Donald Trump

It Doesn't Matter Who Started Birtherism; What Matters Is Who Seized It

Trump and Clinton both have dirty hands.

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State of Hawaii

The most meta debate of the campaign season is the dispute about where birtherism was born. Last week Donald Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton "started the birther controversy." The Clinton camp quickly denied the charge. James Asher, Washington bureau chief at McClatchy back in '08, then said that Clinton advisor Sid Blumenthal had shopped the story to him and that he had then subsequently sent a reporter to Kenya to look into it. Blumenthal issued his own denial. Yesterday the McClatchy reporter who went to Africa confirmed that he'd had the assignment but couldn't confirm whether Blumenthal had anything to do with it. So the facts are now hazy enough that people can believe pretty much whatever they're already inclined to believe, which is just as well since that's the natural state of the partisan mind in the last two months of a campaign anyway.

For most of those partisans, the key question here isn't What is true? but Who will win this week's gotcha cycle? Since I don't much care about that, I will get this part of the post out of the way quickly:

1. Whether or not the Clinton campaign played a role in spreading the birther tale, Trump's claim that they "started" the rumor is almost certainly false. The story did get its first big wave of attention when it took hold among some of Hillary's hard-core supporters. But it also circulated early in some of the right's online hangouts. It is unclear where precisely the game of telephone began, though Loren Collins has made a pretty good case that it started with someone misconstruing a hypothetical question in a comment thread at The Volokh Conspiracy, an origin story that appeals to my sense of the absurd.

In any event, the Trump campaign tried to back up its assertion about the yarn's origins by pointing to (a) a March 2007 memo from Clinton campaign advisor Mark Penn, which did not in fact bring up birtherism, and (b) a conversation on Morning Joe, which didn't cite any sources. So if your chief interest here is adding yet another item to the list of facts that Trump and his people have gotten wrong, then congratulations: Your collection is now larger.

2. That said, the real point of dispute here isn't who started birtherism; it's who seized it. Trump definitely did. Clinton's campaign may have done so too, depending on how much stock you put in Asher's story (and in older, less-well-sourced rumors). I'm inclined to believe Asher, because Blumenthal has been spreading smeary stories on the Clintons' behalf since the '90s and because he's had a weakness for conspiracy theories since the '70s, if not earlier. But that's just an educated guess. Trump's hands are definitely dirty; with Clinton it's an open question.

Or at least it's an open question if it's birtherism itself that you're asking about. But is that really the underlying issue here?

Just as the birther rumor served as a stand-in for a bunch of anxieties about alien influence, the debate about that rumor is ultimately about the ways political figures cynically manipulate those anxieties. Human civilization sits atop a vast, roiling reservoir of fear. Politicians of all stripes tap into that resource, and Trump and Clinton both went drilling in the same spot.

New Yorker

Look back at that Mark Penn memo. Like I said, it doesn't mention birtherism. What it does do is lay out a plan to exploit the exact anxieties that fed the birther story. Highlighting Obama's "lack of American roots," Penn encouraged Clinton to "give some life to this contrast without turning negative." How?

Every speech should contain the line you were born in the middle of America to the middle class in the middle of the last century. And talk about the basic bargain as about the deeply American values you grew up with, learned as a child and that drive you today. Values of fairness, compassion, responsibility, giving back.

Let's explicitly own "American" in our programs, the speeches and the values. He doesn't. Make this a new American Century, the American Strategic Energy Fund. Let's use our logo to make some flags we can give out. Let's add flag symbols to the backgrounds.

As Clinton adopted Penn's middle-middle-middle line, Blumenthal decided to drop the without turning negative part of the plan. (Whether or not he relayed the birther story, he undeniably spread many other anti-Obama tales, not all of them credible.)

In a way, this Penn/Blumenthal mash-up was worse than birtherism. After all, the birther theory wasn't just a product of xenophobia; there were several other elements to its appeal. Some people were searching for a magic bullet that would end Obama's career without the pain of political persuasion; if he could be shown to be ineligible for the presidency, that would certainly do the trick. Some people wanted a way to maintain their respect for the Oval Office while hating the man who occupied it; if he wasn't "really" president, that task would be easier. Some people, of course, just happened to misjudge the weight of the evidence and figured the birthers had a better case. Birtherism had a bigoted core, but not every birther was a bigot.

Penn's memo, by contrast, actively aimed to turn the fear of the Other into a political weapon. By the end of the primaries, as the die-hard Clinton activists were in meltdown mode, the payoff was moments like this:

The people who stirred that up may not have dirtied their hands with birtherism. But that doesn't mean their hands are clean.

Somewhere out there, a pro-Clinton reader is preparing to accuse me of "false equivalence." So let me say this firmly, clearly, and probably fruitlessly: The least interesting question about this is whether it's "equivalent" to what Trump has done. There are plenty of obvious differences between Clinton's and Trump's behavior, starting with the fact that Trump, as is often the case, has been willing to say things explicitly and from his own mouth that other pols prefer to keep in subtext and in whispers. You can weigh such distinctions any way you like when deciding whether and how to cast your ballot. That is your business. This post is not about how you should vote.

But look: Donald Trump isn't some alien intruder any more than Barack Obama is. People call him a carnival barker, but he's more of a carnival mirror—a grotesque and exaggerated reflection of the forces that face him. That mirror might be shattered in November, but only a fool thinks that breaking a mirror will mean you've broken the scene the mirror was reflecting.

NEXT: Disney Accused of Cultural Appropriation, New Jumanji Movie Accused of Sexism, Enjoy Some Trivia About Skittles and Nazism: P.M. Links

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  1. WHO

    FUCKING

    CARES?????

    Of all the things to get exercised about with these two repugnant candidates, who gives a shit about Barack Obama’s fucking birth certificate? Jesus, talk about phake skandulz.

    1. Seriously. I made it through about a paragraph and then just skipped to the bottom to see whether anyone down here cared. Spoiler alert… the Patriots are considering a new 3rd string quarterback named Dom Grady, some memes are offensive, and… what were we talking about?

      1. I’m still waiting for Belichick to run the ball for an entire game with an all-white team because I think he’s the sports world’s greatest troll.

        The shit disturber in me likes the Patriots just for that – they drive everyone nuts.

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    2. Sort of like Hillary’s health?

      1. Don’t collapse in public and let yourself be loaded into the van like a sack of potatoes and nobody will discuss your health either.

      2. Of a similar vein to Hillary’s health, only not nearly as funny.

      3. Both are legitimate avenues of inquiry. If/when evidence is produced they can be relegated to unimportance, as indicated. Or not.

    3. Obama being born on Neptune isn’t exactly a secret anymore anyways.

      1. I thought he was born on Saturn? Or one of the moons anyways.

        1. A certain ringed planet whose name we forbear to mention.

          1. +1 Urektum.

        2. I thought he was from Uranus.

          1. That was *my* joke (well, the Simpsons’ joke).

          1. Obama wasn’t born on Uranus, he Isananus.

        3. Uranus!

    4. Seriously, so fucking what?

      Let’s say the birthers are right and Obama was actually born in Kenya, what happens next? Do we all get to climb into a time machine and get a do over of the past 8 years? Or do we all just shrug and keep on muddling on as usual?

      1. Retroactive impeachment.

      2. As it stands he is the de facto President and everything he did would be legal. If it came to light he knew he was ineligible and took the office he would be a usurper and everything would be void. Since there is no legal definition of nbC that would be hard to prove.

        1. Wrong. Once the sergeant at arms of the house certifies his win, is all legit.

          1. Not if they are a usurper.

      3. Do we all get to climb into a time machine and get a do over of the past 8 years?

        Yes, please.

      4. You could make sure it doesn’t happen again. Letting politicians and bureaucrats frame constitutional questions is a mistake. The issue was raised before Obama was elected and he finally publicly released his birth certificate.

        Unless, people have evidence that there birth certificate was a forgery, its a non-issue for this election cycle, since both presidential contenders are US citizens.

    5. Amen. What a waste of time. It does give Reason a place to hang another Plague on Both Their Houses virtue signal, but that’s about it.

      1. But the ‘pox on both houses’ is only issue after the topic has proven ineffective against it’s intended target.

    6. It goes to whether he’s a natural born Citizen and is eligible to be the President. The important part of the BC is that it shows Obama’s father was a foreigner. It’s too late now but that was the whole point. Even after Cruz and Rubio we STILL don’t know what nbC means.

      1. Even after Cruz and Rubio we STILL don’t know what nbC means.

        bullshit

        1. That’s just their opinion.

          1. Then you should say, YOU don’t know what “natural born citizen” means.

            1. They don’t know either. That’s what opinion means.

              “a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.”

              1. By your standard no law exists because every time there’s any legal review its just “someone’s opinion”

                200 years of fucking legal consensus is better than your stupid Argumentum ad Ignorantiam

                1. Outside the opinion of a judge in a court of law, yeah. Those are the only ones that count. What kind of an idiot thinks two Harvard professors have the final say on anything? The kind named Gilmore it seems.

