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Talking points

After a year and a half at this Obama conspiracy business I see history repeating itself.  Some outlandish accusation is made, the story grows in the telling, it gets copied over and over by bloggers and in forwarded emails; then it repeats. We hear the same talking points recycled.

On the other side usually someone points how totally implausible the thing is, and every now and then a real whammo piece of refuting evidence arrives on the scene usually from another blogger.Those talking points are also repeated.

(For all the real communication that goes on, we might as well have two DVD players carrying on the discussion.)

Sometimes the same disproven accusation makes rounds the rounds again. ( We’ve certainly seen that in comments here.)

Some examples some to mind:

  1. TechDude claimed to be a forensic document expert and that the COLB was a forgery: someone found the real person whose credentials Techdude stole word for word.
  2. Ron Polarik claimed to be a document expert and that the COLB was a forgery: Polarik’s real name and lack of credentials was exposed.
  3. A Canadian birth certificate surfaced for Obama: it was signed by cartoon character Dudley Do Right.
  4. A Kenyan birth certificate surfaced for Obama: the original it was faked from was found (as well as numerous factual errors).
    A second Kenyan birth certificate surfaced for Obama: it didn’t match the format of a real example.
  5. Emerich de Vattel’s Law of Nations was, it was claimed, the source of the phrase “natural born citizen” in the Constitution: it was found that no English translation used that phrase until a decade after the Constitution was written.
  6. It was claimed that Obama’s Selective Service application was faked because the post office cancellation stamp used on it was obsolete: registered mail letters with the same cancellation from the same year were found.
  7. It was claimed that no court had addressed the definition of natural born citizen in the context of presidential eligibility: Lynch v. Clarke was found.
  8. It was claimed that all US Presidents had two citizen parents: Chester A. Arthur  didn’t.
  9. It was claimed that Hawaiian Law allowed a foreign-born person to be registered in Hawaii: the text of the law showed that it was passed 20 years after Obama was registered in Hawaii.
  10. It was claimed that no Hawaiian official had plainly said Obama was born in Hawaii: Dr. Fukino, Hawaii Director of Health, said so plainly and posted it on the state web site.
  11. It was claimed that Obama’s newspaper birth announcement was just an ad placed by a relative: it was found that these announcements came from the department of health.
  12. It was claimed that the address in Obama’s newspaper birth announcement was a place where the Dunham/Obama’s never lived: a contemporary city directory showed otherwise.
  13. An edited tape recording seemed to suggest Obama’s step grandmother (from Africa) was present at his birth: the full tape showed just the opposite.

These are just highlights.

I have seen that that some people will believe highly implausible rumors about Barack Obama. Some of these rumors are intentional falsehoods and frauds.  Solid refutation does not kill conspiracy theories; in fact it seems to have little effect at all.

History repeats itself.

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22 Responses to Talking points

  1. avatar
    sarina February 26, 2010 at 12:18 am #

    It is true that David Manning is back on Youtube?

  2. avatar
    Lupin February 26, 2010 at 1:43 am #

    I told you that already. Plenty of studies (google ’em up) show that negative evidence only reinforces the belief system.

  3. avatar
    sarina February 26, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    That’s what I said, the birthers are recycling old debunked lies.

  4. avatar
    HellT February 28, 2010 at 2:17 pm #

    Those who’ve been studying various deranged beliefs for years learned this from looking at beliefs about UFOs, cattle mutilation, the Philadelphia Experiment, alternative medicine, free energy, etc.

    True Believers don’t decide to believe in such things after engaging in intellectual exercise. They buy into it because of an emotional need to believe in it. It’s more akin to faith or religion, in that the “truth” of what they proclaim is something they are deeply _emotionally_ attached to, and thus can’t be reasoned with.

    The odds of changing the True Believers’ minds aren’t good, because it’s not their minds that are involved. It’s their hearts. As Pascal famously noted, The heart has reasons that reason cannot know. Unfortunately, in a fight between reason and emotion, emotion almost always wins.

    Thus the goal should not be to persuade the emotionally engaged, but to assist the curious and undecided. Providing them with information showing the claim is not true and cannot possibly be true will keep most of them off the crazy bandwagon – and also help them debate the topic with others, if they wish to engage in such frolics.

    Summed up: you will never persuade the cranks, but you do exert much influence upon the the great middle group, those who have no emotional stake in the debate.

  5. avatar
    TRUTH March 5, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    You are correct in History Repeats itself. Just when we thought it couldn’t be worse than Jimmy Carter, his Carbon copy wins the election and is running away with the title “Bad President”.

    And for you 3 per-centers, take a look at this CBS link. NOT the Illustrious FOX network you Luv to hate, but a Mainstream Network.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2010/01/19/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry6116297.shtml?tag

    There must be a LOT of room on your bandwagon. No thanks, I’ll walk.

  6. avatar
    JoZeppy March 5, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    Amazing how many people are too stupid to realize that on-line polls are meaingless….they’re not even smart enough to read the disclaimer attached to the poll:

    “NOTE: This is not a scientific poll. The results above are for information purposes only, and should not be confused with the results of the scientific polls conducted by CBS News.”

