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Surrounded by birthers

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The allusion to the movie Spaceballs aside, a new study from Fairleigh Dickinson University found birther beliefs in surprising numbers, especially among Republicans.

The most popular of these conspiracy theories is the belief that President Obama is hiding important information about his background and early life, which would include what’s often referred to “birtherism.” Thirty-six percent of Americans think this is probably true, including 64 percent of Republicans and 14 percent of Democrats.

Sixty-three percent of registered voters in the U.S. buy into at least one political conspiracy theory

It’s not just birthers in the study. They also added in 9/11 conspiracies, and beliefs that the 2004 and 2012 elections were stolen.

The study also asked 4 “current events” questions. There was a very strong negative correlation between the number of questions answered correctly and belief in birtherism. The survey was taken December 10-16, 2012, and involved 814 registered voters. The sampling error was 3.4%.

It is disheartening, to say the least, that so many of my fellow countrymen buy into conspiracy theories, particularly the wildly implausible ones of birtherism and 9/11. Maybe we can blame it on the Internet. Romney complained about the 47% that he believed were takers. I worry about the 63% who are the intellectual takers, lying on a minority to keep the world sane.

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64 Responses to Surrounded by birthers

  1. avatar
    Mary Brown January 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    I would like to know how Republicans in each region differed. While I know of one wild woman in Nebraska who is involved I find most people I know here do not believe in birther myths. I have rarely heard anyone express any respect for the President or his views and they are taken aback when someone does. It is,something I am curios about.

  2. avatar
    Pieter Nosworthy January 17, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    Some people are indeed very crazy…those who hold that elections were stolen, Jews and CIA destroyed the towers, that our President was born in Kenya, etc.

    I don’t think it beyond the pale to wonder, without holding inarguable, that our President may be ineligible for his office due MvH and precedent of prior office holders.

    There are racists and nuts who will never accept Mr. Obama as the leader of the free world…not all of us who oppose are of their ilk.

  3. avatar
    donna January 17, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    the study found that “[h]igher levels of education and awareness of current events, however, are linked to a reduction in belief in such theories” “Democrats and independents with more political knowledge were found to be more likely to dismiss conspiracy theories, while Republicans with more political knowledge were more likely to believe the theories.”

    http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/poll-obamas-hiding-something-86349.html?hp=r9

    Mary Brown:

    on page 9 of the poll, it appears that questioners were heavily from the south (32), northeast (19), midwest (22), west (27)

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/120815791/Fairleigh-Dickinson-poll-on-conspiracy-theories

  4. avatar
    Pieter Nosworthy January 17, 2013 at 11:22 pm #

    donna, perhaps those who live in the south are backward which means what exactly? They see the 2nd and 10th as important, constitutional questions of liberty above those who care more for personal safety without doing the math, and that of generally wondering if the federal government has any checks?

    Whatever, I agree. The question of eligibility is not just a southern “racist” wonder but that of many from all over that have kept an open mind, specify their curiosity hopefully within decorum, and think reasonable that the supreme court reflect on earlier decisions of predecessors.

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 17, 2013 at 11:26 pm #

    I’m not sure what you meant by “prior office holders.” The former president who comes to mind is Chester A. Arthur, whose father was Irish, as Obama’s father was English.

    Would you make some sort of argument based on permanent residence to distinguish between the two, or would you rely on the made up theory that Arthur’s father being Irish was unknown?

    Pieter Nosworthy: I don’t think it beyond the pale to wonder, without holding inarguable, that our President may be ineligible for his office due MvH and precedent of prior office holders.

  6. avatar
    gorefan January 17, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    Pieter Nosworthy: I don’t think it beyond the pale to wonder, without holding inarguable, that our President may be ineligible for his office due MvH and precedent of prior office holders.

    MvH?

    “But the supreme court has never squarely determined, either prior to or subsequent to the adoption of the fourteenth amendment in 1868, the political status of children born here of foreign parents. In the case of Minor v. Happersett, 21 Wall. 168, the court expressly declined to pass upon that question.” Justice Morrow, Wong Kim Ark, District Court Northern District of California, January 3, 1896 No. 11, 198.

  7. avatar
    SluggoJD January 17, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

    Pieter Nosworthy:
    Some people are indeed very crazy…those who hold that elections were stolen, Jews and CIA destroyed the towers, that our President was born in Kenya, etc.

    I don’t think it beyond the pale to wonder, without holding inarguable, that our President may be ineligible for his office due MvH and precedent of prior office holders.

