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Twittersphere explodes over faked photo

Can you find the floating finger?

Carney, Shipman and their children staged a mock press conference for Washingtonian MOM magazine, in front of a bookshelf that included a copy of 'Soviet Architecture' (next to the Gorbachev bobblehead, 4th shelf R)

I don’t know if the birthers think this is an impeachable offense, but they certainly think it’s part of a pattern of deception at the White House. The photo above was taken at White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s home and appeared in Washingtonian MOM magazine in a profile of Carney’s wife. If you look on the right set of shelves, the second shelf from the top, you’ll see the phantom finger on a book spine, obviously from a book copied from the shelves on the left.

Apparently this is a conspiracy to make it seem that Carney reads more books than he actually does.  I think he’s giving the birthers the finger.

Personally I have lost count of how many boxes of books I’ve given away and my shelves are not double stacked the way they once were. I discovered e-books.

Read even more shocking disclosures at Business Insider, or check out Birther Report’sObama Caught Photoshopping Another Regime Propaganda Photo.”

50

Obama starts World War III to hide birth certificate

or something like that

Thanks to a commenter who pointed me to an “Alternative News & Commentary” web site called State of the Nation. Their March 7 article, “’Universe-Shattering Evidence’ Re: Obama Criminal Investigation To Be Announced By Cold Case Posse,” suggests a tie in with recent political instability in the Ukraine:

Why would Team Obama execute the violent overthrow of yet another democratically elected nation on Russia’s border, unless it was a necessary diversion to soon-to-be-presented “Universe-Shattering Evidence“?

They did? The article goes on to say, of course, there are other very good reasons why Obama would literally start World War III, outlining other problems the Obama administration is having, but I would hardly agree with their assessment of the situation: DESPERATE.

Why do they think that the Obama Administration engineered the crisis in the Ukraine? Well, because everything points to it and because, well, because they did, AND, AND, AND [wait for it …….. ]Benghazi!

The site is pretty flakey, linking to the Dystel publicists brochure from 1991 falsely labeled as a biography from the 1991 Harvard Law Review Year Book. (This fake made the rounds in 2012 and again this past January on some Internet sites.)

http://stateofthenation2012.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Screen-Shot-2012-10-01-at-5.17.52-PM.png

State of the Nation is an eclectic collection of conspiracy theories from Chemtrails to Sandy Hook. In fairness to them, they have several articles which I didn’t read on their theories that the US engineered the Ukrainian crisis.

Sometimes a Zullo is just a Zullo

and other dubious quotations

The title to this article has been lurking for some time looking for a story. I’ve written so much about Cold Case Posse Commander Mike Zullo lately (and the unlicensed practice of psychiatry is against this site’s rules) that I really didn’t want another Zullo article, so this isn’t about him, but it does relate to the oft-cited quotation attributed to Sigmund Freud, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” (and not a phallic symbol).

My researches on that quotation lead me to an interesting web site called Quote Investigator published by Dr. Garson O’Toole. The site is a massive collection of research on quotations and I would now put it at the top of my list for quote attribution checking. I’ll keep you in suspense no longer: O’Toole has been unable to verify the cigar quote as an authentic saying of Freud.

Another quotation of special interest to me is one that it widely cited in books and articles, attributed to George Orwell:

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

While the sentiment might be a good summary for Orwell’s book 1984, the quotation is not from there, nor has it been found anywhere else in Orwell’s writings, despite several peoples’ efforts to find it, reports Quote Investigator. The reason that it is interest to me, of course, is that it appears in the #2 spot on the masthead of Orly Taitz’ web site.

OrlyQuotes

I find it remarkable that all three of the quotations Taitz has at the top of her blog are fake attributions. I concluded that the other two were fake in my article last year, “Apocryphal quotes on Taitz web site,” where I noted Loren Collins’ research on the faux Gandhi quote in his book Bullspotting. I don’t think that it is just a coincidence that Taitz is batting zero both for quotes on her web site, and for her anti-Obama lawsuits. A basic disregard for fact checking underlies them both.

CIA, Secret Service: guarding Obama’s DNA

Really

ObamaDNAWe’ve had a titter over the old Michael Shrimpton video making the birther rounds, about how the CIA collected Barack Obama’s DNA back in 2007 and compared it to his relatives, and found they weren’t related. Why would the CIA do such a thing?

