Respectful Insolence

Among the most bizarre and risible conspiracy theories currently going around, rising to the top (or near the top) has to be notion that President Obama was not actually born in the United States and therefore is not a U.S. citizen and not eligible to be President of the United States. Indeed, ever since the heat of the 2008 election, this particular unsinkable rubber duck of a conspiracy theory keeps getting slapped down by reason and evidence, only to rise to the surface again and again and again. It’s truly a wingnut paradise, because, quite frankly, the people who passionately believe it either don’t realize or don’t care how ridiculous they look. Unfortunately, “birthers” (the slang term for what believers in this particular conspiracy theory are often called) have become a fairly potent force in American politics, thus proving that no idea can be so stupid that it can’t possibly gain a sizable following among Americans.

Although the birther phenomeon is an annoyance for the President and Democrats, it’s probably also a guilty pleasure for them to watch Republicans making fools of themselves. Indeed, the birther phenomenon has posed a major problem for conservatives, the Tea Party movement, and, most of all, for the Republican leadership. After all, how do you present your party or political movement as a reasonable, rational group when it contains a large percentage of people (as high as 40%, according to some polls) who give credence to an idea that is, at best fantasy, and at worst batshit insane? After all, even if President Obama were not born in the U.S., his mother was still a U.S. citizen, which makes him a “natural-born” U.S. citizen, just as, for example, John McCain is a natural-born U.S. citizen, even though he wasn’t born in the U.S. The result has been some rather–shall we say?–uncomfortable moments for the more mainstream Republican candidates, who for obvious reasons don’t want to be seen as buying into a loony conspiracy theory but who also for equally obvious reasons don’t want to risk alienating a large segment of their base. Some Republicans, like Donald Trump, cynically use the birther issue for self-aggrandizement, but the more sober conservatives recognize it as a problem.

Given this background and given the well-known immunity to science, logic, evidence, and reason inherent in conspiracy theories like the moon hoax, Holocaust denial, the Roswell incident, Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories, and the “9/11 Truth” movement, for example, all of which resist even the most compelling evidence against them, I’m puzzled why now, of all times, President Obama has decided finally to release a photocopy of his “long form” birth certificate from Hawaii. He even personally held a press conference about it:


His justification:

The President believed the distraction over his birth certificate wasn’t good for the country. It may have been good politics and good TV, but it was bad for the American people and distracting from the many challenges we face as a country. Therefore, the President directed his counsel to review the legal authority for seeking access to the long form certificate and to request on that basis that the Hawaii State Department of Health make an exception to release a copy of his long form birth certificate. They granted that exception in part because of the tremendous volume of requests they had been getting.

At a time of great consequence for this country – when we should be debating how we win the future, reduce our deficit, deal with high gas prices, and bring stability to the Middle East, Washington, DC, was once again distracted by a fake issue. The President’s hope is that with this step, we can move on to debating the bigger issues that matter to the American people and the future of the country.

All of which is true but irrelevant. As P.Z. Myers pointed out, this is a game Obama cannot win. Conspiracy theories do not go away when evidence refuting them is presented. Rather, they incorporate that new evidence into the conspiracy theory and keep going, using that evidence to claim an even bigger and more complex conspiracy. That’s what makes them conspiracy theories rather than reasonable questions about the accepted understanding of an event! The only reason JFK assassination conspiracy theories have faded is the tincture of time. It has been, after all, nearly 50 years. On the other hand, some conspiracy theories grow with time. The idea that an alien spacecraft landed at Roswell and the government recovered the wreckage and alien corpses was only believed by a tiny number of people until it was publicized in the late 1970s when various witnesses started telling the story. That was thirty years after the actual event. Since then, multiple reports have been released that refute the claim of the Roswell believers, but the belief that the government hid evidence of alien visitations during the late 1940s remains stubbornly immune to reason. It remains to be seen whether 9/11 Truther conspiracy theories will grow or fade with time, but I suspect they probably will probably fade as the pain of the memory diminishes with time, much as Pearl Harbor conspiracy theories did.

Worse, arguably Obama took care of this in the worst possible way. He held a press conference personally, thus putting the imprimatur of the Office of the Presidency on the issue. I can understand that there might be reasons that the White House would decide to try to put this to bed by releasing his long form birth certificate. I can understand that Obama has come to see this as a distraction that he can no longer afford to wink at. Or, as Obama put it in his announcement, “We do not have time for this silliness.” But the way to do this would have been to have the press secretary (or better yet, a low level flack) release the document with a brief press release and then say nothing more. Yes, I know, conspiracy theorists, being conspiracy theorists, would probably have argued that the “secretive” release of the document is slam-dunk evidence that there must be something wrong with it, that Obama’s hiding something, but those same people are already claiming that this doesn’t put the issue to rest because, well, they are conspiracy theorists. Among the comments, some being voted on some simply comments in the discussion forum, we find:

  • “I’m with Trump in calling for the rest of Obama’s vital documents that he’s been concealing for years.”
  • “I suspect the image released by Obama is a forgery.”
  • “I know the image of the document is a fake, just like Obama.”
  • “If the document is so innocuous, why did Obama take so long and spend a fortune on attorneys preventing its release?”
  • “The release is opening up a can of worms and is creating more questions than answers.”
  • “Obama blinked. I can’t wait to see what happens next.”
  • “If he’s eligible, so is every kid from illegal ‘wetbacks’ that drop a kid in the USA.”
  • “If this document is legitimate and he truly believes he is eligible, why did he suppress it for so long? Why did he allow an Army officer to be tried and sent to prison for his belief that he was ineligible if he had proof to the contrary?”

As one commenter at Pharyngula said mockingly:

Why doesn’t Obama meet every birther in person to show them the original of the Birth Certificate, if he has nothing to hide?

Why doesn’t Obama give Donald Trump a time machine so that he can personally witness his birth, if he has nothing to hide?

I’m sure my readers can think of their own amusing questions about the issue. In any case, while birthers are predictably trying to cast doubt on the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate and trying to argue that the pen used to sign Obama’s long form birth certificate didn’t exist in 1961 (I kid you not), my favorite from the WND conspiracy loon forum was this one:

Even if the Birth Cert is Real – his Dad was not a Citizen, so he’s not eligible to be President (although he DOES qualify to be eligible to be President of Kenya by their new Soros Constitution).

Which is utter nonsense. Obama’s mother was a U.S. citizen, which means that if the birth certificate was real, Obama was born in the United States. That alone makes the fact that his father was not a citizen completely irrelevant.

