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Thinking about the birthers

thinkerThe photo (right) is of me next to the iconic statue of Rodin’s “The Thinker” at the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia. I posed for the picture with the title of this article in mind, but without a clear idea of when it would appear and what the article would actually say—that answer came last night as I was listening to the Reality Check Radio program when RC noted that there wasn’t much going on with the birthers these last two weeks. The birther movement has no successes to show, and some of the birthers still pushing forward are backing the craziest of the theories, and gaining no traction, even among other birthers.

For those who perhaps didn’t see it, I’ll repeat the pony story from last year:

There is a story about a little girl who was an optimist. The girl wanted a pony for Christmas and was confident she would get one. Her parents, thinking her optimism was so extreme as to be unhealthy, decided to cure her. On Christmas morning the little girl went outside to find a huge pile of manure with a bow on it. The girl grabbed a shovel and started digging frantically. When asked what she was doing, she replied: “with all this manure, there’s sure to be a pony here somewhere.”

You really have to give some of the birthers credit for optimism, having dug in the manure pile saying “any day now” for 5 years. How many times has Mike Zullo promised to produce the real evidence from his investigation? Remember Jerome Corsi’s “mole” in the Hawaii Department of Health? Remember Donald Trump’s investigators finding unbelievable things? How many lawsuits have been “the one?”

Today the birther’s irrational hope is the Alabama Supreme Court. That Court already rejected McInnish’s first case unanimously. Has he somehow magically obtained standing now? Roy Moore or not, this case will go down the tubes just like all the rest, but it’s the birther pony hope du jour.

So, is blogging about birthers as pointless as the birthers themselves? Certainly any effort geared at “curing” the birthers is pointless. That’s a  hope I don’t think I ever had from the beginning of the blog. What I think is not pointless is documenting for posterity this curious appendix to the presidency of Barack Obama, and that’s why I take some extra effort to make the blog a useful research tool. Some have suggested that I write a book. I already did, and you’re reading it. It’s an interactive media project, and I’m glad you’re a part of it.

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29 Responses to Thinking about the birthers

  1. avatar
    donna May 15, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    DOC:

    i began reading your article with a smile looking at your photo and ended with a few tears – glad to have met YA

  2. avatar
    Keith May 15, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

    donna:
    DOC:

    i began reading your article with a smile looking at your photo and ended with a few tears – glad to have met YA

    I began reading the article trying to figure out when I was in Philly so I could get my picture taken. No joke, from that photo, we could be twins, right down to the goatee, though I am currently attempting the David Crosby look with what remains of my hair.

    And I almost always wear my hat.

  3. avatar
    Suranis May 16, 2013 at 1:13 am #

    I wish I had visited and posted here more. Too few hours in the day, sadly.

  4. avatar
    Lupin May 16, 2013 at 3:01 am #

    I suppose the silver lining (or one of them) is that it’s made more people aware of Vattel’s work, although not in a good way.

  5. avatar
    Lupin May 16, 2013 at 3:08 am #

    FWIW the original plaster cast of Rodin’s Thinker was only 72 cm high (28 inches). I believe it is still in the Rodin Museum in Paris.

    There are about two dozens bronze casts (wiki says 28) of various sizes made during Rodin’s lifetime & under his supervision scattered around the globe. The first (made in 1902) sits in front of the Rodin Museum.

    Intially, as commissioned, this was supposed to represent Dante Alighieri reflecting upon life, etc. before the Gates of Hell. Your use of it is not therefore inappropriate. :-)

    more here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thinker

  6. avatar
    Majority Will May 16, 2013 at 5:54 am #

    Lupin:
    FWIW the original plaster cast of Rodin’s Thinker was only 72 cm high (28 inches). I believe it is still in the Rodin Museum in Paris.

    There are about two dozens bronze casts (wiki says 28) of various sizes made during Rodin’s lifetime & under his supervision scattered around the globe. The first (made in 1902) sits in front of the Rodin Museum.

    Intially, as commissioned, this was supposed to represent Dante Alighieri reflecting upon life, etc. before the Gates of Hell. Your use of it is not therefore inappropriate.

    more here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thinker

    Birtherism is a bizarre tribute to the art of irony.