    If on-line polls had any predictive value whatsoever, Ron Paul would have been elected by the biggest landslide in history….

    Learn the difference between an on-line and scientific poll, and perhaps you won’t make a complete idiot of yourself quite as often.

  7. avatar
    Scientist March 5, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    The real polls (i.e., those based on representative samples of the population)show Obama’s approval at around 50%, and it hasn’t changed in several months.
    http://www.pollster.com/polls/us/jobapproval-obama.php
    This is right about where Reagan and Clinton were at this point in their presidencies and both finished their terms with very high approval. The two recent presidents who had sky-high approval at this point were the Bushes, both of whom were in the crapper by the end.

  8. avatar
    SFJeff March 5, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    I really think about the only similarities between Carter and Obama is that they are both devote Christians.

    Anyway- assuming that President Obama popularity does go down- really down- it doesn’t change the fact that he is our legally elected President. I think its fine that we disagree on how good a President he is.

  9. avatar
    TRUTH March 5, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    Amazing how many people are too stupid to realize that on-line polls are meaingless….they’re not even smart enough to read the disclaimer attached to the poll:“NOTE: This is not a scientific poll. The results above are for information purposes only, and should not be confused with the results of the scientific polls conducted by CBS News.”If on-line polls had any predictive value whatsoever, Ron Paul would have been elected by the biggest landslide in history….Learn the difference between an on-line and scientific poll, and perhaps you won’t make a complete idiot of yourself quite as often.

    JoZEPPY, you thinking that makes me a complete idiot for posting a poll conducted on CBS News website, well that makes YOU sound like a bafoon! I’m merely reposting the “unscientific” poll for information purposes. Did I SAY it was ACCURATE and SCIENTIFIC? NO I DID NOT you Freakin J@k@$#$. You are such a typical 3%’r. DENY DENY DENY, until it’s one of your goon websites that puts out the poll, then all of a sudden it’s Gospel.

    You start by saying “Amazing…blah blah blah..” What’s Amazing it you putting your ignorant Spin on my post, inserting words I didn’t even say, like Scientific Poll. Typical of losers like you that voted for the idiot and are to embarrassed to even admit it.

  10. avatar
    TRUTH March 5, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

    Obama is a Christian? Really? Why, because he claims he is? I guess that is enough. Him saying “United States is not a Christian Nation”, that has no bearing. Him praying with Muslims while wearing Muslim garb, that means nothing. Attending church once, or was it twice, the last 12 months…not a problem.

    And So What he’s our “legally elected” President? Why did you even MAKE that comment? Just reaching out in left-field for SOMETHING to say? Not as if I disputed that fact. I just said he is a Bad President, which is an understatement.

    He is bad for reasons Conservatives think because of his crummy bills he supports, yet knows little of what’s in the actual bill. And he is bad in many Liberals opinions because he is fulfilling squat of the promises he made in his campaign. Don’t blame that on the party of NO, he HAD a Majority and could do whatever he wanted, but somehow Common Sense still exists in SOME of the democratic party.

  11. avatar
    Rickey March 5, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    Him saying “United States is not a Christian Nation”, that has no bearing.

    Apparently you have never heard of the Treaty of Tripoli. Signed by John Adams and ratified unanimously by the U.S. Senate in 1797:

    Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/treaty_tripoli.html

  12. avatar
    The Sheriff's A Ni- March 5, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    Shorter LIES: Wah! You called me out on my bullshit! That’s no fair! Where’s my binky!? WAHHHH!

  13. avatar
    The Sheriff's A Ni- March 5, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    Pss, hey LIES:

    The uppity negro in the White House really was legally elected.

    Oh, and he’ll get health care reform passed too.

    And he’ll get re-elected in 2012, thanks in large part to butthurt little racists like yourself.

    Enjoy the next seven years!

  14. avatar
    dunstvangeet March 5, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    Him saying “United States is not a Christian Nation”, that has no bearing.

    The United States is not a Christian Nation, and I thank God everyday that we are not. If we were a Christian Nation, we would not truly have the freedom of religion that is so essential to us actually taking up our cross, and following him. We are a Nation of Christians, and Muslims, and Jews, and Hindu, and Buddists, and Athesists, and about every other rule. However, we are no more a Christian Nation, than we are a Pastafarian Nation (all hail his noodly goodness!)

    Him praying with Muslims while wearing Muslim garb, that means nothing.

    I saw Laura Bush in Muslim Garb. That must mean she’s a Muslim!

    Attending church once, or was it twice, the last 12 months…not a problem.

    Attending Church does not make you a Christian. I know a lot of people who attend church, who outside the church would not do one thing that would be Christian.

    And the final thing is that I do not get into who is, and is not a Christian. My sister is one of the most religiously devout people I know. She lives her faith, without and teaches the faith to others by running our youth group. However, when she was in Mississippi she was told that she couldn’t be a Christian because she was Pro-Choice. that she couldn’t be a Christian because she supported Gay Rights. She was even told that she couldn’t be a Christian because she didn’t have one religious experience where one-moment before she could say that she wasn’t a Christian, and one moment after, she could.