Conspiracy theories are at their heart irrational in their rationality. They take on the patina of reason by appearing to use the tools of science, skepticism, and reason in order to attack the consensus understanding of an event. The key word is “appearing.” In reality, conspiracy theories are profoundly unscientific and unskeptical, because they do not allow for any possibility that the conspiracy theory might be wrong. 9/11 Truthers, moon hoaxers, Holocaust deniers, JFK assassination conspiracy theorists, believers in alien abductions, they all share this common trait of cherry picking evidence to support the conspiracy. When it can’t do that, a conspiracy theory will absorb all evidence thrown against it, incorporating it into itself much as the Blob incorporated anything it engulfed into itself to make itself bigger and stronger. If fear Obama has badly miscalculated.

ADDENDUM: Politico nails it:

Lurid conspiracy theories have followed presidents for as long as the office has existed. Yet even Obama’s most recent predecessors benefited from a widespread consensus that some types of personal allegations had no place in public debate unless or until they received some imprimatur of legitimacy — from an official investigation, for instance, or from a detailed report by a major news organization.

And:

It’s hard to imagine Bill Clinton coming out to the White House briefing room to present evidence showing why people who thought he helped plot the murder of aide Vincent Foster– never mind official rulings of suicide — were wrong. George W. Bush, likewise, was never tempted to take to the Rose Garden to deny allegations from voices on the liberal fringe who believed that he knew about the Sept. 11 attacks ahead of time and chose to let them happen.

Leading to:

He did so, senior Obama advisers say, because of the radical reordering of the political-media universe over the past 15 years, or so. The decline of traditional media and the rise of viral emails and partisan Web and cable TV platforms has meant the near-collapse of common facts, believed across the political spectrum.

Comments

  1. #1 Mike
    April 28, 2011

    While I agree completely with your general sentiment, you are incorrect in regards to the legalities.

    Here is analysis of the legal aspect:

    “igh. Articles like this don’t really help the matter, because the author of the Guardian piece makes a serious factual error. We’ve just been discussing this on PA (again), so it kind of leaps out.

    The author cites to Section 8 USC 1401, which – in its current form – would confer citizenship at birth to a child born in the circumstances of Obama’s birth. That section currently provides:

    a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years….: (emphasis mine).

    However, that is apparently not the language that existed back in 1961. At the time, the law provided citizenship at birth to:

    a person born outside the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, has had ten years’ residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions, at least five of which were after attaining the age of sixteen years, the other being an alien….: (emphasis mine).

    Since Obama’s mother was eighteen years old at the time of his birth, she would not have met the bolded requirement of the statute in effect in 1961. Despite the author’s contention, it thus becomes very relevant whether Obama was born in the U.S., and it has nothing to do with the constitutionality of current 8 USC 1401.

    Of course, Obama was born in the U.S. – the factual predicate of the birther claim is still BSC. But their constitutional analysis is not suspect, and the author shows that he hasn’t taken the time to minimally understand their arguments. That type of column doesn’t help at all.”

  2. #2 Brian Morgan
    April 28, 2011

    What I find strange is that in the UK anyone can pay for and be sent in the post a full certified copy of another individual’s birth certificate – living or deceased (unless there’s been an adoption and then there are constraints).

    America, supposedly the land of free-speech, First Amendment and all that, this is not permitted (in some states at least – not sure about all of them). So in this case President Obama had to send for the copy and now there are complaints about the environmental cost of getting someone to travel so many thousands of miles to pick it up.

  3. #3 Alexis
    April 28, 2011

    In addition to Steve’s comments: My daughter is a US citizen born abroad to one US citizen parent. When I registered her birth at the US Embassy, her CRBA came with a slip of paper saying that it was legally unclear whether US citizens born abroad were “native born.” I can’t remember the exact wording, unfortunately, and I doubt I still have the paper–this was 2007. I do remember being surprised by it, and from what I read afterwards, you can find sources saying it’s not a problem and people saying it might be. So, even IF (which he isn’t) Barack Obama had been born abroad to one US citizen parent who met the requirements to transmit citizenship, it’s not clear that he could be president.

    I hate giving any credence whatsoever to the birthers, because their factual basis is nonexistent, but it is true that the legal issues are murky.

  4. #4 passionlessDrone
    April 28, 2011

    Hello friends –

    Although the birther phenomeon is an annoyance for the President and Democrats, it’s probably also a guilty pleasure for them to watch Republicans making fools of themselves. Indeed, the birther phenomenon has posed a major problem for conservatives, the Tea Party movement, and, most of all, for the Republican leadership. After all, how do you present your party or political movement as a reasonable, rational group when it contains a large percentage of people (as high as 40%, according to some polls) who give credence to an idea that is, at best fantasy, and at worst batshit insane?

    Dead on. Obama should have let them keep on chomping on the bit, anyone who listened to the argument was never going to do anything but vote Republican or Crazy Republican no matter what anyways.

    The whole thing is reminiscent of the anti-census idiocy that took the Republican base thought processes up for a few weeks this summer; with Karl Rove hilariously trying to explain that it was bad for conservatives not to be counted in the census.

    Those who benifit most from Republican policies have succeeded too well for their own good; they can only get a large enough base to win elections by channeling large swaths of morons to their party through fear, and subtle and not so subtle misinformation. Now that they have them under their tent, they are having to face up to the reality that their caricature demands, largely based on the bullet point bullshit that convinced people to goto the polls in the first place, cannot be accomodated within a reality based system.

    Obama should have let them rot.

    - pD

  5. #5 Pablo
    April 28, 2011

    The suggestion I heard on JREF was that he did it now to give Trump as much credibility as possible, so that it improves his chances of being a candidate. Preferably, he would run independently after not getting the republican nom, but it really doesn’t matter. Obama vs Trump is not close.

  6. #6 Orac
    April 28, 2011

    While I agree completely with your general sentiment, you are incorrect in regards to the legalities.

    I realize I was unclear here. My point was that if the birth certificate was real, then the fact that Obama’s father was Kenyan is completely irrelevant. The text originally said, “Nothing in the Constitution or federal law states that both parents have to be U.S. citizens for a child born of them to be a U.S. citizen. Obama’s mother was a U.S. citizen.” I forgot, however, to add, “if the birth certificate is legitimate.” The text has been changed to be clearer. My point was that a truly stupid argument was being made that even if Obama’s birth certificate is legitimate then his father’s citizenship status is irrelevant.

  7. #7 SLC
    April 28, 2011

    Re Mike @ #1

    It’s not quite so cut and dried as Mr. Mike indicates. It is quite true that the earlier statute says 5 years and the later statute says 2 years. However, the question as to which statute would apply to the president, if it reached the Supreme Court, is something that constitutional scholars would have a field day discussing. The court could rule that the earlier statute was in force at the time of the presidents’ birth and therefor is operative. However, the court could also rule that the later statute supersedes the earlier due to the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Fortunately, the evidence of overwhelming that he was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961 so the question is moot.

  8. #8 Abdul Alhazred
    April 28, 2011

    Is it a coincidence this happened the same day they cancelled SETI?

