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Birthers move goalposts: It’s the historical record, stupid

imageFirst it was keeping Obama out of the White House, then removing him, then preventing him from being re-elected, then removing him again. But that goal is becoming increasingly unlikely. One Birther Report commenter, 4zoltan8, put it this way two days ago:

If nothing happens by June/July than (sic) nothing will happen. The mantra will be he only has 1 and 1/2 years left, we’ll just wait it out and work to get the Republican candidate elected.

That comment still allows for a sliver of hope—but that was before the Carl Gallups Freedom Friday show on yesterday (18 April 2015). Gallups says the investigation is ongoing, but he really resets expectations by saying Arpaio and Zullo are not the saviors of America1:

You keep saying things like: "You know we gotta stop this! It’s up to Arpaio and Zullo." It’s not. Never has been. I praise God for them, praise God for what they’re doing, but if they don’t bring this stuff for five years from now, they’ve still done their job.

Responding to the the Gallups interview, we see a leading commenter at BR reply:

The historical record means everything – you can’t have a country based on lies and deceit, especially when that deceit could have been prevented. When there are lies and deceit that MUST be corrected. And that’s been our biggest problem over the last 60 plus years. Interestingly enough – that coincides with the Communist infiltration.

— Comment at Birther Report2

It looks like the birthers are ready to settle for an asterisk next to the name of the 44th president.

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Is there a leak in the Cold Case Posse?

We’re going to stop leaking stuff because stuff is being leaked!

This from Bob via The Fogbow:

Zullo update [from Gallups]: Both Zullo — and Arpaio — say that the “conference” is “forthcoming.”
No new information because there were “concerns” about leaks in the CCP.

Commenters at The Fogbow express obvious bewilderment over how a group of one has a leak, but certainly Mike Zullo can do the leaking of 10 men.

imageConsider his amazing leak that someone had traced something to an organization with a DARPA artificial intelligence project! That compromised the entire birther IP harvesting project, and put all the DARPA folks, who wouldn’t have clue that they need to hide their IP addresses, on alert that they need to up their game. Now we’re all running Tor from an encrypted drive.

Consider the stunning revelation that the Cold Case Posse had discounted proof that the Obama long form birth certificate was consistent with a document scanned by a Xerox WorkCentre 7655. Obots could have remained complacent and oblivious to this development until Zullo was ready to shoot the theory down. Now they can work on alternatives.

It is abundantly clear that Zullo has taken the appropriate action to stem leaks from the Cold Case Posse by shutting himself up.

</snarky part>

This sounds like just one more excuse for having nothing from Mike Zullo.  If there are leaks from the Cold Case Posse (beyond what Zullo and Gallups say on the radio), they don’t get to me. Whether I believe it or not, at least Gallups and some of the birthers do. Here is part of a comment from AmazingGrace6 at Birther Report about an hour ago:

This will get bumpy–I am good with that because the enemy must be stripped of all credibility. I don’t believe Gallups would have said this today without the conferences being imminent. Keep praying because the safety of those involved with the reveal are truly in danger. And when this finally happens savor each minute. We have been right about him being a fraud.

Even Falcon at BR who made this comment on the 17th:

Here’s where I’m at – I don’t care about Carl Gallups and his boring Freedom Fridays. No one else cares, at all. We want action. If you and Gallups are going to dick around – [expletive redacted] you.

Seemed to come back into the fold:

Gallups: “Sheriff Arpaio & Mike Zullo Are Saying Investigation Press Conference Forthcoming”
No sense announcing it – unless you want to see Breitbart, in the afterlife.
God Speed, Gents.

What’s up, Doc?

I’ve been really busy on a project, and just get bits of what’s going on. Falcon at Gerbil Report™ has been on the war path against Brian Reilly after an unusual absence of 6 days or so. Here’s the smoking steaming gun:

Falcon: I’ve decided to not wait. We have all waited long enough. And thank you to those that believed in me and waited this long.

Brian Reilly was under a previous or current criminal investigation. He failed to disclose that to Zullo who fired him.

Reilly never disclosed to anyone his current / previous history – that was discovered outside of his CCP involvement.

Now it’s up to Brian Reilly to come clean.

The comment is remarkable for its lack of specificity. What Reilly allegedly didn’t tell Zullo could only have come from Zullo, so we know what Falcon’s source. My guess is that Zullo didn’t tell Falcon anything specific, using Falcon as a tool (as he uses others) to do his smears for him. I’ve seen Reilly’s letter of resignation from the Cold Case Posse, so I don’t believe for a minute that Zullo fired him, abd I have no reason to believe the rest of it. Even if partially true, being investigated for something is not a crime or evidence of wrongdoing.

So I commented, defending Reilly, but rather than responding to my comment, Falcon chose to attack me: Continue Reading →

Rats @ Gerbil Report

I smell a rat…

The article isn’t about this image, posted by Barry Soetoro, ESQ at GR 4 days ago:

Once I started the article, that image came to mind and I went looking for it. Some of the folks who comment at GR seem to watch their Intense Debate profile intensely (the rat photo accompanied a comment that I had visited BSE’s Intense Debate profile). Of course, I visit a number of ID profiles because it’s the easiest way to find content.

The title of the story is related to the Quote of the Day from Falcon, who said back in 2013:

By the way – RC ratted you all out. Mole / Fagblow.

I won’t bother with hyperlinks to Gerbil Report comments because they’re more trouble than they’re worth to use. Reality Check (RC) commented on the Quote today pointing to a problem with what Falcon said:

I love the quote of the day. I need to [do] a better job of ratting next time. Nothing seems to have come from it.

So this article is, well, rubbing it in. Dates following are approximate due to the lack of precision in Intense Debate date information:

Falcon 10/18/2013: They know RC ratted them out, but don’t know who else has the archive and can turn it over. And they’re not mentally stable to start with. Dangerous times at the dangerous Fagbow.

Falcon 11/15/2013: And Dr. Dirty, you fool no one. I know you’re involved in the crime itself – and I know RC ratted your dumb ass out. Get ready for your next career – prison bitch.

Falcon 11/15/2013: Hey Commie fart-knocker ObamaCare Wavigator how does it feel to know that you got ratted out? I’ve been warning your slag filled ass for over two months and then you had the balls to actually post here and further your involvement. You just might be the dumbest [expletive deleted] that ever posted here.

Some weeks later, I came upon some of these rat droppings, and commented: Continue Reading →

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.

Journeys among the birthers: comments at BR

I have been spending a great deal of time at Birther Report™ lately, commenting, but mainly looking at others’ comments over the past 5 weeks. I don’t mean to say that I have read all of them—that would a huge task, and a lot to stomach. It is an active site with several “new” articles daily.

Birther Report carries advertising and I presume that they get enough advertising revenue to make it important to them. Advertising revenue runs on traffic, and I believe that comments are a big driver of their traffic, and I suspect that one of the reasons that they let me post there is because I get a lot of responses when I post; however, my recent sojourn has taught me that I had a false impression of what they allow at BR, thinking that I was the token Obot, when in fact there are several reasonable, fact-based commenters there who take exception to the birther line and some seem to get their piece said without being deleted. At least one name you would recognize, and several others I haven’t a clue about. I won’t post names so as not to generate publicity that might jeopardize their status.

I got one reply today from SirenDrake that I have made the Quote of the Day. It said:

If you, Foggy, and your cohorts would shut up and go away, this site would be a model for intelligent, civilized debate and discussion.


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