The Audacity of Hate: Birthers, Deathers, Deniers, and Barack Obama

 

 

by Walter Brasch

 

 The latest garbage spewing hate as it circles the Internet in a viral state of panic continues a three year smear against Barack Obama.

The attacks had begun with the extreme right wing spitting out Obama's full name—Barack HUSSEIN Obama, as if somehow he wasn't an American but connected to the Iraqi dictator who, despite the Bush Administration's best efforts, had no connections to 9/11.

            When the right-wingers and Tea Party Pack get tired of their "cutesy" attempts to link Obama to militant Muslims, they launch half-truths and lies to claim he wasn't born in the United States. Like Jaws, Jason, or Freddy Krueger, "birther" propaganda keeps returning, even when independent state officials and analysts proved the claims false.

            The issue simmered on Fox TV and talk radio until Donald Trump, the man with the planet-sized ego and the bacteria-sized brain, inserted his persona into the issue, while pontificating about becoming the next president. The media, exhausted from having to cover the antics of Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen, turned their news columns over to the man who would be God—if only it paid better.

The Wing Nut Cotillion, with Trump getting the headlines, then demanded Obama produce a long-form birth certificate—which he did while leading a combined White House-CIA-Pentagon effort to find and destroy Osama bin Laden. The truth still hasn't quieted the conspiracy nuts.

Not willing to accept truth and logic, the extreme right wing, grasping for anything they could find, have attacked the raid that killed bin Laden. Among their screeches are that bin Laden isn't dead . . . that he was killed a week earlier or even years earlier . . . that Obama had hidden the death until there was a more political time to reveal it . . . that it was George W. Bush (who publicly said six months after 9/11 that he didn't care about bin Laden) who deserves all the credit . . . and that while Navy SEALS should get credit, Obama is too weak to have overseen any part of the mission.

And now from the caves of ignorance and hatred comes a much-forwarded letter, which the anonymous author says "shouldn't surprise anyone." Written as fact, the letter informs us Barack Obama: "never held a 'real' job, never owned a business and as far as we know, never really attended Harvard or Columbia since those transcripts have never been released and no one remembers him from their time at either school."

The email of hate further "enlightens" us that "Being a community activist only gives someone insite [sic] on how to assist the less fortunate and dregs of society on how to acquire government housing and government benefits without ever contributing one penny in taxes."

That's right. The Whackadoodles Wearing Tinfoil Caps crowd has escaped again.  

Among those community activists who worked with the "dregs of society," apparently on ways to scam the government, are St. Francis of Assisi (1181–1226), founder of the Franciscan order and patron saint of animals and the environment; Jacob Riis (1849–1914), a journalist and photographer who exposed the squalor of slums and tenement buildings; Dorothy Day (1897–1980), a journalist who founded the Catholic Worker Movement that advocated nonviolent action to help the poor and homeless, and who the archdiocese of New York, at the direction of Pope John Paul II, began a process leading to beatification; and Jane Addams (1860–1935), who fought for better conditions for children and mothers, was active in the progressive campaigns of Teddy Roosevelt and who, like Roosevelt, earned a Nobel Peace Prize. Those who rail against community activists for not having "real" jobs would also oppose Saul Alinsky (1909–1972), who tirelessly established the nation's most effective organizational structure to help the poor and disenfranchised to gain a voice against political, economic, and social oppression; Dr. Benjamin Spock (1903–1998), America's foremost pediatrician, for leading antiwar campaigns; Cesar Chavez (1927–1993), who helped get farm workers respectable pay and decent working conditions; Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968) who, with hundreds of thousands of others, forced a nation to finally confront its racism; and innumerable leaders of the feminist and gay rights communities who got America to confront their other prejudices. All were community activists.

Not dregs because they have "real" jobs are the bankers and Wall Street investors who brought about the housing crisis that led to the worst depression in the past seven decades. Also exempt from contempt are the business owners who downsized, right-sized, and shipped their production overseas, throwing millions of Americans out of work.

Barack Obama, castigated for not having a "real job," worked more than a year as research associate and editor at the Business International Corp., three years as director of Developing Community Projects, a church-based group for eight Catholic parishes, and summer jobs at law firms. Other "not real" jobs include being an author, civil rights lawyer, and a professor of Constitutional law at one of the nation's more prestigious colleges. Frankly, it's rather nice to have a president who actually understands the Constitution—as opposed to the rabble who misquote, misstate, and misappropriate it all the time.  

