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Is Obama eligibility denialism a conspiracy theory?

This isn’t the first time I’ve asked that question and it’s probably not the last.

The classic conspiracy theory collects perhaps random events and attempts to impose an interpretation on them assuming a cause based on a cabal of powerful individuals controlling major world trends and events. It may be a reaction against the increasing influence of faceless bureaucracies;  it may be a view of the world less anxiety producing than the alternative of being ruled by chance. Certainly there is no shortage of reasons not to trust the government. The powerful have never been very transparent about their actions. Nixon betrayed the people through what came to be known as Watergate; Reagan had his Iran-Contra Scandal; Clinton had Lewinski; George W. Bush had his weapons of mass destruction and there are many more examples.

However, with perhaps the sole exception of Bill Clinton, postwar conspiracy theories have not focused on a single politician until Barack Obama. In the case of both Clinton and Obama, the stories took on more the shape of a political smear than a classic conspiracy theory. Both Obama and Clinton were charismatic figures and consummate politicians – and were bitterly hated by their opposition. Can one imagine a more jaundiced view than that expressed by many Obama opponents who say that every action Barack Obama takes is for the purpose of destroying the country?

It doesn’t matter so much for this examination whether hatred of Obama is racial, xenophobic, religious or political; it’s there, and it forms an organizing principle for understanding what the denialist observes. The sorts of random events that are collected and connected into a denial story include quite a bit of obvious fraudulent evidence from Obama detractors (fake Kenyan birth certificates, edited grandmother tapes, fake Kenyan intelligence documents and lies about Hawaiian laws) plus careless or ambiguous statements from Kenyans, various artifacts in documents that seem inexplicable to the uninformed and genuinely odd things which are part and parcel with the rough edges of modern life.

However, Obama denialism hasn’t created much of an organized conspiracy beyond the general conclusion that Obama is ineligible, he knows it, and everybody else (except the denialists) is afraid to say so. And because the “evidences” of the conspiracy are in and of themselves so mundane, Obama conspiracies really don’t explain why the world is the way it is. With no explanation, Obama denialism doesn’t perform the function of removing anxiety about random events. It doesn’t explain natural disasters or the crash of a financial market. People are still at the mercy of mindless bureaucracy and they don’t understand its machinations any better then they did without denialism. About all it does is attempt to restore control of the denialists over their situation through the belief that they can remove Obama from office. It is not the rule of chaos they are trying avoid but the rule of the demonized Other.

Still, the role of confirmation bias, secret knowledge, the value of the lone researcher, the perfidy of the press all fit the conspiracy theory mindset. Obama denialists think like conspiracy theorists; they just do it for a different reasons: the acting out of hatred and political advantage.

My conclusion for now is that it is useful to use the conspiracy theory model to understand Obama denialism, so long as one maintains the caveat the the underlying function of the theory is different.

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119 Responses to Is Obama eligibility denialism a conspiracy theory?

  1. avatar
    Slartibartfast July 4, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    I think that the primary difference is that the birthers (and the detractors of President Clinton, although they were a less virulent strain) are focused on an individual while classic conspiracy theories explain events. Conspiracy theories don’t seem to have a unifying principle except that some sort of conspiracy is required to explain the event in question (9/11, JFK assassination, etc. – I don’t think that Watergate is a good data point since that is known to have been an actual conspiracy). The birthers, on the other hand, are unified in their despite of President Obama. They are a kind of polar opposite of a cult of personality (which may explain why they seem to invariably paint obots as a cult of personality…) – a “cult of hate” against President Obama (President Clinton’s cult of hate was downright friendly compared to the birther hatriot horde [I believe that in birtherstan a "horde" is something like 5 usurpathons and a blood of Jesus trial...])

  2. avatar
    Nathanael July 4, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    Obama denialists think like conspiracy theorists; they just do it for a different reasons: the justification of hatred and political advantage.

    It is perhaps interesting to note that a high percentage of birthers seem to go in for the more classical conspiracy theories as well. Donofrio, for example, admits to being a 9/11 truther. It may be that Obama denialists think like conspiracy theorists simply because an awful lot of them are conspiracy theorists who are simply applying the same logic to Obama’s eligibility.

    As you’ve noted, however, there are some distinct differences. It is rare – perhaps unique – to find the level of vitriol in other conspiracies that one encounters in birtherism. From JFK to the theories surrounding Princess Diana’s death, the amount of hatred displayed by birthers seems almost unparalleled. But is it hatred, or fear (and is there really a difference?), and what is it about Obama that has come to encapsulate and focus that fear so vividly?

    One other aspect you didn’t touch on was communal reinforcement. I’ve noticed an awful lot of this over at FreeRepublic. Birthers there frequently exchange amongst themselves scathing and derogatory comments about non-birthers. This need for psychological reinforcement runs so deep they’re willing to sacrifice their fellow conservatives; at least in one case, an anti-birther, clearly conservative in all other respects, was hounded to the point where he eventually left the forum.

    But clearly the underlying motivations of birthers are fundamentally different from that of other conservatives. I once posited that they were “accidental conservatives”; whereas William Buckley style conservatives arrived at their positions out of reason and a search for truth, the birther-type conservative seems driven into conservativism through fear (and its stepchild, hate). Xenophobia, as you mention, fear of the unexplained, and more.

  3. avatar
    US Citizen July 4, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    While I think much of the hatred is racism, either direct or veiled, some of it may be due to social class and perceptions stereotypically applied to them.

    For example, some white people, while not openly racist in their dealings with minorities, can have a perception they’re better than non-whites.
    They might hire a black handyman or Asian gardener, but they consider themselves smarter and more important.
    They feel “above” them, if you will.

    Therefore having a black president sets their world upside down.
    Suddenly they’re confronted by a black man who’s smarter, richer, speaks better and is adored by millions of people.
    If he’s higher than them, they must surely be lower… and they don’t like that feeling at all.

    Whereas previously they could defend themselves against black success by citing certain differences, ie: a basketball player is taller than them or they have no interest in performing rap to begin with, here situations are quite different.
    Many of Obama’s haters had the same opportunities as he did, but now they’re less successful than him.
    It doesn’t make sense to them because minorities have previously always been beneath them in everything.
    There are likely even people angry at him because his family is happy and together, whereas their families aren’t.
    So I think much of it is simply jealousy and self-loathing.
    They were important until this “uppity” guy showed his face.

  4. avatar
    G July 4, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    Yeah, while it has aspects of Conspiracy Theory, there is no “grand story”…perhaps because birtherism is at its core, a very silly and unsupportable position.

    It is probably more appropriately categorized as a “derangement syndrome”. ODS.

    Still, the role of confirmation bias, secret knowledge, the value of the lone researcher, the perfidy of the press all fit the conspiracy theory mindset. Obama denialists think like conspiracy theorists; they just do it for a different reasons: the acting out of hatred and political advantage.

    My conclusion for now is that it is useful to use the conspiracy theory model to understand Obama denialism, so long as one maintains the caveat the the underlying function of the theory is different.

  5. avatar
    Slartibartfast July 4, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    I would say that, at its core, birtherism is emotional rather than rational – hatred drives a confirmation bias which produces rationalizations in the face of evidence. The central tenet – hatred of President Obama – needs no rational support (the birthers all see the President being evil as self-evident truth – anyone who doesn’t acknowledge that fact is either ignorant or a dupe and either way they may be dismissed by the birthers).

    G:
    Yeah, while it has aspects of Conspiracy Theory, there is no “grand story”…perhaps because birtherism is at its core, a very silly and unsupportable position.

    It is probably more appropriately categorized as a “derangement syndrome”.ODS.

  6. avatar
    G July 4, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    I agree with your assessment.

    Slartibartfast: I would say that, at its core, birtherism is emotional rather than rational – hatred drives a confirmation bias which produces rationalizations in the face of evidence. The central tenet – hatred of President Obama – needs no rational support (the birthers all see the President being evil as self-evident truth – anyone who doesn’t acknowledge that fact is either ignorant or a dupe and either way they may be dismissed by the birthers).

  7. avatar
    Nathanael July 4, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    Slartibartfast: The central tenet – hatred of President Obama – needs no rational support

    But why the virulent hatred for Obama? I really think racism is too convenient an explanation; it’s much more complex than that.

    Slartibartfast: anyone who doesn’t acknowledge that fact is either ignorant or a dupe

    Speak for yourself. Me, I’m on the White House dole.

  8. avatar
    Slartibartfast July 4, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

    I think racism is the largest of many contributing factors to hatred of President Obama (not present in everyone in birtherstan but a plurality if not an outright majority). The common denominator is the hate itself – not the cause of the hate.

    Nathanael: But why the virulent hatred for Obama? I really think racism is too convenient an explanation; it’s much more complex than that.

    Sorry, I forgot to include the brownshirts… my bad.

    Speak for yourself. Me, I’m on the White House dole.

  9. avatar
    Nathanael July 4, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    Nathanael: I really think racism is too convenient an explanation

    What I mean is that not every birther is a racist, nor is every racist a birther. I’ve yet to see any eplicit articulation of racism at FR, where I participate in birther debates. And conversely, in a quick survey of several openly racist sites I turned up little birther discussion (over at Stormfront.org, for example, I found only two threads, one discussing the release of WTBC?, the other discussing a Berg interview vis-a-vis NBC).

  10. avatar
    Nathanael July 4, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    Slartibartfast:
    I would say that, at its core, birtherism is emotional rather than rational

    I agree, and made a similar argument here a couple of weeks ago. The reason birthers are unreachable is because reliance on rational argument in the debate is fundamentally misguided. Birthers are driven by fear (or hate, if you like, which I think is simply a manifestation of fear) which is fundamentally irrational. The psychology of birthers suggest to me a siege mentality, an erection of walls against the unknown.

    The way to turn a birther is to first show him that the world outside his fortress is not such a scary place as he imagines it to be. Only then will he allow the walls to come down.

    (*By fear, I don’t necessary mean heart palpitations and cardiac arrest; it could be as low key as a nagging sense of threat.)

  11. avatar
    Bob July 4, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    In general, I think of “conspiracy theories” as more involved and not as simple as the central question of Birtherism (where Obama was born). There is literally a single piece of paper in an archive that answered the question.

    With 911 or JFK it’s easy to imagine the central event happening and then some government officials covering for their failings or because it was politically convenient and so the “conspiracy” part is difficult to precisely articulate — there are lots and lots of moving parts over a long period of time.

    With Birtherism, the idea that all these people are conspiring to have an ineligible person in the White House when they could conspire to install an at least eligible person on an unsuspecting nation is what disqualifies it from being a conspiracy theory (for me). Conspiracy theories provide easy answers at first glance. Birtherism is the opposite.

    Barack Obama seems like an odd choice as someone to install in the White House. It would be like a cat burglar deciding to wear tap shoes on a job because . . . it’s more of a challenge . . . or something?

    In the end, Birthers find the Birth Certificate Conspiracy easier to believe than the majority voting for a fair and intelligent guy from a tribe different than their own.

  12. avatar
    Bovril July 4, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    Fundamentally, the core of birtherism appears to have as its prime tenet a profound hatred (A strong but the only appropriste word) for CHANGE and in particular age based change.

    There is sufficient anecdotal evidence to show that the demographic (or demoNgraphic, if you’re a Birfoon) tends heavily to

    White
    Right wing
    Evangelical
    55+
    Male
    Blue collar

    There are obvious tweaks, the inimitable Trace, Sharon Rondeau and Dr K(H)ate with female, less than 55, circa 55, over 55 plus a PhD however the majority do tend to fall into the above grouping.

    These are people who are pre to early baby boomer, brought up in a culture of almost exclusive WASP dominated and “aspirational” figures.

    They grew in an environment that had changed little from that of their parents and were brought up brought up to emulate their parents, with relatively low aspirations, men did “real” work in the metal bashing arena, women stayed at home, TV was black and white and everyone “knew their place”.

    For these people, their world has changed dramatically and in their minds ONLY for the worse, uppity niggers (yes that word is still used by them), Queers are running rampant, “Real jobs” have been taken from them and moved to “furrin” places and all the Joooooos run the Ebil Meedja.

    All the “certainties” and expectations they had have not only changed/vanished but continue to do so at an accelerating rate.

    As such anything which is “The Other” is by its very nature suspicious and the more outside of THEIR norms the worse it becomes.

    Presdents are ONLY white, may possibly stretch to a Catholic at a pinch, have “normal” names and came from a background they could delude themselves that they coulda/shoulda/woulda attained, you know, if the chips had fallen a little different

    By his very nature President Obama is the antithesis of their desperate, deluded and folorn attempts to turn back the clock to a world that never really existed outside of their prejudices.

    These are people who cannot and will not change as to do so would not only mean they would have to admit they were wrong but their very “Weltanschauung” is a delusional mirage.

    If you attempt to chanmge someone like this their every fibre will rebel against it and they will do anything to re-inforce and protect it, no matter the cost, witness the numbers of Birfoons who openly BOAST of how many of their immediate friends and families they now hate and ostracise.

