Saturday, April 16, 2011
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Earlier this week, while Ann Coulter was castigating any conservative who played along with Donald Trump's Birtherism, Sean Hannity whimperingly eagerly agreed (while kowtowing to Coulter) that he would raise with Donald Trump all sorts of the thorny facts that Coulter pointed out in her anti-Birther rant. (You may recall that she blamed the spread of the Trump/Birther story on the "liberal media".)
So of course, when Hannity finally did get around to raising the Birther issue with Trump in his two-part interview, he raised none of those issues and defended not a single fact.
Indeed, it was just a classic Hannity Job. Trump had nothing new to claim -- he just keeps regurgitating the same thoroughly debunked talking points on his theories. And Hannity just let him, of course -- with a little encouragement along the way.
So, in the same spirit, we'll just recap the debunking, as well as the salient points that Donald Trump's Birtherite candidacy raises:
-- Every point or claim that Trump raises is an outright falsehood or an incredibly obtuse distortion that only reveals how stupid and gullible he actually is.
-- In an ordinary universe where up is up and down is down, this would mean Trump would be making the rest of the GOP field look sane and intelligent by contrast.
-- Instead, he is now leading the GOP polls -- which not only must really suck for the usual Republican suspects, but also vividly illustrates the stupidity and gullibility of Republican primary voters.
-- He is quickly becoming the embodiment of Tea Party values: vapidity, irrationality, and arrogantly stupid.
Sensitive Republicans Are All Verklempt At How Mean Obama Was To Poor Paul Ryan: Waaaaahmbulance, Stat!
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
The right-wing talkers and Beltway Villagers have all been wringing their hands at how mean and disrespectful President Obama was by inviting Paul Ryan to sit in the front row of his speech Wednesday and then to so openly rebuke his absurd 'Path to the Poorhouse' deficit-reduction plan.
One of the more vivid examples of this was Joe Scarborough's wailing and gnashing of teeth on Thursday morning on MSNBC. He was happily joined in this by Professional Wanker Mark Halperin.
Scarborough kept repeating that Obama had "called Ryan un-American," though of course Obama had done no such thing; he had repeatedly said that the Republican plan didn't reflect any America he knew -- which is of course quite a different thing. (We on the Left know what being called "un-American" sounds like -- and that ain't it.)
Of course, we all saw Ryan's little hissy-fit afterwards, in which he declared that the president was "dramatically inaccurate" in his speech. By Joe Scarborough's logic, that's exactly the same as calling him a liar! So who's being disrespectful?
I think Mika Brzezinski had it exactly right: Obama in fact was being unusually respectful in inviting Ryan and his cohorts to hear directly what he had to say, because he doesn't believe in doing things the Republican way: Slamming people not to their faces but waiting till they're not around and can't answer.
It's just such a radical concept for Republicans that they become utterly flabbergasted when confronted with it.
|This is the image e-mailed to her friends by Orange County Republican committeewoman and Tea Party activist Marilyn Davenport|
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Republicans seem to have a really, really narrow idea of what constitutes racism -- which is how they're able to claim that the Tea Parties aren't riddled with racism throughout.
But then little stories like this one from Orange County keep bubbling up to the surface of their fetid little Tea Party cesspool:
The Weekly has obtained a copy of an email sent to fellow conservatives this week by Marilyn Davenport, a Southern California Tea Party activist and member of the central committee of the Orange County Republican Party.As always, the "sweet little old lady" who sent the mail had no idea that anyone might possibly construe the mail as racist, even though comparing black people to various kinds of apes has always been a stock feature of racist denigration in America. Why, some of her best friends are black!
Under the words, "Now you know why no birth certificate," there's an Obama family portrait showing them as apes.
Reached by telephone and asked if she thought the email was appropriate, Davenport said, "Oh, come on! Everybody who knows me knows that I am not a racist. It was a joke. I have friends who are black. Besides, I only sent it to a few people--mostly people I didn't think would be upset by it."And just remember: There's nothing, NOTHING racist about those Tea Partiers, either. Just another isolated incident. Move along, please.
The image did upset several local Republicans.
"It's unbelievable," one high-ranking OC GOP official told me. "It's much more racist than the watermelon email. I can't believe it was sent out. I'm not an Obama fan but how stupid do you have to be to do this?"
Another GOP official, who also asked not to be identified, said that Davenport is "a really, really sweet old lady so I am surprised to hear about this."
