnosis: Oh, the WND. Hodges is the kind of lunatic that raves about mind control at, but WND actually believes they are a serious news organization. Good grief.

Friday, October 28, 2016

#1739: Jim Hochberg

Jim Hochberg is President of Hawaii Family Advocates, which like every organization with “Family” in the name, is virulently anti-gay and opposed to any family organization that fails to conform to their Biblically based ideal (it’s not Biblically based, of course; family structures in the Bible tend to be interestingly diverse). Hochberg has, as you’d expect from a bigoted loon, argued that marriage equality is only the first step on a slippery slope that will lead to bestiality, concubines and, to top it, persons marrying themselves. He also thinks that bisexual people will always want two spouses, which is, I suppose, just as obvious as the idea that every heterosexual man wants two wives (he also lists “bisexual marriage” as one of the bad consequences of legalizing same-sex marriage, which makes one wonder what he thinks “bisexuality” means).

Diagnosis: And that’s enough attention given to Jim Hochberg. Bigoted, stupid, and probably ultimately rather insignificant.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

#1738: Jean Hoagland and Homeopaths Without Borders

Yes, it really exists (and we might even have covered them before, come to think of it). Homeopaths Without Borders is a non-profit organization that tries to capitalize on the reputation of Doctors Without Borders (no, HWB is not in anything but a homeopathic sense associated with Doctors Without Borders), with a result so hilariously sad that it is matched by little else I can think of. Their stated mission is “to provide humanitarian aid, homeopathic treatment and education by serving as partners with communities in need,” which essentially means that they go to areas with sub-standard healthcare to offer people nothing. At least they are relatively open about their lack of association with Doctors Without Borders on their website, which makes one wonder why they chose the name they did in the first place. It should at this point be unnecessary to mention that homeopathy is amazing bullshit – it’s really no more than prescientific witchcraft aimed at rebalancing the humors (no, it really is) – or that evidence pretty much conclusively shows that it has no beneficial effects on any health-related issues whatsoever.

HWB briefly made the news in 2010 (or maybe that was just this otherwise somewhat similar group), when they went to Haiti to provide humanitarian help after the Haiti earth quake. Presumably they didn’t manage to do much harm, but they did point out that they discovered a need for “remedies to treat dengue, malaria, cholera and other tropical diseases,” which should be cause for concern. These are real diseases that can actually kill you, and New Age pretense doctors should have no business clowning around and getting in the way of real doctors trying to help patients suffering from these diseases. HWB could also report that the University of Notre Dame in Port-au-Prince was to introduce a homeopathy course that could lead to a certification from the American Medical College of Homeopathy in Phoenix, which is not an institution that can issue diplomas worth quite as much as the paper on which they are printed (since they have ruined the paper by printing on it, that is).

In short, the HWB is not a humanitarian organization but an exploitative one. Oh, and Jean Hoagland, under whose name this post is listed, is the president of the American chapter. 

Diagnosis: No, you are not helping. Think how much better the world could have been if these people had actually spent their efforts on something good instead of deluding themselves into thinking that they are practicing medicine.

Monday, October 24, 2016

#1737: Charlotte Hinson

Roger Delano Hinkins, better – infamously – known as John-Roger, recently passed away. The Louisiana Science Education Act doesn’t seem to go anywhere, however. Passed by the state legislature in 2008, the act permits science teachers to use supplemental materials to “critique” evolution, which in practice means allowing them to teach creationism (of course, doing so would be constitutional, but Louisiana fundie wingnuts hate the Constitution). And Louisiana teachers do teach creationism. One of the ones who is rather vocal about that is Charlotte Hinson, a fifth-grade teacher at Caddo’s Eden Gardens Magnet School, who also wrote a column for the Shreveport Times in which she declared that her “job is to present both [evolution and creationism]” because “God made science.” Well, she doesn’t really do her job even by her own standards: “kids are disturbed when they hear or read that we evolved from apes. Of course, I do NOT teach that, but it is written in books, and they see it on certain TV shows as well.” And apparently she’s successful: after the origins sections “[the kids] always, always say, ‘I didn’t come from an animal. God created me in a unique way; I matter more than an animal; I’m special.’” Indeed, Hinson seems to have her own, personal, view of what school is for: “I will never ever teach what goes against so many of these children’s beliefs, morals and what their parents have worked so hard to instill in their hearts.” So there.