    On the bright side, the hate and rage will winnow thes muppets in a nice hate filled Darwininian manner with increased heart attacks, increased aortic blow outs and a sprinkling of aneurisms….AND they will have changed NOTHING……

  13. avatar
    G July 4, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    Nathanael, while I realize that you’re fairly new to following this, those of us who’ve been covering this crazy birther phenomenon since its inception have discussed the motives we’ve seen behind birtherism on numerous occasions, so forgive me if I’m being very brief to summarize that list one more time here.

    Slartibast covered the issue of racism in regards to birtherism perfectly, so I’ve included his statement on that particular motivation again at the bottom, below your statement. And yes, racism is definitely one of the driving factors involved here – many examples have been documented (both overt and dog-whistle) over the years (probably easiest place to see some of these spelled out is Patrick’s badfiction site, which you can find on the reference list here).

    I prefer the term bigtory, as it covers most of the broader aspects involved (xenophobia, religion, ideology and sex), with a few that seem to fall even outside of those categories, which might just be anti-government, conspiracy paranoid or delusional. Many birthers exhibit characteristics of multiple motives within these categories, so there is a lot of overlap.

    And of course, this doesn’t include those that are really manipulative, cynical con-artists that are just using birtherism to play their gullible marks for cash and political gain.

    Now xenophobia covers the general “fear of the other” based on being of a different race/skin color/geographic background. It is a broader and better term than just plain racism to cover all the aspects going on here. What you might call the subset of that being straight-up racism, includes several types of its own – those that have issues with the president being black, those that have issues with the President being half-black and even those that have issues with him not being the “right” type of black (see James Manning). However, the broader xenophobia extends to those who take issue with his skin as simply “non-white” or “other than European” to put it mildly and those that have issues with his having an “exotic” background and past (having lived in another country…and even to some, growning up in HI).

    Some of that “exotic past” crosses into the religious bigotry categories – the main one being some sort of islamophobia – painting the President under that brush merely because of his name, his father’s background as well as his step-father’s. From the volume of birther comments that make muslim references, I’d say that islamophobia is one of the largest birther motivations out there. Other religious bigotry that gets displayed can be simply summed up as not viewing Obama as “significantly the right type of Christian”.

    Sexism comes into play from the PUMA contingent, who hate the man because he beat HRC in the primaries and they felt a woman was “due” the Presidency. Ideological bigotry – well, hopefully that’s an obvious one. Whether they hate him for being a Democrat or feel he’s “too liberal” or whatever, this is similar to the types of ire that Clinton faced. Unfortunately, in certain “pseudo-conservative” circles, entire generations are being brainwashed to reflexively hate those who have different viewpoints than them.

    To keep it simplistic, the above summary pretty much covers the range of interwoven motivations seen in play within Birtherism.

    Nathanael: What I mean is that not every birther is a racist, nor is every racist a birther. I’ve yet to see any eplicit articulation of racism at FR, where I participate in birther debates. And conversely, in a quick survey of several openly racist sites I turned up little birther discussion (over at Stormfront.org, for example, I found only two threads, one discussing the release of WTBC?, the other discussing a Berg interview vis-a-vis NBC).

    Slartibartfast: I think racism is the largest of many contributing factors to hatred of President Obama (not present in everyone in birtherstan but a plurality if not an outright majority). The common denominator is the hate itself – not the cause of the hate.

  14. avatar
    G July 4, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    Nathanael: Birthers are driven by fear (or hate, if you like, which I think is simply a manifestation of fear) which is fundamentally irrational. The psychology of birthers suggest to me a siege mentality, an erection of walls against the unknown.

    Agreed.

    Nathanael: The way to turn a birther is to first show him that the world outside his fortress is not such a scary place as he imagines it to be. Only then will he allow the walls to come down.

    Easier said than done. Further, not all hate is “fear” based. A lot is resentment. Although arguments could be made that fear is really behind most resentment (and hate), in many cases such end-result “hate” and “resentment” is really metasticized to the point that these people really don’t want to be “reassured”…they truly *feed* off of their anger and hate. It sadly seems to give them purpose and motivation and has an additctive hold on them. Sadly, I think some people are beyond hope and reason and can’t really be reached.

    In a nutshell, sadly, they don’t want to be “cured” and they don’t want to be “reassured” either. They simply want their worldview to “exist” and dominate and no other reality is acceptible to them.

  15. avatar
    G July 4, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    Well said! The “sore loser” faction (which I think is still driven by bigotry overall) can simply not reconcile a world in which someone so “different” to them could be openly elected by the majority of people. To accept that means that they would have to give up their personal protective fantasies that their views “dominate” in the world, which translates to how they wish to view themselves/their “tribe” as “dominant” or “powerful”, even when they are not in positions anywhere close to power. At least it makes them feel like they could be or should be…

    Bob: In the end, Birthers find the Birth Certificate Conspiracy easier to believe than the majority voting for a fair and intelligent guy from a tribe different than their own.

  16. avatar
    G July 4, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    I think you hit on an important additional “fear” motivator at play here: the fear of “change”, where it is important to pin bogeymen and straw-men to blame and rationalize away a world changing faster than they can comprehend or be comfortable with.

    However, I take issue with portions of your demographic breakdown, which seem to come more from repeating merely a perceptional meme out there, but that I don’t find supported by the actual evidence at hand. As the old saying goes, “merely saying something does not make it true”.

    For actual evidence on the demographics of Birtherism, we pretty much have Birther posts, Birther websites and some sparsely attended Birther “events” and court cases to go on. Beyond that, we’ve got various polling data on the topic over the past few years.

    So, based on that set of evidence, I completely dispute the meme that “male” is in any way a dominant factor. There seems to be a very large contingent of female Birthers out there – and that goes way beyond just PUMAs. Therefore, I don’t see sex as a distinguishing demographic at all and completely dispute that assertion.

    Also, while “older” age is definitely a prevalent factor, I’m not sure where you came up with the 55+ as the cut-off. Polls have been limited in really nailing this down properly, as those that have done so have used various age cut-off breakdowns…and therefore, the only “cut-off” I could put on this, based on existing data, with any degree of confidence, is 40+.

    Finally, I challenge the “blue collar” categorization for Birthers. I’ve seen no empirical data indicating that as dominant when it comes to Birtherism. I’ve seen some anecdotal data indicating that is true for the Tea Party movement…but although there is a degree of overlap, these are two separate things and should not be confused. Throwing out “blue collar” as a demographic here seems more a matter of perception bias than any actual evidence, so I consider that charge to be highly dubious at this point.

    The existing data does support a predominance of the other 3 you mentioned: White, Right Wing, and Evangelical.

    It also directly indicates another that you didn’t mention (Southern) and implies another that might be more appropriate than “blue collar”: Rural.

    Bovril: Fundamentally, the core of birtherism appears to have as its prime tenet a profound hatred (A strong but the only appropriste word) for CHANGE and in particular age based change.
    There is sufficient anecdotal evidence to show that the demographic (or demoNgraphic, if you’re a Birfoon) tends heavily to
    White
    Right wing
    Evangelical
    55+
    Male
    Blue collar

  17. avatar
    Slartibartfast July 5, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    Nathanael,

    Since Borvil and G covered pretty much everything, I’ll be brief:

    Nathanael: I agree, and made a similar argument here a couple of weeks ago. The reason birthers are unreachable is because reliance on rational argument in the debate is fundamentally misguided.

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here.

    Birthers are driven by fear (or hate, if you like, which I think is simply a manifestation of fear)

    Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering (real suffering – like watching Episode III or attending the Usurpathon…) – I think that ‘bigotry’ or ‘prejudice’ are probably the best terms.

    which is fundamentally irrational. The psychology of birthers suggest to me a siege mentality, an erection of walls against the unknown.

    Yes, the birthers are known for the impressive confirmation biases used to build their walls.

    The way to turn a birther is to first show him that the world outside his fortress is not such a scary place as he imagines it to be. Only then will he allow the walls to come down.

    Seems reasonable – any idea how to do it?

    (*By fear, I don’t necessary mean heart palpitations and cardiac arrest; it could be as low key as a nagging sense of threat.)

    I don’t doubt that the fear is strong enough in some of them to manifest as such physical symptoms, but certainly the birthers run the whole gamut of fear…

  18. avatar
    Nathanael July 5, 2011 at 1:24 am #

    Thanks, G.

    G:
    And yes, racism is definitely one of the driving factors involved here

    I’m not actually sure we’re disagreeing, to any great extent; perhaps I’m using the wrong terminology. In any case, I’m not sure there’s any significant difference by what I mean by “fear” and you mean by “bigotry”; I chose “fear” because at least in my vocabulary while “bigotry” gets at the outward expressions, it doesn’t really touch on the underlying psychological motivations.

    I’ve no doubt there is a current of racism within the birther movement. My point was simply that there doesn’t seem to be a straight-up correlation. Otherwise, to my mind, one should expect to see overt racists such as those over at Stormfront displaying greater interest in birtherism. But perhaps I’m wrong.

    G: I prefer the term bigtory, as it covers most of the broader aspects involved

    This is what I’m trying to get at also, that racism is one expression of something broader, a fear or distrust of that which is different or unknown, “differences” being any or all of the types that have been mentioned — from xenophobia to ideology to religion and beyond. Perhaps I err in thinking a common denominator can be found. I’m sure I err in using terminology too imprecisely. I may also be guilty in oversimplifying Slartibartfast’s point. If so, apologies to Slartibartfast.

    G: Further, not all hate is “fear” based.

    Certainly not. “I hate my neighbor who hold noisy parties every weekend” isn’t. But what I’ve observed of birther hate suggests to me that it is.

    G: they truly *feed* off of their anger and hate…. Sadly, I think some people are beyond hope and reason and can’t really be reached.

    I think there’s some interplay here with communal reinforcement as well, though I don’t understand the dynamic. Forums such as FR serve as communal places for reinforcing their beliefs, and that helps to explain much of the overt antagonism toward outsiders who upset the communal dynamic.

    As to whether birthers can be reached, however, I think I may be of a bit more optimistic bent. While reaching them is beyond dispute difficult, I’m of the hope that the proper approach is still awaiting discovery. And no, I don’t know what that would be, other than that it would most likely involve addressing the underlying emotional motivations. And that would almost certainly have to begin with separating them from their support communities. Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned here from cult deprogramming.

  19. avatar
    J. Potter July 5, 2011 at 1:29 am #

    Birtherism in itself does still lack the grand narrative, so it is not in itself a conspiracy theory. It shares a lot of its traits, and definitely appeals to those disposed to believe in CTs (particularly the “super-conspiracies”). The need for superhuman agents, unlikely complexities, inference of intent behind coincidences … and on and on. When challenging a birther by working backward though the chain of events, it always comes down to some verison of “‘they’ are all in on ‘it'”. Pressed farther, very often a confirmation that the birther feels the election of Obama is confirmation of the existence of a super-conspiracy (The New World Order, the Bilderbergs, the Trilaterals, pick one) follows.

    Perhaps it could be said that Birtherism is a conspiracy theory “module”. Or perhaps it is still only a conspiracy “hypotheses” which has yet to coalesce into a conspiracy theory. Just need a little more research ….. ;-)

  20. avatar
    Nathanael July 5, 2011 at 2:20 am #

    Slartibartfast: I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here.Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering (real suffering – like watching Episode III or attending the Usurpathon…) – I think that bigotry’ or prejudice’ are probably the best terms.

    I hope I expressed my self a bit better in my reply to G. The only significant difference I can see between “bigotry” and what I’m trying to get at with “fear” is that to my mind bigotry’s semantic domain doesn’t quite extend to the underlying psychological motivations (at least neither the Wikipedia nor Merriam-Webster definitions do), and since that’s where I was trying to go, I chose “fear” instead. No matter. I’ll switch to “bigotry”.

    Nathanael: The way to turn a birther is to first show him that the world outside his fortress is not such a scary place as he imagines it to be.

    Slartibartfast: Seems reasonable – any idea how to do it?

    Unfortunately, not a clue :-( and I’m afraid I haven’t been trying all that hard. I think the problem is that between those of us here and birthers there lies a large gulf in our cognitive approaches (or reactions?) to reality. For us, we (attempt to) subject all to reason and evidence; those in the birther camp allow baser instincts greater rein (oh, dear, I’m sounding elitist here; I certainly don’t intend that). The cognitive gulf between the two approaches is great enough that it can be decidedly difficult just to find a common language to speak in. In essence, the two sides are talking past each other.

  21. avatar
    G July 5, 2011 at 2:37 am #

    Nathaniel,

    I enjoyed your full response. The only area I wanted to comment upon further was the part I quoted below. Sometimes it is in error to assume some common denominator that applies to all. Real life and real people are complex and rarely boils down to a single cause or even a binary choice. A more reasonable approach may to seek a “common set” of denominators, instead of a single base denominator. Further, as I’ve mentioned before, people can have more than one fear/predjudice/belief in play here… although that would appear to “muddy the water” at getting to the root causes, it only does so if you try to look at it from a “this or that” perspective, instead of from the “common set” perspective (think more like an overlapping Venn Diagram), in which case such combinations make perfect sense.

