Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tales From The Fringe

This Saturday the station team took to the mall to help fund raise for our partner Fisher House. It's an incredible organization that builds group homes for the troops and their families next to VA hospitals while they are being treated so families are free to focus on the recovery of their loved one rather than making hotel arrangements. Absolutely amazing, but I digress.

Doing these remotes, we get a wide range of fans who come to show their support for both the organization and the station. But with every bunch we get a few outliers too.
This weekend was no different. My favorite was a woman who got particularly aggressive with me over the non-existent debate over Barack Obama's citizenship.

A particular group of whack-a-doos in Pennsylvania felt compelled to bring this conspiracy theory to the supreme court, who yesterday unanimously decided not to hear the case. Now I don't often engage in these provocations but after about an hour of her in my face wagging her finger, I finally asked her...how would that be possible, where's the proof. She claimed Obamas birth certificate was a fake, so I asked her how she knew? She protested if it were real he would show it to us, so I asked if I could see hers. Not surprisingly she said no.

Apparently I wasn't the only one to encounter such an adamant theorist.

From this mornings Washington Post:
President Alien, and Other Tales From the Fringe
By Dana Milbank
Tuesday, December 9, 2008; A03

A unanimous Supreme Court announced yesterday morning that it would not take up a case making the improbable claim that Barack Obama is a secret foreigner.

A dissenting opinion came out in the afternoon.

"This is the largest hoax perpetrated against the United States in 200 years," Philip Berg declared in a news conference at the National Press Club. His colleagues delivered the further news that "Barack Obama is the most notorious criminal in the history of this planet" and that the president-elect's claim to be a natural-born American has "the potential to propel our nation into a time of great peril," a time of "widespread chaos, disturbances to public tranquillity."

Berg, a Pennsylvania lawyer and the author of another lawsuit alleging that Obama is not native-born, and therefore is not eligible to be president, sought to establish several facts. One: "He knows he was adopted in Indonesia." Two: "He was born in Kenya." Three: "His real name would be Barry Soetoro." Four: "If he didn't go through immigration, believe it or not Barack Obama would be an illegal alien today." And five: "If and when the right court handles this matter, Barack Obama" and everybody around him "should really be tried criminally and many of them should go to jail."

Uh, and what about that birth certificate showing he was born in Honolulu, a fact confirmed by the Hawaii Health Department and validated by independent groups?

"That document is a forgery, it's a fraud, just like Barack Obama is," Berg bellowed. "His birth certificate will indicate he was born in Kenya."

Ladies and gentlemen, the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy is back in business. After eight years in the wilderness, its members are regrouping to combat the Obama menace. For their sake, here's hoping they can come up with better material than they presented at yesterday's news conference.

The presentation was hosted by Bob Schulz, who runs the We the People Foundation and has run ads in the Chicago Tribune claiming that Obama -- "the usurper," as Schulz calls him -- is ineligible to be president.

Schulz allowed that the Supreme Court had just declined to hear a lawsuit on the subject, filed by Leo Donofrio of New Jersey, and that another court had declined to hear Berg's complaint because Berg had no standing. But, he argued, "there has been no responsive response" from the courts. "The implied message is the voters have spoken, the voters have determined Mr. Obama's eligibility. But this is not a democracy!"

Schulz was equipped with other pieces of hysteria, among them: "We have an emerging police state. . . . Our Republic cannot and will not long survive. . . . This nation is headed toward a vortex of a constitutional crisis."

In Schulz's view, Obama must "act honorably and relieve the nation of this escalating constitutional crisis." And if not, Schulz will call his own constitutional convention. "The people must act as the final arbiters of the Constitution," he said.

Hear that, Mr. Chief Justice?

Back here on planet Earth, the Obama birth conspiracy is not quite as dramatic as Schulz and Berg view it. FactCheck.org, for example, examined the original birth certificate and found that "it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship" and that "Obama was born in the U.S.A. just as he has always said."

Another such group, PolitiFact.com, concluded that "It is possible that Obama conspired his way to the precipice of the world's biggest job, involving a vast network of people and government agencies over decades of lies. Anything's possible. But step back and look at the overwhelming evidence to the contrary and your sense of what's reasonable has to take over."
Then there's the birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser on Aug. 13, 1961. "Of course, it's distantly possible that Obama's grandparents may have planted the announcement just in case their grandson needed to prove his U.S. citizenship in order to run for president someday," FactCheck.org judged. "We suggest that those who choose to go down that path should first equip themselves with a high-quality tinfoil hat."

Berg and Schulz did not have the recommended headgear yesterday, but they had no shortage of accusations. They blamed the "disgrace" of the news media -- even Fox News! -- for covering up the birth scandal. They called Obama an "impostor" and a "poseur."

To further make the case about Obama's Americanness, they then called up Orly Taitz, a product of the former Soviet Union, to deliver the message in thickly accented English that the American news media are "aiding and abetting Mr. Obama in defrauding 300 million American citizens."

So the media should report that Obama is a citizen of Britain, Indonesia and the United States -- a triple national? "Quadruple!" Taitz called out.

The trio then went silent while a fourth participant, a minister, delivered a prayer that justice would be done to the usurper. The pastor then advised his fellow African Americans not to be fooled into thinking "that which has come from the womb of this white woman is now your redeemer."

The news conference by now had gone on for 90 minutes and had covered all the darkest areas of Obama conspiracy, including a call to withstand the race riots that would inevitably accompany Obama's ineligibility. And in the somewhat likelier event that Obama ignores Schulz and Berg? He would, Schulz's ad argues, "be entitled to no allegiance, obedience or support from the people. The armed forces would be under no legal obligation to remain obedient."

All of which would be a terrible shame. After all, Schulz declared, "I really like the guy." He just has a strange way of showing it.

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