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Martha Trowbridge and the “Psychological Assault Weapon”

Martha Trowbridge is the writer of a blog called The Terrible Truth. It’s not one of the places I usually visit because the material there is rather too fantastic to be of interest. [Update: The site has converted to a paid subscription model.] I’ve commented about her in three articles and this will be number 4.

I wouldn’t be writing this except that Ms. Trowbridge mentions me and this web site in her new article: Truth, Obliterated: The “Obama Conspiracy Theory” Psychological Assault Weapon.  (The acronym is “OCTPAW”.)

The gist of what she says is that every time someone tries to tell the “truth” about Barack Obama, there are others ready to label it a “conspiracy theory.” I think she’s half right; the part I would quibble about is the use of the word “truth.” Certainly many things said about Obama that are absolutely not true (including those by Trowbridge herself) have been labeled as conspiracy theories. I think that many, myself included, are generally dismissive of the birthers. After having cried “wolf” so very, very many times, Birthers are not taken seriously, and even if one day they came up with something really bad about Barack Obama that was really true, it would would be an uphill battle to win over anyone outside the Birther movement because of the movement’s reputation as cranks, nut cases and conspiracy theorists (a well-deserved reputation, I might add).

When I started this blog, I worried a lot about whether the phrase “conspiracy theory” properly characterized the Birther claims and whether marginalizing Birthers would make this site a less-trustworthy source of news. Over time, Birthers transmogrified [always wanted to use that word in a sentence] in to unmistakable conspiracy theorists, and they essentially marginalized themselves to the point that one couldn’t write a straight news story without an element of marginalization just from the absurdity of what was being reported on. (If you really want to insult a birther in print, quote them fairly and in context.)

But back to me. Trowbridge writes:

Why, there’s even a website, ready and ever-vigilant, that immediately shoots down on the web any talk of Truth about “Obama”. Via posts by “Dr. Conspiracy”, and a vigorous, nasty horde of attacker commenter ‘identities’, Obama Conspiracy Theories thrashes and trashes any person who seeks or states Truth about Obama’s personal history.  http://www.obamaconspiracy.org

Notwithstanding [sic] the skilled guidance of “Dr. Conspiracy,” OCTPAW was The 2008 Obama Campaign’s most highly prized weapon.

As readers here know, this blog which now reaches just under 20,000 people a month, started in December, 2008, shortly after Barack Obama was elected President. Marginalization of birthers and the labeling of them as “conspiracy theorists” was not under any “guidance” by me during the 2008 Presidential Campaign. (Temporal fallacies like this plague Trowbridge’s writing, such as placing Barack Obama in Indonesia at a time he was documented to be in Hawaii.)

Trowbridge then goes on to catalog various attacks made against birthers, and I won’t go tit-for-tat on that subject (you might want to read what she says), except to note that there are over 300 million people in these United States, and some of them have said some pretty nasty things about birthers.

One final note: the Trowbridge characterization of OCTPAW as an orchestrated attack on Birthers, is definitely a conspiracy theory.

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36 Responses to Martha Trowbridge and the “Psychological Assault Weapon”

  1. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy February 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    I’m confused by Trowbridge’s use of the word “Notwithstanding” in the quotation.

  2. avatar
    Scientist February 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    Doc: It is a pretty weak excuse that you didn’t start the blog until after the election. The mere possibility that you might start such a blog was sufficient to swing the election to Obama.

  3. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy February 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    I’m flattered.

    Scientist: The mere possibility that you might start such a blog was sufficient to swing the election to Obama.

  4. avatar
    G February 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    I found her whole paranoid rant quite hilarious. My favorite part is still that she thinks we are all just sockpuppets that Doc C manifests here as part of his dastardly and diabolical plot against the Holy Quest of the Righteous Birthers…

  5. avatar
    Keith February 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    G:
    I found her whole paranoid rant quite hilarious.My favorite part is still that she thinks we are all just sockpuppets that Doc C manifests here as part of his dastardly and diabolical plot against the Holy Quest of the Righteous Birthers…

    Yes.

    I think it would be safe to say to Martha that “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling towards the good Doc.

  6. avatar
    Arthur February 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Based on some websites I’ve read that are devoted to Martha’s ideas, she appears to be someone who was psychologically bruised by an overbearing husband. As a result, she takes more than ordinary offense at having her ideas critiqued or ridiculed.

    Martha’s railery reminds me of the sqwaking Squeeky was making back in 2009, when comments by her first appeared on the OC Weekly website. Squeeky was outraged over “man-beasts” who had the nerve to mock Orly Taitz. I don’t know what happened to change her mind, but she now appears to enjoy mocking birthers with the best of them.

