Tag Archives: syllogisms

Mario Apuzzo, Esq. Is All Wet!!! (Part I, The Witch Test)

witch ski

Apuzzo Suddenly Realized That He Wasn’t On Solid Ground

Well, Mario Apuzzo, Esq. once again takes issue with my assessments of his arguments. Here is a link to his latest broadside at me, the Artsy-Fartsy Girl Reporter:

The Constitution, the Rule of Law, and the “Natural Born Citizen” Clause:  A Response to Artsy Fartsy Squeeky Fromm Girl Reporter

Artsy Fartsy Squeeky Fromm Girl Reporter (“Squeeky Fromm”) continues in vain to try to persuade the public that she has refuted my position that an Article II “natural born Citizen” is a child born in the country to parents who were its “citizens” at the time of the child’s birth.


For purposes of space, this article will only discuss his syllogisms, or logical form arguments. Part II will cover his substantive arguments. Before we discuss his arguments, let’s do some analogizing about tests! Back in Ye Olde Witch Hunting Days, there was a test designed to determine if a woman was witch. It was called dunking. The alleged witch would be trussed up, taken to the nearest river or pond, and tossed in. If she floated, she was a witch. If she sank, she was innocent. There was usually a rope attached, and the witches, innocent and otherwise, were pulled back up in the boat. This was a respected, and well established test dating back to the days of Babylon. Personally, I think it was more of an ancient form of the Wet T-Shirt Contest, but I believe a lot of Jungian stuff, so who knows.

Anyway, from a modern perspective, we can see that this test had absolutely nothing to do with proving whether or not the subject was a witch, and a lot more to do with Body Mass Index (BMI). A voluptuous, buxom woman, with ample hips, would be more likely to float, whereas scrawny little Girl Reporters would end up noodling catfish on the bottom. Theoretically, it would be possible to rig these tests. For example, if it was me, and a Mob of Angry Birthers said I was a witch, then I would put on my cast iron chastity belt, and slip some diving weights into my undies. I do not put this kind of thing past people in that day, either.

This may make it easier to understand what I was griping about when I wrote my “stabs.” They were in response to an Apuzzo article critical of Jack Maskell, who had written a 50 page memo for the Congressional Research Service, and Bob Quasius, a blogger at Cafe Con Leche Republicans, who relied on that memo to conclude Ted Cruz was most likely a natural born citizen. A copy of Maskell’s memo, and a pdf of it for easier reading, may be found here:


Apuzzo attacked Maskell by using logical syllogisms.  I counter-attacked Apuzzo by pointing out that syllogisms are basically useless when it is the major premises themselves that are issue. And even more useless when an author plays fast and loose with them. That was the point that I made in my first article on this:


Perhaps it is my inherent witchiness, but neither that article nor the subsequent rebuttal article sank in.  So, that is why I am trying this analogy. The Dunking Test is a lot like those Logical Syllogisms. Neither are accurate tests of the truth, and both are subject to being rigged. This was the point that I made in my articles.  That syllogisms are as unreliable in determining the TRUTH of an argument, as tossing a witch into yon pond. Take for example this perfectly logically valid syllogism:

Major Premise:   All dogs can fly
Minor Premise:   Fido is a dog
Conclusion:          Fido can fly

While this passes the logically VALID test, in that its FORM is correct, it does not pass the TRUE test. How do we know that it is not true??? We must go outside the syllogism for that. It is our experience, and our judgement which tell us that dogs can not fly. Therefore, facts outside of the syllogism itself are necessary to determine the truth. That was the point I made to Apuzzo. That his methodology was flawed, and that by using syllogisms he would be unable to shine any light whatsoever on the issue, particularly because it was the major premise itself that was the subject of contention.

