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The next president …

I was listening to “All Things Considered” (27 May 2015) on public radio this afternoon and they had a feature on the problem of terrorism, and specifically ISIS. Apart from the usual intelligent conversation, I noticed the reporter’s frequent use of the phrase, “the next president” in the context of what has to be done to combat terrorism. You can listen to that piece at NPR. Another piece was on Rick Santorum’s candidacy for president in 2016.

I guess Barack Obama is now yesterday’s news for everybody except the birthers and those who watch them.

All of that wouldn’t be connected with the purposes of this blog, except for a third story about an effort to enlist a broad coalition to come up with ideas to combat the recruitment of Islamic militants, particularly through the Internet, and countering terrorist propaganda. I was surprised that ISIS marketing was described as very professional—they even have their own video game where players can kill government troops in Iraq.

My point here is that if President Obama is scared silly about birthers, then why is it that his entire strategy for combatting birthers is releasing a couple of birth certificates, and making an occasional joke? Why aren’t academicians being enrolled to develop counter-birther strategies, professional marketing organizations being employed to build web sites and to deploy advertising campaigns, birther deprogramming projects created, and focus groups brainstorming the best way to derail the birther movement? Why aren’t slick anti-birther arguments being leaked to the media? Why is the only ongoing anti-birther activity a handful of nobody volunteers with no funding? It must not be a priority.

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32 Responses to The next president …

  1. avatar
    bgansel9 May 27, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

    Barack Obama is as scared of birthers as he is a mint julep on one afternoon in May.

  2. avatar
    dragoness001 May 27, 2015 at 6:11 pm #

    Well you have to balance denial and over reacting. It is delicate. I think his supporters did a good job in keeping the birthers where they belonged in the lunatic fringe.

  3. avatar
    Jim May 27, 2015 at 6:53 pm #

    Shhhhhhh, don’t tell the birthers, but back in 2011 there was a gathering of the OARPA board of directors to dig into the birther phenomenon and report back to the President. After many weeks of trying out different ideas and misdirection, it was decided that there wasn’t much they could do with a group that was so lacking in intelligence and awareness. When this was reported to the President, he reportedly stated…

    “Send in the Clowns”

    And Zullo, Gallups, and the CCP investigation was born, taking the wind out of the birthers and guaranteeing the President’s re-election. It’s still impressive to me that OARPA could locate people as dumb as the birthers that we could feed them fake information and they’d still eat it up…even when it made them look even dumber!

  4. avatar
    john May 27, 2015 at 7:41 pm #

    Because birtherism is dead, has been. At this point, it’s all academic. The Birther’s Last Stand was on January 06, 2013 when one congressman or senator could have objected to the electoral vote. No one did and the vote was certified. Once that happend, all allegations of fraud regarding the election have been foreclosed. Birthers still think that the election can be overturned and issue of fraud in the 2008 and 2012 regarding Obama’s eligibility can be reinvestigated. However, the vote was certified and Obama was sworn in. It can never be undone.

  5. avatar
    Pete May 27, 2015 at 7:52 pm #

    …if President Obama is scared silly about birthers, then why is it that his entire strategy for combatting birthers is releasing a couple of birth certificates, and making an occasional joke? Why aren’t academicians being enrolled to develop counter-birther strategies, professional marketing organizations being employed to build web sites and to deploy advertising campaigns, birther deprogramming projects created, and focus groups brainstorming the best way to derail the birther movement? Why aren’t slick anti-birther arguments being leaked to the media?

    You’re using the tried-and-true rational method of starting with an assumption and demonstrating that it leads to logical absurdity; therefore the assumption is false.

    The first observation is that such an approach won’t work on birthers. They don’t give a fig about logical consistency. They don’t care about contradictions. They don’t care whether their arguments are factually true or not.

    The only criterion for believing the thing is, is it attractive? If the claim is attractive to the birther, then it is “true.” Rational considerations do not apply. They are completely irrelevant.

