Trying to Teach Pigs to Sing

There is an old saying that goes something like “never try to teach a pig to sing: it is a waste of time and annoys the pig.” For the most part, that has been our experience so far with people in the “birther” movement. Since our last article on the subject addressing just one issue and one “conclusion,” we have had people stop by and leave all sorts of communications with us. Some have been pleasant and engaged in a rational discourse. We thank the people who have discussed the issue in that manner. We have found those people to be respectful and genuinely seeking an intelligent discussion.

On the other hand, there are the “true believers.” These are the folks that will not engage in a debate. These are the folks that will not look at any evidence that is contrary to their beliefs. These are the people that are so convinced that they are right about the birther issue, when trying to discuss it with them, they refuse to discuss a singular issue and stay on point. They will attack anything in order not to discuss a valid point. As we said earlier,

One thing that we have noticed over the years is that conspiracy theorists have a thought process that relies more on perception rather than reality. For example, a conspiracy theorist will say, “Look at ‘A’!” as support for his theory. When “A” is de-bunked, the conspiracy theorist will respond with “but look at ‘B’!” After debunking “B,” the conspiracy theorist will say, “Ah! But look at ‘C’!” When “C” is debunked also, they will return to “A” or a variation of “A.” After awhile, with all the permutations of the debunked theories they maintain are legitimate, a person is tired of the battle and simply says “whatever.” The conspiracy theorist will then say “you need to look at all the evidence!” even though you have discredited all of the evidence.

We will generally welcome people here that are interested in a debate of the facts. We will not suffer people that won’t engage and then act in a trollish manner.

For example, one of the commentators left both a comment and an email on a WorldNetDaily link entitled:

Fox News expert denies he claimed birth certificate legit

No comment on the link, no discussion, just the link.

The article says that Jean Claude Tremblay’s conclusion on the birth certificate was misrepresented on a FoxNews blog. The FoxNews blog article’s headline states

Expert: No Doubt Obama’s Birth Certificate Is Legit

It didn’t take long for some of President Obama’s doubters to claim the long-awaited birth certificate posted online by the White House on Wednesday had been altered or might be a fake.

But a leading software expert says there’s no doubt about its authenticity, and he dismisses claims of fraud as flat-out wrong.

The doubters have latched onto the idea that Adobe Illustrator — the premier program for computer graphic artists — “reveals” evidence of document manipulation in the Obama birth certificate. They note Illustrator reveals nine separate layers of the document, and claim it’s “proof” the file has been altered.

But that’s not so, says Jean-Claude Tremblay, a leading software trainer and Adobe-certified expert, who has years of experience working with and teaching Adobe Illustrator.

“You should not be so suspicious about this,” Tremblay told, dismissing the allegations.

Here’s what appears to have happened. The interviewer asked Tremblay about the allegations that the PDF of the birth certificate was fake or forged. Trembley found nothing and said so. The reporter then greatly overreached with her headline. Trembley was not making a conclusion on the entire birth certificate, but only on the issue of whether layers in the PDF indicated the birth certificate was a forgery.

It was sloppy reporting to say the least. The headline does not support the Trembley’s analysis to the extent he only looked at one aspect of whether the document was faked or not.

Trembley has posted a notice on stating that he was upset with FoxNews. We agree that he should be upset and that Fox published an inaccurate headline.

The question is therefore, “why does this matter to WorldNetDaily?”

“Why are they coming after FoxNews for an article that, while the headline is false, doesn’t help their claim that the birth certificate is fake?”

The author of the WorldNetDaily piece is one Jerome Corsi, who has a book on the Obama birth certificate. In fact, every article on WorldNetDaily has a reference to where you can buy the book. Clearly Corsi has an economic interest in the birth certificate being a forgery. Leaving that aside for a moment, Corsi has many theories on many subjects, most of which are contrary to known and proven facts. As an example, Corsi is a “truther” – one of the people who believe that the World Trade Centers in New York were not destroyed by planes flying into them.

So why would Corsi write an article that FoxNews misrepresented the conclusions on the birth certificate?

The only thing that makes sense is that Corsi wants to feed the conspiracy monster that believes there is a huge cover-up to the birther issue.