In the context of determining whether citizens at birth are legally equivalent to natural born citizens, using syllogisms is like using the Dunking Test.  You will get a result, but that result doesn’t mean anything.  But Apuzzo is not keen on the whole judgement external to the syllogism thingy. He complained:

And even though Squeeky Fromm comes to Maskell’s aid, she also does not present any evidence to show that Maskell’s major premise, as reconstructed by me, would be true. What she does in place of presenting any evidence that the major premise is true is just to say that the premise does not strike her “as being facially incorrect, invalid, or untrue.” From this statement we can see that Squeeky Fromm has very little understanding of informal logic and fallacies. An informal fallacy has the exact facial appeal that she relies upon. But when its underlying truth is tested, it fails

Nope. It is Mario Apuzzo, Esq. who does not understand. As in the Fido Syllogism above, where else could one go if one finds the conclusion that Fido can fly troubling??? And not something you wish to discuss deeply with Mental Health professionals. Here, between the double lines, is what I wrote which prompted that response:


Now, lets assume that Apuzzo is wrong about CABs and NBCs and that they are both exactly the same thing as believed by Maskell and the Great Weight of Legal and Historical Authority. Then let’s put the matter to the logic test in proper logical form:

Major premise:       All NBCs are CABs
Minor premise:      Cruz is an NBC
Conclusion:             Therefore, Cruz is a CAB

Major premise:       All CABs are NBCs
Minor premise:       Cruz is a CAB
Conclusion:              Therefore, Cruz is an NBC.

Yes, I can live with either conclusion. Neither strikes me as being facially incorrect, invalid, or untrue. It would all depend on the truthfulness of the premises. For example, if a court ruled that all CAB are NOT NBC’s, then Cruz may or may not be an NBC. Which brings you to the second big problem with Apuzzo’s whole approach to this thing. Which is, his whole approach to this thing.


Summarizing this point, to determine whether or not a syllogism is TRUE, you have to go outside the syllogism. While outside, if something looks STUPID, then the syllogism is probably neither TRUE  nor SOUND.  Sooo, Fido can fly . . . strike[s] [me]“as being facially incorrect, invalid, or untrue.” With Maskell and Quasius, there were no such vibes.  There might be disagreement from the Birthers, but once again, that is why you don’t use syllogisms in situations like this. They are about as useful as trussing Maskell up, and  chunking him into a river to see if he floats.

Now, to discuss Apuzzo’s initial rigging of Maskell’s Dunking Test. In his original article, Apuzzo characterized Maskell’s take on this as:

All NBCs are CABs.
All persons like Ted Cruz (born in Canada to a U.S “citizen” mother and non-U.S. “citizen” father) are CABs.
Therefore, all persons like Ted Cruz are NBCs.

This is the same FORM, as Apuzzo’s Bubbles the Poodle example:

All poodles are dogs.
Bubbles is a dog.
Therefore, Bubbles is a poodle.

This is  a NOT VALID form, and it is also NOT the manner in which either Maskell, or the blogger Bob Quasius presented the argument. There was no reason to ever present Maskell’s argument in that particular form, except to set up a straw man.  Maskell’s position could be accurately presented by the two proper forms above. Apuzzo simply slipped some floaties on Maskell, tossed him in the drink, and then hollered, “Witch! Witch!” when Maskell floated to the surface.

That was my point. That was also what I said in my first rebuttal response to Apuzzo:


In his latest article, Mario Apuzzo tangentially deals with these criticisms:

Squeeky Fromm tries to persuade that she successfully addressed my criticisms of Congressional Attorney Jack Maskell’s thesis (his major premise) that all born citizens are “natural born citizens.”  From her article we can see that she is starting to understand the world of logic a little better. But she does not admit the blunder that she made with the first part of my logical presentation in which I expose why to argue, that since all “natural born Citizen” are “citizens at birth,” and since Barack Obama is a “citizen at birth,” he is a “natural born Citizen,” is logically invalid.  We have to recognize this argument and show that it is invalid because it is one of the means by which Maskell arrives at his conclusion that Obama is a “natural born citizen.”

Second, Squeeky Fromm, underplays the second part of my logical analysis where I show, by converting Maskell’s invalid argument into a valid argument, that Maskell’s second argument is unsound because the major premises is false.  Maskell’s second argument can only be all “citizens at birth” are “natural born citizens,” and since Obama is a “citizen at birth,” he is a “natural born citizen.”  Maskell’s major premise in this argument would be all “citizens at birth” are “natural born Citizens.” Squeeky Fromm fails to understand the importance of the maneuver of taking someone’s invalid argument and making [it] valid. It is done to show that if the argument is to succeed, then its premises must be true. And it is here that I have shown that Maskell’s major premise is false and therefore also his conclusion that Obama is a “natural born citizen.”

