WHEN HUMANS SEE OTHERS: When humans see Others, we may tend to see crimes!


Rachel Maddow sees Others: "I see dead people," a terrified little boy said.

He wasn't just any terrified boy; he was a fictional child. His name was Cole Sear, and he was one of the central characters in the Oscar-nominated 1999 film, The Sixth Sense.

This terrified little boy could, and did, see dead people. Worldwide, the film he anchored earned $673 million. In the United States alone, it sold more than 57 million tickets.

Little Cole Sear could see dead people. The rest of us often see Others. Sometimes the Others are actually there—but sometimes, on balance, they aren't.

It's always a matter of judgment as to whether the Others are there. But when we humans believe we see Others, we tend to respond in certain predictable ways.

When we humans believe that we're seeing Others, we tend to react with fear. 

We may tend to believe that the Others all just alike. We also may tend to think that we're seeing criminal conduct—and we may give voice to this judgment, again and again and again.

So it has been with Rachel Maddow over the past five weeks. The star has been seeing Others again—and she seems to think that these Others have committed a crime.

She has been voicing this view again and again—over and over and over and over. It could be that her statement is accurate. But to our ear, this sounds like a highly unhelpful form of proselytization. 

Last Tuesday, the terrified "cable news" host expressed her fear by stating the name of a certain crime. She did so again and again.

Explanations were few, or were perhaps non-existent. More on that problem tomorrow. 

A certain key word dominated the evening's non-discussion discussion. In a parody of exposition, she said it again and again:

MADDOW (1/11/22): I picked these five [states] because, thanks to the watchdog group American Oversight, we now know that in all five of these states, Republicans also prepared forged, faked documents that were sent to the government, proclaiming that actually these other electors were the real electors from these states, and they were casting state electoral votes not for Biden, but for Trump.

Just watch this. Tell me—tell me if you notice something. These are the documents from Georgia. In Georgia, that's the real electoral vote document on the left, that's the forgery on the right.

In Nevada, that's the real one on the left, and the fake one on the right.

Here also is Wisconsin, where we reported on their forgery last month. That's the real one on the left, and the fake one on the right. Here's Michigan, where we reported their forgery last night. It's the real one on the left, and the forgery on the right.

And lastly, here's Arizona, the real electoral vote document on the left, and the fake one on the right. It wasn't one state. It wasn`t three states where they did this. At least five states where we've now obtained forged documents created by Republicans. 

According to Maddow, the Others had prepared some "forged, fake documents." On this particular evening, she repeated variants of "forgery / forged" again and again, then again and again, without ever stopping to explain why she was using that term.

A bit later this evening, her forced march toward proselytization continued ahead as shown:

MADDOW: Now, you might remember on last night's show, we noted that the forged documents from Michigan and Wisconsin looked really similar, looked really alike. But the Arizona one actually looked a little bit different.

Here's the amazing thing we discovered today about Arizona. It looks like there were two sets of forged Electoral College documents sent in by Arizona Republicans. There was the sort of different-looking one that we showed you last night with notary stamps all over it and stuff. That was one that was obtained by Politico.com that we showed on the air here last night.

But now, as of today, thanks to American Oversight, we have obtained another one, also from Arizona, also a forgery. A whole different set of Republican impostors sent one in from Arizona, and that matches exactly all of the other forged electoral votes from the six other states that we have found. Excuse me, from the four other states that we have found.

So this is kind of nuts, right? I mean, Arizona alone. In Arizona, they`re so around the bend that two different sets of Republicans sent the National Archives and Congress two different sets of forged, fake documents purporting to be the Electoral College votes from the state of Arizona. One of those forgeries was maybe, like, freelanced. "Let's get a notary to sign every page."

But the other one from Arizona matches exactly in form, spacing, font, and language, exactly the forgeries sent in by Republicans in at least four other states. In these five states, one of the two forgeries from Arizona, and the four other states, the forged documents all match.

Forgeries, forgeries, forgeries, forgeries / forged, fake documents. The terrified adult kept saying the word, without making any attempt to explain her choice.

