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The universal reconciliation of all things

I tend to think in abstractions (comes from being a math student and later a software developer). It leads to thinking about how birthers and anti-birthers are alike, and how they are different.

One theme shared by birthers and their opponents is “truth.” (We even had a commenter early on who used the name TRUTH.) I’ve enjoyed reading and using a particular formulation that would fit here:

You use this word “truth,” but I don’t think it means what you think it does.

Birthers and anti-birthers both want the other side, and the undecided, to see the “truth.” They look to the universal reconciliation, but both claim that they hold a majority view (birthers say that most people agree with them but are afraid to admit it). This is not  a recipe for reconciliation or consensus. There is a significant asymmetry here: Birthers think their opponents know the truth, their truth, while birther opponents do not think that birthers know the truth. (Actually about 25% of persons polled believe that those responding as birthers in polls so so out of dislike for Obama, and not because they are birthers.) Birthers believe in an ultimate vindication while anti-birthers do not believe in the ultimate denouement of the birthers; conspiracy theories never die.

One image that has always been attractive to me is the scene from the 1989 movie Batman where Jack Nicholson as The Joker says to Batman: “You made me. Remember?” In the story Batman “makes” the Joker by dropping Jack Napier into a vat of chemicals, but the Joker had made Batman as well when he killed Bruce Wayne’s parents. Obviously anti-birthers would not exist but for birthers. Whether birther opponents contribute to birtherism is a question I haven’t answered for myself.

imageThe other DC Comics image that birthers bring to mind is the character of Bizarro from the Superman books. Bizarro is a corrupt version of Superman, somewhat of an anti-Superman. The Bizarro motto is:

Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!

The Cold Case Posse is a Bizarro version of law enforcement, for example, and Orly Taitz is a Bizarro version of an attorney. Birther forensic analysis, citizen grand juries, politicians, journalists, attorneys—all distorted and corrupted imitations of the real things.

When I was a kid, the example of the Communist was used as motivation. Communists were supposedly dedicated, motivated, and hard-working, and so by implication we had to be more so in order to defeat them. Later historical analysis showed that the Communists of the 1950’s were not uniquely dedicated or hard-working.1 I think the dedication of birthers is equally overblown, at least by themselves. They write on the Internet, but when it comes time to show up in person, it’s crickets.

A neat wrap-up would be nice, but I don’t have one. The only significant events of the birther movement were Obama’s election, twice. That’s what actually happened. The rest is noise, sometimes interesting, but as Shakespeare’s Macbeth says:

Birtherism_Small


1A Russian joke from the 1980’s goes:

So long as the bosses pretend to pay us, we will pretend to work.

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40 Responses to The universal reconciliation of all things

  1. avatar
    Slartibartfast June 23, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

    Doc said: “Birthers believe in an ultimate vindication while anti-birthers do not believe in the ultimate denouement of the birthers

    Which is a real bummer since I love denouement. Great article Doc—I think the birthers have become the ur-example of the Shakespeare quote.

  2. avatar
    alg June 24, 2014 at 1:26 am #

    Conspiracy theories are easy to invent, but like a bad rash difficult to make go away.

    I am reminded of a conspiracy-minded acquaintance I met on the internet a few years ago. He went off the charts during the Y2K conversion over a photograph published by WND of a fleet of white Suburbans on a Texas desert purported to belong to a UN army force about to invade the U.S. Of course, they were really a fleet of vehicles belonging to the Border Patrol waiting to get outfitted for deployment to protect the nation’s borders – exactly the opposite purpose of what my friend believed them to be.

    Though, I corrected my friend on his error, it didn’t matter. He was convinced otherwise and expressed himself in all kinds of nasty ways about my simple and straightforward explanation. He probably still belies to this day that those Chevy’s belong to the UN.

    Birtherism will go similarly. Interest will fade over time, but the cadre of true believers will never let it go.

  3. avatar
    Suranis June 24, 2014 at 2:37 am #

    As I mentioned once on RC radio, the end of birtherism will be some lonely guy stamping the new US currency, one of which has the Image of President Obama, with “Where’s the Birth Certificate” stamps.

