The Birthers

Within hours of the attacks of September 11, 2001, the first group of conspiracy-minded people decided that the attacks were a government plot. Planes didn’t slam into the Pentagon, the World Trade Center was hit by remotely-controlled aircraft (or depending on who you talk to, missiles) and that the buildings were actually brought down by explosives. All of it was designed to take over the United States by a mad man who had been appointed to the Office of the Presidency instead of being elected to it.

These people have had eight years to come up with conspiracies and sub-conspiracies and work themselves up into a lather over the fantastic and unbelievable. There is always some key evidence that is missing and presumed to be hidden by the government. If only someone could just pry that little kernel of evidence out of the hands of those keeping it from us and the whole nasty wall of coverup would all tumble down.

These people are now referred to as the “Truthers”. You hear them talk, and your first reaction is that you want to roll your eyes and quickly make way for the exits so as to not get roped into the lunacy.

With every conspiracy / coverup like this, there is always some fact arranged in such a way that the accepted version of the event could be called into question IF some missing fact — usually coincidental and completely unrelated is twisted and fit into place. The fact that such evidence isn’t currently in hand only makes it easy to claim that someone is purposely withholding it — usually the government — so that the “truth can’t come out and bring everything down around their necks.

For these types of conspiracies to take hold and consume large groups of people, there has to be some ugly “truth” that if exposed, would shatter everything as we know it now. If the “truth” came out that our government had killed the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, then it would spell the end of our way of life as we know it. If the “truth” came out that the US never put a man on the moon, but instead faked it from a sound stage in Arizona, then again, we would call into question our own greatness. If the “truth” came out that George Bush — who can hardly ride a bike without falling over — planned the biggest hoax of a terrorist attack on our own country, then it would spell the end of our government also.

In other words, the “truth” would ultimately end up as causing some major chaos to our way of life. And for THAT reason, the government has to “protect” us from the truth, because if we “found out”, everything would fall apart. Yet, still people want to expose that “truth”.

As Jack Nicholson once said, “They can’t handle the truth”. In these types of cases, the actual truth is boring and usually benign.

But it doesn’t stop them from whipping themselves up into a lather.

Now we have another conspiracy to keep us busy for the next four to eight years. This one started about eighteen months ago and there are many variations to it.

It has to do with whether Barack Obama is eligible to be president based on citizenship.

Yes, it is the fake birth certificate thing that won’t die, even though Dr. Chiyome Fukino, the director of Hawaii’s Department of Health, released a statement saying she has verified that the state has the original birth certificate on record and that the certification posted on Obama’s website looks identical to one she was issued for her own Hawaii birth certificate. Additionally, Hawaii has said that the information contained on the certification matches the information found on the original birth certificate currently locked in the vault at Hawaii’s Department of Health.

In August, Philip Berg, a former prosecutor in Pennsylvania file suit to stop the election, claiming that Obama was not a citizen. Berg, a 9/11 “Truther” crossed over into a new conspiracy — probably in an attempt to remain current on his conpiracies. But his suit was dismissed like so many others, because he doesn’t have “standing”.

Standing. That means that if you bring a complaint against someone, YOU must be the one who is immediately harmed. Berg was claiming that Obama didn’t provide a “TRUE” copy of his birth certificate even though Berg himself had demanded it. The court ruled that Berg didn’t have standing because he couldn’t demand Obama to give him the time of day, let alone a document with personal and private information on it. Imagine if I demanded Berg to give me his birth certificate and his bank statement, along with his social security number and maybe his pin number. It isn’t about what information that might be found on a birth certificate, is is the precedence it sets. Today they want to force you to publicize your birth certificate, what about the demands of tomorrow? What more would be demanded after that?

The birth certificate isn’t the goal. I am sure that most, if not all of the nutjobs already assume the original in the vault proves Obama’s citizenship. They already have an answer to that, courtesy of people like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage who both suggested that when Obama went to Hawaii to see his ailing grandmother, his real purpose was to alter the record in the vault.

Can you imagine the number of people that would have to be involved to coordinate something like that and not have it leak out?

But most of the court challenges based on the birth certificate that could “prove it once and for all” have been tossed out of court. Yet, new life was breathed into the conspiracy-minded people last week when another case based on citizenship, was passed up to the Supreme Court and passed out by Clarence Thomas for conference.

Now in case you aren’t familiar with appealing cases to the Supreme Court, here is a quick little primer.

If you have brought an action in a lower court and things didn’t go your way, you can always appeal that decision to a higher court. Sometimes time is of the essence (a pending execution, or in this case, a inaugeration) so you want the High Court to act upon something sooner than going through the normal appellate process. So you seek judicial review in the Supreme Court.

The thing is, there are several hundred cases a year that are appealed to the Supreme Court. The court usually only hears a handful of them. To determine what cases the Court is going to hear, they have a “conference” of the Justices Clerks, who pick out the ones that have merit. A “rule of four” meaning that if four of the nine justices feel that they would like to consider the case, a writ of certiorari is issued, meaning that the Court is directing the lower court to send the record of the case for review.

The idea that this particular case has made it into the lobby of the Supreme Court has put lead in the pencils of a lot of these Right-wing conspiracy nuts hoping to put the brakes on the Obama presidency. For most of these anti-Obama nuts, this is the last best chance to bar the muslimcommunistniggerterroristlefistfacsist from the White House. They expect to fail, but still hold out for that miracle — news that the Supreme Court is going to hear the case.

As of Friday, the Supremes issue two writ of certiorari and ended the day. It is expected that Monday, December 8th, they may issue one or two more and then toss the rest of the cases. Most legal experts say that this case will be one of the ones tossed.

But that won’t put an end to the conspiracy. It will only mean that the Justices are “in on it too”, and it only adds fire to the conspiracy.

This case does not focus on the idea that Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii. The plaintiff stipulates that Obama was actually born in Hawaii. The complaint is that Obama was born a “British subject” as well as an American citizen, and by virtue of being a dual citizen at birth, he does not qualify as a “natural born citizen” because he is the subject of another country at the same time.

Yeah, I see that blank stare on your face. Suffering fools does that to me too.

Salon has a great article on why the stories about why the stories about Obama’s birth certificate will never die.

Here is a teaser:

But that doesn’t matter. The faux controversy isn’t going to go away soon. Yes, Obama was born in Hawaii, and yes, he is eligible to be president. But according to several experts in conspiracy theories, and in the psychology of people who believe in conspiracy theories, there’s little chance those people who think Obama is barred from the presidency will ever be convinced otherwise. “There’s no amount of evidence or data that will change somebody’s mind,” says Michael Shermer, who is the publisher of Skeptic magazine and a columnist for Scientific American, and who holds an undergraduate and a master’s degree in psychology. “The more data you present a person, the more they doubt it … Once you’re committed, especially behaviorally committed or financially committed, the more impossible it becomes to change your mind.”

Any inconvenient facts are irrelevant. People who believe in a conspiracy theory “develop a selective perception, their mind refuses to accept contrary evidence,” Chip Berlet, a senior analyst with Political Research Associates who studies such theories, says. “As soon as you criticize a conspiracy theory, you become part of the conspiracy.”

The Right-Winuts used to accuse Liberals of “hating” Bush because we disagreed with him. We suffered from what they called, “BDS” or “Bush Derangment Syndrome. (not that you will ever find that in the DMS-IV) But THIS hatred by the Right, of Barack Obama is actually a sign of mental illness. Unlike the Left, who disagreed with Bush and his policies, these people don’t even care about the policies, they just go right to the total and irrational hatred. That you WILL find in the DMS-IV.

It is going to be a long eight years.