The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Posts Tagged ‘Mike Castle’

Laughing at Birther Conspiracy Theorists: Stephen Colbert Combines Humor & Skepticism

Posted by mattusmaximus on April 30, 2011

In a hilarious example of calling the bluff of the conspiracy-mongering, reality-challenged, walking hairpiece that is Donald Trump (along with all of his “birther” buddies), President Obama produced his long-form birth certificate.  Of course, Obama’s U.S. citizenship was solidly established long, long ago (as clearly outlined at this Snopes.com link), but the birthers kept on moving the goalposts and making ever-more crazy demands for evidence.

Now that President Obama has provided his long-form birth certificate, you can expect the birthers to move the goalposts once again and go even further down the rabbit-hole (in true conspiracy theorist fashion).  In fact, to give you a sense of what is likely to come, satirist Stephen Colbert quite effectively skewers Donald Trump & the entire birther movement – enjoy! 🙂

**Follow-up: In an astonishing example of moving the goalposts & special pleading, like I mentioned above, take a look at what the “Queen of the Birthers” – Orly Taitz – has to say to journalist Lawrence O’Donnell when he directly challenges her on the fact that President Obama produced the very birth certificate she has for so long demanded.  This is utterly amazing, and it gives a clear view into the twisted mind of a dedicated, true-believing conspiracy theorist.  Wow…

Posted in conspiracy theories, humor, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Donald Trump & Birtherism: How to Argue with Birthers?

Posted by mattusmaximus on April 12, 2011

Lately, billionaire & bad-hair aficionado Donald Trump has been getting a lot of press by going around the talk show circuit and making references to the supposedly “questionable status” of President Obama’s U.S. citizenship.  In case you didn’t know, there is a name for this particular brand of reality-denying conspiracy mongering: birtherism. (And, just for the record in case you didn’t know, President Obama is a natural born U.S. citizen 😉 )

And, yes, it seems that – for whatever reason – Donald Trump has jumped aboard the birther crazy train.  I don’t know if this is for him to gain traction among the hardcore conservative base of the Republican party (a whopping 51% of whom believe President Obama wasn’t born in the United States!) before announcing a bid for the presidency or if it could all just be a publicity stunt in order to get Trump more face-time with the media (and therefore, more money).  Whatever the reason, one thing is clear: the media has swallowed Trump’s line of codswallop hook, line, and sinker.

And there’s the rub, folks.  By the mere fact that the media is giving all of this attention to Trump in the first place, in a sick sort of way it gives him (and, by extension, his nutty “birther” claims) a kind of validity.  The best thing the media could do is to simply ignore this kind of nonsense; there should be no “fair & balanced” reporting on this issue, because those who continue to peddle this stupid conspiracy theory are dead, flat wrong.  To steal a phrase from Christopher Hitchens, Trump and his birther buddies are not the kind of people that should be taken seriously at all; in fact, they’re the kind of people who should be spouting their lunacy out on the streets while they sell pencils from a tin cup!

So the best thing the media could do, if they were interested in covering real news stories instead of sensationalistic garbage, is to tell Trump to take a hike.

Now, if you are confronted by a birther and there is no way to avoid the conversation with them, how should you engage them?  I have one piece of advice on this, and – thus far – it has never failed me.  Tell them that in order for them to have a valid opinion on the issue of President Obama’s citizenship, they must first prove, using their own standards of evidence, their own status as a natural born U.S. citizen.  In short, they must provide to you the following:

1.  Their original birth certificate.
2. A newspaper clipping that highlights their birth.
3. Records proving that their mother was present in America at the time of birth.
4. Investigations from multiple fact-checking organizations that have held the documents with their own hands to verify that the documents from #1-3 exist and are authentic.
5. A press release by at least two officials within the state of birth, verifying that these records are on file.

After the birther has provided said evidence, which seems to sum up the current standard of evidence which they demand that President Obama provide, then tell them they can go on and spin their claims all they want.

Every time I have confronted a birther with this line of argumentation, the result is universally the same: they either ignore the challenge, get angry about you questioning their “patriotism”, or they scuttle away to hide under the nearest rock.  And if they get offended and/or try to run away or change the subject, hit them with this one: “Why won’t you provide this evidence?  What are you hiding?!!” (cue spooky music 🙂 )

Try it sometime.  You’ll find the results very revealing somewhat entertaining, too.  Perhaps the next time Donald Trump is on television, the next media personality to interview him will have some real balls and ask him to put up or shut up.

Posted in conspiracy theories, media woo, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Birthers Plan to Target GOP Congress-Critters

Posted by mattusmaximus on August 2, 2009

I recently posted about how the birther conspiracy theorists have started to gain a higher profile in the media. In that post I also lamented about how such a group of hardcore rightwing conspiracy mongers could threaten to push the Republican party into dangerously extreme territory and how that would be bad for the United States as a nation.

Well, it seems that my fears were at least somewhat founded, because during the August recess the birthers are planning to target GOP Congressmen & women in their nutty campaign…

GOP headache: The birther issue

As GOP Rep. Mike Castle learned the hard way back home in Delaware this month, there’s no easy way to deal with the small but vocal crowd of right-wing activists who refuse to believe that President Barack Obama was born in the United States.

At a town hall meeting in Georgetown, a woman demanded to know why Castle and his colleagues were “ignoring” questions about Obama’s birth certificate — questions that have been put to rest repeatedly by state officials in Hawaii, where the birth certificate and all other credible evidence show that Obama was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961.

When Castle countered that Obama is, in fact, “a citizen of the United States,” the crowd erupted in boos, the woman seized control of the gathering and led a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The video went viral; by Sunday, it had been viewed on YouTube more than half a million times.

And birthers say members should expect more of the same in the coming weeks.

“Absolutely,” says California resident Orly Taitz, the Russian-born attorney/dentist who has become a kind of ringleader for the movement. “It is a very important issue, one that politicians should have taken up a long time ago.”

Moments after speaking with POLITICO Saturday, Taitz posted a call to arms on her blog:

“I believe it is a serious concern and I hope that each and every decent American comes to town hall meetings with a video camera and demands action,” she wrote.

So there you have it.  While the country struggles with all manner of big problems: two wars, an ailing economy, high unemployment, and highly complex healthcare reform – these birthers are attempting to hijack one of the two major political parties with a near fundamentalist religious zeal.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be watching Youtube closely over the next few weeks.  This is going to get interesting, folks – like watching a train wreck in slow motion…

Posted in conspiracy theories, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Birther’s Continue Their Conspiracy Mongering of Obama’s Citizenship

Posted by mattusmaximus on July 27, 2009

One thing that’s true of most conspiracy theories is that they never die – they may be buried for awhile, but the hardcore true believers will insure that they don’t ever quite go away.  Case in point: the ludicrous “birther” conspiracy theory that President Obama isn’t a U.S. citizen.

Recently, new life got breathed into the birther CT because of an incident which took place a couple of weeks ago at a town hall meeting with Congressman Mike Castle (R) in Delaware.  The town hall was supposed to be about health care reform, but right in the middle of it a woman derailed the entire thing as she spewed the usual birther nonsense…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in conspiracy theories, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: