Birthers: More asinine antics from Arizona

You may remember Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, convening a ‘posse’ to investigate Obama’s long form birth certificate. I blogged about it in March Madness. It now appears that Arizona Secretary of State, Ken Bennett, might prevent Obama’s name from appearing on the ballot in Arizona, unless Hawaii certifies the authenticity of the long form certificate. Quite how they would do that, since the document is itself the final seal of authenticity, is beyond me. Here’s the story from the Seattle PI –  Obama: the ‘birthers’ are back.

In a delicious twist of irony, Hawaii is withholding information from Bennett on the grounds that he hasn’t verified his own identity or right to request such verification. Sweet.

Here’s a news report, followed by Birther Madness in Arizona: The Movie!, if you really want to get into the details. I’m already bleeding from the ears.

To be (Swiss) or not to be…

I was diverted by this article in the Guardian – Michele Bachman decides not be Swiss after all – and what it says about the corrosive effects of uber-patriotism. (Also about the editors, who missed the obvious grammatical error in the headline and spelled her last name wrong.) It seems that Michelle automatically acquired the right to Swiss citizenship on marriage to her husband, Marcus “Gay Cure” Bachmann. And apparently their children wanted the benefits of dual nationality.

But Michele, having been outed by Swiss TV, first called her impending Swiss citizenship a “non-story” and then decided to bail out for fear of being thought unpatriotic.

“I took this action because I want to make it perfectly clear: I was born in America and I am a proud American citizen. I am, and always have been, 100% committed to our United States constitution and the United States of America,” Bachmann said.

Much as I despise Bachmann’s political views, I feel a bit sorry for her. It’s not as if she’s renouncing American citizenship to take up Swiss – she would have both. The narrow-mindedness of those views preclude her from something I’ve always enjoyed. I have dual British (mother)/American (father) nationality, and it means I have two countries to call home.

Bachmann is clearly making a political calculation that the bigots who support her won’t stand for anything looking like divided loyalties. It’s a sad reflection on the state of American politics in a country of immigrants (if you go back far enough). A sea change from an ethos of inclusivity to one of exclusivity.

At least I hope their children take advantage of Swiss nationality. It would be a tragedy if Bachmann’s myopia spoiled their chance to become world citizens.

Won’t someone please think of the children?

Again already. (Sometimes a title just begs to be recycled.) Nobody does unintentional, irony-free humour as well as the Conservative Right. The Conservative Teen is the first issue of a quarterly magazine aimed at the prematurely aged. To be priced at $4.99, this issue is available free on the internet. Strangely enough, it seems to have sunk without trace, fueling suspicions that the whole thing is a hoax. Or that teenagers aren’t as stupid as they seem. It has the flavour of the Landover Baptist Church, without their obvious satirical intent. But possibly that’s my “liberal media bias” talking. Any further comment would be superfluous, and I will leave you to enjoy the publication.

Word of the Week: Viscious

Viscious (adj): Depraved and glutinous. This brilliant neologism was unwittingly coined by rtj1211 on March 3, 2012, at 5:04 pm, during a Comment Is Free thread on an article about Rush Limbaugh’s latest bout of verbal diarrhea. It’s extremely rare to get such a precise etymology for a new word. The parent of the bouncing new baby is a dittohead, who points out that “there are right wing journalists in the UK who use the term ‘guardianista’ as a viscious term of abuse……” Clearly, he/she meant to say “vicious” and instead conflated it with “viscous.”

How could I resist? So: Doctors have just diagnosed a viscious mass, weighing approximately 1350 grams, located between Rush Limbaugh’s ears. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) immediately issued a public health warning, stating that the condition is infectious, and can be transmitted by sound waves and/or the written word. They point out, however, that only Republicans are at risk. Nevertheless, as a precaution, children should not be exposed to the Rush Limbaugh Show until they’re old enough to think critically for themselves. Side effects may include IQ loss, physical corpulence, addiction to OxyContin, and the public display of enormous cigars as a penis extension.

March Madness

Barack Obama is extraordinarily lucky in his political opponents. Who would have guessed that the GOP primaries were going to be such a dunderheaded display of economic illiteracy, contempt for human rights and constitutional freedoms, and religious frothing at the mouth. I accept these are the default attitudes of many Republicans, particularly now that the Teabaggers have yanked them so far to the right that their language no longer describes what happens in the real world. But to have a full deck of batshit crazy presidential candidates, none of whom are playing with a full deck? Priceless.

Now you might remember all that fuss about Obama’s birth certificate last year, and Donald Trump’s short-lived run for the GOP presidential nomination based on the enormous amount of hot air generated by this ludicrous faux controversy. The wind beneath his wings. Since Obama blew both the issue and Trump out of the sky last April, with the presentation of his long form certificate, things have gone a bit quiet on the Birther conspiracy front. It was great while it lasted, with all the nut jobs crawling out of the woodwork and scaring the shit out of sane Americans.

Well, I have good news. They’re back. Six months ago, the Arizona Tea Party presented Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, with a petition of 242 signatures, calling for an investigation into the possible forgery of the long form birth certificate. Sheriff Joe, an idol of the far right for his enthusiastic anti-immigrant stance, agreed. He even set up an unofficial “posse” to carry out the investigation.

Today he announced the results of his investigations. Yes, you guessed. It’s a forgery. Not only that, but there are also doubts about his Selective Sevice Registration Card. So it looks like the patients have escaped from the asylum once more, and Obama can count on even more negative publicity for the Republicans. I’m really hoping the primary candidates jump on this bandwagon. Please God (and I’m an atheist).

Here is Sheriff Joe’s, announcement on March 1, and if you want more laughs, the result of the investigation by his Posse. Would it surprise you to know that Sheriff Joe has been severely criticised in a Justic Department report for “unconstitutional policing”, and is the subject of a separate federal grand jury investigation?

Thought for the Day

This is my version of the BBC’s Sunday radio programme, Thought for the Day. They still refuse to allow secular voices, even though it’s billed as “Religion & Ethics,” and presumably atheists are allowed to have ethics. Or perhaps not. Anyway, I think the video below is prime Thought for the Day material.

I lived for 20 years in Seattle in Washington State. It has always seemed the best and most liberal place in a country I’ve never really understood – a place where extremes of sentimentality and barbarism can sometimes mix in the same people and groups. Not surprisingly, Republicans and those further to the right are not my flavour of the milennium. The thought that one of the venomous dunderheads running for president could make decisions on a national and international level is truly appalling.

On Wednesday, Washington State passed a Gay Marriage Bill. Obviously, as a liberal (in American terms), I’m delighted that what I came to think of as my home state has passed such a progressive measure. It makes me proud.

More than that. This video of a Republican State Representative talking about voting with her conscience to pass the bill is extremely moving. I feel slightly ashamed of my tribal knee-jerk responses. Maureen Walsh is a woman of honour, part of the pride I feel in Washington and its people.