    There are racists and nuts who will never accept Mr. Obama as the leader of the free world…not all of us who oppose are of their ilk.

    Obama’s mom was a citizen. Plus Obama was born in THE STATE of Hawaii.

    So wtf?

  8. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 17, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

    The birthers are out in force commenting on that one.

    donna: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/poll-obamas-hiding-something-86349.html?hp=r9

  9. avatar
    aesthetocyst January 17, 2013 at 11:52 pm #

    Pieter Nosworthy: perhaps those who live in the south are backward which means what exactly?

    Since you introduced the notion of southerners being backward, perhaps you should explain what you mean by it. Pieter sounds defensive! ;)

    Pieter Nosworthy: They see the 2nd and 10th as important,

    Ooooooh, mixing in fireamania and potential secesh in with your birferism! How novel. How unexpected.

    Pieter Nosworthy: the supreme court reflect on earlier decisions of predecessors.

    How have they not? Just in case, please doublecheck the direction of time’s arrow.

  10. avatar
    Pieter Nosworthy January 17, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    Doctor, you hit upon what some consider relevant but perhaps not litmus. The question for some exists if those who are born to foreign fathers, that have never nationalized, are natural born. I am open minded and enjoy forums such as this…do you want me to be welcome as your equal as a fellow American with contrary view?

    I have been banned from both the left and right blogs. My sleep is peaceful regardless. I consider the aforementioned left-right equally close-minded to the unpopular view and am compelled to comment. Both political in motivation, one from aspect in that they have the presidency and the other that of a fear to be seen as “tin foil wearing fringe”. Hypocrites or cowards both.

  11. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 18, 2013 at 12:54 am #

    Certainly there is no restriction here against the point of view you allude to. There are hundreds if not thousands of such comments.

    The potential problems I see with your participation is first, the thread hijack. This article is about polls, and no stretch of that topic can reach a legal discussion of what a natural born citizen is. I take a dim view of folks who dump their pet theory on the latest article, whatever it is about.

    The second problem is that you bring up bans, with a peremptory strike against my banning you through an appeal to open-mindedness. Such opening gambits have been, in my experience, a mark of a troll who likes to rile up folks with a superior attitude, snooty and insulting language. Such folks tend to get under folks’ skin and cause no end of trouble.

    Just for the record, nobody here cares how well you sleep. The third troll indicator is an attempt to get personal attention and to turn the topic towards themselves, their treatment, and their motivation.

    Be that as it may, if you want to discuss or debate natural born citizen definitions, the open thread is here:

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2013/01/the-occasional-open-thread-carpal-tunnel-edition/

    Just keep in mind that this topic has been beaten to death already on this site, and you might not get anyone willing to do it again.

    Pieter Nosworthy: Doctor, you hit upon what some consider relevant but perhaps not litmus. The question for some exists if those who are born to foreign fathers, that have never nationalized, are natural born. I am open minded and enjoy forums such as this…do you want me to be welcome as your equal as a fellow American with contrary view?

    I have been banned from both the left and right blogs. My sleep is peaceful regardless. I consider the aforementioned left-right equally close-minded to the unpopular view and am compelled to comment. Both political in motivation, one from aspect in that they have the presidency and the other that of a fear to be seen as “tin foil wearing fringe”. Hypocrites or cowards both.

  12. avatar
    Whatever4 January 18, 2013 at 1:21 am #

    Pieter Nosworthy:
    Doctor, you hit upon what some consider relevant but perhaps not litmus. The question for some exists if those who are born to foreign fathers, that have never nationalized, are natural born. I am open minded and enjoy forums such as this…do you want me to be welcome as your equal as a fellow American with contrary view?

    Noz is open-minded? Since when? He’s been around a few years and has a searchable history. I mean, I usually enjoyed our conversations on Fogbow, but open-minded on birther theories wouldn’t be a description I’d come up with.

  13. avatar
    aesthetocyst January 18, 2013 at 2:25 am #

    SO … back to the article …. “Surrounded by birthers” … that’s not he quote I recall from Spaceballs;)

    The pol featured did seem rather simplistic, very, very short, and with a modest sample size. I would say don’t make too much of it … if it didn’t mirror my daily experience so much. Many people are ill-informed, and shockingly willing to indulge in the zaniest / foulest talking points. Do they really believe them, or are they mere trading cheap attempts at humor? Can’t always tell.
    Some acquaintances know I have an interest in conspiracy theories. This lead them to assume I am a CT nut. This seems to be the default position here. One person asked me to initiate them into the “Sandy Hook” trutherism today. Sick puppy. They don’t wasnt the observer’s take (it’s just the latest, vilest escalation of a decades-old meme), they want the dirt. What’s the “real” truth? Agh.
    Is there anyone on the left pushing the idea that the gun industry stages shootings as a means of driving sales? Why not?

