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What is the birther movement?

I was driving this morning when that question came to mind: exactly what is the birther movement (BM)? I mean, what kind of movement is it?

This afternoon, I was reading an article by Dean Haskins over at The Birther Summit and noted where he said about the BM:

If I am to be “blamed” for telling the truth, then so be it. I suppose there will always be those who believe that Orly is the face of our movement, and I’m sure they now believe I am the movement’s ass.

I feel a little sorry for Haskins, who had the honesty and the integrity to point out that the Queen has no clothes when it comes to legal competence, and got dumped on by the BM for daring to criticize Taitz in public.

 

Upon reflection, Haskins shouldn’t be surprised. In essence the BM is about  the elimination of something that is foreign to them (in this case someone who is black, progressive and has a foreign-sounding name). The BM is by its nature a purifying movement and it would naturally turn on any member who offended the party line. It’s not about valuing diversity. I see the BM as part of the larger movement to purge foreignness from American society. There have always been anti-immigrant factions in the country (and in many countries) and this BM is part of it.

Of course, it’s not fair to label the whole BM as racist and xenophobic. Some of it just plain politics, always a dirty, smelly aspect of our democratic system. I’ve been right in the middle of a particularly dirty Republican primary battle here in South Carolina, and I see first hand that politicians will say almost anything to get votes. Truth is not the issue, but whether the smear sticks. Some part of the political  BM comes from the pro-Israel lobby and you will see anti-Arab influences in Ron Polland and Orly Taitz, to mention a few.

While the Tea Party is a very visible movement, drawing thousands to its rallies, the BM tends to be something largely confined to small rooms in private homes. Rarely  do you see significant public display from the BM. The contrast between the Tea Party and the BM is striking and should not be underemphasized. While polls show the BM to be large, its support is also soft. I would speculate that the hard core BM is really quite small, just very loud.

Haskins speculated on the virtue of the BM speaking with a single voice. If unity and enthusiasm is essential to the BM, then it is a political movement. In that view, it would seem that the goal of the movement is to convert others to the BM. If I thought Obama wasn’t eligible, I would be focusing purely on pursuing my legal options, not creating a movement and not poking my nose into what other people were doing.

Perhaps what most of the BM is about is about is self-validation. From the earliest appearance of the BM, the majority pooh-poohed  it. That’s gotta be unpleasant. The parts of the BM stick together for mutual support and validation. In that sense the BM is a self-help movement.

Noisy and unpleasant as it is,  we’re stuck with the BM for the time being, at least until Barack Obama’s term in office has passed.

I’m Dr. Conspiracy and I don’t know whether I approve this message or not.

33 Responses to What is the birther movement?

  1. avatar
    Paul January 22, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    Heh heh… you said “BM”… he heh… dirty, smelly, the smear sticks… heh heh…

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 22, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Oh, yeah, I guess you could read it that way.

  3. avatar
    charo January 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    There are other less known faces of the “movement” who don’t worship at the altar of Orly.

  4. avatar
    nbc January 22, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    charo: There are other less known faces of the “movement” who don’t worship at the altar of Orly.

    Such as? There are the ‘not born in USA’ crowd, the ‘Born in USA but not to 2 citizen parents’ crowd and the ‘Born in the USA but lost citizenship’ crowd.

    All three are equally poorly supported

  5. avatar
    Lord Basil January 22, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    HAH! The birther movement is a movement of patriots who want the USC followed so that future would be usurpers like the Kenyan Marxist homosexual can’t just waltz into the White House without proving they are eligible.

    Four more days until Barry Soetoro is dropped from the Georgia ballot. The others will fall like Domino’s and then he will probably resign.

    Write the check, take it to the bank, and cash it.

    American Exceptionalism will be restored!

  6. avatar
    nbc January 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    ROTFL, you got me… For a moment I thought you were serious.. Well done, trolling….

    Lord Basil: American Exceptionalism will be restored!

  7. avatar
    Majority Will January 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    Lord Basil:
    HAH!The birther movement is a movement of patriots who want the USC followed so that future would be usurpers like the Kenyan Marxist homosexual can’t just waltz into the White House without proving they are eligible.

    Four more days until Barry Soetoro is dropped from the Georgia ballot.The others will fall like Domino’s and then he will probably resign.

    Write the check, take it to the bank, and cash it.

    American Exceptionalism will be restored!

