Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Who Needs a Court System?

Readers will know I am not a fan of Donald Trump for a variety of reasons, like him constantly saying things which aren't true. That he was elected as president obviously bothers me. I've been trying not to talk about that though. The point of this site is ultimately to explore my belief the world is insane, but Trump's election is too obvious an example.

Still, I can resist only so much. It would be fun to talk about how Trump managed to issue an executive order in a more incompetent manner than has ever been seen before. It would be fun to talk about how Trump claims the cancellation of his meeting with the President of Mexico was mutual because on Twitter he said:

And the guy responded by canceling the meeting. I mean, not only is that an incredibly strained definition of "mutual," it is hard to resist talking about how Trump apparently thinks he negotiated this cancelation via Twitter. Still, I managed. I managed right up until I saw this tweet:

I had to check for myself because that seemed too funny. How could the government fail to include one of its three branches on its White House website? I don't have an answer for that, but I can confirm it is true. The judicial branch no longer has a web page on the White House website.
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Anthony Watts Defends Fake Quotation

Apparently I spoke too soon. In my last post, I wrote:

In any event, I think that resolves this issue. There don't seem to be any facts in dispute anymore. I could write a few paragraphs to condemn dishonest and unethical behavior, mock people for their lack of skepticism or any number of other things, but... eh. I'm tired of worrying about that stuff. Instead, I'd like to point something else out: I was right.

I'm not saying that to gloat (well, maybe just a little). I'm saying it because this was so incredibly obvious to me. A professional newspaper provided two different versions of the same quotation within one article, and somehow, nobody at the newspaper and nobody promoting the story across the internet noticed. That's just crazy.

This, of course, was in reference to the fact the newspaper The Independent ran a story in which a professor named John Wiens was confronted with the hypothetical situation in which he met Donald Trump. When asked what he'd tell Trump in such a situation, The Independent quoted Wiens as saying both, "Kill yourself immediately" and "kill himself immediately."

I thought that peculiar and argued one of these quotations must be fake. My last post discussed how according to Wiens himself, the actual quotation was "kill himself immediately." The result of this is headlines like this one, were inaccurate:

There was more to things as The Independent secretly edited its article some time after I first questioned the quotations, something I find despicable (in response, it has re-edited the piece and hid the fact the changes were initially secret). There may be other aspects as well, but I thought things were finally settled as it seemed there was no longer any dispute over what Wiens had said.

Unfortunately, it appears Anthony Watts, proprietor of a major global warming "skeptic" blog Watts Up With That, has chosen to continue to claim the fake quotation is real. Continue reading

Confirmation Quotation Was Fake

This post is a quick follow-up to my last one. Over the weekend, I observed a strange situation where a story spreading across the internet quoted a man in two different ways. Here is the article and subhead from the post as it was originally run:

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Here is text from the body of the article:

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The phrase, "Kill yourself immediately" is an internet meme some nnline commenters have co-opted as a joke. Like any meme, it's meaning goes beyond the words themselves. That means the difference between it and"kill himself immediately" is more than grammatical. Even if that weren't true, it is very strange for a newspaper to publish different versions of the same quotation, much less within one article.

Naturally, I concluded (at least) one of these quotations must be fake. I noted this almost immediately upon first seeing the story linked to on Twitter:

Following from this, I spent some time talking to people in various locations about the issue. A while after that, the paper (The Independent) which published the two differing quotations (The Independent) edited the article to remove both versions of the quotations. It did this secretly, without any indication. I criticized it for this as secretly changing published material is dishonest and unethical.

Some time later, The Independent edited the article again to add a note indicating the original change. While I applaud the effort, secretly editing a piece to hide the fact you secretly edited the piece seems... awkward. Moreover, the note The Independent added did nothing to address the fact it had provided contradictory versions of this quotation.

My discussion of these issues led a person to contact the quoted individual. You can read his account of things here. In it, he quotes the person whose remark started all this as saying:

“On Thursday, December 8, I was contacted by Ian Johnston from The Independent, ostensibly to talk about my paper on climate change and extinction that was being published in PLoS Biology (the paper actually received serious reporting by Brandie Wiekle from CBC News and others).

“Unfortunately, Mr. Johnston admitted that he had not read my paper, and apparently had little interest in talking about it. It turned out that he only wanted to talk about Donald Trump. I did not. He asked me what I would say to Donald Trump. I said that I really did not think that Donald Trump cared at all what I thought.