    Was funny to see Reds were more able to identify Clinton as SoS. I think they are obsessing :P

  14. avatar
    Lupin January 18, 2013 at 2:39 am #

    All presidents are hiding something, many things more likely. That comes with the job, I’d think.

    As for political conspiracies, like seeing faces in the clouds or the Virgin Mary on toasts, it appeals to those looking for patterns out of randomness. Besides it’s neither new nor American. The “success” of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion which started its unholy life as pulp fiction, is proof of that.

    It is disheartening, of course. The one difference, I think, is, American media give way too much airtime (IMHO) to kooks that wouldn’t get on TV (or if so would be widely ridiculed) here.

    Personally, I think a number of Obama critics should be required to appear in their KKK uniforms. (Ann Coulter comes to mind.)

  15. avatar
    Mary Brown January 18, 2013 at 4:44 am #

    Pieter How am I to believe you? My husband ,who is a retired Air Force officer, would never suggest that his opinions on this subject are in some way bolstered by his service.You are what the doc described. . Go to the open thread.

  16. avatar
    Whatever4 January 18, 2013 at 5:25 am #

    Pieter Nosworthy:
    “I think a number of Obama critics should be required to appear in their KKK uniforms. (Ann Coulter comes to mind.)”

    Lupin, I criticize President Obama on many points, should I take off the uniform of the US Army and wear something more suitable in your view? I find fault politically and constitutionally with the President though he is my elected commander…don’t you think it would bother him if I shucked my issue gear for your preferred garb of the opposition? I’m a republican, Last I checked it was the democrats who donned the bedsheets. Do I need to change party also despite my professed love of egalitarianism?

    Finding fault on policy or actions isn’t the issue. The problem with Coulter, Limbaugh, Beck, etc. is that it isn’t reason or intellect that guides their opposition, it’s ratings and hatred. (In that order.) I don’t agree with President Obama on some of his policies and actions, but I don’t hate him. Same with other presidents. IMHO, Obama is about center right on the scale in his actions and policies, probably center left in his personal ideology. He’s not the saint some on the left might have him, but not the antichrist some on the right might have him.

    I’m just sick of the conspiracy theories.

  17. avatar
    AC180 January 18, 2013 at 6:05 am #

    Conspiracy theories these days aren’t just some harmless questions being posed about reality , I believe they are a serious reflection of the escalation of mental illness in America. People seem to be throwing themselves into these conspiracy theories with such unprecedented fervor these days — These obsessions have torn apart families and destroyed relationships (According to many personal accounts birthers and others have provided) … These people lose emotional touch with reality and inflict pain on others wrecklessly and callously, as evidenced by how they’ve treated the families who lost loved ones in Newtown– They are actually harassing grieving fathers who lost their baby children!
    We witnessed this type of behavior also when Birthers contacted and harassed the Hawaiian born U.S. citizens who had lost their infant.

    Why are such huge portions of society going nuts, that’s the big question!? How do you reverse this trend or is it unavoidably going to continue to escalate, to the detriment of humanity and all of society?
    -Adam

  18. avatar
    Scientist January 18, 2013 at 6:08 am #

    Lupin: All presidents are hiding something, many things more likely. That comes with the job, I’d think.

    I would say that we are all hiding many things. If you don’t have a single thing in your private life or thoughts that you wouldn’t want publically known, then I congratulate you and will nominate you to the Pope for sainthood (though even the saints had their failings). In many ways, Presidents are probably hiding fewer things than the average person, since no one is likely to speak wiith the press about your or my indiscretions, and if they did, the press wouldn’t care, whereas someone coming forward with a juicy story about the President is likely to get attention and even cash.

  19. avatar
    Scientist January 18, 2013 at 6:13 am #

    AC180: Why are such huge portions of society going nuts, that’s the big question!? How do you reverse this trend or is it unavoidably going to continue to escalate, at the detriment of humanity and all of society?

    The internet plays a large role. In the past, professional journalists exercised professioal judgement as to which stories merited coverage. Now every fool has his own forum to dispense idiocy (not you Doc).

