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The blind leading the blind

I was thinking about birther image analysis after reading Linda Jordan’s dismissed complaint in Washington. Part of her “evidence” was a report from Mara Zebest. Zebest contributed to three editions of a book, Inside Photoshop,  by Gary Bouton. The only other things I can find by Zebest are some nasty remarks about Barack Obama on the Internet, and later her report on Obama’s long-form birth certificate PDF for WorldNetDaily and the Cold Case Posse, calling the PDF a fake.

While Zebest’s report has been roundly debunked by John Woodman in his book, Is Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate a Fraud?, in the birther mind, Zebest is a qualified forensic document examiner, never mind that she has no training in the field, never taught a course on it, is not recognized as an authority by forensic document examiners and has never been qualified by a court as an expert. In my mind, she is the blind leading the blind.

I’ve also spent a good deal more time than usual the last few days reading birther comments on the Internet. What I have found are arguments premised on bad information, for example: the fake travel ban for US citizens to Pakistan in 1981, the April Fools joke about Obama attending Occidental college as a foreign student on a Fulbright scholarship, and that every member of the Federal Convention of 1787 owned a copy of Vattel’s Law of Nations. People who publish comments on the Internet are attempting to lead the readers, and these are just another example of the blind leading the blind.

Suppose I didn’t know that someone was physically blind, and they said to me “come on across the street; I don’t see any traffic.” The point is not that disability disqualifies someone, but it does mean that both leaders and followers need to understand their limitations. As it is, much of birtherism is just the blind leading the blind.

Note the qualification at the end of the last paragraph: “much of.” I wrote that because I think other things are going on as well. Perhaps I will write a companion article, “When the wolf’s in charge of the hen house.”

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6 Responses to The blind leading the blind

  1. avatar
    aarrgghh August 30, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    … more like the dishonest leading the gullible.

  2. avatar
    Rickey August 30, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    The typical birther “sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest” (as Paul Simon put it). Unfortunately, many politicians have concluded that they can say whatever they want and get away with it, the truth be damned. Paul Ryan has been called out by virtually every news organize for falsehoods in his speech last night, but it is doubtful that his supporters care.

    http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2012/aug/29/paul-ryan/did-barack-obama-break-promise-keep-gm-plant-open/

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/aug/29/paul-ryan/paul-ryan-said-president-obama-funneled-716-billio/

  3. avatar
    G August 30, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    Agreed!!! That is MOST of what feeds Birtherism.

    aarrgghh: … more like the dishonest leading the gullible.

  4. avatar
    Arthur August 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    aarrgghh:
    … more like the dishonest leading the gullible.

    Some are gullible; others are motivated by anger, and some by hate. There is also a considerable number of birthers — based on the number of comments I’ve read at birther websites — who are motivated by an apocalyptic Christian fantasy of mass destruction, a longing for traitors/Muslims/Commies/Obots, etc., to be killed or imprisoned, and the elect to be elevated and honored. These people are probably living in the most pathetic of circumstances: lonely, powerless, and disenfranchised from the political process and society at large, they seek to legitimize themselves by composing vitriolic comments.

  5. avatar
    aarrgghh August 31, 2012 at 12:44 am #

    Arthur: Some are gullible; others are motivated by anger, and some by hate. There is also a considerable number of birthers — based on the number of comments I’ve read at birther websites — who are motivated by an apocalyptic Christian fantasy of mass destruction, a longing for traitors/Muslims/Commies/Obots, etc., to be killed or imprisoned, and the elect to be elevated and honored. These people are probably living in the most pathetic of circumstances: lonely, powerless, and disenfranchised from the political process and society at large, they seek to legitimize themselves by composing vitriolic comments.

    it is precisely their anger and their hate and their religious nightmares and their bigotries that cloud their minds and make them gullible. their biases make them predictable and easily exploited and they wear them on their sleeves, where they can be read by any sideshow grifter. who else could be taken in by the likes of orly taitz et al.?

  6. avatar
    G August 31, 2012 at 2:31 am #

    Excellent points by both of you.

    Arthur: Some are gullible; others are motivated by anger, and some by hate. There is also a considerable number of birthers — based on the number of comments I’ve read at birther websites — who are motivated by an apocalyptic Christian fantasy of mass destruction, a longing for traitors/Muslims/Commies/Obots, etc., to be killed or imprisoned, and the elect to be elevated and honored. These people are probably living in the most pathetic of circumstances: lonely, powerless, and disenfranchised from the political process and society at large, they seek to legitimize themselves by composing vitriolic comments.

    aarrgghh: it is precisely their anger and their hate and their religious nightmares and their bigotries that cloud their minds and make them gullible. their biases make them predictable and easily exploited and they wear them on their sleeves, where they can be read by any sideshow grifter. who else could be taken in by the likes of orly taitz et al.?