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Disturbing the birthers–priceless!

Sharon Rondeau, citizen journalist at the Post & Email web site, has interviewed Cold Case Posse commander Mike Zullo. In the interview, republished at Gerbil Report™, [cue the MAD-TV “Lowered Expectations” theme], Zullo is quoted:

The Post & Email spoke with Zullo, who told us that “there are going to be some findings that ‘birthers’ may find disturbing,” referring to those who specifically doubt that Obama was born in Hawaii, as he claims.

Since his two original disastrously-wrong but detail-filled news conferences, Mike Zullo has been very closed lipped about his investigation, giving no one anything more to evaluate or criticize. This stonewalling has been remarkably successful in taking off the heat from critics and letting birthers’ imaginations run free, and their hopes soar.

More difficult to parse is another Zullo remark from the interview:

The public doesn’t understand the type of evidence required in a law enforcement investigation. The word “evidence” is often used to describe information that cannot be supported by its own weight.  Evidence that cannot be supported or corroborated is in fact not evidence at all but often personal opinion or just mere speculation.   Real evidence is something that provides proof to ascertain the truth in a proceeding. It has to stand the test of scrutiny, cross-examination and ultimately be determined to be factual and relevant.

Zullo puts that last in the context of speculation that Frank Marshall Davis is Obama’s real father, a speculation devoid of any proof says Zullo. He goes on to suggest that birthers are making him look bad, and he clearly is trying to distance himself and his investigation from the birther movement itself, says Rondeau:

Zullo believes that this is the type of activity which has diminished the credibility of the topic.

Of course it was Zullo himself who promoted all manner of crank image analysis, fake race code tables and unsupported tales at the beginning, but I digress.

Specifically, Zullo criticizes birthers trying to make sense of his intentionally ambiguous remarks, such as those on the Cark Gallups radio program. Zullo seems to be saying that birthers are mistaken when they think he is saying anything understandable [unplug irony meters]:

There is no room for this kind of rabid speculation. This is how wild rumors get started and then are repeated enough times that information-hungry audiences start to believe it to be factually correct.

Some have speculated that Zullo is making a subtle reference to Lawrence Sellin’s interpretation of a Zullo conversation to conclude that some Obots had turned coat and are assisting in the Cold Case Posse investigation (an absurd suggestion because no Obot has anything that could assist Zullo in proving his nonsense conspiracy theories). But even this speculation would be misguided if we listen to Zullo, who taken at his word, is telling us that it’s a mistake to try get any information out of anything he says. Zullo also promised another press conference. Because Zullo was widely criticized for not meeting his previous promises about press conferences, he’s not setting a date for this next one.

53

Birtherism as “make believe”

Over the years, I have attempted to find models to help me understand birthers. There are learned papers on the subject of conspiracy theory from the disciplines of history, psychology and political science. (Some of those are linked in my bookmarks, and some of the books are listed among the recommended one on the sidebar.)

Today as I was replying a comment at Gerbil Report™ about anti-birthers (Obots) who they say are now working with Mike Zullo and providing him with valuable information, I felt a sense of déjà vu. This was the comment from FatherTime (grammar errors in the original):

I’ve been watching this all day and I find it funny how Dr. C comes out first to challenge that no Obot has flip. Of all the Obots it was Dr. C.

I didn’t know but I have heard our good Dr. C was the one who flip but I’m sure he don’t want his follower Obots to know this. He also protest too much if he had not flip with his Challenged.

I may not have known before but now I’m sure Dr. C is the one who flip. Now I want to know who the other Obot is?

Upon reflection, the sense of familiarity comes from my early childhood, from fantasy games we played. They were so very much like the comments at Birther Report (albeit BR is much nastier than any kids I ever knew). These games consisted of some kind of fantasy scenario (army men, cowboys and Indians, Zorro) where we made up the story as we went along. In these stories we would sometimes dispute things, things completely contained within our completely made-up scenario. Sometimes we could get very angry in these disputes.  Birthers play games like army men, Perry Mason and CSI. We didn’t call them “role playing games” back then; our term was “make believe.”

