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Not my problem

The point of departure for this essay is the amicus brief filed by the Alabama Democratic Party in the McInnish case. What struck me about that brief (and has struck me before in other defense arguments in birther cases) was it’s direct, non-nonsense style. It was addressed to other lawyers and judges, to normal, well-educated citizens. Here’s a sample:

In order to accept the claim that President Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery, one has to buy into a conspiracy theory so vast and byzantine that it sincerely taxes the imagination of reasonable minds.

This is very different from much of what I write, because I bear in mind that my readers include normal, well-educated citizens, but also birthers.

That quotation preceding means nothing to a birther. There are some things that you simply cannot say to birthers without receiving well-worn rejoinders, nonsense, but predictable. It might be said that I over qualify, and over document the obvious and I might be guilty of what one of my bosses said never to do: negotiate against myself.

Certainly things like “you’ve lost 200 cases already,” “no competent scholar agrees with you” or “your evidence is not admissible and your experts are not qualified,” while damning observations to normal folks, are essentially meaningless to birthers. To be a birther at this late date requires the acquisition of immunity from rational objections.

For me, the takeaway is that I am better off reconciling myself to the fact that birthers do not think like I do, and that nothing I say is going to have any impact on what they say or do. I should talk to the normals and let the birthers take care of themselves. This is in line with the third great life insight I discovered1: some things are my problem and some are not. Your being a birther is not my problem.

Further reading:


1The other two are:

  • Life is difficult (from Scott Peck’s book The Road Less Traveled).
  • It’s not about me.

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41 Responses to Not my problem

  1. avatar
    richCares April 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    “…are essentially meaningless to birthers”
    .
    for example read john’s posts, he is allergic to truth

  2. avatar
    Greenfinches April 26, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    richCares: he is allergic to truth

    Is there any reaction at all to truth? I see john more as someone who doesn’t perceive the truth – things he rejects, just wash away and leave no trace at all………………….

  3. avatar
    donna April 26, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    doc, you do your very best to inform your readers with evidence based on facts and links from credible sources

    i have never found that you “over qualify, and over document the obvious” – with so many conspiracies and movement of the goal posts daily, it is necessary to qualify and document for the record

    you are very balanced and it’s up to the rest of us non-birthers to take your comments, perhaps add to them, in order to refute the birthers

  4. avatar
    Bob April 26, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Birthers are good for pointing to and laughing at.

  5. avatar
    Deborah April 26, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    For a birther to stop being a birther is like committing to losing weight, or quitting smoking…they have to want to change.

    I was off Facebook ever since the Orly Taitz U.S. Supreme Court case while I studied here and elsewhere on the issue. Facebook has a pro-Breitbart bend to it, and many of my Facebook “friends” are under that influence. Now I drop an occasional clue to them, but it is done with severe emotional detachment to whether or not they believe me or not. I really don’t care if they do or not.

    Now if your EMPLOYER was a birther and your paycheck relied on agreeing with him/her that might be a critical issue!

  6. avatar
    ellen April 26, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    Re: “Certainly things like “you’ve lost 200 cases already,” “no competent scholar agrees with you” or “your evidence is not admissible and your experts are not qualified,” while damning observations to normal folks, are essentially meaningless to birthers. ”

    They have a motive, and it is not at all nice. They only act as if the truth was meaningless because they hope to find a nut with a gun who believes the lies.

    That is why, in addition to getting the facts wrong they have gone to the length of having forged Obama “Kenyan birth certificate” and having claimed that Obama’s Kenyan grandmother said that he was born in Kenya, when she said repeatedly that he was born in Hawaii “where his father was studying at the time.”

    Sure there are a few who think that because a Kenyan newspaper said “Kenyan born” that is real proof that Obama was born in Kenya. But most birther sites and most of those who post on them just say that they believe that Obama was born in a foreign county even though they really don’t because they hope there will be a violent nut who believes that claim.

  7. avatar
    gorefan April 26, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    Has this case been assigned a date for oral arguments?

  8. avatar
    bovril April 26, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    A few other aphorisms that Birfoons really should grasp.

    Shit happens
    There are no bounds to some men’s stupidity
    Beliefs are not facts
    You are entitled to your own opinions, you are not entitled to your own facts
    Stupidity is it’s own reward
    Guess what…it’s is NEVER all about you
    Anyone who says “Trust me, Send me money” should neither be trusted or sent money

  9. avatar
    Paper April 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    Well, I personally do not think they need refuting, as that gives them more credit than they deserve. They after all are the ones who need to do the refuting. Either/or both: 1) Refute the facts of Obama’s birth. 2) Refute American history and law.

