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Michael Stuart Kelly

To Birther or Not To Birther, That is the Question

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To Birther or Not To Birther, That is the Question

I am not a birther, since that means I hold that President Obama was not born in the USA.

But after seeing all the weirdness surrounding this issue, I do not hold that he was born in the USA, either.

I simply don't know.

Here is what I do know.

There is something he--or someone close to him--wants to hide regarding the original document. It's not rocket science to produce it, nor is it any great hardship. In fact, it's silly not to produce this thing, given that so many credible people are asking why he doesn't. It's a simple verification of his eligibility, just to make sure the USA citizens have not been conned.

If his feelings are hurt because people don't trust his word and want final proof, tough.

I don't think this would have gotten to the current point, but for the fact that Obama is not the most honest President we have had. His Presidency has been characterized by constantly appealing to legal and procedural technicalities to get around common-sense issues, and then doing crazy stuff and going hog-wild, even to the point of getting the US Congress to pass massive legislation several times without reading it. I had to see that one to believe it. Obama's administration is all backroom deals and BS statements to the public to make it sound good.

And it's one after another. A gushing fountain of sleazy crap that reminds me of the image of that BP hole spewing oil into the bottom of the ocean. It just doesn't stop.

I also know that Obama supporters go crazy and start yelling racism when someone--even a person without a shred of possibility of harboring a tinge of a racist sentiment--asks, "Why doesn't he just show the document and put this thing to rest?"

All that yelling and stonewalling just doesn't make any sense.

I know I am at the point where I don't want to hear any more blah blah blah. I see all around me lots of people who feel the same. Obama needs to show the damn document so we can move on. And if he ultimately refuses to show it, he needs to say why. But in that case, there better be a damn good reason.

I believe this issue is going to become for him like Bush's Weapons of Mass Destruction.

It's at the point now where it doesn't matter whether Obama gets vindicated or not in the end. Setting policy aside (which is horrible in itself) and looking just at the man's character, frankly, after all the sleaziness, I'm getting to the point where I don't care whether he's right or not. He's playing way too many games instead of answering a simple no-brainer request from his constituents. So, character-wise, I just want him gone and I want to see someone more honest in his position,

I'm not alone, either. The polls are rising and Obama is increasingly being perceived as a President who acts in bad faith, just as Bush was perceived that way over the Weapons of Mass Destruction issue. I think Americans are simply getting tired of Presidents who treat them like fools over really obvious stuff--one President going to war over WMD's that don't exist, another President saying oral sex with an intern is not really sex, now another President who refuses to produce his birth certificate to settle eligibility doubts because it would be bowing to racists to do so.

Keeeerist... Even Nixon was better than that. I'm really sick of this crap.

I keep hearing that this birther thing will ultimately reelect Obama because it's a crazy conspiracy issue. I'm not so sure. I think it has turned into a character issue. It has for me. From what I see growing in the polls reported in the mainstream news (and it's growing even among Democrats), especially in light of Obama's sleazy reactions, including those of his supporters, I think this weird birther issue is going to help sink him.

He will richly deserve it.

Michael

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Obama's birth to an American woman in the State of Hawaii is a matter of public record. What more do you require?

I can't even -prove- I am an American. My parents are dead. Everyone who was involved in birthing me is dead. All there is, is a record in the New York City deptarment of health - my birth certificate. I have no way proving it is genuine.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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There’s a Snopes page on this. This makes me think of the Richard Gere gerbil story, how much energy should he put into denying it? OTOH, ignoring it serves to keep the right wing fringe occupied with something that makes them look ridiculous. Obama has played this one well.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/birthcertificate.asp

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That is just as much certification as I have. If I wanted to run for POTUS (God Forbid!) I could not prove to the Birthers that I am not an Arch-Jew and part of the Learned Elders of Zion.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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There is something he [Obama]--or someone close to him--wants to hide regarding the original document. It's not rocket science to produce it, nor is it any great hardship. In fact, it's silly not to produce this thing, given that so many credible people are asking why he doesn't.

Name one "credible person" who has devoted as much as 30 seconds to thinking about this ridiculous non-issue.

JR

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I could not prove to the Birthers that I am not an Arch-Jew and part of the Learned Elders of Zion.

