The Obama Birth Certificate Conspiracy

One of the nuttier arguments during this election campaign has been over Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Even after the birth certificate was released to the public, some right wingers and Clintonistas, which might be redundant, continued to deny this. (This reminds me of the manner in which many right wing sites continue to claim that John Kerry has never released his military records, even though they were both posted on line and inspected by the news media.)

David Weigel of the libertarian magazine Reason has been tracking the nonsense over Obama’s birth certificate, reporting that ironilly some key evidence was obtained by someone who’s working on an anti-Obama documentary for pro-Clinton PUMAs. (See the previous post for comments on the PUMAs.)

The new evidence consists of a birth announcement from a 1961 issue of the Honolulu Advertiser which does provide evidence that Obama was really born in Hawaii. The image actually comes from Obama conspiracy theorist TexasDarlin who manages to still come up with a number of arguments questioning whether Obama is really eligible to legally become president. Weigel clearly enjoys the discussion among the conspiracy theorists:

Seriously, if you like conspiracy theories, the comments at this site are a festival of chuckles. The idea of Obama’s family collaborating to create a false biography for him is, in itself, hilarious. How did those 1961 dinner table conversations go, do they think? “If we don’t create a false story, and fast, our half-African son of an 18-year old mother will have no chance at becoming president!”

The arguments include items such as asking “have you noticed that there are no photos of Obama as an infant?” I’ll top that. Has anyone, Lois Lane included, ever noticed that nobody has ever seen both Barack Obama and Superman in the same place?

Clinton Die Hards Pushing For McCain over Obama

There’s a problem with repeatedly telling the same lies during a political campaign. Some of your supporters actually fall for them. I’ve been seeing a number of reports lately on PUMAs, including this story from CNN. PUMA is an acronym for Party Unity My Ass, and is the slogan for groups which still support Hillary Clinton, often to the point of hoping that Obama loses to John McCain. Just last week I noted the fantasies of some that Clinton will still win the nomination.

Apparently the prospect of the return of shirt hanger abortions is not a concern to them. CNN summarizes their views:

Why are they angry? It all depends on whom you ask.

Some of the PUMAs accuse Democratic leaders of rigging the primaries to favor Sen. Barack Obama, while others feel that he is not qualified to be the party nominee, let alone competent enough to lead the country.

Kim Mann said she thinks that Obama is too liberal. Webster Tarpley said the senator from Illinois is too conservative. But Mann, a 52-year-old project manager from Manassas, Virginia, and Tarpley, a self-described 62-year-old “controversial author,” agree on one thing: Neither wants Obama to be the Democratic nominee.

Rigging the primaries? Many of the complaints come down to their belief in the arguments made by Hillary Clinton which showed a total disregard for the basic principles of democracy. It was Obama who followed the rules while Clinton tried to change rules which even she had agreed to after the fact for political gain. You really can’t get more undemocratic than Hillary Clinton’s position on this issue short of totally bypassing elections. She made matters even worse by subsequently trying to cast doubts on the legitimacy of Obama’s clear victory in the primary battle. For a democracy to work it is necessary for the various parties to both obey the rules and accept the legitimacy of the results.

A second big lie of the Clinton campaign was to try to position Clinton as the more experienced candidate, when in reality she is much less qualified than Obama. Being around power is hardly the same as exercising power. Clinton’s foreign policy experience was certainly exaggerated,  with her not even having national security clearance during her husband’s years in the White House. Obama has more years of legislative experience than Clinton, and his experience teaching Constitutional law will be particularly valuable following the Bush years. Obama’s experience in community organizing has been valuable in forming a campaign capable of beating the Clinton machine, and such lessons are also seen in his approach to government, providing a welcome contrast to Clinton’s out-dated top-down Nanny State views.

The most absurd argument is that Obama is too conservative, considering how far Clinton has moved towards the right during the years in which she believed that she was the inevitable Democratic candidate for 2008. The claim that Clinton is more liberal is hardly supported by looking at the differences in their positions on many issues. Clinton’s views on bannning flag burning and her vendetta against video games and cartoon sex are hardly liberal. Clinton was not particularly liberal in her support for Wal-Mart’s union busting tactics. Clinton has increasingly adopted both the views and tactics of her new friends in the vast right wing conspiracy. Clinton backed the Iraq war, despite her attempted to hide this fact. She has stronger ties to the religious right than the presumptive Republican candidate. She backs the same types of abuses of executive power practiced by George Bush. On social issues and civil liberties issues, this old Goldwater Girl has moved to the right of Barry Goldwater, who at least was a strong opponent of the religious right.