  20. avatar
    AC180 January 18, 2013 at 6:13 am #

    The Magic M: Guilt by association. Though I see that happen on the left as well, to my dismay. (It’s not really helpful to go “vocal NRA supporter molested child” or “gay marriage opponent convicted of murder” as if an individual’s personal crimes somehow tainted the things he advocated – even if you don’t agree with the person’s opinions, it’s wrong.)

    Absolutely., It’s such an annoying trend! Personal responsibility is such a foreign concept to some people.

  21. avatar
    Mary Brown January 18, 2013 at 6:57 am #

    Amen to you Scientist.

  22. avatar
    AC180 January 18, 2013 at 7:30 am #

    Scientist: The internet plays a large role. In the past, professional journalists exercised professioal judgement as to which stories merited coverage. Now every fool has his own forum to dispense idiocy (not you Doc).

    I really don’t think the internet has contributed to mental illness so much that it’s just been a MAGNET for the mentally ill … They finally have large groups of like-minded head-cases to “hang out” with. The problem is, a lot of normally semi-rational people might stumble upon these groups and fall into their delusions.

    -Adam

  23. avatar
    AC180 January 18, 2013 at 7:44 am #

    Having such vitriolic and hate-filled politics in this country, venomous rhetoric now being the “norm ” has probably contributed as much as anything to the decline in mental health. Couple this with the fact that people are just UNHEALTHY -, they have toxic diets, which contributes to emotional imbalances.

    The culture war has turned into a culture crisis for many of these people. they feel they are under attack and have worked themselves into a panic. The politics of our time has contributed to the increase of mental illness more than anything else I imagine.

    Scientist: The internet plays a large role.In the past, professional journalists exercised professioal judgement as to which stories merited coverage.Now every fool has his own forum to dispense idiocy (not you Doc).

  24. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny January 18, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    I wonder whether Pieter is a supporter of a certain Dutch politician whose hair colour is as fake as that of Orly Taitz and Donald Trump combined? Because whenever on Google I see something birfery in Dutch (and funnily, I do not find anything in French, though recently French Wikipedia was the target of birfers who treated Arpaio as a real officer of the law), it is invariably associated with that politician. Makes you wonder whether race or (imagined) religion is the issue.

    Doc, there is a little mistake in your article. Some birfers may still believe 2008 was stolen by ACORN and Black Panthers, but the study (which in my view oversampled whites and Southerners) asked people about 2012.

  25. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 18, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    One of the things the study suggested was that belief was based on frequent hearing of the conspiracy theories, following the rule of thumb, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” The Internet is a new thing, unlike the environment in which we and our societies evolved. In this new normal I think we should come to expect more things like birtherism.

    Scientist: The internet plays a large role. In the past, professional journalists exercised professional judgement as to which stories merited coverage. Now every fool has his own forum to dispense idiocy (not you Doc).

  26. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 18, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    I have moved a number of comments to the open thread.

  27. avatar
    ellen January 18, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    Is it so surprising when various studies show that about 50% of Americans believe in ghosts, and I think I saw that 10% said that they had actually seen them? (By the way, I looked for the figures on belief in ghosts about 10 or 15 years ago, and it was about 30%—so apparently there has been an increase.)

  28. avatar
    Saint James January 18, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    donna: the study found that “[h]igher levels of education and awareness of current events, however, are linked to a reduction in belief in such theories”

    Please understand that those with higher levels of education and awareness are also likely to advocate and promote conspiracy theories out of maliciousness because they are aware that a portion of our society are prone to gullibility. Those two billionaire brothers (I don’t remember their name) secretly funneled money to support the tea party and all they advocated for. The republican party always resort to calling dems socialist, marxist and commies when they run out of real issues against the dems.

  29. avatar
    The Magic M January 18, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    ellen: so apparently there has been an increase

    Conspiracy nut-cum-zealot: “Because we’re living in the end times (higher ghost count) and are DOOOOMED!” ;)

    Saint James: those with higher levels of education and awareness are also likely to advocate and promote conspiracy theories out of maliciousness

    Or because they fell for the “argument by authority fallacy”. I always cringe when I see respectable German TV stations airing stories about the Moon Landing Hoax that are framed as if there actually was something to the conspiracy theory – and only devote their final 5 minutes to debunking and stating “of course this is just a silly conspiracy theory”.

    It’s the “more educated” version of the misleading headlines that WND and others love to use – as in “Does Obama want to take your guns away to force you to gay-marry an abortionist?” above a lenghty article effectively stating “no, silly” in the second-to-last paragraph.

    When “more educated” media use similar tactics just because it makes things “more interesting”, it’s a problem. And if you don’t watch the last 5 minutes, or don’t make it to the end of the article, you’re left with a misled impression, highly educated or not.

