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The apotheosis of the birthers

“Apotheosis” is one of a handful of words that I’ve always wanted to use in a sentence. One definition of apotheosis is:

the highest point in the development of something; culmination or climax

I got to use it at Birther Report yesterday. Here’s a bit of the exchange:

VeniVidiVici4U: kevin,  your false sense of security is about to come face to face with a serious case of asswhooping reality.

Dr. Conspiracy: You seem to think that as the days pass, you are getting closer to the apotheosis of the birthers. But you’re doing nothing more than going around in circles chanting the same mantra of forgery this and fraud that (and telling yourselves that Zullo will save you).

I used it to describe the mythical transformation of birthers from a bunch of Internet Yahoos to the heroic removers of the usurper president, who saved the Republic from destruction, and are forever enshrined in the pantheon of true patriots™.

What strikes me about the discussion at BR is the earnestness and consistency of the belief. I suppose I could paste a compilation of similar statements, but that would be tedious and not particularly informative. Suffice it say that there are many, and I’ll leave with two examples:

BornTexas: It’s not impeachment that will end the usurpation, it will be the mountain of lies and fraud revealed for all to see. Once released, the feeding frenzy will be epic. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. The Dems will eat their own to avoid the gallows. Soetoro and his enabling minions will suffer the brunt of the onslaught.

William: I don’t get it. You are going to lose. How you deal with that fact is concerning.

I’m just not seeing this.

48

Two more years!

The birthers are getting painted into a corner. “Any day now” has a shelf life and it expires in exactly two years. When Obama leaves office on the appointed day, the birthers lose. All their agitation will have been in vain. It will all have been for nothing.

See also:

20

Is the Sheriff’s Kit the best strategy?

Mike Volin is a birther with a plan. He has assembled a collection of material that he calls the Sheriff’s Kit, and he has been giving it to sheriffs and to members of Congress. While I reject the conclusions Mike has come to, I respect his approach. He has the constitutional right to petition Congress and he is exercising that right.

I contrast what Mike is doing with what I consider the abuse of the legal process by birthers seeking relief in the courts for things outside their jurisdiction (the cases that were dismissed for lack of standing—a jurisdictional requirement). And don’t get me started on the “citizen grand juries.”

Under the Constitution, birthers had exactly two options: convince the voters not to elect Obama or convince Congress to remove Obama from office. The first option (which is no longer available) involved moving public opinion, and it made some sense to put up web sites, send chain email letters, show up at rallies with signs and write letters to the editor. It didn’t work. Now Congress is the only option.

I think the problem is that Volin is taking a shotgun approach to Congress, sort of a “throw it out there and see if it takes root.” That’s not been very effective and I don’t know of anyone in Congress convinced by a Sheriff’s Kit—and if there is, they aren’t admitting it. And if someone in Congress were convinced by a Sheriff’s Kit, there is no political cover for them. Birthers are considered crazy nut-job conspiracy theorists by enough people to decide just about any election against a birther candidate. Any congressman who went birther would become a laughingstock and the subject of embarrassing newspaper political cartoons. And of course, it takes more than one congressman to impeach the President.

What the birthers need is one respectable birther whose personal gravitas legitimizes the movement. They need to focus all their energies on that individual and convince him with their evidence. So far, the best they have is Sheriff Arpaio, and Arpaio didn’t even investigate the birth certificate. He wasn’t willing to commit his own department resources, but shunted the investigation to some volunteers with no qualifications and no resources. And of course Sheriff Joe himself is a hugely controversial figure, costing the County tens of millions of dollars in lawsuit settlements for wrongful deaths in his jail, and for his personal abuse of power in trumped-up charges against political enemies. He is damaged goods not to mention his well-publicized axe to grind against the President over immigration. Arpaio is trivially dismissed with the Obama saying against the right-wing nut jobs: “we all know what that’s about.”

No, what the birthers need is a supporter with credentials, either political, legal or scientific. I don’t mean some obscure document examiner who won’t even release his report or a celebrity. I mean someone that everyone has heard of and is widely respected, someone who doesn’t have an axe to grind and can be seen as an honest broker. A bunch of nobodies and political partisans are not going to create the tipping point necessary to change the status quo. Volin’s dilemma, however, is that the kind of person I described wouldn’t buy the birther nonsense in the first place.

