"Will this put a stop to the idiotic rumors? Of course not!"

I have one of the most liberal comment policies in the blogosphere. No authentication or sign-in is required, and I almost never delete comments for offensiveness. (See these gems if you doubt me.) I have on rare occasions edited a comment when people have asked me to.

But as I've said many times, this is not a debating forum, and comments do not create an obligation on my part to do anything. I don't even have to read them, nor am I obligated in the slightest to reply to comments, especially when they might distract me or interfere with my posting. It's one of the ways I've been able to keep blogging on a daily basis.

The only exception to my liberal comments policy, of course, is spam. Spam can take many forms, but what it all has in common is that it's canned, unoriginal, and spit out in quantity order to use the host to call attention to something that is usually of a commercial nature. I said "usually" for two reasons. Some spam is incomprehensible garbled text, with no apparent or discernible meaning, and no identifiable URLs or email addresses going anywhere. I don't know what it is, but I have to assume that someone must have intended something, for why would anyone expend time posting gibberish like this?

mxive sdhg gaxr rowhsupmb ixfrza vofwix ucfopbnk
There's a "URL" but it also consists of random characters. I delete them, but I always wonder why. Is it really commercial spam? Is it pure mindlessness, generated for the sole purpose of entertaining the spammer? Is it necessarily generated by humans? I don't know.

Another category of non-commercial spam (at least, I think it's non-commercial) falls into canned political advocacy. People will cut and paste stuff they've seen somewhere, or possibly created themselves, in the hope of calling attention to a point. Not that it really matters, but on occasion I have been fooled into thinking that comments were original and later learned that they were simply cut and paste jobs. If I see this repeatedly, I might be tempted to delete it, especially if the comment was really long and monotonous and interfered with the normal flow of genuine comments.

Last night, the same comment -- a long cut and paste from Philip Berg's site which I appended to this post -- was pasted into two different posts which had nothing to do with the issue advanced in the comment, which was the unending Obama birth certificate nonsense.

I have to say that at this point, the Birth Certificate Truthers are starting to resemble Ron Paul spammers. The State of Hawaii certifed that Obama was born there (in Honolulu), and there's a presumption of legitimacy of state records which cannot be overcome by Internet rumor. There's simply no case.

While a Certificate of Live Birth is precisely such a legal certification, recently, the State of Hawaii went further with this additional verification by Department Of Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino:

"Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai'i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai'i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama's original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures. No state official, including Governor Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the State of Hawai'i," Fukino said.
Via Little Green Footballs, whose comment I enjoyed,
Will this put a stop to the idiotic rumors? Of course not!
It's not my business if people want to waste their time. After all, plenty of people claim the 16th Amendment was never ratified, especially as April rolls around. But it gets a little tedious, and my worry with the Birth Certificate Truther campaign (yes, it is a campaign if the comment below is any indication) is that intelligent people might actually believe in it.

That's why I spent most of a day trying to track down the Internet "report" which lies at the heart of Philip Berg's case. There is no report; it is simply a rumor which Berg either started or repeated.

In part at least, I blame the mainstream media for fueling this conspiracy theory.
I'm still sore over the way I spent most of a day laboriously checking out Berg's allegation only to be told that I was wasting time.

With all apologies to those who think I wasted time, there was a reason I devoted so much time to this. A number of major bloggers (including four sites I respect, but will not name only out of respect for them) not only put time into this, but they took it seriously. That's why it so annoyed me to be derided for trying to do what I consider basic honest blogging -- looking for the source of an allegation, and finding none, then debunking it as a rumor, in the hope that others might not waste time. (It goes to blogger integrity -- something that still exists, but which I worry might be fading as an operating principle.)

What never seems to have occured the wildly partisan Birth Certificate Truthers was that as an opponent of Obama, I'd love nothing more than for it to have been true. But a fraudulent claim won't cut it. In fact, it only makes things worse and wastes the time of sincere people who could be doing other things.