Well, according to a 2012 article in The Atlantic, “Hacking the President’s DNA,” snagging DNA is exactly what the CIA does to world leaders (and we thought we were just listening to their phone calls). Why? Here’s the rationale according to authors Hessel, Goodman and Kotler:

The U.S. government is surreptitiously collecting the DNA of world leaders, and is reportedly protecting that of Barack Obama. Decoded, these genetic blueprints could provide compromising information. In the not-too-distant future, they may provide something more as well—the basis for the creation of personalized bioweapons that could take down a president and leave no trace.

Michael Shrimpton described in his video how very easy it would be to harvest Obama’s DNA from a drinking glass, and that might have been true in 2007, but perhaps not today:

According to Ronald Kessler, the author of the 2009 book In the President’s Secret Service, Navy stewards gather bedsheets, drinking glasses, and other objects the president has touched—they are later sanitized or destroyed—in an effort to keep would‑be malefactors from obtaining his genetic material.

Taitz: Shrimpton wanted money

Michael Shrimpton is all the rage at Birther Report with their new article: “Bombshell: British Intelligence Advisor; Obama Born in Kenya In 1960; CIA DNA Test.”

Shrimpton’s CIA DNA test tale is quite old. I wrote about it the very first month of this blog, in December 2008: “CIA DNA Test Reveals Barack Obama was ADOPTED.” Both then and today, no evidence is offered for the claim, nor any plausible explanation for how anyone knows it. Commenter Dr. Ken notes that the Shrimpton reference to President Medvedev just assuming the presidency in the BR videos dates it back to 2008. Comparing what Shrimpton said in the video with my article, it appears that it’s the same story (for example the detail that alleges Ann Dunham wasn’t pregnant in July of 1961); however, searching for that original story on the Internet associated with Shrimpton’s name returned no results, suggesting to me that Shrimpton got the story from birther accounts on the Internet rather than the other way round.

You can read more details from Shrimpton in this  2012 article at Veterans Today: “Rejection of Obama by the Electoral College” (site is very slow today).

Some of the BR commenters note the lack of evidence, one saying: “Barrister Michael Shrimpton speaks some interesting words. Now he needs to come up with some proofs. Words are not proof of anything….words are only hearsay and speculation.”

Orly Taitz echoes the skeptical theme in an article/press release from her yesterday, “Barrister Michael Shrimpton contacted Attorney Taitz in 2013, however never provided any proof of his statements.” Taitz wrote:

British Attorney Michael  Shrimpton contacted Attorney Orly Taitz a year ago, on February 7, 2013. He claimed that there was a DNA test proving Obama was not connected to Dunhams, his maternal grandparents. When Taitz requested some proof, Shrimpton provided absolutely nothing. Further, Shrimpton was trying to get money from Taitz to bribe officials in Kenya. If he has a DNA test, why does he need to bribe officials in Kenya? Without any proof of his statements Shrimpton might be either an opportunist seeking money or working for a joined CIA-MI6 operation to try to discredit Taitz and others by bringing forward hoaxes. Shrimpton needs to provide some evidence in order to be believed.

Shrimpton is variously described depending on how you view him. Alex Jones had Shrimpton on as a guest on his InfoWars program and provided this brief biography:

Michael Shrimpton, of course, is a national security lawyer, that is barrister, in government matters. He’s written for the Journal for International Security Affairs. He has given advice and briefed the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, that’s the US Senate. He’s given speeches and consulted all over western Europe and the United States. And of course he’s been an invited guest of the State Department.

That program was about allegations that a UK bioweapons expert named David Kelly was murdered by the British government, rather than the official cause of death, suicide. The Wikipedia article on Kelly covers the controversy. Shrimpton also claims that former British Prime Minister Edward Health was a serial pedophile. Shrimpton asserts that the death of Conservative Party’s Christopher Shale was also a political assassination, as was the death of RAF Chief Sir Christopher Moran.

Objective biographical information on Shrimpton is not easy to come by—no Wikipedia article, for example. Citizen WElls News says Shrimpton’s Wikipedia profile was scrubbed. Wikipedia profiles are basically user pages, created by individual Wikipedia editors about themselves1. The Shrimpton profile was indeed deleted back in 2012. Wikipedia profiles are supposed to be created by the subject themself, and this one wasn’t, basically turning the profile page into a biography of a living person without sources. Here’s the deletion discussion (“BLP” is an abbreviation for “Biography of a living person).”