The test of a model is whether it is predictive and whether actually provides value. I have a feeling that I’m going to have more peace of mind dealing with birthers at BR if I view them as adult children playing make believe.

31

Flipped Obots named!

When looking up the recent article about Larry Klayman, I saw this comment over at Gerbil Report™ from Reagans_Ghost:

Wanna take a second here to THANK those Obots who decided to FLIP and HELP Zullo and the MCC Sheriff’s office out. The evidence you all provided was EXCEPTIONAL, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You may have all been TRAITORS at one point, but as a believer in Jesus Christ and a sinner myself, I’m always thankful when someone REPENTS and gets to REDEEM themselves. Once again, my thanks. You know who you are!!

Of course nobody on the birther side will name these alleged flipped Obots (they can’t). It’s just their way of trying to animate the corpse of the Cold Case Posse investigation, and inject hope into a hopeless situation.

However, I know the facts, and I have never been one to hide them. I know who the flipped Obots are, and I am not afraid to name them!

  • The Tooth Fairy
  • Santa Claus
  • Baba Yaga
  • Cinderella
  • The Wicked Witch of the West
  • Tom Bombadil
  • Paul Bunyan
  • Alfred Bulltop Stormalong
  • Koschei the Deathless
  • Snow White
  • Sinbad the Sailor
  • Pinocchio
  • The Big Bad Wolf
  • J. Thaddeus Toad
  • The Seven Dwarfs (except Doc)
  • Jiminy Cricket
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff
  • The Ugly Duckling
  • The Easter Bunny
  • Chicken Little
23

Obama attorney answers birther suit at SCOTUS

I believe the anonymous writer at Gerbil Report™ is correct in saying that this is the first time President Obama has responded to a birther petition at the Supreme Court. For whatever reason, attorney Mark Herron, who represented the President in the Florida case of Voeltz v. Obama, has filed a brief in opposition to the petition for a writ of mandamus by Voeltz. Florida Secretary of State Kenneth W. Detzner filed a waiver of his right to respond.

This case, sometimes called Voeltz III (as it is the third one by Voeltz in Florida), was famously dismissed for lack of jurisdiction by judge Kevin J. Carroll, writing:

This Court notes that President Obama lives in the White House. He flies on Air Force One. He has appeared before Congress, delivered State of the Union addresses, and meets with Congressional leaders on a regular basis. He has appointed countless ambassadors to represent the interests of the United States throughout the world. President Obama’s recent appointment of The Honorable Mark Walker, formerly a member of this Court, has been confirmed by the United States Senate. Judge Walker has been worn in as a United States District Court Judge and currently works at the Federal Courthouse down the Street. The Electoral College has recently done its work and elected Mr. Obama to be President once again. As this matter has come before the Court at this time of the year it seems only appropriate to paraphrase the ruling rendered by the fictional Judge Henry X. Harper from New York in open court in the classic holiday film Miracle on 34th St. “Since the United States Government declares this man to be President, this Court will not dispute it. Case dismissed.”

The Florida Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in this case, citing lack of jurisdiction. (Here, Florida law prevents their Supreme Court from hearing an appeal of a per curiam [in the name of the court] affirming appellate decision without opinion.)

The specific relief being requested by Voeltz is:

Petitioner respectfully requests that this Court issue a writ of mandamus compelling the Circuit Court of the Second Judicial Circuit in and for Leon County, Florida to hear to the case on the merits and issue a declaratory judgment as to the eligibility of Barack Obama to serve as President of the United States.

Attorney Mark Herron responds in his brief in opposition to the petition by arguing that state courts do not have jurisdiction to adjudicate presidential eligibility, that this responsibility is “…committed under the Constitution to the electors and to Congress…” and further that an extraordinary measure such as a writ of mandamus is not justified. A writ of mandamus is an order directing someone to so something that they have an obligation to do, and is issued when no other remedy is available. Herron argues that there is no obligation whatever for the Florida court to vacate its order and try the case on the merits rather than dismissing it.

