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Amnesty conspiracy

There was a time when on any slow news day I could go to Orly Taitz’ web site and find some crazy birther thing to write about. Those days are over. Nowadays Taitz is more likely to be talking about Ebola, Muslims, conservative candidates, impeachment or gays—and more than those: immigrants. Taitz wants illegals out of the country, and free trade agreements canceled.

The latest from her in immigration is the claim that next week, Obama is going to issue an executive order implementing some kind of amnesty. Here’s her headline:

Obama to announce theft of some 5 million jobs from American cities, aiding and abetting invasion, committing treason. Call every member of Congress, demand immediate impeachment and removal from office of Indo-Kenyan usurper Obama

Where does she get such crazy ideas?

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President Obama is planning to unveil a 10-part plan for overhauling U.S. immigration policy via executive action — including suspending deportations for millions — as early as next Friday, a source close to the White House told Fox News.

The president’s plans were contained in a draft proposal from a U.S. government agency. The source said the plan could be announced as early as Nov. 21, though the date might slip a few days pending final White House approval.

Fox News 13 November 2014 (citing anonymous sources)

Taitz didn’t accurately characterize the Fox story that she cited, and the plan (assuming Fox is right) is for deferred deportation, not amnesty.

Whatever your take on immigration policy, the fact is that a dysfunctional Congress puts more power in the hands of the President.

Hillary’s brain v. the generic birther

“Xerox” and “Kleenex” are words that have taken on a generic meaning beyond their specific product brands. Is this happening with “birther”? Case in point is an article at the Huffington Post titled, “Fox News Jumps on Board the New Birther Meme: Hillary’s Brain.”

The “show us the birth certificate” conspiracy theory of the 2016 campaign has begun, this time with medical records.

This time doubters are demanding a copy of Clintons brain MRI. I can understand the liberal media (and I think I can use that term at least for the Huffington Post) wanting to tar conservatives with the “birther label.” I wish they wouldn’t. I’d like to keep the birther brand specific.

10 Facts that Suggest Birthers are Fake

This is a response to an article: “10 Facts That Suggest Obama’s Birth Certificate is Fake” at MrConservative.com. The bold-face numbered items are from that article.

1. No one knows where Obama’s real birth certificate is.

We actually know exactly where it is. Fox News reported in 2011:

More than a month before Donald Trump began his media blitzkrieg over the issue of President Obama’s birth certificate, the document was quietly moved to a more secure location within a dual combination-key lock safe inside the state’s health department vault.

The certificate was moved there by Alvin Onaka, Hawaii’s State Registrar, in response to what had already become an increasing number of media requests by FoxNews.com and others, according to sources.

Mr. Conservative goes on to write: A document that’s scanned will have only one layer, which is the image itself, something that even most birthers today know is false.  The conservative National Review published an article in 2011 immediately after the first layer nuttery surfaced on the Internet explaining that layers are normal. Nathan Goulding wrote:

I’ve confirmed that scanning an image, converting it to a PDF, optimizing that PDF, and then opening it up in Illustrator, does in fact create layers similar to what is seen in the birth certificate PDF. You can try it yourself at home.

And indeed I have done it myself. You can even see the process in a YouTube video.

2. Classmates at Colombia (sic) University think Obama lied about going there.

Maybe “Wayne Allen (sic) Root” doesn’t remember Obama, but others do. See, for example, this article at Columbia College Today. There are also Columbia classmate interviews in the PBS/Frontline video, The Choice 2012.

Here’s the graduates list from Columbia courtesy of Breitbart News:

3. British National Archives confirm Obama Sr. had a child in 1961 Kenya [Photo of fake certificate from Lucas Smith shown]

No one has ever produced a shred of evidence that such documentation ever existed in the British National Archives, but there is ample evidence from the US archives obtained by FOIA that Barack Obama Sr. was in the US continuously from 1959-1964.

There was a release of documents to the British National Archives in 2012, relating to the Kenyan colonial period. One of them includes Barack Obama Sr. on a list of students; however, there is nothing about him being in Kenya (which he was not) nor about a child. You can read an article on this at The Guardian newspaper.