    Just asking questions. :)

  9. #9 Denice Walter
    April 28, 2011

    I am having great laughs about this because I have a highly questionable-looking birth certificate: it’s a fully certified copy that was created when I was about 5 years old (because my parents lost mine while moving, or so I was told) *however* it looks incredibly phoney- the type of paper used, the way it’s typed- it just looks like a poor forgery done by an amateur is a basement. People look at it and shake their heads.

    But then, I am the product of a liberal, elitist, international education, from a largely agnostic-atheistic family, and have been politically active since age 18, so I guess it comes with the territory.

  10. #10 BikeMonkey
    April 28, 2011

    Well, I suppose we now know orac ain’t black…

    Look, this ‘othering’ perpetuated by white Americans against black Americans is complex shit. It is not impossible that Obama’s thinking was influenced by this more so than a sober assessment of the politics*. Either for personal reasons or because he feels that if he can be successful in tamping down the national news level of constant ‘othering’ of African Americans he is doing them a service in their day to day lives.

    *and he has shown himself to be relatively uninterested in making the other side look like the fools that they are.

  11. #11 mattand08
    April 28, 2011

    On topic: Obama should have never released the long form. Once again, he’s trying to appease and work with a group of people who are out of their fucking minds with hatred towards him. These mouth breathers are already questioning the timing and veracity of this document, as well as making other idiotic demands.

    And this bullshit about how he’s somehow outmaneuvering the GOP is nothing but pure spin. Every Republican voter who claims to be embarrassed by this will still vote Republican, despite the fact the GOP is shamelessly pandering to the racist element of their party.

    Sorry, but this is really been bothering me lately. I find it beyond depressing that so many of my fellow Americans are this unabashedly stupid and actually glory in it.

  12. #12 Mike
    April 28, 2011

    Orac,
    You misinterpreted my comments. This has nothing to do with Obama’s father. The statutory problem is that Obama’s mother did not meet the requirements for Obama to be born a “natural born citizen” if he was not born in the US at the time he was born. That statute was later changed as SLC reinforced. The question then becomes is the concept of “grandfathering” allowed. The issue of the 14th Amendment would only apply to Obama’s case if people were treated differently under the previous statue. The change in the statute has no 14th amendment implications.

  13. #13 nlgirl
    April 28, 2011

    “batshit insane” LOVE IT! I am just waiting for the right moment to use that term myself. The masses are asses so I don’t think I will have to wait long.

  14. #14 Scott Cunningham
    April 28, 2011

    The constitutional questions are all interesting and law-nerdy, but utterly irrelevant as there is zero evidence that your President was born anywhere but Hawaii. Us foreigners long ago realized that the birthers are grasping at imaginary straws, imagined only because they’d be conveniently low-hanging straws if only they were real.

    It’s all that “other way of knowing” called making stuff up because it’s awfully convenient to one’s standing convictions.

  15. #15 Calli Arcale
    April 28, 2011

    Brian Morgan:

    America, supposedly the land of free-speech, First Amendment and all that, this is not permitted (in some states at least – not sure about all of them).

    It’s not a free-speech issue, it’s a privacy issue and an identity issue. We use birth certificates as a form of identification, and consequently, releasing them to anyone who asks would present opportunities for identity theft. Also, while FOIA requests can get you a great deal of information, personally identifying information may be redacted, depending on what it is. This is because while you are free to release whatever personal information you want to anybody you wish, government agencies aren’t so free. They have certain obligations to protect your personal data. (So do corporations, incidentally, though corporations and government agencies alike have a mixed record of success at this.)

  16. #16 Reading Frame
    April 28, 2011

    So now that we have Obama’s birth certificate, I demand a birth certificate for the thing on the Donald’s head.

  17. #17 NJ
    April 28, 2011

    nlgirl @ 13:

    “batshit insane” LOVE IT! I am just waiting for the right moment to use that term myself. The masses are asses so I don’t think I will have to wait long.

    And in situations where the fecal word may cause undue social distress, merely substitute ‘guano’; same effect and everybody knows what you really mean.

  18. #18 dogmatichaos
    April 28, 2011

    I’m actually impressed at how quickly the “birthers” were able to move the goalposts on this one. Seriously, they didn’t even blink. It’s almost like they had a ready made list of new arguments to immediately when and if his birth certificate were released.

  19. #19 G.Shelley
    April 28, 2011

    It’s kind of amusing that no one seems to accept Obama’s version that he did it because the issue was attracting too much attention and was a distraction. I have seen many news/blogs cover this and few of them have accepted that, they all seem to think there must be some sort of ulterior motive. Most people seem genuinely mystified about why he would do this, as it was making his opponents look bad. I have seen it argued that this was to take away Trump’s main talking point and make him look foolish and torpedo his campaign, but also that it was to make Trump look as though he had accomplished something and boost his campaign.

  20. #20 Richard
    April 28, 2011

    You may be right, but I hope this will at least diminish the birther hubbub if it can’t put it completely to rest.

  21. #21 Sir Eccles
    April 28, 2011

    This video is the most eloquent response I have seen so far:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX5ueEKsSWc

  22. #22 Orac
    April 28, 2011

    You misinterpreted my comments. This has nothing to do with Obama’s father.

    Actually, you misinterpreted mine. You saw that I mentioned that it’s irrelevant whether Obama’s father was not an American citizen given that his other was but you ignored the context, which was that my comment was a response to someone who said, “Even if the Birth Cert is Real – his Dad was not a Citizen, so he’s not eligible to be President (although he DOES qualify to be eligible to be President of Kenya by their new Soros Constitution).”

    Oh, I’ll grant you that I was perhaps not as clear as I might have been (hence the changes made to a couple of sentences after I saw your comment to make it clear that I meant “if the birth certificate is real” and a mild mea culpa in the comments), but in essence you zeroed in on a point I didn’t actually mean to make because, as Simon & Garfunkel once sang, “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”

    In any case, as you correctly point out, the entire issue of Obama’s citizenship if he weren’t born in Hawaii is completely irrelevant because there is no credible evidence that Obama was born anywhere other than Hawaii, although it is perhaps of interest to Constitution wonks who would argue over whether the current citizenship law superseded the old when it was passed.

  23. #23 MartinM
    April 28, 2011

    However, that is apparently not the language that existed back in 1961.

    As I understand it, the updated language was explicitly stated to apply retroactively to anyone born prior to the change.

  24. #24 Anton P. Nym
    April 28, 2011

    I’m starting to think that getting the Birthers to move the goal posts was the whole point of that press conference.

    If the White House staff really saw this as a nuissance and wanted it to fade, they would indeed have stuck a low-level staffer with the unpleasant duty of showing the long-form to the press. They had to know that a Presidential press conference on the thing would give it more visibility, at least in the short term… and that no amount of physical evidence was going to convince the True Believers.

