Main Menu

Archive | July, 2013

Obama porn bombs talk show hosts

This one came in an email with title: “URGENT ALERT: Patriots are being set up – PLZ FWD” signed by Bob Powell1 editor of The Truth is Viral blog.

photo of Bob Powell in a suit in front of a world mapThe Obama administration will apparently stoop pretty low in an attempt to save itself from an inevitable implosion, even to the point of planting child porn on the computers of unsuspecting Patriots. They know that they are doomed, and what is the old maxim, "If you can’t kill the message kill the messenger"?

We ALL know what is coming folks. A good many of the talk show hosts that receive this message are dedicated to spreading the truth about this vile, murderous, and, IMO, Satanic administration in their own way, some of you don’t even believe in God; but we are all being targeted in one way or another because each of us has a piece of the puzzle. Just because you haven’t gotten a visit yet doesn’t mean that you won’t in the near future.

The original source of the story (itself poorly substantiated) is two self-reported incidents of anonymous porn-invested emails (watch video starting at 1:30), neither of which targeted talk show hosts or resulted in visits by government agents. These were amplified by the repetition of rumor into an attack on patriots and talk show hosts by the Obama administration.

The email ends with this advice:

My advice? Get right with God, and in the meantime, be VERY careful about opening email attachments.

I can’t fault that advice. I never open email attachments from strangers, and for that matter I don’t open email attachments from friends and family unless I’m expecting them, or they make sense in context—because with all of the address book hacking these days, I get lots of forged emails from friends and family.

If you do get child porn attached to an email, delete it or better report such emails to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children tip line that will forward your report to appropriate law enforcement.. You’re not going to get a knock on your door just because a junk email you received has child porn in it. But by all means don’t collect them and burn them onto a DVD! That’s evidence of intent to possess. And by double all means, don’t forward it to everybody in your address book and tell them to forward it to everybody in their address book. 🙄


1I cannot be absolutely certain that the email actually came from Bob Powell.

Looking backward

This is not about Edward Bellamy’s utopian novel of the same title, but some thoughts about this web site.

It’s a little difficult to get my mind around the fact that there have been 2,895 articles published on this web site since it began in December of 2008. That’s a lot! I have to admit that I enjoy reading some of my own stuff and I think some of it is surprisingly good, at least for an amateur. Some of it could be thrown away at no great loss.

I’m in a retrospective mood perhaps because I was at a funeral yesterday, the second in just over a month. I joined Civitan International, an organization that promotes good citizenship, about a year ago, and the local chapter members are on average older than the folks I usually hang out with—more funerals. Ms. Conspiracy and I talked about our legacies yesterday and what people would say about us at our funerals. This blog is not something I would put on my life list of virtues–the issue is just not that important. Rather I would like to be remembered for the the non-profits I’ve helped to get their web sites up and the seniors I have helped to get their email working again.

That said, there are arguments to be made for the value of web sites like this, such as this:

Even the most convincing critical appraisal of the most farfetched theory will, inevitably, fail to convince the most deluded. Yet, not subjecting conspiracy theories to sharp scrutiny is a serious threat to society. Because they discourage critical thinking and moral accountability, and instigate the most pernicious human instincts, conspiracy theories must be resisted in a world already ravaged by the consequences of fundamentalist mindsets.

— Beverly Ballaro and Chuck Goodwin
Points of View: Conspiracy Theories, 2011

What was that thing I had to memorize in high school1?

The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;

That may not be true about our friends’ funerals and dead US Presidents, but Mark Antony was probably on target when it comes to Obots and birthers.


1William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene II.

Unfortunate advertising

This on ORYR today:

image

Google seems to think that ORYR is a good place to advertise to me on immigration reform. I doubt ORYR supports it. Orly certainly doesn’t with her headline last Tuesday:

Keep calling every congressman, tell him to vote “no” on any immigration bill or corrupt “ledership” (“sic”) in Congress will turn it into amnesty. We have to throw all this” leadership” out of Congress, they are all on the take of the New World Order-Bilderberg-Davos1 criminal enterprise and are seeking to rob Americans of their jobs and benefits by bringing a huge supply of cheap labor. The don’t give a care that the whole nation will be like Detroit and Flint MI


My third favorite targeted at was this one at the WND web site:


My second favorite appeared at WND too:


But my all-time favorite was from the Orly Taitz web site, an add for the Obama Campaign’s Fight the Smears web site that said: “Where was Obama born? The President was born in Hawaii. Don’t believe the lies. Learn more! www.FightTheSmears.com.”


1Does she mean “Davros?”

image

Yes, I know that Davos is a town Switzerland where the World Economic Summit met in 1998.

Tolerance and respectful language (2)

I appreciate the comments on my previous article “Tolerance and respectful language.” I want to expand on one of my comments:

If you say anything nasty about birthers on a birther blog, that becomes the issue. They basically make an ad hominem response: What you say is worthless because your are insulting. You see similar responses all over this blog too.