Huh??? Well, if you can wave your hands and, “PRESTO CHANGE O!!!” make the syllogism VALID, why did you ever present the INVALID form??? Because we have already established that the TRUTH of a syllogism comes from outside the syllogism, because the TRUTH of the premises comes from outside the syllogism. Let’s go grab Bubbles, and see how this works:

All poodles are dogs.
Bubbles is a dog.
Therefore, Bubbles is a poodle.

Is Bubbles a poodle??? Who knows. The FORM of the syllogism is INVALID, but that does not mean the conclusion is false. That just means that you can’t get to the truth of the conclusion through the argument. Somebody has to outside, in the yard, and check Bubbles. Who may or may not be a poodle.

Now, let’s do an Apuzzo Abracadabra, and make the form VALID:

All poodles are dogs.
Bubbles is a poodle.
Therefore, Bubbles is a dog.

Now, the FORM is VALID, but is the conclusion TRUE??? Who knows? Is Bubbles a poodle? Perhaps Bubbles is a cat. The point is, you still have to go outside the syllogism to check whether or not the premises are true. Now, as a matter of Advanced Syllogisms,  I will tell you, that even if both premises are TRUEish, and the form VALID, the conclusion could be false. Here is a picture of Bubbles, the poodle. She is on the right:


[Robert Byrn (Sir Kay, The Seneschal) and Mimi Berry (Bubbles, Hand-maiden to Queen Morgan Le Fay) in the 1943 revivial of A Connecticut Yankee. Creator: Valente, Alfredo — Photographer. Created Date 1943.

Because, a poodle is also a lackey, or a servile person.  So, some poodles are dogs. Some aren’t. This isn’t just nitpicking. Syllogisms come in flavors, or moods. About 256 of them, t0 be precise. Out of that 256 possible moods, only 19 forms are considered VALID. Personally, I haven’t counted them.



The relevance here is, that there is a very good chance a premise on the Ted Cruz issue would come out as, Some Citizens-at-Birth are natural born citizens. The law is not a real good place for logical FORMS. One reason is that classifications change. Another is that words are often subjective in meaning, or admit to having more than one meaning. For example, is naturalization a statute to be viewed separate and distinct from the Article II natural born citizen characterization, or is naturalization more properly viewed as a process,  complete with citizenship tests. In the law, lines are seldom hard and fast. This is why you have judges and juries. Somebody has to look at laws and decide what the words mean, and how they are to be applied, and to what facts they should be applied.

That was my point to Mario Apuzzo, Esq. Regarding Ted Cruz, the question of whether or not he is a natural born citizen, is open. Most people, myself included, think this will resolve in his favor. But it will not be resolved from presumption and the making of syllogistic premises. It will be decided by going to the law, and trying to decide the meanings of the words, and the intent behind them. If he wishes to be relevant in that process, Mario Apuzzo, Esq. needs to forget Aristotle, and start reading up on case law and statutory construction.

Squeeky Fromm
Girl Reporter

Note 1. The Image. This is Alfredo Mendoza, a former water skiing champion.

Alfredo Mendoza was the premier male water skier in the world during the early 1950s and he turned his tournament successes into a professional career as a skiing star at Florida’s Cypress Gardens. Mendoza first learned to water ski at Lake Tequesquitengo southwest of Mexico City in 1949. His fascination with the sport, coupled with his viewing of a film of show skiing at Cypress Gardens, convinced him to change from his earlier ambition of becoming a bullfighter. Mendoza captured the jumping and overall gold medals at the 1953 World Championships in Toronto, Canada. He repeated as jumping and overall champion at the world meet in Beirut, Lebanon two years later and added the slalom gold medal to his victory string.


Mario Apuzzo, Esq.’s Distributed Muddle!!!


Apuzzo Finally Found The Bench Which Supported Him!