    So why not use this as a wedge issue? Do the press conference, increase the profile of the issue, and get the Birthers to up their ante… which means that the GOP leadership has the unpleasant choice of sticking with the whackos in their base (while alienating moderates and swing voters) or taking a considered position (and risk the base staying home on voting day).

    In the mean time the WH’s measured note of exasperation on this energises the Dems’ base and appeals to independants.

    Between this press conference and the entry of The Donald into the fray, Obama may just have sewn up the ’12 election.

    — Steve

  25. #25 Sid Offit
    April 28, 2011

    Obama jumped to meet Trump’s demands like a contestant on the Apprentice. Barack you’re fired!

  26. #26 fiddler
    April 28, 2011

    So Obama had to address this ridiculous issue that Teapublicans kept pushing. “Just release it and let this be over,” they’d say. Immediately they started saying, “the president should have better things to do, why is he wasting time on this distraction?” Has there ever been a more intellectually corrupt and dishonest group?

    On a lighter note, Obama obliquely referred to Trump as a carnival barker during this press conference. Today, carnival groups and associations are crying foul, some insisting that they did not deserve to be insulted in such a fashion!

  27. #27 dc
    April 28, 2011

    Political jiu-jitsu. Obama is a black belt. The rethuglican leadership has been trying to regain control of these loonies; now rethug candidates can’t avoid the choice between alienating sane people and freaking out their off-the-deep-end “base.” Caught between Barack and a ‘tard place.

  28. #28 dc
    April 28, 2011

    Political jiu-jitsu. Obama is a black belt. The rethuglican leadership has been trying to regain control of these loonies; now rethug candidates can’t avoid the choice between alienating sane people and freaking out their off-the-deep-end “base.” Caught between Barack and a ‘tard place.

  29. #29 ababa
    April 28, 2011

    I personally think it is a shrewd political move, and I welcome it. The polls indicated that the birthers split the Republican party right down the middle. This will settle the issue for some birthers, but it will widen the divide between the reasonable moderates and the hard liners who won’t accept anything as an answer.

    It’s like antivaxers, they claim the “unvaxed study” will put their issues to rest, but we all know that isn’t true. They will simply move the goalposts, just like the hardcore birthers – simply because this has nothing to do with a birth certificate. To them he is different and foreign and that is bad, they simply threw the desire to see the long form to show they were “reasonable”, just like they demanded to see the certificate until the shorter one was released before, then that wasn’t good enough. Obama just released what is essentially an “unvaxed vs. vaxed study” in comparison.

    What this does is make the loons look loonier to the moderates and essentially breaks the Republicans into two parties. You have the hardliners that will primary a candidate if they don’t appease them, then you have the moderates that just consider this stupid and settled, and will resist anyone that continues to push the conspiracy theory. It’s a rock and a hard place for the Repubs, neither side of their own party will support someone that doesn’t pick their view. Clearly the establishment is uncomfortable with dealing with the conspiracy theory and the Dems are laughing all the way to the polls as the wedge gets pushed deeper. And a year and a half is plenty of time for the birthers to get really crazy and start primary booting their establishment guys that know they can’t get elected without the moderates and put in more political softballs like O’Donnell and Angle.

  30. #30 lilady
    April 28, 2011

    Anton P. Nym: I share your opinion completely. I am so enjoying the wing nut four-ring circus and delighted that head clown Trump has joined the fray. Lest we forget 16 states have had legislation proposed (most didn’t make it “out of committee”) in 2009 and 2010 to tighten up requirements for running for the presidency in their states.

    The wackiest state, Texas, stipulates that a presidential candidate must offer proof in the form of a long-form birth certificate. In lieu of the long-form birth certificate, “acceptable” other documents to prove citizenship would be an “early” baptismal certificate, hospital birth record or a CIRCUMCISION certificate. Dumb Texans don’t realize that most Islamic countries do circumcise infants…different now, than years ago…when older boys were circumcised signifying their entry into manhood.

    @ Sid Offal: Trump was never going to make a serious run…a few too many ex-wives and a few too many bankruptcies in his past. President Obama is a shoo-in!

  31. #31 Dianne
    April 28, 2011

    So when is Trump going to release his complete birth certificate? And his arrest record, complete medical records, and first grade report card. You can never be too careful about potential presidential candidates.

  32. #32 Chris
    April 28, 2011

    Sir Eccles, thank you for posting that video link.

  33. #33 Margaret Toigo
    April 28, 2011

    Pres. Obama fed the trolls — and I think we all know what happens when trolls get fed…

  34. #34 Yojimbo
    April 28, 2011

    @ Margaret

    He did feed the trolls, but (just like we do here) he wasn’t really addressing the trolls but the fence-sitters. If he really believed that feeding the trolls would make them go away, he would have done it long ago. As Ababa points out above, this move cuts the fence-sitters off from the diehard loonies, and puts the Republican leadership is a real bind – say the issue is settled and alienate part of their support, or say it is still an issue and join the fringe.

    Their move of saying “the president has more importint things to do and shouldn’t be talking about this now” is weak, and more important, it looks weak.

    Obama will now refuse to comment any further on this (that’s my bet, anyway)

  35. #35 Rose
    April 28, 2011

    I’m a Republican, and I think this whole “birther” fray and the Tea party in general is a detriment to society. I hate the fact that Trump has decided to be in the spotlight because he is making a joke of the entire political system at this point. I also hate Sarah Failin with the fiery passion of one thousand suns.
    My question is this: if Obama had been born, say, 5 years earlier when Hawaii was not a state, would Obama be eligible? Would someone from Puerto Rico be eligible? I’ve been wondering since this whole hubbub started.

  36. #36 Mu
    April 28, 2011

    Obama is feeding the trolls because the more he does the more half the Republican party looks like Duffy Duck arguing with the Bunny. As a result, either the Republicans run a certified loon who will disgust the moderates and independents, or they run a reasonable person and half of the party will stay home. Win-win for him.

  37. #37 Jud
    April 28, 2011

    Rose writes:

    I’m a Republican, and I think this whole “birther” fray and the Tea party in general is a detriment to society. I hate the fact that Trump has decided to be in the spotlight because he is making a joke of the entire political system at this point. I also hate Sarah Failin with the fiery passion of one thousand suns.

    Sounds like the current Republicans have kinda redefined the term on you.

  38. #38 cervantes
    April 28, 2011

    I always knew Marc Siegel was a rectal opening, but now I get this press release:

    Contact: Katy Reddin, 212-999-5585, kreddin@5wpr.com

    THE INNER PULSE: Unlocking the Secret Code of Sickness and Health

    – Marc Siegel, MD Available For Immediate Interview

    Many doctors view the seemingly inexplicable tragedies and extraordinary recoveries that happen in hospitals every day simply as aberrations from the medical norm. In this remarkable new book, doctor and leading media commentator Marc Siegel explores how the mind affects illness, both positively and negatively. In his just released book, THE INNER PULSE: Unlocking the Secret Code of Sickness and Health, Fox News senior Medical Correspondent Dr. Marc Siegel, drawing on his decades of experience treating patients, explores the sometimes miraculous effects that mind and spirit can have on disease and healing. The inner pulse is the essence that links the soul to the brain and body, a marker that predicts whether a person’s life force is fading or strengthening. THE INNER PULSE shows readers how they may tap into this pulse and in, some cases, even influence it.