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 16, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    The Philadelphia Rodin Museum also has The Gates of Hell. This cropped photo

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/gatesofhell.jpg

    shows “the thinker” seated near the pinnacle.

    The original idea was to associate thinking about birthers with thinking about hell, but that didn’t pan out.

    Lupin: Intially, as commissioned, this was supposed to represent Dante Alighieri reflecting upon life, etc. before the Gates of Hell. Your use of it is not therefore inappropriate

  8. avatar
    Lupin May 16, 2013 at 9:35 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: The original idea was to associate thinking about birthers with thinking about hell, but that didn’t pan out.

    I think it did — if you know the background of the piece. Well played!

  9. avatar
    sfjeff May 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    There is a cast of the Thinker at San Francisco’s Palace of the Legion of Honor- it was given to San Francisco by Alma de Bretteville Spreckels- who has a rather interesting history of her own- she was never accepted by ‘polite’ San Francisco society and was forever spending her husbands fortune to impress San Francisco.

    I stop to admire it whenever I can.

    http://www.finetravel.com/unitedstates/california/thelegion.htm

    Anyway- love the photo.

  10. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG May 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    I think Patrick at Bad Fiction hit the nail on the head. Birtherism is heading towards a big meltdown/implosion.

  11. avatar
    Keith May 16, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    The Philadelphia Rodin Museum also has The Gates of Hell. This cropped photo

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/gatesofhell.jpg

    shows “the thinker” seated near the pinnacle.

    The original idea was to associate thinking about birthers with thinking about hell, but that didn’t pan out.

    I’m not sure how many copies exist of the ‘Gates’, but one that was cast quite recently was shown at a Rodin exhibition in Melbourne a few years ago.

    It was accompanied by a video documenting the casting process for the ‘Gates’. Apparently it is one of the most difficult sculptures to cast.

  12. avatar
    Kiwiwriter May 16, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    Documenting this for posterity is extremely important, for the following reasons:

    1. You are chronicling a bizarre and unique part of American political history, which may not be seen again.

    2. The psychology of these birthers and their behavior is a fascinating study. Some of these folks are seriously disturbed people.

    3. Their myths and lies are believed by a great many people, and we have seen, all through history, that people have followed myths and lies, and the result has been tragedy. Adolf Hitler is the archetype. But there are lesser ones: Jim Jones, the Comet Crazies, Aum Shinrikyo, and Klukkers. They can come to power or cause chaos to themselves and other innocents.

    4. These folks do NOT pose a clear and present danger to the organized political and constitutional system, but they are capable of causing tragedy and violence on a lower scale. James Von Brunn, who gunned down the guard at the Holocaust Museum, was a Holocaust denier, and a birther. At the other end of the spectrum, the Symbionese Liberation Army idiots lived in a fantasy world in which they were the spearhead of a glorious revolution that never could happen. Wrapped up in ideology, paranoia, and incompetence, they only succeeded in killing two innocent people and wrecking the life of a third.

    So this page serves an important purpose…and reminds us that the best way to deal with idiocy is exposure…and ridicule. The truly idiotic nutters are angry over many things, but the thing that infuriates them most is ridicule.

    Not persecution or prosecution…they delight in that.

    But ridicule. They are enraged by people who do not take them seriously, and call them out as idiots. Look how angry they are at Fogbow and this site. You’d think they would, by virtue of being in the political arena, have thicker skins (most political folks do, that’s how they survive), but these guys do not…particularly from sites like this. Official harassment they expect and hope for. But private ridicule…they can’t stand it.

  13. avatar
    ChrisB May 16, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    Every day you give me a whole novel, replete with characterisation and whimsy and insight into the heart of man.

    “112) Plaintiff Mr. Paul Guthrie did not ask to be a George Washington and does
    not want to be a George Washington.”

    Any of these pieces could slot right into the book for Sondheim’s Assassins, and vice versa.

    “There’s another national anthem, and it’s not the one you hear
    At the ballpark!”

    I am endlessly grateful to you, though my workplace might have reservations.

  14. avatar
    The Magic M May 17, 2013 at 4:12 am #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: I think Patrick at Bad Fiction hit the nail on the head. Birtherism is heading towards a big meltdown/implosion.