Let's take a look at the record. On this particular evening—on Tuesday, January 11—the terrified cable news star used some form of "forgery / forged" on 39 separate occasions! 

(The companion word "fake" was given voice 14 times.)

On the previous night's show—on Monday, January 10—the star had exercised a bit more restraint. She had only voiced some form of "forgery / forged" on 21 separate occasions.

On Thursday evening, January 13, the star returned to form. She voiced some form of "forgery / forged" on 27 separate occasions. By now, delighted viewers of her TV show were having that pleasing word drummed into their heads.

Briefly, let's state the obvious. Sometimes, people do engage in some version of forgery. Sometimes, people do create "forged documents."

That said, "forgery" is often a crime, and the terrified cable news star was using the term in this way on these cable news TV programs. 

She persistently suggested that the people who had signed these "forged documents" had engaged in state and federal crimes. Over the course of several weeks, occasional guests would intrude upon the solipsism of the star's uninterrupted monologues—and when they did, she would anxiously ask if the forgers would be prosecuted for their apparent crimes.

A little boy had seen dead people; a cable star could now see Others. In this case, she kept seeming to say that the Others had produced criminal forgeries—but she never explained why she was using that term, or why she had formed that apparent judgment.

Was it true? Had the Others in question really committed crimes? Aside from advancing unfounded claims—claims they may have believed to be true—had they actually produced "forgeries?"

Maddow had started making this claim on Tuesday, December 21, 2021. On that evening's program, she had used  voiced some version of "forgery / forged" 18 separate times. 

That's well short of 39 times, but it was still a lot of repetition. "Look, we have the paperwork they forged," she excitedly said at one point.

Maddow has been saying "forgery / "forged" again and again and again. As she does, she keeps implying that the Others she is able to see have been involved in crimes. 

That said, we don't know why she's using that term. (She continued to do so last night.)  We've never seen her explain her use of the term. We don't think she's ever tried.

We don't know why the terrified star has been using that deeply fraught term. Is it simply an artefact of terror—and of otherization? 

Tomorrow, we'll puzzle it out.

Tomorrow: Aside from the joy of Otherization, why is she using that term?


  1. What is all this about, dear Bob? You, dear Bob, talk as if you were born yesterday.

    Where have you been during the last 5 years? Are you unaware of your liberal cult's perpetual hissy fit?

    Yeah, the walls a closing in and the end is near, dear Bob.

  2. I think TDH is going overboard on this 'forgery' thing. Maybe he has a little OCD. He has a point, but it's semantical at best. As I understand it, the GOP slate of electors, even after Biden won their states, submitted documents as if Trump had won their states, maybe using some sort of State seal. Forgery is when you sign another person's name to a check, deed or other document for some fraudulent or otherwise dishonest purpose. It sometimes applies to art works - like when someone copies a Rembrandt and tries to sell it as genuine. Here, the electors filed the paperwork as if Trump had won their states. As far as I know, no one forged the electors' signatures. Did they use a fake State seal? Note, I certainly believe what these GOP electors are said to have done is seriously wrongful, and possibly criminal - I'd need to know the statute or case law that applies to this type of act. That said, I personally think Maddow is unlistenable, and can't blame TDH for his antipathy toward her. There probably are other more relevant subjects than how many times Maddow uses the seeming misnomer for the electors' acts as being a "forgery."

    1. Yes, they did use fake state seals, in 7 states. Why is there doubt in your mind about this? The states themselves are saying, as has the National Archives.


      Whoever fraudulently or wrongfully affixes or impresses the seal of any department or agency of the United States, to or upon any certificate, instrument, commission, document, or paper or with knowledge of its fraudulent character, with wrongful or fraudulent intent, uses, buys, procures, sells, or transfers to another any such certificate, instrument, commission, document, or paper, to which or upon which said seal has been so fraudulently affixed or impressed, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

      (June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 753; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(K), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)


      The documents themselves are the proof that this occurred. The questions are about who forged them and under whose direction (they are claiming the Trump campaign coordinated this effort under Giuliani's direction).