Scott Baugh, chairman of the OC Republican Party, told Davenport that the email was tasteless, Davenport--a Fullerton-based political activist--admitted to me during the telephone interview.
"You're not going to make a big deal about this are you?" she asked me. "It's just an Internet joke."
But Baugh believes the email is a big deal.
"When I saw that email today I thought it was despicable," Baugh said. "It is dripping with racism and it does not promote the type of message Orange County Republicans want to deliver to the public. I think she should consider stepping down as an elected official."
[H/t Tom Sullivan]
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Now here's a dramatic way to make a point -- Montana style:
"About 96 people think they know better than the 990,000 people in Montana," says Governor Schweitzer.Now I'm sure right-wingers will rush to their fainting couches and demand Schweitzer apologize for being so violent and uncivil with his branding imagery.
Governor Schweitzer had the veto brands hot. Covering the gamet of issues important to Montanans, Schweitzer vetoed bills having to do with air and water, jobs and healthcare.
"When I swore to uphold the constitution, I meant it. There's some in this building who say, we don't care about the constitution and we don't care about the will of the people."
But they'll have to explain why Montana Republicans tried to keep up with Schweitzer by bringing their own brand to the gathering:
Republican Senator Jason Priest, who had three bills vetoed Wednesday, says he wasn’t impressed with the theatrics.And while it may have been a stunt, it was a stunt with an important point:
"Consistently throughout this session we see the Governor making light of the bills that are coming across his desk instead of taking these proposals seriously," says Priest.
Priest brought a prop of his own. "That's why we got this brand today. We think Montanans are getting a bum steer and that's the BS on this brand."
But Senate Democrat Cliff Larsen says the demonstration gave Schweitzer a platform to tell people about bills that could really hurt.Indeed, as we've reported, a group of far-right extremists took over the Montana Legislature this year under the banner of the Tea Party, and they've been running amok. Schweitzer torched a number of their bills today:
"The Governor used the opportunity to really make a statement about a lot of the bad bills that came through because there are a group of extremists in the Republican party that have pushed some of the agendas," says Larson.
SB 114 – Hinkle – Federal law enforcement officers should communicate with sheriffGood for Schweitzer. He's obviously figured out that giving these extremists even an inch will mean they'll take a mile.
HB 318 – Warburton – Ensure county oversight in movement of publicly-owned wild buffalo or bison
SB 109 – Barrett – Revise definition of eligible renewable resources
HB 272 – Flynn – Eliminate ability for FWP to use hunting access fees to acquire fee title lands
SB 159 – Priest – Revise energy efficiency and code adoption requirements in building codes
HB 180 – Edmunds – Revise close of voter registration
SB 306 – Murphy – Revise mining laws regarding cyanide health and vat leach open-pit mining
HB 456 – Smith – Define scope/ boundaries of human sexuality/reproduct ed in K-12 public schools
HB 464 – Blasdel – Provide medical liability protection for hard-to-recruit subspecialists
SB 111 – Sonju – Limit noneconomic damages in motor vehicle accidents
SB 228 – Priest – Prohibit creation of health insurance exchange under PPACA
SB 324 – Balyeat – Revise consumer protection laws and settlement proceeds
SB 370 – Priest – Require cost-benefit analysis of mandated health insurance coverage of service
SB 254 – Hutton – Provide state eminent domain authority for federal lands
HB 161 – Milburn – Repeal medical marijuana law
SB 183 – Brown – Revise interim zoning laws
HB 542 – Esp – Revise subdivision and platting act
Friday, April 15, 2011
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
You may remember how Russell Pearce, the Arizona Republican state Senate leader and architect of SB1070, went on Bill O'Reilly's show a couple of months ago and pushed hard for a recall campaign against Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik for daring to opine that extremist right-wing rhetoric played a role in the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. (An effort which, last we checked, was going nowhere fast.)
Well, karmic payback can be a rhymes-with-witch:
What may seem to some as an uphill battle is becoming close to a reality for a non-partisan political group as they gather signatures to recall Senate President Russell Pearce.Now, there are lots of reasons to recall Russell Pearce along these lines (or better yet, never elect him in the first damned place).
"I have no doubt we'll get enough signatures to force the recall campaign," said Chad Snow, chairman of Citizens for a Better Arizona.