    You know all this, of course, which is why I conclude your comments are not directed toward birthers. They’re directed toward your audience (which generally doesn’t include birthers, because few birthers frequent this site, since cockroaches don’t like the light.)

    As such, they are obviously intended just for entertainment purposes. Which of course is all anti-birther commentary is, anyway. As entertainment, your comments (and this site) have value.

  6. avatar
    Pete May 27, 2015 at 7:57 pm #

    Even better entertainment, of course, would be seeing Arpaio paying the price financially for his crimes, or wearing an orange jumpsuit.

  7. avatar
    donna May 27, 2015 at 8:13 pm #

    forget the “orange jumpsuit”, these are even monogrammed:

    http://i.imgur.com/glSp3.jpg

  8. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 27, 2015 at 9:48 pm #

    And given my approach, that argues that I’m not part of an Obama plot to change the minds of birthers.

    Pete: You know all this, of course, which is why I conclude your comments are not directed toward birthers.

  9. avatar
    Color Me Skeptical May 27, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

    Don’t get me wrong. I was as skeptical of the birthers as anybody else.

    But now that the brother and best man at his wedding came out against Obama as untrustworthy and a fraud, I don’t see any reason why we should be for him or trust him.

  10. avatar
    Matt May 27, 2015 at 10:35 pm #

    john:
    Because birtherism is dead, has been.At this point, it’s all academic.The Birther’s Last Stand was on January 06, 2013 when one congressman or senator could have objected to the electoral vote.No one did and the vote was certified.Once that happend, all allegations of fraud regarding the election have been foreclosed.Birthers still think that the election can be overturned and issue of fraud in the 2008 and 2012 regarding Obama’s eligibility can be reinvestigated.However, the vote was certified and Obama was sworn in.It can never be undone.

    Nonsense. You’ve been birthering ever since. Didn’t you do some experiment in September 2013 involving making your own scan of Obama’s birth certificate?

  11. avatar
    Pete May 28, 2015 at 1:11 am #

    donna:
    forget the “orange jumpsuit”, these are even monogrammed:

    http://i.imgur.com/glSp3.jpg

    You know, I could go the elegant “signature” pink boxers.

    Don’t you think Joe would look pretty in pink?

  12. avatar
    OllieOxenFree May 28, 2015 at 1:27 am #

    “The only criterion for believing the thing is, is it attractive? If the claim is attractive to the birther, then it is “true.” Rational considerations do not apply. They are completely irrelevant.”

    In the movie The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (a terrible movie) there is a particular scene that always stood out to me and I often use as an analogy with fanatical true believers. I refer to it as “the sword in the field,” analogy.

    In the scene, Joan is facing an inquisition and is in prison. Her own conscience takes form (played by Dustin Hoffman) and appears in her cell to question her motives for her actions. She insists that God had guided her and given her “signs.”

    One of these signs was finding a sword in a field. She insists that a sword cannot just get there by itself.

    Joan: The sword! The sword lying in the field. That was a sign.
    Conscience: No. That was a sword in a field.
    Joan: No. No, that was a sign!
    Conscience: No. That was a sword. In a field.
    Joan: It can’t just get there by itself! It can’t. A sword just doesn’t get there by itself. It can’t just get there by itself.
    Conscience: True. Every event has an infinite number of causes, so why pick one rather than another? There are many ways a sword might find itself in a field.

    (A man drops his sword while riding on horseback)

    Conscience: Certainly seems to be a valid explanation, but how about this one?

    (Two men sword fighting and when one man is struck down the sword flies from his hand)

    Conscience: But then again there are other possibilities.

    (A man being chased by soldiers throws his sword into the field to disarm himself.)

    Conscience: Or even faster

    (A man is shot in the back by an arrow and the sword flies from his hand)

    Conscience: And that is without counting the inexplicable.

    (A lone man walking through the field tosses a sword on the ground)

    Conscience: Yet from an infinite number of possibilities, you had to pick this one.

    (The clouds part, a bright light illuminates the field, and a sword descends from the skies to place it in the field.)