You mean you're not? :rolleyes:

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Michael,

There's no reason to think Barack Obama was born in Indonesia or in Kenya or on a rocket ship in outer space.

So he could be holding back the actual birth certificate because:

(1) Something else about the circumstances of his birth would be embarrassing if revealed;

(2) Those asking for it are political enemies of his, and he wants to spite them;

or

(3) People will keep talking about it with the effect, he and his handlers think, of discrediting his opposition and securing his re-election.

I'd better be careful, or I'll exceed Jeff's 30-second limit.

Robert Campbell

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There is something he [Obama]--or someone close to him--wants to hide regarding the original document. It's not rocket science to produce it, nor is it any great hardship. In fact, it's silly not to produce this thing, given that so many credible people are asking why he doesn't.

Name one "credible person" who has devoted as much as 30 seconds to thinking about this ridiculous non-issue.

JR

As an incredible person I'm out of the loop.

--Brant

born on the dark side of the moon

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> Name one "credible person" who has devoted as much as 30 seconds to thinking about this ridiculous non-issue.

Argument from intimidation as usual, Jeff.

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So he could be holding back the actual birth certificate because:

(1) Something else about the circumstances of his birth would be embarrassing if revealed;

(2) Those asking for it are political enemies of his, and he wants to spite them;

or

(3) People will keep talking about it with the effect, he and his handlers think, of discrediting his opposition and securing his re-election.

I'd better be careful, or I'll exceed Jeff's 30-second limit.

Robert,

I think along these lines. But if it is a strategy, the signs (for now, at least) show that it could backfire big time.

I see Cialdini's principle of social proof operating (it's sometimes called the bandwagon effect). So long as a majority-like mainstream message is one of scoffing, people will go along with the scoffing. They will be afraid to look ridiculous. But I can't help noticing that until Obama produces the original document, social proof is all he's got for persuasion. Trump has clearly shown just how easy that is to crack.

For instance, I saw a CNN poll very recently and I don't remember the exact numbers, but I do the approximate ones. Over 40% Republicans think Obama could have been born outside the USA, over 20% independents think that, and over 10% Democrats think that. I believe this is a direct result of Trump's public doubts.

These are not people who were asked a question like you and I think. These are folks who were asked the "Looney Tunes question" according to the scoffers. That's a very high margin by any measure if you want to keep social proof intimidation going. And the number of doubters seems to be growing.

All it needs is a few more credible people like Trump jumping on board and I believe this thing could turn really ugly for Obama (of course I mean people who are credible to the public--I wouldn't dare to presume anyone outside a hermetic elite could ever achieve Jeff's exalted standards :) ).

The thing about large-scale social proof on the mainstream level is that if you can manage to turn it around, especially from a default point like scoffing, it's near impossible to get it back to where it was. In that case, facts don't matter until a long time passes.

Are my 30 seconds up?

:)

Michael

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Obama's in there pretty good. If you don't think he now has the upper hand and won't keep it at least until the next election, watch the Republicans continue to crumble. As for The Donald, his ego can't stand not being publicly identified as a billionaire. He's more likely near bankruptcy. He's not going to show that. His biggest asset is his mouth. With that he made his name. When he stops talking he's through. When he gets all the juice he can out of the I-might-run-for President thing, he'll find something else to squeeze.

--Brant

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Michael,

I agree that if Obama is holding the document back for reason #2 or #3, the tactic could very well backfire.

Part of what happened with the WMDs is that Saddam acted as though he was hiding some because he thought it would intimidate his enemies in the region if they believed he had them.

That didn't work out as planned.

Robert Campbell

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Obama's in there pretty good. If you don't think he now has the upper hand and won't keep it at least until the next election, watch the Republicans continue to crumble.

Brant,

I agree that Donald Trump will squeeze the publicity that he craves out of pretending to be a candidate, then move on.

It hardly follows that Obama is invincible, or that the Republicans will necessarily insist on nominating a turkey.

Anyone whose current slogan abbreviates to WTF is far from invincible.

I kinda wonder what Obama thinks he's going to spend $1 bil on after he gets all the fat cats small contributors to pony up for his reelection campaign. It's not like he lacks name recognition in 2011. His handlers have supposedly pulled him back somewhat from public appearances because wide segments of the public like him less the more often they hear from him.