I guess Mario Apuzzo, Esq. read my “A Pazzo” article. Today in his blog comments we find:

I of IISqueeky Fromm, Girl Reporter, the artsy fartsy Obot queen, has taken a stab at my Jack Maskell article. You can read her haughty prose here. https://birtherthinktank.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/he-says-apuzzo-i-say-a-pazzo/

She says that I have misread Minor v. Happersett because the Court said that “new citizens may be born or they may be created by naturalization.” I say, so what in light of the fact that the Court also said: “At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.” Hence, the Court said that at common law, if you were not born in the country to citizen parents, you were an alien or foreigner. This is the same exact thing that Congress reflected in its Naturalization Acts of 1790, 1795, 1802, and 1855. So Artsy Fartsy, Girl Reporter, has proven nothing but to show that she does not understand what she reads.

Then Artsy Fartsy, Girl Reporter, turns to my logical analysis of the Maskell argument. In the first part of her attempt at logic, it is quite clear that she has totally missed my point about Maskell’s first argument being invalid. I showed that Maskell’s first argument as having this invalid logical form (“natural born Citizen”=NBC; “citizen at birth”=CAB):

All NBCs are CABs.
All X’s are CABs.
Therefore, all X’s are NBC.

To show the invalidity of this argument, I wrote:

All poodles are dogs.
Bubbles is a dog.
Therefore, Bubbles is a poodle.

Artsy Fartsy, Girl Reporter, says that this argument is not valid and faults me for presenting it. She misstates my presentation, even attempting to prove me wrong by showing by use of some other irrelevant logical argument why this argument is not valid. I said that this Maskell argument is not valid because it violates the rule of the undistributed middle and also is fallacious for affirming the consequent. I said that this is the argument presented by Maskell. So, what is ironic is that Artsy Fartsy, Girl Reporter, attacks me, in her twisted and incorrect way, for the argument when what she is really doing is attacking Jack Maskell.

Then Artsy Fartsy, Girl Reporter, takes a shot at the second part of my logical analysis of the Maskell argument:

All CAB’s are NBCs.
All X’s are CAB’s.
Therefore, all X’s are NBCs.

Continued . . .

June 12, 2013 at 2:40 AM

Blogger Mario Apuzzo, Esq. said…

II of III explained that I took Maskell’s invalid argument (above) and made it valid through this logical form. I did this to show where Maskell’s informal fallacy is hidden. I showed how this argument is logically valid, but unsound because its major premise, All CAB’s are NBCs, is false. I explained that Maskell has not presented any evidence to prove the truth of this major premise. I presented U.S. Supreme Court case law which addressed the meaning of a “natural-born citizen” and this case law does not support Maskell’s thesis that all “citizens at birth” are “natural-born citizens.” And even though Artsy Fartsy, Girl Reporter, comes to Maskell’s aid, she also does not present any evidence to show that Maskell’s major premise, as reconstructed by me, would be true. What she does in place of presenting any evidence that the major premise is true is just to say that the premise does not strike her “as being facially incorrect, invalid, or untrue.” From this statement we can see that Artsy Fartsy, Girl Reporter, has very little understanding of informal logic and fallacies. An informal fallacy has the exact facial appeal that she relies upon. But when its underlying truth is tested, it fails.

I have demonstrated how Maskell has not proven that his adjusted major premise is true. I have also presented my evidence that shows that the adjusted major premise is false. I have therefore unmasked the informal fallacy of the adjusted Maskell major premise, i.e., that all “citizens at birth” are “natural born Citizens.” Yet, Artsy Fartsy, Girl Reporter, says that I have proven nothing. On the contrary, she is the one who just says a lot of mixed up nothing (like her art work), demonstrates how incapable she is of understanding case law, and proves how ignorant she is when it comes to logic.

June 12, 2013 at 2:42 AM


Blah. Blah. Blah. Well, once again Mario Apuzzo MISSES THE WHOLE DARN POINT of my article!!! I clearly said that I was saving a substantive refutation for later. The point of the Apuzzo/A Pazzo post was to show how Apuzzo’s use of syllogistic forms was misplaced and darn near useless when it is the major premises themselves which are at issue.

Apuzzo says the same thing but just doesn’t understand the impact of his own words. This is from his original article:

All CABs are NBCs.
All persons like Ted Cruz are CABs.
All persons like Ted Cruz are NBCs.

This argument is valid because if the major and minor premises are true, the conclusion must be true. But while the argument is valid as to its logical form, it is not sound, meaning that the major or minor premise or both are false. This adjusted Maskell argument is not sound because its major premise is false.