The group has two thirds of the signatures needed to force a recall election on the senator they accuse of having an extreme agenda.
There's the recent spate of Tentherism in which he seemingly urged people to declare themselves sovereign citizens.
Or the long-established record of playing footsie with the local neo-Nazis.
Or, if you like, he might be recalled for the corruption that's surfaced in Pearce's dealings and his intimate involvement in that monumentally embarrassing Fiesta Bowl scandal.
No, but what really has people torqued at Pearce is what you might expect from ultimately pragmatic voters: He has fiddled incessantly with his pet immigration fetish while Arizona has burned to a crisp economically. No wonder he's in trouble.
"We feel that Russell Pearce has completely thrown Arizona's economy under the bus so he could pursue one issue," said Snow.Then there have been stunts he's been involved in that have exposed the seamy underbelly of Pearce's fetish, like the racist letter read on the floor of the Senate (at Pearce's behest):
That issue is immigration. Pearce sponsored the controversial SB1070 and even though the law has gained negative national attention, polls show an overwhelming amount of Arizonans support it.
But Snow told us Pearce has neglected what Arizonans really care about.
"He's done nothing for education, jobs or the economy. Instead he focuses on only immigration and gun control."
Citizens for a Better Arizona needs to collect over 7,700 signatures by May 31st to force a recall election, but Snow is confident they will get more, claiming the Senate President's actions are helping their efforts.Oh, and let's not forget the Arizona Senate's latest achievement: A Birther bill that accepts the features of a presidential candidate's penis as evidence of his citizenship. The citizens of Mesa must be so proud.
"He's had racist letters read on the Senate floor, he's been reported to have accepted thousands of dollars of gifts from the Fiesta Bowl that he didn't report as required by law. He feels he's above the law and doesn't represent the best interest of Arizona and he's unfit for public office," said Snow.
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Donald Trump's recent surge to the front of Republican presidential primary polls has been confirmed by Public Policy Polling:
Only 38% of Republican primary voters say they're willing to support a candidate for President next year who firmly rejects the birther theory and those folks want Mitt Romney to be their nominee for President next year. With the other 62% of Republicans- 23% of whom say they are only willing to vote for a birther and 39% of whom are not sure- Donald Trump is cleaning up. And as a result Trump's ridden the controversy about Barack Obama's place of birth to the highest level of support we've found for anyone in our national GOP polling so far in 2011.Interestingly, Politico's Ben Smith thinks that even asking such poll questions is absurd:
Trump's broken the perpetual gridlock we've found at the top of the Republican field, getting 26% to 17% for Mike Huckabee, 15% for Romney, 11% for Newt Gingrich, 8% for Sarah Palin, 5% for Ron Paul, and 4% for Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty.
Among that 23% only willing to vote for a birther Trump is cleaning up even more, getting 37% to 13% for Huckabee and Palin, and 10% for Romney and Gingrich. He's a lot weaker with the 38% who say they're perfectly happy to vote for someone who's dismissed the birther theory- with them Romney leads at 23%, with Huckabee at 18%, Trump at 17%, Gingrich at 10%, and Palin at only 7%.
Who seriously thinks Republican primary voters spend much time thinking about whether birth certificate views disqualify a candidate, much less are going to vote on those purported views. It's really a great example of the deep irrelevance of most early polling.Actually, Smith's remark is typical of someone who lives deep inside the Beltway bubble and doesn't get out and mix much those ordinary voters out in the heartland. Because if you talk to Tea Partying Republican voters out in the heartland, these issues are very much a big deal to them. A large percentage of these voters have harbored doubts about Obama's citizenship for some time even if they haven't wholly embraced the Birther theories -- and as Trump legitimizes them, both the theories and Trump have gained traction with them.
Of course, Trump is also gaining traction with the Tea Partiers -- a majority of whom take the Birther claims quite seriously -- because he embodies so many of their values in many other regards, particularly their Randian/right-wing populist fantasies about the immense innate wisdom of our captains of industry. Really, this is the Donald Galt candidacy.
But the synchronicity of Trump's Birtherism with its resurgence among Republican primary voters is not merely an accident. At first, it appeared that Trump was just trying to make the rest of the GOP field look sane and intelligent by comparison. But what's become clear instead is that their embrace of Trump reflects their willingness to ardently embrace claims and ideas that are provably untrue as long as they undermine -- or better yet, functionally delegitimize -- your political opponents.
