Afternoon InquisitionSkepticism

AI: Crazy-Haired Blowhards and Birthers

Donald Trump may well be the most entertaining crazy-haired blowhard since Don King.

Trump is taking credit for forcing President Obama to make with the birth certificate that proves he was born in Hawaii; the birth certificate that so many conspiracy theorists believed didn’t exist.

That Trump’s a “birther” and is threatening to run for president of the U.S. isn’t what is entertaining about him. In fact, that little tidbit is pretty damn scary, though we here in the States have proven time and again that we have no problem electing ignorant, egotistical morons, no matter how scary they are. What’s entertaining is his seemingly monumental lack of self awareness, which is both a curiosity and a point of exasperation.

But the really entertaining bit in this latest birther story is that some people are still hanging on to the conspiracy theory. despite the release of Obama’s official birth certificate. And I thought we could use today’sInquisition to discuss and/or make fun of them.

For you readers not living in the U.S., please join in the discussion, and feel free to offer you opinions, or rail against some other conspiracy theorists, or anything that strikes your fancy. All are welcome.

So what is the deal with the “Birthers”? Could you locate your birth certificate if presssed? Are you a birther? Know any birthers? Do you find this topic more alarming than other myths/conspiracy theories/bukum, because so many elected officials seem to buy into it? What about Donald Trump? Is he going to run for president? Is it a publicity stunt? Who is the most entertaining crazy-haired blowhard that you know?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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    1. So-called birthers argue the president is not legitimate because he, allegedly, was born in Africa and therefore does not meet the Constitution’s requirement to be a “natural born citizen. They are mostly right-wing in political orientation and have long ignored very obvious evidence that Obama is a in fact a natural U.S. citizen.

      1. I saw that yesterday, Sam, and honestly, it’s one of the greatest headlines ever written. EVER.

  1. My wife has professional interactions with the lead Tea Partier/birther in our area. As conspiracy theorists they are, I believe, constitutionally incapable* of acknowledging that there may actually be nothing to this grand conspiracy that they love so much. Be it UFO coverups, denying climate change, young earth creationism, New World Orderism, 9/11 trutherism, etc etc. They are all, on the particular topic of their conspiracy theory, entirely unreachable and illogical. I do bait the ones I work with because it entertains me, but I harbor no illusions that they’ll ever accept any evidence that disconfirms what they believe.

    *I’m sure this phrase will be taken as an attack on their freedoms in some moronic way.

    1. It’s the classic Dunning-Kruger effect: “Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make
      unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.”

      1. Trump’s entire personality can essentially be summed up as a mixture of narcissistic personality disorder and the Dunning-Kruger effect.

        1. Precisely! And what amazes me about ‘The Donald’,is that he is that delusional, without the aid of drugs or alcohol! On second thought,maybe those might help him.

  2. It still staggers me how people who are very much in the public’s view can be so obscenely racist.

  3. Are we talking about the same Donald Trump that didn’t go through with buying an NFL franchise because he didn’t want to reveal his personal financials? Because, that will be interesting when he has to turn over every piece of paperwork of any kind in his possession regarding his personal finances and his businesses if he actually plans on running.

    BTW, still haven’t seen HIS birth certificate.

      1. I saw that yesterday, Sam, and honestly, it’s one of the greatest headlines ever written. EVER.

  4. I noticed that FOX was all over this story for quite some time and even before the release of the birth certificate began to back away from it as the birthers began to get more and more uncivil. Several politicians began to do the same, but a few still seem to be pandering to that lunitic fringe.

    Funny based on their politics I’ll bet many birthers are the same people that wanted to change the Constitution so that Arnold Schwarzenegger could run for President.

  5. I fully expected the birthers would not be convinced of anything by the release of the birth certificate. I don’t even think Trump really believes it. I think his weird little arrogant brain thinks going with it will get him elected. What freaks me out is the high proportion of my friends, some of whom are usually smart and skeptical, who are buying into the conspiracy theory that Sarah Palin is not the mother of her youngest child. Their justification for believing the latest “report” (speculation based on anomaly-hunting)? They don’t like Sarah Palin. I don’t like her, either, but my distaste is not so great that I must suspend my ability to discern between reality and gibberish.

  6. I do not personally know any birthers, but at the open mic I go to there is one person that regularly gets on the mic who believes in aliens, is a 9/11 truther, believes the gov’t is using HAARP to affect the weather and DARPA to cause earthquakes in Haiti and Japan. I just laugh at the appalling display of ignorance whenever he’s on the microphone, I’ve tried to talk him out of the more tenuous of his beliefs, that aliens created crop circles, but there was no hope, so I doubt I could budge him on any of his other topics, I do plan on debunking his claims poetically to at least educate the audience.

    1. If the aliens produced a crop circle in the form of a giant reproduction of Obama’s birth certificate, do you think that would convince them?