One of my pet peeves is when people like stories and then cite them as true just because they're what they want to hear. It's a disease, one which feeds on human temptation to take the easy and low road. I know; I've been guilty of it too. Over the years I've learned that the more I like something, the more suspicious I should be. Here's what I said almost five years ago:

In attempting to analyze unsettled and vexing stories, I try to avoid the following common pitfalls:

  • the temptation of believing what I want to believe
  • the temptation of disbelieving (denying) what I don't want to believe
  • the temptation of clinging too tenaciously to my own conclusions (if any)
  • the temptation of being adversely influenced by emotions instead of logic (loud and ugly tones, or harsh rhetoric make me distrustful; reasonable tones engender trust and can create illusions of truth)
  • Anyway, my biggest Berg v. Obama gripe is with the MSM. They should have done their damn job, reported the Berg story, looked into it with a proper investigation, and let the world know that the story about Obama being born in Kenya appeared bogus. Instead, they played a hide and seek game of non-reporting which stirred (and, obviously, stirs) the right wing fringe into a rage, and now these crazy lawsuits are springing up all over the place, and I get spam comments like the ones I got last night. If there was responsible journalism, we wouldn't have so many crackpot conspiracy theories.

    One of the principles that attracted me to blogging when I started was the emphasis on factual accuracy. Unfortunately, as the blogosphere has gotten bigger, this has given way in some circles to competing narratives, left and right. Or get the traffic.

    WorldNetDaily is of course continuing to provide fuel for the Birth Certificate Truthers. A few days ago, Jerome Corsi (who continually plugs his book) made it clear that the answer to the LGF question of whether the Hawaiian statement would ever put a stop to the idiotic rumors is an unequivocal NO!

    ...there is considerable evidence that Obama was born in Kenya, not in Hawaii as the candidate and his campaign have maintained.
    As "evidence," Corsi cites the following:
    [Barack Obama's uncle] acknowledged he was not sure whether his brother, Barack Obama senior, practiced Islam or whether Barack Obama junior was born in Kenya or in Hawaii.
    An African relative is not sure? How is that proof of anything?

    And this:

    The issue of the authenticity of Obama's original birth certificate is further muddied by communications from Sen. Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro, who has claimed Obama was born in two different Hawaii hospitals.
    By Corsi's reasoning, if some relative of mine cannot recall the hospital in which I was born, my officially issued birth certificate is open to question. How? Under what logical or legal theory? It's about as reasonable to argue that because a relative cannot recall which funeral home handled a body, that the death certificate is open to question.

    I don't know whether he's imagining that he's thrown the ball back in Little Green Footballs' court, but Corsi then goes on to attack the official certification of the certificate, because (he claims) the original circumstances of the birth are insufficiently described:

    On Thursday, KGMB9 News reported that Hawaii's top health official, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, was trying to defuse rumors that Barack Obama was born in Kenya by saying she had seen the birth certificate herself, but said Hawaii laws aimed at stopping identity theft prevented her from releasing the document despite multiple requests to do so.

    Fukino failed to resolve the controversy by disclosing whether the "official document" she saw had been generated in a Kenyan hospital or in a Hawaiian hospital.

    That is a ridiculous assertion on its face. Had the official document been generated in a Kenyan hospital, Hawaii would not have issued a certification that says on its face that the birth took place in Hawaii. The certificate (which has been seen and examined in detail, by a number of parties) states that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. (Something which even WorldNetDaily has acknowledged.)

    But now, claims Corsi, there's a new video proving Obama's birth in Hawaii:

    The controversy is further fueled by a video posted on YouTube in which Obama's Kenyan grandmother Sarah claims to have witnessed personally Obama's birth in Kenya. The YouTube.com video tape also features Sayid Obama who was interviewed by WND.

    To date, Obama and his campaign have refused to disclose the name of the doctor delivering the candidate or the precise hospital where he was born.

    The main reason doubts persist regarding Obama's birth certificate is this question: If an original Hawaii-doctor-generated and Hawaii-hospital-released Obama birth certificate exists, why wouldn't the senator and his campaign simply order the document released and end the controversy?

    That Obama has not ordered Hawaii officials to release the document leaves doubts as to whether an authentic Hawaii birth certificate exists for Obama.

