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Birther movement creator found with potentially smoking gun

Joseph Farah, editor of the Internet tabloid WorldNetDaily, was detained at the Dulles Airport after TSA screeners found a loaded 38 caliber revolver in his carryon luggage. He faces a class 1 misdemeanor charge, says The Southern Poverty Law Center web site.

Farah famously claimed to have created the birther movement. His WorldNetDaily “Where’s the Birth Certificate” billboards and a similarly-named book by Jerome Corsi popularized the movement, and their support for Sheriff Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse kept the movement alive after Obama released his long-form birth certificate.

I wonder what he planned to do with that gun?

Update:

Farah has commented on his experience in an article at WorldNetDaily calling his action “something stupid.” Farah then goes on to use the incident to push some other left-wing bashing agenda.

Farah and WorldNetDaily have been very critical of the TSA, writing a series of articles such as:

That’s not half of them. You would think that Farah feels the way about the TSA as I feel about birthers. :shock:

Commentary

This article appears because I felt that my readers would want to know about the Farah incident. There is some satisfaction seeing what I think is a successful “bad person” get his comeuppance.1 It is not intended as evidence that birthers are a special class of scofflaw, at least not consciously. Perhaps part of it is that vocal birthers hold themselves as upholders of the law (in particular the Constitution) and ones who resist what they perceive as the lawlessness of the Executive. The “Birthers behaving badly” series seeks to poke holes in that argument with counterexamples, but don’t expect tomorrow’s headline to be “Birther fined for littering.”


1I don’t think I’ve ever written that word before.

The moral dimension of birtherism

The reason that I have so much motivation to combat birtherism is that I consider it immoral, and not just immoral in and of itself, but a movement that promotes immorality and encourages others to act badly, and not only does birtherism encourage birthers to be immoral, it also entices its opponents to act badly as well.

The scripture text for today’s sermon comes from St. Paul’s letter to Rome:

And as they didn’t keep God steadily in mind, God left them to their unsteadiness of mind to do things that decency forbids, filled as they were with all kinds of unlawfulness, meanness, greed, and evil, rampant with envy, murder, discord, treachery, and disorderly conduct: rumormongers, character assassins, God-haters, criminals, haughty, boastful, fabricators of evil stories, disobedient to parents, with no comprehension, no cohesion, no affection, no compassion.

Gaus, Andy (1991-01-01). The Unvarnished New Testament (New Translation from the Original Greek) (Kindle Locations 5157-5161). Red Wheel Weiser. Kindle Edition.

While several items from the indecent list fit things I see in the birther movement, the one that I think most characterizes it is “character assassins.” (I could have picked the closely-allied “fabricators of evil stories.”) What is the birther movement, after all, but an attempt to find something bad about Barack Obama, initially to keep him from being elected president, and later to try to make him fail in office, or to get him out of office? Birtherism springs from and promotes a visceral dislike of Barack Obama, whether it is because he beat out Hillary Clinton, or that he is black, or urbane, or progressive, or has an Arabic-sounding middle name.

Birtherism has had its consequences, and I can think of no greater waste than former Army physician Terry Lakin, who ruined his career, lost his medical license, and lost his pension because of birtherism. On the other side consider Adam Cox who was convicted of threatening Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Would he ever have done this if not enraged by the character assassination of the birthers?

It is important to try to distinguish those who make up stories and market them from those who just spread the stories. At the top of the food chain we have folks like Joseph Farah, Jerome Corsi, Bob Unruh and Jack Cashill. They make money stirring up ill will. While folks like that deserve greater condemnation, still people who spread stories (like, for example, Donald Trump), the “rumormongers,” bear responsibility for not checking out stories before they pass them on.

Web sites such as Birther Report are noted for the “meanness” of the comments as much as their misleading stories. And when I see meanness and “haughty,” “boastful” fabricators of evil stories, it makes me angry and under that influence I can sometimes be mean too (that’s why I gave up BR for Lent).

Birtherism is not just wrong; it is indecent.

The Many Lies of Joseph Farah

by Loren Collins

I retired my blog, Barackryphal, at the end of 2013 because I was burnt out on Birtherism. After five years, it’s simply become a rehashing of the same tropes, and there’s little new to address.

However, after WorldNetDaily all but gave up on its Birther interests in the fall of 2012, WND President Joseph Farah has recently raised its spectre again, and in doing so yet again demonstrated some abject dishonesty that I felt compelled to address. Others have called him out for his supposed hypocrisy over his reactions to Barack Obama and Ted Cruz.

But I’m not here to call him a hypocrite. I’m here to document that he’s a liar. To wit, in his column of April 23, 2011, Joseph Farah wrote:

“WND never reported that Obama had spent $2 million hiding his birth certificate.”

Whereas five months earlier, on December 9, 2010, Farah said:

“Obama has spent at least $2 million fighting efforts to release his birth certificate.”

And that’s just Farah himself; he claimed that WND had never reported this, when in fact WND reporters had said this dozens of times.

On February 19, 2011, Joseph Farah wrote:

“I don’t know any thinking, rational person who questions the existence of Obama’s birth certificate.”

But what did Farah himself say two years earlier, on Chuck Crismier’s radio show on June 5, 2009?

“There’s a reason that Barack Obama will not show the American people his birth certificate. I believe he doesn’t have one.”

