Monday, August 3, 2009

Birthers, Cherry Picking, and the Politics of Stupid (updated)

One thing about fishing, it gives you time to think.

I was standing in the Knik river casting for silver salmon this last weekend and something occurred to me.


These people are idiots of the highest caliber. Birthers make the standard issue conspiracy nut look like a paragon of rational thought, their delusion is on such a scale that it almost defies description.

Now, I’m pretty sure that the real basis of the Birthers’ persistent fervor is simple racism egged on by the pundits and the talking heads – the ones that keep bloviating on about how America is going to hell in a handcart because they didn’t get what they wanted in the last election.

The crux of their protest is the following Constitutional paragraph:

No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States.

The issue being, of course, that the Birthers believe Obama is not, in fact, a “natural born” American citizen.

The problem is that the Constitution is pretty vague on what, exactly, a “natural born” citizen is. Nowhere in the Constitution is “natural born citizen” defined*. Could be that that the framers only intended to have as their president someone who was born naturally, without drugs or surgery or other such midwifery – too bad for all those born via Caesarian Section I guess. Or maybe they meant the kid had to be born of two American citizens, or on America soil or only be right handed (lefties being considered somewhat unnatural at the time), or not a slave or a woman or Caligula's horse.

But the truth of matter is that the Founding Fathers didn’t mean any of those things.

What they did mean is fairly clear – as outlined in the Federalist papers and the personal writings of a number of the framers. They intended that the President be an American. That was their chief concern. Specifically what they really intended was that President’s loyalties were to the United States and the United States only. What they were afraid of was that a bastard member of the English aristocracy would emigrate, become a citizen, and get elected – and turn the United States back over to the King in one form or another.

The Birthers don’t care about that, of course. They really don’t give a damn about the Constitution, or the intention of the Founding Fathers. What they really want is that black man out of the White House before he stinks up the place. They’re angry and hurt that America is not the crazy religious theocracy that they think they want to live in. They’re upset that they lost, and not just lost but lost by what nearly amounted to a landside. They simply can’t accept it, can’t accept that there is a black man in the White House, a liberal, a Democrat – so in their twisted minds the man must be a “usurper.” He’s black, he must have stolen the election, he must have cheated – because, of course, that’s what black people do. The common use of the word “usurper” is a dead giveaway, the Birthers feel that only a white man is naturally born of the United States and only a Conservative is a true American, and therefore rightfully the president.

Let’s say they got what they want, i.e. definitive proof that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, or Canada, or Whatthefuckistan, and is not, in fact, a natural born American citizen - however we chose to define it.

Then what?

There’s no provision in the Constitution for a do-over.

And the Constitution and electoral process doesn’t work like the Miss America Pageant. The runner up doesn’t get the crown in the event that the winner pisses off Donald Trump.

See, the Birthers seem to think that if they get rid of Obama, John McCain and Sarah Palin will automatically take over the Office and Jesus will then stop crying and be happy.

But it doesn’t work like that.

You have to read the whole Constitution, not just the one paragraph that says what you want to hear – it’s sort of like the Bible in that regard, you’re supposed to read all of it and comply with all of it, even the parts you don’t agree with.

The election is over.

The Democrats won.

If the President is unfit to hold office, well then the very next paragraph of the Constitution applies:

In case of the removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death, resignation or inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what officer shall then act as President, and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

See? That’s why it pays to actually read the Constitution, not just quote the parts that Rush or Glenn or Dobbs or your pastor happen to mention. That’s why it pays to actually, you know, think for yourself.

If Obama is declared unfit to hold office, you don’t get John McCain.

You get Joe Biden**

Update: This is the leader of the Bithers. Right here. This is the woman who started this nonsense, who continues to fan the crazy flames, and will not let it die. This shrill disjointed obnoxious woman, right here.

If you are a Birther, this is who you’re keeping company with.

If I point and laugh, it's because, well, you're an idiot. Really.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

* However, natural born citizen is defined in a number of places in federal statute.

** And if Joe Biden is found unfit, then you get whoever Congress decides is President – the Democratic majority Congress. The Birthers don’t like President Obama, I wonder how they’d feel about President Pelosi?


  1. What? These people need to actually think and read and understand context?

    Oh, my.

    I think that's expecting a bit much.

  2. I'm sorry, expecting higher brain functions will only leave you in disappointment.

  3. "You get Joe Biden...or I wonder how they’d feel about President Pelosi?"