Hillary Clinton repeatedly showed herself to be neither qualified to be president or to hold the ethical standards we should have in a president. Some would argue that the die hard Clintonistas should naturally vote for Obama over McCain. While true of the vast majority of long time Democratic voters who are supporting Obama regardless of their first choice in the primaries, this might not be true of the Clintonista die hards. If they really support the policies, and even worse, the tactics of Hillary Clinton, this is a movement whose fundamental beliefs are contrary to the principles of liberalism and they really are much closer to George Bush and John McCain. It is perfectly understandable that these people would prefer McCain over a liberal such as Obama.

Update: Even more absurd Clintonista nonsense

Update II: If you need any evidence that these people are totally out of touch with reality, just see the comments. below. Fortunately they represent a very tiny number of voters who just make a lot of noise on line.

Update III: A Further Look at The Clinton Die Hards From PUMA

McCain Even Flip-Flops On His Criticism of Obama’s Iraq Policy

Coming a day after resorting to a “scurrilous statement” (per Joe Klein’s description) in attacking Obama which I discussed here, McCain is now flip-flopping on the substance of his attacks on Obama’s position on Iraq. Earlier today I heard a radio clip of McCain criticizing Obama’s plans, claiming Obama would ignore the advice of military commanders based upon the facts on the ground as he leaves Iraq. I don’t have a transcript of this available, but this attack is echoed in other news reports of attacks attributed to his campaign. For example, AFP reports:

Asked Tuesday if the McCain camp was embarrassed by the Bush administration’s evolving policy, the candidate’s foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann said “not at all.”

“Senator Obama decided some months ago, when he was running for the nomination, that 16 months was the time period that all troops should be withdrawn — not 12 months, not 14, not 18, but 16.

“It’s an artificial date, and it is completely ignorant of conditions on the ground and the effect that it would have both on our ability to withdraw, as well as the ability to have sustainable security in Iraq in the aftermath,” he said.

McCain “believes that it would be irresponsible to set an arbitrary and artificial date, and move towards withdrawal, and ignore the advice of military commanders and security conditions,” he said.

Of course this is not now, and never has been, Obama’s view. As Obama stated in his interview with Katie Couric:

I will always listen to the commanders on the ground. And I will make an assessment based on the facts at that time. As I’ve said before … I am not interested in a false choice between either perfect inflexibility in which the next 16 months or the next two years I ignore anything that’s happening in Iraq. Or, alternatively, that I just have an open-ended, indefinite occupation of Iraq in which we’re not putting any pressure on the Iraqis to stand up and … take this burden on. What I’m gonna do is to set a vision of where we need to go, a clear and specific timeframe within which we’re gonna pull our combat forces out.

Beyond being wrong, McCain and his surrogates are now flip-flopping once again with regards to their criticism of Obama. Just a few weeks ago McCain was falsely citing reports that Obama would consider such facts on the ground as opposed to sticking firmly to a 16 month plan as a flip-flop and attacked him for allegedly changing  his position on Iraq.

So which is it? Does McCain want to attack Obama when he does say he will listen to the commanders on the ground, or does he want to persist with making false claims that Obama will not consider such facts? The real problem is that of the two candidates running, Obama is the only one who has a coherent plan for dealing with Iraq, and McCain is still searching for a political means to respond to this fact on the ground during the political campaign.

The Rich Get Richer (And Pay Less Taxes)

The rich really are getting richer and “the richest 1% of Americans in 2006 garnered the highest share of the nation’s adjusted gross income for two decades, and possibly the highest since 1929, according to Internal Revenue Service data.” Meanwhile, as Republicans are concerned about maintaining the Bush tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy, “the average tax rate of the wealthiest 1% fell to its lowest level in at least 18 years.”

This report isn’t from some left-wing site. It comes from The Wall Street Journal, based upon Internal Revenue Service data available through 2006. As the Bush tax cuts were rigged to give increasing value to the ultra-wealthy over time, I wonder how much more distorted these numbers are at present, and how they would look should John McCain be elected and continue George Bush’s policies.

Now I Get It

Whenever I’ve complained about insurance companies in the past I never really got it. Thanks to the above video, I’ve now learned to appreciate the benefits of Insurance Company Rules.