And who else questions the existence of Obama’s birth certificate? Why, none other than WND’s senior reporter, Jerome Corsi. Because Corsi had this to say on The Alex Jones Show on January 20, 2011, just one month before Farah claimed that no “thinking, rational person” would say such a thing:

“The key document that should be produced, if it exists and I don’t believe it does, is the long-form, hospital-generated Hawaiian birth certificate for Barack Obama.”

Continue Reading →

Birthers for Cruz!

The Opposing Views web site carries a new article today about WorldNetDaily publisher Joseph Farah, his birther opposition to Barack Obama and his support for foreign-born potential presidential contender Ted Cruz. The article also cites support for Cruz from birther-friendly congressman Steve Stockman.

Both seem to like Cruz’ birth certificate more than Obama’s, even though the latter is the only one with a paper trail and official confirmation. Could the problem with Obama’s certificate be that word “African” on it—I mean as a fact, not an anomaly.

Klayman to take another run at Esquire appeal

Joseph Farah (et al.) sued Esquire Magazine over a spoof article Esquire published online that Farah claims destroyed the salability of the book, Where’s the Birth Certificate? by Jerome Corsi. Farah lost when his case was dismissed under the DC Anti-SLAPP law  (and for other reasons). You can read about the case from my various articles on it.

The real issue in the appeal was not whether Esquire Magazine defamed Farah, but whether the case should have been dismissed rather than tried. Plaintiffs have decided to try again, requesting that the case be heard by the full circuit court, en banc.

A hearing of a case by the full circuit is discretionary (requiring a majority of the judges not recused in favor), not a right, and in the District of Columbia, certain principles apply. Hoping for a better result is not grounds for a hearing by the full circuit. Here are the sorts of things the DC Circuit considers en banc:

  1. resolving an apparent conflict  in the prior decisions of panels of the court;
  2. rejecting a prior statement of law which, although arguably dictum, warrants express rejection to avoid future confusion;
  3. overruling an old or obsolete decision which, although still technically valid as precedent, has plainly been rendered obsolete by subsequent legislation or other developments; and
  4. overruling a more recent precedent which, due to an intervening Supreme Court decision, or the combined weight of authority from other circuits, a panel  is convinced is clearly an incorrect statement of current law.

Klayman’s argument is that this case is of “exceptional importance” dealing as it does with  limits on the protection of satirical speech. He does not make any argument that existing precedent is insufficient, conflicting or outdated. Klayman’s essential argument is that the decision was wrong for various reasons, already rejected by the Circuit Court panel who denied his appeal.

I won’t get into the Lanham Act angle—interested readers can read the briefs. What I do want to mention is that part of an Anti-SLAPP dismissal involves an assessment of the likelihood that a plaintiff could prevail at trial, and I certainly consider it doubtful that Farah and Corsi could show that they were actually damaged by the Esquire article (beyond its satirical purpose that they be laughed at). Klayman argues that the Esquire article is libel per se (and damages need not be proven) because it accuses Farah and Corsi of a crime, citing Raboya v. Shrybman & Associates1; however, Klayman never explains exactly what the crime is when someone writes a book with “factual inaccuracies” (the actual words that Esquire satirically puts into Farah’s mouth). If “commercially defrauding the American Public” means putting “factual inaccuracies” in a book, then this is a crime that Farah and Corsi are arguably guilty of many times, along with a host of other authors.

From my layman’s viewpoint, the issues are clear cut and the DC Circuit will not endorse a hearing en banc. Sometimes there is a published written order with explanation when petitions for hearing en banc are decided.

The word "Doomed " in dripping font


1This is a curious case to cite in that the defendant successfully had the libel per se count dismissed. The Court took a strict view of what constituted a crime. If anything, this decision seems to hurt Klayman’s case.

Farah v. Esquire appeal unsuccessful

The Esquire article certainly didn’t fool me, any more than Klayman’s legal briefs fooled the judge.

– Dr. Conspiracy
– Comment at WorldNetDaily

imageIn a satirical article, Esquire Magazine made a birther joke, that since Obama released his birth certificate, Jerome Corsi’s ill-titled book Where’s the Birth Certificate were being recalled. Joseph Farah, perhaps seeing a publicity opportunity sued. He lost under a statute designed to prevent meritless lawsuits from chilling public comment, the court ruling that Farah had no reasonable chance of convincing a jury. Farah’s attorney was the well-known litigator, Larry Klayman.

Farah appealed the decision, and lost. WorldNetDaily announced the loss in an article a few minutes ago.

“It’s dishonest,” said WND’s attorney, Larry Klayman, of the decision. “This is an issue for the jury to decide. They took it away from the jury, and that’s inappropriate.”

Klayman blames the loss on the political ambitions of the judges who ruled against him.

“These judges know that if they make an unpopular decision against the establishment that they will never be able to be promoted to the Supreme Court or any other position they might get through political patronage,” he said.

Well, the purpose of the DC anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation)  statute is to prevent the threat of litigation and its associated costs from chilling public participation. Klayman was unable to show the suit could win.

Is this one destined for the Supreme Court? Do pigs wish they could fly?

Update: This article previously stated, erroneously, and it was reported elsewhere, that there was a 2-1 spit decision by the court. This is not correct. All three judges agreed on the decision, but only two concurred on the opinion.

Related articles:

Media coverage:

  • Courthouse News Service – Warren’s reference to Corsi as an “execrable piece of shit,” is clearly his personal opinion as it “does not appear to convey any factual assertion, but is rather ‘the sort of loose, figurative or hyperbolic language which would negate the impression’ that a factual statement was being made,” Brown wrote (emphasis in original).
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