    THE INNER PULSE:

    • Explores how your inner pulse can alert you to what is going on in your body

    • Offers a new perspective on the positive and negative effects of the mind on illness and healing

    • Includes dramatic case stories of Dr. Siegel’s work with his own patients—those who have healed and those who have not—as well as his own story

    Exploring the uncanny world where a patient’s expectation and sometimes even an outcome can be driven by personal intuition, THE INNER PULSE will give you a deeper understanding of how the mind relates to disease and how the mind and the body, working in sync, can heal.

    (over)

    About the author:

    Marc Siegel, MD, (New York, NY) is a practicing internist, professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, and Medical Director of Doctor Radio at NYU and Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. He is a senior Medical Correspondent for Fox News. He is the author of several other books, including False Alarm.

  39. #39 Ken
    April 28, 2011

    I’m starting to think that getting the Birthers to move the goal posts was the whole point of that press conference.

    Absolutely. And Trump is the gift that keeps on giving. I’m starting to think he’s a Democratic plant.

  40. #40 Raging Bee
    April 28, 2011

    My question is this: if Obama had been born, say, 5 years earlier when Hawaii was not a state, would Obama be eligible? Would someone from Puerto Rico be eligible?

    Yes and yes, both because a US territory is US soil (“subject to the jurisdiction thereof”), and because Obama’s mum was a US citizen. (Also, states don’t get to change a person’s status under Federal law, and eligibility for Federal office is a matter of Federal law.) The only way this could be a problem is for someone born on land occupied by US forces, but not formally annexed by the US; i.e., Iraq.

  41. #41 lilady
    April 28, 2011

    @ Rose: Hawaii became a state two years before President Obama was born. If he was born 5, 10, 20 or 100 years earlier he would still be a citizen, based upon his mother’s U.S. citizenship.

    Citizenship was conferred to all Puerto Ricans by an act of Congress (Jones-Shafroth Act, October 1917.)

    No need to wonder about this hubbub or any more conspiracy theories that the wing nuts dream up. Here is a site you can check out:

    TruthorFiction.com Hawaii was not a state when Obama was born there.

  42. #42 Raging Bee
    April 28, 2011

    Rose: Why are you still a Republican when that party is so clearly and totally dominated by the idiots and loonies you rightly condemn? They’re not aberrations anymore, they’re not the “fringe;” they are the center and backbone of the party, and no one goes anywhere in the party without their consent. Remember when Michael Steele was duly elected chairman of your party’s national committee, and immediately had to apologize to Rush Limbaugh for failing to obey the party’s REAL leadership?

    Ever ask yourself how and why your party could lapse so far into such obvious insanity? Here’s the obvious answer: everything they’ve done has been an abysmal failure, and has undermined our country’s prosperity and dignity — from the unnecessary Iraq war to creationism to AGW denialism to tax cuts that force CHILDREN to be furloughed from schools, to banking deregulation that completely destroyed our financial system and undermined small business. The Republicans know this, and all they can do is scream nonsense in all directions, just to prevent anyone else from having an adult conversation about anything.

    They don’t WANT to solve America’s problems. They never did. They ARE America’s problems. You really should consider joining the Democrats instead. Sensible decent patriots have no place in the POG anymore.

  43. #43 Calli Arcale
    April 28, 2011

    Yes, he would still be eligible, Rose — it doesn’t have to be a state to be part of the US, and the language in the law specifies the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions. A territory would count.

    I am a natural born citizen of the United States, and I was not born in a state. I was born in Washington, DC. ;-) Puerto Ricans are also US citizens by virtue of birth, as are the inhabitants of Guam and the US Virgin Islands. I think it also extends to people born on US military bases abroad, as that is considered within the jurisdiction of the United States. And I seem to recall that Senator John McCain, who ran against Obama, was born in Panama. That wouldn’t disqualify him, as it was at the time a US possession.

    (Oh dear, looks like my Internet is going down, because I can’t seem to get at Wikipedia to confirm. Let’s hope this eventually goes through….)

  44. #44 Zombie
    April 28, 2011

    Birthers are racists, and accomplish nothing but demonstrate what a huge problem the US still has with racism.

  45. #45 Chris
    April 28, 2011

    Calli Arcale:

    And I seem to recall that Senator John McCain, who ran against Obama, was born in Panama. That wouldn’t disqualify him, as it was at the time a US possession.

    Not really, more like rented property (unincorporated territory). For Senator McCain it was a bit more complicated because the Panama Canal Company was giving lip service to Panama, but restricting access to the zone. While he was born of two US citizens, congress only clarified the status of those born in the Canal Zone in 1937. My dad gave me a copy of that law whenever I needed it for employment reasons. I also had a passport, and it was still maroon when I first worked for a large company (maroon passports are what are given to certain employees of the US Government and their dependents, my father was in the Army).

    In some countries even kids born to US Military personnel are sometimes claimed as citizens of their country. I had some friends who were born in France and they were told they could be conscripted into the French military. I don’t know if it was true, we heard lots of things as teenagers. They are US citizens just by having one parent as an citizen.

    I was born in the Panama Canal Zone while my father was stationed in Fr. Kobbe. We moved around quite a bit, and I also lived there for three years in high school (though had to move to Texas for last year!). That was about the time Torrijos was causing issues with the Canal Zone, and my father was prepared to file immigration papers for me (my fuzzy recollection was that all those born in the zone were going to be considered Panamanian citizens and taxed, or conscripted… I was only sixteen).

    Though living in the Canal Zone during some of the Omar Torrijos years gives me an interesting perspective on the birthers and tea party folks. People disappeared, there was real fear of the his Guardia Nacional, and if he did not like what the Miami Herald wrote about him those copies would be confiscated at the airport.

    It was also interesting living in the Canal Zone under the rule of the Panama Canal Company. Even though it was not expressly noted, up until the latter part of the 20th century all of the governors were in the US Army Corps of Engineers. There were rules, and some people were actually deported. Very bizarre place. Colonial, insular, extremely fun, there were definite class hierarchies and with a strange big brother feel.

    I am glad I missed the Noriega years. My high school chemistry teacher was the American murdered by his thugs during US invasion. The birthers and tea party folks remind me of certain dictators.

