From Robinson's August 4 Washington Post column:
There are probably people out there who think the world is flat, and they're not worth writing about. The "birthers" wouldn't be either unless you believe a poll released last week by Research 2000 revealing that an astounding 28 percent of Republicans actually think that Obama was not born in the United States and another 30 percent are "not sure." GOP officials need to order more tinfoil.
The survey, commissioned by the liberal Web site Daily Kos, found that 93 percent of Democrats and 83 percent of independents have no doubt - duh - that Obama was born in the United States. That only 42 percent of Republicans are similarly convinced is a fascinating indicator of just how far the Republican Party has drifted from the mainstream.
Also beyond the outer limits of sanity is CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, who has been giving prime-time exposure to the "birther" lunacy - even while denying that he believes in it. Dobbs' obsession with the "story" has become an embarrassment to the network, which has tried to position itself as untainted by political bias. CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein has pronounced the story "dead," but insists that it's legitimate for Dobbs to examine the alleged controversy, though in fact no controversy exists.
The "birther" thing is only Dobbs' latest detour from objective reality. For years, he has crusaded against illegal immigration by citing facts and figures that often turn out to be wrong. Television can confer a kind of pseudo-reality on any manner of nonsense.
Is this an orchestrated campaign to somehow delegitimize Obama's presidency? Is the fact that he is the first African American president a factor? Is it that some people can't or won't accept that he won the election and serves as commander in chief?
Maybe, maybe not. Trying to analyze the "birther" phenomenon would mean taking it seriously, and taking it seriously would be like arguing about the color of unicorns. About all that can be said is that a bunch of lost, confused and frightened people have decided to seek refuge in conspiratorial make-believe. I hope they're harmless. And I hope they seek help.
Chris Matthews, talking about opposition to health care reform (while, by the way, ignoring the fact that the demonstrations he's talking about are phony):
How much does this thing is about people coming to you talking about end of life decisions spook people, Michael? This thing, this provision, that talks about you get to talk about a living will. But it sounds to some people like, you're getting a little ill, all of a sudden somebody shows up at your door like they're a missionary and says "lets talk about how you're going to save the government money and your family the burden of continuing to live." that's the way it hits some people.
No, it doesn't hit some people that way. It doesn't sound that way to anybody. I'm quite confident that nobody, upon reading any health care proposal, has sincerely concluded that it would result in someone showing up at your door and telling you to save the government some money and just die already.
No, the idea that there is any such provision is a flat-out lie, made up by opponents of reform in an attempt to kill it. And Chris Matthews just helped spread that lie to the entire nation. Heckuva job, Chris.
On Hardball, moments ago:
PAT BUCHANAN: Global Warming is now a hoax--
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you think Global Warming is a hoax?
BUCHANAN: I do think it's a hoax.
MATTHEWS: It's a hoax?
BUCHANAN: I think it goes up and down. The idea this is grave--
MATTHEWS: -- CO2 emissions, greenhouse gases, doesn't exist?
BUCHANAN: No, it does, of course it exists. The idea we're all gonna die of this is utter nonsense. It's a power transfer to governments here, and governments abroad.
MATTHEWS: And the motivation is what?
BUCHANAN: And the motivation is power. It always is in government.
MATTHEWS: So people like Al Gore have cooked this up to get what?
BUCHANAN: No, I think he believes it, Chris, like the Birthers believe it. He's just like they are. It's a religious belief with them.
Remind me again why this guy is on TV?
UPDATE: Here's the video.
Early this morning, we (along with others) noted that the purported Obama birth certificate posted by WorldNetDaily says that it was issued by the "Republic of Kenya" on February 17, 1964, but that Kenya did not become a republic until December 12, 1964.
Well, here's WND's response:
Media Matters wrote, "Sorry, WorldNetDaily: Kenya wasn't a republic until Dec. 1964."
But Kenya's official independence was in 1963, and any number of labels could have been applied to government documents during that time period.
