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Zullo ties naturalization oath guidance to Obama Selective Service registration

After the recounting of a great deal of irrelevant birther history, The Post & Email’s Sharon Rondeau gets to the point in a new article this week: “Are Forgeries Concealing a ‘Hidden’ Agenda?” The point comes from an interview with Mike Zullo about new guidance in federal regulations on the citizenship oath taken by new citizens, which allows them omit or modify the part about taking up arms in defense of the country. This is then tied by Zullo to his specious claim that Obama himself never registered for the Selective Service System. The new oath guidance, Zullo contends, shows Obama’s long-time attitude towards defending (or rather not defending) the country.

I left my reply at the P&E (currently in moderation):

The new guidance on the oath of allegiance brings it in line with the rights and obligations of EVERY American. Natural born citizens have the option of being contentious objectors. Why should we treat naturalized citizens differently?

As for the goofy idea that Obama never registered for the Selective Service, I just point out that the document Mike Zullo claims is faked (and Zullo has zero expertise in document fraud) was obtained from the Selective Service Administration UNDER THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, and Obama was duly registered in the agency’s computer system as verified by FOIA and the press independently.

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Arpaio, trailing in the polls, says the birth certificate investigation is not over

Arpaio trailing in polls for his re-election bid in Maricopa County is something new. In a recent poll result released by his opponent Paul Penzone and reported by News 12, Arpaio loses 44 – 48%.

And for something that is in no way new, Sheriff Arpaio, once again questioned by the media about his attempts to prove Barack Obama’s birth certificate a fraud, replied in  Politico interview that the investigation is not over. (It’s not going to be over as long as Sheriff Joe needs campaign contributions.)

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Obama Sr.’s gift to the birthers

Letters written by Barack Obama Sr. in America where published by the New York Times today. They were relating to requests for financial aid, including application forms. Readers interested in the President’s father may find the content interesting, but what will no doubt be of interest to the birthers is what is missing. On the financial aid applications information related to a wife and dependents is left blank.

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“Birther-Like”?

I’m always interested in the evolution of the language surrounding Obama conspiracy theories. The key term “birther” is undergoing adaptation from simply doubting that Obama was born in Hawaii, to questions about anybody’s birth anywhere. So naturally, I wanted to see what happened to the term as it appeared in a headline at Mother Jones: “Talking about Obama and Orlando, Trump Pushes a Birther-Like Conspiracy Theory.”

In some present usage, birtherism is connected to labeling someone as “other than American,” not necessarily in place birth or by parentage, but by goals and ideals. Trump takes the fact that President Obama does not use the words “Radical Muslim Terrorism” to mean that he is in some way sympathetic to terrorism. I would echo what White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said last year (paraphrasing): if the President’s choice of words is the strongest criticism his opponents can come up with, that’s not very much.

In February of 2015, Mr. Earnest gave a more lengthy reply at a press briefing to a question about the President’s choice of language to describe terrorists, which I excerpt following:

At the same time, Jim, they would love nothing more than for the United States to engage in a — the United States or the West to engage in a religious war with them.  But the fact of the matter is, that is not what this is.  This is not a religious war.  This is not a war on Islam.  And those individuals do not represent Islam; the leaders of Islam say as much.  And there are a variety of ways that we can assess this.  Let me just give you one good example.

In the operation to recover and bring to justice Osama bin Laden, our operators also recovered a treasure trove of material from his residence where they were able to evaluate some of his ongoing communications and even some of his thinking about the state of al Qaeda.  And in those writings there is clear evidence that he was frustrated; that Osama bin Laden was frustrated that al Qaeda was being recognized and acknowledged and fought, not as a religious organization, but as a terrorist group.

He even contemplated, in those writings, changing the name of al Qaeda to try to more closely identify it with Islam.  He felt like that would be helpful to their flagging recruiting efforts.  That is an indication that our efforts to be crystal-clear about what it is that we’re fighting and what we’re not has not just been successful, but actually frustrated the efforts of our enemies.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, seems quite ready to start a war with Islam.

Trump ISIS

Birthers and Islamic extremists

I’m sure we were all deeply disturbed by the murder of 50 people by a self-proclaimed supporter of ISIS in Orlando early Sunday. The President has ordered US flags to be flown at half staff until sunset on Thursday. An article on the Web documented 85 Islamic terrorist plots against the United States since 9/11, most of which were thwarted. Acts of violence inspired by radical Islam are a real problem.

What we are seeing is individuals recruited to be terrorists, and it seems that this is often accomplished through propaganda on the Internet. There will always be some people susceptible to this kind of marketing, and ISIL/ISIS seems to be very professional at it.

As I was thinking about terrorist recruiting in the US, I was reminded of other Internet recruiting. This Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the racially-motivated shootings in Charleston, SC, where 9 people were killed at a prayer service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The murder suspect, Dylann Roof, attributed his change of heart towards black people to the web site of the Council of Conservative Citizens that has extensive content regarding black people murdering white people. The Charleston shooting was labeled a hate crime rather than a terrorist incident. I personally lean towards terrorism because Roof’s web site suggested that he hoped to trigger a race war.

As for birthers, they too are subjected to  a steady stream of hate propaganda against President Obama, and are persuaded to believe things that aren’t true. In the US, the level of threats directed at the President is limited by law. Perhaps that is why we haven’t seen birther assassination attempts (or maybe there have been some thwarted by the Secret Service in their early stages).

I know that we all tend to believe what we read when it aligns with what we already believe, and to reject things that run counter to my beliefs. I am just thankful that my tendencies are to believe good things about people, that kindness is effective, and that cooperation where possible is better than confrontation. I believe that people like Donald Trump, who bolster ISIS claims that the US is at war with Islam, do harm to our safety by playing into the hands of ISIS with his militant rhetoric.

Trump ISIS