  46. #46 Rose
    April 28, 2011

    @Jud #37 and others:
    I’m still a Republican because I agree with the conceptual basis of the party far more than I do the Democrats, plain and simple. I’m a fiscal conservative, social moderate. Honestly, the majority of Republicans are sane people, despite what the media may say. There are plenty of sane, conservative individuals out there, I swear. (I know, I know, [citation needed] ;) )
    And thanks all for the clarification on the “natural born citizen” thing. It seems to be a far more complex topic than any three word phrase should ever be.

  47. #47 Rogue Epidemiologist
    April 28, 2011

    @Raging Bee
    I’m in same camp as Rose. I’m not a Democrat, and I don’t want to be a Democrat. I’ve always voted as a moderate conservative, and have been aligned with the Republicans (not easy when you go to an uber-liberal university and when you work in public health). But the birthers, Palinites, anti-immigrationists and Christian theocrats have overwhelmed the party and pushed it to the fringes.

    Until the GOP centers itself in the real world, I will be allying myself with the Libertarians.

    Otherwise, I’ll be forced to run under the Radical Centrist ticket. But then the birthers will come after me because I’m not white, and (by the time I am eligible to run for president will) have triple citizenship.

    With all that said, while I’m not in on all the Obama-love, if I had to publicly criticize the guy, I’d rather focus on ACTUAL POLITICAL ISSUES. At the end of the day, whether or not Obama was born in Hawaii (which he was, but I’m just sayin’) will not affect any of us nearly as much as how we are being taxed, or how much pollution is permitted, or how we choose to allow people in and out of our borders.

  48. #48 trrll
    April 28, 2011

    I also see it as a shrewd political move, probably aimed primarily at Trump and Palin, who have clearly been trying to use the “birther” movement as a leg up (whether as prospective candidates, or simply for publicity). I think that Obama is perfectly aware that this will just lead the true cranks to elaborate their conspiracy theories and move the goalposts, but that has the potential to reveal the true extent of their craziness to the moderates who still exist in the Republican Party. Now what do Trump and Palin do? Do they try to separate themselves from the birthers while doing the careful “no I wasn’t wrong then, I’m just responding to new information” dance? Or do they continue to support the cranks and run the risk of being themselves perceived as cranks by an even larger proportion of the American public?

  49. #49 Mark Bartok
    April 28, 2011

    Obama hasn’t put anything to rest in that he has conclusively proven he is a, “Counterfeit”, President with an absolutely atrocious forgery that was released for download by the Whitehouse! This is an insuklt to the intelligence of the American people! Forgerys done by school children to lie about their age, have been better created than this!

    Re:Kurt Nimmo
    Infowars.com
    April 28, 2011

    Our investigation of the purported Obama birth certificate released by Hawaiian authorities today reveals the document is a shoddily contrived hoax. Infowars.com computer specialists dismissed the document as a fraud soon after examining it.

    Check out the document released by WhiteHouse.gov for yourself.
    http://www.infowars.com/new-obama-birth-certificate-is-a-forgery/
    AND:
    http://www.infowars.com/top-20-conspiracy-theories-that-have-already-sprung-up-around-president-obamas-birth-certificate/

    Also check out the articles and comments on http://www.canadafreepress.ca

    Obama is absolutely a conman and not even a professional one after all the impeachable offences he has pulled!

  50. #50 Chris
    April 28, 2011

    Mr. Bartok, you’d have more credibility if you had posted a link to the released document at whitehouse.gov instead of “infowars.” Which is another site that qualifies for Scopie’s Law.

    I forgot to mention the other interesting thing about living in the Canal Zone in the early 1970s: the institutionalized racism. Another reason that people like Mr. Bartok and his infowars friends make me nervous.

  51. #51 Captain Patriot
    April 28, 2011

    This is good news, but why did it take so long? We asked for it two years ago.

    Now that we got his questionable citizenship/presidency out of the way, let us focus on why he is so anti-constitution and anti-Israel and why he loves far left radcial marxist terrorists as friends and why everyone in connection to him is a far left america hater kook.

  52. #52 Weeping for my country
    April 28, 2011

    Bartok = Poe 1

    Captain Patriot = Poe 2

  53. #53 lilady
    April 28, 2011

    Some very interesting comments by Mark Bartok. Now I located two persons with that name on the internet.

    The first listing is for Mark Bartok…a very gifted cellist.

    The second listing for Mark Bartok brings me to a blog iPatriot.com which has commentary (rant) about the authenticity of President Obama’s long form birth certificate. The site also states:

    “iPatriot.com is a social site for God fearing, American (sic) loving, gun packing conservatives that want to see this nation return to greatness”

    Which Mark Bartok is posting here?

  54. #54 reproductionfails
    April 28, 2011

    Far Left America Hater Kook will be the name of my next punk band.

    Or Self Inflicted Radical Brain Surgery. I like the second one better; at least Carl Sagan had a brain.

    FLAHK could be a side-project.

  55. #55 reproductionfails
    April 28, 2011

    @ lilady #52

    It’s totally the cellist.

  56. #56 Militant Agnostic
    April 28, 2011

    This whole citizenship thing is a carefully orchestrated distraction from the real issue regrading Obama, namely his species rather than his citizenship. The alleged long from birth certificate does nothing to prove he is human. WAKE UP SHEEPLE!!!!

  57. #57 Bronze Dog
    April 28, 2011

    What I find really funny about the whole Birther conspiracy theory: How the hell would the conspirators know that Obama would get elected? They’d have to have godlike precognition abilities. Hell, all the experts at the time of the election couldn’t be sure whether Obama or Hillary Clinton would win.

    And yet, these superhuman gods who sired and trained Obama were able to see and/or control the results decades beforehand.

    And if they could control the outcome, why the hell would they deliberately choose a foreign baby? Any American baby born to wealthy and/or influential parents would be just as good, and carry no risk of exposure via birth certificate.

    In short, Birthers expect us to believe that the conspirators are simultaneously divine in their level of insight AND monumentally stupid to deliberately choose an easy method of self-sabotage.

    Remember when this sort of crazy used to be associated with the far left? The loony right is drowning them out nowadays. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard big crazy coming from a left-leaning source.

  58. #58 The Panic Man
    April 29, 2011

    dc @#27/28: “Caught between Barack and a ‘tard place.” That phrase is friggin’ awesome and I wish to steal it mercilessly.

    Rose @#35: You’re in a large boat there. Lots of moderates are saying exactly what you’re saying.

    Bartok @#48: Get lost, Joneser.

    Bronze Dog @#54: “How the hell would the conspirators know that Obama would get elected? They’d have to have godlike precognition abilities.” And that’s where the Manchurian Candidate crap starts – you know, the “sekrit moozlem plant by teh terrists” garbage that the Burfers love to spout.

  59. #59 Chris
    April 29, 2011

    The Panic Man:

    You’re in a large boat there. Lots of moderates are saying exactly what you’re saying.

    Which is why we call ourselves “independent.” I am glad I live in a state that does not require us to register with any party to vote.

