Nice bit, Skip.  Not sure why it drew criticism.  My biggest complaint with it is that it makes it clear that you don't post enough TRs. 
 
- Patrick


From: Skip King <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 10:41:22 AM
Subject: Re: [SKIVT-L] OT - HCR

At 09:00 AM 8/18/2009, Tag wrote:
Yeah so...where's the birth certificate!


Indeed. To that point, some of you might be interested in the following... I do a monthly newsletter for my clients and contacts focusing on news and how communications have been handled.  Here's an excerpt from the most recent one (links are not active):

LAWN CARE PRODUCTS FOR GRASSY KNOLLS   
We don't know if there are any studies to prove it, but it occurs to us that conspiracy theories and the feeling of being powerless go hand-in-hand.
     Consider, for example, that a significant number of African-Americans believe that AIDS is both man-made and targeted at them (Barack Obama's previous pastor, Jeremiah Wright, has preached this concept from the pulpit).  Consider the myriad conspiracy theories amongst Muslims in the Middle East.  Prior to the 2008 elections, left-wing bulletin boards had no small number of people convinced that 9/11 was an inside job (these folks may still believe it, but they seem to have mostly shut up about it). Don't forget those folks at both extremes of the political spectrum who are convinced that jet contrails are actually  the government spraying some sort of mind-altering chemicals.
    
    Now cometh reports that 28 percent of people who identify themselves as Republicans believe that Obama was not born in the US and is therefore ineligible to serve as President.  According to the survey, an additional 30 percent aren't sure.
     Could more than half of all Republicans really doubt the citizenship status of the POTUS?  We're not here to vouch for the accuracy of the poll, but we do prowl enough blogs and bulletin boards to know that a significant number of people believe it.  None of the A-list among syndicated conservative radio talkers want any part of this one, but a few of the B-listers are running with it.  And more than a few Republican congresscritters have done nothing to squelch it, even if they haven't promulgated it.  Red meat for the base and all that.
   
    Conspiracy theories give people a way to explain things based according to emotion instead of that nasty, prickly PITA known as logic, and they get their start when there's a complex situation coupled with a lack of information.  They usually begin with only a handful of individuals and spread virally from there; unchecked, elements of the theory become more and more convoluted as the situation evolves.  The fundamental theory itself remains simple, but the "evidence" in support of it mounts over time.
     That's certainly the case here.  Obama's lineage is indeed complicated, and Hawaii changed its record-keeping format since he was born.  
     Beyond releasing the updated "Certificate of Live Birth" that now serves as a birth certificate in the Aloha State (which was done before the election), Obama has done nothing to address the question.  The original copy of his birth certificate reportedly exists, but it has not been brought forward. Adherents to the idea that Obama is foreign-born seize on that point.  This behavior  is entirely consistent with the idea that conspiracy theorists tend to analyze each scrap of available information -and every void - and assess both in their worst possible light. 

     So why doesn't Obama simply order the release of the original and put the matter to rest? Why in heck would he?  For that matter, why would any intelligent politician?  By "ignoring" the issue, he encourages a significant group of political opponents to position themselves as paranoid idiots. 
     Besides, even if he did order its release, theorists would instantly assume it fraudulent.  That's the beautiful thing about conspiracy theories:  they're impossible to refute, because if you try, you're either a dupe or part of the conspiracy.
     It should never be forgotten that a good conspiracy theory can generate a lot of money - and if not money, attention - for those pushing it.  No small number of millions has been made by those pushing the theory that Lee Harvey Oswald was, indeed, a patsy.   
    The chief architect of the current (as distinguished from the pre-election) birth certificate firestorm is a "news" website called WorldNetDaily.com.  According to Alexa.com , WND is currently enjoying the most traffic it's seen since the election.

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