  7. Bread and Circuses.
    Just bread and circuses.
    While we worry ourselves sick about the possibility of Palin, or Bachmann, or Trump becoming more than dogcatcher the states are redistricting, the courts are redefining personhood and free speech, and the far-right are ridding themselves of any Attorneys General that fail to play along by bringing fallacious lawsuits against their opponents.
    I fear that personal freedoms in this country are about to be brought to their knees, not by the crazies we fear the most, but by those who don’t care enough to oppose them.
    When I point this out to people around here, what I hear back is “what about Obama?” (Great response BTW)
    They believe the ridiculous lies that the right have ginned up and will not be dissuaded.
    I hate to break Godwin’s law but I see many parallels to earlier 1920s Germany.
    Let’s hope the teabaggers can’t find their Hitler.
    Too much?
    How about 1950s America.
    I would hope for the latter though I fear the former.
    My favorite crazy-haired blowhard?
    After reading what I just wrote I’m tempted to say me, unfortunately this isn’t crazy at all.

  8. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots. vv

    1. Shoot. That’s what I get for doing it from memory.
      Should have some “rhubarb, rhubarb” sprinkled in there

      1. Badger,badger,badger,badger,badger,badger,badger,badger,badger,badger,badger,badger,badger,badger….

  9. You can’t reason with crazy.

    My guess is Trump is only doing this to get his name out there. It’s a ploy to run for president (as others have stated). (Name Redacted) help us if that man ever becomes president.

  10. I’m pretty sure most birthers are covering for their racism. If you pay close attention to the language they use, they often talk about how he just doesn’t seem like he’s “from here” or other vague wordings. They like to emphasize his Kenyan background, as if that condemns him as un-american. You know, because all us ‘real’ americans are from here and only here (ignoring all of our European or other ancestries). It sounds to me like what they want to say is that he couldn’t have come from their neighborhoods because he’s not white, and all presidents should be white.

    I like this response:

    1. Techspoon,

      Its not necessarily racism or xenophobia actually that is motivating birthers.

      We can count Alan Keys as a birther, and he’s not exactly a white European.

      It might be because, they really don’t like Obama and they know that legally he wouldn’t be allowed to be president if wasn’t a natural born US citizen. I do not like Obama that much either, but that said, I certainly do not agree with the birthers’ claim that there is a good reason for us to suspect that he was born outside the US, and thus ineligible for our highest office.

  11. Sam Ogden,

    I sent you guys an Email with a video related to this. It was a guy claiming that he was able to prove that Obama’s birth certificate was a forgery. Did you guys see?

        1. Here’s a link to a video debunking the claims about the birth certificate being forged in the previous video I linked to.

          PROOF!!! Alex Jones’s “Experts” Are Incompetent Boobs

  12. I think what drives the birthers to their deep belief that Obama is not an American citizen is that they hate him as a politician or as a man so much that they will look for any reason that they can to try to bring him down. They always focus on his father’s nationality, but his mother’s nationality is never brought up because, somehow, it just doesn’t matter that his mother is an American. They never realize how Hilary Clinton and John McCain never made a single inquiry about Obama’s roots. It’s their blind hatred of him that fuels their engine. I also think that if Obama was not a man of mixed race and was purely of European descent and had a different name, the birthers specifically would be known as another group based on their outspoken hatred of the president.

    I believe this is also why 9/11 truthers are so passionate about their stance. Their hatred of former President Bush has clouded their judgement so much that they will look for anything they can to make him out to be the root of all evil.

  13. I would consider it ridiculous that this is what actually passes for politics in the US, except that here, in Canada, we’re in the middle of an election campaign. What triggered it was that the Government was found in “contempt of Parliament.” Specifically, that the government didn’t produce documents that the rest of Parliament thought it needed to see. No big deal there, IMO, I think they were right, in that instance, to vote down the government, actually.
    Thing is, when questioned about it, the Prime Minister, in the very first day of campaigning, dismissed it as if it didn’t happen.
    Guess who isn’t getting my vote.

    1. Harper is very much our G. W. Bush — in my opinion. I mean he’s a fundy-theist fanatic, a professional liar, and is quite clearly doing his best to destroy Canada’s “Canadian” identity and turn us into America Part 2, or perhaps Global Big Business Part 2.

      What a foul, foul man he is.

  14. I called a radio show in Cincinnati once arguing with the guy about this whole thing, it was probably in Jan or Feb, he hung up on me.

    He produced the short form of his birth certificate during the campaign.

    A talk show host I used to listen to in Cincy who was fairly libertarian basically said that just like GW didn’t have to produce his military records, Obama doesn’t have to produce his birth certificate. It just fuels the fire.
    I knew this wouldn’t kill it.

    I didn’t vote for him, but might this time. Go team America.

  15. Also, do people think our system is so stupid that we would elect someone that clearly violates the Constitution?

    1. Well, yes, I’m afriad that some of us do. I mean you’ve got the Tea Party, and it’s taken seriously by very many people, so….