      Maddow didn't make this stuff up, despite Somerby's attempt to suggest she did -- by calling her someone who sees dead people.

    2. How does one prove the intent to deceive? After all, they did it openly in public and told everyone exactly what they were doing and why they were doing it in public forums.

    3. 1054 I don't think you've really thought this through.

    4. I think both of these comments are helpful. With AC/MA, I share the impression that the documents are intended to defraud and misrepresent the signers' authority and status, as well as the State's intent; but they don't seem to be forged - "just" wrongful elements of a conspiracy to subvert the election. With @10:54 AM, I believe the documents clearly fall under the statute and are violative, but I think that statute casts them as fraudulent and wrongful, not "forged." I take TDH's point to be that Maddow's use of the word "forged" is sloppy and inflammatory, meant to add rhetorical power where simple clarity would be more than enough to make the crucial point (the existence of the conspiracy and the wrongful acts done to execute it). TDH's problem with Maddow generally is the (alleged!) gilding of the lily. I think Maddow's attention to the topic has been valuable, but it would be better (less Fox-like) with greater care for accurate terminology. That said, if there is a statute under which the documents actually do constitute "forgery" I would be happy to stand enlightened, even corrected. Jill Wine-Banks referred to some such, but did not identify it, I don't believe.

    5. Daid S. - the statute doesn't seem applicable. It criminalizes the fraudulent affixing the seal of on a document of "any department or agency of the United States." It's not clear that the documents in question were documents of "any department or agency of the United States." If not, then the statute wouldn't apply. there's lots of statutes though.

    6. It’s a dodge, Bob doesn’t want to deal with story, so we get this childishness.

    7. AC/MA - Thank you, but I think it addresses putting "the seal of" any department or agency on any document (not on a "document of" any department or agency).

    8. If someone paints a picture in the style of Van Gogh and claims it is by Van Gogh, that is a forgery. If someone creates an illegitimate slate of electors and passes it off as a legitimate slate of electors, that is also a forgery. It is also a fraud. Getting hung up on the word forgery is a distraction.

    9. tldr: AC/MA is neither a Dem nor a lawyer.

      12:19 doing a crime in public does not absolve one of the crime; frankly, your assertion is bizarre.

    10. It's not a crime unless one proves intent to deceive.

    11. 1:24 proving intent to deceive is not prohibited by committing the crime in public; frankly, your assertion is getting more bizarre.

    12. Then may the forgers be easily prosecuted and justice served!!

    13. 2:07 Crimes being prosecuted and justice being served have been universal values for thousands of years, welcome to the club.

  3. "That said, we don't know why she's using that term. [forgery]

    This is willful ignorance. Somerby doesn't want to know -- if he did, the definition of forgery is easy to find and it certainly fits what was obviously done -- the forged documents exist and are in hand. This isn't made up, by Maddow or anyone else.

    Somerby tries to stretch a thin movie plot about a kid who sees ghosts to fit Maddow's reporting of a fact -- those documents exist and were reported by the National Archives to whom they were submitted. They are REAL. There is no doubt about their existence. Maddow is not seeing ghosts, she is reporting about something that happened.

    Somerby's desperate attempt to convince us that up is down is insulting. I don't know why AC/MA has been taken in by it, but the only questions are about who did this, not whether those faked, forged documents exist. And Maddow has nothing to do with those documents, other than to report about them, as other cable news hosts have been doing. She didn't create them, and their existence doesn't hinge on her perception.

    Invoking a fictional movie about ghosts changes nothing whatsoever about this situation. It is Somerby's evasion, because he wants to call Maddow a liar, but he won't come right out and say it, so he talks about fictional kids who see fictional ghosts -- fictional means they don't exist, but Maddow is real and so is this story that she has been reporting.

    No one should have to be saying this. It is astonishing that Somerby and the right would try to fool people this way.