    Any day now. ;) There was some partial meltdown after Obama was re-elected, but other than that, birtherism is still where it was before that (minus the “he will not be re-elected” meme).
    Most birthers who appeared to quit out of frustration (“I can’t believe they re-elected him”) have come back with a vengeance.
    The only big difference is that WND dropped out of the race.

  15. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 17, 2013 at 7:27 am #

    Well, not entirely. For example, there is this article from May 6:

    http://www.wnd.com/2013/05/sheriff-joe-injects-new-life-into-obama-eligibility/

    The Magic M: The only big difference is that WND dropped out of the race.

  16. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 17, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    The Gates of Hell are, by the way, in the photo in the article, the dark rectangle in the far background above my head.

    What I thought was really ironic is that the near gate that is open is an extremely popular location for wedding photos to be taken, so said our tour guide, and indeed there was a wedding party there the next day.. The Gates of Hell would be a backdrop for those photos.

    Lupin: Your use of it is not therefore inappropriate.

  17. avatar
    Majority Will May 17, 2013 at 7:48 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    The Gates of Hell are, by the way, in the photo in the article, the dark rectangle in the far background above my head.

    What I thought was really ironic is that the near gate that is open is an extremely popular location for wedding photos to be taken, so said our tour guide, and indeed there was a wedding party there the next day.. The Gates of Hell would be a backdrop for those photos.

    It’s a tribute to the Three Rings of Marriage:

    the engagement ring,

    the wedding ring

    and the suffering.

  18. avatar
    Black Lion May 17, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    Another way the birthers just ignore evidence is shown in this oldie but goodie…..

    Hawaii Registrar: Obama Birth Certificate Invalid

    Hawaii state registrar Alvin Onaka has publicly certified to AZ SOS Ken Bennett that Barack Obama’s HI birth certificate is legally non-valid and the White House image is a forgery. He also confirmed to KS SOS Kris Kobach that the information contained in the White House image isNOT “identical to” that in the official record.

    Many of you have replied to concerned constituents that the matter is settled by the public statements of Hawaii officials, the HDOH birth index list, the newspaper birth announcements, and Obama’s posted short-form and long-form birth certificates. Onaka’s disclosure – the only one made by a HI official under oath –negates all that and fits the vast legal and forensic evidence collected so far, some of which is in my affidavit (privately posted at for NE criminal case #B2-119. Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his Cold Case Commander, Mike Zullo (both of whom initially disbelieved the skeptics) have both signed affidavits saying there is legal-quality FORENSIC evidence that Obama’s long-form birth certificate and draft registration are forged. Onaka has now revealed the REASON for the forgery: to hide the non-validity of the birth record. Evidence in my affidavit proves (among other things) that the 1960-64 birth index includes non-valid records.

    Onaka’s disclosure is proof of results-altering election fraud in every state in this country, since fraudulent filing documents were used to place Obama on every state’s ballot. Absent a non-Hawaii birth record, Obama doesn’t even have a legally-determined birth date, place, or parents so nobody can lawfully say he meets the age or citizenship requirements to be President – and yet every Certification of Nomination falsely swears that he is eligible. EVERY electoral vote for Obama is thus now LEGALLY KNOWN to be fraudulently-obtained and must not be certified as lawful on Jan 8th. As with the Sandusky case, those with knowledge have legal responsibility to act, and that is now you.

    http://thedcpost.com/?p=23212

  19. avatar
    Majority Will May 17, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    Black Lion: Another way the birthers just ignore evidence is shown in this oldie but goodie…..

    Hawaii Registrar: Obama Birth Certificate Invalid

    “As reported to AL HENDERSHOT”

    *rolling eyes and smh*

    :-)

  20. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 17, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    Ah yes, Hendershot. Maybe he should read my new article on the Problem with Public Records.

    Majority Will: “As reported to AL HENDERSHOT”

  21. avatar
    Reality Check May 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    This article makes me hungry for a cheese steak. Don’t you dare call it a “Philly” cheese steak or they will know you are from out of town.

  22. avatar
    gorefan May 17, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Ah yes, Hendershot. Maybe he should read my new article on the Problem with Public Records.