    Dr. C does provide useful reference points to pursue, and provides a fascinating record of birther-flavored conspiracy theories.

    I also over qualify, over document, or take interest in such, as those details tend to reveal other avenues interesting to explore for their own non-conspiracy value, but I also find I am not particularly interested in doing so in areas that do not even have any internal sufficiency, can’t stand on their own legs even in a perfectly imagined hypothetical that eliminates all external contradictions. No matter how perfectly qualified from a birther point of view, the notion that the PDF is a forgery, for one example, is moronic on its face. That is one of, if not *the* stupidest conspiracy theory ever.

    It might make a nice game of wack-a-mole, to knock down PDF nonsense left and right, but ultimately there is nothing to refute there from the very start of that self-imploding notion.

    All of birtherism is like that, really, but we all find our own interesting and more revealing side avenues. If you care about technical issues, you could have learned a lot about the process of photocopying, or birth certificate coding. Nothing leading anywhere in the birther universe, though.

    You could use an empty chair, just for example, to refute birther theories. As for myself, though, I have developed a much greater appreciation for the Constitution, it’s spirit and practice, as cast in relief by the contrast of birther stupidities and destructive wishes.

    donna:

    i have never found that you “over qualify, and over document the obvious” – with so many conspiracies and movement of the goal posts daily, it is necessary to qualify and document for the record

    you are very balanced and it’s up to the rest of us non-birthers to take your comments, perhaps add to them, in order to refute the birthers

  10. avatar
    Bamalaw April 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    Zero chance this case gets oral argument.

  11. avatar
    Deborah April 26, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    We still have to deal with anti-Obama people in our daily lives when the subject comes up. They are easier to refute now, with facts, but most importantly in and from an emotionally detached tone. Refuting them on the internet, like FB, would require posting link after link. The fact is, they have to initiate the search into truth from an objective balanced perspective on their own, from an understanding that that is the only way truth CAN be determined. Luckily, I was taught this skill from my political science professor.

  12. avatar
    Thinker April 26, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    I see that Butterdezillion is considering filing an “amicus” brief. She needs to educate the court, the defendant, and the Alabama Democratic Party on the doctrine of indirect confirmation.

  13. avatar
    gorefan April 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    Bamalaw:
    Zero chance this case gets oral argument.

    Thanks, so what happens next?

  14. avatar
    gorefan April 26, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    Thinker: I see that Butterdezillion is considering filing an “amicus” brief.

    Her amicus brief will directly confirm the defense’s argument that “one has to buy into a conspiracy theory so vast and byzantine that it sincerely taxes the imagination of reasonable minds.”

  15. avatar
    Deborah April 26, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    It appears that Orly is now charging people to read her motions. LMAO! Here is a notation to her posting of an appeal on the Grinols case. She also appears to be attempting to join her case with a case by the Peace and Freedom Party v. Debra Bowen. She is attempting to latch onto the case claiming that in that case Debra Bowen is permitted to disqualify a president’s eligibility…er…um, something to that effect. Here’s the fee notation seen on her page today, verbatim, spelling and grammar errors the full responsibility of Orly.

    “If you view the you will be charged for 1 Pages $0.10”

  16. avatar
    Deborah April 26, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Byzantine- when Emperor Constantine compromised the military by declaring Christianity as the official religion. No separation of church and state there. And the spearation does not exist in the minds of many birthers, either.

  17. avatar
    Thinker April 26, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    She cut and pasted that text from the federal court electronic docketing system. The system charges 10 cents per page to download documents if you are logged in. The reference to it is just the usual meaningless cut and paste junk she posts because she’s too lazy and incompetent to only cut and paste the relevant material.

    Deborah:
    It appears that Orly is now charging people to read her motions. LMAO!

  18. avatar
    Butterfly Bilderberg April 26, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    Alex Seitz-Wald wrote an article for Salon.com on Wednesday about why some people believe in conspiracy theories. He interviewed Prof. Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive scientist at the University of Western Australia, who published a paper in the journal Psychological Science about the thinking behind CTs.