At Ameriborn Constitution News, the researcher noted that the independence process for the nation actually started taking as early as 1957, when there were the first direct elections for Africans to the Legislative Council.
"Kenya became an Independent Republic, December 12, 1963, which gives more [credibility] that this is a true document," the website stated.
The 1963 independence is corroborated by several other information sources, including the online African History.
Even the People Daily news agency cited, on Dec. 12, 2005, the "42nd independence anniversary" in Nairobi. "The country gained independence from Britain on Dec. 12, 1963," the report said.
An online copy of the Kenya Constitution, "adopted in 1963, amended in 1999," states: "CHAPTER I - THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA, Article 1, Kenya is a sovereign Republic. Article 1A, The Republic of Kenya shall be a multiparty democratic state..."
It was in November 1964 when the region voluntarily became a one-party state, according to an online source.
There are a couple points to be made here.
First, WND's focus on the date of Kenyan independence is a straw man. No one is disputing that Kenya gained independence in 1963. But that isn't the same as when it became a republic. Indeed, the December 12, 1964, Washington Post article we posted reported: "Kenya became the newest republic within the British Commonwealth at midnight. ... Kenya became independent in December, 1963 and has now shed its dominion status, while remaining in the Commonwealth" [emphasis added].
Second, on the issue of Kenya's constitution "adopted in 1963," here's how the CIA's World Factbook describes Kenya's constitutional history:
12 December 1963; amended as a republic 1964; reissued with amendments 1979, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1997, 2001; note - a new draft constitution was defeated by popular referendum in 2005
That's consistent with news reporting from the time. An October 27, 1963, Washington Post article describing Kenya's initial constitution reported that "Britain ... has left a loophole insuring that the whole constitution will be rewritten in a year or so. The country is being given dominion (monarchial) status but its leaders have said that they intend to make it a republic."
A year later, the Post reported in a November 11, 1964, article: "Within a few hours after" Kenyan opposition leader Ronald Ngala's November 10, 1964, announcement that he was dissolving his party, "the Senate unanimously passed the second and third readings of a bill to give the country a republican constitution to take effect Dec. 12." According to the Post, that vote "eliminated any need for a referendum to decide whether the country should become a republic." The Post added that "Ngala's party has been increasingly weakened recently by a rash of desertions during consideration of the government's bill to make Kenya a republic Dec. 12."
Riffing off the Post article today which reported the Obama White House contacted the heads of the TV networks in an effort to get them to air the president's previous, primetime press conference live, Malkin is aghast and claims the Bush White House never would have lobbied and negotiated with TV nets in hopes of landing primetime coverage:
This is not how the previous administration operated.
Except that, of course, she's wrong.
From the New York Times, April 9, 2005 [emphasis added]:
In a showdown that featured inside-the-Beltway lobbying and bare-knuckle boardroom negotiating, Donald J. Trump and President Bush effectively squared off yesterday in pursuit of the same parcel of real estate - a piece of the NBC-TV prime-time lineup. And it was the president who blinked first.
As Jamison noted earlier today, Howard Kurtz at the WashPost becomes the latest Beltway reporter to allow network execs whine about having to air Obama's primetime press conferences. He's also the latest Beltway reporter to buy the nonsense that networks lose millions in advertising dollars every time Obama goes primetime. (See here why that's not the case.)
Plus, Kurtz became the latest Beltway reporter to leave out this fact in his article about how upset network TV suits are about airing White House press conferences: The networks use the public airwaves for free and have raked in billions over the years doing so.
Reporters love to hear arrogant network execs whine about having to shuffle their precious primetime TV schedules in order to provide a (rare) public function. But reporters refuse to note that the networks only exists because they get to the use public airwaves for free.
If the nets want to turn their back on their public obligation, that's fine. Just inform the FCC and I'm sure the commission can come up with a seven, eight, or nine-figure payment schedule that would cover the nets' future use of our airwaves.
