Main Menu

Tag Archives | Barry Soetoro ESQ

The Dr. Conspiracy conspiracy

Slow news day.

The character using the screen name Barry Soetoro, Esq. at Birther Report has been making some comments there about me.

You might recall that BSE is a Sandy Hook truther, and the person who tacked so many gerbils onto so many photos as to earn Birther Report its nickname, Gerbil Report™. He also posted a number of photos of me next to a Dr. Kaufmann concluding that we were the same person. The owner of Birther Report told BSE to stop with that particular foolishness.

Now BSE claims that every public photo of me has been Photoshopped. His proof is “zoom in.” He says he thinks that I am an identity fabricated by the CIA. I figure either:

  1. He is nuttier than a fruitcake.
  2. He is a troll trying to stir up trouble at Birther Report.
  3. He is trying to goad me into releasing details about my past that he thinks he could use.

I’m betting on number 2.

19

Confirmation v. Prediction

This following quotation is from a long article that I decided not to publish about figuring out Falcon’s identity at Birther Report:

There are two approaches to discovery: One is the conspiracist method, where one starts at a point and looks for connections and confirmation. Anything remotely related adds to the confirmation pile. This is what led me astray twice. Coincidences and anomalies are the way the world works, and often mean nothing. The other is a more scientific method that starts with a hypothesis, makes predictions, and by experiment tests those predictions.

Birthers start with the initial opinion that something is wrong with Barack Obama and that they only need to figure out what it is. Loren Collins, in his book Bullspotting, develops the idea of anomalies in conspiracist thinking, introducing the topic by saying:

A primary feature of virtually every form of creative misinformation, from denialism to conspiracism to pseudo-scholarship, is anomaly hunting.

… Instead of stumbling across anomalies in the pursuit of positive evidence and then attempting to explain them, denialists, conspiracists, and pseudo-scholars seek out anomalies directly. Having been confronted with a consensus view that they wish to undermine , they gather up anomalies and then attempt to use the collective weight of those individual unanswered questions as part of their argument that the consensus view is wrong.

Collins, Loren (2012-10-30). Bullspotting: Finding Facts in the Age of Misinformation. Prometheus Books. Kindle Edition.

(For example, birthers, using anomalies, arrived at the conclusion that Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery, while a scientific approach leads to the conclusion that it’s a normal scan of a paper document done by a Xerox machine and rotated by Preview on a Mac.)

In the same way that anomalies are sought by birthers, so are connections. Sometimes birthers do bad math to calculate the probability of their anomalies (see my article, “Miscalculating the odds”), although I haven’t yet seen them do this with connections.

Birthers theories are full of crazy connections, for example connecting President Obama’s social-security number from a series usually assigned to Connecticut residents, to the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut, to an abandoned psychiatric hospital near Sandy Hook where presumably patients with Connecticut social-security numbers were treated. (See “Was Sandy Hook Used to Bury Obama’s SSN Records?” by “Barry Soetoro, Esq” at the Memory Hole blog.)  And what’s this Subud thing?

A birther at Orly’s site once “connected” me to something called the “Davidson Media Group” that, as I recall, owns a group of multicultural radio stations and has an address in a town where an erroneous public record says that I live, but that I never did. I then got “connected” to three individuals who were on the board of directors of Davidson Media Group, including one person who was previously at Citigroup. So now Citigroup is backing me and the blog. I’d never even heard of Davidson Media Group, but Orly’s commenter generalized on this “connection” concluding: My point is, that those accusing Obama are commen folk, like Orly, those defending him have big money behind them… [ellipsis, spelling, and grammar errors in the original].

I don’t want to single out birthers for criticism because we all have a tendency to notice connections; however, some of us, either by innate talent or methodology, are better at weeding out things that don’t make sense. I’ve certainly taken the connections route to try to answer a question about who an anonymous person online really is. I might ask the question, how likely is it for two people who post pictures from the same Photobucket account to be the same person, or how likely is it for two people using the screen name “Patriot1776” at different forums to be the same person?  As often as not, that approach leads to the wrong answer. Emil Karlsson writes about the statistical fallacy of trying to assign a probability to things that have already happened at the Debunking Denialism blog in his article, “The Top Five Most Annoying Statistical Fallacies.” He gives this example:

Imagine the silliness in getting a particular bridge hand, then exclaim that you could not possibly have gotten that particular hand that you just got since the probability is astronomically low.

The more scientific approach is to state a hypothesis that makes predictions, and then make observations that have the chance of confirming or disproving it. And very importantly, don’t ignore those disproving observations1! I’m reading a delightful book right now titled “The Mapmaker’s Wife” in which the testing of a scientific prediction, the bulging of the Earth predicted by Newton’s theories in the 18th century, is a major subtopic. They measured a degree of latitude at the equator (in what is now Ecuador) and compared it to a similar measurement in France. It’s a fascinating narrative comparing good and bad science.