    1. Maddow was probably just joking though. Her show is comedy. None of her viewers takes what she says seriously. Why would you take things a comedian says seriously? We all know she offers exaggeration and opinion instead of facts a lot of the time. And that sense, you're 100% correct that she should not be called a liar.

    2. Never watched Maddow. Did she really joke that all Republicans aren't bigots?
      That isn't even funny.

    3. She's funny? hard to account for peoples' tastes.

    4. Yes, she has said she does comedy. And her viewers understand she offers exaggeration and opinion, not facts. You should watch her. She's better than Jon Stewart.

    5. Whether or not she does comedy has no bearing on the validity of her specific statements, which can be independently verified for accuracy.

    6. @1:32 PM

      Maddow lawyer Theodore J. “Ted” Boutrous Jr.:
      "Her comment, therefore, is a quintessential statement 'of rhetorical hyperbole, incapable of being proved true or false."

    7. But her viewers understand that her show consists of exaggeration, hyperbole, and pure opinion. So - it need not be, and isn't, accurate a lot of the time. No biggie. It's comedy.

    8. She is simply hilarious. Week after week, night after night. She keeps the jokes and laughter coming. She is quite simply a national treasure at this point.

    9. It turns out, Maddow is to comedy what the Right-wing is to white grievance.

  4. 1. Somerby is no liberal.
    2. When he calls himself one, by saying "we liberals" or "our tribe", he is deceiving his readers.
    3. Somerby has increasingly been supporting figures on the right and repeating conservative talking points and memes.

    That may be A-OK with you, if you are similarly not liberal or a bit confused. You are welcome to follow him down the alt-right rabbit hole, like the many others who are now contemplating jail or hell, whichever comes first. That is your choice.

    Just don't be deceived into thinking that Somerby is any kind of liberal.

    1. "Under common law, forgery is committed when a person makes or alters a writing so that it is false with the intent to defraud."

      The false parts of the elector list forged and sent to the National Archive includes: (1) Donald Trump's name as winner of the presidential election for that state, (2) a list of alternate electors other than those appropriate for Biden, with their signatures, (3) the seal of the state, to make the document appear to be official and legitimately executed.

      The inclusion of the state seals shows an intent to deceive and defraud the American people and Biden out of his legitimate victory in that state.

      The two elements are here. First, there is the creation of a document that appears to be genuine because it includes the elements of a genuine document. Second, there is the intent to defraud because the election victory was given to Trump not Biden, with Trump's elector names included, not Biden's. The purpose of the fraud is clear in the context of the 1/6 insurrection and the concerted attempt to obstruct the certification of Biden's win in Congress. If this were a prank or stunt, it would not have been sent to the National Archives and represented as a genuine document, as it was.

    2. It's not Somerby's fault. He was born with an inferior brain structure. Nothing can be done. It's simply a matter of inferior cognitive elasticity.

    3. You didn't understand yesterday's comment about the greater cognitive flexibility and emotional warmth on the left compared to the right. It doesn't mean brains are different. It may mean that early learning was different. But in Somerby's case, I would bet on early dementia not personality as the cause of his recent puzzling behavior.

      Terms like "cognitive elasticity", which refers to the ability to regain thought processes after a traumatic brain injury, have technical meanings. You should either look them up or stop throwing them around, if you don't know what they mean.

    4. He's not a part of the Superior Party. Either way. He's not one of us.

    5. There must be some basis to how and why people sort themselves into the two political parties. The parties stand for very different things.

      Of course Democrats think we have made the right choice. I'm sure Republicans feel the same way. But you don't get to make such choices and then think of yourself as someone different than who you are.

      Somerby pretends to be empathetic but he just isn't. He cannot empathize with rape victim, Chanel Miller, for example. He cannot empathize with the way black people felt watching George Floyd be killed by police, or the way all Democrats felt watching Rittenhouse get off after shooting people in cold blood. Somerby has no empathy, no matter how many times he mentions MLK or Abe Lincoln.

    6. It has to be brain structure. Or maybe he's being paid by Russian agents.

    7. Thanks, @11;59 AM. That's the best explanation I have seen for the use of "forgery" in this case. If you could identify the source, I would be grateful.

