You’ve seen it in the movies — two jet fighter pilots are locked in mortal combat. One gets the upper hand, moves into position, and fires an air-to-air missile. The missile streaks towards the other jet and in desperation the targeted pilot presses the button labeled CHAFF to discharge a cloud of metal foil with the intention of fooling the guidance system of the missile. You’ve perhaps seen it in a submarine movie. One submarine moves in behind and launches a torpedo and the command come from the bridge of the targeted sub: “launch countermeasures” and a device is ejected that emits noise designed to confusing the homing system of the torpedo. In nature, an octopus when attacked releases a cloud of dense black ink to blind the predator.
I find this all very similar to the article by Jerome Corsi that appeared a few days back in WorldNetDaily, an article in response to my publishing the new Congressional Research Service Report on presidential eligibility. Corsi ejects chaff to distract from the real target, the crank legal views he and others at WorldNetDaily popularize. I do not enjoy watching birthers squirm, but I am viscerally offended when they attack decent people and try to turn good and evil on its head.
What Corsi does is to take bits from the 50-page CRS report that would make it seem that the report didn’t take certain questions seriously or that it ignored the birthers’ argument. Anyone who has taken time to read the report (something birthers don’t usually do) would know otherwise. Indeed the report is quite savvy when it comes to understanding the birther position (and explaining why it is hogwash).
Chaff distractions include comments about Obama’s birth certificate (not related to the report) and various “unanswered questions” that are actually answered thoroughly in the report. Corsi further diverts by remembering “excoriating attack [on eligibility] launched on McCain by the Democrats and the mainstream media” which to my recollection never even happened. It certainly didn’t happen here.
WorldNetDaily writes as if the CRS report is the sole act of one Obama supporter, but a commenter here points out the fallaciousness of that idea. Another commenter takes on WND in a more point-by-point fashion.
As the Bible says:
4 The wicked are … like chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment
Psalms 1:4-5 (NASB)
Now back to the beach!
Agreed, there is a lot of chaff in Corsi’s oeuvre.
Corsi asks again and again about what agency of government “responsible” for making the “natural born citizen.”
But he studiously ignores the Constitution itself. The CRS Report notes the textual commitment of the determination of the selection of the President to the joint session of Congress presided over by the Vice President under the 12th Amendment. While anyone may run, only votes for natural born citizens over 35 years of age, with 14 years of residence, may be counted. It is all covered by the Constitution, as the Report indicates.
When the votes were counted in December 2008, there were no objections from any Senator or Member of the House. Yet neither Corsi nor any of the birther attorneys or advocates have ever documented that they conveyed their complaints to their Members that the birther. The record shows that if they did, no Member or Senator gave their theories any credence.
Corsi accuses the Report of “conceding” that “a loophole in the Constitution” did not assign the “natural born” responsibility to any institution in government.
But if there is a “loophole” in the Constitution, then it was left there by the founding fathers. If it is a problem for Corsi, he should propose a constitutional amendment and get it ratified.
In any event, Corsi is wrong again. There is no “loophole” at all. The joint session is the governmental institution with the sole authority over presidential qualifications.
This is in keeping with the constitutional separation of powers and its checks and balances. The House has the sole power of impeachment and the Senate the sole power over impeachment trials. Each House is judge of the qualifications of its own members. So also is the joint committee the sole judge of presidential qualifications.
Typically, nearly everything Corsi writes is slanted and tendentious. He repeats a charge from 2010 that the analyst in an interview “acknowledged” that CRS memoranda he authored” were written for congressional offices, not for the public, and were available to the public only if sent out by a congressional office. He writes this, over and over at WND, as if the analyst imposed the restriction.
The facts are that Congress itself, not an individual analyst, requires that CRS distribution of all materials be limited to Congressional offices. Any citizen can ask his or her Representative or Senators for CRS products, and suggest any topic for CRS research.
Any citizen can ask Congress to change the policy.
So can Corsi.
Corsi’s argument is with Congress, not with the author.
Jerome Corsi’s lies still have the power to get you viscerally offended?
You must have spent a very uncomfortable past few years, because I am not aware of a single day during that period that he did not spend shamelessly lying through his teeth.
“It is a matter of regret that terms so uncertain and vague in so important a point are to be found in the Constitution. We shall seek in vain for any antecedent settled legal meaning to the respective terms—there is none.” Alexander Hamilton, 1795 Legal Brief
As far as I know, the only attacks on McCain’s eligibility came from Republicans. And I wouldn’t call them any more “excoriating” than any other birther attacks. Which is to say that, for all practical purposes, nobody took them seriously.