    Silly Sarge,

    Will you admit you’re wrong when your fantasy doesn’t happen?

  8. avatar
    Loren January 22, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    Paul:
    Heh heh… you said “BM”… he heh… dirty, smelly, the smear sticks… heh heh…

    See also where Doc noted that the BM is large, but soft.

  9. avatar
    Majority Will January 22, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    nbc: Such as? There are the not born in USA’ crowd, the Born in USA but not to 2 citizen parents’ crowd and the Born in the USA but lost citizenship’ crowd.

    All three are equally poorly supported

    Other than the alter of Orly, there is the tiny bastion of Berg, the creepy kilt of Sibley, the empty oil can of Apuzzo, the crypt of Kreep and the clogged sewer drain of Donofrio.

  10. avatar
    Loren January 22, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    I’ve struggled quite a bit with whether the ‘Birther Movement’ even deserves to be called a ‘movement’ at all. Like you say, their support is mostly soft, and a true ‘movement’ usually demands that its participants be active.

    The 9/11 Truth Movement manages to hold national conferences and host pseudoscientific ‘experts.’ The Tea Party Movement has rallies with tens of thousands of people, and the Occupy Wall Street Movement had branches with hundreds of attendees each across the country.

    The Birther Movement? They not only can’t fill the Mall, or fill a park, they can’t even fill a tour bus. The biggest crowd they’ve ever had at anything was Phil Berg’s DC rally, and that attracted all of three dozen people or so. It’s entirely possible that Thursday’s hearing in Atlanta might actually be the best-attended Birther event ever.

    My only problem is that I haven’t come up with a good substitute for ‘movement’ that adequately describes their mentality, without overselling their size.

  11. avatar
    Majority Will January 22, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    Loren: My only problem is that I haven’t come up with a good substitute for movement’ that adequately describes their mentality, without overselling their size.

    Slow ooze? Dribble? Leakage?

  12. avatar
    Jamese777 January 22, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    OK, I’ll admit it…I LOVE the Birther Movement; I need the Birther Movement. Hey, everybody needs somebody or something to feel superior too.
    When the birthers hold a “Torches and Pitchforks” rally on the steps of a state capitol and 12 people show up, it makes my day!
    When the birthers lose 90 straight original jurisdiction lawsuits, I smile.
    When the birthers lose 52 straight state and federal appeals, I grin.
    When the birthers lose 16 appeals at the Supreme Court of the United States, I laugh.

  13. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 22, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    I wonder the same.

    Loren: I’ve struggled quite a bit with whether the Birther Movement’ even deserves to be called a movement’ at all

  14. avatar
    JPotter January 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    Loren: Like you say, their support is mostly soft, and a true movement’ usually demands that its participants be active.

    Yeah, it does seem to be just political rhetoric, a running joke, a communal truth amongst conservatives. Most birthers are are carriers, spreading birtherism only passively, by repeating its memes and winking and chuckling. Then there are the somewhat more active types, the online warriors defending the faith, and at the core, a rabid, passionate, group of birther oracles. A mass delusion, that shouldn’t be a movement.

    To be a movement, to me, it would need an ultimate goal, a goal of enacting a fundamental, systemic change. Such as the ERA, civil rights, universal suffrage, etc. Removing one president is a goal, but not a systemic change. What’s weird about the birthers is that in pursuit of a finite goal, they have invented systemic changes to push for (redefining NBC, candidate eligibility laws, etc), which were to them a means to an end, but have now taken on a life of their own. Birtherism was invented in reaction to Obama, and has led to the creation of a more “honest” pan-birther crowd, that’s gone a’birthin’ against Rubio and Romney, maybe others.

    And now some birther prophets are calling, “Wait, whoa! Come back, kids!” (Farah), others are being swept away (what’s his face in Chicago running Defend the Vote), painted into a corner, as the beast has run away with them.

    Thankfully, it’s an incoherent bunch, no leadership (beyond a few inept wannabes), no funds. A mental movement orbiting out in the lunatic fringe.

  15. avatar
    Arthur January 22, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    Basil old boy, you’d be better served by buying a good book on English usage than caterwauling about Obama. There is, after all, a difference between failing pizza parlors and falling bones.

    You tiresome idiot.

    Lord Basil: The others will fall like Domino’s and then he will probably resign.