As Malkin traipses her way through the evil liberal media, which is giving her all kinds of free airtime to hawk her book, I'm just wondering are any of her hosts going to note the complete absurdity of writing an anti-Obama book six months into his first term?
Even if Malkin's publisher rushed this title out, it means she basically finished the manuscript in May. So in just four months, between late January and late May, Malkin was able to tease out all kinds of damaging information about the Obama administration while it was being assembled? She uncovered scandalous "abuses of power throughout his administration"?
That's patently absurd. The book, and its premise, is just ODS unleashed.
But don't look for many members of the the press to point that out. They don't want to make Michelle angry. (She might blog mean things about them!)
UPDATED: A key Malkin talking point on The View today was that, "We have a technology czar who is a convicted shoplifter."
According to the Associated Press, [while in college, Vivek] Kundra stole $134 worth of shirts from a JC Penney store. He pleaded guilty to the charge in 1997, and served 80 hours of community service.
I guess when you have only four months to work with, that's the kind of 'scoop' you're forced to hype.
UPDATED: Would anyone anywhere on this media planet have taken seriously a viciously anti-Bush book that detailed his administration's awful, corrupt ways, published just six months into his first term? Didn't think so. It would have been ignored and/or mocked. But inside the Beltway, Malkin's loony rants must be heard--and broadcast--by all.
Behold your liberal media.
In an August 3 NY Post op-ed, Marc Siegel parroted the myth that the House health care reform bill would require end-of-life counseling for seniors every five years, which is false. Betsy McCaughey made the same claim in her July 17 NY Post op-ed, and has since been forced to backtrack.
Siegel, a practicing internist and Fox News medical contributor, wrote:
All this oversight threatens to destroy the art of medicine, which exists purely one-on-one, between me and my patient.
A prime example comes in the section starting on page 425 of the House bill. This dictates that an Advanced Care Planning Consultation must take place every five years from the age of 65 -- with the intervention of so-called counselors, trained and appointed by the government.
The clear goal of the consultation is to decrease unnecessary care to the elderly. But, while a lot of resources are too often wasted in the last days of life, there are many vigorous and engaged senior citizens who shouldn't be shortchanged or pushed prematurely to euthanasia.
From an August 3 Newsmax.com editorial, headlined "Lou Dobbs Right on Obama Birth Certificate":
The Associated Press is wrong and Lou Dobbs is right.
This past weekend, the AP published a story entitled "CNN's Dobbs Under Fire for Hosting 'Birthers'".
The AP began their highly critical story on Dobbs: "He's become a publicity nightmare for CNN, embarrassed his boss and hosted a show that seemed to contradict the network's 'no bias' brand."
And what is Dobbs' "crime?" He has said on air that Obama should release his birth certificate and has had on his show guests who suggested Obama was born outside the U.S.
Dobbs does not believe Obama was born outside the U.S., nor does Newsmax. The evidence indicates he was born in Hawaii. But the indisputable fact is that Obama has not released his birth certificate, which the state of Hawaii issues for all citizens born there. The AP implies that Obama has not released a "long version of his birth certificate." But there is no such thing as a long version of a birth certificate.
Instead, Obama's campaign last year released only his Certification of Live Birth from the state of Hawaii, which is a document that offers a summarized version of the birth certificate. Even state residents born outside the U.S. can get one.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, GOP nominee Sen. John McCain quickly released his birth certificate when liberal bloggers raised questions about his eligibility to be president. McCain was born at a military hospital in Panama.
Obama likewise could put the matter to rest by releasing his actual birth certificate, which would show, among other things, the place of his birth and the doctor who performed the birth procedure.
This information is not provided on the Certification of Live Birth.
As it stands, Obama is the only president in history whose birthplace is unknown to the public - a fact that would be stated on the actual birth certificate. Interestingly, his family has mentioned two different hospitals in Hawaii as the place of birth.
Obama's refusal to release his birth certificate does mean that Obama remains one of America's most mysterious and opaque presidents ever.