  4. avatar
    bovril June 24, 2014 at 6:24 am #

    One of the (many) issues with Birtherism is, it is, by it’s nature. absolutist.

    All black, all white, no gray, no room for the inevitable and inescapable reality that sh*t happens, no system is infallible and every system tends to increase entropy and add noise.

    In Birther World the DMV works efficiently and effectively, all staff members are helpful, courteous and timely, all forms are simple and easily read, no applications are delayed or lost, every appointmnet is on time and all photo’s are taken by Annie Liebowitz.

    The Birther World is also wholly exclusionary, dogmatic, faith stifled, hidebound and intolerant…all characteristics they accuse Islam of…….

    I see some superficial parallels with the Cathloic Church pre Luther

    Sale of Indulgences…..
    Ex-Communication
    Labelling of oithers as heretics
    “Historic” interpretation of dogma and bible teachings at conflict with the word itself
    Prophecies concerning the Antichrist
    Papal and Church infallibility
    Pious veneration of relics
    Salvation only through faith not deeds
    Etc…

    I particulalrly enjoy two statements from Luther that seem to talk to the immorality of the the Birther view and similarities with the “Movers and Shakers” of this bowel movement…

    Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?

    H’mmmmm, Orly, Farrah, Corsi and Zullo anyone….. 8-)

    Do you know what the Devil thinks when he sees men use violence to propagate the gospel? He sits with folded arms behind the fire of hell, and says with malignant looks and frightful grin: “Ah, how wise these madmen are to play my game! Let them go on; I shall reap the benefit. I delight in it.

    Of course Birtherism has nothing like the size, belief, ability and intellectual range of the 1500’s Catholic Church, nor shall it. The seeming parallels are interesting however….. 8-)

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 24, 2014 at 7:58 am #

    I would make two small quibbles. Luther criticized the Catholic Church for being works-based. His mantra was salvation by grace through faith. The other is that Mike Zullo does not appear to have any significant money of his own to finance his birtherism.

    bovril:

    I see some superficial parallels with the Cathloic Church pre Luther

  6. avatar
    Keith June 24, 2014 at 8:05 am #

    alg: He probably still belies to this day that those Chevy’s belong to the UN.

    I saw dozens of genuine UN vehicles running around in Timor Leste a couple of years ago.

    They were Hummers.

  7. avatar
    bovril June 24, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I would make two small quibbles. Luther criticized the Catholic Church for being works-based. His mantra was salvation by grace through faith. The other is that Mike Zullo does not appear to have any significant money of his own to finance his birtherism.

    I agree to the first, for the second I was thinking more of Arpaio as Pope using the folks of Maricopa County to pay for his hubris or Orly and here own (husbands) money as well as pennies of her faithful….. 8-)

  8. avatar
    bgansel9 June 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Birthers believe in an ultimate vindication while anti-birthers do not believe in the ultimate denouement of the birthers; conspiracy theories never die.

    We are under no illusion that this kind of crazy isn’t everlasting.

  9. avatar
    bgansel9 June 24, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    bovril: I see some superficial parallels with the Cathloic Church pre Luther

    Sale of Indulgences…..
    Ex-Communication
    Labelling of oithers as heretics
    “Historic” interpretation of dogma and bible teachings at conflict with the word itself
    Prophecies concerning the Antichrist
    Papal and Church infallibility
    Pious veneration of relics
    Salvation only through faith not deeds
    Etc…

    Exactly why I believe these people and their other rightwing friends are going to eventually bring an inquisition to America.

  10. avatar
    SqueekyFrommGirlReporter June 25, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    Well IMHO (which means in my humble opinion) the Common Sense Suspicious Birthers are better equipped (mentally speaking) to survive in todays world than the rest of us. There could be some sort of reconciliation with them, since their main difficulty is a matter of degree vis a vis the appropriate level of paranoia. The two citizen parents people on the other hand are just a pack of wackadoodles and a sane person would require shock treatments and lobotimazation for wreckonciliation with them.