Of course, Corsi just makes a sweeping statement and provides no evidence, hoping perhaps to trigger false memories of 2008 in the WND readership. I did cursory Google searches on and
I found 38,000 sites for the McCain search, which sounds like a lot. But not compared to the 1.7 million sites that popped up on the Obama search.
Well, I make no accusation, but merely raise the question: Does lying come as naturally to Corsi as breathing?
Sorry, I killed out material in editing, and clicked submit too quickly, on previous post.
Of course, Corsi just makes a sweeping statement and provides no evidence, hoping perhaps to trigger false memories of 2008 in his WND readership. I did cursory Google searches on McCain eligibility Panama and Obama eligibility Hawaii. I found 38,000 sites for the McCain search, which sounds like a lot. But not compared to the 1.7 million sites that popped up on the Obama search.
Well, I make no accusation, but merely raise the question: Does lying come as naturally to Corsi as breathing?
Yes. He’s a pathological liar.
I don’t think he’s pathological. I think he is paid or otherwise compensated for what he does.
Remember Saddam Hussein’s spokesman who used to deliver the greatest whoppers with great aplomb? You don’t honestly think he believed what he said, or was pathological? No he did what Saddam told him to do (or else).
Same with Corsi, presumably minus the “or else.”
This is IMHO another bit of evidence showing that the US is (arguably) devolving into a failed state (or banana republic) with failed media and potemkin democracy.
O.K. So, Corsi is a well kept whore. Farah’s boy toy.
Yes, a lost of history gets misremembered, and hardens into orthodoxy. A recent book attacking Obama on every front, as well as Democrats in general, recalls that Jimmy Carter taught people how hard it can be to get a job. Actually, the average unemployment rate over the entire eight years of Reagan was significantly higher than during Carter’s four years.
People remember that the 1960 presidential election was stolen in Illinois and Texas, but Republicans were such good sports they didn’t contest the election, Actually, Republicans filed eight lawsuits in three states, the last of which was finally dismissed almost exactly at the same point before the electoral college’s meeting date as Bush v. Gore was decided by the Supreme Court in 2000.
Can’t speak for Illinois, but the Texas vote was misunderstood by a New York reporter who didn’t know all the peculiarities of Texas election law. He noted that one county in Texas cast about 1,400 more votes than it had registered voters. What he didn’t understand (or acknowledge) was that about 5,000 senior citizens over 60 in that county were entitled by law to merely to show up to vote, without having preregistered. They just had to sign an affidavit attesting to their eligibility.
Ninety-nine other Texas counties had similar “overvotes” that could be accounted for by this same oddity of the law. I think the New York reporter suspected about 50,000 fraudulent votes were stuffed into ballot boxes in those 100 counties, in a state the Democratic ticket carried by 46,000-odd.
Even in matters as trivial as whether GW Bush or Al Gore made better grades in college, assertions have become gospel with people who never saw copies of their transcripts.
I have. The first thing one notices is that Yale recorded Bush’s grades in precise numerical averages on the 100-point scale, while Harvard transcripts were marked A, B minus, C plus, etc. To properly compare the two, first you have to determine what numerical average those letter grades represented.. For all courses that he was assigned a specific grade, Bush averaged 77.
Now as to Gore: From what I’ve read, the numerical averages represented by Harvard’s letter grades were the usual: A-plus was 97 and higher, A 93-96, A-minus 90-92, and so on down the line. So each letter grade represented a numerical range of two or three. A statistician would take the numerical midpoint represented by each letter grade. In doing so, one would find Gore’s four-year average to be 80. If you took the lowest numerical average represented by each letter grade, his average would have been about 79,
This doesn’t necessarily mean he beat Bush, however, because of one more kicker. Starting with Bush’s senior year, the Yale faculty jettisoned the numerical average system for recording grades, adopting instead a modified pass-fail grading system. Four levels were available: honors, high pass, pass and fail. Except for fail, these categories were not tied to specific numerical averages; the faculty voted to leave them undefined — in effect, at the discretion of each professor.
Bush earned seven high passes and three passes his senior year, but it’s impossible to say what his numerical grade average would have been that final year. It’s possible no one ever knew, because a professor could have just looked at the student’s whole semester’s work and decided, without figuring an average, that this is honors work, high pass or merely pass.
To have averaged 80 over all four years, Bush would have had to average at least 87 his senior year. Likely? I don’t know.
