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Attorney Philip J. Berg

Canadian Conspiracy Show meets the Birthers

OK, I haven’t watched this video beyond the first minute where it says:

His presidency became mired in controversy when researchers and political opponents alleged that Obama was not eligible…

spoken over images of Mitt Romney, Donald Trump and John McCain, two of whom never in any way questioned Obama’s eligibility.

That was enough to tell me that, like the typical UFO cable TV documentary, this isn’t meant to present the facts accurately and in context. The video features three birthers and one “skeptic.” The birthers are Mario Apuzzo, Phil Berg and Karl Denninger (an early crank image analyst that I have mostly ignored). The skeptic is Allenna Leonard, billed as “Committee Chair of Democrats Abroad Canada.”

I have had some indecision about how to present the video. I could embed it from the Canadian site, but I don’t know if that is fair use. So here are two links:

  1. Web page with video embedded and discussion forum (video has advertising)
  2. Link to raw video
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Obots offer witness protection to embattled birthers

Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come for You?

First, the title is just kidding. Obots don’t have any authority to offer anything in the way of protection to birthers. I’m just a retired guy who blogs. What I wanted to mention was two recent items where birthers are being singled out by other birthers as criminals.

The first is the obvious Douglas Vogt unsealed affidavit that charges Birther Princess Miki Booth with being part of the group forging Obama’s birth certificate. Some birthers were happy to take that and run with it.

The second is the charge from Carl Gallups that Douglas Vogt said things that were untrue in his unsealed affidavit before the U. S. Supreme Court. Gallups is right, by the way.

Meanwhile one wonders how many more birthers are going to get on the “Zullo is just stringing us on” bandwagon. That sentiment certainly has Carl Gallups upset.

Birthers have never gotten along that well because the prominent birthers want to be leaders, and you can’t have everybody being a leader. Conspiracy theorists are by nature lone researchers and they do not take kindly to competing theories. The messiest example was of course the lawsuit between several birthers, including Orly Taitz, Lisa Liberi and Phil Berg. Then just yesterday we had that whiny rant from Carl Gallups declaring Mike Zullo (and Gallups as his sole spokesperson) the only one who has accomplished anything for the birther movement, calling the rest “jealous.”

Conspiracy theories tend to develop factions—just look at all the Kennedy Assassination theories, or the LIH v. MIH factions for 9/11. Birthers are no different. Their theories include:

  • Obama was born in Kenya
  • Obama was born in Hawaii fathered by Frank Marshall Davis
  • Obama was fathered by Malcolm X
  • Obama isn’t related to the Dunhams
  • Obama was born in Hawaii to Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Sr. but ineligible anyway
  • Hawaii is/is not in on it
  • Nancy Owens forged the birth certificate
  • Miki Booth and friend forged the birth certificate

Continue Reading →

Misplaced trust: hacking, punking and birthers

I was looking at Birther Report this morning, and noticed the article about their acquiring a new server (mentioned by commenters here previously). I and others have expressed some skepticism about the ability of Birther Report to remain secure once it leaves the Google umbrella and goes to a privately-owned server. The particular words from the author Helen Tansey that caught my attention were:

This process includes hiring a trusted programmer who will manage the migration from Blogger to the new server.

I don’t think birthers are very good at knowing whom to trust. Birther Report regularly publishes articles that are nonsense. They use advertising providers who let themselves get hacked, resulting in BR having been a vector for malware.

Of course, the poster child for misplaced trust is probably Orly Taitz who is regularly punked by commenters on her blog, filed no less than two fake birth certificates in court, and allowed malware to be placed on her web site on multiple occasions. Searching for “hacked” on this site returned more hits for Taitz than for any other. Taitz ended up suing her former webmaster (I express no opinion on the merits of that suit). Orly also claims to be hacked when she hasn’t been.

I put Mike Zullo in the number 2 position. While Zullo’s failures are not as transparent as Taitz’, it appears that he’s been fooled many times. He trusted the various birther document forensic volunteers much to his embarrassment. First there was Mara Zebest, who showed basic misunderstanding of technical details, and then Garrett Papit who led the Posse into false declarations about PDF files, the ones debunked by a Xerox machine. One also must at least wonder at the money spent by Zullo on the Reed Hayes report, which is yet to be released. Zullo’s biggest lapse in judgment was when he believed the fake 1961 vital statistics manual and then made it the centerpiece of his 2nd press conference. I should add that the Cold Case Posse web site itself was hacked last December, apparently because they used old software and didn’t apply security patches. They also went down a couple of time when they didn’t pay their bills. Whoever was entrusted with the site didn’t do a responsible job.

Phil Berg’s site was hacked too.

I think most of the birther and anti-birther web sites are hosted by blog providers, either Google Blogger™ or WordPress.com. These will shield their users from most forms of hacking except for third-party advertising that got Birther Report. For this reason, we don’t see a lot of hacking on these sites. Orly, however, runs her own software, as did Berg and the Zullo. I run my own software and the Fogbow does also.

I don’t want to make too big a deal about a birther site getting hacked: “There, but for the grace of God, go I,” the saying runs. A while back, the URL shortening service used my Twitter feed got hacked. That didn’t affect my visitors, but I did have to change URL shortening providers (Twitter does this automatically now). Someone else who runs a site on the same server as I, was hacked and started sending spam. I do some of the basic anti-hacking stuff like obfuscating database tab names, using secret keys in cookies and always installing the current versions of all the software I use.

Berg to byline book about Obama

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports that birther attorney Philip J. Berg has lost his privilege to practice before the US Supreme Court, following a two-year suspension from the practice of law in his home state of Pennsylvania for matters unrelated to his anti-Obama lawsuits; however, in an interview with his local newspaper, the Lehigh Valley News, Berg admits that it was spending so much time pursuing Obama that caused him to neglect his own clients.

Berg, who said that he would re-apply to the Supreme Court after his suspension ends, also said he was writing a book about Obama.

Did you know?

  • Phil Berg is a volunteer fireman

Taitz gets lump of coal for birthday

Taitz v. Obama appeal postponed

Here’s what Orly said [link to Taitz web site]:

Suddenly, on my birthday (yet again, never fails), another road block was placed in front of me.   My September 26 hearing in Taitz v Obama was postponed till October. No explanation was given aside from a short note that it was done.

She has a point. It was on her birthday, August 30, 2011, when Judge Royce Lamberth dismissed Taitz v. Astrue. I wrote about that in my article “Taitz gets sucky birthday present.” On her birthday in 2012, Orly reports that someone called her on the phone and cussed her out and in 2010, she says her Facebook account was suspended [link to Taitz web site].

I got a cake for my birthday this year and a replica Dr. Who (Tom Baker) scarf.

Note: The case is G047746, and you can search for it here.

Update:

Oral argument rescheduled for October 23, 2013. On Sept. 10 Taitz filed a motion for leave to submit a supplemental brief and CD with “newly discovered information.” It was denied.

Birther Berg bounced

There was a misfire some months ago with the premature reporting of the suspension of birther attorney Philip J. Berg based on the findings of a Pennsylvania disciplinary board. That two-year suspension from the practice of law is now final as of June 19, as  ordered by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The suspension is not related to birther lawsuits.

It is likely that this precipitated the notice filed in the case of Liberi v. Taitz the following day that attorney Stephen H. Marcus will be representing Berg and other plaintiffs.

I don’t provide much coverage of the Liberi lawsuit because it is an internal squabble between individuals, and not really about Obama. Berg, however, is an important figure in the birther movement, popularizing many of the main points of the “born in Kenya” conspiracy theory.