    Rather, the failure to release the document fuels the theory - true or not - that the Obama family, shortly after Obama's birth overseas, returned to Hawaii and registered at the Hawaii Department of Health the original Obama birth certificate that had been issued by the doctor and hospital that delivered Obama in Kenya.

    No, it doesn't, because the State of Hawaii has officially certified that the place of birth was in the city of Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, in the state of Hawaii on August 4, 1961, at 7:24 p.m.

    Now, it might be nice to know the name of the doctor and the hospital, and maybe the Obama campaign (if that is what it is now) should be more forthcoming in the hope of calming down the Truthers. But these details are not supplied on Hawaii's official form, nor are they required, so their absence proves absolutely nothing that would shed light on whether Obama was born in Hawaii.

    Then there's the video that Corsi and WorldNetDaily keep plugging. They say that

    ...a video posted on YouTube features Obama's Kenyan grandmother Sarah claiming to have witnessed Obama's birth in Kenya.
    And here it is:

    There is nothing but the woman's statement that,

    Barack Obama is a son of this village.
    Massaging the translation, the video producers turn it into "Barack Obama is a native of this village" and then, to "Barack Obama was born in this village," following which the video then segues right back into Berg's naked allegation (confirmed nowhere) that this same woman said she was present in the hospital where Obama was born.

    A massaged translation of a YouTube video will not overcome the presumption of validity of official state records.

    As I explained previously, the issue is no longer forgery.

    They are saying that the State of Hawaii is lying.

    It's a waste of time, and I wish I didn't have to debunk it further. But one thing I have learned is that no matter how many times things are debunked, people will still believe them.

    My problem is this. People say I am wasting my time, but the reason I'm doing this that is because reliable bloggers and web sites commonly believed to be responsible continue to advance this theory.

    Perhaps I should stop considering them responsible and move on to real things.

    But as is the case in any conspiracy theory, there is always the lingering question of why. Corsi keeps asking why Obama and his campaign "have refused to disclose the name of the doctor delivering the candidate or the precise hospital where he was born."

    From what I've seen of conspiracy theory proponents, I'll hazard a guess as to why. Because conspiracy theories operate in a closed loop format. If answers to the questions are not forthcoming, that proves the conspiracy. But if there are answers, well, all answers to questions propounded by conspiracy theorists simply lead to additional questions, because the answers are assumed to be lies. First the birth certificate was said to have been forged, but once it became clear that the official document existed, the Truthers switched to a claim that it was obtained by fraud, and is an official government lie. People who think that way will never be satisfied by explanations.

    Suppose Obama were to come up with some hospital birth certificate. (Never mind that these are not accepted for official purposes and will not satisfy the requirements for passport applications.) The hospital would be accused of lying, and so would the doctor who claimed he delivered the infant Barack Obama. That's assuming the doctor is still alive. If he's deceased, then his death can be thrown into the conspiracy brew. And why did the hospital officials "hide" this information for so long? To come up with another very clever forgery? We can't be too careful, folks.

    "The released 'records' raise more questions than they answer."

    And of course, by disputing the Truthers, I'm part of the coverup. Obviously, I want to help the Obamanation machine achieve world dominance as part of my plot to destroy American sovereignty.

    You know what? The doctor who delivered me is dead!

    Connect the dots....

    TEXT OF COMMENT REFERRED TO ABOVE:

    Please pass this along...Time is limited, Thank You



    Our Gameplan and Plan of Action!
    ? on: November 05, 2008, 08:16:18 PM ?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This is the original post from obamacrimes.com, it has been moved here so we can get organized.


    Quote
    THIS IS NOT MEANT TO BE ATTACKED BY OBAMITES. IF IT IS, THE POSTER'S IP WILL BE BANNED FROM THE WEBSITE.

    SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT ARE WELCOME

    The President is NOT OFFICIALLY elected according to the Constitution UNTIL the Electoral College meets to cast their votes, which is Dec 15, 2008. PLEASE STUDY THE LINK PROVIDED SO YOU KNOW WHAT THE ELECTROAL COLLEGE IS AND DOES. MANY POSTS ON BOTH SIDES HAVE BEEN SAID IN IGNORANCE. THIS MUST STOP.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_(United_States)#Meetings_of_electors.

