Main Menu

Playing dress-up

I think that one of my most important guidelines in this birther business is not to take myself too seriously. I put on a cowboy hat and call myself “Dr.” and it’s a bit like an adult version of a child game of “pretend” where I become a journalist or a lay expert on something or another. (The birthers play dress-up too, as forensic document examiners, legal experts, grand juries and saviors of freedom. The difference is that some of them take themselves far too seriously.)

It’s good for retired folks like me to have an intellectually stimulating hobby. It provides an opportunity to learn new things, provides a topic for conversation at parties, lets me meet really neat people, and gives me an environment to try out ideas and approaches to dealing with controversy.

One of the areas where my ability gets stretched is in the ethical domain. Certainly the free speech vs. community wellbeing issue is always at the forefront here on the blog. Banning and moderating comments is a difficult judgment with no perfect solution that I’ve found. Another ethical challenge is in the area of “helping the birthers.”

I believe that the birthers are wrong, and I think what they are doing is harmful, and I don’t want birther activity to succeed. One the other hand, birthers are people. When the Orly Taitz web site was down for several days, I felt her pain and considered sending her an email offering to help get it back up, since I know a lot about WordPress blogs. I decided against that for several reasons and from what I know now, I probably couldn’t have helped anyway. There are things I could show Orly to make her web site better, not only for the birthers but for me and the non-birthers who also go there. I don’t think she cares, so I think I’ll keep those suggestions to myself.

I sent birther attorney Van Irion a case citation once on something he needed to prove. He wrote back saying he already knew it (I have my doubts). Now I am confronted with another situation where I have a citation that I believe might help some unspecified birther out of an unspecified tight spot.

Photo of Pickle with caption "It's a Pickle"

I think the ethical answer comes in the introductory principle in this article, not to take myself too seriously. In my 62 years, I have found three great spiritual insights that I will share with you below, and note that the second seems to apply to the current situation

  1. “Life is difficult” (Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled)
  2. Some things are my problem, and some are not
  3. It’s not about me anyway
Print Friendly

, ,

28 Responses to Playing dress-up

  1. avatar
    HellT November 20, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    The way I’d look at it is: if I chose to help another person do one thing right, in the big scheme of things would I then be helping them do wrong. With regards to birthers and their court cases, I’d not want to aid their fruitless legal pursuits, because by doing so I’d contribute to their abuse of the court system.

    If I found some birthers stranded on the side of the road, I’d help them. If they were participating in a community fundraiser or charitable project, I’d work alongside them.
    If they asked for my help to restore a blog where they recklessly flung vile accusations about others, I’d decline.

  2. avatar
    G November 21, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    I like your take on things here. I support this viewpoint and those are the areas in which I’d draw the distinction between helping and not helping as well…

    HellT:
    The way I’d look at it is: if I chose to help another person do one thing right, in the big scheme of things would I then be helping them do wrong. With regards to birthers and their court cases, I’d not want to aid their fruitless legal pursuits, because by doing so I’d contribute to their abuse of the court system.

    If I found some birthers stranded on the side of the road, I’d help them. If they were participating in a community fundraiser or charitable project, I’d work alongside them.
    If they asked for my help to restore a blog where they recklessly flung vile accusations about others, I’d decline.

  3. avatar
    Lani November 21, 2012 at 1:02 am #

    I appreciate that this situation is being considered. Law is easy. Ethics are hard. JMHO. I left a well paying position to move into mediation because I believed I was contributing to an escalation in harm when I could play a role in resolving differences and restoring a sense of peace to individuals and their communities. I’m proud of my contribution, although I still bump into former legal colleagues who consider me as crazy as I consider Taitz. Lord knows, they have the income and investments to well outshine me. But I do feel comfortable in my own skin, which I did not with the money to try to buy my way into happiness.

    One reason I’ve lurked here for a long time was that I appreciated what I saw. I found the site when I was amazed that anyone questioned a perfectly standard Hawaii birth certificate. There are lots of places that discussed the “issue”, but here I found thoughtful people. Intelligent, funny, sometimes snarky, incredibly calm around trolls. And the fact that you question your path with the information you have just confirms the depth of thoughtfulness of this blog.

    As for your question about “Some things are my problem, and some are not”: it speaks for itself. Did you create the situation? Would action by you contribute to peace or conflict? And, did anyone invite you to the discussion? As for the 1st and 3rd question, I’m quite sure the answer is no. And I’m confident you are aware of the answer to the 2nd question.

  4. avatar
    JPotter November 21, 2012 at 1:04 am #

    “I sent birther attorney Van Irion a case citation once on something he needed to prove. He wrote back saying he already knew it (I have my doubts).”

