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Birther witnesses

The web is populated with lots of folks who believe the birther story that President Obama was born somewhere besides Hawaii: Check our Twitter feed, or visit web sites on the “Bad” and “Ugly” lists at the bottom of the page. Beyond the believers, there are individuals who tell their own personal stories and put their own credibility behind a birther anecdote. These lone individuals tell stories often inconsistent with majority birther belief and with each other. Birther opponents ask the birthers to show some evidence to justify their claims; these people claim to have seen it!

What follows is a catalog (in alphabetical order) of the ones I can think of, with hyperlinks to articles about them:

  • Linda Joy Adams – claims the President was born in Kansas. In this version, Obama’s mother was only 15 (making the President 3 years older) and Barack was born at Forbes AFB in Topeka. The evidence is DNA in the back seat of a ‘48 Chevy where Dunham’s water broke. Adams is a prolific blogger.
  • Tim Adams – Was a chief clerk for the Honolulu Elections Division. He first said on a white supremacist radio program that he knew Obama had no Hawaiian birth certificate because of what he found while working for the Elections Division in some unspecified “database.” Later he changed his story to say that someone in a supervisory position at the Elections Division provided that information to him. The supervisor was never named, nor the database where the information was found. The Elections Division does not have access to birth records at the Department of Health.
  • James (Race Bannon) Bancroft  – Bancroft, a poster at the Free Republic, blog tells a story of meeting a young black man who either is or may be Barack Obama (depending on when the version of the story) in Honolulu in 1980. The story goes that the unnamed black kid said he was born in Mombasa and raised in Indonesia.
  • Andrew D. Basiago – Claims to have been involved in a secret government teleportation project with Obama, whom he met on Mars between 1981 and 1983.
  • Laurie Hathaway [link to Taitz web site] – Whistleblower for Orly Taitz who claims to have seen paperwork at the Higher Education Services Corporation in New York that Barack Obama obtained a foreign student loan as an Indonesian national to attend Columbia University. The HESC only assists New York residents. Obama transferred to Columbia from Occidental College in California.
  • Tom Fife – made frequent trips to Moscow, Russia in 1992-1994. He claims that a Russian Communist told him that a black man with an African father and an American mother was being groomed to be President of the United States. This Communist sleeper was from Hawaii and lived in Chicago. The Russian said. “have no doubt: he is one of us, a Soviet.” “Soviet” in Russian means “advice” or “consulting group” and makes little sense when the country, the Soviet Union, had ceased to exist the year before. “Communist” or “Bolshevik” might work in context, but not “Soviet.”
  • Allen Hulton – a postman who claims that he had a conversation with the wife of Tom Ayers (father of Bill Ayers) who told him Ayers was paying for Obama’s college, Obama being a “foreign student” or he thinks it may have been Obama. The story changed over time in multiple interviews.
  • Paul Irey – did an analysis of typed letters on Obama’s birth certificate, but he stated that before doing that he already knew the certificate was a forgery because of what a Secret Service agent involved in vetting candidate Obama told him–or was it a “look” the agent gave him? Irey did not say what the agent told him precisely, nor explain why the Secret Service was involved in vetting political candidates.
  • Nancy Ruth Owens (Molly Nancy Owens, Nancy Owens Barger) – a Florida woman, claims to have been hired by Pablo Escobar to forge President Obama’s birth certificate in 1985. She also says that she is Obama’s sister and took some of the photos of Obama’s in his “college years.” She explained how Floridian Obama had Hawaiian newspaper birth announcements in 1961 by saying Pablo Escobar was very powerful. She didn’t explain why she (not a professional forger) was hired by the powerful Escobar.
  • Lucas Daniel Smith – claims to have traveled to Kenya and obtained a Kenyan birth certificate naming Barack Obama. Smith maintains a web site promoting Obama conspiracies.

The true believers among the list above remind me of UFO abductees. Some of them seem like fraud, some false memories, and the others downright crazy. None of them actually present evidence for their story (except Smith whose Kenyan birth certificate was shown to be a fake).