    We have time but not much time to still force Obama to present the original vault copy and have a team of forensic scientists http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forensics make scientific tests that are accepted by courts, to insure that the BC was produced on or around 1961 when Obama was born. This would prove to all that Obama was or wasn't a native born American. IMO, all debate, but not all legal action (lawyers want the big bucks involved), should stop by all fair-minded people whether pro or con Obama

    Here is the plan:

    1. We need at least one Berg supporter from each state (much more hopefully from states with a large number of electoral votes) to volunteer some time and money for postage, printing, etc:(( nothing sent to me) to contact their states Secretary of State (SOS) via fax (keep proof of receipt) or certified Mail, return notice ONLY, asking for the names and contact information of the electors who will vote on December 15th.

    IF Obama won in your state, then you ask for the DP Electors. IF McCain won in your state, then ask for the GOP electors. This must be done NLT than Friday, NOV 7th. BE SURE TO KEEP THE RETURN RECEIPTS IN A VERY SAFE PLACE. They may have to be used as evidence in a court action.

    2. Contact me Dr. Doug Schell at poppop_schell@hotmail.com with the information that you have contacted your SOS. and I will place it in a spreadsheet to track our progress.

    3. Compose a letter TO EACH and EVERY voting Elector asking him/her to seek a court subpoena in his/her local federal court to have the original, vault copy residing in the State of Hawaii made available for study by an independent team of mutually agreed upon, licensed forensic scientists who will independently conduct accepted forensic tests to determine if the BC was actually produced on or around 1961 when Obama was born. This test should not take more than 72 hours and then a report produced by these forensic scientists giving their INFORMED opinion of the validity of the BC. I will have a "form letter" available to use IF you so desire. The report must be done by Dec 1, 2008

    4. As soon as you have written all the letters, again ONLY BY CERTIFIED MAIL, WITH PROOF OF DELIVERY, please send me a copy of each letter by regular mail. Keep the return certificate very safe. IT may be needed as evidence in a court case. Don't throw it away for any reason!!! I will record your actions on my spreadsheet.

    5. As each answer from your Elector (DON"T WAIT UNTIL ALL ELECTORS RESPOND) is received, please indicate to me that same day via e-mail that this has occurred and I will record it in the spreadsheet. Keep doing this for every letter you receive back.

    6. IF an Elector indicates a willingness to bring an action for Subpoena, call me right away at 336-983-7655. I will then pass this on to Phil Berg. I will let every volunteer know we have an Elector. Don't stop your work until all Electors have indicated yes or no. This should motivate you more to get Electors from your state. The more Electors willing to file from a number of different states, the more news coverage will occur.

    IF any of you have legal friends who are willing to help us in this cause, please have them call me ASAP.

    THIS CAN WORK AND WILL BE OUR LAST CHANCE TO STOP OBAMA. PLEASE BECOME A PART OF HISTORY AND IN DEFENSE OF OUR BELOVED CONSTITUTION.

    GOD GRANT US HIS HELP IN THE BATTLE FOR HIS CONSTITUTION. I SEEK THE PRAYERS FOR THIS ACTION TO SUCCEED IF YOU ARE A PERSON OF FAITH.


    UPDATE::

    Secretary of State Listing for all states. These are the people you need to write to to get the names and addresses of the delegates.