    To say “fear” or even “prejudice” is *the* base denominator also seems to simplistic and almost too casually dismissive of really trying to get to understand the full scope of what’s going on with “movements” like these. As I mentioned before, when peeling back the surface, fear seems to be behind a lot of reasons for hatreds and resentments…but certainly not a match for all. Therefore it seems like another over-generalization in and of itself. Once again, I think we’re more approximating a set of interrelated set of (often ugly) base emotions that then drive an interrelated set of motivations.

    So, if we had to derive a root cause, I think others said it best by simply saying it was emotional and not rational. I think that’s about as base as you can get…because once you dive into dissecting the emotional cause, you’re back to finding several interlocked but distinct pieces yet again…

    Try to think of it this way: The smallest component of any physical element in nature is the atom. That is as far as you can take any any element down and still have it be an element. However, each atom itself is made of up a bunch of different but interrelated sub-atomic particles…

    Nathanael: Perhaps I err in thinking a common denominator can be found. I’m sure I err in using terminology too imprecisely. I may also be guilty in oversimplifying Slartibartfast’s point. If so, apologies to Slartibartfast.

  22. avatar
    G July 5, 2011 at 2:56 am #

    I agree with you on the cognitive gulf and lack of “common language”. Maybe in some cases, such could be found. However, I suspect that some of those underlying motivators (whether fear, hate, resentment, spite or whatever) are so strong in many of the hard-core Birthers that they truly have NO desire to have a common language. Those types don’t want to reach a common understanding. Same as how certain mindsets sadly perceive compromise as a weakness and a bad thing. These mindsets prefer (and possibly even need) to perceive “others” as not just different, but as an enemy to be conquered / vanquished / destroyed. Trying to “reach” them or “understand” them just ticks them off more. They merely want you to submit to them. Understanding is not required and not necessarily part of their value system.

    Then there are others that have actual mental illness issues or other real mental defects (usually in addition to some of those underlying motivators we’ve already discussed). Those real limitations might be too much for them to be reached or reasoned with, period. It may simply be beyond their capacity to change their way of thinking or to grasp what you are trying to convey. Such issues go beyond what a “common language” could really address…

    Sadly, I fear that the majority of those who are “reachable” were those that have already given up birtherism after the LFBC. This is an issue that has been going on since Summer of 2008. There may be a few that lacked awareness of the issue until recently and and have only become birthers due to innate predjudices combined with bad sources of information.

    However, the bulk of what remains of Birtherism is a bunch of extremely hard-core devotees that have been endlessly flogging the dead horse of Birtherism since its inception. Maybe there are a few that even though they’ve been so emotionally invested can still divest themselves at some point. But I truly fear that a significant portion of those that remain are completely beyond reach…

    Nathanael: For us, we (attempt to) subject all to reason and evidence; those in the birther camp allow baser instincts greater rein (oh, dear, I’m sounding elitist here; I certainly don’t intend that). The cognitive gulf between the two approaches is great enough that it can be decidedly difficult just to find a common language to speak in. In essence, the two sides are talking past each other.

  23. avatar
    Bob July 5, 2011 at 4:40 am #

    BBC radio documentary:

    How Birthers fit into far Right Wing

    America’s Own Extremists

    ☞LINK

  24. avatar
    Bob July 5, 2011 at 4:47 am #

    ^I meant to say “This documentary includes how Birthers fit into the far Right Wing^

  25. avatar
    Nathanael July 5, 2011 at 5:48 am #

    Slartibartfast: Seems reasonable – any idea how to do it?

    On further reflection, I suppose it’s not fundamentally different than any human relationship: start a dialogue, find common ground, begin a relationship, build trust. All of that must be done in a context far away from birther issues, which only foster division and distrust.

    All of which is to say, there’s virtually no chance as long as we only engage them in birther forums on the Internet.

  26. avatar
    Bill Plat July 5, 2011 at 6:07 am #

    I am beating even money to any left wing liberal that Obama is as crooked as a dogs hind leg.
    And you liberals think that all this crap Obama has produced is legit. You talk about living in a fantasy land. Let’s see how you all talk when he has you emptying his bed pan. As for me, I will empty his bed pan alright.

  27. avatar
    Bovril July 5, 2011 at 6:19 am #

    G,

    I based my breakdown of demographics on the same data you have seen, the video’s, web sites, postings, posted photographs, “Usurperthons”, court records etc.

    In all cases I stand by my thesis of the breakdowns, I didn’t completely pull them out of my ass,…… 8-)

    I stated that for example there are vocal and well known female birthers but they are visibly in a minority, see, “the Lakin homecoming video and photos'”, “Interviewed birfoons at Tea Party rallies”, “Phil Berg video conferences and uisurpathon” etc

    Ages have been taken from both the video’s as well as the personally stated ages of Birthers on their various posted web sites as well as publically available records of the illuminaries of Birferstan. (One particular taste free individual example being RacerJim and his BDSM profile)

    Again, the “blue collar” is gathered by the responses on their very own posts, reminiscences of what they and their parents did, their profiles, tracking of profiles on non birfoon sites

    I specifically stated these are anecdotal and not based on full statistical analysis via polling, interviews etc but I have a degree of confidence in the breakdown.

    YMMV

  28. avatar
    Majority Will July 5, 2011 at 7:04 am #

    Bill Plat:
    I am beating even money to any left wing liberal that Obama is as crooked as a dogs hind leg.
    And you liberals think that all this crap Obama has produced is legit. You talk about living in a fantasy land. Let’s see how you all talk when he has you emptying his bed pan. As for me, I will empty his bed pan alright.

    Thank you for proving the point.

    Well done, Bill. Well done.

  29. avatar
    Arthur July 5, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    Bill:

    As a member of the Pee Party, I warn you: you’ll only get my bed pan when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers!

  30. avatar
    Nathanael July 5, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    G:
    I agree with you on the cognitive gulf and lack of “common language”. Maybe in some cases, such could be found. However, I suspect …

    As an educator, I long ago made a decision to eliminate “unreachable” from my professional vocabulary. I have had students I was unable to reach, but I’ve also reached students I was sorely tempted to write off as unreachable. All those walls are built on something — for students it’s nearly always something in the home life; once the foundation has been cleared away the walls always come down.

    I’ll expand on something I’ve just said to Slatribartfast: the basis of all human relationships follow the same general pattern: find common ground, start a dialogue, begin a relationship, build trust. No meaningful progress on areas of disagreement will ever be made in an atmosphere of distrust.

    All this requires setting aside the differences and disagreements, and seeking for the common ground on which dialogue and relationship can be built. Which means engaging birthers in a context as far away from birther issues as possible. I think it goes without saying that this is not going to happen over the Internet.

    G: are so strong in many of the hard-core Birthers that they truly have NO desire to have a common language.

    They have no desire to find a common language with Obots. If we’re not obots, Maybe I’m being naive, but I believe common ground exists between any two people.

    I agree the few birthers who are left are going to be the hardest cases. I don’t believe even they’re unreachable. However, I don’t think any of us here is in a position to reach them.

  31. avatar
    Northland10 July 5, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    G: I think you hit on an important additional “fear” motivator at play here: the fear of “change”, where it is important to pin bogeymen and straw-men to blame and rationalize away a world changing faster than they can comprehend or be comfortable with.

    Some years ago, during the uproar regarding the, now former, interracial dating ban at Bob Jones University, I went to the BJU website to figure to learn how they still justified it. Their reasoning at that time was that, by allowing interracial dating, it would lead to a mixing of various people and nations. This would, in turn, lead to a one-world government (and the eventual end of the world, or something similar, i.e. the anti-Christ). Now the fear of one-world government, also referred to by some as the new world order, is also the great fear of many militia followers. The President, with here parents of different races (and nationalities, for that matter), and his more exotic upbringing represents much of this, “one-world” fear.

    In addition, some of the birthers fear is based upon a zero-sum game. Any perceived gain for somebody of mixed heritage must be a loss to the birthers’ unmixed heritage. In their mind, Obama cannot gain without they themselves losing something.

  32. avatar
    ellid July 5, 2011 at 7:51 am #

    Bill Plat:
    I am beating even money to any left wing liberal that Obama is as crooked as a dogs hind leg.
    And you liberals think that all this crap Obama has produced is legit. You talk about living in a fantasy land. Let’s see how you all talk when he has you emptying his bed pan. As for me, I will empty his bed pan alright.

    Actually, I write fantasy. Living in a fantasy land would be preferable to reading some of the crap spewed by birthers.

    Also, I’m a quilt historian, not a nurse. Why would I empty anyone’s bed pan?

  33. avatar
    Bovril July 5, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    Nathanael,

    Whilst, as an educator, your moral, possibly religious belief and professionalism mandates for you a “no child left behind” striving, look at the context.

    As an educator, you have (again broad brush stroke) people either young, who are inherently pyschologically flexible and available to mould via education, see Jesuits…. 8-) or you have people who are returning to education and therefore have made a comittment to learn.

    As such the NCLB approach is one that has a very high probability of working.

    With Birthers (again broad brush stroke), they are not young, they are not flexible, they have no intention, incentive or desire of changing and they have made no comitment to be open to education or open dialogue.

    They are people who could be characterised as in grief, perpetually stuck in a feedback loop of the five stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and refusing to move to acceptance.

    Again, if you read the posts at sites such as CitizenWells, or Dr K(H)ates you will see these very characteristics writ plain and large.

    Denial……He cannot be the President, come what may, I will not accept it and I will make up or accept whatever mechanisms I can hold to deny this ugly uncomfortable fact

    Anger…..Well that one is a given, screams for coups, hang them high, “2nd Amendment solutions, lynching etc etc

    Bargaining…..Internal bargaining and goal post movemnets, Kenya birth to Vatel to 14th Amendmnet Citizen to the next lie de jour, also the divorcing of themselves from friends and loved ones who do not accept their pathology.

    Depression…..Regular breast beatings and cries of misery as to WHY WILL NO ONE LISTEN, HE’S EBIL etc

    Looping back to Denial and Anger in an ugly positive AND negative feedback mechanism

    Do you TRULY believe you can have a real dialogue and meeting on common grounds with the likes of Kerchner, Taitz or Trace…?

  34. avatar
    Keith July 5, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    J. Potter: Perhaps it could be said that Birtherism is a conspiracy theory “module”. Or perhaps it is still only a conspiracy “hypotheses” which has yet to coalesce into a conspiracy theory. Just need a little more research ….. ;-)

    Except for the implied conspiracy involved in hundreds or thousands of people being involved in forging the history or this odd little kid in who now claims to have been born in Hawaii in 1961.

    Arthur:
    Bill:

    As a member of the Pee Party, I warn you: you’ll only get my bed pan when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers!

    And as a fan of Bear Grylls, you’ll only get mine after secondary filtering through my liver.

    Oh. Wait.

    You can have it after the primary filtering.

    Never mind.

  35. avatar
    Loren July 5, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    There’s a lot of conspiricism in Birtherism, but it’s the same sort of conspiracism you find in any denialist movement. The central focus of the denialists is in refusing to acknowledge a widely-accepted fact as being true. That, by itself, does not necessitate a belief in any conspiracy theories.

    But when confronted with contrary evidence, the denialist’s typical response is to retreat into conspiracy theories. AIDS and vaccine denialists spin stories of pharmaceutical conspiracies. Holocaust deniers believe in Jewish conspiracies. Just the other week on RC’s radio show, Jonathan Kay talked about how the fringier edges of global warming denialism descend into allegations of international conspiracies.

    And so it is with Birthers. They don’t need conspiracy theories to believe Obama was born in Kenya, but they *DO* need conspiracy theories to explain away the birth certificates, and Hawaii’s official position on Obama’s birth, and the bipartisan unanimity in ignoring their protestations. And thus you end up with Birther claims of secretly forged birth certificates, bribed or threatened officials, and allegations that Obama has complete control of the press.

  36. avatar
    Tarrant July 5, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    The issue, however, as you pointed out earlier Nathaniel, is that they immediately paint with an Obot brush -ANYONE- who does not wholly follow the birther point of view – including people on which they might agree on every other point. Certainly on the standard birther blogs – Dr. Kate, etc., everything is moderated and contrary views are unwelcome, but on general conservative sites like freep one sees that what might otherwise be true conservatives driven from the forum by birthers infuriated by the fact that someone disagrees. Look at the “Letters to (insert congressman here)” the Post and Email publishes, where people write to Congress and receive a response that Obama is eligible (if they get one at all) and the fury that ensues – and how they then claim said member of Congress is a traitor and not conservative or whatnot.

