Main Menu

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
8

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

Disgusted birther leaves country

Paul Irey (pictured right) knows how to use a typewriter, but not so much how typewritten documents are converted into electronic documents through scanning and image processing. His biased pseudo-expert analysis of Barack Obama’s birth certificate and other documents has been foundational in several birther lawsuits, such as those by Douglas Vogt and Orly Taitz. Most recently he has weighed in on behalf of Chris Strunk in the ongoing attempt to revive his 2012 suit against the New York Board of elections. (Nothing Irey could say can remedy Stunk’s lack of standing.)

Charles Kerchner has published an email from Irey in which he says [italics replaced by underscores]:

Meanwhile I am leaving the country to reside elsewhere.  I may stay out of the country regardless of the outcome of my efforts … as our national problems are not all caused by this present usurper … that to me seem impossible to solve … mainly due to the tightly controlled media that prevents information such as I have described here from ever reaching you.  Fear is not the reason for my leaving.  It is disgust with the amazing amount of corruption and disregard for our constitution … and the likelihood of serious “fundamental” changes in the future.

One has to note with irony the fact that the “information” that Irey says is suppressed is being discussed right now on this Internet web site.

I had the opportunity to talk to Irey when he appeared on the RC Radio show way back in 2011. I found him a sincere fellow who was totally unable to see straight when it came to looking at evidence about Obama. He said he knew Obama’s birth certificate was a fake before he even looked at it!

I suspect that reinforcement from folks like Strunk, Vogt, Kerchner and perhaps rightwing nut job web sites, trying to outdo each other in exaggeration of their imagined usurpation of the US presidency, has gotten Irey so worked up that he’s actually leaving the country. If he’s leaving for negative reasons, then I feel sorry for him.

One of the great insights in my life is “it’s not about me.” That principle guides me away from making grand symbolic statements, such as leaving when some people don’t act the way I think they should. The proper response is to engage those I disagree with and work to change things. Irey has the right to his politics and his view on how the country ought to run, even though I think he is 100% wrong on some of his conclusions about President Obama. Irey’s leaving the country isn’t going to change anything, and is a futile gesture.

29

Expert says Orly has a “good case” that immigrant children are spreading rare disease

imageThe chart at the right came from the Centers for Disease Control. EV-D68 is a strain of enterovirus, first isolated in the United States in 1962. There has been a bit of an outbreak of the generally uncommon virus recently. It is a respiratory virus whose symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Orly Taitz has enlisted the services of Vera Dolan, an epidemiologist writing Taitz in an email:

I have done a little research on the enterovirus outbreak. This strain of enterovirus (EV-D68) is uncommon. I believe that you have a good case to make that this outbreak is associated with the influx of illegal alien children.

I suppose that an epidemiologist trying to make the case that illegal immigrant children were spreading the virus would first want to demonstrate that the children had the virus, or came from a place where the virus was prevalent, and then show that these new cases were showing up in places where the children were being transported, and to try to rule out other possibilities. Dolan attempts to explain the lack of cases along the US border by acquired immunity in those areas due to exposure to historical illegal immigration.

In a 2011 report in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), clusters of the disease were diagnosed in the United States, the Philippines, Japan, and the Netherlands. U. S. cases (Sept. 2009) were in Georgia (6 cases), Pennsylvania (28 cases), and Arizona (5 cases). I wasn’t able to find any support for the idea that EV-D68 is common (or even present) in Latin America.

Dr. Ann Schuchat. director of CDC’s national center for immunization and respiratory diseases, points out that respiratory illnesses spread rapidly (and I would add that transportation of children isn’t necessary). She stated in a September 8 conference call:

Respiratory viruses can spread quite quickly across the U.S. we see a number of different respiratory viruses cycling each year or over a couple-year period. So we really do think that clinicians throughout the country need to be on the alert for increases in severe respiratory illness and consider this in the differential diagnosis. Geography isn’t that helpful when it comes to respiratory viruses. We know that flu transits the country pretty quickly and the unusual increases in Kansas City and Chicago may be occurring elsewhere over the weeks ahead so we want people to be on the lookout.

Nowhere is the CDC even hinting that the illness is tied to illegal immigrant children. My money is on a Japanese tourist in Kansas City.

Taitz is asking the parents of children with respiratory illnesses to call her (PLEASE DO).

Amended Complaint

Dolan is quoted in Taitz’s Amended Complaint (continuation pages) as making the remarkable statement:

As an epidemiologist, I believe that Dr. Taitz’s respiratory infection originated from close contact with infected patients who were sent for treatment to her office, in particular immigrants who were detained by the DHS without quarantine or medical treatment for existing communicable diseases and then transported to California.

I believe that Dr. Taitz is in further imminent danger of similar additional infections from immigrant patients detained by the DHS without quarantine or medical treatment for existing communicable diseases.]

This is remarkable given that it was not determined what Taitz got sick from. The full affidavit from Dolan provides no indication of how Dolan arrived at her conclusions, and identified no methodology employed. If I had to characterize her statement it would be: “Taitz said she treated lots of immigrant children with coughs, and she got one too; therefore, she got sick from treating illegal immigrant children, and she will likely get sick again if these children aren’t quarantined.”

The Amended Complaint adds a new claim of negligence, but of course, she cannot sue the government for damages resulting from a policy decision. There is that pesky sovereign immunity thing.

Postscript

I studied a couple of epidemiology textbooks as part of the process of designing software to be used by public health professionals when I was in that business. I also worked for 6 years in a district health department. I have also been a consultant to the CDC on immunization systems. That means I know more than the average person about epidemiology, but am far from an expert. What I can say is that the Dolan affidavit bears no resemblance to any epidemiology methodology I have ever seen, nor does it contain anything I would identify as using the scientific method.

73