  16. avatar
    G January 22, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    As I’ve expressed many times, I view it as an emerging form of “Virtual Cult”, founded more in the faith-based lies they profess than necessarily in their “leadership”…or more importantly, in any one particular leader. Yes, their mentality leads to appeals to authority and a desire for “leaders”… but it is what the myth itself offers to them that matters more to them then even who is saying it.

    Loren: My only problem is that I haven’t come up with a good substitute for movement’ that adequately describes their mentality, without overselling their size.

  17. avatar
    Arthur January 22, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    To carry Dr. C.’s imagery, shouldn’t that be, “feces in the movement”?

    charo:
    There are other less known faces of the “movement” who don’t worship at the altar of Orly.

  18. avatar
    G January 22, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    😉 Yeah, definitely a lot to be said for the apt double-entendres that can be found in that…

    So I’ll make my own little attempt at an apt joke in that vein:

    What do call a stool without legs to stand on…? A: A loose stool.

    I know, I’m no Misha… but hey, I tried and I think you get the intent…and it applies to both BM analogies to their “movement”…

    Loren: Paul:
    Heh heh… you said “BM”… he heh… dirty, smelly, the smear sticks… heh heh…
    See also where Doc noted that the BM is large, but soft.

    Dr. Conspiracy: Oh, yeah, I guess you could read it that way.

  19. avatar
    aarrgghh January 22, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    G:
    As I’ve expressed many times, I view it as an emerging form of “Virtual Cult”, founded more in the faith-based lies they profess than necessarily in their “leadership”…or more importantly, in any one particular leader.Yes, their mentality leads to appeals to authority and a desire for “leaders”… but it is what the myth itself offers to them that matters more to them then even who is saying it.

    i agree. a “virtual cult” since their membership seems to exist only as vaporware.

  20. avatar
    Northland10 January 22, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    Lord Basil: Four more days until Barry Soetoro is dropped from the Georgia ballot.

    Well, you are half right. Barry Soetoro will not be on the ballot anywhere. Of course, there is no Barry Soetoro on the ballot now, so there is actually nobody to drop from the ballot.

    Since I want to make sure that Lord Mugwort is not enabled in his off topic hijack, I think the term BM would be appropriate for this one.

  21. avatar
    jayhg January 22, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

    Arthur: Basil old boy, you’d be better served by buying a good book on English usage than caterwauling about Obama. There is, after all, a difference between failing pizza parlors and falling bones. You tiresome idiot.

    Caterwauling………..that’s the word I was looking for to describe the batshit crazy, homophobic rants of lord basilnut. Thank you, Arthur!!

  22. avatar
    Lupin January 23, 2012 at 3:39 am #

    “I would speculate that the hard core BM is really quite small…”

    Speak for yourself! 🙂

  23. avatar
    Lupin January 23, 2012 at 3:49 am #

    I know I;m being off-topic but I wanted to deliver your country a heap of praise for making RED TAILS and further for supporting the film, which I understand has done very well on its opening week-end. From the brave Tuskegee Airmen to your President, there is a connection and despite all the vile and slimy attempts from the Birthers to somehow devalue their talent, courage and achievements, this is America at its best. I stand in awe. An example for the rest of the world. Bravo!

  24. avatar
    Keith January 23, 2012 at 4:32 am #

    Lupin:
    I know I;m being off-topic…

    Me too, but I wanted to deliver your country a heap of praise for making the film actresses Bridgit Bardot, Isabelle Adjani, Emmanuelle Béart, Anouk Aimée, Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert, Catherine Deneuve,… .

    Also I wanted to let you know that the Huffington Post is now in French, in case you hadn’t heard.

    Le Huffington Post

  25. avatar
    bovril January 23, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    The problem (one of many) with labelling and categorizing the peristaltic motion of Birferism is that it has many of the characteristics of a virus, a parasite and a cancer cell.

    In addition to the “virtual cult” that G, Slarti and I have posited previously it also

    Spreads via infection through a susceptible population.

    The Internet being the transmission vector, the lamentable education system being the root cause of susceptibility to idiotic memes, the media such as Fox being the underpinning infection weakening the host allowing opportunistic Birfoon viral infection

    Compromises the intellectual immune system

    A strong immune response through critical thinking, analysis, ability to compare and contrast and openness to fresh and clean information has been critically compromised. This allows the infection to spread and embed itself in carriers, such as the Orly Screech Owl as well as fatally infect and destroy the weak minded such as the Lakin Prison Bird.