Birther Tim Adams announces support for Obama

The lesser of two evils

Tim AdamsTim Adams (right) made a big splash in 2010 when he appeared on a white supremacist radio show, Political Cesspool, telling a story about Barack Obama’s birth certificate, or lack thereof. Adams was a contractor and “chief clerk” for the Honolulu Elections Division and he claimed that Barack Obama had no Hawaiian birth certificate. In various follow-up statements and interviews, including one on Reality Check Radio in which I participated, Adams backed down on some of what he said after it was found that his office had no access to Hawaiian birth records, but he still maintained that Obama had no Hawaiian birth certificate although he says he thinks Obama was born in the US, somewhere else than Hawaii.

Adams is cited in birther lawsuits and remains a star in the birther sky, but now he’s come out with a YouTube video in support of Barack Obama for President in 2012.

It’s hard to tell just what Tim Adams is really about, particularly after his Master’s Thesis appeared putting himself in the role of a gonzo journalist.

Adams’ rationale for supporting Obama can be summed up in two words, “Romney / Ryan.” Romney, he believes, is part of the David Rockefeller legacy of corporate internationalists. We don’t actually see the “one world government Bilderberger Illuminati” conspiracy theories here, but I think that’s where he’s pointing.

Here’s his video:

Continue Reading →

Gonzo birtherism

My short article on Tim Adams’ masters thesis garnered quite a number of comments (116 as of just now). Adams’ exercise in creative writing towards an English degree is, according to him, an example of “gonzo journalism” a style made famous  by journalist Hunter Thompson. (I’m a fan of one modern gonzo journalist, Jon Ronson, the author of several accounts of his travels with racists and conspiracy theorists.) Rather than an objective observer of events, the gonzo journalist is personally part of the story. This from Adams:

I’m wearing my most appropriate gonzo journalist attire; a fine braided men’s straw hat with pheasant feather band (birds were indeed harmed in the production of this product, and eaten too, no doubt). I have a single silver conch shell, a token from the Native Hawaiian people’s movement, given to me in the islands, with my black out sunglasses hanging from the brown leather thong that circles my neck. I’m wearing an Alfred Dunner plaid linen jacket, size 44 regular. It was an original from the mid-sixties, one I’d pulled out of second hand shop for three dollars, and in excellent condition. The light green/brown plaid on off white patterned fabric goes well with the mint green Hawaiian shirt I’m wearing beneath it, festooned with huge white plumeria blossoms. I’m also wearing a gold watch and new khaki colored trousers with a pair of dark brown Docksider shoes. Nothing in my ensemble is cheap, and the colors and style allow me to pull this off, just barely enough to appear professional, and I stay much cooler in the ninety-degree heat of this sticky, summer day than the stiffs  sweating it out in the gray pinstripes.

The rambling thesis is the personal narrative of what followed when Adams showed up at a white racist  gathering and subsequently gave a radio interview on a racist program where he said that he was an elections worker in Hawaii and from that knew that Barack Obama had no long-form birth certificate. When asked to explain what he was doing at a white racist convention1, Adams claims that he was covering it as a journalist. Adams is the center of his birther story.

I cast about in my mind for another example of a gonzo journalist birther (what I’m calling “gonzo birtherist”) and of course Jerome Corsi comes to mind. He acts as a journalist, writing articles for WorldNetDaily and what he describes as investigative books. Recently Corsi was in Surprise, Arizona, where he spoke to a Tea Party group that subsequently presented, along with Corsi, a petition to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, asking him to investigate Barack Obama for identify fraud.

Can you think of other examples of birther activists acting as journalists?

Read more:

1The Council of Conservative Citizens Statement of Principles forms the basis for calling them racist.

Clockwise v anticlockwise

The topic is Tim Adams’ May 2011 masters thesis. [The preceding link is to a PDF. I had problems opening it in my browser. I suggest you “save as” and read it offline.] Adams came to prominence in the Birtherverse, when he, a clerk at the Hawaii Elections Division, came forward to say that Barack Obama had no long-form birth certificate. He never explained exactly how he knew that, but he nevertheless became an instant celebrity among the birthers.

Now two news sources, WorldNetDaily and ConWebWatch are reporting on his thesis presented at Western Kentucky University, one defending Adams and one painting Adams and his paper in the worst possible light.