I will be the first to say that nothing whatever works to talk sense to a birther on a birther blog. It is a lose-lose proposition; however, trash talk gives them a very easy out. If you stick solely to the facts and talk respectfully, they have no choice but to try to refute the facts or what most do–delete your comment, or in some cases provoke them to outrageous trash talk themselves. Here’s an example of no response at Birther Report (about the only place I’m allowed to comment):

Dr. Conspiracy: Whatever one might say about Orly Taitz, one must admit that she is a very inexperienced lawyer, and an inexperienced lawyer is simply not able to take on state governments, the US Attorney, and political parties who have highly-trained and experienced attorneys.

She continues to have basic problems with the rules in the courts where she litigates. My advice to her, and I have given it to her directly, is to hire an experienced lawyer. It is certainly in no one’s interest for her to file 20 lawsuits, only to have them dismissed for errors in law, errors in service and failing to follow court rules. I think that in all of her lawsuits, only one was actually adjudicated on the merits (Farrar v. Obama in Georgia) and even then her evidence was largely ignored because she failed to qualify her witnesses (plus the Superior court said that even that case should have been dismissed). She is just wasting her own time and the courts’ time by trying to do things she doesn’t know how to do.

[silence]

Being nice infuriates many birthers. Being nasty enforces their stereotypes.  St. Paul wrote in Romans Chapter 12 (ESV):

To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

That is my model if not always my practice. (I should print that out and paste it to my monitor.)

When I was about 16, my school was integrated–a couple of black kids came who were the vanguard of the eventual end of racially designated schools in my town. While racial segregation was accomplished without the nastiness seen in some communities, a proposal was put to the small Southern Baptist church of which I was a member to start a Christian school as an alternative to the public school. There seemed to be considerable support for the new school in the business meeting, and those speaking for it made it clear that it wasn’t about race, but the reasons given didn’t make a lot of sense. So I got up and said that since the new school wasn’t proposed because of integration, that it would be a good thing to make that clear by inserting into the school charter that the school would be open to students of any race. One of the proponents of the Christian school turned red and his veins started popping out; he stood up and said something about killing them all with machine guns before one [something] came into the school. People were so appalled by what he said that all support for the school evaporated and the idea of a Christian school at that church was dropped and didn’t come up again for 20 years. Good things can come of the bad guy losing it in the face of a reasonable statement.  Here are examples of birthers losing it in the face of a moderate comment:

Dr. Conspiracy: It would have been helpful if Orly Taitz had filed her notice of default, the lower court order, and her proof of service along with her motion for mandamus. Oh well.

Tom Thumb: You have pancreatic cancer.

I find it much more satisfying to have a sound comment deleted, than to have trash talk held up as emblematic of the Obots and their ways. That said, I lose my temper sometimes too.

Another problem is persistence of dialog. Birther Report is an example of a web site that sends you email notifications of replies to your comments, but links back to them don’t work. As a result, replying to a comment is labor intensive, and more labor intensive as time passes and the article scrolls of their front page. Whether birther or anti-birther, failing to reply is a declaration of victory for the other side. In the following instance, I hadn’t even commented on the thread where this comment appears:

Birther1: Yes fogblow and Doctor Conspiracy suck. Ever since I challenge (sic) the Doctor and pointed out his misleading info he has disappeared. Stay away Doc.

I’ve found in Google searches today a number of instances at Birther Report where challenges were made to me that I didn’t answer, but could have if I had known about them.

My all-time favorite exchange at BR/ORYR (and what follows does not include the whole thing) was started by me in an non-abrasive way and continued:

Dr. Conspiracy: … Secretaries of State, both Democrat and Republican, have been sued by plaintiffs trying to force them to verify eligibility of presidential candidates. All said that in their states, the law doesn’t require them to do that. Some have gone so far as to say that state law PREVENTS them from doing this. One Secretary of State, Ken Bennett, decided on his own that he DID need to verify Obama’s eligibility, and he requested and obtained a verification from Hawaii that satisfied him.

So how do you deal with the fact that one state Secretary of State verified Obama’s eligibility?

Not easily fooled: You are a dissembling degenerate …

Guest: Go back over to your own site where your brand of bullshit is welcomed. You are not wanted or welcome here.

Guest:  Dr. Conspiracy is a sneaky, sleazy slinky too! …

Dr. Conspiracy: And I thought we could be friends.

NBCofUSA: So but the good news is Doc Conspiracy looks pasty, flatulent, probably a congestive heart failure candidate, who will get, if he’s lucky, a few years of poorly-dosed digoxin and diuretics as he weakens and then he’ll get a send-home pill (or hint hint as leftwing PBS keeps pushing on its endless runs of "how to suicide" programs, use some party-balloon helium, take a big whiff, but tie your hands so you don’t autonomically jerk your mask away as you pass out and die and wind up in a coma–but Embalmacare will take care of that situation too by dehydration, it’s just ugly).

Doc Failure is a disgusting troll who deserves the Yuri Bezmenov "useful idiot" treatment. He thinks he’s going to share in the power of tyrant Obama. Ha.