                  1. BTW, in 226 years there have been only two Presidents besides those grandfathered in who were not born in the country to citizen parents, Chester A Arthur who hid that fact and Obama. So not a lot of jurisprudence concerning the issue.

      2. Even after Cruz and Rubio we STILL don’t know what nbC means.

        The only people who don’t know what it means are those who want to continue to spread innuendo about people with recent foreign heritage.

        Natural born citizen pretty clearly means someone who was a citizen at birth. Under the 14th amendment the nationality of Obama’s father is irrelevant…. if that’s the “whole point” the argument was pretty stupid.

        1. It’s especially weird because nativists are usually big on jus sanguinis.

        2. The words “natural born” do not occur in the 14th amendment. The 14th makes someone a naturalized citizen at birth.

          1. That is the crux too. Naturalized citizens are NOT natural born citizens. Furthermore, the 14th Amendment was ratified after the Constitution and the main intent was to Constitutionally allow non-white people the same rights as whites.

            The Founders did not want Presidents to have any actual allegiances to foreign powers.

            Same reason for Art I, Sec. 9:
            “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”

        3. If Obama was born in Hawaii he is a natural born citizen/citizen at birth, under the 14th Amendment. The birther claim is that he wasn’t born in Hawaii, which throws it up in the air.

          Now back when I was a sprout, the high school civics text I was taught from said that if a guy’s parents were US citizens, then the guy is a natural born citizen, even if he was born outside of the US. And I think there’s a consensus that if both parents are US citizens, then the guy is a natural born US citizen. The disagreement is over what happens if only one parent is a US citizen, in the case of someone born outside the US.

          Personally I’d prefer to render the question moot via something like the “Hatch Amendment”:

          Section 1. A person who is a citizen of the United States, who has been for 20 years a citizen of the United States, and who is otherwise eligible to the Office of President, is not ineligible to that Office by reason of not being a native born citizen of the United States.

          Section 2. This article shall not take effect unless it has been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States not later than 7 years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

          1. I don’t think persons born outside the jurisdiction of the USA, even to two American parents, should be deemed ‘natural born citizens’. The principle reason is that persons born outside the USA can be considered citizens of other countries and that is where the allegiance problem comes it.

            Foreign allegiances were a real concern to the Founders.

            I would default to being more restrictive and force any change to be a constitutional amendment.

            Part of the problem with our jurisprudence is lack of defaulting to more restrictions for government. Who can be President, should be restrictive because the Constitution limits who can be President unlike who can be a SCOTUS justice.

            1. It’s perfectly acceptable to have citizenship in several countries.

              1. As a president? I don’t want presidents to have dual citizenship. I don’t want corruption in government, large salaries for politicians and bureaucrats nor Presidents to be American and __.
                I get that the Constitution does not expressly prohibit presidents from being dual citizens but it tries to prevent it by requiring Presidents be “natural born citizens”.

                I want presidents to be American and have American interests 100% in mind when making decisions.

          2. Oh well, if your ancient high school text book said that it must be true and we’ve all been wasting our time.

    7. Yeah, it not only doesn’t matter who started it, it doesn’t matter who seized it either, and…nothing else about it matters, either? But I can understand its being of interest to Jesse Walker because sociology, memes, rumors, etc.

    8. I know, right? Who cares that the Constitution requires a President be a natural born citizen?

      It was a legitimate concern and was drawn out by not immediately showing his birth certificate. Obama was one of the few Presidential contenders that was born to American and non-American parents and might not have been born in the USA.

      After it was shown to the public, its a non-issue. Unless you have evidence that the birth certificate was a forgery or his mother gave birth to Obama outside the USA and then got a doctor to sign that Obama was born at a Hawaii hospital.

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    10. Obama is running for a 3rd term? No? Then yeah, we cannot do anything about “birtherism” one way or the other now. How about we set a reasonable betting line on Hillary’s impending coma instead? Seems like more productive use of our time.

  2. When you see this–

    “It Doesn’t Matter Who Started Birtherism; What Matters Is Who Seized It

    Trump and Clinton both have dirty hands.”

    You know trump won the argument.

    1. LEAVE SYD ALOOOOOOONE!

  3. Is this supposed to be “the thing” that disqualifies Trump? His “birtherism” actually ended up scoring him some points with that media trolling event last week.

    1. Trump Inc. could start hammering on Sydney Blumenthal, and that would put Shrillz in pretty awkward situation to run her mouth back given Uncle Sugar does not abide the Syd.

      1. This is a microcosm of Hillary’s problem. Every negative thing she says about Trump can be reflected back at her.

        1. Hillary-ous and true!

  4. Jesus. Jesse Walker sure can turn himself into a pretzel when he sets his mind to it.

    1. trumperian memes have metastasized and are now disrupting all mental processes of Reason scribblers.

    2. What Sloopy said.

      We are getting a lot of retard from Reason writers lately. We should not let them forget it.

    3. No, I don’t blame Jesse for pretzelness. This pitch was in his wheelhouse, what’s he going to do but swing for the fence w it?

  5. Birtherism had a bigoted core…

    You’ll notice no one raised a stink about that Panamanian he ran against, certainly because of his opponent’s white skin.

    1. We’ll be sure to let John McCain know all.those people claiming he had no right to run were racists.

      You. Fucking. Idiot.

      1. Obviously my comment was in addition to yours, not directed at you.

        1. I get called a fucking idiot so frequently I don’t even see it anymore.

          1. You fucking cunt.

              1. You fucking Philadelphian.

            1. Did I miss a post from Ken?

  6. “It Doesn’t Matter Who Started Birtherism; What Matters Is Who Seized It”

    Alternative: Bitherism doesn’t matter at all

    1. Ensuring the candidates for President meet the qualifications doesn’t matter?

  7. James Asher, Washington bureau chief at McClatchy back in ’08, then said that Clinton advisor Sid Blumenthal had shopped the story to him and that he had then subsequently sent a reporter to Kenya to look into it.

    I’m no political junkie, but if anyone recalls the ’08 election, let there be no mistake, the Clintons will stop at nothing to win. If anyone doesn’t believe this story, you haven’t been paying attention. Had there been any merit to Obama being born in Kenya, I guarandamntee you the Clintons would have made a campaign issue of it.

    1. And, as Christopher Hitchens could tell you if he weren’t dead, Sid Blumenthal is a horrible human being who hasn’t an honest bone in his body and who would do any kind of evil thing if it benefitted the Clintons. Absolutely nothing can be put past that guy.

      1. So its Sid not ‘Syd?’ Learn something every day.

        1. Syd Barrett perpetrated a different, horrible conspiracy to turn Roger Waters loose with his band.

          1. At least something good came out of that mess. With ‘Sid’ instead of ‘Syd,’ all we got was Libya.

      2. And, as Christopher Hitchens could tell you if he weren’t dead,

        Where was Hillary at the time of his death? Has anyone looked into that? *adjusts tin-foil hat*

        1. *tips spangenhelm forward aggressively*

          Are you suggesting she gave him throat cancer? Because I have the strictest assurances that her pneumonia was non-contagious.

  8. Two things. First, Obama kept the story alive by refusing to release his birth certificate. He could have ended the entire thing day one but choose not to because he saw its existence as a way to portray all of his critics as kooks. So cry my a fucking river for Obama in this. He benefited from it politically and let it go on longer than it needed to as a result.

    Second, who gives a fuck about this story any way? Obama was born in Hawaii. I know that and that has been proven. I fail to see why I should care that some people used to think otherwise. I cannot see any reason to care that either Clinton or Trump once tried to score political points with a story I could care less about.

    Let it go Jesse. Let it go.

    1. Obama released his birth certificate in 2008. The conspiracy theorists didn’t think that was good enough because it wasn’t the “long-form version” which got released in 2011. Plenty of these idiots still cling to the theory, and would/will twist the facts to fit that narrative regardless.

      1. No he did not. He released a really bad copy in 2008. He did that for the specific purpose of egging on the conspiracy theorists. He never released an official copy until later when Trump made a big deal about it.

        And sure they cling to the idea that he was born in Kenya. And to that I say once again I don’t fucking care.

        1. It was a perfectly valid birth certificate, the birthers just latched on to anything they could think of to try to debunk it, making up shit along the way.

          1. It wasn’t the official long form and he knew that the birthers would latch onto that. Releasing it was a way of being transparent while also egging the birthers on.

            I don’t really blame him for it. it was smart politics. But don’t come crying to me about how unfair this has all been to Obama. Obama was in many ways a part of the entire thing and benefited from it. He is not and never has been a victim or anything but a beneficiary of all of this.

            1. Leave racist assholes alone! LEAVE THEM ALONE!!!

              1. Since you are the biggest racist asshole on here, I am not surprised that is how you feel

            2. Ok. This is where I say good day. I said ” good day”, sir

        2. He never released an official copy. He released a PDF of what is reportedly an official copy. Only one reporter was allowed the see the original and take one cellphone photo. They handed out copies to the rest.

