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The Fixer

imageI’d like to share briefly an anecdote from my college days. In English class we were assigned to read Bernard Malamud’s book, The Fixer. It’s the story of Ukrainian Jew falsely prosecuted for a crime, and the story ends with the man finally on his way to have his day in court. The book was based on a true story, and I was curious to see how the following historical events played out, so I went to library’s 19th century London Times microfilm reels for the answer. When we discussed the novel in class, I commented that I had done this research and disclosed the details of the happy ending. At that point the professor decided to move on to the next book. The historical vindication of right, the punishment of the prosecutor, and the financial windfall to the victim pretty much spoiled the story whose main interest lay in the tension of the false accusation.

In the birther business, there’s not much that is unknown to anyone who cares to look at the evidence. Still, for a time there was this question about exactly how President Obama’s long-form birth certificate was scanned and converted to the PDF file on the White House web site. Its contents were verified, but its method of production left an unanswered question. Thanks to the efforts of NBC and Kevin Vicklund (along with suggestions from others), we now know the process by which the PDF was created. And while this is important research, it does rather deflate what little tension remained in the story. It certainly removes any interest I have in discussing whether Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery of not. It’s time to move on to something else.

While President Obama has already won re-election, and his birth documentation is on a monumentally-firm footing, there still remains the issue of punishment of those who made negligent accusations.  What does it mean to say that a birther image “expert” has been discredited, when they had no credit to begin with? No, what is lacking in the story, and what will most likely never be resolved, is the birthers acknowledging their folly; that is not in the nature of conspiracy theorists.

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44 Responses to The Fixer

  1. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG July 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    I think the ostracism by their own family members could be seen as a form of punishment. Birthers on different sites have lamented about how its cost them relationships with friends and family. It didn’t make them remorseful enough to stop obviously, but they are at least losing what matters most in life over their refusal to accept reality.

  2. avatar
    scott e July 21, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    is the Russian jew in your story supposed to be Orly or Obama ? I just had frank tell me that no credible expert would render an opinion based on an internet image.

    so i’m a bit confused about that, what is it that has been going on all this time ?

    john woodman said it was a big mistake to have put hundreds of hours, and an investment of lot’s of $$ into his opinion/verdict.

    are you all pouring your time and energy into yet another different “real” original copy that we don’t know about ?? he also told me in an email that he think Obama is corrupt. you guys just don’t make sense. I think the obots destroyed his site. the other obot sites weren’t enough ?

    as a birther, I thought the/a reason it was launched a pdf, was to make it virtual and obscure, thereby making it unaccountable.

    but that hasn’t stopped anyone (from both sides) from analysis and opinion making, about that famous pdf.

  3. avatar
    richCares July 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    “how its cost them relationships with friends and family”
    .
    my neighbors took in their granddaughter who had it with her birther father, he was even told not to show up for her graduation. His wife finally kicked him out of the hose and initiated a divorce. Really sad to be a birther.
    .
    final note:
    he taught his daughter to reject evolution, he told her “If evolution is true, why are there still monkeys”. I wonder if all birthers share this ignorance.

  4. avatar
    bovril July 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    Birfin’ is its own reward

    Terry Lakin………………..Court-martial, loss of rank, privileges and pension
    Darren Huff………………..Arrested, charged, tried, convicted 4 years in the slammer
    Walter Fitzpatrick………..Multiple arrests, multiple convictions
    Lucas Smith……………….Forger and general muppet, multiple arrest and convictions
    Mario Apuzzo……………..Humiliated by a second year associate in court, discharged sanctions by court
    KKKlayman…………………Child abuser, dead beat father, multiple fines and court sanctions
    Reed Hayes………………..Actions means probably never be able to successfully ply his trade in court ever again
    Mad Ole Orly……………….Fines, sanctions, ridiculed by many courts, shrouded, the list goes on

    Ah, the list of ignominy is long and getting longer……..

  5. avatar
    misha marinsky July 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    richCares: I wonder if all birthers share this ignorance.

    Yes. A lot of mainstream people do.

    -Sarah Palin (R-Mars)
    -Republican Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia
    -Ralph Hall (R-Texas)
    -Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R)
    -Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.)
    -Todd Akin (R-Mo.)
    -Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.)
    -Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
    -Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R)…

  6. avatar
    misha marinsky July 21, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    “If evolution is true, why are there still monkeys”

    The proper response: “Evolution is true. The question is, ‘Why are you still here?'”

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 21, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    Discussion of Woodman’s web site is off-topic for this article.

    scott e: john woodman said it was a big mistake to have put hundreds of hours, and an investment of lot’s of $$ into his opinion/verdict.

  8. avatar
    Suranis July 21, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Woodman thought he would make money on the project, that people would be interested in a book that honestly looks at the anomalies of the Birth certificate from a scientific standpoint. Instead he found that people like Scott were not interested in the truth at all and if he had written a book full of bullshit he would have made a million dollars. He wasted his time and money trying because Scott here is not interested in the truth.

