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Patriot Games

So with Lent being over, I went over to Birther Report and made some comments, on their Michael Shrimpton article. Even Jerome Corsi doesn’t take Shrimpton all that seriously, but some of the commenters there were all over some massive conspiracy involving the UK and Shrimpton, corrupt government officials and who knows what else.

The whole thing was so extremely silly that I made a suggestion that what I was reading was some kind of role playing fantasy game of “Evil Obama.” In reply, I got this from Martha Trowbridge:

No Patriot is playing; we are warring. … Obama and his co-conspirators are, de facto, evil.

The other thing that set me off was a title over at Orly Taitz’ site:

Report: Fracking Has Reduced CO2 More Than All the Solar Panels & Wind Turbines in the World

That counterintuitive statement refers to an article that refers to an article at Fox News by John Stossel. Stossel’s article doesn’t even hint at how fracking reduces CO2 emissions, by the way. A Fox News internal memorandum from Bill Sammon, managing editor of the Washington bureau of Fox News said:

We should refrain from the assertion that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period of time without immediately pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question. (“The Loudest Voice in the Room” by Gabriel Sherman, p. 322)

In fairness to Stossel, fracking is reducing greenhouse gasses because it creates more natural gas, which in turn has led power plant operators to switch from coal to natural gas; however, petroleum industry claims of the amount of reduction seem exaggerated, attributing all the gains to this switch while ignoring the reduced demand for heating due to climate warming, and the increasing efficiency of the US automobile fleet. Further, natural gas production may actually increase global warming due to issues with its production.

I guess my point is that extremely polarized positions about energy policy founded on biased or manipulated numbers are not much different from polarized political positions in Congress. The public debate should be based on the best science. To put the future of the planet in a secondary position to an agenda is unpatriotic.

I don’t find Fox News’ policy very patriotic, any more than the Birther Report commenter knee-jerk belief in everything bad about Obama.

It seems that the Congress (at least the Republican half and perhaps the other side) is playing a game to annihilate the other party rather than move the country along. I can’t see how the right-wing secessionist factions can honestly pledge allegiance to the flag (“One nation under God, indivisible”). It seems that extremists on both sides virtually loathe America.

So where are the real patriots these days?

I think our armed forces are filled with patriotic Americans. The folks who obey the law and pay their taxes, the informed voters, the people who volunteer in civic activities to help children and the disabled—these are patriotic Americans.

2 + 2 = silly

I wrote earlier about Mark Kessler, and included a quote from him given right after hearing Mike Zullo’s closed-door presentation at the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association meeting, that I’ll repeat here:

Ths Barry…he’s not an American, I can tell you that right now. The information that I was given, he’s not an American. He’s not even Kenyan and I’m tellin’ you that when you find out what he is, your blood is gonna boil. The American people are gonna go absolutely crazy if Congress doesn’t do something about this cause he’s not Kenyan and he’s not American. …There’s no record of him prior to the age of five anywhere in this country. Nowhere. The people that…that they say are his parents, guess what? They’re not his real parents. They’re not. I’ve seen the evidence. I’ve seen the evidence and I give kudos to Mike Zullo and Joe Arpaio because Joe took this bull by the horns and ran with it.

So what the heck is that all about? Well, look at this bit from Martha Trowbridge today at Birther Report:

Martha Trowbridge 78p · 8 hours ago
Foggy was referencing a several-day twitter debate we [and “Pogue Moran”] were having re: aka Obama’s fugitive mother, known at the time of her 1985 Domestic Terrorism arrest as “Elizabeth Duke”.

He was ridiculing my statements indicating that she will be brought to Justice. Another of his ridiculing tweets was something like “You know who runs the Feds? He he he” meaning since Holder’s in charge, fat chance that “Duke” will be taken into custody.

The joke will soon be on all of them.

It seems to me that this might be Zullo’s totally crazy closed-door presentation, and maybe even what he’s been working on all this time. For this to work, they will have to come up with a new non-American father unless Kessler was confused. Note Trowbridge’s word, “soon.”

A log in their eye

Martha Trowbridge directed a comment to me at Birther Report. She said:

The Lord judges us, not on how many talents with which we were gifted by Him, but by how we apply those talents.

Not until my spiritual awakening eight years ago did I comprehend that, since college, I’d been lying to myself about what a ‘good’ person I was. Now, I look at the person I used to be – selfish, vain, proud, essentially ‘dis-connected’ from God though I called myself Christian, relativistic, ‘tolerant’, secular, worldly, glamorous, self-indulgent – and I realize how I fell for our sick culture’s demonic definition of ‘good person’. In those years, I couldn’t even ‘see’ most sins, so mired in sick cultural muck was I.

In the spirit of fraternal correction, Dr. C., I exhort you: be honest with yourself. Examine your conscience. Seek out God, He is there, right there, watching, awaiting you.

I will accept that comment in a fraternal spirit and take it as an opportunity for reflection.

Because I was on the Birther Report web site, I naturally reflected first on what I saw alongside her comment. It appears on a particularly vicious, vile and obscene manifestation of the birther movement, the Birther Report comments section. Every nasty thing that can be imagined about Barack Obama is said there—it literally seethes with hatred and character assassination. Whatever the truth of Obama’s origins, some birthers routinely tell lies, twist the truth and deliberately mislead others. Being a Christian, I cannot help but use the category “sin” to describe that.

