Jul 20 2008

When The Mob Loses Its Mind – The Cult Of The COLB!

I have been dabbling in the fevered swamps of the Forged Obama Birth Certificate mythology recently (my posts are here) and it has been an interesting lesson in futility. It interests me because topic has drawn anti-Obama groups from the left and right, who share a common, highly emotional repulsion with Obama. No amount of evidence (whether I find it or they find it) deters them from their obsession-driven conclusions. Their existence and egos have become intertwined with the idea someone forged an image of Obama’s Certificate of Live Birth (COLB). No amount of debate will change their minds.  All they do in response to evidence contrary to their beliefs is develop ever wilder and more ridiculous rationalizations. The movement is now only inhabited by the ‘true believers’, the enemies are not to be trusted or even listened to. It has become quite the cult. And quite a lesson to look at.

The phenomena has interesting parallels. You see the same mindlessness in the “Bush lied” meme to start the war in Iraq. The line about the ‘lie’ began with Joe Wilson, who claimed Bush used known forged documents to lie to Congress and America. Joe Wilson was the one actually lying (the forgeries came out 6+ months after the trip on which he claimed he debunked the forgeries) – but the lie about the lie had taken root. It then morphed into a lie about Valerie Plame, though the lie was not about not outing Plame (which people admitted to) it was by lying about lying about outing Plame (if you don’t know don’t ask, I don’t want to derail this post). The point is a myth was born from a lie and became conventional wisdom.  Goebbels would have been proud.

Anyway, this post explores how obsession is the evil opposite of rationale thought. It’s quite long, so most folks will probably want to skip the rest.

There are, of course, different levels of obsession (one might even say delusion) that can overtake a group of people who have been brain-washed by false stories that fit into the overall personal desires. Sometimes there are those who just believe the myth so desperately they do the work of the puppet masters, usually referred to as the ‘useful idiots’. Think of Nazi sympathizers who did not fight evil but worked to make it sound reasonable. Of course the Nazi propaganda is on the extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to this kind of mob-think.

So is Islamo-Fascism. Bin Laden (and his useful idiots in the liberal media) continue to buy into the concept that America is corrupt, evil and the source of all human suffering.  People just need to think of all the human suffering we have ended to realize that Americans fight human suffering. The opposite is reality. The only thing people can rationally claim is evil is much more pernicious and busy than even America can take on alone. Which means all those in the peanut gallery acting all miffed America has no solved the world’s problems are the real culprits.  They hide their role in world affairs  by projection on America.

In any event, The Islamo Fascists are as immune to reason as those who see conspiracy theories everywhere – they just back up their obsessions with violence. Their answer to critics is death and suffering.

Right about now those who still believe the BHO COLB forgery tripe are probably near apoplectic with my comparison of their pet-theories to al-Qaeda and Nazism. That is only part of my point.  I also want ot note something else and that is how ridiculous it is for Obama and the Surrendercrats to be so naive as to think they can jaw-bone people like al-Qaeda and the Mad Mullahs of Iran into peace? These fanatics have bought into a belief system to the point it defines their entire existence! If we cannot bring rationality to the conspiracy nuts here in America, what makes Obama and the Surrendercrats think they can lay out a logical case for peace with America and the West? Keep that in mind as we explore this example of cultish mob-think.

Step back and ponder the levels of zealotry and obsession we are discussing here. There is this mild madness, that has infected some, who follow the inept to a silly conclusion that someone has forged a COLB. In the grand scheme of things nothing more than an interesting example of the long road ahead for humanity in terms of dealing with issues seriously and with a cool, objective head. And then there is Islamo Fascism and all its brutality and evil as the representation of total, suicidal madness. The penultimate cult. Yet, in both cases the followers of these obsessions believe whole heartedly they are on the path of good and righteousness and no amount of rational talk will change their beliefs.

For example, look at this longwinded, defensive comment posted here from one of those ‘experts’ the COLB Cult have been rallying behind. It is from someone named Polarik who I have been eviscerating as my poster-child example of how not to do technical analysis. I referenced his shoddy work in my first post on the COLB to illustrate the pattern of: (1) wild claim, (2) claim debunked, (3) derive new wild claim.

When I did the original post I actually steered away from his earliest, silliest claims – all of which were quickly debunked by others. These earlier posts are an interesting historical example of how an obsession takes hold. So indulge me as we use Polarik, again, as an example of how myth can masquerade as analysis.

In one of his original posts (June 20, 2008) Polarik made some ridiculous claims, claims that those who follow this sideshow act know were debunked quickly and early. These initial fallacies should have been a warning sign regarding the quality of analysis going on, when people start moving the gold posts watch out! But they weren’t.  Here are my favorite silly conclusions that, when I jumped into this mess late, were embarrassingly wrong already. Here’s Polarik’s first hint of skullduggery – color printing!

The “Certificate of Birth,” which I will call “COB,” is posted on the Kos website as a color JPG. The reason for making it a color JPG, IMHO, is to induce the viewer to believe that this is a genuine copy of an original document — something that a black & white, or even greyscale, reproduction would not convey as well.

Yeah, baby! Using color is a sign of evil intent.  Think this through in light of the fact we now have a spectrum of valid COLBS from Hawaii being analyzed:

Only COLB #3 can be real, given Polarik’s paranoid analysis that only non-color COLBs can be trusted. Yep, the fact the COLB has some color is a dead give away that a forgery has occurred!  Then there were these early claims:

OK…so where is the certification by the department, which consists of both an embossed seal and signature block on the reverse side?