    8. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/forgery#:~:text=Under%20common%20law%2C%20forgery%20is,with%20the%20intent%20to%20defraud.

    9. But it has been said, that, admitting the similarity between the adult brains of liberals and conservatives, they are nevertheless, in reality, widely different, because they exhibit fundamental differences in the mode of their development. No one would be more ready than I to admit the force of this argument, if such fundamental differences of development really exist. But I deny that they do exist. On the contrary, there is a fundamental agreement in the development of the brain in liberals and conservatives.

    10. Anon 11:59 and David S - 11:59's quoted definition of "forgery" (whether or not the source of the quote is the Cornell Law Website) seems hardly adequate. It seems more a definition of fraud, or an element of fraud, than a definition of "forgery." Here is a definition from Black's Law Dictionary (5th ed.): "A person is guilty of forgery if, with purpose to defraud or injure anyone, or with knowledge that he is facilitating a fraud or injury to be perpetrated by anyone, the actor (a) alters any writing of another without his authority; or (b) makes, completes, executes, authenticates, issues or transfers any writing so that it purports to be the act of another who did not authorize that act, or to have been executed at a time or place or in a numbered sequence other than was in fact the case, or to be a copy of an original when no such original existed; or (c) utters any writing which he knows to be forged in a manner specified in paragraph (a) or (b)." This is from Section 224.1 of the Model Penal Code. For what it's worth, I'm a practicing lawyer - for many years. I don't think we have "forgery" here, but I haven't researched it. The signatures of the electors were not forged. I don't know if the seal was a real seal or a fake seal. Whatever these electors did, it was in the open. It seems what they did is inexcusable (and demented); if there is some plausible crime they could be charged with, fine. The question is, is anyone going to prosecute these alleged actions by the GOP electors? would it be the U.S Attorney? if so, there would need to be a federal crime, under some federal statute or under applicable federal case law. Apparently, as someone above pointed out, Maddow is simply a comedian, so one could hardly take anything she says seriously.

    11. Maddow's viewers understand she exaggerates and offers opinions on her comedy show. So don't take anything she says seriously.


    12. Ac, the slate of electors must be authorized by the state. The only valid slate is the one containing the electors of the winning candidate, Biden in this case. The only valid slates in AZ, MI, etc, were the ones containing the Democratic electors. Any document that purports to be a valid slate of electors and that is sent to the National Archives cannot possibly be anything but a fraud and meets your section b above.

    13. Studies show that right wingers have smaller frontal lobes and larger amygdalas in the brain. Somerby today says the Left fears The Other but this is nonsense without evidence. Indeed the evidence indicates the opposite, right wingers' larger amygdala mean they experience more fear and more intensely.

      12:02 is a sad soul that is clearly very angry his views are not substantiated by reality, and has turned to trolling people, who are not superior, but are earnest and well-intentioned, as opposed to 12:02's bad faith and corruption. This does not make 12:02 an inferior person, and it is sad they feel so dominated by others who are in no way trying to dominate them. The servile nature of right wingers is really sad, but scientific studies are starting to reveal why.

    14. Conservative brain structure's have more in common with dogs and birds than the average liberal. We must figure out a way to round up these people and "train" them to reality. Then, finally, we can all bask in the glory of a $15 minimum wage and universal empathy for with rape victims, Chanel Miller, for example.

    15. Dems aren't the "superior party", we are the majority party.

    16. The forged lists of electors have been referred by several of the states to the DOJ for investigation and prosecution, if warranted.

    17. Dem's enormous frontal lobes and wee amygdala set us apart from those GOP monkeys.

    18. Conservative brain structures are different than those on the Left; not inferior, just different.

      Having said that, Conservative Brain has given us slavery, higher rates of domestic violence, rampant racism, higher rates of divorce and std's, sexism, xenophobia, the greatest wealth inequality in history, etc. If you find that inferior, that is on you, do not attribute that others with whom you have no way of reading their minds.