There were some comments omitted from the birthers that were not nasty and unlike the ones selected, and I gave a number of well-reasoned and politely expressed responses in addition to these. But where the birthers went nasty, it was a stark contrast to what I was doing, a contrast that should be obvious to posterity and I hope appalling to more moderate birthers.

Tolerance and respectful language

In an essay on categorizing conspiracy theories, author Paul McCaffrey writes, following a section describing the characterization of conspiracy theorists as wearing tinfoil hats:

…the good-versus-evil, truth-versus-deception dynamic may divide the world a little too neatly and not in a healthy way. There are the conspirators and those working against them, the good guys and the bad guys. They there are the people in the middle, the general public, who to the conspiracists may be, at best, unwitting dupes and pawns, and at worst, potential agents of the conspiracy. Characterizing one’s fellow citizens along these lines is not necessarily a good recipe for tolerance and respectful language.1

While I hold out tolerance and respectful language as a virtue and a goal on this web site, it hasn’t worked very well in practice. I don’t comment a lot elsewhere, but when I do such exchanges typically devolve into shouting matches and contests over who can be the most condescending. Here, I have felt it necessary to ban certain individuals just to keep the peace to prevent the same thing (and not always successfully).

The truth is that there are conspiracy theories. There are bad people (by my standards) who attempt to influence events secretly. The government doesn’t always tell the truth. Elections have been stolen. There are political dirty tricks. I became politically aware during the Vietnam War and the publication of The Pentagon Papers revealed widespread and longstanding deception on the part of the government not only to the public, but to Congress. Healthy skepticism about the consensus view is a good thing and so is questioning our assumptions from time to time.

That conciliating language doesn’t help me with the birthers. The problem with the birthers is that their skepticism is tied to a lack of critical thinking, bias, contextual violations, junk science and outright lies. Some of the birthers are hateful people, not because they are birthers, but because of who they are in general. These are people I would avoid in real life, and people I am equally pleased to avoid online. Other birthers cause me difficulty because they go against two principles I hold in high esteem: unbiased reasoning and truth telling. The very fact that birtherism asserts a demonstrably false conclusion means that it is against unbiased reasoning and truth telling. The fundamental disrespect I have for the way birthers think cannot help but spill out in the dialog.

While I would like to draw the distinction between those who are honestly mistaken, and those who are intentionally lying, I haven’t figured out any fool-proof way to tell which is which. So this leaves me with “ends” and “means.” Certainly the end of not having Obama in the White House is an honorable one. Several political parties tried to accomplish that this last election. Even trying to prove legally that US Presidents most have two citizen parents is something that folks are entitled to do, even though it’s against the consensus. What is not OK by me is the “means” employed in some of those pursuits, and I am going to catalog some of those means following:

  1. Pretending to be an expert.
  2. Taking citations out of context.
  3. Faking historical documents
  4. Forging official documents
  5. Using propaganda techniques to mislead people
  6. Logical fallacies
  7. Telling only one side of the story
  8. Failing to acknowledge contrary evidence
  9. Repeating rumors as true without checking them first
  10. Junk science

However laudable it may be to uncover real conspiracies and to expose official malfeasance, those means are not a road to truth. I see no reason to spare the wrath of comment on any of these things. As for people, nothing is served by venting wrath on them.


1Conspiracy Theories (The Reference Shelf), H. W. Wilson pub 2012, p. xi.

Birthers and the Moon landing hoax

American astronauts set foot on the Moon in 1969, or at least most folks think so—“one small step for man…” and all that. There are some folks (6% in a 1999 poll) who think it was all a hoax with film shot in a studio.

The Moon landing hoax is not a subject I’ve read much about, but while watching old episodes of the Discovery Channel’s popular series MythBusters, I saw their program devoted to the topic of the claims of conspiracy theorists that the Moon landing never happened.

MythBusters looked at three specific claims of anomalies in film footage from 1969: contradictory angles of shadows, images of low-gravity jumping, and how a flag waved in a vacuum. The show was interesting [spoiler alert] but the “anomalies” were simply debunked. The angles appeared as they did because one of the objects casting a shadow was on a hill, the low-gravity jumping was actually how it was supposed to look, and the waving flag was caused by no atmosphere to damp the swinging of the flag once set in motion by being moved.

The Moon landing hoax conspiracy theorists did not find anomalies because there was something wrong with the film footage; they found anomalies because there was something lacking in their competence.

Today, I thought about how similar the Moon landing hoax image analysis is to the birther analysis of Obama’s identity documents. Both hinge on anomalies, claims that things are not what they should be. As with the Moon landing images, a little thought and experimentation show that Obama’s documents are normal, and that it is the competence of the birthers that is questionable. As I have said many times, birthers dig into deeper and deeper detail until they find something that they don’t understand. Rather than admit that they don’t understand, they claim an anomaly, and from there they conclude fraud, but they have no more experience down in the nitty-gritty of PDF compression than they do walking in a vacuum in low gravity.