Shrimpton made the mainstream news in 1998 as the representative of a number of luxury car enthusiasts (Shrimpton drives a Bentley) who tried to stop the sale of Rolls Royce to Volkswagen by making higher bid, bankrolled by wealthy investors. In his book about the acquisition, Kidnap of the Flying Lady: How Germany Captured Both Rolls-Royce and Bentley, Richard Feast writes:

And, of course, there was Michael Shrimpton, now leading another consortium called Crewe Motors. His claim to have secured promises of cash worth £490 million could not be ignored … however much a diversion it would prove. In the knowledge that he could rely on institutional investors, if not private ones, to vote for the Volkswagen offer, Chandler called for an adjournment. This gave time to examine the validity of Shrimpton’s claims he had the necessary finance lodged in the Bahamas and Switzerland…. However, Vickers failed to find the proof it needed that the funds were in place.

I include the Volkswagen story primarily because it is about all I could find in the mainstream about Shrimpton.

I think the big question that casts doubt on Shrimpton’s tale is simply, “why would the CIA be testing Barack Obama’s DNA?” The obvious answer is that there is no reason for them to do it.

Shrimpton blogged at The Shrimpton Report during 2012.


1Here’s my Wikipedia profile.

Are Obots paid Obama agents?

No

That answer could be the end of the article. Conspiracy theorists have long thought that the powerful conspirators can not only be blamed for whatever catastrophe has happened, a financial crisis, natural disaster, or Barack Obama becoming president, but also for preventing the conspiracy theorists from convincing the rest of the world of their version of the truth. I see this often as I comment at Birther Report, being asked how much I’m paid to betray my country. (I personally think that battling birthers is patriotic.) Here’s a more or less random example reply to me last year:

We know Soetoro’s birth certificate and Selective Service are forged, paid OBOT shill.

You are a VILE toad…

That latter conspirator role has become an increasing theme in comments and tweets from certain fringe sources. Commenter “helen” linked to one of them, an article titled: “The Conspiracy Theory Is True: Agents Infiltrate Websites Intending To “Manipulate, Deceive, And Destroy Reputations” by Tyler Durden (a pseudonym) who puts it succinctly:

In the annals of internet conspiracy theories, none is more pervasive than the one speculating paid government plants infiltrate websites, social network sites, and comment sections with an intent to sow discord, troll, and generally manipulate, deceive and destroy reputations. Guess what: it was all true.

The particular perpetrator of Internet manipulation in the Durden story is GCHQ, the British analog to the American NSA. The article is long, and I didn’t read it completely, nor delve into the fine print of the lines and arrows, but as far as I can tell, it doesn’t identify domestic conspiracy theorists as the targets, nor do any of the documents “leaked” suggest that the intent is to target cranks.

The great crime in all of this, so says the article, is that it threatens the “integrity of the Internet.” Intelligence services trying to plant disinformation have been around for probably thousands of years. Corporations, governments, and political parties are not stupid; they know the value of public opinion. There have been other disclosures of corporations using fake accounts on social media to do damage control or promote a product. Richard Nixon’s re-election committee practiced dirty tricks long before there was an Internet. To my mind, the great error in judgment made by Mr. Durden is his implicit belief that the Internet has integrity in the first place, at least any more integrity than any other aspect of life.

The leap conspiracy theorists make is to turn the capability of someone to sow disinformation among them or about them into the reality of it happening. Such capability is nothing new: I wrote about it three years ago in my article, “Engineered crisis.” It would be a mistake for anyone who values public opinion not to try to shape it through the Web and social media, and it would be a mistake to take anything one sees on the Internet at face value. I think the wise approach is expressed by the Russian proverb, Доверяй, но проверяй, “trust, but verify.” I do not expect anyone to believe me who does not know me, and this is why I take extra pains to provide sources for the information I present. This important distinction is usually lost on birthers (obvious in a current thread at Birther Report).

To the original question, I would answer more fully that I know personally several of the main anti-birthers, and none of them are paid to blog or comment about birthers. It come naturally out of a desire to correct misinformation and to appeal to our better natures. If the birthers had anything like real proof, they would have no problem getting a hearing, but they don’t and they won’t.