However, unless you dig a little deeper, you will never see that Trembley’s statement doesn’t help Corsi’s opinion that the birth certificate is a fake:

For me, what I have seen does not prove that it is legit, nor that it is a fake, nor that there has been any tampering whatsoever.

In my humble opinion, what I see about how the PDF is built does not prove any unusual falsification. If there was tampering, we must look elsewhere and not how the PDF was constructed. (emphasis in the original)

If Corsi wants support that the document is forged, he is not going to find it with Trembley.

The amazing thing is that Trembley is noted as an “expert” several times in the above cited WorldNetDaily article. This is a far cry from a previous article where a “scanner expert Dough Vogt dismissed Trembley’s analysis as portrayed by the erroneous FoxNews blog headline:

(Vogt) provides a rebuttal to Jean-Claude Tremblay, a Canadian graphic artist who argued on the Fox News Channel on April 29 that the layers were a natural result of the Hawaii DOH scanning the original document while leaving OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software operative within the scanner.

Tremblay told Fox News that scanner OCR software tries to translate characters or words in a photograph into text, producing multiple layers in the resulting PDF file.

Tremblay further maintained that in the scanning process, layers were created when the OCR software was unable to separate text fully from background, resulting in the creation of a separate layer within the document.

Vogt charges that Tremblay “knows nothing about OCR engines and how they work and their file structure.”

Notice what has happened here. When Trembley disagreed with Corsi and his followers, Corsi trotted out Vogt to “discredit” him. Trembley is portrayed as someone who knows nothing about OCR programs or the processes used in creating PDF’s. Now that Trembley is saying that FoxNews misquoted him, Trembley is an “expert.”

The difference to the characterizations of Trembley can only be based upon his conclusions. When Corsi first thought that Trembley disagreed with the idea that the birth certificate was not faked, Trembley was discredited. Now that Corsi can say that Trembley was a victim of the “conspiracy,” Trembley is an “expert.”

Yet the important thing to remember, and what Corsi doesn’t want you to remember, is that Trembley’s analysis of the document in Trembely’s area of expertise, is that the document cannot be shown to be either real or forged. In that in a court of law, the document is presumed to be genuine until shown otherwise, Trembley has actually hurt Corsi and the birther’s claim that the document has been forged.

Many birthers won’t get that far, however. They will merely plug into the idea that Trembley is an expert and as an expert, he does not say that the birth certificate is definitely genuine.

Conspiracy theorists only look at the conclusions that people draw. If that conclusion fits their preconceived notion, they person is correct and they will spread the word how someone agreed with them. If the conclusion is against their preconceived notions, they will attack the person. We here at Raised on Hoecakes went through this with some birthers. We were accused of being an Obama supporter. We were accused of being liberals.

The sad thing is that Trembley says that after the Fox article, he too was attacked as being an Obama supporter. People claimed that Trembley, who is Canadian, worked on the Obama campaign.

When the facts go against them, conspiracy theorists resort to ad hominem attacks.

Another link that was sent our way was to this article an amazing piece called Us (sic) Supreme Court Precedent States That Obama Is Not Eligible To Be President by Leo C. Donofrio.

The title of this article is correct. After having completed a more thorough review of the relevant US Supreme Court cases discussing the Constitution’s natural-born citizen clause, I have discovered precedent which states that a natural-born citizen is a person born in the jurisdiction of the US to parents who are citizens. Read that again. I said precedent, not dicta. The precedent holds that Obama is not eligible to be President of the United States.

To make this claim, Donofrio relies on two Supreme Court Decisions. The first is MINOR v. HAPPERSETT, a 1874 case which decided that women were not Constitutionally guaranteed the right to vote. The second case is UNITED STATES V. WONG KIM ARK, a 1898 case that decided whether a man of Chinese descent, born to citizens of China while in the United States, was a US citizen.

Donofrio claims that no matter what, precedents, established by the Supreme Court must be followed. He states:

On questions as to the meaning of federal law including the U.S. Constitution, statutes, and regulations, the U.S. Supreme Court’s precedents must be followed.