  7. avatar
    Randy February 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    I am starting to think Squeeky needs to be added to “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” on the good side. I don’t know what has changed her, but just my .02.

  8. avatar
    Thomas Brown February 19, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    Arthur, re: Martha & Squeeky—

    I concur on Martha, but not Squeek, and here’s why:

    Having read samples of both their writings, I detect not a hint of pathology in Squeek’s (as in: perhaps an odd bird, but no loon). She is apparently quite young, highly intelligent, and massively creative. In the context of her wide-ranging sense of satire, the “man-beasts” quote is not, in my opinion, anything like the narrow-minded, vituperative character evinced by Martha’s screed. I, also, believe Martha to be mentally disturbed to some degree on some level.

    If you are correct that Squeeky changed sides on the Birther issue, that speaks well for her ability to digest new information and abandon previously-held conclusions that no longer seem to bear out. Can you imagine Martha EVER displaying that sort of intellectual honesty and flexibility?

    And as to Squeeky’s “outrage” and “squawking,” if I am even close in my assessment of her mind, I would venture that whatever opinion she holds, expect it to be writ large.

    Another thing: a sense of humor is an indicator of a well-integrated mind. It is, as you have no doubt noticed, virtually absent in hard-core Birfoons. And Squeeky has a full hand of wit and levity, to say nothing of ironic perceptiveness.

    All I can say about Martha is: if you don’t like your opinions ridiculed, it might be good to abandon ridiculous opinions.

  9. avatar
    J. Edward Tremlett February 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    I think Squeaky got her question answered, and once she did she came over to the side of the angels. 🙂 If only more were so open minded.

    As for OCTPAW, I feel I have the duty to say that she’s right, even when she’s wrong. Obviously, her attempt to smear the good doctor is a poor show on her part, but understandable. Once your average person is exposed to the horrors of ultra-reality, they tend to crawl towards any recognizable thing they can in order to give a face to it. I guess the stern, be-hatted countenance of Dr. Conspiracy was it for her.

    But yes, OCTPAW exists. A multi-faceted AI constantly monitors the web and watches for certain keywords, phrases, and posters, and sends a seeming swarm of various individuals off to counter and deal with it. They might not always get through, of course, and are subject to blocking, banning, and the delete button, but once invoked they WILL appear, much like those lovely black leather people in the Hellraiser movies when you mess with that box.

    I am proud to have helped with the creation of the AI that runs it. It has a portion of my personality, now. The brain surgery was painful, but the results glorious. I may someday regain full control of my limbs. I call it a small price to pay to ensure that lies are squashed underfoot by the finer architects of the future.

  10. avatar
    Jim Black February 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    OCT PAW, or not, It is not debatable that Obama…

    is not a natural born citizen
    was born in Kenya
    is using a SSN not assigend to him by the SSA
    has uttered forgery on two birth certificates

    This President is a usurper and criminal.

  11. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy February 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    Actually it is debatable, and the debate will be Tuesday night on Reality Check Radio.

    Jim Black: OCT PAW, or not, It is not debatable that Obama…

  12. avatar
    Arthur February 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    J. Edward Tremlett: I think Squeaky got her question answered, and once she did she came over to the side of the angels.

    Perhaps you’re right. If she wishes, Squeeky can explain it herself.

  13. avatar
    Arthur February 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Jim Black: OCT PAW, or not, It is not debatable that …

    Jim Black is very silly fellow.

    “Silly fellow, silly fellow, is against me.”
    Britten, Rejoice in the Lamb.

  14. avatar
    GeorgetownJD February 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    I’m debating whether Martha Trowbridge or Miss Tickly deserves to be awarded the Paranoid Birther Blog Post of the Day.

    Both are chock full of nutty conspiratorial goodness. Maybe we can call it a draw and give each a trophy.

  15. avatar
    misha February 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    Jim Black: Obama…is not a natural born citizen…was born in Kenya

    It is physically impossible for Obama to have been born in Kenya.
    See this:
    http://newyorkleftist.blogspot.com/2010/03/obama-born-in-kenya-no.html

  16. avatar
    G February 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    I concur with the assessments and opinions below.

    Consider this another vote cast in favor of adding Squeeky’s blog to the list of The Good, as reference on this site.

    Randy: I am starting to think Squeeky needs to be added to “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” on the good side. I don’t know what has changed her, but just my .02.