  30. avatar
    donna January 18, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    these were the 4 current events questions:

    KN1 Can you name the current Secretary of State? [Do not read choices]OPEN END, PRE CODE

    Hillary Clinton (correct)
    Susan Rice
    Condoleezza Rice
    Other
    DK

    KN2 Which party currently has the most seats in the U.S. House of Representatives? [Donot read choices]OPEN END, PRE CODE

    Republican (correct)
    Democrat
    DK

    KN3 Is unemployment higher, lower, or the same as it was when President Obama first took office in 2009? [Do not read choices]OPEN END, PRE CODE

    Higher
    Lower
    Same
    DK

    KN4 The US is currently using unmanned aircraft to target terrorism suspects in various countries around the world. Right now, in what country are those attacks most concentrated?[Do not read choices]OPEN END, PRE CODE

    Pakistan
    Afghanistan
    Iraq
    Other
    DK

    page 7 http://www.scribd.com/doc/120815791/Fairleigh-Dickinson-poll-on-conspiracy-theories

  31. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 18, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    I don’t know the answer to this question, and a quick search of news sites didn’t answer it for me. Typically when an article appears it is either about ones in Afghanistan OR it is about ones in Pakistan/Yemen/Somalia. They are not tabulated together. There are lot of drone strikes in both, and comparing the two isn’t something I think hardly anyone does. I don’t think this is a reasonable question unless they accepted Pakistan and Afghanistan as “informed” answers. “Iraq” is obviously wrong, though.

    It’s funny that the labeled the first two questions’ correct answers, but not the last two.

    donna: KN4 The US is currently using unmanned aircraft to target terrorism suspects in various countries around the world. Right now, in what country are those attacks most concentrated?[Do not read choices

  32. avatar
    Greenfinches January 18, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    Saint James: Those two billionaire brothers

    Koch? I forget their precise nickname………….

  33. avatar
    donna January 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    doc: It’s funny that the labeled the first two questions’ correct answers, but not the last two.

    i thought the same thing tho i thought afghanistan – maybe there was some sort of “thought process” over higher & lower unemployment – some say americans “stopped looking” – i would have liked to have seen the “crosstabs” for all of the questions and especially the ones on “current events” and don’t like it when they are not included

  34. avatar
    CarlOrcas January 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    Scientist: The internet plays a large role.In the past, professional journalists exercised professioal judgement as to which stories merited coverage.Now every fool has his own forum to dispense idiocy (not you Doc).

    I started in the news business in the mid-60′s and you are absolutely right. The crazies would call but, more often than not, their stuff would come in the form of mimeographed screeds which were good for a chuckle but went straight in the trash and never on the air or in print.

  35. avatar
    ellen January 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    Re: “I started in the news business in the mid-60′s and you are absolutely right. The crazies would call but, more often than not, their stuff would come in the form of mimeographed screeds which were good for a chuckle but went straight in the trash and never on the air or in print.”

    In some reliable news organizations, perhaps. But carrying nutty stories is traditional for the news organizations, and it goes way back. During the hot weather, when there were few news items, the AP and UPI reports of flying saucer sitings went way up. And that kind of stuff, reports on the Loch Ness monster for example, went on in the 20s and 30′s—and probably before.

  36. avatar
    ellen January 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    Further to that. I see that the New York Times reported that “movies were taken” of the Loch Ness Monster in 1934 http://www.rarenewspapers.com/view/583232, and if I remember right, the Times sent its own expedition to find out of the Loch Ness monster existed in the 1950s or early 1960s. And, if I remember right, the result of that expedition was not that the was no Loch Ness monster, just that they could not find one.

  37. avatar
    CarlOrcas January 18, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    ellen:
    Re: “I started in the news business in the mid-60′s and you are absolutely right. The crazies would call but, more often than not, their stuff would come in the form of mimeographed screeds which were good for a chuckle but went straight in the trash and never on the air or in print.”

    In some reliable news organizations, perhaps. But carrying nutty stories is traditional for the news organizations, and it goes way back. During the hot weather, when there were few news items, the AP and UPI reports of flying saucer sitings went way up. And that kind of stuff, reports on the Loch Ness monster for example, went on in the 20s and 30′s—and probably before.

    What I’m talking about are not the Loch Ness Monster or flying saucer stuff but the political conspiracy ones like birtherism.

  38. avatar
    JD Reed January 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    Pieter Nosworthy:
    Some people are indeed very crazy…those who hold that elections were stolen, Jews and CIA destroyed the towers, that our President was born in Kenya, etc.