    There is no communication because they cannot (by choice) accept anyone that does not buy in 100% as anything but a “paid Obot”, while they cling to the belief that their views are actually the majority if just the news would acknowledge them.

  37. avatar
    G July 5, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head Loren! Calling it a Denialist movement would be more appropriate than a Conspiracy Theory. Your analysis of how they fall back to Conspiracies to try to spin their justification for denial is spot on!

    Loren:
    There’s a lot of conspiricism in Birtherism, but it’s the same sort of conspiracism you find in any denialist movement.The central focus of the denialists is in refusing to acknowledge a widely-accepted fact as being true.That, by itself, does not necessitate a belief in any conspiracy theories.

    But when confronted with contrary evidence, the denialist’s typical response is to retreat into conspiracy theories.AIDS and vaccine denialists spin stories of pharmaceutical conspiracies.Holocaust deniers believe in Jewish conspiracies.Just the other week on RC’s radio show, Jonathan Kay talked about how the fringier edges of global warming denialism descend into allegations of international conspiracies.

    And so it is with Birthers.They don’t need conspiracy theories to believe Obama was born in Kenya, but they *DO* need conspiracy theories to explain away the birth certificates, and Hawaii’s official position on Obama’s birth, and the bipartisan unanimity in ignoring their protestations.And thus you end up with Birther claims of secretly forged birth certificates, bribed or threatened officials, and allegations that Obama has complete control of the press.

  38. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 5, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    I think this a very astute observation. I talk a lot about hard-core birthers never changing, but this is an empirical observation based solely on Internet interactions.

    I have a fantasy dialog in my mind, which has never met an opportunity to be played out in practice where I say kindly, “and why do you think that?” lead a fictional birther to the discovery of the error in their ways.

    Nathanael: I think it goes without saying that this is not going to happen over the Internet.

  39. avatar
    G July 5, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    Nathanael, I certainly find your desire to find common ground and educate admirable. I completely agree that for the hard-core Birthers, such is not possible across the internet, for all the reasons that you and others have mentioned.Therefore, such a possibility only exists in a one-on-one context within the real world of one’s encounters in their personal lives. If you already know a Birther family member, associate, neighbor, etc…. then finding such common ground to “reach” them might be possible over time. But it would definitely still be an individualized and time consuming process.

    Nathanael: All this requires setting aside the differences and disagreements, and seeking for the common ground on which dialogue and relationship can be built. Which means engaging birthers in a context as far away from birther issues as possible. I think it goes without saying that this is not going to happen over the Internet.

    Nathanael: I agree the few birthers who are left are going to be the hardest cases. I don’t believe even they’re unreachable. However, I don’t think any of us here is in a position to reach them.

    It would be extremely difficult at best to even “reach” a hard-core Birther by establishing an entirely brand-new relationship, as getting past the “instant dismissal barrier” that they employ for anyone who disagrees with them in the slightest would be very difficult. Tarrant’s post was excellent on touching on this problem and its purpose – which is to instantly invalidate or cast as “the enemy” any source which doesn’t conform 100% to their views…and that goes beyond just Birtherism. Such strains of “purity” demands seem to be quite common in extremist movements, so I’ll restate what he summed up:

    Tarrant: There is no communication because they cannot (by choice) accept anyone that does not buy in 100% as anything but a “paid Obot”, while they cling to the belief that their views are actually the majority if just the news would acknowledge them.

    Bovril made some excellent points on this issue in terms of further difficulty in being able to “reach” those that are older and set in their ways, but at the same time, his post also identified one possible avenue, through the “grieving stages”. How do you get someone who is intentionally recalcitrant to not be stuck permanently within one of those stages and finally move through the rest of them to reach the “acceptance” stage, I have no idea. I agree with those defined stages and the process, but I’m not sure that everybody ever makes it to the final one…

    Bovril: With Birthers (again broad brush stroke), they are not young, they are not flexible, they have no intention, incentive or desire of changing and they have made no comitment to be open to education or open dialogue.
    They are people who could be characterised as in grief, perpetually stuck in a feedback loop of the five stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and refusing to move to acceptance.

    It appears Northland10 really hit upon the key obstacle here… that zero-sum game mindset. We all tend to assume others perceive the world and are reachable because they *must* have the ability to think as we do, but that is often not the case. That zero-sum mindset is real and although it might be difficult for the rest of us to conceive that anyone could really always think/react from that perspective as a basis, it clearly happens and we have to stop being naive and using our own thought basis in order to truly try to put ourselves in their shoes and grasp at what motivates or connects with them.

    Northland10: In addition, some of the birthers fear is based upon a zero-sum game. Any perceived gain for somebody of mixed heritage must be a loss to the birthers’ unmixed heritage. In their mind, Obama cannot gain without they themselves losing something.

  40. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 5, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    My recollection is that some of the early polls, I think the Daily KOS poll, did some race/education/region breakdowns.

    G: For actual evidence on the demographics of Birtherism, we pretty much have Birther posts…

  41. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 5, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    Hey, I just wanted to thank everybody for the really great discussion that has developed on this topic.

  42. avatar
    G July 5, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Bovril, I think your closing YMMV summed it up best. The evidence so far is anecdotal. In terms of seeing polls and video evidence of past “birther gatherings”, we’re pretty much dealing with the same general sets of input. Obviously, our encounters (either online or in person) with Birthers has the greatest area of variation between our two experiences to draw from.

    Therefore, we’ll just have to respectfully disagree on these points of certain demographic markers for Birtherism.

    My analysis on sex is that there are enough female birthers in the mix that the male to female ration seems fairly balanced from my POV…at least not to the point of being sufficiently loaded one way or the other to be a demographic indicator of value.

    On age, we both agree that demographically, the birthers are mainly OLDER. As someone who prefers to go based on evidence instead of applying sloppy assumptions without data, I prefer to not slap any particular actual age qualifier at this point beyond that. I do not dispute that many birthers are over 55. However, I have also dealt with a significant amount of birthers that are somewhere in their 40’s to consider their numbers to be representative of a pattern, which is why when pushed to put an age quantifier, I lowered the bar to 40. As I said, I’m not really comfortable with putting any specific cutoff like that out there, but if I had to SWAG at it, somewhere in the 40-45 range as the ground floor baseline is what I would use. Also, the sloppy polling age breakdowns lead to multiple conclusions, as I’ve seen ranges that breakdown age as 65 and older to ones that lower the bar as far as 30 and above. The 30 and above doesn’t seem valid enough, as those few birthers that I’ve come across who are in their 30’s (Lucas Smith, Donofrio) or younger, do seem to be outliers and I would definitely agree with you that there seems to be an increase in birtherism as age goes up in general. (There definitely are a few birthers in their 80’s), so I agree that AGE is definitely a key indicator, but only in what I would comfortably quantify as saying OLDER increases the trend.

    On the issue of “blue collar”, my anecdotal experience doesn’t support that at all. In terms of “known” birthers, where we have an indication to what their current/former career path is, we have clarity mainly on those who have been “Birther Leaders” – not just from the lawyer aspect, but also from running websites or other forms of activism. On that front, it seems like we are mainly dealing with failed “white collar” or “other-than blue collar” professions, such as lawyers, writers, clergy, medical, (ex)military, teachers, some stay-at-homes, a poker player/artist and a Hydrologist.. There are quite a few former criminals too…which are harder to peg. I guess Lucas again comes closest to what might be considered “blue collar”, but I haven’t seen enough of his legitimate (lawful) work background story to qualify him as “blue collar” instead of simply coming from a poor background and having periods of merely being unemployed. Same with examples like Cao – she seems to be generally unemployed (it seems all she does is protest in front of the WH), but I see no indication of “blue collar” career background.

    When we get to just “birther” followers and posters, the revealed background is often much less and here is where each of our anecdotal experiences will vary the most. In those rare instances that I can glean career background, I’m seeing much the same as I did in the “leadership” breakdown, except with an uptick of people that appear otherwise “careerless” at this point in their life (retired, stay-at-home parent, unemployed). Neither of those three directly translates in any way to “blue collar” over “white collar” either.

    Now, when it comes to Tea Party folks that I’ve come across, I’ve definitely found there to be a high proportion of true “blue collar” folks seeming to make up the bulk of that movement. Even though that is also a similar “fringe” movement, it is by significant factors, more sizeable an overall movement than Birtherism (which truly is the fringe of the fringe) and more visible in the real world, so it is easier to ascertain such things.

    But I rarely have come across actual Birthers that I could classify as “blue collar” at all. If anything, the majority seem to be just the opposite and fall under “white collar” or “other” designations, as I mentioned above…

    Bovril: I specifically stated these are anecdotal and not based on full statistical analysis via polling, interviews etc but I have a degree of confidence in the breakdown.
    YMMV

  43. avatar
    G July 5, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    You’re very welcome! Although I want to apologize on our behalf for distracting you from getting to properly enjoy your well-earned vacation!

    I hope your wife doesn’t hate all of us… ;)

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Hey, I just wanted to thank everybody for the really great discussion that has developed on this topic.

  44. avatar
    G July 5, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    There are several polls that did good breakdowns and I think I recollect at least one from Daily KOS on the topic too. I’m pretty sure CNN and Gallup did as well. I don’t have any of those polls off-hand, but I remember reviewing them and pouring over underlying data (when available), whenever I found out about them. In trying to recall, I can’t identify the specific polls or dates at this point, but it seems there were at least 4 or 5 that provided valuable breakdowns.

    In my recollection, all of them that did a regional breakdown showed the same significantly increased margin within the South as opposed to other regions.

    The age issue goes back to the discussion that Bovril & I have been having. These polls all seemed to provide a good age breakdown, which clearly showed an increase in birtherism in the upper (older) age categories… however, the problem with trying to get a handle on zeroing in on where that truly diverges in significance based on age is that different polls lumped age groups differently…which IMHO, makes clarification on where the true “jump” in birther identification occurs (40’s, 50’s, 60’s…???)

    I honestly don’t recall any education stats broken down specifically by birtherism, but I may have just forgotten about it. That would be fascinating to find out. I can recall a lot of education stats on other RW beliefs / groups and the TP, but not on birtherism itself…

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    My recollection is that some of the early polls, I think the Daily KOS poll, did some race/education/region breakdowns.

  45. avatar
    Majority Will July 5, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    My recollection is that some of the early polls, I think the Daily KOS poll, did some race/education/region breakdowns.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/07/31/760087/-Birthers-are-mostly-Republican-and-Southern

    FRI JUL 31, 2009 AT 08:20 AM PDT

    Birthers are mostly Republican and Southern
    by kos for Daily Kos

  46. avatar
    Lupin July 5, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    I am, of course, in agreement with everything everyone wrote, because to a large extent we’re counting angels dancing on the proverbial pin.

    There is a grand story, however — to some extent.

    I have in the past pointed out the stunning similarities between the founding documents of the KKK and the pleadings of Meretricious Mario, when it comes to defining “real American” citizenship.

    I have stated here (which Mario has never denied) that I thought the birther issue was a Trojan horse used by traditional, well-established, right-wing / white racist American groups (such as the KKK) to inflame certain segments of the US population and try to redefine what an American citizen is.

    The recent proposals in Arizona are clear enough to prove that there is such a movement.

    I think birtherism is used as a tool by some in that movement to push their agenda.

    The grand story becomes therefore: “real” Americans are only from white anglo-saxon European christian ancestry. Only they & their children should be entitled to rule.

    That’s your grand story.

  47. avatar
    G July 5, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    Thanks for finding that, Majority Will! Unfortunately, the underlying Research 2000 poll link was broken, so I couldn’t get to the actual poll data itself, but the summary results in the article did clearly show both Southern and (at least self-identifying as) Republican as significant indicators of being susceptible to Birtherism.

    Majority Will: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/07/31/760087/-Birthers-are-mostly-Republican-and-Southern

    FRI JUL 31, 2009 AT 08:20 AM PDT

    Birthers are mostly Republican and Southern
    by kos for Daily Kos

  48. avatar
    Slartibartfast July 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    Since most of the points I would make have already been well articulated (and I think that this is a fine pot of “nail soup” that you’ve whipped up, Doc…), I just want to add a bit to what Nathanael said about reaching birthers. While I agree that all birthers are theoretically reachable, I’m guessing that vanishingly small numbers of birthers could actually be reached in practice. I think that any of us would have a chance (not necessarily a good one, mind you) of “deprogramming” a close friend or relative – someone who the birther already had some sort of relationship with and respect for. In my opinion, it all hinges on the ability to get the birther to engage in a discussion in good faith. If you can get a birther to follow the “why do you think that?” line of questioning to elements of fact or law (which I’m sure all of us know much better than any birther) then you have your foot in the door, so to speak. I have never seen a birther that is willing (with one possible exception) to actually have a rational debate (i.e. answer the critiques of their position without using fallacious arguments) and I don’t know that the minimal level of trust necessary for such engagement can be built with most birthers. If there is no pre-existing bridge to a particular birther, then the chances of reaching them would all seem to depend on the birther choosing to build a relationship of trust with someone outside of their echo chamber – which I don’t think is a very good bet.