“Obviously, I hoped that this would be the end of the topic. He persisted. I did therefore say that Trump should “kill himself immediately” (i.e., his doing this seems about as likely as him following any recommendation from an obscure scientist like myself about stopping climate change). I then made sure that it was clear that it was a joke.”

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The man was apparently unhappy with aspects of the story and contacted The Independent about this. That's why it removed the quotations from its articel. That is good to know (and what I suggested had happened), but what I find more interesting is he claims he said "kill himself immediately." That is not the internet meme, "Kill yourself immediately." This would seem to confirm that quotation was in fact fake.

Why did The Independent run a fake quote in the body of its text? I don't know. I also don't know why it was so obvious to me the quotation was fishy while "skeptic" sites like Watts Up With That ran it without question. It seems pretty weird. Perhaps some people who ran the fake quotation will correct the record. I doubt it though. It's too good a story to question.

In any event, I think that resolves this issue. There don't seem to be any facts in dispute anymore. I could write a few paragraphs to condemn dishonest and unethical behavior, mock people for their lack of skepticism or any number of other things, but... eh. I'm tired of worrying about that stuff. Instead, I'd like to point something else out: I was right.

I'm not saying that to gloat (well, maybe just a little). I'm saying it because this was so incredibly obvious to me. A professional newspaper provided two different versions of the same quotation within one article, and somehow, nobody at the newspaper and nobody promoting the story across the internet noticed. That's just crazy.

Oh, and for documentation purposes, here are archived copies of the article in each of its forms: Original, secretly edited, updated to note the alteration<?a>.

Newspaper's Fabricated Quote Suckers "Skeptics"

The internet is full of memes, and if you're new to it, they can seem quite strange. ONE such meme is the intentionally strange, "Kill yourself immediately." The word "immediately" is superfluous as any command given without a timeframe is implicitly meant to be done right away, but that's sort of the point. Memes aren't meant to be serious. They're supposed to be peculiar, odd or otherwise memorable to stick in people's minds.

If someone says, "Kill yourself immediately," odds are they are trying to be humorous (albeit in a twisted way). They are not seriously trying to get you to commit suicide. That is why you might see posts like, "God you're an idiot. Kill yourself immediately." It's supposed to be a funny expression of disdain. I never thought it was funny, but hey, bad humor is still humor.

The reason I bring this up is I recently came across a story because of this tweet:

Which struck me as odd as I wouldn't expect a biologist to use an internet meme in a discussion of the President Elect. I Looked into it, and it appears the quotation may be fake. If it isn't, a different quotation in the same story is. That's not what stood out to me though. What stood out to me is the very news outlets reporting this story all seemed to use different fake quotes. Other differences amongst the stories are strange as well. It seems in an era where media outlets can practically just copy and paste text from other articles to get clicks, people can't even do that right.
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Stop Supporting Rapists*

So I was meaning to put a post up yesterday about an interesting issue I found in a recent paper, but yesterday's "breaking news" about Donald Trump has put me in a foul mood. I don't want to fill the post with rhetoric and opinionated commentary, so I thought I'd hold off for a bit.

Rather than just stay quiet for a week or so, I thought I'd copy a comment I just wrote showing my state of mind. If you support Donald Trump, I suggest you don't read it. Then again, if you support Donald Trump, I suggest you just leave. My site, the internet, the planet. whichever you prefer.
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You're Disturbingly Stupid

I try not to talk about politics much here because my views are a bit out there, and quite frankly, most political discussions are pointless and boring. I've had a bit of writer's block on what to post here recently though, so I"m going to delve into politics just a little.

Don't worry, I'm not really going to discuss politics. I'm just going to show you what is unquestionably the dumbest political propaganda I've ever seen. Or at least, the propaganda which requires the dumbest audience to work:
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Donald Trump for President!

There's been a meandering discussion about this and that over at lucia's blog, and one of the topics has involved the Syrian refugee crisis and Donald Trump. The details don't matter. I just wanted to copy over a short excerpt from one of my comments because it summarizes my views on Trump's race for election so far:

I personally believe Americans who can’t strongly and vigorously criticize Donald Trump for being a delusional and racist blowhard should be deported to another planet for the sake of the human race. But hey, instead, we give him billions of dollars and consider electing him president. And he’s not even threatening to murder us if we criticize him!