    Conscience: You didn’t see what was Joan. You saw what you wanted to see.

    You can watch the scene here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWoyJrAAL-U

    I sometimes refer to it when I am in a discussion with someone who is unwilling to accept any other rational explanation for something over their own irrational conclusions.

  13. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG May 28, 2015 at 2:26 am #

    Pete: You know, I could go the elegant “signature” pink boxers.

    Don’t you think Joe would look pretty in pink?

    At his age, he probably needs pink depends.

  14. avatar
    scott e May 28, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

    npr shouldn’t get tax money.

  15. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 28, 2015 at 9:55 pm #

    NPR only gets $2-3 million of their funding from taxes.

    Personally, I think NPR is one of the most important protectors of American freedom that there is. I shudder to think what it would be like without NPR and PBS.

    scott e: npr shouldn’t get tax money.

  16. avatar
    scott e May 29, 2015 at 7:28 am #

    scott e:
    npr shouldn’t get tax money.

    i’m glad they’re on (i listen a lot), but they shouldn’t get government funding. if we need bias funded agenda packing programming to protect our freedom (s), we’re in bigger trouble that i thought. that’s what the constitution is supposed to do. maybe they, (the government) give money to conservative radio.

    plus public radio and tv seem to be increasingly commercial. i think it’s (that concept) outlived it’s usefulness in a capital society.

    imagine doc, what you could do for your cause w/2-3 million dollars.

  17. avatar
    Crustacean May 29, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    Couldn’t agree more. The average funding for public radio stations that comes from the federal government (CPB) is around 10%. But there’s a snowball effect, whereby that 10% helps them raise the other 90% (most from listeners, the rest from corporations, foundations, etc.). Conservative lawmakers who want to defund public broadcasting need to understand that this 10% is especially vital for public stations in rural areas where there may not be any other source of free over-the-air broadcasting. These rural stations are hardly hotbeds for liberal propaganda, unless there’s something sinister I’m missing in “Garden Talk” or “Radiolab”.

    It’s frustrating to hear these so-called leaders equate educational programming to some kind of liberal brainwashing conspiracy.

    Dr. Conspiracy: NPR only gets $2-3 million of their funding from taxes.
    Personally, I think NPR is one of the most important protectors of American freedom that there is. I shudder to think what it would be like without NPR and PBS.

  18. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 29, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

    Commercial news comes from large corporations. Fox is openly trying to make the country swerve to the right. The rest dodge issues.

    I think public broadcasting is the only unbiased, in-depth broadcasting in the country. Their agenda is to tell all sides of the story.

    Let me give you an example, NPR is the only news source where you will hear someone interviewed who says that Jesus Christ is their personal savior and the source of the strength necessary for them to have accomplished something. They let people speak at length about things, and make arguments that are completely unaligned with any liberal agenda.

    About the only piece I can recall sounding biased was, surprisingly, today where they were talking about Texas refusing a billion dollars in Medicaid expansion funds, and even then they let the right-wing nut job make the argument that the job creation that would result from the money was statistics, and so couldn’t be trusted.

    scott e: but they shouldn’t get government funding. if we need bias funded agenda packing programming to protect our freedom (s)

  19. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 29, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

    Right. I could give every man, woman and child in the United States a penny (if they paid the shipping).

    scott e: imagine doc, what you could do for your cause w/2-3 million dollars.

  20. avatar
    scott e May 30, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Commercial news comes from large corporations. Fox is openly trying to make the country swerve to the right. The rest dodge issues.

    I think public broadcasting is the only unbiased, in-depth broadcasting in the country. Their agenda is to tell all sides of the story.

    Let me give you an example, NPR is the only news source where you will hear someone interviewed who says that Jesus Christ is their personal savior and the source of the strength necessary for them to have accomplished something. They let people speak at length about things, and make arguments that are completely unaligned with any liberal agenda.

