Silver-level articleBirther

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A birther is anyone denying that Barack HUSSEIN Obama is eligible by birth to be the President of the United States.[1] In addition to the right wing of the American political establishment, a populist contingent of birthers has grown around the blogosphere and sympathetic "news" outlets. These media voices appear to be working according to the following maxims:

—Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free, Charles Pierce

Birthers hit the goddamn roof when you point out the blindingly obvious fact that their ideas and associates are fundamentally racist. So it's really worth doing if you need a laugh.

Contents

[edit] Earlier precedents

[edit] PUMA

People United Means Action are the group of "Hillary-supporting democrats" who started the rumors that Barack Hussein Obama wasn't really born at Kapiolani Hospital in Hawaii.

[edit] Arthur Hinman

Arthur P. Hinman was the original birther, outstripping these Johnny-come-latelies by 128 years. Hinman was hired by the Democrats back during the 1880 presidential election to dig up dirt on Republican vice-presidential nominee Chester A. Arthur. He concocted the story that Arthur was born in Ireland and only moved to the US at the age 14. After this failed, due to being ridiculous and easily proven false, he moved onto the theory that Arthur was born just over the border in Canada and stole the birth papers of his brother that died in infancy, who was born in the US. This was slightly more believable, but without the Victorian equivalent of the internet to stir things along the rumour never gained as much traction as modern concoctions and there were no billboards or bumper stickers. However, in a style that Farah would have been proud of, he wrote a book called How a British Subject Became President of the United States, to cash in.[2]

[edit] Early birthers

[edit] Judah Benjamin

Judah Benjamin was the online pseudonym of one of the earliest birthers. Benjamin contributed two articles to the pro-Hillary Clinton blog TexasDalin, where he outlined the original theory that, regardless of Obama's place of birth, he is not a natural born citizen, as his father is Kenyan, and therefore Obama is a subject of Queen Elizabeth and at best a dual citizen. In making this claim he has to ignore the Fourteenth Amendment, but that is okay, because he thinks it is invalid, along with the 13th and 15th amendments – the Reconstruction Amendments. Oh, and Judah P. Benjamin was the name of a member of Jefferson Davis' Confederate Cabinet, holding three different seats. He does seem to come off as a little bit racist.[3]

[edit] Andy Martin

The two-bit failed politician and vexatious litigant Andy Martin was one of the early slanderers of Obama prior to his election to the Presidency of the United States. As well as being the probable originator of the Islam rumors, he asserted that Obama was the son of activist Frank Marshall Davis, and unsuccessfully sued the state of Hawaii for access to his birth certificate. His efforts since have largely fallen off the media radar, although his blog reveals that he is still "investigating," threatening further suits against Hawaii, and promoting himself as "King of the Birthers." At the end of 2010, Martin announced that he would run as a Republican candidate in the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election, with a campaign focused on Obama's alleged ineligibility for office. By all accounts, he didn't win.

[edit] After birthers

[edit] Orly Taitz

Dr.[4] Orly Taitz is a crank "lawyer" who has been representing several people in legal cases against Obama. She obtained her law degree from William Howard Taft University, a correspondence-only university which is not accredited by the American Bar Association,[5] although she is a member of the State Bar of California.[6] She is also allowed to appear before the Supreme Court;[7] this basically means that she has not been kicked out of the State Bar of California and had a spare $500. Taitz obtained a large amount of TV coverage for waving around a birth certificate that she claims is Obama's Kenyan birth certificate; it, however, looks strangely like ones issued in South Australia at the time of Obama's birth.[8]

[edit] Gary Kreep

The appropriately-named Gary Kreep heads the ironically-named United States Justice Foundation, a California non-profit organization dedicated to undermining the President of the United States, Barack Obama. As Executive Director, he earns $144,000 per year plus tips exorbitant expenses, while sucking donations from deserving charitable causes.[9] Kreep (stop sniggering now!) often partners with Taitz in legal actions.

[edit] Philip Berg

Berg is a Hillary Clinton supporter who has filed several lawsuits against Obama. These are routinely rejected as the plaintiff (usually himself) has no standing; i.e., he has not been injured by Obama or his actions and therefore can not sue. At least one case was thrown out for being self-contradictory; in an attempt to cover all his bases, he claimed Obama was not born in Hawaii (using his grandmother as evidence) — but also claimed that Obama lost his citizenship when he went to school in Indonesia. The judge was not impressed. Berg also sued Taitz, and her supporters, for harassing his supporters, plagiarising his work, and various allegations about software tracking kits on her website.[10]

In his spare time, Berg is a 9/11 truther and runs a blog called Obama Crimes.[11]

[edit] Alan Keyes

Alan Keyes, the well-known perennial candidate for the U.S. presidency, is Orly Taitz's star client. Unlike most people suing Obama, he actually has standing to challenge the ruling; he was on the ballot in California, and Obama possibly stole 69,456,897 votes from him, although seeing as he had 47,694 votes nationwide, it was unlikely that he would have won even if Obama had not run.

