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Klayman to face DC Bar charges

I don’t know that I have mentioned, but I have certainly noticed the significant contribution of quality articles and commentary appearing on the Internet attributed to AnitaMaria. She’s part of the chain through which I got this story, originally from a publication on the DC Bar web site, through the Legal Profession Blog and developed in her article at the Daily KOS.

The unspecified charges may be related to Klayman’s long standing legal battle with Judicial Watch, an organization Klayman founded. Stay tuned for the next episode of As the Birther Turns. A hearing is next month.

Mark Gillar: The lost comment

AnitaMaria started a diary at the Daily KOS web site titled: “Wingnut Lawsuit Names NBC’s Savannah Guthrie as Accomplice in Birther Conspiracy.” It’s about Doug Vogt’s strange federal court filing in Seattle. I wrote an article on it too.

Commenters here noted that birther radio host Mark Gillar left a couple of comments on the Daily KOS diary in reply to my own comments there, but when I went to look at them, they had been removed and Gillar banned. Today, I found some of the comment copied at The Fogbow, and I’ll reproduce it here:

[Dr Conspiracy,] you know full well that Guthrie was the only reporter allowed to handle the LFBC PDF and photograph it and see it up close. J. Scott Applewhite only photographed the photocopy given to the press. He didn’t photograph the certified copy. Holding up the document and letting people see it from a distance is hardly the same as letting each member of the press examine it.

As for your comment on moving on to the next point, it kind of reminds me of the time Obots were stating incorrectly that all of the anomalies were caused by optical character recognition software. You were quickly and easily proved wrong and you just moved on without admitting you were wrong.

… Finally, the Xerox 7655 has been a gift. Giving the CCP the ability to determine exactly which anomalies were and were not produced by the Xerox 7655 has been a blessing. Surely you understand that explaining some of the anomalies or stating that “well that kind of looks like the LFBC PDF” doesn’t cut it.

The 7655 was undoubtedly used to create a number of anomalies in hopes that all anomalies in the pdf, including the ones caused by the forgery itself, would incorrectly be attributed to the machine. It’s not going to work.

There is absolutely nothing in the record that supports Gillar’s remark, “you know full well that Guthrie was the only reporter allowed to handle the LFBC.” Birthers know things because they need them to be true, not because they have good reason. I require sources, and there is no source for such a claim. All we know is that the certificate was held up for everybody to see and Guthrie felt it, photographed it and Tweeted about it. I can see no reasonable argument that in a room full of people, somehow Guthrie was the only person to get close.

No one, to my knowledge, ever claimed that “all of the anomalies” in the White House PDF were caused by OCR, or that any of them were was caused by OCR. All of my old articles are here, and I never said that. Gillar is attacking a straw man (and Zullo spent a lot of time attacking the same straw man back in March or 2012 with Gillar doing the narration). What many correctly observed was that turning on OCR in Adobe Acrobat caused the creation of layers, thereby proving that birthers who claimed that “any layers were a mark of forgery” didn’t know what they were talking about. We also observed that the “Optimize scanned PDF” feature in Acrobat created layers without invoking OCR, but everybody understood that Adobe Acrobat didn’t create the long form in the first place only that it disproved birther claims that layers were signs of forgery. Birthers said that only manual tampering creates layers in a PDF, and this was proved false by a counterexample, what happens in Adobe Acrobat when OCR is turned on. Yet more than 2 years later, birthers are still arguing that layers indicate forgery, in the face of overwhelming proof to the contrary. (Paleo-birthers still think that any layers indicate forgery, Neo-birthers believe that a a number of layers less than 30 indicates forgery—following the March 2012 Zullo presentations, and modern birthers hold that multiple one-bit layers are impossible following Garrett Papit’s report for the Posse.)

Let’s give Gillar a history lesson. This is what Douglas Vogt was saying in 2011:

My qualifications on OCR programs are considerable. … The text file and matrix files would never be seen as separate layers and there is certainly no nine layers. The three files would be in a PDF “wrapper” and that’s all. All OCR programs work on the same principle.

And I replied in May of 2011, only a month after the Long Form PDF was released:

Does Vogt not even know that there is no OCR data in the Obama long form PDF?

When I published my own article on layers: “The Doc Got Layers” July 9, 2011, describing a procedure for generating layers in PDFs with Adobe Acrobat, there was nothing about OCR. I said:

I’ve already mentioned a few times, I scanned my own birth certificate using Adobe Acrobat and an HP scanner, and I got layers. Of course President Obama’s long form birth certificate PDF wasn’t scanned using Adobe software, but the similarity in the results are striking.

There is nothing about OCR in that article. I checked the revision control. No changes have been made to that article since the day it was published. Nevertheless, even though I had documented in May of 2011 that there is no OCR data in the White House PDF, Mike Zullo in his first press conference raised the same straw man, saying:

Over the last 10 months with all the controversy, there have been those that tried to explain away these anomalies, and they tried to explain them away by offering up excuses of OCR software or optimization.

Zullo then raises his own false claim:

In looking at that video, you’ll see that on Mr. Obama’s birth certificate, there are approximately 8 or 9 links and layers. Links and layers are indicative of a document being built, like you would on those transparencies from years ago when you start laying them one on top of the other, and you start to build a picture. That’s what that’s indicative of. Running it through software for optimization or OCR, you get anywhere from 45 to 150 links and layers, all bits and pieces. Mr. Obama’s is down to about 8 or 9, give or take, on either side. That’s an indication of human logic was involved in putting that document together. A computer will not randomly do what it does on Mr. Obama’s certificate.