    Acknowledging your contribution as helpful or correct would be to open the door to admitting you disagree with them not because you are an ideologue, but because you are, to any extent, right, and that they are even partially wrong.

    To a rational person, assistance like this is a sign of good will. Two people in disagreement working toward the uncovering of common truth. To the paranoid nut, it’s a threat. Assistance will be met with derision, belittlement, scorn. They can’t admit an enemy was helpful. They aren’t interested in discovering external truth, but reinforcing internal truth … belief. Expressing gratitude would be to admit inadequacy, and a step onto a slippery slope toward admitting error…and recognizing authority in an opponent.

    They’ve poisoned their mind and soul, they are literally dysfunctional. Some are not so far gone as others, some can feign normality a bit better, feign reasonableness, but ultimately, when backed into a corner, the hate and fear lash out. Like the gifted legal mind fellow.

    It’s immoral to assist them in causing harm. But if you can demonstrate in small ways that you know what you’re talking about … it’s a tweak, out’s them as lying, gives them a good poke.

    Overcome evil with good; pass out a heap of burning coals today!

  5. avatar
    brygenon November 21, 2012 at 1:25 am #

    HellT: If I found some birthers stranded on the side of the road, I’d help them. If they were participating in a community fundraiser or charitable project, I’d work alongside them.
    If they asked for my help to restore a blog where they recklessly flung vile accusations about others, I’d decline.

    That’s what I was thinking as I read the good Doctor’s article, only in my mind it wasn’t phrased as well.

    My hatred of the birthers is compartmentalized. I want them to suffer humiliating failure at everything they try, but by “everything” I mean all they do on this stupid hateful birther thing.

    Plus, there are limits. As much condemnation they deserve for being birthers, I’m not saying their families should disown them, their friends abandon them, their employers fire them, and their pets bite them.

  6. avatar
    John Reilly November 21, 2012 at 1:26 am #

    Dr. Taitz is a fascist who wishes to criminalize dissent and disagreement.

    Today she is after Blacks and immigrants.
    Tomorrow she will be after Democrats and Liberals.
    She is trying to incite a lone wolf.
    She is in favor of a military coup.
    It is immoral to help her.

  7. avatar
    Northland10 November 21, 2012 at 3:31 am #

    In rescuing a drowning person when the rescuer is left with only the last option of swimming out to the victim (step 4 – go), he has to determine whether or not to physically approach the victim. If the victim is thrashing about wildly, often the best “help” is to keep your distance and let them tire themselves. The rescuer can remain calm and rational where the victim is not. Any attempted help would likely be lost as the victim will instinctively grab for the rescuer (usually the head) and potentially take them down with them or require the trained rescuer to use their release training to save themselves. By waiting out the victim, the rescuer will be able to actually help them, when the victim is ready (such as worn out enough they cannot grab at the rescuer).

    Sometimes help is nothing but an anchor to those who are not ready to accept it.

  8. avatar
    The Magic M November 21, 2012 at 4:17 am #

    John Reilly: She is trying to incite a lone wolf.
    [...]
    It is immoral to help her.

    By deduction, any help that would shorten her legal shenanigans would be immoral – as she (and her followers) would then be reduced to other, partly less peaceful options.

  9. avatar
    US Citizen November 21, 2012 at 5:51 am #

    In regards to helping a birther, I see no harm since they will never get their way in the courts.
    I can understand how such sites can inflame the loose cannons of the world, but they were loose before and likely will be afterward.
    For all we can say, a maniac may be continually pacified by hoping Orly will finally see some success.
    Equally, her site suddenly disappearing could suggest “the usurper got to her” and push someone over the edge.
    Bottom line: one cannot control nor be responsible for the actions of distant crazy people.

  10. avatar
    Yoda November 21, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    If you were an attorney and if you were opposing this unnamed birther you would have an obligation to cite the case in an opposing legal document, but not to contact him/her with the information. The obligation is to the court not the opposing counsel. Now the reality is, that is a written ethical obligation. Certainly you not under any such obligation.

    But the unstated, implied underscoring of your post is not really about an ethical dilemma. We anti birthers loathe the fact that the birthers have not only misused the court system, but cry corruption when they lose. To us, it is important for birthers to know that when they lose, they lose for the right reasons, although I think that may an impossible for them to lose. In addition, we want them to know that Orly doesn’t lose just because she is a horrible lawyer, but because she is wrong. If this individual loses on an issue and it is later disclosed there was a rule or precedent which was not applied properly it only feeds their paranoia.

