Friday, September 23, 2016

and a little more Friday Fun, some FB wit and wisdom via John Fugelsang

It's another Friday Fun Day, something for a change from politics

And now for a completely different post from the usual politics and economics and genera social commentary.

Ah, but can it parallel park?

Still current eventstopical, in an era seeing the beginnings of self-driving cars.

This is a remote controlled car, not a car you can actually ride in.

This is from MSN autos
Nerds of a certain age have wanted their very own transformer since the very first time we watched Optimus kick the crap out of Megatron thirty-some years ago. Now, thanks to an ambitious Turkish company, that dream may finally come true. According to Gizmodo, a company out of Ankara, Turkey called Letvision unveiled a transforming robot based on a BMW 3 Series coupe. A series of videos hosted on Letvision's website and YouTube account showed Letrons, as the bright red transformer is called, being put through its paces by an operator with a remote control.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Birtherism, the Track Back of Fact

Much ado about nothing has been made of the Clinton staffer who was fired for circulating an email questioning Obama's birthplace.

No one however has ever claimed that the staffer WROTE that email.  Here is a copy of that email, via Snopes, and their observations about the email origins and circulation.

“Barack Obama’s mother was living in Kenya with his Arab-African father late in her pregnancy. She was not allowed to travel by plane then, so Barack Obama was born there and his mother then took him to Hawaii to register his birth,” asserted one chain email that surfaced on the urban legend site in April 2008.
That Hillary Clinton supporters circulated such an e-mail isn't in question, but the claim that that's the moment the birther theory "first emerged" simply isn't true. The likeliest point of origin we've been able to find was a post on conservative message board dated 1 March 2008 (which, according to a report in The Telegraph, was at least a month before Clinton supporters got on the e-mail bandwagon):
I was told today that Obama swore in on a Koran for his Senate seat. I do not believe he did. Can someone clarify this for me? I am under the impression only a Congressman has so far sworn in on a Koran.
Also that Obama’s mother gave birth to him overseas and then immediately flew into Hawaii and registered his birth as having taken place in Hawaii.
Again, any clarifications on this? Defintely disqualifies him for Prez. There must be some trace of an airticket. While small babies are not charged air fare they do have a ticket issued for them.
Long time ago but there may be some residual information somewhere. Good ammo (if available and true) BEST USED AFTER he becomes PREZ (if that occurs) and it’s too late for Dems - except accept the VP.

Only the right persisted in perpetuating the theory beyond 2008, notably Trump, well after the totally unnecessary release of the president's birth certificate - something done, imho, to humiliate the president as different (and therefore inferior in the minds of conservatives) to prior presidents, (like Chester Arthur rumored to have been born in Canada, with a foreign father). Not only is there some question as to the location of Chester Arthur's birth, but also a question of what year he was born. 
As with President Obama, the issue of school records were involved as well in the conspiracy theory. Chester Arthur's birther, by the way, really WAS a Democrat, a lawyer by the name of A. P. Hinman.

Politico did a great job tracking down who really DID originate birtherism in a recent article in 2008:
“As we reported, some of her supporters flirted with the idea in 2008 — but it has its origins in the fever swamps beginning in Illinois in 2004,” he said.
In fact, birtherism, as it’s been called, reportedly began with innuendo by serial Illinois political candidate Andy Martin, who painted Obama as a closet Muslim in 2004. That spiraled into a concerted effort by conspiracy theorists to raise doubts about Obama’s birthplace and religion — and essentially paint him as un-American.
Martin, who briefly launched a little-noticed presidential campaign last year, has disavowed the movement he’s often credited with starting, though he still foments similarly discredited doubts about Obama’s religion.
...On Friday, Clinton’s former senior aide Patti Solis Doyle acknowledged that a volunteer coordinator in Iowa forwarded a birther-related email. “Hillary made the decision immediately let that person go,” she said. “We let that person go. It was so beyond the pale of the campaign Hillary wanted to run and that we as a staff wanted to run that I called David Plouffe who was managing Barack Obama to apologize to say this is not coming from us, that this was rogue volunteer.”