    AL: Beth Chapman
    AK: No such office
    AR: Charlie Daniels
    AZ: Jan Brewer
    CA: Debra Bowen
    CO: Mike Coffman
    CT: Susan Bysiewicz
    DE: Harriet Smith Windsor
    FL: Kurt S. Browning
    GA: Karen Handel
    HI: No such office
    ID: Ben Ysursa
    IL: Jesse White
    IN: Todd Rokita
    IA: Michael Mauro
    KS: Ron Thornburgh
    KY: Trey Grayson
    LA: Jay Dardenne
    MD: Dennis Schnepfe
    MA: Bill Galvin
    ME: Matthew Dunlap
    MI: Terri Lynn Land
    MN: Mark Ritchie
    MS: Delbert Hosemann
    MO: Robin Carnahan
    MT: Brad Johnson
    NE: John Gale
    NV: Ross Miller
    NH: Bill Gardner
    NJ: Nina Mitchell Wells
    NM: Mary Herrera
    NY: Lorraine Cort鳭Vằuez
    NC: Elaine Marshall
    ND: Al Jaeger
    OH: Jennifer Brunner
    OK: M. Susan Savage
    OR: Bill Bradbury
    PA: Pedro A. Cort鳊RI: Ralph Mollis
    SC: Mark Hammond
    SD: Chris Nelson
    TN: Riley Darnell
    TX: Esperanza Andrade
    UT: No such office
    VT: Deborah Markowitz
    VA: Katherine Hanley
    WA: Sam Reed
    WV: Betty Ireland
    WI: Doug LaFollette
    WY: Max Maxfield

    Best thing to do would be to google the name for your state and find the office address. That is where you would want to mail your request.

    ? Last Edit: November 05, 2008, 10:06:21 PM by DD_Kevin ? Logged

    posted by Eric on 11.06.08 at 10:46 AM










    Comments

    But Eric, these people are NO different than the Tip O'Neill's or Henry Waxman's of the world. They just have different job titles.

    I distinctly remember Tip O'Neill arguing that Congress had *no choice* but to investigate some horseshit claim about Reagan, not because there was some evidence, but solely "due to the seriousness of the allegation."

    Well, if it's OK for the Speaker of the House to jettison the Constitutional protection of Due Process to suit his political ends, then whose to argue some Joe-Schmoe shouldn't discard rational thought when it suits his mental masturbation.

    Luke   ·  November 6, 2008 11:53 AM

    That's the wrong approach, Luke. It was wrong of the speaker, and it's still wrong of Joe Schmoe. Period.

    Dennis   ·  November 6, 2008 12:22 PM

    And I suppose he's not a Muslim either, then?

    [ducks]

    Loren Heal   ·  November 6, 2008 12:36 PM

    Yes, Obama could have easily squelched this with a signature to release his State certified birth certificate. But that would not have served the purpose behind refusing to do so. I think the refusal to release it was part of a campaign strategy to keep the rumor going. It gave a tiny minority of "truthers" all they needed to carry on like fools and Obama supporters the opportunity to broad-brush the right as 'crazy'.

    Oyster   ·  November 6, 2008 1:20 PM

    Sorry for offending, it will not happen again.
    I do appreciate your getting the message out, no matter what the prologue may have been.

    Kirk   ·  November 6, 2008 2:34 PM

    I work at a psychiatric hospital and have discussed people's fixated delusions with them many times. When some needs a particular belief, no amount of counterevidence will dislodge it.

    Assistant Village Idiot   ·  November 6, 2008 4:09 PM

    I meant "fixed." "Fixated" has a subtly different meaning.

    Assistant Village Idiot   ·  November 6, 2008 4:10 PM

    That's a very interesting theory, Oyster. Perhaps that explains it. Although I knew that people whose opinions I respect had looked into this controversy and concluded there was "no there there," I had continued to be confused about why the Obama campaign hadn't made the document public.

    Perhaps that also explains the refusal to also release records from his time at Columbia. But that is also very strange, since none of the people in his graduating class there--except for his roommate--seem to remember anything about him.

    Kurt   ·  November 6, 2008 4:13 PM

    AVI, when in conspiracy discussions, I often recommend "Fucault's Pendulum" by Umberto Echo. The book has some boring parts, but it's a great examination of the mind of the conspiracist and shows how absolutely anything can be made to fit the conspiracy, even when the conspiricist is an otherwise sane intelligent skeptical person. Under those circumstances, it can be almost impossible to bring someone out of the conspiracy and back to reality.

    tim maguire   ·  November 6, 2008 4:45 PM

    Here's the thing, even if President-elect Barack Obama had been born in Kenya, he would still be a natural born citizen of the United States.