    I wish that would shut those idiots the F** up!!

    Jim, you made my day! Expecting people to read AND comprehend a 233 year old document in this day and age. HAHAHAHAHA!!!


  4. Crap, I'm a liberal and I don't want "President Pelosi."

    I could live with Uncle Joe, though. In spite of his hoof-in-mouth disease, he's a smart guy, and knows public policy like nobody's business.

  5. Like Wendy, I could live with Biden. Some of our best presidents have been liars, distorters of the truth, and moochers of other peoples' ideas. Reagan and Clinton, for example. Despite what Republicans think, it doesn't make them bad presidents... just average people.

    As for Pelosi, I feel that Californians should (must?) apologize for Nancy Pelosi, even those that didn't vote for her.

    I'll start. Sorry for Pelosi. (But we really, really wanted to get her out of the state and this is the only thing that would do it).

  6. er.... I meant Janeice. Sorry.

    Biden-ian slip, there.

  7. In my opinion the Republican Party has been taken over the most extreme religious right (people who love to push their beliefs on others while trying to take away their rights) and that’s who they need to focus on if they real want to win. Good Luck, because as they said in WACO, “We Ain’t Coming Out”.

    In the same vein, to all the birthers in La, La Land, it is on you to prove to all of us that your assertion is true, if there are people who were there and support your position then show us the video (everyone has a price), either put up or frankly shut-up. I heard Orly Taitz, is selling a tape (I think it’s called “Money, Lies and Video tape”). She is from Orange County, CA, now I know what the mean when they say “behind the Orange Curtain”, when they talk about Orange County, the captial of Conspiracy Theories. You know Obama has a passport, he travel abroad before he was a Senator, but I guess he fooled them too?

  8. Well hey, at least Biden is a white male. :p

    The idiots got Bush for eight years ferchrissake. You'd think they'd be satisfied with that.

  9. In related news, some birthers, including dentist/lawyer/real estate agent Orly Taitz, have finally found a document about Obama's birth they'll believe. Of course--minor detail, here--it appears to fix the President's birth in a city that wasn't located in a country that didn't exist under that name at the time, so I'm not sure they've actually proven he's a natural born citizen of Kenya after all (I'm not 100% sure, but I think that in proving the President was born in a place that didn't exist they may have proven he's a winged unicorn powered by love and who farts cancer--but don't hold me to that interpretation).

    Can a magical unicorn hold the highest office in the land? The Constitution doesn't directly answer the question, I'm afraid.

  10. Thanks, Eric. My head just exploded.

  11. Now, Eric, don't go clouding the issue with actual facts. Most of the Birthers are diehard Creationists - facts are like evolution, all lies by the liberal elitist left to usher in the End Times or something. I'm a little foggy on it all. It makes my head hurt.

    However, Eric, I do appreciate that link to the Salon article - I haven't heard the word "Zanzibar" in a long time. It evokes all kinds of associations within me of distant and wondrous lands.

  12. I've mentioned this elsewhere before, but whenever the Aryan Nation or the Klan or any of those other assholes apply for a permit to march or rally or whatever, I'm a big fan of giving it to them. Let them hold their march. Let me take pictures and publish all of their names and addresses.

    If dangerously delusional assholes want to voluntarily identify themselves to the rest of us, I say "more power to 'em".

    Same thing with the Birthers. While I realize that some of the politicians who refuse to categorically state that it's a ridiculous issue (answered conclusively), the majority of Birthers really are nothing more than racist assholes who can't stand having a black man in the White House. If they want to make sure we all know who they are, then I'll thank them for making things so easy.

  13. What we need, Nathan, are billboards that list their names, addresses, and phone numbers - you know, like deadbeat dads and sex offends and such.

  14. Maybe some pictures of them in their Grand Wizard sheets, smiling for the camera.

  15. "Zanzibar" does the same thing for me, too, Jim, and I can't read/see/hear "Mombasa" without immediately thinking of that sonofabitch Van Owen in a barroom drinking gin....

  16. I've been to Mombasa, several times. I never drank gin there though, in as much as I hate gin. But I did wander the streets singing Roland The Thompson Gunner until my shitmates threatened to "blow off my sonofabitchin' head."

    Mombasa is a strange and exotic and dangerous place. Very, cool.