    Even though we are college friends with the lawyer hired by the Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians to overturn our “Top Two” primary voting strategy, we are glad he lost. If the parties want to decide who gets to run under their ticket, they can pay for that decision. And they will have to, the state has canceled the next presidential primary, forcing those parties to chose through the caucus system. More power to them (and we faded from the Republican Party after seeing the tactics of Pat Robertson’s people in 1988).

  60. #60 Big News Articles
    April 29, 2011

    really this site looks great

  61. #61 Bill
    April 29, 2011

    As an Australian, I have a couple of questions about this that aren’t really being addressed. The first is why, as a democracy, you continue to exclude your own citizens from the privelege of highest office if they weren’t born in the US? It seems very un-democratic to me and I don’t understand the contemporary justification for it (I think I understand the orginal motivation). Our current prime minister was born in Wales, but she is an Australian citizen, therefore, not excluded from public office.

    Given you do have this arcane and discriminatory requirement, I would have thought that the birth certificates and similar documents would necessarily part of the public record to prove that any president is constitutionally valid. You should be able to access not only Obama’s birth certificate, but George W’s, Bill Clinton’s, George Snr’s and so on. You should also be able to access John Mclean’s, Al Gore’s and Ross Perot’s and all the other unsuccessful candidates. So why aren’t this documents part of the public record already?

  62. #62 Anonymous
    April 29, 2011

    Mark Bartok, any relation to Béla Bartók?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE7Naw7AqtY

    I’m gonna need to see your birth certificate.

  63. #63 Midnight Rambler
    April 29, 2011

    Orac & Mike (in the OP and back near the beginning) – actually, you both missed the argument that the birthers were trying to make, probably because it’s so absurd. While they had been arguing before that he would not be a citizen if he was born abroad (which might be correct, based on the law at the time), now that the BC is out, they’re shifting the goalposts (surprise). The argument is that while being born in Hawaii makes Obama a citizen, he’s not a natural-born citizen eligible for the presidency, because some obscure writers in the 1700′s, supposedly admired by the Founders, thought that only having both parents as citizens conferred “natural-born” status. Never mind that this has no bearing on US law and was superseded by the 14th amendment in any case (and that’s also assuming these books say what they claim, which is not a bet I would take).

    And yes, they do appear to be totally serious about this. There’s a long thread at teapartynation.com/forum about it (you have to register to read it though; may cause severe brain damage).

  64. #64 Heliantus
    April 29, 2011

    @ Bronze Dog

    In short, Birthers expect us to believe that the conspirators are simultaneously divine in their level of insight AND monumentally stupid to deliberately choose an easy method of self-sabotage.

    Spot on.
    And if you extend this divine insight to include access to a vast amount of resources (e.g. tons of superexplosives no-one notice you installing in two big towers, the complicity of thousands of utterly loyal people over three generations…), this is true for most conspiracy theories you care to name.

  65. #65 MacTurk
    April 29, 2011

    Why didn’t Obama sign his birth certificate? If he had, none of this trouble would have happened!

    Come on, it’s as logical as the other “reasons” why the birthers should keep clinging to their prejudices.

  66. #66 Beamup
    April 29, 2011

    @ Bill:

    That’s a question frequently asked here as well. Quite a few people are in favor of lifting the restriction. Schwarzenegger in particular was viewed as an excellent example of this for a while (less so these days, but there was a decent amount of talk about how it was too bad he couldn’t run in 2008).

    As to why such documents aren’t normally part of the public record – well, normally nobody really cares and everybody simply takes the candidate’s word for it.

  67. #67 gdave
    April 29, 2011

    On why President Obama decided to release his “long-form” birth certificate now, and personally announced the decision at a press conference, I don’t think it was to convince the birthers, or to somehow wrong-foot the Republicans. Listening to his comments, I think it was to convince the MEDIA. With Donald Trump leading most polls of potential Republican candidates, and with the birth issue being his main selling point, the “mainstream” media was giving the issue a LOT of attention, which President Obama probably viewed as an immense distraction from real issues, like budget reform. So, he tried for a big splashy move to reset the news cycle, get the media off of this silly story, and try to get it to re-focus on actual stories. Which, of course, may wind up being just as futile as convincing birthers.

  68. #68 gdave
    April 29, 2011

    @Bill:
    The requirement that the President be a natural born citizen is in the Constitution, and amending the Constitution is (intentionally) a long, involved, and difficult process (it has only been amended 27 times in 220+ years). The natural born citizen requirement has simply never been an important issue in U.S. politics, simply not important enough to amend the Constitution.

    The situation is complicated by the fact that while the Constitution requires the President to be a natural born citizen, it never defines what the heck that means. U.S. law doesn’t quite do so either. This allows birthers to make up their own definitions, even though, as Midnight Rambler pointed out above, they generally rely on the writings of 18th century political and legal theorists, rather than U.S. laws and court decisions (which don’t favor them).

    As to why birth certificates aren’t required of candidates, the main reason is that such documents didn’t exist in 1787, when the U.S. Constitution was adopted. The U.S. Constitution is a pretty spare document, and vague (often deliberately) in many places. It doesn’t define “natural born” and doesn’t set out any procedure to verify it. It also had not previously been an important political issue (there was a smear campaign against Chester Arthur in the 1880 presidential election that claimed he was born in Canada, but it had little impact and was quickly forgotten). In short, we’ve just never done it that way.

  69. #69 Reading Frame
    April 29, 2011

    To Rose and others who vote Republican but dislike the extremism: I know you say you cling to the party because of fiscal conservatism and social conservatism, but frankly I just don’t see that being the case anymore. As much as the current landscape of Republicans like to say they are fiscally conservative, the reality is that it seems to be an excuse to dismantle social safety net programs. If they really cared about fiscal conservatism, they would be doing things like withdrawing from 2 wars and taxing the rich. After W, Republicans really can’t claim fiscal conservatism anymore.

    And frankly, both parties have shifted so far right at this point that saying the Republicans are social moderates is kind of funny. I know that some of the commenters above suggested you change sides, but I’m not convinced that that is the answer either. I voted Democrat and still do, but I am truly disgusted with my party’s pandering to the right and their lack of a spine.

    I wish there was more of a viable third party right about now. Libertarianism seems to me to embody all of the worst aspects of Republicanism without any of the benefits, and the Green Party is terribly quiet right now except at the local level.

    Demanding more from our parties seems to be the ticket; we just have to be careful that it doesn’t backfire, as it did during the last round of congressional elections.

  70. #70 SLC
    April 29, 2011

    Re Midnight Rambler @ #60

    What makes this argument even funnier is Donald Trumps’ mother was born in Scotland and, as we sit here today, it is unknown if she had acquired US citizenship at the time of his birth.