    SQUEEKY FROMM
    GIRL REPORTER

    PS: I am stuck in a rehab place with only a Kindle Fire at this point in case anyone wad curious.

  11. avatar
    Bonsall Obot June 25, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

    SqueekyFrommGirlReporter:

    in case anyone wad curious.

    Exactly no one was curious.

    I knew you’d be back. I said so when you insisted you wouldn’t be.

    For the record: since the State of Hawai’i verified the particulars of the President’s birth there, there is no such thing as a “Common Sense Suspicious Birther.” To remain a Birther in light of these facts is to be delusional.

  12. avatar
    Dave June 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    Here’s the question: how many birthers reject the two citizen parent theory? Squeeky, I’ll let you decide if you fit that description, but I have not seen any other example.

    SqueekyFrommGirlReporter:
    Well IMHO (which means in my humble opinion) the Common Sense Suspicious Birthers are better equipped (mentally speaking) to survive in todays world than the rest of us. There could be some sort of reconciliation with them, since their main difficulty is a matter of degree vis a vis the appropriate level of paranoia. The two citizen parents people on the other hand are just a pack of wackadoodles and a sane person would require shock treatments and lobotimazation for wreckonciliation with them.

  13. avatar
    raicha June 25, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    Well, I wondered what happened to Squeeky.

  14. avatar
    Suranis June 25, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    Kinda curious myself.

  15. avatar
    Bonsall Obot June 25, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    I stand corrected.

  16. avatar
    roadburner June 25, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

    PS: I am stuck in a rehab place with only a Kindle Fire at this point in case anyone wad curious.

    damn squeeky!….hope it´s working out ok for you

  17. avatar
    SqueekyFrommGirlReporter June 25, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

    Road:

    Thank you!!! It is over 5 months in this place and it is just the last few days that I can push with my left knee. I did 8.2 k on this bike thingy today so it won’t be much longer until I can go home.And I am lucky because there are all these antique people who will never get better through no fault of their own unlike me who was showing off when I hurt myself. And was drunk to boot.

    But like Zarathumper or whatever his name was said: Whatever does not kill me just p*sses me off. And makes me more humble.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  18. avatar
    Arthur June 25, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    SqueekyFrommGirlReporter: PS: I am stuck in a rehab place with only a Kindle Fire at this point in case anyone wad curious.

    I love my Kindle Fire–hope you’ve got some good books on yours and best of luck with the rehab.

    SqueekyFrommGirlReporter: There could be some sort of reconciliation with them, since their main difficulty is a matter of degree vis a vis the appropriate level of paranoia.

    Paranoia is considered a mental disorder; it’s not an appropriate way of looking at the world or trying to deal with people or politics.

  19. avatar
    Arthur June 25, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    SqueekyFrommGirlReporter: Thank you!!! It is over 5 months in this place and it is just the last few days that I can push with my left knee.

    You know, it’s probably a good idea to clarify what kind of rehab you’re in. A lot of people just assume it’s drug or alcohol rehab, and not physical therapy. Were you in an accident?

  20. avatar
    SqueekyFrommGirlReporter June 25, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

    Arthur:

    Yes I had a bad slip and fall off of something and hurt my back to where I could not move for a while. Then some other stuff happened and what should have been 2 weeks of physical rehab turned into months. Of mostly waiting for one part or another to become weight bearing again. Which everything has now. Plus about a month into it all they discovered some other medical stuff which set me back by another month. And I had this thingy called a pick put in me which was hooked up to a bunch of plastic bags of antibiotics and other stuff. Plus I had a lot of hallucinations at first and none of them were the groovy kind. But the vancomycin cleared all that up.