    Anyway, I’m going back to trying to help Borvil with his demographic studies…

  49. avatar
    G July 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Bob, the link you provided was to Part 1 of the 2 part series (each 25 min in length).

    Part 1 dealt with the issue of domestic Islamic Extremism.

    Part 2 is what you meant to reference, which starts with dealing with the WA bomb attempt on MLK day and uses that as a springboard to cover other extremist groups in America, such as Militias, Racist organizations and (briefly) the Birthers.

    Hopefully, one of these links will take folks directly to Part 2:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/p00hkvw1

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00hkvw1

    For those with limited time, start listening around the 11 minute mark. Birtherism comes up in context of that particular tangent of conversation around 12:40.

    Bob:
    ^I meant to say “This documentary includes how Birthers fit into the far Right Wing^

  50. avatar
    sponson July 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    If Barack Obama had in fact been born outside of the United States, then some serious manipulation of a stage agency or multiple agencies would have been necessary to have the state send a false birth notice about this infant to the Star-Bulleting and Advertiser newsrooms in August of 1961. For this reason alone, birtherism necessitates a conspiracy theory, in my opinion.

  51. avatar
    J.Potter July 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    Are there are commentaries out there about online vs. offline birtherism? How in the virtual, private reality of the online world, erroneous ideas can be easy believed and hold an immediate, seductive sway? Similar to the “instant intimacy” associated with online romances? I personally do not know anyone, even in Okieland, that will profess birtherism in person. Plenty virulently conservative folks, but all of them are mortified at any mention of the birthers. I can imagine them heading home and closing the doors, logging on as a sex addict might when prowling for porn. The internet is definitely a catalyst; and it appears to be seriously warping expectations. Is this disconnect part of the “fuel”? Virtual expectations crashing against cold hard realities?

    I look forward to Doc’s “study” …. what tendencies make a person vulnerable to birtherism, the factors that keep birthers coming back, speculations about the future? Well, the future is easy …. lessening relevance, dwindling adherents, the collapsed core becoming fringier and more introverted, and eventually this module becomes subsumed / borrowed into some more well-established CTs with longer legs… either after Obama leaves office in 2013 or 2017, or after his death. This could go for decades….

    I marvel at two other things: the birther ability to generate “new” material, and their ability to stay excited about the same old crap (denial). These guys could go forever on nothing!

  52. avatar
    Sef July 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    J.Potter: offline birtherism

    So that’s why the size of pen drives has been increasing! Thanks for the insight.

  53. avatar
    Ballantine July 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    I like looking at the comments on WND where we can see pictures of the commenter’s on facebook with most looking like the redneck morons we expect the birthers to be. However, I’ve only met 2 birthers and one was a CEO of a fortune 500 company. Never easy to stereotype people. It think we are seeing something that is bigger than birtherism. Anyone read David Brooks today? Basically how the conservative base has lost its mind.

    “The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities. A thousand impartial experts may tell them that a default on the debt would have calamitous effects, far worse than raising tax revenues a bit. But the members of this movement refuse to believe it.

    The members of this movement have no sense of moral decency. A nation makes a sacred pledge to pay the money back when it borrows money. But the members of this movement talk blandly of default and are willing to stain their nation’s honor.

    The members of this movement have no economic theory worthy of the name. Economists have identified many factors that contribute to economic growth, ranging from the productivity of the work force to the share of private savings that is available for private investment. Tax levels matter, but they are far from the only or even the most important factor.

    But to members of this movement, tax levels are everything. Members of this tendency have taken a small piece of economic policy and turned it into a sacred fixation.”

    On issue after issue, we see these movement accept dogma that could not survive the most elementary amount of critical analysis. Domestic drilling, global warming, the mortgage crisis. Doesn’t matter. They spend all there time in echo chambers where critical analysis is not allowed and dogma is accepted as reality by shear repetition. We see the same things with the birther issue where most of there claims could not survive any critical analysis. They simply retreat to there blogs and comfort each other. It is scary that intellectual conservative like Brooks and Frum fear for their party as it is taken over by anti-intellectual populism and identity politics.

  54. avatar
    J.Potter July 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Ballantine, can you provide specific references to Brooks’ writing about the problems with this movement?

    I have no doubt that Birthers in person would have a grand old time and go nuts. Just in my experience, it seems to be the type of thing strangers are reticent to own up to one another. No one wants to make the first admission.

  55. avatar
    Ballantine July 5, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    J.Potter: Ballantine, can you provide specific references to Brooks’ writing about the problems with this movement?I have no doubt that Birthers in person would have a grand old time and go nuts. Just in my experience, it seems to be the type of thing strangers are reticent to own up to one another. No one wants to make the first admission.

    I think Brook’s point is the conservative base will hold onto the “tax cut” dogma as the holy grail of economics no matter how many experts tell them it is wrong or how much sense compromise would make. We see the same behavior with many issues where experts and basic logic are dismissed and compormise is never an option. My point is that I get the same reaction when I point out the false logic of something like domestic drilling being the answer to cheap energy as when I point out the absurdaty of the birther claims. Just seems that some people have spend so much time in their echo chambers that they have lost the ability to think critically.

  56. avatar
    J.Potter July 5, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    Ballantine,

    I’m not arguing, I am in total agreement w/you! I really want to read the article you cite, and if you can direct me to others, I’d appreciate it. Others probbaly do too … of course I could search, but if you already have, it’d be helpful. Thanks!

    Ballantine: I think Brook’s point is the conservative base will hold onto the “tax cut” dogma as the holy grail of economics no matter how many experts tell them it is wrong or how much sense compromise would make.

  57. avatar
    sponson July 5, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    I think that a very large percentage of those we label as “birthers” know full well that there is no real basis in fact for their assertions. It’s simply a willful decision on their part to push the argument again and again. This seems contradictory to people from the “reality-based community,” but it doesn’t to them.

  58. avatar
    J.Potter July 5, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    I’d like to think this, too, but there is a large, unthinking contingent out there. If they haven’t convinced themselves, they are putting on an amazing act! “Common folks” and “country people” around here will spout off the most incredible absurdity with amazing sincerity, in the full expectation of unthinking, instinctive agreement. It seems to work off of inherent, non-confrontational tendencies. In the face of any other reaction, the topic quickly shifts. If you feign agreement and let them carry on, conversations can reach some amazing places.

    Once, I wore a t-shirt illustrated by Alex Ross (I call it “Super Obama”) to the local Lowe’s, not long after the election. Alex Ross is a favorite of mine, and it’s a funny shirt. An older man came unglued at the sight of it, and launched into a brief tirade, then quickly moved away, embarrassed at himself. He seemed to be saying things that sounded good in his head. Point is, so much here seems to be the result of talking with out thinking, and of bouncing claims off of each other, in echo chambers devoid of reflection or critical examination. Unexamined narratives fester, and can have poisonous effects. All groups are susceptible to this to an extent, but “emotional thinkers” are the worst.

    sponson:
    I think that a very large percentage of those we label as “birthers” know full well that there is no real basis in fact for their assertions.It’s simply a willful decision on their part to push the argument again and again.This seems contradictory to people from the “reality-based community,” but it doesn’t to them.

  59. avatar
    Nathanael July 5, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    Bovril:

    Do you TRULY believe you can have a real dialogue and meeting on common grounds with the likes of Kerchner, Taitz or Trace…?

    Absolutely. NOT on any of the points you listed, which are all birther-related. That would not qualify as commond ground.

    Instead, perhaps I could sit down with Apuzzo over a beer and opine about gas prices, share trials and tribulations of parenthood, or discuss the New York Yankees. As for Taitz, I might ask her about her dental practice (I have a cousin who’s a dentist), we could discuss multi-culturalism (she’s an immigrant; I’ve spent a good deal of my adult life living outside the US), or I might mention that I was born in San Francisco and ask her how she likes living in California.

    Donofrio’s a poker player, and I happen to have an interest in the history of playing cards; there’s something we might discuss. He also has a thing for performance art (OK, I don’t, but the point is he does have interests outside birtherism). Maybe KenyaBornObamAcorn and I share an interest in travel or equestrianism. Perhaps CitizenWells and I could go fishing together, or we’re both fond of Rocky Road ice cream. Maybe I could swap grandmother stories with Dr. Kate, or or we could share our mutual love of gardening. Who knows?

    There is a whole world of topics and interests out there far from the issues of birtherism. Just because birtherism is all we know about these people doesn’t mean in real life they’re one-string fiddles. And if our conversation should happen to stray onto birther issues, I just nod politely, issue a few non-committal grunts, and wait for the subject to change. If Taitz starts talking about her Obama court cases, I could ask her about her preferred airline, or ask her to explain what goes on inside a court room (I’ve never been in one), or elicit her legal opinion on a non-birther topic. Taitz, in particular, strikes me as a woman of broad interests.

    If we don’t go into a conversation looking to pick a fight (and admit it, when it comes to birthers, everyone of us here does), there’s literally a world of possibilities.

    And in fact it doesn’t even have to be common ground. People enjoy talking about themselves and are generally delighted just to find a sympathetic ear. It’s an ironic truth that the best conversationalists are people who do the least talking. Let them set the topic (yes, even birtherism), listen patiently, ask an occasional leading question (“So you enjoy growing roses? Where’d you learn how?”), and generally people will have a delightful time talking with you; they won’t even notice you’ve hardly said a word. If you find a common interest, run with it. If you find them saying things you disagree with, hold your tongue. If you never challenge them, they’ll have no reason to feel threatened. The next time they see you in a bar they’ll probably rush right over and ask to join you.

    In my teaching experience, I’ve seen this over and over again. Mediocre student, hides in the back of the classroom, shunned by his classmates, no interest in learning. One day, I’ll ask him to stay after class, let him get going on any topic he wants, and nod sympathetically for fifteen minutes. Next thing I know, he’s wandering into my classroom on lunchbreaks, staying after class uninvited, and telling me all his deepest secrets. I’ve become his friend and confidant. Next thing I kno he’s sitting up straight, paying attention in class, doing his homework, because he wants to please me. If he has family problems, I’ll generally hear about those as well, and I can start working on the ones that are getting in the way of his schooling. And all I did was nod attentively for fifteen minutes while hardly saying a word.

    No, it doesn’t work with everyone, and adults, being generally more suspicious and distrustful, are more difficult. And maybe I’m just an optimist, but I don’t believe anyone is beyond reach.

  60. avatar
    Nathanael July 5, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    Hey, Doc, I think I’ve got another one caught in the spam filter. I don’t see the message, here, but I get a duplicate message error when I try to repost it.

  61. avatar
    Nathanael July 5, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    Nathanael:
    I think I’ve got another one caught in the spam filter.

    Umm, never mind. Now it shows up.

  62. avatar
    Scientist July 5, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    The idiocy regarding the debt ceiling has gone on long enough. It is a staiin on the standing of the United States in the world. The 14th Amendment mandates that debts and pentions (Social Security, Medicare and veterans benefits) be paid. Moreover, a default represents a grave threat to national security, comparable to an invasion. The President as Commander in Chief cannot allow that to happen. He needs to order the Sec of the Treasury to sell as many bonds as necessary for the US to meet its obligations. He should invite Congress, if they don’t llike it, to try to get a blocking resolution through both houses and past his veto.

    Time to play hardball, Barack.

  63. avatar
    G July 5, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    Here is that David Brooks article today:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/05/opinion/05brooks.html?_r=2&src=rechp

    David Frum posts at his own website:

    http://www.frumforum.com/

    For those few remaining semi-rational and thinking GOP members, it has been a slow process of getting past their own unwavering blind loyalty to a party to stop looking the other way and realizing that the inmates really have overtaken the asylum and that the GOP is no longer a rational nor functioning part of the body politic.

    Brooks seems to just finally be hitting the acceptance stage today. Frum hit his a few years back. Popular political website LGF (Little Green Footballs) came to that realization during late 2008.

    Why is all of this relevant, you ask? Well, in terms of a G.U.T. it is the same paranoid style irrational emotion driven thinking that has taken over the majority of a major poltitical party and which is not just a cancer unto itself, but a complete threat to a functioning America.

    Such blind adherence to a position and intentional desire to instantly deny away and demonize any opposing opinion is a key sign of Cult mentalities and how they maintain control. We’ve discussed how Birtherism has certain aspects in common with a Conspiracy Theory, but in many ways, it is much closer to being a Virtual form of a Cult.

    J.Potter: Ballantine,
    I’m not arguing, I am in total agreement w/you! I really want to read the article you cite, and if you can direct me to others, I’d appreciate it. Others probbaly do too … of course I could search, but if you already have, it’d be helpful. Thanks!

  64. avatar
    Arthur July 5, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    Building on what G. observed, the language that David Brooks uses to condemn ideological intransigence on the budget could easily describe the mentality of bithers. Brooks writes,

    “The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities. A thousand impartial experts may tell them that a default on the debt would have calamitous effects, far worse than raising tax revenues a bit. But the members of this movement refuse to believe it.”