  71. #71 Beamup
    April 29, 2011

    The real problem, as I see it, is the combination of gerrymandering and closed primaries. The result is that the extremists (on both sides) take over. The current crop of Republican extremists is more wacko than the current crop of Democratic extremists, but they’re all loonies.

    Personally I’m fiscally conservative and socially liberal, and neither of the parties currently bothers with EITHER of those. The Democrats are currently defined by fiscal liberalism, and the Republicans by social conservatism. I’m seriously tempted to start voting for Mickey Mouse as a write-in, not as a joke but because a fictional character who doesn’t show up would be better than the actual alternatives!

  72. #72 Yojimbo
    April 29, 2011

    @55 “It’s totally the cellist.”

    Not possible. You can’t play the cello if you’re brain dead.

  73. #73 Matthew Cline
    April 30, 2011

    While they had been arguing before that he would not be a citizen if he was born abroad (which might be correct, based on the law at the time), now that the BC is out, they’re shifting the goalposts (surprise). The argument is that while being born in Hawaii makes Obama a citizen, he’s not a natural-born citizen eligible for the presidency,

    Not exactly goalpoast shifting, since I’ve seen this claim made long before now. I’ve also seen (similarly long ago) the claim that, when Obama was a child, his father implicitly renounced his American citizenship for him when he was placed in an Indonesian public school, since Indonesian public schools only accept Indonesian citizens, and the Indonesian government doesn’t accept the concept of dual citizenship. Plus even weirder claims, like that you can’t be a natural born citizen if you’re born out of wedlock, and that Obama was born out of wedlock.

  74. #74 lilady
    May 1, 2011

    There are two interesting You Tube videos available featuring two of the front runners for the presidential election in 2012:

    Trump drops F-Bomb in Las Vegas while talking about OPEC

    Obama at 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner

    (Actually the Donald dropped a number of F-Bombs during his speech)

  75. #75 Bill in NC
    May 1, 2011

    I am surprised everyone puts such stock into a piece of paper that is so easily forged.

    Here if you want a certified copy of your birth certificate it is generated from an electronic database and laser-printed on safety paper (not even an embossed seal!)

    Paper copies simply don’t exist – where would your individual state or territory store millions of pieces of paper?

    You might have one from the hospital that delivered you, but that is usually considered merely a souvenir.

    Remember the birth database in your jurisdiction changes literally every day and those changes are done by low-level, low-paid personnel.

  76. #76 maydijo
    May 1, 2011

    Bill @61 – As an American who is now a citizen of Australia, I have to ask, after the whole Christina Keneally debacle in NSW, why wouldn’t you be in favor of native-born leaders?

    I’ve got a couple of kids who are US Citizens born abroad and I didn’t get that slip of paper that Alexis mentioned with either one of them. I can’t check on this now, but I would’ve sworn their document is actually entitled “Natural Born Citizen Born Abroad”. Mine were born 2006 and 2008 and registered 2007 and 2009. FWIW – with both kids, I used my “Certificate of Live Birth” – the same ‘short form’ that the Birthers said wasn’t real (my favourite claim: “Anyone can walk into any Births, Deaths, and Marriages office anywhere in the country and get one printed up on the spot, it doesn’t mean you were born there, it just means you’re alive”) – and the Consulate accepted it, no questions asked. If it’s good enough for the State Department it should be good enough for the Birthers.

  77. #77 Chris
    May 2, 2011

    Bill in NC:

    Paper copies simply don’t exist – where would your individual state or territory store millions of pieces of paper?

    If I lose the copy of my birth certificate I have to go the State Department!

  78. #78 Terrie
    May 2, 2011

    The birth certificate? The newspaper announcements? All planted by time travelers, because Obama is the one destined to save us from Skynet.

  79. #79 d1ggl3r
    May 2, 2011

    For anyone who is interested, Dr Neal Krawetz has submitted a forensic review of the released long form BC. Link is:
    http://www.hackerfactor.com/blog/index.php?/archives/428-After-Birth.html
    An interesting read… will never convince the True Believers tho :)

  80. #80 Montana
    May 2, 2011

    Our president had already showed his US passport to;

    1. Get a Passport;
    http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2008/03/20/obamas_passport_files_hacked/

    2. Become a US Senator;

    I feel sorry for all the little Birthers, It’s not their fault; it’s your families’ fault that taught you that you were better than other people based on race, creed ethnicity, color, nationality or sex, in short they engrained in you their hate (what a legacy).

    But you know at some point you need to grow up and act like an adult and think for yourself and distinguish what is true and what is BS.

    But there is where the little Birthers find yourself because we all know it was never about a birth certificate or grades, because we all know you want to go around wearing white sheets, burn crosses and hang people who are not like you, we know that your growth is stunted in your hate, and hate is what this is all about, you will never win anymore, and I feel sorry for all of you. I can only imagine when our President is re-elected what you phonies will lie about next. Oh, and just know, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it’s a duck, the little Birthers are a bunch of racists!

  81. #81 RinaG
    May 3, 2011

    Maybe he released it to draw Osama bin Laden’s attention away from the impending attack ;-)

    I agree that there’s no amount of evidence that will convince hardcore conspiracy theorists, but it’ll certainly drive a wedge between them and those who are inclined to be more reasonable.

    I’m an example of this effect, thanks to Orac. A few years ago I bought into the whole aids-myth, anti-vaxing, homeopathy, etc etc. I even had my own copy of the famous Mothering magazine with Christine Maggiore on the cover, pregnant with her daughter. Then I stumbled across Orac’s blog posting about her daughter’s death, and it was the first crack in my “alternative” beliefs.

    I’m still on the other side of mainstream in many respects (long-term breastfeeding or unschooling) and I’m surrounded by people who worship at the altar of Joseph Mercola and Dr Oz and spout all sorts of conspiracy theories (particularly from the time when I lived in Germany where the circles my educational philosophy took me in were esoteric in the extreme). I also sometimes still disagree with some of the things that Orac writes about, but being forced by him to confront the delusion of Aids denialism made me determined to look at evidence instead of just believing things. So I do think that there are a significant amount of people for whom Obama’s release of his birth certificate will have the same effect as Orac’s post about Christine Maggiore had for me.

  82. #82 kırkyama model
    May 22, 2011

    What I find strange is that in the UK anyone can pay for and be sent in the post a full certified copy of another individual’s birth certificate – living or deceased (unless there’s been an adoption and then there are constraints).
    America, supposedly the land of free-speech, First Amendment and all that, this is not permitted (in some states at least – not sure about all of them). So in this case President Obama had to send for the copy and now there are complaints about the environmental cost of getting someone to travel so many thousands of miles to pick it up.
    ismek kırkyama model

  83. #83 Mend A Relationship
    September 18, 2011

    It seems that people are hell bent on getting obama in trouble. i wish they would let him get onw ith doing his job and sorting out the economy and… I’m not even American!

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.