    Hijacks a hosts immune system

    The infective meme embeds itself in existing structures such as racism, right wing politics, entitlement, fear and loathing and attempts to mask its underlying symptoms in high sounding morality whilst actually demonstrating and amplifying the pathologies

    Mutates in response to environmental adversity

    The Birfoon infection, when a host population starts to attempt to fight the spread of infection via isolation of the infected and destruction of its raw genetic material mutates in order to survive. The early infections labelled, Kenyan Fever, Mobassa Flu and Mooslem Rash have mostly died out having been replaced by new mutated forms including Commie Cramps, Alinsky Ache and the latest and most virulent, Vattels Failed Syndrome. Ocassionally fresh, isolated and immune suppressed groups migrate to the plains where the old weaker infections will spring up, they are usually destroyed in a short period of times.

    Masquerading as a legitimate part of the organism, auto-immune suppresion

    A frequent response by the infection, to ensure its survival to propagate further, is to attempt to trick the host body by cloaking its disease through masking. The infection will attempt to cloak itself in otherwise benign system cells such as Patriotism, Concern, Just Asking and Fiscal Rectitude. Unfortunately the infection tends to cause these cells to lose their natural governing mechanism and the cellular apoptosis fails to kick in. This leads to a massive and unchecked explosion of unmanaged cellular reproduction. This cancer will continue to spread and will lead to the host being choked in its own waste as well as leading to catastrophic failure in vital organs. See Governance Failure Syndrome, Congressional Cancer, Bi-Partisan Decay.

    Parasitic modification of neural responses

    In the same manner that certain infection and diseases modify a hosts natural habits and responses (See rabies and hyrdophobia et-al) the Birfoon Infection exhibits some or more of this selection of symptoms.

    Isolation from healthy individuals
    Aggression and paranoia
    Inability to form coherent responses around the meme
    Selective mutism and autism
    Incoherence
    Natural attraction to the similar infected
    Flocking and pack behaviour
    Self mutilation
    Coprophilia and Coprophagia
    Insensate destruction of an individuals personal resources and habitat
    Repetitive unconstructive behaviour

    A central symptom appears to be

    Magpie Syndrome-

    An irrational affinity for shiny objects. When a highly shiny object is seen by the sufferer it often may induce a compulsive need to claim it and several minutes of staring at said object. This will later end in the sufferer pocketing the object to add to his/ her collection by a sunny windowsill at home. If a shiny object is outside of a sufferers grasp it will usually result in a strong, though usually short-live obsession over it.

    In my next paper we will discuss the palliative, disinfective and other treament methods…. 😎

  26. avatar
    Sef January 23, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    Having been raised on a dairy farm the concept of “bloat” comes to mind to describe this disease. See http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/herbivores/tympany.html

  27. avatar
    J. Potter January 23, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    bovril: The problem (one of many) with labelling and categorizing the peristaltic motion of Birferism is that it has many of the characteristics of a virus, a parasite and a cancer cell.

    Bravo! Well done! Methinks time was well-spent on that.

  28. avatar
    bovril January 23, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    We, lives to, serve we, does…. 😎

    (Extra commas’s thrown in a-la Mad Ole Orly and the “Incoherence” and Repetitive Unconstructive Behaviour” symptoms)

  29. avatar
    aarrgghh January 23, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    this comment from yesterday’s birfer thread on john cole’s balloon juice bears repeating:

    They cannot believe a great many things about this Obama.

    They cannot believe that, on his own, he earned his grades.

    They cannot believe that, on his own, he is in any way whatsoever an educated man.

    They cannot believe that, within the rules, he was elected to the office of POTUS.

    They cannot believe these things, because if they do, it invalidates everything they have been told, and believed, about themselves for GENERATIONS.

    His very EXISTENCE nullifies theirs, and the only way they can rationalize it is if he is somehow inauthentic.

    That is why the birther nonsense will continue.

    That is why they gleefully embrace with great hue and cry a man whose stench even they could not endure a short time ago.

    “Any handhold in a storm” is their motto, and they think they’ve grabbed a life preserver.

    In fact, it is an anchor.

  30. avatar
    G January 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    This is for Lupin –

    Not to stray this much further O/T, but we’ve touched on this topic of how US views France quite a few times here… (napoleon, etc.).