    2. Exactly. He was born on Robin Masters’ estate.

      1. Oh. my. GOD.

    3. John,

      I want your girlfriend bad. Can we exchange pics for possible role play and light bondage?

      http://freakoutnation.com/2014…..y-general/

      1. You can tell a lot about a a man thing by where he it gets news.

      2. Son you are never going to get paid. Retarded kids generally don’t. But you can keep dreaming about it.

  9. Don’t forget that in 1991, literary agents, Acton & Dystel, who were representing the author Barack Obama, sent the following bio to publishers in a circular promoting their talent:

    Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii. The son of an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister, he attended Columbia University and worked as a financial journalist and editor for Business International Corporation. He served as project coordinator in Harlem for the New York Public Interest Research Group, and was Executive Director of the Developing Communities Project in Chicago’s South Side. His commitment to social and racial issues will be evident in his first book, Journeys in Black and White.

    As people pointed out then, the bio was almost certainly written by Barack Obama at their request. I suspect the originator of birtherism was Obama himself.

    1. “I was born a poor black child.”

      1. He will also go down as one of the worst Presidents in US history, so there’s that.

    2. Yes. He was the originator. The reason why he won’t release his college transcripts is not only because his grades were lousy but more so because he claimed to be a Kenyan born national so he could get into Columbia and later Harvard.

      The idea that he wasn’t born in the US didn’t come from nowhere. People didn’t just make it up. It came from the fact that people who knew him at Columbia and Harvard remembered him being a Kenyan and then grew from there.

      1. he claimed to be a Kenyan born national so he could get into Columbia and later Harvard.

        Which if true means he committed fraud on his admissions and financial aid forms. Not that there would be any consequences for s Top. Man. like himself if he did.

        1. I am quite certain that he did exactly that. I don’t personally know but I have been told by people I trust and would be in a position to know that that is what he did.

          1. Are they the same people who predicted that the FBI leadership would resign en masse if Hillary Clinton wasn’t indicted by the DOJ?

            1. Since no one ever told me that and I never claimed that someone did, No.

              Do the voices in your head sound like me? Is there a reason why you associate them with me? Just wondering.

              1. John, you kept telling us that the FBI guys were super serious about their investigation of Clinton. That they would be absolutely pissed-off if the she was let go and then they would leak everything. I believed you because I really wanted it to be true. And then it didn’t happen.

                1. What is there to leak that would be worse than the official reports?

                2. No I was telling you that they were extremely angry and despondent over it. I never once said people would resign in mass. I said they were pissed off about it such that I didn’t believe the FBI and DOJ would do it. I was wrong. They did do it. Sue me.

                  1. I bet my left testicle that Hillary would be indicted based off of your information.
                    You’ve been served. My attorneys will be in contact.

                    By the way what do you think are the odds that Trump will win this November?
                    (I’ve still got one testicle left).

                    1. Officially it’s 60/40 Hillary.

                      Take the points.

          2. It wouldn’t surprise me at all, but since I’ve never seen a copy of his admissions or financial aid paperwork, I don’t know for sure. Hence the weasel words “if true”.

            It probably is true, but I don’t know.

        2. Would anyone be surprised he committed fraud?

          People like that are narcissistic enough to justify it on the grounds it’s necessary because they were meant to ‘shift paradigms’ or some other bull shit. And then all the little “moutons” buy into the lie.

          1. Would anyone be surprised he committed fraud?

            You mean besides the ACA?

      2. Yes. He was the originator. The reason why he won’t release his college transcripts is not only because his grades were lousy but more so because he claimed to be a Kenyan born national so he could get into Columbia and later Harvard.

        And this is only a part of the general fog of his birth. As Mongo points out above, the man can turn from poor black community organizer who got his head screwed on in the mean streets of Chicago to Columbia and Harvard Constitutional Law scholar on a dime.

        He called himself a Professor at U of C and the Clinton Campaign called him out on it. U of C backed him. You don’t get to be a Harvard Grad and Law Professor at U of C and then say things like ‘Treyvon Martin could’ve been my son, could’ve been me.’

        Debating over whether Clinton or Trumps hands are dirtier ignores the fact that they’re all professional liars and manipulators. Only some coming to the profession, officially, later than others.

        1. Debating over whether Clinton or Trumps hands are dirtier ignores the fact that they’re all professional liars and manipulators. Only some coming to the profession, officially, later than others.

          This X 1,000

          Literally everyone involved in this story is a lying sack of shit: Obama, Hillary, Trump, Blumenthal, the various reporters and media figures – there’s no “good guy” here.

      3. he claimed to be a Kenyan born national so he could get into Columbia and later Harvard.

        Would that actually help? I would have thought that being a black American got you more affirmative action points than being a reasonably well to do Kenyan.

        1. It helps a lot. Being a foreign student puts you into a different admissions pool. And being a student from Africa puts you into a different pool still. The standards to get in being from a third world country are much lower than getting in being even a minority American student. They let so many people from Africa in every year. The competition can be pretty thin. Obama was out of a private school in Hawaii and later Occidental college for a year. There were not many African applicants who could have matched that, whereas there are tons of American black students who could.

          1. I suppose being an exotic foreign student who can pay the full tuition helps too.

            1. The Saudis paid it.

      4. The reason why he won’t release his college transcripts is not only because his grades were lousy

        Not at Harvard. He graduated with honors, and all their grading is done anonymously, and honors are awarded based solely on grades.

        Naw, he was playing an affirmative action angle, is my guess. That’s why they buried all records of his early life.

        Somebody said the mistake the birthers made was not assuming he was lying when he claimed to be born in Kenya.

        1. Doesn’t something 75% of every graduating class at Harvard graduate “with honors”, or is that only undergrads and not law school?

          1. Not sure now, but back then (I graduated in ’87, Obama in ’90), it was the top 1% was summa (@ 5 students), the top 5% was magna (@ 27 students), and the top 10% was cum laude (@ 54 students).

        2. all their grading is done anonymously

          How does that work?

          I guess maybe professors have other people do the grading for them.

          1. We had this done at pitt for some classes. You’d put your student ID on the top of your paper/test instead of your name.

    3. OK, everyone beat me to it.

    4. One, wow. Two, he was interesting enough and a decent enough writer to have literary agents in 1991?

  10. The real birther issue* will unfortunately stay a mystery.

    *what Barack Obama claimed as his place of birth on his college applications.

  11. The idea that Obama was foreign born originated with Obama. Isn’t it known that he once represented himself as hailing from Kenya (author bio) and widely suspected he has taken steps to hide other instances (such as college admissions)?

  12. Jesse, I’d prefer to hear more about the real Obama conspiracy revealed by Alan Hulton . Where Obama knew he was in line for the presidency 15to 20 years before the “election”.

    1. How such an indifferent student got into a law school whose applicants’ LSAT scores typically track between the 98th and the 99th percentile

      LOL wut

  13. Where was GasyJay born?

      1. WAS THAT PART OF AMERICA AT THE TIME!?!?!?!?

      2. Minot came into existence in 1886, when James J. Hill’s Great Northern Railway ended its push through the state for the winter, after having difficulty constructing a trestle across Gassman Coulee. It was the end of the railway’s line, so whenever a train came into the town and the stop was announced, the conductor would call out “Minot, this is Minot, North Dakota, prepare to meet your doom”. A tent town sprang up overnight, as if by “magic”, thus the city came to be known as the Magic City, and in the next five months, the population increased to over 5,000 residents, further adding to the nickname’s validity.[citation needed]

        Awesome.

        1. That is cool as shit. I assume every self-respecting libertarian here knows the history of James J. Hill’s Great Northern Railway.

  14. Another aspect to this kerfuffle is the apparently-damning computer analysis of the purported copy of his birth certificate.

    If only some reputable disinterested party would access some *actual* record ….

    1. Yup. I recall that they only ever released a scan of the document, and the first scan had all kinds of layers on it that you don’t get unless you alter the document. Then they released another, “clean” scan.

  15. 5/28 WAS AN INSIDE JOB!!!!!

    1. This masturbation reference sure is cryptic.

  16. This writer starts out with “Trump’s claim that they[Clinton] “started” the rumor is almost certainly false,” and then in true Clintonian manner says “The story did get its first big wave of attention when it took hold among some of Hillary’s hard-core supporters.” and continuing, tells us that Trump is a real douche, but his side[Clinton] is a bigger POS.

    So if he has this right, Trump was wrong, then Trump was correct, and now Clinton is holding a very large basket – or something.

  17. Re: The New Yorker fist bump cover — it freaked out a lot of my pro-Obama friends as they thought it was damaging to Obum’s prez campaign and getting all panicky by missing the satire.