Voeltz is being represented by birther attorney Larry Klayman. Mark Herron had previously moved for sanctions against Klayman in this case.

Documents:

67

BR v. BR

GerbilReportBirther Report (BR) has a new article up consisting of an email exchange involving Brian Reilly (BR). In an article titled “Cold Case Posse Initiator Reverses Course,” author George Miller exhibits an email exchange between Kevin “Pixel Patriot” Powell (is a pixel patriot like a keyboard warrior, only a lot smaller?) and Brian Reilly. I wanted to take a bit of what Powell wrote as an example of how confused birthers are about the facts and how they raise bogus objections.

The first item refers to the verification received by Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett from the State of Hawaii, one reason Reilly considers the Obama identity issue closed. Here’s what Powell said:

Dr. Onaka’s verification letter on May 22nd, 2012 did undermine the investigation to some extent but if you look at the circumstances in their entirety, it did not and should not have shut down the investigation which proceeded on many fronts beyond what you are privy to.

The first issue is the implication that Brian Reilly was not privy to the entire scope of the Cold Case Posse investigation; however, since there were only two people (Reilly being one of them) working on the investigation, it hardly seems credible for someone who wasn’t part of any of it (Powell) to make a claim that there were material things Reilly was not privy to. How could Powell know such a thing? If he could not know it, he must have made that claim up. Powell continues:

In reality, the so-called verification letter is missing two fundamental elements such as the name of the parents and the date of birth.

Without these, everything is suspect…

The article, to its credit, links to that verification. Powell claims that the parent’s name and date of birth, items which Powell calls “fundamental” elements, are not part of the itemized list of data elements that Dr. Onaka verified. How are they “fundamental”? Parents are irrelevant to presidential eligibility (no one ever alleged Obama’s father was an ambassador), and no one has ever suggested that Barack Obama was not at least 35 years old when he became president. So Powell is attempting to spin the non-critical items into something important. It is true that the itemized list doesn’t contain the two elements, but the verification also says:

Additionally, I verify that the information in the copy of the Certificate of Live Birth for Mr. Obama that you attached with your request matches the original record in our files.

Since the White House copy of the certificate includes the date of birth and parents’ names, the verification’s general matching statement verifies them too. For more on the verifications, see my 2012 article “Reverse engineering Dr. Onaka” and my 2013 article, “Onaka’s verification wording.” Further, the Bennett verification is not the only one.

Powell goes on to say:

…An honest evaluation undoubtedly demands full disclosure by the known liar waging war against the Constitution and the citizens of this Republic….

Given that Sheriff Arpaio has been sued by Obama’s Justice Department for abuses in his department, Arpaio is hardly the one to provide an unbiased evaluation, nor is Mike Zullo who has no specialization in law enforcement, beyond a short stint as a policeman in a small town 20 years ago, in any way qualified to lead, much less solely comprise the investigation.  Mike Zullo himself is a known liar, presenting a false race code table to the public and assuring his listeners that he had the original manual containing the codes. (He either lied about the content of the manual, or he lied about having it.) If an honest evaluation is to be done, Arpaio and his Cold Case Posse is one of the last places where it could be found.

Powell then states:

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie vowed to find Obama’s Birth Certificate but couldn’t produce it. Then, Gov. Abercrombie gave Dr. Onaka an award for modernizing the national vital statistics model law. Onaka also helped Hawaii implement EVVE as a Pilot state. The system can verify within 7 seconds whether a birth record is valid or fraudulent. Both AZ and Hawaii were early adopters of the EVVE System, yet Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett spent weeks exchanging emails with that same state registrar just so he could ask the question in the right way to get the “correct answer” while completely ignoring an official investigation by a sheriff that had declared it to be a forgery created by an act of fraud. The answer Sec. Bennett agreed to receive from Dr. Onaka did not include the date of birth, a critical component which was recommended to remain unchanged (p.59) in the national vital statistics model law because of the legal implications by the work group Dr. Onaka chaired for which he was given said award.