    Thomas Brown: If you are correct that Squeeky changed sides on the Birther issue, that speaks well for her ability to digest new information and abandon previously-held conclusions that no longer seem to bear out. Can you imagine Martha EVER displaying that sort of intellectual honesty and flexibility?

    And as to Squeeky’s “outrage” and “squawking,” if I am even close in my assessment of her mind, I would venture that whatever opinion she holds, expect it to be writ large.

    Another thing: a sense of humor is an indicator of a well-integrated mind. It is, as you have no doubt noticed, virtually absent in hard-core Birfoons. And Squeeky has a full hand of wit and levity, to say nothing of ironic perceptiveness.

    J. Edward Tremlett: I think Squeaky got her question answered, and once she did she came over to the side of the angels. If only more were so open minded.

  17. avatar
    Majority Will February 19, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    Jim Black: It is not debatable

    That’s a really strange and pathetic cry for help.

  18. avatar
    Thomas Brown February 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    Jim Black. 22 mins ago
    “OCT PAW, or not, It is not debatable that Obama…

    is not a natural born citizen
    was born in Kenya
    is using a SSN not assigend to him by the SSA
    has uttered forgery on two birth certificates

    This President is a usurper and criminal.”

    You are correct. All the above is not debatable, because it is all 100% false. Only unsettled issues can be debated, and good debates provide evidence and cogent formal argument.

    None of your statements have a single shred of evidence to support them. In fact, they have been proven false beyond any reasonable doubt. And a conclusion such as yours, based on no evidence, would lose in any debate and be laughed out of any court of law.

    Hence, no debate.

  19. avatar
    aarrgghh February 19, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    Jim Black:
    OCT PAW, or not, It is not debatable that …

    … we have found our meme for the evening.

  20. avatar
    SluggoJD February 19, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    Jim Black:
    OCT PAW, or not, It is not debatable that Obama…

    is not a natural born citizen
    was born in Kenya
    is using a SSN not assigend to him by the SSA
    has uttered forgery on two birth certificates

    This President is a usurper and criminal.

    LOL, you must be lying he, Lucas Smith’s, 4th fan in the world.

    Poor crazy people.

  21. avatar
    J. Edward Tremlett February 19, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    Man, you try to troll for laughs and a real life troll shows up and steals your thunder.

    What is this internet coming to?!?!?!

  22. avatar
    G February 19, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    !!!! HOLY SPIT TAKE !!!

    Wow, I read the fogbow thread and found that Miss Tickly post you are referring to:

    http://obamasgarden.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/answers/

    WOW…just W O W… That definitely wins the Insane Birther Paranoia Award of the Week!!!

    Miss Tickly is another one of those PUMA Birthers who’ve completely spiraled downwards into utter full-blown madness as a result of their ODS.

    Now she’s thrown half of the Birther horde under the “Obot” bus as well… including Miki Booth, Butterdezillion, Jerome Corsi, Joseph Farah, Orly, Polarik, Pam Barnett, etc, etc…

    ROTFLMAO!!! Reading her omnibus screed was the most insane application of “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon” style paranoia I’ve seen yet…

    GeorgetownJD: I’m debating whether Martha Trowbridge or Miss Tickly deserves to be awarded the Paranoid Birther Blog Post of the Day. Both are chock full of nutty conspiratorial goodness. Maybe we can call it a draw and give each a trophy.

  23. avatar
    Thrifty February 19, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    This is true. Your assertions are not debatable. Like the assertion “the moon is made of green cheese”, they are not debatable. They are simply false.

    Jim Black:
    OCT PAW, or not, It is not debatable that Obama…

    is not a natural born citizen
    was born in Kenya
    is using a SSN not assigend to him by the SSA
    has uttered forgery on two birth certificates

    This President is a usurper and criminal.

  24. avatar
    justlw February 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    All I can say is thank goodness she isn’t talking about the president, but this “Barrack Obama” guy, whoever he is.

    (If deboss/emboss matters, spelling surely counts. Isn’t that an Orly tenet?)

  25. avatar
    Squeeky Fromm February 20, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    Well, I am NOT Martha Trowbridge. I am sure of that, because I could sure make up more believable stuff than what she writes. All that Bari Shabazz stuff. Gee, that was stupid. Plus I would be glad if somebody would list me on their blogroll thingy.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  26. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy February 20, 2012 at 1:43 am #

    Ms. Trowbridge really should study this video closely:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=e6QnOvTOdqk

  27. avatar
    Rowena February 20, 2012 at 5:19 am #

    You’ve all seen them on standardized tests – the analogy question. I’m sponsoring a contest for the best analogy regarding conspiracy theories and fringe views about Barack Obama and the cast of characters in the Birther movement. Here’s a sample analogy.