  18. Somewhere out there, a pro-Clinton reader is preparing to accuse me of “false equivalence.”

    You should be more worried about what some Trumkin out there si going to accuse of. “CUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKK!!!1!!!11!!!!!!!”

    1. Trump supporters don’t go to his cocktail parties so he doesn’t give a fuck.

  19. who started it doesn’t matter but since the claim is that if you think it your racist then it shows that Hillary’s camp is just as racist as any other because they did start it and her then campaign manager has admitted such. they claim they fired the person but if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you. Have you never heard of a quite campaign.

  20. So he highlights his Kenyan heritage, his literary agents say he was born in Kenya…so I suppose, when some peole questioned whether he were a natural born citizen, he said “sorry for the confusion, here’s the documents showing I was born in the USA”? There would still be birthers, but then there’s always going to be all sorts of conspiracy theorists out there.

    Instead he’s like, “why are you raising these insinuations, you racists? You should automatically have know, sight unseen, where this person you recently heard about was born, never mind my focus on my Kenyan background and, frankly, my invocation of my foreign, exotic nature as giving me a cool factor which made up for my lack of actual competence.”

  21. Wasn’t there a similar situation with Al Gore bringing up Willie Horton, then suddenly it was mean old Republicans who were harping on it because Republicans are racists?

    1. It’s like I said – George Orwell was too optimistic, he thought that erasing historical memory required destroying the evidence. But even when the evidence is a Google search away, people ignore it.

  22. It Doesn’t Matter

    ^ This. Geez, talk about a professional blabber class bubble. I thought y’all was the edumucated ones.

  23. They’re bothe equally responsible, Jesse. The first person you mentioned had an aide who looked into the allegations, dismissed them, and fired another aide who wrote an email promoting the theory that Obama was born with a bone in his nose. The 2nd person actively promoted the theory, questioned on numerous occasions where Obama was born, financed the White Supremacists who passed along these racist conspiracy theories, and only recently dismissed them claiming that HRC is the real Birther.

    Same, same, really. Can your commenters come over to my house where I can tell them about how Austria was responsible for the Anschluss?

    1. What’s racist about questioning a murky fact about someone’s birthplace?

      Oh, right. Every question about Obama is racist.

      So Obama is a racist for saying in his bio he was born in Kenya? Certainly there are many, many better examples of Obamas racism.

      1. Imagine Hitlery actually won the presidency. Every questions about her would be sexist.

        It’s their M.O.

  24. This had better not be the last thread of the day.

  25. I just thought of this – when you apply for a job at a factory or restaurant, you generally need to furnish proof of citizenship (thank government pressure for this), but it’s supposed to be a scandal when some voters want proof of natural-born citizenship for someone who wants to be President?

    1. I just thought of this – when you apply for a job at a factory or restaurant, buy a gun, drive a car, get a passport to leave the country, go to school, etc., etc. you generally need to furnish proof of citizenship

    2. The government owns every job except that one. The presidency goes to whomever the ravening hordes want in the spot.

    3. You don’t have to prove “natural born” citizenship.

      1. You mean in general, or if you’re running for President?

  26. It doesn’t matter, man. Trump was spreading racist conspiracy theories that were picked up by his White Supremacist followers, who later became his biggest backers. Nothing to see here. Move along to more of HRC’s emails. I want to find out what her Bouef Bourginion recipe was from her email dated January 23, 2011. National security demands we know the answer.

    1. Oh, hi. Haven’t seen you in a while.

      How you doing, racist?

      1. Hi, Racist:

        Sorry… I have a job and am not an 85 year old geriatric complaining about the government while receiving Medicare and getting a Social Security check. Thus, my time is limited. I don’t have the requisite time to consider how great Trump is like you. Sorry.

        1. Sorry the socialist dream eludes you.

        2. am not an 85 year old geriatric complaining about the government

          Well…rather difficult to accomplish with its dick in you mouth, for sure.

          That was unfair-you never planned on complaining in the first place.

        3. Plus the Internet service in Venezuela, where amsoc moved recently to live up to his ideals, is spotty.

    2. Hi slaver.

  27. I’m missing the point here, is Obama running again?? I mean, “at this point, what difference does it make?” to mix metaphors a bit.

    Walks away scratching head and mumbling…

    1. I mean, “at this point, what difference does it make?”

      Well, other than giving the Clinton camp another opportunity to make baseless charges of racism and tell more lies, it doesn’t really make a difference, no.

  28. It’s pretty interesting, Jesse, that you spent about 3/4s of the article on what Clinton did or didn’t do, when there is much more out there about what Trump actually did do. In regard to birtherism, that is.

    But fairly typical for here. Both hands are dirty? Not even close as to whose hands are dirtier. Seems to me that would dictate an article more on Trump.

    1. I will put it this way. If the question is about birtherism, and you’re not focused nearly in its entirety on Donald Trump, you’re missing the point.

    2. Aren’t you the one posting bullshit articles on how CO2 is linked to global climate change? You have like zero credibility here, SLAVER.

      1. Indeed, ’tis I. Just slaving away.

        1. How the fuck did you go two comments without bitching about climate change?

    3. Both hands are dirty? Not even close as to whose hands are dirtier.

      One hand washes the other.

    4. But fairly typical for here. Both hands are dirty? Not even close as to whose hands are dirtier. Seems to me that would dictate an article more on Trump.

      I definitely called it with the “probably fruitlessly” part.

      1. You did indeed. Doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the criticism. You do.

      2. To be fair, it’s one of the resident trolls, and not the funny one.

        1. To be fair, it’s one of the resident trolls, and not the funny one.

          Nah, he’s not a troll. He means what he says.

          Anyway, I could say something similar to various Trumpsters and crypto-Trumpsters commenting in this thread. I do not give a shit about the electoral payoff to the story; I explicitly said I was writing about something that transcends the Trump/Clinton contest. But partisans gonna partisan.

          1. Wrong again. I’m not a Clinton partisan. Impossible, right? I’m not voting for her. But attempts at Reason, maybe other than Suderman, to suggest equivalency between Trump and Clinton get old.

            1. The Trumpsters are the partisans. Since you said I “suggest[ed] equivalency” in a post that explicitly rejected it, I’m gonna guess that your problem isn’t partisanship but illiteracy.

              1. Walker’s Razor – “Never attribute to partisanship that which can be easily explained by illiteracy.”

              2. Ah, I see. Have a great evening, Jesse!

              3. I’m surprised you stoop to reply to this idiot.

                Like wrestling with a pig – you get covered with shit and the pig likes it.

            2. Listen, I’m not a Hillary supporter. I don’t like her very much. There’s a lot she’s bad on.

              But, let’s get one thing straight: I’m very concerned about this Trump fellow. Very concerned.

              He scares me.

              Nuclear buttons.

              Do you want a nuclear button with its finger on Trump?

              I don’t think so.

              Very, very concerning.

              1. I wonder if it’s possible to a.) say that you don’t think either candidate is worth your support, b.) draw a distinction between the two, c.) sleep at night. Probably not.

          2. What Kesse said. He is not a troll. He is just a sad angry midget named Joe. He wishes he were a troll. Trolls are a higher form of life

    5. Aw, Jack and AmSoc found each other. I hope their relationship works out in all its commie glory (watch out for the other guy, you two!)

      1. I want that conversation to continue.

        To see where it goes.

        1. Until he forgets to log out from one handle and into the other.

  29. Here’s a story that Trump can tell that is probably truthy enough for a political campaign:

    Hillary’s camp was pushing the rumor that he was foreign-born.* I took them at their word that there was something to it, and started asking questions. Eventually, enough people were asking enough questions that Obama was forced to respond, and released his birth certificate.

    At that point, my questions were answered. In fact, my involvement helped get those answers.

    Hillary’s role: start a rumor. My role: put the rumor to rest.

    *The idea that this is false is utter horseshit, and would only be peddled by a committed partisan. Or, you can play Clintonian parsing games with “started”, if you want to be a shill for the Clintons. It seems pretty clear that a fair number of media people heard it first from Clinton operatives, at a bare minimum.

    1. My role: put the rumor to rest.

      Save that he was still pushing the ‘nasty’ rumor years after He claims that his actions ‘put it to rest’

      1. Oh, I know. Note the “truthy enough” disclaimer.

        Hillary was stupid enough to raise this issue again. I suppose the thing to do at this point is put both of their lies in the balance, and see who lied moar harder.

    2. That’s basically what Trump’s campaign said on CNN the other day about all this.

      “Trump is a closer. Hillary opened the issue. Trump closed it.”

  30. Jesse, I thought you were into conspiracy theories. What gives?

  31. Reasoned argument reaches an important segment of the people, but it doesn’t get to everybody.

    We all know that listening to progressives talk about what makes economies grow or listening to Trump supporters talk about free trade, it’s like listening to idiots talk about something stupid.

    There have to be way to reach those people–and conspiracy theories are great for that.

    Progressives wanted everyone to believe that the Iraq War was all about Cheney getting contracts for Halliburton.