    Among other things, it’s that eagerness to dismiss information that contradicts their beliefs that unite birthers and tea-party enthusiasts.

  65. avatar
    G July 5, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    I suspect the same thing. For these folks, their emotional reactions (they dislike something) are more important to them than truth or reality. Whatever fiction supports their feelings they will spew and spread without remorse…whether they know better or not and whether they will admit to it or not.

    sponson:
    I think that a very large percentage of those we label as “birthers” know full well that there is no real basis in fact for their assertions.It’s simply a willful decision on their part to push the argument again and again.This seems contradictory to people from the “reality-based community,” but it doesn’t to them.

  66. avatar
    G July 5, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    You’ve really hit upon an area worthy of much further study and beyond a few casual discussion amongst ourselves, I haven’t really seen much analysis.

    Several of us have discussed the issue before in terms of Virtual Cults really being a new type of Cult/Conspiracy phenomenons that needs its own definitions and common denominators, but I don’t think anyone has really tackled the issue from the important angle you’ve identified – how Birtherism manifests and behaves in the real (physical) world, via what people are willing to say and post online. Other than very public events such as several small Birther gatherings and court cases, there really hasn’t been anything I’m aware of that looks into “a day in the life” of a Birther or just common interactions with such types in public. From many of their blogs, it seems a number of these people waste a lot of time writing frivolous and angry letters to harass various government officials to no avail…but other than such intentional birther “activism”…really not much I’m aware of to go on. From many birther posts, we’ve seen a lot of sad evidence that they’ve estranged themselves from friends and family over this.

    RichCares descriptions of his birther neighbor and how birtherism impacted the life of that birther and his daughter is the standout cautionary tale example that sticks with me of observational interactions of a Birther in the real world…

    J.Potter: Are there are commentaries out there about online vs. offline birtherism? How in the virtual, private reality of the online world, erroneous ideas can be easy believed and hold an immediate, seductive sway? Similar to the “instant intimacy” associated with online romances? I personally do not know anyone, even in Okieland, that will profess birtherism in person. Plenty virulently conservative folks, but all of them are mortified at any mention of the birthers. I can imagine them heading home and closing the doors, logging on as a sex addict might when prowling for porn. The internet is definitely a catalyst; and it appears to be seriously warping expectations. Is this disconnect part of the “fuel”? Virtual expectations crashing against cold hard realities?

  67. avatar
    G July 6, 2011 at 12:00 am #

    Good point and example. I can think of some conversation interactions with strangers or aquaintences in public that went down in a similar manner…not necessarily on birtherism, but on other various RW/TP memes. There does seem to be some recognition on their face that they are coming across foolish after they blurt these things out in public, as long as they are not surrounded by a group of their own “tribe” for backup.

    On another note – just wanted to H/T you for the cool Alex Ross reference. I know exactly the image you are referencing. I’ve always been a huge fan of his very realistic looking comic book artwork. Here’s an interesting fact for you – his partner from the excellent Marvels series and other works, Kurt Busiek, is a regular commenter at politicalwire.com

    J.Potter: Once, I wore a t-shirt illustrated by Alex Ross (I call it “Super Obama”) to the local Lowe’s, not long after the election. Alex Ross is a favorite of mine, and it’s a funny shirt. An older man came unglued at the sight of it, and launched into a brief tirade, then quickly moved away, embarrassed at himself. He seemed to be saying things that sounded good in his head. Point is, so much here seems to be the result of talking with out thinking, and of bouncing claims off of each other, in echo chambers devoid of reflection or critical examination. Unexamined narratives fester, and can have poisonous effects. All groups are susceptible to this to an extent, but “emotional thinkers” are the worst.

  68. avatar
    G July 6, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    Absolutely agreed. I also consider that to be a key defining propoganda control characteristic of a Cult.

    Arthur: Among other things, it’s that eagerness to dismiss information that contradicts their beliefs that unite birthers and tea-party enthusiasts.

  69. avatar
    Nathanael July 6, 2011 at 12:49 am #

    I was in the middle of a nice long reply, Tarrant, when my computer suddenly rebooted (homebuilts can be more trouble than they’re worth). I’ll have to be briefer this time.

    Tarrant:
    they immediately paint with an Obot brush -ANYONE- who does not wholly follow the birther point of view

    Which is why I said (or started to say) earlier, don’t be obots. “Birther” and “obot” are defined only within the context of birther discussions. There are no birthers in a horticulture forum. If the subject of birtherism never comes up, then you (or I) and Orly Taitz just become two people sharing a cup of tea.

    Pick any two people in the world and I guarantee there will be issues they disagree on, even here on Doc’s site, where discussions are generally civil, we all get along pretty well, and there may even be some here who consider others friends. But the discourse at OC is limited to common ground. Open it up and I bet we’d quickly discover many things to disagree over, maybe vehemently, maybe even vitriolically. We may even see the level of discourse at OC begin to descend into Freeper territory (hey, look at what happens to our civility every time a birther wanders in). In fact, any two of us here may well discover that anti-birtherism is the only thing we have in common. At the very least, I suspect we’d all walking away feeling less well-disposed toward each other. So if we value civility at OC, the solution is obvious: keep the conversation on common ground.

    I’m sure all of us has, or has had, friendships with people with whom we know there are subjects it would be foolhardy to raise. So, because we value friendship over any particular topic, we don’t. I don’t know why birtherism should be any different.

    “Oh, but those birthers are deranged, obsessed to the point of mental instability with birtherism. They don’t have any other interests or hobbies. All they do is run around screaming about Obama’s eligibility.” And we know that how, exactly? Because of our self-selective experience with birthers? Are birthers not parents? Do they not work for a living? Do they not fret over the cost of living, or enjoy going to movies, or taking walks in the park? If we bumped into one at Wal-Mart and birtherism never comes up, might they not turn out to be decent people, maybe friendly and helpful, or at least a good conversationalist? Or are they all just deranged Satanic spawn?

    Now again, none of us here is likely ever to befriend a birther for any number of reasons. First, because we’re already known as obots, long before we’ve achieved any level of trust. Second, because we only engage birthers in contexts which specifically involve birther discussions. Third, because Internet discourse lends itself well to distrust, suspicion AND LOTS OF SHOUTING. Fourth … I’m sure you can think of lots of other reasons.

    But just because we’re not in a position to reach birthers doesn’t mean they can’t be reached.

  70. avatar
    Nathanael July 6, 2011 at 12:58 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:

    …where I say kindly, “and why do you think that?” lead a fictional birther to the discovery of the error in their ways.

    But I think only someone already within a birther’s circle of trust could get away with such a question. If there’s any hint of insincerity or ulterior motive, you’ve probably lost any chance you might have had, probably for good.

    Besides, isn’t “Why do you think that?” predicated on a rational approach, and didn’t we already decide birtherism isn’t susceptible to rationality?

    Still, it’s a nice fantasy.

  71. avatar
    Nathanael July 6, 2011 at 1:45 am #

    G:
    Tarrant’s post was excellent on touching on this problem and its purpose – which is to instantly invalidate or cast as “the enemy” any source which doesn’t conform 100% …
    Bovril made some excellent points …

    All three of you make very good points with respect to raising the birther topic with birthers. Which is why, as I (hopefully clearly) expressed in my reply to Tarrant, in any attempt to build a relationship with a birther, the topic of birtherism must never be raised at all.

    Remember the four stages I proposed: 1) find common ground 2) begin a dialogue 3) build a relationship 4) establish trust.

    Issues like birtherism (or any topic over which there is strong disagreement) should at all costs be avoided until after a solid level of trust and mutual respect is established. Everything I’ve been discussing so far is simply the first and second stages. It would be suicidal to allow any point of strong disagreement into the relationship in these early stages. Establishing a sincere (and any insincerity would immediately break trust) relationship with anyone, birther or otherwise, requires completely setting aside the birther (or any divisive) issue.

    As to denialism, I’m sure any decent bookstore will have a dozen books discussing the stages and explaining how to help someone to work through them. But again, one must first lay a foundation of trust before the denialist will allow you to help him.

    In short, don’t even think of it as “building a relationship with a birther to turn him from the error of his ways.” You’ve lost before you’ve begun. Rather you’re just establishing a friendship with another human being.

    G:
    we have to stop being naive and using our own thought basis in order to truly try to put ourselves in their shoes and grasp at what motivates or connects with them.

    Exactly. And by far the best way to do that is in a context of trust and mutual respect. And that won’t happen if all we ever do is run around slapping labels on each other and arguing over points of disagreement.

    Hmm, I’ve had the impertinence to play scientist in front of Scientist, and the temerity to play lawyer in front of Expelliarimus, and neither one busted my chops. Now I’m playing amateur psychologist. What a cheeky guy I am! (And are there any real psychologists around here?)

  72. avatar
    G July 6, 2011 at 2:07 am #

    I admire the hope and steps you’ve outlined in reaching these folks. As you’ve wisely pointed out, the chance of success within online forums is slim at best, but there is a greater chance in person, if other common ground can be established.

    It is easy to be so revulsed and angered by the thoughts and statements made by these folks online to forget that even though they demonstrate flaws in rational thinking, make outrageous statements and often reveal other bad habits in their personal lives that they are still human beings with feelings and hobbies, just like everyone else. A number of birthers who have otherwise said things and expressed views that I consider despicable have made references to movies or books that I too enjoy.

    In reality, unless these folks are family, neighbors or coworkers / associates, we will have rare opportunities and time to try your experiment in real life. Although there may be a few common interests to build upon, it is unlikely that a deep enough and lasting connection will be built with random encounters with strangers who otherwise hold onto a worldview and outlook on life that are opposed to one’s we cherish. By the very nature of their paranoid thinking, these aren’t folks who are likely to be open-minded or interested in getting to know people different from their own insular tribal groupings.

    Nathanael: Remember the four stages I proposed: 1) find common ground 2) begin a dialogue 3) build a relationship 4) establish trust.

  73. avatar
    Nathanael July 6, 2011 at 3:08 am #

    G:
    even though they demonstrate flaws in rational thinking, make outrageous statements and often reveal other bad habits in their personal lives

    Wait — are you talking about them or me?

    Other than that, I think we agree on the general outlines here: the steps to building a relationship, the assertion that it requires a level of trust and mutual respect (which may be more difficult to achieve, at least with the few remaining hard core birthers), and the unlikelihood of any of us ever being in a position to do so. All that’s left is our views on the likelihood of a birther being reachable at all, by anyone, and that probably simply depends on our own views of human nature.

    So yeah — what you said :-)

  74. avatar
    The Magic M July 6, 2011 at 3:44 am #

    Breaking News:

    Taitz issues another self-signed subpoena
    => http://www.thepostemail.com/2011/07/05/exclusive-court-subpoena-for-obamas-original-birth-certificate-served-to-hawaii-health-department/

    *sigh*

    I wonder if disbarment can result from repeatedly trying to impersonate a court official…

  75. avatar
    G July 6, 2011 at 4:40 am #

    Them :)

    Nathanael: Wait — are you talking about them or me?

  76. avatar
    JoZeppy July 6, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    The Magic M: Breaking News:Taitz issues another self-signed subpoena=> http://www.thepostemail.com/2011/07/05/exclusive-court-subpoena-for-obamas-original-birth-certificate-served-to-hawaii-health-department/*sigh*I wonder if disbarment can result from repeatedly trying to impersonate a court official…

    Actually, this one appears to be signed by the clerk of the court of the Dist of Hawaii. So Orly resolved one issue with her laundry list of problems with the original subpoena….ignoring the rest of the giant list of problems…like 1) there is generally no discovery in FOIA cases, and when there is, it happens after a dispositive motion is ruled on. 2) Hawaii can just resend her the letter they sent last time. They object to the subpoena because it asks for material that is protected by law (and she would then have to get a judge to grant her a motion to compel). 3) The information she asks for is not calculated to lead to discoverable information. This is a FOIA case. What is at issue is whether SSA has provided her all the matieral that she is legally entitled to. The birth certificate has nothing to do with that issue. As this is a 3rd party subpoena, a request for material not relevant to the litigation is automatically unduly budensome. 4) and of course, if Hawaii really wanted to file a motion for a protective order (rather than just an objection), the court is required to grant it, because she is asking for materials that are protected by law.

    Will poor Orly never learn?

  77. avatar
    JoZeppy July 6, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    And as long as we’re going off point talking about Orly, the Government filed their motion for summary judgment on July 1.

  78. avatar
    gorefan July 6, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    JoZeppy: the Government filed their motion for summary judgment on July 1.

    So Orly has 14 days to respond and the SSA has what? Another 14 days to respond to that? So 28 days total?

  79. avatar
    Thrifty July 6, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    Bill Plat: I am beating even money to any left wing liberal that Obama is as crooked as a dogs hind leg.