  17. Jim had shitmates.


    (I'm not the least sure what it means, but it cracked me up.)


  18. That's what you call shipmates who are shitfaced with you while on liberty in a foreign port. Shitmates.

  19. Don't these people know that we're at war?!? Why are they trying to undermine the President of the United States of America at a time of war? Why do they hate America and our freedoms so much? And... no, sorry, I couldn't sustain that with a straight face.

    Would it undermine the liberal, or at least, not crazy, philosophy to form a Think Tank to develop media soundbites that hit people in a simple and visceral way that also didn't suck?

    Or is that a contradiction in terms?

  20. You know... I'm tempted to say that if this is the dreck that's keeping the religious right (and other assorted) wingnuts chasing their tails, then so be it. It's harmless, kinda like dead yeast in beer and it makes them look so very, utterly, unrepentantly ridiculous that "mainstream America," whatever that is, just flinches away instinctively.

    One less clinic to bomb, one less gay marriage to protest... if you look at it right, it's almost like a win-win, here. :-p

    (tongue planted firmly in cheek, folks)

  21. Yeah, Mombasa. My only uncle used to live on Likoni Beach - heck of place to punk out for a while. Good snorkling...

    Didn't you have a post up about this a couple of months ago? Same group, still a couple o' sprinkles short of a cupcake...

  22. I think Stephen Colbert's interview with that freeze-dried whackaloon was just hilarious.

    Although it did lead to a thirty minute discussion with my wife. She just couldn't believe that there really was such a movement and thought the whole thing was a put-on.

  23. Anytime I hear Mombassa I think of Brave New World.

    Congress has already chosen the Speaker of the House as next in line (job title, not person) with President Pro Tem of the Senate after that. Then the Secretary of State followed by other cabinet members in order of creation of their post (at least it was last I looked).

    The birthers over look that his mother was a natural born citizen of the US, which automatically makes him a natural born citizen. The oft quoted law that she had to have lived in the US for five years after age 14, and it was only 4 and some months, one doesn't cover natual born citizens and two doesn't count temporary travel.

    I think a federal court has thrown out one case on the grounds they can't have mutually exclusive theorys of why they should take the case.

    I find this funny, blithering idiots can amuse me.

  24. Steve, after finally hearing Orly Taitz for the first time (having finally had a chance to watch the video), I have to say if I didn't know better, I'd agree with your wife that it's a put-on. The wackiness, the accent, even the name (O RLY?) all reek of a performance artist in the Sascha Cohen mode--I just can't imagine she'd be filing lawsuits the way she is if she wasn't the real deal and a true believer.

    Truth is stranger than fiction. Again.

  25. I have to admit that my first take was that it was an SNL sketch getting out of hand but, the more I look into it, the dumber it gets. Is this women even qualified to practise law in the US? Maybe somebodt should be looking into her anticedents...

  26. Maybe I should be looking into my spelling too :)

  27. Taitz is a member of the California Bar.

    But she’s not listed as a member of the American Bar Association.

    Her law school is William Howard Taft University, a non-accredited institution. Because Taft is a distance-learning school only, Taitz’s degree entitles her, at most, to practice in California - which is clearly spelled on in Taft's documentation.

    She apparently passed the CA "Baby" Bar, the first year law students exam, which entitled her to take the California Bar Exam, which she apparently passed and was admitted to the Bar. So, technically, in California she is indeed a lawyer - though not a practicing one as you'd think of it. Apparently she is also a dentist and operates two clinics in Orange County, CA.

    She apparently has a history of hysteria and frivolous lawsuits. Including this one: Lightfoot v Bown".

  28. That last should be "Lightfoot v Bowen"

  29. Question I, Item F: "...very high pubic importance..."

    I quit about page 16.

    Yep - couple nuggets short of a Happy Meal.

  30. Sort of off-topic but ... could you fix your footnote asterisks? The first one refers to something in the text that isn't actually asterisked, and the second one is presently referring to something in the text that only has one asterisk. >.>

  31. Oh for crying out loud, next you'll want to see my birth certificate (which, ironically enough, I did have to present to the government this morning).

    The first one was there, MWT, just a little hard to pick out of the background. I made it red, should be easier to see now.

    I fixed the Biden one.