    That was really about undermining the President’s legitimacy.

    If Donald Trump seized on the birther conspiracy theory to undermine Obama’s legitimacy–as Obama nationalized GM, remade Wall Street in his own progressive image, all but nationalized healthcare, made stupid deals with the Iranians, etc., etc.–I don’t necessarily see that as a terrible thing.

    Certain segments of our society don’t do well with reason, and trying to reach those segments with reason is probably irrational. The proper role of any libertarian may always be to undermine the legitimacy of the executive, and if Trump was doing that while Obama was setting out to remake the country in his authoritarian and socialist image, then Trump was doing the Lord’s work.

  32. Was my candidate the loser or the winner? That’s all that matters.

    1. Vermin Supreme is always winner.

  33. Do you know who else is in to conspiracy theories ?

    Looks like somebody’s eying a seat on the MAGA train!

    1. Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul tells Breitbart News Hillary Clinton is not in good health and she has not been forthright about her health challenges.

      Next you’ll tell me that a bear shit in the forest.

  34. Do I recall incorrectly that this revolved around the age of his mother and the laws at the time he was born?

    I thought that under current law, he would be considered a natural born citizen, even if born in Kenya to an American mother.

    Which is honestly, good enough for me.

    FAR more interesting is the idea that he lied on his college application. But I guess they wiped those files with a cloth or something.

    1. And then I recall that he was EIGHTEEN FUCKING YEARS OLD when he lied on his college application.

      There are a trillion plus better reasons to not have voted for him. Something about the ACA and bailouts or something.

    2. There were some weird technicalities about his mother having been present in the US for X number of years before his birth, or something.

  35. I think I get it. If Trump is accused of something, Trump is bad. If Hillary is accused of something, Hillary is bad… BUT SO IS TRUMP!

    Yeah, I got it. This is so fucking sad. The MSM really doesn’t need you little Reason peons to do their work for them. You ain’t getting invited to the big cocktail parties, just give it up.

    1. The Reason cocktail parties are way cooler anyways.

    1. Blurp Doop Boink Derp! You cain’t make this shit up ButtHead!

      Just one question, when you have that much fucking money, can’t you afford some teeth? WTF is it with these elites? Trump got a chipmunk on his head and ol Bushpig ain’t got no teeth!

    2. And Jeb Bush, Trump’s former primary rival, has said he won’t vote for Trump or Clinton.

      Wasn’t there some promise during the primaries to support the Republican nominee, whoever that might be? I believe Trump finally did this. Did Jeb Bush? Did he renege?

      1. Jeb! Kasich and Cruz are all renegers

        1. Those damn dindunuffins!

    3. No, someone who talked to him claims he did.

  36. Legally, you can’t be elected President unless you are a “natural born citizen”. Re: Barack Obama, I realized at the time that it wasn’t necessary for a candidate to prove this, but for any critics to disprove it. What really matters is if the candidate speaks and behaves in a manner consistent with growing up in the United States. If there was no absolute proof you were born someplace else, the benefit of the doubt says you were born here. Even if a candidate, especially a Democratic candidate, was born in another country and had a thick accent, I don’t think it would prevent most of his supporters from voting for him. Perhaps enough to lose the election. Perhaps not.

    1. Fuck, I don’t even care if Obama was born in Kenya. I do care that he’s a commie jackass.

        1. He certainly would not be a ‘natural born’ citizen if he was born in Kenya. But I’ll take an illegal immigrant libertarian Kenyan over that jackass Obama any day of the week, if someone can find one.

          1. So the ‘natural born’ means US soil? I thought that only differentiated people who were citizens by birthright vs. people who ‘attained’ citizenship.

            1. If both of his parents were US citizens and he was born in Kenya, then he would still be a natural born citizen from what I understand. Or if he was born in the USA. If he wasn’t born in the USA and both of his parents were not US citizens, then I think he wouldn’t be. But I’m not 100% sure on that.

              1. He would only be a natural born citizen if both parents were still residents of the US. So for example, if your mother is vacationing in Canada and goes into labor, you are still a natural born citizen even though you were born in Canada. Same is true if you were born on foreign soil while one or both of your parents were serving in the military there the way McCain was. What matters is your parents place of residency.

                This is why the birther claims against Cruz might have actually been valid. He was born in Canada to an American mother and Cuban father. It is unclear exactly what his mother’s country of residence was at the time of his birth. If it was Canada, Cruz is not a natural born citizen.

        2. No. Your link doesn’t cover births before 1986.

          Here’s the relevant law.

          Birth Abroad to One Citizen and One Alien Parent in Wedlock

          A child born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under Section 301(g) of the INA provided the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for the time period required by the law applicable at the time of the child’s birth. (For birth on or after November 14, 1986, a period of five years physical presence, two after the age of fourteen, is required. For birth between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986, a period of ten years, five after the age of fourteen, is required for physical presence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child.)

          The bolded part shows that an 18-year-old mother couldn’t possibly transmit US citizenship.

          1. It means that it wouldn’t have been nutty for Barack’s mother and grandmother to “concoct” a Honolulu birth certificate. They didn’t have to engage in a conspiracy to make him eligible to become President 47 years later. They simply would have tried to assure his US citizenship.

          2. One thing I’m pretty sure of is that I could not go abroad, marry a foreign national, have children with them, and automagically bestow US citizenship on the children. That is not going to happen. You would have to apply for for them.

            1. They would if they were born abroad. And remember, Obama was born before the 1965 immigration act. In the early 60s, getting citizenship if you were from Kenya, was well neigh impossible. So, if he had been born in Kenya, his mother and grandmother would have certainly had a motivation to concoct an American birth certificate for him.

              1. His citizenship would have been British. Kenya was part of the United Kingdom and Colonies. He actually did have British citizenship until age 6 when he became a citizen of Kenya until age 22. Interestingly, the Kenyan Constitution now allows him to regain his citizenship. He could become the President of Kenya!

                1. Technically if he applied to college before 22 he could claim to be a citizen of Kenya.

                2. Why do you hate Kenya so much Trey? What did the Kenyans ever do to you to make you suggest that Obama become their President?

                  1. I saaaaaiiiiddd “could”.

            2. You can now. Any child of a citizen is a citizen.

              1. It’s sort of complicated, but:

                ** NOTE ? The “one U.S. citizen parent” rule applies only to children who first fulfilled the requirements for automatic citizenship (other than at birth abroad) on or after February 27, 2001. In order to qualify for automatic citizenship (other than at birth abroad) on or before February 26, 2001, both of the child’s parents must have been United States citizens either at birth or through naturalization both parents if the child had two parents; the surviving parent if a parent had died; the parent with legal custody if the parents were divorced or legally separated; or the mother only, if the child had been born out of wedlock and the child’s paternity had not been established by legitimation.

                But good luck to the non-US citizen, and you will have to prove it before they’re admitted. I hear the preferred way today is just walk across the border from Tijuana.

    2. The Constitution expressly states that the House’s membership requirements are to be enforced by the House itself (and likewise for the Senate). There is no specific enforcement mechanism for the presidential qualifications, which means either (a) they’re unenforceable, (b) they’re enforced by the judiciary, which would be quite the separation of powers shitshow.

  37. Trump’s claim that they “started” the rumor is almost certainly false.

    No, no it isn’t certainly false. You have a somewhat reputable news organization attributing the claim to a long-time Clinton consigliere who’s known for being a lying shit. And the only denials of it are from Clinton’s former campaign staff. The weight of the evidence is that, in any meaningful sense, the rumor started with the Clintons.

    And, yes, it does matter. If you’re going to call Trump a racist for trafficking in birtherism, then, by any reasonable assessment, you can’t absolve the Clinton camp for pushing the line in the first place. Either, birtherism isn’t a meaningful indication Trump is a racist, or birtherism is a meaningful indication that HIllary Clinton is a racist. -+

  38. OT, but was there any postings here today about another case of cops killing an unarmed person today? I was hearing something on the way home today on one of the local news feeds, but didn’t get the details. just wondering what is up with that. It sounds like the person was having car trouble and was shot by a female cop for ‘not obeying orders’ or some other cop bullshit speak.

        1. “Tulsa’s chief of police, described the footage as “very disturbing and difficult to watch”

          Another cop getting away with murder and a free paid vacation.

  39. Of course the whole ‘birther’ mess distracted wonderfully from the demonstrable fact that Obama was not then, or since, in the least qualified to be President. His administration demonstrates this beyond reasonable doubt. He was a face and a voice. Fortunately he has spent a great deal of time on the golf course, where there is a limit to the damage his idiocy can do to the country.

    Pity he didn’t spend all eight years there.

    1. No one is or has ever been qualified to be president.

      1. I’m not alone! Thank god. I was getting tired of talking to Wilson.

      2. Except Grover Cleveland who was the 22nd and 24th Presidents. He is the only President who could reasonably argue that he had the exact experience necessary to be President.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grover_Cleveland

  40. Started with a misconstrued comment at Volokh Conspiracy. If anything is to be learned, it’s that we suck. C’mon men, we can’t be outmisconstrued by those pikers. Start a rumor.