    Wreck is to train as Orly Taitz is to:
    A. Lawsuit
    B. Web site
    C. Political campaign
    D. The English language
    E. All of the above
    F. None of the above

  28. avatar
    Lupin February 20, 2012 at 5:33 am #

    It always amazes me that they all blindly assume that those who oppose them are all Obama supporters, as opposed to merely people who can’t stand up racist, bigotry, xenophobia, idiocy and sheer lunacy.

    You don’t have to support or even sympathize with Obama (speaking for myself, I’m not sure I do entirely; the lesser of two evils is still evil) to be nauseated by the sewers of the birthers’ minds.

  29. avatar
    The Magic M February 20, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    Lupin: that they all blindly assume that those who oppose them are all Obama supporters

    Not just that; they also assumed those people are paid operatives with multiple identities.
    Because they cannot even admit the fact that there is enough merit to the anti-birther side that it could actually convince a significant number of people. They have to assume that anti-birthers know very well the birthers are right. That’s a very common trait among cranks. Because anything else would mean there’s a chance their “evidence” isn’t “irrefutable” and that their numbers pale in comparison with their opponents.

  30. avatar
    Thomas Brown February 20, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    Lupin:
    … as opposed to merely people who can’t stand up racist, bigotry, xenophobia, idiocy and sheer lunacy.

    If you need examples, John Woodman and “Squeeky Fromm” are not Obama supporters at all, but both have spent a huge amount of effort trying to deflate the Birfalloon, for exactly the reasons you stated above.

  31. avatar
    Squeeky Fromm February 20, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    DrC:

    Maybe you pointed Martha T. to the wrong video??? Maybe she just got “hooked” on Birtherism???

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOF-YOIBpvA

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  32. avatar
    Squeeky Fromm February 22, 2012 at 1:06 am #

    OK, here is a picture of the Elusive OctPaw.

    Cryptobirfology and The Search For The Elusive OctPaw

    http://birtherthinktank.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/cryptobirfology-and-the-search-for-the-elusive-octpaw/

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  33. avatar
    G February 22, 2012 at 2:19 am #

    Egads!!! Puff the mutant Alien Cat Octopus…or OCTPAW!!! ROTFLMAO!!

    Good find with that image!

    **LOVED THE ARTICLE*** Wanted to recap some key excerpts here that really, really nail the key points home:

    These are not Psychological Assault Weapons. Those are just the natural results of Birthers believing really stupid things right out in public. It happens to most people who believe really stupid things. Which do you think Moon Landing Deniers get thrown at them more often, bouquets of roses, or cat calls and rotten veggies??? With all due respect, if a person is stupid enough to admit believing The Law of Nations referred to in the U.S. Constitution is Emerich de Vattel’s book, then they ought to be shamed, scolded, and ridiculed.


    Additionally, pointing out your mistakes to stupid people is not confusion creation — it is confusion destruction. People should get smarter not dumber when mistakes are corrected. The same is true of the other canards. In fact, from my experiences, it is the Birthers who lie, accuse, twist words, threaten and intimidate.


    And that full force which knocks the hapless Birther back on his heels??? That would be The Brick Wall of REALITY. If someone persists in running head long into it, yeah, I bet they are going to stagger back some.

    The only small point of clarification I have is this statement:

    There are only two main Obot websites: Obama Conspiracy Theories and The Fogbow. Even Obots with their own blogs post stuff there. The Obots only have to check one of those two sites and they are quickly caught up on what is happening wherever on the Internet.

    While I agree that OCT & The Fogbow are probably the largest and garnish the heaviest traffic, I would include 2 other sites on that list as well: NBC’s & Patrick’s:

    http://nativeborncitizen.wordpress.com/

    http://badfiction.typepad.com/

    Yes, there are actually numerous “anti-birther” sites out there, but many are not updated regularly and some do not allow for comments.

    But, from a long history of experience following this, I find that I need to check 5 sites daily, if I actually want to “quickly be caught up on what is happening” in Birtherdom.

    Both NBC’s site & BadFiction provide key aspects and analysis of the Birther happenings that I would not otherwise become aware of, if I only went here or to The Fogbow. And both of those sites also are updated regularly and accept commentary. So, I personally would have to include them under a description of the “main Obot sites”.