Of course, this is not entirely true. Supreme Court decisions can be overridden by both law and future Supreme Court decisions. An example of the former is the Dred Scott decision, which held

that people of African descent brought into the United States and held as slaves (or their descendants, whether or not they were slaves) were not protected by the Constitution and could never be U.S. citizens. The court also held that the U.S. Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories and that, because slaves were not citizens, they could not sue in court. Furthermore, the Court ruled that slaves, as chattels or private property, could not be taken away from their owners without due process.

Dred Scott was later overturned by the passage of the 14th Amendment.

An example of the second is Pace v. Alabama, in which the Supreme Court upheld an Alabama law that said a black person could not marry a white person and that two people living together without being married was illegal. Therefore, there was no legal way for a black person and a white person to ever live under the same roof as it was illegal for them to live together and it was illegal for them to get married. This precedent was later overturned by Loving v. Virginia where the Court said that such laws were the product of racial discrimination and therefore un-Constitutional.

The point is that any claim that “precedent” is binding for all time is wrong.

Donofrio’s reading of the cases he cites is torturous at best. Like most birthers, any statement that is made that is contrary to his pre-deposed position, even by the Supreme Court, is wrong.

For example, he writes:

Before revisiting Minor, we must revisit Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898) to review a clearly erroneous statement made by Justice Gray concerning the prior holding in the Minor case:

“In Minor v. Happersett, Chief Justice Waite, when construing, in behalf of the court, the very provision of the Fourteenth Amendment now in question, said: ‘The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that.’ “ (Wong Kim Ark at 655.)

This unfortunate remark by Justice Gray contains a clearly erroneous statement. The Supreme Court in Minor did not construe the 14th Amendment as to the issue of citizenship. Gray is absolutely wrong.

The problem with this analysis is that the issue in front of the court in Minor was whether Virginia Minor was a citizen under the 14th Amendment and therefore guaranteed the right to vote. The opening sentence from the opinion states this very fact:

The question is presented in this case, whether, since the adoption of the fourteenth amendment, a woman, who is a citizen of the United States and of the State of Missouri, is a voter in that State, notwithstanding the provision of the constitution and laws of the State, which confine the right of suffrage to men alone.

There is no doubt that the question to the court dealt with the 14th Amendment. Donofrio’s claim to the contrary is not supported by any writing or decision. Donofrio makes his claim because the Supreme Court held that to answer the question of Minor’s citizenship, it was not necessary to look at the 14th Amendment, because Article 2 section 1 of the Constitution already bestowed citizenship upon her.

“There is no doubt that women may be citizens. They are persons, and by the fourteenth amendment ‘all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof ‘ are expressly declared to be ‘citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.’ But, in our opinion, it did not need this amendment to give them that position …

“The fourteenth amendment did not affect the citizenship of women any more than it did of men. In this particular, therefore, the rights of Mrs. Minor do not depend upon the amendment. She has always been a citizen from her birth, and entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizenship. The amendment prohibited the State, of which she is a citizen, from abridging any of her privileges and immunities as a citizen of the United States; but it did not confer citizenship on her. That she had before its adoption. If the right of suffrage is one of the necessary privileges of a citizen of the United States, then the constitution and laws of Missouri confining it to men are in violation of the Constitution of the United States, as amended, and consequently void. The direct question is, therefore, presented whether all citizens are necessarily voters.

This means that the Court, asked to decide the issue on the basis of the 14th Amendment, never has to answer that question because it is answered before the 14th Amendment was passed. In effect, the Court said, “even though the case before us is about the 14th Amendment, we find that looking to the 14th Amendment to be unnecessary as the issue is decided in the body of the Constitution.” The fact that the Court found its answer and reasoning without relying on the 14th Amendment does not take away from the fact that the case was based on a question surrounding the 14th Amendment.

The Minor decision goes onto say:

“Additions might always be made to the citizenship of the United States in two ways: first, by birth, and second, by naturalization. This is apparent from the Constitution itself, for it provides that ‘no person except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President,‘ and that Congress shall have power ‘to establish a uniform rule of naturalization.’ Thus new citizens may be born or they may be created by naturalization.

“The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case it is not necessary to solve these doubts. It is sufficient for everything we have now to consider that all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens.“ (emphasis mine)

Upon reading this passage of the Minor decision, Donofrio makes the absurd claim that because the court did not say what other classes are “natural born citizens,” it is binding precedent that no other classes of people can be “natural born citizens.”