The claim that Abercrombie couldn’t find Obama’s birth certificate is bogus. Abercrombie was looking for some document he could release, and was told that by law he couldn’t release what they had.

Abercrombie giving Onaka an award is news to me. Did it happen? I couldn’t find such a thing. The Department of Health received an award from the Center for Digital Government (finalist in the Best of the Web contest), but that’s not from Abercrombie. The DoH received another award in 2007 (before Abercrombie became governor) from the same organization for its Electronic Death Registration System. Onaka received the Halbert L. Dunn award in 2008 from the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems, and another NAPHSIS award in 2011 for his work as chair of the committee that produced recommendations for updates to the Model State Vital Statistics Act. None of these awards has anything whatever to do with Governor Abercrombie.

Powell alleges that Bennett could have simply used EVVE (Electronic Verification of Vital Events), an electronic system used by participating government agencies to check the validity of birth certificates under the Real ID Act. Powell correctly states that EVVE implementation was complete in Hawaii and Arizona (as of January of 2011). The technical specifications for EVVE are not public, and I didn’t take stuff home with me from my prior job in vital records. What I can say from the research that I have been able to do, is that it is within the realm of possibility that Ken Bennett might have been able to call some office in some Arizona state agency and after a long discussion of whether there was authority for what he was asking, been able to verify some limited set of information on Obama’s birth certificate electronically.

The problem with that approach, assuming it was permissible, is that the results are not certified by anybody. Can you imagine a Secretary of State certifying a candidate for president based on a screen print of some terminal at the DMV? :roll: EVVE verifications are nothing more than a computer-to-computer data match, not an official record. Further, it is highly unlikely that such data elements as the name of the hospital are included in the EVVE transaction. One paper on electronic birth registration systems in the EVVE context listed the following data items as “birth identification data”:

  • registrant’s name
  • date of birth
  • city, county, and State of the place of birth
  • gender
  • mother’s maiden name
  • father’s name
  • mother’s address
  • birth certificate number
  • mother’s Social Security number
  • father’s Social Security number
  • date filed

If that is the correct list, then EVVE could not have verified the following elements that Bennett asked of Onaka:

  • Time of birth
  • Name of Hospital
  • Age of Father
  • Birthplace of father
  • Age of mother
  • Birthplace of Mother
  • Date of Signature of Parent
  • Date of Signature of Attendant
  • Date Accepted by Local Registrar

That means that only 3 of the 12 items Bennett requested for verification might have been verifiable by EVVE. Powell’s entire complaint is bogus from start to finish.

Now, about the gerbils. Gerbil Report (as I now prefer to call Birther Report) trots out the gerbils, in this gratuitous image, courtesy of Barry Soetoro, Esq.:

Update:

In an email Brian Reilly responds:

Birther Report has published selected communications between myself and individuals who embrace the position that President Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery.  My goal was to tell the numerous people who were open copied in Gary Wilmott’s recent email that former MCSO Chief Brian Sands’ new exposé entitled "Arpaio, DeFacto Lawman" is available from Amazon.com as an e-book for $4.99. I hit the Jackpot when Birther Report chose to advertise the book for all to see.  In the memorable words of President George Bush:  "Mission Accomplished!"

Regards,
Brian Reilly

“Any day now” gets closer

It’s been a slow week and I am reduced to republishing Birther Report. One of them had the stomach to listen to Carl Gallups Freedom Friday program and this comes from that:

Carl Gallups: Been talking to Mike Zullo. Both the birth certificate and criminal investigations are still ongoing. Sheriff Arpaio is getting close to holding the press conference. They are in the process of getting over two legal hurdles so they can release some of the information. All sources and information must be extensively vetted.

So “any day now” becomes “getting close” and “getting VIPs on board” becomes “getting over two legal hurdles.” I wonder what those legal hurdles are. Could they be:

  1. No evidence
  2. No jurisdiction

Perhaps we will find out, any day now.