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Recycling

Donald Trump told the NBC Today Show’s Meridith Vieira this morning that  he has people on the ground in Hawaii looking into Obama’s origins and that we wouldn’t believe what they are finding out. Apparently his team has been digging deeply into old birther blogs because that was what Trump was repeating today.

I wrote an article in 2010 titled “We all came out of Berg’s suit” about how much of the birther story comes from the old Berg lawsuit from 2008, which itself came largely from Internet blogs. Berg’s theories still form the backbone of the birther story. Of course Berg, being the the instigator of the first lawsuit Barack Obama had to defend, couldn’t make the $2 million dollar legal fee claim (that had to wait until the number of birther lawsuits mounted, even though Obama wasn’t even named in most of them, and Obama actually defended himself in only 3, and none of those even came to trial).

Let’s look at what Trump said this morning (see NBC closed caption transcript).

  1. Obama doesn’t have a birth certificate (“he doesn’t have one”). Trump later softened this to a growing doubt that he has one and then “I hope he does.”
  2. “He has what’s called certificate of live birth [sic] that’s something that’s easy to get…It’s not the equivalent of a birth certificate, not even close.”
  3. “I read it [Obama’s Certification of Live Birth] very carefully. It doesn’t have a serial number , doesn’t have a signature. There’s not even a signature.”
  4. Obama’s grandmother says she was there when Barack Obama was born in Kenya.
  5. Obama has spent $2 million in legal fees “trying to get away from this issue.”

I think most of this is covered pretty thoroughly on this blog. I am considering an update on Obama’s legal fees since this seems to be so central to just about every birther narrative, and the rumored expense keeps going up.

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27 Responses to Recycling

  1. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 8, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    Isn’t it about time for it to go up to $3-4 million in legal fees?

  2. avatar
    Lupin April 8, 2011 at 12:56 am #

    As the US follows the declining path of the former USSR it is not surprising to see the emergence of lunatic or eccentric candidates (or at least posing as such for their own venal motives), one more canary in the mine-like sign, if you will, that your country is in far more serious trouble than generally recognized.

  3. avatar
    misha April 8, 2011 at 1:17 am #

    Lupin: one more canary in the mine-like sign, if you will, that your country is in far more serious trouble than generally recognized.

    I can’t help but think of the Weimar Republic. This is all the opposition can bray about? Conservatives just want to rip open the safety net. Where have we seen that before?

  4. avatar
    misha April 8, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    “Donald Trump told the NBC Today Show’s Meridith Vieira this morning that he has people on the ground in Hawaii looking into Obama’s origins and that we wouldn’t believe what they are finding out.”

    So let’s hear it, Donald. Put up, or shut up. I sometimes cannot believe what comes out of the Donald’s mouth.

  5. avatar
    misha April 8, 2011 at 1:21 am #

    Slartibartfast:
    Isn’t it about time for it to go up to $3-4 million in legal fees?

    Do I hear $5 million? Going once…

  6. avatar
    Sean April 8, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    Doc,

    I wish you would do another article about Obama’s legal fees because I had no idea he only defended himself in 3 cases. What were the other 80+ cases even for?

  7. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 8, 2011 at 1:53 am #

    misha: Do I hear $5 million? Going once…

    One. Trillion. Dollars.

  8. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny April 8, 2011 at 5:06 am #

    Lupin:
    As the US follows the declining path of the former USSR it is not surprising to see the emergence of lunatic or eccentric candidates (or at least posing as such for their own venal motives), one more canary in the mine-like sign, if you will, that your country is in far more serious trouble than generally recognized.

    Actually, I do not agree. As a former teacher of English and American history, I know the USA has gone through a phase like this one, at least twice before. And not only managed to get out of it, but to do valuable construction work during the mad phase.

    First time was the nativist phase. 1840-1870. Surprise, surprise, that includes the Civil War and Abolition of Slavery.

    Rather less well-known is the period when at least a large part of American society, right-wing thinking and American historical analysis was touched by what we now call originalism. 1890-1910. British commentators at the time called it Filopietism. Originalism, badly thought-out pacifism and an almost religious harkening back to the good old days before 1800 combined to lead quite a number of people to think that even in the USA, all change was bad by nature. Of course, the other half of the US population thought quite differently, and very often that same period is called the “Progressive Era”. Still, many people at the time thought that the USA needed to be protected from immigrants, blacks, Jews, Chinese, Roman Catholics, impressionist painters, electricians and socialists. They were not real Americans.