And here is Mr. Martin, courtesy of internet video from 2008 -- see how easy it is for Trump and the GOP to fact check? That they don't is a choice for willful ignorance:

The New York Times, back in 2008, did a great job digging into this, elaborating on those in the right, from the 'Freeepers" aka the Free Republic crackpots and extremist conspiracy theorists, and via Fox Not-News, to rabidly Anti-Semite Andy Martin, to equally radical righties who are pro-Israel Jews.  Politics truly makes strange bedfellows.
But an appearance in a documentary-style program on the Fox News Channel watched by three million people last week thrust the man, Andy Martin, and his past into the foreground. The program allowed Mr. Martin to assert falsely and without challenge that Mr. Obama had once trained to overthrow the government.
An examination of legal documents and election filings, along with interviews with his acquaintances, revealed Mr. Martin, 62, to be a man with a history of scintillating if not always factual claims. He has left a trail of animosity — some of it provoked by anti-Jewish comments — among political leaders, lawyers and judges in three states over more than 30 years.
He is a law school graduate, but his admission to the Illinois bar was blocked in the 1970s after a psychiatric finding of “moderately severe character defect manifested by well-documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character.”
Though he is not a lawyer, Mr. Martin went on to become a prodigious filer of lawsuits, and he made unsuccessful attempts to win public office for both parties in three states, as well as for president at least twice, in 1988 and 2000. Based in Chicago, he now identifies himself as a writer who focuses on his anti-Obama Web site and press releases.
Mr. Martin, in a series of interviews, did not dispute his influence in Obama rumors.
“Everybody uses my research as a takeoff point,” Mr. Martin said, adding, however, that some take his writings “and exaggerate them to suit their own fantasies.”
As for his background, he said: “I’m a colorful person. There’s always somebody who has a legitimate cause in their mind to be angry with me.”
When questions were raised last week about Mr. Martin’s appearance and claims on “Hannity’s America” on Fox News, the program’s producer said Mr. Martin was clearly expressing his opinion and not necessarily fact.
It was not Mr. Martin's first turn on national television. The CBS News program "48 Hours" in 1993 devoted an hourlong program, "See You in Court; Civil War, Anthony Martin Clogs Legal System with Frivolous Lawsuits," to what it called his prolific filings. (Mr. Martin has also been known as Anthony Martin-Trigona.) He has filed so many lawsuits that a judge barred him from doing so in any federal court without preliminary approval.
He prepared to run as a Democrat for Congress in Connecticut, where paperwork for one of his campaign committees listed as one purpose “to exterminate Jew power.” He ran as a Republican for the Florida State Senate and the United States Senate in Illinois. When running for president in 1999, he aired a television advertisement in New Hampshire that accused George W. Bush of using cocaine.
It is worth noting that Andy Martin is running again for President, per Ballotpedia, as a Republican. Again.  Also according to Ballotpedia, Andy Martin a week ago lost a run for Congress as a Republican in New Hampshire.for the 2nd Congressional District.
So far as I can determine, while Martin attempted to run as a Dem, he got further and more often running as a Republican and he has always been a bigot and a conservative.

Also from the 2008 NYT article, some of the other players in the birtherism conspiracy theory are identified.   They are pertinent to include here, because so many tin-foil hat wearing right wing bigots are still repeating them:

Theories about Mr. Obama’s background have taken on a life of their own. But independent analysts seeking the origins of the cyberspace attacks wind up at Mr. Martin’s first press release, posted on the Free Republic Web site in August 2004.
Its general outlines have turned up in a host of works that have expounded falsely on Mr. Obama’s heritage or supposed attempts to conceal it, including “Obama Nation,” the widely discredited best seller about Mr. Obama by Jerome R. Corsi. Mr. Corsi opens the book with a quote from Mr. Martin.
“What he’s generating gets picked up in other places,” said Danielle Allen, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., who has investigated the e-mail campaign’s circulation and origins, “and it’s an example of how the Internet has given power to sources we would have never taken seriously at another point in time.”
Ms. Allen said Mr. Martin’s original work found amplification in 2006, when a man named Ted Sampley wrote an article painting Mr. Obama as a secret practitioner of Islam. Quoting liberally from Mr. Martin, the article circulated on the Internet, and its contents eventually found their way into various e-mail messages, particularly an added claim that Mr. Obama had attended “Jakarta’s Muslim Wahhabi schools. Wahhabism is the radical teaching that created the Muslim terrorists who are now waging jihad on the rest of the world.”
Mr. Obama for two years attended a Catholic school in Indonesia, where he was taught about the Bible, he wrote in “Dreams From My Father,” and for two years went to an Indonesian public school open to all religions, where he was taught about the Koran.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Starting your Monday with something fun:

Seriously, it was a delight to watch the Trump surrogates squirm as they tried to shift attention away from why Trump has been a hard core birther, making his political bones on it, for five years, and then flip flopped NOW. The Trump machine and the GOP at least in the person of Rancid Preibus, have LIED about connecting birtherism to Hillary Clinton, and been badly busted on it. Hooray for the media - for a change.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Fun Day - time to laugh at Conservative dishonesty, BUSTED by

Trump eats crow
In this morning's feed, to which I subscribe, was this about Trump's (and in his condidacy day's Cruz's) claim that Hillary Clinton was a birther.

She wasn't, and documents that very well, as far back as July 2015.

Everything old is new again.  I can rely on my friend Mitch Berg, over at SitD, to demonstrate almost daily everything wrong about blogging and the right wing; specifically I can rely on him to remind me of everything I DON'T want to be as a blogger. I can also count on him to repeat every vile attack and factually false claim made by the right without substantive fact checking.

That only works where you have fact-averse conservatives who are more interested in having their prejudices stroked than in factual accuracy.  Mitch can safely rely on his many radical right wing readers to avoid fact checking as personally painful.

What makes this fun for Friday material is that Mitch yesterday quoted, without a link of course, to support the current Trump claim that Hillary was the original birther.  She was not.  Here is the most recent ACTUAL research on claims that Hillary Clinton was ever a birther.

Was Hillary Clinton the Original ‘Birther’?

