Bill Maher: Birthers must be stopped

Bill Maher is seriously funny in this LA Times op-ed about the growing threat of the birther movement. (Maher wrote this before poll results came out showing that a majority of Republicans either don't believe or aren't sure Obama was born in the United States).
200907311139 This flap might be a deluded right-wing obsession that is a total waste of time, but so was Whitewater, and look where that ended up. A handful of Republican operatives, enraged at Bill Clinton's unprecedented economic growth and budget surpluses, found a woman named Paula Jones, which led to a woman named Monica Lewinsky, which gave me enough material to eventually be able to buy a big house in Bel-Air. Which I'm still conflicted about.

More recently we had the Swift Boat allegations against John Kerry, in which Kerry was accused of volunteering to serve in Vietnam so he could jump in front of a bullet so he could get a medal and then throw it away to satisfy his urge to insult real Americans. This was so stupid that Kerry refused to even discuss it.

And we all know how well that worked out.

No matter how dumb, the people who are questioning whether Obama was born in the U.S. could eventually cause real problems.

UPDATE: This graph shows the geographical breakdown of birthers and fact-based thinkers.


  1. disagree.
    the birthers are tearing up the republican party. congressmen can’t side with them for fear of appearing ridiculous to moderate republicans but there are a large enough number of them that politicians don’t want to say anything that they’ll outright reject. the embarrassment of my enemy is my friend, right?

  2. What a coincidence: I don’t think most Republicans were born on this planet.

    Which would make them *real* (illegal?) aliens.

  3. It’s funny. But I don’t think it’s relevant.

    As long as these people are focusing on birth records in Hawaii, they’re not likely to uncover any dirt on Obama. In fact, it keeps them busy with Obama’s childhood. Besides bedwetting allegations, I don’t see how any of that comes back to bite him like Clinton’s stuff did him.

    I say “the birthers are a gift to democrats.” It makes the republican party a late-night comedy punchline.

  4. Kinda a mistake for bringing John Kerry into it. He lost that election for being a rubber stamp democrat (with the personality of a tree frog) and not for being swift-boated. Really. look who he was running against. It should have been a blowout. He “lost” that election more than George W. won it.

  5. My parents are both immigrants. My mother got citizenship after living here for a while. My father never bothered to get citizenship and lives as a legal resident alien with a green card. The way I’ve always understood my status is that although i was born in the United States I qualify as a citizen because I have one parent that is a citizen. Since my father is not a citizen then I’m not considered a “natural born citizen”. That said, if I’m not “natural born” and I’ve lived here my whole lie then neither is he.

    I can understand the concept for making this because nobody in the past wanted a British usurper coming in and taking control again, I highly doubt that Obama is a Kenyan or Indonesian usurper.

    And there’s plenty of other issues that you can take up to demonize the guy if you wanted. But let’s face it we don’t control how we come into this world. He lived here during his most intellectually formative years. Alas the constitution is what it is and it needs to be stuck with or amended.

    I hope i don’t get disemvoweled for this.

    1. “Since my father is not a citizen then I’m not considered a “natural born citizen””.

      Even though you were born in the USA, and your mother was at that time a US Citizen?

      Are you certain about not being a “natural-born citizen”?

      I mean, who told you that?

    2. The way I’ve always understood my status is that although i was born in the United States I qualify as a citizen because I have one parent that is a citizen. Since my father is not a citizen then I’m not considered a “natural born citizen”.

      INAL but last I heard no U.S. court has ever ruled on what the phrase “natural born citizen” even means. Or for that matter, whether that requirement for the presidency became irrelevant when congress passed the 14th Amendment. There is a very compelling legal argument to be made that the Equal Protection Clause means that any citizen can now legally run for president regardless of their nation of birth.

      As I understand it there are only two ways to definitively settle the issue. The first would be for a Supreme Court ruling, which isn’t likely because that would require a foreign-born person to win the election and then face a legal challenge by an opposing party. The second would be for congress to pass a new amendment that removes all ambiguity about who can or can’t be elected president. Neither of these seems likely in the near future.

      1. Federal law defines what it means to be a natural born citizen (or, in the words of the statute, a “citizen at birth”). The relevant statute is 8 U.S.C. § 1401 (and, more generally, 8 U.S.C. Chapter 12, Subchapter III).

        Anyone born in the United States, and subject to its jurisdiction, is a natural born citizen, regardless of his or her parentage. Someone born outside of the United States (as John McCain was) can also be considered a natural born citizen under certain circumstances, as specified in the statute.

        1. Interesting…so being born on board an American-flagged ship anywhere in the world would qualify me as a “natural-born citizen”, eh?

          As anybody on board such a vessel, is subject to US jurisdiction.

          1. …or is the interior space of an American-flagged and registered vessel not “within the United States” for the purposes of the Statute?

            I’d always considered that such a space was in fact American territory.

          2. As you suspect, an American-flagged and registered vessel is NOT “within the United States”; so, nope, someone born on an American ship (outside of U.S. territorial waters) does not automatically get U.S. citizenship.

            Here’s a State Department document that discusses the intricacies of U.S. citizenship at length:

            It’s worth a read.

          3. Thanks for the link, I shall look it over.

            Always curious about you foreigners and your ways.

          4. Oh I’ve not read the material yet, but I take it that being within US territorial waters wouldn’t be sufficient of itself, if the vessel one is born upon is flying a flag of a nation other than that of the USA.