Last night on Sean Hannity's Fox News show, his "Great American Panel" (loaded up, as usual, with a preponderance of right-wingers with a token liberal/voice of sanity) was claiming that Trump's ascension was "making liberal heads spin", even as Hannity was asserting that "the best case" Democrats have for proving Obama's Hawaiian birth is the independent corroboration provided by the Hawaiian newspaper birth announcements (rather than the fact that Hawaiian officials say they have his long form on record there, and have issued a short-form birth certificate attesting to this fact).
It may be true that liberal heads are spinning -- and for that matter, as Ben Smith indicates, so are those of the Beltway villagers and corporate conservatives, all of whom cannot conceive of the reality that, yes, the American Right really has gone insane. We've been saying it for awhile now, you'll notice. Indeed, we even wrote a book about it.
Too many liberals, particularly those inside the Beltway, continue to believe that they can negotiate with these people. But the reality is, you can't even have a normal conversation with them. Eventually they're going to go tearing off into some Obama/socialist/Marxist/Caliphate conspiracy theory or another. And you'll be left sitting there with a gaping mouth.
Trump really is proving what we've been saying along: the Right has gone completely over a cliff. The question now is whether they'll take the rest of us with them.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Big Mike -- MoveOn.org's "Break It Down" guy -- is kind of a rationalist response to Glenn Beck: He too uses blackboards, etc., to explain seemingly complex issues. But unlike Beck, who actually makes things out to be much more dense, murky, and inexplicable than they really are (not to mention inventing things that never were), Mike has the gift of taking complex subjects and actually helping ordinary people understand them.
So I every much enjoyed his latest "Break It Down" installment -- this time on the ongoing federal-budget battles. It really is about the nation's Top 1 percent income earners against the rest of us -- and it's going to become even more intense:
And all of this fighting is just over this year's budget. Next year's budget is where things get really crazy.He actually might have made good use of another chart MoveOn recently published:
Because even though taxes for the rich are the lowest they have been in generations, the Republicans want to cut them even further, so millionaires and billionaires are paying 25% instead of 35%.
But where are they going to get the trillions of dollars they need to do that?
Their ideas are fairly simple: Slash $350 billion from things like food stamps, education, training, employment, Cut another $400 billion from programs that help low-income families. Oh, and get rid of Medicare.
Yeah, almost forgot about that. They're going to take away Medicare, give seniors vouchers, and throw them on the mercy of Big Insurance. Because when I think compassion, I think Big Insurance.
So if you or your aging parents actually depend on Medicare, they can look forward to a future where they can choose between buying their meds….or eating.
If we want to get serious about shrinking the deficit, it won't happen on the backs of the middle class that’s already being squeezed.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
My favorite part of the president's speech on the budget today was when he eviscerated Rep. Paul Ryan's phony "Path to Prosperity":
Now, to their credit, one vision has been presented and championed by Republicans in the House of Representatives and embraced by several of their party’s presidential candidates. It’s a plan that aims to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years, and one that addresses the challenge of Medicare and Medicaid in the years after that.This, of course, deeply upset Rep. Ryan:
These are both worthy goals. They’re worthy goals for us to achieve. But the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known certainly in my lifetime. In fact, I think it would be fundamentally different than what we’ve known throughout our history.
A 70 percent cut in clean energy. A 25 percent cut in education. A 30 percent cut in transportation. Cuts in college Pell Grants that will grow to more than $1,000 per year. That’s the proposal. These aren’t the kind of cuts you make when you’re trying to get rid of some waste or find extra savings in the budget. These aren’t the kinds of cuts that the Fiscal Commission proposed. These are the kinds of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America that I believe in and I think you believe in.
I believe it paints a vision of our future that is deeply pessimistic. It’s a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can’t afford to fix them. If there are bright young Americans who have the drive and the will but not the money to go to college, we can’t afford to send them.
Go to China and you’ll see businesses opening research labs and solar facilities. South Korean children are outpacing our kids in math and science. They’re scrambling to figure out how they put more money into education. Brazil is investing billions in new infrastructure and can run half their cars not on high-priced gasoline, but on biofuels. And yet, we are presented with a vision that says the American people, the United States of America -– the greatest nation on Earth -– can’t afford any of this.
