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Obot Wars Episode VII: A New Hope

ObotWarsDespite the terror inspired by Emperor Zullo and Darth Gallups1, the Universe-shattering prime weapon of the birther Death Star was not finished on schedule. (In the movie the Emperor and Darth Vader had minions to do their work, but the Cold Case Posse is just the one guy.)  Sheriff Jabba has also been engaged in his own administrative problems over the licensing of some of his land speeders. Boba Volin has gotten nothing but yawns from Congress with his Imperial Toy Sheriff’s Kit™.

I invoke a science fantasy movie image because someone must truly be willing to believe in fantasy to continue to support Zullo as the “March reveal” becomes the midterm election reveal, another in a long line of excuses for doing nothing.

I suppose some might find the latest delay from Zullo as absurd and laughable, like the “Rocky 5,000” sequel gag in Spaceballs. I find his lack of creativity pathetic. I mean, can someone explain to me how some alleged investigation into something unrelated prevents release of the alleged evidence on the birth certificate issue from being presented? Maybe they can’t believe what they are finding.

Only the hardcore birther fans are looking forward to the next publicity event for the movie that’s never coming out.

1After some consideration, I think perhaps the better alignment of dark-side characters is Emperor Corsi and Darth Zullo with some more pawn-like character for Gallups.

“Complicity” doesn’t mean what you think it does, and other birther misapplications of the English language

lunaticSometimes I wish the birthers could hear themselves the way others do.1 I’m sure it would be a shock. :shock: Here’s a little bit of transcript from the Mike Volin “Where’s Obama’s Birth Certificate” Internet radio show yesterday talking about the delivery of his Sheriff’s Kit to members of Congress.

Caller: Hey Mike, I just wanted to mention that if we send these kits to like the TV stations, the news outlets, the papers and any other senators or congressmen, we should send them “certified” or “registered.” That way they actually have to sign for them. They actually have someone there, has to sign and acknowledge that they got the kit.

… doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of this – when it comes down, because anybody that is on  the wrong side and has notification of the evidence in hand are complicit with this crime, and that is one of the things that we need to keep these  congressmen and senators on their toes.  “You’re complicit with the crime that you have been made aware of.”

Some words don’t mean what birthers think they mean, and “complicity” may be one of them. Knowing about the commission of a crime and not reporting it is complicity. Where I think the first caller is mistaken, is in confusing complicity with being an accessory to the crime. Generally complicity is not itself a crime without significant subsequent involvement. Let me list some problems with calling anything here “complicity”:

  1. The Sheriff’s Kit never specifies exactly what the crime is. Even if the birth certificate is a fake, putting a fake document on the Internet is not a crime, and every President lies (well maybe not Jimmy Carter which was one of his problems). The birth certificate was never submitted to anyone as a legal document or used in candidate filings. Lying on TV is not fraud.
  2. Even if we did say that Obama’s selective service registration was forged, it happened more than 5 years ago and the statute of limitations has run out.
  3. Even if we did say that Obama’s birth certificate was forged, the Sheriff’s Kit doesn’t say who did it, when or where.
  4. Reading the Sheriff’s Kit does not give a member of Congress any personal knowledge of the commission of a crime. Indeed the compilers of the Sheriff’s Kit have no knowledge of the commission of a crime, only conclusions. The presentation is a narrative of arriving at conclusions, not evidence of a crime.
  5. Complicity implies failure to report a crime. The Sheriff’s Kit is public information, and law enforcement is already aware of it. The birthers actually think that the information they are plying on Congress actually came from law enforcement in the first place! There is noting left to report.
  6. The birthers want people to do something about a crime (whatever it is), but failure to do so is not complicity. TV stations, news outlets and papers have no legal duty to do something about a crime they are aware of—that’s not complicity.
  7. Congress has no role in prosecuting crimes. They can remove someone from office through impeachment, but not prosecute them for a crime. The decision to impeach or not is wholly up to the members of Congress and the failure to do so is not complicity.

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Worshiping the pile

A few miles from my house there is a hill. It’s a rather large hill, distinctively rising above the trees and visible for quite some distance. It’s a special hill in that unlike other hills around it, it just recently appeared. One might have thought some magic involved in its appearance, and perhaps some primitive people seeing the phenomenon of its growth day by day might imagine the action of the divine. It truth it’s a landfill and it’s full of garbage.

imageI offer the landfill as an analogy to birther collections of proofs and right wing collections of scandals about Obama. An example of the latter appeared just yesterday here in comments. Debunking Obama scandals is outside of my field of study, but a quick run through showed many of them were presented falsely or were based on biased opinion. The size of the list is supposed to overwhelm the one to whom it is presented, and its length is supposed to take the place of substantive argument. I suppose the idea is, “my list is so long, how could you possibly respond?”

Missing and Sealed Records

One of the classic lists from birthers is the missing and sealed records list, a collection of documents that aren’t missing, documents that are protected by law from disclosure and documents that in all likelihood never existed. No less than took on one of these lists last year concluding:

Many records that presidential candidates don’t ordinarily release do remain confidential, but they are not “sealed” by a court. The 16 claims in a widely distributed graphic are mostly false or distorted.

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