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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

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21 Responses to “Birther-Like”?

  1. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) June 14, 2016 at 10:37 am #

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

    Which would just be the beginning of further “all […] are our enemy because some […] are our enemy” persecution – as Trump seems to share many of his most rabid followers’ ideas, the path to “jail all liberals” isn’t long.

    Besides, since “jail all liberals” would attack a major population group, the strategy will likely be to first thin that group out – so first they’d come for minority groups that traditionally are predominantly liberal (blacks, Jews, atheists, Hispanics).

  2. avatar
    J.D. Sue June 14, 2016 at 11:03 am #

    The Magic M (not logged in): Which would just be the beginning


    His speech yesterday was scary fascist. Not just the ethnic/religion stuff. He’s called for maximizing domestic surveillance, and punishing people who do not report their suspicious neighbors…. I don’t know why some people don’t see that this is a threat to every single person.

  3. avatar
    Lupin June 14, 2016 at 11:24 am #

    If countries could have a legal guardian, yours is dangerously close to needing one. However i remain confident that the adults will spank the mewling crybaby in November.

  4. avatar
    Steve June 15, 2016 at 1:12 am #

    When some of us have correctly pointed out that the shooter in Orlando was a natural-born U.S. citizen and Trump’s policy of suspending all Muslim immigration would not have made any difference at all, a favorite goalpost move of theirs is to point out that his parents immigrated from Afghanistan.
    Why yes, they did, in the 1980s, when the U.S. was helping Afghanistan in its battle with the Soviet Union.
    So we’re to believe that more than three decades ago, an Afghan family arrived on our shores, intent on having a child who would grow up to be an Islamic terrorist?
    Well, I guess when you’re talking about people who seem to think that 55 years ago some evil commie Muslims who wanted to destroy America found a child born in Kenya, faked a Hawaiian birth certificate or two and rigged the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Presidential elections so that child would win and carry our their nefarious schemes, it’s easy to understand how Trump and his followers might think that way.

  5. avatar
    Greenfinches June 15, 2016 at 6:25 am #

    Lupin: f countries could have a legal guardian, yours is dangerously close to needing one

    I recall John Cleese declaring that the election of Dubya was proof that the USA could not handle independence, and proclaiming the Queen as Head of State again….. ok Pythons get away with a lot, but maybe he had a point. Can Obama’s election and reelection be seen as evidence that the US is all grown up now?

  6. avatar
    Lupin June 15, 2016 at 7:25 am #

    Greenfinches: I recall John Cleese declaring that the election of Dubya was proof that the USA could not handle independence, and proclaiming the Queen as Head of State again….. ok Pythons get away with a lot, but maybe he had a point.Can Obama’s election and reelection be seen as evidence that the US is all grown up now?

    One should hope so.

    Since Trump is 70, I wonder if he’s not suffering form some kind of very early form of dementia.

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 15, 2016 at 7:31 am #

    I added a graphic to the article. It’s not as good as I hoped for. I wanted a short direct quote from Trump that we were at war with Islam, but I couldn’t get something short enough.

  8. avatar
    Thrifty June 15, 2016 at 2:24 pm #

    I can’t tell if you’re trying to be sarcastic, but what just said is a completely accurate representation of what these people think happened.

    This entire idea that Muslims teach hatred of America, and violence, and to kill people… It’s not just hateful but it fails on basic logic. There are approximately 3.3 million Muslims in the United States. The ease of getting guns in our country is notorious. If Muslims were inherently violent, we would have had thousands, maybe millions of Omar Mateens. We would be constantly under siege from terrorists. The Orlando incident proves that you don’t really NEED flight training, or know how to make explosives, to conduct a terrorist attack. You just need stuff you can buy at a retail store.

    SteveSo we’re to believe that more than three decades ago, an Afghan family arrived on our shores, intent on having a child who would grow up to be an Islamic terrorist?

  9. avatar
    Steve June 15, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

    Thrifty: I can’t tell if you’re trying to be sarcastic, but what just said is a completely accurate representation of what these people think happened.

    I was aiming for sarcasm, sort of.
    The idea that someone set the wheels in motion for this attack decades ago is, of course, ridiculous.
    It’s also not very different from what birthers believe.
    Also, when I listen to talk radio, I can’t get over how many callers are “experts” on Islam and the Koran.

  10. avatar
    trader jack June 17, 2016 at 2:58 am #

    Oh, for heaven/s sake, read the Koran!

    it is kind of like this, you have young children, and your neighbor is a reformed child molester, and he is next door telling you that he is no longer a child molester as he has gotten religion.

    would you let him baby sit your young children?

    Let us say you are a gay man , would you got out tonight with a practicing Muslim?