    There is actually one more – OFGS (http://ohforgoodnesssake.com/). But it only meets half of that criteria – it is updated regularly and is known to also provide info or a take that might be missed on the other sites. However, it does not allow commentary. Not that I mind, as we have these other main sites for that function. But in full disclosure as what you call an “obot” of what I personally need to look at on a daily basis if I want the “full picture”, I have to review all 5 of those sites.

    Just giving you that perspective. If you took out the word “only” before “main”, it would be more accurate. Also, as I pointed out, it is not correct that the “full picture” can be obtained from an “obot” perspective, if one relied only on here and The Fogbow.

    Squeeky Fromm: OK, here is a picture of the Elusive OctPaw.Cryptobirfology and The Search For The Elusive OctPawhttp://birtherthinktank.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/cryptobirfology-and-the-search-for-the-elusive-octpaw/Squeeky FrommGirl Reporter

  34. avatar
    Squeeky Fromm February 22, 2012 at 4:26 am #

    G:

    Thanks for your critique!!! I went back and rewrote several paragraphs. You were right about the extra blogs. Patrick’s is great for the breadth of silliness it covers. NBC’s is organized around a legal perspective and is where I go to find case information. I am not sure sometimes what I actually accomplish. I try to do Big Picture thinking and present lines of arguments to use in discussions.Plus keep up peoples morale.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  35. avatar
    G February 22, 2012 at 6:43 am #

    Glad I could help!

    I reviewed the updates:

    But there is a more simple explanation why the Obots might appear more focused and consistent.

    One, there are a lot less Obot/anti-Birther websites and they are information friendly. There are two primary Obot websites: Obama Conspiracy Theories and The Fogbow. Obots and anti-Birthers, like me, who have their own blogs post links to articles there or are included on the blogroll. The Obots only have to check one of those two sites and they can stay fairly current on most major issues. Reference to 3 or 4 more blogs provides the remaining coverage of the news, even down to the micro level of providing individual Birther comments on selected threads across the web. Information is shared and discussed by all, and through this process, bad information is sifted out and the more correct facts and legal interpretations rise to the top.

    Birthers, on the other hand, are spread out among a dozen or more main websites and hundreds of blogs. In addition, new Birther blogs and websites are coming online almost daily, often recycling discredited legal theories or dis-proven facts. But there is no mechanism, or even desire, among the Birthers to weed out admittedly bad or false information. In fact, Birthers actively discourage discussion and disagreement. Obots and anti-Birthers are usually not permitted to post at Birther websites, so bad information there has an infinite shelf life. Birthers live in their own insular world. It is an echo chamber.

    Excellent work! I found that to be a very good and accurate explanation of how these sites work and what the difference is between the “obot” and “birther” forums.

    Squeeky Fromm: G:Thanks for your critique!!! I went back and rewrote several paragraphs. You were right about the extra blogs. Patrick’s is great for the breadth of silliness it covers. NBC’s is organized around a legal perspective and is where I go to find case information. I am not sure sometimes what I actually accomplish. I try to do Big Picture thinking and present lines of arguments to use in discussions.Plus keep up peoples morale.Squeeky FrommGirl Reporter

  36. avatar
    Arthur February 23, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    Regarding Trowbridge’s attack on Obama Conspiracy Theories, Dean Haskin’s conspired to do the same thing against the Fogbow Forums back in July of 2011 when he wrote on his website,

    “It is time that we realize some things about these Fogbow hacks. First, nothing you say is going to sway them from their mission, which is running cover for their favorite criminal. The outcome of every argument has already been scripted with myriad piles of disinformation. They know every point we try to make constitutionally, so you’re not going to dissuade them from their unconstitutional stances. They know every court case that affirms our position on the definition of natural born Citizen, and they’ll just misuse and purposely misinterpret other cases. When we present the mounds of expert evidence that has been presented, they usually do not even try to refute the evidence, but merely deride and mock those who have provided the expert analyses.

    “Here’s my point: while many of us have worked very hard at presenting credible evidence in an effort to have honest dialog about this issue to enlighten others to the truth, these operatives are not interested at all in having any sort of dialog with you. Their one mission is to vitiate you and pollute your facts in their voluminous sea of sheer propaganda. Realistically, the end result of their efforts is that we spend incalculable hours trying to refute and convince people whose only goal is to confound.”

    Translation: “Here’s my point: we put a lot of time collecting bogus evidence and making tortured arguments with no basis in the law, and then these people have the audacity to critique our rigmarole in such a way as to make us question our assumptions. How dare they! This isn’t the American that I grew up fantasizing about!”