            I’m interested to see if that conjecture is correct.

          5. Actually, it depends.

            A foreign warship in U.S. territorial waters would not be considered to be under U.S. jurisdiction; so anyone born aboard that ship would NOT acquire U.S. citizenship.

            But a civilian vessel in U.S. territorial waters WOULD be considered to be under U.S. jurisdiction (even if it were flying the flag of another country); so anyone born aboard that ship WOULD be considered a natural born U.S. citizen.

          6. Fascinating…do the US Border or Immigration people ever deny a pregnant woman entry based upon that ground alone…ie, that she may birth a new US citizen while sojourning in the USA?

            I suppose that there would in fact be times when that consideration would be a factor in the decision as to whether or not to admit entry. But it is something that I had never thought about before.

          7. Good question. I don’t know; but it really wouldn’t surprise me if pregnant women were denied legal entry into the U.S. for that very reason.

  6. What can you tell people who believe that Obama is a Muslim, the former governor of Alaska is a goddess, gays offend god and the sanctity of marriage, a man who calls his audience “my fellow prisoners” and sings “bomb bomb Iran” would have made a better president, people of any ethnicity but white are inferior, and that we are becoming a godless communist totalitarian country? STFU works for me.

  7. It COULD have torn the party apart, but instead it just made them look a little dumb. It’s finally over, the house unanimously passed a resolution affirming (among other things) that Hawaii is the real and true birthplace of Obama.

    They were totally doing what you said for a while, being too chickenshit to come down on the sane side of the fence, but that part’s done now. Even Faux News finally agrees.

    What’s truly ironic is that McCain actually wasn’t born in the US. ;-)

  8. T0ad, you are a natural born citizen. Even if neither of your parents were citizens, you would be a natural-born citizen.

    Remember the flap in the immigration debate about “anchor babies”? That’s what they’re talking about: undocumented couples who have a child in the US are the parents and sole support of a US citizen, and it makes them harder to deport.

    That’s why the right-wing racists want to eliminate birthright citizenship (which is what you have) in favor of having to be born of a citizen (and in some cases fathered by one, too).

  9. @7: First they came for the vowels, but I did nothing because I was a vowel.

    Then they came for the fricatives…

  10. The problem is the MSM not the birthers. Every time another lunatic gets their 15 minutes that’s 15 minutes that isn’t devoted to honest reporting and analysis. News orgs should be informing the public, not vying for ratings and ad dollars.

    Is it any wonder that Jon Stewart is our most trusted newsman?

  11. What harm could possibly come from allegations so utterly retarded that they can be demolished with ten words:

    He’s a citizen because his mother was born in Kansas.

    That’s all it takes. You can be born in China and still be a US citizen if one of your parents is a US citizen. It doesn’t matter whether Obama was born in Hawaii or not, though at this point it takes a special kind of ignorance to think he wasn’t.

    Americans Born Overseas

    The birth of a child abroad to U.S. citizen parent(s) should be reported as soon as possible to the nearest American consular office for the purpose of establishing an official record of the child’s claim to U.S. citizenship at birth. The official record is in the form of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America. This document, referred to as the Consular Report of Birth or FS-240, is considered a basic United States citizenship document. An original FS-240 is furnished to the parent(s) at the time the registration is approved.

  12. Turns out folks won’t even believe documentary evidence if they’ve got something else in mind. Of course, some people will believe obviously forged documentary evidence (e.g., the Dan Rather nonsense) if it fits their worldview, too.

    It’s doubly stupid, of course, because his mother was from Kansas mooting the question of where he was born. He could have been born in the backseat of a Trabi in East Berlin and he would still be as American as anyone born in Russell, Kansas or the Canal Zone.

  13. @5 Phikus – and why the election was surprisingly close for Obama (when it should have been a complete blowout). The nation is largely redstate conservative except for the east/west coast.

  14. Not that I’m defending the birthers, but Randomcat, I think there’s a difference between “citizen” and “natural born citizen”.

  15. @ Randomcat,

    Even most of the wing-nuts agree that Obama is a citizen by virtue of his mother. What could make it relevant if he was born overseas is that the Constitution specifies that the President must be a natural born citizen. As of 2009 the courts have never ruled on what “natural born” means, but many have interpreted it as “born on U.S. soil.”

    For my part I don’t think it would matter anyway since the equal protection clause in the 14th amendment is supposed to guarantee equal rights to all citizens, and thus the “natural born” qualifier should no longer apply. (Many legal experts share this view.)

  16. I don’t think most Republicans were born on this planet.

    I would like to point out that California Republicans are to the left of Alabama Democrats. I’m just sayin.

  17. I have an idea: let’s lock all the birthers up with all the truthers. Net gain of sanity for the world!

  18. There is a difference between “natural born citizen” and “citizen.” A natural born citizen is someone who was born a citizen. Someone who was naturalized is a citizen, but not natural born. Therefore, by US rules, anyone born of a citizen, anywhere in the world, is a natural born citizen, and anyone born in the US, regardless of parentage, is also a natural born citizen.

  19. A “natural born citizen” is a person who is not naturalized, i.e. is a citizen at birth. You are natural born if you are born overseas to American parents (depending on what the law is at the time: that’s not a constitutional requirement) or if you were born in US territory, not a state (depending on the law at the time).

