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You can go away now, Sheriff Joe.
(Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
I'm really, really tired of even mentioning that Sheriff Joe Freaking Arpaio exists. He long ago proved to be incompetent at his day job, and a crackpot at what he apparently thinks his day job is. But since he was back this week with a new breathless announcement on how Barack Obama's birth certificate is once again totally fake and crooked and a conspiracy by the Hawaii Illuminati and/or the saucer people, we have to at least point out that his "investigators," taken from the ranks of for-profit conspiracy theorists, are just horrible, horrible people.

One of their big new pieces of "evidence" was that the numbered "codes" on the birth certificate aren't what they should be, proving the whole thing is a big photoshop job or something. Only that particular internet conspiracy was debunked months ago. From the Phoenix New Times:

The best "evidence" Arpaio and the birthers presented was that penciled-in codes on the birth certificate don't match federal guidelines, which they claim to believe is clear evidence of a forgery [...]

In one box on Obama's birth certificate, there's a box titled "race of father," which is filled in as "African." The number nine is penciled in next to it.

Arpaio and lead "investigator" Mike Zullo say that according to the federal guide in 1961 -- the year of Obama's birth -- that number nine meant "unknown or not stated."

That's false, and it's nearly impossible that Arpaio's birther gang didn't know that.

After approximately two minutes on the Internet -- no, we didn't have to blow $10,000 on a trip to Hawaii -- we found this exact theory, and the documentation proving it false, from Obama Conspiracy Theories.

The coding for the number nine in the race meant "unknown or not stated" in the guide for 1968. In 1961, it meant "other nonwhite."

So their big, detailed investigation was not quite so thorough as to bother getting the code guides for the right year, or even the right freaking half decade, before pronouncing that those codes were fraudulent. Nice. And no, I don't even know why their original premise was supposed to be so damning, possibly because I am not a moron.

At this point I don't think we have to debate the crooked versus stupid question any longer; the Sheriff Joe investigation now seems clearly to have been an intentional con job from the beginning. The "investigators" have repeatedly announced long-debunked theories as new news, ones that even cursory examinations on their parts could have easily disproved, with the "lead" investigator promoting himself by selling a book on the subject. If they want to defend themselves by claiming they're just too goddamn stupid to investigate properly, they're welcome to still say so, but otherwise the assumption from the rest of us at this point has to be that they're just run-of-the-mill con artists. They don't actually believe any of this nonsense any more than you or I do.

Smooth move, Sheriff Joe. Hey, if a bunch of your constituents complain that there's a group of crooks in town intent on bilking people, you'd form a "posse" to investigate that, right? Is there, like, a form to fill out for that, or what?

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