It’s a vision that says America can’t afford to keep the promise we’ve made to care for our seniors. It says that 10 years from now, if you’re a 65-year-old who’s eligible for Medicare, you should have to pay nearly $6,400 more than you would today. It says instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy the insurance that’s available in the open marketplace, well, tough luck -– you’re on your own. Put simply, it ends Medicare as we know it.
It’s a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit. Who are these 50 million Americans? Many are somebody’s grandparents -- may be one of yours -- who wouldn’t be able to afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome. Some of these kids with disabilities are -- the disabilities are so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves.
And worst of all, this is a vision that says even though Americans can’t afford to invest in education at current levels, or clean energy, even though we can’t afford to maintain our commitment on Medicare and Medicaid, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy. Think about that.
In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90 percent of all working Americans actually declined. Meanwhile, the top 1 percent saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each. That’s who needs to pay less taxes?
They want to give people like me a $200,000 tax cut that’s paid for by asking 33 seniors each to pay $6,000 more in health costs. That’s not right. And it’s not going to happen as long as I’m President.
RYAN: I'm very disappointed in the president. I was excited when we got invited to attend his speech today. I thought the president's invitation to Mr. Camp, Mr. Hensley and myself was an olive branch. Instead, what we got was a speech that was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate in addressing our country's pressing fiscal challenges. What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander in chief. What we heard today was a political broadside from our campaigner-in-chief.If Ryan is going to accuse the president of being "dramatically inaccurate," he better be ready to back it up. As you can see, Obama's evisceration of the Ryan budget was based on a set of well-established facts.
In the meantime, I'm sure you'll all join me in playing "Cry Me a River" on the world's smallest violin for Ryan. Especially when he calls Obama's budget outline "doubling down on the failed politics of the past." Projection, anyone? There was no greater failure than the economic politics of George W. "I Never Met A Tax Cut For the Wealthy I Didn't Like" Bush -- and Ryan's plan is Bushism on steroids.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
It must kinda suck to be Mitt Romney today.
I mean, you go ahead take the first preliminary steps for running for president by announcing you're running for president. You kick off with a speech that includes lotsa de rigeur trash talk directed at President Obama, and vow that he will be a one-term president. It's supposed to be your big day, right?
And then CNN comes out with a poll showing you in fourth place -- trailing far behind a hairpiece, a preacher, and the Shrilla From Wasilla:
Donald Trump is now tied with Mike Huckabee for first place when Republicans are asked who they support for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, according to a new national poll.The funniest part of this is seeing Trump rise steadily in the polls even as he sinks ever deeper into Birtherism. You'd think this would just make the other Republican candidates look sane and intelligent by comparison, but apparently in the Planet Bizarro Universe that is "reality" for Republican voters, it works just the other way around!
But while a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that the real estate mogul and reality TV star has nearly doubled his support since mid-March, it doesn't mean he has smooth sailing ahead.
"More than four in ten Republicans say they would not like to see Trump toss his hat in the ring," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
Nineteen percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents questioned in the poll say that as of now, they'd be most likely to support Trump for next year's GOP presidential nomination. Trump says he'll decide by June whether he runs for the White House. An equal amount say they'd back Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate says he'll decide by later this year if he'll make another bid for the White House.
Twelve percent say they'd support former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, who was the party's 2008 vice presidential nominee, with 11 percent backing former Massachusetts Gov. and 2008 White House hopeful Mitt Romney and the same amount supporting former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Seven percent say they are backing Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, another 2008 presidential candidate, with five percent supporting Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who enjoys strong backing from many in the Tea Party movement. Everyone else registers in the low single digits.
Mark Blumenthal points out that Trump's numbers are pretty ephemeral, though -- especially when you start getting into the general public, which largely finds Donald Trump a despicable and repellent creature: 47 percent of the adults in Gallup's polling have a highly unfavorable view of Trump, compared to only 43 percent who view him positively.
As Blumenthal explains:
So while Trump begins with a level of visibility and name recognition that many of the other Republicans lack, he also retains significant negatives that will likely limit his appeal in the all-important early primaries.But it's clear where the impetus for this is coming from: the Tea Partiers of the Republican base -- who, not so coincidentally, have an extremely high rate of Birtherism. Per Blumenthal:
Gallup has tracked Trump's favorable rating four times in the last ten years, and as they report, "Trump's public image is roughly the same now as it was in September 1999," just before he formed a committee to explore running for president as a Reform Party candidate.