    You are natural born if you are born in a US state, period, under the Constituion, regardless of your parentage.

    I do not know whether you are “natural born” if you’re in that class of people to whom citizenship was *retroactively extended* to the time of their birth by law (some people in Puerto Rico and Hawaii at is annexation once fit this description). There was argument as to whether McCain was this kind of citizen (not really a citizen at birth because of the law at the time because born overseas not on an offical military base, but later given citizenship by operation of law) but I would imagine a court would define “natural born” as encompassing these people, since they weren’t naturalized.

    Also, the National Review, the “Vatican” of conservatism recently issued an editorial blasting the birthers in no uncertain terms. They would like birthers to go away. Historically even Rush et al. have followed NR.

  20. Antinous – depends on where in CA. Plenty of Republicans in the north and central valley are just as right wing as Alabamites.

  21. No, actually in 2008 the Senate passed a resolution ruling anyone born as a child of a US citizen is a natural born citizen.

    This came up because otherwise John McCain wouldn’t have been eligible since he was born in Panama, not on American soil. (No, foreign military facilities and consulates do not count as American soil for this purpose.)

  22. Bah. This birther movement is nothing but a proxy for racism.

    They South has come to realize that outright racism is socially unacceptable these days, so they’ve found themselves something to scream about – something that’s pretty thinly veiled at that.

    Their argument is that there’s no conceivable way Obama could have become President without some Big Conspiracy for goodness sakes.

  23. @Shannon-There is no definition of “natural born citizen” but everyone just assumes it means you are born a citizen, i.e. not naturalized. Obviously it has never been tried before the Supreme Court…yet!!! We will have our day!

    Also, you actually are not necessarily an American citizen just because you are born to an American citizen. I believe (IANAnimmigrationL) that under current US law if your parents aren’t married, your father is a citizen but your mother is not, and you are born outside of the United States than your father (or you, or your mom) must take some step to establish paternity before you turn 18. If I remember correctly this usually came up as another way for us to thank our Vietnam veterans. Surprise! You have a kid! Surprise, they can’t immigrate!

    I’m sure there are other exceptions. State’s excellent website which Randomcat links to has other strongly worded instructions, so I’m sure it’s easy to get your kids comically screwed up in a bureacratic mess.

  24. No, actually in 2008 the Senate passed a resolution ruling anyone born as a child of a US citizen is a natural born citizen.

    Two US parents before 1986, one US parent after 1986.

    I find the natural born citizen requirement somewhat quaint. It reminds me of people who thought that JFK would be a secret agent for the Pope because he was Catholic.

    Compare it to former Colombian Senator Ingrid Betancourt, who’s threatening to run for President of Colombia despite holding dual French-Colombian citizenship. That’s a bit beyond my limits.

  25. I almost got drafted in the Army of Spain for my heritage. Now I looked for the statute. You need to have a parent as citizens to be a natural born citizen provided that the father was at least a resident. It was written by the first congress in 1790. First congress second session third chapter. Not sure what that means for all this stuff. Anyone know if Obama senior was a resident alien.

    Here is a link to the statute: Although it also says that only free white aliens can become citizens. I’m gonna go with that part doesn’t count anymore.

  26. There’s a difference between needing to take steps to prove something and the reality of that thing. Some of the overseas registration requirements are just that. After having taken the steps the child is deemed to always have been a citzen, and thus is not naturalized, which means natural born.

    There is no third category in US law. Some birthers would like for there to be one, but none has ever been recognized.

    Also: dual citizenship doesn’t have any weight if the person doesn’t take some steps to affirm the foreign nationality. If it did, a foreign nation could pass a law declaring everyone in the world a citizen of their country, messing things up. Neither do you necessarily have to renounce your foreign citizenship to that foreign government in some way, though the US might require that you renounce it *to it*.

  27. This birth certificate thing is completely divisive and distracts from an examination of policy. Pre-emptive indefinite detention, domestic spying, presidential signing statements, the wars still continuing; these are real avenues for criticism of the administration.

  28. Just so you all know, a lot of us “truthers” hate being lumped in with the “birthers”…..just sayin’.

  29. I would like to point out that California Republicans are to the left of Alabama Democrats. I’m just sayin.

    Even though I’m not a Republican I think, generally, this is an important point.

  30. If this is the best criticism his detractors can come up with, President Obama is going to be fine. Hell, even his supporters have more substantial claims against him.

    Why don’t people save their complaints for something meaningful? There’s plenty of bad to go around without inventing more if it.

  31. @ Mojave & Brainspore: Bonus points if the theory doesn’t involve Mossad, controlled demolitions, space aliens, or Bea Arthur.

  32. I don’t understand why these “birthers” are asking for a “long form” document and continue to say that the document provided by Obama makes reference to another document.

    Birth certificates are not federal, they are state regulated. Each state does it differently. The question for me is why are these people trying to take attention away from the real issues? What do they gain?

    And, to all you who made fun of Toad for his spelling mistake –exchanging a B for a V– he’s obviously a Spanish heritage speaker, where the B & V represent interchangeable sounds. It’s a very common spelling error to make. Wow, you arrogant monolingual anglos, can’t cut a bilingual hispano some slack!

  33. Of all 44 Presidents: including Barack Hussein Obama II, only 37 of them have been ‘American citizens’.

    George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson were not.

