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Notes from the infectious disease ward

UPDATE: Orly’s site is entirely down now. [5 PM EDT, 2 July 2014]

UPDATE 2: It’s back up.

This the third day since Google again identified as an attack site, passing on malware to visitors. I take such warnings more seriously than I used to. Here’s a taste of what’s going on at the Taitz web site obtained through the browser on my phone.

Taitz continues to focus on immigration issues with this headline yesterday:

  • Response from Attorney Orly Taitz to Obama’s today’s speech: our immigration system is not broken, the only thing that is broken, is the path of neuron connections in Obama’s brain. Obama did not need to dispatch Biden to Central America to search for the cause of the problem, he had to dispatch himself to the nearest mirror

Taitz is praying for more Republicans to drive drunk in this item about Pete Perry who was quoted on this blog yesterday. The title of the article is:

  • As some of you may be aware by now, Hinds County GOP chair Pete Perry, a man that many believe is behind the shenanigans on June 24, was arrested for speeding and drunk driving this past Saturday night. Here is his mugshot. Hopefully there will be more pics like this in the future! We can only pray!


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The birther albatross–sharing the pain

Yesterday’s online edition of the Dallas Morning News carried a political story about an endorsement of Katrina Pierson, who is running for Congress from Texas district 32. Typically when we read news of an endorsement, there is a photo of the candidate and the endorser. Here’s such an image (although not newspaper style) from Pierson’s own campaign web site.


The image from the Dallas Morning News showed the endorser, but rather than showing the candidate, the other person in the photo was Mike Zullo. 😯 Here’s the image:


In addition to Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz, Pierson has been endorsed by none other than Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and when describing Arpaio, the article said:

In 2013, a federal court ruled that Arpaio’s office had used racial profiling to enforce those laws, a constitutional violation.

Arpaio has also repeatedly asserted that President Barack Obama’s birth certificate is fraudulent.

I don’t know if this Tea Party candidate is a birther, but now she has the weight of a birther endorsement (maybe that helps where she lives).

Conservatives, long tarred with the birther brush, are anxious to share the pain. In another story yesterday, this one from WorldNetDaily and picturing President Obama’s birth certificate, an article titled: “Dems want GOP candidate’s birth certificate,” they wrote:

While the demand for Barack Obama’s birth documentation has been met with indignation and ridicule, Democrats in Montana, nevertheless, are calling on a Republican congressman running for Senate to release his birth certificate.

The issue? The candidate claims to be a 5th generation Montanan, but was born in Southern California. According to a spokesperson for Republican candidate Steve Daines, his parents raced to California (I’m paraphrasing here) for him to be born, and then quickly returned to Montana. Sound oddly familiar? :roll:

Happy President’s Day (*)

I had a visceral dislike for George W. Bush, going back to when he was Governor of Texas. I think he was a bad president. I even think that if all the votes were fairly counted, he might have even lost to Al Gore. But Bush was certified by the Congress as elected, and he was the president. For good or ill, he will forever be listed as the 43rd president of the United States.

Opponents of Barack Obama, however, went one step further. They didn’t even want him to be a candidate for president, and filed lawsuits to prevent it. Once elected, they continued to litigate and to deny that he was eligible, and to this day work to erase his presidency, to place an asterisk next to his name in the history books as not actually being the president. Some refer to Obama as the “putative president” or “the pResident.”

A May 2013 article in the Wall Street Journal1 by James Taranto titled “President Asterisk” is not quite the birther denialist story, but I think it runs parallel. The subject was the IRS use of certain keywords like “tea party” to trigger special scrutiny of groups applying for 501(c)(4) social welfare organization tax exempt status. Taranto writes:

No one can deny that Lance Armstrong and Mark McGwire were highly skilled athletes. But their accomplishments are forever tainted by their use of banned performance-enhancing drugs. The use of the Internal Revenue Service’s coercive power to suppress dissent against Obama is the political equivalent of steroids. The history books should record Obama’s re-election with an asterisk to indicate that it was achieved with the help of illicit means.

At best this is a gross exaggeration. Hundreds of millions of dollars went into anti-Obama Super PACs in the 2012 election. Organizations that the IRS didn’t approve in a timely fashion were still free to raise and spend money – IRS pre-approval is not necessary. Nothing was “suppressed.” Obama won in an electoral landslide and I cannot imagine any legitimate argument that IRS actions made a wit of difference.

Personally, the whole targeting business didn’t bother me. A 501(c)(4) social welfare organization has to promise that their primary activity isn’t political, and an organization named “Tea Party” claiming not to be primarily political ought to raise a red flag!

Orly Taitz picked up some recent news on this theme in her latest troll for plaintiffs in the title,

BREAKING: 100% of the 501(c)(4) Groups Audited by IRS Were Conservative. If you are a conservative and your equal protection rights were violated by IRS and Obama regime and you want to be a part of a class action legal action to originate in CA, contact Attorney Orly Taitz, and send a short paragraph with specifics of discrimination

I wondered if it was true. Taitz didn’t provide any source, as usual, but I found that the charge comes from Republican House Ways and Means Chairman David Camp  who said on February 11 of this year:

At Washington, DC’s direction, dozens of groups operating as 501(c)(4)s were flagged for IRS surveillance, including monitoring of the groups’ activities, websites and any other publicly available information. Of these groups, 83% were right-leaning. And of the groups the IRS selected for audit, 100% were right-leaning.