  32. Should the birthers ever succeed in removing a duly elected President of the United States, then the terrorists will have won. Therefore, we should round up the birthers and ship them to Gitmo -- or Standish Maximum Correctional Facility in Michigan, should it be re-opened to take in terrorists (and traitors). It's no longer a political protest when they've raised an objection and it's been refuted. Standing there saying "LA-LA-LA-LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!" doesn't count.

    Dr. Phil

  33. Jim, a couple of things (even if it means being fair to Ms. Taitz, who is pretty clearly nuts):

    First, the ABA is basically a trade organization. They do some useful things--IIRC, they're involved in the law school accreditation process, and they've helped rate most modern Supreme Court nominees, for instance--but they're mostly useless. I'm not an ABA member, and I don't think I know any, though I still get spam from them because I was a member--when it was free, right after I graduated law school (they give away memberships to new grads, hoping some of them will stick).

    Second, passing a State Bar only allows you to practice in that State (and you can join the Federal Bar if you're so inclined--IIRC that merely entails being licensed to practice somewhere and being sworn in, I don't think there's a fee involved; when I was sworn into the NC State Bar in Mecklenburg County, they also went ahead and did a mass "I, state-your-name" swearing in to the Western Federal District in NC, so I guess I'm technically a member of the Federal Bar although I don't believe I've ever even set foot in a Federal Courthouse.

    There are basically three ways you can practice in more than one state: first, you can take the Bar in every state you want to practice in and pay the appropriate Bar dues in each state. Second, you can sometimes be admitted into another State's Bar without taking the exam (or without taking a full exam) if a state you're already licensed in has some form of comity with the other state and you meet the other state's requirements for comity (usually time, e.g. you've practiced law in a comity state for at least five years). Finally, some states will allow some limited form of appearance on a case-by-case basis if you have a state-licensed lawyer as co-counsel (e.g. O.J. Simpson's "dream team" could include lawyers from around the country because (a) there were California lawyers serving as counsel and (b) they were approved to handle that particular case while Cali lawyers continued to be a primary part of the legal team).

    I don't think I'm forgetting something, but there may be another way to get around.

    In short, you could say the same thing regarding "technically a lawyer" about, say, me: I'm licensed to practice in NC. I can't practice in Tennessee unless I join the Tennessee State Bar by passing their exam or through comity if they have it, or unless I am co-counsel with a Tennessee lawyer and a judge says I can "help" the Tennessee attorney (even if I'm practically the lead counsel for most intents and purposes). At least in State courts--I could appear as a lawyer in a Federal Court in Tennessee if I really had to.

    The major significance of the "Baby Bar" and unaccredited law school thing is simply that most states will not allow you to take the State Bar at all (even if you could pass it) unless you went to an accredited law school. California does allow you to sit for the Bar, but only if you pass a sort of "pre-exam" before you apply to take the actual Bar Exam. It is still possible even having gone to an unaccredited school that Ms. Taitz could practice outside California--through one of the routes outlined above (however, note that the "just take the other state's Bar Exam" might not be an option unless the other state allowed graduates of unaccredited schools to take the test or take it after passing a pre-test like Cali's).

    Make sense.

    All that having been said, if it turns out she knew one of her recent motions was based on a fraud (the forged birth certificate), her ability to continue practicing in California may end up being curtailed, too.

  34. Sorry, "Make sense" should have been "Make sense?" It was a question, not a demand. Any other questions about lawyering I can try to answer?

  35. P.P.S.

    And just to be clear: all of the above is about state courts. I believe everything Taitz is filing is in Federal Court, which is different.

  36. Right. That's what I meant, Eric, thanks for just repeating what I said, only longer


    Actually to clarify my "technically she's a lawyer" comment, what I meant was that professionally she's a Dentist. That's how she makes a living. Filing federal lawsuits seems to be more of a hobby - i.e. she didn't hang out a shingle and practice law for a living. Sorry, should have been more clear.

    And I made an assumption, which I shouldn't have, which is that everybody understand the state licensing situation. Thanks for spelling that out in detail.

    Basically I was looking to answer ZeDeFraG's question, "Is this woman even qualified to practice law in the US?"

    Short answer, Yes. Long answer, I wouldn't hire her. And she's not exactly what you think of when you think of somebody who actually attended an accredited law school and then passed the Bar.

    (Note: from the patient reviews at the California Healthnet, she's not exactly a stellar Dentist either)

  37. Sorry, I misunderstood the snark. :-)


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