    NBC was doing it as a hobby, so he did it for simple enjoyment. Its like saying gardening is a waste of time and money.

  9. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 21, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    Neither. The anecdote is about me (not as a character in The Fixer) but as one to reacts to the how the story plays out. That said, Orly did once suggest that Obama was guilty of ritual murder (the charge in The Fixer). That is discussed by me here:

    http://www.obots.org/archives/216

    BTW, there is a Wikipedia article about the historical personage fictionalized in the novel.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menahem_Mendel_Beilis

    I see that Beilis was Ukrainian, not Russian. I’ll change the article.

    scott e: is the Russian jew in your story supposed to be Orly or Obama ?

  10. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 21, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    The Wikipedia article invites comparisons between the story of Beilis and Leo Frank in the United States, a Jew who was also widely-thought to have been wrongly convicted of murder in Georgia. The recent book about that case, which I have read, is And the Dead Shall Rise by Steve Oney. I found this book very interesting.

    Frank was taken from a state prison and lynched. Both Frank and Beilis are buried in the same cemetery.

  11. avatar
    misha marinsky July 21, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    Suranis: NBC was doing it as a hobby, so he did it for simple enjoyment. Its like saying gardening is a waste of time and money.

    That’s why I wrote “Obama Born in Kenya? No”

    http://newyorkleftist.blogspot.com/2010/03/obama-born-in-kenya-no.html

    and my famous Kenya BC:

    http://newyorkleftist.blogspot.co.uk/2009/09/another-kenyan-birth-certificate.html

  12. avatar
    BullCrap Blog July 21, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    The phrase that there isn’t any BC makes for the most reliable information to determine that the PDF BC is a created document.

    What a waste of time this blog is when it is run by a senile old man who can’t get his jollies off without trying to make himself appear as the universe’s only intellectual NOT.

    Piss on all Obots.
    Amen.

  13. avatar
    Yoda July 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Doc, I go a little further than you do. There are certain people who deserve to be charged with sedition. Others, who solicited donations from the gullible, should be prosecuted for fraud. None of this will happen, of course, but it should.

  14. avatar
    CarlOrcas July 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    scott e: as a birther, I thought the/a reason it was launched a pdf, was to make it virtual and obscure, thereby making it unaccountable

    Or maybe it was much simpler: By scanning it and posting the image on the internet it saved them the time and cost of making 300-million plus copies and handing them out on street corners across the fruited plain.

    At a 100,000 copies a day that would take ten years (on a five day a week schedule) or well into Hillary’s second term.

  15. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater July 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    scott e: john woodman said it was a big mistake to have put hundreds of hours, and an investment of lot’s of $$ into his opinion/verdict.

    Yes because Woodman underestimated the ability of extremely stupid people to continue to believe extremely stupid things long after you’ve had your hand held and walked through everything. Woodman at the beginning probably never thought when faced with reality, people like you Scott would continue to deny it.

  16. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 21, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    You flunked English composition, yes?

    BullCrap Blog: The phrase that there isn’t any BC makes for the most reliable information to determine that the PDF BC is a created document.

  17. avatar
    misha marinsky July 21, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

    BullCrap Blog: Piss on all Obots.
    Amen.

    מְשׁוּגָע

    אָמֵן

  18. avatar
    CarlOrcas July 21, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    BullCrap Blog: Piss on all Obots.
    Amen.

    You’re on the wrong blog. I think you want GoldenShowers.org It has special sections depending on your chosen religion. Amen?

  19. avatar
    Rickey July 21, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

    Dr Kenneth Noisewater: Yes because Woodman underestimated the ability of extremely stupid people to continue to believe extremely stupid things long after you’ve had your hand held and walked through everything.Woodman at the beginning probably never thought when faced with reality, people like you Scott would continue to deny it.

    Also, I suspect that Woodman badly overestimated the market for his work. Birthers weren’t going to buy it because it refutes their theories. Most people in the reality-based community appreciated Woodman’s work but didn’t need it, because we knew that the birther “experts” are full of it.

    And the reality is that most people aren’t even aware of the made-up “controversy” about the PDF.

  20. avatar
    The Magic M July 22, 2013 at 5:18 am #

    CarlOrcas: By scanning it and posting the image on the internet it saved them the time and cost of making 300-million plus copies and handing them out on street corners across the fruited plain.

    Besides, birthers would’ve demanded to see at least 299,548,291 of those 300,000,000 copies to make sure they are all identical. (That’s a variant of a common crank theme I see on my law forum – “how can I be sure the documents sent to me and sent to the court are the same?”)