    Lewandosky: “[I]t’s psychologically different from evidence-based thinking. A conspiracy theory is immune to evidence … . If you reject evidence, or reinterpret the evidence to be confirmation of your theory, or you ignore mountains of evidence to focus on just one thing, you’re probably a conspiracy theorist.

    … “[I]nstead of accepting the evidence, you actually turn it around and say that it’s actually evidence to support the conspiracy because it just means it’s even broader than it was originally thought to be.

    * * *

    “[C]onspiratorial thinking is when you get into that self-sealing reasoning and ignore every piece of evidence that is pointing the other way, when you’re starting to broaden the circle of conspirators, and when your skepticism gets to be nihilistic — when you believe absolutely nothing that the government or the media is saying — that’s when you’ve crossed the line.”

    More at http://www.salon.com/2013/04/24/why_people_believe_in_conspiracy_theories/

  19. avatar
    bgansel9 April 26, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    “To be a birther at this late date requires the acquisition of immunity from rational objections.”

    I just had to laugh at that. It’s sad, but, it’s also very amusing, sort of like gallows humor.

  20. avatar
    ellen April 26, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    Re: “Alex Seitz-Wald wrote an article for Salon.com on Wednesday about why some people believe in conspiracy theories.”

    There are many reasons why people believe conspiracy theories. The question, however, should be what are the motives of people who make up the lies that fuel conspiracy theories?

  21. avatar
    JD Reed April 26, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Thinker:
    I see that Butterdezillion is considering filing an “amicus” brief. She needs to educate the court, the defendant, and the Alabama Democratic Party on the doctrine of indirect confirmation.

    That is, the actual meaning is just the opposite of what the words actually say plainly. She’s very adept at this.

  22. avatar
    ellen April 26, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    From a birther site, posted yesterday:

    “TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT CAUSE ONE SHOT IS ALL YOU’RE GONNA GET.’

  23. avatar
    Sactosintolerant April 26, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    ellen:
    Re: “Alex Seitz-Wald wrote an article for Salon.com on Wednesday about why some people believe in conspiracy theories.”

    There are many reasons why people believe conspiracy theories. The question, however, should be what are the motives of people who make up the lies that fuel conspiracy theories?

    Sorry. Could you repeat the question? I was distracted by Alex Jones walking towards the bank with a big sack over his shoulder.

  24. avatar
    Deborah April 26, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    Thanks, Thinker, for setting me straight on the fee to read Orly’s motions.

    I am not sure how true this article is, but Fox is reporting the Indiana officials were found guilty of election fraud. This MAY be a case of paid petition gathering where the petiioners are paid per signature.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/04/26/officials-found-guilty-in-obama-clinton-ballot-petition-fraud/

    The Obama haters are celebrating on Facebook.

  25. avatar
    Rickey April 26, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

    The Alabama Secretary of State has filed her reply brief.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/137926626/SCOAL-2013-04-24-McInnish-Goode-v-Chapman-APPEAL-Chapman-Brief

  26. avatar
    Deborah April 26, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

    Rickey April 26, 2013 at 11:08 pm (Quote) #

    The Alabama Secretary of State has filed her reply brief.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/137926626/SCOAL-2013-04-24-McInnish-Goode-v-Chapman-APPEAL-Chapman-Brief

    And this brief makes it very clear that only Congress, and not the states (and/or the secretary of state) might review Presidential eligibility post-election because of the confusion and delay that would result if each state engaged in a post-election re-evaluation. It also makes clear that it is the Democratic party, not the secretary of state, who determines the eligibility of the candidate, thus explaining why the Democratic party also filed a brief.

    Looks like another birther loss, and worse, for Orly, who by hopping from state to state demonstrates her ignorance that the individual states cannot conduct investigations post-election, but only Congress can.

  27. avatar
    Lupin April 27, 2013 at 2:39 am #

    richCares:
    “…are essentially meaningless to birthers”
    .
    for example read john’s posts, he is allergic to truth

    I’d say, “impervious”.

    Truth soaks into john like water in a piece of granite.

  28. avatar
    Andrew Morris April 27, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    The other screw-up in orly’s latest brief is her complete misunderstanding of another case challenging remioval from the ballot. She says that this proves the Secretary of State does have jurisdiction. But that was never in doubt. And the case that the mighty taitz references involved a candidate who admitted she was just 27 years old. Orly also accuses poor Judge England of treason, so that will make for an interesting time when she filesd her motion to reconsider.