Notice how Apuzzo admits that in this proper logical form, Maskell’s argument is LOGICALLY valid. In Mario’s mind, what is it that renders the conclusion UNSOUND? Is it LOGIC??? Is it Aristotle speaking from beyond the grave??? Naw. It’s just that Mario disagrees with the Major Premise. That’s it! Maskell thinks one thing, and Mario thinks something else.

BUT, that is NOT the stuff of which logical fallacies are made. It’s just a disagreement. It happens all the time. I don’t think Mario Apuzzo is wrong because he violates forms of logic. I think he is wrong because he misinterprets applicable law, bases conclusions on inappropriate legal authorities, and flatly doesn’t know what he is talking about.

I guess you could put some of that into syllogistic form, to wit:

Major Premise: People who think earlier Supreme Court cases (Minor Happersett 1875) trump subsequent cases (Wong Kim Ark 1898) are wrong;

Minor Premise: Apuzzo thinks earlier Supreme Court cases (Minor Happersett 1875) trump subsequent cases (Wong Kim Ark 1898);

Conclusion: Apuzzo is wrong.

But why go through all that??? It isn’t necessary. It is simple enough to say, “Apuzzo commits error by focusing on earlier cases to the exclusion of subsequent cases. DUH! If I did utilize syllogisms in that fashion, it would not be for illumination, but obfuscation.  That was my whole point with the earlier article.

Sooo, let me close with an Artsy Fartsy Irish Poem:

Losing To Wit

Apazzo ignores the courts’ rulings,
To busy himself with his droolings.
To Wit: he’ll keep losing,
‘Cause he keeps refusing
To listen to Squeeky Fromm’s schoolings!

Squeeky Fromm
Artsy Fartsy Girl Reporter

Note 1. Undistributed Middle/Distributed Muddle. For ESL’s, this is a word play on logical fallacies (Undistributed Middle), and confused messes (Distributed Muddle).

mud·dle (mdl)

1. A disordered condition; a mess or jumble.
2. Mental confusion.

v. mud·dled, mud·dling, mud·dles
1. To make turbid or muddy.
2. To mix confusedly; jumble.
3. To confuse or befuddle (the mind), as with alcohol. See Synonyms at confuse.
4. To mismanage or bungle.
5. To stir or mix (a drink) gently.

To think, act, or proceed in a confused or aimless manner: muddled along through my high-school years.

Note 2. The Image Caption.  The Bench also means:

World English Dictionary
bench (bɛntʃ) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]

— n
1. a long seat for more than one person, usually lacking a back or arms
2. a plain stout worktable
3. ( sometimes capital ) the bench
a. a judge or magistrate sitting in court in a judicial capacity
b. judges or magistrates collectively

4. sport the seat on which reserve players and officials sit during a game
5. geology a flat narrow platform of land, esp one marking a former shoreline
6. a ledge in a mine or quarry from which work is carried out
7. (in a gymnasium) a low table, which may be inclined, used for various exercises
8. a platform on which dogs or other domestic animals are exhibited at shows
9. ( NZ ) a hollow on a hillside formed by sheep

Note 3. The Image Easter Egg:  Malt does more than logic will, to justify Apuzzo’s swill.

This is a word play based on two lines from  A.E. Housman, in A Shropshire Lad, XLII (#62) the one which begins, “Terence, this is stupid stuff”.  Here is an excerpt:

Oh many a peer of England brews
Livelier liquor than the Muse,
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God’s ways to man.
Ale, man, ale’s the stuff to drink
For fellows whom it hurts to think:
Look into the pewter pot
To see the world as the world’s not.


Note 4. To Wit. The Irish Poem is based on a punning use of the legalistic phrase “To Wit” (Namely) with the general meaning “To Wit” (To Humor) being the clear winner in many arguments.

The phrase to wit, meaning namely or that is to say, is primarily used in legal texts and speech, though it sometimes spills over into other types of writing. In general, unless you’re going for a formal tone, to wit bears replacement with one of the many alternatives, such as namely, specifically, in other words, more precisely, or to clarify.

Here’s an example of to wit used in a legal context:

The indictment charged that Broadnax “did knowingly possess, in and affecting interstate commerce, a firearm, to wit: a RG Industries, Model RG 31, .38 caliber revolver, serial number 019420.”