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Thursday, April 28, 2011

It Should Be The End Of It... But It's Not

April 27th, 2011

Before I proceed, let me just say that I am ashamed to be in the position of having to write about this at all. The relentless and racist pursuit of our President by some of our own citizens, the "birthers," will long be remembered and not kindly.

The Obama Administration has finally caved to the American fringe. Yesterday morning saw the sitting President of the United States ultimately demean himself by going to the White House briefing room to announce formally that he is an American citizen.

Obama long ago released his birth certificate. There it is to the left. It's the same kind of Certificate of Live Birth I possess. It's the same basic form any American who requests a copy from their state receives. It's what the State Department demands in order to receive a passport. But this is an African-American President.

"Not good enough," the "birthers" said. It was not the "long form," they said. Only the "long form" can be accepted. Only the "long form" would prove the first African-American President's citizenship. Well, unless you were somewhere in the vicinity of Saturn yesterday, you know that the "long form" has been officially released. There it is to the left.

This should be the end of the nonsense. However, I have reluctantly concluded that it is extremely unlikely these people will ever accept reason.

TPM caught up with the infamous "Birther Queen," Orly Taitz, shortly after the morning's announcement. Taitz, who has built her own little fringe-media career on the single issue of Obama's eligibility to be President, has been calling for the release of the "long form" for several years. Her reaction? To paraphrase, "not good enough."

It wasn't a stretch to suggest that she might have been experiencing a crisis of self interest. Proof of her desperation was seen later in the evening when, in an apparent bid for continued relevancy, Taitz appeared on MSNBC's The Last Word. As Mediate noted, she "spent her 14th minute" being torn to shreds before being thrown off the show. I tend to agree with their critique that host Lawrence O'Donnell "was a tad merciless, but it’s hard to cry any crocodile tears for Taitz, who has been given far too much attention so far."

Shortly after the POTUS' presser and not too long after encountering the first online take from Taitz, I began to peruse the usual collection of hateful "birther" sites. My first stop was Joseph Farah's consistently factually challenged and Islamaphobic WND where this banner headline was worth a screen grab.

"Birth Certificate" in quotes. Yup. Again, providing precisely what Farah had been demanding for so long was not good enough. WND, with frequent contributors like Taitz, has created a hell of a money making machine as one of the "carnival barkers" the President referred to in his statement. Like Taitz, Farah went running to MSNBC and tried to justify a continued argument against the President. On Cenk's show, he faced not only the host but Eric Boehlert of Media Matters. It's a pretty wild ride.

I was pleased to see Maddow profile Farah's big-smear industry later in the evening. She notes, with little surprise, that many of the same dishonest bad-actors who have tried to destroy other Democrats in the last few years are central participants in his schemes.

As the day wore on, the other rats weren't exactly fleeing the sinking ship. It turns out, the worst of them were not welcome at all on MSNBC. But they sure found room over at FOX. Of course, it was on FOX Business. It would seem that even Sean Hannity was not willing to put radical anti-Muslim extremist and anti-Obama propagandist Pamella Geller on the air this time.

Having already simultaneously proven she doesn't know how to use Adobe products while declaring the release to be "an obvious fake" earlier in the day, who better to invite for an honest discussion than someone who recently argued that ensuring the free speech of Muslims within America is actually a threat to free speech. That's some big thinkin'.

The following clips, courtesy of Media Matters, show Murdoch's clown, Eric Bolling, providing a forum for Pam and others to cast doubt on the "long form" release.

The President's speech "sounded like Ford pardoning Nixon."

Bolling introduces Pam as a "political activist who has been a leader in the birther movement" as if that were a good thing.

"Had to be Photoshopped"


Dave Weigel posted a solid piece that is highly recommended over at Slate. In it, he lays out the genesis of the "birther"meme. More to the point, he makes this observation about these ridiculous puppets:

"Does this end "birtherism?" I don't think it will. Surely more forgery gurus will tumble out of the woodwork and quibble with the kerning. This document includes the name of Obama's hospital and attending physician, but it doesn't include a footprint, and even though no Hawaii birth certificates like this included that, it'll be a reed for birthers to hang on to."

David Frum, the conservative faux-conservatives love to hate for essentially telling the truth too often wrote a piece called The Birther Disgrace. It would do his fine observations a disservice not to quote at length:

"Any last lingering doubts that maybe, perhaps, a pregnant Stanley Ann Dunham in the summer of 1961 boarded a propeller plane from Honolulu to Los Angeles, then from Los Angeles to New York City, then from New York City to Gander, then from Gander to London, then from London to Nairobi – and then repeated the trip backward a few weeks later – all so that her baby could acquire Kenyan nationality – those doubts are definitively squelched, as they should have been three years ago.

Now the more haunting question: How did this poisonous and not very subtly racist allegation get such a grip on our conservative movement and our Republican party?

I know there will be Republican writers and conservative publicists who will now deny that birtherism ever did get a grip. Sorry, that’s just wrong. Not only did Trump surge ahead in Republican polls by flaming racial fires – not only did conservative media outlets from Fox to Drudge to the Breitbart sites indulge the birthers – but so also did every Republican candidate who said, “I take the president at his word.” Birthers did not doubt the president’s “word.” They were doubting the official records of the state of Hawaii. It’s like answering a 9/11 conspiracist by saying, “I take the 9/11 families at their word that they lost their loved ones.”

Yet even now, the racialist aspect of the anti-Obama movement has not subsided. Trump has moved from the birth certificate to questioning the president’s academic qualifications for the Harvard Law School. Trump himself was a troubled student (at one point he attended a military school) who nonetheless gained admission to Wharton. His father’s wealth and business success cannot have hurt with that application. Yet he feels himself qualified to pronounce on who is and who is not smart enough to attend Harvard Law. Barack Obama graduated magna cum laude. (And to anticipate a new line of attack – yes, Harvard Law School exams were blind-graded.) He was elected editor of the law review. And his classmates, left and right, universally admired his abilities.

I wish it were otherwise, but it does seem that these racialized attacks on Obama have exacted a toll on him. But they also have exacted a toll on the opposition to Obama. The too-faint repudiation of birtherism by regular Republicans has shaped not only the Obama brand, but also the Republican brand. It was not only white people who heard the implied message about who counts and who does not count as a “real American.”

I write as an opponent of virtually every major and minor action of this administration. Republicans should be fighting this president on policy, not winking at those who use race as a weapon."

There are many on the right who see this for what it is and call it out for what it is; Evil. Pure, unadulterated racist garbage.

But it continues. This morning, the pranksters and goons have already praised Donald Trump's idiocy as well as provided a forum for that little lipstick-Fascist Michelle Malkin to say "birthers" still have a "legitimate concern" about the President's eligibility. Since we haven't yet repealed the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, she is plainly lying.

As I am reluctant to degrade my blog any further, I only wish to share one observation regarding the media-whore known as "The Donald." Having promised to release his tax returns if Obama released the "long form" birth certificate, he predictably backed down.

So. Here we are.

After more than 2 solid years of this flagrantly bigoted pooh-flinging by these right wing gibbons, including "at least 52" stories hyping "birtherism" on the Murdoch Device in the last 2 months alone according to Media Matters, an entire industry with huge cash-generating opportunities for its hucksters is in jeopardy. Built up around their ridiculous claims, this has become their very livelihood.

At some point, this became too damn profitable to let go.

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