    Martin Van Buren: 8th President (who’s family was predominantly from a Dutch background) was actually the first ‘American’ president’ born a citizen of the United States, as all previous presidents were born before the ‘American Revolution’.

    I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but even the first ‘President’ was not a citizen of the United States of America. Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity et al should take this into account before they spew their disgusting un-American rhetoric all over the faces of the country they claim to love so much!

    Barak Obama is the President of the USA Quite frankly this seems to be the best thing that has happened in the US for a long old time. If Mssrs. Beck, O’Reilly, Hannity and the rest of them don’t like it maybe they should seek citizenship of another country they find more suitable. I hear Iraq has a deficit of douchebags at the moment. Fill the gap. Please!

    Kind regards,

    From a citizen of the UK who thinks FAUX news is the benefactor of all that is wrong in your states and should be stopped at all costs!


  34. Re: the Dan Rather forged documents. Yeah, the documents may have been forged, but was the information in them correct or not?

  35. I keep waiting for someone to declare that “natural born citizen” means that the mother took no painkillers during labor, and did not have a c-section.

  36. I know the term “racist” has been tossed around about this, but really I don’t think that’s completely true (though certainly a factor for a lot of folks). The promulgation of the birther “theory” is simple designed to undermind Obama’s authority. It started shortly after the election, and continued even as he was being sworn it. Remember when Justice Roberts flubbed the oath, and there was doubt that Obama was therefor president? Next day, they redid the oath, but Obama didn’t use a Bible. Not only did Fox News express doubts he was president on Inauguration Day, they even expressed doubts he was president because he didn’t use a Bible during the back-up oath. Of course, none of this is backed up in the Constitution, but they know that throwing that doubt out there tears him down, bit by bit.

    If you can’t win the election, steal it. If you can’t steal it, then make everyone doubt it’s legitimate and undermind the authority of the person who won.

  37. #30: “Truth” is not the absolute word that one would first think. Many people, in the U.S. especially, use “truth” to mean “my beliefs”.

    I prefer facts, which the birthers and their ilk have no use for.

  38. ‘It’s finally over, the house unanimously passed a resolution affirming (among other things) that Hawaii is the real and true birthplace of Obama.’

    Just for the record, just because the House passes something unanimously has no baring whatsoever on the constitutionality of said subject. The House could unanimously pass a resolution that says, “White is Purple” – doesn’t mean that ‘it’s finally over.”

    Republicans and Democrats, both are the problem with this country. Thanks again for the shit mess we’re in. Democrats, Republicans both birthed from the same pile of shit.

  39. Ironic to think how this would have played out if Strom Thurmond’s black daughter had been asked to produce *her* birth certificate, while “dear old Strom” was still alive.

    Southerners would have been torn between those who screamed “Miscengenation!” … and those who thought that it was a white man’s “*right*” to impregnate a black woman.

    What a hopelessly conflicted bunch of idiots the “Birthers” are.

  40. I would like to see the reinstatement of the term “Dixiecrats” for the Republicans who switched parties after the Democrats self-destructed over racial integration. It was a brave and suicidal thing LBJ and his like did. As Harry Truman said, all that mattered, finally, was that “it was the right thing to do.” It doesn’t really matter what racists call themselves; they are swine by any name, and swine they will remain.

  41. Either way you look at it, this whole “birther” issue is just a red herring. The man is president, legally so or the Republicans would have had him ousted by now through the courts.

    It does serve to highlight a more important point however….despite all of Obama’s claims to want to have a “transparent” presidency, we have the least information about him than perhaps any other president in decades.

    His school records, including his own personal writings: sealed.

    His wife’s dissertation and personal writings from school: sealed.

    His medical records: sealed.

    He has an unprecedented level of anonymity and secrecy about his past personal affairs. It obviously makes the curious wonder why.

    I think there is a reasonable chance that this was done as a ploy to make his opponents grasp at it and come out looking stupid….but it is entirely possible there are a few skeletons in his closet he would rather not have the world (and the American People) know about.

    Only time will tell.


    Periwigs aside.

    What I’m trying to say is:

    He is your President and all this nonsense I see on FAUX news, which seems to be aimed at discrediting Your President for who he is, rather than what he is seems rather ridiculous.

    It seems almost treasonous in a sense, which is why I can’t really understand why it is tolerated.

    I understand the concept of free speech and I am fully behind it, but people like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly don’t really fall under this category as they seem to be able to say whatever comes into their heads ( which in most cases seems to be entirely fabricated ) with no constraints and no matter how derogatory.

    You’re supposed to be ‘The “United” States of America’.

    FOX news anchors such as Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly , purporting to be ‘American’ are consistently, persistently and doggedly pursuing this ‘anti-Obama’ campaign.

    He is your President.

    As American citizens you should be persecuting these people for their anti-Americanism.

    To have this kind of anti-establishmentarian dissent on one of your major ‘news’ channels against someone who was democratically elected to be your President is absolutely outrageous.

    If this was to happen in the UK there would be public outrage.

    Don’t you have a democratic government and society?

    If this is really the case then having a group of people broadcasting what is basically subterfuge and essentially lies one of your major news networks spouting anti-establishmentarian nonsense on a regular basis should be grounds for banning them from the air-waves.

    It seems that this is tolerated to enable the populace to forget that there are other, more serious problems which all governments, not just the US have and would like to ignore.

    Kind regards,

    From a citizen of the UK who thinks FAUX news is the benefactor of all that is wrong in your states and should be stopped at all costs!