    1. You mean like “Hillary is a demented loon who babbles about white-supremacist frogs?”

      1. Last time I listened to her, she was going on about free college that’s not going to cost anyone anything. Demented loon does come into play there.

        1. You guys aren’t playing the game correctly. It’s supposed to be false.

          1. Well, I hear that Pepe wasn’t even born in the U.S.

            1. Yeah I read that in the unauthorized biography: Pepe the Frog, His Story, Warts and All

      2. You mean like “Hillary is a demented loon who babbles about white-supremacist autistic frogs?”

        FTFY

  41. OT: Trump is the bigger Liar.

    According to Politifact, only 4 percent of what Trump says on the campaign trail is true, compared to 23 percent for Clinton.

    1. Tall tales? He tells uuuuuuuuuuuge tales!

    2. The idea that Politifact cops to Clinton lying 3/4 of the time is what is amazing in that blurb. A “fact check” site that was specifically birthed to correct “right wing lies” saying Hill-dog is mostly untrue is amazing.

      Take 2: I don’t for one second believe either of those numbers. What I do believe is that of the things that Politifact felt were statements they would like to investigate and “fact-check” for us, those numbers are true to Politifact’s interpretation. For both candidates, I’m sure 90+% of what comes out of their mouth is either true or unfalsifiable. But that’s not interesting, and not worthy of a fact-check article. It is the 10% or less that adds all the spice to the campaign.

      1. Whenever my dad heard someone start a statement with, “To be perfectly honest,” he’d put his hand up and wave off the rest. To him, all that preface meant was the speaker has ulterior motives and is admitting they aren’t “perfectly honest” the rest of the time. He’d have said something similar about Politifact’s arrogant assertion of being the truth arbiters.

        1. What kind of person thinks everyone is always perfectly honest?

          Or pretends they themselves are, and then passes judgment on others? We all do silly little things that save peoples feelings and smooth social interactions every day.

          I’d tell your dad that, to be perfectly honest, he can fuck off with that silliness.

          1. You’re doing it wrong. You have to tell him that his perfect honesty, with all due respect, and you’re saying this with all due respect here, ain’t worth two shits in a shitstorm.

            1. I have taken notes, thank you.

          2. Some people try and live their lives as honest people.

            Perfectly honest- probably not.

    3. Holy shit. That woman has never once had the truth pass her lips. 23 percent my ass.

    4. I hope he’s lying about all the shit on which I disagree with him on. Mostly though, I don’t fucking care. Just punish any of my enemies and Trump will MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

  42. So, which sounds like a better Mike nickname for Turd Sandwich? Clint Dong Ill, or Clit Dong Ill?

    1. He got piled on a little bit too much at first for his nicknames, but handled it so poorly that he deserves it now. Why don’t people just let shit slide at some point? Not like you’re going to stop mockery by getting angry.

      1. I was just trying to help out. “Sick Illary” is just a little bland. I managed to take that reference to her health problems, expand on it by noting that she dresses like an Asian dictator, and then top it with a twist of misogyny, like the vague racism of the “Yomamma” part of the BIY moniker. I don’t want to tell the guy his business, but it’s not going to be any fun if “Sick Illary” is all we have to deal with for four years.

        1. I didn’t mean you were angry. I was referring to Mike. His inability to handle jabs without resorting to unfunny insults makes him seem more tragic than anything.

  43. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,,
    ——————>>> http://www.highpay90.com

  44. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,,
    ——————>>> http://www.highpay90.com

        1. Hey Eddy. If you want to troll me. Do it right. With some taste.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li58voy6xXM

          1. OK, let’s see…oh, here we go.

            (I’d wear a mask too if I played like that)

                  1. Two covers of the same song? For that, I give you this

                    I’ll do anything I have to do
                    Just so I can grow a cool moustache like you

                    1. I think the millenial version is ‘born into a safe space’.

      1. Delightful! Where are the missing nine minutes? 🙁

          1. Geez, I had to cleanse my brain with the real thing after that.

  45. Hi Jesse!

    Take it as a given that Trump was 100% wrong on the entire nutty birth certificate thing. And he kept on with his nutty and irrelevant conspiracy theory for way, way, way too long.

    All that is a given.

    But none of that is the point. Your entire thesis misses the point of the 2016 birther question.

    The 2016 birther “controversy” is 100% a manufactured controversy of the Clinton supporters who hope to use it to do damage to Trump. It is Clinton shills in the media who kept bringing it up in questions to Trump. And it is Clinton and her surrogates who have been saying that the whole Birther thing is proof that Trump and his supporters are racist. That is today’s discussion, not anything about Obama’s birthplace or his citizenship.

    In that context, the fact that it was Hillary’s camp in the primary that birthed the birther movement is entirely relevant. In fact it cuts right to the core of the issue. Tu quoque is not normally a valid defense, but in this situation it is not only valid, it is a damning defense. As Hillary and her team of enthusiastic water-carriers in the media passionately paint Trump as a racist for questioning Obama’s birth certificate, “Hey, you are the one who came up with this whole thing in the first place” is perfectly relevant and should completely neuter the attempted race-baiting.

    Pretending that the issue is whether or not Trump is a nut is just more Clinton water-carrying. (Even though he is a nut)

    1. Pretty much all that. The whole thing is nothing but a desperate ploy to change the subject now that Hillary is in trouble.

      1. Except that she’s not in trouble. I know this because I checked MSNBC and Huffington Post this morning. Both of them featured mostly articles about how awful Trump is and a few mentions of how awesome Hillary is. But above any coverage of the fact that a terrorist who bombed New York City was tracked down was the fact that Hillary has stopped all of the damage in the polls and is sure to be rising back to a landslide election.

        If “Trump Lies Again!!” can push “Terrorist Bomber Apprehended” to the second pgdn on the front page, I kinda question your editorial judgement.

        1. The fact that they felt the need to do that tells you all you need to know about how much trouble she is or is not in.

    2. In that context, the fact that it was Hillary’s camp in the primary that birthed the birther movement is entirely relevant.

      But they didn’t birth it. They (likely) seized it, like Trump did.

      This is all in the post.

      1. The fact that they got it from some other source doesn’t really cut to the core of the question. The Clinton team brought this to the political arena. Now they are saying that questioning Obama’s birth is proof of racism. This is the salient point.

        Claiming that they actually didn’t originate the idea isn’t exactly relevant. It is in fact exactly the distraction that Clinton supporters are trying to claim that pointing to the origins of the story is.

        The current claim is “Only a crazy racist would espouse such horrible ideas!” The rejoinder is “You mean a crazy racist like Hillary Clinton?”

        An article that was actually about the origins of the birther conspiracy theory would include lots more about Obama’s own myth-making claims about his origins and perhaps quite a bit about the controversy surrounding “natural born citizen”. This article is about “claims about who started the birther thing are muddied in the depths of history, so they aren’t correct and don’t really matter.” This is probably true from a metaphysical “what difference does it make to the universe if we know exactly who came up with this notion” point of view. But that isn’t what people are really talking about here. This is all 3 levels of deflection from the real discussion.

        1. Putting it succinctly:
          1. Trump is making it a race, polls are tightening
          2. Clinton seeks to paint him a racist to sure up the base.
          3. Team Clinton brings Birther nonsense to the forefront to make the point that Trump is racist.
          4. Trump points out that it was team Clinton that originally used the Birther nonsense for political gain.
          5. Team Clinton says this is a dirty lie, that they never did any such thing.

          When you see the conversation for what it is, it makes much more sense. Why would team Clinton be running around issuing denials and flapping their arms like crazed chickens if the real discussion had anything to do with your article? They wouldn’t.

          But they know what is under discussion here. They know that “nuh-uh… you started it!” really means “No, You’re a racist!” That’s why they are so passionate about their denials. That is why the daily show, Colbert, Myers, Fallon, Kimmel etc. all said that Trump was lying about Clinton starting it. That’s why this was at the top of the page on Both MSNBC and HuffPo. They knew exactly what they were saying when they had reporters start asking Trump about this issue timed to coincide with Obama’s entry into the campaign. So they know exactly how damaging “Nuh-uh, You!” is.

          This is “talking about welfare reform is just a code word” all over again.

  46. Question: Why are we bringing up the birther issue now? Answer: Trump is rising in the polls while Hillary is falling and the Democrats want to use this dead issue to beat him down with some good old fashioned race-baiting. Black democratic voters are not enthusiastic about voting for Hillary, which is why Obama appeared over the weekend before a crowd mostly made up of this voting block to push them into action. The resuscitation of this stupid story is working in tandem with this effort. Consequently, the media are pushing this issue, and Reason authors played along.