I’m not going to write about the scientific method here because that’s been done often and more ably than I could. Interested readers could visit the library or read the Wikipedia article.2


1The issue of deciding when to label something as “bad data” is difficult. The confirmation of Falcon’s name was overwhelming except for one item: Falcon said more than once that his grandfather died in 2002, but the grandfather of the person I identified died in 2001. I concluded that in face of so much solid confirmation, Falcon had just gotten the year wrong.

2I would have liked to illustrate the scientific method by the hypothesis made for the Falcon identification, but to do so in any detail would be to give hints about his identity, which I don’t intend to do. Let me just say that the hypothesis predicted that a certain document could be found, and that when it was, it would say two very specific things. The document was found, and it said what was predicted.

GR vs. BR

If you search at Google Images for “Gerbil Report” one of he first images you’ll see is one from this blog, part of the image below:

GRvBR

Readers might notice that sometimes I say Birther Report and sometimes I say Gerbil Report™. The choice is not random or accidental, but rather indicative of how serious I am in the article.

If I am going to make a substantive criticism of the site, I will say Birther Report and if I am making fun of or reporting hijinks at the site I will say Gerbil Report™ and if I am talking about some of the really outlandish posters, it’s Gerbil Report™ for sure. If I want to give credit for a news article, it’s Birther Report. If it’s just a casual mention—Gerbil Report™.

The problem now is that after the recent crackdown on Barry Soetoro, Esq. at Gerbil Report™, there aren’t any more gerbils. This is going to be a problem for me in the long term because the term I coined and am so proud of, may become meaningless.

In other BR news, I would remind folks that Birther Report and Obama­Release­Your­Records are now two disjoint sites with content after last November 23 on the former and older content on the latter. I don’t know how long this will continue. I’m pretty sure both are still hosted by Google, but on different servers.

OARPA – OBOT Advanced Research Projects Administration

The birthers pasted bad Photoshop images of people’s pictures (mine included) onto all kinds of things, many these days with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration logo. Who knew that DARPA operated the Wienermobile?

It wasn’t the likes of Gerbil Report™ poster Barry Soetoro, Esq. that created the first Obot/DARPA association. It was Mike Zullo who said almost a year ago that some anonymous Obot was tracked through their IP address to someplace that had a DARPA artificial intelligence project. Given that the alleged Obot is anonymous, presumably unknown to Mike Zullo, then if Zullo is not lying, it might be that somebody made an anti-birther comment from work, such as one of the many large corporations or universities that have DARPA contracts. It is rumored that birther web sites are cooperating in an IP address harvesting project and this might be fallout from that. In the alternative, it might just be a scam Dennis Montgomery was running on Sheriff Arpaio.

Don DARPA

While the birthers tilt at DARPA windmills, they remain oblivious to the real challenge: the Obot Advanced Research Projects Administration (OARPA). OARPA is not part of the Military, but the Alternate Clandestine Service  (TXE3) under Jim Johnson, run out of the White House.

I talked about my own role in OARPA, although I did not name the agency, in my article, “An Apology To Joe Mannix.”1 I used the made-up terminology, “DARPAbot” and tried to obscure some very large hints under the guise of satire. I have a high position (I won’t say the title) at OARPA in the Birther Advanced Research Facility (BARF). Internet service providers give OARPA a feed of selected data packets related to birther Internet activity, and we use some really advanced AI techniques to filter out the nonsense (99.9999%), and select the handful of dangerous comments.2

The reader might wonder why I would talk so openly about such a secret clandestine operation, and why now. It’s part of the plan. In addition to the technical means used by BARF, we also have our Psychological Warfare – Nutcase Elimination Division (PWNED) that has determined that birthers are nearing  a meltdown largely due to the repeated delays from the Cold Case Posse, and the anxiety over the exponentially growing web of conspiracy they perceive (each conspiracy leads to a branch of new “connections”). They have come to believe in so many conspiracies all around them, that they are nearing a communal psychotic break. It is believed that the numbers of individuals who might be affected is so large that they would overwhelm our current mental health system, requiring mass institutionalization at government facilities, such as those of FEMA, and control using restraints and drugs. In a sense, this is a precision targeted extension of Cloward-Piven theory applied to the neutralization of birthers once and for all.

So birthers are invited to start digging into the information in this article and make new investigations, leading to increasing connections and newer conspiracies. The truth is out there.


1The Mannix character used proxy servers to obscure his real IP address, but that is no problem for OARPA, who easily tracked him to his home in [redacted] Louisiana. Since “Mannix” is a pseudonym, this note does not violate the site privacy policy.

2We aren’t believing the things we are finding.

3TXE – what self-respecting clandestine service would use its real initials?