    About the only piece I can recall sounding biased was, surprisingly, today where they were talking about Texas refusing a billion dollars in Medicaid expansion funds, and even then they let the right-wing nut job make the argument that the job creation that would result from the money was statistics, and so couldn’t be trusted.

    i take it for what it is. i enjoy a lot of it, to me it leans to the liberal end of the spectrum. i like, mara liason and kirsten powers, to me they are more centered, and say what they believe, irrespective of what people think they should believe, so i respect that. and now we have citizen journalism, which is a significant milestone, and access to perpetual news cycles. we don’t need stated funded news anymore.

  21. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 30, 2015 at 5:41 pm #

    I don’t know what you would specifically classify as “citizen journalism.” It it’s blogs like mine, then there is no replacement for NPR. I do not have the resources to investigate stories, nor the stature to get interviews from important public figures.

    There are examples of public interest journalism, like FactCheck.org and some others, but again, they don’t have the reach of NPR. I also resist the idea of calling NPR “state funded news” since they get only a small fraction of their funding from government funds. Your phrasing is fundamentally deceptive.

    scott e: and now we have citizen journalism, which is a significant milestone, and access to perpetual news cycles. we don’t need stated funded news anymore.

  22. avatar
    scott e May 31, 2015 at 9:41 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I don’t know what you would specifically classify as “citizen journalism.” It it’s blogs like mine, then there is no replacement for NPR. I do not have the resources to investigate stories, nor the stature to get interviews from important public figures.

    There are examples of public interest journalism, like FactCheck.org and some others, but again, they don’t have the reach of NPR. I also resist the idea of calling NPR “state funded news” since they get only a small fraction of their funding from government funds. Your phrasing is fundamentally deceptive.

    no, not your blog. what about that 2 to 3 million, comes from where ?

    technology has passed npr by. i think the television version gets a bit more. i object to the commercials as much as tax money. i would like it all better privatized. public funded news is to me the equivalent of global warming, with a lot of the same players, managed the same way. what i like is air tv (digital).

    for me it would be like paying union dues then having the higher up decide which political party to support. sometimes i get the same feeling, listening to npr and the corporation for public broadcasting. i like the irony of mcdonald’s (also a corporation) supporting the cause.

    i like the public stations, but like institutions of higher learning, the have always had a liberal bent. they should free themselves of financial burden.
    maybe frank is right, reality leans left.

  23. avatar
    jtmunkus May 31, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

    If NPR and PBS indeed were biased – to the right – idiot birther liar Scott E. would be all in for a tiny bit of, maybe more, government funding.

    He calls these stations liberally biased because they speak the truth, and even Scott E. agrees that facts seem liberal.

  24. avatar
    scott e May 31, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    jtmunkus:
    If NPR and PBS indeed were biased – to the right – idiot birther liar Scott E. would be all in for a tiny bit of, maybe more, government funding.

    He calls these stations liberally biased because they speak the truth, and even Scott E. agrees that facts seem liberal.

    actually they were at one time, challenged for being to conservative.
    kenneth tomlinson (cpb)

  25. avatar
    Rickey May 31, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

    scott e: actually they were at one time, challenged for being to conservative. kenneth tomlinson (cpb)

    Not quite.

    Tomlinson himself was found by the CPB’s Inspector General to have had “repeatedly broken federal law and the organization’s own regulations.” After being ousted from the CPB, he was put in charge of Voice of America, where State Department investigators found that he “used his office to run a ‘horse racing operation,'” that he “improperly put a friend on the payroll” and he “repeatedly used government employees to perform personal errands and that he billed the government for more days of work than the rules permit.”

  26. avatar
    scott e May 31, 2015 at 4:27 pm #

    Rickey: Not quite.

    Tomlinson himself was found by the CPB’s Inspector General to have had “repeatedly broken federal law and the organization’s own regulations.” After being ousted from the CPB, he was put in charge of Voice of America, where State Department investigators found that he “used his office to run a ‘horse racing operation,’” that he “improperly put a friend on the payroll” and he “repeatedly used government employees to perform personal errands and that he billed the government for more days of work than the rules permit.”

    then the juan williams fiasco. i just think they would do better as a private enterprise. their corporate status is fundamentally deceptive. we have evolved from state aided media. imho they can do better. nothing to do with birther.