If there is a department certification, then why not show it? Did it get lost in the scanning process? Doubtful. The background where the seal should be looks the same to the naked eye.

It was not long after this that these telltales were discovered in the image itself. I could detect them after only a few minutes of turning some knobs on a graphics viewer program. This ‘expert’ missed them and cried forgery. But when they were found, did he admit his mistakes? Did he open his mind to the possibility he was wrong? No, he did not.

It is at this point debate for some becomes a life’s obsession. Like I said, there have been numerous claims by this expert which have all been debunked. Yet at each turn he simply makes up wilder claims – and people see this pattern of denial as being heroic? Well, all movements need leaders, whether the movement is sane or not.

To see how bad this obsession has become let me come back to Polarik’s diatribe here at the Strata-Sphere. Polarik is upset at me for nailing his credibility – which I take as a sign he knows deep down there are serious problems with his arguments and he wants me to go away. He wants me to stop bring some reality to the cult. And his response includes anger, historic re-visioning, with a dose of projection onto me:

Your analyses vary among being off-the-mark, to being silly, to being a bunch of bullcrap, to being bald-faced lies. So, allow me to give you a taste of your own medicine.

 ”I also noted a stamped date from the back which bled through on the two version (one on the DailyKos and one on the Obama campaign site) which shows this modern version was produced around Jun 6 2007″

Yet another earth-shaking revelation! Your blog post is dated, “July 6″ or about five weeks after everyone else on the planet mentioned it.

“I could detect the impression of the state seal stamp and signature area on two of the files.”

You got Superman eyes? Maybe you saw a some disturbed areas on the COLB. But, the truth is, that if you had never seen what a genuine COLB looks like, such as DeCosta’s, you would not even know what goes there. 

The poor guy is out of his league, and mad at me for proving it. But then again the man is claiming a crime has been committed, and this country cannot survive if baseless and foolish lies go unchallenged. I was quite clear on why I delayed my posting, and Polarik is a prime example of the denizens of this fevered swamp which kept me from exploring this cult. But what I provided up front was what any technically savvy non-expert could discover in a few minutes time.  Yet, the self proclaimed Polarik could not find these telltales and claimed his ignorance as evidence of forgery! Polarik, I did not destroy your professional credibility – you did that yourself.  I simply noted how you did it.

Just like the Global Warming cult is being challenged by rational arguments and counter evidence, this COLB cult is also being challenged.  This new site points out the conflicts arising as the ever wilder claims from the cult begin colliding with each other (mainly because the truth of the matter and evidence is something they will not face):

Polarik’s claim has been that someone took someone else’s genuine COLB, scrubbed only the original names (leaving everything else alone) and then “clevery” added the Obama information.

However if that was the case, then there would be absolutely no reason to do anything to the borders.

So here again it seems Polarik is making an argument that defeats his previous argument.

Emphasis mine. This is an illuminating measure of how far this obsession has crept into the cult. The claim was someone messed with the data fields (no proof of course). But when that fell apart then it was the borders that were faked.  Even more intriguing is the out and out demand that clearly contradicting evidence be ignored. One early claim was the BHO COLB was a forgery because of a format anomaly in the DOB data field. Well, that was the claim until another COLB showed the same DOB field anomaly!

Michele’s COLB shares the same font anomaly in the date filed field. Polarik thinks it doesn’t matter to his theory. Techdude says the same.

They are adamant in their conclusions.

What? The one-time clear evidence of forgery is now shown to be a tell tale on valid COLBs and we are supposed to ignore this turn around? We’re supposed to assume all is well in COLB Cult Land in light of this discovery?  Doesn’t this sound just like the UN IPCC and Al Gore saying there really is Global Warming, just ignore the last decade of Global cooling data?  These folks do are now demanding we all ignore this clear indicator that the data fields were not forged since they all show the same anomaly? Talk about crazy.

OK, to come full circle here, as I said I found this example of cultish obsession a lesson in futility. The more clear evidence that was provided there was no forgery, the farther from reality the cultists went. They would do anything to salvage their beliefs, to avoid being wrong. So if Americans in the heat of an elections season can get this entrenched, what does that tell us about any opportunities to rationalize peace with al-Qaeda? Sadly, it tells us a lot – it will be a futile exercise that will fail. Obsession becomes worse when faced with rationale dialogue. 

For more analysis on the COLB watch this site, someone who knows what they are doing.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “When The Mob Loses Its Mind – The Cult Of The COLB!”

  1. WWS says:

    Polarik needs you, he needs this issue, and he needs this flame war to keep going on no matter what the outcome. Why? Because as soons this is over he goes back to being Johnny nobody who no one could care less about. As long as this keeps going, people keep talking about him. Who cares about right or wrong, truth or falsehood? Completely immaterial. He’s getting talked about, that’s all that matters.

  2. AJStrata says:

    I know WWS. But I jumped in knowing it was not going to be a one time post. And as I suspected, Techdud’s report is out today. We shall see!

    AJStrata

  3. Ray_in_Aus says:

    WWS wrote:

    Polarik needs you, he needs this issue, and he needs this flame war to keep going on no matter what the outcome. Why? Because as soon as this is over he goes back to being Johnny nobody who no one could care less about. As long as this keeps going, people keep talking about him. Who cares about right or wrong, truth or falsehood? Completely immaterial. He’s getting talked about, that’s all that matters.

    It certainly appears to be trolling for attention, but for something this big a person would normally have a history of it. Does anyone know if he has or not? It’s possible that people with no knowledge of statistics could believe that despite there being a 1,000,000,000 to 1 chance of this NOT happening – it really did.