    There are many parallels between birferism and filopietism. An obvious, and major one is the Chinese angle. Wong Kim Ark and Trump now saying he wants to get rid of Chinese influence on the US economy. Most economists know that the US Dollar would plummet if the Chinese withdraw their savings (it is one of the reasons why the Chinese will withdraw very slowly), but the birfers seem hell-bent on economic self-destruction, so Lupin’s future view may yet come to pass – if this isolationist tendency wins out (but I am 95% certain it will not).

    I could go on with parallels between the right-wingers of 1890-1910 and those of 2010-11, but will confine myself to two interesting factoids:

    1) in 1905 printers Tuck and Son published their postcard version of the famous Leutzer representation of Wahington crossing the Delaware. What was remarkable and filopietist about it was that they had removed the African American in the picture. Filopietism pretended there had never been blacks in America and the Civil War was just a mistake to be forgotten as fast as possible.

    2) left-wing historians after 1910, in an effort to re-appraise the filopietist re-appraisal of US history, found that they had to disprove many things the filopietists had claimed as fact. Looking for a name for it, in 1916 they hit upon a quotation from Henry Ford. “History is bunk” and called their efforts “debunking” and themselves the “debunkers”. It is probably the origin of the term.

    Birferism is pretend-history. Add Henry Ford to the list of Obots in History. The Donald will not like it.

  9. avatar
    US Citizen April 8, 2011 at 5:48 am #

    I think it stayed at $800K the longest.
    At least through most of the Obamacrimes era.

  10. avatar
    Scientist April 8, 2011 at 6:54 am #

    Why doesn’t Trump buy Lucas’ Kenyan b.c. and have it authenticated by an independent laboratory? Come on, Donald, give a starving artist/forger a break.

  11. avatar
    Black Lion April 8, 2011 at 7:42 am #

    Even WND Is Now Correcting Orly Taitz’s Birther Lunacy — But Jack Cashill Embraces It
    Topic: WorldNetDaily

    Are the days when WorldNetDaily serve as an apologist and whitewasher for Orly Taitz over? It appears so.

    An unbylined April 6 WND article highlights a claim by Taitz — who it describes as an “eligibility gadfly,” a far cry from when WND was fawning over her in a 2009 profile as a “fierce blond attorney” with “a vibrant smile and an ebullient personality” — that Barack Obama “only attend[ed] Columbia University for nine months,” only to follow up with a stinging response: “But according to information obtained by WND, it appears Obama did indeed attend Columbia for two years.”

    After proving Taitz wrong, WND descended into its usual birther blather. But WND throwing Taitz under the bus is an interesting development.

    But as WND was correcting Taitz’s bogus claim, conspiracy-monger extraordinaire Jack Cashill was embracing it in his April 7 column, citing “irrepressible researcher Orly Taitz” (though he does aver that “Taitz is likely unaware of competing evidence”).

    Cashill then takes it further:

    In his definitive 2010 biography of Barack Obama, “The Bridge,” New Yorker editor David Remnick features a photograph of a dapper young Barack Obama sitting between his grandparents on a Central Park bench.

    The bench is real. The grandparents are real. The wall behind them is real. Barack Obama is not. He has been conspicuously photoshopped in. Who did this and why remains as much a mystery as Obama’s extended stay in New York.

    Actually, as Media Matters points out, Obama has in fact been Photoshopped out of the photo, and the the one Cashill is portraying as “real” is actually the fake — as evidenced by Obama’s right knee still appearing in it.

  12. avatar
    Eglenn harcsar April 8, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Perhaps it’s time for you to meet with Meredith viera. Most of what I see and read from the major news sources is just indignatious shock. I wonder what would happen if you or someone else here could take the Donald on point by point.

    As I type this I already see a backside boon for the birther cause in simple awareness of the terms the timetable and the original players.

  13. avatar
    Majority Will April 8, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    “backside boon”

    That’s a real cheeky crack. LMAO

  14. avatar
    ASK Esq April 8, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    Say what you will about Trump, at least he’s creating desirable jobs in a tough economy. I certainly wouldn’t mind being paid to go to Hawaii for a wild goose chase.

  15. avatar
    Rickey April 8, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    Patrick at Bad Fiction blog has reported that Meredith Vieira “is the sister of birther and ‘News with Views’ contributor Edwin Vieira Jr.”

    http://badfiction.typepad.com/badfiction/2011/04/dispatches-from-birtherstan-7-april-2011.html#more

  16. avatar
    Rickey April 8, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    Eglenn harcsar:
    .I wonder what would happen if you or someone else here could take the Donald on point by point.