  43. DDancy, the constitution includes a special case for the revolutionaries.

    “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.”

    I think the clearest reading of natural born citizen is basically just born citizen, as opposed to naturalized citizen.


    Thank you.

    From a citizen of the UK who thinks FAUX news is the benefactor of all that is wrong in your states and should be stopped at all costs!

  45. DDANCY, are you trolling us? What is it about free speech that you don’t understand? It’s for everybody or it’s for nobody.

    If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind

    …no matter how stupid or silly they are.

    Think 1776.

  46. @#51 DDancy
    “It seems almost treasonous in a sense”

    that’s what King George III thought when the colonies started lambasting him… dissidence != treason.

    “As American citizens you should be persecuting these people for their anti-Americanism.”

    it’s 100% american to question the legitimacy of ones president – would you advocate persecuting those who claim that Bush Jr lost his second election, and was not rightly president?

    “If this was to happen in the UK there would be public outrage.”

    not outrage of any consequence. can’t even fart in the UK without your government noting its putrescent gradient index, wind speed, and net effect on global warming.

    you brits have a very warped idea about the way the US is run, and you all seem very quick to want censored that which you do not believe or agree with. ‘persecute’ people? ‘ban’ them from the airwaves? what kind of barbaric world do you live in, sir?

  47. An american period!

    Sick dude!


    From a citizen of the UK who thinks FAUX news is the benefactor of all that is wrong in your states and should be stopped at all costs!


  48. #56

    If you agree in any way with the likes of the Glenn Beck’s of this world and don’t wish them to be banned then you are not on the same world I am.

    Kind regards,

    From a citizen of the UK who thinks FAUX news is the benefactor of all that is wrong in your states and should be stopped at all costs!


  49. If this was to happen in the UK there would be public outrage.

    1776 – We Will Never Forget.

    Which is to say, we might forget, but we stopped listening to the English a long time ago, and with good reason.

  50. DDancy, there’s a local-culture thing (on BB, I mean, not in the US) that you should be aware of: we don’t use sigs here. The “From a citizen…” and “D” paragraphs of all your posts qualify. Please leave them off going forward.

  51. @#58

    i didn’t say i agreed with Beck. as a point of fact, i don’t.

    “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

    that goes for you too, buddy. though you promote censorship, i would be most upset if you yourself were censored.

  52. Ecclesiastes 9:4, “For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.”

  53. #59

    We may have problems with our elected government, but we don’t question their citizenship.

    I think there are stringent security measures put in place to ensure the elected President is legal.

    For this to be an argument against the legality of an elected head of state raises more questions about the state of government than anything else and is a pretty low blow.

    How does this reflect on the legality of previously elected members of state ?

    From a citizen of the UK who thinks FAUX news is the benefactor of all that is wrong in your states and should be stopped at all costs!

  54. Fox News is the “benefactor” of all that is wrong in the US?

    I’m not sure what you mean by benefactor there, but we have much bigger problems in this country than Bill O’Reilly. Fox News is just a symptom.

    And I’m pretty sure the good things about this country will long outlast Fox News and the rest of the bigots. We’re fine, sir. Take it easy.

  55. @#63

    “We may have problems with our elected government, but we don’t question their citizenship.”

    Don’t… or can’t?

    What’s so horrible about demanding that the Presidents birth records be revealed? Isn’t it you brits who are always going on about ‘well, if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about’?

    I don’t think it’s wise to assume that what your government tells you is always truth – history is wrought with gross examples to the contrary. We’re just supposed to take Obamas word for it? The very act of even raising questions somehow disturbs you? I think if people have to show various documents to work at a friggin McDonalds, our President, who is an employee of the People, shouldn’t neglect to dot his i’s and cross his t’s as well.

  56. Sorry, DDancy, but I’m not big on banning speech, whether I agree with the speaker or not. Silencing those you regard as wrong is always tempting, but what happens if they have more votes (or just bigger sticks)? Who decides who is allowed to speak?

    If this puts me on a different world from you, well, that just reminds me why we Yanks decided to go our own way.

  57. AGoodSandwich, I think DDancy means “beneficiary” – that is, they benefit from everything wrong with our country.

  58. Re: “The way I’ve always understood my status is that although i was born in the United States I qualify as a citizen because I have one parent that is a citizen. Since my father is not a citizen then I’m not considered a “natural born citizen”.

    Good News! You are a Natural Born Citizen. A Natural Born Citizen is someone who was born in the United States regardless of the number of parents. You had one US parent, but you could have had no US parents, and you still would be a Natural Born Citizen.

    The term Natural Born Citicen comes from the laws in the American colonies before the Revolution, in which anyone born in the colony, regardless of the number of parents, automatically became a subject of Britain, a Natural Born Subject, and a citizen of the colony, a Natural Born Citizen.

    This is made clear in Blackstone, who says: ‘The children of aliens, born here in England, are, generally speaking, natural-born subjects and entitled to all the privileges of such. In which the constitution of France differs from ours; for there, by their jus albinatus, if a child be born of foreign parents, it is alien.”

    (And the minor exceptions referred to in “generally speaking” refers to the children of foreign diplomats.) To be clear, Blackstone says that Natural Born subjects (and in the USA, Natural Born Citizens) are those that are born in the country regardless of the number of citizen parents.