That shift is likely spurred by Tea Party Republicans. The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that Trump does better among Tea Party supporters than among other Republicans, winning slightly more support (20 percent) than Romney (17 percent), Huckabee (14 percent), Palin (12 percent) or Gingrich (9 percent).It only makes sense, after all: Trump embodies all the Tea Partiers' right-wing populist myths about Producers. He may also come to embody the Tea Partiers' limited influence on the upcoming GOP primary.
Monday, April 11, 2011
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Sarah Palin showed back up on Fox News' bottom-of-the-barrel show -- Justice With Judge Jeanine -- this weekend and put in a nice word for Donald Trump and his raving Birtherism.
Of course, we think Trump is just trying to make the rest of the GOP field look sane and intelligent by comparison. In which case, Palin just tossed away his little gift:
PALIN: Well, I appreciate that the Donald wants to spend his resources getting to the bottom of something that so interests him and many Americans. You know, more power to him. He's not just throwin' stones and, um, from the sidelines -- he's diggin' in there, he's paying for researchers to find out why President Obama would have spent two million dollars to not show his birth certificate.Of course, Obama has NOT spent "two million dollars" or anything close to that on this matter. What money he has spent has been on defending the legitimacy of his claim to be president against the lawsuits brought by nuts like Orly Taitz and Phil Berg -- not to "hide" his official birth certificate from the state of Hawaii, which he has in fact displayed publicly since 2008 -- and that money has been closer to a couple thousand dollars, if that much.
The claim that he spent this money originated with yet another phony story from WorldNutDaily, the home of All Things Birther. It was carefully examined by Mother Jones, which (surprise, surprise) found that it was another bit of dishonest absurdity:
Given the sheer number of cases, it seems plausible that the president and the government may have been forced to devote real resources to their defense. But in fact the opposite may be true: The birthers' own copious legal bungling could wind up costing them more than Obama will have to spend defending himself.And it's been pretty cheap to defend these suits, because the people bringing them are -- in addition to being irrational scam artists -- simply incompetent:
The birthers have peppered dozens of state and federal courts around the country with legal challenges—against the president and other government officials and organizations who had some role in allowing Obama's name to be placed on the ballot, including the Federal Election Commission, various state election officials, and the US Supreme Court.
Some of the suits, particularly those filed by the movement's leading lady, California lawyer/dentist Orly Taitz, have been headlined by members of the military claiming they've been wrongfully made to serve in foreign wars by an illegitimate commander in chief. Most recently, birther attorneys have represented car dealers who charge that Obama is a phony president who lacked the authority to order a restructuring of Chrysler that they say cost them their businesses.
WorldNetDaily has noted that FEC filings show that Obama's presidential campaign has paid out more than $1.7 million since the election to the law firm of Perkins Coie. Until recently, that firm was home to Obama's campaign lawyer, and now White House counsel, Robert Bauer—the very same DC lawyer, says WND, who has defended Obama in many of the birther lawsuits. Ergo, WND concluded, Obama must be devoting that entire $1.7 million to crushing birthers in court. This is a ridiculous claim: Even after an election is over a presidential campaign has plenty of need for lawyers as it winds down operations and meets campaign finance law requirements.
But the birthers' lawsuits don't exactly seem to be requiring Obama's lawyers—government or private—to burn the midnight oil.But Trump and Palin can get on Fox News and tell the world that he's spending millions to "hide" his birth certificate.
Roger West, an assistant US attorney in the central district of California, represented the government in a lawsuit brought by Taitz on behalf of perennial presidential candidate Alan Keyes, asking the court to require that Obama prove he is a natural-born citizen.
The case has dragged on for more than a year, mostly because Taitz, a graduate of an online, unaccredited law school, failed to serve the defendants. Judge David O. Carter dismissed the suit in October for a host of reasons, but Taitz has appealed. Yet West says that far from bleeding his office, Taitz and her co-counsel Gary Kreep have assembled such a weak case that he hasn't had to spend much time on it. "I filed one motion that didn't take too long, we've had two hearings and that's it," he says. "It's not like we've devoted some sort of task force to this."
Army Major Rebecca Ausprung handled two of the birther cases against the Department of the Army that disputed Obama's authority as commander in chief to order soldiers to war. Ausprung says she spent a few hours drafting motions and doing research, and she did have to make three short trips to Georgia from Arlington, Virginia. She prevailed in both cases. "The monetary cost to the government in defending these two cases was extremely minimal," she says.
