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Congressman Gowdy: Not a birther

My Congressman, Trey Gowdy (R-SC), has been pretty far out there in his criticism of the Obama Administration, so I decided to ask him point blank whether he’s a birther or not. I was a little surprised to get a reply to such a provocative question, but reply he did:

October 29, 2014

Dear Mr. Davidson:

Photo of Trey GowdyThank you for contacting me about President Obama’s right to hold the office of the presidency. I appreciate hearing from you.

Like you, I believe the Constitution must be our nation’s guiding document, including its provisions specifying the requirements that must be met for an individual to hold the office of President. President Obama was qualified to run for this office by the Federal Election Commission, and courts have dismissed all lawsuits challenging his status as a natural born citizen of the United States. As such, I believe President Obama to be the legitimately elected leader of our nation.

Thank you again for contacting me, and please do not hesitate to do so in the future. It is an honor to serve you and the 4th Congressional District.

Sincerely,
(signed)
Trey Gowdy
Member of Congress

Bless his heart.

imageRep. Gowdy (chairman of the House Select Committee to investigate the 2012 Benghazi attack) does not have a Democratic opponent in the 2014 4th District House of Representatives election, but is opposed by Libertarian candidate Curtis McLaughlin. Gowdy is favored to win. Some have suggested (here and here) that Gowdy should be elected the next Speaker of the House.

Gowdy was rated 0% by the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, and 100% by the National Retail Federation, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Business.

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Birthers factor in Maryland election

Just two days ago tweets from Donald Trump, tied by a USA Today reporter to the fake Barry Soetoro Columbia University student ID, found their way into the news. Now another tweet, this time republished by Republican candidate for Maryland state comptroller, William Campbell, has become an issue in his campaign.

The Delmarva Daily Times reports this 2013 entry from Campbell’s Facebook page:

635497650883002463-campbell-obama-screenshot

Note Campbell’s comment, “He does look like Travon (sic), doesn’t he?”

The newspaper is quick to note that the ID image is faked: the digital barcode wasn’t used in 1981, and the Obama photo was from Harvard.

When questioned, Campbell said that he didn’t remember the post, and:

I have other issues with his governance, but I don’t believe in that birther stuff.

This is not the only injection of birtherism into Maryland Politics. Democratic candidate for Maryland’s governor, Anthony Brown, has sent out a mailer raising the issue. This image was reported by The Daily Record in Baltimore:

Collage including image of Donald Trump and "Where's the Birth Certificate?" billboard

Brown is a strong favorite to win.

2

The other way to remove President Obama

Of all the improbable scenario’s to remove President Obama from office, there is one that the birthers missed. They don’t have to prove anything. They don’t have to find “high crimes.” All they have to do is pass a Constitutional amendment to do away with the executive branch of government.

This solution is not entirely out of the blue, because it’s happening in my own town. While everybody attempting to change our Mayor-Council form of government to a Council form says it’s not about personalities, digging into the issue always leads to a number of problems centering on the current mayor. One allegation says that one of the Mayor’s cronies used a city Air Card to run up a $500 bill one month, including watching the classic film, “Lesbian Vampire Killers” (that got quite a reaction at the town meeting). Whatever the details, one objective fact is that we have a 150% turnover rate in town staff and to quote one councilmember, “that’s a problem.”

Those who want a change are not just banging their keyboards in protest, but have gone through the legal process to call a special election, scheduled for next Tuesday.

Pryor nomination headed for final Senate vote

Jill A. Pryor is known here for a law review article she wrote 26 years ago on presidential eligibility, one in which she said that persons like Barack Obama are eligible. President Obama nominated her for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals back in 2012, and her nomination has been delayed along with many judicial appointments in the Senate. Birthers have advocated blocking Pryor’s nomination.

The Senate voted yesterday to invoke cloture on debate over her nomination and to proceed to a vote on September 8. Confirmation is all but certain.

H/t to Joseph Robidoux III at The Fogbow.


The whole notion that the Senate is blocking Obama’s judicial appointments more so than Democrats did to Bush appointments is one where different sides of the issue tell different stories. It depends on how you count.

Cloward and Piven were from Manchuria?

Alinsky and Cloward and Piven. Oh My!

One of the curious things that I have found in my brushes with birthers and their friends, is an interest in old liberal writings that I had never heard of. Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals is one. Another is the “Cloward–Piven strategy.”

The Cloward–Piven strategy was presented by sociologists and activists Robert Cloward and Frances Fox Piven in 1966 in an article in The Nation, “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty.” Their strategy was aimed at creating a “guaranteed national income” to replace the welfare system, and this goal was to be attained by overwhelming the existing welfare system through enrollment of everyone who was eligible (they claimed the number of recipients would double). The strategy envisioned the creation of a crisis, particularly in the Democratic Party which was in control of Congress and the presidency at that time by shaking up the coalitions that presently constituted the Party. The action they advocated to make it happen was: “…a massive drive to recruit the poor onto the welfare rolls.”

imageSo from time to time I have seen right-wingers mention Cloward-Piven, and I think I looked it up once and shrugged my shoulders. It’s back again at a little higher level, this time from politician Wayne Allyn Root. Root was been campaigning in Mississippi on behalf of Tea Party Senate candidate Chris McDaniel (who lost in a runoff with Thad Cochran – possible challenge being explored). Mother Jones magazine had extensive coverage of Root’s stump speech. In it, Root says that he and every student at Columbia in 1983 studied Cloward-Piven. Root said he knows this because:

Because I’m Barack Obama’s college classmate, Columbia University class of ’83. And when I was there at Columbia, we all studied a plan called Cloward–Piven

This point is somewhat blunted by Root’s later suggestion that Obama didn’t actually attend Columbia since no one remembers him (not actually true).

Returning to Cloward-Piven, Root characterizes the plan as one to “wipe out America” and to:

… get someone elected president, who looks fantastic, who has a beautiful wife, a beautiful children. A family man. Get him to cut his afro or his long hair, his ponytail. Put on a suit, and then lie to everybody.

There’s nothing like that in Cloward and Piven’s article.

This article inaugurates a new conspiracy category on the blog, “Manchurian Candidate.”

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