And Obama is running a peculiar deficit in some of the recent polls. The percentage of people saying he deserves to be reelected is noticeably lower than the percentage saying they approve of his current performance.

Peggy Noonan floated the idea in her most recent column that Obama's approval ratings are being (mildly) inflated by preference falsification: some people are reluctant, even on an anonymous survey, to say they don't approve of him.

I'd never seen that suggested about presidential approval ratings before, but I think there might be something to it.

Robert Campbell

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> Name one "credible person" who has devoted as much as 30 seconds to thinking about this ridiculous non-issue.

Argument from intimidation as usual, Jeff.

It was Michael who asserted that Obama should produce documentation because "credible people" were raising questions. I inquired as to whether Michael could name even one of these (I suspect mythological) "credible people."

How precisely is raising such a question an "argument" at all? How is it an "argument from intimidation"?

Don't you think it would help your campaign to improve everyone's argumentation if you understood how an argument is distinguished from any other set of propositions?

How unspeakably asinine.

JR

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Obama's in there pretty good. If you don't think he now has the upper hand and won't keep it at least until the next election, watch the Republicans continue to crumble.

Brant,

I agree that Donald Trump will squeeze the publicity that he craves out of pretending to be a candidate, then move on.

It hardly follows that Obama is invincible, or that the Republicans will necessarily insist on nominating a turkey.

Anyone whose current slogan abbreviates to WTF is far from invincible.

I kinda wonder what Obama thinks he's going to spend $1 bil on after he gets all the fat cats small contributors to pony up for his reelection campaign. It's not like he lacks name recognition in 2011. His handlers have supposedly pulled him back somewhat from public appearances because wide segments of the public like him less the more often they hear from him.

And Obama is running a peculiar deficit in some of the recent polls. The percentage of people saying he deserves to be reelected is noticeably lower than the percentage saying they approve of his current performance.

Peggy Noonan floated the idea in her most recent column that Obama's approval ratings are being (mildly) inflated by preference falsification: some people are reluctant, even on an anonymous survey, to say they don't approve of him.

I'd never seen that suggested about presidential approval ratings before, but I think there might be something to it.

Robert,

The only thing I'm arguing with you about here is the implication that I said he was invulnerable. I was talking about his current strength against the Republicans through the rest of his term. The real big test will be the raising the debt ceiling soon coming up--then getting rid of Obamacare. We must not--cannot--forget the tremendous power of the American Presidency.

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede
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To Birther or Not To Birther, That is the Question

I don't think this would have gotten to the current point, but for the fact that Obama is not the most honest President we have had. His Presidency has been characterized by constantly appealing to legal and procedural technicalities to get around common-sense issues, and then doing crazy stuff and going hog-wild, even to the point of getting the US Congress to pass massive legislation several times without reading it. I had to see that one to believe it. Obama's administration is all backroom deals and BS statements to the public to make it sound good.

I'm not arguing that Obama is a good president by any standard. I actually detest the guy but aren't you "appealing to a legal technicality" by making an issue of where he was born?

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> Don't you think it would help your campaign to improve everyone's argumentation if you understood how an argument is distinguished from any other set of propositions? How unspeakably asinine. [Jeff #14]

Jeff, if you look at a dictionary you will see that the kind of formal argument you are talking about (a series of premises and a conclusion) is not the only way the term 'argument' is used. It is used commonly, loosely in the way that I use it. In fact the informal common sense language (that you and George if I recall) keep trying to point out that I'm misusing in some dictionaries is in fact often the preferred use:

1. an oral disagreement; verbal opposition; contention; altercation: a violent argument.

2. a discussion involving differing points of view; debate: They were deeply involved in an argument about inflation.

3. a process of reasoning.... [dictionary.com]

Your sense is the -third- alternative meaning above. Don't you think it would be better if you actually referred to a dictionary on those occasions when you and George think your vocabulary and sense of the English language is better than mine [99th percentile on both the English Aptitude and English Achievement SAT's]?

. . . How unspeakably asinine.