  16. Do you realy believe we will elect a combed over hater who wastes his time in outer shace with birther’s from the bottom basement crew???It’s all he thinks of, is this the man we want in the White House??? not in this life, donald.
    Thanks for thinking we ALL are stupid enough to elect a non-american President!!! you waffle stuffer…

  17. Seeing the way these birthers think, they wouldn’t accept his birth, even if they were in the delivery room.

    1. BWAHAHAHA! I made a post to FB much along the line of “Fucking birth certificates, how do they work?”, but failed to think of the clever Insane Clown Posse reference, which would have made my point much more succinctly.

  18. Yes, I know a birther, unfortunately. As of today he’s shifted his argument to:

    “Doesnt change the fact he became an indonesian citizen and changed his name to Barry Soetoro to attend school there…”

    I have no idea what that is about, and I really don’t care. The only reason I would be slightly interested in Palin actually being the birth-mother of any specific child or Obama’s continued American citizenship is honesty and integrity. So what if she has the boy (nephew, grandson?) listed as her son as long as she’s honest about it… but since when has honesty and integrity been part of her spiel, who knows. Obama, on the other hand, appears to have both in spades so I’d be very upset to find out he’s covering up something.

    And I have my original birth certificate in the other room and a photocopy on my computer. Wanna see it? It sure proves I’m an American citizen and that my birthday is tomorrow.

  19. The whole birther thing seems to stem from closet racism.

    And I think it was a mistake from Obama’s side to show the certificate rather than just ignore the crazies. It was bound to just give them an undeserved look of legitimacy and they were bound to just claim it’s a forgery (as, indeed, they have). Conspiracy nutters are only convinced by evidence that supports their theory, and assume any other evidence is simply fakery.

    1. I also thought it was a mistake at first. But now that I think about it, I’m more convinced it was a good decision.

      I think back to the 9/11 conspiracy theories. There was a time after Loose Change came out that the conspiracies seemed to be gaining some traction. Uninformed people on the fence could hear a bit about WTC 7 and fall down the rabbit hole. The longer they can isolate themselves and read about this conspiracy theory crap, the more defenses they build up against reason.

      But some quick debunking facts are all it takes in the beginning to make people on the fence realize, “Oh, yea. I guess that conspiracy theory is pretty dumb.” I think the administration just kneecapped all the wing nuts who have invested so much time and effort into this birther nonsense. Basically, anyone deep enough into it (the far right wing) to keep clinging to the conspiracy theory is going to look EXTREMELY marginal now.

      Exactly like the truthers do today.

  20. My conspiracy theory is this: Trump privately likes Obama and is using his own public profile to run and siphon off hard-right voters thus helping an embattled President.

    As for this question,
    “Do you find this topic more alarming than other myths/conspiracy theories/bukum, because so many elected officials seem to buy into it?”

    I dont think anyone smart enough to get elected actually believes this. Unfortunately, millions of prospective voters were raised to believe (and live their lives by),the old chestnut of creamy bullshit,
    “There are 2 sides to every story and the truth is in the middle”

    All evil people need to do is put smoke on the airwaves and masses are conditioned to think there MUST be fire somewhere.

    But as ever in free democracies the electorate always gets exactly the government it deserves. (ALWAYS)

  21. It is pure xenophobia. Some because he has dark skin, some because he is intelligent, some because he is more liberal than they are. Their xenophobia results in such hatred that they need to rationalize those feelings of hatred, so they rationalize that Obama is worse than Hitler because they feel more hatred toward Obama than they feel toward Hitler. Since the idea that their hatred is irrational never occurs to them, they deduce that Obama must have done things that are worse than what Hitler did.

    1. Call me a dirty commie if you will, but I think much of what Hitler did was much worse than not being born in America!

  22. The worst part of this for me was Trump talking about how proud he was of what he “accomplished.” He disrespected and disgraced a century of progress in race relations for a few minutes on camera. And the smug whore thinks that was clever. He’s proud of it. He thinks it was an “accomplishment”.

    For some reason, I keep hearing Dylan in my head…
    “And I hope that you die
    And your death’ll come soon
    I will follow your casket
    In the pale afternoon
    And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
    Down to your deathbed
    And I’ll stand over your grave
    ‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead.”

    1. Y’know, you were doing so well giving out about the barely-disguised racism of Trump&co, until you went and called him a ‘smug whore’. Way to criticise people being assholes to one marginalised minority by being an asshole to another!

      (p.s. The rest of your comment, by the way, is fantastic and I agree entirely)

      1. Really? “Smug whores” constitute a minority demographic that needs defending? If you’re referring to sex workers, you might check the dictionary. I’m not the first person to use the term “whore” to mean “a person who compromises their integrity for personal gain.”

  23. During his post long form B/C release press conference, when asked about when he would announce his run for president Trump hinted that there would be a “very surprising” announcement mid-May after the finale of “Celebrity Apprentice”. The way he chose his words makes me wonder if his whole birther crusade isn’t just a charade and that “The Donald” will reveal this to the world with a surprise announcement along the lines of “look at how gullible and stupid you people are, you took bait hook, line, and sinker”. Talk about a “teachable moment”. I suppose that is too much to hope for, but it would be great it it went down that way.

  24. Gives a whole new meaning to ‘Trumped-up charges’. No wait…same meaning…my mistake.

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