The default position

I’ve been exchanging comments with Rambo Ike at Birther Report today and he wrote something that made me think. I replied to him, and I’ll copy that here, possibly edited for clarity. Rambo Ike wrote:

There’s a continuous theme that runs through your whole archives from the time you started it to the present that is one Big Lie. In the past I’ve called it the “Obots default position for everything”. It really stands out in your site’s comment sections what your site is most known for.

Well I would like to know more about the “Obots default position for everything.”

What you said caused me to think about the themes on my site. Certainly I would take the default position that Barack Obama was born where he says he was, and where the State of Hawaii says he was, and I would put the burden of proof on someone challenging that position. And I realize that birthers reject that default position, saying that Barack Obama must prove everything to their satisfaction.

Those on my side consider the birther position hypocritical since they didn’t make the same demands of other historical presidential candidates, and this leads to the obvious question of why Obama was singled out. President Obama himself would say: “We all know what that’s about.”

Birthers have said to me that the reason Obama needs special vetting is because of all the issues raised about his origins, but I don’t buy that because there was no justification for the issues in the first place. Remember, back when the “Obama’s mother went to Africa but was too pregnant to be allowed home, so he was born in Africa and his mother registered him when she returned” first surfaced back at the Free Republic, there was no reason, no evidence, no argument made that the story was true. It was just a rumor, pure and simple. This was before the short form; this was before the grandmother tape; this was before everything. People still believed it, believed it because it resonated with something inside them, something I don’t find very nice.

So if I have identified my “default position” correctly, then I believe it is the most reasonable default position. As someone has said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” I’d settle for mere require ordinary proof, but the birthers haven’t come up with any.

What my blog has done primarily over the past 6 years is to demonstrate as rigorously as I can, that birther evidence is false and their arguments are fallacious. I think I and the other birther-debunkers have a 100% success record, and I think that says something important because if the birther stories were true, you would think that after almost 7 years, some real evidence would have surfaced, and it hasn’t.

Top 10 Birther stories of 2014

Here are my picks for the top 10 birther stories of 2014:

1. McInnish v. Chapman lawsuit rejected by the Alabama Supreme Court, despite 2 birther-friendly judges

imageThis lawsuit, ultimately over a detailed point of Alabama law, nonetheless created great anticipation among the birthers. On the Alabama high court sat Chief Justice Roy Moore, a former writer for WorldNetDaily, and Justice Tom Parker who had written a birther-friendly opinion in another case. Adding to the hopefulness was the submission of an affidavit from Mike Zullo detailing his personal knowledge of things he read on the Internet. Ultimately the decision was to reject the appeal with the two birther-friendly judges being the only ones in opposition

2. Former Cold Case Posse volunteer, Brian Reilly, writes candidly about Arpaio and Zullo

No list of important birther happenings in 2014 would be complete without Brian Reilly, former Cold Case Posse member who became satisfied that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, but increasingly uneasy about the conduct of Mike Zullo. Reilly resigned from the Posse and wrote a memoir of his experiences, published here at Obama Conspiracy Theories. Reilly was later interviewed on local television in Phoenix.

The story of how Brian Reilly became disillusioned with the Cold Case Posse and their methods and how he eventually became disillusioned with birtherism as a whole is rare, but encouraging.

3. Dr. Conspiracy named as birth certificate forgery conspirator

Dr. ConspiracyIn a bizarre turn of affairs, the Internet blogger Dr. Conspiracy who for over 5 years had written about birthers, found himself the subject of attention when birther Douglas Vogt named him one of the “John Doe” conspirators in his legal action attempting to persuade a federal judge to convene a grand jury to investigate Vogt’s allegations. The real names of the John Doe persons, previously sealed, were exposed when it was re-filed, unsealed, at the Supreme Court. Birther Princess Miki Booth was also named. Dr. Conspiracy could not be reached for comment.

4. Birther Walter Fitzpatrick III found guilty in Tennessee

Walter Francis Fitzpatrick III faced several charges in connection with the harassment of a McMinn County, Tennessee, Grand Jury foreman. He was convicted of aggravated perjury and extortion. His sentence was for 3 years in prison.

5. Orly Taitz fails in her attempt to be come California’s Attorney General

imageThere had to be some Orly Taitz story on the list. The choices were between her failed lawsuits, new new immigration/disease prevention suit, and her run for California’s Attorney General. Taitz ran a half-hearted campaign garnering only 3.1% of the vote in the primary election. Part of her failure may be attributed (not really) to the enigmatic Orly Taitz Super PAC web site, that turned out to be sarcasm.

