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Let’s Talk Birther

Let me start by saying I am not nor have ever been a birther. With that said there’s a good deal of intellectual dishonesty surrounding coverage of this issue. 

Who Started It

The only TV pundit who has hit the origins of birtherism head on has been MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. Not only did he acknowledge that the movement started in 2008 among Clinton supporters, he went so far as to say this weakens Hillary’s ability to attack Trump on the subject. 

The protests that the Clinton “campaign” did not start birtherism is a distinction without a difference. A low level staffer in Iowa pushed it (and was fired), Clinton strategist Mark Penn toyed with it, and Clinton best bud Sid Blumenthal outright said Obama was born in Kenya. I found no record of Hillary herself actively denouncing it. Furthermore, Hillary famously hinted in a “60 Minutes” interview that Obama might be Muslim – he’s a Christian “as far as I know”. 

Hillary needs to let the media fight this on her behalf and just shut up. Her hands are not clean. 

Chris Matthews Nutty Argument Against Birtherism 

Of all the pundits outraged by Donald’s birther nonsense, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews makes the nuttiest argument by putting preposterous logic behind birtherism that was never there in the first place.  According to Matthews, birthers propose that Ann Dunham gave birth to Barack in Kenya and then conspired to have his birthplace changed to Hawaii so that he could one day run for President some 4 decades later. He goes on to note how utterly ludicrous this is. He’s right. It is ludicrous but it’s ludicrous on HIS part. The central premise of birtherism places no guilt on Ann Dunham, nor does it suggest she had Presidential aspirations for her son way back in 1961.  This is made up out of whole cloth by Matthews himself. 

Birtherism is Racist

This assertion is debatable and I’d like to suggest an alternative. If Jesse Jackson or Jim Clyburn had become President, I seriously doubt anyone would have questioned their birthplace. They have the slave-ancestry identity of many blacks in America. Popular wisdom says that Obama got targeted as the first black President. But Obama was also the first Hawaiian President, born there only shortly after Hawaii’s admission to the US. He was also the first President who spent a lot of his youth outside the US (Indonesia, specifically). So to claim the only thing “different” about Obama was his race is just plain dishonest. 

None of this gets The Donald off the hook for perpetuating this foolishness. I don’t think he’s racist. I think he’s an opportinistic attention whore and birtherism would get him clicks and retweets. I actually found his “backwards extortion” of Obama a few years ago far more offensive. In that incident, Trump offered to donate to the charity of Obama’s choice if Obama produced his college records. Essentially he set up a ransom scenario where the kidnapped baby was a charitable donation. Shame this wasn’t illegal cos I’d have thrown Trumps orange ass right in jail for it. 

Bottom line: birtherism was an ugly mess where no one has clean hands. Drop it and move onto the more pressing issue – our choice between a corrupt liar and a reality TV star. Reject both and VOTE JOHNSON! 

What do you think?  The bar is open. 

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All the Queen’s Horses

By now the entire world has seen the footage of Hillary Clinton unable to stand or walk by her own power and being thrown into a van “like she was a side of beef“.

The episode will certainly fuel ongoing speculation as to the Democratic party nominee’s health, which has included everything from stroke to Parkinson’s Disease.  Clinton, herself, has called such speculation a “wacky strategy”, while CNN went so far as to label the entire issue a conspiracy and the conspirators “The New Birthers“.

Wacky conspiracy or not, the issue is sure to explode after today.  It was a mere hours after Clinton was rushed away from the 9/11 ceremony that we were informed she had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday, and was advised to rest and medicate.  But a presidential candidate’s gotta do what a presidential candidate’s gotta do, and by Friday night she was at a fundraiser, where she labeled half of her opponent’s supporters as a “basket of deplorables“, and on Sunday, was all but obligated to attend the 9/11 ceremony in New York City to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the terrible tragedy.

Adding certain fuel to the speculative fire is a tweet by reporter, David Shuster, making the claim that the DNC will be meeting tonight to discuss replacing Hillary as the party’s presidential nominee.

If true, the party will certainly be exploring a variety of important questions.  Who do they replace her with?  Does running mate, Tim Kaine, get the nod?  Someone else?  And, if it’s anyone other than Bernie Sanders, will he sue the DNC for denying him the nomination?

Now that Hillary Clinton has been seen having a great fall, in the literal sense, can all the queen’s horses and all the queen’s men put her campaign together again?  And, at this point, are they even willing to try?

What do you think about the above questions, and can you pose some others?

The bar is open.

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Clinton Cash: The “Film”

Why do I put film in quotes in the title? Your average 12 year old with his own YouTube channel could have produced a more professional looking product. The roughly hour long documentary has no first person interviews. The only person filmed expressly for the doc is the Clinton Cash book author, Peter Schweizer. Everyone else is featured in stock  footage. 

If we get beyond the cheesy look of the film (disembodied hands exchanging cash, a disembodied hand writing out “$1,000,000”) and focus on content, the best we can say about the Clintons is they have zero trouble with moral ambiguity. 

The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and the Foundation (which I believe are two related but distinct entities) play footsie with corrupt governments like that of Nigeria.  They go into Haiti after a devastating earthquake and run projects that help donors but do little to help those in need. They get into a complex scheme (that I could not completely unravel) involving uranium going to Russia and a uranium company traded on the Canadian stock market making out like bandits. And then there’s that time in Colombia when Bill just happens to bump into the Secretary of State while they’re on “independent” business trips. 

Connected to many of these arrangements are “coincidental” paid speeches by Bill Clinton, in the six figure range, almost 5 to 10 times as much as he got paid prior to Hillary becoming Secretary of State. So, the very credible allegation made is that CGI work indirectly lined the pockets of the Clintons. 

The film was produced by Steve Bannon, formerly of Breitbart fame, and now CEO of Donald Trump’s POTUS campaign. Hillary fans will call it a hit piece full of circumstantial evidence. They will call it the product of “the vast right wing conspiracy”. Hillary haters may have heard it all before. Folks on the fence though should definitely give the movie a peek to get a preview of how murky an HRC administration might be. After viewing this doc, any reasonable person would have to ask himself, can’t a charity be run without all the moral ambiguity?

I give the film 2 out five R’s for poor production quality and 4 R’s for content being thought provoking. 

Production quality: RR
Content: RRRR

This box office bonanza can already be viewed for free on YouTube.