    And this is why such prominent conservative Senators who are also lawyers as Orren Hatch and Lindsay Graham say that a Natural Born Citizen is simply one who was born in the USA:

    Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), said:

    “Every child born in the United States is a natural-born United States citizen except for the children of diplomats.” (December 11, 2008 letter to constituent)

    Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), said:

    “What is a natural born citizen? Clearly, someone born within the United States or one of its territories is a natural born citizen.” (Senate Judiciary Committee hearing hearing on OCTOBER 5, 2004)

    Now that you know that you are a Natural Born Citizen, are you planning to run for President?

  59. I tossed it up with the birthers this week writing articles (, sf progressive examiner) to debunk the myth. Hoooboy, some of those comments were doozies. One guy said Obama’s a clone anyway, which he/she meant in all seriousness.

  60. “But we live in America, and in America, if you don’t immediately kill arrant nonsense, no matter how ridiculous, it can grow and thrive and eventually take over, like crab grass or reality shows about fat people.”

    I believe the word he wanted is ‘errant’ rather than ‘arrant’, right?

  61. @ Nutbastard,

    Whoa there. I don’t think anyone is suggesting it should be illegal to voice concerns about your President’s citizenship- just that in this case we shouldn’t. Because there’s absolutely no evidence that Obama is anything other than a 100% American-born citizen and to claim otherwise is stupid, spiteful and demonstrably false.

    There’s a big difference between what you should be allowed to do and what you should actually do.

  62. This whole natural born thing is totally ridiculous, what’s next, claiming some theoretical future candidate isn’t eligible because they were born by cesarean section (is cesarean ‘natural birth’)?

  63. I love birthers.

    It allows the idiots to fixate on an imaginary, insoluable problem where they can do no damage.

    Imagine if the same energy were turned to anti-abortion or some other hot button issue?

    Here, they’re free to waddle in the kiddie pool, and then when they’re done whining they go home, watch some TV till 9PM and are put to bed.

  64. America could very well be repeating the foolish act of losing the respect of the world by wilfully stupid behaviour. This birther nonsense is not happening in an American vacuum. People are witnessing it and wondering if the restored respect brought by throwing out the Cheney vampires is perhaps misplaced since there is so much apparent support for an encore of idiocy. America on the world stage tends to an attitude of “what the fuck are YOU looking at, buddy?” when her domestic affairs get aired. America needs the support of the rest of the world. It can be argued that these birther idiots are in fact treasonous. There is no question they hurt America.

  65. Obama is a native born American. National Review has said so, Hugh Hewitt, Rush Limbaugh et al have said so and most conservatives I know and read have said so. Yeah a few dolts dfon’t think so — KRS-One think sObama is a tool of Jewish bankers — that’s more dangerous than this. Bill Maher is over playing the issue. Many people don’t like Obama over health care, his racial profiling of Cambridge police, etc. That’s all. Obsessing over this seems as whack as obsessing over Obama’s birthplace.


  66. The thing that bothers me about Fox news is that a lot of these guys say things that are clearly wrong, but, they don’t really clearly differentiate themselves from news.
    They can have their opinions, but opinions are not news. I think there should be disclaimers that they are not news programs. Probably the same for MSNBC and CNN, when it is so clearly the case.
    This birther stuff is just like lying to people. When the birth certificate is provided, its pretty much a fact.
    You could probably argue about forgeries and such, but really, can any more evidence of birth be provided by anyone else from Hawaii during that time? Is there anything abnormally lacking in the information he provided? Is there real suspicion?
    Its like the stupid ghost of George Bush Jr has creeped into people’s brains.

  67. My favourite is when one loon doesn’t like being lumped in with the other loons.

    “#31 posted by Mojave, July 31, 2009 1:15 PM

    Just so you all know, a lot of us “truthers” hate being lumped in with the “birthers”…..just sayin’.”

    Made me laugh out loud.

    I think we should all respect this. I’m quite sure the ‘Jewish conspiracists’ find the ‘truthers’ and ‘birthers’ weird and bizarre. I’m sure they say things like, “What sort of weirdos are they?”


  68. After Bush got his state criminal and driving records changed or destroyed while he was governor I can see why people don’t trust state records anymore. But unless the Democratic Party sent a time traveler back to 1961 to get a job at the Hawaiian Department of Health and got him to put in a fake listing for Barack Obama’s birth when it was sent to the local papers and printed the next week, well, if they didn’t do that, then Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961.

    Honolulu Star-Bulletin Announcement:

    Honolulu Advertiser Announcement

  69. Stop kicking DDancy. He’s on to something. Faux News really does have treasonous intentions, and so do the people behind the Birther thing. Granted, some of their noisemakers are motivated by plain old racism. However, their real purpose is to attack Obama and tear him down by any means possible — they’ve said as much — because they refuse to acknowledge the validity of a democratically elected president who’s not from their party.

    Which is treason.

    DDancy, you pushed a hot button. Free speech is sacred, and anything that smacks of prior restraint of the press is going to get people riled. I know that’s got to seem strange and illogical, given that we’ve allowed so much of our media to be suborned by nongovernmental partisan organizations. Many Americans are still slowly working their way through the idea that non-governmental censorship and perversion of the news media is a threat to democracy, but they’re militantly clear on the idea that the government ought not interfere.

    We’ve actually had a court case that ruled that Faux is allowed to present information as news when their own reporters, analysts, producers, etc. know it to be false.