    If Obama wants to claim that he’s a Christian, then I have no problem calling him a Christian. Maybe he doesn’t like attending church because it’s fairly disruptful to the rest of the people in the church actually getting him into a secure area. Maybe he doesn’t like attending church because he feels that his faith is a private affair, which he doesn’t need to wear on his sleeve. Maybe he doesn’t like attending church because he is disavowed with Organized religion.

    None of those reasons actually means that he’s not a Christian. Polls have shown that less than half of Americans attend church regularly. In fact, some surveys put this number at 20%. Does that mean that less than Half of Americans are Christians, Truth? And if that’s true, then how can you say that we are a Christian Nation when Christians are actually a minority in America?

  15. avatar
    Greg March 5, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    Idiots like us who voted for Obama but are embarassed to admit it?

    I voted for Obama and I’ll tell anyone who asks. I look at the state of the economy and wonder what sort of moron thinks it would be better under McCain.

    I also wonder what sort of mouth-breathing whackaloon would even post an online freep-able poll as if it has more meaning than “hey, look, online polls are still susceptible to being gamed by the denizens of Free Republic.”

  16. avatar
    JoZeppy March 5, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    You posted something meaningless, trying to imply it has meaning (thus your repeated use of the phrase 3% reinforces the fact you have no idea what you’re talking about). Knowing the difference between a scientific poll, and an internet poll, I would never point to an internet poll for any reason, no matter what it says, for the simple reason that an internet poll measures nothing.

    And what makes you think I’m embarrassed to admit that I voted for him? Talk about inserting things that aren’t there.

  17. avatar
    JoZeppy March 5, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    OUr founding fathers also said the United States wasn’t a Christian Nation…and GW Bush never attended church either…..I guess none of them were Chritians either…well, there are doubts about the found fathers…

  18. avatar
    Greg March 5, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    He’s not a Christian because he hasn’t dragged the press corps to a DC church so that all the congregants could go through secret service checkpoints before giving thanks to God?

    Are you a Christian, Truth? Maybe one of those who has NEVER read the bible?

    Matthew 6:5-6

    What does the Bible tell us about how to worship? Do you think that might have some relevance to the President’s situation?

  19. avatar
    SFJeff March 5, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    “Obama is a Christian? Really? Why, because he claims he is?”

    Exactly. Unless you have some sort of secret Christian X-ray glasses to know exactly what is in a person’s heart, I am stuck with a persons clear and unequivocal statements. I would be willing to believe you consider yourself a Christian if you said so, all evidence to the contrary.

    “”Him saying “United States is not a Christian Nation”, that has no bearing.”

    I guess he joins the ranks of Jefferson and Adams in not considering that the United States is a Christian Nation- apparently we have Jewish, Muslim and atheist citizens too!.

    “then Him praying with Muslims while wearing Muslim garb,”

    What exactly is Muslim garb? If clothes are worn by both Christians and Muslims can it still be considered “Muslim” garb?

    And should President Taft be suspect because he once attendent sabbath services at a synagogue? Or that at President Truman’s inaugeration there were two prayers led by Rabbi’s? Or is someone bad only if they pray with those ‘evil mohameddans?”

    “Attending church once, or was it twice, the last 12 months…not a problem.”

    So we shouldn’t consider George Bush or Ronald Reagan Christians either?

    I know you would like to paint him as a secret muslim or less than a Christian but millions of American Christians have participated in services with Jews and Muslims and while you may think them less than Christian, I would suspect Jesus would say “Judge not, lest ye be Judged”

  20. avatar
    SFJeff March 5, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    “And So What he’s our “legally elected” President? Why did you even MAKE that comment?”

    Maybe you missed the theme of this blog- Obama conspiracy theories- you know wingnuts who hate Obama so much they just make up theories why he isn’t President?

    I was specifically pointing out that in context of this blog, whether President Obama is popular or not is not important. Countering the lies about him are. If history eventually judges him as bad as George Bush, then so be it.

    For our countries sake, I hope that he finishes two terms with our country in the best financial and political condition that it has even been in. I hope that he will have managed not to plunge us into war and will have reduced our overall military presence overseas, while strengthening our real defense against our real enemies.

    I know you want Obama to fail, and are willing to sacrifice our countries health to that end, but for me, I hope the best for the United States.

  21. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 5, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    TRUTH: Just when we thought it couldn’t be worse than Jimmy Carter, his Carbon copy wins the election

    Well Obama and Carter did both win the Nobel Peace Prize. I guess that’s something in common. But really, I think the two are fundamentally different. One is essentially rural in background and the other urban. One was trained in engineering and joined the military; one was trained in the law. Both seem to be upright moral men, but Carter had this micromanagement problem that Obama seems to lack. And of course Carter had the political advantage of being white.

  22. avatar
    misha March 5, 2010 at 11:37 pm #

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-: Obama will be re-elected, and Cory Booker will follow. Obama got 78% of the Jewish vote.

    Hey conservatives: I am enjoying watching you squirm. К“‘ – ´а!