    You are not under an obligation to send this person anything, but because we are about more than winning and losing, you should.

  11. avatar
    Bob November 21, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    I’ve tried making genuinely helpful comments to Orly like “pursuing this ballot challenge isn’t a good idea” or “hire someone to help you with your website” but those comments never make it through moderation.

    To get a comment through it has to be decidedly UNhelpful like “keep up the good work” or “never give up!”

    I use different silly or insulting names and made up email addresses.

  12. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 21, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    Obscenity and death threats will get your comments through moderation too.

    Bob: To get a comment through it has to be decidedly UNhelpful like “keep up the good work” or “never give up!”

  13. avatar
    The Magic M November 21, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    Yoda: To us, it is important for birthers to know that when they lose, they lose for the right reasons, [...] In addition, we want them to know that Orly doesn’t lose just because she is a horrible lawyer, but because she is wrong.

    Personally, I would like to see the original vault BC forensically ex-whatever – not because I am a birther, but because I am extremely curious what pretzels birthers would twist themselves, reality and the law into to avoid accepting the reality of a forensically examined, court-approved original long long long form BC – apart from the predictable rant “the judge was bought off, the forensic examiner is lying, our expert says the document smells wrong, it still doesn’t prove the information on it is correct etc.”.
    That is in fact the only thing I believe would make the birther circus interesting for me again (though I’ve been wrong before and they found other crazy ideas I never would’ve thought possible).

  14. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG November 21, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    I know the feeling. I’m not REALLY the Punchmaster General. I’m just a Punchmaster Sergeant. PmG gets a fancier hat though, and a hot plate!

  15. avatar
    ASK Esq November 21, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    No need to get yourself at all worked up over this, Doc. Look at it this way: If you have $10 that you want to give to help people out, you can either give it to a charity or you can give it to the guy on the corner with a cardboard sign. If you give it to the charity, you know it will be used to help at least one person in a meaningful way. If you give it to the guy on the corner, you will never know if it went to food or shelter, or to drugs and booze.

    You ARE helping the birthers. You run a blog that, if they choose to peruse it, would provide them with vital information as to what they are doing wrong, and what the actual facts are. You do not need to provide individual birthers with assistance, which it is safe to assume may be misused. You can’t force them to make proper use of the help you have made available, just as a charity shelter can’t force the guy on the corner to come in for food and a bed. But just the same, you shouldn’t feel bad about not helping that guy feed his habit.

  16. avatar
    bovril November 21, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    Mehhhhh,

    For those who have perused my posts over the years it is very apparent what my feelings around Birfoons are.

    Hell I have shown (in my own oh so humble way… 8-) ) how they are related to viruses, disease and other parasites as well as the cult like characteristics they exhibit.

    IMO Birthers are vermin, a pustule on the rear of humanity, funadamentally bigotted, generally racist, seditious, anti-constitutional and with the intellectual heft of slime mould.

    If one was on fire I might refrain from throwing a bit of fuel on the fire but I wouldn’t piss on them.

    I loathe birthers and the hatred they expouse and my views haven’t changed since this post on this very site 2.5 years ago..

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2010/06/internet-evangelist-offers-10000-for-long-form/#comment-53212

    I will never forget the stench of an open grave of the massacred, killed by people who labelled their previous neighbours as “The Other” .

  17. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    I appreciate your discussion.

    What I decided to do is not send the information directly to the person involved, Orly Taitz specifically. She’s an attorney and she has an attorney working with her in Indiana who rightly have responsibility to defend her in her order to show cause.

    On the other hand, I feel it is wrong to withhold publication of my article containing the material, which Orly can read or any supporter of hers can forward to her.

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2012/11/indiana-order-to-show-cause/

    My role is to research and comment on the topics relevant to this blog and to present material fairly whether it works to the benefit or the detriment of either side.

    Yoda: You are not under an obligation to send this person anything, but because we are about more than winning and losing, you should.

  18. avatar
    Yoda November 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    bovril:
    Mehhhhh,

    IMO Birthers are vermin, a pustule on the rear of humanity, funadamentally bigotted, generally racist, seditious, anti-constitutional and with the intellectual heft of slime mould.

    Can I get an AMEN?

  19. avatar
    Rickey November 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Speaking of Orly, the attorneys for Onaka and Fuddy are asking for sanctions because of Orly’s latest filing in Mississippi.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/114064008/MS-ECF-72-2012-11-21-TvDPM-DEFENDANTS-ONAKA-AND-FUDDY%E2%80%99S-Motion-to-Strike-Exhibits-5-and-6?in_collection=3591420

  20. avatar
    Keith November 21, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    Yoda: bovril:
    Mehhhhh,

    IMO Birthers are vermin, a pustule on the rear of humanity, funadamentally bigotted, generally racist, seditious, anti-constitutional and with the intellectual heft of slime mould.