    Why? Because his mother was a citizen of the United States who was living in the U.S. around the time of his conception. Even if she had moved to Kenya soon after meeting Obama's father, her residence in American terrtory would still be recent enough to make any child born to her in Kenya a natural born American citizen.

    It's something very much like this that makes John McCain, though he was born overseas, a natural born American citizens. Along with the fact he was born to a pair of American citizens who were serving their country at the time of our birth.

    In short, being born in Kenya would not make Barack Obama a non-citizen because his mother was a citizen, and she would have been living in America just a few months before his birth.

    Alan Kellogg   ·  November 6, 2008 5:27 PM

    I disagree with you. Obama could have laid it all to rest by releasing a copy, so the only motive to refuse would be devilment -- to goad his opponents into appearing ridiculous -- or that he actually has a reason not to release it.

    The devilment theory seems unlikely. So let us look at Section 338-17.8 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes:
    "Certificates for children born out of State. "(a) Upon application of an adult or the legal parents of a minor child, the director of health shall issue a birth certificate for such adult or minor, provided that proof has been submitted to the director of health that the legal parents of such individual while living without the Territory or State of Hawaii had declared the Territory or State of Hawaii as their legal residence for at least one year immediately preceding the birth or adoption of such child."

    Note two things: (1) The statement by the state in no way rejected the possibility that Obama was born out of state; (2) This would not settle the "natural born citizen" issue, which is a complicated question of federal statutes.

    Personally, I would think that this should count as U.S. birth, but the statutory law on aliens is unforgiving -- I can see why Obama would prefer not to have it raised. But your are wrong to say that Hawaii has shown the doubters to be crazy. The statement was very Clintonian - the meaning of "is."

    JVD   ·  November 6, 2008 10:08 PM

    No it wouldn't, JVD, because that certificate would be 'a clever forgery' produced by the 'shadowy puppetmasters' that control Barack Obama.

    You can't reason with a conspiracy theorist because they aren't dealing in reason.

    Mikey NTH   ·  November 7, 2008 11:29 AM

    I'm just curious, despite the title, are you still trying to reason people out of a position they weren't reasoned into?

    I ask because even though the title seems to point out that you understand you're wasting your time, the post is very long and must have been fairly time-consuming.

    Besides, everybody knows that we don't have to worry about Obama! being a foreigner, we have to worry about the plans of both the GOP and the Dems to create a North American Union with unified money and stuff.

    Veeshir   ·  November 7, 2008 12:15 PM

    Mikey - There would be no bar to Obama asking the state to attest that the the document he produced was a true copy. Of course, if my hypothesis is correct, then the opponents would argue that this foreign birth precluded him from the Presidency, since Hawaii cannot decide for Constitutional purposes. And, as I said, things could get messy because of the statutes. I simply don't know the law well enough to judge. But I suspect a court would hold that this was U.S. birth (as indeed it should).

    If my hypothesis is correct, and it comes out later, that will be unfortunate, because the triviality of the issue will get lost in the uproar.

    JVD   ·  November 7, 2008 3:25 PM

    My question is: why not release them and put this to rest? It looks like he has something to hide - along with the missing years in NY, his health records, some of his tax records, his Illinois Senate papers, etc. For a candidate who campaigned on bringing transparency to government, he sure likes to be secretive over his own papers. I don't think there's any "there there" with the birth certificate, but it looks shady when you whine for your opponents to turn over every aspect of their lives and you don't.

    Of course, there's also the question of his adoption by Mr. Soerto in Indonesia. From what I understand (and if Obama would clear it up, we wouldn't have to wonder), Indonesian law requires that when a child is adopted and lives there, that child becomes an Indonesian citizen (and possibly relinquishes US citizenship?) I think that's one of the questions regarding the birth certificate - was it reissued after a naturalization back to US citizenship, which probably WOULD make him ineligible to be POTUS.

    I don't know if it makes a difference, but his caginess in answering these questions only makes it look like he has something to hide.

    JB   ·  November 8, 2008 10:51 AM

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