    His latest affidavit from February.

    https://docs.google.com/gview?url=http://www.orlytaitzesq.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Affidavit-Al-Hendershot-corrected.pdf&chrome=true

    He is still convinced the Bounel thing is real. From his statement it doesn’t appear that he even understands the reports he generates for his debt collection business.

    “…database shows that the last change in the record of Harry J. Bounel Social security number xxx-xx-xxxx was performed by Michelle Obama in and around November 2009, who is listed as a relative of Harry J. Bounel.”

    Paraphrased from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

    Definition of BUFFOON

    1: a ludicrous figure : clown 2: a gross and usually ill-educated or stupid person: Example: Al Hendershot

  23. avatar
    charo May 17, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    Kiwiwriter: 1. You are chronicling a bizarre and unique part of American political history, which may not be seen again.

    What if Dr. Conspiracy’s website existed after the assassination of Lincoln? Here are a couple of “theories” that is indicative of the notion that there is nothing new here.

    LINCOLN’S ASSASSINATION WAS THE RESULT OF A CONSPIRACY OF POWERFUL INTERNATIONAL BANKERS

    THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH WAS BEHIND LINCOLN’S ASSASSINATION

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080708171631AAuYhVW

  24. avatar
    Kate1230 May 17, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    gorefan: He is still convinced the Bounel thing is real. From his statement it doesn’t appear that he even understands the reports he generates for his debt collection business.

    “…database shows that the last change in the record of Harry J. Bounel Social security number xxx-xx-xxxx was performed by Michelle Obama in and around November 2009, who is listed as a relative of Harry J. Bounel.”

    I’ve seen where Orly has also referred to records that show that Michelle Obama made changes to Harrison Bounel’s SS records. I’m well aware there’s nothing factual behind this but does anyone know what Taitz and anyone else is using as a document to make this claim? Or maybe I should phrase it as, what document have they completely misinterpreted to suit their delusional ideas regarding PBO? Thanks for the info that anyone can provide.

  25. avatar
    Rickey May 17, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

    Kate1230: I’ve seen where Orly has also referred to records that show that Michelle Obama made changes to Harrison Bounel’s SS records.I’m well aware there’s nothing factual behind this but does anyone know what Taitz and anyone else is using as a document to make this claim?Or maybe I should phrase it as, what document have they completely misinterpreted to suit their delusional ideas regarding PBO?Thanks for the info that anyone can provide.

    I believe that it is based upon the claim that there is a database entry which connects “Bounel” to Obama’s address is Chicago.

    My personal belief, based upon the name research I have done, is that there is not and never has been a person named “Harry Bounel” or “Harrison Bounel.” The name of the person who lived in The Bronx in 1940 probably was Harry Bonnel, or possibly Harry Borrel. And he never had any connection with Barack Obama or Michelle Obama.

  26. avatar
    Thinker May 18, 2013 at 12:43 am #

    I believe that there was in fact a database that Hendershot accessed at one time that had the name Harrison J. Bounel associated with the Obama family at their Chicago home. I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for how this name got there and I’m sure it has nothing to do with Harry the fruit seller from the Bronx, but If there were a person named Harrison J. Bounel around today, I think birfers would have located him by now.

    I think just the the Soebarkah notation in Ann Dunham’s passport application, poor birfers will never know the secret of Harrison J. Bounel.

    Rickey:
    My personal belief, based upon the name research I have done, is that there is not and never has been a person named “Harry Bounel” or “Harrison Bounel.” The name of the person who lived in The Bronx in 1940 probably was Harry Bonnel, or possibly HarryBorrel. And he never had any connection with Barack Obama or Michelle Obama.

  27. avatar
    J.D. Sue May 18, 2013 at 1:40 am #

    Kate1230: I’ve seen where Orly has also referred to records that show that Michelle Obama made changes to Harrison Bounel’s SS records.