    I was wondering what you thought of one of the US comedy SNL’s take on French pop culture – they’ve done several skits under this theme called “Les Jeunes to Paris”.

    Personally, I’ve found them to be quite funny and entertaining and certainly one of my favorite reoccuring sketches on the show. If you haven’t seen any or all of them, here’s a link to find & check them out:

    https://www.google.com/search?tbm=vid&hl=en&source=hp&biw=1366&bih=673&q=les+jeunes+de+paris&gbv=2&oq=les+jeunes&aq=0&aqi=g10&aql=&gs_sm=c&gs_upl=4525l8294l0l12904l14l11l1l2l2l0l207l1193l0.7.1l8l0

    Keith: Me too, but I wanted to deliver your country a heap of praise for making the film actresses Bridgit Bardot, Isabelle Adjani, Emmanuelle Béart, Anouk Aimée, Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert, Catherine Deneuve,… .Also I wanted to let you know that the Huffington Post is now in French, in case you hadn’t heard.Le Huffington Post

  31. avatar
    G January 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Kudos, aarrgghh! That certainly does bear repeating, as it explains what a lot of Birtherims and these other ODS memes are really all about!

    aarrgghh: this comment from yesterday’s birfer thread on john cole’s balloon juice bears repeating:
    They cannot believe a great many things about this Obama.
    They cannot believe that, on his own, he earned his grades.
    They cannot believe that, on his own, he is in any way whatsoever an educated man.
    They cannot believe that, within the rules, he was elected to the office of POTUS.
    They cannot believe these things, because if they do, it invalidates everything they have been told, and believed, about themselves for GENERATIONS.
    His very EXISTENCE nullifies theirs, and the only way they can rationalize it is if he is somehow inauthentic.
    That is why the birther nonsense will continue.
    That is why they gleefully embrace with great hue and cry a man whose stench even they could not endure a short time ago.
    “Any handhold in a storm” is their motto, and they think they’ve grabbed a life preserver.
    In fact, it is an anchor.

  32. avatar
    G January 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Excellent post, Bovril! Your virus write-up is so good and spot-on that I’m saving it to be able to quote it and refer it to others.

    Can’tw wait for your promised follow-up report on treatments! I do hope there are some sections in there that address that there is hope and that sometimes the very actions of this host virus/cancer will only result in creating such strong anti-bodies to form in some patients, that they become permanently resistant and innoculated from it and its future mutant strains.

    So yes, I agree that Birtherims is both a Virtual Cult *AND* a form of Cancerous Disease
    Virus….

    Again, Kudos! 🙂

    bovril: The problem (one of many) with labelling and categorizing the peristaltic motion of Birferism is that it has many of the characteristics of a virus, a parasite and a cancer cell.
    In addition to the “virtual cult” that G, Slarti and I have posited previously it also
    Spreads via infection through a susceptible population.

    bovril: In my next paper we will discuss the palliative, disinfective and other treament methods….

  33. avatar
    G January 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    LOL…boy, that was a gross analogy! …(is it possible to both laugh and barf at the same time???)

    Good one, Sef. I think you should team up with Bovril for a bit further exploration of this idea of describing Birtherism as it relates to disease and to the particular disease analogy of Bloat as well.

    As you brought up this particular disease and Bovril has promised to discuss treatment methods, I’m very interested to see what either of you can come up with to corrolate as analogy with each of these four particular points about Bloat:

    Bloat is a life threatening condition and must be relieved with haste. For animals in severe distress, rumen gas should be released immediately by emergency rumenotomy.

    A variety of antifoaming agents have been used to relieve frothy bloat.

    Control of bloat relies on management coupled sometimes with medications, but despite best efforts, is rarely totally effective. Also, some of the techniques advocated may be applicable to small herds, but are too labor intensive to use with large herds. Many of the techniques used are based on reducing the rate of fermentation that occurs in the rumen. Examples of control strategies include:

    Although not well defined, a genetic component to susceptibility to bloat has been identified, which might be exploited to some extent in reducing herd prevalence of this condition.

    Can’t wait to here yours or anyone else’s take on where there might be a corrolation to addressing Birtherism in an analogous context…. Thanks!

    Sef: Having been raised on a dairy farm the concept of “bloat” comes to mind to describe this disease. See http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/herbivores/tympany.html