She did receive a letter from the ACLU for that one, but responded by pointing out that she had the support of local lawyers, her principal, and the school board, which is probably true (for instance, Caddish school board member Steve Riall, during a board meeting, affirmed that the Governor has granted permission for districts in Louisiana to give equal value in teaching evolution and creationism, for instance). Hinson ended her response with “Times are getting harder and harder … I feel the end is near. Be blessed!!!” Clearly, being criticized for blatantly violating the First Amendment is persecution.

Hinson is not alone, of course, and support for her efforts extend to the top. Governor Bobby Jindal, who signed the Science Education Act, said it was for creationism, and State Sen. Ben Nevers, who sponsored it in the Senate, said he did so because “creationism should be discussed when dealing with Darwin's theory.” State Rep. Frank Hoffmann, a state House sponsor, has also confirmed that the purpose of the law is to facilitate teaching creationism, and that Louisiana science curriculum policy “recommended a scientific discussion in the classroom of scientific theories including creationism and evolution,” which reveals something rather scary about what counts as “scientific theories” among Louisiana politicians.

Diagnosis: Completely unsuited for her job, but that’s apparently how things run in Louisiana. It’s scary, but at least no one seems to be looking to Louisiana for advice on how to do things these days – pity about the kids whose future Hinson and her ilk are jeopardizing, though.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

#1736: Os Hillman

Os Hillman is a dominionist, one of the leading theocrats in the US and an overall pretty scary fellow. He is also president of Marketplace Leaders, an organization devoted to making leaders view their workplaces as a ministry, which is part of the “seven mountains” strategy (Hillman is behind the Reclaiming the Seven Mountains website). His website promotes the work of people like Johnny Enlow, who has asserted that the goal of Christians ought to be to establish a “virtual theocracy” and that the best way to achieve this is through stealth, and Lance Wallnau, who also thinks that theocrats should do whatever is necessary to force Biblical law on everyone (including not using the word “dominionism” when the media is present). “Unfortunately, when we embrace a life of sin, no matter what sin it is, we fall into deception,” has Hillman said in a completely different context (while arguing that homosexual love is not love at all but “Satan’s counterfeit role” and should accordingly be actively fought by Christians), which is both perceptive and displaying a staggering lack of self-awareness at the same time.

But no, he doesn’t like marriage equality, and has warned that America may soon face divine punishment for tolerating gay people (he has also suggested lowering the divorce rate as a means to reducing the gay population; the reasoning is, as you would guess, somewhat tortured). In fact, Hillman has prophecied that something bad might be in store for us soon: In “Are We Entering a Modern-Day Amorite Judgment?” he suggested September 2015, and although the prophecy was a bit complicated (it was based on the lunatic rants of deranged Taliban sycophant Jonathan Cahn and is explained here), it involved pointing out that God judged the Amorites by killing them, which doesn’t sound good. Fortunately, according to Hillman, Christians stand to benefit: “If we are prepared this could be the greatest wealth transfer we have ever seen in our lifetime, or it can be a devastating time if you are not prepared,” which sounds remarkably like a standard, cheap magazine horoscope (including the safety valve: if you don’t benefit, you just weren’t prepared enough). Hillman also asked for readers’ email address in order to get his preparation tips. Yes, it’s spam.

He has also claimed that God is (or may be) using Donald Trump to wake up America and “seems to be using Fox News to bring light to moral injustices.”

Diagnosis: Oh, the Taliban-envy. He is also one of those religious fanatics who seems to think that since everyone is a sinner anyways, it doesn’t matter if he lies and deceives a bit extra. Yet, Hillman is a pretty influential character, and it is hard to exaggerate how scary that is.