Poll: Nearly a Quarter of Americans Are Birthers

A new poll from Vanity Fair and 60 Minutes finds that — in spite of a complete lack of evidence — 24 percent of Americans still believe Pres. Obama was foreign-born. And yet, among these hard-core birthers, nearly a quarter of the citizenry, there is no consensus about where overseas Obama was born — 6 percent said Kenya, 2 percent said Indonesia and 16 percent couldn’t specify, just somewhere other than America. You’d think they would have settled on one place or another by now.
Hawaii 39%
Kansas 1%
Someplace else in the U.S.

Not sure which state 20%
Kenya 6%
Indonesia 2%
Somplace else outside the U.S. 5%
Not sure which country 11%

By comparison an Angus Reid Global Monitor poll from March 2010 that around 15 percent of Americans were found to be truthers, the media’s analog to birthers. In the poll, 15 percent said the collapse of the World Trade Center was the result of a controlled demolition, with 11 percent not sure; 15 percent said Flight 93 was shot down over Pennsylvania (22 percent not sure); 13 percent said no plane crashed at the Pentagon (11 percent not sure); and 6 percent said no jets crashed into the World Trade Center towers, meaning the images in the news videos were fake (7 percent weren’t sure).

Even as wiggy as the truthers’ assertions are — the Bush administration was demonstrably way too incompetent to have pulled off such a feat and then could have never kept their coup secret for nine years and counting — their precepts rely on science that is sufficiently complicated to allow bamboozlers to create gray areas in the minds of people who are easily confused or certifiably paranoid.

With the birth certificate, on the other hand, the facts are so black and white — via Think Progress, here, here and here — that the stubborn resistance to them can only be willful ignorance.

After all, birthers need to believe Obama is foreign-born in order to reinforce their rationale that he is ineligible to serve and therefore illegitimate, a usurper and unworthy of respect. (And, oh yeah, he’s black.)

Plus, unlike trutherism, birther theorists are supported by the right wing media — on Fox News and among the hatemongers in the fever swamps of AM radio. There was no corollary media establishment, other than a few blogs and YouTube videos, pushing the line that Bush was behind 9/11.

Of course, context is important. Remember that about 20 percent of Americans still supported Richard Nixon on the day he resigned in order to avoid impeachment, and around the same number still approved of George W. Bush, the Worst President Ever, when he flew back to Texas for the last time, in January 2009.

GOP Wins U.S. House Seat in Kenya – Or Is It Indonesia?

Depending on where you believe Pres. Obama was born, the Republicans apparently won the House seat in that district in a special election:

Hawaiin Charles Djou has become the state’s first Republican Congressman in 20 years after winning 39.7 percent of the special election’s vote. Democrats Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case won 31 and 27.8 percent of the vote. The district includes President Obama’s Hawaii hometown.

The district went 70 percent for Obama in 2008. Analysts say the Dems lost because they fielded too many candidates, none of whom would clear the floor, and so the Democratic vote was split, while Republicans voted as a block.

The seat comes up for election again in November.

FactCheck.org Derides Vapid Health Care Email

Even FactCheck.org has had it with the level of inanity coming from opponents to health care reform. The normally dispassionate site is addressing a ridiculous email (which so far, I haven’t gotten, praise Allah!) written by a rightwing blogger who posts the famous “Joker” picture of Obama on his home page.

It’s clear from the tone of FactCheck’s response that even they consider these lies over the top.

‘This chain e-mail shows evidence of a reading comprehension problem on the part of the author’

Our inbox has been overrun with messages asking us to weigh in on a mammoth list of claims about the House health care bill. The chain e-mail purports to give “a few highlights” from the first half of the bill, but the list of 48 assertions is filled with falsehoods, exaggerations and misinterpretations. We examined each of the e-mail’s claims, finding 26 of them to be false and 18 to be misleading, only partly true or half true. Only four are accurate…

This chain e-mail claims to give a run-down of what’s in the House health care bill, H.R. 3200. Instead, it shows evidence of a reading comprehension problem on the part of the author.

Ouch, FactCheck! But right on. We also like what they had to say about the ridiculous nod-nod-wink-wink campaign against ACORN. ACORN is an advocacy group for the poor that mainly deals with such issues as predatory lending but was portrayed as something else entirely during the last election. The misrepresentation evidently continues in the notorious email.

It claims that a section about “Community-based Home Medical Services” means “more payoffs for ACORN.” ACORN does not provide medical home services. The e-mail interprets any reference to the word “community” to be some kind of payoff for ACORN. That’s nonsense.

If you got the email, get over to FactCheck.org. Hit the “Share” icon at the top of the page and send the assessment to whoever sent you that piece of rubbish, and everyone else on their address list as well.

A Call to Arms from the Right: ‘It Is Time to Water the Tree of Liberty’ With Blood

The topic of assassination has been unthinkable during the early months of Barack Obama’s presidency. But in light of the right-wing rage on display at health-care town halls this month — combined with new information that the president is receiving around 900 threats per month, a 400 percent increase over threats against George Bush — the topic has unfortunately become a lot less unthinkable.

In an op-ed in the Washington Post today, David Broder suggests Republicans are “playing with fire” by fanning the flames with talk of incipient socialism and by promoting lies about reforms, including the lie that will not die, that Obama plans to set up “death panels” with the power to euthanize seniors and the handicapped.

Broder means GOP leaders are playing with fire politically, of course. Their objective in ginning up the hysteria is to drive a wedge between Blue Dog Dems and the right-leaning independents whose votes they must have to stay in office. Broder warns the GOP leaders that the party could face a backlash from normal Americans who find the rage of the town-hall disrupters off-putting and who see through the lies about reforms.

Broder — the capitol’s leading regurgitator of conventional wisdom — is not ready yet to accuse his GOP buddies (and key sources) of fanning the flames of violence. But a new metric about the threat level faced by this president should give pause even to David Broder, the ultimate promoter of the status quo.

According to a new book, “In the President’s Secret Service,” by Richard Kessler, Pres. Obama receives as many as 30 death threats a day. That’s as much as 900 threats a month — roughly 7,000 threats since the president was inaugurated.

Given statistical probability — combined with the fact that the right-wing fringe has produced Timothy McVeigh, Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph, Scott Roeder, the murderer of Dr. George Tiller, and other killers in recent years — it is a dead cinch that one of these lunatics will take the threat to the next level and launch a violent attack against the president someday soon.

Over the top, you say?


Happy (American) Birthday, Mr. President

As Pres. Obama blows out the 48 candles (hey, that’s one year for each of the lower 48 states!) on his birthday cake today, we wonder what he’ll wish for. Health care reform? A muzzle for Joe Biden? Retirement for Sen. Ben Nelson and two more Supreme Court members? It’s hard to say, but it’s a pretty safe bet that they won’t be celebrating Obama’s birthday in Virginia, where a new poll shows hardly any Republicans believe Obama was born in America.

An astonishing 41% of the state’s Republicans think President Obama was not born in the United States while just 32% think he was and 27% are still not sure.

The moral of the poll? If you have a half a brain, don’t be a Republican but if you must, at least don’t be a Virginia Republican.

Happy birthday, Obama!