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Surprise Arizona Tea Party Patriots to hear Common Law Grand Jury crank

Birthers were at one time enamored by the “citizens grand jury.” They didn’t like the fact that no prosecutor or grand jury would indict Obama for crimes they believed he committed, so they set up their own shadow government with grand juries, prosecutors and judicial proceedings, culminating with the famous The Blood of Jesus v. Obama trial by Pastor James D. Manning in Harlem.

They’re back in a presentation by Terry Rapp, scheduled for December 2 at the Surprise Arizona Tea Party Patriots (not to be confused with the Surprise Arizona Tea Party or the Judean People’s Front) meeting. [View a slide presentation by Rapp on the Arizona Common Law Grand Jury.] Rapp has been making the rounds in Arizona at least since last February with seminars on common law grand juries.

Rapp is the Arizona representative of the National Liberty Alliance, an organization promoting common law grand juries across the country. NLA head John Darash (not his real name) is himself quite a character, and you can read about him and his organization at The Fogbow.

Some believe that the grand jury is properly a guard against prosecutorial abuse and some argue that the grand jury as originally intended was an independent investigative body. Whatever the original intention or current implementation of the grand jury in Arizona or in the United States, the grand jury is a representative of the people and this point is where extra-governmental grand juries stumble. Citizen grand juries are collections of like minded people, excluding those who don’t share their ideology. They don’t represent the people as a whole and as such they have no legitimacy under any interpretation of the meaning of  grand jury. Real grand juries consist of randomly selected individuals, not volunteers with an axe to grind.

Thanks to those who provided information used in this article.

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Essential services, Obot blogs, continue amidst US government shutdown

A dysfunctional US Congress has caused over 1 million federal workers to be sent home as the federal fiscal year begins with no budget. Certain essential services, however, will continue, including immigration and border controls and payments to social security recipients, and also thankfully, there will be no reduction in federal funding for blogs such as this.

I have strong feelings about the government shutdown, but they are not relevant to the birther movement, except that some of the same rumor-based decision making processes we see with birtherism, seem to play a role in the Tea Party approach to legislation.

Bye Bye Bachmann

Minnesota Congresswoman announced yesterday that she will not be seeking reelection in 2014. Rep. Bachmann is the head of the House Tea Party Caucus. She is also well-known for her many gaffes, her propensity to believe nonsensical tales, and her apparent distrust of science. She doesn’t believe global warming is a problem because carbon dioxide is “a natural byproduct of nature” (text from Think Progress) and therefore can’t be harmful. She pushed the Obamacare death panels malarkey, a falsehood that Politifact deemed the lie of the year for 2009. She was among five House members who asked several federal government agencies to investigate whether the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated their ranks. She really, really, really doesn’t like President Obama. Or facts. She doesn’t like them either. And yet, she is not a birther.

She flirted with birtherism a little. In an interview on Good Morning America in February of 2011, she refused to say categorically that Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen. In a radio interview the following month, she said, “I’ll tell you one thing, if I was ever to run for president of the United States, I think the first thing I would do in the first debate is offer my birth certificate, so we can get that off the table." (text from CityPages) Just one week before President Obama released a copy of his long-form birth certificate, she seemed to be taken aback a bit in an interview with George Stephanopoulos when he showed her a printout of the President’s short form birth certificate, leading to the following exchange (text from Huffington Post):

Stephanopoulos: Well I have the president’s certificate right here. It’s certified, it’s got a certification number. It’s got the registrar of the state signed. It’s got a seal on it. And it says ‘this copy serves as prima facie evidence of the fact of birth in any court proceeding.’

Bachmann: Well, then that should settle it.

Stephanopoulos: So it’s over?

Bachmann: That’s what should settle it. I take the president at his word and I think- again I would have no problem and apparently the president wouldn’t either. Introduce that, we’re done. Move on.

Stephanopoulos: Well this has been introduced. So this story is over?

Bachmann: Well as long as someone introduces it I guess it’s over.

Stephanopoulos: It’s right there.

Bachmann: Yeah, there you go. Because that is not the main issue facing the United States right now.

When she was presented with evidence that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, she accepted that he was, in fact, born in Hawaii. No birther would do that. Michele Bachmann is not a birther. If birthers couldn’t convince Michele Bachmann to get on their crazy train, they will never succeed in convincing any member of Congress to join them.

The third alternative

When at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

That seems to be the birther motto, but I think the familiar saying above implies trying for the same goal using different means, not repeating the same exact failure. Nevertheless, that’s what activist birther attorney Larry Klayman and an Ocala Florida Tea Party group who have “indicted” the President, Vice President, Attorney General and Chief Justice for a list of stuff the group, styling themselves a “grand jury,” came up with, reports Ocala.com. Lest we forget, the Ocala Tea Party indicted Obama and Biden already, back in October of 2012. How did that work out?

I believe what [Klayman]’s doing is the right way to go about making the federal government responsive to the people,” Tea Party Solutions President Stephen Hunter said. “There’s two alternatives: 1776 all over again or complete capitulation to a communist, socialist society.”

There is a third alternative: voting in a new president and petitioning Congress to impeach officials who have committed high crimes. Representative democracy does not mean that everybody gets their way.

Chief Justice Roberts was “indicted” because he refused to force Justice Kagan to recuse herself, something that he is not empowered to do under the Constitution. Surely at least Larry Klayman knows this, and this these indictment are a sham in the worst possible way. As one federal judge said:

Any self-styled indictment or presentment issued by such a group has no force under the Constitution of laws of the United States.

Responding to his critics, Klayman said:

What do you expect from atheists and ultra-left wing socialists who hate conservatives and people of faith?

I would expect them to ignore the law, convene fake grand juries, and tell lies about their opponents. Thanks for asking.

People for the American Way research director Josh Glasstetter said of Klayman:

If they took the time to look, they’d find a long record of scandal, failed lawsuits and outlandish claims that never panned out.

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Orly Taitz: Tea Party v. Twittergate

Orly Taitz demonstrates in her article, “Tea Party United is planning a rally in front of the Federal building in Sacramento, protesting the fact that court is not issuing a default judgment against Obama in Grinols v Electoral college, as Obama was sued as an individual, as a candidate for office, he did not furnish an answer and is currently in default. Tea party patriots are planning similar rallies in front of the 5th circuit court of Appeals, where the court is just sitting on the emergency motion to expedite a default judgment against the Commissioner of the Sociala (sic) Security Michael Astrue for his default in Taitz v Democratic party, dealing with Obama’s use of forged IDs and a stolen CT SSN [redacted, Doc],” just how big WordPress titles can get!

The rally is scheduled for 11 AM on Thursday (which particular Thursday is not specified).

Dr. Conspiracy Twitter pageOrly also cites an Examiner article saying that 70% of Obama’s Twitter followers are fake. Well, I’m not an Obama Twitter follower, so maybe I’m not a fake. Examiner got it’s story from the New York Times, making it more interesting. Apparently the practice of buying Twitter followers is real, although there is some question as to whether the tool that checks for fake followers gives accurate results.

However, the Fake Follower Check does not really say 70% of Obama’s followers are fake; the site, statuspeople.com, actually showed 30% fake, 39% inactive and 31% good. So I asked the site about MY Twitter followers. I’ve never bought a Twitter follower, and I can’t see that anyone else would have either. It said 6% fake, 23% inactive and 71% good. (I have 349 followers for what that’s worth.)

Surprise! Tea Party event flops

The Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots report that the birther celebrity event organized by the Surprise Tea Party Patriots, featuring Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Mike Zullo, singer Pat Boone, and disgraced Army doctor birther Terry Lakin. has been canceled due to inadequate sales of the modestly-priced $10 tickets. Unlike the canceled Birther Summit, refunds are being issued.

Read more at the Phoenix New Times blog.

I think there’s something to be learned here, but I’m not exactly sure what it is. Birther public events flop. We have Carl Swensson’s march on the Atlanta capitol with maybe a dozen folks showing up. There was Berg’s big fling in DC that garnered a handful of curiosity seekers. The “King of the Birthers” Andy Martin maybe filled up a hotel room – two single beds. The Orly Taitz/Pastor Manning protest of Fox News in New York was a bust.

Birthers just don’t show up. I don’t know whether they are afraid that Obama will get them, or that there really aren’t more than a handful of committed (or maybe “not yet committed”) members of the birther movement. The number of people who watched the various birther court appearances were in the tens of thousands, but we don’t know if these were birthers or anti-birthers. Maybe birthers are too anti-social to congregate (this actually makes sense). Maybe most of the birthers are really institutionalized and can’t travel. Maybe the number of serious birthers is wildly overrated and birtherism is a web-only movement.