Whether other classes and circumstances qualified people to be considered “natural born citizens” was outside of the scope of the question before the Court. Because it was outside that scope, they didn’t decide the issue of other classes and circumstances.

To Donofrio that settles the issue that the Supreme Court says that only people born to citizens are “naturally born citizens.”

His thinking is eerily similar to the Obama administration’s argument for ObamaCare, namely that a person who does nothing has in effect made a decision.

Conservatives scoff at that thinking within the ObamaCare case because it makes no logical sense, yet Donofrio is putting it forth here.

Donofrio needs people to believe that the Justices’ decision not to decide whether other classes of people are natural born citizens because UNITED STATES V. WONG KIM ARK just rips the argument that a person born to non US citizens within the borders of the country are not natural born citizens apart. The citations and precedents that the Supreme Court comes to the conclusion that children born within the country to non-US citizens are extensive and contained within the decision itself. We suggest that you take the time to read them and follow the line of thinking.

Donofrio concludes that because the Supreme Court did not decide whether other classes were “natural born citizens” in Minor, twenty-four years later when the Court decided Kim, it got it wrong and ignored precedent.

As we have stated, Donofrio’s argument that by not deciding, the Court made binding precedent has no basis in rational thought, logic or reality. But let’s go down the hypothetical road that he is correct. Let’s assume that Minor did, in fact set a precedent on the meaning of “natural born citizen.” Donofrio must now show that Minor, not the later Kim case, is now the controlling decision on the land.

He cannot do so.

No one believes the Dred Scott decision is still the law of the land. If precedents were forever binding,Pace v. Alabama forbidding interracial marriages would still be in effect. Plessy v. Ferguson’s “separate but equal” provision would be observed instead of the holdings of Brown v Board of Education.

The sad thing is that so many people will read articles like Donofrio’s and Corsi’s and think “see? We are right!” without ever reading the entire article and doing some research on their own.

They won’t care about the underlying facts (or lack thereof) but only the conclusions.

Finally, we have this little gem that was sent to us.

‘Rathergate’ expert doubts Obama’s birth certificate

Later in the report, we read:

(Joseph M. )Newcomer stressed that he was relying on published charges that the Obama birth certificate was fraudulent, including the analysis by scanner expert Doug Vogt and by typography expert Paul Irey.

So Newcomer only has reports who doubt the authenticity of the birth certificate? Is it shocking that he comes to the conclusion that the birth certificate is fake after only looking at biased reports?

This is the type of “honesty” that some, not all, birthers rely upon.

What makes this link so ridiculous is that Corsi wrote an article on how Jean-Claude Tremblay was angry with Fox for over-reaching with a headline. Corsi and WorldNetDaily do the same thing here, and some birthers jump for joy. For the headline to not mention the fact that Newcomer was relying only on negative reports, and to bury that fact half way through the article is hypocritical.

We have no doubt that Obama and his cronies are liars and cheats. Because we don’t like that side of the political aisle does not mean we are going to sell our souls to be the same types of liars and cheats as Obama.

Our disagreement is not with people that are legitimately looking for truth in the birther issue. Our disagreement is with birthers who are willing to lie and be hypocritical.

If their actions are the same as Obama, they are no different than Obama.

And with that, we are done.

We are no longer interested in trying to teach pigs to sing. The vast majority of conspiracy theorists, whether they be “birthers,” “truthers,” believers of the “shooter on the grassy knoll,” or “Roosevelt knew of the attack on Pearl Harbor,” cannot be reasoned with. Facts do not matter. Rational discussion does not matter.

Frankly, we are tired of them and of the distraction.

We are going to move on and talk about the things that matter to the country and concentrate on spreading the conservative message.

To all the birthers out there that are genuinely interested in conversing, we hold no grudge and wish you well. We have enjoyed our conversations – both private and public – with you more than you realize.

To the rest of the birthers who cannot and will not discuss issues and facts, or feel that anyone who disagrees with you is a liberal, an Obama plant, or some other charge made in an ad hominem attack, you are going to have to go to another trough.

This one is closed for you.

Go learn to sing elsewhere.

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