    The funnest thing though is messing with the staff. Like sneaking food coloring stuff into various fluid samples. And since I got off some pills that my family talked the doctor into putting me on until last week when I found out about them I cycle through some mood stuff like crying for no reason mainly. Sooo to cover up the temporary lability I told the CNAs that it was because of a very sad video by a French guy named Jacque Brel whose little kitty got run over by a Citroen. “No More Kitty Paws”.They all fell for it when I played it on my Kindle with Jacque crying his eyes out. I would link it to here from youtube but I dont know how on s Kindle. Hint hint.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  21. avatar
    James M June 25, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    You were gone?

    When do you go back?

    Have you been in touch with Charlie?

  22. avatar
    Sef June 25, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    SqueekyFrommGirlReporter: But the vancomycin cleared all that up.

    Get well Squeeks. I hope you’re eating plenty of yogurt to repopulate your gastro-intestinal flora/fauna after that heavy antibiotic.

  23. avatar
    Bonsall Obot June 25, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    Since a number of posters are behaving as though Squeeky is a decent person, this is as good a time as any to remind the community of her true nature:

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2013/09/obama-v-trump/

    That’s not the most recent thread where she claimed (lied) that she’d never post here again, but it’s pretty illustrative of who she really is. Worth the time to read. She owes a lot of apologies on this board.

  24. avatar
    Dave June 25, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

    Well… nobody’s perfect.

  25. avatar
    Sef June 25, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

    Bonsall Obot:
    Since a number of posters are behaving as though Squeeky is a decent person, this is as good a time as any to remind the community of her true nature:

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2013/09/obama-v-trump/

    That’s not the most recent thread where she claimed (lied) that she’d never post here again, but it’s pretty illustrative of who she really is. Worth the time to read. She owes a lot of apologies on this board.

    “The truly enlightened ones are those who neither incite fear in others nor fear anyone themselves.”

  26. avatar
    SqueekyFrommGirlReporter June 25, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

    OK this may be the jacques Brel link

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N0KLu4vfkE

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  27. avatar
    Dave June 25, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    Returning for a moment to the topic, I just googled “universal reconciliation” and learned quite a lot. Just goes to show how effective the Internet is at, maybe not exactly educating me, but at least slapping a patch over my ignorance.

  28. avatar
    Thomas Brown June 25, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

    She lost me when she defended Zimmermann and bought the RWNJ revisionism of Trayvon as a thug. That makes her either ugly-minded or stupid, and she’s not stupid. A third possibility is sophistry, taking a position solely for effect, and that too is ethically bankrupt. How else to explain purportedly backing Trump and Palin as having presidential mettle?

    That said, I wish her nothing but good. She’s clever and creative and may become someone I’d admire unreservedly someday.

  29. avatar
    Arthur June 25, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    Bonsall Obot: Since a number of posters are behaving as though Squeeky is a decent person, this is as good a time as any to remind the community of her true nature:

    I know what you’re saying . . . I haven’t forgotten the the things she’s written that I found stupid or offensive (e.g. the comments she made about Trayvon Martin), yet she’s also contributed to the fight against birtherism. Ultimately, I tend to have sympathy for someone who has had to endure long hospital stays and rehabilitation.

  30. avatar
    SqueekyFrommGirlReporter June 25, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

    Well one thing i do remember concluding from last year was that the Birther issue and “general politics” should never be mixed or it would just degenerate into a brawl. Which while fun and cathartic in the short term is destructive in the long run. Sooo, unless I have been drinking, I will usually just bite my tongue.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  31. avatar
    The Magic M June 26, 2014 at 3:52 am #

    SqueekyFrommGirlReporter: a very sad video by a French guy named Jacque Brel whose little kitty got run over by a Citroen. “No More Kitty Paws”

    I gotta go write that song. ;)

  32. avatar
    Lupin June 26, 2014 at 4:30 am #

    * sigh *

    Jacques Brel = Belgian

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

    Also not “a guy”. On the level with Bob Dylan or John Lennon.