    As opposed to the right wing liberals?

    And you liberals think that all this crap Obama has produced is legit. You talk about living in a fantasy land. Let’s see how you all talk when he has you emptying his bed pan. As for me, I will empty his bed pan alright.

    This one has me extra confused. So… emptying Obama’s bedpan is some sort of humiliating and demeaning task that he’s going to get his supporters to do….. yet you’re prepared to do it voluntarily?

  80. avatar
    JoZeppy July 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    gorefan: So Orly has 14 days to respond and the SSA has what? Another 14 days to respond to that? So 28 days total?

    Actually, it’s 14 days for orly to oppose, plus potentially an extra 3 days for mail service (there was no certificate of service on the government’s motion, and I didn’t notice if Orly was getting mail service…but judging by the fact that she mails everything, I would think not…slip up by the government attorney), for a potential 17 days, and then the government then gets 7 days, plus the potential 3 days depending on how Orly serves, for up to 10 days…and of course then there is the issue if it lands on a weekend….so some time in the next month…

    and then of course, is the question if the court will require a hearing or rule on just the motions…and then ultimately how long the court takes to grant the motion.

  81. avatar
    Nathanael July 6, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

    JoZeppy: Orly resolved one issue with her laundry list of problems with the original subpoena

    Well, two, wasn’t it? Court of competent jurisdiction and that whole officer of the court thing. But at what point does Orly run afoul of Hawaii’s new “quit bugging us” law?

    And something I don’t understand about subpoenas: how did Orly get the Hawaii DC to sign her subpoena for her? Isn’t there some minimal level of reasonableness she has to meet or something — or are courts in the habit of just handing out signed subpoenas to anyone who asks for one?

  82. avatar
    JoZeppy July 6, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

    Nathanael: Well, two, wasn’t it? Court of competent jurisdiction and that whole officer of the court thing. But at what point does Orly run afoul of Hawaii’s new “quit bugging us” law?And something I don’t understand about subpoenas: how did Orly get the Hawaii DC to sign her subpoena for her? Isn’t there some minimal level of reasonableness she has to meet or something — or are courts in the habit of just handing out signed subpoenas to anyone who asks for one?

    You got me. Yes, it was two issues she resolved.

    As for the the issuing of the subpoena, courts generally assume when an attorney shows up asking for a subpoena on active litigation, that the request will be reasonable. And this is the case 9 times out of 10. And while you have an occassional Orly that will abuse the system, there are protections in the rules to protect against her insanity. In this case, the State can just send the exact same letter they sent before, and pretty much dare her to file a motion to compel. If she’s really dumb enough to file a motion to compel, she will get slapped with the state’s attorney fees. It’s bad enough that her subpoena is fatally flawed for a laundry list of reasons, but it’s against a third party. Courts give much less leeway for third party subpoenas than discovery against parties to the suit. And if Orly keeps harassing the state, they just file a motion for a protective order, and again, ask for attorney fees, which they probably would get.

  83. avatar
    Nathanael July 7, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    Ah, thanks. Has Orly paid off her last fine yet?

  84. avatar
    Nathanael July 7, 2011 at 1:41 am #

    JoZeppy: it happens after a dispositive motion is ruled on.

    Any chance at all of anything less than a full summary judgment? And any point taking bets on what point Orly decides to appeal on?

    JoZeppy: Will poor Orly never learn?

    What do you mean? She’s already fixed two mistakes. A few more iterations and she may just wind up with a valid subpoena.

  85. avatar
    Bovril July 7, 2011 at 5:53 am #

    Nathanael,

    Orly paid her 20K fine some considerable period of time ago although she continues to fleece her stupid “followers” to “help her pay it”.

    She’s Orly therefore she lies

  86. avatar
    JoZeppy July 7, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    Nathanael: Any chance at all of anything less than a full summary judgment? And any point taking bets on what point Orly decides to appeal on?

    Not a chance in hell. SSA did exactly what they were supposed to do, and more. She will never get any info on the President’s SSN, for the simple reason that she is looking for that info for the very reason they are required to deny it. She seeks the info to try to confirm it is the President’s number. The purpose of FOIA is to provide citizens information on how the government operates. It is not a blank check to go rummaging willy-nilly through any possible documents the government houses to harass your fellow citizens.

    Could the court possibly say to SSA, “go back and see if you can find blank forms from other years” or “rather than just blank forms, send her redacted forms, or forms of deceased persons for those years.” I suppose it is remotely possible, but she asked for blank forms, and that’s what they are required to look for. They looked and didn’t find any. I would be very surprised if the government gave anything to Orly, except sanctions for discovery abuses, and perhaps frivolous filings.

    As for an appeal? Doesn’t really matter. I’m guessing it will be another birther rant that will fail to address the court’s opinion….just like all of her other appeals. She doesn’t seem to grasp the concept that when you file an appeal, you’re supposed to be appealing the order of the court, not just packing you brief with meaningless birther b.s. that has nothing to do with what the court actually decided.

    Nathanael: What do you mean? She’s already fixed two mistakes. A few more iterations and she may just wind up with a valid subpoena.

    Actually, in this instance, that is quite impossible. First off, generally, there is no discovery in FOIA cases. The dispute is whether the SSA conducted a reasonable search of their records, and whether the information withheld was done so properly. What possible discoverable information could there be? Anything remotely relevant to the question would probably be memos and email discussing whether certain info can be release, which would probably be covered by attorney client privilege, and again, non-discoverable. There could be some emails about how hard they looked, which would be discoverable, but the court will generally assume that if the government gives some details about what they did to look for the documents, that they made a good faith effort to find them. Secondly, while there is a very slight chance that SSA might have a couple of discoverable documents, there is absolutely no chance that the State of Hawaii does. What possible document could the state of Hawaii have that is relevant to the question of whether SSA answered her questions? By definition, any subpoena to Hawaii will be overbroad and create an undue burden. And if you actually go back to Hawaii’s response to the first invalid subpoena, they actually did respond to it as if it was a validly issued subpoena. They start off saying it is invalid, however, they said even if it was valid, they object because it asks for information protected by law, so they will not comply. So somewhere in the far distant future, she may stumble into issuing a real subpoena, but it’s not possible with these facts.

  87. avatar
    Thrifty July 7, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Bovril: Nathanael,Orly paid her 20K fine some considerable period of time ago although she continues to fleece her stupid “followers” to “help her pay it”.She’s Orly therefore she lies

    I think it’s only a lie if you know it to be untrue. Orly seems to be genuinely crazy.

  88. avatar
    Rickey July 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    Further evidence of Orly’s crazy: yesterday she filed a motion asking the court to compel Hawaii DOH to comply with her subpoena, but the motion only refers to the original subpoena, which is invalid on its face. And it is too early for a motion to compel on the second subpoena, because Hawaii hasn’t objected to it yet.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/59537723/TAITZ-v-ASTRUE-USDC-D-C-Taitz-v-Astrue-Motion-to-Compel-FROM-ORLY-S-SITE-NOT-YET-ON-PACER

  89. avatar
    Rickey July 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    Sorry – she apparently filed that today, not yesterday.

  90. avatar
    JoZeppy July 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Rickey: Further evidence of Orly’s crazy: yesterday she filed a motion asking the court to compel Hawaii DOH to comply with her subpoena, but the motion only refers to the original subpoena, which is invalid on its face. And it is too early for a motion to compel on the second subpoena, because Hawaii hasn’t objected to it yet.http://www.scribd.com/doc/59537723/TAITZ-v-ASTRUE-USDC-D-C-Taitz-v-Astrue-Motion-to-Compel-FROM-ORLY-S-SITE-NOT-YET-ON-PACER

    Let’s see…how many ways is Orly being crazy?

    First, she has just opened herself up to sanctions, by filing a clearly frivolous motion, asking the court for a motion to compel a third party to produce a document that is not only irrelevant to her litigation, but protected from disclosure by law.

    Secondly, she just admitted that SSA was correct in denying her any redacted copies of the SSN application, because she is searching for that information for the sole person of trying to identify it being connected with a particular living person, which is a valid reason to deny the information, being an unlawful invasion of that individual’s privacy.

    I knew Orly wasn’t the brightest light in the sky, but it seems every day she is out to prove that not only is she a completely incompetent attorney, but generally dumb as a bag of wet mice.

  91. avatar
    Sef July 7, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    JoZeppy: but generally dumb as a bag of wet mice.

    But mice are genuinely useful for science experiments and can be taught things.. OT has not shown that ability.

  92. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Yes, she has.

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2010/08/taitz-pays-up/

    Nathanael: Ah, thanks. Has Orly paid off her last fine yet?

  93. avatar
    Nathanael July 7, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    I’m trying to follow Tait’s logic here, which seems to be self-contradictory (yeah, I know). On the one hand, she argues privacy is moot because Obama has published the BC publicly. On the other hand, she argues the White House PDF is a forgery.

    The first argument would seem to be a tacit admission that what Obama released is in all meaningful ways consistent with what’s on the original. In that case, Taitz doesn’t need to see the original, because she couldn’t possibly hope to learn anything from it that she can’t get from the White House website.

    But if the document is a forgery, that would at the least imply that there is some meaningful discrepancy, in which case the original is, even by Orly’s logic, still protected by privacy, and so she can’t have it.

    I’m not looking for consistency out of Orly. I’m just wondering if there’s some legal point here I’m missing that Orly thinks can thread this particular needle, or if she indeed just hasn’t thought through the implications of her arguments.

  94. avatar
    Keith July 7, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

    Did you really just use the words ‘think’ and ‘Orly’ in the same sentence in a way that indicates that there may be some positive connection between them?

    Nathanael: I’m just wondering if there’s some legal point here I’m missing that Orly thinks can thread this particular needle, or if she indeed just hasn’t thought through the implications of her arguments.

  95. avatar
    Nathanael July 7, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    Keith:
    Did you really just use the words think’ and Orly’ in the same sentence in a way that indicates that there may be some positive connection between them?

    :-) Yes, I realize it’s a fool’s errand, so I’m not betting the farm on it. Not even a single cow.

    But on further reflection, I think I understand what Taitz is trying to do. If the White House document is legit, there is no further issue of privacy because there’s nothing left on the original to hide. Therefore, in continuing to cling to the privacy issue, the state of Hawaii is tacitly admitting the White House document is a forgery. QED.

    Taitz is setting up a false dichotomy and attempting to taunt the state of Hawaii into compliance with her wishes. Strikes me as the kind of bullying tactic one might typically expect from a second grader: “If you don’t show me what you wrote in you diary, that proves you said something bad about me. I’m telling the teacher!”

  96. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 7, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    It’s never been a privacy issue. It’s simply a matter of law as to how and to whom birth certificates are issued. The law is plain: no tangible interest, no certificate. Andy Martin already sued the State of Hawaii trying to get a copy, and lost.

    Nathanael: Therefore, in continuing to cling to the privacy issue, the state of Hawaii is tacitly admitting the White House document is a forgery. QED.

  97. avatar
    Reality Check July 7, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

    This is another case that blatantly demonstrates how little the birthers actually care about the law.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    It’s never been a privacy issue. It’s simply a matter of law as to how and to whom birth certificates are issued. The law is plain: no tangible interest, no certificate. Andy Martin already sued the State of Hawaii trying to get a copy, and lost.

  98. avatar
    JoZeppy July 7, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

    Nathanael: I’m not looking for consistency out of Orly. I’m just wondering if there’s some legal point here I’m missing that Orly thinks can thread this particular needle, or if she indeed just hasn’t thought through the implications of her arguments.

    No, it’s just Orly is an idiot, and doesn’t understand statutory construction. Unless there are specific waiver provisions, a “privacy” protection in a law dictates what the government (or some third party, as the case may be) can do with personal information in its possession, and what the person does with their own information has nothing to do with the equation. In the instant case, the law clear lists who can receive a copy. She doesn’t fit the description. There are occassion where a person can waive a privilege (ie attorney client privilege if they disclose info to a third party), and be required to produce documents they wouldn’t otherwise, but those a very clearly established situations. Orly has nothing

  99. avatar
    John Reilly July 8, 2011 at 1:39 am #

    Ms. Dr. Taitz has missed Hawaii District Court Local Rule 37.1 which requires a pre-filing conference with opposing counsel, and a certification that such a conference occurred. Of course, we expect that Ms. Dr. Taitz will miss something important like the rules since this is the most important case ever in the history of the world.

    I found that rule with a Google search. I would expect someone admitted to the bar should know this stuff. Maybe not.

  100. avatar
    John Reilly July 8, 2011 at 2:22 am #

    My apologies. It appears that Ms. Dr. Taitz’s motion to compel was filed in the District of Columbia. In that District (short Google search) the requirement to confer and to report whether or not the motion is opposed appears in Local Rule 7(m).

