Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Arpaio: Conspiracy bigger than Watergate

I have an honest question. Is Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona stupid? Is he gullible, easily duped? Is he easily confused? Or is he, perhaps, an opportunistic, lying, fame whore limelight seeker?  Because, the whole "birther" conspiracy theory set. . .they're bonkers. They're nuts. Their head cheerleader is the daffy Orly Taitz, the Gabor-like combination lawyer/dentist/realtor. Every, single (and I mean every, single) claim in this ridiculous theory has been debunked. Over and over again.

Click to embiggen.
I'll give you a quick one: They say to this day that President Obama's "grandmother" admitted that Obama was born in Kenya. A) she was his step-grandmother, and B) she was being mistranslated, and corrected the record in the same interview. They just cut that part out. That's how they work in tinfoil hat land. But Arpaio's corner of the conspiracy is the birth certificate.

For years, the birthers said--seemingly every other sentence--that if Obama just released his "long form" birth certificate, "all of this would just go away." The conspiracy would go poof, and they'd go on with their lives. But they didn't. Because, you see, all a good conspiracy theory needs is more layers. And--unwittingly--the White House gave them more layers. Boy, howdy.

You see, the electronic version of the Hawaii certified certificate of live birth was scanned into Adobe Reader. If you do that on default settings, the scanner tries to break the image into sections, ostensibly for optical character recognition (OCR), but who knows what good it actually does. It's kind of random, as you might expect for a computer that can't think or reason. So, when you open the file in a graphics program, you watch it assemble itself before your eyes. I got a half step into conspiracy world for about ninety seconds. Because, hey, it has layers!

My (gay) marriage certificate.
Embiggen all you want, it's low-res!
Very quickly, I realized, a) this is not the actual document, it's a scan of it; b) if they were going to forge the document, they'd do it on the physical specimen, not in the online version; and c) the White House has resources most forgers couldn't dream of. If they were going to forge it, it would be fucking undetectable. But conspiracy theorists don't try to step out of their bubbles when presented with something new. No, they seek to incorporate whatever comes their way that feeds the conspiracy, and eject what doesn't. On the surface, the layers seem hinky. And that's really all they need.

Though my deductive reasoning concluded that the layered document was normal, I decided to perform an experiment, to see if Adobe Reader really behaved that way. If I could reproduce a similar effect, then I would be debunking the whole "layers" hoo-ha! So, I cobbled my ancient G4 PowerBook (since replaced) to my ancient-er HP ScanJet 3C, and scanned my City of Palm Springs Marriage Certificate. The results (and ensuing pointless argument with a birther) can be viewed here. And anybody thinking there is anything to birtherism (or Arpaio's tilting at windmills), should explore the site linked below. I'm serious: they debunk everything.


Arpaio: Conspiracy bigger than Watergate 

The Arizona Republic quotes Sheriff Joe Arpaio offering a conspiracy-based explanation why the media has universally panned the investigation by a group of birthers who used his office to publicize their ideas. . .

Read more at: Obama Conspiracy Theories


  1. The reason the media has universally panned the investigation is that Arpaio and his ilk are flat out, fucking BATSHIT CRAZY.


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