  33. avatar
    roadburner June 26, 2014 at 5:37 am #

    Bonsall Obot: Since a number of posters are behaving as though Squeeky is a decent person, this is as good a time as any to remind the community of her true nature:http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2013/09/obama-v-trump/That’s not the most recent thread where she claimed (lied) that she’d never post here again, but it’s pretty illustrative of who she really is. Worth the time to read. She owes a lot of apologies on this board.

    that might be the case mate, but i sympathise with anyone who has had to do long term rehabilitation.

    i prefer to send good vibes for recovery – hell, if everyone i´d been an asshole to was to hold it against me, i´d have to become a hermit :D

  34. avatar
    Keith June 26, 2014 at 7:57 am #

    Arthur: Ultimately, I tend to have sympathy for someone who has had to endure long hospital stays and rehabilitation.

    Having reread the nasty thread that Sef linked (have brain bleach on the ready), and the vile way she treated one poster’s medical anecdote, while I certainly have sympathy for people who have endured hardship, I have no sympathy for the wannabe terrorist assassin at all.

  35. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 26, 2014 at 8:01 am #

    Yes, and that is of course why I try to keep this site on topic.

    SqueekyFrommGirlReporter: Well one thing i do remember concluding from last year was that the Birther issue and “general politics” should never be mixed or it would just degenerate into a brawl.

  36. avatar
    sfjeff June 26, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    So over at Politicalforum we have a rabid Birther posting the usual Zullo bs

    But I particularly enjoyed this one

    [QUOTE=Birtherlicious;1064019601]Even the fanatical king anti-birther Dr. Conspiracy has elaborated in one of his articles what the Hayes report might contain and that is Reed Hayes has detected anomalies l.[/QUOTE]

    Clearly Birtherlicious is a fan……

  37. avatar
    JPotter June 26, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    sfjeff: detected anomalies

    Birfers use of this phrase reminds me of old submarine movies.

    In Birferstan, the sonar is always active, and everyone jumps at their own echoes.

  38. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 26, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    I replied over there:

    “I have not seen the Hayes report so I can only speculate, and speculation is not confirmation. The remarks quoted do not represent my position or what I wrote.

    It must be frustrating to have the Hayes report teasing you, but not being able to see it. As for Arpaio, I have no faith in his Cold Case Posse investigation whatever. They’ve been caught lying and fabricating evidence. They are discredited. ”

    sfjeff:
    So over at Politicalforum we have a rabid Birther posting the usual Zullo bs

    But I particularly enjoyed this one

    [QUOTE=Birtherlicious;1064019601]Even the fanatical king anti-birther Dr. Conspiracyhas elaborated in one of his articles what the Hayes report might contain and that is Reed Hayes has detected anomalies l.[/QUOTE]

    Clearly Birtherlicious is a fan……

  39. avatar
    Bonsall Obot June 26, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    I maintain that Birtherlicious has detected communist Muslims under his bed*. Doesn’t signify.

    * – yes, it’s a big-boy race-car bed.

  40. avatar
    Suranis June 26, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    As a result of amusing myself withthat Birtherdelicious guy I actually looked at Reed Hayes website. There’s a very interesting section on the services part that would kind of make the Haye’s report deeply suspect from his own standards

    http://reedwrite.com/?page_id=133

    REQUIREMENTS FOR HANDWRITING OR SIGNATURE COMPARISON

    Due to a number of internal and external factors, nobody writes exactly the same way twice. It is therefore imperative for the handwriting expert to establish the person’s usual writing habits in order to identify or eliminate that person as the author or signer of a document.

    Determining a person’s natural writing style requires a sufficient amount of authentic writing. While each case is different and some examinations require more material, 8-10 comparison signatures are usually sufficient. Some cases can be solved with only one or two genuine comparison signatures. The examiner may need to qualify his conclusion, depending on the nature and amount of material available.

    We prefer to examine original documents because photocopies do not accurately reproduce the finer features of handwriting such as pressure patterns, line quality, ink or pen type, etc.

    Examination of originals is also sometimes necessary in detecting forgeries accomplished by lifting a genuine signature and copying it onto a new document. However, because originals are not always available, it is common for document examiners to render qualified conclusions based on photocopies.