Here are my picks for the top 10 birther stories of 2014:
1. McInnish v. Chapman lawsuit rejected by the Alabama Supreme Court, despite 2 birther-friendly judges
This lawsuit, ultimately over a detailed point of Alabama law, nonetheless created great anticipation among the birthers. On the Alabama high court sat Chief Justice Roy Moore, a former writer for WorldNetDaily, and Justice Tom Parker who had written a birther-friendly opinion in another case. Adding to the hopefulness was the submission of an affidavit from Mike Zullo detailing his personal knowledge of things he read on the Internet. Ultimately the decision was to reject the appeal with the two birther-friendly judges being the only ones in opposition
No list of important birther happenings in 2014 would be complete without Brian Reilly, former Cold Case Posse member who became satisfied that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, but increasingly uneasy about the conduct of Mike Zullo. Reilly resigned from the Posse and wrote a memoir of his experiences, published here at Obama Conspiracy Theories. Reilly was later interviewed on local television in Phoenix.
The story of how Brian Reilly became disillusioned with the Cold Case Posse and their methods and how he eventually became disillusioned with birtherism as a whole is rare, but encouraging.
In a bizarre turn of affairs, the Internet blogger Dr. Conspiracy who for over 5 years had written about birthers, found himself the subject of attention when birther Douglas Vogt named him one of the “John Doe” conspirators in his legal action attempting to persuade a federal judge to convene a grand jury to investigate Vogt’s allegations. The real names of the John Doe persons, previously sealed, were exposed when it was re-filed, unsealed, at the Supreme Court. Birther Princess Miki Booth was also named. Dr. Conspiracy could not be reached for comment.
Walter Francis Fitzpatrick III faced several charges in connection with the harassment of a McMinn County, Tennessee, Grand Jury foreman. He was convicted of aggravated perjury and extortion. His sentence was for 3 years in prison.
There had to be some Orly Taitz story on the list. The choices were between her failed lawsuits, new new immigration/disease prevention suit, and her run for California’s Attorney General. Taitz ran a half-hearted campaign garnering only 3.1% of the vote in the primary election. Part of her failure may be attributed (not really) to the enigmatic Orly Taitz Super PAC web site, that turned out to be sarcasm.
Probably the saddest story of the year is the continued birther belief among the US population, as documented by the Rasmussen poll and others. Significantly, other polls showed that the confusion over presidential eligibility sown by birthers against Obama, has come back to haunt other hopefuls for the office such as Ted Cruz.
A white cop named Dan Page in Ferguson, Missouri, was caught on tape shoving a black reporter. When his earlier racist comments came to light, he was suspended. He was also a birther. This story points out the fact that cameras are rolling in more situations than ever.
Birther tempers flared over the continued delays by Mike Zullo and his Cold Case Posse to do anything in the way of releasing material that they claim is potentially “universe-shattering” against Barack Obama. “Put up or shut up” is a sentiment expressed by many birthers, and it came to head on the radio show hosted by Peter Boyles, himself a noted birther. Damage control followed.
This story seemed to bother Mike Zullo a lot more than me. The Cold Case Posse has been hiding behind multiple versions of its financial accountability in order to evade filing the reports that most non-profit organizations file with the IRS. What’s $10,000 more in the big scheme of things? Arpaio got millions in campaign contributions from the birthers. The story got local TV news coverage in Phoenix with an interview with Brian and Denise Reilly. Zullo was filmed admitting that he took the money. Despite Zullo’s admission, Zullo supporters are demanding that Reilly retract what he said.
I wish I had audience numbers for The Joe Show as it appeared on the Information Discovery Channel in December. I hope it was watched widely in Phoenix as it documented Joe Arpaio’s manipulation of the media, and the cruel deaths that occurred at the hands of his corrections officers in the county jail. Arpaio’s campaign manager admits on screen that Arpaio made millions in campaign contributions from his birther thing, while his aids told him it made him look like a clown. That follows on the heels of a devastating book by former Deputy Chief Brian Sands, “Arpaio De Facto Lawman,” now out in its 2nd edition.
Since publication of this story, I have had time to ruminate on the year and its stories, and to see reader comments. What I think will turn out to be the most important birther story of 2014 will not be fully appreciated until 2015, and that story, which I covered last June, could be the straw that broke the birther’s back. I mean the story of the $100,000 that Sheriff Arpaio paid to a Seattle con man for information, information that I believe is false and contains the basis for Mike Zullo’s predictions of “universe shattering information.”