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Yawn

One of the differences between me and the birthers is that the birthers hope or even expect something to happen as the result of their activity contesting Obama’s eligibility as President of the United States. I have no such hopes or expectations that anything I do will make any difference. I believe Obama will remain in office until the next election and then that the voters will decide who will be the next President based on issues entirely divorced from eligibility – and I’m good with that.

Without my help, Republicans in California will reject Orly Taitz’s Senate bid. The number of birthers, I guessing, will remain fairly stable. There is no windmill that needs a lance stuck in it. The legal arguments are done and barring a new court decision, not much to challenge the mind there. I find no fun in ridiculing unfortunate people.

I say all this to explain why there hasn’t been much new material on the blog of late. I’ve been pursuing some other interests as you can see by my recent articles over at Blog or Die! I’ve been  and will be traveling some too.

Knowing myself from past years, I will probably get fired up as the election heats up next year. I also intend to ease up (and already have) on “topical purity” in this site so we can talk about critical thinking or more specifically the lack thereof in the 2012 campaign. I continue to care about the human toll birtherism has on individuals and will continue to reflect that concern in articles here, such as the recent series on Darren Huff. I’ll also keep the open threads going so you folks can talk about your own birther-related interests.

Magnificent obsession

I was musing on the remarkable story of Orly Taitz. On one hand she can be viewed as a crazy dentist with some crank theories. On the other hand, Taitz has been remarkably effective in getting publicity. How many of us have been interviewed on prime time national television multiple times?

Is there a fictional character that models her birther career? Don Quixote comes to mind as one whose self-image far exceeds his objective narrative. Mr. Bean is another, a bungling man who is oblivious to the disasters he creates around himself.

Perhaps Phil Berg fits the Don Quixote story better. Berg was a successful lawyer, an Assistant Attorney General of Pennsylvania before he went wrong. Quixote was hit on the head; I don’t know what happened to Berg. It may have been his brother’s death or just being consumed with conspiracy theories, first about 9/11 and later about Obama’s birth place. In any case, he began neglecting his clients, went bankrupt and is facing disciplinary action from the Pennsylvania bar (hearing later this month).

A number of the birthers, thinking that they personally were on a mission to remove Barack Obama from the White House have gone to jail for their magnificent obsessions, notably Terry Lakin, Walter Fitzpatrick III and Darren Huff. Others have lost their jobs and family ties.

All this is to say that sometimes we are frustrated by birthers who won’t listen to reason and seem to be able to spout nonsense with impunity. However, craziness takes its toll – sometimes public and sometimes private. There are always consequences.

Birther convicted

Darren Wesley Huff was convicted today in Knoxville, Tennessee, on a federal firearms charge stemming from a planned protest against officials in Monroe County who refused to indict President Obama. Huff had pled guilty previously to state charges previously when he tried to force his way into the grand jury room.

The jury, after a day and a half of deliberation found Huff guilty of carrying a firearm in interstate commerce with the intent to use it in a civil disorder. He was acquitted of a second charge of carrying a firearm in relation to a felony. He faces up to 5 years in prison. Huff was taken into custody following the verdict.

Sentencing is scheduled for next February.

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Huff jury hung

After one day of deliberation the jury in United States v Darren Huff said:

We are hung.

Huff says he wasn’t trying to cause trouble, and indeed bought coffee and biscuits for the police there.

I’m not surprised the jury is having trouble figuring out Huff’s intent. He said what he said, but then he did what he did.

The jury will try again tomorrow. Stay tuned.

For coverage of the trial and a photo of Huff’s infamous truck, check out the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Government rests. Huff takes the stand.

imageDarren Huff (pictured right) took the stand today, the third day of his trial on federal weapons charges before U.S. District Court Judge Tom Varlan, charges that could carry a 7-year prison sentence. Huff, who was found carrying a pistol and an an assault rifle in his truck after declaring that he was on his way to make arrests of judges and other officials in Tennessee, testified that he did not touch the guns in his possession on that day and that violence was not his intent. His Colt .45 and the AK-47 were locked in the truck’s tool box according to Huff’s testimony Thursday.

Huff says he and 14 others were just going to protest the trial of birther Walter Fitzpatrick III and had no intent to use violence. On the other hand, he was in possession of a citizens arrest warrant for court officials, accusing them of treason. Huff was arrested some days later after not having actually committed any violent act, taking over the court house, or arresting anyone. Huff denied reports that he said he intended to take over the court house.

I never said anything about taking anything over.

Was he deterred by heavy police presence? Is Darren Huff a scary militia madman who poses a serious threat to public safety, or is he, as his attorney claims, just a guy who talks big? I’m surprised they didn’t charge him with conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

The prosecution cross examines Huff tomorrow. Stay tuned for the verdict.

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Update:

The case has gone to the jury, who will begin deliberations on Darren Huff’s fate Monday.

In summary remarks, defense attorney Green said:

Sure, he’s a loudmouth. Actions speak louder than words, though, and these actions are not consistent with someone hellbent on getting to Madisonville to take it over. We’re not here today if he doesn’t run his mouth. Just because he’s a loudmouth and his views are different than yours does not mean you convict him.

Prosecutor Theodore responded:

It is because of his actions. There are so many people who have extreme political beliefs. It is what he did on April 20 and what his intent was on April 20.

United States v Darren Huff

The jury trial of Darren Huff on charges of carrying a firearm in interstate commerce with the intent to use it in a civil disorder and using a firearm in relation to another felony begins in Knoxville, Tennessee, today. Huff will be defended by Knoxville attorney G. Scott Green.

Huff was traveling to Madisonville, Tennessee in possession of an AK-47 assault rifle that he allegedly admitted was intended to take over the city and make citizens arrests in support of birther Walter Fitzpatrick III. (Fitzpatrick was charged with trying to force his way into a grand jury room to intimidate the foreman in retaliation for the foreman’s refusal to consider Fitzpatrick’s papers claiming Barack Obama is not eligible to be president).

Huff describes himself as a member of the Georgia militia and the “Oath Keepers” group (both of whom have reportedly kicked him out).

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