Bottom line: the facts don’t always support the received wisdom. But if the facts are totally lost in the mists of time, the received wisdom becomes the universally acknowledged truth.
Because some private citizen makes a career out of peddling lies, that means the United States government itself is falling apart?
God damn, you’re an asshole. Do you say anything that isn’t some form of “America sucks”?
Agreed! I definitely view him as a pathological liar. I think Lupin is giving Corsi too much credit, simply because he get’s paid to spew this dreck.
He & Farah are cut from the same cloth. Money is only one of their motives. Their particular ideological ticks drive their propaganda first and foremost and their personality and behavorial shortcomings are part of the essence of who they are and the work product they spew forth.
So yes, I would strongly argue that their behavior is clearly pathological in many ways, including lying, and that truism about their nature doesn’t take away or replace all the other factors of profit driven motives in place as well.
This is why I do not regularly visit birther web sites, and in particular WorldNetDaily and others listed as “Ugly” below. I typically visit WND only when prompted by a comment here or a contact form submission. These sites create no anxiety in my mind, and they have (usually) nothing of note to say, so I don’t feel that I’m missing out.
For folks who want to read that sort of thing, the links are provided below.
I do visit Orly’s site sometimes. It doesn’t usually offend me because I think she’s crazy rather than evil. That reminds me: I still have a pending LinkedIn request from her.
Excellent points, analysis and illustrative examples. Thanks!!!
Ah well Hamilton wasn’t a natural born citizen, so what does it matter?
I view her as both. I think it would be harder for someone to be technically “evil” without first being crazy… the two seem to go hand in hand for the most part.
Let me add that I was surprised to see an email in my inbox featuring a photo of Jerome Corsi. It was from Scribd informing me that Corsi had “readcast” the CRS report I had uploaded there. Readcast means that he shared the text with others through Scribd. I also got a list of others who did the same.
I am so very glad I uploaded that to Scribd rather than trying to host it here. There have been 3334 views of the document so far.
Thrifty, Lupin’s point evidently sailed over your head. If I understood him right, he’s saying widespread public ignorance is a threat to democracy. I certainly concur, because I’ve seen examples of what millions of people continue to believe to be facts, despite ample — sometimes decades-long — opportunities to learn otherwise.
For example, I was recently connected to a conservative Republican’s congressman’s “telephone town meeting,” in which he had I don’t know how many constituents tuned in to a give-and-take. It was mostly boilerplate, little new, until one man — I judge to be in his 60s just from his voice and his way of expressing himself — told the congressman one little change could make a huge difference for the better in our public economy. Just require senators and representatives to participate in the Social Security system, he suggested. “This is interesting,” I thought, and maybe I muttered it audibly. I pricked up my ears for the congressman’s response, but heard nothing. By and by I realized all I had was dead air.
Whether the congressman had me tossed out of the conversation, or whether he ended it abruptly for everybody, I do not know. What I wanted to hear was how the congressman dealt with a constituent whose info was completely erroneous. I was wondering how he would tactfully tell this guy he was wrong, that members of congress have been paying into Social Security since 1984. If this congressman deliberately avoided answering this guy publicly, he missed a teachable moment.
As for the threat of ignorance to the public weal, I’m reminded of a remark by the deeply cynical H.L. Mencken: “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. “
I’m for struggling against ignorance and proving Mencken wrong.
In theory, I suppose that democracy can function the way Mencken said, if the ignorance on each side balances the other. But what if one overbalances the other, as in Hitler’s Germany?
This forum constitutes just one tool to hack away at the undergrowth of ignorance. I think we can use many more.
Excellent and important points.
Speaking of which, there is a fascinating article done recently that delves into the factors that motivate someone to do “evil” acts…
Definitely worthy of analysis & reflection, like some of your similar analysis pieces on what leads to conspiratorial behavior.
In the grand scheme of things not very much. But still, it is a handy quote to have when people claim that the Framers were very deliberate in their choice of words for the Constitution. Afterall, that’s why they said natural born and not native born.
I think it is immature to insult me because I’m pointing out that the US society is devolving into something that risks resembling Russia or India soon.
In that respect, I’m not saying anything different from your OCCUPY protesters (which I greatly admire), Michael Moore or most of the front pagers on DailyKos, But somehow, because I say it, it gives you the right to insult me?
And frankly, I don’t derive any joy from it; if anything, I’m a little concerned. I lived in the US in the 70s and 80s when it was the most admired country in the world, and the best in many areas.