  21. avatar
    The European July 22, 2013 at 6:10 am #

    There is another parallel:

    the prosecution in the Beilis(s) trial relied heavily on a self declared expert:

    One prosecution witness, presented as a religious expert in Judaic rituals, was a Catholic priest, Justinas Pranaitis from Tashkent, well known for his antisemitic 1892 work Talmud Unmasked. Pranaitis testified that the murder of Yushchinsky was a religious ritual, associating the murder of Yushchinsky with the blood libel, a hoax believed by many Russians at the time ………

    Pranaitis’ credibility rapidly evaporated when the defense demonstrated his ignorance of some simple Talmudic concepts and definitions, such as hullin,[1] to the point where “many in the audience occasionally laughed out loud when he clearly became confused and couldn’t even intelligibly answer some of the questions asked by my lawyer.”[6] A Tsarist secret police agent is quoted, reporting on Pranaitis’ testimony, as saying:

    Cross-examination of Pranaitis has weakened evidentiary value of his expert opinion, exposing lack of knowledge of texts, insufficient knowledge of Jewish literature. Because of amateurish knowledge and lack of resourcefulness, Pranaitis’ expert opinion is of very low value

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beilis

    And, btw, looking up Beilis I stumbled over this American case:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Frank

    Seems that pre-revolutionary Russia was a better place for jews than Georgia – USA – at the same time.

  22. avatar
    Keith July 22, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    This talk of “blood libel” ritual murder got me to thinking about a book I read about a year ago titled ‘The Golem’.

    The story of the Golem is that the creature was raised from mud to protect the ghetto from Christian persecution. The persecutors used accusation of ritual murder against the Jews.

    The famous story by Meyrink (spelling?) is not the one I read, but I can’t find my copy to tell you who wrote it and when. Certainly, Meyrink’s version was written in the same time frame as the Beilis Affair, and could sort of be compared to, say, Arthur Miller’s response to Joe McCarthy in ‘The Crucible’. I suspect the version I read, which is closer to the traditional myth story, is earlier than that.

    Reading the Wikipedia article on Beilis, I note the following quote that sounds so familiar to this blog that it could have been written five minutes ago:

    …One police department official is quoted as saying:
    The course of the trial will depend on how the ignorant jury will perceive arguments of priest Pranaitis, who is sure about the reality of ritual murders. I think, as a priest he is able to talk with peasants and to convince them. As a scientist, who defended a thesis about this question, he will give props to the court and prosecution, though nothing can be guessed in advance yet. I became acquainted with Pranaitis and am firmly convinced that he is the person who knows the problem, about which he will talk, in depth… Everything, then, will depend on which arguments priest Pranaitis will furnish, and he has them, and they’re shattering for the Jewry.

    Pranaitis is, of course, analogous to the birther’s ‘expert witness’ that is not an expert at all.

  23. avatar
    CarlOrcas July 22, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    The Magic M: Besides, birthers would’ve demanded to see at least 299,548,291 of those 300,000,000 copies to make sure they are all identical. (That’s a variant of a common crank theme I see on my law forum – “how can I be sure the documents sent to me and sent to the court are the same?”)

    And, of course, they would have found one that didn’t print correctly……low toner, bad paper feed, etc…..and it would be the undeniable proof that the whole effort was a scam….blah, blah, blah.

  24. avatar
    Soduko July 22, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    @Bull Crap

    Uh…Who said there “wasn’t any BC”?

  25. avatar
    Julius B Censor July 22, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    Anyone who was smart and honest would simply advise the president to stop hiding documents and waive his hawaii records privacy rights.

    Clearly this hasn’t occurred to you yet.

  26. avatar
    Soduko July 22, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    @Julius

    Both the short and long forms of Obama’s BCs have been released. The HI Dept of Health issued three Verifications of the long form. What more do they need to do? What more do you think they have?

    BTW Obama cannot waive his privacy rights.

  27. avatar
    JD Reed July 22, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    Julius B Censor: Anyone who was smart and honest would simply advise the president to stop hiding documents and waive his hawaii records privacy rights.Clearly this hasn’t occurred to you yet.

    Why do you cling to this? The president is not “hiding documents.” This is a big lie flogged by birthers year after year. You say documents plural. No one ever demanded of a prebvious president the documents you demand of Mr. Obama. He’s not hiding documents — these documents are private BY LAW. An enduring lie is that Mr. Obama as first order of business issued an executive order “sealing” his birth, academic, medical and passport records. Come clean, Julie; tell us whether you embrace this report of his sealling his records by executive order. If you do not embrace it, you’re in effect acknowledging that the birthers who do are lying. If you embrace it, it proves you’re at best delusional in this matter.
    Show us YOUR honesty, Julie; tell us whether you believe the “sealed reccords” executive order meme, or not.

  28. avatar
    CarlOrcas July 22, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    Julius B Censor:
    Anyone who was smart and honest would simply advise the president to stop hiding documents and waive his hawaii records privacy rights.