Source: Wall Street Journal blogs

Rather than blaming the IRS, perhaps there really was abuse of tax exempt status by conservatives. Progressives say that there is rampant abuse among conservative social welfare organizations, and that they provide the main channel for large anonymous donors to give towards political activity (source NPR).

These numbers have a context: there were far more right-leaning 501(c) (4) applications in the last election cycle. The IRS targeted the keywords “Conservative,” “Tea Party,” “Patriot” and “Progressive” in applications, but of the 111 applications that matched that list, only 7 were “Progressive” (source NPR)! What was also ignored is the conservative keyword list was just one of the keyword lists the IRS used.

A bill currently working its way through Congress earmarks $200,000 in the IRS budget for training on 501(C)(4). The Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI says it is not likely to file any criminal charges, but the FBI says officially their investigation is still in ongoing. Congressional investigations continue. I’ll wait and see.

1The Wall Street Journal is owned by News Corp, the same Rupert Murdoch company that owns Fox News. They are being hypocritical when they complain of anti-conservative bias at the IRS, when they practice blatant anti-Democrat bias under Murdoch’s ownership. According to the Wikipedia:

The [Wall Street Journal] op-ed section routinely publishes articles by scientists skeptical of the theory of global warming, including several essays by Richard Lindzen of MIT. Similarly, the Journal has refused to publish opinions of prominent scientists with opposing conclusions.[43]

Taitz trolling for plaintiffs (again)

I reported some time back that Orly Taitz has moved away from being a one-trick pony, and branched into generalized right-wing issues. Most recently, she is asking Tea Party members [link to Taitz web site] to contact her regarding the controversial key-word targeting of certain groups for extra scrutiny of their applications for tax exemption as charities. She is proposing a class action lawsuit.

From what I have read, there were unreasonable delays in processing some of the applications; however, I do not think that it is unreasonable to give extra scrutiny to a group with “tea party” in their name, when they are applying for a tax exemption not available to organizations that are primarily political.

Doc’s State of the Birther Address

The conspiracy theory I call “the birther movement” has been around 5 years now and over that time we’ve seen an Internet rumor grow to a national phenomenon, where most people know about it and at one point more than half of Republicans believed it. Books were written, web sites created, over 200 lawsuits were filed (all without success), and the President himself addressed the issue in a special press conference on national television.

Where are we now?

Clearly much of energy behind birtherism was political. Support for such beliefs was strongly skewed toward people leaning to the right politically, and if any one birther demographic were signaled out, it would be old conservative southern white guys. Today, however, political motivation is waning as the focus of presidential politics moves from Barack Obama to the 2016 election. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has said the a political movement based on “angry white guys” is not sustainable.

The 9/11 truthers were largely left-leaning at the start, and focused on President George W. Bush. In 2006, as the administration of Bush wound down, activism from the left died down, and truther activists are now comprised mainly of far right groups: Constitutional Party and Libertarian supporters, folks who are prone to conspiracy belief in general. What we see among the Truthers is a shift from political motivation to classic conspiracy theory thinking, and an overall decline in activism.

With the birther movement, I think that we’ll a see similar shift this year. The racial bias that underlies much of the movement will remain and I expect that “angry white guys” will continue to be the core demographic, but general right-wing activism will decline, while general conspiracy thinking and racial bias will provide any new converts. The President is scheduled to leave office in January 2017, and that leaves hardly any opportunity for new lawsuits, although Orly Taitz continues her individual legal efforts to pry documents out of the federal government.

One interesting development is the election of a number of Tea Party affiliates to Congress. These individuals, who may be described as “fringe” in many of their beliefs, and characterized by a general non-application of critical thinking to their public positions, are ripe candidates for new birther converts, or may be “closet birthers” already. We’re waiting to see what if anything will come from Representatives Stockman and Yoho. We may see resolutions or bills introduced (but not approved) relating to birther issues. We may again see allied legislation (to require birth certificates from presidential candidates) offered in States in the run up to the 2016 election. Now that they cannot be accused of being attempts to block Obama’s candidacy, some of these “birther bills” may actually pass.

What I see today is a lack of enthusiasm among birthers. Many birther web sites have gone inactive. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Cold Case Posse is about the only news-making activity going on, and that initiative really has nowhere to go1 besides making money from Mike Zullo’s new book. On the other hand, I think that low-level birtherism is with us for the long term, settling down among all the other many conspiracy theories (Freemasons, black helicopters, New World Order, chemtrails, HAARP, alien abduction/UFO cover up, and on and on) that haunt the back alleys of the Internet.

1Maricopa County lacks jurisdiction to prosecute any alleged crimes involving President Obama, plus the County Prosecutor seems to be level-headed enough to recognize that the Posse doesn’t have any evidence.