    The problem with interviewing Trump is that he is a bully. When interviewers try to point out his B.S. he doesn’t listen or respond, he just talks over them.

  17. avatar
    Majority Will April 8, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    ASK Esq:
    Say what you will about Trump, at least he’s creating desirable jobs in a tough economy. I certainly wouldn’t mind being paid to go to Hawaii for a wild goose chase.

    But in Hawaii, wouldn’t it be a wild N“n“ chase?

    😀

  18. avatar
    Suranis April 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    Paul Pieniezny: Rather less well-known is the period when at least a large part of American society, right-wing thinking and American historical analysis was touched by what we now call originalism. 1890-1910. British commentators at the time called it Filopietism

    Thats very interesting Paul. Can you recommend a book on the subject?

  19. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    Eglenn harcsar: Perhaps it’s time for you to meet with Meredith viera. Most of what I see and read from the major news sources is just indignatious shock. I wonder what would happen if you or someone else here could take the Donald on point by point.

    I have been contacted by a couple of journalists of note on Trump’s claims and I expect to see some substantive rebuttal in the press, I hope by Monday. Media Matters did a fair job with it’s debunking article: http://mediamatters.org/research/201104070029

  20. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I have been contacted by a couple of journalists of note on Trump’s claims and I expect to see some substantive rebuttal in the press, I hope by Monday. Media Matters did a fair job with it’s debunking article: http://mediamatters.org/research/201104070029

    That’s outstanding! (Can I assume that you will link the stories you were consulted on when they are published?)

  21. avatar
    G April 8, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I have been contacted by a couple of journalists of note on Trump’s claims and I expect to see some substantive rebuttal in the press, I hope by Monday. Media Matters did a fair job with it’s debunking article: http://mediamatters.org/research/201104070029

    That is a pretty good FAQ over there at Media Matters.

    I noticed well known Birther, “Sally Hill” is in a frenzy trying to crap all over the comments with her same tired old birther lies. The regulars there caught on to her game very quickly.

  22. avatar
    Patrick McKinnion April 8, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    Rickey:
    Patrick at Bad Fiction blog has reported that Meredith Vieira “is the sister of birther and News with Views’ contributor Edwin Vieira Jr.”

    http://badfiction.typepad.com/badfiction/2011/04/dispatches-from-birtherstan-7-april-2011.html#more

    She is indeed. However, I have not found any evidence to support the notion she subscribes to her brother’s viewpoints.

  23. avatar
    Eglenn harcsar April 8, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    Well doc if you make it to camera I guess the only real issue will be. Should you wear the hat or brave the pate. A dilemma we share. In the meantime, I’ll be reading.

  24. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 8, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    Eglenn harcsar: Well doc if you make it to camera I guess the only real issue will be. Should you wear the hat or brave the pate. A dilemma we share. In the meantime, I’ll be reading.

    I have a terrible personal dilemma in that I really don’t look good in a hat, or at least any hat I’ve found — with perhaps the exception of the cowboy hat I use for the blog. However, that hat is not suitable everyday use — totally out of place in my culture. I could wear it to the BBQ festival, but not to church. Ball caps are de rigueur around here but I don’t look good in a ball cap.

    I don’t mind being bald, but it’s a problem out of doors when the sun shines or it’s cold.

  25. avatar
    Keith April 9, 2011 at 2:45 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I have a terrible personal dilemma in that I really don’t look good in a hat, or at least any hat I’ve found — with perhaps the exception of the cowboy hat I use for the blog. However, that hat is not suitable everyday use — totally out of place in my culture. I could wear it to the BBQ festival, but not to church. Ball caps are de rigueur around here but I don’t look good in a ball cap.

    I don’t mind being bald, but it’s a problem out of doors when the sun shines or it’s cold.

    How about a nice Akubra Stylemaster or Flemington or Bogart (my personal fav).

    I am an advocate of the return of the fedora.

  26. avatar
    Lupin April 9, 2011 at 5:09 am #

    Paul Pieniezny: Rather less well-known is the period when at least a large part of American society, right-wing thinking and American historical analysis was touched by what we now call originalism. 1890-1910. British commentators at the time called it Filopietism. etc, etc.

    Very enlightening. I didn’t know that. Thank you Paul.

  27. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 9, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    Keith: How about a nice Akubra Stylemaster or Flemington or Bogart (my personal fav).

    There are some rather nice hats there, and I like the Flemington. Of course, one has to try on a hat to decide.