This is no longer true today, but if America is broke, you’re the ones who broke it. So don’t try to blame me for holding a mirror.
Exactly. It normally would be the role of the media to relegate those grifters to the fringes of the political process; unfortunately, this no longer seems to be the case in the US.
Let us remember for example that despite the demagogic “power” of Father Coughlin, who also blamed Jews and so-called “Communists”, he was solidly opposed by the media, the government and even some sections of the Catholic Church.
As for the threat to democracy in general, it has become manifest in the degeneration of the two-party system into an absurd non-choice between “hamburger and fries” and “a plate of bird poop” (to use a “plat du jour” restaurant analogy). This is not healthy, and in fact quite like what’s happening in Russia or India (to a degree).
Re “crazy vs. evil”
The line between the two is thin, and besides, they’re not mutually exclusive.
A friend once said that there’s two kinds of people in the world. Give a person a gun and instruct them to walk towards you. There are those that you will run away from, and those that will make you laugh.
Orly, I’d run away from. Give her an ounce of power and she’ll become the new Mrs Ceaucescu.
Between those people I saw at the NH ballot commission hearing, Orly is the first I’d give a gun to if I had to. I’d rather run away from the NH representatives that flock around her.
Because I think Orly isn’t the one who’s going to get her fingers dirty. She’d rather give the gun to one of her followers and say “you do it”.
Very well said on both your critique of the media and the downward spiral of the two party system. Bravo!
I agree with that assessment. That being said, I still don’t trust any crazy person with a gun…and she is not just a lazy meglomaniac, but truly batsh*t insane. She’d be as much a danger to herself as well as anyone within range, by just putting that option in her hands…
Always better an unarmed nut than a weaponized one.
You can’t reason with either nut, but at least you might be able to outrun the unarmed one.
A good example of that is the story of George Washington and the Cherry Tree. Every school kid knows it’s absolutely true. Every Veteran tears up just thinking about it. Even suggesting it might not be true is enough to get you pummeled in any bar in America….
Except it never happened. It’s a complete fabrication. We even know who made the story up, and why.
I know the story isn’t true…but where did it originate & why? That part I never heard…
Well there ya go. I shouldn’t be surprised at all. That entire article on Parson Weems was quite telling and goes to the heart of a certain aspect about humanity.
As that article points out, there seems to be an inherent need by certain folks to take our very human leaders and turn them into Demigods after their death. As the article points out, during that time period, there was quite a bit of mythology being constructed around the Founding Fathers… something we also see on excessive display today in how the Tea Party and other Conservatives talk about the Constitution and their revisionist takes on the origins of our nation and the people involved in founding it.
There is a lot to be said about that… I’ll skip the obvious allusions and point out that from the archeological and historical perspective, there is a school of thought that many of the famous characters and even gods from the various ancient myths (Greek, Roman, Norse, etc.) may have at one point had a basis in actual important tribal figures or leaders that existed at one point who then became elevated through tales into mythological figures. The original people and their actual accomplishments have become completely lost through the mists of time…but the supernatural embellishments continued and got passed down and are all that remain.
There seems to be something in parts of the human condition that need to view the past through a fairy tale prism…
Because people know that “it’s God’s will” has always been a better argument than “it would be prudent to…”.
The birthers have elevated the Founders and claimed the Founders had elevated Vattel – thus generating the “Vattel’s word was gospel” myth. And who dares question holy scripture? That’s much easier than having to argue why, among all writers of the time, one should’ve been the dominating, or even the sole, influence on the Constitution. One who happens to be the only one propagating the only theory that would appear to promise an “emergency stop” to the Obama presidency.
(It works the other way around as well; see ID proponents thinking if they demonize Darwin, attacking evolution theory becomes child’s play.)
I even have significant problems with scripture. For instance, 1 Timothy 2 11-15…
I have significant problems with that…
But hey, it says what it says. So, we should have no women teachers, and women should learn in quietness and full submission. And the only way that a woman will be saved is through childbearing. So, any woman who doesn’t have a child is going straight to…!
Hello Operator, give me number nine… *eyeshift*
If they do not answer kick them in the…
The Bible is cram-full of truly appalling rubbish. It gleefully endorses cannibalism in numerous instances. It is obsessed with hemorrhoids. It approves of rape, pedophilia and other horrible stuff.
And isn’t it funny how God always says exactly what we want him to?
If you pray to an imaginary friend, you will get an imaginary answer.
Yup. Still waiting to find a bigot who claims “I really wanted to do this, but God told me he disapproves”.