    19. As a judge, practicing for years, "forgery" can be correctly applied to this case. Black's Law Dictionary, which is in it's 11th edition and says much more on forgery than AC/MA copies/pastes here, is readily available on the internet, in pdf form no less so it is easy to search. Unlike the impression AC/MA leaves, real lawyers are taught in law school that Black's Law Dictionary usefulness extends only to being a broad starting point, it is not intended to used as an authoritative source of the law in any area, it is not cited in briefs, memoranda, or scholarly papers - this is what real lawyers are taught in real law schools.

    20. "Black's Law Dictionary usefulness extends only to being a broad starting point"

      Oh, dear. Racist dembot strikes again.

    21. anon 2:40 - thanks for your comment your honor. I have to differ however, even to one who has been "practicing" for many years as a judge such as yourself. I own the 5th edition, of the law dictionary and didn't "cut and paste" but quoted verbatim the first paragraph of the definition, in the interest of not making my post twice as long as it already was. The part I quoted was from the Model Penal Code. The most current edition, (the 11th) is not available for free on the internet, otherwise no one would ever buy it. You couldn't possibly be a judge - Black's Law Dictionary is often cited in briefs and legal decisions. And you don't seem to be able to read. I said that one would need to review relevant statutes and case law to determine whether want these "electors" sent in constituted, or arguably constituted criminal "forgery." Black's Law dictionary is just a source for a short definition of legal terms, and to that extent, is has some authoritative value.

  5. The others are the others, and they are proud of it. Maddow isn't seeing made up others. She is seeing the real, genuine article in all of their splendor.

    It is Marjorie Taylor Greene siccing the gun nuts on the Democrats.

    It is Matt Gaetz, the guy Somerby calls a minor back bencher, claiming that his adventures with teenagers are all some terrible plot against him conducted by national security to get him personally.

    It is Mitch McConnell, making it clear that there are voters and then there are African American voters.

    It is Youngkin, driving teachers out of his state by enforcing a totalitarian surveillance state on their classroom activities.

    It is Sarah Palin, who has proudly caught covid yet again, spreading it to New York diners while pursuing her libel suit against the NY Times.

    It is Newt Gingrich, "warning" us Democrats that we will all be jailed when the right rises from its ashes to retake the House.

    And it is Somerby, pretending that Maddow has used a word that no one knows the meaning of, while failing to recognize the others for who they are.

    The Republican party is in its death throes. As its leaders realize that they will not be controlling the government again, because of inevitable demographic change that has already occurred, they are willing to destroy democracy in order to grab power. That is what is happening and it is as ugly as when the South fought to keep slavery, to the point of destroying our union. These "others" do not care about our country. That much is evident. And Somerby is one of them, not one of us.

  6. Bob,
    Who should I praise more, Republican politicians for killing off their voters by convincing them not to get the effective vaccine, or Republican voters for believing Republican politicians?

  7. Bob obviously forged this post from the last one. Then jumped into the comments section.

    1. Greg there seems to be another "Greg" forging your name

  8. I would love bathe with Dick Cheney is a wash basin.

    1. Pro tip:
      Don't let him shoot you in the face.

  9. Charlie Sykes and Bill Kristol, both conservatives, use the word “forgery:”

    Trump's Electoral Forgery/Fraud


    Sykes links to an article in American oversight:


    …Where it is made clear that the electors on those fake documents were illegitimate.

    Here is how electors are chosen:


    Biden won those states, therefore the only legitimate electors were his.

    Any other document purporting to be a slate of electors is a forgery.

  10. The word forgery is being used by many news outlets, by conservatives, and by the Attorney General of Michigan.

    But Somerby wants to focus only on Maddow using the term, for some reason, and avoid the real issue of Republican conspiracy to steal an election.

  11. The most important thing to remember is humans may tend to believe that the Others all just alike but this is not one of those cases. The Others in this case are all bigots with different brains structures. Period. End of sentence. What part don't you get?

    1. You pretty much have it correct. What part don't you get?

    2. Get ready for Southern states to ban the teachings of Greg.