Now I know next to nothing about Trowbridge, and I do not characterize her according to the place where she commented. But she she couldn’t help but see what was around her. This is where my reflection intersects Scripture. Jesus is quoted in Luke, Chapter 6:

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

— Luke 6:41-42 English Standard Version

Birthers in general do not police themselves. They rarely condemn their fellows and admit their mistakes. Because they have biases in their perception, and they condone character assassination. They accumulate debris in their eyes like a logjam in a river. The body of the birthers refuses to take the log out of their eye and so birthers cannot see clearly to criticize Obama. First they must clean up their act—then they will have the ability to see well enough to criticize others.

Trowbridge herself apparently is not a birther—rather she believes Malcolm X is Obama’s father. Still, one conspiracy theory is not much different from another—differing only in the details.

Martha Trowbridge and the “Psychological Assault Weapon”

Martha Trowbridge is the writer of a blog called The Terrible Truth. It’s not one of the places I usually visit because the material there is rather too fantastic to be of interest. [Update: The site has converted to a paid subscription model.] I’ve commented about her in three articles and this will be number 4.

I wouldn’t be writing this except that Ms. Trowbridge mentions me and this web site in her new article: Truth, Obliterated: The “Obama Conspiracy Theory” Psychological Assault Weapon.  (The acronym is “OCTPAW”.)

The gist of what she says is that every time someone tries to tell the “truth” about Barack Obama, there are others ready to label it a “conspiracy theory.” I think she’s half right; the part I would quibble about is the use of the word “truth.” Certainly many things said about Obama that are absolutely not true (including those by Trowbridge herself) have been labeled as conspiracy theories. I think that many, myself included, are generally dismissive of the birthers. After having cried “wolf” so very, very many times, Birthers are not taken seriously, and even if one day they came up with something really bad about Barack Obama that was really true, it would would be an uphill battle to win over anyone outside the Birther movement because of the movement’s reputation as cranks, nut cases and conspiracy theorists (a well-deserved reputation, I might add).

When I started this blog, I worried a lot about whether the phrase “conspiracy theory” properly characterized the Birther claims and whether marginalizing Birthers would make this site a less-trustworthy source of news. Over time, Birthers transmogrified [always wanted to use that word in a sentence] in to unmistakable conspiracy theorists, and they essentially marginalized themselves to the point that one couldn’t write a straight news story without an element of marginalization just from the absurdity of what was being reported on. (If you really want to insult a birther in print, quote them fairly and in context.)

But back to me. Trowbridge writes:

Why, there’s even a website, ready and ever-vigilant, that immediately shoots down on the web any talk of Truth about “Obama”. Via posts by “Dr. Conspiracy”, and a vigorous, nasty horde of attacker commenter ‘identities’, Obama Conspiracy Theories thrashes and trashes any person who seeks or states Truth about Obama’s personal history.

Notwithstanding [sic] the skilled guidance of “Dr. Conspiracy,” OCTPAW was The 2008 Obama Campaign’s most highly prized weapon.

As readers here know, this blog which now reaches just under 20,000 people a month, started in December, 2008, shortly after Barack Obama was elected President. Marginalization of birthers and the labeling of them as “conspiracy theorists” was not under any “guidance” by me during the 2008 Presidential Campaign. (Temporal fallacies like this plague Trowbridge’s writing, such as placing Barack Obama in Indonesia at a time he was documented to be in Hawaii.)

Trowbridge then goes on to catalog various attacks made against birthers, and I won’t go tit-for-tat on that subject (you might want to read what she says), except to note that there are over 300 million people in these United States, and some of them have said some pretty nasty things about birthers.

One final note: the Trowbridge characterization of OCTPAW as an orchestrated attack on Birthers, is definitely a conspiracy theory.

Monkeys with typewriters

It’s been said that if you get enough monkeys randomly typing for a long enough time, they will produce the works of William Shakespeare

That thought came to mind as I was reading a web link provided in an email from Deep Birther. The link was to an article by Martha Trowbridge at The Terrible Truth blog. Trowbridge has made a name for herself in birther circles with her alternate biographical stories about Barack Obama including him being fathered by Malcolm X.

I looked at the particular article in question briefly, and decided it was really too crazy to delve into. Whenever I decide not to look into something I feel a little defensive. I can imagine an argument being thrown at me: “just because Trowbridge has been proven wrong before [e.g. in the case of saying Obama went to Indonesia at age 2 to live with President Suharto] that doesn’t mean she’s wrong now.” That’s true. However, it is also true that just because a dozen monkeys have not come up with the works of William Shakespeare yet that they won’t do it today.

If I want to read Shakespeare, I go to the library and not the zoo.

Math anomalies in new article

Martha Trowbridge continues to develop her fantasy biography of Barack Obama at The Terrible Truth blog. Out of respect for the blog’s copyright policy, I will only include this brief excerpt:

In an AP interview entitled Harvard Student Tackles Racism At Core, published 3 May 1990, he stated three words he surely has regretted:

“At age 2.”

Looking at the actual newspaper article, the material in quote is not said by Barack Obama, but rather the article writer. The context is supposedly the age at which Obama moved to Indonesia. The actual words of the article say “at age 2 when his parents divorced.&#8221. The article just made a mistake.

The whole birther movement is a mistake.


Obama actually was 2 years old when the Obamas divorced in January of 1964. However, a published Washington Post report indicates that the Soetoro family moved to Indonesia in 1967 (when Barack was either 5 or 6) and that he started school there at age 6.