Those propagating the email of hate believe Obama couldn't earn degrees from Ivy League colleges; the subtext is as clear as their refusal to believe in an integrated nation. So, I contacted the registrars at Columbia and Harvard. In less than 10 minutes, the registrar at Columbia confirmed that Barack Obama received a B.A. in political science, and the registrar at Harvard Law School confirmed Obama received a J.D. These are public records. Anyone can ask the same questions, and get the same answer. Logic alone should have shot down these accusations. Obama was editor of the Harvard Law Review, something as easy to verify as his graduation, and he passed the Illinois bar exam—which requires graduation from college and law school, and a personal character test—also a matter of public record.

Even if Obama provided official transcripts, which are confidential, the wing nuts of society will claim that, like the birth certificate and the death of bin Laden, the transcripts were faked.

The truth is that the politics of hate, combined with media complicity and Internet access, has led not to a discussion of issues but to character assassination, with racism and bigotry as its pillars.

 

[Walter Brasch's latest book is Before the First Snow, literary historical fiction that explores the counterculture between 1964 and 1991. The book, to be published June 20, is available at amazon.com]

 

 

 

 

 

 

LA-SEN: Vitter not just a criminal but a birther, too

We already knew David Vitter doesn’t know when to close his zipper. Apparently he doesn’t know when to close his mouth, either.

Vitter told the New Orleans Tea Party yesterday that he supports birther lawsuits against the President of the United States, and it’s caught on video:

This comes on the heels of last month’s news that Vitter has knowingly employed a woman-beater as his legislative aide for women’s issues for two years, until the news was made public just a few weeks ago. Brent Furer pled guilty in 2008 to stabbing his girlfriend with a knife and had an active arrest warrant for drunk driving – his fourth. Vitter knew all of this but didn’t care. In other words, Furer was a violent, wanted criminal but Senator Vitter looked the other way and kept paying him with your tax dollars.

In the above clip, Vitter said “We need to fight the Obama agenda at the ballot box, starting this fall.” The Obama agenda includes following the law which, of course, is not a part of the Vitter agenda. As we learned in 2007, the “family values” candidate Vitter has a taste for cheating on his family by hiring illegal prostitutes and making them wear diapers.

Rep. Charlie Melancon is the Democratic nominee against Vitter this fall.

The Birthers and Beckers Triumph Over the GOP

Crossposted from The Motley Moose

In what may well come to be seen as the culmination of the death throes of the Reagan Republican party, the first echoing retort shot across the media today as the cracks in the GOP began to give way to calving chasms and massive bergs sheared off the weathered cliffs.  The ability of Michael ("No, really! I'm, like, hip to your happening shizang my home young gentlepersons!") Steele and the GOP "leadership" (or is that "GOP" leadeship?) to maintain anything like coherency even among the reduced ranks of Republican membership is not only in retreat:

It's in hiding.

In the special election in the 23rd Congressional District race, Dede Scozzafava - the Republican candidate - quit the race today after hearing that she is being out-polled by the Conservative Party candidate that Alaskan blogger Sarah Palin is supporting.

There's more...

You can't reason with a Paranoid

A paranoid lives in an alternate universe where facts hold different meanings. There is nothing intrinsic to paranoia that dictates paranoids can't be intelligent. Some paranoids can be compelling in their alternate universe assertions. Some deftly conjure up whole cloth fabricated reality as cohesive and compelling as Tolkein's history of Middle Earth. The human mind truly is amazing with its power to interpret reality according to its will. There is a strong element of paranoia on the political right in America today, and it is not subject to a reasoned debate.

There's more...

HuffPo: GOP Taps Birther for Obama Response

Jason Linkins has the story for the Huffington Post:

Louisiana Rep. Charles Boustany will be delivering the GOP response to President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress tonight. The Washington Post says that it's a "somewhat surprising pick in that he is little-known nationally and not part of the Republican leadership in Congress."

What is known about Boustany is that he is a heart surgeon. Somewhat ironically, Boustany is also the co-sponsor of the "Life Sustaining Treatment Preferences Act of 2009" which would mandate that Medicare reimburse the cost of end-of-life counseling -- the so-called "death panels."

But the most "surprising" aspect to the choice of Boustany is the fact that he is a Birther!

Per Linkins, when asked earlier this summer by Mike Stark about the faux-controversy about President Obama's place of birth, Congressman Charles Boustany responded, "I think there are questions, we'll have to see." While Boustany reportedly has since backed off these flirtations with the birther movement, his selection to serve as the Republicans' face to the American people, even if only for one night, says a great deal about the current state of the GOP, particularly its willingness to play to the basest elements of the electorate to the detriment of broader appeal.

There's more...

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