    As a matter of strategy, it would appear to be foolish for Ms. Dr. Taitz to file any motion with the DC District Court, since her success rate there is zero, rather than wait for the issue to be ripe for a motion In Hawaii, where the Courts have not yet ruled against her many times. The court in Hawaii might actually rule on her motion, and might be influenced by the President’s apparent waiver of any privacy interest by his publication of his birth certificate. On the other hand, Judge Lambreth in DC appears to be expert on not ruling on Ms. Dr. Taiz’s requests at all, which frustrates her to no end.

    Ms. Dr. Taitz. Foolish. Like what are the odds?

  101. avatar
    Nathanael July 8, 2011 at 3:54 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    It’s never been a privacy issue.

    Thanks for the reply, Doc.

    I understand, of course, Taitz’s argument that posting the BC online has somehow relieved Hawaii of its legal obligations is sheer lunacy. I’m certainly not stumping for the reasonableness of her arguments! Just trying to see if I can suss what her arguments actually are.

    And now this from Taitz’s interview with Sharon Rondeau over at P&E:

    I have filed the Motion to Compel with the judge whom I have for my FOIA case

    Am I reading that right? She’s filed a motion with Lamberth over in DC to compel compliance with a subpoena which was invalid because, among other things, the DC district court is not a court of competent jurisdiction? So what does she expect Lamberth to do about it?

    Isn’t Orly just calling Lamberth’s attention to her extra-legal activities?

  102. avatar
    Bovril July 8, 2011 at 6:02 am #

    Not mention, returning to the core issue, the case is about a FOIA request for Stanley Dunhams SSN and as such has bugger all squared to do with the Presidents BC.

    Mad Ole Orly can kick and stamp her feet all she likes, A does not equal B, quod errat demonstrandum

  103. avatar
    Northland10 July 8, 2011 at 6:52 am #

    Nathanael: or if she indeed just hasn’t thought through the implications of her arguments.

    To me, this is the gist of her problems. Even CEL3 mentioned that she was wanted more arguments and filings without taking the time to read, research and think through what she was doing. Thus, the response, from her and CEL, to Judge Land’s order to show cause resulted in a $20,000 fine (doubled from what the Judge was originally going to do). She wants action without having to take the time to consider the implication of those actions. It may be partially due to her need for attention more than any particular interest in wining a case or election.

    She may well have the intelligence, but she does not bother to use that and really think about what she is doing.

  104. avatar
    Nathanael July 8, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Nathanael:
    Am I reading that right? She’s filed a motion with Lamberth over in DC

    [I neglected to hit refresh before posting my last message; I see much of what I asked has already been discussed.]

    Can someone explain to me the whole jurisdiction issue here? I know the DCDC isn’t a court of competent jurisdiction vis-a-vis Taitz’s extra-curricular subpoenas. What is its jurisdiction vis-a-vis a motion to compel?

    Isn’t Taitz just asking for trouble here? (Rhetorical question!) I mean first, as Lamberth never ordered discovery, he’s probably going to want to know what Taitz was doing issuing subpoenas at all. Second, he’s going to start tallying up all the other rules the subpoena broke, counting real slow so Orly can take notes. Then he’s probably going to have a good, long chat with Orly to find out just why the h*ll she expects him to grant a motion to compel on a clearly invalid subpoena.

    Is that when he hits her with sanctions?

    Finally, anyone in New York wanna pencil Oct. 24th into their schedules? Dr. Manning has scheduled another trial on Obama’s birth certificate (didn’t he already do one a couple months ago?)

    http://atlahmedianetwork.org/?p=16399

  105. avatar
    JoZeppy July 8, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    Nathanael: [I neglected to hit refresh before posting my last message; I see much of what I asked has already been discussed.]Can someone explain to me the whole jurisdiction issue here? I know the DCDC isn’t a court of competent jurisdiction vis-a-vis Taitz’s extra-curricular subpoenas. What is its jurisdiction vis-a-vis a motion to compel?Isn’t Taitz just asking for trouble here? (Rhetorical question!) I mean first, as Lamberth never ordered discovery, he’s probably going to want to know what Taitz was doing issuing subpoenas at all. Second, he’s going to start tallying up all the other rules the subpoena broke, counting real slow so Orly can take notes. Then he’s probably going to have a good, long chat with Orly to find out just why the h*ll she expects him to grant a motion to compel on a clearly invalid subpoena.Is that when he hits her with sanctions?Finally, anyone in New York wanna pencil Oct. 24th into their schedules? Dr. Manning has scheduled another trial on Obama’s birth certificate (didn’t he already do one a couple months ago?)http://atlahmedianetwork.org/?p=16399

    The way it should have been done (I’ll bypass the issue of it being a FOIA case where there is generally no discovery, and if there it is, it comes after dispostive motions, and then with leave of the court, and then it must be relevant to the question of the agency doing a good faith search for the documents), is she should have requested the subpoena from Hawaii, as she did with the last one (not being barred in Hawaii or DC). The State then send her their objections. She then should have filed a Motion to Compel with the US District Court, D. Hawaii, the Court with jurisdiction over the DHS, and that could properly issue a subpoena. Hawaii could file their opposition, and Orly her reply there, or they could request that jurisdiction be handed over to D.D.C. The D. Hawaii would probably continue briefing until D.D.C. accepts jurisdiction. D.D.C. accepts, finish briefing, and court rules.

    And yes, Orly is asking for trouble. First off, she must now recognize that her first subpoena was invalid, because she served the second one. However, she is asking for a motion to compel on that first one (because she’s going back to D.D.C. and Hawaii has yet to respond to the second). So she is asking the court to compel on a subpoena she knows is invalid. That would be a frivolous motion. Secondly, she just put a bit sign under the judge’s nose, “hey, I’m sending out invalid subpoenas under this case, even though there is no discovery yet.” Thirdly, she is no forcing Hawaii to respond in court. Hawaii is a third party. That lowers the threshold of what is considered, “unduly burdensome” and “harassing.” She is harassing a third party with invalid subpoenas, asking for documents that she is legally prohibited from getting, and are immaterial to her litigation. Now she is requiring the state to go to court and respond to her frivolous motion to compel. The state of Hawaii can ask for, and would like get, their attorney fees and costs in responding to her motion. It’s one of those things that it probably isn’t worth the effort to ask for them if she just sends the subpoena, and you mail her a letter objecting, but now that you have to respond with an opposition in court, it only takes a couple of sentances to say that her filings are clearly abusive and harassing and we request sanctions in attorney fees and costs.

  106. avatar
    gorefan July 8, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    John Reilly: might be influenced by the President’s apparent waiver of any privacy interest by his publication of his birth certificate.

    Andy Martin argued the same thing, but in reference to the COLB. The Hawaii state courts dismissed it.

  107. avatar
    JoZeppy July 8, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    and one more thing….the motion has not appeared on the docket yet (I’m guessing she’s still filing by paper). I’d check her website, by my work internet is blocking it….seems Orly has malware again.

  108. avatar
    Sef July 8, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    JoZeppy: The state of Hawaii can ask for, and would like get, their attorney fees and costs in responding to her motion. It’s one of those things that it probably isn’t worth the effort to ask for them if she just sends the subpoena, and you mail her a letter objecting, but now that you have to respond with an opposition in court, it only takes a couple of sentances to say that her filings are clearly abusive and harassing and we request sanctions in attorney fees and costs.

    And I expect that HI is getting really fed up with these numnutz. They are going to be predisposed to lower the hammer as much and as fast as they can. It ain’t gonna be pretty.

  109. avatar
    JoZeppy July 8, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    Sef: And I expect that HI is getting really fed up with these numnutz. They are going to be predisposed to lower the hammer as much and as fast as they can. It ain’t gonna be pretty.

    Orly just double downed on the stupid in this move. The subpoenas themselves were dumb, but kept the paypal buttons going. Hawaii can send her a little letter like they did, and not object, at little cost of time and money to the state. Her motion drags the judge into it, and forces the state to actually do some work, and incur costs (although I doubt the judge is going to require a hearing). That and not only does she tell the judge she’s issuing subpoenas in violation of the rules, but that her whole purpose for her FOIA request is for purposes prohibited by FOIA, and the exact reason she was denied. She just admitted her case is completely frivolous.

  110. avatar
    Rickey July 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    John Reilly:
    The court in Hawaii might actually rule on her motion, and might be influenced by the President’s apparent waiver of any privacy interest by his publication of his birth

    That’s unlikely, since Hawaii law makes no provision for waiving privacy in the matter of vital records. The law is quite clear that the birth certificate can be provided only to a person who has “a direct and tangible interest in the record.” Obama could personally mail a copy of his birth certificate to everyone living in the U.S. and it still would not give any of us a direct and tangible interest in it.

  111. avatar
    Sef July 8, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    JoZeppy: Orly just double downed on the stupid in this move.

    She should get CELIII to come back and give her some advice. Her filings seem to be getting more and more deranged.

  112. avatar
    Nathanael July 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    JoZeppy: The way it should have been done….

    Wow, thanks so much for the description. And I begin to understand how the bag of wet mice fits in.

    Back in my undergrad days I took a couple of film-making courses from a professor who insisted you could learn more from watching bad movies than good, and underscored his point by making us sit through more Really Bad Films than I even knew existed. I’m not talking cult-classic Night of the Living Dead bad. I mean stuff so gawdawful horrendous it would have had Ed Wood himself on his knees begging for mercy.

    It seems the same may be true of lawyering. Watching Orly has been a real education for me. I should send her a thank-you note :-)

    Speaking of which, this apparently just went up at her website:

    NO AWARD FOR ORLY

    “The American Bar Association frequently gives awards to lawyers who show a commitment to justice. Unfortunately, the ABA is about as far left as the Communist Party, so those who usually get those awards are lawyers committed to socialism, not freedom….

    Orly Taitz may be about to get the original, type written birth certificate of Barack Obama. ….

    Taitz has already received at least one favorable ruling in this case. The news articles on the subject do not specify what the ruling was, but presumably it was a motion to dismiss the lawsuit summarily.

    Um, wasn’t her favorable ruling on standing?

  113. avatar
    JoZeppy July 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    Nathanael: Um, wasn’t her favorable ruling on standing?

    Actually, I can’t think of any favorable ruling she’s had on the case.

  114. avatar
    Thrifty July 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Nathanael: NO AWARD FOR ORLY

    So now Orly is just plain bitching like a child because she didn’t get an award?

    Is anyone else reminded of The Onion’s recent theme issue in which they spent a week bitching about how they never got any Pulitzers?

  115. avatar
    G July 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    * facepalm* Because his last little play trial wasn’t enough of an EPIC FAIL?? Manning is as delusionally hopeless and clueless as Orly.

    Nathanael: Finally, anyone in New York wanna pencil Oct. 24th into their schedules? Dr. Manning has scheduled another trial on Obama’s birth certificate (didn’t he already do one a couple months ago?)
    http://atlahmedianetwork.org/?p=16399

  116. avatar
    gorefan July 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    JoZeppy: Actually, I can’t think of any favorable ruling she’s had on the case.

    That’s because you think like a rational, intelligent, normal person.

  117. avatar
    J. Potter July 8, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    Has everyone seen the post-trial “press conference” Manning put on? WOW.

    G:
    * facepalm*Because his last little play trial wasn’t enough of an EPIC FAIL??Manning is as delusionally hopeless and clueless as Orly.

  118. avatar
    Nathanael July 8, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    Thrifty: So now Orly is just plain bitching like a child because she didn’t get an award?

    Well, to be fair, Orly didn’t write the article, someone else did. She just posted it to her homepage. So she’s just providing the pulpit for someone to bitch on her behalf.

    JoZeppy: Actually, I can’t think of any favorable ruling she’s had on the case.

    Well, I ran across this over at WND. Maybe this is the “favorable ruling” NO AWARD FOR ORLY” is referring to:

    U.S. District Court Chief Judge Royce Lamberth recently rejected a defense concern over procedure in the dispute. Taitz said that moved the case into the discovery phase, in which she can issue subpoenas to those holding documentation she is seeking.

    Dunno what “defense concern over procedure” means, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t anything resembling a dispositive motion (outside in Orly’s internal world, that is).

  119. avatar
    Northland10 July 9, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    JoZeppy: And yes, Orly is asking for trouble. First off, she must now recognize that her first subpoena was invalid, because she served the second one.

    Interestingly, she now has a new issue concerning this subpoena. In Liberi v. Taitz, there is now a motion docketed to stay the proceedings for an appeal. She listed as the hearing date, August 8, at 10:00 am (the judge’s motion hearings are Monday’s at 10:00). If this date looks familiar, it is because it is the same exact date and time she listed on the subpoena. Either, Orly has not expectation of going to Hawaii for the subpoena, has just developed a cloning machine (cloned Orly’s… shudder), or she needs to actually look at a calendar.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/59633942/LIBERI-v-TAITZ-C-D-CA-278-NOTICE-OF-MOTION-AND-MOTION-to-Stay-Case-pending-case-filed-by-defendants-DEFEND-OUR-FREEDOMS-FOUNDATIONS-INC-gov