    I don’t think it beyond the pale to wonder, without holding inarguable, that our President may be ineligible for his office due MvH and precedent of prior office holders.

    There are racists and nuts who will never accept Mr. Obama as the leader of the free world…not all of us who oppose are of their ilk.

    You certainly have the right to oppose, and to state your opinions. What you don’t have is the right to be taken seriously, and as long as you keep mischaracterizing the Minor case,
    you certainly lose credibility with people who think ciritically.

  39. avatar
    Daniel January 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    IMHO the question was way too braod and the pool way too small to make any meaningful conclusions.

  40. avatar
    Hermitian January 18, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    Any Birther whos posts on this blog is quickly surrounded by Obots. And they all sing the same tune.

  41. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 18, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    “My country, ’tis of thee,
    Sweet land of liberty,
    Of thee I sing;”

    (with the exception of those participants who are not Americans)

    Hermitian: Any Birther whos posts on this blog is quickly surrounded by Obots. And they all sing the same tune.

  42. avatar
    BillTheCat January 18, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    Yes, you all do sound the same.

    Hermitian:
    Any Birther whos posts on this blog is quickly surrounded by Obots.And they all sing the same tune.

  43. avatar
    Keith January 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    AC180: I believe they are a serious reflection of the escalation of mental illness in America.

    I’m not sure it is an “escalation of mental illness”. I think mentally ill people are more likely to be ‘loose’ in public these days, sure. Society used to lock up a lot more people than now.

    While I consider it a good thing that more people are free to live their lives with some sort of ‘normal’ interaction with the rest of society, to achieve that we have to realize that there is more variety in our ‘normal’ day to day lives.

    The internet and allows ranters to rant without even noticing that they are being ignored or their body language reporting their ‘otherness’ to more ‘mainstream’ thinkers in forums that draw their interest.

    It also makes it easy to find ‘ghettos’ with like-minded folks where they can rant without getting into fisitcuffs with other inmates and wardens.

  44. avatar
    Keith January 18, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

    Saint James: Please understand that those with higher levels of education and awareness are also likely to advocate and promote conspiracy theories out of maliciousness because they are aware that a portion of our society are prone to gullibility. Those two billionaire brothers (Idon’t remember their name) secretly funneled money to support the tea party and all they advocated for.The republican party always resort to calling dems socialist, marxist and commies when they run out of real issues against the dems.

    It wasn’t so secret.

    The Koch Brother’s pretty much openly funded the re-branding of their fathers organization, the “John Birch Society” as the “TEA party”.

    There wasn’t much secrecy about it, except that they depended heavily on everyone not noticing that they were just renaming the JBS and recycling the old JBS platform.

  45. avatar
    Andy January 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    Hermitian:
    Any Birther whos posts on this blog is quickly surrounded by Obots.And they all sing the same tune.

    That’s like any person who posts on a scientific blog denying global warming will be surrounded by scientists, and they all say the same thing too!

  46. avatar
    Daniel January 18, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    Hermitian:
    Any Birther whos posts on this blog is quickly surrounded by Obots.And they all sing the same tune.

    The sane one.

  47. avatar
    aesthetocyst January 18, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    Hermitian:
    Any Birther whos posts on this blog is quickly surrounded by Obots.And they all sing the same tune.

    Dang that persistent reality. It can seem dull out here. Water cycles, gravity gravitates, stars shine, animals migrate, time moves in one direction. Two and two just keep on addin’ up to four …. ;)

  48. avatar
    Dave January 18, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

    So, you find it remarkable that an anti-birther blog has a bunch of anti-birther commenters?

    I guess if you want people to agree with you, you could comment at one of the many birther blogs that only permit birthers to comment.

    Or you could just hang around the coffee machine at work and tell everyone who comes by that the President is a Muslim Marxist who was born in Kenya and has an invalid Social Security Number. I’m sure you’ll get a lot of supportive comments.

    Hermitian:
    Any Birther whos posts on this blog is quickly surrounded by Obots.And they all sing the same tune.

  49. avatar
    aesthetocyst January 18, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    Dave: you could just hang around the coffee machine at work and tell everyone who comes by that the President is a Muslim Marxist who was born in Kenya and has an invalid Social Security Number. I’m sure you’ll get a lot of supportive comments.

    Such a routine would be a hit in most of Okieland.

  50. avatar
    SluggoJD January 18, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Hermitian:
    Any Birther whos posts on this blog is quickly surrounded by Obots.And they all sing the same tune.

