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The Fogbow Meetup in Baltimore is winding down. I got to make some new friends and renew some old friendships. I heard a lot of personal stories.

I know that everyone has skills, interests, trials, and things to celebrate, but sometimes this gets lost in the great leveler of humankind: commenting on the Internet. These stories add depth to the online personas–a lot of depth. What I learned is that a kind word, even online, can mean a lot more than one thinks. I learned that integrity means a lot to people. I learned that being on the right side of the birther issue doesn’t solve any of life’s challenges.

Some of the stories were origin stories–how someone got involved with the birther movement, or how someone found The Fogbow. While I have told my birther origin story any number of times, I did not really know how I found The Fogbow’s predecessor, Politijab. I was not one of the group of commenters from Obama Hub that fled the impending bans, and formed the anti-birther contingent at Politijab. Some of the Fogbow origin stories started here with readers of this blog, who learned about The Fogbow from reading this site and visited there. I found out tonight that I was one of those too. Following is a comment left on this blog January 23, 2009, by the screen name laughinghysterically:

New political discussion forum lauched! To talk intelligently about all things political!! There is a designated area for chatting about the “obama ineligibility” conspiracy theoriest lunatics and all of their continuing adventures in futility-land, from the Bergites to the Queen of Nitous Oxide to Ed Hale and his Bigfoot hunting!!

Lol! Come on by and register, you will surely find yourself among good company, and likely some old friends!!

Doc, I really hope you’ll join us, and you too bogus, and Doc, do you mind linking to us from here??
I’d really appreciate it!

http://www.politijab.com

By the next day, I had registered an account at Politijab and the rest is history. So thanks to laughinghysterically, whoever you are.

One question I was asked several time was what I was going to do after Obama leaves office. I do intend to keep the content of this site online, and I don’t plan to add new content after January 20, 2017. That said, the DoctorConspiracy.com domain is still in my name (today it points here), and that would give me the opportunity to branch out to other conspiracy theories. This is something that I’d have to think about because there are a lot of conspiracies out there.

23

So, what’s wrong (technically) with Birther Report?

Perhaps you’ve seen this error message visiting Birther Report, “This website is temporarily unavailable, please try again later.”

image

I’ve been getting it sporadically for a month. Back in April I thought it was a temporary problem either at Google (who hosts the site) or that BR had turned something off for maintenance. One would expect Google to be able to put forward a rock-solid blogging platform, so things being messed up this long doesn’t sound like a Google problem. It’s not my local DNS server that’s at fault because I have recently switched to using Google as my DNS server with no change in results. It’s not a denial of service attack, because that would lead to bad performance on the site too-which we aren’t seeing, and I also think Google has the expertise to handily deal with DOS attacks. So what is the problem? Is it a Google conspiracy to thwart the birthers?

Dr. Conspiracy investigates

There are specific instructions to follow if you use your own “custom domain” instead of the blogspot.com domain. Part of those instructions involves setting up “A records” with the DNS provider for the custom domain. Those records should point to 4 specific Google IP addresses. Now look at the entry below from Birther Report:

image

The first four A records conform to Google specifications (and they are they ones you see if you check out my GerbilReport.com), but Birther Report has a 5th entry that is not a Google IP address, but rather an IP address at SecureServer.net, and if you type that IP address in your browser, you get:

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One can see the DNS error when it fails by using the PING command. Here it shows www.birtherreport.com being routed to a non-responding server, rather than to the correct Google server.

brping

So I think that the problem with Birther Report appearing to be temporarily down is due to a spurious entry in their DNS configuration. When there are multiple entries, DNS servers return IP addresses in a round robin fashion, so 20% of the time, the faulty address will be served (DNS caching can alter the strict round robin addressing). Birther Report is not really down, and it’s not Google’s fault and it’s certainly not an Obot plot.

There is a temporary fix for accessing Birther Report. Go into your hosts file and add two entries:

  216.239.32.21 birtherreport.com
  216.239.32.21 www.birtherreport.com

In Windows the hosts file is in <windir>/system32/utilities/etc

You’ll probably have to run your text editor as Administrator

I could make some snide generalization about birther competence, but that exercise is left to the reader.

I posted this at BR.

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The results are a bit odd. My attempts to help Birther Report have met with cries that I am a traitor–but not from the Obots, but from the birthers. BR should appreciate that when a site is unreliable, traffic goes down.

39

Where are the tax returns?

I was reading some old news stories and one caught my attention: the question of Donald Trump’s tax returns. The story recounted the long list of excuses Trump has given for not releasing them, such as saying that maybe he would release them if Obama released his birth certificate, or if Hillary Clinton released her emails. I was wondering whether the tax return issue would resurface in the general election campaign. Now that the de facto nominees of the two parties have been decided. general election issues are coming out, and Trump’s tax returns are one of them.