    —-
    Here’s Orly’s source. http://www.scribd.com/doc/135325742/Affidavit-Al-Hendershot

    BTW, Orly also has “evidence” of the following: Way back in 1910, Harry Bounel, a 50 year old native of CT, lived with Michelle’s great great grandfather in CT. BY 1940, Harry Bounel, miraculously still 50 years old and now a Russian immigrant, had moved to NYC. Then, in the 1970’s, Harry moved back to CT and applied for a SSN (Orly thinks he probably lived in a nursing home there, and the nursing home staff helped Harry get the SSN for benefits). Finally, by 2009, Harry Bounel had moved to Chicago to live with Barack and Michelle. The data shows that Harry may have also married Michelle in Chicago. Clearly, at some point along the way (probably in the 1980s), Michelle and her family–and with some help from Barack’s grandmother in Hawaii–managed to steal Harry’s SSN so Barack could ‘pass’ as a natural born American. (Of course, he couldn’t get a legit SSN because his pregnant teenage mother had left her home and parents and husband and doctor in Hawaii to hop a couple propeller planes to Kenya all alone to give birth among strangers who didn’t approve of her). And if you don’t believe all that, you must hate America and you will be brought up on charges of treason…

  28. avatar
    Kate1230 May 19, 2013 at 3:13 am #

    J.D. Sue: And if you don’t believe all that, you must hate America and you will be brought up on charges of treason…

    Looks like I’ll be headed to jail for treason if Orly becomes Dictator. The reason I was asking about this was back in January, she was all excited about how she found Bounel but the Census was obviously wrong because they had him born in 1860 and since he was from Chicago and lived near a family named Robinson, HE JUST HAD TO BE THE ONE! She was talking about Michelle’s family and had made up this elaborate story that just had to be true, with his first wife dying and him marrying Michelle’s Great-great-great? Grandmother because that’s common in Russia. The men always marry the sister if her husband dies and his wife dies, you know…typical Orly lunacy. Then someone else came along with the NY census and a Bounel in 1890 and of course, she switched her loyalties to this one because NY is so close to CT and, in case you didn’t know, everyone from NY, especially Jewish people, retire to CT. She also had woven this grand conspiracy around the shootings in Newtown being related to Bounel and his autopsy being done at a Newtown hospital, yada, yada, yada! I couldn’t follow it, not being a raving lunatic as Taitz is.

    I was just curious because at the time she said she had info that proved that Michelle Obama was the family member who made changes to his SS record. Several posters on her site asked about it and she gave a convoluted explanation that made absolutely no sense whatsoever, not a surprise! I’ve seen this so-called proof mentioned on other sites that allegedly prove Bounel was originally assigned President Obama’s SS# but of course nobody knows exactly what type of proof this is. In going back through Taitz posts from December and January, just reading the titles of each post, any sane person would quickly realize she’s a fucking lunatic. Her scattered posts are quite revealing. If you had no clue as to who she was, just the titles alone would have you questioning her state of mind.

  29. avatar
    Rickey May 20, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Kate1230: She also had woven this grand conspiracy around the shootings in Newtown being related to Bounel and his autopsy being done at a Newtown hospital, yada, yada, yada!I couldn’t follow it, not being a raving lunatic as Taitz is.

    Not to mention that Newtown doesn’t have a hospital. The nearest hospital is Danbury Hospital, about 12 miles west of Newtown.

    When I conducted a surname search on “Bounel” I came up with 18 hits, but almost all of them appear to be the result of typographical errors. I found several people named “Boumel” whose names were incorrectly entered several times as “Bounel.” A woman named “Brunel” had her name misspelled as “Bounel.” A man named “Brunnel” had his name spelled “Bounel.” A man named “Bohnel” had his name entered as “Bounel.” A deceased woman named “Rita Bouwel” had her name listed as “Rita Bounel.”

    I did find one record of Harris E. Bounel aka Harry F. Bonnel aka H.F. Bonnel who lived in West Caldwell, NJ. This almost certainly is Harrison Bonnell, who was born in 1897 and died in Florida in 1978. He had a New Jersey SSN which was issued prior to 1951. He is the most likely candidate to be the “Harry Bounel” who lived in the Bronx in 1940. The census taker wrote down that he was born in 1890, but that information came from the landlord who may have been guessing at how old her tenant was.

    The Social Security Death Index lists only one person with the surname “Bounel.” That person is Golf Bounel, who was born in 1924 and died in 1988 in Maryland. He had a Maryland SSN. At the present time I cannot verify that there is anyone currently living in the United States who has the surname “Bounel.” All I can find are sketchy, unverifiable references to two men in Arkansas and a man and a woman in Louisiana.