Two Republican presidential candidates claim the so-called “birther” m;postID=782530987619291560ovement originated with the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008. While it’s true that some of her ardent supporters pushed the theory, there is no evidence that Clinton or her campaign had anything to do with it.
In an interview on June 29, Sen. Ted Cruz said “the whole birther thing was started by the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008,” and earlier this year, Donald Trump claimed “Hillary Clinton wanted [Obama’s] birth certificate. Hillary is a birther.”
Neither Cruz nor Trump presented any evidence that Clinton or anyone on her campaign ever questioned Obama’s birthplace, demanded to see his birth certificate, or otherwise suggested that Obama was not a “natural born citizen” eligible to serve as president.
For those unfamiliar with the controversy over Obama’s birthplace, it refers to those who contend that Obama was born in Kenya and ineligible to be president.
At, we have written about the issue of Obama’s birthplace on multiple occasions — indeed we were the first media organization to hold his birth certificate in our hot little hands and vouch for the authenticity of it. But facts have done little to squelch the conspiracy theories that continue to bounce around online.
(quoting Ted Cruz)
“It’s interesting, the whole birther thing was started by the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2008 against Barack Obama,” Cruz said (at about the 25:25 mark). Cruz then went on to say that he believes he clearly meets the constitutional requirement for a president to be a “natural born citizen.”
The claim about Clinton’s tie to “birthers” was made earlier by Donald Trump in February at the CPAC event (at 24:20 mark). Trump — who has a history of pushing bogus theories about Obama’s birth —  said, “Hillary Clinton wanted [Obama’s] birth certificate. Hillary is a birther. She wanted … but she was unable to get it.”
According to the [Politico April 22, 2011] article, the theory that Obama was born in Kenya “first emerged in the spring of 2008, as Clinton supporters circulated an anonymous email questioning Obama’s citizenship.”
The second article, which ran several days after the Politico piece, was published by the Telegraph, a British paper, which stated: “An anonymous email circulated by supporters of Mrs Clinton, Mr Obama’s main rival for the party’s nomination, thrust a new allegation into the national spotlight — that he had not been born in Hawaii.”
Both of those stories comport with what we here at wrote two-and-a-half years earlier, on Nov. 8, 2008: “This claim was first advanced by diehard Hillary Clinton supporters as her campaign for the party’s nomination faded, and has enjoyed a revival among John McCain’s partisans as he fell substantially behind Obama in public opinion polls.”
Both of those stories comport with what we here at wrote two-and-a-half years earlier, on Nov. 8, 2008: “This claim was first advanced by diehard Hillary Clinton supporters as her campaign for the party’s nomination faded, and has enjoyed a revival among John McCain’s partisans as he fell substantially behind Obama in public opinion polls.”
Claims about Obama’s birthplace appeared in chain emails bouncing around the Web, and one of the first lawsuits over Obama’s birth certificate was filed by Philip Berg, a former deputy Pennsylvania attorney general and a self-described “moderate to liberal” who supported Clinton.
But none of those stories suggests any link between the Clinton campaign, let alone Clinton herself, and the advocacy of theories questioning Obama’s birth in Hawaii.
One of the authors of the Politico story, Byron Tau, now a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, told via email that “we never found any links between the Clinton campaign and the rumors in 2008.”
The other coauthor of the Politico story, Ben Smith, now the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, said in a May 2013 interview on MSNBC that the conspiracy theories traced back to “some of [Hillary Clinton’s] passionate supporters,” during the final throes of Clinton’s 2008 campaign. But he said they did not come from “Clinton herself or her staff.”
Josh Schwerin, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, said Cruz’s claim is false. “The Clinton campaign never suggested that President Obama was not born here,” Schwerin wrote to us in an email.
It is certainly interesting, and perhaps historically and politically relevant, that “birther” advocacy may have originated with supporters of Hillary Clinton — especially since many view it as an exclusively right-wing movement. But whether those theories were advocated by Clinton and/or her campaign or simply by Clinton “supporters” is an important distinction. Candidates are expected to be held accountable for the actions of their campaigns. Neither Cruz nor Trump, whose campaign did not respond to our request for backup material, provides any compelling evidence that either Clinton or her campaign had anything to do with starting the so-called birther movement.

— Robert Farley
Now over at SitD, Mitch cites the disreputable and unreliable, not credible source of Breitbart which is no more news than Fakes TV, claiming a Clinton campaign exec plotted the birtherism controversy.

NOT TRUE.  And the birther movement is nothing if not the definition of 'negative'.

As covered by a different entry from that came out this afternoon specifically faulting Trump as a liar noted:

Trump on Birtherism: Wrong, and Wrong

On March 19, 2007, then Clinton adviser Mark Penn wrote a strategy memo to Clinton that identified Obama’s “lack of American roots” as something that “could hold him back.” That memo, which was part of campaign documents featured in a September 2008 article in The Atlantic, cited Obama’s “boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii” as life experiences that made his “basic American values … at best limited.” But Penn’s memo did not question Obama’s birthplace or his birth certificate. It advised Clinton to contrast her life experiences in middle America “without turning negative.”
“We are never going to say anything about his background,” Penn wrote.
Again, if there is evidence that Clinton or her campaign had something to do with the origins of the so-called birther movement, we’ve yet to see it. And Trump has never offered any proof.
Shame shame shame on the right, including local bloggers,  for trying to excuse their nominee by trying to tar someone else with his lies.  I can only speculate how many of his supporters who still believe this rubbish - because so many conservatives of the ilk who support Trump, the deplorables, DO believe lies like this - will now be discontented with their evil candidate.

Bur dishonesty is the only alternative when facts are consistently not on your side.