Friday, January 15, 2010

Who Are the Real Conspirators?

While all the evidence points to Hawaii, Birthers just know that Barak "the Messianic One" Obama was born in Kenya. . . .

by Michael David Rawlings
July, 2009

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal writes: "They claim without basis that today's birth certificate is a fake; there is nothing to stop them from claiming without basis that yesterday's is as well" ("It's Certifiable: The last word on President Obama’s place of birth").

For sure. But if not for a widespread ignorance about the provisions governing citizenship and presidential eligibility, this foolishness would have been arrested by the American conservative a long time ago. Unlike the sober among us, Birthers are not tethered to the constraints of demonstrable facts; hence, they are free to conjure up any number of alternate realities in which even vast and complex conspiracies are commonplace.

While an objectively thorough investigation online readily yields the truth behind the sometimes sincerely held misconceptions of some and the flat-out deceptions perpetrated by others, the ranks of the Birther Movement continue to swell. Those schooled in the provisions governing American citizenship recognize that most of the Movement's claims are preposterous and understand what information is needed in order to substantiate or debunk the rest. But in order for the novice to wade through the sewer of misinformation and come out clean on the other side, he must be armed with a ruthless skepticism and a tenacious inquisitiveness—the former to resist the lure, the latter to push past the lie.

So what about the numerous petitions that have been filed by attorneys challenging Obama's presidential eligibility?

The best of them—or is it the "weaseliest"? —are premised on carefully parsed technicalities in the extreme that to the novice might appear to have merit, but are in fact ruses based on nothing more than congressional clarifications or reaffirmations that could not and did not abrogate previously established law. The worst of them are based on unsubstantiated claims that don't have a chance in hell of being seriously considered by any court, and they know it.

Sadly, most of those who have joined this craze are conservatives, persons who are supposed to care about facts and sound logic. Instead, they have been seized by a feverish hatred for the Messianic One. It's the flip side of Bush-derangement syndrome. Politics by slogan. Debate by sophistry. Other conservatives who do not necessarily believe the Movement's claims—ascribing to the doctrine of fighting leftist lies with even more lies of their own—suggest it is a good idea to encourage the Brithers to go on with their campaign. They see the spread of fictitious rumors as a means of creating doubt and suspicion in the minds of the independent voting block, since alienating them is the only way that such a strategy might work. But they are wrong. It will be the general public's rejection of failed policies that will defeat Obama as conservatives make their case on the issues. The other way only serves to create more confusion about the law on citizenship and eligibility, as it makes conservatives look stupid and dishonest, instead of the sane alternative to the left's lies and failures. Hence, Michael Medved says that they "make us look sick, troubled and not suitable for civilized company."

What was attorney Philip J. Berg's motive after all, if not a failed attempt to do the very same thing relative to what he considers to be best for the country? And that's giving him the benefit of the doubt, considering all the notoriety and checks going his way. Berg, a friend and political supporter of Hillary Clinton, proving that not all Birthers are conservatives, filed a petition for a writ of injunction against the seating of the Electoral College based on the assertion that Obama was born in Kenyan. . . . Of course he submitted absolutely no demonstrative evidence of this, let alone certifiable proof. Who among you believes that Berg based his actions on sincerely held concerns about the Constitution?

Birthers excel at perpetuating groundless rumors, launching them from blogs or attaching them to links copied and pasted to posts with titles like "Obama's COLB a Forgery!" or "Obama Born in Kenya!". And when a rumor like the one about Sarah Onyango Obama telling an American clergyman that her grandson was born in Kenya is shown to be false, the typical Birther asks , "Well, if she didn't say it, who did?" For the Birther, one answer always leads to the same question.

But the Birthers favorite pastime is to mangle the law on citizenship and nationality, or to disregard it altogether. Hence, when all else failed, it was claimed that the citizenship requirements of a foreign country could trump the status of one's citizenship in the United States or that a fraud allegedly perpetrated in a foreign country by adults could nullify the U.S. citizenship of a minor in their charge. Choose.

Before Justices Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas, for example, politely expressed their regret that this or that injunction would not be issued after all—not on that day or on any other—those of us who are learned in the law of citizenship and nationality can easily imagine these justices ripping pages from the petitions to wipe tears of ball-busting laughter streaming from their eyes and pocketing others for later use—the next time they wiped their asses.

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