6. Rasmussen poll says 23% of Americans believe Obama is not an American Citizen

Probably the saddest story of the year is the continued birther belief among the US population, as documented by the Rasmussen poll and others. Significantly, other polls showed that the confusion over presidential eligibility sown by birthers against Obama, has come back to haunt other hopefuls for the office such as Ted Cruz.

7. Birther cop suspended in Ferguson, Missouri

imageA white cop named Dan Page in Ferguson, Missouri, was caught on tape shoving a black reporter. When his earlier racist comments came to light, he was suspended. He was also a birther. This story points out the fact that cameras are rolling in more situations than ever.

8. Major birther “dust up” on Peter Boyles live radio between Carl Gallups and Lawrence Sellin

Birther tempers flared over the continued delays by Mike Zullo and his Cold Case Posse to do anything in the way of releasing material that they claim is potentially “universe-shattering” against Barack Obama. “Put up or shut up” is a sentiment expressed by many birthers, and it came to head on the radio show hosted by Peter Boyles, himself a noted birther. Damage control followed.

9. Mike Zullo admits accepting a $10,000 gratuity from a source in his investigation

imageThis story seemed to bother Mike Zullo a lot more than me. The Cold Case Posse has been hiding behind multiple versions of its financial accountability in order to evade filing the reports that most non-profit organizations file with the IRS. What’s $10,000 more in the big scheme of things? Arpaio got millions in campaign contributions from the birthers. The story got local TV news coverage in Phoenix with an interview with Brian and Denise Reilly. Zullo was filmed admitting that he took the money. Despite Zullo’s admission, Zullo supporters are demanding that Reilly retract what he said.

10. The Joe Show documentary airs nationally

I wish I had audience numbers for The Joe Show as it appeared on the Information Discovery Channel in December. I hope it was watched widely in Phoenix as it documented Joe Arpaio’s manipulation of the media, and the cruel deaths that occurred at the hands of his corrections officers in the county jail. Arpaio’s campaign manager admits on screen that Arpaio made millions in campaign contributions from his birther thing, while his aids told him it made him look like a clown. That follows on the heels of a devastating book by former Deputy Chief Brian Sands, “Arpaio De Facto Lawman,” now out in its 2nd edition.

Update:

Since publication of this story, I have had time to ruminate on the year and its stories, and to see reader comments. What I think will turn out to be the most important birther story of 2014 will not be fully appreciated until 2015, and that story, which I covered last June, could be the straw that broke the birther’s back. I mean the story of the $100,000 that Sheriff Arpaio paid to a Seattle con man for information, information that I believe is false and contains the basis for Mike Zullo’s predictions of “universe shattering information.”

That was the year that wasn’t: a 2014 retrospective

If I were to sum up the significant events for birthers in 2014, I could end the article right now. 2014 is notable for it’s emptiness. So to fill up some space, I’ll talk about some of what they didn’t accomplish in 2014.

[Since this is being published a week before the end of the year, it may be updated.]

Cold Case Posse

Great expectations of some great release of information from the Cold Case Posse to occur in March of 2014 flew around the birthersphere, but the so-called “March reveal” never happened. In the wake of that disappointment, Posse video guy Mark Gillar Tweeted in April: “Between now and the midterms, shocking revelations will be brought forward by Sheriff Joe.” In June, pop singer and birther activist, and Cold Case Posse confidant Pat Boone pinned the time frame down even closer when he went on the record saying to Alan Colmes that the evidence that Obama’s birth certificate, the smoking gun, would be released by September. In July, Zullo spokesperson Carl Gallups said: “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.” Expectations ran high for something before the November elections. Nothing happened.

In the meantime, local news media in Phoenix tackled Mike Zullo over a $10,000 gift from a source in his investigation. Add to that: the Cold Case Posse web site went dark for the Winter Solstice. Despite birther predictions, no anti-birther has offered to assist the Posse or to obtains its protection.

And to top it all off, Obama Conspiracy Theories ran a series of articles by former Cold Case Posse member Brian Reilly, castigating Zullo for unprofessionalism and erratic behavior.

Joe Arpaio

It wasn’t a progress-filled year for Joe Arpaio either. A recent court decision required Arizona to issue drivers licenses to undocumented persons with deferred action. A number of other anti-immigrant statutes in Arizona have been overturned, and Arpaio himself has said that his department no longer raids work places to find immigrants fake ID’s. Arpaio’s own lawsuit against Obama was dismissed by a federal judge. Just a few more items of bad news for Arpaio:

Orly Taitz

Miscellaneous