  27. avatar
    Suranis June 1, 2015 at 3:20 am #

    Scotte hasn’t had an original thought in his life. He only “thinks” that NPR would do better by having its funding cut because the people he believes and feed him crap keep telling him that

    The real reason that The people that fill Scotte’s brain with mush want to cut NPRs funding is that they know NPR would collapse without it, and they absolutely hate the fact that there is an alternative voice out there that actually allow both sides to state their case. Companies dont want thinkers, they want unthinking customers that will be brand loyal.

    Blogs cant replace NPR as you need a certain amount of financial outlay to get to the, (owning a computer and internet access, which puts you into the top 1% of the world population right there) And when you have that then you have to find the blog, which basically means that you have to ensure that you are on the first page of a Google or yahoo search.

    The best way to attract viewers is to promote one side so that the search patterns are less fuzzy. Which results in a lot of blogs very quickly become echo chambers filled with group think, and no one is ever really exposed to the arguments of the other side in any great detail. At best, all you get is the sound bites of the most ridiculous things the “other side” say, this is transmitted around the web with only one purpose, to drive up high emotion which drives up page views. Nuance does not drive up page views. Fox News is a master of the driving people crazy to keep their eyes on the TV screen, but even they cannot maintain the levels of viewership of standard TV channels even when they are giving FOX news away free with basic Cable.

    The point is that you need a news and debate source that is free of commercial concerns. NPR is one of the few places left where you can get that real cross section of opinion without them thinking about how this will affect page views or Viewership.

    And 10% funding for that is an insult.

  28. avatar
    Suranis June 1, 2015 at 3:22 am #

    And to answer your 4th paragraph question, its because that is not mentioned in the book that is used as the bible of Right Wing agitators. Hint; it was written by a community organizer. 😉

  29. avatar
    Northland10 June 1, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

    scott e: then the juan williams fiasco. i just think they would do better as a private enterprise. their corporate status is fundamentally deceptive. we have evolved from state aided media. imho they can do better. nothing to do with birther.

    Nice non-response to Ricky’s comment about your errors. You make a claim, it is pointed out where you are wrong and so you redirect hoping nobody noticed.

    Your lack of concern for actual facts and truth demonstrates that your claim of bias is nothing more then projection. Do you like being a slave to the scammers and propagandists?

  30. avatar
    Rickey June 2, 2015 at 12:11 am #

    scott e: then the juan williams fiasco. i just think they would do better as a private enterprise. their corporate status is fundamentally deceptive. we have evolved from state aided media. imho they can do better. nothing to do with birther.

    The Juan Williams “fiasco” actually disproves your point. Williams was fired by NPR for violating NPR’s ethics code, notwithstanding the fact that many NPR listeners were fans of Williams.

    Contrast that with Fox News’ handling of Bill O’Reilly, who still has his job in spite of proof that he has lied about his news reporting experiences, because he has Fox’s highest-rated show and earns Fox a bundle of cash. When it is all about the ratings, ethics take a back seat.

    As for your praise of “citizen journalists,” the problem is that most of them are no more journalists than I am a neurosurgeon. Case in point: Before It’s News, which actually publishes Nancy Ruth Owens’ delusions, published a story today which claims that Yoko Ono announced that she had a lesbian affair with Hillary Clinton in the 1970s. Because the people who run Before It’s News are not journalists, nobody bothered to check the source of the story, which turns out to be a fake news, satirical website.

    http://beforeitsnews.com/celebrities/2015/06/yoko-ono-i-had-an-affair-with-hillary-clinton-in-the-70s-2473392.html

  31. avatar
    James M June 2, 2015 at 1:31 am #

    Suranis:
    Hint; it was written by a community organizer.

    Are you referring to Diogenes? Eugène Varlin? Benjamin Franklin? Wavy Gravy?