There are two issues here: fairness and accuracy. Neither article is fair: WND ignores anything bad in the thesis and ConWebWatch ignores anything good. They are both advocacy pieces. However, Cashill is not accurate and as far as I can tell ConWebWatch is. I left this comment at WorldNetDaily:

WND is an odd source. They will print some lies and they won’t print others. Joseph Farah defends the rights of his "commentators" to say whatever they want, so the demonstrably fake story of the 1981 Travel Ban to Pakistan by commentator Janet Folger Porter remains at WND since 2009 with no hint that it’s a lie. On the other hand WND has vigorously debunked the fake Kenyan birth certificates for Barack Obama.

The problem is that it is difficult to know when WND is engaging in reporting (where they won’t usually lie outright) or printing commentary (where the commentators are free to lie outright) and I’m not sure that even WND always keep that straight. Generally all of the "experts" saying Obama’s long form is a fake are commentary or reporting of commentary. I suppose Bob Unruh is a reporter, and I don’t know what Jerome Corsi and Jack Cashill are.

What you can be sure of is that WND is a highly biased web site that engages in spin, innuendo and taking things out of context. Accepting anything from WND without confirmation from elsewhere is a recipe for embarrassment.

I was in error on one point; it is clear from the story’s labeling that Cashill is a commentator.

The Adams thesis is turgid and rambling and, in my opinion, totally unsuited for a scholarly thesis. I read a little and got disgusted.

What do Jerome Corsi and Tim Adams have in common?

Tim Adams

Jerome Corsi

You remember Tim Adams, an elections clerk in Hawaii, who claimed that someone in the office told him that Barack Obama had no long-form birth certificate? (How’s that working out for ya?) Since then, although he denies being a racist, Adams has been tied to a number of racist statements he made in the past, and Adams first came on the scene through an appearance on an unabashedly white-supremacist radio program, The Political Cesspool, hosted by James Edwards.

Well, Jerome Corsi appeared on the same program, and was scheduled to appear a second time, although he canceled in the midst of a firestorm of criticism following the disclosure of some of Corsi’s prior racist and bigoted remarks.

So what they have in common is this man and a history of racist remarks:

James Edwards, host: The Political Cesspool

Learn more (these are partisan links for the most part):

Apuzzo fulminates against Fukino

Given how much damage Dr. Chiyome Fukino did to the birther movement when she disclosed Barack Obama not only had a long form birth certificate, but that it was signed by a doctor and thereby forcing the “Obama was not born in the US” crowd onto the last bit of land still not covered by the factual flood: “everybody’s lying,” one would expect the birthers to come out slinging. Attorney Mario Apuzzo, representing one of the more angry of the angry birthers,  has met expectations with his article: An Analysis of the Current Revelations of Hawaii’s Dr. Chiyome Fukino to NBC News Regarding Obama’s Place of Birth. Keep in mind that when a birther titles something “analysis” they usually mean “smear.”

Apuzzo upholds that stereotype with logic such as:

  • We shouldn’t listen to what Fukino, who saw Obama’s birth certificate, has to say because she’s not the current Health Director. Rather we should ask the current acting director who hasn’t seen Obama’s birth certificate about it.
  • Fukino is criticized for not disclosing the second Health Department official’s name who accompanied her to look at the certificate, despite the fact that in her statement on the Department of Health web site, she specifies the title of the person, which can only be Dr. Alvin Onaka, who has been in that position for at least 2 decades.
  • Fukino’s disclosure that a doctor signed the certificate is invalidated by the fact that she didn’t say more about which hospital Obama was born in.
  • Her comments are invalidated by the fact that she didn’t make them earlier.
  • Apuzzo makes the false distinction between birth in Hawaii and registration of a birth in Hawaii. Hawaii only registered people born there in 1961, and now that we know a doctor signed the form, all that grandmother/family fraud rumor is disproved.
  • Apuzzo says: “Obama’s supporters are proclaiming Dr. Fukino’s recent revelations are the death of the ‘birthers.'” He doesn’t disclose who said that. I didn’t say that. I just say that Dr. Fukino’s recent revelations just make them all the more fringe.
  • Tim Adams contradicts Fukino. Tim Adams will not even tell us who told him that there was no long form nor explain how this alleged person could have possibly known. Fukino has seen it herself. Apuzzo plays on public ignorance of vital statistics procedures to suggest that there could be a registration without a birth certificate.

It’s basically crap. Read it if you want, but not before you eat.