    Clearly this hasn’t occurred to you yet.

    So….it’s your position that anyone who accepts the State of Hawaii at its word and who understands that when it comes to the original birth document the President has no “privacy rights” to waive….that person is stupid and dishonest? Interesting bit of tortured logic.

    So tell us JC, exactly what hidden documents would – if you could see them – convince you everything with Mr. Obama is okay?

  29. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater July 22, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    Julius B Censor:
    Anyone who was smart and honest would simply advise the president to stop hiding documents and waive his hawaii records privacy rights.

    Clearly this hasn’t occurred to you yet.

    He’s not hiding any documents no more than any previous president. Are you saying every previous president wasn’t smart and honest since they didn’t waive their privacy rights and release all their records? Why a different standard for this president?

  30. avatar
    Suranis July 22, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    John McCain refused to release his Birth certificate. Whats he hiding?

  31. avatar
    misha marinsky July 23, 2013 at 1:06 am #

    The European: Seems that pre-revolutionary Russia was a better place for jews than Georgia – USA – at the same time.

    Also, Philadelphia, Mississippi:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi_civil_rights_workers'_murders

    Governor Slaton resigned immediately after granting clemency to Frank. He then went to live in California, and never held office again.

  32. avatar
    misha marinsky July 23, 2013 at 1:11 am #

    CarlOrcas: It has special sections depending on your chosen religion. Amen?

    Kapish?

  33. avatar
    misha marinsky July 23, 2013 at 1:15 am #

    Suranis: John McCain refused to release his Birth certificate. Whats he hiding?

    McCain’s hiding that he is a space alien:

    http://newyorkleftist.blogspot.com/2008/10/mccain-is-space-alien.html

  34. avatar
    CarlOrcas July 23, 2013 at 2:10 am #

    misha marinsky: Kapish?

    I was afraid you would understand.

  35. avatar
    Lupin July 23, 2013 at 3:28 am #

    Julius B Censor: Anyone who was smart and honest would simply advise the president to stop hiding documents and waive his hawaii records privacy rights.

    Clearly this hasn’t occurred to you yet.

    Anyone who isn’t a bigot and a racist would trust the multiple verifications issued by the State authorities including a Republican Governor.

  36. avatar
    The Magic M July 23, 2013 at 4:10 am #

    Julius B Censor: waive his hawaii records privacy rights

    Stupidity remains incurable among birthers. You also fail the Turing test by being unable to process previous input. 99% of you can be replaced by a one-page C++ script randomly spouting known birther talking points (and the script would be better at solving crossword puzzles than you, too).

  37. avatar
    misha marinsky July 23, 2013 at 7:37 am #

    Julius B Censor: advise the president to stop hiding documents and waive his hawaii records privacy rights. Clearly this hasn’t occurred to you yet.

    “He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.”

  38. avatar
    JD Reed July 23, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    misha marinsky: “He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.”

    I never heard this before, but it sounds like Groucho Marx. Am I right?

  39. avatar
    misha marinsky July 23, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    JD Reed: I never heard this before, but it sounds like Groucho Marx. Am I right?

    Yes. My favorite is, “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

  40. avatar
    JoZeppy July 23, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    Julius B Censor:
    Anyone who was smart and honest would simply advise the president to stop hiding documents and waive his hawaii records privacy rights.

    Clearly this hasn’t occurred to you yet.

    Anyone who is smart and honest would realize he doesn’t have the power to waive anything. However, bithers are neither. Hawaii law specifies who has is permitted these documents. It isn’t a “right to privacy” as much as a right of access. Obama can no more “waive his privacy” rights in this matter than a person can waive his “right to life” and hire someone to have himself killed.

  41. avatar
    Yoda July 23, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    Birthers work under the misconception that anyone really cares about what they have to say. What mild interest there is comes from us and that is for entertainment purposes only.

  42. avatar
    Jim July 23, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Yoda:
    Birthers work under the misconception that anyone really cares about what they have to say. What mild interest there is comes from us and that is for entertainment purposes only.

    birthers…today’s version of The Three Stooges. Larry (Klayman), Joe (Arpaio), and Orly.

    And now, they’re beating each other up! What entertainment!!! 😀

  43. avatar
    RanTalbott July 29, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    Julius B Censor:
    Anyone who was smart and honest would

    acknowledge that the birther goalposts now have to be dragged again, because the wheels are worn down to the axles from repeated moving.
    We need a new version of the “stand your ground” law, that decriminalizes possession of Thorazine, and authorizes anyone being pestered by loons spouting long-discredited conspiracy theories to just shoot them with a hypodermic dart.

  44. avatar
    misha marinsky July 29, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    RanTalbott: authorizes anyone being pestered by loons spouting long-discredited conspiracy theories to just shoot them with a hypodermic dart

    Sign me up.