[edit] Stefan Cook

US army reservist Major Stefan Cook volunteered to go to Afghanistan in May 2009 and then in July sued the army, saying that he wanted proof Obama was eligible to be president.[12] He rambled on a lot about needing legitimate orders lest he be counted a war criminal; the army then retracted his orders saying he didn't have to go if he didn't want to (for active duty soldiers who want to try this stunt, brush up on Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice).[13] This was spun like a Ferris wheel by WorldNutDaily, which claimed that "the Generals at the Pentagon" were unsure about Obama being legitimately president, and that every soldier now has a get-out-of-war-free card.[14] Cook more recently claimed that the Pentagon were trying to have him fired from his civilian job.[15] Unsurprisingly, his lawyer in his two failed lawsuits was Orly Taitz.[16] The Army, in what appears to be an anti-birther conspiracy, subsequently punished Cook by promoting him to Lieutenant Colonel in January 2010.[17]

[edit] Joseph Farah

Joseph Farah is the founder of WorldNetDaily. He believes that he is fighting the lone fight in the media about Obama's eligibility.[18] He is, of course, wrong; WorldNutDaily does not count as media at all. He also is of the opinion that there is a conspiracy against WND and him involving Google, the "mainstream media" and the Obama administration, who all have it in for him.[19] Though he says he just "wants the truth,"[20] his ramblings have become more obsessive. By the end of July 2009, he was sure Obama was not President and would soon be outed, hinting at a removal by some extralegal means:

If we had a Congress and a Supreme Court with guts and convictions and believed in the oaths they swore to uphold and defend the Constitution, Obama would already be out on his ear. I've said all along the only way to ensure the Constitution is respected now is through the people demanding it. We are a lot closer to that consensus today than we were a few weeks ago.[21]

His delusions grew to the point where he crowned himself the de facto ringleader of the birther movement.[22]

[edit] Terry Lakin

Terry Lakin is a former Army Lieutenant Colonel, convicted of (and drummed out of the military for) failing to deploy to Afghanistan. Lakin refused the deployment on the grounds that Obama was not really the Commander-in-Chief, because he was not born in the U.S., yada yada yada. After hearing Lakin's "logic," the military court sentenced him to six months in military prison, followed by a Dishonorable Discharge.[23] Both WorldNetDaily and former Ambassador Keyes are, not surprisingly, big fans of Lakin.[24]

[edit] Theresa Cao

Theresa Cao, a self-appointed birther and all-around nutjob,[25] interrupted the second day of the 112th Congress by screaming, "Except Obama, Help us Jesus Christ," during a reading of Article II, Section I of the Constitution (which deals with the requirement for Presidential eligibility); she was immediately hauled out of the gallery by Capitol police.[26] Not surprisingly, Cao is a supporter of both Col. Lakin and WorldNetDaily.[27]

[edit] Joe Arpaio

Racist[28] Maricopa County, Arizona, sherriff Joe Arpaio formed a group called the Cold Case Posse to investigate the validity of President Obama's birth certificate, allegedly to "clear the president." After a six month investigation led by member Mike Zullo, a former small town police officer and car salesman,[29] the group announced at a news conference on March 1, 2012 that the certificate was a forgery. According to Mike Zullo, the group refused to take their findings to court because they wanted to avoid being "tainted" by association with fellow birther Orly Taitz.[30] They want a Congressional investigation instead.

[edit] Donald Trump

Businessman and professional media whore Donald Trump, possibly the loudest of the birthers, said in an NBC-TV interview broadcast April 7, 2011, that he was "not satisfied that Obama had proven his citizenship" by releasing his short-form birth certificate and called on the president to release his long-form[31] birth certificate.[32] When the president later did exactly that, Mr. Trump would claim a moral victory in a press conference, turned to demanding that the president release his college records and all the fingerpaintings he did in kindergarten. Obama's response was a week-long Humiliation Conga that ended with Trump's show "The Apprentice" being pre-empted for a White House press conference wherein Obama announced that Seal Team Six had killed Osama bin Laden.

[edit] Statistics

Where the birthers live.

Polls in late July 2009, showed that only 42% of Republican voters believed Obama was born in the US, with 23% believing he was born outside the US. In comparison 93% of Democrats and 83% of independents say he was born in the US. Birthers are more prominent in the South where overall only 47% of poll respondents believed Obama was born in the US compared to an overall 90% in the Northeast and Midwest.[33] This strangely enough seems to be a highly partisan issue.