Of course, that begs the question: Even if he were "hiding" these medical records, doesn't he have the right to medical privacy we give every other American? No one else born in Hawaii would have to provide their "long form" to prove their citizenship by birth -- why should Obama?
We know the answer: Because Republicans believe they can only win when they gin up fake scandals with no basis in reality. They had so much success with it in 2004 -- and now they're addicted to it.
Appeals Court Upholds Judge Bolton's Stay Of SB1070, But Arizona Nativists Confident About Supreme Court
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Well, considering how obviously unconsitutional SB1070 is, despite its Constitution-lovin' pedigree, you really can't say this was a big surprise:
A federal appeals court upheld Monday a lower court's block of much of Arizona's controversial SB 1070 law aimed at illegal immigration.Despite the significant holes the court blew in Arizona's claims, its nativist sponsors were quite confident about their prospects going foward:
A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the lower court "did not abuse its discretion" in blocking parts of the law from taking effect last year.
The decision, a victory for the Obama administration and immigration activists, means the SB 170 case will likely find its way to the Supreme Court.
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued a preliminary injunction July 28 preventing sections of the anti-illegal immigration law from taking effect.
Parts of the law that were blocked:
The section that requires an officer make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there's reasonable suspicion they're in the country illegally, and the section requiring that anyone arrested have their immigration status verified.
The section that creates a state crime of failure to apply for or carry "alien-registration papers."
The section that makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit, apply for or perform work (but not the section on day laborers).
The section that allows for a warrantless arrest of a person where there is probable cause to believe they have committed a public offense that makes them removable from the United States.
One judge asked Arizona's lawyer, John Bouma, how the state could enforce federal law.Ignoring the example of Arizona -- which really has suffered economically because it passed SB1070 -- the geniuses running the Alabama Legislature are rushing to join them in ignominy.
"If I don't pay my federal income tax, can the state make me?" the judge asked.
The appellate panel seemed not to have problems with police officers asking about immigration status, but struggled with the notion implicit in the law that detainees could be held indefinitely while their immigration status was confirmed.
The judges also questioned how a law enforcement officer could determine what constitutes a removable offense.
The ruling isn't unexpected. Bill sponsor Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, attended the hearing and predicted this outcome.
"We know this will survive," Pearce said of the law. "This is the most overturned court in the nation. We'll win it in the Supreme Court."
The appeals court ruling is expected to be appealed. The state can ask the 9th Circuit to revisit the issue en banc, which is by a larger panel of judges. It also could eventually be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, back in Arizona, some of the state's cooler heads are starting to bring some more intelligent thought processes to the issue -- in the form of some thought-provoking plays being put onstage for the public at the state capitol in Phoenix:
“Needless to say last year was a year in which Arizona caught the attention of the world,” said James Garcia, producing artistic director for the New Carpa Theatre Company. “In my work at the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce I was taking calls from Belgium and Germany and soforth, as well as those in the United States. In a way people were all asking the same question – why is there such a conflict over this issue? Why has it turned so ugly? I’ve been immersed in it since before the passage of Senate Bill 1070. I knew in some way, shape or form I had to deal with it as an artist as well.”Not that this will ever affect the Russell Pearces of the world. Tides can take awhile to turn -- but this is one that will, eventually, inexorably.
Garcia, an Ahwatukee Foothills resident, is a former journalist and a longtime playwright. He says he has written news stories and plays about immigration, but has also seen it first hand with his family from Mexico.
In recent years, Garcia has become more involved with community work and efforts to get the state to focus on things other than immigration. These short plays are part of that push to tell legislators to stop and let the federal government handle immigration.
Garcia sent out a message across the nation looking for short plays and performance pieces about immigration. He was pleasantly surprised when he he received 70 responses. Not only did he receive a wide variety of performances, but he said the work was very high quality.
“I sort of thought in my head, maybe prejudiced because I live here in the Southwest, that we were going to get plays about the border and about border patrol agents and immigrants from Mexico,” Garcia said. “That turned out not to be the case.”
The 12 works chosen for the final production show Irish immigrants in the prohibition era, Canadian immigrants, Native Americans, abstract ideas about building walls between cultures, as well as Mexican immigrants and the fears surrounding SB 1070.