  29. avatar
    Colin Foote April 27, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    Having only recently become more interested in this issue, I recently spent one of my vacation days (it was a slow day around the estate) to investigate the Obama eligibility issue through current and archive internet sources. Aside from the unassailable commandment against bearing false witness, and…that in order to hold confidence in anything that is ever found published on such a vastly accessible and easily corruptible media source like the internet, one must have some yet to be clinically defined form of disassociative pathology, I am astonished by the magnitude of the historic record about it.

    Upon discovery of such a voluminous quantity of viral content, I was commanded to an abrupt pause in my attempt to determine what was true or false, right or wrong, valid or discredited about the identity of Barack Obama. Instead, being overwhelmed by the ferocity and savagery surrounding this matter, I can’t help but wonder of one very unintended and unintentional victory gleaned by those who reject facts and believe that Obama is an illegitimate fraud. Could it be that one high-arching conquest achieved by those impugned as “birthers” simply be that conscientious bloggers, like yourself, remain willing to respond to such derangements?

    Critical mass is a term used by scientists to describe the affect that occurs when a large enough volume of reactive material begins to interact creating a sustained reaction. That reaction, in turn, then brings a transformative, and often, unintended event which commands the attention of those once unaffected by the nonreactive state. Intelligence suggests, perhaps its time to preach ignorance and non-responsiveness to anyone venturing a curiosity about the Obama eligibility controversy. After all, we wouldn’t want to achieve an unintended sustainability of the issue, would we?

    I now see why I remained comfortably stupid about this issue for so long. To educate oneself about it and engage in such fruitless debate is to contribute to the threat and criticality of the growing mass. The transformative event only grows nearer with each interaction.

  30. avatar
    Thinker April 27, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    Why? She has been accusing him of treason for months. He has politely denied her BS motions and dismissed her case. She has suffered no external adverse consequences at all from her misbehavior or incompetence in this case. Why would this time be any different?

    Frankly, I think that a judge hearing her ridiculous treason allegations probably puts them in the same category as nutty plaintiffs who believe that the judge is communicating to them personally through Anderson Cooper’s talk show. They are so far-fetched that they really don’t rise to the level of something that should be either defended against or confronted.

    But it’s outrageous that an attorney gets away with them.

    Andrew Morris:
    Orly also accuses poor Judge England of treason, so that will make for an interesting time when she filesd her motion to reconsider.

  31. avatar
    Keith April 27, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    Colin Foote: Having only recently become more interested in this issue,…

    I should respond in similarly grandiloquent, nay, erudite, prose; unfortunately someone has just informed me of the advisability of not feeding the trolls.

  32. avatar
    Deborah April 28, 2013 at 2:13 am #

    Colin Foote April 27, 2013 at 3:16 pm (Quote) #

    Having only recently become more interested in this issue, I recently spent one of my vacation days

    We like doin’ this. It’s a hobby now.

  33. avatar
    Kiwiwriter April 28, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    bovril:
    A few other aphorisms that Birfoons really should grasp.

    Shit happens
    There are no bounds to some men’s stupidity
    Beliefs are not facts
    You are entitled to your own opinions, you are not entitled to your own facts
    Stupidity is it’s own reward
    Guess what…it’s is NEVER all about you
    Anyone who says “Trust me, Send me money” should neither be trusted or sent money

    Another one I would add is from Carl Sagan:

    But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

  34. avatar
    Deborah April 29, 2013 at 3:29 am #

    Here is an article titled:
    SHOCKER! Alabama Democratic Party Submits New and Different Looking Version Obama Birth Certificate In Ballot Challenge Appeal

    http://cdrkerchner.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/shocker-alabama-democratic-party-submits-new-and-different-looking-version-obama-birth-certificate-in-ballot-challenge-appeal/

    It is from Kerchner’s blog. Apparently he had filed a case against Obama in the past, one that I am not familiar with, and his blog is referring to the Alabama case here. He posts the Scribd link by Friends of the Fogbow, and claims that the birth certificate is submitted “on different paper” (other than security paper) and this is highly suspicious to him.

  35. avatar
    nbc April 29, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    ROTFL…. Ragsdale and his friends continue to toy with the birthers…

  36. avatar
    Reality Check April 29, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    Charles Kerchner was the lead plaintiff in Mario Apuzzo’s first eligibility case filed on Inauguration Day in 2009 in federal district court in Pennsylvania. It is the one where Mario almost had to pay sanctions on his losing appeal in the 3rd Circuit. The SCOTUS declined to take the case. Kerchner still pops up on various blogs in comments under his name and under names like “Mountain Goat”. His organization is the one that paid for Birther ads in the Moonie TImes although I haven’t seen any for quite a while.