Edited by Philip Coates
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> Don't you think it would help your campaign to improve everyone's argumentation if you understood how an argument is distinguished from any other set of propositions? How unspeakably asinine. [Jeff #14]

Jeff, if you look at a dictionary you will see that the kind of formal argument you are talking about (a series of premises and a conclusion) is not the only way the term 'argument' is used. It is used commonly, loosely in the way that I use it. In fact the informal common sense language (that you and George if I recall) keep trying to point out that I'm misusing in some dictionaries is in fact often the preferred use:

1. an oral disagreement; verbal opposition; contention; altercation: a violent argument.

2. a discussion involving differing points of view; debate: They were deeply involved in an argument about inflation.

3. a process of reasoning.... [dictionary.com]

Your sense is the -third- alternative meaning above. Don't you think it would be better if you actually referred to a dictionary on those occasions when you and George think your vocabulary and sense of the English language is better than mine [99th percentile on both the English Aptitude and English Achievement SAT's]?

How incredibly asinine.

Yes, Phil, it is incredibly asinine that you should utterly fail to explain, anywhere in this pile of manure masquerading as a post, exactly how asking a question (namely, what "credible person" Michael might have had in mind) constitutes an oral disagreement, a verbal opposition, a contention, an altercation, a violent argument, a discussion involving differing points of view, or a debate.

It's almost as asinine (and almost as intellectually primitive) as your apparent belief that there is some way to discern in a dictionary which of several listed definitions is "preferred." (Preferred? Preferred by whom? This is the kind of 6th grade misunderstanding of how to use a dictionary that I used to disabuse my 19-year-old students of when I was teaching English Composition in San Francisco in the '90s.)

JR

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To Birther or Not To Birther, That is the Question

I don't think this would have gotten to the current point, but for the fact that Obama is not the most honest President we have had. His Presidency has been characterized by constantly appealing to legal and procedural technicalities to get around common-sense issues, and then doing crazy stuff and going hog-wild, even to the point of getting the US Congress to pass massive legislation several times without reading it. I had to see that one to believe it. Obama's administration is all backroom deals and BS statements to the public to make it sound good.

I'm not arguing that Obama is a good president by any standard. I actually detest the guy but aren't you "appealing to a legal technicality" by making an issue of where he was born?

Folks:

The "natural born citizen" section of the US Constitution is not clear, like a number of other small sections which is why the amendment process exists. Hell, the VP used to be the second vote getter in the electoral college which inherently led to split administrations.

Can you imagine President Lydon Baines Johnson as President and Barry Goldwater as Vice President?

Or Reagan as President and Carter as Vice President?

Its intent was to insure that a President would not owe his loyalties to another nation state.

As far as I am concerned, his mother was an American citizen and therefore he is also one being born from her.

This is why I cannot understand why O'biwan has spent over two (2) million dollars in legal costs to prevent the release of this "document."

The document that ND posted is the certificate of live birth which is testimonial in nature and is not the certifiable birth certificate which, for example, I had to get at the Board of Health in NYC which certifies that the "name and birth facts," such as the attending physician, height, weight, hospital, time etc, are "on file in the Office of Vital Records, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, City of New York."

It is called: THE CITY OF NEW YORK

VITAL RECORDS CERTIFICATE

Just does not make sense.

Now, his Social Security No. which purports to come from Connecticut is being challenged because allegedly neither he nor his father had any connection to Connecticut in the 1970's when the SS number was acquired.

I will say that it is unusual that his college and law school grades and records have been kept from the public.

The weight of all this secrecy can do nothing but increase suspicion in our conspiracy laden world.

Sad.

Adam

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Though Michael never directly replied to my request that he name one "credible person" who took the whole "birther" movement seriously, it has emerged from the thread that he probably meant Donald Trump. To which, I'm afraid, my response is: Donald Trump? He's a clown!

JR

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To Birther or Not To Birther, That is the Question

I don't think this would have gotten to the current point, but for the fact that Obama is not the most honest President we have had. His Presidency has been characterized by constantly appealing to legal and procedural technicalities to get around common-sense issues, and then doing crazy stuff and going hog-wild, even to the point of getting the US Congress to pass massive legislation several times without reading it. I had to see that one to believe it. Obama's administration is all backroom deals and BS statements to the public to make it sound good.

I'm not arguing that Obama is a good president by any standard. I actually detest the guy but aren't you "appealing to a legal technicality" by making an issue of where he was born?