    Let us say you are an orthodox Jew, would you want to be living next to the mosque?

    When a religion espouses the killing or subjection of your religion would you tolerate them?

    And you hate the Nazis and like the Muslims? There is little difference in the two societies mentioned.

    But, believe as you wish, as it is a free country today, tomorrow may be different as there seems to be a tendency to want to silence criticism of a religion, but allow criticism of other religious groups.

  11. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) June 17, 2016 at 5:44 am #

    Steve: So we’re to believe that more than three decades ago, an Afghan family arrived on our shores, intent on having a child who would grow up to be an Islamic terrorist?

    Why not? The RW base mindset is dangerously close to the birther mindset – and the latter have no problem believing some random black child “born in Kenya” was chosen by the Almighty Konspiracee [tm] 50+ years ago to be raised to become US President one day.

  12. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 17, 2016 at 7:52 am #

    Have you read the Koran?

    trader jack: Oh, for heaven/s sake, read the Koran!

  13. avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater June 17, 2016 at 9:05 am #

    trader jack: And you hate the Nazis and like the Muslims? There is little difference in the two societies mentioned.

    Do you have any japanese friends?

  14. avatar
    Lupin June 17, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    trader jack:
    Oh, for heaven/s sake, read the Koran!

    it is kind of like this, you have young children, and your neighbor is a reformed child molester, and he is next door telling you that he is no longer a child molester as he has gotten religion.

    would you let him baby sit your young children?

    Let us say you are agay man , would you got out tonight with a practicing Muslim?

    Let us say you are an orthodox Jew, would you want to be living next to the mosque?

    When a religion espouses the killing or subjection of your religion would you tolerate them?

    And you hate the Nazis and like the Muslims? There is little difference in the twosocieties mentioned.

    But, believe as you wish, as it is a free country today, tomorrow may be different as there seems to be a tendency to want to silence criticismof a religion,but allow criticism of other religious groups.

    I’m not sure I would entrust my children to a Catholic priest either, but I’m not advocating a brouhaha about banning or otherwise restraining Christians.

    As an atheist, I can;’t say that I see much difference between various brands of fanaticism.

  15. avatar
    Joey June 17, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

    Paul Ryan On Stopping A President Trump’s Muslim Ban: We’ll Sue Him!

    House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has made clear he doesn’t agree with a proposal put forward by Donald Trump — whom Ryan has endorsed — to ban Muslim immigration into the United States, but in an interview with the Huffington Post Thursday, Ryan floated taking a President Trump to court if he tried to implement such a ban or some of his other controversial proposals unilaterally.

    “I would sue any president that exceeds his or her powers,” Ryan said in a back-and-forth about Trump’s claims that he could implement a Muslim ban or build a Mexican border wall without congressional approval.

    Ryan said he wasn’t sure of the “legal question” of whether Trump could institute a Muslim ban on his own as president.

    “That’s a legal question that there’s a good debate about,” he said, citing the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/paul-ryan-trump-muslim-ban-sue

  16. avatar
    Steve June 18, 2016 at 12:11 am #

    The Magic M (not logged in): Why not? The RW base mindset is dangerously close to the birther mindset – and the latter have no problem believing some random black child “born in Kenya” was chosen by the Almighty Konspiracee [tm] 50+ years ago to be raised to become US Presidentone day.

    My point exactly.

  17. avatar
    Steve June 18, 2016 at 12:13 am #

    trader jack:
    Oh, for heaven/s sake, read the Koran!

    it is kind of like this, you have young children, and your neighbor is a reformed child molester, and he is next door telling you that he is no longer a child molester as he has gotten religion.

    would you let him baby sit your young children?

    Let us say you are agay man , would you got out tonight with a practicing Muslim?

    Let us say you are an orthodox Jew, would you want to be living next to the mosque?

    When a religion espouses the killing or subjection of your religion would you tolerate them?

    And you hate the Nazis and like the Muslims? There is little difference in the twosocieties mentioned.

    But, believe as you wish, as it is a free country today, tomorrow may be different as there seems to be a tendency to want to silence criticismof a religion,but allow criticism of other religious groups.

    I’m amazed there are so many experts on Islam and the Koran in this country.

  18. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 18, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

    If I turned this into an anti-Trump blog, I’d have plenty to write about for the rest of the election season.

  19. avatar
    Steve June 18, 2016 at 7:06 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    If I turned this into an anti-Trump blog, I’d have plenty to write about for the rest of the election season.

    Is that something you want to do?

  20. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 18, 2016 at 7:23 pm #

    No, at least not here.

    Steve: Is that something you want to do?

  21. avatar
    Steve June 19, 2016 at 5:44 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    No, at least not here.

    Fine with me. I appreciate your work just the same.