Barack Obama's father tops a list made by British colonial officials of Kenyans studying in the US

4. Obama claimed in a literary agent’s bio that he was born in Kenya.

The literary agent says otherwise. The author of that bio, Miriam Goderich, told Yahoo News:

You’re undoubtedly aware of the brouhaha stirred up by Breitbart about the erroneous statement in a client list Acton & Dystel published in 1991 (for circulation within the publishing industry only) that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.  This was nothing more than a fact checking error by me — an agency assistant at the time.  There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii.  I hope you can communicate to your readers that this was a simple mistake and nothing more.

5. Obama used the name Barry Sotero (sic) when he went to college.

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Fox News leads media blackout of Operation American Spring

I ran a Google query to find out what Fox News Channel is saying about Operation American Spring. They aren’t saying anything–the only hits were from Fox Radio’s token liberal, Alan Colmes.

I will admit that sometimes Fox News makes editorial decisions based on its Republican bias, but in the case of Operation American Spring, I think that the lack of coverage at Fox (and CNN and MSNBC and the hometown Washington Post) is not a matter of editorial bias, but that it’s just not a real story. I even checked the US Capitol Police web site, and there’s nothing there about OAS.

It’s always useful to keep in mind the difference between real law enforcement, real lawyers, real forensic document examiners and real journalists—compared to citizen bloggers like me.1 I expect that real journalists have made some calls to people in the know to find out whether there is anything to “Operation American Spring” beyond some web sites and social media. The fact that there’s no media coverage probably means that they have found that there’s no national mobilization and that there is going to be no event of note. If even 10,000 protesters were coming, not to mention the 10 million fantasy league fans, it would be big news.

Dog bites man v. Man bites dog

I understand that there is somebody in front of the White House protesting something every day, so that in and of itself protest is not news. In order to be news, something special is required, such as the presence of a celebrity, like actress Maria Conchita Alonzo.

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Organizers

One cannot argue with the fact that Obama supporters can organize. They make phone calls, they knock on doors, they raise big money, and they motivate people. I get the impression that the right-wing types behind Operation American Spring are more in line with the movie cliché, “if you build it, they will come.” Reports on OAS web sites say that they haven’t even applied for demonstration permits (required for groups of 20 or more).2 They say that the 10,000,000 people coming will not be in groups that large—sounds to me like a lame excuse for a lack of organization.

Of course, the Operation American Spring folks aren’t building anything, but rather are trying to tear something down, something that for all it’s failings, is much beloved by my country folk: the Constitution, the ballot and the rule of law. Most Americans don’t want to be Egypt.


1It’s also worth noting the difference between real community organizers and keyboard astroturfers.

2Here, by the way, are the areas where demonstrations are permitted.

Exit strategy

Parting shots

As the days go by, birtherism recedes farther and farther into irrelevancy, and I was just a little surprised to see the topic revisited yet again by President Obama’s speech writers at the White House Correspondents’ Association Annual Dinner this year [video embedded at the end of the article]. I thoroughly enjoyed the speech, from the opening moment when the band played “Hail to the Ferns.” Birthers got skewered a couple of times.

After noting that an American won the Boston Marathon for the first time in 30 years, Obama said:

It’s only fair since a Kenyan has been president for the last six.

I think the second one the more interesting:

Let’s face it, Fox, you will miss me when I’m gone. It will be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.

I think the subtext of that joke was a commentary on just how crazy political opposition has become in the age of Internet blog-based conspiracism, and a foretaste of what a Hillary Clinton race for President might look like.

While I enjoyed Obama’s remarks, I hope that this is the last Correspondents’ Dinner with birther jokes. Birthers are yesterday’s news (except in our little niche).

A strategy that drags on too long becomes a drag.
— Saul Alinsky

Exit strategy

imageOver at Birther Report I get asked from time to time what my “exit strategy” is. I don’t know quite how to take the question, since I don’t think I need an exit strategy. I have no debts to pay off from running the blog. Birthers think (or claim to think since I find it hard to really believe them) that bloggers who make fun of them will be prosecuted for treason and sent to jail, but in fact such a thing is patently absurd.

A fellow made an injudicious comment here a few days back and became embroiled in a discussion he probably didn’t want to be in. I was going to share my exit strategy with him:

Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and look for a blue button labeled “Submit Comment.” Don’t push it.

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Continue to the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner video…

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