Perhaps more disturbing, among likely Republican voters polling indicates that an outright majority of 51% believe Obama was not born in the US, with an additional 21% unsure and only 28% who think him native-born.[34]

[edit] Related point smear

In addition to the "not American" dispute there is also the Obama's mom wasn't married (so he's a real bastard) smear.

Various other racist conspiracy theories are commonly connected with birtherism. One involves Malcolm X in some way, usually that Obama is his nephew, long-lost relative, or illegitimate love-child.[35] An obviously shopped photo of Obama at a Black Panther meeting is touted as "definitive proof" of his connections with the organization.[36] The general thrust of these theories is that Obama is going to lead a black uprising and lock up white people in FEMA concentration camps. G. Gordon Liddy endorses this theory, so it must be true!

[edit] The birther movement after 4/27/2011

On 27 April 2011, Obama released the so-called long-form version of his birth certificate. And so, that settles the issue, right?

HAH!!!!! You foolish pinko-commie-libs really think that fulfilling the birthers' request to release the long-form birth certificate is enough? HAH!!!!!

And so now there is a new movement made up of members of the old movement who can't accept the new reality.[37] The wags at The Onion have already labeled them afterbirthers.[38]

[edit] Open Racism

Most of the birthers will deny that their motives are racist.

Some of them don't bother to hide it.[39]

[edit] Commentary

Outside Fox News on his radio program, Glenn Beck and his radio crew have called birthers "stupid" and "morons" that sound like "flat Earthers."[40] That's right: a man who uses the first letters of arbitrary words to "prove" points on a chalkboard considers this to be stupid.

Are there rational if unstated political motives for Birtherism? Political scientist John Hickman suggests three possible reasons: mobilizing white racist voters, making Republican presidential candidates like Mormon Mitt Romney seem less odd to general election voters by comparison with "foreign" Barack Obama, and diverting attention from the rest of the Republican agenda.[41]

[edit] What birthers really believe

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. The authenticity of Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate is unassailable.
  2. Reeves, Thomas C. (1975). Gentleman Boss. NY, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.
  3. Submitted to a Candid World - The racist origins and core of the "birther" movement
  4. Being a dentist is of course highly relevant to advancing legal arguments, so she consistently uses the title.
  5. WHTU's FAQ
  6. Her member profile.
  7. Her certificate (which is less convincing than Obama's)(dead link)
  8. Is This the Source of the Forged ‘Kenyan Birth Certificate?’ - The Washington Independent (retrieved 6th of August 2009).
  9. Charity Navigator United States Justice Foundation
  10. Berg's complaint.
  11. http://www.obamacrimes.com/
  12. Birther Stefan Cook vs Obama
  13. http://usmilitary.about.com/od/punitivearticles/a/mcm92.htm
  14. WND - Bombshell: Orders revoked for soldier challenging prez
  15. WND - Pentagon orders soldier fired for challenging prez
  16. examiner.com Stefan Cook's birth certificate case gets short shrift in Florida
  17. Guard, Reserve O-5 selections released
  18. Farah's ramblings - July 27 2009
  19. Farah's ramblings - July 25 2009
  20. Farah's ramblings - November 11 2008
  21. Farah's ramblings - July 29 2009
  22. Farah's ramblings - August 7 2009
  23. Stars & Stripes story on Lakin's fate
  24. More of Keyes' needlessly wordy blatherings, this time on the Lakin affair
  25. Theresa Cao's insane blog
  26. Story on Cao's Capitol outburst
  27. WND story on Cao's outrage over Lakin's sentencing
  28. US Justice Department finds unfair targeting of Latinos
  29. Cold Case Posse lacks experience
  30. Phoenix New Times
  31. It's called "long-form" because it contains more information, when it is actually a smaller piece of paper than the short-form. Feel free to make the "blew my mind" gesture at your own discretion.
  32. Trump birther interview
  33. Huffington Post (retrieved 17th of August 2009)
  34. Public Policy Polling
  35. "The Craziest Barack Obama Conspiracy Theories" The Elite Daily
  36. Obama Black Panther photo
  37. What??? Right-wing nuts who can't accept change??? Stop the presses!!! (What??? What do you mean there are no more presses to stop???)
  38. "Afterbirthers Demand To See Obama's Placenta", The Onion website, posted 27 April 2011.
  39. Lawsuit claims Obama can't be President because he's a mulatto.
  40. Media Matters: Fox Nation Glenn Beck on birthers
  41. The Method in the Madness of Georgia House Bill 401
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