Indeed, that's what I was going to say. The purpose of the birth requirement is to ensure that a person has American values. No American in recent history has had them. So it's a moot issue anyway.

Shayne

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What I don't get is that polls show he is liked as a person.

Since a person is the defined by his values, and his values are from the sewer, what's to like?

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Jeff said: "Name one "credible person" who has devoted as much as 30 seconds to thinking about this ridiculous non-issue." I said: this is an argument from intimidation. Next Jeff wants to quibble over whether this can be called an 'argument'. So I go to the dictionary and prove it to him. Still not giving up, he asks this: "explain..exactly how asking a question..constitutes an oral disagreement, a verbal opposition, a contention" [post #18] By this time Jeff hopes that everyone has forgotten my original point. He disingenuously claims that he was only asking an innocent question rather than making a contention , namely that only a fool or the like would consider the issue he dislikes.

Here's how Rand explained the original point I made:

QUOTE

The essential characteristic of the Argument from Intimidation is its appeal to moral self-doubt and its reliance on the fear, guilt or ignorance of the victim. It is used in the form of an ultimatum demanding that the victim renounce a given idea without discussion...[The pattern is] “Only those who are evil (dishonest, heartless, insensitive, ignorant, etc.) can hold such an idea.”

....Unable to understand that Argument's motive or to believe that it is merely a senseless bluff, they [psychologically healthy men] assume that its user has some sort of knowledge or reasons to back up his seemingly self-confident, belligerent assertions

ENDQUOTE

Edited by Philip Coates
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> Don't you think it would help your campaign to improve everyone's argumentation if you understood how an argument is distinguished from any other set of propositions? How unspeakably asinine. [Jeff #14]

Jeff, if you look at a dictionary you will see that the kind of formal argument you are talking about (a series of premises and a conclusion) is not the only way the term 'argument' is used. It is used commonly, loosely in the way that I use it. In fact the informal common sense language (that you and George if I recall) keep trying to point out that I'm misusing in some dictionaries is in fact often the preferred use:

1. an oral disagreement; verbal opposition; contention; altercation: a violent argument.

2. a discussion involving differing points of view; debate: They were deeply involved in an argument about inflation.

3. a process of reasoning.... [dictionary.com]

Your sense is the -third- alternative meaning above. Don't you think it would be better if you actually referred to a dictionary on those occasions when you and George think your vocabulary and sense of the English language is better than mine [99th percentile on both the English Aptitude and English Achievement SAT's]?

. . . How unspeakably asinine.

You accused Jeff of using an "argument from intimidation." Did you mean to say that JR thereby committed some kind of fallacy? A fallacy is an incorrect form of reasoning, so if you were accusing him of committing a fallacy, then what error in reasoning did he commit?

If, on the other hand, you did not intend to accuse JR of committing a fallacy, then what did you mean by "argument from intimidation"? Was this simply your pretentious manner of complaining that you didn't like the way he worded his comment?

Ghs

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Jeff said: "Name one "credible person" who has devoted as much as 30 seconds to thinking about this ridiculous non-issue." I said: this is an argument from intimidation. Next Jeff wants to quibble over whether this can be called an 'argument'. So I go to the dictionary and prove it to him. Still not giving up, he asks this: "explain..exactly how asking a question..constitutes an oral disagreement, a verbal opposition, a contention" [post #18] By this time Jeff hopes that everyone has forgotten my original point. He disingenuously claims that he was only asking an innocent question rather than making a contention , namely that only a fool or the like would consider the issue he dislikes.

Here's how Rand explained the original point I made:

QUOTE

The essential characteristic of the Argument from Intimidation is its appeal to moral self-doubt and its reliance on the fear, guilt or ignorance of the victim. It is used in the form of an ultimatum demanding that the victim renounce a given idea without discussion...[The pattern is] “Only those who are evil (dishonest, heartless, insensitive, ignorant, etc.) can hold such an idea.”

....Unable to understand that Argument's motive or to believe that it is merely a senseless bluff, they [psychologically healthy men] assume that its user has some sort of knowledge or reasons to back up his seemingly self-confident, belligerent assertions

ENDQUOTE

Did Jeff's remark fill you with moral self-doubt?

Ghs

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