    The same tune that the Supreme Court, Congress, the state of Hawaii, all judges, and all sane people on the planet sing.

    We’ve tried to teach you racist evil nutcases the song, but turnips just can’t sing apparently.

  51. avatar
    RoadScholar January 18, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

    Hermitian:
    Any Birther whos posts on this blog is quickly surrounded by Obots.And they all sing the same tune.

    I’ll let you in on a secret, Hermes. You can be the camel whose nose got under the tent.

    You ready?

    There is a terrific but under-examined Obot pleasure in watching Birfers flail about, month on month, year after year, making fools of themselves. It is a hopeful sign that every Birfer lunacy is rejected even by sane conservatives. That is a fine thing. But the sweetest thing of all is our ability to see into the future. Nothing exotic, just on the level of “I believe the sun will rise tomorrow.” And what do we see there?

    The years to come when the crowd who believe that Obama was ineligible to serve steadily dwindles to the size of a psych ward, while the number of Americans who vaguely recall that there were these people once called Birfers who were completely and unquestionably delusional gradually approaches 100%.

    How sweet indeed. We go to sleep very night cradled in the certainty that nobody has usurped the Presidency, that Obama is not some demonic mystery man bent on destroying America.

    No firing squads. No Judges in shackles. No treason indictments. As sure as night follows day, those things will never, never ever, come to pass.

    And in that completely predictable future those of us who struggled to fight the lies you now believe– of either political party or neither– will be called the loyal, rational citizens. Defenders of the Constitution and Champions of the Rule of Law.

    Orly and her ilk will be reviled (or simply pitied) as having troubled their own house by their folly, and who, wallowing in bad faith, of posterity would inherit the wind.

  52. avatar
    JD Reed January 19, 2013 at 12:13 am #

    Hermitian:
    Any Birther whos posts on this blog is quickly surrounded by Obots.And they all sing the sane tune.

    FIFY

  53. avatar
    Onaka January 19, 2013 at 12:33 am #

    I found a new conspiracy theorist:

    http://www.wnd.com/2013/01/do-all-hawaiians-make-up-girlfriends/

    what do you think?

  54. avatar
    Onaka January 19, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    Quote of the Day is:

    “A photo of a cloud is hard evidence, but it doesn’t lead to the conclusion that white-bearded men and poodles can fly.”

    If it’s in a PDF posted on the internet it does!

  55. avatar
    G January 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    Excellent post! I share your concerns.

    AC180:
    Conspiracy theories these days aren’t just some harmless questions being posed about reality , I believe they are a serious reflection of the escalation of mental illness in America. People seem to be throwing themselves into these conspiracy theories with such unprecedented fervor these days — These obsessions have torn apart families and destroyed relationships (According to many personal accounts birthers and others have provided)… These people lose emotional touch with reality and inflict pain on others wrecklessly and callously , as evidenced by how they’ve treated the families who lost loved ones in Newtown– They are actually harassing grieving fathers who lost their baby children!
    We witnessed this type of behavior also when Birthers contacted and harassed the Hawaiian born U.S. citizens who had lost their infant.

    Why are such huge portions of society going nuts, that’s the big question!?How do you reverse this trend or is it unavoidably going to continue to escalate, to the detriment of humanity and all of society?
    -Adam

  56. avatar
    G January 19, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Again, well said! I agree with you position on this issue! The internet just provides a harbor to spread the cancer of their delusions…

    AC180: I really don’t think the internet hascontributed to mental illness so much that it’s just been a MAGNET for the mentally ill … They finally have large groups of like-mindedhead-cases to “hang out” with. The problem is, a lot of normally semi-rational people might stumble upon these groups and fall into their delusions.

    -Adam

  57. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    In the mental health definition, one criteria for something to be a delusion is that it has to be a belief that ones community doesn’t share. So for example if I said that my neighbor can walk on water (literally) that’s a delusion, but for me to say the Jesus walked on water is not. The Internet creates a community where crank ideas are normal, and so someone who is not clinically delusional can believe crazy things without actually being crazy.

    I first wrote about this in March of 2009:

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2009/03/is-ocd-a-delusion/

    AC180: I really don’t think the internet has contributed to mental illness so much that it’s just been a MAGNET for the mentally ill … They finally have large groups of like-minded head-cases to “hang out” with. The problem is, a lot of normally semi-rational people might stumble upon these groups and fall into their delusions.

  58. avatar
    G January 19, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

    Agreed. Excellent points.