    So, sorry you got roughed up like that; but I do believe you have a good point.

    Hiteque @49:

    The question that keeps coming up for me: Why is the political Left so concerned with this?

    The Left isn’t. The entire political spectrum from moderate conservative through radical far left is concerned about this.

    Why? Because the Birthers are attacking the legitimacy of the Obama presidency. Because their arguments have been repeatedly demonstrated to be specious and false, and yet they go on as though there’d been no reply. Because this trumped-up non-issue is being artificially nourished and prolonged by people in the great right-wing noise machine who know perfectly well that there’s nothing to it. They’re lying to their own rank and file (again!), manipulating them into being upset about a “problem” that flat-out does not exist.

    This is way too much like the insanely prolonged “investigation” into Whitewater that was pushed by Republican leaders who in many cases had far more serious financial irregularities on their own records. It’s also like the pointless, endless Paula Lewinsky investigation and the attempt to impeach Clinton. They called it a “character issue” (because they couldn’t point to broken laws or demonstrate harm), and pretended to be morally outraged, when many of their leaders were adulterers (or worse), and Gingrich himself was having a far more extensive affair with the woman who later became the third Mrs. Gingrich.

    The Republicans didn’t actually care about Whitewater, and they sure as hell didn’t care about Paula Lewinsky. They minded like hell that a Democrat had been elected president, and they used all possible pretexts to attack him.

    The only thing different about the Birther attack on Obama is that this time, they have no cause whatsoever.

    Do both sides use this tactic? They do not. For instance, the Democrats didn’t go after George Bush for drinking — which really would affect his fitness for office — even though he’s a self-confessed alcoholic, and it was known that he’d fallen off the wagon years before his time was up.

    Why is it wrong for the opposing party to attack the president under false pretexts? Because they don’t decide who’s president. We do. We’re the voters. We elected that guy. If they think that was a mistake, they’re allowed to tell us why — the real reasons why — and see if we agree. They do not have the right to attack our our elected president on false pretexts because they want to be in power instead. That’s an attack on us — all of us — and on our democratic system of government.

    (A related story.)

    (Why do I keep finding myself explaining Civics 101? These are basic principles. Everyone’s supposed to know them.)

    Makes me wonder if something is there, after all. I think there is a pony under all this horse-hockey.

    Surely you’re smarter than that.

    Pecoto @50:

    despite all of Obama’s claims to want to have a “transparent” presidency, we have the least information about him than perhaps any other president in decades.

    Bull puckey. You’ve been listening to bad sources. We have far more information about him than we had about Bush.

    Buddy66 @55, DDancy isn’t trolling. He has a real point.

    DDancy @63:

    I think there are stringent security measures put in place to ensure the elected President is legal.

    You’re right. There are. This is another major fact the Birthers keep pretending they don’t know.

  70. I know quite a few republicans and conservatives and both they and the peoplle on fox news and radio shows don’t believe Obama was born outside the US. They think the birthers are nuts. I don’t buy that some survey says most believe he wasn’t born in the US.

    I think alot of the birther morons are crackpots who would have tried to stop McCain if he had won. They would have said the same thing that he wasn’t born in the US and that Coco Solo military base shouldn’t count.

  71. Shorter ThereseNielsenHayden –

    “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” is why Fox News exists.

  72. well, thanks for that. Are you sure you don’t want to sign my modest republican proposal petition?

  73. MDH, I can go along with that.

    Takuan, how many modest Republicans are you talking about?

  74. oh, I outlined it the other day in the cowardly birther congress-critters thread but couldn’t seem to get any popular traction. As to how many, ummmm, all of ’em?

  75. I agree that the birther nonsense is hurting the GOP, but I disagree that they should stop. They should keep stoking the boiler of that crazy train. The GOP so deserves it for staking their fortunes to the reliable but whacked-out base and bending the knee to Rush Limbaugh.

    Any of you people out there who consider themselves the real conservatives / Republicans, I will follow your efforts to take the party with great interest.

  76. BJacques, I agree that the Birther thing is encouraging pathological behavior in the Republican Party, especially at the grassroots level. I just don’t agree that that’s a good idea. A stable democracy needs a sane electorate. What it needs even more are citizens who understand how democracy works.

    We can’t get rid of the far-right wingnuts any more than they can get rid of the moderate right, the center, and the left. We share the same country. They’re us.

  77. so what is wrong with an iron-fisted dictatorship run by sane people? Do you really think you would any worse off under me?

  78. My second wife was born in Germany, to a US soldier serving there and his American wife. There was never even the slightest doubt about her US citizenship, and since she later worked for both the IRS and Social Security, I’d have to say she’d been properly vetted. If I recall correctly, she could have claimed German citizenship as well if she’d chosen to do so.

  79. I wish my fellow conservatives would drop this issue. There is NO evidence that President Obama was born anywhere except Hawaii and obsessing over it makes us look silly.

  80. Joe Mommasan: It’s a good answer, and ought to settle the argument.


    so what is wrong with an iron-fisted dictatorship run by sane people? Do you really think you would be any worse off under me?

    I don’t think people stay sane when they’re running iron-fisted dictatorships.

    As a completely separate issue, I don’t like the proposal because I think it would make you miserable. You can be high-handed for a while, but your sense of responsibility is bound to creep in.

