Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Paranormal Pseudoscience Skepticism/critical thinking

Oh, no! Barack Obama’s hypnotizing us all to do his bidding!

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.)

That’s right. Obama, Goebbels, Hitler, Mussolini, Reagan, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, they’re all the same to Dr. Monreal. A physician named Dr. Gary Levin is more explicit:

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.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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