    The Magic M: When “more educated” media use similar tactics just because it makes things “more interesting”, it’s a problem. And if you don’t watch the last 5 minutes, or don’t make it to the end of the article, you’re left with a misled impression, highly educated or not.

  59. avatar
    G January 19, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    Agreed. In regards to the 4 main political conspiracies polled in that study, the language used in the questions is painfully vague and broad in a way that can encompass valid affirmative answers that have NOTHING to do with actual conspiracy thinking whatsoever at all, but only with knowledge of actual facts.

    For example, the cr@ppy phrasing of the “9/11 Conspiracy” question makes the same mistakes as many prior ones on this issue, so that an affirmative answer about whether our government “knew” can easily include rational people, who simply remember the very factual NIE warning reports from the summer of 2001, which the administration basically ignored.

    That is a far cry from “conspiracy”. If you read all the 4 questions in that study, they all seem to have a similar flaw in being too broad and poorly worded, as to be misleading to the actual intent of how someone is supposed to interpret their meaning, when formulating their response.

    Either the study is that way by manipulative intention or by misguided sloppiness. But either way, it causes the results to be more meaningless than useful. GIGO.

    Daniel:
    IMHO the question was way too broad and the pool way too small to make any meaningful conclusions.

  60. avatar
    RoadScholar January 19, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    In the mental health definition, one criteria for something to be a delusion is that it has to be a belief that ones community doesn’t share. So for example if I said that my neighbor can walk on water (literally) that’s a delusion, but for me to say the Jesus walked on water is not. The Internet creates a community where crank ideas are normal, and so someone who is not clinically delusional can believe crazy things without actually being crazy.

    I first wrote about this in March of 2009:

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2009/03/is-ocd-a-delusion/

    Sure, but doesn’t the mental health world use the term “shared delusion”? How does the fact that they egg each other on to some extent and glom together make their theories and assertions less than delusional?

  61. avatar
    G January 19, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    Translation: Waaaah!

    Sorry Hermie, but you are just being your typical sore-loser self and making up excuses to deny your own failings and avoid taking responsibility for being called out on the constant stupidity of the statements that you keep making.

    Any observer of the dialog here could easily see what you posted and the responses and note that while the responses you engender DO disagree with you (because face it – you are WRONG…no ifs ands or buts about it), they are rarely ever of the same tune or tone… Which just goes to show that YOU are the one with a problem with reality here…and that everyone else – from MANY different backgrounds, have quite a variety of real opinions and fairly differing responses to your banality.

    Hermitian:
    Any Birther whos posts on this blog is quickly surrounded by Obots.And they all sing the same tune.

  62. avatar
    G January 19, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    Good example.

    Andy: That’s like any person who posts on a scientific blog denying global warming will be surrounded by scientists, and they all say the same thing too!

  63. avatar
    G January 19, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    I’m with you on this…

    RoadScholar: Sure, but doesn’t the mental health world use the term “shared delusion”? How does the fact that they egg each other on to some extent and glom together make their theories and assertions less than delusional?

  64. avatar
    G January 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    Yep. That’s a new conspiracy angle. Although it really is nothing more than a variation of the same pathetic obsessive need for sewer-dwelling debasement of someone’s past by the haters out there. It falls in the same broad category of those sick pathetic little minds who need to reinvent their own “empty chair” version of Obama as having never gone to college or make him secretly gay or slander his parents…

    Such gutter-filth tabloid rumor mongering says more about the pathetic gossip-stalker within the writer than it does anything either meaningful or relevant about Obama.

    I mean seriously, who really gives a sh*t whether Obama had lots of girlfriends in his deep past or only a few? Unlike many Americans, he’s succeeded in staying married to the same person all these years and is by all accounts, a loyal, happy and successful father and husband. That’s quite an admirable achievement these days.

    So who cares what his dating life was or wasn’t before he settled down and raised a family at all? I mean seriously, whether he was a stud with endless girlfriends or never dated until he met and married Michelle or any combo inbetween…ALL those things are completely IRRELEVANT.

    Except to the most petty haters out there….who obviously just can’t stand to see someone as stable and successful as Obama.

    In other words, such garbage stories only tell us one thing – their authors (along with their sad little supporters who pass such filth on) are EXTREMELY JEALOUS…and very likely have a lot of “flaws” in their own personal lives that they are trying to project onto others…

    Onaka:
    I found a new conspiracy theorist:

    http://www.wnd.com/2013/01/do-all-hawaiians-make-up-girlfriends/

    what do you think?