    Can I get an AMEN?

    Sure: AMEN!

    What I want to know is: why is Bovril holding back on telling us what he really thinks?

  21. avatar
    bovril November 22, 2012 at 3:43 am #

    Keith….I did hold back…… 8-)

    On a related note over at The Fogbow, there is a discussion around Mad Ole Orly and the ethics of counting the acts of the family. The appropos view IMHO

    http://www.thefogbow.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=300&p=446699#p446699

    “I loathe birthers and their ilk but unless and until one of their offspring dives into the deep pool of filth that is Birtherdom I regard them as off limits
    I may pity them, I may worry for them (in the abstract), I may be concerned for them but I will endeavour not discuss or analyse them. Irrespective of what else she is, MOO is still their mother and may well be a or have been a good mother (for various bizarre values of “good”)
    The spouse or significant other who demonstrably enables the Birther is not off limits.
    I have seen no demonstrable evidence that MOO’s husband Yosi is actively encouraging her so I am suspicious of, pity and will do my best to ignore him unless I have a belief backed up by demonstration or witness that he is ACTIVELY enabling her.
    BitterDelusional is a foul ignorant LSOS, basic statement, she is married to a pastor and has, I believe children, She I will mock and deride with gay abandon and pleasure, her spouse SHOULD know better but is not her keeper so he and her children are off my radar………….Unless of course she posts another rant about how she would prefer to see them in the arms of God rather than suffer under the Ebil Usurperator. Then conditions may change.
    If that occurs THEN, gloves off and fun and games may well ensue………”

  22. avatar
    misha marinsky November 22, 2012 at 6:21 am #

    Eric Dondero –
    http://theweek.com/article/index/236211/president-obamas-victory-6-conservatives-behaving-like-sore-losers

    A blogger at LibertarianRepublican.net, Dondero took conservative outrage at Obama’s re-election to epic proportions, promising a “personal boycott” against Democrats in his life. “All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them.” Dondero later spoke to New York. Asked whether he would help a Democrat drowning in a lake, Dondero said, “I honestly do not have an answer for that one.”

  23. avatar
    misha marinsky November 22, 2012 at 6:33 am #

    brygenon: I’m not saying…their pets bite them.

    I firmly believe Seamus should have bitten Magic Pants Mittens. I would have cheered if a pack of dogs had attacked and mauled David Huckabee.

    Huckabee Squashed Charges Against His Son For Stoning, Hanging Dog

    http://crooksandliars.com/2007/12/16/huckabee-squashed-charges-against-his-son-for-stoning-hanging-dog

    (Miller County, Arkansas) Two boy scout counselors, 17 year old Clayton Frady and 18 year old David litickabee [sic], the son of Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, have admitted to catching a stray dog during their summer session at Camp Pioneer in Hatfield, AR, and hanging the dog by his neck, slitting his throat and stoning him to death.

  24. avatar
    voter November 22, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    paragraphs of blather about oneself (I, I, I, me, I, me,me) capped with “It’s not about me anyway”

    fucking priceless.

  25. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 22, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    You’re definitely off my Christmas card list this year.

    voter: paragraphs of blather about oneself (I, I, I, me, I, me,me) capped with “It’s not about me anyway”

    fucking priceless.

  26. avatar
    The Magic M November 22, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    misha marinsky: Asked whether he would help a Democrat drowning in a lake, Dondero said, “I honestly do not have an answer for that one.”

    I suppose the Bible has a footnote (that I must’ve missed) in all relevant teachings about “loving your neighbour” and the Ten Commandments that says something like “except when applicable to a Democrat”. The Real Bible that is, the original long long long form Republican Bible. Which also contains the lost Eleventh Commandment, “Thou shalt use thy .45 on anyone who dareth disagree with thou.”

  27. avatar
    Arthur November 22, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    The Magic M: Which also contains the lost Eleventh Commandment, “Thou shalt use thy .45 on anyone who dareth disagree with thou.”

    Ronald Reagan said that the Eleventh Commandment was, “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” If he was correct, then contemporary Republicans must be atheists.

  28. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 22, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Whereas science says: “Republicans eat their young.”

    Arthur: Ronald Reagan said that the Eleventh Commandment was, “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” If he was correct, then contemporary Republicans must be atheists.

99999 00000
?????????