    Deborah: It is from Kerchner’s blog. Apparently he had filed a case against Obama in the past, one that I am not familiar with, and his blog is referring to the Alabama case here. He posts the Scribd link by Friends of the Fogbow, and claims that the birth certificate is submitted “on different paper” (other than security paper) and this is highly suspicious to him.

  37. avatar
    donna May 2, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    a hoot of an article “Alabama Birthers Very Excited: State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore Will Make Obama Just Go Away”

    “It’s an appeal of a case that was already dismissed by a lower court, but instead of just relying on Orly Taitz, they’ve got some real star power behind this sucker! ”

    “this case has a secret weapon: Roy Moore”

    “Also, another Alabama Supreme Court Justice, Tom Parker, gave birthers some hope in an earlier case; he concurred with a decision denying a review of Obama’s ballot eligibility, but thought maybe there were “legitimate” concerns that the Hawaiian birth certificate was forged. So, yeah, that’s a two-judge birther powerhouse on Alabama’s 9-member Supreme Court. Get ready for this case to go all the way, baby!

    and there’s more: http://wonkette.com/514607/alabama-birthers-very-excited-state-supreme-court-justice-roy-moore-will-make-obama-just-go-away

  38. avatar
    G May 2, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    ROTFLMAO! Thanks for sharing that!

    Totally recommended smackdown of the birther stupid in good ole Alabama. I give it 3 hoots! 😉

    donna:
    a hoot of an article “Alabama Birthers Very Excited: State Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore Will Make Obama Just Go Away”

    “It’s an appeal of a case that was already dismissed by a lower court, but instead of just relying on Orly Taitz, they’ve got some real star power behind this sucker! ”

    “this case has a secret weapon: Roy Moore”

    “Also, another Alabama Supreme Court Justice, Tom Parker, gave birthers some hope in an earlier case; he concurred with a decision denying a review of Obama’s ballot eligibility, but thought maybe there were “legitimate” concerns that the Hawaiian birth certificate was forged. So, yeah, that’s a two-judge birther powerhouse on Alabama’s 9-member Supreme Court. Get ready for this case to go all the way, baby!

    and there’s more: http://wonkette.com/514607/alabama-birthers-very-excited-state-supreme-court-justice-roy-moore-will-make-obama-just-go-away

  39. avatar
    Rickey May 3, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    Colin Foote:
    Could it be that one high-arching conquest achieved by those impugned as “birthers” simply be that conscientious bloggers, like yourself, remain willing to respond to such derangements?

    Unrefuted lies which are allowed to fester become facts in the minds of many.

    The fact that the birthers have been marginalized by society as a whole, and disavowed by politicians who stood to gain if birther arguments had gained traction, is proof enough for me that this and other debunking blogs have performed a valuable public service.

  40. avatar
    Kiwiwriter May 3, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    Rickey: Unrefuted lies which are allowed to fester become facts in the minds of many. The fact that the birthers have been marginalized by society as a whole, and disavowed by politicians who stood to gain if birther arguments had gained traction, is proof enough for me that this and other debunking blogs have performed a valuable public service.

    I agree…if you don’t take action to refute lies, then they continue to travel around the world, believed by the uneducated and the credulous. And as we know, there are haps of people in this world who are uneducated, credulous, and easily mobilized through their stupidity and credulity, to commit dangerous acts.

  41. avatar
    donna May 4, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    taitz: (emphasis mine)

    Again Sheriff Arpaio, Investigator Zullo and Carl Gallops are treating every one of you as COMPLETE MORONS. Read the guidelines of the Supreme Court of AL below, they do not allow any witnesses, or any new evidence, they only review the records from the lower court and evidence from the lower court. Arpaio cannot appear in front of the Supreme Court of AL, cannot submit anything there. The only thing he can and has to do, is file a criminal complaint in AZ, with his DA. Tell Arpaio, Zullo and Carl Gallops to stop the BS. Tell Arpaio to file a criminal complaint immediately or refund all the money he collected, when he did press conferences and made promises for a year but never filed the criminal complaint with his DA and AG

    http://www.orlytaitzesq.com/?p=418422