    1. Pretty sure Trump brought it up last week.

    2. why Obama appeared over the weekend before a crowd mostly made up of this voting block to push them into action

      LOL and told them to prop up his “legacy”, with his usual tact and class.

  47. http://dailycaller.com/2016/09…..the-media/

    So the woman in the Washington Post who called her teenage sons, rapist assholes the other day, it turns out she is a bigger nut than you can even imagine and one of her sons has known suicidal tenancies. But, the Post still let her publicly shame and abuse him on their editorial page.

    1. Damn…shoulda refreshed.

      Sorry, John.

      1. It is worth posting twice. What a fucking horrible nut. And my God is the post worse for enabling her.

        1. Fuckin’ A. I hope the kid/kids are actually safe. Of course, this might just help explain what happened the marriages.

          1. From the one article, it seems that the kids are relatively sane. Maybe the depression stems from living with an insane parent.

            1. Identity parenting, FTW.

              Or, is it more Agenda parenting? Meh, she’s a rancid cow of an author and parent.

              1. I think these kids will have a superhuman resistance to the SJW virus when they get to college. Hopefully they get engineering degrees and move very far away from “mother”.

    2. If you asked me to guess which print media outlet was complicit in this I would have guessed WaPo first.

    3. Only good thing here is her sons are close to the point where they can completely ignore the psycho-bitch. I wonder if she’s aware that she’ll die alone in a nursing home and that absolutely no one will care.

    1. Yeah,

      I suspect there’s a 30% chance Jody Allard might possibly be a nom de plume for some 20-something male hack writer who churns out these SJW-Mom sob stories for a few hundred bucks a pop, and probably runs a half dozen other fake personas to feed various niches in the internet-journalism mill.

      Look at her list of article titles,


      IT HAPPENED TO ME: My Adopted Sister Tried to Kill Me (Repeatedly)
      My Biological Father Messaged Me 32 Years After He Abandoned Me
      Why I Brought my Young Kids to a Ferguson Protest
      – The consensus was overwhelmingly that it is stupid, if not negligent, to bring children to a protest.
      IT HAPPENED TO ME: I’m Being Held Hostage by my Damaged DNA
      My Kids Aren’t Alright (And That’s Alright)
      Your Slut-Shaming Dress Code Is Distracting My Daughter From Learning
      I spent my life in debt. Now I know childhood trauma was to blame

      et cetera

      its the sort of pattern you see from writers @ “ThoughtCatalog”. Its just *too* cliche, almost suggesting that she’s a parody of her own stereotype.

      Of course, she could certainly be exactly who she presents as. but i think its more-depressing to accept that, than to believe that out there is someone with a deep sense of humor who knows how to craft a plausible character.

      1. Not just craft a plausible character but also catfish the living fuck out of the Washington Post with it. I so hope your theory turns out to be true.

        1. Its been done before.

          JT LeRoy was work of genuis. And this guy showed what a wide range of possibilities existed for a sufficiently motivated writer.

      2. Interesting footnote =

        She also apparently has a track record of taking animals from people, then later abandoning them

        Beware of selling or giving any animals to a Seattle/Woodinville woman named Jody Allard, a.k.a.
        Jody Knight. She goes by the online nickname Euphrasie. Allard often attains animals on Craiglist and other online groups, gets bored within a couple of months, and dumps them a couple of months later. Victims have included dogs, cats, chickens and at least one rabbit.

        Allard and her sometime-babydaddy, James Johnson, have dumped an estimated 20 animals over the past few years, including a dog and two kittens recently. Allard’s seven kids are told that the animals went to the doctor.”

        If you recently sold Allard an English Bulldog (pictured below), know that this dog’s fate probably won’t be good. Allard has been reported to local animal control at least twice in the past year for animal neglect, and to CPS for child neglect.

        I’m still ok with the possibility that she’s a fictional creation. What better way to make your characters seem plausible than to file public complaints about them online?

        1. That is a rather interesting take on this. There are pics purported to be her online, but that’s certainly not proof. And, I don’t suppose there would be all that much in consequences if it is a troll.

          Food for thought, Gilmore. Kudos.

          *I agree that it would be better if there is no suicidal son/other children/abandoned pets.

          1. i’m half kidding.

            i think its amusing to just *assume* some people are just contrived parodies.

            It makes more sense than the reality – which is to acknowledge that seriously fucked-up/barely-functional people are out there providing “parenting advice” …and not only does no one else think its “sorta weird”? ostensibly credible institutions like the WaPo thinks she makes a valuable contribution.

  48. We STILL don’t know what natural born Citizen means.

      1. No, every human alive. Cite the law or federal case defining it or stfu.

        1. I did just above. The naturalization act of 1790.

          The proviso in the Naturalization Act of 1790 underscores that while the concept of “natural born Citizen” has remained constant and plainly includes someone who is a citizen from birth by descent without the need to undergo naturalization proceedings, the details of which individuals born abroad to a citizen parent qualify as citizens from birth have changed. The pre-Revolution British statutes sometimes focused on paternity such that only children of citizen fathers were granted citizenship at birth.
          11. See, e.g., British Nationality Act, 1730, 4 Geo. 2, c. 21.

          The Naturalization Act of 1790 expanded the class of citizens at birth to include children born abroad of citizen mothers as long as the father had at least been resident in the United States at some point. But Congress eliminated that differential treatment of citizen mothers and fathers before any of the potential candidates in the current presidential election were born. Thus, in the relevant time period, and subject to certain residency requirements, children born abroad of a citizen parent were citizens from the moment of birth, and thus are “natural born Citizens.”

          read the link next time

          1. Again the idea that born a citizen means natural born Citizen is just opinion. If that was the case why would they have to include in the Act the wording about children born overseas to citizens at all? Try again.

            1. BTW, I’ve been on this for 8 years there is nothing I haven’t read. Your link was old and discredited long ago. You’re late to the party sweety.

              1. there is nothing I haven’t read

                You’re the same guy who thought a few seconds of silence in the Ferguson audio was “proof” of something, right?

                best of luck decoding very simple law.

                1. Constituional lawyers have been arguing this for 8 years and not one has found any law or federal case specifically defining nbC. Thank God you came along and settled the issue in the Reason comments.

                  /SARCASM!!!!!

    1. No Ceasarian babies.

      1. And no epidurals. No hospitals.

        1790 natural.

  49. “Trump’s hands are definitely dirty; with Clinton it’s an open question.”
    Well, in all fairness, she has had more practice.

    1. It is really not an open question. Clinton clearly started the rumor.

      1. Shit man. Trump is a Clinton Donor.

        1. So what? That doesn’t change the facts. Clinton started the rumor via Sid back in 2008. It is what it is.

          1. Hey man. If you want to vote for a Clinton Puppet then be my guest.
            Look at both of their platforms. They are exactly the same.
            I thought you were an intelligent person John.

            1. Hey why don’t you vote for “Gun Control” Weld while your at it. =D

            2. They aren’t exactly the same. Trump’s candidacy already has a strong lead in lulz. We can only hope his presidency will follow suit.

            3. How about you stick to the subject? We are talking about the birther rumors here. And you don’t like Trump. Good for you. Time will tell who is right. But that is not what we are talking about and I frankly could not care less what your fantasies about Trump are.

              1. John you are the one who is talking about, and voting for Trump.
                You are the one who has member berries about Reagan.
                Government will not help you.
                Help your self.

                1. member berries

                  LOL watched that last night

  50. http://m.riverfronttimes.com/n…..signatures

    “It’s not just the Secretary of State opposing the ballot measure. Twelve Missouri prosecutors have intervened in the case as well, and the prosecutors’ attorney is now tag-teaming with Kander’s legal team as they seek to bar medical marijuana from the November ballot.”

    Once again reaffirming by belief that all prosecutors are ruthless puddles of shit.

      1. Damn, I was hoping for the Road Warriors.

      2. On YouTube point, as usual. You can be a fairly hip cat, for a Papist.

  51. Whoa! Of equal importance: I have just been informed that Angel Jolie and Brad Pitt getting divorced is a major international news story. I cant understand why Reason is ignoring this.

    1. Nick will be along shortly to spin it as proof positive that we’re living the Libertarian Moment.

    1. I give it fifty fifty that she is even still alive in November. The woman is fucking dying. Of what I don’t know but she is dying. It is like something out of a black comedy.

      1. She owes people big favors, and she’s going to deliver. They don’t care if they have to drag her bloated corpse across the finish line. It has to be the ultimate irony that her backers and supporters are actually going to kill her.

        1. You know, I’d pay to see that film. Starring Snowden and Assange. Hillary falls ill and has only months to live due to a terminal illness. Her backers force her to stay on the campaign trail despite her begging to just go home and spend her last days in peace. They tell her ‘you’ll meet the same fate as all those we took out for you if you don’t continue!’ Snowden and Assange uncover the plot.

          Crikey, what is not to love about that one?

          1. I would pay to see that film too. And it wouldn’t surprise me if I end up getting to chance to do so in a few years, as a documentary.