In the March 31 press conference, Zullo proves that he doesn’t even know what OCR is! Zullo explained to the assembled Tea Partiers:

Optical Character Recognition–really that’s a fancy way of saying you scan it into a computer and a software program picks up the characters, the fonts, the little letters and makes them sharper, makes them look better.

Gillar basically admits now that everything that Zullo said above is wrong. A Xerox WorkCentre 7655 will create 9 layers and it will isolate parts of the document and allow them to be moved around, what Gillar, narrating the Cold Case Posse video, called “troubling.” All of the anomalies resulting from painstaking birther analysis of the long form PDF are just the normal processing of the Xerox 7655. How is having your entire body of work destroyed a “gift?” Perhaps the license to use more technical mumbo jumbo to fool the unwashed birthers, and to settle on an argument that birthers could never follow is considered a gift. The only real “gift” that Obots have given the birthers, is the opportunity to start over from scratch, to throw all their “old nonsense” in the dumpster, to move the goal posts, and come up with even more nonsensical marks of forgery. However when they start over, they most abandon any claims that the birth certificate has ever been proved a forgery by anyone.

Just to be clear, our argument goes this way:

  • Birther: This anomaly can only be the result of forgery
  • Obot: Normal processing produces this anomaly, therefore the birther claim is false.
  • Obot: Birthers have been proven dishonest and incompetent so many times that they no longer warrant consideration.

Birthers want to shift the burden of proof to the Obots to reproduce, bit for bit, the Long Form birth certificate, ignoring the fact that we do not have an original Obama birth certificate to scan, and any scanning process involves some variability. If you drop the same document in the document feeder twice, you get two different results, even a varying number of layers! We don’t have to prove anything. Obama is securely in the White House, and no one who matters will give birthers the time of day.

What we have shown is not how to perfectly duplicate Obama’s long form, but that the birthers don’t know what they are talking about.

Mark Gillar isn’t banned here, and is welcome to comment.

Survey: where do the birthers come from?

US Map image with states in colored regionsEarly on in the birther movement, the Daily KOS did a survey that included demographic questions. We learned that those doubting Obama’s US birth came from all over, but their percentages were markedly higher in the South.

Obama Conspiracy Theories has done new a first-of-its-kind poll of 8,000 US birthers, asking them where they lived. Since only birthers were polled, the results are reported as a scaled percentage of their states’ population.

Not surprisingly, we found that most birthers live in Texas, followed closely by California and then Florida. The least number of birthers live in Vermont. As a percentage of the population, however, our survey found that the 10 most birtherish states were (starting with the highest): Wyoming, Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Colorado, New Hampshire, Arizona, West Virginia and Montana. Texas came in 18th, California 42nd and Florida 12th.

In the following table I show the Relative Birther Scale (RBS), which is the number of birthers polled per 100,000 in population (2012 estimate). Of course this is not a measure of any absolute number of birthers, since we only counted a sample. Continue Reading →

Engineered crisis

I have suspected almost from the beginning that the “birther controversy” is an engineered crisis, a political smear fueled and fanned by professionals, with an army of dupes to carry the message. We’ve seen efforts to create fake grass roots movements already and the phenomenon even has a name, “astroturfing.” Joseph Farah or WorldNetDaily probably deserves much of the credit, saying himself that “we created it.”

Political misinformation campaigns and dirty tricks go back to the founding of our country; however, there is a basic sea change with sophisticated computer software and the Internet. The automation of dirty tricks is a matter of great concern to me.

The latest technique that has surfaced is “persona management,” software that can maintain multiple online identities (complete with IP addresses, email addresses and accounts on social networks), undetectable by sophisticated analysis, allowing a single software operator to appear as many people in online forums. A few agents can look for all intents and purposes like a movement. Today, this type of sophisticated manipulation is on the domain of large corporations, but perhaps it is being used by political operatives as well.

The Daily KOS has written about this, and I highly recommend their article, UPDATED: the HB Gary Email That Should Concern Us All.

Thanks to Sef for the tip.

Happy Birthday COLB!

It seems far longer than two years since then candidate Barack Obama’s presidential campaign put a copy of his Hawaiian birth certificate on the Internet, the first presidential candidate in history to make such a document public. I thought it appropriate that this article, the 800th published on this web site, be about that important event in the micro-universe of Obama Conspiracy Theories.

Possibly in response to a June 9th (2008) article by Jim Geraghty of the National Review Online, Obama Could Debunk Some Rumors By Releasing His Birth Certificate, echoed by WorldNetDaily on June 10, the Obama campaign is said to have scurried to meet the challenge and two days later (June 12) they released the scanned COLB to a progressive web site, The Daily KOS. Shortly afterward a copy was forwarded a political fact checking web site, Politico.com, and a copy posted on the Obama Campaign Fight the Smears web site. Within a scant 9 days of the initial release, the online newspaper Israel Insider published an article saying that anonymous analysts had declared it a forgery, one writing under the nom de blog of Dr. Polarik. Continue Reading →

Obama birth poll shows striking regional divide

“Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America
or not?”

A poll conducted for the Daily KOS (and this is a real poll,  not one of those unscientific citizen grand jury polls) asked the simple question: “Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America or not?” The results were incredible:

Daily KOS Birther Poll Results

Daily KOS Birther Poll Results

Graphic source: The Washington Monthly.

In most of the country, denialists are in the fringe, but in the South, the view is almost mainstream. Continue Reading →