  81. TNH…yeah, his sense of responsibility would creep in…his sense of responsibility to GET US ALL DEVOURED BY GREAT CTHULHU!!!!!

    This real danger of iron-fisted dictatorships is too often neglected in political discourse.

  82. (why are ephemerals always so selfishly obstinate about a few decades of their mayfly lives? Small minded, I call it)

  83. and I must confess to an overwhelming, acute jealousy that corrodes me within like basilisk spit, why do I always get upstaged? One lousy Beast credit, is that so much to ask in the infinity of multiverses…but nooooo! And to put the crust on it, any moment now a delegation of so-called “priests” (hah! not one bloody knife in the lot!) is going to come mincing in asking if “665” would be acceptable. Well, it isn’t!

  84. Aw, cripes. There’s a good chance that an editor I know is a first or second cousin of the woman in the Glen Beck/National Guard story. I’ll have to ask her.

  85. In other news, Lou Dobbs is turning into a stark raving loony. Thank you, Takuan, for making my evening more imponderable.

  86. I want to see Takuan’s birth certificate.

    I don’t care where he was born, I just want to check he’s not a Star-spawn.

  87. What’s wrong with simply producing a long-form birth certificate?

    The fact that he won’t — or can’t– explains everything.

    And Maher & company enlisting Alinsky’s 5th rule is all the explanation I need.


  88. @Incpen:

    Why do I get the feeling that you never insisted on seeing the “long form” version of George W. Bush’s birth certificate?

  89. TNH @101, you say “Joe Mommasan: It’s a good answer, and ought to settle the argument.”, but unfortunately Joe probably has it wrong on the German citizenship part. No Birthright Citizenship in Germany as of last year, and I suspect that was the case in West Germany back when Joe’s second wife was born.


    “Why do I get the feeling that you never insisted on seeing the “long form” version of George W. Bush’s birth certificate?”

    That’s because George W. had that very authentic sounding east coast Texan accent. But like your comment, that’s beside the point, isn’t it?

  91. Wow, actual birther morons (forgive the redundancy) are IN THIS THREAD. I tell you, it’s exciting. I wonder who taught them how to type?

    Speaking of birther morons, Orly Taitz was on Colbert the other night, spouting her nonsense, and apparently had NO IDEA that he was making fun of her. She’s not only a crazy liar, she’s stupid too.

  92. What’s a “long-form” birth certificate? Does such a thing actually exist in Hawaii? Didn’t their birth/death records go digital in 2001? I called my county records department (MI) and asked about a long form and a short form; the clerk said they only have a one-size-fits-all form and for $10 they would send me one. I told her I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t born in Kenya.

    She hung up.

  93. @ Freeyourcrt:

    I bring up Bush because there is exactly as much evidence that he was born overseas as there is for Obama. Which is to say, none. So demanding the form from Obama and not Bush (or Clinton, for that matter) is a double standard that I suspect is at least somewhat racially motivated.

  94. “somewhat”?

    The subtext to the whole brouhaha is the fury those racist schmucks feel over the fact that there’s a N****R in the White House. They’re just too cowardly to come out and say it — unless it’s on some Nazi or KKK site festooned with CSA battle flags and swastikas. They’re not kidding anybody, not even themselves. It’s ALL about race.


    Oh, but he does.

    The thing Obama can’t do is get you (incpen) to remove your head from your ass long enough to recognize it as the truth.

    He is consistent, your arguments are not.

  96. Unless there are two right-wing nutbar IncPens at play on the internet (which is always possible), this guy’s a teabagging outrage-junkie and Free Republic propagandist who’s got a thing for anti-Obama conspiracy theories.

    That is: he’s got less respect for evidence, and a bigger emotional commitment to non-reality-based worldviews, than your average Young Earth Creationist.

  97. heee!

    “Aug. 13, 2009 | I’m on Skype with Orly Taitz, and from Israel the queen bee of the Birthers is telling me that Barack Obama had all his gay lovers rubbed out, Chicago-style. Well, that’s not fair. Taitz isn’t explicitly accusing Obama of clipping his boyfriends to shut them up. She just wants to make sure I know that a few homosexuals from Obama’s church, oddly, mysteriously, ominously, wound up dead. “Now, I don’t want to say that Obama did it,” explains Orly, in her dense Moldovan accent. “I don’t want to say that people close to Obama did it. But those are the facts.”

    Taitz drops this bomb an hour into our two-hour-plus conversation, by which point I have already staggered past surprise and wonder into woozy, weak-kneed unease. The gay murders are just one accusation in a bloody, Byzantine list as long as the Chicago white pages. And I have long since surrendered to Taitz’s recitation of “facts,” after feebly suggesting that the odds are long that the president is guilty of all these transgressions. Could she just pick one? Please? “It seems,” I whimper, “as though you sort of throw everything against the wall to see what sticks.”

  98. These people are mostly wackos, to be sure, but somewhere back there I suspect there are people who know “where mud will stick on a clean man, and whitewash on a dirty one” (Mary Renault).

  99. Although I believe President Obama is a citizen of the United States, he is not natural born and is not eligible to be president. He was born cesarean, not vaginally. a.k.a. an unnatural birth.

    I’m glad we have elected fine Democrats like Neil Abercrombie who refuse to let this end.

  100. If somebody flogs a dead horse for so long that the horse is reduced to a skeleton, it’s a good bet that that person simply likes to flog things, and really does not expect the horse to actually get up and go.

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