This week, the birthers — the movement that believes President Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the U.S. and thus not eligible to be president — have gone mainstream, and in a big way. That’s due in part to a YouTube video of a woman shouting at Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., about Obama’s birth certificate. It’s also the work of CNN’s Lou Dobbs, who’s apparently found yet another conspiracy theory to love.
Dobbs actually first began giving the birthers a boost last week, when he had Alan Keyes, who ran against Obama in 2004 and 2008 and is now suing over the president’s birth certificate, on his radio show, along with Keyes’ lawyer, Orly Taitz, the “queen bee” of the birthers. Since then, he’s latched on to the movement, discussing it several times on his radio show and on CNN. On a night he was off, a fill-in host on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” interviewed Keyes and Taitz.
On his radio show Tuesday, Dobbs was back at it, discussing the issue at length and responding to requests for comment from media outlets including Salon.
“We’ll have some answers for the Los Angeles Times, Salon, a few others, Politico too. You know, and if you’re in the left wing of the political spectrum, come on down, because we’re going to have us a little talk about, oh, all of those crazy things that the American people just want to know,” Dobbs said.
Later in the day, Dobbs brought the issue to CNN again. This time, it was part of a panel discussion at the end of his show with a decidedly unbalanced panel: Just three talk radio hosts, none of whom seemed to have any actual facts at hand — not that they would have contradicted the anchor anyway. One of the panelists, WPHT’s Dom Giordano, noted that he’s actually friends with Phil Berg, a Pennsylvania attorney who was one of the original leaders of the birther movement, and that his son once worked for Berg. (Giordano didn’t mention that Berg has also represented him in a lawsuit before.)
From the beginning of his coverage, Dobbs has been repeating a familiar trope of the birthers and their supporters: If Obama would just release his real birth certificate, the long form rather than the certification of live birth he made public last year, then all of this would be over.
But Dobbs knows that the crowd of conspiracy theorists he’s now supporting won’t be placated that easily. When he brought Keyes and Taitz on his show, he mentioned that he’d asked Taitz, off-air, whether the release of a long form birth certificate would satisfy her. “She said no,” Dobbs told his audience, and then directed the question to her again. “Both parents have to be citizens in order to satisfy the requirements of natural-born citizen,” Taitz responded. [...] (For the record, Taitz is wrong about the law here, as she very often is; in the 1898 Wong Kim Ark case, the Supreme Court said a child born in the U.S. is a natural-born citizen regardless of their parents’ citizenship.)
Besides, Dobbs is completely wrong about the legal status of the certificate of live birth that Obama released. He said Tuesday that “there is no actual birth certificate. There is a document that says there is a birth certificate.” But what Obama has made public thus far is the same form that anyone requesting their birth certificate from Hawaii would receive, and state officials have made very clear that it’s authentic and shows he was born there.
Taitz and others say, wrongly, that there’s a Hawaiian statute that applied to Obama that would have allowed his parents to register a foreign birth there, and somehow get state officials to say he was born in Honolulu. But as Janice Okubo, the director of communications for the Hawaii Department of Health, recently explained to the Washington Independent’s David Weigel, “If you were born in Bali, for example, you could get a certificate from the state of Hawaii saying you were born in Bali. You could not get a certificate saying you were born in Honolulu.
That gets to the heart of the problem here. While Dobbs’ colleagues at CNN, like Rick Sanchez and even Kitty Pilgrim, his own guest host, have debunked the birthers’ claims, Dobbs himself says he’s learned a lot about birth certificates and the whole issue from Taitz and Keyes. And that raises a question: With other CNN hosts having offered the actual facts on the air — Pilgrim even attributed the debunking to the network itself — why is Dobbs allowed to go on and make these false claims, without any hint of opposition? For now, CNN’s not saying.
From OC WEEKLY:
There’s a term some use for people like [Orly] Taitz, and she doesn’t like it. It’s “birther”—or, if you want to be really mean, “birfer.” (The controversy was born on the Internet, so naturally the Internet gave it a goofy name.) While rumors about Obama’s background and citizenship simmered throughout the 2008 presidential campaign, after Election Day, those rumors coalesced into a near-religion for a group of true believers. To Taitz and the unknown number of people who agree with her, Barack Obama isn’t president and probably wasn’t even born in the U.S. Taitz, a Laguna Niguel dentist [and a real estate broker according to World Net Daily] with a law degree from an online academy, has been awarded a few creative variations on the birther term: “The Queen Bee of Birferstan” is probably the best.
“That’s demeaning,” Taitz says. “I don’t call anybody names.”
This isn’t quite true. She calls Obama a “usurper” and an “arrogant jerk from Africa and Indonesia.” She called a judge an “idiot.” And she calls anyone who stands in her way an “Obama thug.”
In the past eight months, [Orly] Taitz’s face has become one of the most recognizable of what its adherents prefer to call the “eligibility” movement, and her actions have been some of the most controversial. Her end goal is simple—to remove Obama from office—but her methods have sometimes put her at odds with other anti-Obama activists. And that’s not to mention the legion of Obama supporters who have assembled evidence claiming that Taitz is, at best, a liar and, at worst, treasonous.
[...] her real entrance onto the national stage came in early December. Political activist Robert Schulz is an engineer by trade, but he bills himself as a constitutional scholar. Others merely call him a tax cheat: A federal judge held him in contempt of court in May 2008 for refusing to comply with an earlier injunction ordering his We the People Foundation to stop teaching people how to “legally” avoid payroll taxes (it wasn’t legal). But later that year, his cause wasn’t taxes; it was Obama. Schulz took out two full-page ads in the Chicago Tribune asking President-elect Obama to hand over a number of documents at a press conference Schulz would be holding on Dec. 8.
Obama didn’t show up for the conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. (Schulz had rented out the room), but Taitz did. [...] Taitz, who was invited by Schulz, spoke for several dozen minutes about her legal actions against Obama.
The conference earned Taitz mentions on Slate and Salon; the latter reported that “Taitz . . . kept making stranger and stranger assertions
It’s difficult to estimate how many people believe that Obama isn’t eligible to be president. [Pennsylvania lawyer Philip] Berg [who attempted to block the Democratic National Committee’s endorsement of Obama] claims the number is around 15 million (he’d like to see awareness reach 75 million, at least). World Net Daily, a right-wing news site that publishes a steady stream of Obama-slamming stories, reportedly has gathered 380,000 signatures for its petition related to the matter. But, as with any online petition, there’s no way to know how many of those are duplicates or fakes. Taitz has been able to direct her readers to flood government officials with so many e-mails, phone messages and letters that they eventually return her phone calls.
Aside from World Net Daily, more traditional conservative media sources—not to mention politicians—have condemned the birth-certificate question as a waste of time. In January, talk-show host Michael Medved classified Taitz and the other eligibility attorneys as “crazy, nutburger, demagogue, money-hungry, exploitive, irresponsible, filthy conservative imposters.” Taitz sent him a letter demanding a retraction.
Read the whole article, kids, and you’ll see how batshit crazy this woman really is.