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Archive | November, 2011

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.

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New goalpost location

It’s the microfiche now. Looked at one way, it makes sense. Find Barack Obama’s birth certificate on historical microfiche copies of 1961 Hawaii birth records, near the Nordyke twins and case closed. Oh sorry, the case is already closed.

Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio, talking to the New York Times, reveals a little of his posse’s investigative direction:

No one has talked about microfiche. The controversy has been over the birth certificate — maybe the numbers are not in sequence, or it’s been forged; I can go on and on. To help the president of the United States, let’s go to the microfiche.

No one, of course, has explained what business the Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff has getting involved in the birth details of Barack Obama. The Phoenix New Times explains the sheriff’s interest this way:

It should be noted that the folks who pushed for the “birther” investigation are Arpaio’s bread and butter when it comes to his support base in Maricopa County: far-right-wingers. And a politically savvy headline-hound like Arpaio wouldn’t want to cross them, regardless of how far-fetched, continuously disproved, or laughable their theories about Obama’s citizenship may be.

The sheriff says the birther posse’s report is expected early next year.

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Taking its toll

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

— Alice in Wonderland.

Long term abuse of the body can lead to consequences. Smoking can lead to cancer; excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to liver damage; overeating leads to obesity and can contribute to diabetes. The list goes on. It appears that long-term abuse of the mind, in this case the birthers espousing increasingly dubious theories, leads to mental derangement and ultimately to the inability to identify the difference between fact and fiction.

Case in point: Mario Apuzzo. I think he’s finally lost it, as evidenced by the latest article on his web site: Is Barack Hussein Obama II Really Bâri′ M. Shabazz, Born October 28, 1959 in New York City? Apuzzo writes:

What Ms. Trowbridge has presented to the world is surely shocking (an understatement). What she says surely needs to be investigated as soon as possible.

One recalls that Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, as testified by the Hawaii Department of Health, two birth certificates, and announcements from 1961 in the local newspapers and so any suggestion that he was born somewhere else is absurd on its face. The fact that Mr. Shabazz is dead (according to the Social Security Death Index) and the President is not should also give one pause about even repeating such a crazy story. If that’s not enough, President Obama is 4 inches taller than was Mr. Shabazz.

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Arizona posse wants to see original birth certificate

WorldNetDaily reports that a Maricopa County, Arizona, posse wants to see Barack Obama’s original birth certificate, not an electronic copy or a paper copy. WND’s Jerome Corsi cites an unnamed and unidentified “sources close to the investigation” in the latest article on the topic from WND.

Of course, the problem is that WorldNetDaily misrepresents its named sources and one cannot give any credence to what they claim from an unnamed source who is obviously isn’t going to complain.

Perhaps the posse, appointed by birther-friendly sheriff Joe Arpaio, is angling for a trip to Hawaii. I don’t know. Perhaps someone stood outside the sheriff’s office and flipped a coin: “heads they want to see the birth certificate, tails they don’t.” Who knows.

When something happens, it happens. For now, WND’s report is no better than a fart in the wind. (Do I sound dismissive?)

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