I wouldn’t have mentioned this, except the birther web site Birther Report has an article: “Coordinated: Hillary Clinton Political Campaign Ad Uses Obama’s Forged Birth Certificate to Attack Donald Trump.”

The political ad from the Clinton campaign does double duty by reminding the public of Trump’s humiliation by President Obama over the release of his birth certificate but more substantively making the point that Trump refuses to release his tax returns. It points out to me just how much of a mainstream issue birtherism is.

50

Birther sheriff Arpaio found in contempt of court

Joe Arpaio and Chief Deputy Sheridan had already admitted to being in contempt in the Melendres v. Arpaio racial profiling lawsuit. The findings of fact in this civil contempt decision state:

In short, the Court finds that the Defendants have engaged in multiple acts of misconduct, dishonesty, and bad faith with respect to the Plaintiff class and the protection of its rights.

In addition to the two counts of contempt decided against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Chief Deputy Gerard (Jerry) Sheridan, retired Chief Brian Sands and Lt. Joe Sousa were found in contempt on one count each.

A hearing is set for May 31, 2016 at which time “appropriate relief” will be discussed and the court “will shortly thereafter enter any applicable orders and determine if it will refer any matters for criminal contempt.”

One knowledgeable observer who reviewed the findings of fact described them as “devastatingly awesome.”

In a statement today, opposition candidate for Sheriff Paul Penzone (who narrowly lost to Sheriff Arpaio 4 years ago) stated:

Sheriff Arpaio and his top deputies violated the law and U.S. District Judge Murray Snow delivered his findings this afternoon. This is another example of Arpaio’s culture — one where violating the rule of law is an acceptable practice. His defiance has become our debt. This case, alone, has cost taxpayers more than $60 million. The fault is his, the debt is ours. It’s time to move Maricopa County forward. It’s time to end this era of waste and lawlessness.

Read more:

73

Fake Twitter accounts and the 2016 presidential election

Recent poll results in swing states sent me running to FiveThirtyEight.com to be reassured that Donald Trump has no chance to be elected president. I didn’t quite find what I was looking for, but I found another article entitled “Everyone Has Fake Twitter Followers, But Trump Has The Most. Sad!“. What I expected to see was that a huge proportion of Trump’s 7.58 million Twitter followers were ones that he bought. I didn’t quite find that either.

What I did find was that all of the presidential candidates had fake Twitter followers, with Trump leading at 9% as tabulated by social media analysis company Status People (FiveThirtyEight.com reported 8% fake for Trump, but I got a more recent number from Status People just now). And what I also found was that 61% of Trump’s followers had themselves tweeted less than 100 times and 51% had not tweeted at all in the past 100 days, casting a cloud over the legitimacy of those accounts.

Trump was also accused of using fake accounts to tweet supporting messages about him.

There have been stories about Twitter followers being bought (Twitter tries to discourage such things), but one of the things that happens in the process of running a fake Twitter following business is that in order not to be detected, those businesses also follow other random accounts to mask their true customer. That means more fakes for everybody. It may be that following someone is also a kind of spam, an attempt to gain reciprocal followers.

Status People says that I have 19% fake followers, and 51% have not tweeted in 100 days, meaning that the majority of my 641 Twitter followers aren’t real people interested in what I have to say about #birthers. (Fake followers of @DrConspiracy are way up since I last checked is 2013.)

Trump blames Hillary for the birthers

While I try be an even-handed reporter of the things I cover on this web site, I think it would be futile for me to attempt to hide the fact that I have no respect at all for Donald Trump. Ted Cruz says that Trump lies every time he opens his mouth. That may be hyperbole, but Trump does seem to say pretty much anything he likes without regard for its accuracy. Imagine having a president of the United States who just makes stuff up, or gets his daily briefing from Internet conspiracy blogs. It’s not a pretty thought.

So Trump’s latest is again blaming Hillary Clinton for the birther movement. Trump said in an interview on CNN:

Do you know who started the birther movement? Do you know who questioned his birth certificate? One of the first, Hillary Clinton. She’s the one that started it, she brought it up years before it was brought up by me.

Whenever someone makes that claim, I ask when and where that happened. No one has an answer to that question. FactCheck.org investigated this story in 2015 and found no evidence linking Clinton or her campaign to the birthers.

I find a moral defect in someone who deflects criticism by saying that someone else is doing the same thing. I don’t think an accused serial killer ought to point to other serial killers as an extenuating circumstance. And in that vein, I don’t excuse Trump for blaming Clinton for the birthers just because Ted Cruz (“Lying Ted Cruz” according to Trump) said the same thing about Clinton in 2015.

But where do these crazy stories get started?

More whoppers from trump.