            1. The film features occasional scenes of Hillary lying peacefully on her death bed, pondering what gets her depends in a bunch most, Bill’s infidelities, Obama never serving her coffee in the Whitehouse, or her failure to kill Julian Assange.

          2. ” Crikey, what is not to love about that one?”

            1. How much screen time does Hillary get? Cause I’m thinking something like Jaws where you only see the beast for a few seconds at the end for shock value. Anything more than a minute or so is just torture.

            2. How does the movie end?

            1. See my last post above. I think that’s Hillary’s cameo appearances. Anymore than that could ruin a good film.

            2. “2. How does the movie end?”

              Hildog being greeted in Hades, of course.

  52. I’ve been writing Hillary jokes. What do you think?

    OK, so sometimes Hillary’s eyes don’t point in the same direction. What’s the big deal? It’s simply a common, minor side effect of demonic possession.

    Hillary canceled another appearance. Apparently this time, it’s taking her longer than they had estimated for her to shed her skin.

    I think Johnson and Stein should be in the debates with Trump and Clinton. This would be better for Hillary, because it increases her chances of someone catching her safely during a seizure.

    1. It would be pretty cool if during the debates Hillary’s head starts spinning around and she starts talking like the exorcist chick in that film. I would watch for that. The part where her adult diaper explodes though, I really don’t want to see that.

      1. Her swiveling head rests on Trump: “Did you see what she did, your cunting wife?”

    2. Potentially good material. Boil them down to about ten words, max. Brevity…

      The punch line of a really good joke has to hit you milliseconds after the setup. Give the neurons barely enough time to absorb the setup, then tilt them about 90 degrees with the punch line. Easier said than done.

  53. Just saw this Intercept article about some info on the Stingray coming out. Glad somebody is still tracking this stuff, hope more comes out.

    1. I wish someone would back door that software and make it malicious as hell.

      1. Even though the article says the device is easy to use given the low-grade intelligence of most cops I’m willing to bet that many police departments have this but yet cannot get it to work right.

        1. That is likely a good bet

          1. I have definitely been caught up on one of these. Over near my daughter’s preschool the cell reception was all jacked up for about two weeks. There would be weird handoffs while sitting in the car line, often with dropped calls. Being on child three, I’m well familiar with cell coverage at that location, and jumping between full bars and 3 bars and having strange effects on calls was never part of it. Only for about two weeks. And only in a relatively small area near a well-to-do neighborhood that in all likelihood houses folks who a white collar crime unit might target.

            At the time I wasn’t so much concerned about the privacy intrusion as pissed off at the repeated interruptions to my calls.

  54. CBS Evening News just did a hard-hitting expose on the misuses of the charitable foundation of the presidential candidate.

    Trump’s foundation.

    I must assume that since they didn’t say anything about Clinton’s that hers is fine. Above reproach and all that.

  55. Saw one of the first prez bumper stickers in SF today. Blue background, circle off to the left with some red, white copy, looking like an Obo sticker. Get close enough to read:
    “NOBODY in 2016/
    THEY BOTH STINK”

      1. I love pirates, arg!

        Hangin Willy

        1. The proper usage is “arrrr!”

          1. Thar be monsters, there in the great salty depths! Hold yer tongue, snapper! The plank, it awaits!

      2. Fuck yes, I have been listening to Alestorm the last couple of days. This song is rather catchy:

        https://youtu.be/f55CqLc6IR0

  56. Reviews for your lulz:

    Reviews for Lulz

  57. Yes, it is a podcast, but I do love listening to David Stockman. Interview with Tom Woods.

    1. Keep that Bud Lite comin. You guys do that Billy Idol song?

      1. Do you mean this one?

        (When a guy has more ink on his body than in all the books he’s read in his life, he’s probably British)

        1. Nah, I’m pretty sure those guys are from Akron.

    1. I’m just kidding, they’re not really a cover band

      1. (and in case their lawyers ask, the band isn’t actually antisemitic either)

  58. More local derp:

    “Stressed Richmond renters need answers, not attitude”
    […]
    “Be progressive. Do what San Francisco and Oakland were slow to do: acknowledge there’s economic disparity and acknowledge that all people, especially those with low incomes, deserve housing security.”
    http://www.sfchronicle.com/new…..pid=gatehp

    “Stressed renters” are those who think their rents might rise, and according to a self-serving “study” by a lefty group, that can be “linked” to health problems!
    I’m sure it won’t take long to imagine what “housing security” might mean.

  59. And now… for some hedonist anarchist rat bagging fucker shit!

    This means war

    I had to do something.

  60. Anyone remember the Clinton supporter who sued to get Obama off the ballot in 2008, saying he wasn’t a natural born citizen? http://www.washingtontimes.com…..or-office/

    1. I don’t remember it…because I don’t think I ever heard about it in the first place.

    2. Interesting:

      “Just over one-quarter of Clinton supporters say they’re now backing Mr. McCain, up from 16 percent in late June, according to a CNN poll conducted after Mr. Obama announced Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., of Delaware, as his running mate. Two-thirds of Clinton supporters are now backing Mr. Obama.”

  61. Hillary claims she was born in the United States.

    Really?

    In the USA? Planet earth? Full blown vaginal delivery?

    SHOW ME THE VIDEO!!!!

  62. C’mon guys. Hillary once had a few photo ops with a random black girl. Why isn’t Reason covering that instead of this [deep breath]

    FAKE SCANDAL!

    [camera zooms out to pic of Milky Way as phrase echoes]

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w22KE9BD7y8

    1. “What does she get out of this relationship?”

      “I honestly don’t know.”

      Come over here and sit on papa’s lap for second. You see, politicians need votes. Lots of them. Remember when daddy wanted to your whorin’ mommy to stop whorin’? Mommy bought you a barbie and told you I hated women. Well, it’s kind of like that.

  63. Two separate covers of the same song…I didn’t have the heart to choose between them.

    1. Let’s just say version #2 has more *heart.*

      1. Bon Scott is rolling over in his grave…

        1. I have to make myself feel a little better, at 240p, ugh. The only man on the planet who has ever made a bagpipe cool:

          Long way to the top

        2. Bon Scott lost his life, and all of his rock star cred, choking on his own vomit in the back seat of a Renault LeCar.

          Let him roll all he wants.

  64. Ah, Sally Kohn. One of the most infuriatingly stupid people on the planet.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap9Hqum9_6E

    1. “Politics is the mind-killer.” I have no doubt that she makes sweeping generalizations about men, Christians, Trump supporters, etc., but thinks it’s unfair to group Muslims on the basis of the core tenets of that religion.

  65. Charm City Meadworks. My first mead.I’m like a mead virgin. I was…

  66. Tom Hanks Fights the Super Plague!

  67. I want to give as many people as possible the chance to see this.

  68. 8 Mile is a great movie, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.

    1. The Nic Cage death porn movie?

    2. De gustibus non disputandam- there is no point in arguing about matters of taste.

      That said, I don’t understand why people like his music or rap in general.

      Weird Al made some funny “interviews” with him:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QOya9-lwQk

    3. I love Tom Hanks. And retarded black people.

    4. The sex scene in 8 Mile is hot.

  69. Engineering porn, legal retirement funds ensue.
    IANACE, but most SF bay-side buildings are built on “friction” pilings; the bed rock is much too far down, so you beat on the pilings until they don’t move (within the specification) and then build the building.
    So the Millennium Tower was built and sold out to, among others, Joe Montana, at prices equalling the altitude. Now it seems it’s not staying where it should; sinking far more than predicted and leaning a bit in the process.
    Well, it turns out the city and state government are eager to build a northern terminus for monnbeam’s choo-choo, and they start by pumping water out from under that building next door and boring a hole for something that may well NEVER get built if the voters get another chance to tell moonbeam to jam it up his ass.
    We’ll ignore the funding boondoggle (thank you Jane [idjit] Kim) for now and go to the legal.
    http://www.bizjournals.com/san…..er-sf.html
    (hope this isn’t paywalled in the link)

  70. Prime Minister Zoolander bows down at the altar of the almighty multy-kulty:
    http://news.nationalpost.com/n…..ated-event

    1. The split between Muslims and gays/feminists is something democrats and the left our foundering on, and Trump is taking advantage of.

    1. Hey Derpy, what do you think of my Hillary jokes above?

  71. An advertisement for Hillary? I thought Nick was the one who penned all of the love letters to the Leftards?

  72. It doesn’t matter period. Only the media cares about this any more.

    1. Did you not see the arguments about Cruz’s eligibility?

  73. Obama has milked this “controversy” to paint his opponents as crackpots, conspiracy theorists. But the absolute truth is that he is the least vetted president ever. He could have dispensed with the controversy. But it was HIS campaign that said there was a birth certificate, then there wasn’t. There wasn’t a long form birth form (it isn’t a certificate), then…Trump asks…voila, here it is.

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